Saturday, March 05, 2016

Another Trump Business Failure

Here are the details.

Pope Francis Praises Italy's Leading Abortion-Rights Activist

Note the last paragraph, below, making excuses for what this pope did and did not know. It is countered in advance by Rorate early in the article, saying “And before the typical sycophants say he doesn't know her disturbing, murderous history, he was asked about just that. The pope's response? ‘True, but never mind.’”

Pro-life leaders expressed shock after Pope Francis praised the "Margaret Sanger" of Italian politics.

In an interview early in February the Pope called former Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino one of the nation's "forgotten greats." Bonino for decades has been known as Italy's most outspoken abortion-rights activist.

In his interview with the Italian daily Corriere Della Serra, the Pope acknowledged that his praise, in which he compared her to historical figures such as Konrad Adenauer, who was the first post-world War II chancellor of Germany, and the famed French statesman Robert Schuman, could be considered controversial.

He noted she has critics but dismissed them, saying, "True, but never mind. We have to look at people, at what they do." He also praised her work and advice in dealing with Africa.

The Pope's remarks surprised church traditionalists.

"How can the Pope praise a woman that is best known in Italy for practicing illegal abortion and promoting abortion?" said Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro, who was until last year the head of the Rome office of Human Life International, reports the pro-life website LifeSiteNews.

Bonino, a leading member of the Radical Party and former European commissioner, is well known for having an abortion at the age of 27 and then working with the Information Centre on Sterilization and Abortion, which was responsible for 10,000 abortions, notes LifeSiteNews.

She entered politics after being acquitted on charges of performing illegal abortions, the site says, and there are photos of her performing abortions using a homemade device operated by a bicycle pump.

Italian politician Luca Volonte, president of the pro-life Novae Terrae Foundation, suggested to LifeSiteNews that the Pope "was not really informed about how much Mrs. Bonino has done in Italy and at the international level to promote abortion and euthanasia."

Friday, March 04, 2016

The golden key

Scientific progress and stultification

Einstein had a good idea 100 years ago, and we need another one to take us forward. But the approach has to be more investigative than directive. If you try to direct science, you only get people going in the direction you told them to go. All of science comes from people noticing interesting side paths. You’ve got to have a very flexible approach to exploration and allow different people to try different things. Which is difficult, because unless you jump on the bandwagon, you don’t get a job.

Worrying about your future, you have to stay in line. That’s the worst thing about modern science. Fortunately, when you get to my age, you don’t need to bother about that. I can say what I like.

Sin boldly

I'm going to begin by quoting some statements by Arminian theologian Roger Olson:

Few movies have affected me as strongly as the 2011 film “Machine Gun Preacher” starring Gerard Butler as Sam Childers, drug addict turned Christian missionary who takes up an AK-47 for Jesus in the Sudan. Based on Childers’s true life story, the movie raises gut-wrenching questions about Christian ethics and especially whether use of deadly force is ever justified for the Christian. As those who have seen the movie know, Childers joined a mission trip to the Sudan and there encountered children being slaughtered and forced to kill others by the so-called Lord’s Resistance Army. Faced with the opportunity to resist this horror with deadly force, he reluctantly accepted it and became the Lord’s Resistance Army’s worst nightmare. Because of his violent resistance to LRA numerous children’s lives were saved and many more were rescued from child soldierhood.
What advice would Niebuhr give to the Machine Gun Preacher? I think he would congratulate him for daring to get involved in a bloody, messy struggle to save children’s lives but warn him against over use of violence, against vengeance, and against ever believing his cause is wholly righteous and without sin. He would urge him to use only what deadly force was absolutely necessary to save the lives of innocent children and to never think of himself as innocent. He would advise him to seek God’s forgiveness for being involved in violence even though it was thrust upon him and he had little choice given the circumstances. He would remind him that this is a broken world and there is no perfection and violence is always a sign of that brokenness, even when it is necessary. He would tell him to “sin boldly and repent more boldly still.”
I agree with Niebuhr and Gutierrez that Christians, that I, must be open to the call of God to take up power, even deadly force if necessary, to defend the weak, the helpless and oppressed. With Niebuhr I agree that such use of coercive force for any cause is less than perfect, is even sinful, and never something to be celebrated or boasted of. 
With great reluctance and admission that repentance is called for, were I in the Machine Gun Preacher’s shoes I hope I would have the courage to do the same as he. And I hope I would remember that even such a just cause is fraught with ambiguity and unrighteousness and requires grace, mercy and forgiveness. 
There are times when we find ourselves caught in a situation where can have no choice but to sin because all the alternatives available are not what Christ commanded in the Sermon on the Mount. 
Yes--a grave danger. Which is why I insisted that repentance is always the only proper response when we find that we must do what Jesus would not do or commanded us not to do. It's not license to do whatever we want to do. 
To my way of thinking, shaped as it is by the Sermon on the Mount, even self-defense or other-defense using deadly force is evil. But sometimes it's necessary, justifiable and forgivable. 
Yes, in my opinion (as I explained here some time ago in an essay entitled "Sin Boldly: Christian Ethics for a Broken World") some actions are neither ethically purely right or ethically purely wrong but simply necessary. In that case they are justified even if they violate law (God's or man's) and should be forgiven.

So Olson believes in moral dilemmas. Here's a philosophical definition:

The agent thus seems condemned to moral failure; no matter what she does, she will do something wrong (or fail to do something that she ought to do).

That's a logical consequence of his freewill theism. God can't guarantee that we will always be in a position where we have a morally licit option. That's because the choices of some free agents create the circumstances to which other free agents must respond. God can't control those circumstances because he can't control the choices which generate those circumstances. 

That, however, creates an interesting parallel. A staple objection to Calvinism is that it's unjust, indeed "monstrously" unjust, for God to blame us if we could not have done otherwise. 

Yet Olson thinks some Christians will find themselves in situations where they must commit blameworthy actions. Where it's necessary to do something sinful, culpable, evil. 

Despite the fact that Christians have no sinless alternative in that situation, they should repent of their necessary action. They should seek divine forgiveness. 

Of course, that only makes sense if their actions are blameworthy–despite the fact that they had no blameless options. They are required to sin, and they are required to repent of their sin. 

Conversely, you have Calvinists like John Frame who deny moral dilemmas. For him, God has providentially prearranged events so that Christians always have a morally licit option. That stands in ironic contrast to Olson's freewill theism. 

The One True Cult

The standard slam against Protestants is that we have so many denominations. You have Catholic apologists who inveigh against "ecclesiastical consumerism" or even "ecclesiastical promiscuity". 

That's set in invidious contrast to the notion that Christ established a single visible church–which just so happens to correspond to the church of Rome. 

But let's consider a basic problem with that alternative. If you think there is only one church, which happens to be your particular denomination (e.g. Rome), then that commits you in advance to defending that institution no matter what. You are struck with that denomination regardless of what it's leaders say and do. You swear it your unconditional fealty. You become soldiers for your denomination. You will stick up for your denomination no matter what actually goes on in your denomination. If there's only one true church, then it's that or nothing. Rome or bust. 

Yes, you may offer throwaway concessions about wrongdoing, but that can never lead to you to question your totalitarian allegiance to your particular denomination. It can never become too bad for you to walk away. It can never become too evil for you to stop defending it. It's classic fanaticism: my church right or wrong. That's because they have no fallback. 

We see this in how Catholic apologists respond to the never-ending stream of new revelations about the priestly abuse scandal. Or how they constantly make excuses for Pope Francis. They will not allow anything to shake their faith in Rome. If the pope performed a weekly child sacrifice at St. Peter's basilica, they'd assure you that does nothing to discredit the institution. 

Catholic apologists have no moral independence. It's like a stark version of divine command theory. Good and evil are whatever Rome says. There's no external check. Rome itself is the standard of comparison. Catholic apologists have trapped themselves in the unbreakable circle of cultic authority. You can never leave the cult, for the cult-leader defines what is right and wrong.  

