Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The three types of men who support abortion



The other day I read perhaps the best article on abortion that I've ever read, and I started looking through the combox. There was one man, John, who seemed to be making the bulk of the pro-"choice" arguments, and so, like many others there, I engaged him.

He and I went back and forth a bit, but a red flag came up for me when the answers to very simple questions were met with multiple long and (seemingly) lofty philosophical treatises, metaphysics trumping science (the old "personhood" question), a limited understanding of history, and analogies that didn't make logical connections and/or proper distinctions. I tried to pull him back to basics, attempting a pseudo-socratic dialogue, but his words and paragraphs -- and justifications -- kept multiplying.

John insisted that his arguments for the killing of the unborn are based on "nuanced" considerations about which he has given much thought. And don't get me wrong, I am sure that he has indeed given a lot of thought to how he and society can justify abortion.

But as his academic theories, word play, and relativism reached higher and higher into the ethers, I came back with this:
Don't whitewash what you believe. Own it. Don't multiply words to justify it. Own it. You believe that an entire class of human beings may be killed at will by the stronger and more powerful. There is hardly a more fitting description of oppression. When the strong kill the weak, and champion it, it is most dishonorable. As a woman, it's the most disturbing thing in the world to find men such as yourself, who instead of protecting and providing, join the cads and the players who love nothing more than to help women get rid of their "mistakes." 
I hope you will be an honorable man one day and protect the weak, not champion their killing. We have a crisis of manhood in America, and a strong, honorable, decent man is hard to find these days. Step up to your role, John.

His response was to quickly wave away my challenge ("One person's strong, honorable, and decent man is another's trash," he said, whatever that means), and return to the ethers of philosophy and why he has decided that some humans are less human than others.

Which brings me to my thoughts today. What follows is pretty much a stream-of-consciousness in which I attempt my own amateur (!) psychoanalysis of men who support abortion.

As I see it, there are three general types of male abortion supporters.


1. The Ignorant Apathetic

The ignorant and/or apathetic man supports abortion for no other reason than it's legal and it's what we have done in America for some 40+ years. "Sure, I support a woman's right to choose." And that's it. Not much thought goes into it, not much investment one way or the other. Just your typical man in the mushy-middle of morality and policy, a ball bearing who goes with the tilt of the culture.


2. The Lech (otherwise known as the cad, the reprobate, the rake, the libertine, the debaucher...)

The lecherous man supports abortion for obvious reasons: He uses women as objects for his own selfish pleasure, eschews any responsibility for her heart or her human dignity, and needs abortion to be readily available in case the baby-making act makes a baby. The lech demands consequence-free sex, and he must have freedom to use and abuse at will, with no respect for life, love, honor, or moral obligation. Abortion is a necessary "good" in his life, and he will vociferously defend its legality and accessibility.


3. The Man Trained Against Manhood

This man, in my humble opinion, is the saddest case. I believe this man is exemplified by Barack Obama. Stay with me.

I've often wondered why Obama, who is generally such a weak and unmanly man, would be so fierce, unyielding, and completely committed to abortion (even voting to let a child die who survives abortion). Why? How could this be? But it's a phenomenon that makes sense if we consider his background.

Obama was raised by a radical-leftist-secular-feminist-socialist mother. His father wanted nothing to do with little Barack, essentially abandoning him, and became simply a myth and a longing in young Barack's life and dreams. It's actually incredibly tragic to ponder, truly heartbreaking.

So, this fatherless boy was not raised to know what it means to be a strong man who stays, protects, provides. He had no idea, and in fact the opposite was modeled to him by his absent, negligent father. Meantime, he had his strong, outspoken, and deeply committed feminist mother who taught him what a "man" should be, according to her radical template. Obama himself has described his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, as "the dominant figure in my formative years.... The values she taught me continue to be my touchstone when it comes to how I go about the world of politics." He called her "a lonely witness for secular humanism."

Not surprisingly, he grew up and married another strong radical feminist, Michelle Robinson. Both these women were and are the dominant forces his life, and they no doubt pounded it home to him that women have an absolute right to abortion. I'd be surprised if Barack Obama has ever had a true friendship with a strong pro-life woman, or even meaningful interaction with one. But the message he received time and again, from all the women in his life -- the woman that raised and formed him, the woman that married him, and even the radical women he hung out with at Columbia and later in politics -- goes like this: "You men have no right to tell us women what to do with our bodies. We have a right to abortion on demand and without apology. You are either with us on this most basic of freedoms, or you are a misogynist brute oppressor."

What is a fatherless, lonely, ungrounded boy/man to do? I can hardly blame men like this, because at least for a time, they simply don't know any better. They defer to the women they love regarding "women's issues" and "women's bodies" and "justice for women", because they really believe it's not their place to speak. These men really believe that this is how one "supports" women.

They don't know that millions and millions of women do not believe that our liberation, success, and joy hinges on a contrived death match between mother and child.

They don't know that legions of strong, outspoken, intelligent women (including the classical feminists) do not accept that the "right" to shred and dismember our own offspring is essential to being "a fully participating member of society".

They don't realize that inherent in honorable manhood is the loving protection of the most weak and vulnerable.

I can only speculate that it's because they have rarely seen an honorable man up close. Maybe they haven't had a role model of a man who sacrifices his life for others, keeps his commitments, and steps up to defend and protect women and children.

But at base, this type of man champions abortion because he believes that's what he's supposed to do to show that he cares about women. His manhood is deeply impoverished, for sure, and it's been trained out of him, and I feel most sorry for this kind of man.


So there you have it. My thoughts for this day. Take them or leave them.

But women, we have a huge role here in supporting our men. We must continue to impress upon the men in our lives (and online, frankly) that real men, honorable men, are those who step up and protect the weak and the vulnerable, not try to find pseudo-intellectual loopholes to strip human rights from a whole class of defenseless human beings. We must impress upon them that they are hard-wired for this task, and that we women want them to be good men.

John from the combox, I don't know what shaped your views on abortion, but I want you to be a good, strong man. We women are cheering you on. You were made for this challenge. Live up to it, my friend. We need you.



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263 comments:

  1. Well, not only do I have an article about me (somewhat), but I'm the first commentator! I feel honored.

    I'll get into more detail later, but I wanted to start off with just questioning one of your premises. You seem to dislike the use of "lofty philosophical treaties" to explain something complex, because you see it as a simple moral question. However, the Church itself is rife with such "lofty" treaties on such things as why there is evil in the world, or why it was okay for the Israelites to take and rape war prisoners, or (my favorite) why all of the discrepancies in the Bible don't change the fact that it is inerrant (I know not all Christian sects agree with that last one).

    Especially with the last one, the inerrancy of the Bible, such things as differing dates and events would seem to be a very clear cut discussion. Different dates, incorrect facts (such as the flatness of the earth), and all mean that the Bible does indeed have errors. The difference in wording of manuscripts alone means that there were errors in copying. Yet mountains upon mountains of theological treaties exist to reconcile the apparent contradictions.

    Contrarily, when the church has a seemingly simple opinion, they seem to dislike the kind of nuanced and careful discussion that might lead to further discussion. The example that to mind is Evolution. The Bible says this happened, so science is obviously wrong. Simple, and yet creation "science" has yet to actually promote any kind of scientific discovery that can be replicated in the lab, and instead focuses its time on attempting to debunk true science.

    So my point is, it seems to me that what is really going on is that we hate being wrong, and will cling desperately to whatever arguments give us security in our opinions. This is why you cling to simplicity, because the idea that you can't kill life is simple, and why I cling to complexity, because the idea that life is not meaningful without the chance of growth is complex. I think we probably agree on many points, such as the fact that it is morally wrong, as a general rule, to kill innocent life. Most women who get abortions probably don't abandon this principle, or they would all be murderous sociopaths :P.

    I think in order to have true discourse, then, since we cling so desperately to our beliefs, both sides have to be willing to be fundamentally WRONG, at all levels of the debate.

    While I am still pro-choice, I see now that pro-choice advocates should be more strongly advocating for a compromise to the destruction of "life" problem. You're right: a civilized society would have no need for abortion, whether it's morally right or wrong. So I think a place where both sides can agree to compromise is that we should move towards a society which needs less and less abortions.

    To that end, I think nano technology or other advances in birth control would help. If there was a birth control that was 100% effective, then there would be no logical need for abortion, right?

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    1. Of course, being Catholic, I suppose you would disagree with me that better birth control would be the answer :P. And before you say that perfect birth control is impossible, don't be so sure. All one would have to do is stop any sperm from meeting the egg, and non technology could achieve that simple goal. It would be reversible too. I wouldn't be surprised if such a technology made its debut within the next 100 years.

      And without "accidental" pregnancy ever occurring, no abortions would ever be a "necessity." You may disagree on theological grounds with birth control, but I'm curious as to whether you think it would be a real solution despite the theological problems it would raise. If nothing else, would it not be the lesser of two evils?

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    2. Actually there is a 100% effective birth control- abstinence!
      And while I disagree with your end conclusion on pro-choice, I appreciate your candid discussion and thoughts on the debate. I do think we each choose our own style of defending on both the topic and our beliefs. And to Catholics abortion IS simple: life is life. A lot of our faith is complicated as well, but to go off on a tangent that isn't relevant to this debate seems like a slippery slope. Each side could start pointing out non-related topics and areas where the other makes questionable conclusions.

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    3. //The example that to mind is Evolution. The Bible says this happened, so science is obviously wrong. Simple, and yet creation "science" has yet to actually promote any kind of scientific discovery that can be replicated in the lab, and instead focuses its time on attempting to debunk true science.//
      The church does not hold to a creationist theory of evolution... having said that, the purpose of philosophy is to arrive at the truth, in this case, the scientific truth of what an emberyo, fetus, baby and child is, a human being. DNA has been used to prove the guilt or innocence of criminals, why can't simple DNA show that the embryo/fetus is a human being clearly and distinctly of a different identity from his/her mother and therefor worthy of protection by society!

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  2. Yes! Right on Leila, as always! And I agree, the third type of man you describe is the saddest. It's sad too that this type has been elected in a major leadership role when, like you said, he never knew what true leadership means!

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  3. Hi John!

    Let's stick with one subject at a time so that we don't end up multiplying words. Here's an easy place to start. Evolution. You said:

    Contrarily, when the church has a seemingly simple opinion, they seem to dislike the kind of nuanced and careful discussion that might lead to further discussion. The example that to mind is Evolution. The Bible says this happened, so science is obviously wrong. Simple, and yet creation "science" has yet to actually promote any kind of scientific discovery that can be replicated in the lab, and instead focuses its time on attempting to debunk true science.

    This is a common mistake, but easy to fix. You must have us confused with Protestant fundamentalists. We are Catholics and a quick google search can show you that we don't stand against evolution. All Truths, scientific or moral law, etc.,
    come from the same source. They cannot contradict each other.

    Did you know that the scientist who came up with the Big Bang Theory was a Catholic priest?

    Know your audience. We are Catholic here. And we have a very vast intellectual and scientific patrimony. ;)


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    1. No I am aware of the Catholic-science relationship. But if memory serves, that relationship was not always so. I seem to remember the Catholic church excommunicating Galileo for his heretical ideas that the earth wasn't the center of the universe.

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    2. Wrong. Galileo was embroiled in Italian drama as well as interjecting his opinions into theological matters not for suggesting the theory espoused by Copernicus. Catholic thinkers have led the way in scientific discoveries and achievements.

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    3. "I seem to remember the Catholic church excommunicating Galileo for his heretical ideas that the earth wasn't the center of the universe."

      You were lied to.

      That was a gross distortion of the truth, one invented by atheists who wanted to attack the Church.

      See: http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/galileo/debunking-the-galileo-myth.html

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    4. Just wanted to post this helpful article here, written by author by Micheal Flynn. This gives a broad, and expansive history behind the Galileo controversy. This is an exhaustive work, and might as well be a book, but it totally blows the notion that the Church was "anti-science" out of the water. Not to mention, Galileo remained a faithful Catholic all his life:

      http://tofspot.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-great-ptolemaic-smackdown.html

      http://tofspot.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-great-ptolemaic-smackdown-table-of.html

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  4. John, could you do me a favor? The comments are really "linear" here (for my sake), so could you answer at the bottom of the thread, not using the "reply" function? Thanks! That way we all stay on the same page, so to speak.

    Before I answer your birth control question, this is what I want to say about your moral "complexity" question (from Peter Kreeft):

    "The fact that some people controvert a position does not in itself make that position intrinsically controversial. People argued for both sides about slavery, racism and genocide too, but that did not make them complex and difficult issues. Moral issues are always terribly complex, said Chesterton—for someone without principles."

    We can discuss things at a very high level, indeed. And we do. But not so as to mangle and deform basic moral principles, but so as to more deeply understand and appreciate them.

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  5. "No I am aware of the Catholic-science relationship. But if memory serves, that relationship was not always so. I seem to remember the Catholic church excommunicating Galileo for his heretical ideas that the earth wasn't the center of the universe."

    You've got that wrong, John. That's now how it went down at all. But it's interesting that the *only* argument against science that critics can give is an erroneous reading of once incident in over 20 centuries. That should go in our favor, no?

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  6. "All one would have to do is stop any sperm from meeting the egg, and non technology could achieve that simple goal. It would be reversible too. I wouldn't be surprised if such a technology made its debut within the next 100 years."

    How would this make us more human? How would this lead to greater self-knowledge and human flourishing? I'm not sure what the point would be? We might as well create life-like robots, fleshy and realistic, like they are starting to do in Japan. Then there will be no hindrance to pleasure, and no babies will come but we can simulate the 'real thing'. How is that different, really?

    And, as for the lesser of two evils, you are right that there is more moral gravity (a deeper evil) in abortion than in contraception, but as Christians, we may never choose to do evil, period. We don't have permission to do evil. That would be the ends justifying the means (let's do this evil so that a "greater good" would come about -- think about the implications).

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  7. Before we talk more about the relationship between abortion and contraception, could you read this short piece? It will help in our discussion.

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/01/contraception-leads-to-abortion-come.html

    I may have to run out a few times to get my kids, so thanks for patience. Others, feel free to chime in. :)

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  8. PS: John, do you feel like you fall into one of the categories?

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  9. Hi John!

    If there was a birth control that was 100% effective, then there would be no logical need for abortion, right?

    Yup! There is a form of birth control that is not only 100% effective, it is also 100% free -- abstinence. See, what the Catholic Church teaches about sex is that it has two aspects that should never be separated: unity (of husband and wife) and procreative (potential for new life). Sex is ultimately a complete gift of self between husband and wife, holding nothing (including and especially fertility) back and being open to any new life which might be created.

    In that view, there really isn't ever a reason for abortion or contraception because the couple realizes that by choosing to have sex, they might create a baby so it wouldn't be "unplanned" or "unexpected". That's why God has given us NFP (Natural Family Planning) - certain times in a woman's cycle when she is naturally infertile so if the couple has grave/legit reason, they would abstain from sex during her fertility time and then engage when she's infertile (of course still being open to the possibility of life). They would never think to use any outside device or pill to block conception. Because they would never have sex solely for pleasure, but it would always be a complete gift of self.

    Does that make sense?

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  10. John,

    I understood most of what you wrote (even though I disagreed with a great deal of it), but I totally failed to grasp what you meant by: "life is not meaningful without the chance of growth".

    Would you care to expand/explain? Perhaps you might provide some examples of lives "without the chance of growth"? And, if such lives truly are, as you allege, "meaningless", what do you think should be done with or to these people?

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  11. So my point is, it seems to me that what is really going on is that we hate being wrong, and will cling desperately to whatever arguments give us security in our opinions. This is why you cling to simplicity, because the idea that you can't kill life is simple, and why I cling to complexity, because the idea that life is not meaningful without the chance of growth is complex. - John

    Yet killing takes that chance of growth to zero, so your position reduces to the utmost simplicity, actually, John. Nothing complex about zero chance of growth.

    Not sure why you are trying to insinuate that complexity means “more accurate”?
    Are you insinuating that a simple idea is faulty and inaccurate?
    That’s not correct at all. It’s simplicity that captures and contains all the complexities (see algebra, see calculus, see E=mc²).

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  12. I think in order to have true discourse, then, since we cling so desperately to our beliefs, both sides have to be willing to be fundamentally WRONG, at all levels of the debate.

    Incorrect. In order to have true discourse, one merely needs a logical premise and logical thoughts that follow from that. No one needs to cave. One just posits his/her belief and argues from there. No one needs to concede anything unless or until the logic of the argument is faulty.

    "One person's strong, honorable, and decent man is another's trash," he said,

    Explain.
    How do you possibly tag strength, honor, and decency as someone’s idea of trash? You’re implying that women don’t find these qualities desirable or worthy in a man?

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  13. I think in this debate the discussion of simple vs. complex is a bit of a red herring, especially when we start talking about the nuances of science and biblical interpretation. Pro lifers believe that the human growing inside the womb should have the same level of rights as a human outside the womb, and pro choicers do not.

    Also, Better contraception is not the only possible solution towards reducing abortions. A whole host of things would be helpful, especially changing society to better accommodate mothers and children. This would include advocating for living wages for all work, better accommodations such as maternity leaves and childcare for women who work or are students, better legal protection against situations where women can get fired for becoming pregnant, reducing stigma around unplanned pregnancies, etc. sure, all of this is probably a lot harder than finding more reliable contraception, but it would improve society in general in ways that better contraception cannot.

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  14. Painting in broad strokes seems to only serve as a polemical fire hazard, and not a haven of mercy. My brother in-law recently allowed/encouraged His wife to procure an abortion. She had a one night stand with another man and got pregnant.
    We begged, pleaded, and prayed that he would encourage her to choose life. We offered to adopt the child, pay for it's care, or at least see that it was taken care of. He did not accept.
    As we reached out to him before, and as we do so since, it has been our sincere intent to never isolate or abandon him. What is done is done, but we can see how lonely, and unlovable he feels. How deeply his conscience is convicted, and yet how helpless he is in his disbelief. He balances on a dangerous precipice. My fear is that he would come across an article like this and lose his footing.
    While your categories "apply" to some men, and I believe I understand your intent, it seems that there could be unforeseen consequences. In effect, each of your categories does the same thing to these men that they do to their unborn children. It Dehumanizes them. My hope would be for an article that encourages the men you listed to seek reconciliation. Instead of one that seems to reinforce prejudice. The ignorant deserve the truth in love. The one "trained against manhood", should be encouraged to recognize his dignity as a man. The lech deserves the benefit of being shown that he can be more than a lech (plus, he is probably more aware than any of us what his state is, why remind him?).
    This article is only capable of three things: leaving those men who've encouraged abortion without mercy, proving to those who dislike us that we are indeed insensitive and unsympathetic (I'm sure that you are not personally, but your points come across as such), or preaching to the proverbial choir. Of the three, none is helpful. In a world that is on a crusade to ensure men think of themselves as dogs (wild for their own pleasure, or beaten for past men's mistakes)we have to stand up and look to the New Adam as the exemplar and head of all manhood, and encourage them to follow Him.
    Respectfully.


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  15. Also, please ignore my user name. It was a stupid one I came up with a long time ago. Can't figure out how to change it. WOMP

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  16. Margo, Francis, Nubby, Munchie Mommy, thank you for your respectful engagement with John! I hope he decides to stick around since we are so nice!! :)

    John, I commend you, truly, for being brave to come on the blog. I think you will see that we are truly interested in picking your brain and letting you speak. But we will be tough when it comes to logic and ideas and facts. :)

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  17. Hi Uhhhhhhh! I appreciate your thoughts. But honestly, a blog cannot be all things to all people. We have a specific purpose on this blog (please read the "Please Read First") at the top left of this blog), and there has to be a place for this kind of discussion among all the millions on the web, yes?

    If anyone does not know that the Catholic Church (and this blog and our readers) do not offer mercy, then they are not looking too hard for it. There is no entity on earth that offers mercy as readily as the Catholic Church. It's all she's built around. It's the air we breathe as Catholics. You yourself have offered your brother-in-law mercy and no doubt have shown him that the Church offers it as well. That is where the mercy comes, not in a general discussion about why men would support abortion in this culture.

    If we may never, ever generalize about any idea or pattern, then we may never even speak, because there is always an individual deviation on every single topic in the world. How, then, do we open or encourage or go forth in dialogue? How do we speak of the macro, if we are only allowed to talk of the micro? You see what I mean?

    But thank you for sharing what a painful, gaping, horrible wound is left with the misuse of human sexuality and the death of the offspring. It's so devastating, and that is why the Church is so clear in her teachings. We were not made for that, we were made to flourish, according to God's incredible plan. To deviate from it is so harmful to us in so many ways. But God is able to redeem it all, and that is the message of the Church. Praise God.

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  18. The ignorant deserve the truth in love. The one "trained against manhood", should be encouraged to recognize his dignity as a man. The lech deserves the benefit of being shown that he can be more than a lech

    I think you might be a new reader? Because in all honesty, this is what we do all the time, pretty much daily, for almost six years now. So, rest easy if that is your fear. We are on it like white on rice here in the Bubble.

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  19. Umm... just in passing... for anyone who might be inclined to scorn simplicity...

    The leading physicists in the world differ/vacillate about whether there might be a "Theory of Everything". Some are actively seeking (to develop) it, while others are skeptical about such a possibility. However, one thing all of them are agreed on is this: that if such a single theory could indeed be found/developed - to explain even the most complex phenomena in the universe - it would be simple!

    That makes perfect sense to me as a Christian, because, indeed, the Creator of everything is Himself simple. God has no parts.

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  20. This post was linked to New Advent, so we have some new readers! Welcome!! If you haven't been here before, I would ask that you please read the "Please Read First" at the top, then make yourself at home! We love adding people to our "family"!

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  21. Simplicity brings clarity because it reduces noise in the data. A basic example is when we solve for derivatives of a function in calculus. We funnel down toward the simplest answer (often close to zero). Same with algebra. All logical thinking. Same thought process. The only time you may want to go up and funnel out (complex, I suppose) is doing something like integrals in calculus, but even there, you're working with "simple" inputs on a graph and you still want to approach zero. Lol. Not sure why John's got the hang-up on "simplicity" vs "complexity" ?? The point is to reduce the static for better understanding (logically).

    And singularity equations are huge in the Big Bang Theory. Notice the simple name of complex idea ... "singularity".

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  22. I think you are going to need to focus on that comment "life is not meaningful without the chance of growth." Ask him what he means by that. Otherwise you are just going to go around and around in a circle. John is so far removed from your view of the world that you are almost not even talking the same language. You need to start at square one.

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  23. Yes, I'd love more explanation of "life is not meaningful without the chance of growth". Specifically "human life".

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  24. The Galileo controversy. The facts of the matter. The childish, overblown charges against the Catholic Church hold no water. They're from poorly read anti Catholics, clutching at lightweight straws.

    http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-galileo-controversy

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  25. Nice words, every one. You've nailed not only Obama, but so many of the millennial 'men'...speaking as an irritated boomer-man.

