Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Would you give up the rule of law to end abortion?

By the way, those looking to Trump to save us from abortion, are you willing to give up on the rule of law to save the unborn? If the only way to stop abortion was to set up a right-wing dictatorship and shut down the Constitution and the electoral process, would you be willing to go that far? If you had to choose between making abortion illegal but putting an end to our system of government, or allowing the right to choose abortion but allowing our electoral process, which would you choose?

140 comments:

bmiller said...

Why invent false dilemmas?

Our rule of law should prohibit the intentional killing of all innocent human beings. It is a flawed court ruling that allows it and that needs to be corrected within the system.

However, isn't it culturally arrogant to denigrate other countries governmental systems?

Legion of Logic said...

A dictatorship that was politically favorable to all my positions, couldn't be overturned by the nutjobs in California, and that would end the slaughter of the unborn? Sounds great on paper.

Of course, I'm no Marxist full of idealized and unrealistic expectations regarding human nature. In the real world, such a power transition would be bloody, it would hold many positions I opposed but couldn't do anything about, it would put into place an oppressive power structure that could easily be turned in the other direction, and it wouldn't end abortion regardless.

So unless we are talking full fantasy magic genie dictatorship set up precisely the way I wanted until the return of Christ, then no. Federal government has too much power as it is.

I agree with bmiller. That was a terrible court decision, and we need to culturally overcome the myth that abortion doesn't end a life.

Starhopper said...

"we need to culturally overcome"

EXACTLY! That's what I've been saying here on this site for seemingly forever. It is worse than futile to expend all that (wasted) effort on changing the law. Far better (and more effective) to change hearts.

Had the pro-life movement spent the past several decades on doing just that rather than tilting at legal windmills, abortion would have been an historical footnote long before now.

One Brow said...

bmiller said...
Our rule of law should prohibit the intentional killing of all innocent human beings. It is a flawed court ruling that allows it and that needs to be corrected within the system.

Our rule of law should also prohibit forcing one person to allow another person to remain bodily attached.

However, isn't it culturally arrogant to denigrate other countries governmental systems?

Not when we are talking about what we want for our culture.

bmiller said...

Had the pro-life movement spent the past several decades on doing just that rather than tilting at legal windmills, abortion would have been an historical footnote long before now.

What makes you think they haven't been changing hearts as well?

Starhopper said...

"What makes you think they haven't been changing hearts as well?"

I haven't seen any evidence of that. Instead, I see a hardening of the pro-abortion faction, largely due to a hardening of the pro-life side. I see the Democratic Party making it almost impossible to be a pro-life office holder and have a "D" after your name. I see slogans such as "War on Women" or "Abortion is Murder" take hold, and people are now starting to speak of abortion as a "human right". I see way too many American voters being essentially single issue voters, allowing this single issue to trump all others. All of that is marching in the opposite direction, and it is depressing to behold.

bmiller said...

I see a hardening of the pro-abortion faction, largely due to a hardening of the pro-life side.

The hardening of the pro-abortion faction is due to the legislative success of the pro-life side. They see things slipping away.

Also younger women are more prone to be pro-life today than in the past. Their hearts have been changed after listening to pro-life people explaining that the unborn are not just clumps of random cells (does anyone actually use that argument anymore?), but actually are human beings.

But as far as changing hearts goes, there is only so much other people can do for you. Everyone is responsible for their own actions, and people will rationalize their own selfishness even without pro-abortionists whispering in their ears. Abortion will be around as long as sin is unfortunately.

Victor Reppert said...

I specifically raised this question because I think Trump really threatens our political institutions in a radical way. He says that Article II of the Constitution says that he can do anything, and his filing in court have implied that investigations of a sitting President are illegitimate. He constantly has to be told by aides and cabinet members that what he is proposing is illegal, and those people are disappearing. He seems to be under the thumb of Vladimir Putin, for some reasons, making me wonder if there is some financial connection keeping him from honestly admitting the obvious truth that Russia interfered in our elections in 2016 to help him get elected. Some pro-lifers think that Trump is the best thing the ever happened to the pro-life movement, I think he is the worst.

Victor Reppert said...

I think if you want people to not get abortions, yeah, ideally, it might be good to make it illegal if you can, but the American people are not for this, even in red states. Law in our country is supposed to reflect the will of the people, and if most people in America are pro-choice, then the law will be pro-choice. I think that fetuses are not blobs of tissue, but to varying degrees along the way they resemble human persons, and they develop into human persons, so the the death of a fetus is a tragic loss in some hardship cases and morally wrong in, I think most cases of actual abortion. If you want to keep people from getting abortions, try getting them to stop committing the Legal Fallacy--the idea that if something is really wrong, the law is going to outlaw it. A woman in Colorado smoked pot during her pregnancy, because they made it legal in Colorado, so she figured it must be OK. No, that doesn't follow.

Legion of Logic said...

He seems to be under the thumb of Vladimir Putin

He's a very counterproductive vassal if so.

Legion of Logic said...

I've not followed all or even most of the judges Trump has appointed and the Senate has pushed through with their broken partisan system, but I'm assuming the majority of them are pro-life. The courts are the favored battleground, with Roe v Wade the prize.

bmiller said...

He says that Article II of the Constitution says that he can do anything,

And Obama said he campaigned in 57 states. Both Presidents misspoke but deranged opponents don't see it that way. The derangement is epic this time around.

and his filing in court have implied that investigations of a sitting President are illegitimate.

If the filings are frivolous then they'll get thrown out. But do you think the President has no right to make his case in court? We get it that you don't like him, but does that mean he should have no rights?

Yes, yes, he's a Putin puppet and the Russians put him in office even though Obama mocked Trump for implying that the 2016 election could be fixed by anyone. Putin's master stroke must have been to ensure Hillary would win the primaries and then be such a horrible candidate.

Some pro-lifers think that Trump is the best thing the ever happened to the pro-life movement, I think he is the worst.

Since you aren't pro-life, pro-lifers should care what you think .....why?

bmiller said...

Had the pro-life movement spent the past several decades on doing just that rather than tilting at legal windmills, abortion would have been an historical footnote long before now.

If you want to keep people from getting abortions, try getting them to stop committing the Legal Fallacy--the idea that if something is really wrong, the law is going to outlaw it.


Both of these are good examples for pro-lifers to consider. Neither of the authors are pro-lifers yet they are giving advice to pro-lifers.

When people who oppose pro-lifers give you advice then you should do the opposite.

bmiller said...

Putin's master stroke must have been to ensure Hillary would win the primaries and then be such a horrible candidate.

And it looks like he's planning to do it all again! What an omnipotent fiend!

bmiller said...

Victor,

I think that fetuses are not blobs of tissue, but to varying degrees along the way they resemble human persons, and they develop into human persons, so the the death of a fetus is a tragic loss in some hardship cases and morally wrong in, I think most cases of actual abortion.

Serious questions now. You think that fetuses:
1) Are not random blobs of tissues
2) Sometimes resemble human persons and sometimes not.
3) They develop into human persons, but apparently are not to start with.
4) "so the the death of a fetus is a tragic loss in some hardship cases and morally wrong"

If fetuses are not random blobs of tissue, then what are they?

Statues resemble human persons but aren't. Why is resemblance to human persons relevant to consideration of destroying statues?

You say that fetuses are not just random blobs of tissue, but develop into human persons.

Can random atoms spontaneously become human persons?

I ask because you seem to think it's OK to destroy a fetus before a certain point in time because it does not have a certain property ('personhood'), just like random atoms that do not have that certain property.

So you owe us an explanation of how 'personhood' is injected into something that doesn't already have it if that is the criteria that you want to use to decide the morality of destroying it or protecting it.

Starhopper said...

