Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Illogic of "Pro-Choice"

It all started when I fed the children at non-beliefsforsuckers to Godzilla.

During the feeding there was no ambiguity that I am against abortion. Put differently, I'm against the "right" for a mother to be able to murder her unborn human baby. Stated another way, I'm against murder (the unlawful taking of life). So, if one is anti-life (some say, "pro-abortion" or "pro-choice") then to me it sounds as if they are not against the unlawful taking of life (murder). Or, at best, they are irrationally arbitrary on the idea of whose life can be unlawfully taken. As a side, I should note that my distinction (or, qualification) that abortion is the unlawful taking of life fully avoids the tactic used by some anti-life advocates who whish to say that I cannot be pro-death penalty while simultaneously holding to pro-life. Yes I can. I can because the death penalty supports the taking of life in a lawful and just way, killing the unborn does not.

Therefore, since I set the debate up in this way then my opponent, the one who allows for abortion, must either show how (1) the unborn is not a separate entity, a living human or (2) they must concede that murder is not wrong. Obviously if they show that it is not a living human being then it doesn't matter if you "murder" it (though, it is a living something and I wonder why PETA has not joined the pro-life movement. Chopping up a living animal seems to be an unethical treatment, on their standards). But if they don't show that (1) and they are unwilling to concede (2), then they have no argument against me. So, this must be settled first before time is wasted on rabbit trails such as, "a women can do what they wish with their own body.’ Since (1) has not been established then it is has not been proven that it is her own body and therefore this line of argument (if one can call it that) begs the question. Also, since (2) has not been conceded then it is not the case that a woman can use her body to hire a hit man ("doctor") to kill her husband (or, baby), for example.

Now, what I find funny are some of the claims that pro-murder advocates make. For example, at the 2005 San Diego Earth Day gathering here in Balboa Park I ran into some pro-murder advocates at a pro-life table. These British college girls were quite adamant that abortion should be allowed because it is a "woman's right to choose." I interjected into the conversation the idea that if people are just allowed to "choose" who to kill then what was wrong with Hitler's Germany. They appropriately responded that the Jews were living human beings and so Hitler didn't have that right. I commended them for their astute observation. I then asked if it was always wrong to take life unlawfully, to murder. They assured me that it was. I then pointed out that if the unborn child was a living human being then they would have to admit that it would be wrong to murder them, or we're back in Hitler's Germany. They reluctantly admitted.

At this point I asked them if the being inside their "mommy's tummy" was a living being. One said yes, the other said no. I pointed out that it ate food, it grew, it had a heart, it sucked its thumb, it responded to stimuli, it moved, it had functions such as metabolism, etc. So, it was a living something or other. I mean, it wasn’t dead, or inorganic matter, was it. The other conceded that it was alive. I then asked them what species it was. They looked confused. I asked again. Slower. They still looked confused. I asked if their parents were aware that they were spending good money for an American education and their children didn't understand that living things are grouped according to species. They still looked baffled and so I asked them if the living thing inside of its "mommy's tummy" was a dog. They giggled. They said no. And giggled again. And so I asked them what species this living being was. One, the smarter one, said that it was "human." The other saw the trap. The other said it was not human until it got a soul. She was new age, I take it. I asked when this happened. She said it happened when they got out of the womb. I said that there are some abortions are performed while the child is in the vagina, at the mother's request. Was this "choice" not allowed? She said it was and said she meant to say when they were outside of their mother's body. I said, and that's when they get their soul? She said yes. I asked, how? I asked, was "soul" floating around in the air and when they took a breath it came into them? She said she didn't know, she took it on faith. She said, "in my opinion, that's what a human is, but I'm not going to force my definition on anyone else." I responded that in that case we were back at Hitler's Germany and Hitler is free to "define" a human being as whatever he wants to, and Jews aint one! She said he couldn't. I said she couldn't. She said that was my opinion. I asked if opinions could be wrong. She said no. I said, well then Hitler's opinion wasn't wrong, so lay off the guy. She looked confused. The crowd laughed, murmured, and I think one guy yelled from the background that I was a bigot, her friend pulled her away... quickly.

The point of the above story is to give an example of some of the wacked-out and extreme answers some give in this debate. Let me relay another story. This story is better in person because I can mimic the guy. Be that as it may, imagine a 55 year old black man, always drunk, and looks very similar to Sherman Hemsley, aka, George Jefferson from "The Jeffersons" TV show. Imagine a drunk that yells when he talks and also slurs his words. Now, this guy lived with my brother for a while. He and I would play chess while I talked to him about Christianity. One day we found ourselves on the topic of abortion. He said that he was pro-murder (not his words, obviously). After we went back and forth for a while I asked him what species the living being was. He couldn't answer for a while. So, I left. When I'd come back we eventually get back on the subject. I think he did some studying... drunk. When I asked him what species the living being was he sat up as straight as he could, lifted his head up (which seemed for him to way 80 pounds) and slurred, "its a Zzzygit." I said, "what's a "Zygit?" He said (as his eyes rolled back in his heavy head), "Zzzygit!" even louder. I couldn't help but laugh. I asked him if he meant a "zygote?" He mumbled, "zygit." I told him that there are dog zygotes and cat zygotes. I said that a zygote was not a species. He yelled, "ZYGIT." I figured we were done.

