Posted by: bridget | 6 January 2008

Oh Vey

Here we go again – another pro-choicer asking pro-life questions, and ignoring the responses.  Are these people even capable of reason?  A sampling of the irrationality:

I am not saying that the census or the death rate are the markers of personhood. I am saying that if we accept the pro-life premise that embryos are people, then we have to re-calculate a lot of these things. I am saying that doing so will be a logistical nightmare, and will illustrate just how silly it is to argue that embryos are people in the first place.

Let’s break this down.  A = ability to have one’s death or life measured.  B = personhood.  Jill says, “I’m not saying that A -> B.  If B, then A is difficult, so B is not true.”  The latter statement cannot exist, logically, without some relationship between A and B.  Whoops!

A quick breakdown of the pro-choice arguments:

  1. If life begins at conception, how do we determine our population?
  2. If life begins at conception, how do we determine the death rate?
  3. Should every “human” death be investigated?
  4. Shouldn’t we find solutions to the death by  lack of implantation and ignore the abortion issue?
  5. If life begins at conception, should embryos get social security numbers and benefits?
  6. What legal consequences should pregnant women face?
  7. (More of the same)
  8. Shouldn’t we require other people to share bodily functions to save lives?
  9. Should a woman be civilly liable to the estate of her fetus if she miscarries?
  10. How do we establish the paternity of a fertilised egg?
  11. Should we compel people to carry IVF eggs to term?
  12. How do we handle pregnancy-related complications?

This blogger can sum up the logical flaws with such arguments in two basic categories: 1. these problems apply to fetuses that are viable and cannot be aborted (or any person, such as with #3), so extending those laws to earlier stages of gestation does not pose a problem; and 2. current abortion laws answer most of those questions.  Such should be patently obvious to anyone who thinks, rather than emotes, through these issues.

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Responses

  1. Your last line was the key, I think. They basically have an emotional “privacy” argument that trumps all logic for them.

  2. Or the emotional idea that this is necessary for equality, or that women will be subject to Gestapo-type search tactics if abortion is outlawed, or whatever else that has little to do wtih asking about the cost of abortion, who bears it, and whether or not the fetus is worthy of protection.

    IMHO, if men could get pregnant, women would be all over the pro-life argument. :)

  3. Ha! That’s a good comeback to the “If men could get pregnant they’d be pro-choice” line.

  4. I was laying in bed last night thinking of the abolitionist movement in America during the 1830s-1850s. The movement was radical (i.e. it employed rhetoric that justified the murder of slaveholders), sometimes violent (several prominent abolitionists provided monetary support for John Brown’s raid), and often in your face with images of the barbarity of slavery (i.e. images of whipped and dismembered slaves). I think it would be appropriate to say that by comparison the pro-life movement today is much tamer than the abolitionist movement. Sometimes I wonder if a modern day Garrison will emerge to lead the pro-life movement.

    Moreover, as I lay there suffering from insomnia I reflected over the numerous arguments one encounters in the writings of pro-slavery ideologues that are direct corollaries of modern pro-choice arguments….

    1. If you don’t like slavery, don’t buy or own a slave/If you don’t like abortion don’t have one.

    2. The slave is better off for their enslavement/The child is better off for their abortion

    3. What would abolitionists do with all the slaves if they were freed/What would pro-lifers do with the unwanted children born?

    4. Many prominent abolitionists are racist and therefore can’t argue against slavery/Many pro-lifers are against government subsidies for poor children, and so they can’t argue against abortion.

    Moreover think of the public response. I came across several blogs the other day that expressed the following sentiment…

    (paraphrase) “I find abortion morally wrong, but I don’t agree with outlawing abortion since others have a different view.” Sadly, the abolitionist movement had to deal with just such a public response, “I find slavery morally wrong, but…” However, luckily for the abolitionists, the country’s hand was forced to act by the Civil War and they won their cause.

    In addition, we must not forget that one big event changed a lot of northerners minds regarding slavery- Bleeding Kansas. Six years before the first shot was fired at Fort Sumter men were fighting and dying in the dirt streets of Kansas over whether or not the state would be admitted as a slave state or a free state.