The following question is relevant to this discussion, although it may not immediately seem so. I'll explain how it is after I get a few responses. To tell you how up front would "taint the well" and skew any answers.

If I accept the opinion of another person on a given subject because I respect his authority, does that make his opinion mine as well? Or does it mean that I personally do not have an opinion on the subject?

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

You apparently do have an opinion on the subject. You've accepted another's opinion as your own. At least this seems to be how you've stated the position.

bmiller said...

Since we are in the Christmas season, I thought this would be a good time to bring up this story of Old St. Nick.

St Nick was not always jolly...especially to heretics!

Legion of Logic said...

Or does it mean that I personally do not have an opinion on the subject?

You might have an opinion, but to respect the authority of another on a matter (assuming you are referring to expertise) could be to recognize that you do not have a sufficiently INFORMED opinion, thus defer to one who does.

Starhopper said...

The point of my question is what do you say to a person (like me) who has no personal opinion as to to when "personhood" begins, but who is perfectly willing to bow to authority (the Church) when it declares personhood to begin at conception (a position I find very hard to believe).

So when asked about the subject, I invariably answer with, "The Catholic Church teaches... and I am a Catholic." So does my own opinion count if I do not profess it? Or do I even have an opinion?

Legion of Logic said...

Ah, well that's an angle beyond my ken.

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

We all accept the opinions of authoritative sources every day and make those opinions our own. For instance we believe and trust maps.

But it sounds like you don't really accept the teaching of the Catholic Church wrt to the dignity of the human person.

when it declares personhood to begin at conception (a position I find very hard to believe).

I'm going to assume you find this hard to believe because you have a different definition of personhood than the Church. You probably have accepted John Locke's functional definition rather than the historical Christian ontological definition.

The functional definition means you can destroy any human being that does not do the normal functions of a person. The ontological definition holds that whether a human being is fully functional or not, it is still wrong to destroy that human.

So I think you formed your personal opinion based on Locke's authority, not the Catholic Church's authority.

Starhopper said...

I've never read Locke, so my opinion cannot possibly be based on anything he ever said.

bmiller said...

If you think that a person is only a person if he can perform all the functions of a normal person then your opinion is based on Locke's opinion.

You don't have to have read Locke personally. Only have to have been influenced by those who share Locke's view.

Starhopper said...

Being as I am totally ignorant of Locke, I hesitate to say anything about his philosophy on way or the other.

But isn't it reasonable to maintain that a car isn't a car until you can drive it away? Even if you could buy every last part necessary to build a car at your local auto parts store, that still doesn't equate that store to a car dealer's showroom. There aren't any cars in there. Just parts.

Now, I'm not presenting this as my opinion when it comes to human beings. But I do think I have demonstrated that such a view would be both rational and reasonable.

Legion of Logic said...

I think there is one major difference in the car analogy. A car without an engine or tires or doors or seats is still a car. So at some undefined point there is a transition from car parts to car. That's the pro-abortion view of human life.

The key difference is that the car does not build itself. That first cell from conception? It's alive and is performing the functions of the early stages of life. It's alive and human, the totality of the human organism at that stage, so what is the qualitative difference between a living human organism and a human life?

bmiller said...

That's a very good and succinct synopsis.

That first cell is a human being in certain stage of development, just like all of us. That human being itself has everything it is and will ever be within itself from the beginning even though it may not be able to exercise every capability it has at a particular time. For instance, human infants cannot read but have that capability while canine infants do not.

If those capabilities are not there in some form from the beginning they would have to be added to it from an external agent, like auto workers adding parts to a car running down the assembly line. That's why I asked what external agent adds those capabilities?

Starhopper said...

"So what is the qualitative difference between a living human organism and a human life?"

And that question is a "very good and succinct synopsis" of the pro-life position. My point is that both "sides" need to step back, take a deep breath, and acknowledge that the people who disagree with you are not demons, but people who hold reasonable beliefs worthy of defending. We need to excise from our political vocabulary such things as "war on women" and "abortion is murder".

The pro-abortion political faction has quite recently abandoned all pretense at being "pro-choice", whilst the pro-life faction has long since sacrificed all political sanity on the altar of anti-abortion. And I am utterly pessimistic about the near term future. I see the ideological divide only widening and deepening.

bmiller said...

My point is that both "sides" need to step back, take a deep breath, and acknowledge that the people who disagree with you are not demons, but people who hold reasonable beliefs worthy of defending.

I haven't seen anyone in this discussion demonizing the other side. That is unless you consider pointing out the flaws of your opponent's argument as demonizing them.

So Starhopper, can you forget for even a moment about your political commitments and discuss this in purely philosophical terms? Or do you find that too boring?

For instance, here's another problem with the functional definition of personhood from a Christian perspective:

If a person is defined by what a normal person can perform, then when you die, you are no longer a person. No body to perform normal functions of personhood, no person. Material atheists rightly come to that logical conclusion, but it is an profound anti-Christian position.

So now you have 2 philosophical arguments against the functional definition:
1) If a human being does not have 'personhood' from the beginning, then what external agent imparts 'personhood'?
2) If personhood is defined as the ability to function as a normal living adult human being, then no person can exist after death. How do you square this with your profession of Christianity?

Legion of Logic said...

When human life begins and bodily autonomy are two important questions that are unfortunately concurrent during a pregnancy. Even so, bodily autonomy has no impact whatsoever on the question of when life begins.

My problem with the pro life side on both matters isn't on the factual side of things, in which they are pretty much correct (life begins at conception and the vast majority of the slaughtered unborn are conceived by voluntary actions with known consequences, making those deaths even more unjust), but by their absolutely counterproductive and irrational opposition to widespread birth control and pro-family policies to help low-income parents. That is completely asinine and self-defeating, not to mention it leads to countless deaths.

On the pro-abortion side, they lie that it is only a "medical decision" involving a "woman's body". They completely ignore the life being snuffed out beyond intentionally pretending it is somehow impossible to know that a zygote is the first stage of a human life, making it definitionally a human life. Evil and sick are the two most apt descriptions for them, because they are too cowardly to admit that it's a human life but the right for parents to have free sex trumps its right to continue living.

And yet they support the distribution of birth control and support for low-income parents.

What a world when your allies and enemies are both culpable in your death.

bmiller said...

Legion,

but by their absolutely counterproductive and irrational opposition to widespread birth control and pro-family policies to help low-income parents.

The opposition to birth control is one thing that we can discuss philosophically, but what pro-life organization opposes pro-family policies to help low-income parents?

Starhopper said...

bmiller,

Are you aware that no less than Dante Alighieri believed that God did not "ensoul" a fetus until after it was fully developed. Dante expresses this poetically in the Purgatorio where he writes,

When the articulation of the brain
Has been perfected by the embryo,
Then the First Mover turns to it, with joy
Over such art in Nature, and He breathes
A spirit into it

(Canto XXV, lines 68-72)

And Dante certainly believed that the person survived after death! And since the entire Divine Comedy has been described by scholars as a popularization of the Summa Theologica in poetic form, it is likely that one could find a similar passage in Aquinas's work (although I'll admit I've never made the attempt to do so).

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

If Dante actually believed that then he was wrong and that belief was most likely based on the incorrect embryological assumptions of Aristotle. You should know what the only offical position of the Catholic Church wrt abortion has always been condemnation....from the beginning.

This is a quote from the Didache, one of the first Church manuals we have that shows the early practices and beliefs:

1. But the second commandment of the teaching is this:
2. "Thou shalt do no murder; thou shalt not commit adultery"; thou shalt not commit sodomy; thou shalt not commit fornication; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not use magic; thou shalt not use philtres; thou shalt not procure abortion, nor commit infanticide; "thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods";


Regardless of the incorrect and unofficial biological opinions of some historical figures, you haven't addressed the logic of the arguments. Except, by citing Dante as believing the person survives after death demonstrates he didn't believe in the functional definition of personhood.

