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« Biden's Blunder Redux | Main | Sharia Law in U.K. »

September 12, 2008


I have to confess that I didn't read the whole article, but I was so distracted thinking of an arguement that I've floated out for several years now and haven't gotten much feedback about it's soundness. In light of this article [as far as I got into it] I couldn't help but think that is supports this line or reasoning. Here it is in fictitious dialogue.

Consistent Pro Lifer: [CPL] So you agree at some point that preborn human life ought to be protected, why not from conception?

Inconsistend Pro Lifer [IPL]: I'm not sure, but I cant see that there is anything to protect until there are at least some visible signs that it is a baby.

CPL: Well, let me personalize this and see what you think. Were you at that stage of developement at one time?

IPL: Well, yes.

CPL: OK, fine. So if your developement would have been interfered with, causing you at that stage or any stage between then and now, your life would've been taken from you unjustly. They usually call this unjustifiable homicide. Would you agree?

IPL: Um maybe, I need to think about that a little.

CPL: OK well let me add this. If your future days are taken from you by unjustifiable homicide as an adult today, why would it not be any different for the 1 day old conceptus' if her future days are taken unjustifiably from her?

IPL: You speak of it as if it were person.

CPL: Knowing that you were there in your own past days, and that only normal development gave you the ability to know life to the extent that you do now, why not speak of them as persons? You are a person aren't you? When did you become a person? At what point did something outside of your own natural developement make you a person?

IPL: I'll have to consider this.

**the end**

OK, that is it. To rob someone of his future days at any stage of development ought to be considered murder.

Brad B

Are you saying that the thing that makes murder wrong is that you are taking away someone's future life? Or are you saying that if you are taking away someone's future life, we could know you are killing someone...and that would constitute murder?

Hi Steve, in the rawest sense, yes that is what murder is and I am trying to equate the loss of future with the preborn and the post born. If it is wrong to deprive a postborn person of future life and all that entails, why is it not equally wrong to deprive the preborn person--of which we all were at one time--of their future?

I know that Christians also see the image of God issue in the wrongness of murder, but this arguement is meant to stand independant of ones worldview.

Brad B

Hey Steve and Brad,

Are either of you familiar with the article "Why Abortion is Immoral" by Don Marquis? Marquis argues the same way Brad does by saying that what makes killing humans wrong is that you deprive them of a valuable future.

This argument has strengths because it does not depend on the unborn child being a "person." Instead it focuses on what Brad mentioned, the fact that both one property Trent Horn the adult has and Trent Horn the fetus had were the property of "having a valuable future." We don't have to rely on a fetus' potential to act like a person, or its value in being a member of a particular species or kind (which pro-choice critics claim is arbitrary).

I think it has weaknesses though because it doesn't defend the right to life for people in persistent vegetative states or other people who lack "valuable futures." It also has been modified by pro-choicers to only protect fetuses who are cognitively aware of their futures (post 24 weeks).

I also think rhetorically it isn't very persuasive. Steve, your thoughts on Marquis' novel approach?

Hi Trent, I'll look up the article but I'd like to comment on the mentioned weaknesses. The first one concerning "valuable futures" seems to me to be subjective and possibly a slippery slope. Also, it is supposedly being used for setting precedent with extreme and rare cases. I'd argue that way in the first instance.

As far as the consciousness of ones future being used to be the determining factor that makes it valuable, it seems obviously problematic as an arguement. First of all, consciousness is lost and regained naturally many times. Secondly, it assumes that ones life/future is only valuable to the particular individual as though they will live in vacuum. Every other being of the same kind is at risk of the same treatment and it's in all of our interests that the life of humans be respected and valued--even if some individuals dont do either. Thirdly, everyone who is conscious of his/her future did in fact survive the developemental stage prior to having the ability. Heck, even 1 year old's dont have awareness of their own separateness and we dont tolerate post uteri infanticide[except P.Singer types].

Brad B

I wanted to add that the example in Stith's article where he used the polaroid picture and it's development made a lot of sense as a tool for understanding the distinction of "construction vs. development". We have to argue that as Trent did above where he equated the Trent fetus and the Trent adult as the same individual. This obvious truth cannot be denied by anyone willing to look and admit that they would not be here today if not having survived preconsciousness. If [lets say] Trent in the preconsciousness stage had no value, with much more future life to live[than the adult Trent], then he has no value now[with consciousness] with less life to anticipate. The person Trent as aware and conscious necessarily depended upon the survival of the person Trent as a zygote.