Some may be upset that I've picked on a British feminist (though she told me that she was on the speech and debate team at her college) and a drunk man. Well, enter Aaron Kinney. Though some may say that he's a worse example to use for the pro-murder cause because he's an Objectivist (even though he doesn't like to be called that), I don't buy it! And, at least Aaron fancies himself an intellectual, as well as do the kids at gods4suckers. So, let's look at some of these claims Aaron makes in the comments section (linked above).

Some History:

Originally Aaron entered the combox and asked, "I am curious, why are you against abortion?" I mentioned that I thought my post made it self-explanatory. I also said that his defense would hinge on how he defined a "human." Simply put, if Aaron is against the murder of humans, and if the unborn is a human, then Aaron is against the murder of the unborn human.

Setting up The Argument:

My argument is: If Aaron is against the murder of humans, and if the unborn is a human, then Aaron is against the murder of the unborn human. Aaron is against the murder of humans. Therefore Aaron is against the murder of the unborn human. Murder shall be defined as the unlawful taking of life. Let's now see if Aaron is against the murder of humans.

  • "I do not support the killing of live babies."
  • "...I also do not think its moral for women to butcher live babies."
  • " I have repeatedly written condemning articles at my blog for all those Dena Schlossers and Andrea Yates of the world."
  • "I do not support the killing of live babies, so please quit putting words in my mouth."

And, lastly, so there is no doubt about Aaron's position on murder, I had asked him: "Is the unlawful taking of life (murder) acceptable in your worldview?" Aaron unequivocally answered, "No."

Before we look at Aaron's affirmation that murder is wrong let's pause and take note of the claim that whatever is inside the woman's body is not a living baby. What, is it dead? I think most non-Christian scientists would agree that whatever the entity is inside the womb, it is a living entity. And, it is not an adult, or a teenager, or a toddler, but it's a baby. Since the unborn is "living" and since it is a "baby" then Aaron should be against it. Now, Aaron might want to make an argument that whatever is inside the womb is not-living and not a baby, if so, I'll await that argument!

Next, we can clearly see that Aaron is against murder. In fact, Aaron said, with his own hand, that he is against the murder of live babies. Since the entity in the womb is a live baby, Aaron should be against this, logically. If not, then he's irrational. Someone had asked Aaron, "Are you honestly saying that baby in the silent scream video wasn’t alive ?" And Aaron responded, "No. It was alive up until the point that it died, obviously." Therefore Aaron just admitted that what was aborted was a live baby! It was "killed." And Aaron told us above that he is against the "killing" of "live babies." This should give us pause. We might want to note that on Aristotle's definition of a human - a rational animal - Aaron himself could be murdered because if he denies the above he's clearly an irrational animal! This humorous illustration does have a point. The point is that Aaron is not going to grant my argument because he really didn't mean what he said. He meant that he does not support the murder of human persons, not "live babies" (even though I'd like to know the difference between a "live human baby" and a "human person!).

We noted that Aaron is against the murder of human persons. If the unborn being is a human person then Aaron is against murdering it. This follows logically. So, Aaron's only out is to define the fetus as a non-person. If he allows that it is a human person, then Aaron cannot say that he is against the murder of human babies. If Aaron had not admitted that he was against the murder of humans then he could have the out of saying that it is okay to murder some humans. This can be addressed, but I don't need to address it for my purposes since Aaron has told us that that option is not open for him.

Defining Human:

As I have shown, this debate must, of logical necessity, center on the definition of a human. Again this is because of the logical implication of these propositions:

1. Aaron is against the murder of human persons.

2. If the unborn being is a human person, then Aaron is against murdering it.

Now, let's say that I add this premise:

3. The unborn being is a human person.

We would have to draw this conclusion.

4. Therefore, Aaron is against murdering it.

Therefore, by Aaron's own hand, his position logically leads us to the conclusion that Aaron would be against abortion if the unborn being was a human. The only way out of this for Aaron is if the unborn being is not a human. The only way for Aaron to get out of the dilemma, in other words, is if he can define 'human' in such a way that excludes the unborn being from that class.

I had originally noted this in the combox, but Aaron responded that "[his] reasons for supporting abortion do not hinge on [his] definition of human life.” But, and here's the crucial "if," if the unborn being is a human than, according to Aaron, he is against its murder. Aaron must grant this.

Aaron fudges a bit. He comments after much prodding by some other commenters that he needs to "clear this up." He then tells us that his "argument is not CENTERED on the definition of a human." "However, the definition of what is a human does come in to play to some degree..." He fails to tell us to what extent this definition "come[s] in to play." What he must admit, given the above analysis, is that the definition is central. Again, to belabor the point, according to Aaron murder of humans is wrong. If the unborn is a human then it is wrong to murder it, according to Aaron! Therefore I consider it a settled issue that the definition of 'human' must be central to Aaron's argument. If he does not define 'human' then all the time he spends on his comments is wasted time. All his arguments will beg the question.

Aaron's Definition of Human:

One gets the idea that Aaron senses the force of all of this and so he throws out a definition of 'human.' Aaron tells us that the definition of a human is"

"[A] "human" is defined as an organism that can survive outside the womb."

Okay, let me slowly think through this, here is a small list of "organism[s] that can survive outside the womb:"

  1. A plant is an organism that can survive outside the womb.
  2. A tetra hydra is an organism that can survive outside the womb.
  3. An amoeba is an organism that can survive outside the womb.
  4. An ant is an organism that can survive outside the womb.

