Friday, May 17, 2019

Abortion and the soul

1. I notice that many prolifers shy away from appealing to the soul. They confine their arguments to genetics and embryology. They rest their case on physical properties. The moment of conception. A heartbeat. Unique DNA. A separate body. 

But treating a baby as just a physical organism can be counterproductive. If human beings are reducible to body parts and organic molecues, is that an adequate basis for human rights? 

It leads to equivocation about the "humanity" of the "fetus". Human hair, toenails, and even excrement are human. Just because something is human–in that sense–doesn't ipso facto make it entitled to protection. 

2. The strategy appears to be in part that that's a scientific argument. In addition, that's a secular argument. Many prolifers seem to think that appealing to the soul is inherently religious, and therefore lacks common ground when reasoning with unbelievers. 

However, arguments for the soul aren't necessarily religious. Take the hard problem of consciousness, or veridical near-death  experiences and postmortem apparitions. We can present philosophical and empirical arguments for the soul. 

3. Also, we shouldn't avoid religious argument. For one thing, it's impossible to justify human rights or women's rights on a secular basis. So we can put the abortionist on the defensive. That's an opportunity to deploy the moral argument for God's existence. 

You can't simply assert religious claims when addressing unbelievers. That begs the question from their standpoint. An illegitimate argument from authority.

But you can give reasons for Christianity. And that, in turn, undergirds appeal to Christian ethics. Many unbelievers have no idea that there is any evidence for Christianity. They think it's all a matter of sheer faith. Make-believe and wishful thinking. By avoiding religious arguments, prolifers reinforce that damaging stereotype. 


  1. It's been said that there have been 50 to 60 million abortions in the United States since the 1973 decision of Roe vs. Wade (random websites that seem to agree with around 60 million = here, here ). That got me thinking how many grains of rice 60 million was. One youtube video (here) roughly calculated that 1 million grains of rice is 75 liters. I calculated that 75 liters is approximately 20 gallons. So, if you filled 20 empty one gallon milk bottles with dry grains of rice, you'd have about 1 million grains. 60 million abortions represented by grains of rice would then be 1,200 gallons or rice!!! Or 240 five gallon plastic water bottles. The kind you flip upside down into a water dispenser!!!

  2. This post is full of great points.