Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ambulance chasers


It's now past six hours since I documented how cathmom had apologized, and still no acceptance of it here, in Christian charity. Why should it take so long? Is it not part of Reformed Christianity to accept and acknowledge a heartfelt apology when it is offered? It was certainly part of my evangelical Christianity.
On my blog she even said she went to confession over it, so obviously she is sincere in intent. Or is that what you deny? Otherwise, why the great gap in response?
Catholics say "I'm sorry" or "I apologize" to other human beings, just like everyone else (!). It's Christianity 0101, but it seems to be such an advanced Christianity for Steve, that he doesn't grasp it. It's too much fun running down Catholics, to pause and say "I accept your apology." Pretty novel and bizarre stuff, huh Steve?

First of all, I don’t ordinarily handle communications from Dave. I normally delegate that sort of thing to my personal assistant, Pepper Potts.

Secondly, I was having dinner with Beyoncé Friday night, so I instructed Miss Potts not to disturb me unless there was some ecoanarchoterrorist attack on one of my subsidiaries.

Third, cathmom’s qualified apology is irrelevant. I never sought an apology. I wasn’t personally wronged by cathmom. I wasn’t offended by her tirade. That was never the point.

The initial point was to simply expose the quality of reasoning you typically find among lay Catholic epologists. Having succeeded, there’s nothing more to say at my end.

Fourth, why did Armstrong reedit his post to scrub all references to cathomom (“I have reposted the following remarks, that were in this combox, so as to uphold the anonymity of the woman who made them”), only to turn right around and demand a public acknowledgment on my part? If protecting her anonymity is now the priority, how's that consistent with demanding a public acknowledgement from me concerning her?

Fifth, there were several parties to this imbroglio. In addition to cathmom there’s Scott Windsor. But Windsor, rather than accepting rational correction, has chosen to dig in his heels.

So there’s nothing for me to “acknowledge” on that score, even if I was under some (imaginary) obligation to do so.

Sixth, Armstrong’s contribution would have been preferable had he not turned this into yet another pretext for self-aggrandizement. But by hogging the limelight, his intervention now looks purely opportunistic.

Graded Absolutism

HT: Patrick Chan

Secular fundies

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Epistemology of Disagreement and its Employment by Catholic Apologists

Male headship and Mme President

Byron York’s question to Bachmann raises an interesting conundrum. Apparently her husband was responsible for pushing her into having a career outside the home.

What if a husband is ambitious for his wife? What if he pushes her to move up the social ladder? To occupy positions in the public or private sector where she outranks many men? Indeed, where she is, in some sense, her husband’s boss?

What’s the submissive thing for a wife to do in that situation? Is she insubordinate if she disobeys? Or is she insubordinate if she obeys–thereby relegating her husband to a role subordinate to herself?

If submission to the husband’s wishes promotes the wife by demoting the husband, which response is insubordinate? 

"The New Yorker, Michele Bachmann, and Me"

Handicapping the Ames debate

I saw most of the GOP debate last night. A basic problem with the format is that when you have an 8-way debate, with 1-minute answers, that invites a certain amount of posturing and grandstanding. Candidates have to resort to over-the-top rhetoric and hyperbolic sound bites just to make their mark, to stand out and be memorable.


He wasn’t there, but his name came up. He may well be a major player when he shortly gets into the race. However, he has two potential liabilities:

i) He recently classified both abortion and sodomite marriage as states’-rights issues, then backpeddled.

ii) He hasn’t been tested in a national campaign, or even a national debate.


He has a lot going for him on paper. His major problem is stylistic, but in politics, presentation matters. He has the natural demeanor of a Sunday school teacher. He doesn’t project the image or temperament of a natural leader.

He’s become acutely aware of his soft, nice-guy image, and so he sometimes overcompensates by acting rough and tough. But it’s strained and unconvincing.


Not surprisingly, Gingrich was well-spoken, if a bit testy. He’s nothing if not articulate. Indeed, that’s both his strength and his weakness. However, he can’t afford to be too prickly and thin-skinned if he expects to succeed in his presidential bid. The coverage will be ruthless and relentless.


Romney is like a franchise: he churns out a very predictable, standardized performance. He’s strong on economic issues, which is a big deal in this election.