Unlawful presidential orders

In the primary debate last night, Trump said he would order soldiers to break the law. That had specific reference to waterboarding (or worse) and targeting the families of terrorists.

It should go without saying that a President has no legal authority to order subordinates to break the law. Not only are subordinates not obliged to obey unlawful orders, but they are obliged to disobey unlawful orders. 

In addition, subordinates can get into legal hot water if they obey unlawful orders. It is morally as well as legally wrong for a President to put his subordinates in legal jeopardy. And we have examples in American political history of subordinates who become fall guys for Presidential illegalities.

If a particular tactic is currently illegal, and a President deems that tactic to be necessary to combat terrorism, then he should negotiate with Congress to change the law. 

Why Ted Cruz's face makes you feel uneasy

For the record, I'd support Ted Cruz if he becomes the nominee. That said, this video has been making the rounds:

Edit: It looks like the YouTube user who originally posted the video has closed their YouTube account. Here is the same video posted on Facebook.

Can Trump be stopped?

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Lament on a hospital bed

"Take out their families"

It's hard to keep up with all of the outrageous things Trump says, but one statement of his that continues to get bad press is this: "The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don't kid yourself. When they say they don't care about their lives, you have to take out their families."

That's been widely denounced. However, it's an example of how critics fail to adequately address Trump's "solutions". Problem is, many supporters probably like what he said. To merely express disapproval simply reinforces their impression that Trump's critics are soft. Trump is prepared to do what's necessary. He will protect us. By contrast, his critics are paralyzed by political correctness. 

i) On the face of it, there's a certain logic to what he said. If you wish to deter terrorists, you attack something they care about. Even if a terrorist is prepared to sacrifice his own life for the cause, he will balk at exposing his family to harm. Therefore, you have to hit them where it hurts. So what, exactly, was wrong with Trump's statement? 

ii) To begin with, even if that was an effective tactic, military ethics is very important. In a way, ethics is even more important in warfare because the stakes are so much higher. There's a much greater potential or temptation to commit atrocities. Especially in war, we need to draw certain lines.

iii) Apropos (ii), this isn't just airy-fairy idealism. What makes us better than the enemy? What gives us the moral justification to wage war? If we're prepared to do whatever the enemy does, then we're all villains. 

iv) What does he mean by their families? There's a sense in which terrorism can be a family business. You can have fathers, grown sons, and adult brothers who are terrorists. Family in that sense is fair game. But if Trump means women and underage children, that's a different issue. 

v) Over and above the ethical concerns are logistical issues. Who, exactly, does he have in mind? Does American intelligence have a list of names and addresses for every terrorist family, or even most terrorist families? Presumably, we can't just send a cruise missile or predator drone to the address of every terrorist family, because we don't know where most of them reside. At best, I presume we only know who the leaders are. The upper echelon of terrorist networks. But even in that case, that doesn't mean we know their whereabouts. 

vi) If you can't perform surgical strikes to take out the terrorists, then the alternative would seem to be carpet bombing. Kill everyone within a certain radius to make sure you get the terrorists. That gives you a margin. 

Here's a problem with that tactic: one justification for defeating ISIS is to protect innocent civilians from ISIS. This is, in part, a humanitarian mission. But unless ISIS members are segregated from the general population, then Trump's proposal is like "destroying the village to save the village". 

Kill the body, not the soul

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Mt 10:28).

This is a prooftext for "traditionalists" and annihiliationists alike. It poses prima facie problems for both. But it's more problematic for annihilationism. 

i) This is a prooftext for substance dualism. By itself, the Greek word for "soul" (psyche) doesn't mean an immortal, immaterial soul. But here you have a contrastive relation. In the context of martyrdom, executioners can harm the body, but they can't harm the soul. That's out of their reach.

ii) Implied in the passage is the postmortem persistence of consciousness. The body without the soul is dead, but the soul without the body survives. Persecutors can't touch the real inner you. That contrast is essential to the thought. And that contradicts physicalist annihilationism. 

iii) This, in turn, involves a second contrast: humans can only harm a part of the person whereas God can harm the whole person. Persecutors only have power to harm the body, but God has the power to harm the entire individual. Hence, we should fear divine judgment more than martyrdom. 

iv) Annihilationists lay great stress on the "destroy" part. But why does Jesus begin with "kill," then switch to "destroy"? 

a) Because the second sentence envisions a postmortem situation after the body was killed. That's what makes it a postmortem situation. So it would be incongruous to use the same verb ("kill") in both situations. You can't kill a body that's already dead. 

But that means Jesus replaces "kill" with "destroy" to avoid superficial incoherence. The shift in verbs isn't meant to convey a major conceptual distinction. Rather, he changes the verb to make it more consistent with a postmortem situation, as well as divine judgment of the entire individual. 

b) Likewise, you can kill a body, because it's a physical organism. But you can't kill a soul, because it's not physical, and it's not "alive" in the biological sense of the word. 

c) Moreover, the image of destroying a dead body in hades is figurative. It's not as if dead bodies are teleported to hades. In reality, bodies are buried, and undergo progressive disintegration. In reality, it's the separation of body and soul, when the soul finally "leaves" the body, that causes or results in death. So we're dealing with picture language, as if the embodied decedent passes into the netherworld. 

(Although it's possible that this alludes to the general resurrection. But the passage is too terse to confirm that.)

v) Furthermore, the body/soul language is a merism to express the fact that God punishes the entire individual. 

vi) Hence, the passage is consonant with the traditional view of eternal punishment. 

vii) Taken by itself, the passage is consonant with dualist annihilationism. That, however, requires the cumbersome idea that God recreates the bodies of the damned in order to destroy their bodies (along with their souls) all over again.

Split party

How to defeat Trump

Rubio or Cruz should try this on Trump at the next debate.

Republican credibility and strategy

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Less than human

The debate over abortion continues (original FB post here):

[Jon Davis:] Interesting. So, would you define the people carrying a few Neanderthal genes as human or not?

If the Neanderthals are human, then why wouldn't people with human genes be human?

[Jon Davis:] Down syndrome?

Yes, people with Down syndrome are human. Do you think they aren't human? If so, why not? Is it the fact that they have an extra copy of chromosome 21? How does it make someone non-human if they have an extra copy of a chromosome?

[Jon Davis:] Go on, tell me where the cut off for "human" is...

Why is the burden of proof on us to tell where the "cut off for 'human' is"? Why don't you likewise bear a burden of proof? Why don't you tell us where the cut off for non-human is?

Also, you need to distinguish between two questions: First, do humans begin to exist at conception? Second, is every human a person? The second question is more of a philosophical and moral question, whereas the first is more of a scientific question.

If you're looking for an answer to the first question, then the science is clear. For example, embryologist Keith Moore in his book Before We Are Born has said: "Zygote. This cell is the beginning of a human being. It results from the fertilization of an ovum by a sperm. The expression 'fertilized ovum' refers to the zygote."

[Jon Davis:] you hold the idea that a zygote is human simply because of its genetic material.

What makes you say this? Where's your source that that's the standard pro-life "idea"?

Why isn't it more the case that the zygote/embryo is (according to scholar Christopher Kaczor) "a whole, complete organism, a living individual human being whose cells work together in a coordinated effort of self-development towards maturity"?

[Jon Davis:] Therefore I want to know the standard for being human. I actually don't think you can come up with an answer.

Therefore I want to know the standard for being non-human. I actually don't think you can come up with an answer.

[Jon Davis:] Legally a fetus is defined as a person once it can survive outside the mother. You are trying to find a way around that legal definition, so you need to figure out how you define a human genetically.

1. What makes you think a legal definition is necessarily a scientifically, philosophically, and morally sound and valid definition? For starters, what's legal isn't necessarily ethical, and what's ethical isn't necessarily legal.

