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May 09, 2012

Comments

Amy,

Thanks for the post.

Again, though, just because we treat dead bodies a certain way doesn't mean we value the once-living organism as a person with the right to life. The way we react to the story is consistent with your thesis that unborn human beings have the right to life, but it does not imply that your thesis is true.

Regards,
Ben

The reaction is inconsistent with the idea that they are not human beings with intrinsic value. The revulsion is illogical following the pro-choice premisses.

Very timely article. And very sad, And yes, very sickening.

Daron, how is it illogical?

If a fetus is just a mass of tissue then there is no logical reason to object to those who wish to eat it. We ingest human tissue every day. Some of us even do it on purpose, buying and ingesting placenta. People might be personally turned off by it, just as some are turned off by cow tongue or squid, but they are not morally outraged or desiring to halt the practice.

In fact, this practice is no worse than ESR. What is the moral difference between ingesting and already dead fetus and injecting it into your nervous system?

Daron,

The feelings we have are independent of logical reasoning. I don't have a logical reason to enjoy chocolate, but I enjoy it all the same.

If I feel revulsion at X, then that's that. I don't need any justification for it. It's just the way I feel about X.

Regards,
Ben

Ben,
Would you agree that the behavior is irrational? If your emotional reaction is inconsistent with your rational mind, then it seems to me there is a problem of some sort.

People who are afraid of things they themselves know are not frightening are behaving irrationally. So having strong feelings about eating X, when you know there's nothing to justify such feelings - that's a problem.

If a behavior is irrational, then by definition there's a logical problem of some sort.

Ben,

Daron,

The feelings we have are independent of logical reasoning.


No they aren't.
They are beyond logical reasoning, but they are not independent. They are conditioned by logical reasoning and they can can affect logical reasoning.
These feelings of revulsion are inconsistent with the premisses of the pro-choice arguments.
I don't have a logical reason to enjoy chocolate, but I enjoy it all the same.
Gastronomic taste is on a different level from moral reasoning but it, too, can be conditioned. When I had my first Coca Cola it was disgusting. Now I love it.
Palates are trained by use and appreciation, both of which can be affected by logical reasoning.
Plato rightly said that in order for people to be proper moral agents they need to be brought up trained to appreciate moral goods.
The Apostle Paul told us to train our minds and bodies, to keep good things before our minds and shun evil to improve our discernment.

If I feel revulsion at X, then that's that. I don't need any justification for it. It's just the way I feel about X.
Brute facts are interesting, but they don't get us very far in discussions. You may not need a justification for your feeling, but if your feeling is illogical given your worldview then you are living out an inconsistency and something has to give. Some people love hot dogs and then when they find out what is in them they are disgusted. Some people think abortion is just fine until they reason logically from a proper grounding in God's Creation.

I literally shudder at how depraved we human beings can be--all the while believing we are so intellectually superior that our own reasoning ability trumps everything else. What a small pinnacle to stand on! The mental commitment to deny the existence of God positions us on the slippery slope to free-fall into becoming the lowest form of life, devoid of the true dignity conferred on us through that very God. The further we pursue that distance, the more base we become until we are hardly recognizable. The transformation is so subtle, one thought at a time, that we don't even see what we are daily becoming. If our hearts and minds are not set on daily renewal and conformation to the mind of
Christ, we will surely be shaped and molded to the ideas of this world. For those like Ben who see this as a simplistic game of "Let's Match Wits", there is only one Hope-- and that hand has been outstretched, and it continues to be outstretched; but the time is coming when the hourglass of this life will run out and we will ALL meet our Maker--whether we accept that or not. Standing on our own intellect and authority will make for a pretty small platform, regardless of how firm and spacious it seems at the moment.

To those who sees the human being as not a person until some arbitrary point in time, of course abortion seems a non-issue. Grinding up and ingesting those same "non-persons" simply follows as another non-issue because there is no conflict in that progression of ideas. Turning them into cosmetics and "health" potions even sounds reasonable, given the "Green" benefits of recycling. We humans can overcome our horrors of just about anything over time, given high-sounding ideas from so-called intellectuals. But when the foundational premise is wrong, all that follows is wrong as well.

