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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Monkeying Around With Personhood

Wesley J. Smith has written about a case in Argentina in which an orangutan named Sandra has been declared by the court to be a non-human person. This ruling essentially would grant Sandra her freedom because it is unethical to hold people captive unlawfully.

The BBC has even written about litigation in the United States to try to get Tommy, a chimpanzee living in captivity, recognized as a "legal person."

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Monday, November 3, 2014

My Thoughts on Brittany Maynard's Situation

You've probably heard the case of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman who was diagnosed with degenerative brain cancer, who took her own life rather than lose control of her bodily functions in what she referred to as "dying with dignity." Now, like all contentious issues, there are terms used that are emotionally-charged and obfuscate the main issue. In the case of euthanasia, "death with dignity" is one such term, since it implies that those who choose to live out their lives and accept the consequences are not dignified in their death.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Book Review: Persuasive Pro-Life by Trent Horn

Special thanks to Trent Horn for the free copy to review.

Trent Horn used to work for Justice for All, and it really shows in this book. If you've ever been through a JFA seminar, this book is a terrific supplement to the seminar. It's basically the JFA seminar in print form.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Irrationality of the Pro-Choice Mindset

The Blaze has reported on a woman on Reddit who has posted an open letter to her unborn child, a young person which she is going to have aborted next Friday. You can read the letter here.

Let's be clear about something, first. I am sympathetic to her position. I know it can be difficult to raise an unborn child when one is not ready to be a mother. The people in her life should be rallying around her to help her through this difficult situation and help prepare her to be a good mother for this child. I just don't see that this is adequate grounds for anyone to kill their child, to say nothing of the fact that the choice of whether to become a mother is before the procreative act of sex, not after. Once the child is conceived, you are a mother and have obligations to care for your offspring, whether or not you feel ready for them.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Responding to Philosophical Arguments Against the Pro-Life Position, Part IV

This will be the last in this series, as the author, Brandon Christen, has indicated this is his last part. He seems to have forgotten his desire to respond to the argument from ageism, but I guess we'll have to be content with this. You can find the first part in this series here, the second part here, and the third part here.

Christen's article, that I will be responding to, can be found at this link.

Christen does consider this to be the strongest non-religious argument against abortion. The problem is, he doesn't seem to understand the argument. He seems to assume it means that you were a human at all points in your life. That's part of it, but the argument states that you are *you* at all points in your life. You were human at all points, but the same *you* now is the same *you* then when you were a toddler, and when you were in the womb. Here's a more thorough exposition of the argument from identity.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pro-Life Themes in Doctor Who

I am very much a Whovian. I'm actually a fan of many science fiction shows, especially Star Trek. And as a side note, I don't consider Doctor Who to be science fiction. I consider it science fantasy. I have seen many articles written about the latest Doctor Who episode, "Kill the Moon," which seems to have a pro-life theme running through the episode. I am skeptical about this theme, as I'll outline below. However, as is the abortion issue, this episode has clearly been polarizing. I've seen reviews by people who hated it with the burning passion of a thousand suns. I've seen reviews by people who loved it. And even pro-choice reviewers have found a pro-life theme in this episode, such as this reviewer. This will contain obvious spoilers, so continue reading at your own peril.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Responding to Philosophical Arguments Against the Pro-Life Position, Part III

This is the third part in this five part series. For part one, go here. For part two, click here.

In blogger Brandon Christen's third part of his series, he responds to an argument from rights. The argument, as he outlines is, is that all human beings have right (such as the right to life), the unborn are human beings, therefore the unborn have rights (such as the right to life).

Christen begins by reiterating his position on personhood, but as I have argued previously (see part one), his position on personhood can be rejected because he is begging the question by dismissing the soul and he has not properly argued for why personhood is grounded in brain function. And in part two, I explained that appealing to the kind of things that are not persons (e.g. grass and rocks) is a false analogy because the unborn from fertilization and the kind of things that are persons. Grass and rocks will never be sentient, yet unborn human beings will be once they develop enough.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Responding to Philosophical Arguments Against the Pro-Life Position, Part II

Blogger Brandon Christen is presenting a case that secular arguments for the pro-life position fail. This is the second part in this series of five, and you can find the first part here.