2. Besides, it's possible to change the legal definition if it's too deficient.

3. The legal definition is largely based on viability. Now, what if a premature infant is viable at earlier than 20 weeks, thanks to modern medical science and technology? If so, then we'd have reasonable grounds to change the legal definition.

[Jon Davis:] For instance, a lump of cancerous cells in the uterus. Human or not?

Are you referring to something like hydatidiform moles or choriocarcinomas? If so, then no, these aren't human. What in the world makes you think they are human? For example, in a complete molar pregnancy, the ovum doesn't even have its genetic material.

[Jon Davis:] I find most anti-choice people realize that they have to move the goal post in an attempt to shore up their beliefs. This idea of shifting from "person" to "human" is a fine example of that. I'm simply pointing out that trying to shift it is dishonest.

1. For one thing, I've already responded to you regarding "human." So it's not as if I've ignored "human."

Rather, I'm referring to both "human" as well as "person." How is it "shifting" when I discuss both?

I suppose it'd be "shifting" if I attempted to evade answering one while equivocating between the two as if they were one and the same and responding to the substitute. But how is that what I've done?

2. What's more, the concept of "personhood" is often debated by *both sides* in the debate over abortion. Or are you so unfamiliar with debates over abortion that you've never come across the concept?

[Jon Davis:] There is a lot more to being a person than genetic material designated as human.

That's true. However, that's not what you originally claimed. You originally claimed that pro-lifers "hold the idea that a zygote is human simply because of its genetic material." Your statement isn't true of all pro-lifers. Hence why I corrected you.

[Jon Davis:] Without a lot of non-human material, people would simply die.

What does this even mean? You're too vague. Are you alluding to modern medical science and technology? Are you alluding to something else? You need to spell out what you mean. Otherwise it might as well be meaningless gibberish.

[Jon Davis:] You're [sic] genetic material is mixed in with the result of viral infections in your ancestors. Your body is host to millions of bacteria, many of which you would die without. To be human is more than simple genetics. (Never thought I'd have to refer to genetics as simple.)

Thanks for the random trivia. Although I'm already conversant with all this. But how does any of this have to do with what I've said let alone arguments for/against abortion? You'll need to be more specific and make an actual argument rather than have a laundry list of free floating facts.

Specifically, how does it imply the embryo or fetus is non-human just because it has "non-human material"? For instance, a person has an artificial heart which he needs to live. He has non-human material in him. How does this imply he is non-human?

[Jon Davis:] And while you may not hold to the idea that a zygote (or blastocyst) is human simply because of genetic material, that seems to be the argument posited by the OP.

I'm sure OP can more than speak for himself. But you can't ignore what I've said either.

[Jon Davis:] Self-awareness for at least a very basic definition.

You'll have to elaborate on what you mean by self-awareness, for I can think of at least three different entailments.

For example, do you mean actual self-awareness, i.e., a person must be literally self-aware of their own existence? If so, then it's arguable one is no longer self-aware if one is asleep or under general anesthesia for surgery or otherwise rendered unconscious. If so, and if self-awareness is what constitutes "human" or "personhood," then this would mean we're "human" or "persons" when we're awake or conscious, but we're no longer "human" or "persons" once we're asleep or unconscious. That'd be absurd.

[Jon Davis:] 1) I don't need to provide an argument for abortion. I simply need to point out that it is already a legal right

1. No, you're dead wrong. This is a debate over science, philosophy, and ethics as well. As I said, what's legal isn't necessarily what's ethical, and what's ethical isn't necessarily what's legal.

2. Btw, who's "shifting" now? You yourself earlier said: "And while you may not hold to the idea that a zygote (or blastocyst) is human simply because of genetic material, that seems to be the argument posited by the OP."

Hence you've already admitted the OP itself didn't start out as a "legal" debate. Rather, it started out as a scientific one.

[Jon Davis:] and one which some people are attempting to take away from 50% of the population.

1. You're overly sensitive. A debate on Facebook isn't tantamount to "some people are attempting to take away [abortion] from 50% of the population."

2. Besides, most pro-lifers seek to overturn abortion via Constitutional means and methods. If, for example, the next Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, then why isn't that perfectly Constitutional? If so, then there's nothing wrong with that.

3. By your logic, I hear you just as well arguing: "Slavery is a legal right, and one which some people are attempting to take away from 50% of the population by seeking to reverse the Dred Scott decision!"

[Jon Davis:] 2) A sleeping person can wake up and be self-aware in moments. With a few exceptions, notably those with a very strong coffee dependency. (Yes, that's humor.)

Funny, but this does absolutely nothing to counter my actual point. You may wish to try again.

[Jon Davis:] 3) A psychiatrist would be my first choice for determining self-awareness, as they study the physical aspect of the brain and body as well as the mind. A philosopher would be my last choice.

What about a neurologist? What about a neuroscientist? And what's wrong with a philosopher?

[Jon Davis:] An infant can survive outside its mother's body, unlike a blastocyst.

So what? How does not being able to survive outside the mother's womb imply a blastocyst isn't human?

We can't survive outside the Earth. Not without a space suit or similar. We can't survive (unassisted) in many climates and environments on our own planet. Does our inability to survive outside certain environments (e.g. planet Earth) make us non-human? No.

[Jon Davis:] Pro-Life Libertarians, you really should stop referring to yourself as "pro-life." At least be honest and say you are "anti-choice."

I will continue until you stop calling yourself pro-life and admit to being anti-choice. You are not pro-life.

Jon Davis is anti-life. Jon Davis is pro-baby killing. We can likewise play this game all day or night long.

[Jon Davis:] The majority of the people engaged in these debates would gladly remove others rights to choice.

1. You're assuming without benefit of argument that performing abortion is a "right."

2. At most, all you can say is some forms of abortion are currently legal. Yet, as I've painstakingly reiterated to you, but apparently it keeps bouncing off your thick skull, just because something is legal doesn't necessarily make it ethical.

3. Don't pretend many abortionists wouldn't "gladly" do the same or similar to pro-lifers if they could.

4. As I've already pointed out to you, there's nothing inherently wrong with overturning Roe v. Wade if it's done in accordance with the Constitution.

[Jon Davis:] Maybe you are satisfied to attempt to use legal means to remove others rights. There are also those using intimidation, arson, and murder.

1. You're attempting to deflect attention away from the scientific and philosophical arguments which clearly demonstrate the zygote is a human being by turning your attention to a minority of people who commit violence against abortionists.

Let's say we're arguing whether or not the sky is blue. Say I argue the sky is blue, but you argue it is not. Instead of dealing with evidence demonstrating the sky is blue, you decide to condemn a minority of blue sky believers who use violence to force people to believe the sky is blue. Say you're morally justified to condemn this group for their violence. Nevertheless, you're still evading the immediate question about whether or not the sky is blue.

Similarly, you're dodging central scientific and philosophical questions such as whether the embryo/fetus is a person, whether abortion is ethical or unethical, etc.

2. If it's true the embryo or fetus is a person, then no one has a "right" to murder another person.

3. One could just as well bring up many examples of how, say, pro-life Christians in America are "intimidated," have their rights attacked, their churches burned down, are murdered for their faith, etc.

[Jon Davis:] There was a war about that already, and most people in civilized countries agreed that slavery should be banned.

In one ear, out the other! No surprise, but you've completely missed the point. The point is the Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision was obviously morally wrong. It denied citizenship to African-Americans and effectively upheld slavery in the United States. And yes, we had to fight a war over it. The Supreme Court was completely wrong about slavery in the Dred Scott decision. Likewise, it's possible Roe v. Wade is morally wrong, despite it being the law of the land. It's possible the Supreme Court was completely wrong when it decided to allow abortion in Roe v. Wade, just like it was wrong about slavery in Dred Scott. That's the point.

[Jon Davis:] Reproductive rights are supported by the majority of those countries, and eroding in those headed for or already theocracies.