    With that in mind I ask, how will the abortion issue be resolved? I hope for a more peaceful means of achieving a similar resolution- the abolishment of unnecessary prenatal murder. Will we end up with a second 13th amendment?

    Wow, my most substantial comment in a while.

  5. TT –

    Wow – it’s not a discussion of male magnetism, embodied in yourself! :)

    Interestingly, when anyone brings up analogies to slavery (similar arguments used, similar passionate divisions in the country), they get shouted down. There is no real argument employed against such analogies, other than that they are “bad.”

    Thank you for the detailed response, though – it’s really neat to see it all laid out.

    I will further add that one of the justifications for both slavery and abortion is the supposed diminished mental capacity of the victims, which equates to a reduction in their humanity. African-Americans were seen as inherently inferiour to whites, which justifies their enslavement (for their own good, etc), just as the nascant development of embryos and fetuses is used to deny them the basic human right of not being killed.

    Neil,

    Thank you. :) You’re more than welcome to borrow it for your pro-life training. :)

  6. “Interestingly, when anyone brings up analogies to slavery (similar arguments used, similar passionate divisions in the country), they get shouted down.”

    That is because it still comes down to the same issue. Do you see Africans/unborn children as somehow either non-human or less than human in some way.

    However, the slavery analogy is powerful and useful for several reasons. First, it connects pro-lifers with a strong and rhetorically brilliant tradition of defending the weakest members of society who lack any legal recourse to assert their civil rights. (See Dred Scott Case)

    Second, the analogy clearly lays out how it is more convenient for both the direct beneficiaries (slaveholders/abortion providers/mothers who abort) and those on the sidelines who wish to avoid the inconvenience of directly confronting an action/system that is morally wrong but emotionally charged.

    We should never forget that over 150 year ago men and women confronted much worse when they risked social ostracism, beatings, and even death to advocate against what they saw as a horribly barbaric system of African enslavement. They often had to face a morally apathetic public that thought that the abolitionists might be correct about the “humanity” of black men and women, but many in that same public audience were afraid to rock the boat and upset others with equally strong views in favor of slavery.

    Having once been a moral coward who sat on the sidelines of the abortion debate lest I upset someone devoted to their “right to choose,” I can speak from experience. It isn’t easy to fight against the convenient, against the established, and against what I believe as a theist to be the embodiment of evil (after all what would you call the shrill belief that killing unborn children equates to the pinnacle of women’s freedom and liberty?). , but it is the right thing to do.

    BTW, does it make your blood chill to hear the word “unwanted” equated with a cavalier attitude toward killing the unborn. Perhaps a child who survived an abortion procedure should be asked if he/she is more or less thankful that he was born considering he/she wasn’t wanted.

  7. Maybe there’s some rhetorical merit in making a comparison to slavery, but that’s it. Assuming that a fetus is at least equivalent to a two year old child, there is still a world of a difference between an adult slave and a two year old child. And to say that the rape, torture and enslavement of the former is equal to the (let’s just say) killing of the latter is a slap in the face to slaves and their descendants.

    Or the emotional idea that this is necessary for equality

    Yeah, I don’t see how this argument: reproductive health is a necessary component of any meaningful “freedom” is “emotional.” And I’m not even sure what “emotional” as a perjorative is supposed to convey.

    (Note, I haven’t actually stated my opinion on the matter)

  8. “Assuming that a fetus is at least equivalent to a two year old child, there is still a world of a difference between an adult slave and a two year old child. And to say that the rape, torture and enslavement of the former is equal to the (let’s just say) killing of the latter is a slap in the face to slaves and their descendants.”

    Indeed, slaves were rarely murdered wholesale out of convenience. Their deaths usually resulted from overwork, masters who exercised extreme cruelty in punishing their slaves, or attempts by local governments to quell slave unrest.

    In the case of unborn children it is their death that renders legalized abortion desirable, in the case of slaves it is their value as chattel to be used as a source of labor that made legalized slavery desirable. Both present different cases for their relative desirability to their proponents (the benefit of convenience whether economic, personal, or both), but similar rationals to their opponents (the value of human life).

