Monday, February 05, 2018

William H. (Bill) Patterson

Heinlein archivist and biographer. I knew him from our old science fiction club in the Phoenix area from the mid-1970s. He passed away in 2014.

Here. 


84 comments:

Starhopper said...

Bill and I shared an apartment for one summer back in 1975. Being at the time both unemployed, we would sometimes have dawn to dusk (or even later) discussions/debates about everything conceivable under the sun, from music to politics, to Ayn Rand, to science fiction in general, and Robert Heinlein specifically.

At the time, I didn't care for Heinlein and with the brashness of youth, was too quick to even condemn him. (My favorites were Clarke, Simak, Asimov, and Edmond Hamilton.) Bill was literally a card carrying Objectivist, and sang the praises of Ayn Rand and her novels. I, being a Catholic Christian, regarded Objectivism as "hell's governing constitution" and wasn't shy about saying so. The one thing we agreed on was good cooking. Bill was incredible in the kitchen and I rarely got in his way as he concocted the most amazing dinners out of practically nothing. (Remember, we were both unemployed.)

I lost touch with Bill after that summer (I left to join the Army and was immediately shipped overseas, where I spent most of the next two decades.) I was attempting to get back into contact when the news came of his death. I regret never getting the chance to have one more marathon discussion/debate with him. They are among my most treasured memories. Although we agreed on practically nothing, we each had the utmost respect for the other's opinions/beliefs and our verbal sparring never once turned into an argument (in the negative sense of the word). I mean that - not once.

It's my custom nowadays to pray every day at 3 PM sharp for four specific people, and Bill is always one of them. I have every intention of continuing our discussions in the Next World, and have no doubt that Bill will be ready to pick up where we left off so many years ago.

Victor Reppert said...

He has quite an adept discussion partner who's been there awhile. Catholic guy not overly fond of shaving. Actually, at one point Bill called himself a Thomistic atheist. His views on abortion were interesting, he thought it murder, but he would nevertheless qualify as pro-choice, since as an anarchist, he opposed laws against abortion. I mean, if you oppose laws, you have to oppose abortion laws as well.

Starhopper said...

Ah, yes. Joe Sheffer. My memory may be faulty, but I don't recall Bill (or anyone else, for that matter) ever getting the best of Joe in any discussion. Now there's a person who really should have lived long enough to participate in these internet debates. He'd wipe the floor with anyone foolish enough to cross swords with him.

Bill's views on abortion were very close to what mine are today. (Hmm.. I wonder if he influenced me on this matter? Probably.)

"Murder" is a legal term without a hard and fast meaning. It is defined by law and not by any objective standard. I definitely believe abortion is objectively killing a human being. But so is shooting an enemy in combat. Neither one is murder. I believe that restraint should be followed when proposing restrictions on abortion, in that very often outright bans paradoxically result in increased abortions (as did in fact occur in some Eastern European countries under communism). I am a pragmatist on this issue, being in favor of whatever "mix" of legal statutes results in the lowest level of abortion.

If permitting "abortion on demand" resulted in a decrease in the practice, I would be in favor of it. If draconian bans lowered the rate, I would favor that.

Joe Hinman said...

On Metacrock's blog I discuss the concept of warrant. We don't need to prove the existence of God but merely that belief is warranted,


on rational Warrant.

bmiller said...

@Starhopper,


If you, as a Catholic, hold that killing an enemy combatant is morally the same as abortion, you apparently have not researched what the Catholic Church teaches in this area.

Here is Aquinas on murder for starters.

Starhopper said...

bmiller,

I did not say that. I was making a point that people can rationally hold differing opinions on what is "murder" and and what is merely "killing". Some pacifists, for example, regard all killing in war as murder. The debate still rages as to whether the aerial bombardment of cities in WWII (which killed untold thousands of totally innocent civilians) was murder.

I was not referring to my own views, but to the idea that there is more than one reasonable position to hold on the matter. Perhaps I did not express myself clearly.

bmiller said...

@Starhopper,

OK. The way you stated that Bill's views were very close to your's today and followed that with the statement that murder is merely a legal definition gave me the impression that was your position.

You also asserted that banning abortions in some Eastern European countries resulted in increased abortions. That is a very dubious claim. Where did you get that information?

This article is typical of the ones I found online and states the exact opposite.

I've often heard arguments for marijuana legalization use the repeal of Prohibition as evidence marijuana should be legalized. The truth of the matter is that Prohibition achieved it's purpose of reducing consumption . Also look at what's happened to cigarette smoking as it's been banned in the workplace, public places and heavily taxed.

I suggest you check your sources regarding laws against abortion actually increasing abortions.

Starhopper said...

"Where did you get that information?"

I used to live there.

Starhopper said...

I regret that what started out as a fond remembrance of one of the classiest debaters I've ever known has so quickly turned into a fruitless discussion of abortion. Bill would have been appalled. He knew when an issue was unresolvable, and would refuse to play along. He'd listen to a person's point of view respectfully, and unhesitatingly counter with his own thoughts on the subject - and leave it at that. He would never impugn another's motives, or imply that that there was "something wrong" with his sparring partner.

Now for resolvable issues, buckle up! You had better be on your toes and do your homework before entering the arena, because he didn't suffer fools gladly, and called out the best in worthy opponents. Bill would paradoxically strengthen the arguments of people who disagreed with him, because he would demand their arguments be good ones!

bmiller said...

@Starhopper,

I think the Catholic Church's position on abortion is resolvable.
I also think that Eastern European abortion laws and rates of abortion in those countries over time may also be resolvable. I'd like to see the data.

But by your response, I wonder if you are implying that I am attempting to impugn your motives or imply that there is something wrong with you.

I'm certainly not.

I'm questioning the information you based your current view on. That's all.

Starhopper said...

Oh, not at all, not at all. It's just very tiresome how a single mention of certain topics can derail an entire discussion until everything becomes fixated on somebody's pet issue. I had a mother-in-law (now deceased, so she can't defend herself) who could turn any discussion about any topic whatsoever into a tirade against the shortcomings of her least favorite daughter-in-law in 5 seconds. This went on for decades, and would absolutely ruin family gatherings. The people who simply cannot resist turning every conversation into a lecture about abortion (which I happen to oppose, by the way) seem to me to be cut from the same cloth.

bmiller said...

Well there is simple way to avoid "tiresome" conversations. You can avoid topics you don't want to discuss or you can simply not engage when the topic comes up.

However, a way to ensure that the conversation is "tiresome" is to accuse your interlocutor of embodying the worst traits of an annoying relative and being one of "The people who simply cannot resist turning every conversation into a lecture about abortion".

As for abortion being my "pet issue", it's not. You offered your opinion on the subject, I found it interesting and I engaged. I'm merely interested in the reasoning a professing Catholic uses to conclude that laws against abortion are undesireable.

If your friend Bill held there should be no laws what-so-ever, even murder, then of course he would consider laws against abortion unjustified. In that case, I would wonder why he thought all laws were unjustified.

You've stated, that in some cases, laws that prohibit some action actually increase the instance of that action. I wonder why you think that.

Of course you are under no obligation to reply. I'm not your mother-in-law after all :-)

Starhopper said...

Fair question. I believe it's a fact (and, no, I'm not going to cite sources) that Prohibition encouraged mob violence in the 20s, and the War on Drugs actually empowered the Mexican and Colombian drug cartels, and is responsible for much (if not most) of the gang violence in Mexico today. The surest way to turn a book into a best seller appears to be to ban it.

Now this is not a "law of nature". It does not happen that way every time or with every law. But I personally do not believe that laws against, for instance, murder act to prevent even one such crime. If a person is intent on killing another, no mere law is going to stop him. The purpose of the law against murder is not to prevent, but rather to punish (and, in a roundabout way, perhaps prevent a recurrence).

That is why I believe the pro-life movement has wasted the past 50 years trying to change the law, when all of that effort should have gone into raising a generation that simply did not want to practice abortion. Would have been infinitely more effective.

bmiller said...

I don't know if it's a fact or not that Prohibition increased (I'm sure it didn't encourage) mob violence in the 20's. I do think it's a fact that alcohol consumption decreased during Prohibition and increased once Prohibition was repealed. In other words, Prohibition was effective in it's goal the same way that smoking bans have reduced smoking and the same way that legalizing marijuana is increasing marijuana use now just as repealing Prohibition increased alcohol use.

It seems to me that in your first paragraph your argument is that laws have unintended consequences rather than they are ineffective in their purpose. I cannot argue with that.