1. Again, you keep assuming abortion is a "right." But that's not something you can assume without argument, and certainly not when you're arguing against a pro-life position. I don't accept your premise. Your saying so doesn't make it so.

2. At the other extreme, there are some who would argue infanticide is a "reproductive right." Take Peter Singer.

As far as I can tell, your position is not a difference in kind, but merely a difference in degree to Singer's pro-infanticide position. If I'm wrong, then show me how I'm wrong about your pro-abortion position.

[Jon Davis:] An infant will be quite some time before being self aware. It won't sleep and awaken in moments to have self-awareness.

1. What makes you think an infant isn't self-aware?

2. Besides, self-awareness is one of *your* criteria for personhood. It's not one of *our* criteria for personhood. You're just arguing against yourself at this point. For instance, if it's true lacking self-awareness is a sufficient condition for non-personhood, and if it's true infants lack self-awareness, and if it's true there's nothing morally or ethically wrong with killing non-persons, then your argument could allow for infanticide.

[Jon Davis:] The specialists you have mentioned deal more with the mechanics than the software of the mind.

If the mind is "software," then presumably the physical brain is "hardware." If that's the case, then how do you explain the origin of the mind? Does "software" arise from "hardware"? Do both exist simultaneously? If so, how so? Further, if the mind is "software," then who or what wrote the code? If it's written by unguided neo-Darwinian processes, i.e. the blind watchmaker as Richard Dawkins might say, then how reliable is "the software of the mind"?

[Jon Davis:] Philosophy... It has its place. But it will only result in the consumption of oxygen.

Ironically you've been using "philosophy" throughout this debate. Does that mean your philosophical arguments "only result in the consumption of oxygen"?

[Jon Davis:] You wouldn't need to undertake overturning the law if it wasn't already a legal right.

You could just as well argue abolitionists in the antebellum period "wouldn't need to undertake overturning the law if it wasn't already a legal right" to own slaves.

[Jon Davis:] Infantacide [sic] used to be legal, and actually expected under certain criteria. I disagree with this and am glad we have moved past it.

As usual, you never miss the opportunity to miss my point. If it's true lacking self-awareness is a sufficient condition for non-personhood, if it's true infants lack self-awareness, and if it's true there's nothing morally or ethically wrong with killing non-persons, then your argument could allow for infanticide.

[Jon Davis:] I've stuck to philosophy because that is the only leg anti-choice people have to stand on.

1. Wrong. We've likewise provided scientific evidence and arguments as well as cited scientific literature in support of the fact that the zygote is a human being. What have you done? So far you haven't even so much as touched any of the science in response. In fact, you don't even sound scientifically literate.

2. Also, you keep disparaging philosophy, but so far you've proven incapable of grasping even the rudiments of logic, to say nothing of philosophy.

3. In short, it seems you're scientifically and philosophically illiterate.

4. At your "best," all you can talk about is what's legal vs. illegal. However, the law doesn't necessarily tell us whether abortion is ethical or unethical, whether a zygote is a human being or not, etc.

[Jon Davis:] From a scientific and legal standpoint, it is an acceptable medical procedure.

Wrong again. This makes no sense because science doesn't grant moral value. Science has no ability to deem a medical procedure ethically "acceptable" or "unacceptable." Science doesn't deal with morality or ethics. Or do you have an argument for how can you identify natural (scientific) facts with moral properties?

[Jon Davis:] There is also the morning after pill, and a few herbs that can induce an abortion.

Yeah, you can also use drugs like methotrexate and misoprostol, dilatation and curettage, manual vacuum aspiration, etc. You could even use a coat hanger for hell's sake. But how does bringing up various methods of abortion imply abortion is ethical?

[Jon Davis:] And just because I do have a sense of humor, I'll ask you this: What color is the sky at midnight? It's not blue...

And just because I do have a sense of humor, I'll ask you this: What was my point in bringing up the "sky is blue" example? It's not because you know how to logically follow an argument...

[Jon Davis:] So, here is my suggestion. If YOU in particular don't want to have an abortion, don't do it. Otherwise, suck it up, realize that this is a battle that has already been lost for decades, and let the people that need the procedure get it.

If you were a plantation owner in the Deep South in the pre-Civil War period, you'd simply argue: If you don't like slavery, then don't enslave anyone. Otherwise, suck it up, realize that this is a battle that has already been lost for decades, and let the people that need to own slaves own slaves.

[Jon Davis:] You don't get to decide their need, you don't get to remove their right to choose.

Why are you forcing your own views on us? Why are you seeking to silence us? Why are you bullying us?

[Jon Davis:] "Alright, this has been entertaining, but it's time to kill this meme.

Take your best shot.

[Jon Davis:] 1) Invoking science to support your first premise is incorrect. Claiming that science says we are human at conception is a gross oversimplification. Science is still debating on what makes us human.

1. Saying so doesn't make it so. I thought you were going to "kill this meme"? But so far you've just made an assertion without any supporting argument.

2. Also, for the sake of argument, if it's true it's up for debate, then that means it's undecided. That means science isn't sure if the fetus is a human person or not. In that case, why not err on the side of life?

[Jon Davis:] 2)The philosophy you hold to claims that all have the right to life. Other philosophies do not make this claim. You do not get to claim philosophy as though it were all encompassing.

Again, saying so doesn't make it so. You haven't interacted with our actual *arguments* and *evidence* for *why* the embryo is a human being, for *why* humans are persons, for *why* human persons have a right to life, etc.

This must be embarrassing for you because you have done absolutely *nothing* here to "kill this meme." All you've done is *assert* this is what you happen to think. Zero supporting argumentation or evidence. Whereas we've gone to lengths to argue, provide evidence, reference the scientific literature, etc.

[Jon Davis:] Nihilism as one says "It doesn't matter."

Are you a nihilist?

[Jon Davis:] And what all of you have failed to grasp, utterly, is that your idea of stopping women from having access to reproductive control, including surgical or chemical abortions, harms the women.

1. Once again, saying so doesn't make it so. What you keep failing to grasp is how arguments and evidence work. You keep making confident assertions, but you never provide arguments and evidence for your claims. If thisis what you think, then go ahead and argue it. Don't just declare it. It does nothing to advance anything if you just make an assertion without supporting argumentation.

2. If the embryo or fetus is a human person, then it harms the baby. Where's your outcry for the baby?

[Jon Davis:] You may attempt to use philosophy,

We've provided philosophical as well as scientific argumentation. Anyone can simply read what we've said to see.

[Jon Davis:] and it still boils down to you believing (falsely) that your belief is more important than their body. They do not need to ask your permission, and you actually shouldn't bother them at all, but you cannot seem to grasp that concept.

1. You keep making assertions without arguments or evidence. It's like reading a bad opinion piece. If you're going to have a "pro-choice" opinion in a debate over abortion, then you have to make convincing arguments, and to do this you have to provide arguments and evidence, not just *declare* this or *assert* that. That's something you seem incapable of grasping despite numerous explanations to you.

2. For example, what makes you think the fetus is part of a woman's "body" in the same way her arm or skin (as another person said) is part of her body?

3. As I've already cited multiple times, embryologist Keith Moore in his book Before We Are Born has said: "Zygote. This cell is the beginning of a human being. It results from the fertilization of an ovum by a sperm. The expression 'fertilized ovum' refers to the zygote."

If the zygote/embryo/fetus is a human being, then why shouldn't it have a "right" to life?

4. The woman isn't the only party involved. As I've said, there's also the baby. Moreover, there's also the father. The father has contributed half the complement of DNA. If the mother has a "right," then what about the father? Where's the father's "right"? If the father has a "right" as well, then he has a say in the matter as well. If the father doesn't want an abortion, but the mother does, then whose "right" trumps the baby's "right" to live?

5. Earlier you mentioned nihilism. Are you a nihilist? If so, then you have no grounds for objective universal morality. Hence no grounds to stand on when you're talking about "rights" for anyone.