For Christen's second part of his series, he responds to what he calls the Argument from Future Deprivation. I am taken to understand that Marquis calls this argument the Future of Value (FoV) argument, so that's how I'll be referring to it. For more information on Marquis' argument, follow this link.

I said in the first part of this series that it's refreshing to find a blogger making a reasoned case against the pro-life position, instead of just resorting to name-calling and fear-mongering. However, he is off to a less than stellar start. In fact, I'm not even sure he properly understands Marquis' argument.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Monday, September 22, 2014

In Defense of the Womb Teleology Argument


Stephanie Gray is a pro-life advocate who makes an argument regarding the purpose and function of the uterus and its effect on the abortion discussion. It is an argument that many atheistic pro-life advocates disdain because it appears to have religious overtones; however, I believe this objection to the argument to be mistaken. Because a position is compatible with religious thought does not make it a religious argument, anymore than arguing that the unborn are human beings is a religious argument. I would like to present a defense of the argument that secular people can use, and I certainly welcome discussion on the argument in the comments.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Responding to Philosophical Arguments Against the Pro-Life Position

Blogger Brandon Christen has written an introductory article, the first in a five-part series, responding to pro-life arguments. He is looking at the issue from an atheistic perspective. It's refreshing to find a pro-choice blogger who argues from logic and philosophy instead of the usual fare you get from sites like Salon or RH Reality Check. I would like to offer a response to his arguments and when he posts the other parts in his series, I will respond to those.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Book Review: Eli's Reach by Chad Judice

Special thanks to Acadian House Publishing for the free book for review. Go here for my review of his first book, Waiting for Eli.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Richard Dawkins Pt. 2

This article will be a continuation of my previous article, which you can read here. Richard Dawkins recently sent a barbaric tweet regarding his belief that it would be immoral not to abort an unborn child with Down's syndrome. He recently wrote an article to clarify his position, which you can read here. His article is entitled Abortion and Down Syndrome: An Apology for Letting Slip the Dogs of Twitterwar."

In this article, Dawkins is able to go into more detail about his position. Twitter, with its 140 character limit, is not conducive to good, in-depth dialogue. It's really not beneficial to try to engage in any meaningful conversation via that particular social medium. This is just the latest in a long list of examples that prove as much. However, in the article Dawkins repeats the fact that most mothers who are pregnant with children with Down's syndrome abort and most doctors recommend it. This may be true, but it proves nothing. If abortion is immoral, then it makes no difference whether most people do it or most experts recommend it.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Richard Dawkins Has Done it Again

Richard Dawkins is no stranger to controversy. From going on a tirade regarding a woman who felt uncomfortable in a situation on an elevator at an atheist conference, to stating that mild pedophilia is not morally blameworth, Richard Dawkins has consistently espoused problematic ideas. His latest is a statement regarding people with Down's syndrome, in which he stated that most women with a Down's syndrome baby do abort (which is true), but that it would be immoral to bring a child with Down's syndrome into the world if you have a choice. He later defended himself saying that he will not apologize for approaching moral philospohic [sic] questions in a logical way.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Another Aspect of Persuasive Dialogue

Oscar Wilde once said, "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth." Wilde, of course, lived in the 19th century, born over a century before the internet was merely a gleam in Al Gore's eye. However, his statement is just as true now as it was back then. Internet anonymity allows people who would otherwise not be blatantly honest with people to show their true colors without having to look the person they're denigrating in the eye when they're saying it.

This article is a follow-up, of sorts, to my previous article about being persuasive in your conversations with pro-choice people. It was actually inspired by the recent tragedy regarding comedy legend Robin Williams taking his own life. It's bad enough that his family had to go through this situation, but Williams' daughter Zelda was forced off of social media because internet trolls posted fake pictures regarding her father. Thankfully many people have more sense than this, but if you want a true taste of human nature, just peruse the comments section on any YouTube video on blog article. There have been numerous accounts of teenagers pushed by internet bullies into committing suicide.

