Friday, November 02, 2012

Feminist misogyny

I'm going to post my recent exchange at TGC blog:

steve hays
November 2, 2012 at 10:51 AM


"This is because the reality of pregnancy implies impaired mobility, health risks every step of the way..."

Other issues to one side, you're ignoring the medical benefits of pregnancy. For instance:

steve hays
November 2, 2012 at 10:33 AM


"Yeah, I'd say that's a pretty good description of rape."

Now you're deliberately obscuring the difference between the rapist and the baby. Although the rapist may be analogous to the alien body-snatcher, her baby is not.


Scott, have you ever addressed the rape exception argument? I just looked up the Judith Jarvis Thomson's 'violinist' argument and that argument seems valid in the case of rape.

    steve hays
    November 2, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    No, the violinist argument is not valid in case of rape. The baby is not analogous to a rapist. To suggest that is morally depraved.

steve hays
November 2, 2012 at 10:57 AM

It's a pity that JR is so unconcerned with how we behave towards helpless little babies.

steve hays
November 1, 2012 at 12:18 PM


"I don't understand how to rationally argue that preventing a (literal) handful of cells from becoming a child at some future time is 'killing a human being.'"

i) To begin with , prolifers typically argue that the fertilized egg is already a human being, not a potential human being.

ii) If you're going to a take a purely physicalist, reductionist view of human beings, then an adult man or woman is just a collection of cells.

"I'm pro-choice..."

Gee, who coulda guessed.

    October 31, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    I think you are mixing ideas here and perhaps the trouble you are having is that you are confused regarding what this discussion is even about. Besides, my reply was to Lou, so please don't take your grievence toward JR out on me, thanks.

    I'll answer with this: "Should we have a cannibal exception to murder?" Yes, if it means that we otherwise will never be able to ban any homicides at all.
        steve hays
        November 1, 2012 at 12:23 PM

        You made yourself party to JR's argument. So your statement is fair game.

        To say "yes" to the cannibal exception would mean you don't think we should outlaw cannibalistic homicide, given the extreme rarity of that phenomenon.

    October 31, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Negative. A Genetic Fallacy is "a fallacy of irrelevance where a conclusion is suggested based solely on something or someone's origin rather than its current meaning or context. This overlooks any difference to be found in the present situation, typically transferring the positive or negative esteem from the earlier context. The fallacy therefore fails to assess the claim on its merit."
    By definition, you have actually demonstrated the genetic fallacy by your assertion.
        steve hays
        November 1, 2012 at 12:25 PM

        To the contrary, you are making the baby's right to life contingent on its source of origin. So that's a type of genetic fallacy.
        steve hays
        November 1, 2012 at 12:28 PM


        "Therefore, we still need proof in the form of sufficient evidence or argument for the truth of the proposition that abortion in the case of rape is murder."

        You're disregarding the arguments which have already been provided. You have have no counterargument. So you respond with willful intransigence.

steve hays
November 1, 2012 at 5:03 PM


"steve, are deliberately being dishonest or just feigning illiteracy so as not answer the question?"

Since that's not an honest question, there's nothing to answer.

"steve, there have been no arguments made as to why abortion in the case of rape is legally considered murder - zero. zip. zilch, given that we both agree that the unborn baby is a human being."

That's your bait-n-switch tactic. The question at issue is not the legal status quo, not whether abortion in case of rape is legally considered murder, but whether it *ought* to be. And I've given numerous reasons why that ought to be the case.

BTW, it's not my responsibility to persuade you, any more than it was Jeremiah's responsibility to persuade stiff-necked Israel.

"Maybe we better bid each other fair adieu and move on?"

Given your losing streak, that would be understandable.

    October 31, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    No, actually, Jeremy is specifically arguing against people who claim Numbers 5 is an indication of "God's attitude toward fetuses - that they don't have the kind of moral status adults have."
    Which is irrelevant to the discussion we are having about exceptions. In an argument For Exceptions, the moral status of the the unborn is not in question. That's why I stated that it is not entirely relevant. It didn't shed any additional information on the topic, per se, nor did it apply to any of the arguments being made.
        steve hays
        November 1, 2012 at 12:31 PM

        Of course it's relevant. JR cited Num 5 to justify induced abortions in case of rape. You seconded his appeal. So did Lou. As Jeremy points out, that's a fallacious inference.