Starhopper said...

" he didn't believe in the functional definition of personhood"

And neither do I.

Starhopper said...

And by the way, no less than the Inquisition went over The Divine Comedy with a fine toothed comb (and you know what nit pickers they could be) looking for heresy, and pronounced it "without error".

One Brow said...

Legion of Logic said...
When human life begins and bodily autonomy are two important questions that are unfortunately concurrent during a pregnancy. Even so, bodily autonomy has no impact whatsoever on the question of when life begins.

I agree. I've been staying out of this discussion because I don't think discussions of life/personhood beginning are relevant.

Legion of Logic said...

I don't think discussions of life/personhood beginning are relevant.

It should if you believe human life has value and is worth protecting. And if bodily autonomy automatically trumps another's life, that leads to important discussions on how far self-defense can be justified to protect one's own health.

As medical technology continues to improve, the so-called age of viability continues to drop. People on both sides of the debate would agree that this doesn't mean human life begins at an earlier age now than it used to. So the question becomes, if technology advances to the point that it can sustain from conception onward outside the mother's body, at what point is it immoral to kill it?

Starhopper said...

What is the pro-life position on all those thousands of frozen embryos in fertility clinics? Are they considered persons? I honestly do not know.

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

And by the way, no less than the Inquisition went over The Divine Comedy with a fine toothed comb (and you know what nit pickers they could be) looking for heresy, and pronounced it "without error".

Do you actually think everything Dante wrote is infallible? If so, where did you get that idea?

" he didn't believe in the functional definition of personhood"

And neither do I.


Then since you agree that a fully developed/functional body is not a requirement for personhood, then you should have no logical objection to a living human being in the first stage of life being a person.

Starhopper said...

"then you should have no logical objection"

I have no objection whatsoever. That is the whole point of my question up above. If I accept the teachings of legitimate authority (the Church), does that make said teachings my opinion?

But a more important point is that I firmly believe a truce ought to be declared on this issue, and both sides agree that the opinions of the other are reasonable. The "logic" is not all on one side.

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

What is the pro-life position on all those thousands of frozen embryos in fertility clinics? Are they considered persons? I honestly do not know.

Not sure about all pro-life organizations, but This is the Catholic Churchs position:

The human being must be respected - as a person - from the very first instant of his existence. The implementation of procedures of artificial fertilization has made possible various interventions upon embryos and human foetuses. The aims pursued are of various kinds: diagnostic and therapeutic, scientific and commercial. From all of this, serious problems arise. Can one speak of a right to experimentation upon human embryos for the purpose of scientific research? What norms or laws should be worked out with regard to this matter? The response to these problems presupposes a detailed reflection on the nature and specific identity - the word "status" is used - of the human embryo itself .

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

If I accept the teachings of legitimate authority (the Church), does that make said teachings my opinion?

I really don't know what you mean now. Your personal opinion seems to be at odds with the Church since you've been arguing against the Church's position.

The "logic" is not all on one side.

What an odd statement. You can rationally think that logic is on your side until someone points out that your logic is flawed. It simply makes no sense to say logic is 'on the side' of an illogical argument.

Legion of Logic said...

What is the pro-life position on all those thousands of frozen embryos in fertility clinics? Are they considered persons? I honestly do not know.

Just a guess since I don't involve myself with any pro-life group, but since I recall mass outrage from conservatives over embryonic stem cell research, I would assume they would argue in favor of the embryos' status as human life.

Starhopper said...

"It simply makes no sense to say logic is 'on the side' of an illogical argument."

It can actually make a lot of sense. No one is more "logical" than a conspiracy theorist. It's actually frightening how unassailable their logical arguments can be. The fact that they're dead wrong seems not to matter.

Charles Williams wrote of this phenomenon in his poem The Calling of Taliessin, in which he spoke of those who, having ventured into the Wood of Broceliande, return "loquacious with a graph or a gospel".

bmiller said...

It can actually make a lot of sense. No one is more "logical" than a conspiracy theorist. It's actually frightening how unassailable their logical arguments can be. The fact that they're dead wrong seems not to matter.

Sure, a logical argument can turn out to be wrong because some premises were not known to be false. But my argument is that we know the premise of personhood requiring a fully functional human body is false (according to our common belief). So we, as Christians, know that the argument of 'personhood' requiring some naturalistic empirical evidence of 'consciousness' or what have you makes that argument unsound.

The pro-choice argument you've presented doesn't even rise to the level of a conspiracy theory.

Starhopper said...

bmiller,

I believed I have grasped a fundamental difference in the way you and I think. You are hyper-logical whereas I gain my greatest insights from poetry. Dante, Wordsworth, Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot, Charles Williams, (etc.). It's how I read the sacred scriptures as well. Neither of us is "wrong", but we approach Truth along very different paths.

My art instructor said much the same thing to me the other day. She said her other students basically wanted to learn how to paint, whereas I was determined to image Truth (great, biblical themes, she called them). My classmates were painting swans in a river or children playing with toys, while I was painting the Flight into Egypt or the (almost) sacrifice of Isaac.

One Brow said...

Legion of Logic said...
It should if you believe human life has value and is worth protecting. And if bodily autonomy automatically trumps another's life, that leads to important discussions on how far self-defense can be justified to protect one's own health.

Keeping in mind that my bodily autonomy/life does not trump another person's bodily autonomy/life, what issues do you see arising?

As medical technology continues to improve, the so-called age of viability continues to drop. People on both sides of the debate would agree that this doesn't mean human life begins at an earlier age now than it used to. So the question becomes, if technology advances to the point that it can sustain from conception onward outside the mother's body, at what point is it immoral to kill it?

I've been a supporter of the right a fetus has to be removed alive for quite some time now.

One Brow said...

bmiller said...
What an odd statement. You can rationally think that logic is on your side until someone points out that your logic is flawed. It simply makes no sense to say logic is 'on the side' of an illogical argument.

Better that than never acknowledging the flaws in your argument.

Rarely is there a problem with the logic in an argument. Most of the time, the problem is the competing axioms, which can't be decided by logic.

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

I've noticed that difference also...along with your tendency to think primarily about the political ramifications of your positions.

I imagine you are attracted more to emotional appeals than appeals to logic and order. And there's nothing wrong with getting emotions involved in your actions, in fact it could be a sin, if for instance, you should be angry at an evil but aren't.

But our emotions should be rightly ordered. So, in my view, we should understand what we are fighting for lest we end up defending an evil while blinded with emotion.

On this subject, I believe you have not ordered your emotions rightly. You highly value compassion, and so you may feel compassion for someone who wants to abort their child. So you sympathize with those telling you that the unborn are not really persons. There's plenty of them in our society, and even some Churchmen have been influenced to seek a lawyerly way to deny the humanity of the unborn. I imagine if a person lived in the South during slavery, he could rationalize it. After all, 'reasonable' people thought it was OK.

There's nothing wrong with having compassion for someone struggling with the decision to have an abortion, but it is misplaced compassion to tell them they aren't going to be killing another human being, flesh of their own flesh.

If we are really compassionate, we would do all we can to protect the most vulnerable and those most in need of our protection. No matter the circumstances of a woman considering an abortion, she is less vulnerable than her child. It is misplaced compassion to only consider the plight of the least vulnerable person in this situation.

But of course none of this matters if you prize your place in a political party that demands we accept abortion.

bmiller said...

But have you ever wondered why everyone used to think that abortion was evil and now it's a right? It's pretty obvious that it's tied to the sexual revolution of the 60's if you think about it.

This piece shows that there's historically a very high price to pay for "free" sex.

Starhopper said...

"I've noticed that difference also...along with your tendency to think primarily about the political ramifications of your positions."