So this must be why Aaron does not have a problem with abortion. He doesn't have a problem killing bugs and eating vegetables! No, this can't be what he meant. He must have meant that:

"A human is an organism that can survive outside of its own mother's womb."

There, is that better? Hardly. Here's another small list:

  1. A rat is an organism that can survive outside of its own mother's womb.
  2. A three-toed sloth is an organism that can survive outside of its own mother's womb.
  3. A platypus is an organism that can survive outside of its own mother's womb.
  4. A dog is an organism that can survive outside of its own mother's womb.

On Aaron's definition a 'human' can be almost anything except, say, a table!

Taking Aaron's sloppy definition let us now ask if "surviving outside the womb" is what makes a human, as well as some consequences of Aaron's definition.

First, the complete genetic structure of a 'human' is present in the 'human' embryo (if it's not 'human' then what species is it!). This has been admitted by non-Christian, non-Pro-Life scientists. All humans begin their life as embryos. This is one stage of all of our lives, just like growing grey and wrinkled is part of our lives. So, it's not enough to belong to the human species on Aaron's definition, one must also be able to "survive outside the womb."

Here are a few problems. Aaron just happens to think that an abortion is acceptable at any stage during pregnancy. He writes:

  • "You do not have the right to force [a woman] to bring a person into the world and provide for them for 9 months if [she doesn't] want to."
  • "[A]n abortion to me can occur at any time during the pregnancy and be ok morally, because the woman has complete ownership of herself at all times..."

Therefore we see that Aaron maintains that an abortion can happen at any time during the pregnancy. We also note that, say, an 8 month old fetus "can survive outside of its mother's womb" - on Aaron's definition of 'human' this fetus is a human. We also remember that Aaron unequivocally said that he was against murder.

Now, let's take abortion by saline solution. This method chemically burns the live baby. Upon analysis, then, Aaron has just admitted that it is okay to chemically burn a human being (the baby in the picture could survive outside the womb) because someone else wants to. This human, then, was put to death. What justification is there for this? What justification can Aaron give which allows one human being to put to death another human being? Was this baby a child molesting rapist? Was this baby a murderer? What lawful reason, then, is there to put this baby to death? Aaron's answer must be, the mother simply chose to do so.

Aaron would say that the mother has this "right" and can have her child put to death for many reasons. Aaron would not object to a mother aborting her child simply because the mother thought the child would be an inconvenience. Now, taking out the terms "mother" and "child" we can see that, logically, Aaron's position says that one human being can put to death another human being simply because one is an inconvenience to the other. Or, one human being can put to death another human being for no reason at all. This follows logically from Aaron's own words! Therefore, upon analysis, Aaron's position allows for me to put him to death simply because I may find his posts an inconvenience to read. Who wants to read the illogic of "pro-choice!?" It's inconvenient. Or, I can kill my Grandmother because I don't feel like taking care of her anymore. To be fair, Aaron attempts to offer defenses here, but we will address them later. Right now we are still concerned with Aaron's definition.

Another problem is that Aaron is saying that some human fetuses are not viable outside of their natural environment - the womb. That is, he's saying that if you took the fetus outside of its natural environment (the natural environment for all humans at this stage of our lives), and it was not able to "survive" outside of its natural environment, then it would not be a 'human.' Well, if I were to launch Aaron into space, and then kick him outside of the shuttles doors while in space, would he not be "human" at that time he was in space?

Next, what does Aaron mean by "an organism that can survive outside the womb?" I want to focus on two words, "can" and "survive." Can implies "ability." Survive implies "staying alive." So, Aaron's definition is that a human is an organism that has the ability to stay alive outside the womb. Well, do all we need to do to stay alive outside of our mother's womb is to breathe? Certainly not. We need to eat, find shelter, etc. An infant cannot do this. It does not have the ability. An infant cannot survive outside of its mother's womb. Therefore, what is wrong with murdering a 11 month old? It still needs its mother to survive. It cannot survive "on its own." In other words, "the organism" does not have "the ability" to "stay alive" outside of its mother's womb. It, like the fetus, needs someone else to help it survive. This idea of being able to survive needs to be fully explained and hashed out, otherwise Aaron's argument alows me to kill children on their first birthday (since they do not have the "ability" to "survive").

Ultimatley Aaron's argument is that humanness can be denied by your location (e.g., womb, or outside the womb) and your level of physical development (e.g., the ability to breathe oxygen on your own, etc). This is exactly how genocidists and racists determine who is human.

We can burrow further into the illogic of the mind of this particular pro-murder advocate. Aaron tells us that he doesn't "call a clump of cells a 'human.'" Well, Aaron is a materialist. He is, well, "a clump of cells." On a Christian worldview, where man has a soul, - an immaterial aspect to his being - we can distinguish between "a clump of cells" and a "human." Aaron cannot. All man is, on Aaron's worldview, is a biological bag of chemicals. It just so happens that his particular bag is more developed than another physical bag. The fetus and him both have human DNA. They are both a clump of cells. Saying that one human clump of cells is better than another human clump of cells, because of your level of development, is nothing but prejudice.

Furthermore, Aaron seems to be guilty of sizism. That is, because the fetus is small (a lump of cells) then it is less than a real person. But, it is exactly the right size it should be. It is the size we all were at this stage in our development, just like a toddler is the size he is and Aaron is the size he is (I'm speaking vertically, not mentally). Moreover, as Steve Wagner as appropriately labeled this, to discriminate based on level of development could be called, developmentalism. Should we also kill mentally retarded people because of their level of development?

