Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Comments on Abortion

Assuming I've not actually been banned, it appears that Mere Comments is having server problems preventing me from posting my comments on the Born Anyway thread.

I'm posted my latest comments here.

I'll try to re-post later them at Mere Comments; if successful, I'll delete this post.

Update: Based on James' comments, it looks like I've been banned. Any interested posters from Mere Comments are welcome to continue the discussion here.

Update II: I haven't been banned! It looks like whatever was happening was due to a technical issue that has been resolved. I'm closing comments on this thread, but I'll keep the post up for historical accuracy.


  1. EP

    The “risk of pregnancy” exists whenever a man and a woman engage in genital sexual activity.

    The risk of becoming pregnant exists due to sexual activity. Happily, modern technology has reduced that risk to the point where pregnancy as a result of sexual activity can be considered an accident.

    Mr. Altena

    I'm becoming too confused trying to argue two philosophical points in one thread. I'm going to focus on one topic: abortion. If you like, you're welcome to discuss humanism on my blog, or we can wait until a post here on Mere Comments can restart a discussion on humanism.

    Odd how BB thinks it would be "logically invalid, however, to apply these scientific studies very strongly to any individual case"... I refer back to BB's positng under the "Wired for Intelligence" thread on 2/20/07...

    Ah. Now I understand. I'm not saying its invalid to apply scientific studies or the scientific method in general to individual cases. I'm saying it's logically invalid to apply to individuals the particular types of studies Martha referenced, studies which draw statistical generalizations. Note that statistical generalizations, to be valid in their own domain, rely on the scientific nature of the individual measurements.

    "But it is a regular part of the PP manipulative brainwashing of distraught cients into "choosing" an abortion to insinuate such to them, with talk of "unwanted children" being shuttled through multiple foster homes or state institutions, etc.

    "This is a factual claim, definitely pejorative, and deserves substantiation."

    Martha already supplied the documentation, which BB acknowledged. Apparently when reading my comments a sudden bout of amnesia intervened for BB.

    Perhaps you and I are looking at at a different post. Martha posted a summary of scientific studies regarding the negative psychological effects of unwanted childbearing on women. I fail to see how the existence of these studies constitutes "manipulative brainwashing". I can also find no mention whatsoever of any assertions, positive or negative, regarding the psychological effects on children of being placed for adoption. I can find no mention whatsoever of how these studies are actually used when Planned Parenthood is counseling individual clients.

    Since when, in any society deemed moral, has the supposed absolute moral autonomy of an *individual* extended to being able to decide that another innocent human being has no right to live, and may be killed at that individual's volition for any reason he deems sufficient?

    Way to load up your assertion with bias by virtue of the inclusion of "society deemed moral", "innocent human being" and the confusion of societal law with individual moral belief, rendering the comment entirely vacuous.

    I will say it yet again: I assert that an individual has the unique privilege and ability to determine what constitutes happiness and suffering for him or herself. Full stop. I do not assert that an individual can construe any action as therefore lawful or generally acceptable.

    Obvioulsy, Peter Singer is [arguing the issue of infanticide].

    I stand corrected. Still, infanticide is a different issue than abortion, with a different ethical discourse. I haven't studied Singer's arguments in depth, so I'm unable to say whether I agree or disagree with him. (I am not, however--unlike Singer--a vegetarian.)

    On general principles I would say that, even in the presence of a persuasive argument for infanticide, if some person or group were willing to care for the infants in question, I would happily endorse a legal requirement entrusting infants to their care rather than being killed.

    The usual invidious distinction between human being and human person arises here, that has served as the rationale for heinous acts ranging from abortion to Dred Scott to Auschwitz to the Gulag. Simply define away the ontological humanity of the person to be exterminated.

    Aside from Godwin's law, one might use this schema to complain that the ontological humanity of rocks was simply being "defined away" to justify their use in building fences.

    In the former, beings have an irreducible moral status ontologically by virtue of what they are essentially.

    It would probably help if you actually argued that embryos are essentially human.

    Every single phrase abortionists to justify their position I heard being used by the Nazis 40 years ago." *Every* *single* *phrase* -- from someone who suffered under it. Indeed.

    (cough Godwin's law cough)

    Ms. Warner

    What people typically do and what the noblest people do are often different. I can think of Solzhenytsin, Sharansky, Sakharov and their fellow Soviet sufferers...;

    What all these people had in common was a moral code that came from beyond their own reason, that told them some things were worth suffering for. That probably makes them idiots, in your view.

    I think it would be more respectful to ask me what I think of these various people rather than put words in my mouth. In any event, I'll repeat my to you my invitation to Mr. Altena: If you'd like to discuss humanism and suffering in general, feel free to comment on my blog.

    Mr. Grano

    "You can't legislate morality" doesn't mean what most people today thing it means.

    Morality is the only thing you can legislate. You certainly cannot legislate facts or scientific truth.

    Also, can BB name any "civilized societies" that don't rely upon a greater or higher law that in some sense they see as universal and transcendent (what C.S. Lewis called the Tao) ?

    Have you read the United States Constitution?

    Preamble: "We the people... do ordain and establish this Constitution..."

    Article VI: "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

    First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

  2. Worked fine for me. I'd recommend trying again. If it doesn't work, you've been banned. And I'll probably be right behind you.

  3. Looks like I've been banned. (shrugs) Not the first time.

    I welcome opposing viewpoints: If any of the posters from Mere Comments wishes to continue the discussion here, they're welcome to do so.

  4. Larry,

    You might want to try posting again after emptying your cache. When I just posted a comment to MC, I got, for the first time ever, an anti-spam "enter-this-code" window. Maybe they have a less-than-perfectly implemented spam system. One of the other commenters has specifically requested the boardhost to state whether you are actually banned or not.