Sunday, June 24, 2007

Uh, We Forgot Something!

Over at Casting Pearls Before Swine, Mark discusses the goofiness of a man being charged for two murders because the woman he killed was pregnant. It's not that he shouldn't be charged with two murders, but that in a world where a pregnant woman is allowed to decide whether she's carrying a child or a lump of tissue, don't they need to know how she felt about her pregnancy before charging the guy?

Of course each state has it's own rules regarding such things and in the state where this crime occurred, they may have more sense. But it seems the whole issue, indeed specifically the Roe v Wade decision, was premature. Should there not have been some federal interpretation of what constitutes a human being, a person, someone worthy of the rights afforded all United States citizens under the Constitution? I'm not aware that this has ever taken place.

Personally, I think it's pretty obvious. I've stated it consistently in every such discussion of which I've been a part. The act of sexual intercourse is designed by God (or nature, for you heathens) as a means of producing an offspring, thereby insuring the existence of the species for another generation. Basic biology. It's more often done for the pleasure it provides (at least during the act), but that pleasure is built in to the whole procedure to guarantee that it even gets done (imagine if it didn't feel good---who'd do it without being forced?). The product of that action is another human being, as soon as fertilization takes place. How could it possibly be anything else given the purpose of the act that brought it about, or, more specifically, invited it into existence? From that first moment, there is life there. Of this there is no dispute. It is a living "thing". But it is an entirely human thing, a human being.

There have been all sorts of arbitrary points after fertilization that have been used to suggest that until that point, there's no human being, no person, no child. None of these points have been anything more than subjectively chosen in order to keep alive the hope that one won't be convicted in any way of murdering a child, and they can continue engaging in reckless, self-gratifying sex.

So I welcome any effort to explain how there can be any point in the process through which we all did journey where one isn't yet a human being worthy of all the respect that should be shown to any other human being.

136 comments:

Mark said...

I can't explain it. I can, however, explain how I came to the realization that it is a fully human child, not a lump of tissue:

I considered two Biblical accounts. One in which God said, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you." The other was when the baby in Elizabeth's womb (John the Baptist) jumped for joy on hearing the news that Mary was with child (Jesus).

At that point, I stopped believing life begins at birth. I changed my mind. God changed my heart.

Mark said...

On the other hand, the argument can be made that one becomes something less than human when one takes the life of an innocent mother and her unborn infant.

Marshall Art said...

Both good points. But as I understand it, in days long past, one wasn't pregnant until one felt a kick from within, then known as a "quickening" (I believe?). But science has shed light on the process and I can't believe that anyone could have a solid explanation that refutes my position. And yours, apparently.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Uh, Marshall, according to your theory, my wife and I should either refrain from sexual intercourse because I am no longer capable of sending spermatazoa to her uterus, or we should have hundreds of children.

It could be that sex between two adults committed to one another, in all its pleasurable aspects, is a part of the bonding process between individuals. The more the sex, the greater the bond.

As for the whole "Is an empbryo/fetus a person?" thing, forget it. Just because you have a feeling that something is so does not make it so. A fetus is no more a human being than is a frog, or a liver. At various times a fetus has gills, a tail, no lungs, no liver, no bladder, no spleen, webbed feet and hands, and so on. Even at 36 weeks of gestation, the fetus is still not yet fully formed - the bronchial tubes are only in the beginning stages of formation, which is why children born before 38 weeks have to be on oxygen - their bodies are not capable of extracting oxygen from air.

As for the general issue of abortion, I do believe that a question needs to be asked here. I am stealing this question from someone wiser than I, and it is important to remember. From January 20, 2001 until January 4, 2007, the Republicans has either a real or acting majority in both houses of Congress as well as a pliant President. In all that time, there was no serious effort to come up with a legislative plan for overturning Roe v Wade. The only reason I and others can come up with for this rather odd fact is that Republicans do not care a fart in a hurricane for the "lives" of all those "unborn babies". Rather, the presence of abortion as at least a theoretically live option for women is a stick the right can use to beat women with (they are so heartless, selfish, and fail to understand the meaning of sexual intercourse) and to raise money from right-wing Christians who may not be paying attention. Thankfully, some among the right are on to the scam, such as Richard Viguerie. I offer this as something to think about.

mom2 said...

I want to inform Mr. Geoffrey that I have a son who is now a grown man and he was born 1 week shy of 3 full months premature. He was a baby then and he, by the grace of God, lived and was a blessing to us that constantly displayed God's grace. He had tiny fingers, toes and all the things that babies have. No fins, webs between toes or fingers or any of those things he mentioned. All that babble in his comment is lies from the pit of hell. Ultra sounds given early now, prove that babies are humans from conception. A heart beat begins very early and it is a disgrace to call them anything but human gifts of life from our Heavenly Father.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

For the sake of candor, let me say that as the father of two girls, I listened to their heartbeats, and saw their images on ultrasounds, at the end of their first trimester. Our first obstetrician gave us a stethoscope to use throughout my wife's pregnancy so we could continue to listen. I never failed to have tears well up when I heard the tell-tale "whah-whah" of the fetal heartbeat.

But let me stress, that (a) is was a fetal heartbeat. Terry Schaivo had a heartbeat, too, but she was even less alive than some fetuses. I am very glad her adult son survived being a premie. Such survival is irrelevant to the issue of the legalization of abortion - the question is the role of government is what is or is not a proper, legal medical procedure. Until we focus on that, rather than our emotions surrounding babies, I do believe there is little to talk about.

mom2 said...

Who determined that the government was the one that should decide whether a baby gets to live? It was man and mankind has messed up a lot of things. When we decided that we were smarter than God, we started a downhill slide that we will answer for and when the church began to let the culture change it, instead of the church changing the culture back to obedience and reverence for God; that was NOT good.

Marshall Art said...

Geoff,

If the gun ain't loaded, by all means, fire away. Sex between a man and his wife is sanctioned by Scripture. Who am I to interfere? But were you still "El Machismo", I would suspect you might at some point consider the ramifications of your actions, would you not? At least a little bit? As to bonding, how did that happen in the good ol' days with long engagements and saving one's self for marriage? Frankly, I've read recently that women, as opposed to men, actually form a real emotional attachment with their man AS A RESULT OF their first incident of intercourse. Pheremones or something.

But I digress, and none of that matters anyway. There is still the purpose of the act, and what one does about the product of that act. As stated, the act is for the purpose of bringing forth another human being. That is it's purpose, it's peripheral benefits and pleasures notwithstanding. In fact, every bit of pleasure one experiences is that purpose in progress. If at least one person ain't havin' fun, it's likely ain't nothin' gettin' done. Procreation wise, that is.

"As for the whole "Is an empbryo/fetus a person?" thing, forget it. Just because you have a feeling that something is so does not make it so."

It ain't a feeling that something is so, it's a scientific fact. You've taken the subjective position that because it lacks certain attributes, it isn't yet a person. That's patently silly. There is no other way for a person to get from point A to retirement in Ft. Meyers, Florida without passing through all of those stage from conception onward. It's not an embryo or a zygote or a fetus. It's a HUMAN embryo, a HUMAN zygote, a HUMAN fetus. Left to it's own devices and barring any unforseen eventualities, it will develop into a fully-formed person. And what is it until then? It's simply a not-yet-fully-formed person. An embryo, zygote or fetus are each simply labels attached to specific periods of HUMAN development. Each person is a person from the exact moment of fertilization and is through each of those stages of HUMAN development. That's the only objective interpretation of the scientific data surrounding human reproduction. It's not emotion or religion or anything else.

Regarding the failures of the GOP on this issue, I, too share your amazement. But you overlook a point or two that may figure heavily in their current lack of action. Some have stated that it will be difficult until enough hearts have been changed. Others understand the level of emotion tied to this situation as there are tons of philanderers, sluts and others too weak to control their urges that would raise holy hell over any real action by Congress. Still others are expecting another opening on the Supreme Court, which would ease any overturning of Roe v Wade. No doubt the closest to retirement is waiting for the next election, hoping one of the enabling Democrats takes the White House and can nominate another idiot who thinks the people shouldn't decide this issue. Maybe even your token conservative overlooked those possibilities.

Liam said...

I think the reason Congress won’t touch a review of abortion is because it arouses such violent (and I do mean violent) emotions in the population. Trying to legislate comprehensive abortion reform would be tantamount to declaring Civil War in the USA.

Mom2 nicely makes my point by describing Geoffrey as speaking ‘lies from the pit of hell.’ She has failed to even properly read the words put in front of her before condemning them, let alone find out if they are true or not. Her son was born at the end of the second trimester. he did not have webbed digits or fins (Huh? Who mentioned fins??) therefore babies at no point have webbed digits or a tail; an unscientific, unfounded argument leading to an incorrect conclusion.

”Ultrasounds given early now, prove that babies are humans from conception.” Ultrasound cannot detect anything of pregnancy until around four and a half weeks into gestation, so it shows nothing of the period immediately following conception. Also ultrasound is a visualisation technique; it proves nothing about the humanity of the subject. In the embryonic stages you would not be able to distinguish a human embryo from that of any other mammal. You would not be able to distinguish human from chimpanzee by ultrasound alone until much later in the pregnancy.

Marshall in your opening post you say that you are not aware of any official formula for what defines something as a human being and yet later in your comments you claim that it’s a fact that humanity begins at conception. That implies that you have devised your own definition of humanity. Perhaps if you shared it with us we’d have a better basis for debate?

Marshall Art said...

Of course. Sorry for the confusion.

Humanity basically is that which springs forth from humanity. That is, because a human embryo, zygote or fetus is the result of the very activity designed to bring about another human being, they can be nothing but another human being and as such must also be "persons" in varying stages of development. That embryo is the direct result of the procreative act by virtue of the union of those components, sperm and ovum, delivered during the act.

BTW, I stated that I was not aware of any official formula for what defines a human being at a point beyond fertilization. As an example, some insist if the embryo hasn't yet attached to the uterine wall, it is not yet a human being. Silly, isn't it?

Liam said...

Anything “which springs forth from humanity,” is a pretty broad definition. You’ve just declared the hair follicle plucked from my head to be a human being. Can you be more precise?

mom2 said...

liam, Ultrasound is not the only thing I was referring to, even though I did not go into detail. Being a mother, let me tell you that I knew very early that I was pregnant. Morning sickness came early for me. The heartbeat can be heard early. The fluttering of life came about 4 months. If a man and a woman have sex in the way that God intended, a human baby is what is conceived. It is not a monkey or any other species and it is a living being from conception.

Erudite Redneck said...

I see no reason to wait until fertilization to declare that whatever springs forth from humanity is humanity. Sperm springs forth. Eggs spring forth.

What a pickle for this country.

Here's my solution: The government -- which IS WE THE PEOPLE, mom2 -- decides aborton is wrong, then let it -- let us -- take care of the unwanted babies. Take them. Raise them. Farm them out to every Republican in the land. You get a babt with your voter registration card. Build entire cities for the saved babies. Whatever it takes.

Because making abortion illegal, otherwise, is just a form of white slavery of women, and a great fund-raising issue.

I'll never forget: When I was a cub reporter at a small paper in Texas, I was dispatched to the local annual dinner of the county right-to-life group. Every suit in town was there. Every country club member. Not one of those hypocritcal sons-of-bitches would let me quote them in my story. Not one.

Do I assume every anti-abortion person is the same? No. But it sure set the tone for my perception of them ever since.

Those of you who genuinely care, I respect. I genuinely care. But I also genuinely believe there is no solution much short of what I suggest above. Those on the right who use your concern to raise money and get your votes, then cast you off as so much baggage, I despise, and y'all should, too.


Signed, ER, a 6-week premie.

mom2 said...

ER, You and I have had our discussions before and we will disagree on a lot of things because you are of the generation that has decided that God is only relevant when and if we want Him to be. All though He gave us free will, He is still in control and it matters not what we think, He will come again as Savior and Judge.

Erudite Redneck said...

Mom2, re: "you are of the generation that has decided that God is only relevant when and if we want Him to be."

All that babble in your comment is lies from the pit of hell. There is nothing in what I wrote that reflects that. Nothing. That's just your own ire blowing and your bile leaking out.

Liam said...

Mom2, that’s a curious turn of phrase, “the fluttering of life came about 4 months,” when your contention is that life begins at conception but I’ll accept that ‘the quickening’ need not be the definitive indicator of life. So let me ask you the same question I asked Marshall; what is your definition of a living being? What gives that free-floating cell which is a fertilised egg greater rights to life-support than other living cells which our body sheds daily?

ER, sperm and ova classed as human beings? Bother! You’ve just pre-empted my whole ‘because it has potential’ argument. And I was so looking forward to concluding that immediate sexual intercourse between every fertile male and female who cross each other’s path is, in fact, God’s Will! ;o)

mom2 said...

ER, I didn't make that remark to you, unless you and Geoffrey are one and the same.
liam, I'm sorry that you do not value the Creator of life. The answers to your issues can be found in His Word.

Erudite Redneck said...

Well, Liam, I mean, you know, if you go back very much at all from full birth, there's nowhere to stop: sperm, ova, even thought of life, that is, thought of sex.

In fact, I'd say that right there lies a reality that my conservative brethren can't accept: All life is sacred.

Yes, and all is life. Therefore all is sacred. God is in all. All are in God. God is love. Love is all. Love is all you need. Goo-goo-ga-joob.

Paul said, "God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring." (Acts 17-24-28).

In Him we live, and move and have our being! Awesome.

Jesus equated lust with adultery and equated a murderous heart with murder.

All of which is to say: Either all life is sacred, or not.

All life is sacred. All. All. Friends. Enemies. Criminals. The innocent. All death is evil. All. Especially death caused by another -- by any other.

Y'all put that in your "right-to-life" pipe and smoke it.