This, of course, also happens often in the abortion debate. People who are allegedly pro-life will attack pro-choice people verbally, even going so far as to make death threats against pro-choice people. Now right away, I know there are going to be people who are going to say that "it happens on both sides" (and I know there are going to be people who won't read the article so they won't see my prediction before making that statement). But that doesn't make it okay for us to do it. Yes, it's frustrating when things don't go our way. We're fighting an up-hill battle against our own government and the multi-billion dollar abortion giant Planned Parenthood. But if we really have truth on our side, and if we truly want to be persuasive, we have to stop acting as if we don't really believe our own arguments. If the unborn are human beings (P1), and all human beings are deserving of protection (P2), then the unborn are deserving of protection. This goes for pro-choice people, too. If pro-choice people aren't deserving of protection, then that invalidates our second premise and leaves the door open for arguing against the unborn deserving protection.

I have already written about being persuasive in our arguments by treating the other person with respect. Another aspect of persuasiveness is to let our actions match our words. If we argue one way and live another, on what grounds should pro-choice people accept our argument? Let's stop with the rhetoric and the name-calling; let's stop with the death threats made in frustration and anonymously over the internet. We need to become a movement that can truly be respected so that when a pro-choice person brings an accusation against us, we can honestly say that there may have been people like that in the past, but you'll be hard-pressed to find someone like that now.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Responding to Difficult Situations Regarding Human Development

I am currently reading through a book called Who Killed Homer?: The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom by Victor Davis Hanson and John Heath. In the book they make the following observation: "We in the university have invented the very tenets of specialization. We have developed the strange notion that if we can find a single exception to a sound generalization then the entire thesis itself must therefore be rejected. Deeply suspicious of grand theories, we are schooled to be quibblers and clerks, to live in fear of having our work tainted with the humiliating label of 'popularization, of one scholar finding one exception to a sensible principle of history or literature" (Encounter Books, New York, NY, p. 24). The entire book examines Greek thought and the detriments to our culture that rejecting Greek wisdom has wrought. This passage struck me as particularly poignant. In no other discussion do I see the rejection of Greek thought (such as the reality of human nature) more than in my discussions on abortion.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Art of Persuasiveness

Abortion is an injustice. Pro-life people are passionate about ending it. Those are good things. But they are no excuse for name-calling. Unfortunately, some pro-lifers make really mean and nasty comments toward pro-choice people. This needs to stop and I intend to show you why.

Consider a recent talk by atheist writer Phil Plait, colorfully titled "Don't be a Dick." As a Christian I don't agree with everything in the talk, but I am sharing it because I agree wholeheartedly with the general message of the speech. Plait was speaking to atheists and telling them not to be jerks to religious people, but his message can be applied to any area of contention.

I believe the pro-life position is true. But at least as important, if not more so, than being true is being persuasive. What good is being right if you can't persuade anyone to your point of view?

As Plait asked in his speech, when was the last time someone changed your mind by getting in your face and calling you a brain-damaged idiot? Conversely, how is it you expect to be able to change a pro-choice person's mind by calling them an evil baby-killer?

No, we cannot and should not downplay the wrongness of abortion or ignore its victims. Having that conversation may be uncomfortable when talking to post-abortive people, but the hope is that they will come to the realization that what they did was wrong so they can get past it. How do you expect that to happen if you open the conversation by calling the person a murderer? The short answer is, it won't.

Not all post-abortive women (and men) are murderers. There are any number of reasons people have abortions of varying moral culpability: Undoubtedly, many women do have abortions knowing full well what they are doing. But not all women are the same. Our society has failed them by providing false information about the unborn child, and abortion "counselors" have exacerbated that failure. Sometimes a young girl is pregnant and scared and thinks abortion is her only way out. Many women and girls are coerced into abortions by their boyfriends and/or parents. But whatever the situation, the key question is: what is the most persuasive? Is it more persuasive to call a pro-choice person a baby-killer, or to make your case as to why abortion is murder and help them realize what it is they are really supporting?

Jesus once said to "love your neighbor as yourself", and to "treat others as you would have them treat you." These statements have given way to a new belief that the mere act of speaking the truth is loving in and of itself. But telling the truth can be loving or unloving, depending in large part on the speaker's attitude. Ask yourself: are you truly interested in seeing the person in front of you reject a false belief and accept a true one? Or are you mainly concerned with being right? Love requires respect. It means taking the person seriously and trying to understand their position, even if you vehemently disagree or find their ideas to be ridiculous. Isn't that how you would want a pro-choice person to treat you?