But I personally do not believe that laws against, for instance, murder act to prevent even one such crime. If a person is intent on killing another, no mere law is going to stop him. The purpose of the law against murder is not to prevent, but rather to punish (and, in a roundabout way, perhaps prevent a recurrence).

Here is why I disagree. If there were no law against robbery do you think theft in the general population would increase or decrease? I assert that it would increase because although virtuous and thoughtful people would not steal from others, there are those who would steal merely because if there were no penalty and it would benefit them, why not? There are others who would reason that if it were wrong, there would be a law against it, so we cannot condemn the robbers.

I think the purpose of a law is not only to prohibit and punish what is wrong but also to teach what is right. Don't you?

As far as raising a generation of people who do not want to practice abortion, it is very difficult to do that when the culture tells them there is nothing wrong with it, there are no legal obstacles and especially when professing Christians who live in a democratic system decline to make the effort to make it so.

It was the followers of Christ that turned the world upside down and changed the world when they had absolutely no political power, were persecuted and sacrificed their very lives to testify to the truth.
In pagan Rome abortion was considered amoral similar to how Planned Parenthood promotes it today.


In America Christians have the the vote to help effect the power of their convictions. If we are a nation of mostly Christians, how did we got to the point where we have the power to affect our convictions but shrink from from exercising that power against what we consider evil?

Once again, I'm not you ex-mother in law, so don't feel obliged to answer.

Starhopper said...

"It was the followers of Christ that turned the world upside down and changed the world when they had absolutely no political power, were persecuted and sacrificed their very lives to testify to the truth. "

My point precisely. The Early Christians didn't lobby Imperial Rome for a change in laws. They set about changing lives.

It's what we need to concentrate on today.

Joe Hinman said...

The Christian tradition in thought built western civilization and it is apparently ending it.

Joe Hinman said...

Starhopper said...
"It was the followers of Christ that turned the world upside down and changed the world when they had absolutely no political power, were persecuted and sacrificed their very lives to testify to the truth. "

My point precisely. The Early Christians didn't lobby Imperial Rome for a change in laws. They set about changing lives.

It's what we need to concentrate on today.


I agree Starhopper, well said

bmiller said...

My point precisely. The Early Christians didn't lobby Imperial Rome for a change in laws. They set about changing lives.

It's what we need to concentrate on today.


Of course we should go about changing lives. Changing laws is one way of doing that. The early Christians had no power to change the laws of ancient Rome, but we do.

We will all have to answer for our actions in life ultimately. For my part, I'd rather not be in the position of having some power, however small, to prevent evil and failing to exercise that power.

Most people favor laws against theft, rape and murder and understand that the laws are responsible for reducing those crimes.
Liberal and conservative politicians alike attempt to pass laws prohibiting certain actions with the same understanding. So regardless of one's political persuasion one is implicitly advocating various prohibitions with an intent to reduce the activities prohibited. Unless you take your friend's anarchist position. Do you?

Starhopper said...

"Do you?"

I do not. But neither do I believe that the strategy of the last 50 years of the pro-life movement has been in the least successful. The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expect a different result. There is absolutely zero point, for a purely pragmatic point of view, in continuing to lobby for new laws concerning abortion. The only path that has any hope for success is to put all that effort into changing hearts.

bmiller said...

I do not.

OK, then we agree that laws prohiting activities result in a decline in those activities.

It is apparently the case for abortion laws also.

But neither do I believe that the strategy of the last 50 years of the pro-life movement has been in the least successful.

It took a long time to end slavery in the US too. It was attacked from the pulpit as well as in legislatures. If the 13th Amendment hadn't been passed and the government merely waited until everyone had a "changed heart" we'd still have legal slavery (although we actually still have it in the US).

But I'm interested. What other seriously evil activities do you oppose passing laws against?
I'm going to assume that you don't oppose laws against rape, murder and theft, but how about assault or selling heroin? Why single abortion out as the one murder crime we shouldn't pass laws against?

Starhopper said...

It's interesting that this remembrance of Bill Patterson came up at this moment, since I always associate my time with him with the period in my life when I was obsessed with science fiction - reading as many as 5 novels per week. (And this during college, no less! It's amazing I ever did any classwork.)

In later years, my ardor cooled, and I practically abandoned the field for a decade or 3. When my interest returned about 10 years ago, it was mainly oriented toward the old 1950s B-grade SF movies. (I now own a huge collection of DVDs from that era.) But lately, I've been returning to the books that so captivated me as a youth. Just a sampling of what I've gone back to recently:

All the Skylark novels by E.E. Smith
Space Prison - Tom Godwin
The Rose - Charles Harness
The Foundation Trilogy - Asimov
The Robot novels - Asimov
Time is the Simplest Thing - Simak
City - Simak
The Starwolf novels - Edmond Hamilton
Citizen in Space - Robert Sheckley
Islands in the Sky - Arthur C. Clarke
The Space Merchants - Poul Anderson

Note that not one of those titles is more recent than the 1950s. So yes, it is possible to be a kid again!

bmiller said...

What was your favorite "bad" sci-fi movie from that period?

Did you ever watch It Came From Hell?
It was soooo bad it was hilarious.

Starhopper said...

Oh, wow. It's hard to name just one. But my very favorites include:

Flight to Mars (1951)
Invaders from Mars (1953)
Forbidden Planet (1956)
Missile to the Moon (1958)
The Queen of Outer Space (1958)
First Spaceship on Venus (Der Schweigende Stern, an East German film!) (1960)
Phantom Planet (1961)

I would be hard pressed to whittle that list down any.

Haven't seen the one you named. The absolute worst that I've seen is Robot Monster (1953), followed by (or perhaps tied with) They Saved Hitler's Brain (1968).

bmiller said...

Oh come on now. You're actually claiming that The Forbidden Planetwas a bad movie wrt SciFi? Even when it introduced "Robbie The Robot"? Not to mention the stars involved...Anne Francis, Walter Pidgeon and Leslie Neilson?

On the other hand, It Came from Hell goes, This is as good as it gets......As far as walking-tree movies go, this is at the top of the list

Starhopper said...

I was't calling Forbidden Planet "bad" - I was just listing pre-Sputnik SF movies that I love, and it's one of them. In fact, I once listed it amongst the best-ever movies about space. You can see the whole thing HERE.

Joe Hinman said...

On Metacrock's blog summary of y book Tye traceof God and discussion of mystical experience

here

One Brow said...

It took a long time to end slavery in the US too. It was attacked from the pulpit as well as in legislatures. If the 13th Amendment hadn't been passed and the government merely waited until everyone had a "changed heart" we'd still have legal slavery (although we actually still have it in the US).

The evil of abortion is countered, in moral weight, by the evil of forcing women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. I am unaware of any similar opposing counter to slavery.

Prohibition did reduce alcohol consumption. It also increased cases of poisoning by contaminated alcohol, and certainly fueled the rise of gangs. Eliminating abortion is associated with fewer abortions, but also more deaths for the women who have abortion and more money going to shady medical practitioners. Then again, perhaps you feel they are only women, so that doesn't matter.

If your goal is to prevent abortions, the best methods are free birth control and a strong social safety net, lasting throughout childhood, for the women that do carry.

One Brow said...

But I'm interested. What other seriously evil activities do you oppose passing laws against?
I'm going to assume that you don't oppose laws against rape, murder and theft, but how about assault or selling heroin?


Why is selling heroin seriously evil? Do you feel the same about other opioids, like oxycontin?

Victor Reppert said...

I wish pro-life defenders would acknowledge what I call the collateral damage of preventing abortion legally.

bmiller said...

@One Brow,

My point was merely that passing laws that prohibit things result in the reduction in instances of those activities, abortion included.

I suppose that you don't consider yourself Catholic, and most likely don't consider abortion the unjustified killing of an innocent human person. To Catholics, all human lives have equal value, so there is no moral justification for abortion.

Now if abortion is murder and against the law, it's hardly an argument to point out that lawbreakers could be harmed or that evil doers will make money by assisting the other lawbreakers.

Why is selling heroin seriously evil? Do you feel the same about other opioids, like oxycontin?

I'm assuming Bob thinks selling heroin is seriously evil. Do you think all drugs should be legalized?

bmiller said...

@Victor,

I wish pro-life defenders would acknowledge what I call the collateral damage of preventing abortion legally.

I'm surprised. This is the sort of comment I would expect from a non-Christian.

What do you consider the collateral damage of legally prohibiting abortion. Are you only considering the damage done by those who won't observe the laws?