    October 31, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Hi Steve,

    Also, are you opposed to the morning after pill, which would prevent the pregnancy of a woman who was just raped?
        steve hays
        November 1, 2012 at 12:36 PM

        If the morning-after pill (actually, there's more than one) is an abortifacient, then I'd oppose it.

        Whether the morning-after pill(s) is an abortifacient is a medical question that I will leave to medical professionals with a relevant field of specialization to judge.

        Ethics doesn't determine the facts. Rather, ethics takes certain facts for granted (once they've been duly established), then evaluates their moral status.
        steve hays
        November 1, 2012 at 12:46 PM


        "But you still haven't made a formal argument for why you would legally call the rape exception 'murder' (malice aforethought)."

        i) Murder doesn't require malice aforethought. That's a technical condition of 1st degree murder.

        ii) Moreover, a murderer doesn't have to think the murder victim is human to be guilty of murder. Klansmen who lynch blacks might think blacks are subhuman. Nazis who exterminate Jews might think Jews are subhuman.

        In that sense, you might say they lack criminal intent, for they don't intend to kill "humans," yet they are still guilty of murder. For their view of blacks and Jews as subhuman is both culpable and objectively mistaken.

November 1, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Hi Steve -

You're not going to like this. You've tried to avoid this argument. But here it goes:

If the government breaks into your house and surgically attaches a new born baby to your organs and then states that since the baby will die if unattached, therefore, by law, you are now required to keep the baby alive and attached for nine months at great health and financial cost to you personally. To do otherwise will kill the baby and you will then be guilty of committing felony murder.

Is this really a legitimate use of civil law?
I say, no way, absolutely not. I can't imagine that you would ever agree to such a thing.

Remember: #1 - it's a baby.
And #2 - such a requirement is rationally absurd!!

steve hays
November 1, 2012 at 4:23 PM

Of course, that's just a variation on the Violinist hypothetical. Like Jarvis, you act as if a mother's baby is a perfect stranger who somehow became attached to her–like Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

You disregard the fundamental fact that fathers and mothers have special parental responsibilities to their own children. The fact that you and other abortion proponents are chronically unable to appreciate that elementary and elemental obligation is morally deranged.

Moreover, basic parental duties are typically and rightly codified in law. Child neglect is a crime. So is child endangerment. Yet that pales compared to abortion.

steve hays
    November 1, 2012 at 9:24 PM


    "I don't understand why this is viewed as a hypocritical stance. For instance, I can be against abortion personally because I believe it kills a human, but also think its unethical for the law to force a woman to risk her life and carry another person in her body for 9 months. I could think that the government has no right to force people to be life support for other people. It's a perfectly consistent argument to make...To make the case that the government should be able to force you to rent out your body for 9 months to keep someone else alive is a very difficult one to make (especially when it involves such risk and such vast implications), and I honestly barely see this point even being addressed which is interesting."

    i) To begin with, you yourself are morally uncomfortable with abortion. That's why you resort to distancing euphemisms like "a woman to risk her life and carry another person in her body for 9 months."

    Why do you avoid more accurate terms like "mother" and "her baby"?

    ii) Moreover, except in case of rape, the "woman" isn't being "forced" to do anything. She knowingly engaged in a consensual activity that's specifically designed to produce that result.

    For a woman, you have a very low opinion of women. Do you think women are so shortsighted and dominated by animal passions that they can't appreciate the easily foreseeable consequences of their voluntary actions?

    iii) Oh, and at the risk of stating the obvious, Lily was once a baby in her mother's womb.

    steve hays
    November 1, 2012 at 9:27 PM


    "I'd be interested to know where the Pro-Lifers here stand on the death penalty."

    Prolifers distinguish between protecting innocent life and punishing those who take innocent life. A pretty elementary distinction. Next question.

steve hays
November 1, 2012 at 9:39 PM


“Exactly. Its horrible logic and reads as even worse once you simplify it. For instance did you know that between 50% and 75% of all embryos are actually disposed of practically immediately because of a woman's own body? To believe that all embryos are human beings is to believe than 50% of our population is unaccounted for and dies without anyone knowing of their existence.”