As pro-life people, we have much to gain—yet there is much to lose if we fail to concern ourselves with being persuasive. There are unborn children at stake. Shouldn't we put our pride aside and engage in persuasive, productive conversations? We have science and philosophy on our side, but we also have intense stereotypes and caricatures to overcome. Name-calling only reinforces those caricatures and makes it more difficult to convince pro-choicers to drop their support of abortion.

This article appeared, in a slightly altered form, on the Secular Pro-Life blog, as well as on the LifeNews blog with the title Calling Pro-Abortion People Names Won't Change Their Mind (I didn't come up with the title, otherwise I would have used "Pro-Choice" instead of "Pro-Abortion").

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.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Fallacy Monday: Non Sequitur

Follow the following links to the different parts in this series: IntroductionAd HominemStrawmanBegging the QuestionSlippery Slope, and Equivocation.

The term "non sequitur" is a Latin term that simply means "it does not follow." A non sequitur is committed when an argument does not follow logically from its premises. This is obviously fallacious since in order for an argument to succeed, it must be both valid and sound (see the introduction for a refresher on the difference).

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Fallacy Monday: Equivocation

For the previous parts in this series, see the IntroductionAd HominemStrawmanBegging the Question, and Slippery Slope articles.

The fallacy of equivocation is essentially made when you use a term in the premises in your argument in two different ways. For example, take the following argument from the linked webpage:

P1: Brad is a nobody.
P2: Nobody is perfect.
C: Therefore, Brad is perfect.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Did Washington Post Check the Science?

So Republican Senator Marco Rubio is in the public consciousness right now for some comments he made about the scientific consensus being that life begins at conception. This is true, but I'll get there in a moment. The Washington Post, taking Rubio as his word, decided to take him up on that challenge. Or at least they think they did. Now, Rubio's comments came after a question he was given regarding climate change. It is beyond the scope of this article to talk about that topic or Rubio's comments regarding it.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Who is Misrepresenting Whom:

My friend Kristine Kruszelnicki of Pro-Life Humanists fairly recently posted an article to Hemant Mehta's blog ("The Friendly Atheist") making a secular case for abortion. Since then, irrational atheists (note: I'm not calling all atheists irrational, I'm speaking of only the atheists who have responded to this article, in articles of their own or in the comments) have been illustrating that atheism isn't so much about free thinking as it is dogmatism. Ironic, no? Apparently one cannot be pro-life and an atheist. Any atheist who is pro-life must, apparently by definition, be religious in disguise, an accusation I see hurled at Secular Pro-Life pretty often.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Being Pro-Life Requires Action

I was watching a video today by Hemant Mehta, who goes by the moniker "Friendly Atheist" on his blog. The gist of his video is whether or not one can be pro-life and atheist. I've heard many atheists claim that one can't be pro-life and be an atheist, and when Kristine Kruszelnicki of Pro-Life Humanists wrote an article for Mehta's blog last month, atheists went bananas in the comments section, offended at the very idea one could be an atheist and pro-life. How do atheists expect me to believe that atheism isn't a religion or a belief system if they keep adding rules for atheism? I thought the only thing one needed to be an atheist was to not believe in God or gods.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Book Review: Waiting for Eli by Chad Judice

Full disclosure: Arcadian House Publishing has sent me a free copy of this book to review.

Waiting for Eli is the story of a father, Chad Judice, and his wife, Ashley, who is pregnant with their second son who has spina bifida, a debilitating disorder which often causes the person with it to be paralyzed, develop water on the brain, etc., and many are miscarried during pregnancy. More distressingly, more than 50% of children given this diagnosis are aborted. This is a story of the journey that Eli's parents took through the entire pregnancy, preparing for Eli's birth and for his life with spina bifida.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Fallacy Monday: Slippery Slope

It's been two weeks since my last part in this series. The month of April was incredibly busy for me but now I'm back with a new installment in this series. Here are the links to the introduction to this series, to the Ad Hominem fallacy, to the Strawman fallacy, and to the Begging the Question fallacy.

A slippery slope argument is an argument that you start with one thing, and another, related thing will happen, and eventually it will snowball into something horrible. The reason that this type of argument can be fallacious is because it is often just a form of fear mongering. But like most fallacies, this type of argument is not always fallacious. What's important is whether or not you have warrant for the slippery slope.