May we fall on our faces before the Creator and lay down our egos, our intellectual pride and our stubborn rebellion, begging forgiveness while there is still time.

Ben,

If I feel revulsion at X, then that's that. I don't need any justification for it. It's just the way I feel about X.

Really? If eating chocolate ice cream induced feelings of anger and hostility toward squirrels, would you not seek out a reason (a justification) for having such odd feelings, or would you just accept them and go about your day?

Everything that happens requires a justification.

Amy,

Are you saying that being revolted by eating human flesh should make you against the way the human died?

RonH

Sorry for the typos---"To those who SEE..."

I guess 'should make you against' is a little unclear.

Example:

Suppose pills were made from executed murderers.

Suppose some anti-death penalty activist was revolted by these pills.

Would you make the corresponding post?

RonH

Are you saying that being revolted by eating human flesh should make you against the way the human died?

No.

I'll just quote my post again:

But the reaction to this article reveals the truth: fetal humans are members of the human family with us, and eating them is every bit the same kind of cannibalism as eating any other human.

Do you think only anti-death penalty activists would be revolted by pills made out of human beings with intrinsic value? Of course not. My point is that we're revolted by pills made out of human beings. We're not revolted by pills made out of clumps of cells.

I did not even faintly suggest that 'only anti-death penalty activists would be revolted by pills made' from executed murderers.

But I did ask if you'd object if an anti-death penalty activist was revolted by the idea of pills made of executed murderers.

RonH


Intrinsic value? Is that value without a valuer?

Why should I believe in that?

RonH

Consider the cloned human cell lines used to manufacturer vaccinations which were originally derived from a human fetus which millions of Christians have either condoned or are simply happily ignorant of. Are these okay because they are cloned or because we are told they are for the "greater good" or "save lives" though thats debatable of course and a whole topic in itself which requires much research before coming to any firm opinion due to much suppresion about the long term harm,side effects and damage to the immune system from vaccinations.
I would have to answer no as a Christian its evil depraved and sick to use aborted fetal cells in vaccinations cloned or not.
Lets not be hypocrites here as christians, we cant condone pills made out of human beings and not vaccines, cloned or not.
The baby parts industry is huge and most prevelant in the west and goes beyond vaccines of course.
Babies are still sacraficed to Baal but its called trade profit, science and reason now.

or its called "research" of course.

I did not even faintly suggest that 'only anti-death penalty activists would be revolted by pills made' from executed murderers. But I did ask if you'd object if an anti-death penalty activist was revolted by the idea of pills made of executed murderers

I didn't say you did. I was asking a rhetorical question to make my point.

Maybe I'm just not following you, but I thought I answered this by saying that anti-death-penalty activists would of course not be the only ones to be revolted. Of course I would be too, for the same reason I'm revolted by this. Why on earth would anyone object to their being revolted? I'm not following you.

This post isn't about the way the babies died, this post is about the fact that they are babies.

Intrinsic value? Is that value without a valuer? Why should I believe in that?

And that's why secular societies (like the former Soviet Union, China, etc.) reject universal human rights and enter into all sorts of atrocities. If it's all a matter of what the people in power value, that's what you end up with.

That doesn't prove to you you're wrong (although, I think we know that a worldview that ends with that is inferior--that is, less a match to the reality of good and evil that we experience--to one that ends with universal human rights, leading to the question of why that's the case); it's just a reality I wish people would be more honest about.

Andrew, I didn't connect the dots for people from this to ESCR, but I expected them to.

And that's why secular societies...

IF that WERE why, it would not make intrinsic value real.

Maybe I'm just not following you

OK, I will dispose of the activists. I didn't like them anyway.

Disgust/revulsion is not always connected to morality.

Can you follow that?

RonH

Andrew,
You are absolutely right that as Christians we must take truth seriously and apply it to all of life. That there are points where we have not logically connected our worldview to all of our opinions is just a fact of life. Everyone fails at this consistency in some ways so it is important that we follow truth into these areas and that they be pointed out to us. But a person is not a hypocrite merely for holding a view that is not consistent with their presuppositions. Neither are they hypocrites for not saying everything on every subject every time.

RonH,

>>”Disgust/revulsion is not always connected to morality.”
>>”Can you follow that?”