That is really rich, coming as it does from the most hyper-partisan contributor to this blog.

I believe I've been pretty even handed in my political leanings over the years. I was actually a registered Republican until 1985 (I was even a subscriber to the National Review) and I am still the only person I know who voted for both George McGovern and Barry Goldwater.

I am a US Army veteran who worked for the Defense Department for 35 years, and am now an active member of Veterans for Peace.

I can detect no trace of partisanship in my political views.

bmiller said...

If you are not thinking primarily in terms of politics, then why did you ignore the bulk of what I wrote wrt abortion and only respond to my observation that you think primarily in terms of politics?

Starhopper said...

"why did you ignore the bulk of what I wrote wrt abortion"

Because to do otherwise would be the very definition of futile. You have made it clear that you believe anyone who thinks differently than you on this subject is being irrational. You show no willingness to entertain any view other than your own.

I have more than once presented arguments that I myself do not agree with because I am convinced that the best way to convince someone else is to understand their point of view. To deny the possibility that their belief might be reasonable is to kill discussion (and persuasion) from the very start.

For instance, I myself am a firm disbeliever in extraterrestrial intelligence, but when I discuss the subject with those who do, I take their arguments seriously. I do not start out with the premise that they are being illogical.

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

You have made it clear that you believe anyone who thinks differently than you on this subject is being irrational. You show no willingness to entertain any view other than your own.

I do not start out with the premise that they are being illogical.

You presented an argument that a growing fetus is like a car going down an assembly line (I'm taking some liberties because I think this analogy is a better describes what you were going for. You can correct me if you disagree) it starts as a couple of parts, but somewhere along the way it becomes a car.

Legion responded before I could but I would have responded in basically the same way. We both understood and entertained the view. But we both also pointed out how the analogy doesn't fit and some other flaws.

Neither of us started with the premise that your analogy was illogical.

Legion pointed out that a car being assembled requires someone or something other than the car parts themselves to add parts and guide the assembly. The difference is that at conception, the zygote itself is self-directing and self-organizing, just like you still are today.

You seem to be complaining not that we don't entertain and interact with other views, but that we have been effective in refuting those views...views that you apparently are committed to.

I'm also a firm disbeliever in extraterrestrial intelligence and I can understand the reasons people might think there are intelligent aliens but the people I've talked to are willing to listen to the reasons I give for my disbelief and interact with me.

I'd like to have kept discussing the car assembling analogy and see your reply to Legion's counter argument.

Starhopper said...

My analogy was not to an automobile assembly plant but to an auto parts store.

Let's imagine that I (like Khashoggi) got dismembered, and my body parts were scattered all over the place. Would I still be a person? No, I would not. So my personhood is obviously something more than just the sum of all my parts.

I was present (just inches away) from my wife when she died. I could tell that she was gone. Yet her body was still there - nothing was (physically) missing. But whatever it is that makes us a person had departed.

And we are so much more than an automobile. You can disassemble a car down to its last nut and bolt, and then reassemble it, and it would once again be a car. Not so with a human being.

The head of the Vatican Observatory (Brother Guy Consolmagno) was once asked, "What is life?" and his answer was "Life can die. Inanimate objects cannot."

bmiller said...

How does an analogy of disassembling a car (or living person) apply to a growing living person? I'm not getting it.

bmiller said...

One is a thing being corrupted and the other is of a thing being generated.

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

I reread your first car parts quote. It seems very different from your latest post:

But isn't it reasonable to maintain that a car isn't a car until you can drive it away? Even if you could buy every last part necessary to build a car at your local auto parts store, that still doesn't equate that store to a car dealer's showroom. There aren't any cars in there. Just parts.

The first post seems to make a case that you can't call a bunch of parts a car unless you can drive it. This implies that the parts all have to be assembled properly and the car can be driven away just like a fully functional car (functional definition).

Can you explain how your latest car post relates to your car first post?

Starhopper said...

The two postings are just two ways of saying the same thing.

One Brow said...

bmiller said...
Legion pointed out that a car being assembled requires someone or something other than the car parts themselves to add parts and guide the assembly. The difference is that at conception, the zygote itself is self-directing and self-organizing, just like you still are today.

Then, it should be no problem to remove the zygote from it's host and allow it to self-direct and self-organize.

Legion of Logic said...

Then, it should be no problem to remove the zygote from it's host and allow it to self-direct and self-organize.

A newborn removed from the womb and left in an unfavorable environment will also die very quickly without constant intervention. This is true of all organisms that can't basically shut themselves down until conditions are more favorable, and even they would eventually die.

With sufficient technology, we could artificially house a zygote and supply it with a favorable environment and all the oxygen and nutrients it needs to continue developing. Note that this development is directed by the unique DNA of the zygote. The mother (or artificial womb) supplies the environment and "resources", but the zygote develops itself. It does its own cell division and specialization, develops its own heart and nervous system, etc. It just needs a favorable environment.

Just like all organisms.

bmiller said...

The two postings are just two ways of saying the same thing.

I'm not sure what your point is then.

Is your only point just that a person is more than a physical body? I agree.

But how does that fact make abortion morally acceptable?

Starhopper said...

"But how does that fact make abortion morally acceptable?"

Huh? Where did I say that it did?

bmiller said...

Here:

But isn't it reasonable to maintain that a car isn't a car until you can drive it away? Even if you could buy every last part necessary to build a car at your local auto parts store, that still doesn't equate that store to a car dealer's showroom. There aren't any cars in there. Just parts.

Now, I'm not presenting this as my opinion when it comes to human beings. But I do think I have demonstrated that such a view would be both rational and reasonable.


You've presented this as a reasonable argument supposedly used by people who think abortion is morally acceptable in certain cases. In context I assumed the argument is that until a certain point in development a person doesn't exist.

Please clarify what I'm getting wrong.

Victor Reppert said...

Bmiller asked since I am not prolife, why should anyone care what I think benefits the prolife movement. I share a lot of its concerns, in that I think the vast majority of abortions should not happen, and I despise the causal attitude that some have toward the ethics of abortion. I also find it very upsetting, and a reason not to support the candidate, if a candidate, when abortion comes up, presents nothing but pro-choice rhetoric and acts as if he or she has a disrespect for the concern for fetuses. I find it discouraging that the abortion issue has. over the past 40 years, become increasingly hostage to partisan politics. I don't find it particularly logical that Democrats have supported abortion and Republicans have opposed it, you would think that the party who wants to extend health care to vulnerable mothers might have more of an interest in protecting fetuses, but also you would expect that the party that wants to protect fetuses is unwilling to take care of children once they are born.

Victor Reppert said...

Fetuses are potential persons from conception. I think people should think twice, three times, and four times before ending their lives. So, for example, I like things like 24 hour waiting periods, and informed consent, when it comes to abortion. I think profit-driven abortion mills, if that is what is going on, are an abomination. On the ethical side, my evaluation of most abortions,

People on both sides just define everyone who isn't fully on their side as an enemy.

The people who want an across the board abortion ban are in the minority. The jurisprudential against Roe v. Wade made by Antonin Scalia is that decisions about abortion should be determined by democratic choice, not by constitutional law. But what does that buy you if the people don't want that kind of abortion restriction?

https://news.gallup.com/poll/1576/abortion.aspx


Starhopper said...

"Please clarify what I'm getting wrong."

What you're getting wrong is conflating the arguments for personhood with the ethics of abortion.

Delicate Arch is in no way a person. But to wantonly destroy it would surely be an immoral act.

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

What you're getting wrong is conflating the arguments for personhood with the ethics of abortion.

Please tell me how your car parts discussion relates to either personhood or abortion or both.

bmiller said...

Victor,

Fetuses are potential persons from conception.