(Reality intrudes: I would defend my person, probably to the death. But I don;t go spouting off about this war or that one being "just," about capital punishment being "right" or about the need to lock women up for making decisions about their own bodies, either.)

Marshall Art said...

Wow! Between Liam and ER, so much to answer for. So for now, I'll just say that my statement about that which springs forth from humanity was fleshed out in the following sentences. Kinda lazy just pickin' on that one statement as if it stood alone. I'll get back to ya's after work.

Erudite Redneck said...

And Mom2, I hope you were as mortified, sickened, outraged and offended to have the "pits of hell" garbage rubbed in your face as I was to see you rub it in my friend Geoffrey's face. The difference is, I didn't mean it -- and you did.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Lies from the pit of hell? Wow, thanks mom2, that's a first. Usually, I just get called nasty names. Now, I have a direct line from the fiend himself. Didn't know I had that much power. . .

Marshall, mom2, the question of what constitutes "a person" is not a matter of theology, of intuition, or even (sadly) of science. We are a nation of laws. As such, a fetus is not a person. Children are only partially people, as they do not enjoy certain rights and duties that adults have, a position premised quite rightly on the notion that they are not yet fully capable of acting upon them.

Actually, liam, ER makes a good point about sperm and ova. If abortion is murder because it is the destruction of potential human life, then what about menstruation? Male masturbation? Indeed, as sperm are reabsorbed after about two or three days, shouldn't we all be making sure we're implanting something somewhere to prevent the wanton destruction of potential human life? By your logic, this would be the case.

As for the sexual habits of other people, all I can say is your concern for the end result is hardly comforting. What happened to saving oneself, etc.? Why, it never existed except in the minds of certain middle-class moralists. It is a nice idea, and we all try, but we all fall short of the glory of the dictates of our moral betters. My wife and I enjoy our marital relations because we love one another. They are an expression of that love, and a part of deepening it. Our children were planned (overplanned, in fact) and we practiced conception control in the meantime because we recognize that sexual intercourse has many dimensions, the bare biological fact of reproduction being only a small part of it.

Human life may begin at conception. It may begin at a certain stage of fetal development. It may not begin until the child is about three months of age (human gestation is actually shorter than it should be because of the growth of the human head in proportion to the rest of the body; evolution has played a dirty trick on us by having women give birth before the fetus is fully formed; my sister, who has a Ph. D. in biology informed me that most doctors think that, were things more normal in these regards, human gestation would be closer to twelve months, or fifty to fifty-two weeks). All of these are interesting philosophical questions but really irrelevant to the issue at hand. Get Congress to define human life as beginning at conception - I mean, try it - and then move on. We are a nation of laws (I repeat) not sentiment, nor Christian values, not intuition, not magic or karma or anything else.

mom2 said...

Some of our laws (abortion made legal) are bad law. God was not the author of abortion law, but he is the Judge and if you do not believe that He judges nations because of their corruptness, I guess you are one of those who prefer to throw the Old Testament away. I don't. I also think that if people do not put a stop on the efforts to legalize same sex marriage, we are just speeding up the judgment.
We need ministers in the pulpits that preach the Word of God and not the opinions and preferences of man.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Mom2, you are mixing up all sorts of things in a strange brew there in your last comment. We are a nation of human laws, not God's law, not sharia, not Hammurabi's Code, not anything else. We a re a secular, pluralist society, and our laws should, in fact must, reflect that.

I have honestly never understood the alleged threat of gay marriage. Please don't try to explain it to me, because whenever someone tries, I have to pop some Advil.

As for ministers who preach the Gospel, that has nothing to do with national politics, unless you actually think we should have an established Church, like Britain, where the Prime Minister has to appoint Bishops. You should go to my blog and click the link to Poplar Grove UMC. We have a really awesome preacher, who is really beautiful, too. Her sermons are available for download as well.

Timothy said...

Marshall,
I love the way your write:

The act of sexual intercourse is designed by God (or nature, for you heathens)

How one responds to that simple statement will determine a lot about how they enter into this debate.
Blessings

Erudite Redneck said...

Oh, by the way, when above I said "Paul said," I meant the apostle, not the Beatle. Just clearin' that up if the "Love is all you need. Goo-goo-ga-joob" references confused things.

Mom2, were the Beatles evil? You point up our generational differences so often, I don't think I'm out of line to ask. Since lots of fundamentalists *did* think they were evil. You know, because long hair is an abomination on a man and such. Oh, and the "We're more popular than Jesus" remark, which, lo, these many years hence, is still seen as a slap at the Lord when it was merely an observation. Because you know, everybody thought God was dead back then. It was in all the papers. (Come see the Singing Ledbetters' response to THAT at my place)! :-)

Hey to you, too, Timothy. You crack me up when you overtly ignore me.

Did y'all now that Timothy and I used to be friends in the Real World? Then he withdrew fellowship from me, or whatever his stripe of Presbyterianism calls it, because we DISAGREE on some things.

I'll never get that, Timothy. I still like youuuuuuu. Why don't you like meeeeeeeeeee? I am still the one who helped pop the scales from yer eyes when I observed that a certain organization was neither "Christian" nor "science."

Why can't we be friends? :-(

mom2 said...

Mom2, were the Beatles evil? You point up our generational differences so often, I don't think I'm out of line to ask. Since lots of fundamentalists *did* think they were evil. You know, because long hair is an abomination on a man and such. Oh, and the "We're more popular than Jesus" remark, which, lo, these many years hence, is still seen as a slap at the Lord when it was merely an observation. Because you know, everybody thought God was dead back then. It was in all the papers.

While you're gagging on gnats and swallowing camels, I have a real life I live.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Gagging on gnats? Swallowing camels? What odd turns of phrase.

Marshall Art said...

OK y'all. This won't be easy. Follow me if you can.

First, ER. Sperm doesn't "spring", it kinda sprays. I just wanted to get that cleared up right away.

Secondly, it's a different topic, but I reject the bogus rejoinder that puts the care of the "unwanted" babies spared death by abortion at the feet of conservatives. Those unwanted babies allowed to see their own births are expected to be cared for by their parents. There's your law for ya. Works for the unborn as well. You invited them, let them live and care for them like responsible adults.

You say all life is sacred? Then shouldn't there be some level of sacredness in the act that brings another life into existence? But too many, due to a variety of reasons, including a liberal view of what might be sinful behavior, treat the act as if it were no different than taking a pee. Got the urge? Just do it! It's a beautiful thing! There's a decided lack of maturity regarding the act that permeates our society. Whaddya say we act like men and take control of our urges? (that goes for women, too) But too, the real place of sex is another issue.

I also reject the arguments regarding the oppression of women. It is not their bodies that concerns this debate, it's the body growing inside them. The one they invited (please, no talk of rape or incest here--that is also a separate issue).

I reject the statement that abortion is a "proper" medical procedure. Beyond it's use when the life of the mother is at stake, it's use is always subjective.

I reject the fears of "civil war" should Roe v Wade be overturned. We fought a Civil War over states rights, which morphed into a war over the rights of the black man. Now, a war over the rights of the unborn? I'd rather not, but it would be every bit as noble, and perhaps more so considering the helplessness of the subject.

OK. Break time. Everyone refill their drinks. Pee if you have to. (Not in the pool.)

Les said...

Art, I offer Exhibit A - that is, mom2's comment from June 26, 2007 at 3:47 pm - as a shining example of why legislation based on religious bias presents such a danger to the personal freedoms of selected segments of our citizenry.

mom2 said...

Art, I offer Exhibit A - that is, mom2's comment from June 26, 2007 at 3:47 pm - as a shining example of why legislation based on religious bias presents such a danger to the personal freedoms of selected segments of our citizenry.

June 26, 2007 7:08 PM

What? You want special treatment? Homosexuals have the same freedoms and rights as anyone else. My point is that if we don't stand for what is right in God's eyes, He will judge us and without his protection, which he can withdraw, we can strive for everything related to our everyday lives in vain.
Our blessings in this country can dry up quickly if we wear His patience out.

Erudite Redneck said...

"Then shouldn't there be some level of sacredness in the act that brings another life into existence?"

No. No levels of sacredness. None. All life is sacred. All of it. All.

Mom, our "blessings" in this country will last as long as the economy does. And there are others' resources to "liberate." And there are people in power and people to subject *with* that economy.

Oh! Oh! The gin is talking. Sorry, G. But it's in celebration for a change. :-) ... Meat ... idols ... intent ... all that. Intent means everything. ...

Marshall Art said...

"What gives that free-floating cell which is a fertilised egg greater rights to life-support than other living cells which our body sheds daily?"

It is a human being in an early stage of development. The other cells are not.

"Well, Liam, I mean, you know, if you go back very much at all from full birth, there's nowhere to stop:"

Exactly. It goes back generations to the beginning. Human life passed from parents to child to grandchildren to descendants for as long as the line lasts. Human life. The joining of sperm and ovum is the passing of the parents' life to their child made complete.

"...the question of what constitutes "a person" is not a matter of theology, of intuition, or even (sadly) of science. We are a nation of laws."

True. And it's nice to know you aren't willing to dismiss them as easily as you and ER do Mosaic Law. But fortunately for us, unlike God's Law, we can work to change civil law. Join me, won't you? Because as I have shown, a human fetus IS a person regardless of what civil law says, just as black people are. And children are every bit equal to adults, and considering how much more severe legal penalties can be for murdering them, sometimes moreso.

"Actually, liam, ER makes a good point about sperm and ova. If abortion is murder because it is the destruction of potential human life, then what about menstruation?"

You'll have to talk to Liam about that. I said human life begins at conception.

"What happened to saving oneself, etc.? Why, it never existed except in the minds of certain middle-class moralists."

Nonsense. I never said there were those that engaged. But there was definitely a different standard in bygone days. There certainly weren't millions of illegal abortions back then every year.

"Human life may begin at conception.""Get Congress to define human life as beginning at conception" The theme of this thread.

Marshall Art said...

I mean, I never said there "weren't" those who engaged. 'Scuse me.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

To say that human life begins at conception, however, begs a question - what kind of human life? Is it a full human life enjoyed by adults? Is it the life of children who are individuals, yet still constrained by law, custom, and biology to guidance, protection, and care of adult supervision? Even should we grant an hour-old blastocyst the same legal status as each of us commenting here, I still maintain that it would have to be qualified as "potential" human life, rather than "actual" human life (for the difference, see St. Thomas Aquinas). As such, this embryo is no less potential than human germ cells that exist for the sole purpose of procreation. Your entire argument here is not about the status, legal, moral, theological, or otherwise, of human embryos, but about the moral obligations involved in human sexual activity of any kind. Since you assume a certain sexual morality without defining it, I have tried to do that for you. You have tried to dodge the issue (you didn't even mention my comment about male masturbation; embarrassment is so cute), but like a terrier with a rag, I will not let it go.

The moral standard you claim once existed but does no longer was an short historical artifact of late-Victorian middle-class moralizing, both in Britain and here in America. There have been numerous studies of American attitudes towards sexual behavior of all kinds to show that the restrictive attitudes you claim as both universal and rooted in scripture are both of recent historic vintage and unrepresentative of most of our history. I do not say whether they are right or wrong. I merely make an observation.

I really am glad Mom2 came and commented. I rarely hear such voices and it is nice to know they are not a caricature, but are represented by real, breathing people. In mom's eyes, I know I am going to hell. Should I pass away before her, I'll be sure to greet her with a smile at the pearly gates, and welcome her home.

Erudite Redneck said...

Mom, I asked a question. I'd like an answer, not a smart-ass remark, since Paul (I mean the Beatle, not the apostle), and Ringo are on Larry King RIGHT NOW. Your answer will speak volumes. What did you think of the Beatles then? What do you think of them now? It matters.

Erudite Redneck said...

Welcome to my world, Geoffrey. In my world, YOUR voice, and I mean the RW I live in everyday, and those few like yours, are more important than you imagine.

God IS dead, strangled to death in the desperate, fearful grasps of the likes of Mom2.

Erudite Redneck said...

You know what? I'll look Mom2 dead square in the eye and say, Yes, hell yes, I want "special" treatment for homesexuals!

Like blacks before them.

Like women before them,.

Like Indians before them.

Like the propertyless and illiterate before them.

Yes. Hell yes, I want "special" rights for them. ALL OF THEM. Whoever THEM are.

Hell, yes, Mom2. YOUR rights were once deemed "special."

mom2 said...

ER, I don't bother to reply to remarks like yours. Like it or not, I choose not to waste my time or energy.

Erudite Redneck said...

Then, Mom2, you look at a book and decide not to open it to see what's inside, which is probably more than a metaphor in yer case. You've got all the answers you need, so why think any more?

(Pssst. That's called the "broad way.")

Let's see, yer old enough to be my mama -- horrors! -- as you've pointed out elsewhere, which means you were old enough to dance to "A Hard Day's Night" -- and you've been carrying unnecessary guilt for it ever since, right?

You DO reply, by the way. You just don't answer direct questions posed to you if you don't like 'em. If you don't want to reply, then don't. But don't reply and then claim you don't. Doh!

Hiss!

(OK, the hiss was gratuitous. I take it back: Ssih!)

Marshall Art said...

Geoff,

"To say that human life begins at conception, however, begs a question - what kind of human life?"

No, you begged that question. My statement asks nothing but that all realize that there is no difference between that fertilized egg and an old woman in Arizona getting hip replacement surgery or any of the many stages of life in between (and yes, even the person about to draw his last breath). Because for me and many others, there's no distinction that allows for the KKK-like attitude shown toward the unborn. I don't use that term loosely because the comparison is stark. The Klan discriminates according to color, the pro-abortionist discriminates according to age, size, number of functioning bodily organs or whatever. My side doesn't hold any of that against the newly conceived person because there's no possible way to help it's state of being, just like the law said a man's color or race cannot be held against him. (Jeez. Good thing a Klanster couldn't tell the race of an embryo just by looking at it!) And though the law may have differing standards or codes regarding a person's age, I wouldn't wager on you getting a lighter sentence for murdering a baby.