He drew technical distinctions between Obamacare and Romney care. The distinctions were correct, but miss the point: should gov’t, whether federal, state, or local, be allowed to make citizens purchase goods and services they don’t want and/or don’t need?


She was cool, poised, and focused under pressure. But she suffers from three potential liabilities:

i) If she’s the nominee, the mainstream media will try its best (or worst) to Bork her. And, while that’s unfair, she’s an easier target than someone like T-Paw.

ii) She spreads herself very thin. She does lots of speaking engagements. She has a large family.

As a result, she has a tendency to wing it, which makes her vulnerable to gaffes. She lacks the detailed mastery of facts you get from a single-minded policy wonk.

That’s not a criticism of her priorities, but if you get a reputation for gaffes, that can be politically damaging.

iii) An issue which both T-Paw and Santorum raised is her lack of legislative accomplishments and/or executive experience. Can she get things done? Can she broker deals? Are lost causes her cause in life?

To some extent, this is difficult to assess. A Congressional lawmaker isn’t comparable to a governor.

Likewise, to pass signature legislation, you need seniority, and you need to belong to the party in power. She hasn’t had much opportunity to rack up a constructive record.

Ron Paul

I’m always ambivalent about Ron Paul.

i) He’s the only candidate on the stage who would truly downsize our bloated Federal gov’t–if he had the chance. However, even if he were elected president, I doubt he’d succeed in radically scaling back the size of the Federal gov’t. That’s not something a president can do unilaterally. There too many special interest groups with a stake in the nanny state, and too many voters addicted to the nanny state.

ii) I don’t see the point of the gold standard. Gold has no intrinsic value. And its value is ultimately valued in national currencies, like the dollar. It’s no more stable than the dollar, or euro.

iii) His isolationist rhetoric has more resonance for a war-weary nation.

The problem is that Ron Paul’s ideology is so formulaic that it has prepared answers for every issue. It doesn’t allow for rational discrimination. Facts don’t matter, for it’s the same answer in every situation.

a) Take his notion that terrorists should be accorded full due process rights. This fails to draw an elementary distinction: we should treat like situations alike, and unlike situations unalike.

A foreign terrorist is not equivalent to an American citizen. Likewise, a terrorist is not equivalent to a house burglar.

A terrorist will game the system. Exploit this system to destroy the system. And the risk factors are far higher.

Given the presumption of innocence, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. That means a foreign-born terrorist will probably be acquitted in a federal court of law. The odds favor acquittal.

b) Likewise, take his comparison between Iran and Cold War Russia. The reason that MAD worked is that communist leaders were in no hurry to die. They didn’t believe in the afterlife.

Jihadis have a very different outlook. To the jihadi, pushing the red button gets you 72 renewable virgins in paradise.


For some reason, Santorum has a hard time getting traction. In general, I think he’d make a fine president. I’m not quite sure why he doesn’t catch on with GOP voters. 

Ironically, because he has a more combative personality than T-Paw, he can be more aggressive without seeming mean or petty, unlike T-Paw, when T-Paw acts out-of-character to do his (bad) tuff-guy impersonation.

He raises an important, but vexed issue, about states’ rights. To what extent do individual states have the right to wrong their citizens? 


Cain turned in a fairly solid performance, but he wasn’t a standout in this debate.


Not only are his social views out of sync with the religious right (which is a dominant faction in the GOP), but he came across as nervous, quavery, and insecure. Like a cat facing down a big dog. There was also the tiresome trope about how “proud” he is of his record. But to keep repeating how proud you are doesn’t give the audience a reason to share your pride.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Missing links

Domestic animals sometimes become feral animals, and interbreed with compatible wild animals. Conversely, hunters sometimes introduce wild game animals into foreign habitat. These animals sometimes interbreed with compatible native wild species or compatible domestic livestock. Or sometimes exotic pets escape. Or owners dump exotic pets when they become too much of a handful.

To take some concrete examples, wild boar, which were introduced into North America, interbreed with domestic pigs. Lions and tigers sometimes interbreed–producing ligers.

In South Florida, there’s a concern that Burmese pythons may interbreed with African rock pythons. And you also have reticulated pythons in Florida. Dingoes are another example. And Africanized bees.