    Now whether it is more moral to kill the unborn in the womb without ever giving them the chance to live outside the womb or to allow one to be born and then extract a life of servitude and labor from them, that is a question I will allow you to answer for yourself. However, you seem to think the former is preferable to the latter. I judge them both abominable and barbaric.

  9. Both present different cases for their relative desirability to their proponents (the benefit of convenience whether economic, personal, or both), but similar rationals to their opponents (the value of human life).

    All devaluations aren’t equal. There is a serious difference between the “injustice” “suffered” by a four month old fetus and the misery and degradation suffered by an African slave. To equate the two just because they both have been “devalued” doesn’t make any sense. Let’s use an example.

    An adult pig is by most measures, more intelligent than a 4 month old fetus. An adult pig can experience suffering and fear, a fetus can experience pain but I’m fairly certain it cannot experience suffering. Yet, we crowd adult pigs into massive pens with hundreds of thousands of other pigs, force them to live in diseased filth, and generally let them suffer horribly before we kill them.

    Is it okay to compare the suffering of pigs (which mind you are more intelligent than fetuses) to the suffering of slaves?

  10. I can’t believe I have to tell someone this, but no, a pig isn’t human, a fetus is. The same goes for a slave- the slave is human and can not be compared with the suffering of an animal.

  11. So you take a late term pregnant slave and kill her. How many counts of murder ?
    (note more or less obeying the concept of my name than trying to be a jerk)

  12. You’re missing the point. I’m going to “out on a limb” and assume you’re against abortion for reasons relating to the moral status of a fetus. The fact that a fetus is human really doesn’t matter, it’s the moral status of said fetus that is up for debate.

    A pig has the moral status of at least a 4 month old fetus. It’s pretty straightforward.

  13. A fetus has thumbs so NO the pig has no moral standing. The full meaning of that is that humans have a suprior position on the food chain. Although there are any number of flora/fauna whose company I enjoy more than many humans -humans rule.Humans rights to eat the pig is equal to the right to provide stewardship over the animal kingdom. A fetus-bottomline has more rights than a pork chop. I ask my question again with a twist. A late term pregnant slave with a pet pig all get killed. How many counts of homicide ?

  14. “A pig has the moral status of at least a 4 month old fetus”

    How do you get to this point? A pig is not human.

    Is it the mental abilities of the fetus that make it fair game for termination? Is it self-consciousness? The ability to feel pain?

    Moreover, your argument taking issue with my comparing slavery with abortion has at least one fatal flaw. You assume the humanity of the slave, when such humanity was always in question to some degree or another during the slave holding period of the United States.

    So when you assume a humanity for slaves that justifies your horror at their mistreatment, you assume a very 21st century (or at least 20th century) attitude.

    You see, our discussion of slavery is out of context (taking place well after the majority of the Western world decided slavery was barbaric and wrong), while our current argument is occurring within a context where such an overarching consensus has not been reached. We each represent different sides of that modern argument, much in the same way Fitzhugh and Garrison were diametrically opposed over slavery- the humanity of its victims and what should be done with the system that allowed such suffering.

    BTW welcome to the discussion Fray.

  15. What I love about the clever little pro-choice questions is how they unwittingly betray how diminished the souls of these people are: moral questions are decided based on bureaucratic or legalistic grounds. To them, everything boils down to counting beans and doling out government benefits. What a sorry bunch.

  16. Assuming that a fetus is at least equivalent to a two year old child, there is still a world of a difference between an adult slave and a two year old child. And to say that the rape, torture and enslavement of the former is equal to the (let’s just say) killing of the latter is a slap in the face to slaves and their descendants.

    How so? The fetus does not even get a chance at life – it is murdered.

    Presumably, you think that murder is okay (or not as bad as slavery) so long as the person does not understand what they are losing. I assume, then, that you (like Peter Singer) do not disapprove of the murder of the mentally retarded, the senile elderly, or those in a coma.

    As for the descendants of slaves – give me a frickin break. No one alive today was a slave during the antebellum South or, likely, even knew someone who was enslaved during that time. Pain is not genetic; it does not pass down to one’s descendants like a mutant gene.