As to potential or actual human life, I find the comparison lacking, in that the human germ cell's potential is only to be a germ. But that human blastocyst will become a fully formed person, of course barring unexpected events. I also dispute the use of the term "potential" in regards to that blastocyst except in illustrating what it WILL become. In that, the comparison with a 5yr old is more accurate since they both have the potential to grow into a more mature version of themselves. But as far as that moment of conception, that's an ACTUAL person. It IS human life.

As to POTENTIAL human life, that's on the pages of the porn mag you were reading when you were jerking yourself a soda. (There. Ya happy now? Sheesh. Ya try to be civil...)

Regarding sexual mores and behaviors, I purposely tried to keep such talk out of the discussion so as not to muddy it up with unnecessary tangents. The question of defining life more sharply doesn't need to go there, though I concede that a link exists, and that such things will be affected should legislation or amendment additions flesh out the right to life as I expect they should. I believe that such behavior SHOULD be viewed with more maturity anyway, and I would expect it would be more so with changes in the law.

But since you brought it up, I'll digress for a moment. To begin with, I want to make crystal clear this one salient point: I really, REALLY, REALLY love having sex. It is without a doubt the MOST pleasurable INSTANT one can have. And the time getting there is lots of fun as well. But look what we've done as a culture: unwed mothers, rampant spreading of STDs, particularly amongst the young, over 40 million abortions since R v W, porn as a billion dollar industry, slave trade activity, a recent book by a university professor encouraging pedophilia, a new movie this year promoting bestiality, etc, etc, etc. And we have benefitted how? Whether your remarks are true regarding sexuality in years past, or you're buying into liberl rewriting of history, the facts are that when there is a strong parental expectation regarding chastity and honor and dignity and high moral charater, the lives of the children generally reflect it. I simply want our country to be that way again, or, if you prefer, from now on. This attitude WILL benefit the nation as statistics already show to be the case. You may accuse me of being a wacky right-wing Christian fundamentalist, and to that I'd say thank you very much, but I haven't once touched on my faith to make my case. I've used only facts and logic and my faith only makes it that much better. An adult, a mature adult, masters his urges, he does not allow himself to be enslaved to them. I take no joy in saying that it isn't the master of one's urges who takes your side of the issue.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Marshall, I quote you:
"The Klan discriminates according to color, the pro-abortionist discriminates according to age, size, number of functioning bodily organs or whatever."

Are we, dare I say it, birthists, those who hate someone because they haven't been born?

Abortion rights are not about what progressive blogger digby calls "the ick factor" of abortion. Yes, it's a messy, awful procedure. So is having your appendix removed, or open heart surgery. They are not about the alleged morality or lack thereof of the procedure. They are not even about whether a fetus is human being. The question of abortion rights is now and has been from the beginning about women's rights and freedoms. Were the pro-life folks really serious, as I say, they might have banned it outright when they had the chance, or they might do more constructive things than make heroes of those who kill abortion providers, burn down clinics, or hold huge rallies in Milwaukee in their honor. It isn't about the fetus, it is about women being free agents.

You say that I begged the question. That isn't how it works, Marshall. To say a question is begged is to point out that an assertion by someone presupposes something as settled that in fact is in dispute. When I said that the question of personhood is begged by your blanket claim that life begins at conception, I was pointing out that the type of personhood was still in question, because there are all sorts of legal gradations of personhood. Children are not fully persons under the law. Those ruled incompetent for either medical or psychological or intellectual reasons are not fully persons under the law. It would seem to me a twelve-week old fetus, having just received it's tiny cap-and-gown from embryo school, still deciding on which gender to major in, is a bit less of a person that you or I am. Were we to suddenly grant legal personhood to the fetus, I am still at a loss as to the type of person a yet-to-be person would be.

I do not call names, unless an interlocutor proves him- or herself simply unworthy of any amount of respect. I actually find you refreshing (and refreshingly honest; at least we agree on the whole having sex thing) and would never stoop to name calling. It is not "liberal rewriting of history" to say that social attitudes towards non-marital sexual relations have changed over the centuries in our country (let's not even get to the world, shall we?). It is just the fact. As to the whole issue of chastity, honor, etc. - those are all loaded words, and I just wonder what their referent is - is it the honor of the individual, or the honor of the family or the honor of the male parent, because there are societies where an individual who performs an act outside the social norms doesn't just screw up his or her life, but passes that blemish off to either the entire clan, or at least to the male parent. You see, that's part of my problem with this whole notion - it is saddled with ideas about male dominance that to me are not just outmoded but dangerous.

What in the world is wrong with allowing human beings to be free moral agents, including the freedom to make mistakes?

I fail to see where you have made any case whatsoever in defending the idea that a fully-formed human life begins at the moment of conception. It continues to be a bald assertion. As I see no reason at all to accept it (never have, and unless science comes around and shows me pictures of a fetus doing the Electric Slide while conjugating Latin verbs, I don't think I will) I don't. Part of making an argument is backing up an assertion with facts to prove it. The "I just know it because the heart beats" line means nothing. What kind of life is it? What rights and responsibilities incur at the moment of conception that can't wait until birth (I know, I know, the right to life . . .)?

I really like you Marshall, although the line about the spattering on pages was a bit below the belt. I always keep the toilet lid up for that sort of thing.

Les said...

mom2,

"Homosexuals have the same freedoms and rights as anyone else."

While that's not entirely true, your arguments intimate a desire to see the laws of the land adjusted to make it otherwise. And where exactly did I say I wanted "special treatment"?

Relax, mom2. I'm not out to destroy your world. I'm simply speaking out in defense of civil liberties for everyone - an idea we should all champion as patriotic Americans.

mom2 said...

les, Tell me why 2 homosexual males or 2 lesbian females should have more rights than a single straight male or single straight female. Yes, it appears you do want special rights.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Mom2, you are, as they say, totally off-topic, and you and les seem to be having a private conversation, but I would like to interrupt to ask a question. Just to clarify.

You ask: "Tell me why 2 homosexual males or 2 lesbian females should have more rights than a single straight male or single straight female." What, exactly, are you talking about? I want an example of these "special rights" you insist our gay and lesbian brethren and sisters are demanding.

On another note, may I congratulate Marshall? I have been blogging for a year now, and have never come close to having (a) the number of comments you do; and (b) such a great, freewheeling discussion. I think you are off to a fine start and will be quite the success. Please remember us little guys when you're big and famous.

Les said...

mom2,

I completely reject the manner in which your question was framed. You're comparing oranges and apples here. "2 homosexual males or 2 lesbian females" is nowhere near the same thing as "a single straight male or single straight female". If you were comparing apples to apples, you would have compared a straight couple and a gay couple.

Would you like to try that again?

"...you and les seem to be having a private conversation."

Indeed. mom2 made a comment that applied indirectly to a discussion Art and I were having in another thread, and I responded to it. Sorry 'bout that, y'all.

mom2 said...

Geoffrey, I thought from reading your comments that you have an education that should give you a fair amount of reasoning. Do the homosexuals not want the marriage benefits that are superior to what singles get? Tax wise and other things?
I also was under the impression that you may have attended seminary. Are the seminaries no longer teaching God as a Supreme being or is it now that man is god?

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

First, yes, I do have a bit of education, including seminary education. As far as God being Supreme Being - that is such a loaded phrase it would take more than my lifetime to unpack it, so I will leave it to oneside. Suffice it to say that any professor at seminary who thought it necessary to expound such a theory might question the reason why students were attending in the first place.

As to the supposed "rights" demanded by "homosexuals", the short answer is, "No, they are not." They are seeking nothing more and nothing less than an end to the discrimination against their relationships by the state, discrimination that has no basis in law, only in custom and prejudice.

I fail to see how the desire for same-sex couples to have their unions recognized by the state, and to have all the privileges and responsibilities they would incur, is somehow "special". I also fail to see the connection between that issue and the whole God-thing.

mom2 said...

Did your courses at seminary include studying the Bible? If so, I don't understand your difficulty. Either God is God the potter and we are the clay or something has happened to change it around and I think we are the ones that changed. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Jesus is The Way, The Truth and The Life.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Part of me wants to be all snarky with Mom2, but I will refrain.

Yes, Mom2, I studied the Bible. I continue to study the Bible. I am still waiting for the line between your Christian cliches - all that potter, same today, etc. stuff - and the issue at hand.

mom2 said...

You might start with Romans 1, if you don't like the Leviticus explanation of why same sex marriages are forbidden.
Why would God the creator of the universe not be supposed to be still interested in what is going on in His world now? Just because the culture has changed does not mean it was with His approval, nor does it mean that He will not still hold us responsible.
I have no personal animosity towards homosexuals, but they need to repent and get it right before great and horrible judgment comes. That takes love to want to keep them from that, plus common sense has shown that they are living shorter lives than the average due to the harm done to their bodies.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Mom2, you certainly hit all the right notes, even if there is no actual tune there.

Romans 1 concerns temple prostitution. As far as Leviticus is concerned, I assume that you went to Jerusalem and sacrificed some doves after your child was born; that you have never eaten lobster or crab; and that your husband had made provision for his brother to marry you should he die, because that, too, is in Leviticus. I am not being facetious here. We either take the Levitical Code in its entirety, or we find other ways of looking at it, or even discard it altogether. In any case, I am being quite serious here.

On another serious note, since we are not governed by the Bible, the Holy Q'uran, the Baghavad Gita, or any other holy book, but by the Constitution of the United States, I fail to see the relevance of various Bible verses thrown around. It is an evasion of the point rather than any serious attempt to address it.

I love your concern and love for gays and lesbians, but I would offer that there are other ways of showing them love - by accepting them as the persons they are, created by God in the divine image. Unless you think that gay people were created by Satan.

mom2 said...

Geoffrey, I will ask you to forgive me for provoking you to want to be snarky to me. As I think back, you have been decent, but your friend ER has been mean, nasty, and vile to me on more than one site and I guess I associate you with him. I see good qualities in ER, but everytime I almost want to like him, he turns in an opposite direction and acts like a 12 year old smart alec. Like last night. His remark about me strangling God and then "Helling" a whole comment to me and these are just a few of his vile natured comments.
I am not bragging about being old, but let me tell you I have learned some lessons through hard knocks and I thank God that He was so merciful to me through them. I can not see me agreeing with you theologically, but I can pray for you without malice in my heart and I have also prayed for ER during his mother's illness and passing. I was impressed by his love for his mother, but he even turned on me during that time and talked very rude to me.
My prayer is that we both grow in our love and understanding of God, Jesus His Son, through the Holy Spirit Who is the best teacher we can access. And His Word.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Mom2, that was both beautiful and gracious, a wonderful way for two people with fundamentally opposing ways of viewing faith and life to end together, rather than apart. For that, I thank you.

As for being old, let us just call it experienced.

As for ER, be kind. He is a good friend of mine.

Rest assured, the prayers are returned, in spades.

Marshall Art said...

OK. That's settled. The off topic discussion ended nicely and it gave me a warm feeling. I checked to make sure I didn't wet myself, but the warm feeling came from you guys. I wanna hug ya's both.

I'm sorry. I just wanted to use the warm feeling joke. Perhaps you remember it. "Working really hard here is like wetting yourself while wearing black pants--it gives you a warm feeling, but nobody notices." Anyway, it amused me.

But my first post can be used for that discussion if it so moves you, as it was that issue (homosexuality and Levitical Law) that spanned two other blogs before closing out somewhat there. Personally, I'm a little "fagged out" on that topic for a while.

Geoff,

Thanks for the compliment. It's the topic, I think. Plus marketing. Mark has been encouraging me to start blogging, so I finally did and he reccommended abortion as a topic. He was right about how it incites discussion. Anyway...

"Are we, dare I say it, birthists, those who hate someone because they haven't been born?"

I was merely drawing a comparison. To the Klan, the black man was not a person. To the Nazis, the Jew was not a person, to those who support abortion, the one still in the earliest stages of development is not a person. Each uses attributes (or the lack of same) which are irrelevant to the other's personhood. Being black, or Jewish or microscopic does not mean one is less than a person.

That leads into the "type of person" question (which I don't see my premise begging to ask). I think it's irrelevant, and here's why. Despite the law having different standards for children, the mentally incapacitated, or others, try killing one and see what that'll get ya. But the law simply recognizes that these "types" are not qualified or capable of performing certain functions on their own. It does NOT put into question their personhood. And it certainly doesn't in any way resolve that they are "less" of a person than you or me. That would be like our Klan member's mindset.

As to abortion rights, it may be publicly defined as a woman's right to control her own body, and some may be sincere when they say that, but it is totally inaccurate in reality. Consider the following:

Are they implying that the banning or restriction of abortion is the first step toward enslaving women? Or turning back the clock to pre-women's suffrage? Where else can they claim that anyone's trying to control their bodies? The charge is false, and patently so. It is rhetoric to whitewash the truth.

What IS true is that abortion is the most heinous abdication of personal responsibility ever perpetrated in human history. They've gone through tremendous and artful gymnastics to make the case that what they've invited into existence through their lustful desires is not a human being endowed by it's Creator with an unalienable right to life, for the distinct purpose of convenience and personal gain. It's more convenient to dispose of a lump of tissue than to raise the child. They've gained the ability to continue their irresponsible lifestyle without having to consider the consequences of their actions, because they've killed the consequences. But it's alright. We're saying it's not human. We're cool.