Brad B

I have never been in a discussion about abortion myself so this is my first step (Of many more, I hope). But the thing that I saw that would be problematic would be the whole philosophy of materialism. This makes the whole conversation more difficult than most people would care to engage in.

Again, I speak from ignorance so I will have to try it out when I go back to my campus next week.

Though I liked the analogy of the Polaroid, I don't think we can assume that our opponents will now give us the argument on the grounds of intrinsic value. Who knows, maybe it is just because of the classes I am taking, but I think that an individual who wants to engage in these conversations need to be equipped in more areas than just bio-ethics.

Fortunately, the educational system is realizing that courses are interdependent, but because there is a separation between science and Christianity, we have a battle to wage.

I need to amend something I wrote above where I equated value of life with quantity. In the example where I said this:

" If [lets say] Trent in the preconsciousness stage had no value, with much more future life to live[than the adult Trent], then he has no value now[with consciousness] with less life to anticipate." , I would seem to be saying that one person is more valuable since he's got an expectation of a longer life ahead of him. I didn't want that to come out that way.

I did want to make the point that since the adult [conscious and aware] person necessarily depends on his own survival at the earliest stages you cannot speak as though they aren't equally valuable. If one can deny the intrinsic value of him at the conceptus stage, it is no problem to deny him any value at the adult stage. If you give him value at the adult stage, how can you deny him value at the necessary developemental stages?

Hi Trent, I did read the article you referenced and got some good insights from it. Thanks for mentioning it.

Brad B

Hi Augustine, you might enjoy this article.

It's a pretty easy read although it'll take 30 min or so.
You could likely find something like it on this site also, but I haven't searched to know.

Bottom line is that philosophical materialism and it's bedfellow methodological naturalism are neither one honest sciences.

Brad B

Excelent points all along the way.
This may seem trite, but even without the distinction of terms, the constructionist view fails. If I were to rob a part from the assembly line, I would still be guilty of a crime. Even if the factory was shut down. To carry the analogy farther, what if at the end of shift, I were to steal a fastener of some sort. I fully intended to replace it, but I fell ill and didn't come to work. If by some chance that car got through missing a critical part, it could lead to a tradgety.
The analogy of robbing is the taking of life.
The missing part even if it was used for a 'good' purpose, would be analogous to 'good intentions.'

I would like to throw something out there and see if anyone else sees the same thing.

Since Darwinism began, there seems to be a tendency to underestimate or oversimplify things. Even men like Crick, who admitted the complexity of the living cell (DNA)etc., spent the last twenty years of his life trying to prove that the unique consciousness of human kind could be relegated to mere chemical compounds. Even the most rudimentary examination of the evidence concerning even the simpilist living creatures, makes the assembly line analogy absurd. I don't deny the need for us to address these arguements, but this attempt to over simplify things seems to be at the core of the humanist/abortion debate.

P.S. If I were to steel a half assembled car, I would still likely be charged with grand theft auto, breaking and entering, conspiracy to committ etc.

Hey Tim, I was curious, since I'm assuming you are a darwinist, what is the best forms of evidence for the validation of darwinism I.E. MACRO evolution? Also, what evidence is there that some particle like hydrogen has always existed or what evidence is there that something can come from a literal nothing such as in quantam physics? Any other darwinists in here can help with the discussion as well. Thanks.

Hi Ronald, I didn't get that Tim is a Darwinist although he did comment on it. Maybe I'm missing what you are seeing, what gave you this insight?

Thanks, Brad B

Hey Brad,

I mostly assumed that Tim was a darwinists for two reasons. One, his post gave respective references to darwin, and two nearly half or more of the people who post here are darwinistic atheists, who basically come in here and walk all over everyone with their bullyish tactics. I personally feel like most of them need to be banned. Becasue they won't listen to our arguments for God's existence anyway. I mostly think they need to be banned so they won't further indoctronate truth seekers like myself and what I also assume you to be. Good day.

Hi Steve,

It all goes to point out the need for Christians to get off the couch and engage the culture in terms of salt and light, as Christ intended. One way of doing this in the United States would be to push for a Constitutional Ammendment that would read something like this:

"Congress shall make no law respecting a definition of human life, or denying the personage or personhood thereof, or denying the dignity thereof, or denying the value thereof, or denying the quality thereof, or denying the equality of all human life."

More about this at:

(Scroll down toward the end of the page for the suggested Ammendment.)


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