Exactly. Its horrible logic and reads as even worse once you simplify it. For instance, did you know that every year about 230,000 American woman get breast cancer because of a woman's own body? To believe that all breast cancer victims are human beings is to believe that millions of female human beings prematurely die from natural causes. Heck, why should we event treat them? Why not let nature take its course?

    steve hays
    November 1, 2012 at 10:17 PM


    “My ‘euphemisms’ shed light on the aspects of the debate that pro-lifers regularly ignore.”

    To the contrary, your euphemisms deflect attention away from parental duties. That’s an aspect of the debate which abortionists regularly ignore.

    “My wording is just as accurate…”

    No, it’s deliberately vague, imprecise language that’s intended to shy away from loaded words like “mother” and “her baby” because the more specific language carries dutiful connotations.

    “If I am pregnant, and I do not want to be pregnant. I am pregnant against my will.”

    Why would a woman with access to contraception be pregnant against her will? Are you saying women are too dense to predict the easily avoidable consequences of their actions? Or are you saying woman have no control over their sexual impulses. They are just like animals in heat?

    “If I do not want to carry it to term and the law states I have to, then yes I am being forced.”

    If parents fail to feed their kids, resulting in malnutrition or starvation, the law can rightly punish them. Because some parents are evil, the law must motivate them to do their duty.

    “Newsflash pregnant people who get abortions don't want to be pregnant!”

    Newsflash: husbands who murder their wives don’t want to be married!

    “Also I'm assuming you do not believe in exceptions for rape so your point is irrelevant.”

    It’s relevant to your point because you are framing the issue in terms of consent.

    For instance, if you voluntarily enter into a contract, then you can be “forced” to comply with the terms of the contract. If you change your mind after you sign the contract, tough luck.

    “Very funny. Actually observing the obvious systems that exist around me I realize that women are not given universal, free access to birth control…”

    “Free” because someone else is paying for it. Once again, why do you have such a low view of women that you think they shouldn’t pay for birth control? Do you think they shouldn’t pay for gasoline?

    For that matter, if they are going to have sex with a man, why shouldn’t he pay for contraception?

    Why do you think someone else ought to pay for your contraceptives? Why are you treating women like children who expect a parental figure to foot the bill for their lifestyle choices?

    “…(which would decrease abortions by up to 70% according to many studies that actually happen to be coming out right now)…”

    That’s a non sequitur.

    “…are not taught comprehensive and informative sex education…”

    You think women are too simple-minded to know where babies come from? Even women in primitive tribes are quite able to make a causal connection between sex and pregnancy.

    “…and most importantly are not even in complete control of their own sex lives…”

    You think women ought to be autonomous, but you’re also admitting that woman are emotionally dependent on men for sexual fulfillment.

    “…due to the visceral and horrible effects of patriarchy.”

    We’ve never had patriarchy. That’s just a feminist myth.

    Traditionally, most cultures are hierarchical. You’ve had upper-class women as well as lower-class men. Although a man might be at the very top of the pyramid, lots of men were subject to women who were above them on the social scale.

    And, of course, in our own culture, many women have power over many men. Why is “patriarchy” oppressive, but matriarchy is not?

    “Ever asked a woman whether they've had sex to appease their husband, boyfriend, random boy, some expectation, or compromise etc. even though they really didn't want to?”

    Why are women getting into sexual relationships if they don’t want sex? If that’s their attitude, why not get a pet dog or cat?

    “I was. And I don't think the government had the right to force my mother to undergo the sacrifice and pain she did to have me.”

    i) Of course, that doesn’t end at birth. Children are dependent on their parents for many years after birth. At what point do you think your mother or father doesn’t have the right to kill you?

    ii) Or what happens if an adult woman become very sick and must depend on others to care for her until she recovers. Is it okay for them to just leave you by the side of the road to die?

steve hays
November 1, 2012 at 9:41 PM

Keep in mind that most aborted babies are girls. Evidently, Lily thinks there are too many women in the world.

steve hays
November 1, 2012 at 10:40 PM


“Nothing you have said to me addresses my main argument about the government forcing someone to be life support for another person.”

i) That’s why we need laws. Since some people are too evil to do the right thing on their own, they sometimes require a legal incentive. For instance, child abandonment is a crime, and rightly so.

ii) And, once again, you resort to euphemisms. We’re not talking about the relationship between “someone” and “another person.” Rather, we’re talking about the relationship between a father or mother and their own child.