It's a load, Geoff. A runny, smelly, bloody load. And before we go any further, I am purposely leaving out of the discussion that infinitesimal percentage of abortions for rape, incest and where the LIFE of the mother is at risk. Not HEALTH of the mother, since they refuse to present any examples of such. I don't see how lessened health of one person trumps no health (that is, life) of another.

So obviously the concern is not about the woman's body, but about what she intends to do with the body she invited to grow within her. That is every bit a life covered Constitutionally as is the mother's. And so morality is a part of it, or ethics or whatever word your fear of theocracy might allow. It is EXACTLY about the unborn whether in the fetal stage or before.

I won't go further into the history of sexual behavior in America since I haven't read up on the subject. But I will say that one can go back in world history quite a way to find examples of what it means to be a man of honor and dignity. An honorable man doesn't impregnate a woman without standing ready to provide care and assistance in the raising of the child. A man of dignity doesn't run his life by the tingling of his loins. A man of character transcends his base instincts for the benefit of his community and those he claims to love. The same goes for women of honor, character and dignity. These words, and others, like discipline, are loaded and heavy with virtue and should be at the fore of everyone's mind as he goes about his business. Over 40 million abortions since RvW proves they aren't in effect to the detriment and shame of our culture. (That number doesn't count the untold millions lost through the use of so-called "birth control" pills.)

I have no problem allowing people to be free moral agents, free to make mistakes, except for the mistake that has cost the lives of over 40 million. When will anyone cut the crap and admit what he is truly doing and prevent it from ever happening again?

To my mind, you deny that I've made the case. To me, it's as if I explained what happens when you freeze water, but you continue to insist that I prove ice IS water. The process has been explained and it is basic biology. It is a scientifically proven fact that that single fertilized cell is a human being, a new person in it's initial stage of development. It isn't opinion. It isn't subjective. The problem is that no one here has offered a bit of proof to counter that truth, or to show why one isn't a human being until some later stage of development. For that I require hard, objective, scientific proof.

"I really like you Marshall, although the line about the spattering on pages was a bit below the belt." Of course it was, unless you do it standing on your head, in which case it would be above the belt. It's a good thing about the toilet seat, though. That shows character and discipline. Well done! I must remember that.

Liam said...

Folks, sorry I’ve had to duck out of the discussion but, alas, the real world calls and I don’t get too many days off to lounge on the sofa commenting on blogs. I can only briefly dip in here;

Marshall, I have no difficulty in recognising a fertilised egg as human tissue. My problem comes with your defining it as a human being. As I pointed out earlier, a hair follicle is living human tissue but no-one would attempt to endow it with human rights. The difference you propose is that the conceptus has the potential to develop into a fully grown human being. That is true but it is a gross simplification. If an embryo were birthed it would have no hope of survival, not even with all the skills of modern medical science; it is simply not viable as an independent living organism. An embryo’s potential to develop into an adult human is dependant on a large number of conditions which must be fulfilled and without any of them your human being will never develop.

The idea that ‘potential’ is the defining feature which gives human cells human rights is fairly absurd when you think about it closely too. As others have recognised above every individual sperm and ova has the potential to result in a child given the proper conditions in just the same way as the embryo will, given the proper conditions. So, logically… by not impregnating every fertile woman you can, you are denying children their right to life. You are deliberately denying the potential of your own sperm.

Ridiculous? Outrageous? It’s the same argument of ‘potential’ that you would use, except that I have not drawn an arbitrary line at conception.

Instead of choosing an arbitrary line, why not resolve what defines a human being. So far you have ducked and dived to avoid answering that question in any quantitative way. It’s not a particular type of DNA in a cell – for that would grant every individual cell human rights. It’s not ‘potential’ – that argument leads to absurdity. So what is it that distinguishes human beings from the other higher animals?

Marshall Art said...

I have a problem with your premise, Liam. The sperm cell is a component of a human being at that first moment of existence, with of course the other being the ovum. Before that, there is potential, once joined into that blastocyst or zygote or whatever the proper term, potential is realized. It now IS a human being at it's initial moment of development.

Your use of the word "potential" is misused because by your description of it, it also applies to each of us. It is true that removal from the womb spells doom for that new person. Doing so deprives it of the environment it requires for survival and continued development. But remove us from ours, one providing the proper atmosphere to breath as well as food and water for nourishment and shelter for protection and we too would perish. Another way to say it is to remove the embryo from the womb and leave it unattended is no different than removing an infant from the care of it's family and leaving IT unattended. Same result in each case.

So the line SCIENCE has drawn at conception is valid in that before the joining of sperm and ovum, there is only potential, as neither alone could ever become a person. After that union, a human being is developing. To say that it isn't yet human because of the requirements of a given stage of development is what is arbitrary.

I would also say that it's own set of DNA alone doesn't make it a person as your hair follicle example would illustrate, but it does seperate it from the mother for the sake of claims about a woman's right to her own body. When she's aborting, it's not her body with which pro-lifers are concerned.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

First, Marshall, you got me laughing out loud with whole "warm feeling" thing.

Liam actually makes an explicit point that I did not, but is necessary here - a fertilized egg is indeed human tissue, but it is not a human being. I realize you insist it is, but DNA does not make a person. I shed more DNA in a day, through the sloughing of skin and hair follicles, the various cuts and bruises that get me bleeding infinitesimally, and the like than are contained within a yet-to-be-implanted blastocyst.

As for the whole Klan-Nazi thing, they surely deny the full humanity of certain groups of individuals (I use present tense because they are still among us, and their more soft-core followers applaud from the sidelines). The difference, however, is that there is no scientific evidence that human beings from Africa or Asia, or those of the Jewish faith tradition, are not fully human. There is plenty of evidence that, until it is born, an embryo/fetus is not a human being. Does that mean we can kill it indiscriminately? Of course not. It does mean that there is a category confusion going on here that muddles the argument. I do not concede that an embryo, or even a fetus, is a human being, nor do I concede that there is any evidence that it is so, so there is no reason in the world for me, other than sentiment or intuition, to hold it in the same category as a person of color or a different faith.

Sometime, in a different setting, I will set forth my own problem with many pro-choice arguments, not least of which is the constant harping on "rape/incest/life/health", because, even though these incidents are real, and should be real factors, there is enough survey data out there to show that most abortions are performed on married women who are middle class for one of several very limited reasons: sex selection, family planning (they don't want another baby), or to hide an adulterous relationship. I find that grotesque. Abortion has become, in a way, similar to cosmetic surgery, a way for middle class people to feel good about themselves and keep up appearances in defiance of the realities of nature (sometimes, even though the best conception control is used, one of the little squigglies gets through and does the job).

Just because I am not impressed with pro-choice arguments, or am unhappy with the reality of the way abortion is used in this country in now way means that I am anti-choice. I just think the argument needs to change, that's all. Again, I think it should be clear I am no fan of abortion. I'm no fan of rhinoplasty or botox injections of the lips, either, but I don't think they should be banned. And yes, I am comparing abortion to plastic surgery because that is what it is, too often an optional medical procedure.

Marshall Art said...

Geoff,

It's obvious that you were crafting your comments as I was mine, so perhaps you now see that I don't consider DNA alone to be the sole factor in determining the humanity of the fertilized ovum. But to state it yet again, the biology of the situation, the human sperm fertilizing the human ovum is what determines the existence of a new human being. That is an objective, emotion-free and as yet indisputable fact. This salient point is getting to be a "sky is blue" argument, in that there are only so many ways to explain it. So far, there's only been denial of the fact without evidenciary support to counter it, for which I've been waiting. So to state it in yet another way, and I'm running out of ways, each of us is a human being due to the union of our father's human sperm and our mother's human ovum. It is so for each of us. Thus, the union of human sperm and ovum is all that's necessary to acknowledge the human-ness of the result of that union. It is at the heart of what makes each of us a human being.

As for the whole Nazi thing, you're confusing "fully human" with "fully grown human" and I think that has been happening throughout the discussion. A child is not a fully grown human and the law recognizes this in how it deals with children vs adults, but it is still fully human. The same goes for the blastocyst/zygote/fetus/embryo. Size, age, number of fingers, stage of development do not determine one's status as a human being any more than do color or gender, otherwise it's a supremist type of reasoning. This must be rejected as the worst example of subjectivity regarding the issue. Thus, I maintain that there is no evidence, surely none presented here, that supports the notion that one becomes a person at some point later than conception. Subjective reasoning, yes. Real evidence, no.

I am happy, however, that we agree that the lion's share of abortions are for selfish reasons. It's reassuring and I think there are many who feel this way whether they support it's legality or not.

"(sometimes, even though the best conception control is used, one of the little squigglies gets through and does the job)."

Thus, I feel that if one believes they must engage in the act, they should do so only after accepting the responsibility for caring for a child that might result. If they can't do that, they should get fixed. I don't much care that they might later wish to be a parent. The stakes are too high to do it any other way and despite the lamentations of the masses, sex for pleasure is not in any way required for survival.

And for the record and to show I'm consistent on the issue, I've always opposed invitro fertilization if it results in surplus embryos that are disposed. Being pregnant is not a Constitutionally protected right, nor should it be. Invitro is every bit a selfish act as abortion.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Crafting? Of course my answers are crafted. I think about them, I polish them, I edit them. . .

An sperm meets an egg, and fertilization occurs. A fertilized egg is produced. Not a human being. I am not confusing "fully human being" with "fully adult human being". I am insisting that a fertilized ovum is a bunch of cell that, over the next nine moths, will end in the birth of a full human being. Until then, it is still a fetus, after it is an embryo, neither of which is classified as a fully human being.

You insist your position is based upon fact. Mine is based upon science. I guess that's the difference.

I have no position on in vitro fertilization except that, since it works for those who need it, why complain? It's not selfish to want a child, and to go about it the hard way. Since there are many fertilized eggs that don't implant, or are flushed out of a woman's uterus during a menstrual cycle, or that end up in ectopic pregnancies that force abortion, or in miscarriages - I think the percentage of fertilized eggs that actually reach the natal stage is less than 60%, the human body does a pretty good job committing murder on its own, at least by your own definition.

mom2 said...

Since there are many fertilized eggs that don't implant, or are flushed out of a woman's uterus during a menstrual cycle, or that end up in ectopic pregnancies that force abortion, or in miscarriages - I think the percentage of fertilized eggs that actually reach the natal stage is less than 60%, the human body does a pretty good job committing murder on its own, at least by your own definition.>

I would like to suggest that the process mentioned above is not murder, it is a part of the grand design that God had in mind when He made us. Is there no room for God in the minds of the pro-choice view? I fear that we want to take too much of our lives into our own hands, without committing them first to God. His ways are so much higher and better than ours!

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

So, Mom2, in God's grand design, it is OK if our bodies destroy embryos? It's OK if God does it, but not if we do it? I'm not being facetious, I'm truly curious about your argument here. The whole "grand design" thing ends up with god being a monster, killing off all those embryos you weep and gnash your teeth over. We are enjoined from doing the same thing out of moral revulsion, but God can do it . . . because God is God? Immorality is vouchsafed to the deity alone?

mom2 said...

Geoffrey, I can see you just don't get it, when it comes to looking at things through spiritual eyes. Your desire seems to be to follow the ways of the world. That is your choice. I will continue to pray for you. You took my point and turned it into something altogether different and that is understandable to me. It is easier to go with the world, that is the broad way.

mom2 said...

Geoffrey, I thought of something that might help you understand my point. If you think that it is a problem with God, concerning not all of a woman's eggs becoming fertilized, then would you think multiple births every time a woman conceived to be the perfect plan?
Your reply to me seems rather factitious coming from an educated person. Do you want to put God on trial on your conditions? I don't. I prefer to trust Him and believe He is supreme.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

First of all, I am following not human reason but your reasoning. I am trying to tease out the implications of your assertion that all those spontaneous abortions that limit the completion of natality of the fetus. You say that it part of the we are made by God. The implication of this is that God planned to destroy those that you, Marshall, and others assert positively are full human beings. In other words, God commits murder. We, of course, are denied this prerogative - due to moral considerations - but as God is apparently above moral considerations, we should not judge.

As for putting God on trial, it was good enough for Job. True faith allows us to question those things that don't add up. I refuse to rest comfortably with those dark areas of the map labeled "Here there be monsters". I also refuse to accept the god you claim to worship as the God I worship. Mine, the God who loved us so much that self-sacrifice was not too much, that has already settled all our outstanding debts, and welcomes us with open arms, is a God who would not purposely kill.

Marshall Art said...

Geoff,

Here's a link for ya. Sorry, I haven't learned how to create a hyperlink yet. You'll have to cut and paste.

http://www.healthline.com/galecontent/zygote?utm_term=zygote&utm_medium=mw&utm_campaign=article

What you should have learned from the first paragraph where the term "zygote" is defined, is that it is the first stage of human development as I have described it. I was going to form a chain of terms and wanted to get it right, so I looked up the definition of the word and a link had this info. Thus, science, as I have repeatedly stated throughout the discussion, supports my version of events and my description of what a human being is. To expand on the description presented in the linked piece, it works this way:

zygote, embryo, fetus, baby(or infant), child, adolescent, teenager, adult, old person with a pacemaker enjoying dinner theater in Branson MO. Each is a stage of human development. Each is fully human. Each is endowed by it's Creator, yada yada yada. That first stage, the zygote is fully human because it exists by virtue of the joining of the two components produced by the parents' bodies for the express purpose of bringing forth a new human being.

Thus, it is you who needs to provide some kind of science to support your view. I don't believe you'll have any success, and be careful that your source isn't being subjective for some underlying agenda.

Regarding the various outcomes for an embryo besides normal gestation and birth, the flushing in no way can be described as the body murdering the embryo and nothing I've said could be confused in that way.