Or compare feral horse with wild horses.

This raises a question: if an evolutionary biologist were examining the fossil remains of hybrids, how could he tell the difference between a hybrid and an intermediate or transitional species?

Suppose he had fossil remains of lions, tigers, and ligers. In principle, you could have four competing evolutionary trees:

i) Lions evolved from tigers–via ligers

ii) Tigers evolved from lions–via ligers

iii) Ligers evolved from lions and tigers

iv) Ligers were the common ancestor of lions and tigers

How does an evolutionary biologist distinguish evidence for transitional/intermediate species from evidence for hybrids?

Wouldn’t a hybrid share characteristics of two distinct taxa? 


The flaming Randi

James Randi came out of the closet. He also has an interview where he apparently elaborates. I haven't listened to it.

But I wonder if this doesn't in part explain his lifelong "skepticism" (to put it mildly) toward religion, particularly Christianity? For example, his Wikipedia entry notes:
In his essay "Why I Deny Religion, How Silly and Fantastic It Is, and Why I'm a Dedicated and Vociferous Bright", Randi, who identifies himself as an atheist,[1] has stated that many accounts in religious texts, including the virgin birth, the miracles of Jesus Christ, and the parting of the Red Sea by Moses, are not believable. For example, Randi refers to the Virgin Mary as being "impregnated by a ghost of some sort, and as a result produced a son who could walk on water, raise the dead, turn water into wine, and multiply loaves of bread and fishes" and questions how Adam and Eve "could have two sons, one of whom killed the other, and yet managed to populate the earth without committing incest." He writes that, compared to the Bible, "The Wizard of Oz is more believable. And more fun."[57]

Team players

Mr. Hays reaches a new low with me in this response.  His response to cathmom5 is nothing short of anti-Catholic BIGOTRY.  

If a Catholic indulges in a blanket, prejudicial smear of Protestants by impugning the motives of all Protestants who support “artificial” birth control, even though said Catholic is in no position to know their motives, that’s not anti-Protestant bigotry–but if a Protestant responds with a reductio ad absurdum, that’s “anti-Catholic BIGOTRAY”!

Windsor betrays the insular mindset of the team player. The team player automatically cheers his own team and automatically jeers the other team. The team player keeps a tally of every real or imagined foul by the other team while turning a blind eye to every foul by his own team.

It’s the Mafia mentality. One standard of la familia, another standard for outsiders.

Have SOME popes been "bad popes" and sinned as Hays accuses?  Perhaps - but it is NOT the norm and neither is the rationale behind Natural Family Planning.  It appears to me that cathmom5 struck a nerve with Mr. Hays and he lashed out irrationally.  For example of this irrationality - Pope John Paul II was a public proponent of Natural Family Planning* - and I would challenge Mr. Hays to provide PROOF or at least some SOUND EVIDENCE of any such "lechery" - such as "fornicat(ing) with nuns and hookers" with Bl. Pope John Paul II.  Such debased language without some sort of support is irresponsible, invalid argumentation and even un-Christian.  

Here’s a guy who presumes to be an apologist for Rome, but he can’t grasp basic forms of argument. He doesn’t grasp the nature of a tu quoque, or a reductio ad absurdum.

An argument from analogy only has to be analogous to be valid. The counterargument doesn’t have to be any truer than the argument it opposes.

That’s the point. For the argument works either way.

If it’s valid for cathmom5 to impute immoral motives to millions of Protestants she’s never met, then it’s valid for me to impute immoral motives to the popes.

Notice that Scott Windsor doesn’t demand any evidence or proof from cathmom5 for her defamatory allegations. That’s because she’s a fellow teammate, so the rules are different for her.

My argument is predicated on a conditional premise: if her argument is valid, and my argument is analogous, then my argument is valid.

But Scott Windsor is one of those sociopathic partisans who will fly into a rage the moment you make their team play by the same rules. A loyalist can never step out of his own viewpoint to see an issue from the viewpoint of the Other. It’s the same thing we see in the political sphere every day. 