Social obligations are concentric. We generally have greater obligations to family than strangers.

“Also I spend my entire life fighting for gender equality…”

You’ve wasted your life. You should spend the rest of your life on a worthy cause, like promoting the Christian faith.

“Many of the things that would decrease abortion rates significantly are things that TGC outright argues against. (and they are things that would decrease rates MORE than making it illegal) It is a hilarious tendency of hypocrisy on this issue that the pro-life movement can't seem to shake.”

So you’re argument is like the psychopath who screams: “Stop me before I kill again!”

“Now while people aborting fetus's because of their gender breaks my heart, I still do not think the government should be able to force a woman to undergo 9 months of pregnancy. This is because the reality of pregnancy implies impaired mobility, health risks every step of the way, a complete change in lifestyle, torture at the end, and oh yeah growing a person inside of you in a relationship that is scientifically parasitic (literally the biology term sorry).”

You’re a self-hating woman. You hate what it means to be a woman. You despise your nature. You loathe everything that’s distinctively feminine about you.

Men don’t feel this way about manhood. Why do you feel this way about womanhood? You’re committing psychological suicide.

“Btw, about 1/5 of all American's women are raped so theres that.”

Why should we lend any credence to that rubbery statistic?

steve hays
    November 2, 2012 at 12:15 AM


    "I will reply to the rest of your comments later. I would just like to sit back and laugh hysterically at the fact that you just used the intersection of systematic oppression as a mode of trying to disprove systematic oppression."

    I'm responding to you on your own terms, and highlighting your lopsided appeal by an obvious counterexample. But feel free to laugh at yourself.

    "Please continue to ignore that pregnancy involves pregnancy."

    You're refusing to take your own argument to its logical extreme. Your objection implicitly goes well beyond pregnancy. When you complain that pregnancy involves "a complete change in lifestyle," that's nothing compared to 18 years (give or take) of childrearing.

    So if you think the disruption to your precious lifestyle caused by pregnancy justifies killing your child, then that rationale justifies killing your child as long as your child is dependent on you. Is "parasitic," in your charming characterization.

    November 1, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    My point is that if you believe that then why is there absolutely no effort to keep that from happening? The effort is literally non existent. People are trying to cure breast cancer.
        steve hays
        November 2, 2012 at 12:05 AM

        That's disingenuous. What makes you think that natural process is even preventable? And that's completely different from an induced abortion.

steve hays
November 2, 2012 at 12:38 AM


"Ever asked a woman whether they've had sex to appease their husband, boyfriend, random boy, some expectation, or compromise etc. even though they really didn't want to?"

Why are you so resentful? If you think men and women are simply evolved primates, then what do you expect? Assuming that the male sex drive is different from the female sex drive, so what? That's how natural selection made us. It's futile to think you can change that. Our brute sexual instincts are hardwired.

steve hays
November 2, 2012 at 12:59 PM


“In John 3, we see that Nicodemus was pro-life, inasmuch as he believed life begins in the womb. Nevertheless, Jesus reproved him--the teacher of Israel--for his lack of spiritual understanding. Life didn't begin in the womb, but with ‘water and the Spirit.’"

i) Of course, that’s blatantly equivocal. Jesus never denied that human life begins in the womb. Rather, he’s using physical birth as a metaphor for spiritual rebirth. It’s a figurative play on words, like the way he talks about “living water” in the next chapter.

ii) Spiritual rebirth presupposes physical birth. If you don’t exist, you can’t be regenerated.

“Worse, it becomes ‘for God so loved the womb,’ making our Heavenly Father out to be a fertility god like Baal, or any of a number of pagan fertility gods and goddesses that were worshipped throughout the Roman Empire during Christ's lifetime.”

i) What’s wrong with saying God loves the womb? According to the Bible, God designed the womb. God made the womb. God made women. God opens the womb.

ii) Megan herself began life in the womb. Her mother’s womb was Megan’s home for the first 9 months of her existence. She was nurtured and protected in her mother’s womb.

