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Tilting at Windmills

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July 6, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

CLONING, CLONING, CLONED....As near as I can tell, the aim of this op-ed by Robert George and Eric Cohen is to demagogue embryonic stem cell research by using the word "clone" as many times as possible in a single column. I count a total of 21 uses, for a remarkable "Boys From Brazil" quotient of 1.5 mentions per paragraph. Good work, guys.

Kevin Drum 1:59 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (170)

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Comments

Well, cloning is as evil as...cloning, and they were only showing that the very word invites cloning of the word cloning! I mean of course that clones invite only more clones, it is the cloning of this that makes it a clone.

Posted by: jay boilswater on July 6, 2006 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry Kevin I don't understand your problem with using the word cloning. Since life begins at conception, embryonic stem cell research is nothing more than cloning human beings. What's the problem with calling cloning for what it really is?

Posted by: Al on July 6, 2006 at 2:31 AM | PERMALINK

bla bla bla BAD! bla bla CLONE! bla bla SCIENTISTS! bla bla ETHICS!

Brother.

Posted by: craigie on July 6, 2006 at 2:32 AM | PERMALINK

That was like reading a railroad spike with my forehead. You have a high tolerance for pain.

Reluctantly entering their frame, won't it create even more "ethical" problems once we figure out how to make a viable stem cell line from random adult cells. Think of the trillions of potential babies lost from paper cuts and dandruff.

Posted by: mp3 on July 6, 2006 at 3:04 AM | PERMALINK

Since life begins at conception

Al, life began shortly after the earth formed and never stopped. Here's a thought experiment: Toward the end of this century we take a skin cell from your ass and a white blood cell from American Hawks engorged penis, induce both to undergo meiosis and oogenesis, fuse the haploid cells, place the growing zygote in the womb of a accident victim persisting in a vegetative state, and remove a beautiful baby girl via C-section. Which is the sacred step?

Which is the sacred step anyway? Coitus, meiosis, haploid cell fusion? Before too long all three will be induced on the lab bench.

Posted by: mp3 on July 6, 2006 at 3:21 AM | PERMALINK

mp3
When tempted to debate Al, remember the aphorism "There is no virtue in beating an unarmed opponent". i.e. Troll.

Posted by: opit on July 6, 2006 at 3:59 AM | PERMALINK

Lets see, George and Cohen call on us to balance the non-existant needs potentially existing in very disgarded stem cells against the real needs of very existant human beings. We are to come down on the side of the non-existant potential existance of the disgarded stem cells to the postitive detriment of the existing, but very ill, human beings needing all the medical help available. Well, putting all the murky issues aside, how often do the loved ones of disgarded stems cells vote? How often do they call the doctor demanding effective treatment? What about ill human beings? Who makes the more effective PSA, Michael J. Fox and Nancy Reagan or a stem cell swimming in a test tube?

If the stem cell opponents are smart they will pick their ground carefully and their battles wisely. This isn't gay bashing. Nor is it gun control. This issue has the potential of impacting the health of every living human being. Even if there is an area of moral ambiguity, the balance is going to be struck on the side of real live breathing human beings. That balance will be struck whether they like it or not.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 6, 2006 at 7:37 AM | PERMALINK

Since life begins at conception, embryonic stem cell research is nothing more than cloning human beings.
--Al

Everything is black and white to a conservative even when its not.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on July 6, 2006 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers
If the stem cell opponents are smart they will pick their ground carefully and their battles wisely. This isn't gay bashing. Nor is it gun control. This issue has the potential of impacting the health of every living human being. Even if there is an area of moral ambiguity, the balance is going to be struck on the side of real live breathing human beings. That balance will be struck whether they like it or not.

Funny, I was thinking exactly the same thing, but reversed. I was thinking stem cell proponents should be patient and wait a little longer for the ability to make viable stem cells from non-embryos. Then you won't have to make a morally ambiguous trade and offend a significant part of America, thereby generating more noise and bluster.

That balance will be struck whether they like it or not.

I think you're wrong as to which way the balance will go, and I think stem cells will be like abortions, a nuther hammer that conservative use to club liberals over the head and win elections with.

Go for the win-win, stem cells derived not from embryos.

Posted by: Red State Mike on July 6, 2006 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike

Abortion, gun control, gay bashing and flag burning are all of a kind. They are issues that don't effect many people. The people who they do effect, young girls, gays, the victims of innercity crime and a few disaffected hippies, don't have much clout with Republicans (mostly white, suburban men pretending to love America.)

Stem cell research has the potential of improving the lives of white, suburban men even those who pretend to love America. To oppose stem cell research those Republican voters are going to have to make a choice that affects them personally.

Notice the difference. It is easy for a smug Republican to be morally outraged about an issue that doesn't effect him. It is hard to ask him to give up his continued existance or good health for some the theoretical rights of some disgarded stem cells floating around a test tube.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 6, 2006 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

Oh man, I am scared shitless of clones. I mean who wouldn't be scared of soulless zombies born as full scale mature replicas of other human beings who will relentlessly pursue whatever evil project the evil scientists have programmed into their evil zombie-like unconscious brains?