But Pruss didn't "leave it at that!"  If one investigates the link provided by Mr. Hays they can see that Pruss indeed explained further:
“The other example is that of theodicy. God never causes an evil.  However, in order to draw a greater good out of it, He sometimes permits evils. The greatest and clearest example of this was the crucifixion. God did not cause Judas to betray Jesus and Pilate to condemn Him, but He permitted it, in order to bring a greater good out of it. It is essential to the way that sexual union as one body is constituted that while willing the union one not simultaneously unwill the end (reproduction) the biophysiological striving towards which constitutes the union. However, it is not necessary that one explicitly will this end, only that one not will anything contradictory to it. The implicit willing of the unitive meaning of the sexual act, in the absence of a contradictory willing, suffices to make the teleological striving that constitutes the union be a willed striving—and hence a striving of the person, and not merely of the body, thereby effecting a willed personal union.”
It is a bit disingenuous of Hays to say Pruss left it "at that."  Hays even quotes that Pruss says there are "at least two other examples" and then only quotes one of them - and has the audacity to accuse him of "leaving it at that."

i) As usual, this illustrates Scott Windsor’s chronic inability to follow an argument. When I said Pruss “left it at that,” what was I referring to? Was I referring to the fact that he didn’t give examples to illustrate his contention? No.

I spelled out what I was referring to. After saying “It’s odd that someone as astute as Pruss would leave it at that.” I immediately explained what I referring to. As I went on to say: “It’s of course true that the distinction between causing and permitting can sometimes be morally relevant or exculpatory. But it’s easy to come up with counterexamples where that distinction is morally irrelevant or culpable.”

Pruss’s two illustrations fail to distinguish between culpable permission and inculpable permission.  I then went on to give an example of culpable permission, to illustrate my point.

ii) Indeed, it’s ironic that Pruss would cite euthanasia as a case in point, since euthanasia can be permissive rather than casual.

For Pruss to make good on his argument, he’d need to do two things:

a) Distinguish culpable from inculpable permission;

b) Show how natural family planning is a case in inculpable rather than culpable permission.

ii) I also didn’t bother to discuss Pruss’s other example because that would involve me in an irrelevant digression.  But as a matter of fact, his example fails on its own terms.

a) God didn’t merely “permit” the Crucifixion. For one thing, God created Judas foreknowing that Judas would be instrumental in the Crucifixion. Therefore, God intended that result.

b) According to Acts 2:23 and 4:28, God predestined the Crucifixion.

Sorry, but ‘withholding medicine’ which is not an extra-ordinary means of keeping someone alive DOES CAUSE HER HUSBAND TO DIE!

Once again, Windsor can’t follow the argument. What he’s just done is to erase Pruss’s distinction between permission and causation. As Pruss defines it, causation involves a positive action to bring about the result whereas permission allows nature to take its course by refraining from intervention. The difference between action and inaction.

Windsor can redefine causation if he likes, but in that case he’s now in the counterproductive position of defending Pruss’s argument by repudiating Pruss’s argument.

Certainly ‘the cause’ is the underlying heart condition - but if one willfully withholds the medicine from another against his will - that would be murder.  A clearer example of this would be a mother refusing to feed her newborn infant... that is negligence and murder for the mother has caused the death of her baby.  No rational human being with any sense of charity or concern for the helpless/innocent would simply say the baby died of starvation and leave the mother's culpability out of the picture.

This is yet another example of Windsor’s chronic intellectual confusions. The question at issue, as Pruss framed the issue, isn’t murder, per se, but causation as a precondition of murder (or other culpable actions).

Sure, we may rightly say the mother in this hypothetical is culpable, but that doesn’t follow from Pruss’s distinction. To the contrary, that runs counter to Pruss’s distinction. As Pruss defines it, the mother didn’t “cause” the death of her baby.

Windsor can, of course, say that distinction is morally irrelevant, but the moment he does so he nullifies the very distinction that Pruss deployed to exculpate natural family planning.

Windsor is such a blunderbuss.

Clearly in The Little Foxes, Regina does kill her sickly husband by withholding his medicine, which IS Hays' point here - but the point Hays misses is the fact that "planning" to participate in "the marriage act" during infertile times is not the same as "doing it" during fertile times and then killing the seed by some chemical or physical barrier.

Windsor is asserting what he needs to prove. He fails to show how his distinction is morally germane to the issue at hand.

I'm sure that those who condone contraception believe this to be the case, but if the intent is contraception then the couple is in mortal sin.