A better comparison would be Len Bias dropping dead from a heart ailment that was never diagnosed because it never manifested any symptoms. I've heard it explained as the body's way of discarding what wouldn't live anyway. For whatever reason it doesn't attach, that, too, doesn't mean it wasn't a human being. More to the point, the flushing of one embryo does not mean that the normally developing one isn't a human being. That, too, is a subjective interpretation of the event rather than a scientific proof of your position.

I've explained why I complain about in vitro. It's akin to adopting an orhan and then shooting all the orphans you DIDN'T want.

You have to face it: From fertilization on it's a human being with which we're dealing, and abortion is the killing of a person.

Marshall Art said...

Geoff,

I tried that link I posted and it didn't work. To see what I was talking about, go to www.healthline.com. From there, scroll down near the bottom where it says Medical Dictionary and type in the word "zygote". Then, scroll down to the bottom again and you'll see highlighted in blue "Zygote(1 image)". Click on that and you'll be where I intended to send ya. Right at the beginning it defines the word again in a more detailed way than did the previous page you jumped from.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Zygote is the technical term for what I said resulted from fertilization. I see no reason to alter my argument one iota. From zygote, we move on to gastrula, thence to blastula (or vice-versa, I can't keep them straight). We don't have little Frankie or Janie. We have a little clump of cells floating down the Fallopian Tubes to be implanted in the side of the uterus. We no more have a human being than we have anything else.

Just because it is technically "the first stages of human development" does not mean by any stretch of the language or imagination that we therefore have a human being. All we have is what is said - the first stages of human development. We are a long way from a distinct individual, with all that entails biologically, psychologically, philosophically, or even theologically. A clump of cells is not a person. I am under no compunction to prove anything because you have only reiterated my main point.

For me, however, all this is moot. The debate over abortion in this country is not about the philosophical question of when life begins. It is about the freedom women have to be competent moral agents. That is all it has ever been about. Were it about the fetus, or embryo, or zygote, or anything else, legal status would be granted to them. It has not been done, nor will it, because, in the end, neither the pro-life movement nor their political representatives really care about all those murdered unborn babies. All they really care about are women acting as free agents, outside the control of the men in their lives.

The irrelevance of the whole question of the life-status of unborn children is clear. Were pro-lifers truly concerned, there would be no glut of children awaiting adoption. There would be no frozen embryos awaiting the trash can. There would be no celebration of those who kill doctors who perform abortions. The "ick" factor, as I said before, is a sideshow, a way of changing the subject. I do not shrink from discussing it, as you may have noticed. I simply regard it as irrelevant to the issue at hand.

It is my firm belief, repeated ad nauseum, that politicians have exploited anger over abortion and other cultural issues for electoral advantage, without providing any serious legislative or administrative victories (judicial seems to be another matter, as recent Supreme Court decisions have made clear). While I respect your views - I really do, because the honesty and sincerity of your beliefs are quite clear - I contend that putting your faith in political action, or even judicial activism, at this point, is pointless. The Republican Party has failed to move the country, despite a dominance of our political scene interrupted only briefly over the past 25-30 years. The Democratic Party is now ascendant, and you would be unwise to place any hopes there. I would suggest that it might be time to consider these observations carefully, especially when it comes time to vote next year. The Republicans will do anything to win, but have proven singularly incapable of enacting the agenda of their most avid, partisan constituency. Remember that.

mom2 said...

Geoffrey, I viewed some info about you and I was a Democrat for more years than you have been alive. I left the party because it no longer has any morals. Democrats were in control for the most part for 40 years and they didn't solve any problems. Their welfare programs created a lot of problems......young people that would rather have babies and draw more checks, take drugs or drink alcohol to the point of not having any ambition and as for the children that you say we conservatives don't care about.....they are the responsibility of the two involved in conceiving them. I happen to be a tither to a church that supports missions and programs that help in disasters and other needs, plus I contribute on a monthly basis to two organizations that are feeding children in Africa and other places. I do not say this to brag, just to let you know that your accusations do not hold water.

Marshall Art said...

Now you're denying other simple truths. I'll get to those later.

"We no more have a human being than we have anything else."

That's a subjective opinion, not a scientific fact. You haven't supported your stance, don't feel any compunction to, but worse, don't have any way to get it done, for there is no scientific fact for your position.

"distinct individual"

As in distinguishing one from another? So what? You weren't either at that stage of YOUR development, but upon closer examination, we find that indeed there is a distinctly unique DNA that does indeed distinguish it from anyone else. It's not the DNA of a plant. It's not the DNA of something that scraped off the mother. It's the DNA of a unique and precious human being. Science once again here.

"The debate over abortion in this country is not about the philosophical question of when life begins."

Abso-freakin-lutely of course it is!! Without that perspective, there would be no debate whatsoever. Where, for the love of all that's one spicy meatball, have you seen any attempt to control a woman's right to live her life? It's not even happening here in the abortion debate!! If she wasn't trying to wack her own kid, no one would give a flyin' rat's ass how much she whored herself. She'd only have to deal with preachers concerned for her soul. The argument about "a woman's right to choose" is crap. It's not about choice. It's about denying the humanity of an individual so one doesn't have to justify the killing of that human being. It's about denying the humanity of a human being in order to accomodate the desire to indulge one's urges. To try to pass off some total bullshit about men trying to oppress women is the most heinous pile of dung and the epitomy of selfishness.

To place orphans and frozen embryos at the feet of pro-lifers is also beneath you. But I'll vote to divert tax money from Planned Parenthood, AIDS research and a host of other things to comfortably house, nurture and educate those kids produced by the spineless who refuse to control themselves or take responsibility for their actions. And don't blame Republicans as if they have had unfettered shots at accomplishing their goals. That pig won't fly. I don't give them any kudos for their lack of action but it's not like they don't have the Enabler Party to contend with.

And brings me to the other truth you're denying. Or perhaps you just haven't gotten it yet. But the Enabler/Democratic Party is not in ascension. The Republican Party has been given the boot for lack of action. They came to power when they acted like conservatives. When they stopped doing that, they stopped getting support and votes. Who's left but the clueless and no-idea Democrats? But aside from a harmful minimum wage hike, they've done nothing. Before the midterms, they spent all their time criticizing Bush without alternative ideas. And a good chunk of those Dems who replaced Reps were conservative Dems. When Republicans regain their direction, or when conservative Republicans begin to expose themselves, Dems will be watching again.

But back to the point. I've demonstrated over and over how science supports my position. Diverting the topic is a tell you wouldn't want to play poker with. Denying the facts and replacing them with subjectivity won't win you any battles either. A zygote is a human being. That's the fact and the only point of this discussion. We can debate the peripheral issues you've raised another time.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a victory dance to perform. Off to the showers with you and don't return to this thread without science. You've put up a good fight but now you need the cut doctor.

Erudite Redneck said...

Re, "I will continue to pray for you."

It amazes me how that simple sentence, when uttered by some, is such a condescending insult.

Mom, I honestly intend to be rude to you only when you are rude to me first, or to my friends, such as Geoff here, on any given thread.

And if I was mean to you when you were being kind to me through Mama ER's demise and death, I apologize.

And if I were you, I'd pay especially close to what I say in those moments when you "almost like me" but then are offended. I've found, in my encounters with others, that that is precisely when God is using someone to yank me up by the short hairs to get my attention.

Geoff; I commend you for your ability to resist false turns and dead-ends in an argument-discussion, I myself like to chase rabbits. You, brother, are an oak.

Marshall Art said...

No false turns on my end ER. Pure logic and science and reason. Unless you see a hole somewhere?

Les said...

"Abso-freakin-lutely of course it is!! Without that perspective, there would be no debate whatsoever."

I've gotta agree with Art on this one, Geoffrey. I happen to be pro-choice, but not because I think it's all about a woman's right to choose (sorry, ladies). I'm pro-choice BECAUSE of the lack of decisive evidence proving when, precisely, we're talking about a human being as opposed to a group of human cells. This "erring on the side of life" nonsense is rhetorical hogwash. I like to think I fight to protect individual liberties - for lack of a less pompous self-analysis - and I simply think it's fundamentally wrong to OUTLAW a behavior based on a hunch. I'm not going to get into a debate on the science here - you guys appear to have it covered. But in terms of the "issue behind the issue", if you will, then yes - I believe it's all about whether or not we're talking about a human life. If the issue were otherwise, pro-lifers wouldn't continually be asking me why I'm not fighting for the liberties of the unborn. Personally, I feel when most pro-choicers ignore that sentiment, it's merely selective omission designed to reframe the issue into something a bit less messy, and I can understand why pro-lifers find it so maddening. I, of course, don't mean to give the impression I'm speaking for you, Geoffrey. Just offering my personal take on the subject.

Liam said...

Marshall, the sky is blue and a blastocyst is human tissue but, despite your use of capitals, science does not pronounce on when personhood begins. You say that there is no evidence supporting, “the notion that one becomes a person at some point later than conception. Subjective reasoning, yes. Real evidence, no.” That is true of your position, not mine; there is no evidence that personhood begins at conception. DNA alone does not a person make and ‘potential’ is no more than that; you cannot demand an astronaut’s salary for your child just because he has the potential to be an astronaut. He must first become an astronaut. Likewise your blastocyst must become a human being to warrant human rights.

What I have been trying to get you to think through, rather than the colour of the sky, is what distinguishes humans from animals. On the whole society does not object to animals being slaughtered for food, because they are sick, a nuisance or there is no-one to take care of them. It’s a different story for humans, so what distinguishes us from them? That’s a starting point in determining what is deserving of human rights. Self-awareness, cognition, learning, conceptualisation, use of tools are all things that spring to mind (I freely admit, btw, that I haven’t looked at the latest thinking of professional ethicists on the subject, so forgive me if I’ve left a few out!) I know that some animals display some of these features to a lesser extent (and animal rights is worthy of a lengthy debate on its own!) but the combination of advanced forms of these capacities is one of the things that makes us human (beings) and which embryos do not have.

Am running out of time now so will briefly say I’m glad you made that statement on IVF. Given your position, to believe otherwise would have been inconsistent. I also broadly agree with Geoffrey on when abortion is/isn’t reasonable.

Finally, Mom2, I’m afraid I have an issue with your theological reasoning; if ‘natural’ death pre-term is part of God’s plan then surely we are interfering with that plan when we use medical science to keep alive babies that would die without medical intervention? Also, while the church baptises and gives funeral rights to postpartum babies, what is the status of un-attached blastocysts, early miscarriages and other such naturally-aborted? Are they given the full treatment in this regard as would be due any human being?

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Les, I didn't feel your comment directed at me. I do not avoid the issue at all; I merely think it a ruse, a way for pro-lifers to ignore the real issue - the power women possess as fully competent moral agents to make decisions for themselves apart from the men in their lives - fathers, husbands, boyfriends. Marshall tries to rally science to his side, but is so insistent that he is correct that he reads into whatever he finds as endorsing his point of view. He has no idea that he basically asserted my own position.

ER, I am no oak. If I were a tree, it would be more like an aspen, pretty, but changes color as the wind blows. I just stay on topic, that's all. I call the rabbits as I see them, but I'm not here to hunt.

Erudite Redneck said...

Re, "Pure logic and science and reason."

MA, you bein' funny. No one uses pure logic; science is an open book; and all reason is faulty because all humanity is less than perfect; we see through all glasses darkly, nit just spiritual ones.

Ya big kidder.

Liam said...

BTW A couple of supporting references to my comment above.

Firstly, the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights begins with birth;
“Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights…”

Secondly, UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights lists the unique capacities of human beings and none of them are exhibited by early-term foetuses;
“Conscious of the unique capacity of human beings to reflect upon their own
existence and on their environment, to perceive injustice, to avoid danger,
to assume responsibility, to seek cooperation and to exhibit the moral sense
that gives expression to ethical principles…”

Marshall Art said...

Gentleman,

Les said (you should rename your blog, "Les Said, The Better"),
"I'm pro-choice BECAUSE of the lack of decisive evidence proving when, precisely, we're talking about a human being as opposed to a group of human cells."

This amazes me. My whole purpose here was to review the process and show how it does exactly that. I don't know how it could be MORE decisive. It's hardly a hunch, it's a certainty. Not because I THINK so, but because there's no other objective way to look at it. Here's more science: look up the function of the penis in any biology book that would describe it, and you'll find two. And neither one is "pleasure". For any reader not sure, it's "peein'" and "procreation". The function of the act of intercourse is procreation, with pleasure as a byproduct, if you will. When the penis is used in this manner, and even when used for pleasure, it secretes a fluid the contents of which are for the purpose of joining with the ovum to create, in this context, a new human being. Thus, the product of the function of the penis, when joined with the corresponding female equipment, is, and can only be, another person. This is not a hunch in any way, shape or form. It is scientific, biological fact. It is all the evidence that should be required. Whether or not it survives the process through which it's function intendes it proceeds, is irrelevant to that salient fact. That at it's earliest existence it is a "clump of cells", only means that this human being is in the process of becoming a fully formed human being just as is any child or teen. Erring on the side of life just "rhetorical hogwash"? It's mature, unemotional and objective acknowledgement of the reality and logic of the situation.

Liam,

My use of capitals is due to my inability to negotiate HTML tags. Any instruction is apprectiated. But you're right, "science does not pronounce on when personhood begins", but objective interpretation of the data does. As I stated above, there is no other way to interpret the facts of reproduction so as to come up with any alternative result, without injecting subjective opinion and desire. At it's simplest, the blastocyst/zygot/embryo/fetus is a person by virtue of it's function and ultimate destiny barring unforseen eventualities or manipulation by other people, as well as by virtue of the fact that every who has been born has gone through the very same process and couldn't have been born without doing so. And again, though I've never stated that DNA alone gives it it's personhood, I'd wager that with nothing but a DNA sample and whatever tool the scientist uses for the job, he could determine that the sample is human in origin. Not animal or plant life, but human. And though a child needs to become an astronaut to be called or paid like one, that same child is already a human being, already a person. The same goes for the human blastocyst. It IS a person trying, like the child, to become a fully formed person.

