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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Book Review: Love Unleashes Life: Abortion and the Art of Communicating Truth by Stephanie Gray

(Full disclosure: Stephanie is a friend and I have had the pleasure of engaging in pro-life activism with her. As such, I'll be referring to her by her first name because it feels weird to me to call her Gray. Additionally, even though she's a friend, these are still my honest thoughts on her book.)

Love Unleashes Life is the newest book from pro-life advocate Stephanie Gray. It's a book that covers some of the intellectual and emotional arguments for abortion and how to respond to them, but the main focus of the book is in teaching people not just how to respond to these arguments, but also in how to engage in a more human way, by recognizing when emotional hang-ups and past trauma are undergirding someone's arguments.

Read more at the Life Training Institute blog.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Book Review: Defends of the Unborn: The Pro-Life Movement Before Roe v. Wade by Daniel K. Williams

Special thanks to Oxford University Press for the free copy to review.

Daniel Williams has done a great service to the pro-life field by researching and compiling this volume regarding the history of the pro-life movement. There are now two books on abortion history that I would suggest grace every pro-life advocate's bookshelves: Dispelling the Myths of Abortion History by Joseph Dellapenna, and now Defenders of the Unborn by Daniel K. Williams.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Using a Tragedy for Your Agenda

Early this morning, tragedy struck Orlando, Florida when a man, Omar Mateen, walked into a gay club in the city and opened fire. He killed 50 people and wounded at least 53, and after a three-hour standoff, police burst into the building and kill the gunman. Of course, there is much speculation about his motives. It's not my intention here to guess at what his motivations actually were. While many were quick to sympathize with those killed and urged us to mourn with them, many also took to social media to support their own pet agenda.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Is Philosophy Useless in the Pro-Life Argument?

Last week, LiveActionNews published an article from Olivier Lindor called "Four Non-Religious Reasons to be Pro-Life". In that article, Lindor made the claim that science is all you need for the pro-life argument. Philosophy is (presumably) unreliable as a source of truth. Science is the only reliable source of truth, so science should be the standard we turn to when we make public policy. He gave three other arguments, but my purpose for this article is to specifically respond to Lindor's first argument from science. To be clear, I enjoy LiveActionNews. This is not a diatribe against them, but merely my intention to respond, as a pro-life educator, to an idea that I find detrimental to the pro-life argument and worldview, in general.

Lindor is right that there is a significant non-religious portion of the pro-life movement. He is also right that we do not have to specifically present a religious argument to justify the pro-life stance. However, he does not have to throw philosophy under the bus to do so.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Book Review: Aborting Aristotle: Examining the Fatal Fallacies in the Abortion Debate by Dave Sterrett

Special thanks to Dave Sterrett for the free copy of the book to review.

There are a lot of great books out there defending the pro-life position. There are also some great books to help you get started in pro-life apologetics. Dave Sterrett's book really functions as a pre-starter book, whereas in introductory books the information you learn about are the basics that you need, Aborting Aristotle gives a grounding, the sort of metaphysical basement, for our pro-life views. You won't learn how to defend the pro-life view, that's not its purpose. You'll learn about why the pro-life position works and why pro-choice thinkers fail to justify abortion by jettisoning an Aristotelian framework.

There is a lot of great information contained in this book. His discussions on how naturalistic metaphysics is self-refuting is especially important to understand. His chapter on personhood was also very good. Usually discussions of personhood certain around who counts as persons, but it seems that rarely do these discussions get to the heart of what the concept of "person" actually means. Sterrett shows admirably that our personhood, while different than our humanity, cannot be separated from it. He even talks about some common ground that we can find with pro-choice people in his concluding chapter, which is an excellent thing for pro-life people to keep in mind when talking to pro-choice people.

The only main problems I had with the book are:

1) There was no real discussion about substances and why humans count as substances. It really seems like you'd need at least a basic familiarity with Aristotle in order to know what he's talking about, even in his excellent rebuttals of naturalistic philosophy.

2) There was no real discussion about potentiality and actuality. It was mentioned, but not really discussed. This does seem like a glaring omission, since not knowing what potentiality actually means leads even modern philosophers to make bad arguments against the personhood of the unborn. Two examples are when Michael Tooley, in his book Abortion and Infanticide, argues about injecting a rationality serum into cats, and when Singer, I believe in his book Practical Ethics, argues that potential presidents don't have the same privileges and duties as actual presidents. If Sterrett does a second edition, I think a chapter on potentiality vs. actuality would be in order.

3) The 17.00 price tag is a bit steep for a 120-page book. Granted, this is not the fault of the author, the publisher sets the price tag.

There are a couple of other minor issues that should probably be corrected for future editions. In at least a couple of the chapters, I felt the endings weren't tightened up. They seemed to just end abruptly. Additionally, for many of the quotes regarding Aristotle, he used secondary sources, not the primary sources, themselves. This may affect credibility.

I am an Aristotelian/Thomist in my view of metaphysics. As such, I think this is an important book to add to the discussion. It's a helpful primer on the metaphysical grounding of the pro-life position.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Responding to a Video From Bill Nye, the Anti-Science Guy

I've seen a video being shared on Facebook from a website called Big Think, in which Bill Nye (heralded as "The Science Guy" because he plays one on TV) condescendingly tells pro-lifers that we should not tell women what to do, and that the pro-life position is based on "outdated" science. That is, the science that Alan Guttmacher, in 1933 said is "so simple and evident that it is difficult to picture a time when it wasn't part of the common knowledge" (see Life in the Making: The Story of Human Procreation). The science that every embryology textbook of the 20th and 21st centuries supports. This science is "outdated" to Bill Nye. Perhaps most egregiously he tries to pit science against religion in this video, which belies a severe ignorance of how science actually developed.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

How Not to Argue Pro-Choice: Eleven Completely Misguided Arguments

I was recently introduced to an article written by one Seth Millstein, called How to Argue Pro-Choice: 11 Arguments Against Abortion Access, Debunked [sic]. Let's ignore the misplaced comma for a moment. Actually, let's comment on it. That comma doesn't belong there. I was once like Millstein, haphazardly placing commas with abandon, putting commas where they don't belong. My college English professor called me "comma happy" because of it and soon broke me of the habit. But I digress.

Let's start with the fact that when Millstein wants to indicate someone says something embarrassing, he points to an unrelated case of Piers Morgan not being politically correct when talking to a transgender person. It's not hard to find a video of Piers Morgan trying to come off as educated when he's clearly not. Here's a video of Michael Brown educating Piers Morgan on what the Bible actually says about same-sex marriage. But as I said, this is irrelevant anyway.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.