Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mr. Muddle

“I am even less sure that I would know how to produce a good legal argument against Roe v. Wade, because in a legal context you have ways of blocking the sorts of ‘err on the side of life’ arguments that I would use if I were trying to talk someone I knew not to get an abortion.”

This illustrates Reppert’s chronic inability to reason like a philosopher. The “err on the side of life” argument is not a legal argument against Roe, but a moral argument against abortion.

The legal argument is quite straightforward: the Constitution is silent on abortion.

There is no stated right of abortion in the Constitution. There is no implicit right of abortion in the Constitution. The framers of the Constitution, as well as subsequent amendments, did not intend to confer a right to abort. The states which ratified the Constitution, as well as subsequent amendments, did not intend to confer a right to abort.

Therefore, it’s quite possible to support abortion, but oppose Roe v. Wade.

There are some additional problems with the reasoning of Roe, such as the antiquated and philosophically suspect appeal to viability.

“And I have even more serious doubts about the standard conservative attack on Roe: that it involved judicial activism. It seems to me that the right of privacy is constitutionally grounded.”

Yet another example of Reppert’s chronic inability to reason like a philosopher. Even if there is a Constitutional right to privacy, that doesn’t begin to entail a Constitutional right to abort.

“All you have with any political leader is their professions of Christian conscience.”

A hopelessly naïve statement. What we have is a paper trail or track record for various candidates. What have they said and done in the past?

“The pro-life position is appealing in the sense that you don't get stuck with the problem of accounting for how fetal life comes to acquire the full rights of personhood. But to go from there to the conclusion that there is no moral difference between taking the life of a zygote and taking the life of a two-year-old looks like a stretch to me.”

“Looks like a stretch” is not an argument. Where is the argument?

i) Isn’t Reppert a dualist? Does Reppert now take the position that mental events are reducible to brain-events?

ii) Moreover, let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that a zygote is not a person. How does that justify abortion on demand—or even infanticide?

At most it would only warrant early term abortions—not abortions at any stage of gestation. There would still be a threshold in prenatal development. So restrictions (on late term abortions) would still be in place. Would Reppert kill his newborn baby?

“I think some of the considerations that support the right to life are some of the same ones that push me in the direction of the Democratic Party, the concern for the defense of the weak and disadvantaged against the powerful. (Probably the strongest moral theme in all of Scripture).”

Reppert is incapable of distinguishing between rhetoric and reality. The fact that the Democrat Party claims to be concerned with the weak and disadvantaged does not begin to imply that it’s actual policies benefit the weak and the disadvantaged.

“Perhaps after what I anticipate will be Obama's election victory, my post will be entitled ‘An Open Letter to Barack Obama’ urging him to take fetal life seriously and to move away from the sort of Planned Parenthood party line we are so used to hearing from Democrats.”

That’s like writing an open letter of condolence to a murder victim when you could have intervened to prevent the homicide in the first place.

“I really think that neither political party has enough power, with our two-party system, to push through a change in the Supreme Court sufficient to overthrow Roe and get us to the place where abortion is illegal in many states. So long as there is a partisan deadlock on this issue, no progress will be made.”

Is there some reason that Reppert is perpetually dense? Even if we can’t overturn Roe v. Wade, we can restrict Roe v. Wade. If, however, we elect Obama, then all state restrictions will be swept away.

And the abortionists attack the prolifers on other fronts to, like trying to shut down crisis pregnancy centers.

“I find this whole issue extremely difficult, and I have never tried so hard to me intellectually honest in all my life.”

In that case he clearly lacks the competence to teach philosophy. His position is a tissue of fallacies from start to finish.

1 comment:

  1. "Is there some reason that Reppert is perpetually dense?"

    Only God really knows.

    But if I were asked to provide some general reasons, I would suggest these two possibilities (which are related):

    (1) Unteachable.

    (2) Pride.