No sir, I don't want nothing to do with clones -- and don't get me started with clowns. They scare me too.

Posted by: The Fool on July 6, 2006 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe George and Cohen are big Star Wars fans.

Maybe RSM should understand that by George and Cohen's definition, any stem cell research is technically cloning.

Posted by: Hank Scorpio on July 6, 2006 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers
Stem cell research has the potential of improving the lives of white, suburban men even those who pretend to love America.

Ah yes, the snide little rib dig that indicates you aren't serious.

To oppose stem cell research those Republican voters are going to have to make a choice that affects them personally.

The military is mostly republican. They support the war, and they fight it. It affects them personally. Proof that your foundation assumption is bogus. I can think of plenty of other examples.

Notice the difference. It is easy for a smug Republican to be morally outraged about an issue that doesn't affect him. It is hard to ask him to give up his continued existence or good health for some the theoretical rights of some disgarded stem cells floating around a test tube.

Not everyone is self-centered me-me-me, Ron. I look at my kids, and think of how they were created, at what moment the "magic" occurs. And I'm not religious. You don't need to be religious to hold an embryo in special regard. I felt that way before I ever heard of stem cells, and it would be some kind of moral cowardice or...not sure what...hypocrisy I guess...to now say, "Oh, I've changed my mind since we've found a use for embryos." It doesn't matter whether it's as a new pet food for hamsters or as a life saving springboard for the living. They are either special or not. A hell of a lot of people think they are, and they will act in a manner "not in their own self-interest" in your eyes, but in the self-interest of the community in theirs, to preserve that status.

In short, you've completely read the conservative side of the argument wrong.

Posted by: Red State Mike on July 6, 2006 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Hank Scorpio
Maybe RSM should understand that by George and Cohen's definition, any stem cell research is technically cloning.

Maybe Hank should follow the link first before posting...

In other words: all the benefits of research cloning without the ethical problems. Looking ahead, it is becoming increasingly likely that reprogramming adult cells to pluripotency, rather than destroying human embryos, will be the future of regenerative medicine. It offers both a more efficient and far more ethical way forward.
Posted by: Red State Mike on July 6, 2006 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

YES! George Clooney clones for everyone!!!

Posted by: Pencil Neck on July 6, 2006 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

Hi Mike

Lets see. Number of children of top administration officials to serve in Iraq? Zero. Number of children of Republican representatives to serve in Iraq? Zero? Less than 5? Republican response to 9/11? Kill a lot of Iraqis and American soldiers, and lower taxes on themselves.In a cost cutting move late last week the Republicans decided to eliminate the Osama taskforce in the CIA. Right, the Republican party is the party of sacrifice.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 6, 2006 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

They are either special or not. A hell of a lot of people think they are, and they will act in a manner "not in their own self-interest" in your eyes, but in the self-interest of the community in theirs, to preserve that status.

I understand this argument. Don't agree with it, but certainly understand why some would hold it. But it starts to break down when you have embryonic SC research opponents--not necessarily you, RSM--completely uninterested in the issue of embryo disposal in facilities dedicated to in vitro fertilization and implantation. It would seem that for many folks, the "special status" of embryos is specifically a matter of intent.

Posted by: shortstop on July 6, 2006 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Pencil Neck: YES! George Clooney clones for everyone!!!

You just made rdw's head implode.

Fortunately, it should have little impact on the quality of his postings.

Posted by: shortstop on July 6, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe RSM should google the what Cohen and George suggest - it includes stripping an egg cell to create the environment needed for the "reprogrammed" adult cell.

Nice try though.

Posted by: Hank Scorpio on July 6, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

This calls for Nellie McKay lyrics!

My oh my walkin' by
Who's the apple of my eye
Why it's my very own
Clonie
Oh if I should stroll the 'hood
Who knew I could look so good
Just talkin' on the phone to
Clonie
We are pals
It's cool 'cause we're not lonely
Shallow gene pool
There's nothing to my only
Clonie
Me and you, hustlin' through
Holdin' on through thick and thin
Just day by day our DNA
'cause the Olsen twins got nothin' on us
We'll survive
Side by side
Mother Nature don't you call her phony
She's my clonie

Posted by: K on July 6, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

>> They are either special or not. A hell of a lot of people think they are, and they will act in a manner "not in their own self-interest" in your eyes, but in the self-interest of the community in theirs, to preserve that status.

I don't see how letting old people die is in the self-interest of the community.

Posted by: fumphis on July 6, 2006 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Hank Scorpio
Maybe RSM should google the what Cohen and George suggest - it includes stripping an egg cell to create the environment needed for the "reprogrammed" adult cell.

Hmmm, you'll have to prove that one. As I understand it, they are looking to use mesenchymal stem cells and MAPCs. Google for knowledge before replying.

Nice try though.

There is no try. There is only do. Two strikes against you.

Posted by: Red State Mike on July 6, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

fumphis
I don't see how letting old people die is in the self-interest of the community.