    Murder before one can value her life, or a life enslaved – IMHO, such is a deeply personal question that does not lend itself to easy determinations, much less your flippant, unsubstantiated remark that it is a slap in the face to compare them.

  17. You’re missing the point. I’m going to “out on a limb” and assume you’re against abortion for reasons relating to the moral status of a fetus. The fact that a fetus is human really doesn’t matter, it’s the moral status of said fetus that is up for debate.

    A pig has the moral status of at least a 4 month old fetus. It’s pretty straightforward.

    Read my comment rules. Back yourself up.

    Why does a pig have the moral status of a human? Why, in your world, is it insufficient to be human to have human rights? They aren’t called adult rights, or smart people rights, or physically able people rights – they are HUMAN rights.

  18. Lewd,

    Would you want to mosey over to Feministe to help me out? I was called “dense” for saying that the Census argument is a complete red herring. Supposedly, it’s not a pro-choice argument, it just demonstrates the problems and the logical consequences of the pro-life movement… but it’s not a pro-choice argument…?

    Seriously, help me, please. I’m tired of being called stupid because I don’t play little games with human lives.

  19. As for the descendants of slaves – give me a frickin break. No one alive today was a slave during the antebellum South or, likely, even knew someone who was enslaved during that time.

    1. Removed for violation of the comment policy. Civil discourse is a requirement, not a suggestion.
    2. My great grandmother was the daughter of former slaves. We can trace our family to at least the 1830s.

    But of course, give you a frickin break. I must be making all of this up, right?

  20. Excuse me?

    First of all, honey, learn to be civil. I’m a fairly intelligent person, so treating me like an idiot isn’t going to fly. Clear?

    Second of all, why is it a slap in the face to you? Why should I care about how you can trace your family?

    If you are personally offended by a discussion about the evils of slavery, then I strongly suggest you grow a thicker skin. I also suggest that you read my points in context, instead of nitpicking away and throwing red herrings out there. I never said that you were making anything up. (I permitted that comment to stand because it reveals a lot about you, none of it good.)

    You were more than welcome on my blog until the last comment. Clean up your act.

  21. Back to the argument at hand, since we kind of lost our way. The entire point of the pig analogy was to point out that you can’t say:

    The humanity of slaves was diminished. The humanity of fetuses is diminished. Therefore the two were equivalent.

    They are only equivalent if they have equal amounts of humanity, and unless a pregnant woman gives birth to a fully formed slave, they are not. I introduced the “pig” not because I see animal life as equal to human life, but because if you use suffering as a baseline for determining the moral worth of a creature, then a devaluing of a pig’s life is the same as the devaluing of fetal life. Prompting the question, is it okay to compare the two?

    I don’t think it is, and I don’t think you can compare the suffering of a slave to the pain a fetus feels.

    Suffering and pain are two different things.

    And again, I don’t understand why you can’t see how comparing the suffering of an enslaved people – whose descendants make up the majority of African-Americans in this country – is offensive. You are equating the unconscious pain of a clump of cells with the conscious suffering of an adult.

  22. With all due respect, I’m not offended by a discussion of the evils of slavery. I’m offended by the suggestion that the pain of a fetus is analogous to the suffering of a slave.

    I’m offended by the remark that the descendants of slaves have no connection to the suffering their ancestors experienced. And I’m – justifiably I think – annoyed that you refuse to at least acknowledge that some people may find the comparison disrespectful for legitimate reasons.

  23. […] think it – obviously – isn’t.  But commenters at this blog seem to […]

  24. Jamelle,

    Mathematically, there is a fundamental difference between an equality and congruence.

    Your theory

    They are only equivalent if they have equal amounts of humanity, and unless a pregnant woman gives birth to a fully formed slave, they are not.

    demands mathematical equality in the place of an analogy. That is silly.

    According to you, we cannot compare the abolitionist movement and the feminist movement, because the latter involved men. I mean, really, Jamelle.

    You are equating the unconscious pain of a clump of cells with the conscious suffering of an adult.