Sure, RonH. I can follow that. People would be disgusted by ‘snot pills’ too, but it doesn’t follow that they should value snot. The point, however, is that if there is no value to the dead bodies (now or ever), there should be no objection to making pills and eating them. It should be whatever suits you. No value then…no value now…pop the pill and get on with it.

...And when I say, no objection, I’m talking morally speaking. I mean they're just pills of which, many consider gross. Nothing else can be said of it.

Ben,
>>”If I feel revulsion at X, then that's that. I don't need any justification for it. It's just the way I feel about X.”

Fine. But don’t tell anyone else that they should feel revulsion. Your position should be, if they want to make pills out of dead bodies – fine by me. Same care you would give regarding the chocolate preferences you brought up.

Is there much of a difference between swallowing and digesting the flesh of another human being and replacing a diseased organ with one from a dead human being?

I think that is a good question, Dave.
I'd say the two are about as equivalent as the harvesting and sources are.

Your question would tend to cut away the objection of those who think that taking pills derived from aborted fetuses is "wrong" merely because it is gross or icky. For one, it admits the very thing they are denying - that the pills are made from human beings, and not just morally irrelevant tissue.

I think the moral objectors would be just as repulsed if people were being murdered and their organs sold as they are by these pills because the victims are, in both cases, people.

"Andrew, I didn't connect the dots for people from this to ESCR, but I expected them to"
Fully accpeted Amy, my only purpose was to make this connection clear and to make fellow christians think beyond subjective secular moral thinking and conditioning from birth, i am fully agreed with you otherise.
In Christ
Andrew

KWM,

You wrote:

Fine. But don’t tell anyone else that they should feel revulsion. Your position should be, if they want to make pills out of dead bodies – fine by me. Same care you would give regarding the chocolate preferences you brought up.

If it was just me who felt the revulsion, then perhaps indeed it would be best to stay quiet about it and not try to force anyone to stop. But of course the reality of the situation is that many, many people feel the same sort of revulsion. I have to weigh their well-being against the well-being of the people who want to manufacture and/or eat the pills.

Regards,
Ben

SteveK,

I am often curious about the causes of my feelings. But when I speak of "reasons," I am not referring to causal explanations but rather to rational justification. We do not require any reason in that sense to feel any particular way.

Incidentally, I do also deny that we even need a causal reason. But that is not relevant to the present discussion.

Regards,
Ben

If I saw a bunch of folks protesting against cannibalism, I might actually believe that there is the belief that there is nothing wrong with ingesting human remains.

Since I don't I'll chalk it up to sophistry, because they don't want a christian to actually think they made a good point.

So if you read the article. At least the one I read you have this,

"The San Francisco Times reported that tests carried out on the pills confirmed they were made up of 99.7 per cent human remains. The tests were successfully able to establish the genders of the babies used"

Well generally you can tell the sex of a supposed fetus at 18-20 weeks. Maybe 12. Maybe. So these aren't just a blob of cells. This is life.

Some comments of this post are disturbing. If there was to be another Hitler type; I'm afraid some of you might join him.

Alex,

I don't recall saying there is nothing wrong with ingesting human remains. Perhaps you should be more careful with your accusations of sophistry.

A certain quote comes to mind:

Thus it appears certain to me, by a great variety of proofs, that Cambyses was raving mad; he would not else have set himself to make a mock of holy rites and long-established usages. For if one were to offer men to choose out of all the customs in the world such as seemed to them the best, they would examine the whole number, and end by preferring their own; so convinced are they that their own usages far surpass those of all others. Unless, therefore, a man was mad, it is not likely that he would make sport of such matters. That people have this feeling about their laws may be seen by very many proofs: among others, by the following. Darius, after he had got the kingdom, called into his presence certain Greeks who were at hand, and asked- "What he should pay them to eat the bodies of their fathers when they died?" To which they answered, that there was no sum that would tempt them to do such a thing. He then sent for certain Indians, of the race called Callatians, men who eat their fathers, and asked them, while the Greeks stood by, and knew by the help of an interpreter all that was said - "What he should give them to burn the bodies of their fathers at their decease?" The Indians exclaimed aloud, and bade him forbear such language. Such is men's wont herein; and Pindar was right, in my judgment, when he said, "Law is the king o'er all."