Your real failure is to see that this is an ethical dilemma that has two sides. Obviously healing = good. To many people, sanctity of embryo = good too.

Again, if we can do the stem cells from adult cells it will be a win-win for everybody.

Posted by: Red State Mike on July 6, 2006 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

How many lives are being held against their will, frozen in labs and held in test tubes around the world. Oh, the poor frozen little babies.

WILL SOMEONE PLEASE THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN!

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on July 6, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

You still don't get it do you, RSM? You can't do any stem cell research, whether from an embryo or an adult stem cell, without cloning.

That's the gist of this post. Cohen and George bandy the word "cloning" around like it is bad, or evil. It's not.

I'm not thrilled about destroying embryos in an effort to cure disease. However, there's nothing wrong with cloning in a general sense.

Cohen and George just want to muddy the waters so the uninitiated think that anything that involves cloning is bad, ie, it kills an embryo.

Fact is, whenever you do any type of research into stem cell therapy, you are cloning cells. It's that simple.

Posted by: Hank Scorpio on July 6, 2006 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

The cell fusion technique relies on the use of embryonic stem cells. It's still "ethically challenged" if it is going to be used en masse (other than for research). If the science is allowed to progress without being hollowed out at every turn by ethical complaints, eventually, I expect that scientists will develop more efficient (and less controversial) ways to handle stem cells. Eggs and embryos are not freely available and never will be.

Posted by: Barbara on July 6, 2006 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

And to second HankScorpio's point: there are two ethical issues posited by those who oppose stem cell research -- one is the destruction of embryos; the other is the regeneration of any unique DNA in a manner that lets it, theoretically, progress to the status of a "being". This issue doesn't go away just because you use adult stem cells and use something other than embryos to generate cell colonies.

Posted by: Barbara on July 6, 2006 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

I propose that stem cell proponents introduce a new term for "clone", something more palatable to the public. How about "snowflake twin"?

Posted by: RSA on July 6, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Again, if we can do the stem cells from adult cells it will be a win-win for everybody.

Kind of a big "if" there RSM. It doesn't work yet and may never. Meanwhile, people are dying that could be helped now - not exactly a win-win for them. And embryos from in vitro are either discarded or frozen indefinitely - what a waste.

Posted by: ckelly on July 6, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike:
>> Your real failure is to see that this is an ethical dilemma that has two sides. Obviously healing = good. To many people, sanctity of embryo = good too.

I think your real failure is to see that yes, this is an ethical dilemma, but that one side clearly overrides the other. What you call the sanctity of an embryo is a moral luxury not to be kept at the expense of the living.

Posted by: fumphis on July 6, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

nutty little nut nut and ckelly:

http://www.nightlight.org/snowflakeadoption.htm

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Gotta say, I hate it when ignorant asswipes talk about something they have no understanding of (aka, ANY conservative of ANY stripe talking about science in general or cloning specifically). Cloning, cloning, cloning. I venture that only a handful of people here really know squat about cloning...and how it is THE basis of virtually ALL molecular biological/biochemical research.

All that conservatives seem to be able to understand about cloning is the hollywood cartoon of it (Boys from Brazil and other silly horror movies). I want to see a law passed, or an Amendment to the Constitution, that bans ANY conservative from speaking about anything but NASCAR, trust funds, man-dog sex, and cheeseburgers...basically keeping them focused on the ONLY things they understand or are intrinsically capable of understanding.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on July 6, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

I will pass on the ad hominem attack "focusing" your side on what they can only understand short of actual morality.

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Praedor Atrebates - your narrow mindedness proves what a conservative you really are.

Posted by: Lamonte on July 6, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

fumphis, Thank you for understanding. There is no black and white, good and evil solution. Of necessity the balance will favor the health of real live human beings over cells about to be tossed on a garbage heap or frozen indefinately. That is the much brighter shade of gray.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 6, 2006 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers and fumphis:

Dr. Mengele would be proud.

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

We actually do have a baseline for understanding how humans value embryos versus those humans who have already been born (which we will call Humans so as not to confuse those who see no difference between the two). There are certain mandatory vaccines that were originally derived from aborted fetuses. To quote those concerned about this:

"The human cell lines derived from two abortions 30 years ago are still being used in the production of vaccines. Some people are confused because there are no new abortions involved in the production of these vaccines. But that does not change the fact that we are still using human cell lines derived from aborted fetal tissue in the production of our vaccines."

Apparently, some newer flu vaccines might be similarly "tainted."

How many Humans refuse to vaccinate their Human children on the principle that their Human child's life shouldn't be advantaged by the death of another human being?

RSM, the reason why the stem cell debate is still a debate is because it hasn't led to any cures or interventions. When it does anywhere in the world it will cease being a debate.

Posted by: Barbara on July 6, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Barbara:

You fail to see the difference between an aborted fetus (dead) and IVF embryo (alive).

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Barbara
The cell fusion technique relies on the use of embryonic stem cells.

True, but we have those already. And the resulting cells are essentially embryonic stem cells, no? And should overcome the donor's potential immune response?