One Brow said...

bmiller,

While I am no longer Catholic, I do consider abortion the taking of a human life. Then again, human cancer cells (such as a HELA culture) are human life. What I notice you did not address is that, while abortion is an evil act, so is forcing a woman to carry a fetus. Until you find a way to understand we are talking about two evils, you won't really understand the issues at stake. When you make abortion illegal, you harm women who follow the law despite their preference; you harm the society that has to endure the results of unwanted children raised by unwilling mothers (many social scientists attribute the legality and availability of abortion to the long-term drop in the crime rate).

I'm sure there are drugs with no medicinal value (as far as I know, LSD has no demonstrated medicinal value), and I have no problem banning those. If you want to ban all opioids, I would feel that is overkill, but at least it is consistent. However, picking out one opioid in particular to ban, and not even the strongest one, is irrational. I do not believe selling cannabis is evil, nor is selling heroin.

bmiller said...

@One Brow,

Are you really equating a developing human person to cancer cells? I don't think we have any common ground to continue a meaningful discussion if that's the case.

I understand how people who don't consider life sacred can view abortion as nothing particularly evil. It's professing Christians that confuse me. They've (supposedly) been taught that life is sacred. Why think that?

The central message of Christianity is that the Holy God of creation sanctified humanity by lowering himself and taking the form of a human from conception to a humiliating death on a cross in order to redeem us and to have the closest and intimate relationship with us. We should see our redeemer in every human being and show reverence for the sanctity bestowed on them from conception to natural death.

Regarding your assertion that it is evil to pass laws that infringe on some people's preferences, isn't it kind of the point of the law to impose what the society considers acceptable behavior on it's errant members? I don't normally consider laws that prevent people from evil acts as bad because some people prefer to do those evil acts or would rather not be burdened with the consequences of the decisions they made.

It's interesting that you mention "some social scientists" attributing abortion to reducing the crime rate. It was a common theme of the Eugenics movement at the beginning of the last century to get rid of people who would become criminals. If you didn't know about this, it's really eye-opening how well respected American institutions led the way. And still do to a large extent. The article is based on the research of a New York Times reporter who is not a pro-lifer as far as I know. For a while after WW2 Eugenics kind of went underground.

Regarding your answer on drugs. It seems you answered with what your personal preference are and how it would affect you. But laws are to benefit society as a whole. Maybe you can use heroin as much as you like and still be a responsible citizen in every other way. But do think it would be good for everyone and make a better society?

Victor Reppert said...

A non-Christian like Joe Biden?

BIDEN: My religion defines who I am. And I've been a practicing Catholic my whole life. And it has particularly informed my social doctrine. Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who can't take care of themselves, people who need help. With regard to abortion, I accept my church's position that life begins at conception. That's the church's judgment. I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews and--I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman. I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that women can't control their body. It's a decision between them and their doctor, in my view. And the Supreme Court--I'm not going to interfere with that.

Starhopper said...

Victor, as so often, you have hit the nail on the head. bmiller tries to confuse the issue by bringing up laws against rape or murder. But he (apparently) refuses to recognise the difference between such laws and those against abortion. No reasonable person believes that it's OK to rape or murder another person. But (some) reasonable people do believe it's OK to abort a fetus - that the pre-born child is not a human being.

Now I don't happen to agree with them, but I cannot deny their rationality. And the failure to recognise that both sides can be reasonable is precisely what makes arguing the subject so non-productive.

bmiller said...

That statement certainly makes it sound like he's a non-Christian.

Doesn't sound very honest either. He presumably does support laws in opposition to Sharia which would be imposing his views on Muslims.

I wonder if he opposes (officially) laws against prostitution and class 1 drugs, since those also interfere with a woman's right to control her body.

For my part, I normally don't look for moral guidance from politicians, especially ones who are Catholic buts.

bmiller said...

@Starhopper,

Why do you consider it confusing things to attempt to pass just laws?

You started out saying you opposed abortion but laws were ineffective. I disagreed and used the example of laws against rape and murder as being thought of as being effective against those activities. I also argued that laws against abortion actually were effective by linking to an article where abortion supporters complained that indeed the laws were effective.

Now you it seems that abortion is not as bad as some other crimes and should not be outlawed because some "rational" people think it's OK.

Did you read my link to the Eugenics article? Those people were among America's leading intellectuals and politicians. The Rockefeller Foundation funded the Nazi "Angel of Death" for heaven's sake. Evil can look intelligent sometimes.

I haven't seen Victor indicate that abortion is evil at all. And although you claim to to be against abortion I'm getting the impression that you implicitly agree with Victor.

It makes me wonder if you've reflected on the Incarnation and it's implications.

Starhopper said...

bmiller,

Sorry if I wasn't clear. I don't think abortion is "less bad". What I do believe is that it is possible for rational people to maintain that abortion is not the taking of a human life. Just as there are totally rational people (such as the late Daniel Berrigan) believe that all killing, even in time of war, is murder, and other, equally rational people, believe it's ethical to kill your enemy in wartime.

If you think I don't regard abortion as a grave evil, then you have missed my point, which is that laws against it are ineffective and lobbying for them a complete waste of time. All that effort ought to be focussed on raising a generation that just does not want to practice abortion. Then no law would be needed. Are there laws against poking yourself in the forehead with a screwdriver? I doubt it, and I also doubt anyone is doing such a thing simply because it's not illegal.

Can you honestly tell me that the last 50 years or so haven't been largely a waste of time and effort on the part of the pro-life movement?

bmiller said...

@Starhopper,

What I do believe is that it is possible for rational people to maintain that abortion is not the taking of a human life.

Right. But many times "rational" people arrive at immoral conclusions and act on those conclusions as was the case with slaveholders and is the case with eugenicists today. It's not that they offer you the same consideration for your POV and in fact seek to block even the mildest restrictions you might favor.

If you think I don't regard abortion as a grave evil, then you have missed my point, which is that laws against it are ineffective and lobbying for them a complete waste of time. All that effort ought to be focussed on raising a generation that just does not want to practice abortion. Then no law would be needed. Are there laws against poking yourself in the forehead with a screwdriver? I doubt it, and I also doubt anyone is doing such a thing simply because it's not illegal.

Really? Even when I pointed to the Texas article where pro-abortion people were complaining that laws actually did decrease abortions? The article clearly states that stricter laws regulating abortion facilities caused fewer women to seek abortions. Perhaps what you mean is that the pro-abortion lobby is better at the legislature and legal system game than the pro-life crowd. Why not up the game rather than let evil flourish.

It makes it very difficult for Catholics to raise a generation that does not want to practice abortion when the present generation of Catholics wash their hands of taking a public stance against it.

And yes there are no laws against poking yourself in the head with a screwdriver, but there certainly are laws against doing that to another human being. What exactly do you regard as the "grave evil" that is actually occurring in an abortion. Your example seems to miss the point by a long shot.

I don't get it. The NRA lobbies against gun laws and Planned Parenthood lobbies against abortion laws. You apparently also vote for laws that restrict various things that you think are wrong...except this one thing, that even PP understands will decrease this "grave evil". I suspect that the pro-life movement is hamstrung by people who say they oppose abortion, but always vote against restrictions.

Once again....I'm not your mother in law. But I will respond if you wish to continue.

Starhopper said...

You still don't seem to get it. My views are sheer pragmatism. Use what works, and take into account unintended consequences. One "unintended consequence" of 50 years of pro-lifers being single issue voters concerning abortion has been the extreme polarization of our politics. Candidate A may agree with you on every single issue other than "choice", yet the extremist pro-lifer will vote for his opponent nevertheless. This is how alabama got a candidate like Roy Moore. This is how evangelicals refuse to face up to the fact that their hero in the White House is a racist, bigoted, nepotistic, corrupt, misogynistic, philandering, narcissistic, treasonous, lying sack of shit, all because of who they think he might appoint to the Supreme Court.

Lunacy!

bmiller said...

OK, now I get it.

Why didn't you just say that supporting your political party of choice is the most important thing to you? Can't you disagree with your party? Or don't they allow that?

And please refrain from cursing during lent :-)

Starhopper said...

And what party would that be? I am the only (living) person I know who actually voted for Barry Goldwater. I was a subscriber to The National Review right up until William F. Buckley died. Gerald Ford (a Republican) is still my favorite president during my lifetime (which stretches back to Truman), with Eisenhower (also a Republican) a close second.

bmiller said...

Well then you can remember a time when abortion was universally condemned by all Christian Churches and was outlawed in all the states. And so laws against it are not unimaginable and America was not a third world country torturing women.