“Nor does it require pejoritive comparisons to slavery, eugenics or the Holocaust.”

Except for the awkward fact that gendercide is comparable to genocide.

“It certainly doesn't require men to make unchivalrous buffoons of themselves by calling women sluts, self-hating women, or making light of rape.”

i) No prolifer on this thread called women sluts. But since you bring it up, feminism treats women like sluts:

ii) Likewise, no prolifer on this thread is “making light of rape.”

iii) However, Megan reflects a typical feminist double standard, where women are free to make very derogatory remarks about men and masculinity, but men are supposed to treat feminists like china dolls who break easily.

iv) And, yes, feminism fosters misogyny. Ironic, isn’t it?

Look at how Megan demeans the womb. That’s feminist misogyny. Why would any self-respecting woman demean her own body? But that’s what feminism does to women. It makes women hate their bodies.

Or take Lily’s resentful, hostile view attitude towards normal heterosexual relations: “Ever asked a woman whether they've had sex to appease their husband, boyfriend, random boy, some expectation, or compromise etc. even though they really didn't want to?”

Or take her resentful, hostile attitude towards motherhood: “ to force you to rent out your body for 9 months to keep someone else alive is…growing a person inside of you in a relationship that is scientifically parasitic.”

This is a woman who hates being a woman. She resents womanhood. She bitterly resents her sexual anatomy. She bitterly resents everything that’s unique to womanhood. She bitterly resents feminine virtues and masculine virtues.

That’s what feminism does to women. Feminism breeds misogyny.

“This is why I see the pro-life movement as a wolf in sheep's clothing: not only an attack on women…”

Sex-selective abortion is an attack on women. Feminist misogyny is an attack on women.

“This is why I'm pro-choice.”

No, that’s why you’re anti-woman. You’re an anti-woman woman–just as there are self-hating men (e.g. homosexual/transgender men).

steve hays
November 2, 2012 at 1:05 PM


"Ever asked a woman whether they've had sex to appease their husband, boyfriend, random boy, some expectation, or compromise etc. even though they really didn't want to?"

Feminists resent Christian men. Feminists resent Christian marriage. Yet feminists also resent men who "objectify" women.

However, if you disdain Christian men with Christian values, if you disdain chivalry, then the kind of men you're left with are, predictably enough, men who objectify women. Men who simply use women and discard women. As Lydia McGrew has pointed out:

steve hays
November 2, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Vicki Lee

"WOW.. this entire wall is dominated by men. And I know they mean well.. but they way they talk about rape and abortion has this real sense of disconnection to real women who have been raped and had to deal with unwanted pregnancy."


As your own comment illustrates, no one is preventing women from commenting on this thread. No one is preventing women from dominating this thread. If there are fewer female than male commenters, that's because fewer women choose to comment.

As far as the alleged "disconnect" goes, I bring the same detachment to men's issues.


  1. For what it's worth, if anything, here are some of my comments in the same post (as well as a previous post).

  2. DL said:

    "Also, are you opposed to the morning after pill, which would prevent the pregnancy of a woman who was just raped?"

    1. I'll start with a disclaimer: I'm just a med student. On the one hand, I believe most if not all med students are taught about contraception including emergency contraception. On the other hand, I'm not an obstetrician and gynecologist or emergency physician or any sort of a doctor.

    2. But from what I've learned and experienced so far, I would say I agree with what Steve Hays has said. He's right there's more than one morning after pill too.

    3. Broadly there are four main types of emergency contraceptives: levonorgestrel; the Yuzpe regimen; the copper intrauterine device; and antiprogestins. All are available as pills to be taken orally except the copper intrauterine device which, of course, is a device.

    a. The first type contains the hormone progesterone. It is known by various names including levonorgestrel, the morning after pill, Plan B, Next Choice, and Mirena.

    b. The second type contains the hormones progesterone and estrogen. It is known as the Yuzpe regimen. It's no longer widely used.

    c. There's also the copper IUD. It is not taken orally like a pill. Rather it is inserted via the vagina through the cervix into the uterus.

    d. Finally there are antiprogestins. For example, there's ulipristal aka ella. Also, mifepristone aka RU-486. (Although I don't believe mifepristone is available as an emergency contraceptive in the US. I might be wrong but I believe it's only available for medical terminations like ectopic pregnancies.)