RSM, the reason why the stem cell debate is still a debate is because it hasn't led to any cures or interventions. When it does anywhere in the world it will cease being a debate.

The reason why it is a debate is because it involves the use of embryos. The moment they figure out a way around that, the debating will be over.

And to clarify another point, I'm not anti-cloning in principal. I am against the idea of creating new humans via cloning to supply parts for currently living human beings or for research.

There has to be a line somewhere, for each person. I worry about "moral plasticity" and the ability of humans to essentially rationalize (literally, make rational) any decision. I think they'll crack the stem cell creation problem and everyone will be happy.

Posted by: Red State Mike on July 6, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

To answer mp3's original question, there is nothing necessarily "sacred" about human life -- the State, however, has a compelling "secular" interest in protecting it simply as part of the pact consented to by the governed -- can we at least agree that normal conception is defined as the moment when a male human sperm penetrates the zona pellucida of a female human ovum? When that process (which forms a unique being with its own DNA) is set into place, the State has the duty to preserve, protect, and defend said human life. If we can't even agree on that definition, however, I fail to see how we will reach an agreement on where the State's duty lies as to cloning humans FOR THE PURPOSE OF destroying them.

Of course, there are also conflicting duties, so I am not discounting the legitimate right to life of the mother in an ectopic pregnancy, for example. But, unless you also think the State should FORCE human organ donations too, no other person has the right to demand the death of an IVF embryo even if it would save their life. In fact, since IVF essentially takes the mother's life out of the picture, the State should have no other concern than to protect innocent human life.

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK
I think your real failure is to see that yes, this is an ethical dilemma, but that one side clearly overrides the other. What you call the sanctity of an embryo is a moral luxury not to be kept at the expense of the living.

This, of course, presumes that the embryo is not actually among "the living", as that term has moral relevance, which is precisely the point in dispute.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 6, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Two points:

One issue with the products of invitro fertilization is that they are often subtly different from the more usual products; this is because there is a strong selection for couples with one or more genetic abnormalities to present themselves for the procedure -- this, for some people, is the cause of the infertility: some gene product that is lacking or a little too different. One might argue that this shouldn't necessarily result in the inability to produce a kidney, for example, but it sets these cells apart from normal cells conceptually.

Second, the semantic point made in the original post is apt: The term clone is applied to any set of descendents derived from a single cell, whether it be bacterial or mammalian. Bacteriologists have been cloning germs for a century, and began cloning recombinant DNA plasmids in the 1970s. Meanwhile, clones of fused mammalian cells were used to create specific antibodies ("monoclonal antibodies") shortly thereafter. I think that the point is well taken that the word clone is being used here for dramatic effect, since it does not refer to cloning the whole person (the popular, science fictional version) but rather the stem cell.

Posted by: Bob G on July 6, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: I worry about "moral plasticity"

Yes, the moral plasticity of George Bush and his conservative followers (on things such as sovereignty, torture, the Geneva Convention, the US Constitution, honest government, fair elections, and personal responsibility) is a troublesome issue.

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK
can we at least agree that normal conception is defined as the moment when a male human sperm penetrates the zona pellucida of a female human ovum?

Er, no. We can't, because that's wrong. But more importantly, even if we could agree on that, this doesn't follow from it:

When that process (which forms a unique being with its own DNA) is set into place, the State has the duty to preserve, protect, and defend said human life.

Actually, when meiosis forms sperm and ova, they are unique beings with their own DNA (even if it happens to be a subset of that of the human which produced them, it is, to a high degree of probability, a unique subset.) OTOH, when a zygote splits into more than one entity which will produce "identical" siblings, they are not genetically unique and are, nevertheless, separate beings. It seems therefore, hardly obvious that the creation of a being "with its own DNA" is at all the right trigger for any duties on the part of the state, and, if it were accepted as the right trigger, then we would, perforce, be obligated to protect gametes rather than merely zygotes (and, apparently, we ought to treat sets of identical siblings as a single entity.)

Posted by: cmdicely on July 6, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: I think they'll crack the stem cell creation problem and everyone will be happy.

Probably not the people who die in the meantime who could have been saved, so not literally "everyone", unless you mean "everyone [alive at the time the problem is solved and all useful results therefrom have been implemented]."

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Doug,

can we at least agree that normal conception is defined as the moment when a male human sperm penetrates the zona pellucida of a female human ovum?

No, we cannot. The AMA, for example, defines conception as the implantation of an embryo in the wall of the uterus, not as fertilization of egg by sperm.

When that process (which forms a unique being with its own DNA) is set into place, the State has the duty to preserve, protect, and defend said human life.

No it doesn't.

Of course, there are also conflicting duties, so I am not discounting the legitimate right to life of the mother in an ectopic pregnancy, for example. But, unless you also think the State should FORCE human organ donations too, no other person has the right to demand the death of an IVF embryo even if it would save their life.

If the state should not have the power to force one person to donate an organ or other tissue to save the life of another person, why should it have the power to force a woman to endure pregnancy and childbirth to save the life of a fetus?