--Herodotus, History, book III.

Regards,
Ben

We do not require any reason in that sense to feel any particular way.
But we do have a reason. Our emotions are dependent upon ideas we hold. In this case the emotions are inconsistent with the world view. This is good evidence that the world view is false.

I don't need a reason to feel this is just sophistry.

Suppose that a scientist discovered some compound that, if taken orally along with cells from a healthy 'donor' liver, would completely undo the ravages of cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer or any other liver disease. Essentially causing the liver to regrow itself.

Suppose also that the donation of liver cells is an easy procedure that does not require invasive surgery and has no chance of injuring the donor. In fact, just to gild the lily, suppose that cells harvested from deceased, even recently deceased, donors will not work.

Would it be OK to take that cure? Even though it involves eating human remains?

It seems like it would, and it would be far preferable to traditional organ transplant treatments.

There are two questions that are important here:

1. Is the treatment, in fact, effective?
2. How likely is it that individuals will be murdered to harvest the donor cells?

Now it seems to me that the ground-up-baby-pills fail on both questions.

First, the science is phony-baloney. It's like aromatherapy, except with cannibalism.

Second, the babies were victims of murder.

Organ transplants are carefully controlled in this country precisely to avoid the possibility that someone might be killed to harvest their organs. If the practice of killing donors became commonplace, you can bet that attitudes about the organ transplants would be quite different.

Ben,

>>”If it was just me who felt the revulsion, then perhaps indeed it would be best to stay quiet about it and not try to force anyone to stop. But of course the reality of the situation is that many, many people feel the same sort of revulsion. I have to weigh their well-being against the well-being of the people who want to manufacture and/or eat the pills.”

I think you miss my point. Leave the effects of ingesting the pills aside. How can you make a moral case against it as it relates to the origin of the pills? Refer to my response to RonH above on the ‘snot pills’. How can you make a case against the pills any differently than you would say, on soda, and soda’s effect on obesity? How could you make the case against your example of chocolate (your example) if someone is against chocolate? Why take others revulsion into account?

Many people feel revulsion toward broccoli. Should we stop ingesting or growing it?

Daron,

When I said that feelings are independent of logical reasoning, I had a particular sense of independence in mind. Certainly I agree that logical reasoning can influence our feelings, both directly and indirectly. But feelings are not matters of fact which can be logically deduced or contradicted. So to revisit my first example, if I enjoy chocolate, then there are no facts which can logically contradict my enjoyment, or from which my enjoyment is logically deduced.

The point is, of course, that I don't need a "logical reason" to feel disgusted at the eating of dead human tissue.

You claim that the feelings I have in this case are logically "inconsistent with the premisses of the pro-choice arguments." (As an aside, I cannot help but ask, what premises, and what pro-choice arguments?) But feelings, not being matters of fact, could not possibly be logically inconsistent with anything.

Now, it might be the case that if only I understood certain logical connections, then my feelings would be influenced one way or another. But you have not shown that to be the case here.

Regards,
Ben

KWM,

I wouldn't try to make a moral case against it in that way. I don't think it's inherently morally wrong. As far as I can see, its moral wrongness is entirely derivative of the suffering it causes to people who are disgusted by its practice.

As for broccoli, I think you misunderstand the disgust I'm talking about. Certainly many people dislike the taste of broccoli, but I don't know anyone who is deeply upset by the general practice of eating it.

Regards,
Ben

Hi Ben,
You pretty much said all that last week.

Here was my response:

re: feelings:
They are beyond logical reasoning, but they are not independent. They are conditioned by logical reasoning and they can can affect logical reasoning.
These feelings of revulsion are inconsistent with the premisses of the pro-choice arguments.
I don't have a logical reason to enjoy chocolate, but I enjoy it all the same.
Gastronomic taste is on a different level from moral reasoning but it, too, can be conditioned. When I had my first Coca Cola it was disgusting. Now I love it.
Palates are trained by use and appreciation, both of which can be affected by logical reasoning.
Plato rightly said that in order for people to be proper moral agents they need to be brought up trained to appreciate moral goods.
The Apostle Paul told us to train our minds and bodies, to keep good things before our minds and shun evil to improve our discernment.

