Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Just asking...

Paul Orwin and Ben Kepple have been going at it elsewhere. Mr. Orwin's responses leave me with some questions:

1) If live does not begin at conception, when does it begin? At what point does an individual have a life that we are obliged to honor?

2) Why is the idea that life begins at conception a religious belief? Is there no biological case for this? Sure, there are many things that can go wrong between this point and birth, but that lasts until the day you die.

3) You claimed to have read the minds of "prolifers" in the following:
Extrapolating to the world, and assuming that the rate is the same (it is almost certainly higher everywhere else!), every year ~11 million miscarriages occur!! This is certainly a low estimate, but perhaps valid for this discussion. Why, then, aren?t the pro-life people crushed with grief over this destruction of precious life?? Because that is not the battle they wish to fight! Of course, there might be a solution to this, but it would involve fetal development research, which they cannot accept, because that would involve destruction of the embryos. More to the point, the early term miscarriages might be good, because those embryos might be developing abnormally. Of course, we could fix that (theoretically) with genetic engineering techniques, but that would be monkeying with Mother Nature, playing God if you will. Doing such things is strictly forbidden by our nattering nabobs of neo-conservatism. So either life begins at conception, which is fraught with the problems above, or it is not, in which case the slippery slope intercedes, to the great detriment of the pro-life movement.
It is clear that you have no particular respect for "pro-lifers" (as opposed to what?), but do you really disagree with them? Given the difficulty in working with the unborn at such an early stage and that other lives might be saved more readily with the same effort, do you believe that pursuing medical breakthroughs in this area is a prudent use of our scarce medical research resources? In other words, is that a battle you wish to fight?

If you want to say that the govt has no business poking around in these issues, I'm with you. But there is no need to be so disrespectful of religion.

Then there was this:
By the way, although "moral relativist" is a particularly common slander in these web parts, I will respond. It does not make one a moral relativist to believe that nuanced, coherent arguments can be made on two sides of an issue. It doesn't make one a moral relativist to believe that this particular issue is not as black or white as Mr. Kepple would like. It is, in fact, the mark of poor critical thinking that makes one shout "moral relativist!" at anyone who disagrees with you. I simply believe that it is ok for someone to believe that abortion is wrong, while I happen to believe that it is not always wrong. Other things are always wrong, and other things are always right. There are far too many examples to list of each, and I frankly shouldn't have to explain this shit!
Maybe you do need to explain. After all, I might have thought that killing the innocent was always wrong. If you don't want to be pinned down, could it be a sign that you are in fact a moral relativist? And if you are, is that a bad thing?

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