Thus there is nothing that distinguishes Aaron from a human fetus other than physical appearance, location, and level of development. Since all Aaron is is a "clump of cells" then on Aaron's own terms, he's not a human. Aaron allows for his own death, again! Not only that, but his illogic is the illogic of Hitler, and every other genocidal maniac.

Is Abortion Murder:

Aaron happens to think that abortion is not "murder." He writes,

"How is abortion murder? I don’t [sic] think it is. Murder is when someone says 'Im gonna kill that guy!' but abortion is when a woman says 'I don’t [sic] want to be pregnant.'"

Let's analyze Aaron's problems:

i. Aaron says that "murder" is when someone "says" "I'm gonna kill that guy." But Aaron, stalwart defender of free speech that he is, certainly can't think that "murder" is when someone says that they are going to murder someone. If so, then if I said that I was going to murder Aaron, I'd be guilty of murder! Actually, Aaron sounds like a Christian here. Jesus tells us that: "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment;..." On a Christian worldview, "murder" can be committed by one's heart attitude toward another, even though they don't commit the physical act. This is because "from the heart spring the issues of life."

ii. Aaron shows what is a common reason for people's claims that the Bible contradicts itself when it says that man shall not murder, but then we read that God told people told to kill other people. The distinction is between "kill" on the one hand, and "murder" on the other. "Killing" is not the same as murder. You can kill someone by murdering them. Or, you can kill someone and not be guilty of murder.

iii. Aaron's definition of murder would not allow for self defense. Someone may begin to attack my wife with a butcher knife, upon seeing this I might say, "I'm gonna kill that guy!," and go through with it. Since above we saw that Aaron does not allow for "murder" then we must draw the conclusion that Aaron does not allow for "self-defense."

iv. Killing is "the taking of life" and murder is "the unlawful taking of life." Murder, then, is a species of killing. Since an abortion takes the life of a baby, then it is murder, on Aaron's definition! Aaron is against murder, therefore, Aaron is against abortion.

v. How is abortion murder. Well, let us look at, for example, the legal definition of murder.

SECTION 187-199

a. "Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought."

Thus we see that the law says that the unlawful killing of a fetus is murder. That is to say, murder happens when there is no legal justification for taking the life of another. The baby has violated no human laws, it has done nothing which would justify taking its life. What justification could Aaron give (note: we'll look at his argument below)? The bottom line is that there is none.

The California Penal code does allow for the taking of the life of the fetus in certain circumstances:

b. This section shall not apply to any person who commits an act that results in the death of a fetus if any of the following apply:

  1. The act complied with the Therapeutic Abortion Act, Article 2 (commencing with Section 123400) of Chapter 2 of Part 2 of Division 106 of the Health and Safety Code.
  2. The act was committed by a holder of a physician's and surgeon's certificate, as defined in the Business and Professions Code, in a case where, to a medical certainty, the result of childbirth would be death of the mother of the fetus or where her death from childbirth, although not medically certain, would be substantially certain or more likely than not.
  3. The act was solicited, aided, abetted, or consented to by the mother of the fetus.

We can clearly see that the law claims, as murder, the unlawful killing of a fetus. But we also note that killing a fetus is allowed if the mother of said fetus "consents." In other words, if the mother says that it is okay to take the life of her baby, even if it's based on a mere whim, then the killing is acceptable. So what is classified as murder becomes okay if Mom says it's okay. To explain the oddity of this confused idea in our law I'll quote Greg Koukl,

"What do you do when you have a mother who's driving to an abortion clinic intent on terminating her pregnancy, who's fetus is killed when the abortionist who's to perform that abortion runs a red light and crashes into the mother's car?

The same doctor, the same mother, the same baby, who is now dead consistent with the ultimate intention of both the mother and the abortionist. In this case, though, the doctor is guilty of homicide. If he'd have just waited a few more minutes and not run the light, but killed the same baby through D & C abortion or saline abortion or even partial-birth abortion, the very same baby could have been killed legally. Odd, isn't it?" SOURCE

How is abortion murder? Well, it is the unlawful taking of the life of an unborn human being. The mere whim and choice of a Mother does not, somehow, make this act okay. If mere desire to have someone killed was all that one needed to make a murder, not a murder, then why is Aaron against any murder? After all, the murderer desires to see the victim dead.

Furthermore, what limits does the law place on taking life? That is, in what situations are homicides justified, according to the law? Let's look again at the penal code:

SECTION 187-199

197. Homicide is also justifiable when committed by any person in any of the following cases:

  1. When resisting any attempt to murder any person, or to commit a felony, or to do some great bodily injury upon any person; or,
  2. When committed in defense of habitation, property, or person, against one who manifestly intends or endeavors, by violence or surprise, to commit a felony, or against one who manifestly intends and endeavors, in a violent, riotous or tumultuous manner, to enter the habitation of another for the purpose of offering violence to any person therein; or,
  3. When committed in the lawful defense of such person, or of a wife or husband, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant of such person, when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony or to do some great bodily injury, and imminent danger of such design being accomplished; but such person, or the person in whose behalf the defense was made, if he was the assailant or engaged in mutual combat, must really and in good faith have endeavored to decline any further struggle before the homicide was committed; or,
  4. When necessarily committed in attempting, by lawful ways and means, to apprehend any person for any felony committed, or in lawfully suppressing any riot, or in lawfully keeping and preserving the peace.