Your rant was purely political while I have been discussing the Incarnation and how we should see Christ in all humans no matter what stage of their development. What can I take from that outburst other than your political beliefs overshadow your professed religious beliefs.

Your pragmatic views of ending abortion by not speaking out against it or doing anything to prevent it is one of the oddest strategies I've ever heard of.

Starhopper said...

This has gotten repetitive and boring. You think I am insufficiently fanatical, and I think you are spinning your wheels. You may have the last word. I will not respond unless something genuinely new is brought up.

bmiller said...

It also occurs to me that the way you are implementing your strategy of changing minds is pointed in the wrong direction.

The only mind you have been trying to change is the one whom you are supposed to be in agreement with that abortion is a "grave evil". How is telling pro-choicers (who think abortion is OK) that their position is reasonable going to change their minds? You are implicitly agreeing with them.

And how is telling them their pro-life opponents are lunatics going to help them change their mind?

Now, regarding your position that changing laws does not change minds, please read this article.

In Poland, popular opinion of the acceptance of abortion went from:
a) Opposed before Communism
b) Acceptable during Communism when it was legal
c) Opposed after it was illegal (even by those who formerly accepted it)

So we can change minds by changing laws and we can also work to change minds without changing laws (so long as we choose the right targets).

bmiller said...

You think I am insufficiently fanatical,

No, that's wrong. I think you don't believe what the Catholic Church teaches wrt abortion.

One Brow said...

Are you really equating a developing human person to cancer cells? I don't think we have any common ground to continue a meaningful discussion if that's the case.

bmiller, you did not use the word or concept of "person" until I brought up that there are many forms of human life. Since we are discussing this, though, can you provide evidence that there is no correct environment for human cancer cells to grow into a functioning person? If not, then how can you say it is not possible that cancer cells are not a developing person?

I understand how people who don't consider life sacred can view abortion as nothing particularly evil.

I explicitly said the opposite. If you won't do me the courtesy of reading my comments, I won't take what you say seriously. In particular, you did not address the idea of the opposing moral harm to women done by forbidding abortions.

It was a common theme of the Eugenics movement ...

Eugenicists targeted population groups based on their notions of fitness, which is different from discussing the rights of women.

Regarding your answer on drugs. It seems you answered with what your personal preference are ...

Please. do go on about my personal preferences. What drugs do I use on a regular basis?

One Brow said...

Well then you can remember a time when abortion was universally condemned by all Christian Churches and was outlawed in all the states.

When was that? Can I get a decade, or even a year, when that was true?

bmiller said...

@One Brow,

Since we are discussing this, though, can you provide evidence that there is no correct environment for human cancer cells to grow into a functioning person? If not, then how can you say it is not possible that cancer cells are not a developing person?

Please. Aside from being really silly, look up the fallacy argumentum ad ignorantiam.

I explicitly said the opposite. If you won't do me the courtesy of reading my comments, I won't take what you say seriously.

Where did you say human life was sacred? You said cancer cells were human life. Are you saying cancer cells are sacred? I assumed from your assertion that you considered developing human persons equivalent to cancer cells. And yes I did add personhood to the description for clarification since that is what Bob and I were discussing as Catholics.

Eugenicists targeted population groups based on their notions of fitness, which is different from discussing the rights of women.

You brought up the argument that abortions reduced the criminal population. Stopping criminals from being born is the goal of Eugenics. Did you read the article? Did you find anything you didn't know before?

Please. do go on about my personal preferences. What drugs do I use on a regular basis?

I was referring to your personal preferences of what should be prohibited or not. You seem to oppose prohibiting certain drugs. I assume that you oppose this because you think it restricts you personally in some way if even in the broad respect that any prohibition restricts you in some way. For instance you may oppose laws against prostitution not because you are a prostitute or frequent prostitutes, but because by restricting prostitution it restricts individual choices in principle and ultimately broadly construed restricts your choices.

bmiller said...

When was that? Can I get a decade, or even a year, when that was true?

1910

One Brow said...

Since we are discussing this, though, can you provide evidence that there is no correct environment for human cancer cells to grow into a functioning person? If not, then how can you say it is not possible that cancer cells are not a developing person?

Please. Aside from being really silly,


Your argument rests (by your words) on the notion that embryos are a developing human being, even though many of them are not, and none of them will develop into human being on their own. The problem with arguments from potential is that potential can't be proven. So, while you resort to dismissals, you leave your argument unsupported.

look up the fallacy argumentum ad ignorantiam.

"It asserts that a proposition is true because it has not yet been proven false or a proposition is false because it has not yet been proven true." (Wikipedia). What did I assert was false or true in this regard?

Where did you say human life was sacred?

Me : "..., while abortion is an evil act, ..."

You : " ... view abortion as nothing particularly evil."

Again, if you don't bother to read, why should your dialog be treated with dignity?

Stopping criminals from being born is the goal of Eugenics. Did you read the article? Did you find anything you didn't know before?

I saw some new incidental details, but nothing surprising. There was at least one blatant falsehood: while not specifically called eugenics, the notions that some humans were a better than other humans, and as such bred better children, has been around for millennia.

Do you believe if two different movements share one particular goal (for different reasons), then every goal and motive from the one can be used against the other? If so, I have some goals and motives to pin on you; if not, then the goals of eugenicists are irrelevant to this discussion.

I was referring to your personal preferences of what should be prohibited or not.

You mean, my personal preference that medically useful drugs should be available medically, and that our choices of which drugs to prohibit should be internally consistent?

One Brow said...

You want to roll back to the social conditions of 1910?

Sorry, but back then, America may not have been a third-world country, but it was indeed torturing women. Among other things, women had no right to refuse sex with their spouse, divorce laws strongly favored men, etc.

bmiller said...

@One Brow,

Once again it's apparent we have no basis for discussion if you assert without explanation that cancer cells can become human persons. If you want to tell me how you think this is philosophically possible, then please proceed. Otherwise you are the only one I've ever heard give the definition of cancer cells as possible developing human persons.

Again, if you don't bother to read, why should your dialog be treated with dignity?

The quote you provided shows you did not use the word "sacred".

Sacred: entitled to veneration or religious respect by association with divinity or divine things; holy.
Evil: morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked:

So something can be "not evil" and still not qualify as sacred. One's fingernails are not sacred, so cutting one's finger nails is "not particularly evil". But if a human person is sacred, then destroying a human person is destroying something sacred and an offence to God (for those who believe in a Holy God).

Are you interested in carrying on a dialog without insulting your interlocutor or accusing him of bad faith? If you think I missed a point, you can call my attention to it without drama can't you?

Now, do you consider cancer cells sacred using the definition provided? I would guess not.

Do you believe if two different movements share one particular goal (for different reasons), then every goal and motive from the one can be used against the other?

No. Of course not.

if not, then the goals of eugenicists are irrelevant to this discussion.

Pardon me, but this is what you wrote:

many social scientists attribute the legality and availability of abortion to the long-term drop in the crime rate.

This is precisely the reasoning of Eugenicists and so you made it relevant to this discussion by implying that it was a good thing by citing those social scientists.

You mean, my personal preference that medically useful drugs should be available medically, and that our choices of which drugs to prohibit should be internally consistent?

I'm not sure what your beef with me is. I'm not accusing you of illegal behavior.
If you believe some drugs should be regulated for the good of society we are in agreement.

bmiller said...

@One Brow,

You want to roll back to the social conditions of 1910?

Well, just for background, the state laws restricting abortion coincided with broadly available scientific knowledge that human life actually began at conception rather than the "quickening" as English common law had it. That was in the mid 1800's. All states changed their legislation during this period to tighten up the laws. The laws pretty much stayed the same until 1967 when some states started to losen the laws.

I'd say that some things changed for the better since 1910 and some things for the worse. You and I have different definitions of what torture is I suppose. Unless you can cite me some divorce laws sentenced women to the rack or cases where women were flogged for refusing sex with their husband.

One Brow said...

bmiller,

As a Catholic, you are basing your position in natural law (whether you realize it or not), and for a proper natural law determination, you need to know the formal and final causes of cancer cells. However, we have never allowed them to grow in an environment where they have the unlimited ability to express their potential, so we don't know their formal or final causes. I have not claimed that cancer cells can become human persons, I have only pointed out that you have not proven they can not become human persons.

As far as the "drama", after I identified abortion as an evil, you said you understood why I did not consider it to be an evil. If that is not arguing in bad faith, please provide a better example.

