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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What the Hobby Lobby Decision Really Was

Pro-choice bloggers have been generally confused regarding the recent decision by the Supreme Court to uphold their religious freedom by not forcing them to provide abortifacient contraceptives. They think that this ruling has given religious employs carte blanche to mistreat their employees, or to oppress them, or all manner of silly things. NARAL alleged this gives employers a right to "interfere" in their employees' medical decisions. What they don't seem to understand is that Hobby Lobby is still providing 16 different forms of contraceptives to their employers. The ones they are no longer forced to provide, since it goes against their deeply held religious convictions, are contraceptives that cause an early abortion. But why let facts get in the way of a rhetorical argument?

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Monday, June 23, 2014

One Absurd Conclusion of the Pro-Choice Position

One of the problems with the pro-choice position, aside from the fact that abortion unjustly kills an innocent child, is the fact that it places the will of the parents over the needs of the child, when in fact it should be the other way around. The vast, vast majority of children are conceived through a consensual act by the mother and father, and the child is conceived through no fault or desire of their own. After all, you cannot consent to being brought into existence because you would have to precede your own conception in order to do that, which is logically absurd. So a child is brought into existence, then killed once deemed inconvenient by the mother, father (in which case coercion usually follows), or both.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How Now to Address Pro-Choice Arguments in 1,000 Words

There's a video on YouTube that claims to be able to destroy "pro-abortion" arguments in two minutes by vlogger Buster Stein. I believe that we should be making the best arguments we can for the pro-life position, and responding adequately to the best arguments from the pro-choice side. Unfortunately Mr. Stein here does neither of those two things. Despite the title of his video, he doesn't address a single pro-choice argument nor does he make a very compelling case for the pro-life position. Stein's pro-life arguments are just taken from internet memes that you see floating around Facebook, but as is the case with memes they make lousy arguments. Additionally, his entire video is spent making a positive case, defending the pro-life position, instead of making a negative case, responding to pro-choice arguments against the pro-life position. Let's take a look at his arguments.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Who is the Subject of Our Experiences?

Allons-y! Yes, it's high time I out myself as a huge nerd. Last night I attended a screening of the two-part Doctor Who adventure, "Rise of the Cybermen" and "The Age of Steel," seamlessly combined to make a feature film. It was glorious. Now, I know that science fiction is not what the "cool kids" watch, but it really does offer a great medium for exploring philosophical questions, especially in areas like personal identity and the philosophy of mind. Even many analogies surrounding the abortion issue are science fiction scenario (e.g. Thomson's violinist and Warren's captured astronaut).

Read the rest on the Life Training Institute blog.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Key to Avoiding Red Herrings

I'm currently reading through a book by John S. Feinberg [1] on Modernism and Postmodernism, and he made a claim in his book that I thought would be excellent to share. It's also a point that I've been raising in my presentations on abortion.

Feinberg tells us that there are two reasons that you need to clarify any issue at hand, that you need to think through the logic of the case presented and that if you don't, the case that you are attacking may be only peripheral to the topic at hand. Many thinkers skip the first reason and proceed right to the second. An example of this would be someone who tries to argue against evolution by presenting a case for God, throwing out arguments for God's existence. But that's only a peripheral issue, because even if God exists Evolution could have still happened. So you must address the arguments presented by evolutionists. In their mind, they may be thinking that God's existence would disprove evolution because you don't need naturalistic explanations if God exists, but by throwing out the Cosmological, Teleological, and Moral Arguments, you aren't making the case you think you are.

The abortion issue is similar. In order to adequately argue your pro-life or pro-choice case, you have to present a positive case (that is, a case that supports your position) and possibly a negative case (that is, a case that responds to your opponent's arguments). Good pro-life arguments support the biological humanity and philosophical personhood of the unborn child. Good pro-choice arguments argue that the unborn are not persons or that a woman should not be legally compelled to remain plugged in to the unborn child. When we keep this in mind, it's easy to see how many arguments are peripheral issues (that is, side issues that are affected by the issue at large but by refuting you do not refute the actual position) and don't even respond to the case presented.

Let's take the pro-life position. If a pro-life person makes an argument that the unborn are fully human and fully persons, then arguments about difficult situations, such as poverty, or from personal rights, like the right to choose or privacy, are not an adequate argument for the pro-choice position. If pro-life people are right, and the unborn really are full human persons, then poverty would not justify killing them (as it would not justify killing a human child outside the womb), nor would the rights to choose or of privacy. Conversely, if the pro-choice position succeeds, and the unborn either are not persons or do not have the legal right to remain plugged in to the woman, then a woman can have an abortion for any reason, whether or not we find it indecent, which is, incidentally, a point that Thomson made in her essay A Defense of Abortion. If a pro-choice person is going to respond to a pro-life argument, they must directly attack the case that the unborn are biologically human and philosophically persons and show how they are not, in fact, human or persons.

Now let's take the pro-choice position. If a pro-choice person makes an argument that the unborn are not persons or that a human embryo or fetus does not have the right to be plugged in to a woman against her will, then arguments about how abortions hurt women or how they could adopt a child out will not respond to those arguments. If the unborn really are not persons or do not have the right to remain plugged in, then a woman could logically be allowed to have an abortion to save the pain of bonding with the child then letting him/her go. Also, all surgeries carry an element of risk, so if there is nothing morally wrong with killing the unborn child, then the fact that it hurts some women is not a response to their argument.

This will avoid frustrations in the pro-choice person, who may feel as if they're not being listened to because the pro-life person is responding to a peripheral argument, but not the one being presented. In our attempt to have good, intelligent discussions on the abortion issue, we need to keep in mind what our arguments for the pro-life position are and what arguments pro-choice people present, as well as how to adequately respond to their arguments.

[1] The book I'm reading through is Can You Believe it's True? Christian Apologetics in a Modern & Postmodern Era, but the principle that I'm espousing in this article is one that anyone, religious or non-religious, can benefit from.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Arguing Over Terms

Recently I was involved in an on-line discussion (it was more of an argument, really) regarding whether pro-life people should be using the term "unborn" in our discussion or "preborn" exclusively. The short answer is it really doesn't matter what terms you use. Arguing over terms is really just unhelpful -- it's best to use terms that both sides are comfortable with so that you can get on with the real discussion: abortion is immoral because the procedure kills an innocent human being. Arguing over terms is not helpful.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Lament Regarding Pro-Choice Bloggers

There's a one-sidedness when it comes to abortion blogs. I see many pro-life bloggers who are using the science and philosophy well to support their position. And then when I look up pro-choice blogs, I usually see the following: "Hey, look at what this stupid anti-choicer just said [provides link]. This is bull!" Then they completely ignore all the evidence presented by said pro-lifer and high-five each other on how rational and logical they're being.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.