----

We do not require any reason in that sense to feel any particular way.
But we do have a reason. Our emotions are dependent upon ideas we hold. In this case the emotions are inconsistent with the world view. This is good evidence that the world view is false. Posted by: Daron | May 09, 2012 at 09:56 PM


(As an aside, I cannot help but ask, what premises, and what pro-choice arguments?)

I think I answered that already as well.
If a fetus is just a mass of tissue then there is no logical reason to object to those who wish to eat it. We ingest human tissue every day. Some of us even do it on purpose, buying and ingesting placenta. People might be personally turned off by it, just as some are turned off by cow tongue or squid, but they are not morally outraged or desiring to halt the practice.

In fact, this practice is no worse than ESR. What is the moral difference between ingesting and already dead fetus and injecting it into your nervous system?

You prove to KWM that you are not really equating this moral disgust to gastronomic taste:

but I don't know anyone who is deeply upset by the general practice of eating it.

Exactly. It is not about exciting the taste buds but becoming deeply upset.

Ben

The point is, of course, that I don't need a "logical reason" to feel disgusted at the eating of dead human tissue.

The problem is the contradiction of your feelings and your rational mind. Once again an analogy - if you were afraid that an army of paper cutouts would rise up and kill you during the night, you would be wise to consider those feelings of fear to be a problem in need of correction. True?

Ben,

>>I wouldn't try to make a moral case against it in that way.

What is your moral case against the pills? You haven’t presented one yet.

>> As far as I can see, its moral wrongness is entirely derivative of the suffering it causes to people who are disgusted by its practice.”

Some people are disgusted by the practice of eating pork and catfish, but you wouldn’t say “moral wrongness” is present here just because some people are irrational. You wouldn't say that we should stop eating pork and catfish.

If this is the case, you should feel the same way about abortion in general (although this is a wrong feeling). Abortion causes many to suffer who are disgusted by its practice – despite the morality of abortion. What follows from that?

SteveK,

I'm glad you checked back. Thanks for the response.

See, the thing is, I don't know what you mean by the notion of a "contradiction" between one's "feelings" and one's "rational mind." You can't mean a logical contradiction, because logical contradictions only arise between statements and other linguistic entities. But feelings are not statements. Maybe you think there is some kind of incoherence going on. But then, incoherence only makes sense in the context of some kind of model (e.g. a conception of how the world works). And feelings don't qualify for that either.

If we look closely at your analogy, I think you'll see what I mean. Suppose this hypothetical person is afraid that an army of paper cutouts is going to rise up and kill him during the night, while he is asleep. The implication here is that he believes that scenario is a reasonable possibility, and he reacts with fear. What makes him irrational in that case are not his feelings, but rather the underlying belief which leads to those feelings. His belief contradicts what we know about the world---that paper cutouts just don't do that sort of thing.

Maybe you could try stipulating that he consciously understands that paper cutouts don't do that, but that he is nevertheless afraid it will happen. Yet in that case it's not so much that he is literally afraid of the cutouts---he knows there are no such monsters---but rather he is filled with fear at the imagery of such monsters. But this would not make him irrational. It would just make him abnormally disturbed.

Either way, his feelings do not make him irrational.

Regards,
Ben

KWM,

You ask:

What is your moral case against the pills? You haven’t presented one yet.

That's true. I haven't defended the idea that it is immoral, precisely because I'm not convinced it really is. It might be. But if so, then it is only immoral in a derivative sense, by making other people suffer as a result of their overwhelming disgust.

Abortion causes many to suffer who are disgusted by its practice – despite the morality of abortion. What follows from that?

Like I said before, we have to weigh that against the well-being of the people who are benefited by having abortions. But you are correct that we ought not ignore people who are disturbed by abortion, even though they have no good reason to be disturbed---even though if only they appreciated the fact that there is no reason whatsoever to think God exists then they probably would not feel the way they do about abortion.

Regards,
Ben

Daron,

I just don't see how your criticisms are coherent. You claim that certain feelings are "illogical," when logic only pertains to statements and linguistic entities (which feelings are not). Similarly, you insist that certain emotions can be "inconsistent" when paired with the wrong world view. But I don't know what it means for emotions to be inconsistent with a world view, when emotions are not part of a model or matters of fact. Statements can be inconsistent with a world view; beliefs can be inconsistent with a world view; etc. Such things concern matters of fact---they are either true or false. But I have no idea what it means for emotions to be inconsistent with anything.