[Jon Davis:] Since you want to drag slavery into the issue so very badly, please note that every country known for having slavery also is noted for women not having reproductive rights. This is not a coincidence.

1. You keep talking about "reproductive rights." But I've already asked you, and so far you haven't even tried to answer, where's your *argument* that an abortion is a "right"? In a debate over abortion against pro-lifers, you don't get to simply *assume* or *take for granted* that abortion is a "right." That's a fundamental point in contention.

2. What does this correlation prove? At a minimum, you'd have to show how this *correlation* is not a correlation, but a *causation*. You'd have to demonstrate slavery in these nations is *casually* related to them disallowing abortions. Where's your argument for this? Where's your evidence?

3. I could just as easily say the US and Europe which don't have slavery are "noted" for women murdering babies. This is not a coincidence. So what?

4. Besides, we're not talking about every single nation with slavery, are we? We're speaking strictly about the United States in the antebellum era. You need to stay focused.

[Jon Davis:] Women with no reproductive rights get pregnant. A lot. And in very poor countries, the parents end up faced with a choice, let all the kids starve, or sell one (or more) into slavery and use the money to feed the rest.

1. First of all, why is it solely the woman's right when, as you said, "the *parents* end up faced with a choice"? Where's the father's "choice" in all this? Let's say the father doesn't want an abortion. Where's his "right" to not have an abortion? After all, he contributed half the DNA, he has to (as you yourself admit) find a way to provide for the child.

2. So just because some women in the world have a lot of babies, your solution is to allow them to murder "excess" babies?

3. No, even in these countries, it's not a stark choice between starvation vs. selling their children into slavery. You're attempting to paint an exaggerated picture. There's also relying on help from friends and other family members, including extended families (which here in the US or many liberal European nations isn't relied upon), not to mention local communities, local places of religious worship, etc.

4. You're just viewing everything from your elite liberal American or Western perspective, but that's a minority perspective in the world today, as well as historically.

5. Anecdotally, my family happen to come from "a very poor country" with lots of people having babies. For example, one of my grandmothers had approximately 10 children from a single husband. I only say "around" because there was a stillbirth as well as another dying in very early infancy. Anyway, back to the point, from the perspective of many of these "poor" families in my own family's country, it'd be unthinkable, outrageous even, to consider murdering a baby just because you think they'd cost you too much. Their preferred solution was to make sacrifices, depend on other family members and the local community to make ends meet, etc.

Bottom line: Keeping their babies was more important to them than living an economically sound if not prosperous life.

In fact, my younger aunts and uncles wouldn't exist if my grandparents hadn't made these sacrifices for them. They're grateful for their lives. Not to mention their children (my cousins) are grateful for their lives.

If you had been able to come along when my grandmother was pregnant with one of my aunts or uncles, and convinced her and my grandfather to get an abortion, then not only would my aunt or uncle not exist, but neither would all their children who happen to live in a wonderful nation like the United States.

[Jon Davis:] And the best solution that shoots out of anti-choice people is "Don't have sex!"

Yet your solution is to allow the mother to murder the baby.

[Jon Davis:] One of the most basic drives in humanity, and you want to make it a commercial commodity by denying reproductive rights.

How so? Explain. How does advocating a pro-life position necessarily entail sex becoming "a commercial commodity"? This makes no sense.

[Jon Davis:] You think you are doing good by "protecting the fetus" but you aren't. You are contributing to human misery.

You think you are doing good by promoting aborting (murdering) fetuses, but you aren't. You are contributing to human misery.

As I said to you, you're prejudiced by your elite liberal Western perspective, which is a small minority view historically and globally.

[Jon Davis:] The male doesn't have a womb and won't suffer the psychological and physiological damage that can accompany carrying a fetus to term.

You should say father rather than generic male. That's more accurate.

Why does not having a womb mean he doesn't have a say? He contributed half the DNA. He'd be responsible for raising the child.

What makes you think the father doesn't "suffer" "psychological damage" from an abortion if he wants to keep the baby?

The baby suffers "damage" from being murdered.

[Jon Davis:] Your solution is to force women to carry a fetus to term for your belief.

Your solution is to murder babies. See? We can keep going round and round on your merry go round.

[Jon Davis:] If as you say, there would be a lot less children sold into slavery. It happens here too.

I didn't say this. But thanks for putting words into my mouth.

[Jon Davis:] I view the US as just barely above a third world country in terms of education and bigotry. And below quite a few in terms of violence.

Thankfully you're not an authority when it comes to objective facts about the US.

You say you view the US as "below [a third world country] quite a few in terms of violence," yet you condone "violence" against fetuses.

[Jon Davis:] You got lucky. Congrats.

Luck? You're actively advocating murdering babies.

[Jon Davis:] Sex is play for adults, and satisfies the same way. It is healthy and necessary.

Sure, but this does nothing to advance your "pro-choice" position.

[Jon Davis:] Abstinence is considered the most extreme perverse fetish, as it is so counter to natural urges.

Where did I mention "abstinence"? Hint: I didn't.

[Jon Davis:] Yet you and many others view it as something you shouldn't do if you cannot afford a child.

Uh, since I didn't even mention it, what makes you think I do?

[Jon Davis:] I promote choice. If you never want an abortion, don't get one. If you do need or want one, go ahead.

We've already gone over all this, yet you don't have any arguments in response. You just keeping repeating your talking points. You're like a parrot. Or should I say Robo Jon?

[Jon Davis:] You seek to remove that choice.

As anti-you would say, I promote life. :)

[Jon Davis:] If my mother had needed or wanted to abort me for her happiness, and I knew, I'd be ok with it.

Thankfully, you're not the center of the world. Thankfully, your opinion is not the opinion of others who weren't aborted but are glad to be alive.

If you had been aborted by your mother as you say, then you wouldn't be around to promote abortion.

It's also strange to see someone arguing for their non-existence and by implication the non-existence of others (even if it's not their wish) if it means murdering babies wins.

[Jon Davis:] I wouldn't have wanted to burden her or make her life miserable.

I wouldn't have wanted to "inconvenience" the murdered baby.

In fact, life is "miserable" for many women who get an abortion only to regret it later on. As you said, they too can "suffer psychological damage."

I guess you don't know much about parenting and the sacrifices parents willingly make for their children.

You're prejudiced by an elite liberal Western perspective, and don't consider what the rest of the world thinks.

[Jon Davis:] apparently you fail to understand that your beliefs aren't everyone else's,

Your elite and in fact radical liberal Western beliefs about abortion are in the minority, historically and globally speaking. Unlike the pro-life position.

[Jon Davis:] or that they are under no pressure to submit to or even respect your belief.

Here you go again, asserting without any argument. If it's true the fetus is a human person, then it's morally wrong to murder the fetus.

Ironically, you're bullying pro-lifers by forcing your pro-choice demands onto us.

[Jon Davis:] Abortion has gone on throughout human history as a way to control reproduction.

You'd make a fine mouthpiece for eugenics.

[Jon Davis:] You're prejudiced by belief, and want the rest of the world to submit to it.

Ironically, this exact statement could be said about you.

[Jon Davis:] That's all it boils down to, and like all true believers, you will never stop trying to make everyone else submit.

Ironically, this exact statement could be said about you.

[Jon Davis:] I'm not telling anyone to have an abortion. They have the choice. You are insisting they carry a fetus to term to suit your belief.

1. Having a "choice" is not a carte blanche to do whatever you want. If your choice explicitly harms me, then why should your choice overrule my choice not to be harmed?

2. If it's true the fetus is a human person, and if it's morally wrong to murder human persons, then why isn't it wrong to murder the fetus? What about this is too difficult for you to grasp?

3. What's funny is how, after all this time, you haven't made a single *argument* or provided a single shred of *evidence* for your position or to counter our position. Yet earlier you said "it's time to kill this meme." But you've only proven yourself scientifically and philosophically illiterate.