Personally, I don't consider anything sacred, per se. However, if we are discussing what is sacred, is a person's right not to forced into labor also sacred, or do you think anyone should be enslaved based on the needs of other people? I consider freedom to be as 'sacred' as life itself.

This is precisely the reasoning of Eugenicists ...

No, it is not. The reasoning of the Eugenicists is to encourage births among some populations while discouraging it in others, because some people are superior to others. My reasoning is that women who want their children will raise them better than women who don't, regardless, and that all women are equal in this regard.

If you believe some drugs should be regulated for the good of society...

That is what I initially posted on the subject.

One Brow said...

You and I have different definitions of what torture is I suppose.

I consider being raped on a regular basis to be torture, even when your spouse is the rapist. Do you consider rape to be torture?

bmiller said...

@One Brow,

Please. It is not plausible that cancer cells can grow into human persons. I have no obligation nor inclination to prove cancer cells or any other non-plausible thing can become a human person. If you think it is plausible then tell me why.

As far as the "drama", after I identified abortion as an evil, you said you understood why I did not consider it to be an evil. If that is not arguing in bad faith, please provide a better example.

I actually said "not particularly evil". I did not say you considered it not evil...full stop. I understand that you consider it an evil and I also understand that you consider prohibiting a woman from destroying her offspring is also an evil. But you consider the the former a lesser evil than the latter, right?

Particular: distinctive among other examples or cases of the same general category : notably unusual

So I understood you to mean that you consider abortion not particularly evil compared to prohibiting abortion.
I'd be happy to amend that to relatively less evil than prohibiting abortion if you'd prefer.

But let me ask since you think cancer cells can possibly become human persons, exactly why do you consider abortion evil?


Personally, I don't consider anything sacred, per se. However, if we are discussing what is sacred, is a person's right not to forced into labor also sacred, or do you think anyone should be enslaved based on the needs of other people? I consider freedom to be as 'sacred' as life itself.

Right. Let me restate my statement with the revision from above:

I understand how people who don't consider life sacred can view abortion as relatively less evil than it's prohibition. It's professing Christians that confuse me. They've (supposedly) been taught that life is sacred. Why think that?

So you don't consider life sacred and I understand that. Christians should consider human life sacred from conception till natural death. That was my point.
I am for freedom too. But one has to be alive first in order to experience freedom, right?


People deemed unfit to reproduce often included people with mental or physical disabilities, people who scored in the low ranges of different IQ tests, criminals and deviants, and members of disfavored minority groups.



That is what I initially posted on the subject.

So we agree. Imagine that.

bmiller said...

Sorry. I did not provide the context for the quote above.

It was in reference to your claim that
"No, it is not. The reasoning of the Eugenicists is to encourage births among some populations while discouraging it in others, because some people are superior to others."

This is further counter evidence to that claim.
Abortion and crime rates

bmiller said...

I consider being raped on a regular basis to be torture, even when your spouse is the rapist. Do you consider rape to be torture?

No. I'd consider it domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is probably worse today than in the past.

One Brow said...

Please. It is not plausible that cancer cells can grow into human persons.

Do you always make arguments on what is objectively evil based on subjective, unproven determinations of what is plausible to you?

I understand that you consider it an evil and I also understand that you consider prohibiting a woman from destroying her offspring is also an evil. But you consider the the former a lesser evil than the latter, right?

I fully endorse prohibiting a woman, or a man, from destroying their offspring. That's not evil at all. Again, that you feel the need to restate my position into some twisted mockery is an excellent example that you are not arguing in good faith. If you can argue using what I actually said, then I will address what you are trying to do.

But one has to be alive first in order to experience freedom, right?

Does that imply that life for one person must take precedence over freedom for a different person,to you?

Thank you for confirming the distinct between the position of eugenicists and my position. Hopefully they will not reappear now.

No. I'd consider it domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is probably worse today than in the past.

You ever been raped? Perhaps you should read the stories of rape survivors, including spousal rape, before you make such pronouncements.

As for "probably worse", I will simply take that as another fact-free, reality-denying assertion on your part.

bmiller said...

@One Brow,

Do you always make arguments on what is objectively evil based on subjective, unproven determinations of what is plausible to you?

It seems neither of us thinks it's plausible or else you would tell me why you think it is. I also haven't proven cancer cells can turn into an arm chair, Saturn or a unicorn. If you want to constrain your ability to move forward philosophically by imagining that anything is possible, you have no grounds to challenge anything anyone says. So if you followed your own logic, you have no argument with my position.

I fully endorse prohibiting a woman, or a man, from destroying their offspring. That's not evil at all

Great we agree again. Fetus is the Latin word for offspring. So we should not abort a fetus because that would be evil.

Again, that you feel the need to restate my position into some twisted mockery is an excellent example that you are not arguing in good faith.

But how can I know what you think it is that is being aborted? You mentioned cancer cells. I didn't take you seriously. Is that really your position?

Why do you consider abortion an evil?

Does that imply that life for one person must take precedence over freedom for a different person,to you?

Yes, I don't think one person is free to kill another another innocent person. Do you think we should be free to kill whomever we wish?

You ever been raped?

No. Have you? And this is relevant to the topic of abortion how?

I will simply take that as another fact-free, reality-denying assertion on your part.

You meant like cancer cells can become people? Prove I'm wrong then.

One Brow said...

I also haven't proven cancer cells can turn into an arm chair, Saturn or a unicorn.

Last I checked, arm chairs, Saturn, and unicorns were not examples of human life.

Great we agree again. Fetus is the Latin word for offspring. So we should not abort a fetus because that would be evil.

Ha-ha? At any rate, we are not discussing whether one of us should abort a fetus, but whether we should impose our choice on others.

Why do you consider abortion an evil?

The unborn are potentially people, and the loos of that potential is something we should strive to avoid.

Yes, I don't think one person is free to kill another another innocent person. Do you think we should be free to kill whomever we wish?

From your answer, I could assume that you support forcible removal of duplicate organs (say, one of your kidneys or lungs) against your will to save the life of a stranger. Their life matters more than your choice and/or control over over your body, right? You only need one cornea, right?

No. Have you? And this is relevant to the topic of abortion how?

Occasionally, conversations become multi-faceted. We were discussing whether society in 1910 was torturous for women. You said being raped wasn't torturous. I was checking to see if you claimed that based on experience.

As for proving you wrong, you have already done that for me. As you have made so very clear, when you make something illegal, you reduce the frequency with which it occurs. It is now illegal to beat your wife and to rape her, therefore they occur less often.

bmiller said...

Last I checked, arm chairs, Saturn, and unicorns were not examples of human life.

But you haven't proven they cannot turn into those things have you. Are you still maintaining that cancer cells can turn into human persons? I think you've had enough time to tell me why you think it's plausible.

Ha-ha? At any rate, we are not discussing whether one of us should abort a fetus, but whether we should impose our choice on others.

Right, you said you supported preventing people from destroying their offspring. When I used the word "we", I meant "we" as all humanity. Or are you really a cancer cell? Just asking :-)

The unborn are potentially people, and the loos of that potential is something we should strive to avoid.

Thank you for finally and plainly stating your position. So are sperm and eggs also potentially people that we should strive to avoid destroying? Are their destruction evil?

From your answer, I could assume that you support forcible removal of duplicate organs (say, one of your kidneys or lungs) against your will to save the life of a stranger. Their life matters more than your choice and/or control over over your body, right? You only need one cornea, right?

You've accused me more than once of arguing in bad faith. I'm noticing a pattern of projection on your part.
Looks like you don't want to have a serious discussion.

Occasionally, conversations become multi-faceted. We were discussing whether society in 1910 was torturous for women. You said being raped wasn't torturous. I was checking to see if you claimed that based on experience.

I asked you the same question. But you didn't answer. Why not? I gave you examples of what I thought torture was. But are you claiming that when a spouse gets arrested for physically abusing the other spouse they are charged with torture? I thought it was domestic violence. Where can I find your support for the torture charge? I'm not all that up on criminal law.

As for proving you wrong, you have already done that for me. As you have made so very clear, when you make something illegal, you reduce the frequency with which it occurs. It is now illegal to beat your wife and to rape her, therefore they occur less often.

Thank you for agreeing with me that abortion laws will reduce abortions. Please tell Bob.

But there are also other things that reduce evil behavior. Even though laws against abortion were in force there were still those who committed the crime. Just like after 1920 there were still wife-beaters.