Regards,
Ben

HI Ben,

I just don't see how your criticisms are coherent. You claim that certain feelings are "illogical," when logic only pertains to statements and linguistic entities (which feelings are not).

That's unfortunate, because they are coherent.
Similarly, you insist that certain emotions can be "inconsistent" when paired with the wrong world view. But I don't know what it means for emotions to be inconsistent with a world view, when emotions are not part of a model or matters of fact.
But they reflect your perception of fact in accordance with your model.

Statements can be inconsistent with a world view; beliefs can be inconsistent with a world view; etc
Correct. And emotions reflect your beliefs when they encounter your perceptions.
. But I have no idea what it means for emotions to be inconsistent with anything.
I think my comments, as well as SteveK's and KWM's ought to have given you at least an idea.

Your emotional responses are automatic and require cognition but no conscious reasoning. But this does not mean they are independent of reason, for they rely upon a conceptual framework built up by reason. The ideas are present at all times, but are not held in your conscious mind.
What makes emotions strange, and seems to you to put them outside of reason, is the fact that men can hold inconsistent ideas at the same time.
They can make pro-choice arguments and still be deeply (morally) upset, by the misuse of the bodies of dead babies, for instance.
His emotions are not in conflict with his beliefs, but, rather, are reflecting ideas he holds that are in conflict with his professed beliefs.
The emotions are actually following from conclusions held, even if the person no longer recalls forming that conclusion, or whether he is actively suppressing it.

Either the man in conflict is some kind of sociopath, where his emotions are inappropriate to reality, or they arise from an idea which is illogical, given his professed beliefs or worldview. They are an automatic consequence of the mind's past conclusions.

You say to SteveK.

What makes him irrational in that case are not his feelings, but rather the underlying belief which leads to those feelings.

Yeah, I was pretty sure we actually understood each other.

And you use the terminology yourself to KWM:

But you are correct that we ought not ignore people who are disturbed by abortion, even though they have no good reason to be disturbed---even though if only they appreciated the fact that there is no reason whatsoever to think God exists then they probably would not feel the way they do about abortion.

But "disturbance" is an emotion and "reason" pertains to arguments - just as you've been kicking against when I said that
The reaction is inconsistent with the idea that they are not human beings with intrinsic value. The revulsion is illogical following the pro-choice premisses.

Are you sure you have no idea what I am talking about? It seems to me that you do.

And:

even though if only they appreciated the fact that there is no reason whatsoever to think God existsnot feel the way they do about abortion.

So the feelings should be consistent with the worldview. Why is it that it makes sense to you here?

So, as I said, if a person is true to their prochoice premisses (appreciates the purported facts of this argument) then they have no reason (it is illogical) to be disturbed (feel a certain way) by the pills.

This discussion reminds me how so many people get bent out of shape when looking at graphic images of abortions. They just can’t understand why their emotions can’t be restrained. They can’t correctly interpret the dissonance between their closely held belief and what’s in front of their eyes. A second, more appealing option is to get upset at the person presenting the images because that’s an emotion that they can make sense of.

Trying to curb an explainable emotion is tough work –even for trained professionals. Trying to curb an inexplicable or wrong belief is easy enough for anyone willing to acknowledge there’s something amiss. People do it every day.

Daron,

Okay, so then it sounds like you actually agree with me that feelings are never themselves illogical/irrational. Instead, saying that "feeling X is illogical/irrational" is only a kind of shorthand for saying that the person who feels X does so as the result of an illogical/irrational belief underlying his feeling.

The problem is, you haven't pointed to any illogical or irrational beliefs I hold regarding this issue, much less one which, if corrected, would change how I feel. So your charge that I have these illogical or irrational beliefs appears quite unfounded.

Also, I think you misunderstood what I said to SteveK. When I wrote that Christians have "no good reason to be disturbed," I'm underscoring the point that they don't need a reason to be disturbed. In fact, they could only ever even have such a reason in a derivative sense, i.e. having a reason to believe something which would prompt them (nonrationally) to feel one way or another.

Regards,
Ben

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