    No, I’m not. First of all, it’s not a clump of cells. Here is an embryo, six weeks after last menstrual period (i.e. two weeks after first missed period):
    http://www.babycenter.com/fetal-development-images-6-weeks

    Second, I am equating the denial of human rights, not the suffering caused by such. If the mentally retarded do not suffer when they are deprived of rights, it makes it no less wrong to so deny those rights.

  25. So, the argument you’re making is that there is no quantitative difference between a fully grown person, and a fetus.

    None at all.

    Ed: No.

    If there is, then you can make comparisons between the abolitionist movement and the feminist movement, as they are both dealing with the realities of full individuals.

    If there isn’t, the analogy makes sense. But, the fact that the analogy makes sense (and it’s analogy I find ridiculous Ed: that’s what I like to call a personal problem.) should indicate that the premise on which it’s based is suspect. I mean, reasonably it should. Ed: Your feelings don’t make my premises suspect.

  26. I’m offended by the suggestion that the pain of a fetus is analogous to the suffering of a slave.

    Well, I’m not making that suggestion, and I don’t think anyone else is, either, so unruffle your feathers and stop looking for ways to be pissed off at those who don’t agree with you.

    What suffering, as a descendant of a slave, to you experience that descendants of free persons do not?

    You do realise that my ancestors were tormented and persecuted, too, right? That it was just less recent? That, as a part-Irish growing up in Boston, I’m descended from the people who had the “No Irish need apply” stigma? While that is not as bad as slavery, but it still happened.

    A final thought – one which I sincerely hope you take to heart: your line of reasoning is like this:
    You can’t compare amputees and quadrepeligics, or you can’t compare those who lost a hand with those who lost a foot. Then you make quantitative determinations about which one is worse, based on nothing that resembles quantitative analysis, and basically call me racist when I call you out on your crap.

    There are varying degrees of human suffering. Guess what? People in sub-Saharan Africa have it far, far worse than you ever will. Does that mean that your suffering is not legitimate? One need not be the most persecuted group, the one who suffers longest, in order for such suffering to be legitimate. Likewise, the denial of human rights, which is what TT, In2theFray, and I are all focusing on, is wrong, regardless of degree. Human rights are not conditional… upon anything. The fact that slaves were denied a certain “bundle” of rights does not make it okay to deny other rights to fetuses.

    Take it to heart, please.

  27. As for your last comment: learn to not distort the argument put forth in front of you.

    As a logical fallacy, it is called a “straw man” attack. You are taking my reasoning, twisting it, and then attacking your screwed-up version of it.

  28. A) I didn’t call you a racist, and I didn’t imply you were a racist. Insensitive, maybe. Racist, no.

    B) If you read my blog, or see my comments elsewhere, it will quickly become apparent that I’m generally not interested in becoming pissed off at anyone.

    C) Since you seem to be generous with advice, I’d like to offer a piece of mine. Please don’t use blog comments as a basis for character judgment, it might turn out a little inaccurate.

    Best,

    Jamelle

  29. Jamelle,

    I don’t attack people’s character – just their reasoning. I am convinced that there are rational, caring people who believe in abortion rights, or at least queasily agree with them.

  30. I have been discussing, as have TT and Fray, the denial of human rights based on certain rationales (lack of intellect, lack of personhood, etc).

    Suffering, IMHO, is a tangental issue, and a metaphysical one that I have no desire to address. Personally, I would prefer to leave people the option of a life of suffering rather than no life at all; one can always end one’s life, but cannot rise from the dead.

    I argue based on denial of human rights. I frankly do not care about the result of such a denial, because it is per se wrong to deny basic rights. It was wrong with the slaves, it was wrong with women, and it is wrong with fetuses. Astute minds will recognise that all of these denials were based upon the same justifications.

    I think you’ll have a tough, tough time arguing with that, without twisting or going off on unrelated issues.

  31. Apropos of the “blob of cells” thing you posted on your blog:
    https://helvidiuspachyderm.wordpress.com/2007/04/25/debunking-the-pro-choice-argument-part-ii/

    Again, I am not comparing the “suffering” of a fetus to the suffering of a slave – just the justifications for the denial of human rights.