Now you didn't ask for the reason I considered my answer plausible though. Unlike the assertion that cancer cells may turn into human persons, there is research indicating that Christians who regularly attend church are less likely to commit domestic violence. It's undisputed that church attendence is down so there is now a greater percentage of either those who have no religion or don't care enough to attend. That's why I think it's likely that domestic abuse is greater now than in the past.

One Brow said...

But you haven't proven they cannot turn into those things have you.

By definition, human life only comes from human life, since there have been humans.

Ha-ha? At any rate, we are not discussing whether one of us should abort a fetus, but whether we should impose our choice on others.

Right, you said you supported preventing people from destroying their offspring.


There are exceptions, such as self-defense. If person A is being attacked by their offspring, person B, then A has the right to self-defense against B, even is such a defense is lethal to B. If person A is a woman, and the type of attack is use of womb by B when A does not want her womb so used, this still applies.

So are sperm and eggs also potentially people that we should strive to avoid destroying? Are their destruction evil?

On its own, a sperm is just as likely to turn into a human as a cancer cell is.

From your answer, I could assume that you support forcible removal of duplicate organs (say, one of your kidneys or lungs) against your will to save the life of a stranger. Their life matters more than your choice and/or control over over your body, right? You only need one cornea, right?

You've accused me more than once of arguing in bad faith. I'm noticing a pattern of projection on your part.
Looks like you don't want to have a serious discussion.


That was a deliberate attempt on my part to show you what it is like having a discussion with you. I see you find it as unpleasant as others find it unpleasant with you. So, perhaps you will give an answer to my actual question this time.

My question: Does that imply that life for one person must take precedence over freedom for a different person, to you?

Your previous answer, in which you seemingly tried to change the subject: Yes, I don't think one person is free to kill another another innocent person. Do you think we should be free to kill whomever we wish?

So, unless you are saying that not giving life precedence over freedom is the same as killing that person, I ask again. This time, please answer the actual question.

I asked you the same question. But you didn't answer. Why not?

Having read the accounts of rape survivors, I accept that it was the equivalent of torture for them. My personal experience would not change that. As the one who is discounting their experiences, it is on you to justify discounting them.

But are you claiming that when a spouse gets arrested for physically abusing the other spouse they are charged with torture?

I don't recall making any legal argument. Why does it matter if there is a legal charge or not?

...there is research indicating that Christians who regularly attend church are less likely to commit domestic violence.

The research seems to support that those who attend church occasionally abuse more than both those who attend regularly and those who do not attend. So, if more people do not attend at all, there is no reason to think domestic violence would increase.

bmiller said...

@One Brow,

By definition, human life only comes from human life, since there have been humans.

This is simply non-responsive. You have not attempted to address why cancer cells cannot become those things. Neither have you unambiguously answered if you still maintain that cancer cells can turn into human persons. I have to suppose you do consider them potential human persons then.

There are exceptions, such as self-defense. If person A is being attacked by their offspring, person B, then A has the right to self-defense against B, even is such a defense is lethal to B. If person A is a woman, and the type of attack is use of womb by B when A does not want her womb so used, this still applies.

Try that defense when you kill a child that doesn't want to move out of your house.
But to the point. I'm glad that you argree that the fetus is a human person (B).

On its own, a sperm is just as likely to turn into a human as a cancer cell is.

My opinion is that neither would. But above you seem to maintain that both are potential human persons, and so since their status is *potential human persons* and "and the loos of that potential is something we should strive to avoid."(thereby defining what you consider the evil of abortion). Then, according to that logic, destroying cancer is evil.

That was a deliberate attempt on my part to show you what it is like having a discussion with you. I see you find it as unpleasant as others find it unpleasant with you. So, perhaps you will give an answer to my actual question this time.

I have no idea why you think I have argued in bad faith other than you misunderstood or misread what I wrote. Did I not explain what I meant when you made those accusations? But here *you* have intentionally argued in bad faith.
That is a good way to poison a discussion.

Your previous answer, in which you seemingly tried to change the subject:

Your question read to me as "does one person's freedom supercede another person's right to life?". The intention of my answer was that one person is not free to take the life of another in the name of freedom.

Asking the same question again will get you the same answer unless you can phrase it differently. Is this about organ donation? Why don't you give me an example?

My personal experience would not change that.

Thank you for admitting asking the question was pointless and apparently an attempt at inflaming the discourse. Please stop doing that.

I don't recall making any legal argument. Why does it matter if there is a legal charge or not?

Well, you implied that it was legal to torture women in the past. I guess you agree now that it wasn't.

The research seems to support that those who attend church occasionally abuse more than both those who attend regularly and those who do not attend. So, if more people do not attend at all, there is no reason to think domestic violence would increase.

There's no need to speculate. We can look at Sweden where there is practically no religious believers at all and where 81% of the women reported harassment after the age of 15 and about half reporting physical or sexual violence.
Even so, we've both come to the conclusion that weekly church going is most strongly correlated with reduced violence against women. We agree again.

One Brow said...

This is simply non-responsive. You have not attempted to address why cancer cells cannot become those things.

Sorry, I misunderstood the question, I thought you were asking if those things could become human life. Can cancer cells become an armchair? Yes, if you grow enough of them and then petrify them. Why not? Can cancer cells become Saturn? No, that's a specific entity (although if you replace Saturn bit by bit with cancer cells, at what percentage does it stop being Saturn? Maybe yes after all). Can cancer cells become a unicorn? Depends on what you mean by unicorn. If you mean a living, horned equine then no; equines can only come from equines, since equines have existed.

Try that defense when you kill a child that doesn't want to move out of your house.

Not just a child, anyone living in your house. Assuming you are not in bodily danger, I believe the expected response is to call the police. I'm glad you agree that a person has a right to defend themselves against an invasion of their bodily integrity, even if it means lethal force is required.

But above you seem to maintain that both are potential human persons, ... Then, according to that logic, destroying cancer is evil.

Technically, only that you can't demonstrate cancer cells won't develop into persons. You can demonstrate that for individual sperm or individual ova.

Even if cancer has this potential, it's still an attack on your bodily integrity. So, it's no problem for my position.

Your question read to me as "does one person's freedom supercede another person's right to life?"

So, you reversed the question entirely? After all, it could be that neither right supersedes the other and both need to be respected. So, I don't see the need to rephrase. I asked the specific question I am interested in, with an additional emphasis. Does you believe that life for one person *must* take precedence over freedom for a different person?

Thank you for admitting asking the question was pointless ...

I explained the point in that same paragraph. Try again (or not).

Well, you implied that it was legal to torture women in the past. I guess you agree now that it wasn't.

If it were legal torture, there would not be a criminal charge.

We can look at Sweden where there is practically no religious believers at all and where 81% of the women reported harassment after the age of 15 and about half reporting physical or sexual violence.

What's your source on the "practically no religious believers"? The Church of Sweden claims that 63% of Swedes are members, not too mention other religions.

Even so, we've both come to the conclusion that weekly church going is most strongly correlated with reduced violence against women.

Weekly church-going and not having a religion at all are equally correlated.

Miguel said...

If abortion is murder (and I certainly believe it is) I don't think we can ever accept it being legal. Rape should never be legal. Murder should never be legal. If "reasonable people" disagree over whether abortion is murder, it should not change the fact that if it is murder then it should be legal. And if one believes abortion is murder, then one should not accept it being legal. I thought that was quite obvious, but apparently people think that if S believes X is rape or murder, S can reasonably accept X being legal.

That's all I'll say.

bmiller said...

@One Brow,

Depends on what you mean by unicorn. If you mean a living, horned equine then no; equines can only come from equines, since equines have existed.

But since equines have not always existed, they came from something. They could again and that something just might be cancer cells.

Like I said. We don't have very much common ground. You're welcome to your fantasies and the logical fallacy of appeal to possibility. I don't share your attraction to them.

Not just a child, anyone living in your house. Assuming you are not in bodily danger, I believe the expected response is to call the police. I'm glad you agree that a person has a right to defend themselves against an invasion of their bodily integrity, even if it means lethal force is required.

So you believe that the police are justified in killing people you don't want in your home? How is merely residing in your home threatening your life. No I don't agree that you can kill them. After all they will leave in several months. But thanks. I now understand that where your bar of killing human persons is set. It's certainly different than mine.

Technically, only that you can't demonstrate cancer cells won't develop into persons. You can demonstrate that for individual sperm or individual ova.

You've insisted that it's possible that cancer cells can become human persons. Now not so much.
But that's OK. You're OK with killing actual human persons, so I assume it's less of an issue with "potential" human persons (which could be anything at all).