I would read nothing special into the UN's declaration you offered. To say that one is "born" with rights is traditional rhetoric that doesn't speak to the full issue. It isn't concerning itself with the issue of personhood, but the issue of rights for persons. Plus that, together with the UNESCO declaration, is more, shall we say, "official" opinion, but opinion nonetheless. Both are concerned with the rights of people that are directly messed with by those unconcerned with human rights and not the details of this particular debate. However, regarding the UNESCO declaration, half of those "capacities" are beyond infants and small children, while as far as I'm aware, every organism on the planet has some capacity for survival and avoiding danger, even microscopic organisms, like embryos.

Geoff,

I'm not trying to "rally" science, but have shown that science, specifically biology, supports my position. No rallying necessary. Nor do I need to "read" anything into the data. I think that's what's done on the pro-choice side when they say, for example, that until an embryo attaches itself to the uterine wall, it isn't a person. This is subjective. To me, it's part of the process of development by a human being that hasn't yet attached.

"He has no idea that he basically asserted my own position."

This much is true. I have no idea how I've done that.

Pro-lifers understand the rights of women and "the POTENTIAL women possess TO BE fully competent moral agents to make decisions for themselves apart from the men in their lives". Just like men, too often they are NOT, in the realm of sexuality, competent moral agents. And we don't accept or give respect to the cheap rationalizations they use to support their position just so they can justify the abdication of responsibility for the conseqences of their sexual self-gratification. "All I did was light the curtains. I didn't expect the house to burn down!" "All I did was point and pull the trigger. I didn't expect the bullet to pass through his brain and kill him." "All I did was engage in the act of baby-making. I didn't expect to get pregnant."

ER,

Pure as the driven snow, muh man. And I ain't foolin'.

Erudite Redneck said...

Then you're extremely arrogant, to boot. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Tell me this: For the sake of argument, and I mean for the sake of this specific argument, let's say that life begins at conception.

What gives you, or anyone else, the right to protect a life that exists within the body of another person who has actual enumerated rights under the Constitution? Because that's the actually the question, I think. You have no such moral right, and right now, you have no such legal right.

I've said elsewhere that were my Bird (21-yo stepgal) to become pregnant and to reveal intent to abort (not likely, either that she would or that she would reveal it to me), that I would do whatever I could to persuade her not to, probably even offering to raise the child myself. But once she made the decision, I would, in an incredible twist of irony, perhaps, be ready to do physical harm to you or anyone else who literally or legally and figuratively crawled between her legs and dared to invade her body and her privacy and make the decision for her.

And that, bubba, is why "pro choice" and "pro life" fail as labels. Because I am anti-abortion, but I am pro-choice. I do not have the moral right to invade any woman's body -- not even to save a life. Nor do you or anyone else.

Marshall Art said...

If it's a human being, ER, which it is, the fact that it is still within the mother is irrelevant. That's not to say that I'd condone "crawling between her legs and invading her body". I don't believe I've ever heard of anyone else suggesting such a thing. But should the law change, as it should, to hold that, in general, abortion is illegal, then first of all, there'd be no recourse for aborting should she decide to do it beyond A)leaving the country, or B) risking the notorious "back alley abortionists", and second of all, she'd risk arrest as would whoever assisted. That's the only way it WOULD go down, is that anything done would be after the fact. And that's provided it could be known.

Now, for the sake of your scenario, the assumption is that her pregnancy is the result of consentual sex and not the three exceptions often put forth, rape, incest or the risk to her LIFE should she proceed with the pregnancy.

But as I've shown, a person is a person is a person and has been since conception. The only argument is by those with ulterior motives. For everyone else, it's a no-brainer.

Thus, what gives me the right, is that which gives me the right to defend the life of any other person. Simple as that. Obviously in this case, as implied above, it can't necessarily be known that a pre-born person is about to get whacked (I prefer the "wh" spelling), so the defense has to be preventative by outlawing the practice.

I would much prefer that people enter the realm of maturity and adulthood, but as we know with so many other areas of life, adulthood is merely a legal designation in the law, not a psychological certainty. Whether it be what we eat, drink or otherwise partake of, how we deal with money matters, how we take care of ourselves physically, financially, spiritually, how we follow up on, stay on top of, pay attention to necessary aspects of our lives, solid maturity is hard to come by. In the realm of sexuality however, we've been way too willing to redefine, deregulate, and legalize our way out of being mature in our perception and responsibilities toward all things sexual, just to get another bowl of ice cream. Yeah, we're just like little kids wanting another bowl when it comes to sex and we'll do anything to get it, even pretend we can't know what a person is.

And BTW, there's no arrogance on my part either. Deny the logic of my arguments and the facts I've presented all you want. It doesn't change them one iota. I've just forsaken all the pretense surrounding getting one's nuts off.

Erudite Redneck said...

Therein lies the rub: The fact that such a life is physically within, and a part of, the mother's body makes all the difference in the world.

And yer right. It's not really arrogance. It's conceit. Not that there's anything wrong with that, much.

Erudite Redneck said...

Oh, and what the heck difference should it make that a pregnancy is the result of rape or incest? I've never understood how the "sanctity of life" dries up in those instances.

mom2 said...

Oh, and what the heck difference should it make that a pregnancy is the result of rape or incest? I've never understood how the "sanctity of life" dries up in those instances.>

I agree with you there, ER.

Les said...

"It's hardly a hunch, it's a certainty."

Sorry, but it simply isn't, Art. I think you know me well enough by now to know I'm not the type of guy who would knowingly look away if I saw concrete evidence that convinced me one way or the other on any given issue, correct? Therefore, it can never be argued that I'm ignoring evidence simply because it doesn't mesh with my own opinions. Obviously, in your case, the scientific data we have on this particular issue is enough for you. It isn't for me. Simple as that.

Marshall Art said...

It makes no difference to me. But I will allow for it in order to save all those 99%ers being aced for far more superfically selfish reasons. I don't expect that even if "my" way was honored, that it would happen all at once. The partial birth ban was one step. Hopefully not the last.

There's no conceit either, ER. All I did, exhaustively, is point out what IS regarding reproduction. But hey, take whatever attitudue you want regarding me. The "fact" is that within the womb is just another arbitrary line drawn by those who refuse to acknowledge what is so obvious. Do you personally have such a problem controlling your urges? Is there anyone here who has such a problem? Is there anyone here who knows anyone incapable of controlling their urges? I said "incapable", not "unwilling".

Erudite Redneck said...

Amazing. That's a sign of psychosis, dude, insisting that one's facts and arguments are unassailable. I'd say so whatever the topic, whatever you wrote. It's not what you wrote, but your attitude about what you wrote that is silly. And I'm merely making observations, which are assailable. Feel free.

Urges: I'm not talking about anyone's urges. You are, with others here. Urges are irrelevant to the one or two fine points I've made.

Erudite Redneck said...

I would, though, like to see some discussion on the "rape or incest" exemption to the "sanctity of human life" claim.

Erudite Redneck said...

I mean, really. If you can decide that an unborn human life is worth less because of the circumstances of its conception, then you're really making the same kind of decision that a woman makes when she decides to have an abortion. WTH?

Marshall Art said...

You'd have to bring that up with someone who feels those two circumstances are worthy of exemption. I don't. I merely set them aside to deal with the more obvious stuff. One could argue that rape and incest are more legit excuses. (Not legit, just more legit.) I wouldn't. Though there is generally real trauma there that adds a special something to the mix. I tend to agree with Bush41. He felt that in rape, there are two victims. As to incest, that's even heavier, because it could be rape also. Do we have the technology to really monitor the gestation and determine viability? (The real kind) Incest doesn't guarantee deformity. There's more to consider and I remove it from the general discussion because of that and because it's always thrown up as the reason we need to keep abortion legal. My response is, well then let's leave it alone for now and just outlaw the rest. Then they double back on the argument. It's a ruse. So I remove it from the debate.

Marshall Art said...

I'd like to take a moment to set some parameters or ground rules here.

First it was arrogance, then conceit, and now psychosis. That's a load, my friend. You started out by denying such a thing as "pure logic". Then you went about dismissing science and reason. This will not do. I want it understood that such rhetoric as "I used pure logic" is without question relative to the shortcomings of the human condition as well as a bit of whimsy. Yet, the logic I employed is as pure as one average dude can muster and damn near as solid as you're likely to see on this subject. The science is indeed unassailable as evidenced by the fact that no one opposed to my position has offered anything to rebut my presentation. And I use the reason of anyone who seeks to be as objective and honest in reviewing said presentation can possibly be. I do this without arrogance, without conceit and without the slightest shred of psychosis.

So, if you wish clarification, that's one thing. Merely ask and I'll give it to the best of my ability. But don't assume I take the posture of deity in making my case. I'm well aware of man's imperfection. That doesn't render as inadmissable logic, science and/or reason. Also, allow me some levity, please.

Marshall Art said...

Les,

How much more concrete need the evidence be to satisfy you? From the standpoint of biology, where do you have a problem with any of the following?

1. The function of intercourse is procreation.
2. The function of sperm and ovum is to unite for the procreation of a new human being.
3. Of the two functions of male and female genitalia, one is the delivery of sperm and ovum for procreation.
4. Sperm and ovum unite to form the human zygote that will then devide, beginning the growth process.
5. Barring unforseen interference, deformity or deficiencies of the mother's womb, the growth process will proceed through various stages until adulthood of the person is achieved.
6. A cigarette is never more satisfying than after the completion of item 3.

Where is there any doubt even in the few points mentioned, that conception is NOT the starting point of a new person? How can it be said that at any stage it isn't a person? What can be used besides personal opinion to suggest humanity and personhood doesn't begin at conception?

There is far less observable and repeatable evidence for evolution, the Big Bang Theory, and without a doubt, human induced global warming than there is here. You have to go way out of your way to deny what is so plainly obvious! If there is nothing compelling that you can offer, how can you not defer to my position in the "err on the side of life" mode?

I can only conclude, based on a complete lack of counter evidence, that the only explanation for disagreement has to be the desire to have no restrictions on the expression of sexual desire. One can hold a counter opinion, but it is a decidedly unsophisticated one if it carries no well supported argument. I can almost cop to that in our other debate, Les. But here, there is no other way to view it based on how it all works.

Erudite Redneck said...

Re, "without question relative to the shortcomings of the human condition as well as a bit of whimsy"

OK. I'll keep that in mind. Takes awhile to learn the rhythms of someon'es writing and modes of expression.

Marshall Art said...

Nor can I. It's a shortcoming in this mode of communication that can be maddening.

Erudite Redneck said...

I disagree though on your No. 1, if you mean that the sole function of intercourse is procreation. That is its main function. I do believe that its other function is joy, fleeting though it may be, and I believe that it is more than a biological itch to encourage people to have intercourse.

I believe that orgasm itself is a glimpse of the joy God experienced, and experiences, in God's acts of creation. Maybe better within a marriage relationship, committment, etc. But even when not, it's a glimpse of God's own joy -- corrupted, perhaps, although I prefer the notion of incompleteness, like every other human experience.

Les said...

"...any of the following?"

Do you have a similar list that outlines all the emotional, psychological, spiritual, moral, or prescient traits that make us uniquely human the morning after conception, Art?

Marshall Art said...

ER,

No, I stated that the function was described from a biological perspective. Procreation is it's function biologically speaking.

As to the pleasure as a function, that's a subjective attachment. In other words, as I believe I have stated (if not here, elsewhere), the pleasure is a part of the function that insures that it even gets done. If it didn't feel good, people wouldn't be as eager to do it, if they would be eager at all. But the purpose or function of intercourse is procreation. We ignore that in order to indulge in the pleasure. And by doing so, we also ignore the potential of the act's purpose being fulfilled.

Biblically speaking, I believe that is why there are mandates concerning sexual behavior by which we should still be abiding. The mandates align with the biological function so that for a man and his wife being allowed to engage in the activity for the purpose of enjoyment, if the potential is realized, it is realized within the context for which it was intended, that being a family with a mother and a father. It's cool how Biblical teaching so easily compliments the physical world, because this same concept works best whether one is a believer or not.

Bear in mind, that for all those who romanticize the act, elevate it to some lofty notion and assume that there is death for those who deny themselves, a foolproof contraceptive is what needs to be developed before "God's joy" should be allowed to any who are unmarried. (My personal opinion, and it's a darn good one. Get busy on that.)

I must say, though, ER. Some things you say just befuddle me. Case in point, "I prefer the notion of incompleteness". What the hell does THAT mean? I mean no negative connotation. It just befuddles.

Marshall Art said...

Les,

"Do you have a similar list that..."

There is no such list, Les. And why should there be? Those, like so many other traits, are developed later, like limbs, internal organs, etc. For many people, some of those traits you've listed don't exist until well into adulthood. In other words, you were you when you were that old. I was me, ER was ER, and mark patterson still isn't human. (inside joke) Those traits are still subjective cut offs, not biological proof that you weren't a person at that age.

Marshall Art said...

There just isn't anything that disputes what I've been saying here. It isn't because I've decided that that's the way it is, or that my religious convictions say so, or that I'm denying anything. Even if you could prove any of THAT was true about me, it all still is a result of what IS regarding human reproduction. No legs, no thoughts, no self-awareness, no beer can collection, it's just the way we are at that earliest point of the game. Why would anyone want to hold it against another? The answer to that question isn't so complex, but it's unbecoming. It's unworthy of OUR humanity to condescend so to another at that stage of his life. It's a stain on our national character to continue to act as if those people so young, innocent (by human standards), and wholly vulnerable are less than human simply for convenience, selfishness, pleasure or any other such crudeness. It's shameful.