  32. One should also note that I was not comparing their suffering, but instead the arguments used to justify two barbaric and inhumane systems. There is no calculus that can tell us which is worse, to die without a chance at life or to be used as chattel with only a small chance at freedom. However, both systems remain inhumane, even if for distinct reasons- the former because it destroys the life not yet born, and the latter because it reduces life to inhuman bondage.

    But it seems pointless to continue this discussion J, because you see nothing wrong with drawing a comparison between a pig and a fetus. The problems with your comparison have already been noted. Being human, at this point, isn’t predicated upon consciousness, the ability to feel pain, etc. Were it so the mentally handicapped, comatose, etc. would have much to fear.

  33. Now that we’ve gone quite off track, I would like to get back to my original point of comparison between the abolition movement and the pro-life movement.

    The abolition movement employed two successful strategies to turn the hearts and minds of northerners against the institution of slavery. In a double pronged attack they showcased the humanity of slaves, while also displaying the inhumanity of the South’s Peculiar Institution.

    Moreover, they didn’t rest on moral arguments to persuade the public. They published personal accounts of slaveholders, travelers, etc. They reprinted runaway slave ads and court records that showed the harsh treatment of slaves. They even distributed pictures of slaves who had been whipped to such great lengths that their backs were hardly recognizable as human. Furthermore, a combination of slave narratives and fiction writings conveyed to the public the humanity of slaves.

    The modern pro-life movement could greatly benefit from this same strategy. To advance the cause of the humanity of the unborn child pro-life advocates should fund and push more 3-D and 4-D ultrasounds in public health clinics.

    Who can see these pictures and question the humanity of a 4 month old fetus?

    http://www.layyous.com/ultasound/ultrasound_video.htm

    Moreover, pro-lifers must do more to expose the inhumanity of the abortion providers. They shouldn’t be afraid to show pictures of aborted babies. Indeed, documentaries like this one that is now posted on Youtube go a long way toward showing the horrors of abortion (Warning: this video shows and actual abortion).

    And never forget that abolitionists toiled away for over 60 years- and for a long time they were public pariahs. Some were tar and feathered, others killed, their newspaper offices were sometimes ransacked and burned to the ground, and many times they were driven out of town by angry mobs. Yet they remained steadfast to their cause and many lived to see the end of slavery in the United States.

    BTW, the violence went both ways at time. Did you know that John Brown (several years before Harper’s Ferry) and his sons killed half a dozen pro-slavery settlers in Kansas and were never prosecuted? The history geek in me finds some many interesting implications in that.

  34. Should read “hearts and minds,” D’oh. Mind editing that for me Bridget?

  35. I posted this in a comment on another blog, but wanted to be sure you saw it. Looks like Clinton and Obama are fighting over who is the most-pro-abortion.

    Sen Clinton complained that Obama only voted “present” on key abortion votes, but Obama has a perfect rating from Planned Parenthood.

    See the article at http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-na-abortion6jan06,1,5155900.story?coll=la-news-a_section&ctrack=1&cset=true.

  36. Obama wins that one with his opposition to the Born Alive act.

    Story of Jill Stanek, who has testified before the Illinois legislature

    “As a nurse at an Illinois hospital in 1999, I discovered babies were being aborted alive and shelved to die in soiled utility rooms. I discovered infanticide.

    Legislation was presented on the federal level and in various states called the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. It stated all live-born babies were guaranteed the same constitutional right to equal protection, whether or not they were wanted.

    BAIPA sailed through the U.S. Senate by unanimous vote. Even Sens. Clinton, Kennedy and Kerry agreed a mother’s right to “choose” stopped at her baby’s delivery.

    The bill also passed overwhelmingly in the House. NARAL went neutral on it. Abortion enthusiasts publicly agreed that fighting BAIPA would appear extreme. President Bush signed BAIPA into law in 2002.

    But in Illinois, the state version of BAIPA repeatedly failed, thanks in large part to then-state Sen. Barack Obama. It only passed in 2005, after Obama left.”