In fact, since IVF essentially takes the mother's life out of the picture, the State should have no other concern than to protect innocent human life.

What form of protection do you propose? I assume you're talking about some kind of law criminalizing the destruction of embryos. What kind of crime do you want to make it? Murder?

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK
I am against the idea of creating new humans via cloning to supply parts for currently living human beings or for research.

Under what definition of "human" as a noun do you say that the cloning that is used to provide stem cells is "creating new humans"?

Posted by: cmdicely on July 6, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

We protect each identical twin as separate human beings as soon as they are separate -- does that help?

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Probably not the people who die in the meantime who could have been saved, so not literally "everyone", unless you mean "everyone [alive at the time the problem is solved and all useful results therefrom have been implemented]."
Posted by: Advocate for God

I'm curious, how do you feel about double-blind drug tests for potential cures?

Posted by: Red State Mike on July 6, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

If the state should not have the power to force one person to donate an organ or other tissue to save the life of another person, why should it have the power to force a woman to endure pregnancy and childbirth to save the life of a fetus?

Because of the special relationship created in nature and in law.

What form of protection do you propose? I assume you're talking about some kind of law criminalizing the destruction of embryos. What kind of crime do you want to make it? Murder?

That would be fine with me.

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

I love that cmdicely has gone from being the ardent apologist for pro-lifers he was a couple of years ago to the ardent apologist for pro-choicers he is now, and all the while pretending that his views haven't changed.

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: I'm curious, how do you feel about double-blind drug tests for potential cures?

The participants are informed of the possibility that they will not receive the actual drug and agree to participate nonetheless.

I'm curious, however, about whether you believe that such informed consent has been or will be obtained from those who will suffer due to the delays caused by waiting for a solution to the creation of stem cells without embryos or why you think your example is even remotely analogous.

The experimental drugs may or may not have had an effect on those who suffer but receive the placebo instead, regardless of their informed consent, but there is no artificial delay in your example in getting the eventually approved drug to those who suffer.

Delays now in research in stem cells inevitably cause delays in approved cures that cannot be corrected by any future solution to the creation of stem cells without embryos.

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Under what definition of "human" as a noun do you say that the cloning that is used to provide stem cells is "creating new humans"?
Posted by: cmdicely

If we have to create a viable embryo and then differentiate it (correct term?) to harvest stem cells I'm against it. I know the arguments, we're chucking the IVF embryos, might as well put them to use. I disagree.

If we can create new stem cells from existing stem cells (what the researcher from Harvard is working towards, for example) that come from existing lines or better yet adult stem cells, that's a home run. Everybody's happy.

Posted by: Red State Mike on July 6, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Doug: Because of the special relationship created in nature and in law.

Gee, I didn't know that me and my organs have no special relationship created in nature and law.

Surprise, surprise!

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Doug,

Because of the special relationship created in nature and in law.

What special relationship?

That would be fine with me.

So a rape victim who takes RU486 to induce an abortion should be prosecuted for the crime of murder, in your view, right? And since her action would normally be both intentional and premeditated, she should normally be prosecuted for the most heinous form of murder, murder in the first degree, and punished accordingly--years or decades in prison, or even execution, in your view, right?

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: Everybody's happy.

Not the people who die due to the delays in cures caused by waiting for the Harvard researcher to get it right, assuming he in fact does.

You seem to throw that term "everybody" around without much thought.

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

The participants are informed of the possibility that they will not receive the actual drug and agree to participate nonetheless.

You offer the false dichotomy of no experimental drug or a 50/50 chance of the drug or placebo. Why can't they say, "No, I do not want to serve science here, I want to just take the drug."

Posted by: Red State Mike on July 6, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Scenario:

In 2006, X comes up with a chemical process Z that has potential to provide a cure for M.

Using our Wayforward Machine, we find that a cure for M would be developed from chemical process Z in 10 years, that is in 2016, if research on chemical process Z is allowed to continue.

Certain groups, however, oppose the use of chemical process Z on moral grounds and insist that it not be used in research and further that an alternate chemical process Y will likely be developed that can will result in the same cure as process Z and will "make everybody happy."

Again using our Wayforward Machine, we find that the chemical process Y will be discovered in 2010 and, just like chemical process Z, the cure will take 10 years to develop, that is in 2020.

The people who die between 2016 and 2020 due to the delays in developing a cure caused by rejecting chemical process Z and waiting 4 years for alternate chemical process Y to be developed (and then and only then be used in research to develop a cure) won't be too happy, and neither will their friends and families, not to mention anyone who dies because those people died.

No, not "everybody" is happy and they are especially unhappy at the disingenous and dishonest promise that waiting for chemical process Y will make "everybody" happy.

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Advocate for God:

Actually, you don't even legally OWN your own body parts. See, Moore v. Regents of University of California, 51 Cal. 3d 120, 793 P.2d 479, 271 Cal. Rptr. 146.