Read the rest at the Life Training Institute blog.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Do Aborted Babies Go to Heaven?

I see this argument thrown around occasionally, especially by atheist pro-choice people. It's not a serious objection. It's merely meant to trap religious pro-life people. The argument goes like this: If babies who are aborted go to Heaven, then why do you oppose abortion if those babies are going to a better place? I've even seen one atheist pro-life person assert that if she was religious, she wouldn't have any reason to oppose abortion because they went to Heaven. She'd find some other cause to join because abortion wouldn't be that bad. Needless to say, there is absolutely no substance to this argument at all.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What Makes a Person a Person?

I have written several articles already giving a robust defense of what a person is. But now I'd like to talk about what I see as a key component to a person.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Are These Truly Myths?

An article written on Everyday Feminism by Erin McKelle has been brought to my attention. Ordinarily I wouldn't take the time to respond to an article like this, but a friend asked for my thoughts on it. So I decided to write this in an article and share my thoughts with everyone who would care to read. The article is called 6 Abortion Myths Debunked. Needless to say her responses are less than impressive, and many result in simple red herrings and misunderstandings of science. I guess you could call this Six Abortion Myths Debunked Debunked.

Read more at the Life Training Institute blog.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fallacy Monday: Begging the Question

Here are links to the first three articles in this series: IntroductionAd HominemStrawman.

This is probably one of the most common fallacies you'll come across. To beg the question is essentially assuming what you're trying to prove. But if you're trying to prove something, then assuming it implicitly in a premise of your argument won't be convincing, even though the argument is a valid one.

Read more at the Life Training Institute blog.

Friday, April 11, 2014

On Bodily Rights and Personhood

In my recent debate with Matt Dillahunty, he made a claim that bodily rights arguments "include" arguments from personhood. This apparently means, to him, that he doesn't have to make a case against unborn personhood, it just means that whether or not the unborn are persons because of bodily rights abortion is permissible because no one has the right to use your body against your will. I believe this to be mistaken, and I will explain why bodily rights arguments don't "include" arguments from personhood; in fact, bodily rights arguments assume unborn personhood. This will be my last article written about my recent debate, but I feel that this is an important point to make. The debate is already over, so I'm not trying to score additional points with my articles. Debates are won or lost based on what is argued in the debate. I am here just explaining this topic in greater detail.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Matt Dillahunty

So it seems that Matt Dillahunty is spreading some untruths about my recent debate with him. Here is a link to the Facebook thread he posted regarding his interactions with Secular Pro-Life, and my interaction with him. I don't think my Christian friends will be very surprised, as he does this kind of thing all the time. But I think non-religious pro-life people are starting to get a taste of what Dillahunty is really like. Also, this will probably be my only message on the issue, even if he or one of his supporters responds.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Fallacy Monday: The Strawman Fallacy

Here is the introduction to this series, and here is my discussion of the first fallacy in this series. In today's article, I'm going to be looking at the strawman fallacy.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Post-Debate Reflection

My debate with Matt Dillahunty has come to an end. If you didn't get a chance to listen to it, you can do so here. The winner of sporting events is clear-cut; the winner of debates: not so much. What matters are the arguments, and whether the arguments were adequately answered, though other factors can sway people's opinions. In terms of content, I’m pleased with what I had to offer, though Matt probably topped me in terms of style. As far as who “won”? I think most debaters think they won the debate (and most listeners believe their debater won the debate) regardless of how well or poorly their opponent did. Personally, I’m not as interested in who won the debate. What I care about is the fact that I was able to present my case to Matt's supporters.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Logical Outgrowth of Failure to Respect Human Life

It turns out that several hospitals in the UK, including Addenbrooke's in Cambridge, incinerated the remains of thousands of miscarried and aborted unborn children as clinical waste, while two of the hospitals used the fetal remains to heat their hospitals. The parents of miscarried babies were told that their child was "cremated," rather than having done what the parents wanted done with the remains.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fallacy Monday: The Ad Hominem Fallacy

Last week I began a new series on logical fallacies. The first fallacy I would like to examine is a very common one in the abortion debate, the Ad Hominem fallacy.

