Thursday, December 31, 2020

Is it justifiable homicide if you kill abortion providers? Is abortion itself justifiable homicide?

 Some states—including South Dakota—consider homicide justifiable when it is an act of self-defense or in defense of another person. But HB 1171 would expand the definition of “justifiable homicide” to include homicide that is intended to prevent harm to a fetus in certain circumstances. Abortion is not only legal in this country, but is a constitutionally protected right. As worded, this bill is an invitation to murder those who provide these legal health care services.


Is it wrong to kill abortion providers? I would have thought prolifers would want to keep the range of justifiable homicide narrow. 

For an argument that defends abortion as justifiable homicide, see here. 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Murders, justifiable homicides, and other killings of persons

 What do you mean by murder? There are malicious acts of murder, there are justifiable homicides, but then are there homicides that are not justified, but not murder either?

Thursday, December 24, 2020

The grand miracle

 The central miracle of Christianity isn't the Resurrection. It's the Incarnation, according to C. S. Lewis. 

Merry Christmas. 

Monday, December 14, 2020

The resemblance fallacy and the death penalty

  I think it is a fallacy to think that in order to fit the crime, a punishment has to resemble the crime. People think that way about murder, but what about theft, rape, or torture? 

Abortion in the interests of the fetus?

 Well, if a fetus is aborted, it goes to heaven. If it is not aborted, it might live long enough to commit a damnable sin. 

But that isn't the argument that is discussed here.  The child's earthly life is likely to be miserable, so would it be better to abort it rather than condemn it to a short life of suffering. 

Friday, December 11, 2020

utilitarianism and the value of life

 I once knew someone who was such a utilitarian that he thought human life was not a value at all. A friend of mine once asked him "Well, if that is your view, what would be wrong with me killing you now?" His answer was "Only if you could do it painlessly. 

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

One kind of pro-choice argument

 In the 2005 article “Most Abortions Are Morally Legitimate,” Bonnie Steinbock puts forward an argument stating that abortion is in fact morally justified in most cases. Steinbock begins by declaring that her belief on the morality of abortion is based on two considerations which are the moral status of the embryo and the fetus and the burdens imposed on women through pregnancy and childbirth. Steinbock also puts forward the interests view, which limits moral status to people who have interests in their future and restricts the possession of interests to people who are conscious of the world around them. Following the logic presented by the interest view, Steinbock argues that fetuses are not conscious enough to understand their interests and that it is not morally wrong to kill a fetus when there is an adequate reason for doing so. Steinbock further discusses the view on abortion possessed by Don Marquis and argues that it is wrong because it attempts to claim that a fetus is a conscious living being and that it would be immoral to kill an unborn child even though they have no awareness of their interests and the outside world.

Abortion and future technology

 An interesting sidebar to the abortion issue would be this. People who are pro-choice often say that  the intent of getting an abortion is not the death of the fetus, it is instead the termination of the pregnancy. At the present time we don't have the means to keep fetuses alive, so fetal death is normal inevitable result of abortion, but strictly speaking, it's collateral damage from the pregnancy termination. We can imagine technology developing to where anyone who wanted to terminate their pregnancy could have the fetus removed and then put into an artificial incubator where they will be kept until birth, after which they will by put up for adoption. If such technology develops, would pro-lifers still hold that it is wrong to get abortions? Would pro-choicers still insist that a woman has the right to secure the death of the fetus (Judith Jarvis Thomson says otherwise)?

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

The faith of President-elect Biden

 Here.  For those who are just interested in the abortion stuff, it's around 13 minutes in. Apparently he had a discussion with Pope Benedict on the issue. 

Can the law punish all wrongs?

 There are certainly things that most of us regard as immoral that we wouldn’t want criminal laws against. For example, I think most of us would consider it wrong to make false promises to someone in order to get them into bed with you. But do you really want the long arm of the law poking into your dating life in order to detect and punish this offense.

Christian political independence

 I think you can make pragmatic and tentative choices of party as a Christian, but Christian ought to be, in an important sense, independent of any party. Parties are coalitions that combine godly and ungodly interests, almost by definition.

A great but neglected Lewis essay is one called Meditation on the Third Commandment. When I was writing a column in the bulletin for the church I worked at back in 1980 (!) the Moral Majority was just taking shape. I wrote an essay in which I basically cribbed Lewis's essay to argue that the Moral Majority was a misguided enterprise.