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=51121

  37. how funny. Jill is a law school classmate of mine, although I haven’t seen her in forever, and I saw this post on her site without bothering to read it. I love that it was you she was tussling with. Ha.

  38. TT, which part shall I change for you?

    Thanks for the history lesson. Want geek points? :)

    Ian – I knew that and wondered if y’all were close. We’ve had a hate-on-first-sight (site?) thing going for a while.

    If you could explain why she even cares about the Census thing, though, I would be thrilled. It has never made any sense to me why you would counter an argument about human life with, “But it would create bureaucracy!” or anything else that could have just as easily been used to repudiate the civil rights of any other group.

  39. TT, which part shall I change for you?

    Thanks for the history lesson. Want geek points? :)

    Ian – I knew that and wondered if y’all were close. We’ve had a hate-on-first-sight (site?) thing going for a while.

    If you could explain why she even cares about the Census thing, though, I would be thrilled. It has never made any sense to me why you would counter an argument about human life with, “But it would create bureaucracy!” or anything else that could have just as easily been used to repudiate the civil rights of any other group.

  40. P.S. Ian, you still haven’t found yourself an avatar. :p

  41. The part where I spelled heart “hart.”

  42. I don’t know of any evidence that a pig of any age has comparable intelligence to an unborn child, I am not sure how to determine the intelligence of the child.

    I will say one thing about the intelligence of the pig, he will eat you if he gets the chance. Not all of you of course, his appetite is not that big. The pig also won’t worry about killing you before he eats you, as long as he can immobilise you.

    People should know that, in case they run into any wild pigs.

  43. TT, isn’t that all pretty now?

    SST, if this generates more weird hits (“mechanical deer!” “box turtles!”), I’m going to be very peeved. :p

  44. I’m sorry, I don’t like to see pigs maligned. People should pay more attention to them.

    However I have been thinking more about this.

    No question, many slaves were in bad situations, but a few slaves rebelled and killed their masters. More slaves escaped from their masters and went to Canada, my ancestors helped with that, not that they ever get any credit for it.

    An unborn child, on the other hand, has no options. The victim of an abortion can’t fight and no one is going the help him escape. So it appears to me that the slave was a lot better off than the baby.

    Theo, Glad your back. Hope you had a great Christmas.

    Sometime when its less controversial I’ll tell you why people could learn a lot from pigs.

  45. This is not in anyway related to this post, but I am curious. Why the high-fiber diet Bridget?

  46. BTW, I think the pig point is non-crazy: pigs are intelligent animals. Killing them raises serious questions. It’s not enough to say they’re a different species, because who cares?

    Species differentiation only means one thing: can two animals have fertile children? If the animals are the same species, yes. If not, no. That is the definition of a species. It’s an important definition for biology; I have no idea what it has to do with moral argument.

    Now, there are many very, very good arguments for imposing a “floor” on the “who counts” question of: “all humans, no matter what.” I agree with that, obviously. And the abortion question turns on that, and whether you think fetuses are humans for the purposes of that rule.

    But we shouldn’t mix up the floor with the ceiling. Then again, it’s easy for me to say this, since I don’t eat animals. :)

  47. I don’t eat animals, either. I do eat animal products – ice cream, hot chocolate, Brie, chocolate chip cookies…. :)

    TT,

    It’s a way of attempting to treat the latest medical disaster without surgery. With all of the omega-3s I’m eating from flaxseed, I’m going to be moderately intelligent, eventually. :)

  48. “It’s a way of attempting to treat the latest medical disaster without surgery”

    Swallow a quarter? ;-)

  49. I’ll email.

  50. A semi-serious response to Ian:

    Well, the solution might be to not have abortion and to more humanely kill pigs, if we need to eat them for food. I do not mind the idea of saying, “We accord humans this deference; why not do the same for animals?” but I get squeamish about saying, “Well, we treat animals this badly, so who cares about humans?” There are very controversial issues – death penalty and euthanasia, off the top of my head – that are influenced by how we treat animals.

    I don’t want to go the Peter Singer route and declare that, since animals are more capable of suffering than human infants, infanticide is okay but eating meat is not. While consciousness is one aspect of humanity, it is not the defining characteristic thereof, without which we are not worthy of human dignity.