4. Once again, I'll quote a few scientific resources:

"A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo)." and "Human life begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual." (Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003. pp. 2, 16.)

"Fertilization is the process by which male and female haploid gametes (sperm and egg) unite to produce a genetically distinct individual." (Signorelli et al., Kinases, phosphatases and proteases during sperm capacitation, CELL TISSUE RES. 349(3):765, March 20, 2012.)

"Although life is a continuous process, fertilization (which, incidentally, is not a "moment") is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte” (Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola Mueller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2000, p. 8).

[Jon Davis:] Good bye my fanatical friend. Go waste your time trying to make the world obey your whims.

I guess this is what happens when some people can't provide reasoned arguments and evidence: they resort to and rely on ad hominem and invective to do the work for them.

[Jon Davis:] Patrick Chan, you've convinced yourself that I think people should have abortions. I actually don't have a horse in that race. I think people should have the choice.

1. You're putting words into my mouth: I never said you argued "people should have abortions" as if all people are explicitly required to have abortions.

2. If you argue "people should have the choice," then you're arguing at least *some* people may have abortions if they so choose. And that's more than enough grounds for me to say everything I've said in response to you.

3. At any rate, you're now attempting to dissimulate. You've explicitly called us "anti-choice" and made derogatory remarks about us and our position. Now you're just attempting to play coy with your real intents and motives despite the obvious fact that you favor abortion.

[Jon Davis:] Second, please demonstrate how nihilism supports humans having rights.

Why should I argue for nihilism supporting having human rights? I'm not a nihilist.

[Jon Davis:] please tell me how you will help someone care for a child they never wanted

I've already explained this to you earlier:

1. First, you're assuming the "child" was "never wanted." But that's not true of every single poor person who has ever had a child or multiple children. Once again, you're just interpreting their situation through your own biased 21st century liberal Western beliefs.

2. My poor family members from "a very poor country" who had 10 kids relied on their extended families, their friends, their local communities, religious groups, etc. Who was it who said it takes a village to raise a child?

[Jon Davis:] but that you decided they must have.

Stop pushing your beliefs onto us. For example, you have likewise "decided" that abortion is ethical or at least not unethical. That's *your* belief. Yet you demand that we must hold to *your* belief that abortion is (or should be) ethical or not unethical.

[Jon Davis:] Since your belief supplants their choice.

Your belief likewise "supplants" another person's choice: it "supplants" the choice of fathers who don't wish to have their children aborted and of the reasonably presumed choice of babies who don't wish to be harmed.

[Jon Davis:] Also, have you ever done so?

1. Yes, I have done so.

2. It's common for many liberals to try to discredit a position (e.g. pro-life) by tarring it with immorality or unethicalness. They think if they can label someone as morally deficient, then it means the position is likewise deficient. It's like trying to say, Obama is evil, therefore his policies are evil too, even though that doesn't necessarily logically follow.

3. However, what's ironic is that Jon Davis implicitly advocated eugenics not a moment or two ago when he said: "Abortion has gone on throughout human history as a way to control reproduction."

[Jon Davis:] Patrick Chan, it's about 15% in confirmed pregnancies.

Largely agrees with what I said above i.e. 14%.

[Jon Davis:] Probably about the same in unconfirmed, but there's no way to be certain.

Great work, detective! Yes, it'd be a wee bit difficult to measure rates in pregnancies people don't know about.

[Jon Davis:] As for the symptoms of the women, there is usually some cramping and discharge, with occasional cases of sepsis.

It's striking to see "sepsis" in the same sentence as "some cramping and discharge." Do you have any idea what you're even talking about? Any idea how serious sepsis is? How sepsis can be a medical emergency? You just seem like you're lackadaisically including the term, as if it's just another day in the Wikipedia copy and paste factory.

[Jon Davis:] If a woman has confirmed her pregnancy, I could certainly understand an effect to mental state.

Glad to see you agree even spontaneous abortions can be difficult for many women.

[Jon Davis:] I've worked for many years with unwanted children. They ended up being victims of sexual, mental, and physical abuse. That's here in 21st century US.

1. I'm more than familiar with all this too. However, I fail to see how abortion is a solution.

2. You're basically attempting to make an emotional appeal. Let's feel sorry for these poor women with their unwanted children! I could agree I feel sorry for them, but how does feeling sorry for women mean abortion should be licit? I could feel sorry for my friend who murdered someone and went to prison. But how does feeling sorry for my friend mean he shouldn't be imprisoned?

3. Ironically, if your experience is predominantly or only seeing abused children, then it's possible for you to have a very lopsided perspective on issues like abortion. To have a jaundiced view. To become embittered or worse. The very fact that you see so much abuse among women and children could prejudice you toward favoring abortion because you see it as a quick and easy solution for these women.

4. What's likewise ironic is that, on the one hand, you use the phrase "unwanted children," but, on the other hand, your solution for these "unwanted children" is abortion. What's ironic about this is that you're implicitly granting that the embryo or fetus is a "child" by using the phrase "unwanted children." You're implying if the fetus is allowed to go to full term, then it would become an "unwanted child." That undercuts your own position about what a fetus really is.

[Jon Davis:] Not all unwanted kids end up like that. Not every pregnant woman wants an abortion.

True, I agree.

[Jon Davis:] You may be a good person, but you are contributing to a condition that is not good.

1. I suppose this is a step up from when you called me "fanatical" and told me to "Go waste your time trying to make the world obey your whims."

2. You believe I'm "contributing to a condition that is not good" because you think it's not good for women to have unwanted children. I say you're "contributing to a condition that is not good" because you I think it's not good for these same unwanted children to be killed. So I could just as easily say the same thing to you as you have about me.

However, it doesn't get us anywhere to say to one another "you are contributing to a condition that is not good" without any explanation or argument for why you think so. Hence, just as I've argued for my position, you too need to argue for your position by providing reasoned arguments and evidence. Not just declare your opinion.

[Jon Davis:] Since you've decided being able to choose whether or not to have an abortion is eugenics, would you consider war eugenics? Executions by the state? Police shootings? Allowing right to commit suicide?

1. Actually, *you* were the one who implicitly "decided" to advocate eugenics when you said (in the context of your support for abortion): "Abortion has gone on throughout human history as a way to control reproduction."

2. No, generally speaking, I don't consider war, capital punishment, police shootings, or suicide "eugenics." Why would you think I do?

3. As a piece of historical trivia, the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, advocated birth control including abortion as a means towards eugenics in order (as she said) to "assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit."

[Jon Davis:] As for fathers that don't want their kid aborted, that can be their choice as soon as they have wombs. No woman lightly decides to abort a fetus.

1. There are many unthinking and cavalier women (and men).

2. You don't have a womb, so why should you be able to decide abortion should be licit?

3. Many women (who obviously have a womb) are against abortion. Many pro-life women. Why don't you accept what they say and become pro-life?

4. In theory artificial wombs are possible. In that case imagine a future world where no one carries any baby inside of them. Does this therefore mean no one in this future world should be able to have a say about abortion?

5. As I've repeatedly told you, a father contributes to making a baby including providing half the DNA. A father is responsible to help raise the baby. So why shouldn't he get a say? You keep ignoring this.

6. Contrary to the clear scientific evidence, you argue a fetus isn't a human being. If it's true a fetus isn't a human or person, if the fetus is just a "mass of cells," then why does a man need a womb in order to have a say since he's merely making a "light" decision? Does a man need a womb in order to make a decision about whether or not to swat a fly or squash a cockroach? Yet deciding to squash a cockroach is a "heavier" decision than making a decision about getting rid of a mere "mass of cells," because a cockroach is alive, unlike a "mass of cells." If a man doesn't need a womb to have a say in whether or not to squash a cockroach, then why does he need a womb to have a say in whether or not to squash a "mass of cells"?

7. Besides, if we were to use your own logic, how would you even know how women feel? Are you a woman? No. Then you can't speak for them, according to your own logic.