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  26. John, why do so many men who appear to be pro-choice end up killing the very women who are carrying their babies. Here are a few examples...
    War on women? When men force abortion
    Pro-lifers decry 'safety net for sexually predator males'
    Published: 03/22/2014 at 7:15 PM
    Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/03/war-on-women-when-men-force-abortion/#uQbQJquUISO3gb43.99
    Then there was the Kansas case of Scott R. Bollig, 30. He was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery for intentionally killing his unborn baby by giving his girlfriend crushed chemicals on a pancake.
    In London, a woman wrote an advice columnist about being forced by her boyfriend to take abortion pills.
    The columnist’s advice? “Sadly, you and he simply weren’t on the same page.”
    “What this poor woman went through is all too common,” Dr. Brian Clowes of Human Life International told LifeSiteNews. “With Plan B being sold over the counter, we can expect more of these types of st

    Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/03/war-on-women-when-men-force-abortion/#uQbQJquUISO3gb43.99
    “In January, a Pennsylvania man was jailed on charges he punched a pregnant women in the stomach and threatened to give her a ‘home abortion’ during a domestic dispute,” Crutcher reported.
    “Franklin police were called after 23-year-old Kelton McClarrin allegedly ‘backhanded’ the woman – who is four-and-a-half months pregnant – and dragged her out of bed by her ankle before punching her stomach with a closed fist.”
    In South Dakota, 36-year-old Alfredo Vargas “gave his former girlfriend, Lisa Komes, a fountain drink that she said tasted ‘bitter and gritty.’” She later learned the drink contained pulegone, “which has the reputation for inducing an abortion.”
    Other times, the attackers take a direct route to violence. Crutcher reported a case in Ohio in 2013 when a pregnant woman was shot at by her boyfriend after she refused to have an abortion.

    Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/03/war-on-women-when-men-force-abortion/#uQbQJquUISO3gb43.99


    • In California in 2001, Bonny Lee Bakley “was pregnant by actor Robert Blake when she was shot to death while sitting in his car.” Blake admitted he had tried to get Bakley to have an abortion and she refused. A jury did not convict him of criminal charges, but a civil court found him liable and ordered him to pay $30 million in damages.
    • In 2002 in New York, Jerold L. Ponder was convicted of murder because he shot and killed Zaneta Browne, who was pregnant with his twins. “Investigators were able to determine that Ms. Browne was murdered because she refused Podner’s demand to have an abortion.”
    • In New York in 2008, Derrick W. Redd was convicted of murder for stabbing more than 20 times Naisha DeLain. “Authorities charged Redd … after finding evidence that he killed M.s DeLain because she was pregnant with his child and would not agree
    Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/03/war-on-women-when-men-force-abortion/#uQbQJquUISO3gb43.99

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  27. JohnValentine, I am sure that John would not agree with that sort of murderous behavior against women. And I'd put them in the extreme "cad" "lech" category of #2. To the extreme, but not totally unexpected.

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  28. It seems to me that the truth is pretty simple.

    You don't kill innocent human beings.

    It's when we want to get around that very obvious truth that we start making complicated - or convoluted, we could call them - arguments, hoping with many words to justify our unjust treatment of people who are not us.

    But if you want to run with the statement that "life is not meaningful without the chance of growth" then I guess what you're trying to say, John, is that you yourself think life is not meaningful without the chance of growth. While I admit that I'm not quite sure what that is supposed to mean, if you're saying that that's your point of view, well then you must be tremendously in favor of protecting the unborn, since growth is pretty much their main job. There isn't another category of human being that grows at a more incredible rate than a newly conceived child.

    Although I think your "growth" comment is meant to exclude some people's lives from absolute protection, it logically doesn't even apply to the unborn.

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  29. I really like how your article ends, Leila, by encouraging men who do not fit the mold of pro-abort men. But I see even in our own Catholic school where families are raised nominally Catholic and mostly secular. I see in other European cultures where secularism is law and sex on demand is a 'value.' Women should be able to act like men in those matters, aka not get pregnant. Birth control is norm; abortion is norm. And even if a man was uncomfortable with either he wouuld be seen as hateful for mentioning anything that touched on it. So those feelings get pushed down and its just accepted. Abortion and contraception are just a given. Hence, what was once a right to control birth now becomes a duty. And some are merely ignorant. There's a whole generation being raised that way. I think that might be a fourth category.

    In the year of mercy, we are reminded that 'instruct the ignorant' is a work of mercy. And ignorant is NOT a bad term. It simply connotes something one does not know. I am ignorant of ballroom dance techniques. I am ignorant of proper Thai cooking. I freely admit it. If you care to show me, I won't be ignorant. But we are all ignorant in some areas.

    The Catholic teachings on life are consistent with the general statement. All life is important. Men, women, unborn, elderly... but we extend that ethos into EVERY aspect of our lives. Money, family, how we treat others, children... there is NOTHING simple about living that way. Recently, we had to use NFP to postpone having children. Try abstaining for almost a year with someone you love. No matter how great your faith, sex is an integral part of a relationship. When you have to abstain from it even in an awesome marriage, things become complicated and messy. But the simple principal that I treat you like I treat God and you are worthy keeps us on track. Its the only thing. And we came out the other side stronger.

    This is not how most people are raised but it should be encouraged. Really beautiful things come of it. When we teach boys and girls that sex is the ultimate act of love, then when they cannot have it, they feel less. Rather, we teach them sacrifice is the ultimate... Christianity has that at its center. IDK, I know a lot of atheists who are good people. Really, I do. But the only people I see committed to living better lives consciously, each day, have God at the center. Hve the view that everything is important, not just when its convenient.

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  30. Sharon, those are excellent points and questions and I hope John comes back and engages us some more!

    Monica, your reflections are beautiful and I like what you said about "ignorant" not being an insult. I was just told today elsewhere that I am "name-calling" in this post, but I addressed no one person personally (redundant, but we do talk about "personhood" a lot here anyway, ha!), and I do think that apathy, ignorance, and yes, debauchery, are simply descriptions of reality. None of it is irredeemable.

    The part about teaching sacrifice as the highest form of love, instead of sex... that is brilliant and I am going to remember that!

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  31. You know, I don't know that calling President Obama an "unmanly man" is particularly charitable. I mean, on the main thing that matters -- his true vocation -- he is actually living up to his responsibilities, raising his children in the same home as their mother, showing high levels of love and regard for her, etc. Given that he had such a poor example (his deadbeat father), I think it's fair to say he actually has transcended that poor example. And if you read "Dreams of My Father," it's pretty clear he gets, on a visceral level, the concept that a father plays an essential role that a mother simply can't. And he seems to have deliberately chosen a wife who had that strong familial example, of a brave and self-sacrificing father and a self-sacrificing and loving mother, because he knew how important it was. As for Michelle Robinson being a "radical feminist" -- well, I would totally disagree with that assessment. She actually seems pretty conservative when it comes to how she prioritizes her family. But then you may have a different definition of radical feminist. The people nowadays who are in the radfem camp are so incredibly out there that I think very few people fit into that category.

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  32. Tia,

    Can you name one radical feminist premise that Michelle denounces? She is as vociferous as her husband about the "right" to abortion even up to the last day of term (and yes, beyond, past birth), and she claims (as he does) that abortion has made it possible for "women to realize their dreams" (!!!!!)

    Also, she and Barack are champions of gay "marriage", of transgender "rights", and the rest.

    As a mother, I find this horrifying: When their children were still quite little, Michelle called Beyonce a wonderful role model for her girls! And worse, she let her MINOR daughter INTERN for Lena Dunham, the woman who is so radical that she wrote a book describing how she sexually molested her baby sister and then had masturbated next to her in bed when she was older.... (Not surprisingly, this radical feminist, Lena Dunham, has a father who makes his living as an artist who paints female genitalia!). Of all the opportunities open to Miss Obama, she and her parents rejoice and laud this teen girl's internship with one of the most vile public figures in the culture today. What does that say? It's unthinkable, really.

    So, tell me which part of the radical feminist agenda the Obamas dissent from?

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  33. And I stand by my assessment that he is an unmanly man, and a very weak leader.

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  34. But I see even in our own Catholic school where families are raised nominally Catholic and mostly secular. I see in other European cultures where secularism is law and sex on demand is a 'value.' Women should be able to act like men in those matters, aka not get pregnant. Birth control is norm; abortion is norm. And even if a man was uncomfortable with either he wouuld be seen as hateful for mentioning anything that touched on it. So those feelings get pushed down and its just accepted. Abortion and contraception are just a given. Hence, what was once a right to control birth now becomes a duty. And some are merely ignorant. There's a whole generation being raised that way. I think that might be a fourth category.

    I should have mentioned that I think this falls under the category of men trained against manhood. Very sad, and the numbers are not negligible.

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  35. Here are some things you need to know about Lena Dunham, who the Obamas adore, and with whom they happily allowed their minor child to intern:

    http://www.refinery29.com/2015/10/96498/lena-dunham-planned-parenthood-doctor-halloween

    http://twitchy.com/2014/11/01/i-feel-sick-its-not-just-right-wing-disturbed-by-lena-dunhams-story-about-being-a-weird-7-year-old/

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  36. A man who declares on (inter)national media - when his little daughters haven't even reached their teen age - that he would like them to be able to kill their children if they should make a "mistake" in life, is not just unmanly, he's an unfit father, grossly corrupted by the culture of death. Imagine if the girls, by God's grace, grow up to profoundly respect life, and have to hear a recording of their president father saying that about them to the entire world at large! What a disgraceful (un)man!

    Further, for a man - especially one who has children of his own - to argue (repeatedly) that babies who survive a botched abortion should be left unattended on a cold steel trolley in an abortuary to die, is not just un-manly, it's in-human. Diabolic, in fact.

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  37. And, Tia, even if the man "clearly gets, on a visceral level, the concept that a father plays an essential role that a mother simply can't" (and vice versa), he still lights up the White House in rainbow colors, so that children, by deliberate design, can be deprived of the essential care of a father or a mother. Assess not the character of a man by what he says or writes, rather, understand his (lack of) character by his (contradicting) actions.

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  38. Sorry, but I just disagree. I do not think there is a single litmus test of manliness, and that public support of or opposition to abortion or gay marriage is that litmus test.

    I also think it's dangerous to call someone "an unfit father," based on their statements in public, rather than on the myriad thankless, self-sacrificing tasks that make up the majority of parenthood. Don't forget that God gave those children to him and his wife, presumably because they were the people best fit to raise them. People obviously make mistakes in parenting but I think it is a very very dangerous, slippery slope to say that someone's political point of view and position, or even public statements make them an unfit parent. Are you suggesting that their children be handed over to foster parents because of his political views? Seriously, cool down the rhetoric. Lighting up the White House in rainbow colors, I guarantee you, will have much less impact on their children's formation than spending every night eating dinner, listening to their problems, helping them with homework, etc. People are more than their political beliefs. Sinners (and even people with really gross views of sexuality, like Lena Dunham) are more than their sins. And by the way interning with someone is not the same as absorbing their views wholesale, or I would have absorbed some pretty dumb views from some of my past employers.

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  39. Tia,
    Why do you shrug at any kind of category of manliness? Leila isn't issuing a "litmus test". She's explaining three types of men she sees as far as how they line up to the abortion issue.

    But since you're swiping that off the table, fine. Put aside the abortion/rhetoric/fatherhood, whatever you want to call it aside, and let's just tick off the many ways you perhaps see Obama's honorable, decent, manliness on display.

    Can you name one “honorable, decent manly” act Obama has done along the lines of policy-making, supporting religious freedom, and seeking out wise military counsel? Can you illustrate how manly he has been by initiating incredible strangleholds on the necks of small business owners, the average tax payer, and little nuns? Is it manly to crush these people financially or to revoke their liberty, even if that is in complete violation of his role?

    Is it honorable and decent to attack liberty as Obama has? Is it honorable of him to have shoved the ACA through Congress or to have met with the CBO - of which has been called 'extremely inappropriate' - in his attempt to form 'new policy' or arm-bend them into voting an earmarked sum of upwards of $114 billion in "discretionary spending"? (The CBO never creates policy because that's not what they should ever do - it's not their role!)?

    Is it honorable and decent for a man to speak for the country using, "Me, Me, I, I" narcissist language, when troops have been continuously frustrated and put at risk because of his inept decisions, because he refuses to take wise counsel from those in uniform?

    Isn't it more manly, honorable and decent to lead by example, to think of others' first, to take the spotlight off the ego and to put it on the actual heroes?

    Has he been honorable in earmarking monies in order to rush his bill through, before the CBO could even formulate their own response when they were drilled on it? Has he been decent suing nuns?

    Give a litany of the great manly honorable deeds that Obama has done for this nation, please. That’s the challenge.
    Illustrate the manliness of his policy, his conduct, his approach to his role. Flowchart it for us. I love flowcharts.

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  40. As for Michelle Obama, I see her very differently. Radical feminists seek to abolish gender norms. I see Michelle Obama as reinforcing many of them (such as the woman as the light and center of the home). I mean, she calls herself the "mom-in-chief," and self-consciously positions herself as primarily a maternal and domestic figure -- something feminists have pushed back at her for. Her big political pushes, getting kids to eat healthy, are focused on, once again, things that are women's purview. (In pretty much all societies, women are the ones deciding "what's on the table.")
    What are the primary tenets you would define as "radical feminist"? I'm guessing we have different definitions.

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  41. So, Tia, Obama "undertakes a myriad thankless, self-sacrificing tasks for his children, spends every night with them eating dinner, listening to their problems, helping them with homework..." And you know all this precisely how? As for, "God giving those children to him and his wife, presumably because they were the people best fit to raise them" you mean children aren't ever born to bad or even abusive parents? You teach your tender aged children - who don't know any better - that killing the unborn in their own wombs is just fine, and you're an unfit parent. No, make that a wicked, Godless parent. Indeed, even many atheists will agree. I'm not going to engage further in argument with you about something that obvious - to all except the tragically blind.

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  42. Nubby, I am not arguing that Obama should go down in history with the likes of Lincoln or even, you know, Herbert Hoover. I think he's been a pretty weak leader too (though weakness is not the same as unmanliness, in my mind). I think he's been aterrible on civil liberties (like freedom of the press, privacy and cybersecurity, etc.) I think he's been so-so on foreign policy but pretty terrible on the domestic front, if only because there is so much more animosity and hatred between left and right that it's basically impossible to have a decent conversation any more and impossible to get anything actually signed and through congress.
    But I just think phrases like "unmanly""diabolical" "unfit father" "stranglehold" "revoking liberty," -- these are apocalyptic, histrionic words that one would use for an arch enemy, a uniformly terrible person, or even a subhuman. I don't think it is fitting, kind or even productive to use this kind of rhetoric when referring to the president.

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  43. A "mom in chief" who advocates for the killing of children in their mom's wombs? Ha ha! I think it's called diabolic humor.

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  44. Tia, what a minute. You know as well as I do that radical feminists still call themselves "mom" (and their kids call them "mom") and they tend gardens and push for good nutrition. You know this.

    Why not just answer: Which tenet of radical feminism does Michelle denounce? And, it's not just that Lena Dunham has some bad traits, it's that their minor daughter was interning on a TV show that Catholics would call vile and perverse -- and the vileness of the show/actress is the *very selling point* of both. You cannot see that? You're okay with what a great "opportunity" the Obamas gave to their young daughter by encouraging her presence there? Of all the choices she had?

    As for flashing the gay colors up on the White House.... as a Catholic (are you a Catholic?), we know that gay "marriage" is a grave sin and truly tragic social innovation. We know that its celebration can only lead souls away from God. And away from the way God created us (male and female, uniquely suited for a one-flesh, marital union). So, how is this just sort of brushed off as harmless? It's not harmless. The implications are far-reaching and not good.

    How is it "manly" to deny the intrinsic nature of fathers and husbands? (And by championing gay "marriage", that is what he has done.) Where is his manliness? Sorry, I can't see it. I see radical feminist written all over him and his wife. Show me something, anything, that they denounce in the radical feminist litany.

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  45. You don't thinks like "revoking liberty" are fitting, kind or productive when addressing this president? Let's take a look at what Pope Benedict said to the US bishops about what is happening here in our land, thanks to the policies of Obama:

    "...it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life. Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. [He's referring to Obama's HHS mandate!] Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience."

    Tia, of whom do you think the Holy Father was speaking? Was the pope being "histrionic"?

    The whole speech, here:


    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2012/10/when-even-pope-is-concerned-about.html

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  46. Francis, I know about the things he does with his kids based on self-report from him in interviews, interviews with Michelle Obama, based on what he wrote in his books before running for president, based on interviews with others close to him. I guess you could believe he and others lie about all that, but I prefer the simplest explanation.
    As for God giving him those children -- yes, children are born to abusive and horrible parents. Parents can and do squander the gift given to them. Some parents are, indeed, unfit parents -- though I believe that at the start, every one of them had the grace held out to them to be good parents, however narrow or steep the path to goodness may have been.

    In any case I think people should always err on the side of believing that biological parents are the best people to raise their kids, and the bar for assuming that's not the case or for taking kids away from their parents -- the bar for calling someone an UNFIT FATHER -- should be extremely high.

    If not, imagine in this secular culture how many religious Christian parents could have their kids taken away for "indoctrinating them with toxic views." So all I am saying is that, unless you think President Obama's children should be taken away from him, just as, say, a sexual molester's should, than it's unfair to call him an UNFIT PARENT.

    Also, the implications of your beliefs are that 40 percent of parents in this country (the pro-choice ones) are basically wicked and Godless? Goodness, you must feel awful walking about every day surrounded by all these wicked, godless people! Personally, I don't find it productive to write off people, in their entirety, as wicked. They may engage in evil, they may embrace it with two hands. They themselves, however, retain that spark from God no matter what. That's what I try to focus on when describing them, even when it comes to leaders who I think are doing a really bad job.

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    1. If someone called him an unfit father it is unwarranted. We need to be careful about such accusations, for exactly the reasons you state. It's much more likely to be Catholic families that are subjected to scrutiny of the ideology they are passing to their children than secular humanist ones in the future. We should be tolerant with regard to the right of parents to teach their children as they believe is best because such tolerance will protect our efforts to raise Catholic children.

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  47. So, Tia, you don't think his daughters will be influenced or formed by his politics?

    You think that because he (maybe) has dinner around the family table that this makes up for what he believes and promotes in his forceful ways by jamming plans through Congress?

    What if one of their dinner table discussions is about "abortion rights"? He'd of course influence them toward abortion as a good. The fact that he might share a meal with them doesn't mean he's suddenly upstanding or manly or honorable in what they're discussing.

    And you said, it's basically impossible to have a decent conversation any more and impossible to get anything actually signed and through congress.

    So his scheming and jamming his ACA through is ok, then? He still needs to do things lawfully.

    Can you tie your logic tighter? This doesn't line up.

    You're upset about using words like, "unmanly", but you're being shown horrendously cowardly deeds, evil deeds, and I see no harm in saying those are "unmanly". His attack on life and liberty and justice and all things good for society and for citizens is not manly, because it's not protective, it's not reassuring, it's not honest, upstanding, or a good example.

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  48. They themselves, however, retain that spark from God no matter what. That's what I try to focus on when describing them, even when it comes to leaders who I think are doing a really bad job.

    And no one is disparaging his "spark" from God. We're looking at the man in office and seeing all he has done via policy- over-riding and changing, and vetoing and the lot- to come against life, and against liberty. It's fine to call that unmanly. It's fine to call it what it is, Tia.

    You're more upset about the "uncharitable" sound of our opinion, but why don't you hold Obama's feet to the same flame? Isn't he uncharitable in being a-ok with killing the unborn? With just about every act he's done that has come against the people of this nation? I don't get why you're pussy-footing around the reality here.

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  49. Leila, you are proving my point. Pope Francis is actually being very charitable! Look at his words. He is not calling ANYONE names. He is not calling Obama out by name. He is talking about cultural and political spheres, he is talking about "worrying tendencies." He is identifying trends. He's calling out the problems, not the people. That's charitable. He is pointing out the problems without assuming he knows the state of someone else's soul. But the charged words -- like diabolical, unfit, wicked, godless -- they're totally absent.
    As for the radical feminist thing. What do you define as the tenets of that? You never answered. If you give me some bullet-point list I'm happy to reply.

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  50. As for the Lena Dunham thing -- I don't know. I think her show is gross. (But not all Catholics agree on that, by the way, I think Ross Douthat made the point that the bleakness and horribleness of it is a more realistic depiction of the implications of our casual sex culture than, say Sex and the City) I wouldn't let my teenager intern on that show or even watch it, but I also think that's not enough to tar a parent as a "radical feminist" or to say they're an unfit parent. My parents let me read all manner of total trash I took home from the library as a teenager. I really wish I hadn't read that junk. But I don't think they were "bad" parents for doing so -- they made a few bad decisions in a pantheon of other very good decisions, and in a cultural context which said that "censoring" your children's listening or reading material or interests was stunting.

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  51. This “unmanly” word is causing me to reflect further.

    If Christ is “true God and true Man”, and we are all created in His image and likeness, then it follows that we are all created both “Godly” and “manly”. Women too are “manly” in this sense, for woman is flesh of Man’s flesh and bone of his bone.

    However, (according to Christ Himself), some, swayed by the Culture of Death, freely reject the Word of Life - and thereby adopt the “Liar and the Murderer from the Beginning” as their father.

    “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

    St John goes on to explain how to recognize the ungodly: “By this it may be seen who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not do right is not of God, nor he who does not love his brother” (I John 3: 10).

    I assert that when we become unGodly, we also become, in the deepest spiritual/metaphysical sense, unManly. WE become what is otherwise known as inhuman, doing things not befitting Man - including glibly justifying the murder of millions of innocents, and, in the case of Mr Barack Obama, both unborn and born. Yep. Mr Obama's politics and actions are both unGodly and unManly.

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  52. Tia, are you Catholic? It helps in dialoguing/discussing when we know the religious background of the commenters. And I have the same question as above, isn't what Obama is mandating (abortion/same sex marriage) far more uncharitable than any unpleasant adjectives that have been used to describe him? Why are you getting stuck on us referring to him as unmanly? What is it specifically that is bothering you?

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  53. An interesting anecdote about how Adolf Hitler - who was, like the wicked tyrants of today, responsible for the deaths of so many millions - was such a "caring" husband and animal lover, he had them all killed before committing suicide himself, so that they wouldn't fall into the hands of his advancing enemies. There's more to being a fit husband or father than sharing a bed or meals or homework with your "loved" ones. Obviously, the very first duty of a manly protector is not to lead his wife or children into (the ways of) death.

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

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  54. Tia, the pope said:

    "Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion."

    Who is behind the attempts? You really think we don't know he's talking about Obama and his people? He is the pope of the world. He is diplomatic, but gets his message across. No one doubts this is referring to Obama. I am a little housewife blogger. I can say, "yes, that Obama is trying to curtail religious freedom." Are you saying there is an appreciable difference? I don't really see it.