Atheist:

The parent-child relationship is a recognized special relationship at law. We would probably have to make some minor adjustments re: in vitro application, but anything (born) child protective services can do, so should IV-CPS. As for the rape victim who takes any innocent human life, yes, that should be murder too, and if she meets the requisite intent and special circumstances, yes, years or decades in prison, or even execution. Next question?

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: Why can't they say, "No, I do not want to serve science here, I want to just take the drug."

Because it isn't proven safe and effective at the time, the same standard that will be imposed on any "cures" resulting from stem cell research.

Your analogy is not on point; you are comparing apples and carrots.

The issues surrounding use of stem cells relate to the initial research stages (i.e., in your example BEFORE a drug is even developed and ready for human trials of ANY KIND).

Thus, you are imposing delays on even starting human trials where some would receive the placebo and some the experimental drug - and I'm fine with a system that allows individuals to receive experimental treatments outside double-blind studies if they wish - if you have a problem with the current system, talk to the AMA and the federal government, not me. I'm neither responsible for nor in favor of restricting access to experimental treatments for the terminally ill.


Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Doug: Actually, you don't even legally OWN your own body parts.

You seem to be California-centric.

Trust me, the whole world does not revolve around California (or Texas, another state of self-absorbed and arrogant airheads).

The parent-child relationship is a recognized special relationship at law.

But there is no child in vitro, which you recognize by admitting adjustments to the law would need to be made, which refutes your point that such a relationship now exists and differentiates between the two circumstances.

Projecting your desires doesn't make something an extant reality.

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

doug,

The parent-child relationship is a recognized special relationship at law.

But we don't force one person to donate organs or tissue to save the life of another even when they are parent and child, so how is this relevant to my question?

As for the rape victim who takes any innocent human life, yes, that should be murder too, and if she meets the requisite intent and special circumstances, yes, years or decades in prison, or even execution.

You're one scary dude. Even most anti-abortionists would find your views extreme.

Next question?

Do you think a girl should pet on a first date?

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK
I love that cmdicely has gone from being the ardent apologist for pro-lifers he was a couple of years ago to the ardent apologist for pro-choicers he is now, and all the while pretending that his views haven't changed.

Wow. That's amazingly wrong. Its hardly a secret, in fact, I've publicly posted it many times in my time at Political Animal and Calpundit, that I used to be a "pro-lifer"; the only thing that I ever claim hasn't changed is that I think now, just as I thought 15 years ago, that a lot of the common arguments on both sides are garbage.

I've certainly never claimed that my views on the proper legal approach to abortion has never changed, liar.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 6, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

No, not "everybody" is happy and they are especially unhappy at the disingenous and dishonest promise that waiting for chemical process Y will make "everybody" happy.

1) I did not say that waiting for chemical process Y would make everyone happy. I said chemical process Y would make everyone happy.

2) Why didn't we use the Wayforward machine 20 years ago and then we'd have Y now? Lame argument device.

Posted by: Red State Mike on July 6, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

I can't believe these hacks have enough credibility to be published after they impaled themselves over and over again about Terri Schiavo, and were ghastly embarrassingly wrong.

Posted by: dk on July 6, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

That's right, Advocate for God and Atheist -- quite a pair you two make -- I realize that abortion is not LEGALLY "murder" (yet). Once it is, then the parent-child relationship will have to adapt as well. Search warrants are going to get a little more tricky.

And, I could care less whether a girl pets on a first date. After said girl is pregnant, however, she should not be allowed the unjustified taking of a human life.

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

I've certainly never claimed that my views on the proper legal approach to abortion has never changed, liar.

Liar, liar, in the past couple of years you've gone from being an ardent apologist for pro-lifers to an ardent apologist for pro-choicers. You also claim to assent to Catholic teaching about the morality of abortion and embryo-destruction (that it is essentially a form of murder), but you never issue the slightest moral judgment or rebuke against women who have abortions, abortion providers, abortion clinic workers, stem-cell researchers, couples who use IVF, IVF doctors, etc., even though under the teachings you claim to believe in these people are essentially murderers, and in some cases mass murderers. You're such a complete phony.

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

doug,

I realize that abortion is not LEGALLY "murder" (yet). Once it is, ...

It doesn't seem very likely that it ever will be. Even when abortion was a crime, it was almost never prosecuted as murder.

then the parent-child relationship will have to adapt as well.

I don't know what this means. Are you now saying that you think parents should also be forced to donate organs or tissue to save the life of their child? If not, then again I ask, why should a woman be forced to endure pregnancy and childbirth to save the life of a fetus?

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Atheist: I love that cmdicely has gone from being the ardent apologist for pro-lifers he was a couple of years ago to the ardent apologist for pro-choicers he is now, and all the while pretending that his views haven't changed.

I didn't know one needed to formally announce to the world that one's view has changed.

Do you have a template for that announcement or is it standard in Word or WordPerfect?

I don't see how merely adopting a different point of view is "pretending" that one's views haven't changed.

Maybe if cmdicely was saying "I've always believed X . . ."