Erudite Redneck said...

Re, "the notion of incompleteness."

It's another way of seeing sin. None of us is what God intended, no, not one. We all are incomplete creations. THAT is the reality of underlying sin: separation from our Creastor.

We were meant to have communion with God, yet none of us can have it because of (insert pet theory of the Fall, Original Sin, whatever mechanism suits).

And so we are redeemed by God, by God's grace through Christ and (insert personal theory of atonement here), and will be made whole -- "complete" -- in the (insert your own estimations and ideations of the Sweet By and By here).

:-)

Marshall Art said...

ER,

Rather than re-read 90some comments, could you quickly explain how your last is relevant? I'm serious, I don't get where you're going with it.

Les said...

"And why should there be?"

There shouldn't. And you're right - there isn't. As I said before, you've obviously come to the conclusion that a zygote is a human being because the wheels to personhood are set in motion. You're entitled to that opinion. For me, humanity - and all that title entails - is impossible to define at that stage, because being a human being involves so much more than a couple of cells.

Sorry.

mom2 said...

These people that refuse to believe that human life begins at conception are probably the same ones that believe in the "big bang" theory of creation. It takes a whole lot more imagination (I refuse to call it faith) to think that something as intricate and beautiful as this world came about by some kind of explosion. All of the different species of animals, insects, birds and humans as well are much too complicated to have just happened by some kind of mysterious accident. In the beginning was God.
It seems to me like human stubbornness or desire to be like a god to try to explain away the awesomeness and greatness of God. Evolution makes no sense to me either.

Les said...

Actually, mom2, I'm a creationist, yet I have no problem accepting evolution as a solid scientific theory. Furthermore, I don't think the two necessarily have to be mutually exclusive - even biblically. Who's to say the heavens and earth being "finished", as read in Genesis 2:1, excludes the principle of evolution? Namely, why couldn't God's finished product include the capability to adapt?

mom2 said...

Where are all the fossils and evidence to prove the evolution and progression of the species?

Erudite Redneck said...

MA, you are responsible for keeping up with y7our own dang comments, at least. You saw a sideturn and took it. It's relevant bedcause you asked:

"I must say, though, ER. Some things you say just befuddle me. Case in point, "I prefer the notion of incompleteness". What the hell does THAT mean? I mean no negative connotation. It just befuddles."

And so I answered it.

Marshall Art said...

All right, ER. Don't get snippy, young man.

Les said...

mom2, where are all the fossils and evidence proving God said "Let there be light"?

mom2 said...

mom2, where are all the fossils and evidence proving God said "Let there be light"?>

If one wants to live questioning God about everything, He gives that freedom. I just happen to believe His Word and we do not live in 24 hr. darkness (where I live anyway), I have sun light and I'm willing to believe that He created it.
You sound like a reasonable guy without the smart mouth of some posters, so I can think that you might arrive at right conclusions a lot of the time. That's what most of us strive to do and since I've lived quite a few years, I have changed my mind on some things and politics is one of them. I have now come to the conclusion that politics is not nearly as important as I once thought it to be and I have mellowed in my temperament over the years. Even in my youngest days, I never cared for smart alecs and will not give them much time now.

Les said...

You are, of course, entitled to believe anything you want to believe, mom2. That's your right. However, if you want to involve yourself in a debate of ANY variety, you should know your strategy must contain at least some degree of consistency. Therefore, when you demand physical evidence for something I personally believe makes sense (the theory of evolution), then you'd better be prepared to offer physical evidence of YOUR beliefs (the events outlined in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis). See what I'm sayin'? If you wanna jump in the ring, you better bring your "A" game. Credibility demands it.

mom2 said...

les, where is your evidence to support evolution?

mom2 said...

les, would you be willing to put your sources up against my source - The Bible? That's another decision we make and may have to suffer the consequences.

Les said...

Unfortunately, mom2, you've completely overlooked two important points I'm trying to get you to understand here.

First, I already stated I'm a creationist. I believe in God. What you're not grasping is that I ALSO believe evolution is a distinct possibility, and that belief in one of these principles doesn't necessarily negate every aspect of the other. Again, when God looked and saw that it was good, why couldn't what He "saw" include the capacity to evolve or adapt to one's environment? I have no difficulty whatsoever with the consistency of BOTH principles working simultaneously.

Second, from a scientific standpoint, the Bible is no more of an authority on our beginnings than is Origin of the Species, so why exactly do you believe what you believe? Could it be you've based your belief system on ideas that make sense to you? Or, as your last comment implies, are you simply afraid of the eternal "consequences" you might face should you choose to question what you've been told? And for the record, bringing up the threat of hellfire during a debate with an empirical tone is pretty tasteless, mom2. You should know better.

mom2 said...

And for the record, bringing up the threat of hellfire during a debate with an empirical tone is pretty tasteless, mom2. You should know better.>

Is that your evaluation of my statement? A threat? Gee Whiz! Women get accused of being emotional?
I have a question for you though, if you believe in creation, do you think God didn't get it right in the first place and it had to evolve to get better? I believe that when he created something and said that it was good, that it was good enough.
I am sorry if you thought I was being harsh. I didn't mean to be, but on the other hand I think I read Marshall's comment somewhere about warning someone before they fell into a disaster and I meant that comment in a general way, to anyone that does not believe that the Bible is the most important source for everything. It's the Maker's directions and life manual.

Les said...

"A threat?"

Um, yes. A threat. You'd do well to leave the spectre of eternal damnation out of debates like this. I find stuff like that insulting to no end.

"...do you think God didn't get it right..."

It's obvious you and I are looking at this issue from two different starting points, mom2. I don't think the capacity to evolve implies a flaw - as I believe you're suggesting - in God's original design. God saw that "it was good" - NOT perfect! Think about it - from a spiritual perspective, if the world were "perfect", there'd be no evil, right? We'd all be born without the capacity to learn, because we'd already have all the knowledge we'd ever need, right? I think change - both spiritual AND physical - is inherent in humanity itself, perhaps just as God intended it to be. Just my opinion, of course.

But getting back to the point...

Bottom line is, once again, you can't demand physical evidence from an opponent when you have none of your own to offer. Books are only books.

mom2 said...

les, I guess evolution doesn't mean the same thing to us. Most things I have heard or read about evolution, suggests some new species brought about and I don't believe that. There are traits in people and animals that get passed down and change, but the original species does not change in my mind. I'm positive that none of my relatives were formerly apes or something else. We might get accused of it, but I don't believe it. :)

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

I gave this thread up too soon. Whoo-wee, it sure got interesting about a week ago. We go from discussing abortion to God to evolution . . . Man, that's quite a heady mix.

I admire Les and Liam for actually trying to engage mom2 on the issue of evolution. Man, oh, man. That would be where my patience would simply give way. To read her type "where are all these fossils" makes you wonder what she thinks museums are all about. Besides that fact that I wouldn't play that game anyway - to accept the idea that evolution is debatable is to lose - I just can't handle stuff like that. I really can't.

Anyway, it looks like this thread's given up the ghost. Too bad. It was a lot of fun while it lasted. Marshall, you done good your first time out. Keep up the work, when you get back at it, dude.

Marshall Art said...

Geoff,

I can't be sure, but I believe Mom2 was referring to the lack of fossils of transition creatures, or, the animal that bridges one distinct species to another distinct species. Similarities are one thing. There are similarities amongst every different animal group, which isn't surprising, coming as we all do from the same planet. But no half-bird/half-dog or some such thing.

But anyway, the thread goes on as long as someone has something new to offer. I'd prefer it stay on topic, especially since I'm still breathlessly awaiting opposing data to counter my argument. For now, I'd be satisfied with a good reason as to why my argument is not yet made. Either should be entertaining.

Les said...

"...especially since I'm still breathlessly awaiting opposing data to counter my argument."

That's the whole issue, Art. Both sides have looked at the same data and reached two completely different conclusions. I don't think anyone is arguing that a zygote is not a zygote, or that the wheels of humanity - at least at the biological level - aren't set in motion with said zygote. The disconnect occurs because your side believes a zygote is a person, and your opponents do not. End of story.

Marshall Art said...

Les,

That's hardly the end of the story since logic would (or should) dictate that the data points to the personhood of the zygote. What the opposition has is their simply saying "no it doesn't" without any similar reasoning in support. In other words, what I'm saying is that after all the data is reviewed, what other possible conclusion can be reached? How does the data take one in any other direction without dismissing or denying the logical path the data takes? It's worse than "it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, but I insist it's a toaster." It's not that a human zygote isn't a person in it's earliest stage of development, it's that some don't want it to be. And they'll pretend it isn't until some firm data can be presented in support. My whole premise is that as things currently stand, the opposite opinion should be defended, and that it must be a human being because there's no rational, biological way to explain it otherwise. It's not religion, it's not ideology, it's not even ethics. It's just plain honesty.

Liam said...

At what point on the assembly line does the bunch of components and raw materials become a car? Because, if human beings have been designed by God, that's quite a good analogy to gestation.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Marshall, I do believe that les is right and you are wrong. "Logic" doesn't suggest anything. You present a set of facts, to which all give assent in a general way, and some people say, "Well, OK, you've got zygote there. And?" Some other people say, "Zygotes is people!" The logic involved isn't the logic of the facts. The logic is based upon certain moral presuppositions that exist prior to the introduction of any set of scientific facts. The facts do not lead to any moral conclusion. They just are.

You haven't been "refuted" because you haven't presented an argument. You have presented a set of facts and asked us readers to consider them in light of your own moral biases, moral biases we do not share.

Les said...

"...it's that some don't want it to be. And they'll pretend it isn't until some firm data can be presented in support."

That's a rather telling window into your frame of mind, Art. Consider this:

I'm a guy with no personal vested interest in this issue whatsoever, which is why I try to stay away from the abortion debate whenever possible. It doesn't concern me. I have no kids, I've never accidentally knocked anyone up (that I know of), and I have no intention of doing so. If I ever did, I'd try to convince the mother to carry the child, because I'd actually welcome a child.

Therefore, why in a million years would I be motivated to turn a blind eye - which is essentially what you're suggesting I'm doing - to something that, if your evaluation of a zygote is correct, is infanticide? That's absolutely ludicrous, and I gotta' tell you - I'm a bit offended at the accusation. Are you really that distrusting of my moral compass? For Pete's sake, Art, you're basically suggesting I have no problem ignoring murder! C'mon, man - I'd hope you know me a little better than that by now.

Although you refuse to admit it, the fact remains there IS a legitimate disagreement about what constitutes a human being. It's a bit arrogant of you to suggest YOU ALONE hold ownership of truth.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

From les, who I am liking more and more:
"Although you refuse to admit it, the fact remains there IS a legitimate disagreement about what constitutes a human being. It's a bit arrogant of you to suggest YOU ALONE hold ownership of truth."

I also like the fact that he breaks down Marshall's argument to its most basic level. As someone who does have a vested interest in this issue (a father of two, who along with my wife had to deal with this issue as a real live possibility), I have to agree with his assessment of Marshall's moral position. In essence, because my wife and I both agreed that, in extremis abortion might be necessary, Marshall sees us as condoning infanticide. That's swell.

Marshall Art said...

Gentleman,

That sound I heard was someone scraping a barrel. I think it was Liam. The auto analogy doesn't quite work here. I know where you're trying to go, but it's such a reach that I'll just leave it there. Frankly, I surprised one of your calibur would try that one. Oh well, we all have our moments.

Les,

Please forgive me if I make a blanket statement about those who disagree without accounting for you specifically. Assume I mean no such slight on your character. However, your admission that the issue is of little interest to you would lead me to encourage you to take more of an interest and review the entire process from the cold hard perspective of total objectivity. I think it's good that you would encourage your lady to have the baby. But in your previous, you ended saying that the difference is that I believe the zygote is a person and others don't and that's where the disconnect begins. Exactly. To simply say one disagrees is alright superficially, but to do so with no support from the biological discriptions and explanations of the productive process is quite another thing. So I ask yet again: How can a zygote be anything BUT a new person? It is a person because it is the product of that process by which a new person comes into existence.

And to Geoff,

Where is the moral perspective in that? How is it anything other than pure logic devoid of moral considerations? Facts, as you say, just are. What we make of those facts is not necessarily the result of morality or ideology, but simple honesty of looking at how the facts add up. That it aligns with my moral perspective is more a bonus for me personally (but funny how often that happens with social issues of all kinds. I think that rather, it proves the validity of my Christian beliefs that such happens as often as it does.).

I would also say that if I'm reading your correctly, "in extremis" would refer to the potential for your wife's death should a pregnancy be allowed to continue? If so, of course you are not murdering anyone, but acting in self-defense. Should an honest doctor make such a judgement, to decide to abort would be a life-preserving decision, not a self-serving decision, if you get my distinction. In addition, to simply accept the truth of the situation, that from conception we're dealing with a new person, is only the first step. What comes after that is what should be debated, but at least then, it is debated in the full light of truth, not under the pretense that we have no way of knowing the truth, which is how is has proceeded up until now.

I will let this thread run a few weeks more in hopes of a compelling argument that defies rebuke. At that point, I will begin a thread dealing with what the next step should be. I know I have something to that effect now, but I'll attempt to be more specific and sharpen the focus.

Les said...

"...and review the entire process from the cold hard perspective of total objectivity."

Which is why my lack of a personal vested interest affords me exactly that - the luxury of objectivity. That's why I brought it up, Art.