    The tenets of radical feminism that are easily identifiable are an absolute unwavering support for and justification of legal abortion, seeing it even as a positive social good to be celebrated, a belief in the autonomy of women from men (denouncing the "patriarchy" which includes "patriarchal structures such as an all-male clergy, traditional understanding of male headship of the family) demand for "equality of numbers" in all areas of life and business, an embrace of the gay lifestyle, homosexual acts as normal and good, gay "marriage", transgender acceptance and "rights" (although in this case the Obamas may be even more radical than some of the radical feminists I know, since several of them are disgusted that men are now the best "women" we can find -- two years running, a male has won Glamour's "Woman of the Year"), free contraception for all (contraception as a "human right", like abortion), free love/sexual libertinism, approval of the vileness of the type that Lena Dunham dishes out to our culture and our children, etc...

    Where do you see Michelle or Barack denouncing any of that? Thanks!

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  55. Why feminism (the type that Mr and Mrs Obama and their ilk subscribe to), embracing abortion, is of the Devil:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98rXZcN6O9s

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  56. I would like to add a comment regarding the propriety of calling Barack Obama "unmanly." It is that I can think of more incisive and fitting things to call him, or better ways to criticize him. I think it quite likely that Leila's observation that he defers to feminism is correct. He's not a rake or libertine in his personal life--something for which he deserves some respect--so there has to be a different explanation for his consistent, extreme support for abortion rights. I also think that the HHS mandate is very offensive, and that while he backed down to some extent, his positions suggest a real hostility to our faith underlies his calm demeanor. Nevertheless, on the balance I cannot rate him as a worse President than his predecessors, most of whose policies he has adopted, and some of whom I believe have engaged in manipulating the pro-life vote by pretending that they would really act to overturn Roe v. Wade when they are actually quite content with the status quo (Reagan and GHWB). At least we know where this politician stands on abortion. He has not been "unmanly" on the issue at least insofar as that would suggest that he has disguised his agenda or not forthrightly stated his position. He is first and foremost a politician, and as such he does not lead so much as follow the constituencies whose support make his position possible. We should be angry with Citibank/Chase, Hollywood and the other sources of his campaign funding which direct his policies, including those on abortion, the HHS mandate and same sex marriage. They will have no problem contributing to the campaign of Donald Trump, a fact which I think is not coincidental with his surprising success as a candidate. Obama reflects a rough American consensus on contraception, certainly, if not quite abortion and same sex marriage, and he's probably following history's wave on the latter issues. I think a lot of the vitriol Catholics who consider themselves conservative and generally support the Republican party express towards him is unbalanced. He's not outstandingly evil (no one here has said so unless I missed it), just predictably not friendly to a faith and way of life that is increasingly marginalized in America. He's always courteous and careful about what he says about other people and we should respond to him in kind though we are in a very serious conflict with our government which is going to get worse after he is long gone.

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  57. Will, thank you! I can't say who is or will be the worst president in history (though so far, my vote is going with Obama), and that was not really the point of my issues with him. I called him "unmanly" from my own womanly point of view. As a woman, I find him a very, very weak man. I would have said "feminine", even, except that I don't want to impugn my own sex! I love being a woman, and I am a strong one! I just don't want our men to be womanly, ha ha. I'm sure someone will parse that, but I think most will understand what I mean. Men step up. Men are protectors, providers, leaders (especially moral leaders). They are called to be decisive, honorable, virtuous. I've described what I see of Obama (and why) in the original post. It's my humble opinion, and at least it has me feeling a bit sorry for the guy, which is better than a bitter hatred, yes? ;)

    I would not say he's always "courteous", unless by that you mean he acts like a politician (i.e., pretense). He has too often said divisive, rude things when he's with his ideological peers ("If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun!" or conservatives/middle Americans "bitterly clinging to their guns and religion").

    Anyway, I don't want to get into the politics of every president on abortion, but to say that Reagan and Obama are sort of equivalent on that issue is just totally wrong.

    As far as being legally "unfit" as a father, I didn't say it. Morally, is he a fit father? That's certainly debatable!! But in no universe would I consider that his children would ever be taken away from him or Michelle! That is, as you mentioned, just the sort of thing that I've had atheists say to me about raising my children Catholic: That my kids should be taken away by the state. So, I am with you. However, in general, there is something very dark about teaching your children to be pro-abortion, and pro-sexual revolution, and pro-gender-fluidity, and having them intern for someone like Lena Dunham. So, we pray.

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    1. I guess I'm puzzled when Catholics defend Reagan, except insofar as doing so is a matter of being a partisan in American politics for the Republican party, something that is fine as a personal choice but not a commitment I could ever make. Reagan, our first and still only divorced President, was hardly the model of the manhood you admire in my opinion. He had obviously poor relationships with his children for one thing, something that often follows divorce. He said he was pro-life, and that this would dictate his choice of nominees to the Supreme Court but his appointments to the Supreme Court included Sandra Day O'Conner--his first choice--and Anthony Kennedy--his last, so he was 50/50 on the subject as things worked out. Do you believe his First Lady to have been opposed to abortion? I do not. Some say she had one in Hollywood, but who knows? Republican Presidents have been in power more often than Democrats since Roe v. Wade, but their record on the subject speaks more clearly than their words. Only with regard to American foreign policy have they, on occasion, acted to reduce the actual incidence of abortion. In this nation they have had no appreciable effect on its availability and occurrence. I don't think this is just the coincidence of our two party system they say it is. Generally I think the wealthy classes of this nation support abortion rights because they think there should be fewer poor, and I question the sincerity of the Republican Presidents we have had on the subject, including the last one who, after all, appointed John "Roe is settled law" Roberts. His parents were pro-choice after all, both of them. Many people who share my Catholic faith revere Reagan though. I think this is because he said things they agree with and they did not pay close attention to the things he did. I struggle to see that his actual policies were congenial to Catholic beliefs, with the possible exception of the amnesty he granted illegal aliens. His father was Catholic but Reagan preferred his mother's faith, something I don't blame him for, but divides me from him nevertheless. Of course all you did was say that he was different on abortion than Obama, and I agree that Obama is much more forthright in his support of the practice of abortion than was Reagan. The man was a Hollywood actor (including during WWII when he managed to wear a uniform and serve in Hollywood somehow, something to which I always attributed his enthusiasm for bellicose talk, but I digress) and I don't think he had a problem pretending to be something he was not. He was charming, I grant him that, but I always found him hollow, like many charming people. I've never been able to agree that it is imperative for Catholics to vote Republican and I'm grateful to Chaput and Ratzinger for making it clear to me that I am under no such obligation. I like Joe Shriner for President personally, but will grant other Catholics the right to vote their consciences though voting for Trump or Hillary would be wrong if I did it. I don't share your opinion that Obama is the worst President of our lifetimes, though I would agree he has proven hostile to the Catholic Church, something that makes me detest him though I should be more charitable.

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  58. Whoa... this article really lays out why abortion is designed for men and a man's world. Not for women, not a bit:

    http://www.evangelicalsforsocialaction.org/sanctity-of-life/our-current-abortion-law-as-a-product-of-men/

    An excerpt:

    What did the Supreme Court claim, then, was essential for women to participate equally in society? Equal pay for equal work regardless of whether a woman chooses to have children? Nope. Mandatory pregnancy leave and child care for female students and workers? Nah. Strict anti-discrimination laws in hiring practices? Sorry. What is essential for women’s equality, it turns out, is that they are able to end their pregnancies when those pregnancies constitute a burden on their economic and social interests.

    But being pregnant and having a child is often so burdensome for women precisely because our social structures have been designed by and for human beings who cannot get pregnant. Notice how, in this context, the recourse to abortion ends up serving the interests of men. The patriarchal social structures that serve their interests remain unchanged. If we were interested in offering women genuine reproductive freedom, we would change our social structures in ways that honor their differences from men. Men offering women the so-called “freedom” to pretend that their social, economic, and reproductive lives can flourish in social structures designed for people who can’t have babies is preposterous and insulting.

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  59. I still find it so shocking that Obama said he wouldn't want his daughters "punished" for a mistake (unplanned pregnancy). I just cannot imagine a father who would allow his grandchildren to be aborted. Maybe it's bc I am blessed to have been raised by my father, who is a protector and pro-life. I just can't wrap my brain around a father/grandfather who is okay with that. And I even used to be pro-choice, as was my husband. Praise God that we came back to the Church and realized the truth!

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    1. And even though I'm sure his daughters are pro-choice, imagine if one of them became pro-life and realized the truth?! I can't imagine how the words of their father would affect them.

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  60. this article really lays out why abortion is designed for men and a man's world. Not for women, not a bit

    And, yet, it's still the women who yammer on about "my body, my choice". Wake up, feminists. You detest men on the one hand, but you uphold their despicable views by clamoring for abortion rights on the other.

    Wake up. If you really want to be playing in a "man's world as a woman" then get the damn degree that's worth something, get the job that pays, keep some self-control over your sex urges and stop making it easier on the men you so detest - stop voting the cads into office!

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  61. Beth, good thoughts, and interestingly, my husband was pro-"choice" when we met. I had to explain that NO, not all women "want" abortion and it is just fine to not be a man who just defers to that kind of rhetoric. So, I guess you could say that my hubby was in category #3.

    Nubby, it's the deception factor. Sin and error and evil thrive on deceit, and oh my gosh, are these feminists deceived! Can you imagine the laughter from hell? They are going against their own nature, going along with the very plan of the cads who thrive on abortion being legal, and they don't even realize it! Just mind-boggling.

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  62. I agree they are deceived, but they're also loud about their displaced rage. That's the main problem. They're never going to take down "social structures" by whining or suing their way through it, either. There are really no "social structures" left to remove. Women get paid leave, we get job-sharing ops, we get ample opportunity for higher education in male-dominated fields, we get great opportunities for promotion, it's there for the taking. There really is no reason to whine about our place anymore. It's not like anything like the suffrage movement is necessary anymore.

    If anything, women got it pretty darn good in the workplace and then some, anymore. IMO, if you're female, and you're able to work in a white collar position, hey, the sky's the limit. Stop screaming about men and what they do or don't do, when it's you (feminists) that act just like the cads you claim you cannot stand. If you play your hand right, you'll be just fine without having to demoralize or attack men to get what you want career-wise or even socially, no matter the structure. Women who are my friends are involved in all kinds of male dominated fields. We don't feel maligned in the least.

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  63. Amen, Nubby!! It's so interesting, I grew up never, ever believing that women were victims. In fact, the sky was the limit. I had every reason to think I could go as far as I wanted in academia and career. And that was the truth. I remember feeling sorry for my male counterparts because I knew I had so much more freedom than they did. I could choose to be a stay-at-home wife and mother, or I could be a high-powered career woman. I knew that men didn't really have that kind of freedom. What are these women whining about?? Work hard, be savvy, and do what you set out to do! And enjoy your womanhood!!

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  64. Ladies!

    Here's a quick, one-step, sure-fire cad check:

    In the heat of the moment, look into your (male) partner's eyes directly, muster every bit of seriousness that you can, and say to him,

    "I'm not on the Pill, which we all know is carcinogenic, I don't believe that contraception is fail safe, and I don't believe in killing gestating children in my womb. So... if this ends up in me becoming pregnant, I'm keeping the baby, come what may."

    You don't have to mean of any of the above. It'll still help you identify and (quite rapidly!) get rid of the cads in your life - the ones who are preoccupied with only one (OK, two) parts of your anatomy, and little else.

    Trust me. I too was once a dirty, dishonorable (un-Manly) male - before my God had pity on me, led me to self-understanding, and converted me into a campaigner for real truth and beauty and goodness.

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  65. Will,

    I liked your comment. A lot of substance there.

    For my part, I'd like to clarify that I deem Barack Obama to be an unfit father *morally* - as I would deem any man who poisoned his underage children's tender minds with the deadly idea that killing children in their wombs is an okay thing. No, if I was heading an adoption agency, I'd most certainly refuse to send any child to his and Michelle's care.

    Of course I can't mean that Obama/Michelle are unfit parents *legally*, for murders such as these have long been legalized in America.

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  66. Hi all. Leila, I'll get back to you on all your questions, and a couple of things from the article that are still unfinished, but I'm swamped right now with work. I'm a musician, and I've got a recital to prepare, 3 auditions coming up, and gigs and teaching lessons, so I'm sure you'll understand my delayed reply. Interesting conversation happening here! What I wish, though, is that there were more moderates and liberals in the conversation. Seems like of the comments are on the same side of the debate, which means it's mostly preaching to the choir.

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  67. Hi John! You're not the choir, you are the opposing viewpoint and you have full freedom and room to give your thoughts, so how wonderful is that? I would be thrilled to go on a pro-abortion site and have the same opportunity. Unfortunately, when I do that, I am called so many vile names and mocked so badly that it's not worth it. ;) Here, I hope you will see that we are not a mob, and we speak respectfully and take this seriously, even if we challenge you to think deeper. And here, we are all about the lurkers. We have many readers who never comment, but who learn a lot by reading the dialogues. We each present our best arguments, and then let the readers decide. So, just do your best and who cares if you are the only one on your side? You have the floor and no one is censoring you! :)

    Totally understood about the busy-ness. I wish I had musical talent, so what a wonderful gift you have! Enjoy, and we are happy to hear from you whenever you can find a moment.

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  68. The State of Abortion in the United States (January 2016)

    http://www.nrlc.org/uploads/communications/stateofabortion2016.pdf

    The tide is turning, from pro "choice" to pro life, even if ever so gradually.

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  69. For when John returns:

    You seem to dislike the use of "lofty philosophical treaties" to explain something complex, because you see it as a simple moral question. However, the Church itself is rife with such "lofty" treaties on such things as why there is evil in the world, or why it was okay for the Israelites to take and rape war prisoners, or (my favorite) why all of the discrepancies in the Bible don't change the fact that it is inerrant (I know not all Christian sects agree with that last one).

    Your error is that you are comparing the two bolded phrases per the above comment as if they're the same things.

    You’re comparing a simple moral angle to be argued with a more detailed teaching to be explained. This is not apples to apples.

    A simple moral question is not complex, and there is absolutely no need to make it so. You are conflating explanations with premises.

    You can always correctly posit a simple moral premise in a few words: “Killing of innocents is morally abhorrent.”

    That’s completely fine and arguable. It need never be “lofty” or “complicated” to posit that. We can argue the morality from a simple premise, no matter how simple.

    From there the discussion will get more detailed because we’re, of course, going to cover philosophical predicates, all the logic contained, etc. But it does not require complexity on the kick-off and it really shouldn’t end with needless amounts of complexity in the logic, either.

    The purpose of discussion is to simplify and sum up. Word-count should be low and arguments direct because the whole point is to get at the meat of the main idea.

    I was always taught one key phrase that stuck with me, “distill it down”. Wordiness (being needlessly complex) doesn’t truly help anyone understand anything.

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  70. Exactly, Nubby! For example, the Golden Rule ("Do unto others as you would have them do to you") is a profound moral maxim that is always and everywhere accepted, by virtually every culture and religion, as it is fundamentally related to human nature - and yet it is so simply and succinctly expressed. A lofty treatise to explain it is hardly necessary - unless one sets out to attempt to undermine it with a tome of sophistry. And so is another short and simple maxim, which not even a simpleton can really fail to understand: "It is always and everywhere wrong to take innocent human life." To dispute the absolute truth of this, one needs to attack the unalienable right to life of some people with "lofty" assertions like, "life is not meaningful without the chance of growth" - whatever exactly that (utilitarian?) premise is supposed to mean.

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  71. I posted this elsewhere on here, as I didn't see it posted by anyone else, and I don't want it to get buried in a reply to a reply.

    If anyone has an issue with the Church being "anti-science" and that Galileo was wronged and became a martyr for science, then please read this great treatise by author Michael Flynn. it's exhaustive and leaves no stone unturned in the whole Galileo issue. Once people know the history behind heliocentrism and Galileo's theory, it becomes obvious that the myth of Galileo being a martyr for science and the Church was against science is just that... myth.

    This is divided into nine parts, so set some time aside to read it. You won't be disappointed, as anything that might seem dry is interspersed with Flynn's wit. An awesome read, for sure:

    http://tofspot.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-great-ptolemaic-smackdown.html

    http://tofspot.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-great-ptolemaic-smackdown-table-of.html

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  72. Thank god, I married a "Man Trained Against Manhood," and I have done my very best to raise our sons to be "trained against manhood," too. Indeed -- "One person's strong, honorable, and decent man is another's trash."

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  73. L, that is so, so sad. So, you train them against their protective instinct? You train them against wanting to protect the weakest and most vulnerable in the human family? And, if you wanted to abort the child you and your husband created, you would expect him (having trained him) to go along with the killing of your child?

    My heart breaks, truly. God bless them and you, and may we all one day understand that violence is never the way to peace and joy, much less honorable manhood.

    The truest sign of love and masculinity is to lay down one's life for another. The pro-abortion voices tell us the opposite -- the others must be made to die for us.


    "We must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of wars, of hatred. If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other."
    ~ Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta ~

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  74. I'm coming across such great reports of the March For Life! This one is interesting, as the New Wave Feminists come upon the pro-abortion group Stop Patriarchy. Look at the exchange they had!

    http://newwavefeminists.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-march-for-life-2016-changed.html

    Lots of joy to counteract the anger and rage.


    "The New Wave Feminist response was to be there, be living proof of how wrong they are, and show them there is joy when you let go of the lie that your womb has to be invaded by death in order for you to be a liberated woman."

    BINGO. Abortion is profoundly anti-woman.





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  75. Wow! How strange and irrational (even to the thinking irreligious) the things we say when we do grave (read: MURDEROUS) wrongs AND obstinately refuse to repent and amend our lives! Just WOW! One can so stunningly see here how Pride lies coiled at the root of sin and its wages - death! Wow! Excuse me while I go catch my breath.

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  76. Oh, Leila! Thank you for the link to that article! I'm going to share it on my FB page. I so loved these lines in it (by the true feminists about the tragically off track ones):

    "We aren’t fighting them. We’re fighting for them. We’re fighting the lie that has twisted their hearts, invaded their wombs, and killed their children: that abortion is liberation.
    Abortion is not liberation. Abortion is misogyny in action."

    Priceless! The finger of Truth Himself, on the slithering and squirming Devil - courtesy of everyday ordinary women who are graced to know their true worth and dignity! LOVE IT!

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  77. Thank you, Francis!

    I'm still so saddened by what L said, and it reminds me so much of one of the most difficult things I have ever read (I linked it in an article here some months ago). It was a mom blogger who proudly proclaimed that when she saw her SIX-year-old son playing pretend, playing that he was the hero rescuing a princess from danger, she scolded him!!! My heart just BROKE for that poor boy. Here he is, beautifully playing out what is hard-wired in every man, to be a hero, to protect, and she chastised him! Can you imagine the confusion in this poor child? I can only imagine what sort of man he will grow up to be. He will either dislike his own mother, or he will sit back and "why bother" the rest of his manhood and interactions with women. Or both. I just pray that he finds some strong men and women in his life who encourage him in his instinct to be that hero, to be that honorable knight. Lord, have mercy for what we are doing to our sons, and to those who proudly "train the manhood" out of them.

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  78. Thank god, I married a "Man Trained Against Manhood," and I have done my very best to raise our sons to be "trained against manhood," too. Indeed -- "One person's strong, honorable, and decent man is another's trash."

    Lurkers: Let’s understand how this comment above is problematic as hell.
    People who proclaim this are either proudly married to a misogynist and are admitting to raising their sons to be misogynists, too, or they are married to someone they can push around and they are raising their sons to be pushed around by women, too. One actually drives the other, if we take two seconds and actually glue that together.

    Those are the only two options per this type of admission. Good luck with that.

    Also, it’s a curious psychosis on display when people disparage strength, honor, and decency in human beings.

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  79. L, are you the same "L" who used to read and comment a few years ago? I wrote a post in response to an "L" many years ago:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/03/answering-l-culture-war-and-more.html

    Is that you?

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  80. Caitlyn Jenner is the face of American manhood.

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  81. Sad that he won Woman of the Year!! But that's the road we are on. He certainly had the manhood trained out of him! And chemically/surgically altered (well, he kept his penis, as he still likes to have sex with women).

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  82. Which "God" accepts thanks for men being trained out of their manhood? (Or, for that matter, women being trained out of their femininity?)Wouldn't be the One Who created His children male and female, would it?

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  83. Okay, I think I'll start with this, because as someone else said, our worldviews are wildly different, so it will be difficult to have an equal discussion if we don't talk about this first. I'll quote Leila from the national review article comments:

    >>
    As a Catholics, we actually do believe in divine revelation, and Christ's promises. He said He would not leave us orphans, and that the Holy Spirit would be with the Church till the end of the age. That is precisely how doctrine has been steadfast for 20 centuries (don't confuse discipline with doctrine, by the way). <<

    As I understand this statement, here if what you are saying:

    Premise 1: God would not leave His people without guidance.
    Premise 2: It is impossible to misinterpret His guidance. (Or at least, it is impossible for CATHOLICS to misinterpret His guidance)
    Argument 1) therefore, God leads the church in doctrinal matters via divine inspiration.
    Argument 2) the Catholic Church not only hears this inspiration, but interprets it perfectly into its current doctrine today, thus there can be no mistakes in its doctrines.

    If the Catholic church is led by divine inspiration, and that inspiration means that, doctrinally, you can get nothing wrong, then that means that there really is no way we can have a real discussion on abortion, because whatever the Catholic church believes, you accept it as the divine truth, and I cannot argue against God when God doesn't need to justify Himself. Though I'm sure you can argue on any doctrinal subject with fact and logic, to some degree, you will accept Catholic doctrine blindly because you believe that, at the end of the day, the Catholic Church is perfectly led by God, and thus it cannot be wrong. So I'm afraid I'll have to attack the particular version of divine inspiration that you cling to, and the idea that the Catholic church can do/believe no wrong.

    I believe that there is reason to be suspect of at least argument 2. Paul speaks about false teachers all of the time in the New Testament. The Gnostics, for example, thought they were following the truth. Gnosis itself means "knowing," and they believed that Jesus revealed hidden knowledge that would otherwise be unknowable. So I think you would agree that it is possible to BELIEVE that you are being led by God when you are, in fact, simply wrong. You would simply be hesitant to apply that same logic to any Catholic doctrine.

    So what proof do you have that the Catholic Church has perfectly interpreted God's divine inspiration?

    I assert that being unable to deny or misinterpret God's inspiration is a violation of free will. In addition, I assert that it is impossible to tell the difference between listening to God's inspiration and believing a false doctrine, as in order to follow through with any doctrine, you must believe it to be true. Thus, if you believe in a doctrine that is contrary to God's will, you would believe God's will to be the false doctrine.

    Such was the case with the Pharisees and Sadducees, was it not? Believing that they had figured out God's true doctrine, and believing they were God's spokespeople, they necessarily had to either accept that, when Jesus came along, they were NOT God's spokespeople and their doctrines were wrong, or that Jesus was a heretic. You know which they chose.