[Jon Davis:] That's one article.

Yeah, it's the one article *you* chose to cite. If you know there are better articles, then you could've chosen them instead.

[Jon Davis:] The point is this, the meme uses the words science and philosophy as though they were all encompassing. You know, generalizations.

No, that wasn't your original point or intention. Your original point or intent was to attempt "to kill this meme" by citing a "scientific" article which supposedly shows that science doesn't know what makes us human in the context of human evolution - which as I've said is irrelevant in a debate on abortion. Further, I responded by providing some scientific literature which does argue the zygote is a human being.

[Jon Davis:] And a zygote is a mass of cells, and not a person.

1. As I've said, you're scientifically illiterate. A zygote is a single cell. A single 2n diploid cell. It's not "a mass of cells" (plural). It does undergo rapid mitotic cell divisions, with each cleavage doubling the number of cells (for a time), later becoming a morula, then blastocyst, and so forth. But the zygote itself is a single cell. A single cell which, if unimpeded, will continuously develop into an embryo, fetus, baby.

2. Also, whether or not it's a "person" is the very point in dispute. Haven't you been paying any attention to the debate at all? I cited several scientific sources. But all you do is make an assertion. You're just repeating your talking points without interacting with what I've said.

3. Btw, despite your disdain for "philosophy," you're taking a philosophical position by arguing it's "not a person."

[Jon Davis:] Patrick Chan, the other articles are debates on what makes a human in thought. Since a blastocyst is incapable of that little trick, I'll ignore that stage.

1. You didn't post articles (plural), but a single article (singular).

2. Its argument relies in large part on the subscribing to neo-Darwinism and human evolution, which not everyone subscribes to. That's why I said it's a different debate.

3. Are you suggesting the ability or inability to have "thought" is what makes one a human person? If so, then this means there are degrees of personhood, because it's possible for some people to have more or less "thought" than others. A person with dementia may have less "thought" than a person without dementia. Hence people with less "thought" are less human persons than those with more "thought." That, again, is partly or wholly de-valuing human persons.

4. You've also argued it's permissible to abort a fetus. Fetuses can arguably have "thought." So I'll take this as a concession that you've changed your mind and now will argue it's impermissible to abort fetuses!

5. The blastocyst may not presently have "thought." But it decidedly has the potential ability to have thought as it develops. Why isn't this a significant consideration? Why don't you factor this into your equation?

6. Besides, how do you know for sure a blastocyst can't have "thought"? Are you assuming "thought" is solely a byproduct of the central nervous system (brain)? What if, for example, the brain mediates "thought" instead?

[Jon Davis:] I also do other things than just this. Finding those articles take a while, as the net is full of mostly useless stuff such as cat pics and porn.

And I don't "do other things than just this"? I lead quite a busy life as well. Yet I've given some of my time to addressing all your pro-choice "arguments."

At this point, you're just making excuses for your deficiencies in evidence and argument.

[Jon Davis:] I don't get to decide if someone has an abortion. But I can make certain that they have the ability to choose whether or not to do so.

Just. Stop. Just stop. Just stop dissembling. You're positing abortion is a perfectly ethical choice if someone wishes to have an abortion. From the pro-life perspective, you're advocating it's permissible to murder babies. That alone is enough for me to argue against your position. I've already pointed this out to you. But since you don't care or aren't able to interact with what I've said, you keep repeating your tired old canards.

[Jon Davis:] Because pro-life is misleading. It isn't pro-life, it's pro-carry a fetus to term because we want you to. Pro life would be caring for all life. That's why a more honest term is anti-choice.

1. If the fetus is a human person, and if innocent human persons are inherently valuable, then they're worthy of our protection simply for being innocent human persons. What about this is difficult for you to grasp?

2. Is your father or mother a human person? Yes. As such, they're inherently valuable, and generally speaking they're worthy of our protection simply for being human beings. If they were to get Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia, and if there were no other option but for you to care for them 24/7, even though this is a severe burden for you, does that mean you should be allowed to kill them, just because it's too burdensome for you? Of course not.

3. Pro-lifers do care about all innocent human persons. What makes you think we don't? As far as I can tell, the only reason you think this is because you've somehow convinced yourself that it's better for a poor woman to abort an unwanted child than it is for her to have an unwanted child and starve. I've already addressed this. For one thing, it's a false dichotomy inasmuch as these aren't the only two choices. For another, even if they were the only two choices, how does this mean it's permissible to murder a baby? Once again you ignore what I've said either because you're unable or unwilling to interact with what I've said.

4. If a woman is allowed the "choice" to kill a baby, then her "choice" harms the baby. But why should her "choice" trump the baby's more than reasonably presumed choice not to be harmed? I've already gone over all this with you more than a couple of times now. Once again, you fail to absorb a single point I've made.

5. If pro-lifers are correct that the fetus is a human person, and if innocent human persons are inherently valuable, then "a more honest term" for you would be pro-murder.

[Jon Davis:] Also, hopefully we will have a much better grasp on gene editing so we no longer have things like harlequin icthyosis [sic], Down syndrome, Hutchinson-Gilford syndrome, or a host of other horrors visited on children.

1. Do you even know how "gene editing" works? Genetic engineering? Or are you just Googling, then copying and pasting buzzwords? What makes you think "gene editing" is going to solve these medical issues? One can hope for many things, but how likely are they to come to pass? How realistic are your proposals given what we know now?

2. Yes, babies are sometimes born with horrible diseases. How does this make it permissible to abort babies with horrible diseases? If someone's mother now has cancer, but wants to fight it, does this mean it's now permissible for another person close to her to kill her?

[Jon Davis:] Also hopefully, humans might have edited their genes to increase intelligence.

1. What makes you think intelligence is causally determined by our genetic makeup alone?

2. Are you now advocating genetic engineering humans? This is another ethical debate. You're straying from abortion. You need to stay focused, because you can't even reasonably handle the scientific issues around abortion at this point.

[Jon Davis:] So quasi-civilized savanna apes such as ourselves need never war on each other over beliefs.

If we're just "quasi-civilized savanna apes," then this means you subscribe to human evolution from hominid ancestors per neo-Darwinian processes. If so, then do "quasi-civilized savanna apes" have inherent value? Are you a theistic evolutionist?

[Jon Davis:] On a genetic level, a fathers contribution to a fetus is generally over in less than 30 seconds, then he goes to shower and sleep.

1. Thanks, I guess, for a sneak peek into your sexual habits. But I'm not interested in your private life.

2. How does any of this change the fact that a man has contributed half the complement of DNA to the child? How does any of this change the fact that a man is now a father with all the privileges and responsibilities of being a father?

[Jon Davis:] He will not suffer from osteoporosis, hemorrhoids, diabetes, depression brought on by hormone imbalance, Rh disease, or run the risk of bleeding out, getting a c-section.

1. What makes you think men can't "suffer from osteoporosis, hemorrhoids, diabetes, depression"? Many men can and do suffer from one or some or all of these things. Sometimes these are even related to being a father!

2. Not all women, not even all pregnant women, nor mothers, necessarily suffer from any or all these. Not all pregnant women or expectant mothers necessarily have pre-gestational or gestational diabetes. Not all mothers have post-partum depression.

3. Not to mention there are ways to mitigate the effects of all these during pregnancy. Obstetricians/gynecologists, for one, have treatment and management plans for these and other concerns.

4. No one ever claimed pregnancy was easy. But how does the fact that expectant mothers can suffer from the burdens of pregnancy make her so unique and special that she and only she is allowed to have a "choice" in the matter?

5. For that matter, if what you say is true, then it proves too much, for it means only women who have gotten pregnant and suffered from the burdens of pregnancy can argue that elective abortion should or should not be permissible. This eliminates all women who have never gotten pregnant. They can't have a say in the abortion debate, according to your logic.