    4. As a side note, there are folk methods of abortion such as pennyroyal oil. But pennyroyal oil is highly toxic not only to the baby but also to the mother. It can cause her death too.

    5. See here if interested in the effectiveness of the four types. Of course, much depends on factors like the dose, the individual's specific health profile, weight, age, the day in the menstrual cycle the emergency contraceptive is taken or administered, etc.

    6. I might be wrong but I believe the most commonly available are (a) and (c).

  3. 7. We could get into the nitty gritty medical scientific details later, but for now I'll just say the following.

    a. A lot of the mechanism of action in emergency conception is still being studied. To my knowledge, we don't totally know how it all works. I suppose this gives people some wiggle room to say they're not all necessarily abortifacients. Although I would think why wouldn't it also give people some wiggle room to say the contrary? Why wouldn't this cut both ways?

    b. From what we do know, however, emergency contraceptives act mainly (but not only) (i) to inhibit ovulation so that the woman's egg is not released from her ovary or at least not released in sufficient time to be fertilized, (ii) to interfere with fertilization so that the sperm does not join with the egg, and/or (iii) to prevent the zygote (i.e. the union of the egg and sperm) to implant in the mother's womb and continue to grow and thrive and so forth.

    c. I'll hone in and focus on the mechanism of action of the morning after pill and not the others because that's the one that was mentioned. In taking the morning after pill, there are three main effects which attempt to prevent pregnancy. First, the woman's cervical mucus becomes thickened, which makes it unlikely for sperm to pass through the thickened mucus. Second, ovulation is inhibited via the decreased secretion of hormones like FSH and LH. Third, implantation is inhibited via altering the endometrium (inner lining of the womb) and making it more hostile to implantation. Although some say the morning after pill does not inhibit implantation at all but rather works mainly to prevent or delay ovulation. What's more, others argue the morning pill has no effect on implantation and in fact doesn't even work if the egg is already fertilized. As I understand it, there is debate on this point.

    d. Both sides might agree about the morality of the first two effects of the morning after pill, i.e., the thickened cervical mucus and the inhibition of ovulation. The third point is where the debate seems to be.

    e. Basically, my view is, if emergency contraceptives like the morning after pill act prior to the egg and sperm joining, then they wouldn't be abortifacients but rather contraceptives. However, if these emergency contraceptives act to prevent implantation, then they would be abortifacients, and therefore unethical or immoral.

    f. Even if it's true we can't say definitively one way or the other whether the morning after pill prevents implantation, and all other things equal, I would think it best to err on the side of life.

    8. There's a lot more to say. I may come back to this later.

  4. DL said:

    "If the government breaks into your house and surgically attaches a new born baby to your organs and then states that since the baby will die if unattached, therefore, by law, you are now required to keep the baby alive and attached for nine months at great health and financial cost to you personally. To do otherwise will kill the baby and you will then be guilty of committing felony murder."


    "And I have no idea who this Jarvis fellow is. So, with that goodbye."

    I find this hard to believe given how remarkably similar your example is to Jarvis' violinist analogy. But be that as it may.

    In addition to Steve's fine point, abortion isn't analogous to simply "unattaching" the baby. For example, take dilation and curettage or manual or electric vacuum aspiration or induction. You can Google for images of these if you like, but let's just say they're hardly benign procedures.

    Moreover there are some risks and complications associated with abortion (e.g. vaginal bleeding, passing pieces of leftover tissue, blood clots).

    In short, "unattaching" the baby might not be as simple as unplugging a cord, but it could be akin to smashing it to tiny bits and suctioning the pieces into a disposal machine. Should society allow the "unattachment" to occur through such a procedure? If we disallow "cruel and unusual punishment" in the case of a guilty person, then shouldn't we disallow "cruel and unusual punishment" in the case of an innocent person?

    Of course, there could be "safe" and "benign" methods to cause an abortion. But I'm just focusing on commonly used surgical procedures in abortion.