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  84. You Catholics believe that you're God's chosen church, more or less, which means you have a lot in common with the Pharisees and the Jews of that time in general, if only in a sense of "chosen" identity. Guess what? EVERY denomination of Christianity believes they are the doctrinally correct church. No one goes around believing their beliefs are incorrect. It is a logical contradiction. "I believe this is true, but I believe it is false." So how can we tell who is truly correct? With every church telling me "we're the only people truly inspired by God!" how can I prove which church truly is inspired perfectly by God, if there is such a thing?

    You claim the Catholic church has made no doctrinal changes since it's inception, and I'm assuming that if there were any doctrinal changes, it would mean that either God changed His mind on something, or the previous Catholics were simply wrong. If previous Catholics can be wrong, then current Catholics can as well, which would mean every doctrine is suspect. Of course, there is the case where a particular doctrine didn't apply to an earlier group. If you told me that the Catholics had a doctrine on the morality of video games, then obviously, God would have no reason to reveal his feelings on the matter back in 1300 AD. However, I would find it particularly suspect if there was a ruling on video games in 2400 AD, well after the advent of video games. So some doctrinal "changes" may be explained by this mechanism. Otherwise, I would find all doctrinal changes to be suspect.

    By my understanding, there have been several doctrinal changes made over the past couple millennia. I'll list several.

    1) the status of Protestants, among other religions. Why did several previous Popes apostatize all non-Roman Catholics if God's will was to save them the whole time? Does that not suggest that the Catholic Church can misinterpret God's will?
    2) Popes were not considered infallible until 1870. Why did God suddenly make Popes infallible, whereas they weren't before? Or if they were, why wait 1870 years to reveal such a great asset to the Catholic Church?
    3) Marriage to non-Catholics wasn't even possible until 1818.
    4) the concept of Purgatory was only introduced in 593. That seems like a big revelation. Why wait for 600 years?
    5) Celibacy of Popes, Priests and Bishops was not indoctrinated until 1079 under Pope Gregory the VII. The first Pope, Peter, was married, and several Priests and Bishops surely were married before the doctrine, at least in the early church. This is evidenced by Paul saying church Bishops needed to be one woman men, if not celibate in 1 Tim 3:2. If God had inspired the church to say that Bishops were to be celibate, then Paul would have no need to mention this at all.
    6) perhaps the "worst" flip flop of all, the early Church did not think polygamy was sinful and had no outright doctrinal ban on it, as evidenced by the above verse. Yet under Pope Constantine in the 5th century, polygamy was banned. Interestingly, monogamy was already the law of the land in Rome, but they had a tough time enforcing it in Judea. Monogamy only became enforced and the norm around this time-period in Judea. So to me, it would seem that monogamy was a Roman intutution, rather than a Christian/Jewish one.

    In addition, even supposing that the Catholic Church has a claim to being the only true church, led by God, because of its ties to the early church, why should I choose Roman Catholicism over Eastern Orthodoxy? Do they not have similar ties to the early church?

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  85. Also, Leila, you asked if I felt that I fit into any of the three categories of men that you listed. While categories are useful in codifying broad behaviors and beliefs, it will always fail to encapsulate the broad spectrum of thought on such a controversial debate as abortion.

    For me personally, I have only recently come into my current beliefs, so believe it or not, I feel that I am relatively pliable in my view of the abortion debate. I grew up in a conservative, Evangelical household, and I would've actually fit into the 1st category of men, only for the pro-life side. I just accepted that abortion was bad, without ever considering why it was bad.

    I began to question ALL of my beliefs after a particularly troubling trial with my fiance's parents that is still going on to this day. I didn't question my belief in Christ until I debated with atheists on the issue, but what I found was that fundamentally, one cannot prove or disprove God, and knowledge doesn't make one happy. What makes me happy is the assurance on salvation, and knowing that my life is dedicated to something greater than myself. So my faith was bolstered by this crisis, though it has been fundamentally changed. I wouldn't consider myself a liberal, but I would say I feel that I have been liberated from blind slavery to the conservative ideological viewpoint. I no longer accept that conservatism is good and liberalism is bad. And vice versa, I know that liberalism can be bad, and conservatism good. Particularly, I understand that conservative economics leads to greater growth of the economy, as opposed to liberal economics. But I also understand that liberal economics helps the poor more than conservatives are willing to do.

    Anyways, my exploration into the topic of abortion was simply an extension of this broader questioning of my classical conservative upbringing. The issues of marriage and sexual impurity is of particular interest to me, because I feel that no other "sin" draws as much emotional response as sexual impurity does. Adultery is considered bad in just about every culture, but premarital sex? Now that's a can of worms. I hope we get to debate that in the future, but for now, let's stick with abortion :).

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  86. Oh, and the answer is no: I don't feel that I fit into any of the categories you listed, and that's not my contrarion nature speaking. I did not simply follow culture to arrive at my opinions; I have always strongly been morally opposed to the exploitation of women and have had a great track record with treating my girlfriends as people, and I would say my upbringing has definitely prepared me to be a manly man, as you would define it. No one is to blame for my current beliefs but me. I believe what I believe DESPITE any cultural or parental influence. Perhaps it's hard to imagine a case where a rational person would see all sides and choose something different than what you choose, but statistically, it has to happen sometime, right?

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  87. John, thank you for all of that. First, you went so very far beyond the scope of the discussion here that I wonder what you are hoping we can discuss? You brought up about fifty separate topics (most of which have been addressed on other posts on this blog, if you are interested). How can we hit a discussion of all fifty (or more)? You even brought up stuff I said from the National Review article that has nothing to do with what I said here. (And by the way, your Premise #2, and all six of your "changes of doctrine" are flat-out wrong; you are confused. #5 and #6 are particularly egregious in their error, from the premise onward -- for example, priestly celibacy is not a doctrine, it's a discipline; and nope, there has never EVER been polygamy in Catholicism. That is an anti-Catholic talking point, but frankly, one I have only rarely heard in 21 years of doing this.) You have had the point about Galileo corrected by no less than three different people and sources. This should give you pause about what you know about Catholicism.

    I'm sure you are a nice guy, but you have gone on and on and on about Catholicism, and yet we are talking about abortion. I will happily talk to you about abortion from only the position of reason and science. So, let's stipulate, for the sake of argument, that Catholicism does not exist. Let's use reason and science only in our debate. So, please, let's focus on abortion. You said you wanted to, so let's do it. Thanks!

    Okay, now could you answer some of the many questions folks have put to you about abortion, that have nothing to do with Catholicism? I truly appreciate it. Remember, leave Catholicism or religion out of it. Just reason and science. Thanks!

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  88. Oh John, John, John!

    That anti-Catholic tirade of yours was something else to read, if for nothing else, than its sheer length and breadth in alleging similarities between Catholicism, Phariseeisn, Scribism, Gnosticism - and Heaven knows what else! But surely, that has to be a topic, perhaps, for another discussion.

    For right now, would you be kind enough to address the question which I (along with several others) have posed to you - and have patiently waited for your return from trombone blowing to address?

    Namely, what is it exactly that you mean, when you posit to us the "complex" (and therefore, assumedly, "profound") notion that "life is not meaningful without the chance of growth"?

    Please answer directly (without any further charges against Catholics or people of any other beliefs). Too few of us are interested in obfuscations or sudden/marked tangential deviations from any particular topic under focused discussion on this blog.

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  89. Hi John, just FYI - Catholicism is not a denomination of Christianity; it is pre-denominational. Sorry, Leila - don't want to get the conversation off track again, but really felt the need to address that.

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  90. Distill. Set some stakes in the ground in your verbose thought pasture.
    Let's have a better conversation, John.
    Focused, thoughtful, directed, not wandering on the wide range of your interpretations of the Catholic Church's teachings (which are inaccurately formed based inaccurate understanding).

    How have you systematically (without verbosity) arrived at the idea that life is not meaningful without the chance of growth when your support of abortion zeroes out any potential growth and any actual growth?

    Do you expect that you can cogently imply “complexity” into that, as if it’s such a complicated concept? It isn’t complex at all. You’ve cancelled out any meaning, any potential meaning, any growth, any potential growth, any actual reality of anything having to do with life because abortion sets your starting point at zero chance of life. Having nothing to start with can bring no complexity. Zero generates zero- in complexity or in simplicity.

    You don’t see this?
    Can we escape the verbose word buffets and just stick to a system of thought that flows from one solid rectangle of an idea down to another, without dashed lines or erroneous assumptions? Leap frog us along or we’ll never even understand your stance, which serves no one and nothing.

    Also, for another point of argument, see below where you said:

    I have always strongly been morally opposed to the exploitation of women.

    So your premise here is: Exploitation of women is morally wrong.

    That's a premise in 6 words. No need for a huge word buffet.

    If that's your premise, how do you support abortion? Your own admission is that exploiting women is wrong, yet abortion exploits the woman when she is pressured into obtaining the abortion. True or false? No complexity needed.

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  91. "participate equally in society? Equal pay for equal work regardless of whether a woman chooses to have children? Nope. Mandatory pregnancy leave and child care for female students and workers? Nah. Strict anti-discrimination laws in hiring practices? Sorry. What is essential for women’s equality, it turns out, is that they are able to end their pregnancies when those pregnancies constitute a burden on their economic and social interests."

    I agree with this wholeheartedly, do you? do other conservatives? If the profile movement made an additional focus on these issues and pushed the idea that a pregnancy SHOULD NOT be a burden on your social and economic interests, I believe they could win the whole thing. Is that something you believe pro-lifers could whole heartedly endorse?

    CS

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  92. It's something we ALREADY DO endorse, CS. Check out New Wave Feminists, Secular Pro-Life, Feminists Against Nonviolent Choices, etc.

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  93. >>>Please answer directly (without any further charges against Catholics or people of any other beliefs). Too few of us are interested in obfuscations or sudden/marked tangential deviations from any particular topic under focused discussion on this blog.<<<

    My intent was not to attack Catholicism as a whole, but to attack the IDEA that the Catholic Church's doctrines are impossible to be wrong occasionally. The reason I did so is because, while we may discuss with science and logic, at the core of any one of your beliefs will be the assurance that you are correct BECAUSE the Catholic Church says you are correct. How can I argue against God, if that's where you say your beliefs on contraception and abortion come from? To some degree, I feel that you accept blindly what the Catholic Church degrees as doctrine, and thus there is no argument to be had. We may argue, but the end conclusion for you is a done deal.

    This is what I meant by saying that in order to truly have a discussion on such moral matters as this, both sides have to be willing to be wrong on at least some of their arguments and premises. I speak from personal experience. If someone is dead set in their ways, stubborn in their opinion, all an argument is is just blowing smoke, no matter how "rational" both sides appear to be. We humans are not built for logic, and we tend to defend our deeply held beliefs to the bitter end. Science confirms this confirmation bias. After 30, our fundamental beliefs become solidified and nothing short of a cataclysmic personal event can change them, for most people. Being willing to be wrong doesn't mean you MUST be wrong on a subject, or that anyone will "win" the argument. It is simply a certain level of open-mindedness that is necessary to true dialogue.

    So, that being said, before we go on, let me pose a simple question: do you agree that, no matter what happens here, you will continue to believe that abortion and contraception is wrong because the Catholic Church's official position is that it's wrong? Another way of thinking of it would be this: if the Pope made a statement tomorrow that abortion and contraception are morally okay, would you change your mind immediately, or would you question his statement even a little bit, wanting to know his reasons for saying that? If you disagreed with his reasoning, would you claim the Pope must be corrupted in some way and dissent with the decision?

    The point of the question is for you (Leila) to reflect on whether you truly have ultimate faith in the Catholic Church, no matter where they go on policy, or where you base your moral framework on the logic BEHIND the Catholic Church's decisions. They are not the same things, I believe, and while I will certainly avoid religious arguments after this post, it is somewhat necessary for me to know this so that I know how to approach the subject.

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  94. John, check out SecularProLife.org. Abortion is a human rights issue, not solely a religious issue. I don't believe abortion is wrong because the Church says so. It's because the secular reasons to oppose abortion prove that the Church has been right all along in Her opposition to abortion (even before science demonstrated the humanity of the unborn from conception).

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  95. John, first, I have to stress to you that this conversation is not about changing our minds. It's about clarity. I wrote about that in my "Please Read First" above, namely:


    You should know up front that I do not dialogue in order to reach "consensus." Some issues can't be reconciled. I dialogue so that we can have clarity about what each of us believes, which facilitates understanding but not necessarily agreement. It also allows readers to see both sides presented, and from there they can form their own opinions. This blog is for the lurkers as much as for anyone.

    I really, sincerely mean that. You will not change my mind, of course, but your lucid and logical arguments will be read by many lurkers who enjoy these discussions. I don't expect that I will change your mind either, but although I'd love it, that's not my primary point in dialogue.

    You said:

    "We humans are not built for logic"

    I simply could not disagree more. I believe that humans are by nature, truth-seekers. Do most humans (especially 21st century western first-world humans) become lazy? Become "feelings-based"? Become complacent and conform to the relativist society around them? Yes, sadly. But at base, we are truth-seekers and always have been. The Catholic Church believes in REASON. Reason is why we founded the university system. Reason is why we originated hospitals. Reason is so much a part of of patrimony that St. John Paul II has said famously that the human spirit rises to God on the two wings of faith and reason. They do not contradict one another. That is why we can venture into "reason" without discussion religion and it will lead us to the same spot. Truth.

    Okay, as far as your question about if the pope were to (2,000 years later) suddenly reverse the moral law.... Well, it's an impossibility (and we have 20 centuries of a consistent moral law to back that up, in addition to what Christ taught us about Truth and His assurances that we would not be wandering orphans). But if the Pope started to officially teach that murder, rape, abortion, contraception, theft, etc... (any one or all of them) were a moral good instead of a moral evil, then either he is an anti-pope, or the Church has been a lie all along. I'm willing to take my chances that the latter is not true, since the logic and reason of the moral law is an incredibly consistent tapestry that hangs together so beautifully, so logically.

    So, I hope that answers your question, and now let's leave Catholicism aside and if you can answer some of our very specific and reasonable questions on abortion? Thanks! I appreciate you hanging in here with us!

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  96. The reason I did so is because, while we may discuss with science and logic, at the core of any one of your beliefs will be the assurance that you are correct BECAUSE the Catholic Church says you are correct.

    No. We don't reason from the Church. We reason up to the Church. We don't gather the details from the Church teachings and say, "Yes, this is true because the Church is correct, and is our correct starting point." No. We gather the details from science and say, "Yes, these line up in harmony. Perfect."

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  97. PS: Forgive my typos, ack!! And, here are some of my previous posts that might help you understand the premise of Catholicism better:

    http://www.catholicstand.com/are-you-waiting-for-the-church-to-change-her-teachings/

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/04/and-papacy-remains.html

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/07/truth-exclusive-catholics-arrogant.html

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-myth-of-arrogant-church.html

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/11/pope-is-not-as-powerful-as-you-think.html

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2012/03/what-i-never-learned-part-vii-authority.html

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  98. Nubby, yes, thank you! John, now I hope we can finally have this dialogue that we have tried to get to. Let's do it for the lurkers. Let's stay focused on specific, logical, reasonable questions about the issue of abortion and why you support it. Make your case!

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  99. We humans are not built for logic,

    Sure we are. Don't you agree that we have the capacity to reason?
    We have reason as a mental capacity.
    Logic is an operation of that capacity, of that reasoning ability.

    It's what separates us from animals and plants, and it's what gives us the capability to have both concrete and abstract ideas. It's the capacity that allows us to reason down any avenue we wish to go; and the fact that we possess reason itself is actually a proof of God if you're familiar with some philosophy.

    It's not that we're being stubborn Catholics, John. We're fine with learning and being corrected, but so far, you are assuming too much and it is not we who are incorrect.

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  100. The reason fetal surgeons administer anesthetic and pain medications to gestating children when they operate on them in utero:

    www.lifenews.com/2015/05/18/medical-expert-confirms-unborn-children-feel-excruciating-pain-during-abortions/

    And still, so many pro "choicers" continue to remain/play dumb about the inhuman barbarism that abortion so often is.

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  101. AMEN, TIA, AMEN!! I completely agree with Tia's criticism of the personal and nasty attacks on the Obama family. Absolutely terrible to read. And the judgments on how they parent! The vitriol and hatred toward Obama is really just stunning. Hate the belief, I get that. But the person, too? Wow. this type of attack is simply not something that furthers the self-congratulatory "logic" many on this blog are so proud of. I also read the link about Obama's mother and there is very little there to support the scathing label attached to her in the original post, Leila. Look at what incredible work she did for poor women in Indonesia? She wasn't setting up abortion clinics, for heaven's sakes!
    And as to the ACA, once again, there are only two things you and Nubby care about . . . abortion and religious liberty. Universal health care for all is consistent with Catholic teaching and indeed the US Bishops have argued for it for years. With all the nasty and hateful rhetoric on here about Obama "shoving" his program through and suing nuns and all the other terrible things he has supposedly done, where do you and Nubby post about how you believe we meet the Pope's mandate of health care for all? What candidate has the answer? Are you working on it or helping find solutions? It is posts like these that are very depressing to me and not in keeping with the lively and respectful dialog that I thought was the hallmark of the blog. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Your house, your blog, your living room. I get it. It's just that with this kind of post you will get less and less people who disagree with you on issues to even bother. Why would Tia even bother again?

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  102. Hi Pro-ACA! With your moniker, I know that Obamacare is the thing you most champion, so it's not surprising that you are very defensive of this man and his biggest "accomplishment" (that even our US bishops opposed for it's evil elements). I said in the OP that I actually am sympathetic to Obama for his upbringing, and I feel sorry for him to the extent that he was so indoctrinated in the radical feminist/leftist/secular/socialist worldview (sorry, you read the link about his mother and did not get that? Uhhhh, it said all that explicitly, as did Obama himself. Explicitly. So, I'm confused?).

    The Catholic Church (and I am Catholic before I am American) says that abortion and religious liberty are non-negotiables. Health care policy falls below those in the hierarchy of goods. Heck, health care policy details are not even mandated by the Church.... we are free to disagree and discuss the best or worst way to implement health care policies, and the US bishops have been clear that Obamacare is NOT acceptable. So, yes, I won't apologize for being ANTI-ACA, and I won't apologize for putting abortion and religious liberty on the top of what is important to Catholics and the Church.

    By the way, no candidate has "the answer" to health care. We do not have and will never have a Utopia on earth. That is what Obama's mom wanted to bring about, as all secularists are striving for. We know that there is no utopia, no perfection in this fallen world.

    Sorry, not quite getting your anger? Where am I being an unfaithful or unbalanced Catholic when it comes to public policy issues or morality?

    God bless Obama and his family. I pray that they will come to the Truth. I want them in Heaven! I want them to know the peace and joy of the Faith! I guess that makes me awful and arrogant. Ah, well....

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  103. Hate the belief, I get that. But the person, too?

    Pinpoint exactly when I said that I “hate” him, Pro ACA. Be very clear. Or be decent here and retract that junk and consider keeping your maladjusted opinions to yourself. It makes you look bad when you try to make me look bad by claiming I said something which I never said.

    If you care to RE- read my comments accurately, you'll see that I actually opined on the faults of his policy-making and his Lone Ranger above-the-law tactics as far as the ACA goes along with other freedoms of every citizen that have been diminished. Never once said “I hate him”. No. You don't see that?

    You don’t see Obama’s faulty policy making or leadership? Or you just like to complain when you get a whiff of Obama criticism? Is his policy making above reproach? His public stance against life? The lot of it? Since when? He is a public figure.

    To your charge that I “only care about two things- abortion and religious liberty", I’d say: False. However, those two topics come up, so we comment. And even if those were "just the two things", so what? You don't see these as majorly important for our nation or our times? What exactly are you ranking when you list, “important things for our nation” and then why does he get a stellar PR, why is he doing such a bang-up job in your estimation?

    To your overly emotional point on health care, of course people need it, but jamming ONE plan through Congress (while earmarking taxpayer monies to do it!! hello) does what, ProACA? It limits access for patients, it hikes the cost, and it literally drives fines and penalties for people who don't have this health care. Do you get it now? Do you want to be fined or penalized, ProACA? Your handle (ProACA) shows me that you must be okay with fines, penalties, and ONE option healthcare which is driving patient volume up and quality of care down. You're okay with this? Why? It’s a very uncatholic plan.

    As to the rest of your emotionally charged rant about politics, I don't bank on politics nor politicians to save the country. I like Fiorina but she won't get anywhere.

    How about the next time you'd like to dialogue with me or comment about me, you actually stick to what I have said and not just blow emotional smoke? Now, that would be charitable and reasonable.

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  104. Why again, then, is he unmanly? Because he identified his mother as a secular humanist? Because he believes in abortion rights? Or is it because he is slight of build and thin, and because his wife is extremely strong-willed? And so is George H.W. Bush manly? He admitted he would be proud of his granddaughter if she had an abortion. His wife was openly pro-choice. Was Barbara Bush a radical feminist? George HW Bush ultimately admitted he was not pro-life. So, was he unmanly?

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  105. "Or is it because he is slight of build and thin, and because his wife is extremely strong-willed?"

    This describes my own dear husband! A very manly man who turns 50 today! Happy birthday, honey! He used to be a pro-choice secular leftist. Now, he's embraced his God-given manhood.

    Did you see the video from Into the Breach? It's from Bishop Olmsted, who is a very slight and thin man, very humble. Not "macho". One of the manliest men I know!

    Here is a gauge of what is manly:

    http://www.catholicsun.org/2016/01/05/into-the-breach-a-call-to-battle-video/

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  106. And as to the ACA, many people who did not have coverage before now have it, and the rest of us (those with the ability to pay) pay more. THAT is what is Catholic about it. I am very much an economic liberal. I believe the tax system should be even more progressive than it already is. People who need health care will go to hospitals and get the care in an emergency, and we all pay anyway. We pay because health care costs more to cover the cost of those who do not pay. But the ACA is trying to fix that. It is far from perfect, but it is very much a step in the right direction. I care about the poor and marginalized, I really do. And our Church teaches that health care is a basic human right. People need to have the ability to seek health care before they are in a crisis.

    I did not say that you and Nubby only care about two things generally. I said - and if you read it again you will see that - I said, that as far as the ACA is concerned, all you care about is those two things. And this blog has consistently confirmed that. Nothing trumps religious liberty. That's how I read your posts and Nubby's posts. The ACA does some very important things, and if the focus is solely on the fact that contraceptives are covered, then it is difficult to have a real policy debate. And your flippant statement that health care policy is not as important to the Church is quite offensive. Health care is a basic human right, and that is what our Church teaches. But I get it now, Leila. We can't have a utopia on health care for all or enough food for all. But you are working for a utopia of no artificial contraception, which is apparently far more important than a basic human right of health care for all. I don't agree with you, Leila, and I don't think you are honest with yourself about it.