In none of these reasons do we find that killing a fetus (homicide) is justified. Since it is not justified, then it is unjustified. If it is unjustified, then the taking of the life of the fetus is murder. Since it is a living human, then to take its life in an unjustified way is to commit murder. And so, Aaron, that's how abortion is murder.

vi. How is "abortion" "when a woman says 'I don’t want to be pregnant?'" This seems similar to Aaron's mistake regarding murder. A women might "say" that she doesn't want to be pregnant, indeed, many pregnant women say this on a regular basis! They're tired of the back-aches, the weight gain, the visits to the doctors, the waiting, etc. So, when one of these women says, "I don't want to be pregnant anymore!," Aaron must conclude that an abortion has happened? That is odd.

vii. Simply put, this looks a bit different than a woman "saying" that they don't want to be pregnant anymore. No, abortion is the butchering or burning, or murdering by any other means, of a live, unborn baby. That's what abortion is. The very fact that Aaron had to dehumanize the facts shows that he himself knows its horrible. Abortion is going through with the desire to not want to be pregnant anymore. I mean, what would Aaron say if I said that pedophilia "is loving a child."

viii. Since I've shown that the fetus is living, and an abortion kills it, and it is based on the mother's desire, then how is "abortion" not the mother saying, "Hey, I want to kill that guy?" What, does Aaron think nothing is killed during an abortion? Therefore we see, again, that on Aaron's own terms he's shown that abortion is murder and, thus, refuted himself... again.

Aaron's Argument For Women's Right to Abortion:

Aaron's argument for the acceptability of this heinous practice is laid out (if I'm being generous) here:

  • "My argument is this: A woman has full self-ownership of herself AT ALL TIMES, including her uterus. At no time is should a woman be restricted from controlling her own body in any way she sees fit. Whether the woman aborts a "fetus" or a "human" is irrelevant. A woman is under no obligation to lease her uterus to anything, human, fetus, or otherwise." [sic]
  • " My argument, as I said before, is based on the mothers self ownership of her uterus..."

His argument can be stated thusly:

1. If a woman owns her body then she can do whatever she wants with her body.
2. A woman owns her body.
3. Therefore a woman can do whatever she wants with her body.
4. If a woman cannot have an abortion, then she cannot do whatever she wants with her body.
5. But a woman can do whatever she wants with her body.
6. Therefore a woman can have an abortion.

I think this is faithful to the general gist of his above "argument."

Aaron's Argument For Women's Right to Abortion Refuted:

i. We should not that not only are his premises questionable, but some are also false. For example, even if a woman "owns her body" it is not true that "she can do whatever she wants with it." There are restrictions on what a woman (or, anyone!) can do with her body. For example, what if a woman "saw fit" to use a body part (her hand) to drive a knife through the heart of her husband while he sleeps? Should not the law "control" certain actions we may take with our body? I cannot (morally, not metaphysically) strap 10 pounds of c-4 explosives to my body and run into a building. I cannot do this, even if I "see fit" to use my body that way. Therefore, one cannot "use their body" to murder another human, even if they "see fit" to do so.

ii. This argument begs the question. If the fetus is a human person, with its own body (which should be obvious) then a woman is not doing what she wants with her body only, but she is also doing something to another body.

iii. If x is identical to y then any property, P, that x has, y must be said to have. This is the law of identicals. Now, since a fetus can have a penis then does the woman have a penis? If not, then they are not identical bodies. Therefore the woman is not doing something to her body. If Aaron wants to maintain that aborting the fetus is doing something only with the woman's body, then if Aaron ever gets married, and his wife gets pregnant with a boy, then Aaron can say that he's had sex with someone who has a penis!

iv. Why is a woman obligated to breast feed her baby? She would not be, on Aaron's definition. But why would the mother be obligated to feed the baby at all? What if she wants to use her body to put all the food in the house in her mouth? Should her body be restricted in this way?

v. Why does the right to life not outweigh what a woman wants to do with her body (even though the idea that she is only doing something to her body has been refuted).

vi. Who says the woman has "complete ownership over her body?" As a Christian I deny this premise, and so it is up to Aaron to prove it, not beg the question against the theistic defense of the unborn.

vii. If I am living in an apartment legally, then I am in my rightful place. Likewise, the mother's womb is the fetus' natural environment. It is in its rightful place.

viii. Why presume that the mother does not have obligations toward her own child?

ix. A court would not prosecute a woman for not feeding her neighbor's child, but they would for not feeding her own child. Take the parents who took a vacation while they left their children at home to fend for themselves. These parents were prosecuted. But, on Aaron's logic, why should they have been? What if the children "restricted" the mother's ability to have a good time on her vacation? Why should she not be able to do as she saw fit with her own body (get on a plane with it) and leave the children? It's because there is an obligation that outweighs the mother's freedom to do with her body "as she sees fit." Aaron sets up the argument as a woman to herself relationship, rather than a woman to child relationship.

x. As has been pointed out, since the woman is pregnant, she no longer makes decisions that affect only her body. Thus, Aaron's argument is oversimplified and misleading.

xi. If a mother is not obligated to "lease her womb out" then why is a mother obligated to "lease a room out" to her child? Indeed, why is anyone obliagted to lease their room out to children. Is it morally acceptable, then, for a mother to dump her children in a trash bin after she gives birth? By why should the city lease out its trash cans?

xii. The woman's body wants the child there. The body nurtures, feeds, and helps develop her child.

xiii. If a woman has a moral obligation to her own children, then they cannot butcher, burn, or poison it. In other words, they cannot abort it. Aaron's argument, then, says that, in effect, women do not have a moral obligation to care for and provide for and keep safe, their children. If they do not, then what was wrong with what Andrea Yates did (Aaron said she was wrong)?

xiv. Why doesn't the child get a choice what s/he wants done with his/her body? If Aaron says that they cannot chose what they want with their body because they do not have the mental ability to make this choice, then what about an 11 month old? They do not have the ability to make a choice and so can I sit around my house and smoke crack, blowing smoke in the direction of the child?