    I’m very much pro-choice when it comes to eating meat. ;) I feel much healthier on a vegetarian diet, and it certainly agrees with me, but the same cannot be said for everyone else in the world. Several of my friends have food allergies, Crohn’s, or celiac’s, and cannot eat a meat-free diet and remain healthy. I’ve heard that there is a correlation between blood type and vegetarianism (As have it the easiest; Os feel like roadkill when they don’t have meat).

  51. I avoid pig because it just isn’t healthy. Plus chicken tastes just as good to me. And everyone knows chickens are dumb and don’t feel pain ;-)

  52. TT,

    Clearly, you missed that episode of “The Simpsons” where Lisa becomes a vegetarian.
    Homer: “You mean there is one magical animal that all these tasty foods come from?”
    Lisa: “Yes, Dad, it’s a pig!”

  53. “Well, the solution might be to not have abortion and to more humanely kill pigs, if we need to eat them for food.”

    Well, we don’t need to do that. Moreover, “need” is relative. The right question isn’t to say “there’s a need to do X, so let’s construct the moral arguments around that.” Before that can be done, we have to get the morals and right answers straight.

    If there were certain diseases that were best treated with the eating of infant flesh, I don’t think people would recommend that as a treatment. Similarly, given that entire populations are often vegetarian in many of the world’s countries, I doubt very much that “food allergies” require people to eat meat. I’m … not even sure how that would work.

  54. Ian,

    Hey, I included an “if” in my statement.
    :p pppptttt

    Now, as for vegetarian populations… I honestly don’t know enough about them to discuss whether or not they are adversely affected by their lack of access to meat. (I’m not aware of populations, excepting Hindu and Buddhist, that eschew meat for moral reasons.)

    I know a bit about food allergies. There are quite a few people allergic to things like wheat and soy, without which, it is nearly impossible to construct a healthy vegetarian diet. Those with celiacs cannot have any gluten; those with Crohn’s have a difficult time eating vegetables.

    Is your objection a broad one to eating animals, or do you have less problems with eating, say, chickens and shellfish than you would have to eating pigs and dolphins?

  55. IMHO, if men could get pregnant, women would be all over the pro-life argument. :)

    Heh. If men could get pregnant…prescriptive birth control would be covered by ALL insurance carriers, Theo… ;-)

  56. AHunt,

    Well, there is a male Pill in the works:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15937201/

    While men cannot get pregnant, they do have to pay child support, and a lot of them run around thinking that women “get themselves pregnant” to “catch a man.” While we cannot directly test your hypothesis, we will, in a few years, have the opportunity to find out just what happens when men take upon themselves some burden of pregnancy.

  57. Randy,

    Sorry that you got lost in the shuffle. Thanks for the link – I’ll post on it soon. :)

  58. Theo…over 28 years ago, I did a paper on male BC. Memory is hazy, but I remember that researchers Chinese?) discovered promising leads for chemical male BC…but the efforts were abandoned when the it was discovered that the protocols had magor antabuse effects.

    Given the inevitible connection between booze and sex…researchers figured the findings were a non-starter and moved on.

    3 decades later…it is not a question of if…but when.

  59. Theo,
    Just re-visited this thread! Whoops! I will do what I can.

    But really, it’s almost impossible to instill objective values in people who have abandoned the notion of there being such a thing.

  60. Oh,but give me the link. I don’t have the energy to read through all the crap. I looked at the site. Sweet baby Jeebus.

  61. AHunt,

    I assume you mean a major conflict with antabuse, or something similar to that.

    Do you happen to know if similar, modern male Pills have the same problem? Is it like antidepressants, wherein alcohol negates the effect?

    Now, personally, I do not think that men will take the Pill every day, at the same time, as would probably be required for it to be effectual. I do think, however, that a handful will – those who are worried about women “getting pregnant” and have the stature to be targets for child support obligations, but who do not want vasectomies (quite yet).

    Thanks for stopping by. I’ll respond to yours & Beppie’s comments in a few.


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