Continue reading at the Life Training Institute blog.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Fallacy Monday: A Discussion of Fallacies

I've decided to institute a series called Fallacy Monday, in which each Monday I will take a particular logical fallacy, give a brief examination of it, discuss why it is a fallacy, and how it relates to the abortion issue, giving examples of the fallacy being used on both sides of the issues. Why Fallacy Monday instead of Fallacy Friday? Because Fallacy Friday is cliche, despite the sweet, sweet use of alliteration.

Read more at the Life Training Institute blog.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Pastors Are Fallible, Too

A pro-life friend from Michigan heard a pastor on the radio defending legalized abortion. I've heard all sorts of Biblical arguments made to try and defend abortion, but this one was especially bizarre. As Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason says, never read a Bible verse. In other words, don't just read one verse out of context. All sorts of heresies have begun that way. Sometimes to understand the meaning of a verse you have to read the entire chapter or sometimes the entire book. The Scriptures were originally not written with chapter and verse markings, and in many cases these markings are unhelpful because the chapter ends before a thought or argument is completed.

Read the rest at Life Training Institute.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

On 40 Days for Life

Blogger Jon Speed, who is affiliated with pro-life film Babies Are Murdered Here, has written an article denigrating 40 Days for Life as non-Christian. His article is entitled 40 Days for Life Stinks. Right away I can tell that this isn't going to be a critique of 40 Days for Life so much as complaining about them, and right I was.

Jon is adamant that 40 Days for Life is not a Christian organization. Right away, I should note that as far as I know, 40 Days for Life is not an organization at all, but a 40-day event that people of different churches and pro-life organizations participate in, meeting in front of abortion clinics to peacefully protest abortion and pray for its ending. On what grounds does Speed assert that an event where churches get together and pray for the ending of abortion is not a Christian event?

Read the rest at Life Training Institute.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Cecile Richards' Morally Repugnant Belief

It's definitely not news that Planned Parenthood is anti-science. There is, of course, this video, in which a group of individuals affiliated with and trained by Planned Parenthood, in an actual debate, declared that they were "not going to try to use science or evidence," and that the science is all opinion. Oddly enough, at a pro-life outreach I once asked a Planned Parenthood employee who was counter-protesting, I asked one of their counter-protesters what they would say if I told them that the earth is actually 6,000 years old and that an old earth was just their opinion, what she would say? She didn't have an answer to that. Funny that an old Earth and evolution are scientific fact, but suddenly when you're talking about when human life begins, the science is "unreliable" and "science has been wrong before." (Note: I'm not interested in debating evolution; I am merely using this as an example of Planned Parenthood's inconsistency when it comes to science.)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Pro-Choice Writer at Calvin College

Jonathan Hielkema, a student at Calvin College, a Christian college in Michigan, has posted an article he wrote called Pro-Choice at Calvin. I'm not very familiar with the college, but it seems that Calvin College has failed this student, not just because they haven't instilled proper theology in Hielkema, but also because they haven't taught him how to think critically. There are good arguments for the pro-choice position, but Hielkema doesn't seem to be aware of any of them, instead appearing to content himself with sophistry and denying science.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Intrinsic vs. Instrumental Value

Discussion of the concepts of intrinsic and instrumental value go back at least as far as the ancient Greeks. It has pretty much gone unchallenged for all that time until the last hundred years or so, but even then there really haven't been any major challenges to the concept. The concept of human beings as intrinsically valuable is important when it comes to the discussion of abortion, and the concept of human rights, themselves, only make sense insofar as human beings are seen as intrinsically valuable. As was the case with my recent article about capacities, this is only a very basic discussion of these concepts. You can see this article here for a more in-depth treatment of these concepts.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Responding to AHA's Presuppositionalism, Part II

In my previous article, I responded to the first four statements by Darin and John as they critiqued an article of mine. In this article, I'll respond to the remaining four statements. Here is the video in question, where they are critiquing my article. They actually repeat a lot of the same statements from the first part, and I won't be rehashing them here. There's no need and I don't want to start sounding like a broken record.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Responding to AHA's Presuppositionalism, Part I