Some Ancillary Remarks :

Aaron had asked me some questions and so I thought I'd answer them for him.

Aaron asks, "Would you define taking the morning after pill as murder?" I would call taking the morning after pill, after conception has occurred, murder, yes.

He asks, "Or what about pulling out just before ejaculation?" No.

Aaron "imagine[s] that [I] probably don’t define condoms or pulling out methods as murder, but [I] probably define the morning after pill as murder. If my assumption is true, then why is that?" Well, the simple answer is that a sperm cell isn't human.

He asks, "Does the "murder" to you start at the fertilization of the egg?" At conception, yes.

Aaron wants to know "If [I] could answer [a question] straightforward for me I would appreciate it. [I] said that you are sickened by these abortions... does that also include when God causes a woman to naturally miscarry (when God does the abortion)? Or does it only make you sick when humans do it?" Well, there's just a bit of a difference between God and man, Aaron. So, this is disanalagous. What God is free to do and what we are free to do is not the same. Your question is like asking, "what does yellow taste like?" It's a category mistake. All life is God's. He owns all life, and therefore can do with it as He pleases. Also, since all life is God's, and since He's all-just, then he always takes life lawfully, and therefore cannot be guilty of murder. So, for this argument to work, you'd have to show that what God is doing is the same as when humans do it.

Another reason this is objection is mistaken and disanalagous is because "death by natural means" is different than "death by unnatural means." People die of natural causes all the time, so why should I be upset?

Aaron also makes some other rather unstudied comments to some other commenters. He blunders at length,

"Because logically, an abortion to a Christian is a one-way-ticket to the heavely [sic] kingdom of God. Automatic innocence and forgiveness, right? Whats [sic] wrong with shortcutting a world that you claim is so horrible anyway and getting to go straight to the "reward" of heaven? Arent [sic] all those aborted "humans" in the videos that Paul linked enjoying eternal Godly bliss and Jesuses [sic] love in heaven, absent of any pain or misery that they surely would have endured on Earth, and absent of the "original sin" that all of us are allegedly cursed with?

Remember that it is Christians, not atheists, who claim some kind of grand uber-prize at the end of Earthly life, especially for innocent unborn babies (I suppose that could change depending on the KIND of Christianity we are talking about, but you get the point). An abortion to a Christian should be like getting the "Advance to Go and collect $200" card in the Monopoly board game, right?"

There are many problems:

i. It may not the case that an abortion is a one way ticket to heaven. Only the elect will go to heaven and, as the Westminster Confession of Faith says, "Elect infants, dying in infancy" will enter heaven. We do not know if all infants are elect.

ii. Should we kill all mentally retarded people? Maybe it is better for them if they did not have to live like that? Even if it was, the ends do not justify the means. Aaron seems to allow for us to murder all sorts of people, with this reasoning.

iii. God commanded us not to murder.

iv. Remember it's atheists who claim that there are no real consequences for your deeds when you die, no ultimate justice for victims, and no ultimate purpose to your life. Tomorrow we die, and that's it. As Bertrand Russell points out,

"Brief and powerless is Man's life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way;" -Bertrand Russell, from A Free Man's Worship

Remember, it's atheists who claim that we are nothing but accidents,

"Organic life evolved during a period of two to three billion years from accidental circumstances on the surface of the earth, itself a product of the evolution of the cosmos..." -Richard Vitzthum, from Materialism: An Affirmative History and Definition.

Remember it's atheists who claim that truth and reason are meaningless,

"Materialism should no longer wink at such nonsense but insist that the foundations of all human thought and feeling are grossly irrational." - Richard Vitzthum, Materialism: An Afiirmative History and Definition.

"Boiled down to its essentials, a nervous system that enables the organism to succeed in...feeding, fleeing, fighting, and reproducing. The principle [sic] chore of nervous systems is to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive. Improvements in their sensorimotor control confer an evolutionary advantage: a fancier style of representing is advantageous so long as it is geared to the organism's way of life and enhances the organism's chances for survival. Truth, whatever that is, takes the hindmost." -Praticia Churchland, "Epistemology in the Age of Neuroscience," Journal of Philosophy 84 (October 1987): 548. Cited in, "C. S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea," Victor Reppert, IVP, 2002, pp. 76-77.

"the process must be slow which commends the hypothesis of natural evolution to the public mind. For what are the core and essence of this hypothesis? Strip it bare, and you stand face to face with the notion, that the human mind itself - emotion, intellect, will, and all their phenomena - were once latent in a fiery cloud. Surely the mere statement of such a notion is more than a refutation.... Surely these notions represent an absurdity too monstrous to be entertained by any sane mind.... These evolution notions are absurd, monstrous...." -John Tyndall, "Althenaeum," September 24, 1870, p. 409.