6. At the same time, and as I've already pointed out to you, there are many pro-lifers who have been or are mothers.

[Jon Davis:] His opportunity to make other contributions will depend on his actions later.

He becomes the father from the moment of conception.

[Jon Davis:] It is not a light-hearted decision ever to have an abortion.

I never said it was. I was going off of what you said.

[Jon Davis:] A man can argue his case, but it's not his womb, he doesn't own her or any part of her.

1. We've been over this. More than once now. You just keep repeating your talking points without interacting with what I've said.

2. If this is true, then technically speaking the woman doesn't "own" the baby either. The baby is genetically distinct from its mother. The baby isn't "any part of her" in the sense that her arm or leg is "part of her." Hence, according to your logic, the woman shouldn't have a say at all. According to your logic, the woman can't touch the baby, because she doesn't "own" the baby.

3. What's more, the baby doesn't interact with the woman's uterus (womb) directly, but via the placenta and amniotic sac. Hence, according to your logic, the baby isn't a "part of her" womb either.

[Jon Davis:] I know how the women felt that I've escorted. I also know how the women felt that were my friends and had to get an abortion.

Since we're trading anecdotes, I could say the exact same or similar things.

[Jon Davis:] Funny thing, a lot of pro-lifers get abortions.

A lot of pro-choicers don't get abortions. Does this therefore disprove pro-choice?

[Jon Davis:] And they either want reassurance that they are still good people or they say "But my situation is different."

And? All you're telling me with this is that allegedly "good people" can make immoral decisions.

[Jon Davis:] HIPPA laws prevent me from providing the evidence you'll no doubt ask for.

1. Why would I need evidence from you about this? It's just anecdotal evidence at best. But I can likewise share anecdotal evidence.

2. I presume this means you are or were a social worker.

[Jon Davis:] Were [a social worker]. Empathy burnout is a bitch.

1. Social work is fine work. Too bad you don't have any "empathy" for aborted babies though.

2. In your case it further explains why your knowledge of medical science is far less than the medical science knowledge of a nurse, PA, physician, relevant scientist, etc. I bring this up because your (over) confidence in the science doesn't match your capacity to comprehend the science.

One of your persistent problems is you're so confident the "science" proves the fetus isn't a human being, and you simply declare it is so, and act as if we're a bunch of yokels to argue otherwise. Indeed, you keep insisting the "science" is on your side in the very teeth of all the scientific literature I've cited as well as the evidence I've brought to bear. Yet you yourself don't even have the relevant background knowledge to evaluate the science!

At best, you'd have to rely on scientific authorities to make your case for you, but thus far you haven't so much as cited a single contrary scientific authority. All you've cited so far is a popular level science article from which was more about human evolution than what a fetus is.

[Jon Davis:] Since the woman doesn't own the fetus, but she does own the womb it resides in, she is welcome to evict it. The fetus can then attempt to fend for itself, libertarian style.

1. It's important to keep in mind I'm going off of your assumptions. You said a man doesn't have a say in abortion because "it's not his womb, he doesn't own her or any part of her." Likewise, if "ownership" is a sufficient condition for being able to have a say in abortion, then "ownership" of the baby would seem even more pertinent than "ownership" of a womb, yet if it's true a woman doesn't "own" her baby, then the woman doesn't necessarily have a say in abortion either. (At most, she "might" have more of a say than the man, titrated according to degree of "ownership" and/or pertinence of the owned object.) Hence, according to your logic, she cannot "evict" her baby if she doesn't have a say in abortion.

2. You'll likewise have to explain how "eviction" is not equivalent or relevantly analogous to termination.

[Jon Davis:] I'm well aware that some think evolution is not factual. The ignorance of such people actually gives me hate shudders.

1. Learn to read. I didn't say "evolution is not factual." I said not everyone subscribes to neo-Darwinism and human evolution.

2. The more immediate point was that your article wouldn't work unless you grant the premise. Without agreeing on this, your article is irrelevant to the debate over abortion.

3. Do you even know what evolution is? I bet you can't even explain its rudiments without Googling or copying and pasting from Wikipedia.

4. It's ironic you deign to label everyone who dissents from neo-Darwinism "ignorant."

[Jon Davis:] That's patently ridiculous...

Saying so doesn't make it so. But thanks again for your umpteenth assertion without so much as offering an argument. Typical Jon Davis: always confident, rarely right.

Defending eternal conscious punishment

BTW, Jerry Shepherd as a number of long, informative responses in the combox.

"The case for conditionalism"

Pacifist and annihilationist Preston Sprinkle has hosted Chris Date's case for annihilationism:

Having discussed annihilationist prooftexts for the "destruction" of the wicked on various occasions, I won't repeat myself here. 

Instead, I'd like to note that Date's case suffers from a central fallacy. His argument is vitiated by equivocation because he defines biological "death" as equivalent to oblivion. Conversely, "life" is equivalent to biological life or revivification. 

Problem is, that only follows if physicalism is true. That only follows on the tendentious assumption that humans are merely a collection of particles. 

If, however, humans are embodied minds, if minds are essentially incorporeal, then brain death does not entail the extinction of consciousness or personality. 

To make his case, therefore, Date needs to disprove substance dualism. He needs to refute empirical and philosophical evidence for the ontological independence of the mind in relation to the body, viz. the hard problem of consciousness, psi, apparitional evidence, veridical NDEs, veridical OBEs, terminal lucidity, John Lorber's hydrocephalic patients. 

Making amends

Critics of penal substitution or vicarious atonement say it's impossible and/or immoral. I've discussed this objection on several occasions. Now I'd like to approach it from a different angle.

What is atonement? What is redemption? One way to unpack the concept is in terms of making amends for wrongdoing. Do critics of penal substitution/vicarious atonement think it's ever possible (or generally possible) to make amends? Or does their position on penal substitution/vicarious atonement rule that out in principle?

In some case, making amends is fairly straightforward. Suppose I steal your bike. I can make amends by giving it back. Or maybe I buy you a new bike. 

But there are types of wrongdoing where it isn't that simple. Suppose I get drunk, get behind the wheel, and run over a pedestrian. I can't give him his life back. I can't restore him to his parents, friends, or siblings. I can't make it up to him or them. 

Suppose you steal my girlfriend in college. I retaliate my framing you for a crime. You spend the next 20 years behind bars. Maybe I come to regret my actions. But I can't give you back the lost years. Life is short. Moreover, that was the prime of life. As you age, you have fewer opportunities.

Or suppose I make someone blind by a blow to the head. I didn't intend to blind him. But I can't restore his eyesight. And that's a huge loss.

Sometimes it's less about the quality than quantity. Cumulative regrets. All the things I wish I'd said and done differently. "If I knew then what I know now…" Hindsight can be a curse if it's too late for make it right. All the little things add up. Individually, they may not be irredeemable, but collectively, I can't make amends for the totality. 

Two things follow from this:

i) If making amends is possible at all, then it many cases it will have to be a different kind of compensation or restitution than the original wrong. I can't do anything directly analogous to make up for the offense. It must be qualitatively different. 

ii) Relatedly, I can't make amends (in cases like that). I can't go back and time and fix it. 

If it's possible to make amends at this stage, then someone else will have to do that on my behalf. 

But if, apropos (i), that's a different kind of thing than the original, then there's no reason a second party couldn't do so on my behalf. If I can't give you the same kind of thing in exchange for the original offense, if that's unrepeatable, and if, despite that fact, it's possible to make amends by something different, then what does it matter who does it? The connection has already been severed between the original offense and the compensation. It's not like me going back in time to avoid the original offense. I can't change the past in my own person. Indeed, the past is immutable. So there's already going to be some essential discontinuity between the original offense and making amends. It's can't be the same. 

A critic could deny this conclusion by saying it's never, or rarely, possible to make amends. Guilt just keeps piling up. You never put it behind you. If so, that's a high price to pay to deny penal substitution or vicarious atonement.