Two members of Abolish Human Abortion challenged me to discuss whether or not Christians should be making a secular case for the pro-life position. We were going to meet on a Google Hangout, but I wasn't able to make it because I seriously need to upgrade my equipment. However, these two individuals, Darin and John, decided to have the Hangout anyway and discuss this issue, despite the fact that I wasn't there to defend it. They also want a response, so I will give them one. I don't have much of a desire to continue a dialogue with them making videos, so if they don't wish to continue discussing via text, at least until I can have a Hangout with them, then I probably will not respond again. Responding to videos is just too difficult to do on a blog, especially since they don't have all of their points laid out in any sort of logical progression; they're basically just having a discussion. Remember what Solomon wrote in the book of Proverbs, chapter 18, verse 17: "The first to plead his case seems right until another comes and examines him." You can view their video here. The relevant portion starts at around 4:30 in the video. They talk a bit about their experiences outside an abortion clinic prior to that. This is the article in question that they are responding to.

Monday, February 17, 2014

What I Learned During My Time in Florida

Last week I went to Florida to engage in pro-life outreach with the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform's (CCBR) Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) tour. The universities we did outreach at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) in Ft. Myers, and University of Northern Florida (UNF) in Jacksonville. No, I didn't see any jaguars.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Hard Case of Rape, Revisited

I have written before on the rape exception, and I would like to do so again to take another crack at convincing my pro-life colleagues who hold to a rape exception that we should not allow legal abortions in the case of rape. Please see my previous article for more of my thoughts on the rape exception. I will not be re-hashing any of those thoughts in this article.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Spectrum Argument, Round Two

So it seems that blogger Bob Seidensticker has decided to respond to my critique of his Spectrum Argument. You can find his original article here, and my rebuttal to it here, as well as Seidensticker's most recent response here.

Friday, January 31, 2014

A Discussion of Capacities and Their Relation to Human Personhood

There has been some confusion on some of my articles as to what it means for humans to have an inherent nature as rational agents, so I'd like to take the time now to expound upon just what is meant by an inherent nature, as well as the concept of capacities and what they have to do with human personhood.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Reflections on the Walk for Life

On Saturday I attended the annual West Coast Walk for Life in San Francisco, California. I think there's always a danger in occasions like this because a pro-life person can attend the Walk, make their presence known, then go back home and feel like they've done their pro-life duty for the year. But this is only the beginning. It's great that you attended the Walk, but don't let it be the last thing you do this year for the pro-life cause.

Friday, January 24, 2014

An Examination of "20 Arguments Against Abortion," Part IV

This will be the last part in a series responding to blogger Bob Seidensticker's response to pro-life arguments. You can find part one here, part two here, and part three here. And you can find the article of Seidensticker's that I'm responding to here.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

An Examination of "20 Arguments Against Abortion," Part III

This will be part three in my series of replying to Bob Seidensticker's rebuttal of pro-life arguments. You can find part one here and part two here. You can find the article I'm critiquing here.

Monday, January 20, 2014

An Examination of "20 Arguments Against Abortion," Part II

In my last article, I responded to blogger Bob Seidensticker's first part of his response to certain pro-life arguments. You can find part one here. I now present part two, the original of which you can find here.

Friday, January 17, 2014

An Examination of "20 Arguments Against Abortion," Part I

So blogger Bob Seidensticker is at it again. This time, he has responded to 20 arguments against abortion and rebuts them. Many of the arguments he addresses are side issues and generally bad arguments, which I encourage pro-life people to avoid. A few of them are legitimately good arguments that Seidensticker misunderstands and misrepresents, then doesn't rebut appropriately. In other words, he attacks a strawman version of the arguments. And a few of the arguments he dismisses altogether by pointing to his Spectrum Argument, an argument that I have soundly refuted on this blog.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Argument from Identity

I have previously explained two good arguments for the pro-life position, the Substance View and the Future of Value arguments. I would like to share with you a third. It's an argument that Alexander Pruss has termed an identity-based argument. Stephen Napier defends a similar argument which he has termed the Unity argument, but my exposition of this argument will follow Pruss' essay I Was Once a Fetus: An Identity-Based Argument Against Abortion, with additional notes by Napier where appropriate. I will merely be giving a basic exposition of the argument; I would recommend reading the essay for a more robust defense, as well as answering potential objections to the argument.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Revisiting the Bodily Rights Argument (Again)

Pro-choice blogger Deanna Young has responded to my last piece about the Responsibility Objection to the Bodily Rights argument. I would like to take the time now to offer a response to her essay.