  5. By the way, in the US, the vast majority of rapes in adolescent and young women (which in turn constitute the majority of rapes) are from someone who is known to them. It's not usually a stranger raping a woman, but at least an acquaintance if not a more familiar person. In fact, it's believed 80-90% of all these rapes are from acquaintances or familiars. People can Google for information on the epidemiology of rape if they want stats.

  6. By the way, if you're suggesting a child born of rape would cause the mother to feel too many horrible emotions, and thus abortion is justifiable, then this would seem to imply horrible emotions justify other horrible acts. So if I felt horrible every time I saw a soldier because I used to be a soldier - say I had PTSD and every time I saw a soldier memories of being in the foxhole would rush back to me and overwhelm me with the horrors of war, would this therefore justify my killing this soldier?

  7. Lily said:

    "This is because the reality of pregnancy implies impaired mobility, health risks every step of the way, a complete change in lifestyle, torture at the end, and oh yeah growing a person inside of you in a relationship that is scientifically parasitic (literally the biology term sorry)."

    You use a lot of loaded terms here.

    For example, I doubt most women would describe "the reality of pregnancy" as "torture at the end." The women I've seen who have given birth look pretty darn happy, to say the least! Sure, there is tremendous pain in birth. But torture assumes for one thing the pain is positively unwanted, whereas most women expect pain on delivery even prior to their attempting to get pregnant, and they are content to bear with pregnancy for the greater joy of having a baby. Not that women positively desire the pain in the same way a masochist would, but it's also not akin to "torture" where the pain is positively undesired.

    Also, we have epidurals nowadays, you know.

    As far as pregnancy being "scientifically parasitic," it sounds like you've been watching stuff like the alien abortion scence in Prometheus a bit too much! But having a baby isn't like having a parasite. A parasite feeds off its host so that the parasite benefits but the host usually not only doesn't benefit but is positively harmed. But a normal healthy pregnancy isn't unilaterally bad for the mother. She no longer has her period, for starters. Steve Hays links to an article which talks a bit about some other more beneficial aspects of pregnancy. Also, "scientifically" speaking, a parasite isn't usually genetically similar or the same as its host, whereas babies share half their DNA with their mothers. Moreover hosts frequently attempt to dislodge parasites through various means such as immunological responses, but normally a mother's immune system isn't on attack mode against her baby. Indeed, this only occurs in something like a Rhesus pregnancy, which is considered problematic to put it mildly.

  8. Lily said:

    "Btw, about 1/5 of all American's women are raped so theres that. Rape is not some rare thing either."

    I'd be interested to see where you received this statistic. This figure seems a bit high (ignoring the under reporting issue, which presumably would have no statistics associated with it, or at best conjectural figures).

    Keith said:

    "FWIW, the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence quotes The World Health Report Fact Sheet on Sexual Violence, 2002, and says 1 in 4 women experience sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime."

    Thanks for this.

    1. I don't know if it's the same as where Lily gets it though. I'd be interested to hear where she has received her info.

    2. If it is from the same place, then the following remarks would be relevant:

    a. Lily said: "Btw, about 1/5 of all American's women are raped so theres that." Her focus was on American women. But sexual violence or rape in the US is quite different from rape in the rest of the world, which is presumably what "The World Health Report Fact Sheet on Sexual Violence" canvasses. To begin with, we could have different statistics than other parts of the world. Also, we don't have the same social, cultural, behavioral, and other factors feeding into sexual violence as do say some developing nations.

    b. Sexual violence isn't necessarily always identical to rape. Sexual violence or assault definitions appear able to vary depending on locale. For example, is penetration always involved in all sexual assaults, which would be directly relevant in abortion in rape cases since pregnancy usually cannot occur without penetration, or is "attempted" sexual assault also part of the definition? What about child sexual abuse - is this figured into the sexual assault statistics, and if so, why?

    c. Also, an "intimate" partner is different from a stranger. If we include strangers, then how would this effect the statistics? Would they go up or down? On the face of it, it'd seem the statistics would have to go up. But that's based on a direct combination of the figures. Yet is this sort of methodology valid in terms of sexual assault statistics?

    d. 2002 is about 10 years out of date.

    e. What's the basis for the WHO's stats (assuming this is the organization you're referring to in "The World Health Report Fact Sheet on Sexual Violence")? At least from what I've seen the WHO usually relies heavily on medical journals and other studies for its information. Maybe it runs its own research on sexual violence and assault, for instance, but if so I'm not aware of it. Usually the WHO will cite a study or several studies done in journals like the NEJM, the JAMA, the BMJ, etc. So I wonder what the basis is for the WHO's stats? This is relevant to how the sexual assault data collected and analyzed, since not all studies are necessarily sound studies.

