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« Embracing Doubt | Main | An Important Distinction Often Missed »

October 13, 2006


Why does it matter? STR has been arguing for years that valuable human life begins at conception, and that any functional criteria (such as consciousness) is irrelevent.

It matters because people who support the pro-life cause use it, and if it's not a credible argument, the pro-life movement as a whole loses credibility. That reduces the effectiveness of other pro-life arguments that are credible, just because of their association with non-credible sources.

She’s a pretty good researcher. It takes a lot of work to pull that stuff up.

But like I said, philosophically speaking, one neuron has “brain waves”. Nobody knows what thought and consciousness are. So who is to say that one way of looking at the EEG is better_than another way?

You’ll only get in trouble if your opponent asks you what kind of EEG output he’s looking for.

But even then, if your opponent doesn’t like your chosen threshold, Christians can still philosophically safely say:

“Of course the early fetal EEG trace is a valid indicator of sentient thought. After all, nobody knows what sentient thought is, so you can’t prove that any one particular EEG trace does (or does not) indicate such.”

Furthermore, since 84% of Americans believe in the soul (2003 Harris) it’s quite easy to also claim:

“Well we both believe in souls right? Then we both know, of course, that sentient thought doesn’t require neurons at all.”

So philosophically speaking, for 84% of your opponents, you can easily sidestep the EEG data anyway.

Tony, I largely agree with what you said (this one time -- a first, I think!), because I do think that we should all try to use correct data and strong arguments :-).

But one of your paragraphs is a little off. I'm not sure if I'm reading it right. You say that it's a valid argument to say that because we don't know what sentient thought looks like from the outside, therefore we can conclude that anything could indicate sentient thought.

You know that's a fallacy (arguing from ignorance). Why does it look like you're promoting it?

Sorry for the off topic but I figured some of you might be interested in "60 Minutes" tonight:

"A LOSS OF FAITH – Evangelical Christian David Kuo went to work in the Bush Administration with the idea that religion and government could work together. But he left his post disillusioned because he says religious leaders have been manipulated and corrupted for political gain. Lesley Stahl reports. Richard Bonin is the producer."

CBS, 7:00 PM in Los Angeles, whenever in your locality.

Hi, Steve and everyone,

I've been working all weekend on a response to the Margaret Sykes/"brain waves" issue. It's a lot of work! I hope to post it soon.

(P.S. RE: The post above: David Kuo left the Bush administration in 2003. His story is somewhat suspect, in my opinion. He's put out a book a month before the election. Sounds like just another '60 Minutes' Bush-bash to me.)

Alan,I resisted taking your bait, but decided to do so after reading Peggy Noonan's column. She expresses a similar sentiment to some that I have posted here.

God help America if the liberals do not win one or the other house. You read it here first friends. If the liberals do not win one house or the other, we are going to see violence from liberals before Pres. Bush is out of office. It seems inevitable. Emotionally, they cannot stay out of power. The lust for institutionalizing thier hate is a powerful force. America is in tough shape.

>> You know that's a fallacy (arguing from ignorance). Why does it look like you're promoting it?

if you're opponent believes that souls exist, then you both know that sentience doesnt require neurons. So you're not arguing from ignorance - you're simply making a natural inference from common ground you share.

It helps to remember what Sykes means in Tenctonese. . .

If Brain Waves indicate Death... Then does it indicate life?

When do Brain waves begin then? An Abortion Doctor that was in charge of the largest abortion clinic in New York was on the Video "A Matter of Choice" and that is when they state at Six Weeks brain waves begin. If they don't start then, When then do they start?

Maybe Obama was right when asked about abortion and he stated; It was above his pay grade. Maybe it's above everyones pay grade... except GOD's. It's up to God to destroy that seed, not us.

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