So, you reversed the question entirely? After all, it could be that neither right supersedes the other and both need to be respected. So, I don't see the need to rephrase. I asked the specific question I am interested in, with an additional emphasis. Does you believe that life for one person *must* take precedence over freedom for a different person?

I asked you to rephrase or give an example and you did neither. Why not just state your position rather than asking open-ended questions that when I answer you accuse me of twisting or reversing.

Seriously. You get angry every time I answer because I can't guess the exact scenario you are referring to, so I'd rather just not guess any more.

I explained the point in that same paragraph. Try again (or not).

Right. It was a pointless question since you knew you hadn't experienced it and were pretty sure I hadn't either.

What's your source on the "practically no religious believers"?
This.

I engaged in this thread to find out how Christians could justify abortion. Especially Catholic Christians. Is it a grave sin? If so why? I would expect the answer to be that all human life is sacred from conception to death.

But you engaged, So now I'm interested in your position if you are serious about explaining it.
How would you summarize your position? It's hard for me to tell.

One Brow said...

Miguel,

Is killing in self-defense legal? Is it murder?

One Brow said...

But since equines have not always existed, they came from something. They could again and that something just might be cancer cells.

Equines are a lineage. Equines only come from equines, because being born of an equine is what makes you an equine. I suppose equines might come from equine cancer cells.

So you believe that the police are justified in killing people you don't want in your home?

I believe arresting them is sufficient.

I now understand that where your bar of killing human persons is set.

How dramatic! However, I do draw the line at bodily invasion and bodily harm. Where do you draw the line?

You've insisted that it's possible that cancer cells can become human persons.

If you make an argument for abortion based on potential, you can't show cancer cells don't have the same potential. Human cancer cells are of human lineage and have human DNA, RNA, etc. If the right switches were activated, why not? What is impossible about it?

I asked you to rephrase or give an example and you did neither. Why not just state your position rather than asking open-ended questions that when I answer you accuse me of twisting or reversing.

I'm not referring to any exact scenario, I'm trying to ferret out any general principles you have (assuming you have some, as opposed to simply going with your gut case-by-case). Why not just answer the question, as asked and as clarified? I've answered all your questions, and re-answered those that I initially misunderstood. Is it because any answer you give is incompatible with your beliefs?

However, I will re-phrase. Under what circumstances does one person's right to live trump another person's rights to freedom and bodily integrity (obviously, you can't claim never), and what separates those occasions from other occasions?

Right. It was a pointless question ...

Having read the accounts of rape survivors, I accept that it was the equivalent of torture for them. My personal experience would not change that. As the one who is discounting their experiences, it is on you to justify discounting them.

So, you are too disinterested to understand what I wrote. Noted.


Regarding religion in Sweden:
Sweden is one of the world's most secular and irreligious nations, partly because many Swedish people define themselves as irreligious but spiritual people.

If you are spiritual, you have religious beliefs.

By the way, that's not even addressing whether the numbers you give for Sweden are higher because women are freer to speak up without being shamed, unlike here.

I engaged in this thread to find out how Christians could justify abortion.
Performing one or making it legal for others to choose one? I thought it was only the latter.

How would you summarize your position?

I would never encourage someone to get an abortion. I would never try to decide for someone else that they had to submit their body to the needs of another person (for the sake of the argument, I have no problem with identifying the fetus as a person) for several months.

bmiller said...

@One Brow,

Equines are a lineage. Equines only come from equines, because being born of an equine is what makes you an equine. I suppose equines might come from equine cancer cells.

You missed the specific point I was making, but more importantly you missed the more general point that this line of argument is fallacious to begin with.

How dramatic! However, I do draw the line at bodily invasion and bodily harm. Where do you draw the line?

Hmm. I don't think one person should intentionally invade or violate the body of another person. The first line I draw on bodily violation is the intentional destruction of an innocent's person's body. Even if you think those babies are armed, you would have to prove they had the intent to harm the mother if you want to plead self defense.

If you make an argument for abortion based on potential, you can't show cancer cells don't have the same potential. Human cancer cells are of human lineage and have human DNA, RNA, etc. If the right switches were activated, why not? What is impossible about it?

You are the only one making an argument based on potential. But even at that this appeal to possibility is still a fallacious argument.


Is it because any answer you give is incompatible with your beliefs?

No, it's because you ask open ended questions without defining your terms. Freedom: Freedom to do something? Freedom from something? In America we are supposed to have the right to free speech, but it is limited (yelling fire in a theater for instance).

However, I will re-phrase. Under what circumstances does one person's right to live trump another person's rights to freedom and bodily integrity (obviously, you can't claim never), and what separates those occasions from other occasions?

Once again this looks like you are asking if it's OK for one person to enjoy some sort of freedom at the expense of another person's not only "freedom and bodily integrity" but very life. If all persons have equal rights, then both persons in your scenario have equal rights to life, freedom and bodily integrity. If one of those persons intentionally kills the other the charge is murder. You seem blind to this.
Once a person exists, it is a fait accompli that this person has equal right to all other persons.

My personal experience would not change that.

Which is why it was pointless.

As the one who is discounting their experiences, it is on you to justify discounting them.

This was emotionally inflammatory and dishonest. If you don't know better, shame on you.

I would never encourage someone to get an abortion. I would never try to decide for someone else that they had to submit their body to the needs of another person (for the sake of the argument, I have no problem with identifying the fetus as a person) for several months.

Right. So I think this is the issue between us. One person has the right to kill another person because the first person's comfort is disturbed in some way even though it is no fault of the second person.

One Brow said...

So I think this is the issue between us. One person has the right to kill another person because the first person's comfort is disturbed in some way even though it is no fault of the second person.

People still die in pregnancy, so yes, I think no one has the right to force another to risk their life on behalf of some other party. Further, the fact you have to downplay the potential of death as "discomfort" shows some discomfort on your part as well.

If all persons have equal rights, then both persons in your scenario have equal rights to life, freedom and bodily integrity. If one of those persons intentionally kills the other the charge is murder. You seem blind to this.

I'm not blind to self-defense.

... you would have to prove they had the intent to harm the mother if you want to plead self defense.

Is that true only for the unborn, or do you hold that for every person, regardless of age? If I intend to take your kidney, but do you no lasting harm (just little discomfort, and for less time than a pregnancy), you have no right to self-defense?

This was emotionally inflammatory and dishonest. If you don't know better, shame on you

It is emotionally inflammatory to tell the victims of repeated rape that they aren't suffering all that much. Is that the type of callousness required to be antiabortion?

bmiller said...

@One Brow,

People still die in pregnancy, so yes, I think no one has the right to force another to risk their life on behalf of some other party. Further, the fact you have to downplay the potential of death as "discomfort" shows some discomfort on your part as well.

So you would oppose abortion if there was no danger of the death to the mother?
I used the terminology of comfort since the word discomfort is what women have told me they experience during pregnancy. I'm trying to be clinical about this rather than emotional. Can you do the same?

I'm not blind to self-defense.

I was referring to the fact that we are discussing 2 persons with equal rights, not that you don't know what self-defense is. You seem to be blind to the idea that both persons have an equal right to life, bodily integrity and freedom. You call both of them persons, but only attribute rights to one of them.

Is that true only for the unborn, or do you hold that for every person, regardless of age? If I intend to take your kidney, but do you no lasting harm (just little discomfort, and for less time than a pregnancy), you have no right to self-defense?

I have the right to say no and resist your intention. But an unborn child has no intention to harvest any organs nor intention to harm the mother in any way at all. By the way, it simply doesn't follow that being pregnant is the same as someone taking your kidney by force. Good heavens.

It is emotionally inflammatory to tell the victims of repeated rape that they aren't suffering all that much. Is that the type of callousness required to be antiabortion?

But of course I didn't say that at all to you much less to victims of rape. Please don't make things up.
Maybe you want to turn this into an insult-fest?

One Brow said...

So you would oppose abortion if there was no danger of the death to the mother?

Find me a world where that is true, and I will reconsider then.

I used the terminology of comfort since the word discomfort is what women have told me they experience during pregnancy.

I'm sure different women experience pregnancy differently. In particular, in a country where abortion is legal and available, the women who are pregnant are the ones disposed to being pregnant, and their views represent women who want to be pregnant.

You seem to be blind to the idea that both persons have an equal right to life, bodily integrity and freedom. You call both of them persons, but only attribute rights to one of them.

On the contrary, I acknowledge they both have rights, and I refuse to say the state can insist the the rights of the fetus are more important than the rights of the woman.