    3. By the way, I should make clear I'm not implying the rarity or frequency of rape has any bearing on the morality of abortion. I was just curious about where Lily got her figures.

    "Each year, it is estimated 25,000 American women will become pregnant following an act of sexual violence. As many as 22,000 of those pregnancies could be prevented through the prompt use of emergency contraception."

    Check out my comment here for starters.

  9. Keith said:

    "To quote Sam Harris: A 3-day-old human embryo is a collection of 150 cells called a blastocyst. There are, for the sake of comparison, more than 100,000 cells in the brain of a fly. We'd rather kill a few hundred cells than force someone to give birth to a baby they don't want -- cells that aren't 'human' in any reasonable sense of the word."

    1. The interpolation of "cells that aren't 'human' in any reasonable sense of the word" is an assertion without an argument.

    2. Why is the sheer quantity of cells, i.e. 150 cells vs. 100,000 cells, relevant to the morality of abortion? Why make the comparison in the first place? After all, there are, for the sake of comparison, more than a few trillion cells or so in a human being. If another species with a trillion times more cells than a human being existed or arrived on planet Earth (and a trillion times more cells is orders of magnitude greater than the number of cells in a fly's brain in contrast to the number of cells in a blastocyst), would this other species be justified in killing a human being based on a human being having merely a few trillion cells or so? Where does one draw the line?

    3. Why is the comparison on the level of a blastocyst vs. a brain? For example, a brain is at the tissue level rather than the cellular level. The comparisons are at odds with one another in this respect.

    4. Of course, the type of cell is relevant to the abortion debate. The cells which constitute a blastocyst are considerably different from neurons or other brain cells like ganglion cells. For example, a blastocyst can survive and develop (for lack of a better term) into an entire human being if it were implanted in say the womb of another woman, and also possibly an entirely genetically different human baby than the same woman. Indeed blastocyst tranfers can commonly occur in IVF. Even if it were possible to transplant a fly's brain into another fly's brain, a fly's brain wouldn't develop into anything more than a fly's brain. And we wouldn't expect otherwise. But we would expect a normal blastocyst to continue to develop. There are several other ways I could detail about how a blastocyst is hardly analogous to a fly's brain. But anyway is Harris truly that ignorant despite being a neuroscientist?

    5. Speaking of ignorance, a blastocyst is not a "3-day-old human embryo." Rather that's a morula. A blastocyst is generally on day 5. This occurs via the secretion of fluid within the morula to form the blastocyst cavity, and the compaction of the morula's cells wherein the outer cells become the trophoblast and the inner cells become the embryoblast. This is embryology 101. Has Harris studied embryology at all?

  10. 6. Related, there's a phenomenon known as blastocyst hatching in which the embryo bursts forth from the zona pellucida, and the zona pellucida eventually degenerates and disappears, via a series of rhythmic expansion-contraction cycles. Can other "collections of cells" carry out similar sorts of activities?

    7. Speaking of the morula, which contains 32 cells (a blastomere), a blastomere is totipotent up to a certain point in time, which means each blastomere can form a complete embyro, which in turn is significant in monozygomatic twinning. That's another difference between the "collection of cells" known as the embryo vs. a "collections of cells" like a fly's brain cells.

    8. We haven't even begun to talk about the sorts of hormonal as well as other resultant changes which are engendered in the mother when a zygote is formed. Are there other "collections of cells" which can so effect a woman's body?

    9. All this is the tip of the iceberg too. There's much more that could be said. And I (and surely others) can say more if need be. But point being, given all this, I'd be hard-pressed to conclude a zygote let alone a blastocyst is a mere "collection of cells." (Perhaps the argument can be made that the embryo is more than a mere "collection of cells" but less than human. But I think this poses other problems. In any case, the argument hasn't been made in this forum.)