Catholic couples who practice natural family planning do so with a contraceptive intent: their objective is to preempt conception.

Medieval genetics

Catholic epologists often make a big deal about the (alleged) fact that it wasn’t until the 20C that Protestants began to support contraception. Of course, even if that’s true, there’s an obvious reason for that: the availability of safe, effective birth control is contingent on advances in medical science.

By the same token, Catholic epologists have a habit of defaulting to traditional conclusions regarding birth control while ignoring the obsolete “science” that underlay traditional conclusions. For instance, consider the understanding of genetics reflected in Aquinas, who is summarizing various traditional positions, before stating his own:

Reply to the Ninth Objection. There are several opinions about the life of the embryo. According to some in human generation the soul, like the human body, is subject to stages of progression, so that as the human body is virtually in the semen, yet has not actually the perfection of a human body by having distinct members, but gradually reaches this perfection through the force of the semen, so at the beginning of the generation the soul is there having virtually all the perfection which subsequently is to be seen in the perfect human being, yet it has not this perfection actually, since there is no sign of the soul’s activity, but attains thereto by degrees: so that at first there are indications of the action of the vegetal soul, then of the sensitive soul, and lastly of the rational soul. Gregory of Nyssa mentions this opinion (De Homine): but it cannot be admitted. It means either that the soul in its species is in the semen from the very . outset, deprived however of its perfect activity through lack of organs, or that from the beginning there is in the semen some energy or form not having as yet the species of a soul (just as the semen has not as yet the appearance of a human body) but by the action of nature gradually transformed into a soul at first vegetal, then sensitive and lastly rational. The former alternative is rebutted first by the authority of the Philosopher. He says, in fact (De Anima ii, i), that when we say that the soul is the act of a physico-organic body which has life potentially we do not exclude the soul, as we exclude it from the semen and the fruit. Hence we gather that the semen is animated potentially in that the soul is not therein. Secondly, because as the semen has no definite likeness to the members of the human body (else its resolution would be a kind of corruption) but is the residue of the final digestion (De Gener. Anim. i, 19), it was not yet while in the body of the begetter perfected by the soul, so that in the first instant of its separation it could not have a soul. Thirdly, granted that it was animated when it was separated, this cannot refer to the rational soul: because since it is not the act of a particular part of the body, it cannot be sundered when the body is sundered.
The second alternative is also clearly false. For seeing that a substantial form is brought into act not continuously or by degrees but instantaneously (else movement would needs be in the genus of substance just as it is in that of quality) the force which from the outset is in the semen cannot by degrees advance to the various degrees of soul. Thus the form of fire is not produced in the air so as gradually to advance from imperfection to perfection, since no substantial form is subject to increase and decrease, but it is the matter alone that is changed by the previous alteration so as to be more or less disposed to receive the form: and the form does not begin to be in the matter until the last instant of this alteration.
Others say that in the semen there is at first the vegetal soul and that afterwards while this remains the sensitive soul is introduced by the power of the generator, and that lastly the rational soul is introduced by creation. So that they posit in man three essentially different souls. Against this, however, is the authority of the book De Ecclesiasticis Dogmatibus (xv): “Nor do we say that there are two souls in one man as James and other Syrians write; one, animal, by which the body is animated and which is mingled with the blood, the other spiritual, which obeys the reason.” Moreover, it is impossible for one and the same thing to have several substantial forms ! because, since the substantial form makes a thing to be, not in this or that way, but simply, and establishes this or that thing in the genus of substance; if the first form, does this, the second form at its advent will find the subject already established with substantial being and consequently win accrue to it accidentally: and thus it would follow that the sensitive and rational souls in man would be united accidentally to the body, Nor can it be said that the vegetal soul which is the substantial form in a plant is not the substantial form in a man, but a mere disposition to the form, since that which is in the genus of substance cannot be an accident of anything.