I have the right to say no and resist your intention. But an unborn child has no intention to harvest any organs nor intention to harm the mother in any way at all.

So, we have special pleading here. You are allowed to resist harm from adults, but not from the unborn. You would give the unborn special rights you would not accord to any adult. I could come up with a dozen different ways to describe situations where I lacked intent to harm you, but nonetheless was threatening to harm you. I'm sure you would find a dozen reasons why, in those particular cases, you still had the right to defend yourself.

So, I will ask you this, instead, to see if you can rescue your position from special pleading. Are there any circumstances in which a lack of intent means you can not protect yourself from the threat posed by another adult, or is this a privilege you extend only to the unborn?

But of course I didn't say that at all to you much less to victims of rape. Please don't make things up.

From above:
Do you consider rape to be torture?

No. I'd consider it domestic abuse.

You shouldn't deny what is easily quotable.

bmiller said...

@One Brow,

Find me a world where that is true, and I will reconsider then.

OK, let's outlaw anything that could possibly cause the death of a woman then. That would include abortion since mothers can die from an abortion and certainly since at least one person dies from an abortion, about half are women. Maybe some day the lives of males will be a consideration also.

On the contrary, I acknowledge they both have rights,

Great. Both have equal rights to life, freedom and bodily integrity then. Seems we agree.

and I refuse to say the state can insist the the rights of the fetus are more important than the rights of the woman.

But now it seems although both have those equal rights, one party's rights are more equal than the other's. My position is that both persons have equal rights and that neither have "more important" rights than the other. It is the opposite of claiming that one party's rights are more important the others. You are the only one insisting that on that inequality.

So, we have special pleading here. You are allowed to resist harm from adults, but not from the unborn.

No. Outside of science fiction no baby has intended to harvest anyone's organs and I'm not aware of any that have done so unintentionally. I don't believe I have the right to kill anyone who unintentionally could cause harm to me if my life is not in danger. For instance, we don't normally execute drunk drivers although they put people's lives in danger. When a thief is emptying a person's bank account it's not lawful to kill him even though he intended to take the money and perhaps leave you starving or unable to purchase life saving medicine.

Maybe someone thinks they should be able to kill him but refrain from doing so only because the law prohibits it and they may be punished. This illustrates the reason we end up having to pass laws. Since some people have a poor sense of morality.

I'm sure you would find a dozen reasons why, in those particular cases, you still had the right to defend yourself.

"10 CFR 1047.7 - Use of deadly force. (a) Deadly force means that force which a reasonable person would consider likely to cause death or serious bodily harm. Its use may be justified only under conditions of extreme necessity, when all lesser means have failed or cannot reasonably be employed."

Reasonable people don't consider normal childbirth likely to cause death or serious bodily harm.

So, I will ask you this, instead, to see if you can rescue your position from special pleading. Are there any circumstances in which a lack of intent means you can not protect yourself from the threat posed by another adult, or is this a privilege you extend only to the unborn?

I think this is projection on your part. If a child or adult was disturbing your life unintentionally for a time you would not consider killing them. At least I hope not, or perhaps I'm on your list now :-). It is only unborn persons you are unwilling to wait for a time in order that they may live.

You shouldn't deny what is easily quotable.

Right. I didn't.

This is what you said:
It is emotionally inflammatory to tell the victims of repeated rape that they aren't suffering all that much. Is that the type of callousness required to be antiabortion?

This is what you selected to quote from me:
No. I'd consider it domestic abuse.

So from your own quotes you've shown that I did not say what you accused me of. You need to apologize.

I don't consider domestic abuse as telling victims "that they aren't suffering all that much". Victims of domestic violence suffer a great deal. Why is it that *you* think domestic abuse victims "aren't suffering all that much"? Are you so desensitized that domestic abuse that its' no big deal to you?

One Brow said...

Maybe some day the lives of males will be a consideration also.

When the state tries to force men to children in pregnancy, they will be a consideration in this discussion.

I don't believe I have the right to kill anyone who unintentionally could cause harm to me if my life is not in danger.

How about if your life is in danger?

Reasonable people don't consider normal childbirth likely to cause death or serious bodily harm.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maternal_mortality_in_the_United_States

Likely enough to cause over 700 deaths in 2016. Who are you to tell someone they have to take that risk?

If a child or adult was disturbing your life unintentionally ...

Disturbing how? By physically attaching themself to me, in a fashion that results in my death 26 times per 100,000? If disconnection means death for them, I'm not allowed to disconnect myself at all? That's seriously your position?

This is what you selected to quote from me:
No. I'd consider it domestic abuse.

So from your own quotes you've shown that I did not say what you accused me of. You need to apologize.


You think being domestic abuse means it's not torture?

Your answer to the question of whether repeated rape was torture was "No", and calling it a different name afterwards doesn't change the substance of your answer. Further, you are repeatedly defending this assertion. You are in fact telling vistims of repeated rape that they are not suffering enough to call it torture, and doing so quite callously.

bmiller said...

@One Brow,

I see you stopped arguing that all persons have equal rights. It was obvious that is your position. It's interesting that you side with the most powerful against the least powerful, but not surprising.

How about if your life is in danger?

It seems you missed this:
"10 CFR 1047.7 - Use of deadly force. (a) Deadly force means that force which a reasonable person would consider likely to cause death or serious bodily harm. Its use may be justified only under conditions of extreme necessity, when all lesser means have failed or cannot reasonably be employed."

It's the law regarding the use of lethal force. It seems you don't like it, if all persons have an equal right to life.

Likely enough to cause over 700 deaths in 2016. Who are you to tell someone they have to take that risk?

The latest from the CDC states there is a 0.026% chance of death which is much less of a risk than accidental death.
So one is more likely to die by accident than giving birth. However, the chance of death for the unborn is 100% in an abortion.

Like I said:
Reasonable people don't consider normal childbirth likely to cause death or serious bodily harm.

Disturbing how? By physically attaching themself to me, in a fashion that results in my death 26 times per 100,000? If disconnection means death for them, I'm not allowed to disconnect myself at all? That's seriously your position?

Well, if you want to keep the scenario accurate, you would have been the cause of the person to show up in the first place, so you would have brought the situation about yourself. Now that you and an innocent person are in this particular situation, you both have a risk of dying it's true. But why would only *you* have the right to kill the other when there is almost no risk to your life and a much greater risk to theirs? Oh right, because you have the power to destroy the defenseless person and the defenseless person can't do darn a thing about it.

You are in fact telling vistims of repeated rape that they are not suffering enough to call it torture, and doing so quite callously.

Now you are lying.

First you callously claim that domestic violence victims "aren't suffering all that much". Now you are saying I am "in fact" telling rape victims they aren't suffering. It's pretty obvious you don't know what a fact is.

I am "in fact" calling marital rape a form of domestic violence of which all forms are wrong and should be punished. Most people distiguish between rape and torture but for some bizarre reason you insist they mean the same thing. Then you start making up things up that you imagine I am telling people even when I point out I am "saying" no such thing.

On this thread you have made a habit of (deliberately?) misreading or misunderstanding what I wrote and accusing me of bad faith while demonstrating it yourself. It seems you can't deal with what I actually write, so you just make up things you attribute to me to make yourself feel better.
Try reality for a change. It's here whether you like it or not.

Starhopper said...

Since I largely remember Bill Patterson for our marathon discussions about science fiction, it is appropriate that I link here to my latest musings on the subject.

bmiller said...

@Starhopper,

Here is a chance to persuade someone of the grave evil of abortion and why it is always wrong. Or is it me that you think has it wrong?

Starhopper said...

It may be a chance, but the subject bores me. I said my piece above, and have nothing to add to the discussion beyond what I've already written.

bmiller said...

Gotcha. I'm the one that needs to be persuaded.

Starhopper said...

Well, before I go down that rabbit hole, answer me this one question:

Do you personally have any firm plans in the immediate future of either yourself having an abortion, or of encouraging another person to get one?

bmiller said...

@Starhopper,

No. I'm attempting to persuade people *not* to do that.

Do you think I should keep my nose out of other people's business and not try to persuade them that killing innocent human persons is wrong?

Starhopper said...

"Do you think I should keep my nose out of other people's business?"

Oh, not at all. In fact, quite the reverse. At the risk of repeating myself (which is where I knew this would end up), that's what I've been saying here all along. The proper course of action for pro-lifers is persuasion, "propaganda", and education. Do that, and you won't need to worry about what the law permits.