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  107. But if you want me to get very specific (although hopefully you will watch Bishop Olmsted's video -- it's very well-done):

    Real men protect the weakest among us. Real men do not stand by and support child killing. Real men don't stand down on important issues of life and liberty because their wives and mothers tell them to can it because they don't have a uterus or a vagina (do you deny that this is the message -- the EXPLICIT message of radical feminism? Which Obama says he is, by the way -- a feminist and a proud one). Real men defend their important role as husband and father and defend and protect the nature of mothers and wives and nature of the family and marriage. Real men don't cheer on gender ambiguity and fluidity, and they don't obliterate marriage by making it genderless (as if that were even possible except in our delusions). Real men do not proclaim that some of the best and most courageous women are MEN (Bruce Jenner). Real men are not confused about the biological differences between men and women. They get that there is a difference, and therefore they respect women and womanhood and men and manhood. To blend the sexes into a blur means that motherhood and fatherhood do not matter and are dispensable. To blend the sexes into a blur means that marriage is now meaningless, which makes God's design for family meaningless. How is this manly? How is any of this manly? Help me out.

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  108. "And as to the ACA, many people who did not have coverage before now have it, and the rest of us (those with the ability to pay) pay more."

    Simply "pay more"? You mean, now they cannot afford the high deductibles and premiums for much less coverage, after Obama lied about keeping what we like. I have heard friends personally in DESPAIR about their finances now that they are victims of Obamacare. Including members of my own family, and including good and generous Catholics. I even know a die-hard liberal secular friend who is in disbelief of how much she has to pay for bad coverage. She is stunned. (I was like... um, we all knew this? Why didn't you?) Bad, bad, bad..... And the people who didn't have any coverage before (like the young and healthy) did not WANT it. I live in a border state with many undocumented people. They had health care! Always! No one was lying in the street, trust me. What we have now is a disaster and once again, it hits middle class families the hardest, as the poor and the rich will always be taken care of. smh.

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    1. THANK YOU, Leila! ON POINT!

      This plan is murdering the wallets of millions of people - middle class!- and destroying options for business owners everywhere.

      Delete
    2. But it makes people "feel good", because it appears as if we have "done something". Sigh....

      Delete
  109. "But you are working for a utopia of no artificial contraception, which is apparently far more important than a basic human right of health care for all."

    Sorry, where am I doing that in public policy? Back it up. What have I done to make sure that there is no contraception in America for anyone? What restrictions have I put on people regarding access to contraception? I don't know about you, but we have a Walgreens on every corner. And in every one of those is copious contraception. Copious. Always has been, even before Obamacare. Cheap and copious. Back it up, back up your charge, please. It's only fair.

    And as for ACA, even our far-from-politically-conservative American bishops are AGAINST it. So, why are you for it?

    And why aren't you concerned when our pope singled out America (at the time of the ACA) as having a GRAVE (quote!) threat to religious freedom? In what are you grounded?

    And where do you stand not only on abortion, contraception, ACA, but also on the Catholic principle of subsidiarity?

    I'm not getting why we are the target of the accusations -- as if we are standing against the Church. I don't think we are the ones ignoring the Church when it comes to issues in the public square.

    But really, please, back it up. What you said. Thanks!

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  110. The point of the ACA was for the uninsured to get coverage. Well, pray-tell, how does that happen unless someone who has it pays more? And now we're not allowed to select the doctors and the plans we even want? And the extra fun drizzle on top is that we get fined and penalized if we don't have this particular coverage... .Whateven what? And this is "catholic"?? I think not.

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  111. Ah, got it. A man is "unmanly" if he is pro-choice. Then, wow, there are a whole lot of them, including Republican presidents. This all started with you demonizing Obama. THAT is the problem here. I read Bishop Olmstead's material. There is nothing unmanly about Obama or your husband or my husband (also very slight of build and married to an extremely strong-willed, full time working professional woman). I'm extremely tired of you blaming all of America's ills on Obama. There is not a crisis in manhood because of Obama. Indeed, there is no crisis in manhood at all. (I think even Nubby agrees with me on that one).

    I LAUGHED OUT LOUD about your comment on the USCCB! Ha!! Oh, my social justice Catholics (which include me) would hardly agree with you on that one! No . . . artificial contraception is all that matters to our USCCB as far as health care goes. Just that. That's it. There was ZERO policy debate because of that issue alone. No way - no how - were the bishops going to engage to try to work toward universal health care (which they have been demanding for decades), because of that issue.
    As far as health coverage for the poor, you are not accurate Leila in your rendition of the outcome of the ACA and its impact. There are many people that do not qualify for Medicaid and yet fall within the working poor category without the ability to pay for health care under our old system. They have it now under the ACA. Maybe there are none in your family? But the number of people now covered is significant. And I find it interesting that you are perfectly fine with "the young" not having health care. Until they get cancer. Or get injured badly from falling or whatever. Then they need health care and we all pay. I have a right to criticize your posts on this blog if I think they are insensitive and accusatory and dehumanizing, as yours was. I am happy to leave the blog, as you have asked others to do. But your portrayal of Obama and his mother and father were inappropriate. Plain and simple.

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  112. ProACA-
    She's not blaming all of America's ills on Obama. She's drawing a comparison.

    The bottom line is that the people that pay into the system have to now pay MORE to pay for the people that don't have coverage. That's called socialism. Hey, how about instead of forcing people to pay the federal government-- who has NOT had any program that has been fiscally responsible-- let's ask why the government has not given incentive to other organizations to help those people! Let's get help to those who need it on the local level. Why. Wouldn't. The. Government. Do. That? Simple political question. The solution is NOT to send more money to Washington.

    There is not a crisis in manhood because of Obama. Indeed, there is no crisis in manhood at all. (I think even Nubby agrees with me on that one).

    Leila never said Obama is caused a crisis-- good grief. She said her idea of an unmanly man is characterized by one who is like Obama. It's a comparison. And I think actually there is a crisis of manhood in the country. Not sure why you think I don't. Never said that.

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  113. Pro ACA, Do you think men who champion abortion are manly?

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  114. Pro-ACA, I never asked you to leave this blog. I am always glad to have you here. But I will challenge you, yes. That's fair.

    What do you understand as "social justice", from a Catholic foundation? I'm interested in how you see it.

    Also, why would you laugh out loud? Not sure what that was about. Sincerely.

    What is manhood, in your opinion? Clearly, you think Obama is a very good and strong example of manhood. I honestly am curious why you think someone who champions so many fundamentally immoral things is a good example of what a man should be? Thanks.

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  115. No . . . artificial contraception is all that matters to our USCCB as far as health care goes. Just that. That's it. There was ZERO policy debate because of that issue alone.

    That's right! Because for Catholic bishops mortal sin (abortion/contraception) and infringement on religious freedom are a deal-breaker on any legislation or policy. You can surely understand that, right? As a Catholic, you can surely understand the hierarchy of goods?

    "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?"

    I wish we all kept these words of our Lord on our hearts. Lord, have mercy.

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  116. Thank you Pro ACA. It absolutely boggles my mind that pro-life Catholics do not think every single citizen in the United States should have health insurance and be willing to help pay for people that aren't in the position to take care of themselves. Yeah, there are lots of lazy people who we have to support but it's worth it to support the others that need it.

    I'm happy to pay for people to have access to health care. If they use it get the pill that's on them. Not me. Saying you can't support almost everyone having insurance because of birth control is an EXCUSE to be selfish.

    Leila, just admit that there's nothing that Barack and Michelle Obama can do that is good in your eyes.It's no secret. The hate comes through loud and clear. You are big on not lying so own it. It's so dishonest to pussyfoot around about it and act so sweetness and light when you are called out for it.

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  117. It absolutely boggles my mind that pro-life Catholics do not think every single citizen in the United States should have health insurance and be willing to help pay for people that aren't in the position to take care of themselves.

    Holy strawman argument, Batman!

    Pro-life Catholics absolutely believe that affordable health care is important, as is care for the destitute. (We started the hospital system!) The difference is that we don't see the ACA as the best solution for either of those problems.

    But religious freedom is EQUALLY important. You should ask yourself why Obama is so hellbent on forcing nuns who take care of the elderly to pay for contraception. (Google "Little Sisters of the Poor".)

    And then there's Obama's nearly gleeful pride in announcing that he would encourage his daughter to kill his (hypothetical) grandchild. It's sick, and wrong. And the opposite of how a father or (hypothetical) grandfather should act.

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  118. Catholics do not think every single citizen in the United States should have health insurance and be willing to help pay for people that aren't in the position to take care of themselves.

    ONE MORE TIME: No pro-life Catholic on here thinks people should be without healthcare. Hello, and mark this down so there’s no screw up for your next comment.

    Sending money to Washington so that the lovely incapable and inept Federal Government can "fix" the healthcare system by stealing tax payer money (does this not register with you Obama supporters? Or is okay because he's a swell dude and it's not 'loving' to criticize him?) to mandate (mandate! since when is this okay by the people, for the people?) a one-option healthcare system, while initiating fines and penalties on people that don't pay into it or have it does not fix the problem.
    Understand and agree?

    Why isn't the Federal Government - which is not supposed to be a hand-out gimme of our own tax money!- supporting or giving incentive to LOCAL organizations to get the health care fixed.

    Name one thing the government has ever run responsibly. One department, just give me one. Not the department of Education. Joke. Not the useless dept of agriculture. Not even the stupid Post Office. The Post Office, people. Why are stamp prices continuously going up? Because the Fed Govt cannot run a dang thing, it cannot even break even. But it sure is happy to keep taking your money to screw everything up. And, hey, you're on board with that. Why do you think that way?

    How is this illegal and inept enterprise a-ok with you Catholics who supposedly care about the 'least of these'? How is this possibly coherent, compassionate, morally correct, or freedom-sustaining? What exactly are you all looking at? How is your conclusion so lost in the warm hugs you want to give this man who has done absolutely zero to help the least of these (middle class!)?

    The man is not above reproach, and last I checked, everyone is free to give an opinion.

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  119. LizaMoore and Pro-ACA, it would be so, so refreshing if you just admitted that you stand in opposition to your own bishops and the Church on the issue of Obamacare. Just own it. You stand in opposition to your own bishops and your Church.

    Own. it.

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  120. If only we could one day have a discussion without those on the left coming in with the ultimate argument in their arsenal: "You hate! You hate! You hate!"

    So tiring. So emotional. So unreasonable. Have a discussion. Answer a question. Stop emoting. Emotions do not make good public policy, and "feeling good" about Obamacare does not do anything to make sure people have healthcare. Ask the millions who have been devastated by that unworkable law that makes you "feel good" about doing.... pretty much nothing but make a big fat mess.

    And when I hear a you speak of subsidiarity, I will know that you really are social justice Catholics. Until then, I'd ask you to keep reading and learning what your Church teaches. Christ's Church.

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  121. One last thought. I think the both of you mentioned you are "happy" to pay more taxes so that other people can get Obamacare. Here's the test of integrity on that: every time you file your taxes there's a place where you can make a donation. If you are truly happy to pay more, then I'm sure you have or will happily donate more of your money when you do your taxes. If you have already made a habit of this, then I humbly admit you are standing by your convictions. If not, I hope you will make a sizable contribution on your tax form, with a voluntary donation to the IRS, in the coming weeks. To put your money where your mouth is. (Instead of putting everybody else's money there.)

    But seriously, do you *donate* happily to the IRS when prompted on your tax return?

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  122. LizaMoore, its nots that Barack and Michelle can do no good. Its that their clear, unmitigated stance on abortion is the issue. In that area they can't and won't. Its mind-boggling that people committed to social justice think destroying life at its inception for convenience can also be committed to caring for anything on a non-superficial level. Speaking of the politicians, not you and PRoACA btw.

    Barack Obama tightened gun control AND ITS ABOUT TIME. But its too little... and done only when his electability wasn't at stace. Moral cowardice. Still, I totally support his measures and I also support the USCCB. Hillary Clinton wants to provide better maternity leave coverage as does Bernie Sanders. Man, that is AWESOME! But their total committment to abortion rights is stronger than their voice on this issue so I don't totally trust that they'll follow through.

    The ACA covers every type of contraceptive. Those of us who need hormones to keep a pregnancy or to balance hormones or other female women's health issues are paying even MORE. They CLING to a false notion of women's health and everyone else be damned. You can get on a plan if you have cancer but if you work and are paying for your insurance you are paying MORE. My husband is an insurance executive and even he admits that covering every type of contraception with absolutely NO co pay is burdening the system. I'm gettting off on a tangent. Anyways, Barack, Michelle, Hillary, Bernie.... they can do right but they sacrifice it on the altar of women's 'health' bullies. That is weak. And they stick it to nuns like the Little Sisters of the Poor to make them pay. That is hateful.

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  123. Thanks, Monica! Although we don't agree on gun control policy, you are totally consistent in your faith to come to your own conclusions about it, and that is fine! You "get" that we may disagree there, but NOT on the issues of abortion, gay "marriage" and contraception. I think too many "social justice" Catholics don't realize that "social" refers to human relationships, obligations, connections -- which start with the first society: the family. Husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, children. They skip this part as if it can be skipped, and yet it's foundational. None of the other problems they seek to fix can be fixed without the foundational truths acknowledged and reverenced.

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  124. Speaking of men being trained out of manhood, I love what Tony Esolen says here:


    I've been wondering about the current rash of small boys who are persuaded that they really are girls, inside. I didn't know any such when I was a kid -- I mean boys who fantasized about being girls. I knew plenty of boys who underwent rough times, and I knew some who were rejected by other boys; but they tended to react to the rejection by pitching themselves into more boyish endeavors, and not to want to join the Girl Scouts. Of course, when I grew up, the Divorce Rage was just beginning, and kids my age were born within wedlock, and streets were crawling with kids, so that even if this or that kid on the block was a thug or a creep, there were plenty who weren't, and you could play with them instead.

    What do these boys suffer that I never knew? Fatherlessness, for one. Many of them don't have any brothers, either, or boy-cousins nearby. What else, though? Such wants may make you lonely, but they wouldn't make you want to pretend that you were a girl.

    I am guessing that they now suffer a relentless barrage of contempt and humiliation cast upon their sex. They aren't reading stories of boyish adventure, or manly heroism, or chivalry; they aren't loved for being boys. They are, at best, tolerated for being boys. Somebody out there is making it attractive to them to belong to the 'good' sex, so that it appears a finer and safer thing to be half a girl than a whole boy, if not even the boys care for them. Somebody is messing with their heads and cutting their hearts right out.

    Fathers and mothers, you know what I am talking about here, by contrast with the healthy reverse. When you have a son, if you are healthy and not diseased in the heart, you make a fuss over his boyishness; you delight in what Marilynne Robinson happily calls 'skinny boy strength.' You call him 'little man,' you admire the muscles, you encourage him, you build him up, you put Tom Sawyer before his eyes, and Jim Hawkins, and Penrod Schofield, and Mowgli, and Captain Blood. You make him happy in what he is.

    Somebody out there has been making these boys miserable in what they are. Better not hang around millstones, whoever you may be, or you may be finding the millstones hanging around you.



    Again, this reminds me of that feminist blogger who proudly reported that she scolded her six-year-old son for playing the hero and rescuing a maiden in distress. Heartbreaking! What are people thinking?

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  125. A reader emailed me that she could not comment here, so she asked me to post this:

    "My brother is a butcher. He and his wife WERE Obama supporters. After ACA,his premiums doubled, his deductible doubled, and his coverage is way less. Great job at helping the working poor right there! He now admits that he was duped."

    I can confirm that my college roomie, a Seattle wife and mom who leans very far left on economic issues and several social issues, is also ANGRY about Obamacare. Her financial situation has changed for the (much) worse because of it and she told me as recently as yesterday that they are liars and the whole thing needs to be repealed. I reminded her that this failure was utterly predicted. No one cared to listen because it made us "feel good". Bleh.

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  126. Here's something I saw today from Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen that really hit home about all the talk today about "social justice Catholics":

    “What our Lord said to Judas, he says to the world today: You seemingly are very interested in social justice. Why are you not concerned about individual justice? You love your neighbor; why do you not love God? This is the attitude of the world today. We have swung away from a period in which we were concerned with individual sanctification to the neglect of the social order. Now we have gone to the extreme of being immersed with social justice, civil rights, and so forth, and we are not the least bit concerned about individual justice and the duty of paying honor and glory to God. If you march with a banner, if you protest, then your individual life may be impure, alcoholic, anything you please. That does not matter. Judas is the patron saint of those who divide that universal law of God: Love God and love neighbor." - Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

    He is so right! When we love our neighbor but do not put God and obedience to Him first, then do we really love our neighbor? After all, we only love our neighbor BECAUSE we love God. If we don't, then we are not Christians. God is primary. First, we honor Him and live by his laws and the moral law and the laws of His Church. If we skirt those (or even mock them, or mock those who work on personal holiness) and just skip to "loving neighbor" with social justice programs, then we have it exactly backwards. The Ten Commandments speak first of our obligation to God, and then our obligation to our neighbors. And Jesus, when he distills them down, also puts them in that order.

    Just food for thought.

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  127. John responded last night, but on the wrong post (I do that sometimes; it's easy to do), so if you want to read his latest comment response, and then Nubby's response, please continue reading at this link:


    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2016/01/all-you-need-to-know-about-abortion.html

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  128. feminist blogger who proudly reported that she scolded her six-year-old son for playing the hero and rescuing a maiden in distress.

    This is reprehensible because it’s an even deeper lesson she’s instilling. She’s basically teaching her son to walk right by any type of situation that requires helpful intervention, whether it’s a random neighbor on the roadside who needs help, or a maiden in distress. He’s taught to pass by. He wouldn’t mature into a man who offered to shovel the driveway for his widowed neighbor either, because he was taught that was wrong.

    What was her reasoning for this? That “women don’t need rescuing”? Um, sometimes we do. And thank God for men that do the rescuing. If I’m in a fire, I want to see a fireMAN come through that door to save me, to carry me out, if need be (no woman could do this- we lack the arm strength, I don’t care how strong your female muscles are, I have those, too), thank you very much.

    Why would people not encourage goodness in their kids, no matter what form it takes- whether it’s how men behave towards women or toward neighbor in general?

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  129. Hi everyone. Long time no post, I know, but I thought I'd answer a few questions about the original abortion debate in my (very limited) spare time. I hate making excuses, so I won't. There's not a good reason that I haven't answered you yet: I simply didn't have the energy to gleefully engage in a debate on such a monumental topic with such an opposing audience with the gigs, concerts, recitals, tests, lessons, and everything else that goes along with a Master's degree in music. But without further ado:

    The first thing I wanted to respond to is a complaint that said I was being insensitive to those who indeed DO mourn their lost children whom they lost on miscarriages. My assertion was that (loosely paraphrased) "no one mourns the 4/5ths of all zygotes that die within 12 days of conception through natural abortion." A few people mentioned that this was not the case, and that they mourned their lost children very woefully.

    I apologize for seemingly trivializing the deaths of your unborn children. That wasn't my intention at all, and I can't even begin to imagine what that would be like for an expectant mother. However, those of you who brought up that complaint missed the point: of the miscarriages you have had, there were 4 other zygotes that ended in death that you simply weren't aware of (as they die so quickly, you still get your period). And for every healthy child, there were also 4 other "children" that died within 12 days of conception. So my point remains: no one mourns those 4/5 zygotes because they simply aren't aware they existed! Therefore, it is an inconsistent argument to say that unique DNA is a sufficient reason to not have an abortion.

    Another point: a common pro-life argument is that the human is "ensouled," at the point of conception. However, there are zygotes that form into blastocytes that simply do not grow the inner mass of cells that form the fetus, and that only form the placenta. If the soul truly comes into being at the point of conception, then do they "die" when this condition occurs? I suggest that it is more consistent to say that the "soul" of a human is implanted at some point after conception (which isn't even a set point in time).

    One more point: chimerism throws a wrench into the common pro-life argument that it is wrong to destroy a unique set of human DNA, because once again, nature does just that. Chimerism, if you don't want to Google it, is the condition in which a single human contains multiple sets of unique DNA. Clearly, this indicates that DNA is less of an indicator of "ensoulment," personhood, or just humanity than the state of consciousness itself. each individual set of DNA COULD have grown into a single person, but that chance was robbed by the combined chimera! What are we to say of that, morally?

    Therefore, if one set of DNA is no more special than another, then it can't be considered evil to destroy any particular set of DNA, as they are all basically equivalent. If one makes the argument that you could be killing a genius who cures cancer, who is to say that the MOTHER or FATHER might not cure cancer if they didn't have to raise a child?

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  130. no one mourns those 4/5 zygotes because they simply aren't aware they existed! Therefore, it is an inconsistent argument to say that unique DNA is a sufficient reason to not have an abortion.

    Once again, SO WHAT? Our human rights are not dependent upon how many people notice we exist or mourn our loss.

    Human rights are dependent upon one thing, and one thing only: existing as a human being. If you are a human being, and you exist, you should have human rights. Human rights are the reason abortion is wrong, because every human being has the right to life.

    Another point: a common pro-life argument is that the human is "ensouled," at the point of conception.

    Uh, no. This is not a common pro-life argument. In fact, it is irrelevant to the subject at hand. Ensoulment is a religious issue, not a scientific one. Abortion is a human right issue, not (solely) a religious one. See http://www.secularprolife.org.

    chimerism - again irrelevant. We're talking about intentional killing here, not natural death. By your logic, it should be acceptable to intentionally kill senior citizens since some die natural deaths of old age. Or, by your logic, we should be able to kill infants since some die of SIDS. The fact that some human beings die of natural causes in no way justifies intentionally killing other human beings in the same stage of development.

    If one makes the argument that you could be killing a genius who cures cancer, who is to say that the MOTHER or FATHER might not cure cancer if they didn't have to raise a child?

    It's a good thing that no one is making that argument, then.

    Care to address actual arguments instead of straw men, John?

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  131. It's not a straw man if you have observed people making that argument... Perhaps you haven't, but the mere fact that you haven't observed anyone making the argument doesn't make it a straw man. Also, observing that there are far more natural abortions (yes, abortion, as in the uterus rejects the zygote) than voluntary ones SHOULD give pause to the religious opponent of abortion, if only because it seems so bizarre for the Christian God to design women in such a way if life is so sacred.

    Anyways, your premise and argument, as I understand it, is that:

    1) all humans have the right to live
    2) a human is a human immediately when its unique DNA is combined inside a zygote.
    3) Therefore, abortion is killing a human, which violates its rights.

    I don't disagree! There's nothing to argue about that, and in fact there is nothing ANYONE can argue about that conclusion. Your worldview makes perfect sense. However, I think your premise is flawed.

    1) all humans have the right to live, until they do something that nullifies that right. It is a conditional statement. If I attempt to kill you, you no longer respect my inherent right to live and would feel justified if, in trying to repel my attacks, you ended up killing me in return. Also, "natural law" justifies the death penalty currently, though I know there are those who disagree, so that is also a challenge to the idea that ALL humans have the right to live.

    Also, what about when a pregnancy might kill the mother? Both she and the fetus have the right to live, but inevitably, one must choose who's right is more important or prioritized. Jewish theologians consider that in such a case, the child is considered to be an "assailant" against the mother, and so the mother is justified in killing that child in self defense. While this is clearly not a happy occasion or something to be celebrated, does not the mother have an obligation to continue to live so that she can raise her other children, or be her husband's wife, or any number of things? If you make an exception for this scenario, then you can't say that there is a totalitarian right to life no matter what for the fetus.