Hence others say that the vegetative soul is potentially sensitive and that the sensitive soul is its act: so that the vegetative soul which at first is in the semen is raised to the perfection of the sensitive soul by the action of nature; and further that the rational soul is the act and perfection of the sensitive soul, so that the sensitive soul is brought to its perfection consisting in the rational soul, not by the action of the generator but by that of the Creator. Hence they hold that the rational soul is in man partly from within, namely as regards its intellectual nature, and partly from without as regards its vegetative and sensitive nature. Now this is altogether impossible, because either it means that the intellectual nature is distinct from the vegetal and sensitive souls, and thus we return to the second opinion, or it means that these three natures constitute the substance of the soul wherein the intellectual nature will be the form as it were, and the sensitive and vegetative natures, matter. From, this it would follow, as the sensitive and vegetative natures are corruptible through being educed from matter, that the substance of the rational soul would not be immortal. Moreover, this opinion is involved in the same impossibility as we have shown to be implicated in the first opinion, namely that a substantial form be brought into act by degrees.
Others say that there is no soul in the embryo until it is perfected by the rational soul, and that the vital functions to be observed therein proceed from the soul of the mother. But this also is impossible: because living and non-living things differ in that living things are self-moving in respect of vital functions, whereas non-living things are not. Wherefore nutrition and growth which are the functions proper to a living being cannot result in the embryo from an extrinsic principle such as the mother’s soul. Moreover, the mother’s nutritive power would assimilate food to the mother’s body and not to the body of the embryo: ‘since nutrition serves the individual just as generation serves the species. Further, sensation cannot be caused in the embryo by the mother’s soul. Wherefore others say that there is no soul in the embryo before the infusion of the rational soul, but that there is a formative force that exercises these vital f~nctions in the embryo. This again is impossible, because before the embryo attains to its ultimate complement it shows signs of various vital functions; and these cannot be exercised by one power: so that there must needs be a soul there having various powers.
We must therefore say differently that from the moment of its severance the semen contains not a soul but a soul power: and this power is based on the spirit contained in the semen which by nature is spumy and consequently contains corporeal spirit. Now this spirit acts by disposing matter and forming it for the reception of the soul. And we must observe a difference between the process of generation in men and animals and in air or water. The generation of air is simple, since therein only two substantial forms appear, one that is voided and one that is induced, and all this takes place together in one instant, so that the form of water remains during the whole period preceding the induction of the form of air; without any previous dispositions to the form of air. On the other hand in the generation of an animal various substantial forms appear: first the semen, then blood and so on until we find the form of an animal or of a man. Consequently this kind of generation is not simple, but consists of a series of generations and corruptions: for it is not possible, as we have proved above, that one and the same substantial form be educed into act by degrees. Thus, then, by the formative force that is in the semen from the beginning, the form of the semen is set aside and another form induced, and when this has been set aside yet another comes on the scene, and thus the vegetal form makes its first appearance: and this being set aside, a soul both vegetal and sensitive is induced; and this being set aside a soul at once vegetal, sensitive and rational is induced, not by the aforesaid force but by the Creator. According to this opinion the embryo before having a rational soul is a living being having a soul, which being set aside, a rational soul is induced: so that it does not follow that two souls are together in the same body, nor that the rational soul is transmitted together with the body.
Reply to the Tenth Objection. Before the advent of the rational soul the embryo is not a perfect being but is on the way to perfection: and therefore it is not in a genus or species save by reduction, just as the incomplete is reduced to the genus or species of the complete.
Reply to the Eleventh Objection. Although the soul is not in the semen from the beginning, the soul-force is there, as stated above, which force is based on the spirit contained in the semen; and is called a soul-force because it comes from the soul of the generator.
Reply to the Twelfth Objection. Before the advent of the rational soul the semen is a living and animate being, as stated above; wherefore we grant this argument.
The same answer applies to the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Objections.
Reply to the Sixteenth Objection. The formative force that is from the outset in the semen remains even after the advent of the rational soul; just as the animal spirits remain into which nearly the whole substance of the semen is changed. This force, which at first served to form the body, afterwards regulates the body. Thus heat which at first disposes matter to the form of fire remains after the advent of the form of fire as an instrument of the latter’s activity.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Two Kingdoms, Natural Law, and Moral Theory Pt. 1"

A local look at the Wisconsin recall elections

"God, in His ordinary providence, makes use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them, at His pleasure"

Warrant and Proper Function

Two seminal books by Plantinga, now available online:

HT: Greg Welty

Free-range kids

All three come down pretty hard on the birth-control pill because of its abortifacient potential, though Wilson doesn’t mention the pill by name, he does refer to the command against destroying life as prohibiting the use of birth-control methods that work by abortifacient means. For those unfamiliar with the issue, the pill works by making the womb inhospitable to a pregnancy. If conception does take place, it becomes very difficult for the brand new baby to attach to the walls of the uterus and begin its gestation. In essence, the baby, only a few cells big, would starve to death.
There is no solid medical evidence that this does actually happen, but the manufacturers of the pill acknowledge it as a possibility in the instructions that come with the drugs. But even if the chance is remote, Christians have no place putting the lives of their children in jeopardy and I applaud these Reformed pastors for taking a stand against it for that reason.

I’ve commented on this once before, but I’ll approach it from another angle. Fact is, most parents, including most devout Catholics, put their children’s lives in harm’s way on a regular basis. What is more, this involves unnecessary risks.

Consider parents, including devout Catholics, who allow their kids to go hiking, camping, surfing, swimming, skating, skiing, kayaking, bicycling, motorbiking, horseback riding; play football, hockey–not to mention wrestling, boxing, gymnastics, or martial arts, etc.

All these activities carry the potential for irreparable injury or death. So many things can go wrong, even if the risk is statistically low. And if enough kids do it often enough, it’s inevitable that the worst-case scenario will eventuate every now and then.

Before Catholic epologists presume to be so judgmental, they need to knuckle down and think through the implications of their own position and practice.

Lecherous popes

cathmom5 said...

It just seems to me that the attempt to compare NFP--used with the correct intent--and contraception is just an excuse to justify the fact that they want to use contraceptions [sic]. Those "christians" who use contraception, I believe, know deep down they are morally wrong...Those "christians" must find a way to justify their disobedience of God's will by "taking down" the Church's moral stance--like the bully on the playground making himself feel better by making the others feel bad. Why else would this ignorant (in the dictionary sense!) argument keep coming up?

Well, if that’s what motivates Protestants, then by parity of logic, it just seems to me that the attempt by popes to defend “natural family planning” is just an excuse to justify the fact that they want to fornicate with nuns and hookers without wearing a condom or fathering a kid out of wedlock. Popes who defend “natural family planning,” I believe, know deep down they are morally wrong. Lascivious popes must find a loophole to excuse their lechery. Why else would they concoct so many ad hoc distinctions? 

Losing faith in theories

As a young Christian, when I was presented with the view that Christians must believe in a young-earth and global flood, I went along willingly...One also finds erosional canyons buried in the earth. These canyons would require time to excavate, just like the time it takes to erode the Grand Canyon...And being through with creationism, I very nearly became through with Christianity.  I was on the very verge of becoming an atheist.

This is a stereotypical narrative for many apostates. When they lose faith in creationism, or some particular claim thereof, they lose faith in Scripture.

At the risk of stating the obvious, Genesis never mentions the Grand Canyon. Genesis doesn’t say the Grand Canyon was formed by the flood. Genesis doesn’t say anything about the origin of the Grand Canyon one way or the other.

Morton is like a man who views a painting through tinted glasses, then when he decides the color scheme is off, throws the painting away rather than the glasses.

It’s important to distinguish what the Bible actually say from theoretical constructs. Losing faith in some theory about the formation of the Grand Canyon is not logically equivalent to losing faith in Scripture.

I’m not debating the pros and cons of flood geology right now. And I’m not qualified to debate that issue in any case.

Rather, I’m drawing attention to a common confusion among apostates.

With sufficient ingenuity, you can come up with scientific theories to explain just about anything. You can start with the same data and come up with competing theories which are empirically equivalent.

Don’t confuse rejecting a theory with rejecting the Bible, especially when the theory is far more specific than the Bible. When the theory talks about things on which the Bible is silent. 

Dinosaurs from outer space!

On the one hand, there are folks who think fossilized dinosaurs constitute evidence for evolution. On the other hand, there are folks who think aliens have been to planet earth.

The obvious solution is staring us in the face: dinosaurs are aliens!

After all, we’ve all seen reptilian aliens in movies. So this clearly represents a Jungian racial memory of cave men encountering hostile saurian alien species. What could be simpler? That's Exopaleontology 101, dude!