Therefore, we should all act irrationally because atheists claim that this would, and our mind, are irrational! That was the way Aaron just reasoned. The only difference is that I won't murder a human, he will act irrationally, as witnessed by his "arguments."

Concluding With A Contradiction:

What better way to end this post than with yet another example of the illogic of "pro-choice" thought.

Aaron writes in the combox that he, "do[es] not support the killing of live babies. But I do support abortion."

And then later down he writes, speaking of the one killed in the abortion procedure,

"It was a live baby, organism, human, alien, whatever you want me to call it. I don’t [sic] care. Its irrelevant to me. My argument, as I said before, is based on the mothers self ownership of her uterus, not the "human" status of the fetus/baby/person."

Note that he says he does not support the killing of live babies but then admits that a live baby was killed by an abortion. This is illogic at its finest. I guess, to save him the embarrassment, he could say that a live baby wasn't killed. But then he would contradict himself that "it was a live baby" and also make the silly claim that the fetus inside the mother is not alive. So, I guess he can't save himself from embarrassment.

Why? Well because non-Christians constantly engage in self contradiction. They have rejected Truth and right reason, all in the name of a "knowledge" falsely so called. In their haste to support the murder of children, they end up supporting the murder of any one different. They oppose themselves at every turn. They are empirical proof of Psalm 14:1. People ask for empirical proof. People ask how God affects the material world? Well, God tells us that rejecting Him leads to foolishness. We can see this exhibited over and over again in the lives of un-believers.

Many unbelievers support the murder of children. We slaughter millions of our children every year. For a society that teaches our children that the invincible force of evolution makes sure that those species who get the most of their offspring into the next generation will survive, this seems contradictory. Butg such is the wheel and woe of the life of unbelief.

But, becoming pro-life is not the answer. Aaron, and other non-Christians, cannot be saved by works. Their foolishness will exemplify itself in new areas. They need to change their worldview, they need to repent. The reason that they have bought into such foolishness is not because, as Mortimor J. Adler would say, "a little mistake in their reasoning at the beginning," but because they are, by nature, sinners who hate God and His law. For a season it may seem as if they can stand on the mountain top and spit in the face of the all-Mighty. But Jehovah says otherwise,

Psalm 2

1 Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?

2 The kings of the earth take their stand
and the rulers gather together
against the LORD
and against his Anointed One.

3 "Let us break their chains," they say,
"and throw off their fetters."

4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.

5 Then he rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,

6 "I have installed my King
on Zion, my holy hill."

7 I will proclaim the decree of the LORD :
He said to me, "You are my Son ;
today I have become your Father.

8 Ask of me,
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.

9 You will rule them with an iron scepter ;
you will dash them to pieces like pottery."

10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.

11 Serve the LORD with fear
and rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry
and you be destroyed in your way,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.


  1. As you say, the death penalty is not murder because it is lawful killing of a human being. In the same spirit, abortion is not murder because it is lawful killing. No need to specify whether or not a fetus is a human being for this logic. I understand that you want abortion to be murder, but that requires a change of the law. I wonder how far you are willing to take this. Should the potential mother be prosecuted for murder (and possible face the death penalty for first degree murder)? Should the potential father or anybody else aware of the intended murder be prosecuted for being accomplices to murder?

  2. ido:

    As you say, the death penalty is not murder because it is lawful killing of a human being. In the same spirit, abortion is not murder because it is lawful killing. No need to specify whether or not a fetus is a human being for this logic.

    Paul's use of the term "lawful" was not "according the law" but as "just." If murder was merely defined as "according to the law," then if the law states that the killing of black people (just to use a random example) isn't murder, then in that sense, it isn't murder.

    Rather, justice is "giving every man (i.e., 'human being') his due." How does abortion give the unborn humans their due? You see, the debate does center on the definition of human life, for the only way for you to escape the injustice of abortion is to redefine human life, so that justice no longer applies.

    Your comparison of abortion to the death penalty is simply ridiculous, and shows the twisting and turning you must do to defend this injustice. Capital punishment is about punishing criminals, specifically those who have murdered another human. Abortion, however, is about killing the innocent, which is, murder. You see, "lawfulness" really has nothing to do with "what the written law states." Rather, "lawfulness" has to do with the justice that centers on innocence and guilt. Those killed by capital punishment are guilty. The unborn are innocent.

    I understand that you want abortion to be murder, but that requires a change of the law.

    Abortion is murder regardless of what the written "law" states. Killing innocent black people (again, just to use a random example) is murder regardless of what the written "law" states. This "lawfulness" is a matter of justice, and justice is about giving every human his due. Therefore, the debate goes back to what is a human.

    Should the potential mother be prosecuted for murder (and possible face the death penalty for first degree murder)? Should the potential father or anybody else aware of the intended murder be prosecuted for being accomplices to murder?

    This is really irrelevant. Of course, the instituted governments aren't going to prosecute contrary to what their written law states. But that is irrelevant to whether or not the written law is just.

  3. Paul--great post. The definition of human is central to the debate, whether they want to admit it or not, if they are truly wishing to debate (which it is likely the are not). And to take it a step further, what does "survival" mean? Even a toddler, a disabled person, or quite elderly person cannot "survive" if it means living independent of anyone else. If this is the definition, then it leads to killing of more human beings out of inconvenience. (loved the inclusion of the penal code and discussion on the law)

    Evan--thanks for talking of the distinction between the written civil law and the law of God (which is just). I commented on this during the first discussion on homosexual adoption; in that discussion, I stated that no-fault divorce had been widely made allowable by law, but such permissive divorce (aside from that which Christ spoke of in the NT) was certainly against God's law.