In terms of the "biological process" to which you keep referring, I think the aforementioned disconnect can even include that very process. You've decided the most crucial point of the process is fertilization. What about the pre-coital part of that process, like ovulation? How about ejaculation? That's all part of the process, isn't it? One point you need to grasp is that I UNDERSTAND your position is that once fertilization has occurred, cells have begun separating, etc., you feel there's a new human being. What YOU apparently can't understand is the notion that I, for example, have no problem looking into a microscope and merely seeing human cells as opposed to an all-out human being. Rather, I feel I'm looking at a particular stage of that very process you described earlier. I can agree that a human being becomes a human being sometime during the gestation process, but I just can't see it being the immediate blob I see in a microscope. That little bit of ambiguity in the days following fertilization is what gives me pause about arbitrarily outlawing, say, something like the "morning after" pill. It just makes no sense to me.

There's no agenda here, Art. I'm not trying to convince you one way or the other either, because you're not going to change your interpretation of the biological data available to you. That's A-OK with me - you're entitled to said opinion. I guess I'd just like to assure you that the impetus behind pro-choicers isn't always what you apparently think it is. Namely, a free pass to f**k everything that moves without having to worry about the consequences. For me, at least, nothing could be further from the truth, ok?

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Marshall, in the eighteenth century, Scottish philosopher David Hume recognized a distinction in moral philosophy that you might consider. Hume contended that too often moral thought understood a necessary causal connection between certain facts, or certain logical presuppositions, and various moral claims. You seem to think that because fertilization produces a zygote, it is therefore incumbent upon all human beings to recognize said zygote as a full human being, possessing all the rights and pulls upon our need for care and consideration as a fully-formed, post-natal child.

There is no reason, either in logic or fact, why this is the case. Science describes only. It cannot proscribe. The fact that reasonable people can come to diametrically opposed conclusions looking at the same data should be enough to prove that point.

I do not begrudge you your moral presuppositions. I am not attempting to convince you that the pro-life position is erroneous. I am only trying to suggest that your claim that you have presented an iron-clad argument is wrong.

Marshall Art said...

Les,

"You've decided the most crucial point of the process is fertilization. What about the pre-coital part of that process, like ovulation? How about ejaculation? That's all part of the process, isn't it?"

Asked and answered, actually, several times up yonder in previous comments. But I think it's a mistake to say the "I've decided" anything regarding when a new person has come into existence. It simply is based on how the process works. It IS regardless of whether or not I, or you for that matter, decide anything. You can look into the microscope and call it anything you want, but it doesn't change what it is. Of course it's "a bunch of human cells", but what it actually is is a developing person. You can't simply decide it away or wish it away or argue it away simply because you "believe" it isn't a person. There has to be some on which you base that belief for it to be valid. I don't mean this in a negative way, or as a personal slight or affront. Only that the stakes are too high to not be able to wage a definitve argument in support of your belief. And if there's any ambiguity, it comes in the subjectivity that goes into deciding at what other point of the process that "thing" becomes a person. For no matter what that point is that is selected as the line of demarcation, how does one go about finding that precise moment in order to prevent killing the person rather than the "thing"?

As to the morning after pill, as well as its predeccessor, the perenial birth control pill, they are not designed to be contraceptive, but to prevent a pregnancy. It causes the body to flush out the already developing person from it's mother before it can attach to the uterine wall. In effect, it's a chemical abortion and if we could account for every child lost in this manner, we wouldn't be talking about 40-50,000,000 lost to abortion since Roe v Wade, but likely 3-5 times that number.

As to your last paragraph, again, I do not intend to besmirch anyone in particular with my generalizations, but at the same time, would I be safe in assuming that by supporting the existence of the practice, that you are then supporting those of whom I generalize, and perhaps even allowing for the possibility that you may have need of it at some point? Just asking for clarity's sake.

Marshall Art said...

Geoff,

My argument is iron-clad until it can be shown to be less than logical. Yes, logic indeed supports my argument if one reviews the process and how it works. I don't see as reasonable anyone who can do so and come away with an opposing view and think that by simply denying the facts, or redefining them, or ignoring various aspects, or infusing subjectivity into the debate that they have equal validity.

One place we do agree is where you said that I believe that it is incumbent on everyone to acknowledge the humanity of the zygote. Of course. It's the point of my premise, after all, isn't it? I would state that based on modern knowledge of the human reproductive process, it is UNreasonable to come to anyother conclusion and that there are those who disagree bears me out. Science has provided us with the knowledge of how the process works. There's no morality or persupostions necessary to acknowledge the facts, only honesty. And I will say that with what you've put forth thus far, you COULDN'T convince anyone that my position is wrong or erroneous.

The problem is not with MY presuposition I fear, but with the presupositions of my opponents. You see I DO look to convince. I hope that someone will look at the process with thoughts of the self, without thoughts of the pleasures of the process, but only the process and try to point out that exact point where the new person comes into existence. And then try to explain why its at that point and not at the point that I insist the facts designate without even trying. I don't need morality to come to my conclusions, but you need to alter morality in order to make your conclusion work.

So the gauntlet still lies there. Find a way to support your opposition. If you can't, you must change your perspective on human seuxality and that's what I believe is the true sticking point for those who disagree with my perspective. Can your presupositions deal with it?

Les said...

"...would I be safe in assuming that by supporting the existence of the practice, that you are then supporting those of whom I generalize, and perhaps even allowing for the possibility that you may have need of it at some point?"

In terms of the first part? Kinda. The difference is I'm opposed to BANNING anything when the applicable data is in dispute, as I (and obviously you do NOT) believe it is.

In terms of the last part of your comment? Not a chance. As I explained before, I wouldn't want someone I knock up to have an abortion - I'd want her to bring a child to term.

Can we agree that you and I simply disagree about the interpretation of what a zygote is, Art? It seems you feel the existence of subjectivity in regards to its definition is an impossibility, while I don't. We're not going to agree on this, and that's what's at the very heart of this issue. I have no political, personal, or moral agenda that would dictate how I feel about this, so I can promise you - the ambiguity, for me at least, is genuine. Fair enough?

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Marshall, you refuse to acknowledge there is a qualitative distinction between facts the value we place upon them. Facts have no moral quality to them. They just are. "Fertilization produces a zygote" has no inherent moral meaning, no matter how hard you try to argue it does. Because I refuse to acknowledge your unstated moral assumption that a zygote has inherent rights and we have a duty to acknowledge those rights, we are at an impasse. It isn't that I refuse to bow to your superior logic. You are confusing categories and interpretation.

Marshall Art said...

Les,

But the question is WHY do you dispute what is so plain? Just because?

We have a growing list of things over which we disagree agreeably, but this one's a little different. Of course I don't hate your guts over it, but I am disappointed. I feel the existence of subjectivity in this isn't so much an impossibility (goodness knows, there's much of it), I believe it's dishonesty, even if it's not a malicious dishonesty.

Now here's the thing: You say you don't want to see abortion banned when the data is in dispute. But I'm saying that the data CAN'T be in dispute if considered objectively and honestly and as such, a ban MUST be considered, since we're dealing with human life. Ambivalence in this manner is inappropriate.

And since you insist that you would encourage a girlfriend to bring the child to term (PTL), what if she preferred not to? If up until then, you thought she was the one, what then? Would you insist? Would it mean the break up of your relationship? Allowing that real life can play out differently than speculation, how do you respond to these questions?

Marshall Art said...

Geoff,

I'm confusing nothing. You are bringing into the equation factors that are irrelevant. You are a human being. That is a fact. Somewhere, somehow, someone put a moral point to that fact saying that your life is precious. I disagree and can shoot you dead without blinking an eye. The morality still exists, but I chose to live by my own morality. This is exactly what you are saying regarding the first stage of human development. It is YOU who have placed upon it something that logically doesn't fit, based on what morality says just a few short months later. The life of two parents come together in the creation of a new person and YOU'RE saying that somehow it stops for a time and picks up at some more convenient point later on. This is unforgivably lame reasoning.

But I will allow you this: We as a species have the ability to attach right and wrong as we see fit. It's how God created us. For a time, we felt that black people were less than human. And it was good. It was right and it was the perfect way to subjectively categorize those people. Then someone with common sense determined that it didn't add up that color of skin alone made any difference to whether or not that guy was a person as fully as a white guy. Our paradigm shifted big time and righteousness prevailed. And though there are some that cling to the old standard, the bulk of us knows the truth. Here's the kicker: the bulk of us knows the truth about the human zygote, too. Some cling to the old notions despite the knowledge that refutes it soundly and without emotion, or ideology or anything you're trying to pin on me in this discussion. It is the way it is and one isn't honest who doesn't acknowledge it. Thus, I am equally disappointed in you, though, like Les, I don't hate your guts over it. From start to finish, there's simply no other way to view it without YOU injecting some personal bias into the situation. But the fact comes first, then the morality. Fact: you are a person and your life is as precious as any other human. Fact: the zygote is a person and it's life is as precious as any other human. Now comes the morality. Yours says that you'll disregard the humanity of this microscopic person if its convenient for you. Mine says that I MUST respect this microscopic person even though I can't see it or would ever know that I stepped on it. Thus I must allow for its existence, particularly if I invited it into existence by engaging in the very activity by which it comes into existence.

Les said...

"But the question is WHY do you dispute what is so plain?"

Well, for starters, I'll kindly reject the wording of your question, Art. A zygote is "plainly" a human being in YOUR eyes - not mine. Let's not ignore that fundamental difference here, ok?

I asked my father (a conservative fellow) his thoughts on this last night. We were running through potential candidates he might be interested in, and the abortion issue popped up. He's a pro-lifer, and I asked him the question of questions that everybody asks concerning this topic - does a human being exist the moment after fertilization? He thought about it a sec, and gave me a surprising answer. He said he didn't know, because there is not yet any brain activity, there's no limbs, there's no organs to speak of, no consciousness, etc. So I asked if he felt that the existence of human cells was the same thing as a human being. He didn't give me a definitive answer, because he acknowledged that he couldn't. No one can.

Understand - I'm against late term abortion. I'm even sketchy about early trimester abortions. However, I just CANNOT look a zygote and a late term child in utero side-by-side and honestly say they're BOTH human beings. Are they both living human tissue? Yes - absolutely they are. For me, however, living human tissue does NOT automatically equal a human being. There isn't a more simple way to put it, Art. Either one believes as you or one believes as I. Again, there's no agenda here, just being honest with you, whether you can grasp that or not. I think you can - you're a bright guy. Perhaps you're only refusing to acknowledge a legitimate disagreement about zygotes exists because you believe pro-choice voters are nothing more than people who like to engage in "reckless, self-gratifying sex"? Be honest - is that really an objective starting point, Art?

"...what if she preferred not to? If up until then, you thought she was the one, what then? Would you insist? Would it mean the break up of your relationship?"

That's a hypothetical that I can't answer fairly yet, because I'm obviously not influenced by the same emotions I'd be feeling were that to happen. That said, I'd most certainly do what I could to convince her to have the child. If she didn't, it would mean she and I obviously weren't on the same page in terms of our timetable for having kids, which would naturally lead to what I'm sure would be an unpleasant conversation and most likely end the relationship. But, again, you're asking me to accurately respond to a hypothetical situation, and that's a tough thing to do with something that would involve very intense and personal emotions.

Marshall Art said...

Les,

With all due respect to your father (an obviously wonderful and thoughtful gentlemen, as most conservatives are *snicker*), I must disagree that the lack of certain faculties is a decidely subjective means of determining one's personhood. At that stage of development, there simply is no way for all those qualities to be formed to a pro-choicer's satisfaction (or a pro-lifer's as far as eliminating those arguments). But as I said earlier, even an infant is lacking in certain human qualities if we're to judge solely on such things. My judgement, for lack of a better word, is based on the fact that the zygote is comprised of the two necessary components required for a new human to exist, that being the sperm and ovum. So to me the question becomes more of what else can it be considering that both the zygote and the late term child in utero are on the same path to a retirement village, with one a little further along on the trip, but otherwise no difference whatsoever. If we can't, or won't, say with certainty what a zygote is, it would seem only logical and reasonable to default to the position that it must be a person based on everything we know about the process of reproduction.

That is what grates so coursely, that with all we do know of the process, that with any shadow of a doubt to which one might cling, that anyone can so easily prefer to side with the "not human" side of the argument. It is a side with so very little available to support its position. Indeed, as we have seen throughout the course of this thread, it has just about nothing but subjectivity and personal preference. I have the process viewed from every angle, each of which cries out that we are dealing with a new person.

Your answer to the hypothetical shows what might be your level of committment to your beliefs, but it also seems to indicate that a more definitive discussion with your mate might be apprpriate. At least if there's some difference of opinion, you can at least take greater steps to prevent ever having to be in that position. I have to say, that in my personal experience, I did break off two relationships where the chick had a different idea about abortion. As it was early, though, I can't say how I'd act if my wife suddenly made her pro-life views known. (she doesn't hold them, I'm just sayin')

Les said...

I'm done with this thread. We're going nowhere here.

Brewers are handing the Cubs the division. Are they man enough to take it?

Marshall Art said...

It's not in their nature, but they recall the Sox joy of two years ago and hopefully, they will latch onto that. I, for one, won't hold my breath. The Cub do so love to disappoint.

theobromophile said...

Are they both living human tissue? Yes - absolutely they are. For me, however, living human tissue does NOT automatically equal a human being. There isn't a more simple way to put it, Art. Either one believes as you or one believes as I.

Except there is a fundamental difference between tissue and whole humans; furthermore, we don't allow people to destroy the "tissue" of another. Someone cannot come along and remove part of my liver, because it is "only tissue," without receiving moral condemnation.

The term you are looking for is "person;" the progeny (at any stage of development) of two humans is always a human.

Now, my question is: At what stage, for you, does a blob of tissue become a human? a human a person? Birth? Viability? Would it be okay, if we were able to keep children alive at a month's gestation (i.e. 8 month's early) to deliver a 3-month fetus and let it die on the operating table? After all, it's only a blob of human tissue.

Now, do you think that you should be able to be assaulted or killed if you fall into a coma and have the same neural function as a 6-month old fetus?