    If there is an exception, then the question becomes "WHEN does the fetus's right to life become equally important to the mother's, and under what circumstances?" That's an entirely different debate.

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  132. 2) a human is a human from the first moment of conception. I disagree. If I cut off my leg, is that leg a human that deserves human rights? If I donate my kidney to another person, do they have to obtain my permission to die, or else it's murder? Clearly not, and that is because we are defined not by our constituent parts, or even by our DNA, but by our consciousness, which is uniquely human. True, it takes human DNA and human parts to make that consciousness possible, but a human who lacks higher level brain function is dead, for all intents and purposes. Thus, a zygote, if removed from the womb and deprived of the ability to grow into a human, is more akin to my severed leg or a brain-dead human than me. It is simply the blue print for a potential human, the building blocks, but without the womb there are no workers to build the house.

    Would you consider a pile of lumber, scheduled to be built, to be a house, or merely a potential house? If that construction gets cancelled, is that pile of wood still a house? At what point during construction would you say the house is a house, and not an assembled pile of wood?

    You may argue that it is wrongful to destroy even the blueprints of life, but that is a different argument than that the blueprints ARE human.

    As far as the argument that it is wrongful to destroy any unique combination of human DNA, does that mean I can kill my twin without it being considered murder? After all, his genes live in me? Also, consider that, since we can sequence am entire human's genome, in the future it is highly probably that we will be able to simply "print" out zygotes. Even without this technology, it is possible to clone humans already.

    So, is it murder if a mother has an abortion, killing that particular zygote, but reprints (or clones) a zygote with that exact same DNA sequence? It will technically be a twin, but it won't ever know that, and in all likelihood, 99% of its characteristics would be the same as the first zygote.

    It's the same argument as the Star Trek transporter problem: are you YOU when every atom in your body is destroyed, then reassembled later on the exact same configuration? "You" would notice anything, but for a moment, "you" ceased to exist: you died. Would you call this a resurrection?

    Similarly, in the future, with artificial wombs that could replicate the gestation cycle exactly, a cloned zygote could be grown in exactly the same way every time, leading to 99.9999% similarity between clones. If you abort one of these clones, is that murder, when you literally could just grow another?

    I say that if your answer is no, then there's no way to take a hard line on abortion. You can say it's wrong to destroy unique human DNA UNTIL the point when we can clone any fetus, in which case, that's not natural law: that's convenience.

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  133. It's not a straw man if you have observed people making that argument... Perhaps you haven't, but the mere fact that you haven't observed anyone making the argument doesn't make it a straw man.

    I was under the impression that you were countering the arguments that we had actually made (i.e., on Leila's blog), not every single potential argument posed by every single self-identified pro-lifer ever. So, for the sake of brevity, perhaps you could stick to countering arguments that we (Leila, myself, and others in the combox) have actually made?

    Also, observing that there are far more natural abortions (yes, abortion, as in the uterus rejects the zygote) than voluntary ones SHOULD give pause to the religious opponent of abortion, if only because it seems so bizarre for the Christian God to design women in such a way if life is so sacred.

    This statements shows that you fundamentally misunderstand Christianity. For one thing, this ISN'T God's design. God's initial design for human beings, and for the world, did not include death and suffering. Death and suffering was introduced to the world by the fall of man, when Adam and Eve committed original sin. So miscarriage (spontaneous abortion) is actually a PEVERSION of God's original design, but one that He allows to happen since He respects our free will.

    But, again, it's irrelevent as abortion is a human rights issue, not a religious issue. See http://www.secularprolife.org. And once again, the fact that some human beings die natural death (miscarriage, SIDS, old age) does not give us carte blanche to deliberately kill other human beings in the same stage of development.

    1) all humans have the right to live, until they do something that nullifies that right.

    So, your argument is that unborn children deliberately and maliciously seek to kill the mother, and that somehow justifies abortion as a form of self defense? Let me point out the two glaring problems with this argument:

    1. In the embryonic/fetal stage of development, unborn children are incapable of acting as moral agents. They haven't yet developed to that point. Nor have infants or toddlers. So no, their right to life is not "nullified" in any event since they remain innocent victims in any possible scenario.

    2. 99% of abortions (if not more) are not sought because of any possible threat to the life of the mother. So, using your logic, 99% of children who are killed via abortion have not done anything to "nullify" their right to life. Given that fact, do you currently oppose 99% of abortions?

    You're twisting yourself into a pretzel here, but the concept is really quite simple. All human beings have (or should have) EQUAL rights. That includes unborn children. In a scenario where a woman is pregnant and she doesn't want to be pregnant, it's evident that pregnancy is temporary but death is permanent so the right to bodily autonomy does not trump the right to life.

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  134. a human is a human from the first moment of conception. I disagree. If I cut off my leg, is that leg a human that deserves human rights? If I donate my kidney to another person, do they have to obtain my permission to die, or else it's murder?

    A human being is defined as an organism of the species homo sapiens. A severed human leg is not an organism.

    Organ donation is not comparable to pregnancy. For one thing, pregnancy deals with the parental obligations from a parent to a child (e.g., the obligation of parents to provide basic needs for their children). You can read this article for a further treatment of the organ donation vs abortion argument.

    but a human who lacks higher level brain function is dead, for all intents and purposes.

    Actually, this is not true. And unborn children do not "lack" higher level brain functions; they just haven't yet developed them. That's quite different than someone who is, say, in a brain-dead state after an accident or stroke, don't you agree?

    Would you consider a pile of lumber, scheduled to be built, to be a house, or merely a potential house? If that construction gets cancelled, is that pile of wood still a house? At what point during construction would you say the house is a house, and not an assembled pile of wood?

    False analogy. Human beings aren't constructs; they are beings.

    You may argue that it is wrongful to destroy even the blueprints of life, but that is a different argument than that the blueprints ARE human.

    Sperm and ova are the blueprints. Once they have combined, a new, unique, individual human being exists. This is basic biology.

    As far as the argument that it is wrongful to destroy any unique combination of human DNA, does that mean I can kill my twin without it being considered murder? After all, his genes live in me?

    Is your twin brother an individual human organism (a human being)? If so, it is wrong to deliberately kill him.

    I say that if your answer is no, then there's no way to take a hard line on abortion. You can say it's wrong to destroy unique human DNA UNTIL the point when we can clone any fetus, in which case, that's not natural law: that's convenience.

    Strawman. My argument is that it's wrong to deliberately kill another human being. And once your science fiction scenarios become reality (god forbid) science and the courts will have to deal with the bioethical ramifications. But right here and now, unborn children -- human beings -- are being killed by abortion, and that's wrong. All human beings should have the right to life.

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  135. John Romero, JoAnna covered your questions very well, but I want to address a few of them as well.

    First, I want to be very clear: Are you saying that if a human being is unseen, unwanted, unknown to others, then that human being has no human rights and may be killed at will?

    And are you saying that because some human beings die of natural causes, we therefore can kill human beings? Thinking ahead, 100% of us die, so that should mean that we can kill anyone, no? If the fact that we die means we may be killed, that is. And, you may say, "It's the sheer number of embryos that die naturally that give us the green light to kill the others". Well, the sheer number of elderly who die naturally, then, should give us the green light to kill the rest. If not, why not?

    The early unborn human has not had brain function cease, has not lost brain function -- the early unborn human is developing exactly as he or she is supposed to at that age and stage of human development, with the brain function at exactly the level of development that is proper to a human being that age. This gives us the right to kill him or her? How does that follow?

    Finally, the "ensoulment" argument... That makes me think that you actually have not debated with many pro-lifers lately? I have been doing this for 20 years now, and I think I have heard the ensoulment argument come up like five times (or maybe I was just reading Aquinas who discussed it among Catholics in the 13th Century). As JoAnna said, it's hardly a "common" argument used by pro-lifers! You need to talk to pro-lifers far more often. Thankfully, that's what we are here for! :)

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  136. You failed to address the Jewish consideration that a child that might kill the mother is considered an assailant against the mother, and thus an abortion is considered justified self defense. Do you agree or disagree with that line of reasoning? Even if only 1% of abortions are sought for this reason, it is a moral consideration worth looking into.

    If you want to argue without including religion, and are relying on sheer scientific arguments, then I disagree with the premise that all humans have the inherent right to life. If we are simply biological machines, then we have no rights given to us by simply existing. We have the same rights as a rock. The only natural law is what we humans mutually agree upon, but that isn't science: that's common social belief, and is no more relevant to the discussion than religion. So as easily as you dismiss my arguments based on your idea that humans all deserve life, I can just as easily dismiss any arguments you make that are based on "inherent rights" and natural law. Abortion isn't any more right or wrong than murder, charity, death, or life, because scientifically, there is only cause and effect. Not right and wrong.

    However, taking such hard-nosed stances aren't conducive to a real discussion, so I'll work within the structure of what you call "natural law."

    You say that the house analogy is not an applicable analogy. But scientifically, I disagree. An organism is no more than a collection of chemicals that replicates itself. So there is no difference between that and a self assembling, replicating house. I want to hear why you say a human zygote is anything more than a building block. You simply state "a zygote is a human and has human rights," but I have at least defended my reasons for disagreeing with you there.

    Biologically, a zygote is a human cell, yes. But a skin cell is also a human cell. I'm not trying to say that a zygote isn't human to some degree. I'm simply trying to express that a zygote is simply a building block for what WILL be a living, breathing human. A very complicated, self replicating building block, but that's all it is. Saying that a zygote is a human is, to me, akin to saying that a blue print is a house. No! It's the potential for a house. A block of marble is not a work of art. Notes on a staff are not music. A piece of clay on a spinning wheel is not a pot. No, for ALL of these things, we would consider that these are the BUILDING blocks of real objects, but that this is significantly different from the finished product itself!

    The Bible even says "I formed you in the womb." Formed, as in there's a process, from start to finish, building blocks to finished product. Notice the difference between His words here and in Genesis, where He didn't "form," He simply spoke things into existence out of nothing.

    As far as sperm and eggs being the blue prints for an organism, I disagree. If you consider that DNA is the blueprint of life, then you can't consider a sperm cell the blueprint for life any more than you can consider a skin cell the blue print for life. Neither hold the potential, on its own, to make a new and unique human being.

    The zygote fits the bill as the blue print, while the uterus provides the building blocks of growth.

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  137. So my question remains: are blue prints and building blocks a house? Yes, a human zygote constitutes a separate human organism under the terms set by biology. I'm not arguing against that. I'm simply arguing against using that fact to say that a set of DNA is the same as a fully grown human child. That's like saying a single tree is a forest. Yes, a forest is made from trees, and if you kill the one tree that would have grown into a forest, you have ended the possibility of that forest ever coming into being. But killing that one tree isn't anywhere close to the same situation as deforesting an entire region. Even killing a few hundred trees isn't close to killing off a whole forest.

    Now this isn't an argument for abortion, per say, but I find it interesting that JoAnna seems to disagree with cloning. I just wonder why. Cloning is no different from natural born identical twins. Perhaps you bemoan a society that would so carelessly create life, but again, we are simply machines made of atoms. There is no qualitative difference between a natural born child and one made in a laboratory. Also, you said "God forbid," but unfortunately, successful human cloning is already a reality! They just weren't allowed to bring it to term for ethical reasons. God evidently DOESN'T forbid. And how long do you think it will really take, with all of our genetic modification of plants, before that research turns up ways to simply generate unique DNA from a machine?

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  138. Also, no, I am not suggesting that humans that are unwanted should be killed, or that natural causes of Darth are ever a reason to kill another human. I am arguing that 1) a zygote is NOT a human, and 2) that for religious reasons, the mere fact that there ARE natural abortions should give pause to the religious argument that zygotes are human. It means either that 4/5ths of humans go to straight to heaven or go straight to hell, which is incredibly unfair either way. You can say that it's a result of the fall, but I disagree. If you accept an evolutionary worldview, then the idea of the "fall" of mankind becomes seemingly allegorical, rather than an actual event. I don't see how you reconcile death entering the world only through the sin of man AND evolution, which requires death. So then, under the evolutionary view, even if God guided evolution to create mankind, He still allowed for the development of natural abortion, which if a zygote and early stages of a fetus are equivalent to a fully grown human, is akin to God committing murder. Not natural death is God's fault, but deliberately designing the female body to kill "humans" at the zygote stage an astounding 4/5 times is one of those times.

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  140. John, I think we need to go back to basics here.

    Do you know what an organism is?

    Can you acknowledge that there is a difference between a human cell and a human organism?

    Let's start with those to points and go from there.

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  141. Yes, John, let's stick with science. It's funny how you are the only one who keeps going back to religion! By the way, I believe the Old Testament stoned for adultery, but you aren't arguing that we Christians should advocate that? Why? And, remind me again when the "blueprint" stops and the "finished product" exists? Remember, it cannot be arbitrary, because we are talking about a real human being (once is "is finished"). So, be super precise as to the instant that transformation (that "forming" of "you" [note the personal pronoun], according to God as you interpret Him) happens.

    But on to logic for a minute. You said that there is no right and wrong. You said that with morality, there is only social constructs (I hope I'm understanding you correctly).

    You also say that human beings have no inherent right to life. But if that's true, then you don't either, correct? You only have that (man-made) right because our present American society decided that it would make laws to protect you from murder, yes? But you have no actual right to be alive, at all. You have no actual right to stay alive, versus my right to kill you, yes?

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  142. 1) a zygote is NOT a human,

    Could you supply your science for that? Embryology or biology text books, would be a great source.

    and 2) that for religious reasons, the mere fact that there ARE natural abortions should give pause to the religious argument that zygotes are human. It means either that 4/5ths of humans go to straight to heaven or go straight to hell, which is incredibly unfair either way.

    That's not what the Church teaches at all. Could you tell me your sources for what Catholicism teaches? I think you might have some faulty sources. Thanks!

    Also, just because the manner of one's conception is immoral (fornication, rape, adultery, IVF, ART, cloning, etc.) does not mean the child is immoral, or that the child has less worth and human dignity than any other child.

    As for clones: naturally conceived identical twins are biological clones of one another, but we don't say that they have no rights or are less than human because they share the same DNA as their twin. All humans, no matter if they are created in love or in sin, are valuable and have equal human dignity.

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  143. JoAnna: Don’t patronize me. I would appreciate if you engaged my arguments, as I have been engaging yours. I have even given flat out yes or no answers to some of your questions that are quite obviously loaded.

    An organism is defined as any “contiguous living system,” where life is defined as “the state or quality that distinguishes living beings or organisms from dead ones and from inorganic matter,” though I seem to remember in my biology classes that they defined it as “Any system that reproduces on its own and consumes energy.”
    Consequently, as both a human organism in its entirety AND a single human cell both fit these definitions, the most accurate description of a human would be that a human organism is a collection and collaboration of millions of human cells, which are also organisms on their own.

    As far as the difference between them, I go back to my (perhaps poorly worded) idea that what differentiates a human skin cell and a human zygote cell is not so much its composition or function (they both simply divide), but its potential to “grow” into a complete, adult human. In other words, the value of a zygote is derived from its potential output, rather than any inherent physical qualities it possesses. Thus, bereaved of the potential to grow into a full human (aka, not being in the womb), a zygote loses much of its value.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on these three things, since I have been gracious enough to answer your questions:
    1) What say ye of the Jewish assailant philosophy? Is abortion justified in cases where the mother’s life is in jeopardy?
    2) What reasons do you have for considering that it is the sperm and egg cells that are the “blueprint of life,” and not the zygote, when only the zygote actually contains the instructions to build a human on its own (note, it does not have the MEANS to build a human without a uterus, which I would consider both the building block provider and somewhat the builder)?
    3) Is killing one tree the same as killing the potential forest, morally speaking? After all, much like a zygote, given enough time and left to its own devices, they will both multiply and grow into a larger entity. So is killing the collective entity the same as ending the possibility of its growth in the first place?

    Francis:
    I do not hide from any argument (when I said I was busy, I meant it), but I can see that you like to assume much of my intentions in this debate. I don’t need to defend my motives for arguing as defendant of abortion. But I will oblige some of your questions.

    “All humans have the right to live, until they do something that nullifies it.” Let me explain: Since we are not arguing a case from religion, but instead from “natural law,” I define that to be, simply, whatever society largely accepts as true. Therefore, when a human operates within the bounds of social/natural law, they keep their right to life. However, until we abolish the death penalty, there are some actions, such as murder, which we as a society deem to be enough of a transgression to take away that person’s right to life. When you sentence someone to death, you are essentially denying them their inherent right to life as you have judged them “not worthy” of that right. Also, if you justify killing in the name of self defense, then you similarly feel that it is okay to take away a person’s right to life IF they are trying to take your life as well. My point was that these “inherent rights” are situational and morally relative.

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  144. Leila: I hope you aren’t deliberately misusing my arguments to push them to places I did not intend them to go. I bring up religion because everyone here is religious. Where in the world did you get something about the Old Testament from?

    To answer your questions: At what point on its natural path of growth does a tree become a forest? Neither science nor the Bible can answer that question currently. However, considering that we say death is when the brain dies (regardless of whether the body is still alive), would it not have symmetry to say that when the brain starts functioning, that is when the human condition begins? I disagree with your assertion that this needs to be a definite point in time because 1) even conception does not complete in a single moment: it is at least a 3 day process. So is it alright to kill a zygote that is only 1 day into completion? 2) There are many morally gray areas that don’t have definitive lines around them: For example: admiring my neighbor’s possessions vs coveting them; borrowing my friend’s bike, but over time, forgetting to return it and eventually just keeping it (at what point, exactly, did it become stealing?); at what point does one become a drunkard, or a glutton? It isn’t a sin to eat or drink, but over the course of time, it may become a problem and thus, a sin. Where exactly will God pinpoint when the sin began?

    “There is no morality, there is only social constructs.” Yes, in a purely scientific worldview, morality has no place. You can’t test the physics of morality. But I also said that I wasn’t going to argue from that point of view, because that would be pointless. I am working within YOUR framework of morality.

    Yes, human beings, under a strictly scientific view, are no different from a rock. In fact, scientifically, there’s really no difference between a dead and a live person, except that the live person is more active chemically and thermodynamically. Again, not arguing from this point of view, but yes, neither of us has a right to live, or kill, or any “rights,” as there is no right and wrong, better or worse.

    "1) a zygote is NOT a human,

    Could you supply your science for that? Embryology or biology text books, would be a great source."

    Taken out of context, but perhaps I could have worded my statement better. A zygote is not the SAME as a fully formed human, but it is a human organism. I argue, though, that a zygote does not have the same rights as a fully grown human because there is a vast difference between a single cell that has no consciousness and no awareness of itself and is essentially parasitic, and a fully formed human who is self-aware, conscious, and can live on its own. The fact that one can mourn the potential human that would be does not mean that the zygote itself is fully human: I can mourn my pet rock, or the potential cookie that I would have gotten to eat had I bought groceries on time. Mourning something doesn’t give it rights.

    I might consider an argument that says “it is wrong to kill a zygote because it ends the possibility of that human child,” but when you say that “a zygote is the same as a fully formed human,” that to me is not a convincing argument so far.

    “That's not what the Church teaches at all.”
    Sorry, I was going off of my Protestant background, and that IS what most churches teach: that unbaptized babies go either to heaven or, less commonly argued, to hell. As most of the people I know are Protestant, the whole 4/5ths zygote thing WOULD be a significant problem for their theology. I just looked up the Catholic view, which was inconclusive: It was basically a “we don’t know what happens to them, but we hope they go to heaven.” Personally, if souls do indeed exist, I wonder if babies that die early simply don’t get “ensouled,” as God would know that they wouldn’t survive to the point of baptism. Or if their soul gets reincarnated into another child (though I view that as less likely).

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  145. Also, I’m still curious why you consider artificial cloning to be immoral. I mean, the Bible sure doesn’t talk about it.

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  146. Not sure why you can't just answer the questions, John. I'm not trying to be patronizing. I really think it's best to start with simple questions, as well as simple answers, and work from there.

    You claim an organism has to be made up of "millions of cells." How, then, do you explain unicellular (single-celled) organisms?

    Also, reliable sources such as the Endowment for Human Development cite that a human zygote is an organism. Why should I believe you instead of them?

    You claim the difference between a non-organism and an organism is merely their "potential." But that seems to be a philosophical distinction, not a scientific one. Can we stick with science for now, before moving on to the philosophical arguments?

    As to your questions:

    1) What say ye of the Jewish assailant philosophy? Is abortion justified in cases where the mother’s life is in jeopardy?

    Jewish philosophy is irrelevant, as abortion is a human rights issue, not a religious issue. Moreover, direct abortion is never necessary to save the life of the mother.

    2) What reasons do you have for considering that it is the sperm and egg cells that are the “blueprint of life,” and not the zygote, when only the zygote actually contains the instructions to build a human on its own (note, it does not have the MEANS to build a human without a uterus, which I would consider both the building block provider and somewhat the builder)?

    Because the sperm and ova contain the genetic material needed to create an organism, and the zygote is the created organism. Its development is self-guided. The uterus is its natural environment. All babies, whether born or unborn, need the care and nourishment of a caregiver to survive. The only difference between a fetus and an infant is that the mother takes care of the former within the womb and the latter outside of the womb.

    3) Is killing one tree the same as killing the potential forest, morally speaking? After all, much like a zygote, given enough time and left to its own devices, they will both multiply and grow into a larger entity

    You're going to need to reword this because I have no idea what point you're trying to make. Killing a tree is just killing a tree, not an entire forest. Are you asking if killing a tree is morally wrong?

    Also, I’m still curious why you consider artificial cloning to be immoral. I mean, the Bible sure doesn’t talk about it.

    We're Catholics, John. We don't believe in the doctrine of sola scriptura (scripture alone), unlike non-Catholics. That's why Jesus established a Church -- so we would have a living Magisterium to guide us, with the authority of Christ, as issues like these cropped up. And the Church has said plenty about cloning and why it is immoral.

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  147. John,

    Also, I’m still curious why you consider artificial cloning to be immoral. I mean, the Bible sure doesn’t talk about it.

    And the Bible also does not say anything about using nuclear bombs to destroy entire cities. But we apply the moral principles that we know, and we know a heck of a lot about the truth and meaning of human sexuality and the dignity of every human life.

    But again... back to religion? Why? You say that most people here are religious (I have no idea if that's true, because the lurkers are from all over the spectrum), but if we can stick with science, then why can't you? This is a human rights issue and a science issue. Our faith simply agrees with the human rights and science of it.

    Where in the world did you get something about the Old Testament from?

    I think you were the one who said, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you." That is from the Old Testament. Unless it was someone else who said that? Or, what am I missing?

    At what point on its natural path of growth does a tree become a forest?

    A tree never "becomes" a forest. A tree is a tree.

    Are you claiming that it takes the sperm three days to penetrate the egg? Could you cite your science on that? Thanks.

    You are right that there are gradations of sin and "gray areas" of what is a lesser or a greater offense, or even an offense at all. But that doesn't apply to direct, intentional killing of a human being. The funny thing is, you are arguing something that even abortionists don't argue. Most of them admit quite openly that they are targeting and killing human beings. Why don't you respect what they are saying about their profession?