In any event, I don't see how it's relevant as long as cmdicely is consistent now and doesn't flip-flop back and forth, other than as a devil's advocate, between beliefs and theories, as so many of our wingnuts do in their desperate attempts to justify and rationalize Bush.

And I'm much more interested in how conservatives have gone from ardent opposers of international intervention and overseas democracy into (alleged) ardent supporters of same with a very deliberate and explicit claim that they have always been thus.

I'm thinking they really haven't changed their stripes at all.

But that's just Bush-hating me, right Red State Mike?

2500+ American soldiers dead because of Bush.

Thousands of Iraqi civilians dead because of Bush.

How many dead will be on his head from delays in stem cell research, delays which won't save a single "unborn life"?

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Doug: I realize that abortion is not LEGALLY "murder" (yet).

And never has been, at least in this country or at common law.

After said girl is pregnant, however, she should not be allowed the unjustified taking of a human life.

Hey, drug companies, police officers, and a host of other social actors, including the state when it executes people, unjustifiably take human life.

Unfortunately, some people are only interested in alleged "human life before birth."

And actually, it usually isn't the woman who is taking the life, unless she's using the "abortion pill" - it is physicians or other abortion providers.

And, btw, please alert your anti-abortion friends about the legal status of abortion, both after and before Roe v. Wade, so they won't keep making such false claims as "abortion is murder" and "Roe v. Wade legalized murder."

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

And I'm much more interested in how conservatives have gone from ardent opposers of international intervention and overseas democracy into (alleged) ardent supporters of same with a very deliberate and explicit claim that they have always been thus.

Not sure about the "claim that they have always been thus" part.

I'm interested in how liberals have gone from ardent supporters of overseas democracy into realpolitickers. As I've said before, I thought liberals and conservatives could converge on Iraq.

But that's just Bush-hating me, right Red State Mike?

You should bottle it and sell it to the french.

Posted by: Red State Mike on July 6, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: Lame argument device.

I guess your lame argument and analogy deserved a lame argument device.

I said chemical process Y would make everyone happy.

The waiting is part of it.

It is an inescapable component of something that is not yet in existence unless, again, you mean to qualify "everybody" in a very restrictive way.

Even if we look at this from the perspective of the time when process Y has been discovered, there will still be people dying that would not have due to the delay in waiting for that discovery, meaning there will be a lot of people unhappy with process Y because it represents the delay that caused the death of their friends and family members.

What you likely meant to say, but didn't as usual, is that should process Y be developed, the only arguments will be about things that can't be undone* (the preventable deaths of friends and family members), not about what process should be employed from then on and process Y will from that point forward satisfy all parties, assuming of course that process Y is actually every bit as effective as process Z (no guarantee) and doesn't involve problematic moral issues (from the other side's point of view) itself.

* Conservatives love to argue that it is no use arguing about things that can't be undone (like the invasion of Iraq or the alleged intelligence failings before 9/11 and the war) unless the things done which cannot be undone were done by liberals.

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK
Liar, liar, in the past couple of years you've gone from being an ardent apologist for pro-lifers to an ardent apologist for pro-choicers.

No, I haven't. For quite a bit more than the past couple of years I've been an opponent of general criminalization of abortion; at the same time, I've often opposed particular pro-choice arguments, particular mischaracterization of or responses to pro-life arguments, and particular details of the general "abortion on demand" consensus.

I don't think I am or have been an "ardent apologist" for either the orthodox "pro-life" or "pro-choice" camps, either a couple years ago or now.

You also claim to assent to Catholic teaching about the morality of abortion and embryo-destruction (that it is essentially a form of murder),

To be more accurate, I've claimed to assent to the teaching, with reservations—by which I mean doubts, not specific disagreement—concerning when personhood morally applies, insofar as it is an application of the broader Catholic teaching on homicide; I also quite clearly have articulated that I think that the valid teaching is misapplied by failure to properly distinguish between direct and indirect acts of homicide in the context of termination of pregnancy, that, where the homicide is indirect the considerations of proportionality that necessarily apply make such termination generally, though not categorically, differently situated than other acts leading to death with certainty but not as a willed end, and that I think it is a further misapplication of the valid teaching to conclude that any particular legislative response is appropriate without making a prudential judgement as to the real probable effects of the legislative response.

but you never issue the slightest moral judgment or rebuke against [all kinds of people]

I try to avoid gratuitous moral judgements that are tangential to any broader point; abstractly, there are probably some people in the groups you refer to that are either seeking the death of the fetus as an ultimately or instrumental end or undertaking a procedure that will lead to the death of the fetus as a result for reasons that are not proportional, at a time when personhood ought to be morally considered to apply. And these people would, clearly, be doing a moral wrong.

But that's abstract, so there is no real point to my issuing any kind of "condemnation".

You're such a complete phony.

Coming from one of Political Animal's masses of nameshifting trolls, that's such a wounding insult.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 6, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Even if we look at this from the perspective of the time when process Y has been discovered, there will still be people dying that would not have due to the delay in waiting for that discovery, meaning there will be a lot of people unhappy with process Y because it represents the delay that caused the death of their friends and family members.