Aristotle thought that fetuses were not persons from conception because the sperm of the father mixed with menstrual blood of the mother and guided the development of the fetus over the course of time until the fetus became human. It only became human when the sperm and menstrual blood were no longer present in that form and had completed the transformation from what they were to a new individual human being/person. That is one explanation of how fetuses could be potential persons since the 2 parts had not completely transformed into a new being for a period of time. We now know that the transformation of the sperm and egg into a new human being is almost instantaneous.

Are you making a functionalist case for personhood? Something else? Please elaborate.

Legion of Logic said...

I was just reading on various opinions of the arbitrary concept of personhood.

Imagine we have a handful of nations whose populations had a common origin but became separated and had no interest in speaking with the others. All had the same legal philosophies and constitution protecting those with personhood. Christianity is identical to our world. The only area in which they differed due to being isolated and insular populations was the concept of when personhood begins.

One nation says that personhood begins at the moment of conception based on the biological reality of human life and thus bans all abortions not medically required to save the mother.

Another says that personhood begins with the rise of the nervous system and bans all abortions if brain activity is detected. Anything prior to that is legal because it is not a person.

Another says that personhood begins at the current "age of viability" where technology can sustain life outside of the womb. It can be killed prior to this point because it is not a person.

Another says that so long as it is in the woman's body that it is not a person, thus personhood begins at birth. Anything that has not yet been born can be killed because it is not a person.

Another says that the rise of self-awareness is the standard for personhood. Any infant who cannot be demonstrated to show self-awareness can be killed because it is not yet a person. Another makes the same argument over language rather than self-awareness.

Then we have the nation which says that only their race is fully a person. Other races, and handicapped people, are deemed inferior and thus not true persons. It is deemed legal to kill them because they are not persons under the law.

If personhood is deemed the standard for when it is ethical to kill or not, then given the arbitrary nature of personhood, which nations are wicked and which are not, and why?

bmiller said...

Legion,

That's a good question.

I've seen contributors here argue that morality is not relative. Yet, when it comes to abortion, it seems some of them come to the de facto conclusion that it is.

One Brow said...

Blogger Legion of Logic said...
A newborn removed from the womb and left in an unfavorable environment will also die very quickly without constant intervention.

I agree with almost all of what you wrote. I believe a mother does has some direction on the development of the zygote, beyond just supplying resources and avoiding contamination.

One Brow said...

Legion of Logic said...
I was just reading on various opinions of the arbitrary concept of personhood.

...

If personhood is deemed the standard for when it is ethical to kill or not, then given the arbitrary nature of personhood, which nations are wicked and which are not, and why?


Another excellent post. My only objection is to the notion that life begins at conception, when in fact life was present well before conception, so using "biological reality" was a little overstated.

Legion of Logic said...

I believe a mother does has some direction on the development of the zygote, beyond just supplying resources and avoiding contamination.

Most likely there is some hormonal cross-play at work, with both sending out signals to affect the other. But most of what is going on with the embryo is from its own genetic blueprint.


life was present well before conception

If you're referring to the gametes, those are cells from the parent, with the fertilized egg being the first cell of a new organism.

bmiller said...

There is undoubtably intelligent life other than our own in the universe.

There are countless stars, so what makes us think that our own star is so unique as to be the only one to support life?

Legion of Logic said...

That question gets interesting from a theological standpoint. Would these intelligent beings also be moral creatures aware of God? Are they also fallen? Do they partake of eternity? What happens to them when the new heavens come to pass?

bmiller said...

All depends if they're 'persons' or not. If not, kill 'em all if you like.

Starhopper said...

"There are countless stars [in the universe]"

True enough. And out of those "countless" stars,

- 80 percent of them are red dwarfs, which for a whole host of reasons are unsuitable for life
- a majority of those that remain are variable stars, which do not provide a steady environment for life
- more than half of those still in the pool are supermassive stars that have (on an astronomical scale) extremely short lifespans (less than a billion years)
- of the increasingly tiny fraction that are still up for consideration, more than two thirds are known as "metal poor" - i.e., they contain almost no elements heavier than helium, necessary to form rocky planets
- three quarters of those remaining in play are double (or even triple) star systems, which do not allow for stable planetary orbits, such as we see in our own solar system
- our own solar system appears to be incredibly "lucky" in that for 4.5 billion years, we have not been particularly close to a supernova, which would have sterilized all life within it. Most stars suffer from having a nearby supernova every billion years or so.

I could go through many more qualifiers, but the upshot is that less than 0.00001 percent of all those "countless" stars are candidates for hosting a stable solar system, hospitable for life. But there is worse to come.

We now know (from Kepler spacecraft data) that the majority of extrasolar solar systems are dominated by what are known as "hot Jupiters", that is, a gas giant orbiting very close to the star and preventing any Earthlike world from forming in that star's "Goldilocks Zone". The ONLY reason our own Jupiter does not occupy the Earth's orbital space is it is being restrained by Saturn, which orbits in a 2:1 synchronicity outside Jupiter's orbit, thus locking it in place. So how many solar systems have BOTH a Jupiter and a Saturn (in the necessary orbits)? Hard to say, but it's likely a vanishingly small fraction.

(So I don't go over my character limit, allow me to continue in the next posting.)

Starhopper said...

Now that we’ve winnowed down the stars, let’s consider how many constraints there are on a planet, for it to host intelligent life. First of all (and most importantly), the Earth has a HUGE Moon, relative to its own size. So what, you say? Well, the Moon is primarily responsible for the long term stability of the Earth’s axis and our rotation rate. Just look at Venus, which lacks a comparable (or, for that matter, any) moon. It slow rolls backwards, once every 116 Earth days. The case for moonless Mercury is perhaps even worse, as it is locked into a 3:2 orbital resonance, making its day 176 Earth days long. (Mars has a length of day similar to our own, but that is thought to be a result of a collision with an extremely large asteroid billions of years ago.)

The Moon is also likely responsible for the Earth’s plate tectonics, which recycles the entire surface of our planet every few hundred million years. Once again, the alternative is Venus, a hellish superdry landscape buried in miles-thick lava fields the size of continents.

One consequence of all that resurfacing is the presence of our oceans, which originated deep within the Earth’s interior, and are only on the surface because they’ve been pulled upward by the Moon. (There still remains more water one to two hundred miles down than presently exists on the surface.)

Next is the matter of our liquid, rotating iron core. All the other rocky planets in our solar system lack such a core, which is the generatorof our Van Allen radiation belts. These belts shield the Earth’s surface from lethal solar and cosmic radiation. Life would be impossible without them. Again, how many extrasolar planets have such cores? There’s no way to tell, but it is surely significant that no other rocky body in our solar system has one (so they must be rare).

And there remain hundreds of other constraints yet to be listed. Bottom line: extraterrestrial intelligent life is extremely unlikely, as least within our own Milky Way galaxy.

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

Your explanation of why you believe it's unlikely that intelligent alien life exists is detailed and methodical. The Anthropic Principle clearly articulated. No car parts or natural rock formations used at all.

That is the type of explanation I was asking for wrt abortion/personhood. Can you do the same for your argument for the reasonableness of the morality of abortion?

Starhopper said...

"Can you do the same for your argument for the reasonableness of the morality of abortion?"

Unfortunately, I can do so for both sides of the argument. This is a matter not for logical argument, but for faith. Just as it is not possible to to "prove" by logical argument the morality of keeping the Sabbath, it is not in the realm of logic to prove the immorality of abortion.

That does not mean the Sabbath is illogical, but rather that it is a-logical.

Starhopper said...

Damn! And here I thought you were actually interested in a topic more interesting than the snoozefest that is abortion.

bmiller said...

Damn! And here I thought you were actually interested in a topic more interesting than the snoozefest that is abortion.