    If there is "no right or wrong" as you say, then we are permitted to anything, yes? As long as our society says so, correct? So, in societies where rape of women is permitted, you would have to agree that they are not "wrong" to allow it. Rape cannot be "wrong", morally, correct?

    As to consciousness and awareness. Just to be clear: You are saying that those are the qualities that make a human being a human being? When does that happen, again? You have to give me a precise moment, so that we don't accidentally kill real human beings and not potential human beings. (Even though killing human beings is not immoral anyway, since there is no right or wrong.)

    And just to clarify a point you made to JoAnna: Are you saying that a human cell and a human organism are synonymous? Or that every human cell is a human organism? Is there a science source you can provide? And that's not what you meant, then what is the distinction?

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  148. Yes, human beings, under a strictly scientific view, are no different from a rock. In fact, scientifically, there’s really no difference between a dead and a live person, except that the live person is more active chemically and thermodynamically.

    Erm, actually we're completely different. Do rocks have human-type amino acids?

    “Same” means “same” in science. Identical. So maybe rephrase the point and be very scientific, because your massive generalization here wouldn’t even hold to a mathematical comparison I can give off the top of my head. I can illustrate to show you the error, if you want.

    And "thermodynamically"? I guess you mean heat. It's quite a general picture here and nothing you have said flows logically from human to rock being identical.

    Yes, in a purely scientific worldview, morality has no place. You can’t test the physics of morality.

    That’s because morality has no “physics”. So why would your approach be to measure it with that? So morality is not real? Is scientific testing the only real measure of truth? If that’s your stance, you’ll need to prove that scientifically.

    There are quite a few things physics cannot even test for – truth, thought, feelings. All real, and all outside having need of (or reality of) physical measurement.

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  149. John,

    1) Note the term "human rights". It's not "aware human" rights, or "conscious human" rights, or "healthy human" rights, or "productive human" rights or "wanted human" rights, or even "born human" rights. No, they're simply "human rights" and must, logically, apply to all human beings, throughout the continuum of their existence - from conception until natural demise. Our lives, from conception to death, are all of a piece, are they not? Is there any ontological difference between me as a zygote, as a baby, as a teen, as a fit and healthy adult, as a frail old senior, as an amputee, or even as a "brain dead" person? Incidentally, you say, "we say death is when the brain dies". Last I checked the medical definition of death is "the irreversible cessation of ALL vital functions especially as indicated by permanent stoppage of the heart, respiration, and brain activity."

    2) You refer to an unborn child as "parasitical" as is the penchant of pro-abortionists these days. Firstly, parasitism is defined as "a non-mutual symbiotic relationship BETWEEN SPECIES, where one SPECIES, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the other." A child is not a foreign body/organism (of a different species) in its mother's womb. Even if by parasitical you mean dependent for its existence, aren't we all parasitical to one extent or another? Are you an island, a self sufficient whole in need of no one, even if only psychologically or emotionally?

    3) You keep throwing up analogies about trees and forests - even though the point of it isn't clear to me (and others apparently). You talk about the morality (or immorality) of cutting down one tree vs razing an entire forest. Again whatever point you're trying to make isn't clear - to me at least. In any case, human beings (or even animals) aren't trees, so the analogy is weird. As far as humans go, there's an ancient wisdom in the Talmud that says, "For this reason was man created alone, to teach thee that whosoever destroys a single soul... Scripture imputes [guilt] to him as though he had destroyed a complete world; and whosoever preserves a single soul..., scripture ascribes [merit] to him as though he had preserved a complete world." (Talmud, Sanhedrin 37a). What this enigmatic teaching rightly points to is the infinite value of every human life. Where life itself is at stake, the part, the individual, is considered to be equal to the whole, the community. (Obviously this doesn't apply to trees as no plant is deemed by anyone to have infinite value - or rights).

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  150. Also, I’m still curious why you consider artificial cloning to be immoral. I mean, the Bible sure doesn’t talk about it.

    How long do you think cloning has been around?

    The Bible doesn’t talk about a lot of things, so it’s not valid to make an argument from silence. The Bible certainly would NOT have written about cloning, John, how could it write about something that did not exist in biblical times?

    Incidentally, does the Bible need to include every specific possible future idea or situation of morality or can we glean right from wrong via Christian philosophy apart from specific instances via the Church’s teaching?

    That’s like saying you can’t do higher math because you haven’t seen all the specific problems yet. Well, you know the formulas, don’t you? Use those based on which problems arise.

    That’s the beauty of having formulas and authority. They’re applicable from age to age. Takes the guess work out of stumbling around in the dark.

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  151. I might consider an argument that says “it is wrong to kill a zygote because it ends the possibility of that human child,” but when you say that “a zygote is the same as a fully formed human,” that to me is not a convincing argument so far.

    ?
    We didn’t say “fully formed”, either. We said, “human”. So good, we agree. There shouldn’t be any more discrepancy in this rectangle of thought on our chart, as far as nailing a flow of discourse goes here.

    One more point: we would not say it ends the “possibility of that human child”, that would only happen pre-fertilization.
    It’s not just about a mere “possibility” (of life) upon fertilization.

    Killing ends the “actual”, not the “possible”.

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  152. 3) Is killing one tree the same as killing the potential forest, morally speaking? After all, much like a zygote, given enough time and left to its own devices, they will both multiply and grow into a larger entity

    ?
    What is your fundamental discussion point with this idea of trees and forests?

    “Potential” to become human with a human zygote is 100%-- so it’s not really potential anymore, it’s fact. It’s statistically impossible for it to metabolize into a different species of anything.

    If you’re making our point for us, i.e., that one tree multiples in time to make an actual forest then, yes, great—this is exactly why we shouldn’t kill the tree (if we wanted to morally equate killing babies to killing trees, or to illustrate why we don’t kill things in their earliest forms).

    The entire point is that there’s no potential for a human fertilized cell to become a fully grown cat, dog, whatever. It’s potential is actualized in the meeting of sperm and egg.

    It metabolizes upon fertilization to become what it is-- human because of human DNA coding. The potential is only there before the fertilization. Once it’s fertilized, it’s 100% human.

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  153. 2) What reasons do you have for considering that it is the sperm and egg cells that are the “blueprint of life,” and not the zygote, when only the zygote actually contains the instructions to build a human on its own

    You wouldn’t have a zygote without a sperm or an egg getting acquainted in the first place. Zygotes don’t magincally appear.

    It’s like saying, “What’s more important: the job or the education?” The job pays incredibly well (your zygote). But without the education first (egg/sperm), you wouldn’t be making bank, would you?

    Let’s not be so short-sighted when this is just basic biology, right, John?

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  154. Okay, everyone, let me make one clarification abundantly clear: I am not trying to say that I personally believe that there is no right and wrong. I am simply trying to say that when you want to argue a moral debate based entirely on science, and leaving out the moral absolutes of religion, then all you are left with is moral relativism and the “natural law” which all humans basically agree to: Don’t kill, don’t steal, bla bla bla. That’s not science, that’s sociology. The only reason I brought up the points about there being no right and wrong with science was simply to say that science has NOTHING to do with right or wrong, as Nubby so graciously pointed out. “There is no physics to morality.” You keep saying “let’s stick to science,” but you CAN’T do that in a moral debate. We aren’t disagreeing on scientific definitions, but on what those definitions mean for our relatively common social morality. You also claim to leave religion out of the discussion, but at least with cloning, you aren’t doing that at all. You’re making claims that it is immoral, but only because the Church says so. Yes, the church arrived at that conclusion based on certain principals, but those principals don’t all come from “natural law,” but from a religious perspective. From an atheistic perspective, cloning is a-okay, and even beneficial to humanity, so the fact that you are so against it in your arguments makes me dubious that you can really suspend your religious beliefs to argue a case based on pure reason.

    JoAnna:
    I am not claiming that ALL organisms must be multi-cellular. I’m not ignorant of the fact that there are single-celled organisms. I’m merely commenting on the fact that any multi-cellular organism is composed of many cells, which themselves are organisms. The mystery of how many self-contained units of life “decide” to coexist and cooperate into one cohesive organism is profound, as any one of our cells could grow in a Petri dish just fine.

    I didn’t claim a zygote wasn’t an organism.

    Also, as far as “sticking to science” rather than philosophy, I understand that you are trying to find common ground here, but that is unnecessary. I’m a well-educated American, I know basic biology, and I don’t think we disagree anywhere. Perhaps I am simply wording my arguments strangely. But I argue that the scientific definitions of life don’t and can’t determine the “meaning” of life, or its “inherent value.” So that’s where philosophy comes in.

    1) The Dublin claim has been contested. I will admit that I suspect it will become more and more true as time progresses, but there are an innumerable number of ways the human body can become inflicted, and I would be skeptical of any claim that says “we’ve solved x for every possible complication ever!” This article details some of the cases in which not taking an abortion induces risk that I believe a woman should be able to assess for herself. The most compelling case that I saw was when a woman was pregnant, then discovered that she had cancer. As cancer therapy would have killed or harmed the fetus, the law required that she waited 13 weeks before starting therapy, but both she and the baby were lost to cancer as a result. Is it certain that the girl would have lived had she started therapy earlier? No, but her chances would have been much higher. Even if the Dublin claim is correct, it wasn’t correct 20 years ago, so were all life-saving abortions then wrong? What if technology goes away in a solar flare or EMP blast? Will life-saving abortion become acceptable again simply because we lack the technology to avoid it?
    www.rewire.news/article/2012/10/23/no-life-saving-abortions-lie-and-why-it-persists/

    Also, you and I both know that it’s not just the Jews who think that abortion to save the mother is a different moral circumstance than abortion for “convenience.”

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  155. 2) Nubby made my counter-argument for me: It’s impossible for a zygote to metabolize into anything other than human. Similarly, it’s impossible for a sperm or egg cell to be or become anything, on their own, but a sperm and egg cell of the PARENT’S genome. They are no more blue prints for a separate human than the DNA contained in any cell within a parent. Otherwise, we might say that ALL human DNA is the blueprint for a new human life. They house the POTENTIAL for blue prints; that is, they house the potential to make a new DNA strand for a new human, and THAT DNA strand, housed within the zygote, is the blue print for the new human. If anything, sperm and egg cells hold the blue print for the blue print. Or perhaps you might say they hold the tools and building blocks required to build the blueprint of a new human. It feels like we’re arguing semantics at this point, though. Essentially, I find your definition of blue prints to be too wide, because if you go back far enough in the chain of life, food is the blue print for life, as that becomes DNA, right? The DNA in the zygote is the last stage at which you can say it is a blueprint.


    3) No, I’m not asking if killing a single tree is morally wrong. My point was that I was trying to show you how I view the killing of a single cell of the new human: If you consider that murder is killing a human, I would consider that person to be a forest: a collection of many, many cells that on their own aren’t that special. Abortion is the killing of a few cells to many cells, but until they are sufficiently grown, it is simply cutting down trees, and doesn’t qualify as cutting down the whole forest. Yes, it cuts off their POTENTIAL to become a forest/whole person, but I say that this is entirely different from murdering a whole person. A tree may house some animals, but a forest is an entire ecosystem. Similarly, a zygote may indeed be a new human organism, but it is no functioning, breathing, grown human.

    As far as cloning goes, that’s another debate, perhaps. I think it can play a part in the abortion debate, but as you view cloning itself to be wrongful, I feel that it would be hard to make any arguments that use cloning to justify abortion, as to you that would simply be multiplying abominations. But if we were truly sticking to just science, then I would find it difficult to condemn cloning, as there is no scientific difference between a natural clone, or a twin, and an artificial one.

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  156. Leila:
    Once again, you’ve put words in my mouth. I never said that I was JUSTIFYING cloning merely on the fact that the Bible is silent on the issue. Do you really think I’m that unseasoned in Biblical exegesis? That’s Bible learnin’ 101: Don’t argue from the silence of the Bible. And I know that you Catholic types don’t only reason based on the Bible. I should have said merely that I was curious what the Catholic reasoning was against cloning. I’ve looked it up and I disagree. You say your faith “simply agrees with the human rights and science of it,” But that claim and its truthfulness is based on an agreement with your particular brand of human rights! There are no moral absolutes if you deny religion, so the idea that human rights is a universal truth makes no sense. So to me, it seems like circular reasoning to say “my faith agrees with human rights which are informed by my faith.” I am NOT saying that you have an inconsistent worldview. Your truths may indeed be logically consistent, but that doesn’t make them universal. But anywho…

    “A tree never ‘becomes’ a forest. A tree is a tree.”
    I’m assuming you’re saying this, KNOWING that I am comparing trees to individual cells and the forest to the collective organism. So what you are saying is that a cell never “becomes” a multicellular organism. A cell is a cell. Which is great and all, but I think you are using semantics to avoid the implication of my original question which I will reword: At what point in the natural reproduction cycle of a single tree, which produces more trees, does this reproduction process provide enough trees to be considered a forest?

    My argument isn’t that a zygote isn’t a human organism: Like the tree, a human cell is a human cell. However, you AGREE with me, seemingly, that a single cell is NOT the collective entity that we call the human organism. If we translate your philosophy to my trees analogy, what you are essentially saying is that, though only forests can be an ecosystem, and not single trees, and it is morally wrong to cut down forests, naturally that means that it is also wrong to cut down any tree that MIGHT become a forest as well. Not being allowed to cut down forests and not being able to cut down a single tree or small grove of trees are two different things, in my estimation, so why is that any different for multi-cellular organisms? Maybe this is a better analogy: eating the seeds of a strawberry, in my estimation, is NOT the same as eating an entire strawberry bush.

    Again, I am saying that there is no right or wrong in SCIENCE. Human rights is another thing altogether, and I’ve stated three times now that I’m arguing within the construct of human rights. But yes, from a purely scientific perspective, what is rape? What is right or wrong? Before you misread me here too, I do NOT advocate for rape or rape cultures.

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  157. The PARTICULAR brand of consciousness and awareness that humans possess are SOME of the unique and defining features of being human, are they not? Does not our intelligence and self-awareness differentiate us from mere animals? Even if they are self aware, does not our higher degree of that awareness not separate us? My intent was not to list EVERYTHING that defines the human condition. That’s the job of the artists and philosophers. What I meant was simply that a zygote, as human as it is, is worlds away from having the same human experience as a baby or adult human. It is not conscious, and it is nothing more than a machine with a unique blueprint UNTIL it starts developing human characteristics. Is a human zygote really all that different from a chimp zygote in form or function? We even share 97% of the same DNA. I argue that the thing that gives humans dignity and honor and respect isn’t the DNA we hold, but the human condition itself. Therefore, it isn’t the same thing to end the life of a human organism that has not realized the full human condition in any meaningful way and to end the life of a human organism that has experienced the human condition and can consciously desire to live. You might say that every lifeform has the “desire” to live and has instincts to protect its life. Fair enough, but if you want to say that we should respect an unconscious human zygote’s will to live, then what’s to stop me from applying that logic broadly and saying we should respect ALL life’s will to live, even down to the diseases in our bodies. No, I think even you can admit that there has to be something special about the human condition that makes it wrong to kill another human that isn’t related to life’s instincts to self-perpetuate.

    As to the precise moment, I gave you a moment precise enough: The development of the brain. The first neural development occurs around 6 weeks, which if you take a hardline stance and say that merely HAVING nerves is enough to make a brain, then abortion after that point would be wrongful. Brain activity really starts to occur around the 2nd trimester, and by the 3rd trimester the fetus has baby-like brainwave patterns, so depending on how strictly you want to apply the definition of consciousness, you might ban abortion after those three points or somewhere in between. But you DEFINITELY don’t have a brain during the first month, so at that point I would still consider a fetus to be a mass of cells, rather than something having meaningful human characteristics.

    Nubby:
    What I meant by the humans being the same as rocks comment was that there is no moral difference between killing a human and “killing” a rock. It was just simply saying that science has no morals. Yes I know that there are different chemicals in a rock than in a human. Once again, I feel that the general tone I’m getting from several of you is very patronizing. You all do realize that I have a Master’s degree, am a functioning member of society, and that I made basically all As in all of my courses, PARTICULARLY science. I say that not to brag (as I know many of you are well educated as well), but to just set the record straight: You can probably assume that I know the basics of science. What I am NOT as well versed in is proper debate strategy (I’m kind of winging it here, in case you didn’t notice) and Catholicism. It seems, though, that several comments I have gotten are basically arguing semantics, instead of arguing my line of reasoning. Admittedly, I can understand if you simply don’t follow my line of reasoning, but saying “you obviously don’t know what an organism is” is different from saying “I don’t follow you. Please clarify.” I also understand the importance of arguing using the same definitions, which is where semantics would come into place. But since we agree on basic science definitions, I don’t see why we’re spending so much time on it.

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  158. John - funny, the folks at secularprolife.org disagree with you about moral relativism. They are non-religious and yet also believe it's wrong to kill human beings. Perhaps you should take some time to read the articles at their site so you can figure out how it is possible to be both non-religious and pro-life.

    Regarding that article you posted -- do you realize that that even Catholic Church teaches that any woman in such a situation can indeed morally undergo cancer treatment, even if doing so might harm or kill the baby? It's called the principle of double effect. The baby's death would be considered an indirect abortion, which can be morally permissible if it is a secondary (and unwanted, unintentional) effect of the primary goal to cure the mother. So... again... direct abortion is never necessary to save the life of the mother.

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  159. "There are no moral absolutes if you deny religion"

    Remind me (because I can't remember where you are on the spectrum), do you deny religion? And, do you believe there are any moral absolutes? Thanks.

    Also, let's bring it back a bit. I am no scientist, but you said this:

    "However, you AGREE with me, seemingly, that a single cell is NOT the collective entity that we call the human organism."

    Well, when it is the single cell created by fertilization of human sperm and egg, it is a human organism. I will never forget the first line of my daughter's sixth grade Harcourt Science book (secular) in the chapter on human biology:

    "You began life as a single cell."

    Do you disagree? If so, cite your source. When did you begin, John? I'm pretty sure I asked you that before, but I can't remember your answer. I began when I was conceived in my mother's womb.

    Today, some human beings begin when they are created in a petri dish, when sperm and egg are joined by a tech. And those embryos (human beings) are tested for a bunch of things, including congenital disorders and their sex. They are boys or they are girls. They have certain disorders or they do not. They even have certain hair color and eye color determined. They are human beings (and again, if you can find me a medical or embryology textbook that says otherwise, that a human being is begun at some other point than conception, let me know).

    Cloning cannot possibly be merely a religious issue by the way, since there are many secular folks against it. They cannot possibly be using religious arguments against it, since they are not religious.

    Anyway, of course if you "stick to science" you cannot condemn cloning, nor can you condemn anything. You cannot condemn rape if you "stick to science" because science is not concerned with such questions. Science does not care about "human rights" either. Science can tell us, though, who is human. That is the first of the two questions:

    1) Is it human?
    2) May we kill it?

    Do you agree those are the two questions?

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  160. "As to the precise moment, I gave you a moment precise enough: The development of the brain. The first neural development occurs around 6 weeks, which if you take a hardline stance and say that merely HAVING nerves is enough to make a brain, then abortion after that point would be wrongful. Brain activity really starts to occur around the 2nd trimester, and by the 3rd trimester the fetus has baby-like brainwave patterns, so depending on how strictly you want to apply the definition of consciousness, you might ban abortion after those three points or somewhere in between. But you DEFINITELY don’t have a brain during the first month, so at that point I would still consider a fetus to be a mass of cells, rather than something having meaningful human characteristics."

    So, all of this "precision" is simply your own subjective opinion, yes? You are saying there is no real human being there until some moments that you can't quite pinpoint, but "you consider" humanity to begin sometime after brainwaves, or the three points you mentioned "or somewhere in between" (which is not exactly a moment, nor very precise). You are just sort of guessing, yes? Why not identify a human being when science does? Why do you want to claim that there is no human being at conception unless it's to justify the killing of that human being? It's the only reason, isn't it? To give the green light to harm that entity? I can't think of another reason, but I'm open to hearing it. (Again, science is contradicting you, but if you can cite something scientific, please do.)

    As far as the "meaning of life" or "inherent value of life" -- human life either has meaning and intrinsic value, or it doesn't (the meaning of intrinsic is "of its very nature"). Otherwise, human rights don't mean anything, as Francis pointed out. They would be "aware" rights or "healthy human" rights, etc.

    By the way, there was a very smart young student, Michelle, an atheist and a science major (now a medical student), who told me the following:

    She said that although “it’s true” she started life as a single cell, “that zygote that I started out as wasn't me”.

    Read that last part again, carefully. Do you see the problem with her reasoning?





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  161. And don't worry, I honestly am not well-versed in any debate techniques. But I can sniff out something illogical and I will push to get it clarified, that's all.

    Like this:

    "But since we agree on basic science definitions, I don’t see why we’re spending so much time on it."

    I'm not sure that we do agree on basic science definitions? Because science holds that a new human being is begun at conception. And it seems you guys are not quite on the same page regarding organisms.

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  162. "Is a human zygote really all that different from a chimp zygote in form or function? We even share 97% of the same DNA."

    The difference is that one is a chimp and one is a human. Even though we have 97% of the same DNA, my guess is that you are not marrying a chimp, but a human, yes? So, the 3% difference must be quite profound and significant, as you know. You have chosen well. ;)

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  163. And honestly, thank you for hanging in here with us, John! It's not easy to take us all on, and I do admire you for doing so, and for being respectful.

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  164. John,

    1. A farmer has planted his field with seeds for an extremely valuable produce. In a few days the seeds have sprouted - although stems and leaves are yet to develop. All is on track, things are exactly where they should be at this point, for the anticipated premium harvest. An enemy now comes by night and blow torches the field, destroying the sprouted seeds before they can progress even to becoming saplings. Should the farmer be entitled to claim for damages for his entire crop having been destroyed? Or should he be recompensed minimally, merely for the cost of the seeds (his “potential” crop) and the man hours of labor he expended in their planting? How would Justice Romero rule?

    2. The world having determined that human zygotes are of no intrinsic/indispensable value, all women in the world are irradiated so that any zygotes they might be carrying are destroyed, and no further ones can be produced either. Would a day arrive, with the death of the last existing human being, when all of mankind had been destroyed? Okay, that’s extreme. Only 5 million zygotes are deliberately destroyed. Would it be proper to describe this event as part – as opposed to all – of humanity being destroyed?

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  165. Again, I am saying that there is no right or wrong in SCIENCE. Human rights is another thing altogether, and I’ve stated three times now that I’m arguing within the construct of human rights. But yes, from a purely scientific perspective, what is rape?

    ?? John, of course there is right and wrong in science. Applied ethics exists for this reason—because where there’s a human responsibility, there’s a moral choice and those are weighed and considered and analyzed against God’s law—never apart from it. You should probably brush up on ethics and moral law and all that it encompasses because the reality is that application of ethics makes it scientific directly; makes it a scientific avenue. If it’s an “applied” field or branch of study, then it’s automatically “scientific”. And ethics are, indeed, applied.