    And I'll object to the his comment of "changing the law" since it was in my opinion our courts who "changed" the law by making new law instead of interpreting like Article III of the Constitution requires.

  4. "If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life"
    -Exodus 21:22-23

    The punishment for murder, of course, was not a fine, it was death. Therefore abortion is not murder.

  5. Mr. Anonymouse,

    Before I respond, maybe you can answer three little questions:

    1) Why presume the child is dead? The English word, 'miscarriage,' does imply death, but the Hebrew word, 'Yasa,' (the word translated, 'miscarriage') does not. Indeed, the vast majority of the time this word is used it is used for bringing forth life.

    2) What in the context itself implies the death of the child? I can see nothing that would, maybe you can enlighted little ole me, though.

    3) Ancient Hebrew has a specific words for 'miscarriage' - nepel and sakal- that is always used for our English understanding of 'miscarriage.' Why were those words not used?

    After you answer those questions, I'll show you why this verse actually proves our point. The Bible requires death if either the mother or child are killed.

    Oh, btw, imposing a fine would not imply sub-humaness. The death of a slave in v 32 imposes a fine, and we know that the slaves were people God created, thus humans. SO, the fine does not even prove that the child is not human.

    Oh, one more thing, if you're gonna be consistent, are you going to start lobbying for fines to be given to doctors (and mothers) who abort their child?


  6. But Mr. Anonymous makes a very good point indeed. I would agree that “so that her fruit depart from her” almost certainly means that the woman has a miscarriage. She loses her fetus and the fetus dies. So what if Hebrew has a specific word for miscarriage? The English language also has specific technical words for that, but there are many ways to describe the same thing in more colorful language. If it doesn’t mean miscarriage, what does it mean? She dropped her apple into a deep well?

    Furthermore, Mr. Anonymous is not inconsistent if he does not lobby for fines. He never said that the bible should be a basis of law. This is what you say.

  7. I see that ido, having failed to present his own arguments in a coherent manner, has chosen to defend Anonymous' statements:

    1. Anonymous uses the ambiguous King James Translation here. Here is what the ESV says:

    "When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman's husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life"

    1. The text specifically says that though the child came out, there was no harm.

    2. The text states that if there was harm, then “you shall pay life for life."

    It's amazing how simply reading the passage in its context refutes Anonymous's argument. If the child is not harmed, then the person who caused the early birth should be fined according to the amount the Judge or husband determines. However, if the child dies, the one who caused it was to be killed. This absolutely supports pro-life principles.

    3. The Bible elsewhere makes clear that life begins at conception. So was anonymous arguing that the Bible contradicts itself? Notice how a discussion on whether or not the humanist is logically consistent when it comes to the matter of abortion got transformed into an attack on the Christian worldview.

    4. Even if the Bible stated otherwise (which we have shown that it absolutely does not), what does this have to do with the illogic that was shown on the part of the humanist position?

  8. Sorry Ido, no free lunches.

    You never *argued* for why the term "and her fruit departs" means "the baby dies through miscarriage." You know, you actually have to support premesis sometimes.

    I gave an inductive argument, based on egegesis. What have you given?

    Also, who cares what term is used? I do. I actually care if proper terms are used. I guess you refer to a Lexus as a tricicle?

    ANd, if it almost "certainly" means "miscarriage" then it should be easy for you to go to the text and show it, right?

    So, prove from the text that death happened top the child.

    If nothing about the word yasa implies death, then how do you give it that meaning? By your "gut feeling?" Because you like where the conclusion goes? Well, that's not reasoning, ido.

    So, are we going to argue by "seems to me" or are we going to present an actual argument? I'll be waiting for more illogic.


  9. According to the King James version

    "If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life"
    -Exodus 21:22-23

    You can call that an ambiguous translation, but “fruit” is not an uncommon term for fetus (at least not in my native language, where fruit and fetus are synonyms). It therefore does not appear to be unreasonable to interpret fruit as fetus. Moreover, if you beat up a random pregnant woman, it seems more likely that a fruit departing her is a dead fetus rather than a live baby, since only during the very last stages of pregnancy is there any reasonable chance that whatever comes out is a live baby.

    Are you sure that your decision to decide whether something is an “ambiguous” translation is not affected by your preconceived notions? Besides, who knows what the original text said?

  10. And this is what your preferred flavor of the Bible says:

    "When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman's husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life"

    "1. The text specifically says that though the child came out, there was no harm."

    Indeed, but no harm to whom? To the child? To the mother? It doesn't say.

    "It's amazing how simply reading the passage in its context refutes Anonymous's argument. If the child is not harmed, then the person who caused the early birth should be fined according to the amount the Judge or husband determines. However, if the child dies, the one who caused it was to be killed. This absolutely supports pro-life principles."

    Really? It's amazing that you can be so confident about your interpretation.

    "3. The Bible elsewhere makes clear that life begins at conception. So was anonymous arguing that the Bible contradicts itself?"

    This argument doesn't make much sense. Just because the Bible argues elsewhere that life begins at conception (something people couldn't even know at the time, given their state of medical knowledge), it couldn't be that kicking a fetus out of a woman was fined instead of punnished by death? It must be my illogical nature again. You assume from the start that the bible cannot contradict itself, begging the question.