Had to see if you'd actually gone to sleep, and, well, abortion is what the OP is about after all.

Nevertheless, I am interested in the topic of extraterrestrial intelligence, and I'd make the similar type of argument you've just made.

Unfortunately, I can do so for both sides of the argument. This is a matter not for logical argument, but for faith. Just as it is not possible to to "prove" by logical argument the morality of keeping the Sabbath, it is not in the realm of logic to prove the immorality of abortion.

You use logical argumentation all the time when in discussions with atheists about God. You never tire of it. Those arguments are similarly well articulated. Why won't you do the same here? You've claimed I won't even listen to arguments opposed to my view on abortion, but I when I ask you what I'm not understanding you tell me that it would be a shame to destroy rock formations. That is uncharacteristic.

Why? It's not like you are shy of backing up your arguments on any other topic.

Starhopper said...

"Had to see if you'd actually gone to sleep"

Well.. at my age, I do actually "take a nap" for 1-2 hours a day in the mid-afternoon. In fact, I just woke up from one.

"It's not like you are shy of backing up your arguments on any other topic."

I have long maintained on this site that one must maintain a complete toolbox when discussing "Truth" and that logic is only one of those tools (and not always the appropriate one). Here is something I wrote almost 3 years ago on my (now defunct blog) Celestial Pilgrimage:

Just as one would never dream of using a hammer to drive in a screw, or a wrench to dig a hole - in the pursuit of Truth, different tools are required for differing tasks. If you wish to know the mechanics of wave erosion on a beach, nothing beats precision measurement and accurate recording of data. If you want to find out whether a new medicine will benefit those suffering from some ailment, there’s nothing better than a double blind test with a control group and use of placebos to obtain unbiased results. But when you want to know whether a particular business practice is ethical or not, no amount of laboratory testing is going to help you in the least, whereas a quiet hour or two with Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, or perhaps Solzhenitsyn's The First Circle, could well give you the answer you’re searching for. If you’re agonizing over whether you ought to propose marriage to the woman you think you love, don’t hope for a solution from any computer simulation or chemistry textbook. Your time would be better spent listening to Rachmaninoff’s Symphony Number 2, or in sitting under a shady tree in the nearest park, watching the clouds pass overhead. And if you’re agonizing over a job offer that means upending your life for the prospect of an increased income, a bit of extra time spent in silent prayer before Mass, or a Rosary or two before bedtime, would assuredly give you a more definitive answer than working out the variables using a Bayesian Decision Model.

bmiller said...

Well.. at my age, I do actually "take a nap" for 1-2 hours a day in the mid-afternoon. In fact, I just woke up from one.

Ha! Your nap time has probably diminished now that you're retired. You did work for the government after all. :-)

Just as one would never dream of using a hammer to drive in a screw, or a wrench to dig a hole - in the pursuit of Truth, different tools are required for differing tasks.

OK, choose the tool you think is the correct one and tell us why the tool is correct and what that tool tells you about morality of abortion.

Legion of Logic said...

Just as one would never dream of using a hammer to drive in a screw

Not only have I seen this done many times, I've actually done it myself once out of irritation. Been holding up for a good three years now!

bmiller said...

I drank a screwdriver once. Won't do that again.

Legion of Logic said...

I see what you did there.

bmiller said...

Really bad hangover :-)

bmiller said...

Interesting that it's murder if someone other than the mother does it. Especially in California!

But more to the point. We need to ask ourselves as a nation if we are crazy or not...with all due respect to choosing the right tool to make that decision. I hope the tool isn't a rubber chicken.

Starhopper said...

"ourselves as a nation"

Forget the "as a nation" nonsense. If you do not know someone who is conflicted over whether she ought to carry her pregnancy to term, then you do not have a dog in this fight.

And if you do, then you ought not waste a nanosecond worrying about what the law is, but rather spend your time and effort toward educating this individual as to why they ought to allow her baby to be born.

Keep politics out of this!

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

you do not have a dog in this fight.

You don't "have a dog in this fight", but you seem to have plenty to say. Except for explaining your reasons for thinking abortion is 'reasonable'.

Also,
Keep politics out of this!

Seriously? Coming from you?

Starhopper said...

Yes, seriously. Abortion ought never to have been made into a political issue. It does not belong in that arena. And the sooner we "as a nation" decouple it from our politics, the better.

"you seem to have plenty to say"

Because I see the poisonous effects the issue has on the issues that genuinely belong in the political sphere.

One Brow said...

Legion of Logic said...
If you're referring to the gametes, those are cells from the parent, with the fertilized egg being the first cell of a new organism.

Except when it isn't. Once in a while, we don't have an organism until the cells divide up into two or more units (identical twins, triplets, etc.). Even more rarely, two of these zygotes end up fusing (chimerism). So, unless you are going to argue that identical twins are a single organism and chimeras are two organisms, we don't know that the zygote is an organism.

bmiller said...

Yes, seriously. Abortion ought never to have been made into a political issue.

You are primarily a political animal. So I understand why you want the opposition to sit down and shut up.
You know that's not going to happen right?

Starhopper said...

Oh, I know all too well that it ain't gonna happen.

Truth to tell and in all seriousness, I have long ago lost all hope for my country. I am convinced that we as a nation are doomed. I fully expect to see the end of our constitutional form of government within my lifetime (perhaps even by 2021), and my grandchildren will almost certainly see the disintegration of the USA as a single country.

I believe that a conservative estimate of global wartime casualties in the 21st century will be between 3 to 5 billion, and probably closer to 5 than 3. All your squabbling over abortion will seem like less than a rounding error by then.

bmiller said...

OK Susie Sunshine.

When the US disintegrates I expect it to be more along the lines of Brexit or the collapse of the Soviet Union. Not a violent affair.

I also don't think there's any group of people in the world that wants to kill a billion people. Maybe some radical Islamists, but there's not too many of them. Oh, and abortion defenders. 1.5 billion and counting.

Starhopper said...

I expect most of the violence will occur subsequent to the breakup, as the new political entities jostle for territory and influence. It will be like Yugoslavia, which broke up (mostly) peacefully, and only then began the neverending Balkan Wars. There might also be some form of ethnic cleansing in places, with right and left wingers moving into areas more conducive with their political views.

One nuclear exchange in South Asia can rack up a billion casualties without breaking a sweat. If power were to go out in Europe for an extended period, you could easily have 100 million deaths by starvation within a month. I was in Britain during a transportation strike in 2001, and in 3 days every food store within reach was stripped to the bare walls. Nothing edible left. My family went on rationing to stretch was was in our cupboards for as long as possible.

Starhopper said...

Uh, that should have read, "what was in our cupboards".

bmiller said...

Urban dwellers will have a tough time if the infrastructure breaks down. That's why preppers have stockpiles of supplies and weapons.

Didn't know you were a prepper.

Starhopper said...

Dang! You got the coveted 100th comment.

I am not a prepper. I fully expect to be amongst the first to die (once I cannot get my insulin and blood pressure meds, I'm basically a dead man). I do worry about my kids, though.

bmiller said...

Dang! You got the coveted 100th comment.

When you're good looking and live right, things just go your way.:-)

bmiller said...

There are 38 states that consider killing the unborn murder (except for the special case of abortion).

Law in our country is supposed to reflect the will of the people, and if most people in America are pro-choice, then the law will be pro-choice

The problem is that the will of the people was overruled by the SC in 1973. Once Roe v Wade is overturned, then we'll really get a chance to see what the American people are for. It seems only a tiny minority of the states think the unborn have no rights at all.

I'm betting sanity will be restored.

Starhopper said...

I suspect that if Roe is overturned, then the country will simply become even more polarized than it is now. There will be some states (like New York) in which there will be no restrictions against abortion whatsoever, and others (like Mississippi) where it will be totally illegal.

bmiller said...