    So, I don’t even know why you’re trying to put such a definitive line in the sand between science and morality. One can never separate morality from anything, which is why a whole body of scholarship exists to explore and analyze and apply this reality.

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  166. You all do realize that I have a Master’s degree, am a functioning member of society, and that I made basically all As in all of my courses, PARTICULARLY science… You can probably assume that I know the basics of science. What I am NOT as well versed in is proper debate strategy (I’m kind of winging it here, in case you didn’t notice) and Catholicism

    Some of us are versed in those three things and the reason we engage here is to systematically bullet point the thinking for people who are reading and wanting to follow the thoughts without getting overwhelmed with extra noise in the data.

    There is too much noise in the data here because you’re trying to wrench morals out of the entire equation. A person can’t do that and make any sense in conversations about pro-life/pro-abortion or permission to kill the life of any stage of human development, obviously. Ethics apply. Morality is weighty. These things are not ever apart from this reality, so I don’t get why you’re trying rip them apart in some compartmentalized way.

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  167. Abortion is the killing of a few cells to many cells, but until they are sufficiently grown, it is simply cutting down trees, and doesn’t qualify as cutting down the whole forest. Yes, it cuts off their POTENTIAL to become a forest/whole person, but I say that this is entirely different from murdering a whole person.


    How do you justify cutting down what already “is”? I’ve already said the potential comes before the meeting of sperm and egg. Every science book in the world that is honest about discovery will tell you that the moment a sperm meets egg in fertilization that a new human being comes into being.

    Not a few cells that might be a human if we don’t cut it down, but an actual human being with a fully human genome.

    I don’t understand why we’re even fleshing this out repeatedly. Potential becomes actual in fertilization—not in some stage afterward.

    The potential has been realized. The only “later potential” would be the sex of the child that develops later, but that doesn’t mean life develops later, life is already well on its way at fertilization.


    But if we were truly sticking to just science, then I would find it difficult to condemn cloning, as there is no scientific difference between a natural clone, or a twin, and an artificial one.

    Again, there is an entire field of applied ethics that speaks to any scientific endeavor. You are ignoring the elephant in the room which is the whole “should we/shouldn’t we/how do we properly do science” when it comes to cloning. This is called applied ethics, and is a scientific branch as much as physics because the methodology is one of analytical reasoning with variables applied against a moral law that undergirds human decisions.

    “There is no physics to morality.” You keep saying “let’s stick to science,” but you CAN’T do that in a moral debate.

    Of course you can stick to science in a moral debate. Morality and science aren’t separate. The scientific route always includes ethics (morality) and ethics are always tied to God’s law. There is no escaping the moral component or detaching it from science, so it makes no sense to say we cannot apply moral thinking to science. Several branches of applied ethics exist in scholarship for this reason, for these quandaries, these dilemmas, these issues.

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  168. Nubby:
    What I meant by the humans being the same as rocks comment was that there is no moral difference between killing a human and “killing” a rock. It was just simply saying that science has no morals.


    ??

    You didn’t say “no moral difference”. You said “no strict scientific difference”. You were talking science. Now you’re talking morals?

    Why wouldn’t there be a moral difference between killing a human and killing a rock if we’re, indeed, different?

    And now you’re conceding that humans aren’t the same as rocks, why? I thought we were the exact same per your original comment. You were saying there is “no difference” at bottom “strictly scientifically speaking” in our human vs rock structure or reality, and, therefore, there’s “no difference” in any moral deliberations. (?)

    Scientific discovery is scientific discovery but ethics must always be applied to what that discovery shows us or gives us, if that discovery is going to be applied to human life or affect human life somehow. It undergirds scientific application. Discovery most times has real life application. Moral application. The two are tied together.

    John, you've completely lost me. And I am no stranger to analysis.

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  169. then all you are left with is moral relativism and the “natural law” which all humans basically agree to: Don’t kill, don’t steal, bla bla bla. That’s not science, that’s sociology

    False, John.
    Applied ethics is the scientific branch of study involved here. It’s analytical, methodical and under the umbrella of “science” all day long. So.. I don’t get your comment here.

    And even if you want to go the “sociology” route, there are applied branches of that, too, which grants it the label ‘scientific’ depending on what it’s measuring for and how it measures those variables and relationships within certain experiments/studies/case studies/analysis. Science looks for relationships and patterns and interactions, and it functions to gather details. There are hard and soft applications, hard and soft sciences. If science is your thing, then be on the level here and acknowledge this truth. At least that much.

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  170. On ensoulment:

    The Catholic Church embraces the teaching of philosopher Thomas Aquinas, that a human being is not "a body with a soul", nor "a soul with a body", but a soul-body composite. The soul, then, is none other than the form of the body, rather than a separately existing substance in and of itself. Consequently, in Thomistic thought, human life by necessity starts at conception, since it is at that point that the zygote, if both left to its own natural devices and successful, will normally/necessarily develop into a fully grown human being. In this respect, then, the zygote - no less than an infant or adolescent - is a human being, albeit at an early stage of his/her development.

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  171. I think what John is saying is similar to Dostoevsky's famous (through a character): "If there is no God, everything is permitted."

    True enough. No God means we are all just (as Jen Fulwiler says) like mold on the wall, but a little more complicated.

    And if there is no moral law, it doesn't matter what we do with all the "mold". All is permitted (save what those with the biggest guns in any society dictate, based on whatever construct they feel).

    But you don't really want to go that route, John. You know that morality is a thing. You know that, and so unless you also want to say that it's okay for all of us to shoot each other in the head, then let's forget the "there is no morality in science" and talk about why you think it would be okay to kill some human beings at will.

    Remember the two questions:

    1. Is it human?
    2. May we kill it?

    I feel like we still have not established #1 with you.

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  172. I just came across a quote this morning: "Something nonhuman doesn't become human by getting older and bigger."

    An individual human life is a continuum. The continuum starts at fertilization.

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  173. I just came across a quote this morning: "Something nonhuman doesn't become human by getting older and bigger."

    That's exactly right. An easy analogy is seen when we look at thermoplastics in engineering, specifically thermoset parts. It's a process that produces a chemical change- just like when egg meets sperm.

    A chemical change occurs when we add heat to plastic compounds, an actual event brings about change. Just like at fertilization. So no matter how many "stages" of cooling or setting or hardening the plastic parts go through (compared to how many stages of growth or change a human goes through in the womb), it already is what it is at that one main event, at that instance of chemical change.

    It doesn't matter if the plastic parts cool into a plastic hood or fender or whatever exterior part of a vehicle, the change has already occurred and it is what it is no matter the rest of the process.

    This is science, John. To be blunt, science is pretty clear about a human cell being a human at fertilization simply based on chemical interaction/change at that moment.

    If you want to start making up lines in the sand about a six week marker, then you'd need to explain what that is inside the womb at 6 weeks - 1 day.

    You can't implement time as a marker post Day One of fertilization because the chemical change took place on Day One. That's your scientific answer.

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  174. Leila, thanks for acknowledging the difficulty of addressing 4 or 5 people. I forgot to address one thing that you asked for proof of, and that is that conception is a process, not a single event. I was wrong, and the process lasts for about 24 hours, rather than 3 days between the sperm penetrating the egg and the genetic material combining. However, I was correct in saying that this is a process. Perhaps it is no news to you, but I have spoken with many pro-lifers who say that once the sperm meets the egg, then there’s a new person, which is technically incorrect. There is a gap of 24 hours, and while you COULD say that the instant the DNA is done recombining, there’s a new human, that’s not the impression many have. It doesn’t really add anything to our debate except to say that if you were to kill the combined sperm and egg at a point before that DNA recombination, it wouldn’t be murder.
    www.health.howstuffworks.com/pregnancy-and-parenting/pregnancy/fertility/in-vitro-fertilization1.htm
    www.youtu.be/BFrVmDgh4v4


    Now, unfortunately the conversation has gotten so big that in order to address everything, I’d need to continually write larger and larger blocks of text until I had a dissertation ready (actually that’s not a bad strategy), but for now I’ll attempt to address just some key points.

    Here’s the thing that I distrust about scientific ethics, or the study of morality: While I am certain that it is a rigorous as other applied sciences, there is nothing objective about ethics of any kind. As Leila confirmed, without God there are no moral absolutes. Thus, applied ethics is bound to contradict itself over contentious issues such as abortion. It cannot be used to “prove” anything, merely explain rigorously why a certain issue is right or wrong in that researcher’s opinion. In addition, the overall morality of humanity is bound to evolve with time, and that can be plainly seen in the past, where philosophers deemed slavery to be fine under certain circumstances, or deemed the subjugation of women fine based on their idea that women were inferior. So because ethics can’t accurately predict the evolution of ethics itself, it is not a good tool for setting moral absolutes when it comes to applied ethics.

    I say this not to dismiss ALL applied ethics, but merely to comment that it can’t conclusively prove that abortion is right or wrong. It’s a handicap for both of us. Even if we could “prove” the morality of abortion, we could settle this debate today, and 100 years from now it would likely have evolved, perhaps to a more liberal or even more restrictive viewpoint.

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  175. Anyways, to answer Leila’s questions:
    1. Is a zygote (or for my purposes, an early level blastocyte or embryo) a human? Yes
    2. May we kill it? Yes.
    That’s what’s I’ve been arguing the whole time! Your two questions imply that an embryonic human is the same as a more fully grown human ethically, but that’s what I’m debating is not true. Thus, while you are trying to imply that I am essentially allowing for the murder of any human, I am drawing a distinction between killing a grown, conscious human and the early cells that make one up initially. Were I to accept that a zygote is ethically the same as a grown human, then OF COURSE I would have no choice but to accept that both constitute a murder. I believe I even said this very concession on the original blog that we first met on, Leila. I also will admit to the difficulties of my position in that defining when exactly a human obtains the same ethical rights as a grown human is difficult to pin down, but I argue that this is only a difficulty, and doesn’t make my position any less worthwhile than yours. That is because your position has some difficulties as well: What of the 4/5ths death ratio? What of chimeras? What of absorbed twins?

    Now let me pose a few questions that I hope to obtain a straight answer from:
    1. What qualities make it less wrong or not wrong to kill a cockroach, as opposed to a human?
    2. If we were to discover alien life, or perhaps created self-aware robots, and that life were as intelligent and self-aware as us, would they not have these inherent rights to life as well?
    3. If so, then should we not say that the inherent right to life applies to any species that exhibited certain characteristics similar to ours, such as intelligence, self-awareness, and consciousness, and thus should not be defined by one’s humanity, but by one’s self-awareness and the qualities that allow for such self-awareness?



    As far as sperm and egg being the blueprints for human life, that’s like saying that I can rip apart any two blueprints for two houses and mix and match them and I’ll get the SAME house every time. DNA is the blueprint, and outside of a zygote that’s all it is. It is mere potential to grow into a human. Even the DNA in your skin cells has this potential, as the nucleus of that cell is what they would use for cloning. But only COMPLETED DNA has this potential to grow into a new human. Thus, sperm and egg cells don’t count. They have the potential to become completed DNA, so they have the potential to become a new blueprint, yes. But you’re falsely equating this new DNA to a new human. If I take the DNA out of the egg, then I still have a blueprint, but I no longer have a “human” because the DNA can’t grow into a fetus anymore. Similarly, I can extract the DNA from my skin cells, but MERELY doing so doesn’t make each of those sets of DNA a new human. Again, the potential for GROWTH into a new human is what differentiates a zygote from other collections of DNA, not the DNA itself.

    Nubby: You mentioned that the cancer case I presented was an example of secondary abortion, and that this was permissible. It seems to me like this is a rather fine ethical distinction from direct abortion. That as long as you don’t MEAN to kill the baby, it’s fine. Were I to present a moral case from consequentialist ethics, and abortion was universally wrong in all circumstances, both secondary abortion and direct abortion would be wrong as they both result in a dead baby.

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  176. Speaking of which, it seems that you are all arguing from a very deontological view: That there are certain rules, or hard, moral constants that set bounds on moral behavior. The idea that there is an “inherent” right to life at all follows from a deontological view. However, I could argue that, from a consequentialist egocentric point of view, if aborting my baby leads to my greater happiness, or greater economic benefit, then that is the morally right thing to do. I could argue that if I have an abortion, and that results in my child suffering through poverty, which makes them unhappy and leads them to a life of crime, then that makes my decision to not have an abortion an immoral one.

    I’m not a big fan of purely consequential ethics, though, because I think that intention plays a part in ethical decisions, and that the future results of my actions can’t always be used to determine whether my actions were moral or not. For example, if I break up with someone, and that causes them to commit suicide, I shouldn’t be guilty of murder because it wasn’t my intent to kill them. However, if I KNEW that they were suicidal and I deliberately broke up with them hoping that they would commit suicide, then my intentions would make my actions less moral and essentially murder.

    Therefore, I would say that a mixture of deontological and consequential ethics should apply to abortion. That seems to be what you guys are generally arguing.

    Now, the problem that I see is that any “inherent” rights that we humans have are dependent on acceptance of the deontological view that there ARE moral constants. But implicit within the abortion debate is the question of intent: A secondary abortion is morally acceptable to the Catholic Church, for example, because the primary intent was to save the life of the mother, while the result was the death of the child.

    This sets a precedent: Though you accept the moral constant that murder is wrong, you also accept that not all killing counts as murder. Therefore, the question is “under what circumstances is it (non)permissible to kill,” and/or “What intentions alter the morality of killing?” I argue that there are circumstances and intentions that allow one to justify abortion, which you agree with as you say secondary abortion is a-okay.

    So where we disagree is in WHICH circumstances it becomes morally permissible to commit an abortion. Neither of us is taking a hard-nosed stance, saying that “any time one takes an action that kills a fetus, that person is guilty of murder.” The devil is in the details. Not all killing is murder.

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  177. One premise that you have is that a person needs to “deserve” to be killed in order for it to not count as murder. In other words, a murderer deserves the death penalty, but an unborn fetus has done nothing to deserve his abortion and is “innocent” of any crimes. Thus, killing a murderer is not murder, but just killing, while killing a fetus is not just, but is murder.

    Some problems with that:
    1. The fetus HAS done something: the woman’s life is forever altered simply because the fetus exists. The murderer changes the lives of his victims because those who loved the victim can no longer interact with them. The fetus changes the life of the mother by simply taking the resources necessary to grow into a baby, which will then alter the mother’s and father’s lives for 18 more years.
    2. While merely affecting someone’s life isn’t a crime, of course, it is understandable that the mother may desire to have her 1/4th of her life unaltered by parenthood and pregnancy, especially considering the case of rape, where the mother did not WANT to get pregnant in the first place.
    3. We consider stealing to be a crime: Because a child costs money to raise, and because a parent is morally and socially obligated to spend this money on the child so they develop properly, you COULD consider that the child is essentially stealing the parent’s money.

    Before you contest number 3, think about this: If I were morally obligated to give money to some random stranger, would it be stealing if he came and took the money I would have normally given him from my bank account (not some exorbitant amount)? I argue that the answer is no, because I am obligated to give him that amount anyways, and so from a consequentialist perspective, the two activities are one and the same. It would be morally wrong for me to STOP him from taking that money.

    Therefore, the only difference between a child getting money from the parent and a stranger stealing money is the moral obligation to give the child money. Is this a moral obligation that parents have immediately upon conception, or not? If it is, then why? If the child would create an incredible burden on the family, and thus on the child, would that be a circumstance in which it might be more morally permissible to kill? The intention isn’t to rob the child of life, but to prevent them from experiencing hardship, and to prevent the parents from experiencing hardship. What murderers do you know of that have similar intentions? Who kills someone to prevent them from experiencing further hardship? Not soldiers. Not serial killers. Not executioners. Perhaps the most similar case would be assisted suicide, where a suffering person chooses themselves to end their life to end their suffering. Since the fetus itself is incapable of making that decision, one could conceivably say that, much like those who are in a vegetable state, it falls to the parents to make such a decision. Whether they think consciously about it or not, ALL parents have to make that decision, because when they discover they are pregnant, they have to decide whether they think they will be able to raise the child or not. When the answer is no, sometimes this ends in adoption, sometimes in abortion. And unfortunately, with the state of adoption in this country and in others, some parents see it as better to simply end the child’s life. Simply giving up your child for adoption doesn’t guarantee that they will have a happy life. My own father deeply resents his time spent in foster care, and even more so the abusive stepfather he had. He laughs when he tells the story of how his drunkard stepfather fell asleep in his truck on some train tracks and got hit by a train. Some see adoption as a gamble, while abortion is certain.

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  178. I think the biggest difference between pro-lifers and pro-choicers is that pro-lifers don’t consider a negative response to the question, “Will I be able to raise my child,” or “will my child have a good life if he is raised in this environment,” to EVER be enough to morally justify abortion, while pro-choicers think that the morality of that situation should be left up to the women themselves. The “right to life” is the reason pro-lifers say that the fetus deserves to live despite bad circumstances, while pro-choicers think that the “right to a good life,” as ambiguous as “good” is, is the better question.

    Both sides agree that a child should not be brought up simply to be tortured. So what line is there between poverty and torture? Where would you draw the line between “we starve occasionally” and “our children get raped by the druggie dad”?

    www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?id=3831

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  179. http://www.biology-online.org/biology-forum/about17987.html

    This forum discusses why DNA, on its own, is no different from any other chemical compound and is as dead as water or carbon. Remove the DNA from a zygote and that DNA is not still part of a living human, despite all of its human-DNA-ness. Therefore I stick to my case that it is the newly formed DNA of the zygote that is the blueprint, not the sperm and egg. Also, this further confirms my argument that what is special about a zygote isn't its DNA, but its potential to grow into a new, separate, functioning, grown human.

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  180. Therefore I stick to my case that it is the newly formed DNA of the zygote that is the blueprint, not the sperm and egg.

    The two halves of the strands come from egg and sperm. You cannot have a DNA helix without each half to connect and create to make what you're calling "life". Life is formed by the combo of the genes at fertilization, John, but that would never happen without step 1 (a,b) to begin with - Egg (1a). Sperm (1b).

    And what kind of application does this even make to your idea that life isn't life less-6 weeks along anyway?

    What methodology are you implementing to make such a solid conclusion when all the biological text books worth a look say that life begins when egg meets sperm, and not at some fuzzy border of +/- 6 weeks or... maybe even later.

    Come on. Be on the level. Science reports what it observes and gathers details to build to generalities. No more. No less.

    There are simply too many unconnected thoughts in your comments, John. Are you familiar with flowcharts and analysis?

    If science is your language, then speak from science, not from your opinion that this is "science".

    Follow science or talk reason, we can't hybrid opinion in there as fact. The DNA idea: you need both halves of the coil to create the DNA as we know it.

    The reasoning behind it is that life is created there. That helix is never going to create something else. It means here we have a foundational basis for the reasoning.

    I mean, at bottom, what is your overall point?

    Going around in circles about how you feel about this or that (ethics, DNA strands, etc.) doesn't matter if at the end of the day you're saying everything is relative anyway.

    And this thread has gotten so convoluted that we can't right now break down all that is erroneous about your treatment of "ethics" and "ethical theory" or even about hard science here.

    The bottom question is: Where are you drawing the line on life and how are you getting that? What data set are you looking at? What data drives your approach and your conclusion?

    What experiments are you drawing from? What DOE's are you punting on when your conclusions don't line up with the many many grey areas?


    You've given grey areas as fact, John. In problem-solving analysis, grey areas don't give data or answers or solutions. They simply reflect a flaw in the thinking that went into that idea. The flaw is in the preceding thought process.

    That's what you're displaying here. No offense, but analytically, your ideas should be data-driven and not opinion driven, if you're going to the science route.

    Agree or not? Be on the level with your science, John, or as my college math prof always said, "The red pen is gonna get ya", as he marked up the many errors with his red Sharpie marker on our homework much to our chagrin.

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  181. Nubby: You mentioned that the cancer case I presented was an example of secondary abortion, and that this was permissible.

    ? No, I did not.
    That was probably JoAnna or Leila.

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  182. John, why stop at comparing human life to the life of a cockroach? Why not ask whether it's ethical to kill certain bacteria in your body? And if so, why human life shouldn't also be just as clinically extinguished? Truly, I'm starting to wonder whether you're being serious or just having everyone here on as some extended April Fool's joke.

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  183. John-

    Walk through your own logic. You say brain activity is the marker for real life or real humanity. Fine.
    Based on what?

    You say it's dead before that? What event causes that? I ask because that mysterious event is clearly what gives life in your words.
    Answer: No event, you cannot pick one. The event preceded it in fertilization. That's exactly the point and logically correct.

    So, now you say it's growing and alive, it's _____. Human. If you don't believe it to be human then what is it? Supply a new "it".

    Look at your own thoughts and thought process that has you painted in a corner here:
    It's not "alive" (you say) but yet it's growing. Only living tissue grows. So it's not dead-- your own words are wrong. One step at a time. Not dead, right? Now we've hurdled that.

    Agreed? Let's get off the "dead" part and reduce and remove the noise in the data here. Let's see how you find yourself in a box of illogical thought and back out of that, since that's the point of comments on Leila's blog.

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  184. "I argue that there are circumstances and intentions that allow one to justify abortion, which you agree with as you say secondary abortion is a-okay."

    So where we disagree is in WHICH circumstances it becomes morally permissible to commit an abortion. Neither of us is taking a hard-nosed stance, saying that “any time one takes an action that kills a fetus, that person is guilty of murder.”

    No, John, you're either failing to grasp the Catholic position on abortion or (hopefully not, deliberately) misrepresenting it. The Catholic position is that abortion is an intrinsic evil that can never be justified, under any circumstances. If a procedure to save the life of a woman results - most tragically - in the death of a foetus she is carrying, then that procedure cannot be classified by the farthest stretch of any thinking person's imagination as an "abortion" or even a "secondary abortion" - a strange, guilt suggesting term, which few, if any one, of us have ever heard before. You're equating a tragic loss with wilful murder. Bah, humbug.

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  185. I made a mistake: The event that I described, where the DNA of the new human combines, is called syngamy, and it takes 24 hours. But conception is defined as the moment when sperm and egg meet and combine, which takes less than a second from start to finish. Though the zygote has both the mother's entire genome and half the father's after that moment, scientists consider conception to be the beginning of the new human for various reasons. This was NOT covered in my biology classes!

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  186. So think about this. That's good- life begins within 24 hrs of starting. Let's just call that "a rounding error", as in a mathematical miscalculation. That's perfect, actually, because you concede to the event itself as "fertilization". Good. We've hurdled that.

    Life begins. "New human life" at conception is a fact. You said it. We said it together. Yes. Not potential human life. Not potentially anything. It is human. It is "actualized" life. Within 24 hrs or whatever rate +/- that. Okay. Still good.

    We know you've nullified the brain wave = life idea. Good. Life begins at conception.

    What's the conclusion with all of this: You might argue that abortion is okay within 24 hrs of conception. We cannot even look at that and guess. So we can agree on "no abortion, all together". Right? Based on science here. Based on logical fact and conclusion. Right?

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  187. * typo correction--
    That's good- life begins within 24 hrs of fertilization.

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