That's not polarizing. That's allowing populations to decide things for themselves.

New York has already legalized infanticide, so they're way past that. So I guess you'll be moving to Mississippi since that is what your faith teaches is morally correct?

Starhopper said...

I'm a diehard Marylander - best state in the Union! (At any rate, we have the best flag.)

bmiller said...

Well Marylander, here is what your state law is

Md. Criminal Law Code Ann. § 2-103 establishes that a prosecution may be instituted for murder or manslaughter of a viable fetus as defined in Md. Health-General Code Ann. § 20-209. A person prosecuted for murder or manslaughter must have intended to cause the death of the viable fetus; intended to cause serious physical injury to the viable fetus; or wantonly or recklessly disregarded the likelihood that the person’s actions would cause the death of or serious physical injury to the viable fetus. (2005 Md. Laws, Chap. 546)

bmiller said...

The Arizona law for Victor. He should get his terminology right since he is a resident:

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-1102, § 13-1103, § 13-1104 and § 13-1105 define negligent homicide, manslaughter and first and second degree murder. The law specifies that the offenses apply to an unborn child at any stage in its development.
Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann § 13-701, § 13-704, § 13-705 and § 13-751 define aggravated circumstances in the sentence of death or life imprisonment. The law specifies that the defendant shall not be released until the completion of 35 years if the murdered person was under 15 years of age or was an unborn child. The law states that for the purposes of punishment, an unborn child shall be treated like a minor under 12 years of age.

bmiller said...

Here's Arkansas for Legion:

Ark. Stat. Ann. § 5-1-102(13) defines "person," as used in § 5-10-101 through § 5-10-105, to include an unborn child at any stage of development. The law specifies that these provisions do not apply to an act that causes the death of an unborn child in utero if the act was committed during a legal abortion to which the woman consented, an act committed pursuant to a usual and customary standard of medical practice during testing or treatment, or an act committed in the course of medical research, experimental medicine or an act deemed necessary to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.
Ark. Stat. Ann. § 5-10-101 through § 5-10-105 define capital murder, murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, manslaughter and negligent homicide.

Starhopper said...

All right, that was the tipping point. This is now beyond boring.

I'll rejoin the conversation when it's turned to something interesting.

Unsubscribing.

bmiller said...

When you come back can you please have something to say other than:

That's what I've been saying here on this site for seemingly forever. It is worse than futile to expend all that (wasted) effort on changing the law. Far better (and more effective) to change hearts.

Talk about boring.

bmiller said...

The Catholic Church considers those who procure or aid in an abortion guilt of a mortal sin.

Those who die unrepentant in the commission of a mortal sin end up in Hell.

Which level of Inferno does Dante place those souls?

bmiller said...

My vote is for the outer ring of the 7th circle.

It's interesting to note that inhabitants of the 8th and 9th circles are considered worse sinners than murderers in the 7th circle. Fraudsters and traitors are the worst.

bmiller said...

US government forced vaccination schedules are out of control. They are a capitulation to Big Pharma.

Not only do they fill the pocket of Big Pharma, but they actually harm children. Do you old guys understand the vaccination schedule you had as a child versus now? Or even the schedule in the US versus Europe?

It's a good argument to live in Europe!

Legion of Logic said...

Which country has a good vaccine schedule?

bmiller said...

France has a better schedule, but Japan is better. It's better to spread the vaccines out over time rather than all at once.

The number of vaccines went up just after a law was passed disallowing the suing of vaccine companies for injuries due to vaccines.

One Brow said...

Blogger bmiller said...
US government forced vaccination schedules are out of control. They are a capitulation to Big Pharma.

Most vaccines are out of the patent range. They are not a big profit center for pharmaceuticals, unlike (for example) opioids.

Not only do they fill the pocket of Big Pharma, but they actually harm children.

That's just a lie spread by a few crazy people who know better, and lot's of parents who don't.

One Brow said...

bmiller said...
It's better to spread the vaccines out over time rather than all at once.

This is a lie. There is no reason to spread out the vaccine schedule, and every reason to immunize people as soon as they are ready.

The number of vaccines went up just after a law was passed disallowing the suing of vaccine companies for injuries due to vaccines.

This is another lie. 1) There is a first stop, the National Vaccine Injury Court, especially for vacine injuries. 2) There is a lesser burden of proof on the plaintiff (that is, parents of vaccinated children) in the NVIC than there would be in a more traditional court. 3) If the plaintiff is not happy with the NVIC, they can still go on to sue in the regular courts.

You are spreading lies that result in children dying. If you keep doing so, I will never again think of your position against abortion as motivated by anything other misogyny. People worried about protecting life support vaccination.

Legion of Logic said...

My son has autism. After his diagnosis a friend of mine, who also has a son with autism, gave me Jenny McCarthy's book regarding her son developing autism and blaming it on vaccines. This introduced me to the anti-vax position, and it led to some fairly heated discussions since I didn't agree with her.

One of the more interesting topics in those discussions was the fact that I had no need to know the statistics for alleged correlation between vaccines and autism, or any other problem. What I do know is that I would rather my child be on the spectrum than have polio, or smallpox, or hepatitis, or these other diseases that kill. I do know that with the advent of mass vaccination, many of these diseases went virtually extinct, and that recent increases are due to the anti-vax movement. So even if there was a known and direct correlation between a particular vaccine and a risk of developing autism, it is quite likely that I would consider that risk worth the cost of saving thousands of lives.

Now, of course I would be open to arguments as to whether a particular schedule of vaccination can be shown to have lower risks while maintaining equal effectiveness against the diseases. But I have yet to be shown compelling data that vaccines in the United States are harmful on a large scale.

bmiller said...

The 1986 law ,upheld by the Supreme Court, "spares the drug companies the costs of defending against parents' lawsuits."

Vaccinations are not mandatory in all EU countries.

One Brow:
If you keep doing so, I will never again think of your position against abortion as motivated by anything other misogyny.

If you ever wonder why I rarely respond to your posts, this is a good example.

I put forward some of the arguments of the anti vaccination movement and you conclude that I'm a misogynist.

bmiller said...

Legion,

I haven't read the book so I don't know what her positions are.

Polio and smallpox were horribly devastating diseases. The flu not so much.

Now, of course I would be open to arguments as to whether a particular schedule of vaccination can be shown to have lower risks while maintaining equal effectiveness against the diseases.

I know this is from a biased source but it shows how vaccination schedules have increased over time. It is possible to over-vaccinate isn't it?

One Brow said...

Legion of Logic said...
My son has autism. After his diagnosis a friend of mine, who also has a son with autism, gave me Jenny McCarthy's book regarding her son developing autism and blaming it on vaccines. This introduced me to the anti-vax position, and it led to some fairly heated discussions since I didn't agree with her.

One of the more interesting topics in those discussions was the fact that I had no need to know the statistics for alleged correlation between vaccines and autism, or any other problem. What I do know is that I would rather my child be on the spectrum than have polio, or smallpox, or hepatitis, or these other diseases that kill.


I've got 3 of my 5 kids on the spectrum, and I agree completely.

One Brow said...

bmiller said...
The 1986 law ,upheld by the Supreme Court, "spares the drug companies the costs of defending against parents' lawsuits."

It does, by making it easier for parents to sue, and settling specific compensation amounts. Parents get paid sooner, and have a lot less trouble getting paid. It works for everyone.

Vaccinations are not mandatory in all EU countries.

Technically, vaccinations are not mandatory here, either. It's the school systems that require them. You can keep you kids unvaccinated by home-schooling or private schools.

That said, should we allow our kids to die because some EU countries allow theirs to die?

I put forward some of the arguments of the anti vaccination movement and you conclude that I'm a misogynist.

You have a firm stance against (those you consider to be) children dying when they are invading a woman's body. You seem to be saying you have no problem with children dying because their parents are uninformed or foolish. How else should I explain that difference?

bmiller said...

How else should I explain that difference?

If you can't think of any reasons, then I can't help you.

One Brow said...

bmiller said...
Polio and smallpox were horribly devastating diseases. The flu not so much.

The flu kills tens of thousands of people every year. Vaccination protects not only the patient, but every person whom the patients contacts that is too young to vaccinate, too old to get the best protection, immune-compromised, etc.

I know this is from a biased source but it shows how vaccination schedules have increased over time. It is possible to over-vaccinate isn't it?

The typical life of a child exposes them to thousands of pathogens daily. Adding a few more, specifically weakened or dead, has effectively zero impact on the level of immune activity at that time, and immense effectively in protection from the most dangerous infections.

Vaccination is one of those topics I care immensely about. I will probably be less polite than usual when discussing it.

One Brow said...

bmiller said...
If you can't think of any reasons, then I can't help you.

I was not aware I needed help; my explanation works for me. If you feel you have some non-misogynistic reasoning, I'm listening.

bmiller said...

Part of the problem of trying to figure out the benefit to risk ratio of vaccines is that it has become such a polarized topic and that has muddied the waters.

For instance, what exactly should we be looking at to determine the risk of getting the flu with and without getting a flu shot?

A flu shot can sound like it's very effective or only slightly effective depending on what statistic you look at.

What's interesting about the polarization however is that it doesn't necessarily fall along the normal US political divide. Lots of liberals are anti-vax and lots of conservatives are pro-vax.

One Brow said...

bmiller,

From your article:
There’s a big difference that jumps out at you! The largest bar on the graph is the one that represents zero cases of the flu in 20 years when you get flu shots. When you’re vaccinated annually, you have a 68% chance of not catching the flu within 20 years! Conversely, if you don’t get flu shots, you have only a 23% of escaping the flu entirely.

That's a sizable benefit.

You mention a benefit-to-risk ratio, but left out the risk. With almost no risk, the benefit to risk ratio is very large.

bmiller said...

Out of 5840 cases filed alleging injury or death due to the flu vaccine since 1988, 3287 were compensated and 533 denied. On page 5.

So flu vaccines are not risk free, and infants have not been getting flu vacciniations for 20 years (obviously), not to mention that most cases of the flu are only unpleasant, not fatal.

Some people get sore for a couple of days after a flu shot (like a relative of mine), so would rather not get the shot. I can't blame them for the small possible benefit that it may provide. The shot doesn't bother me. I get it some years and other years not. Either way I usually get flu-ike symptoms about the same time each year that I think are related to allergies.

I think people should get a flu shot if they want to and not worry about those that don't want to get the shot.

One Brow said...

bmiller, there have been 2.7 billion flu shots since the 1989-90 season in the US. So, we are discussing under 0.00015% of cases that received compensation. That's almost no risk.

I think people should get a flu shot if they want to and not worry about those that don't want to get the shot.

If the flu were not contagious, perhaps. If you get the flu after refusing the vaccine, and pass it on to someone more vulnerable who dies from it, are you not morally culpable for that death?

Legion of Logic said...

If you get the flu after refusing the vaccine, and pass it on to someone more vulnerable who dies from it, are you not morally culpable for that death?

I think this is what it ultimately boils down to. To use another personal story, my grandmother was killed by the flu in the 2017 season. She never drove and never left her house, and only family visited her. Pretty much everyone in our family had already had the flu, and one or more of us gave it to her. We should have skipped Christmas that year rather than run the risk, but we simply didn't think about it. It's easy to not think about where our germs wind up, and how not everyone can shrug it off if they do get it.

Now granted that was an extremely rough flu season, and the vaccine was not very successful that year, so it's not a black and white case. But had we all gotten vaccines, it's possible she might still be alive at the ripe ol' age of 91.

The more people who are vaccinated, the fewer people will die from preventable disease. It's that simple.

bmiller said...

If the flu were not contagious, perhaps. If you get the flu after refusing the vaccine, and pass it on to someone more vulnerable who dies from it, are you not morally culpable for that death?

One would be morally culpable if one knew the certainty of the consequences of his decision and proceeded anyway. A less than 10% difference according to a couple studies doesn't sound very certain.

So I don't think Legion was responsible for his grandmother's death because he didn't get a flu shot. Even if he got a flu shot he could still have contracted the flu. Now people with a contagious disease should take the proper precautions to avoid passing it on, but again, I don't think Legion and his family intended any harm.

There's a debate going on in the healthcare field regarding the ethics of whether to force employees to get a flu shot or not. Here.

There are alternatives to getting a flu shot. Staying home from work when you're sick or wearing a mask are 2 of them.

FYI, I'm not a strong advocate of refusing flu shots but I don't think those that choose to do it are being entirely unreasonable.

bmiller said...

"are not being entirely unreasonable."

fingers not working today.

bmiller said...

Oh well. Guess my 'correction' made it worse. Nevermind.

One Brow said...

bmiller,

There is not a serious debate in healthcare about flu immunizations. focusforhealth.org is a quack site. It's discussing treating autims with CBD oil, linking it to gut bacteria, and saying immunity to "wild measles" are better than immunity from vaccination, and confuses elemental mercury with thimerosal. This is all nonsense, and it is nonsense that kills.

One Brow said...

Legion of Logic,

I am sorry to hear about your situation. I don't want to make things worse for you. If you ask me to shut up about this, I will.

Legion of Logic said...

No problem. I wouldn't have shared if it was off limits.

bmiller said...

This is a fairly recent article:

Contentious flu vaccine policies at hospitals are based on flawed research, study says

So I'd say there is still a debate going on regarding health care workers and flu shots.

Here's a quote from the article that was news to me. I didn't realize that this was an accepted assumption as late as 2000:

Around the turn of the century, studies assessing the impact of vaccination used to routinely estimate that flu shots cut deaths among the elderly during flu season by a whopping 50 percent.

Not flu deaths. All deaths.

It was dogma for a long while. In fact, it was so entrenched that even questioning how preventing influenza could reduce deaths due to other causes was considered heretical. Dr. Lisa Jackson, a senior investigator in immunization studies at Seattle’s Group Health Research Institute, was one of the leading heretics.


So I think it's OK to ask questions.

One Brow said...

Blogger bmiller said...
This is a fairly recent article:

Yep. Notice it's conclusion is that we aren't sure how many lives will be saved, but it doesn't question that lives will be saved.

So I think it's OK to ask questions.

Nothing wrong with JAQing off, except when you do so in a manner that makes life more dangerous for other people. Lots of anti-vaxxers pretending they are JAQing off, when they are really trying to cast doubt on high-effectiveness, very-low-risk interventions.

So, let's circle though all your questions (since you're JAQing off) one more time.

Do you old guys understand the vaccination schedule you had as a child versus now? Or even the schedule in the US versus Europe?

It's a good argument to live in Europe!


These questions seem more rhetorical than interrogative. The US vaccine schedule is a mark in favor of the US.

It is possible to over-vaccinate isn't it?

Again, in context this seemed rhetorical, but the answer is no. If you gave every seingl available vaccine at the same time, the number of pathogens would be dwarfed by sending a kid outside to play at a playground.

For instance, what exactly should we be looking at to determine the risk of getting the flu with and without getting a flu shot?

Again, rhetorical, since you offered an article to explain that, one which made it clear the the risk-reward benefit was massively in favor of getting the flu shot, but you that you managed to misinterpret.

So, your not actually asking questions, your spreading propaganda that causes people to make decisions which result in other people's death. This makes you morally culpable in those deaths.

bmiller said...

Don't forget misogyny.