You can use the thrust of your argument to argue for all kinds or morally untenable things. For example, and I'm picking extremes that I assume you will agree are not acceptable, medical research on the mentally vegetative and enforced organ donations (no donor card...everyone's a donor). How about forced blood donations? Or forced vaccines, for that matter. These are policies that can save lives *now*, and save far more lives than stem cell research probably ever will, unless it cures cancer, yet they are not adopted.

When enough people find the pollicy morally unacceptable, the trade off between lives and morals are made. Happens all the time in lots of ways medical and non-medical. Period.

Posted by: Red State Mike on July 6, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see how merely adopting a different point of view is "pretending" that one's views haven't changed.

"I used to be an ardent pro-lifer (my basic values haven't changed" --cmdicely

When was the last time you noticed cmdicely say anything positive about the pro-life movement at all, let alone make any comment indicating "ardent" support for its "basic values?" He's now become a stalwart apologist for the pro-choice movement. He never makes any comment suggesting that he believes abortion is a great injustice or moral wrongdoing. He never says anything remotely critical about women who have abortions, or about abortion providers, or about couples who use IVF, even though he claims to believe they engaging in the mass killing of babies.

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

I try to avoid gratuitous moral judgements that are tangential to any broader point

Ha ha ha ha ha!

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: As I've said before, I thought liberals and conservatives could converge on Iraq.

It's the difference between "faux democracy at the point of a gun, through lies, and in furtherance of a partisan domestic agenda" and "real democracy through political, economic, and social pressure intended to free the people of the other country, rather than making them slaves to American interests and a conservative agenda"

Surely you are not so dense as to not recognize the difference.

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

To be more accurate, I've claimed to assent to the teaching, with reservationsby which I mean doubts, not specific disagreementconcerning when personhood morally applies, insofar as it is an application of the broader Catholic teaching on homicide; I also quite clearly have articulated that I think that the valid teaching is misapplied by failure to properly distinguish between direct and indirect acts of homicide in the context of termination of pregnancy, that, where the homicide is indirect the considerations of proportionality that necessarily apply make such termination generally, though not categorically, differently situated than other acts leading to death with certainty but not as a willed end, and that I think it is a further misapplication of the valid teaching to conclude that any particular legislative response is appropriate without making a prudential judgement as to the real probable effects of the legislative response.

If all else fails, try to distract attention from the basic contradiction in your position with semantic games and minutiae.

cmdicely believes that the vast majority of abortions should remain legal. The Catholic Church teaches that the vast majority of abortions should be a crime. The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is a profound moral wrongdoing, akin to infanticide. Pope John Paul II even called it "murder." cmdicely claims to be a faithful Catholic.

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: How about forced blood donations? Or forced vaccines, for that matter. These are policies that can save lives *now*, and save far more lives than stem cell research probably ever will, unless it cures cancer, yet they are not adopted.

Because those things in general are forced on "people".

(Note that many vaccines effectively are, however, so it is not clear what your point about vaccination is.)

Nothing is being forced on anybody when using the stem cells of fetuses that are to be disposed of, even assuming the fetuses themselves were ever "anybody" to begin with, which they are not under current and past law in this country.

No person is being forced to donate stem cells.

No person is being forced to have an abortion.

No person is being forced to use the products of stem cell research.

Your analogies to forced conduct are inapt.

You can use the thrust of your argument to argue for all kinds or morally untenable things.

No, I can't, because I do not adopt in that argument any notion that, outside the minimally invasive vaccination programs mandated in this country (at least for attendance at public schools), special invasive medical procedures may be forced on people, recognized as such by the law, in order to save someone else's life.

A fetus is not a person under the law; never has been.

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK
When was the last time you noticed cmdicely say anything positive about the pro-life movement at all

I didn't have much positive to say about the broader pro-life movement even back when I agreed, in general, with their legislative position.

My not having much positive to say about the movement now certainly isn't a big change.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 6, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

faux democracy at the point of a gun...

Saddam was thrown out at the point of a gun. That was the only way he was going. The failure to budge him through 12 years of pressure demonstrate that.

The rest is the real deal democracy. Ugly, messy, slow moving, endless haggling and posturing in the news, and elections. Extraordinarily successful elections.

Posted by: Red State Mike on July 6, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

There were conflicting death tolls on Thursday, but as many as 12 Palestinians may have been killed. The Israel Defense Forces said one Israeli soldier died.

Is it morally acceptable to kill 13 people, many perhaps innocents, in order to potentially free one person, particularly when at least one of the 13 killed is a life that under any measure is the moral equivalent of the life to be saved?

If so, what does a few already dead fetuses, not even persons under the law and never having been persons under any law in this country, weigh against the potential to save tens or even hundreds of thousands of lives?

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

A fetus is not a person under the law; never has been.

Laws don't establish morals.

Posted by: Red State Mike on July 6, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: The failure to budge him through 12 years of pressure demonstrate that.

What a laughable crock.

Ignoring for the moment that those 12 years of sanctions gutted and destroyed Saddam's WMDs program and reduced his military to a shadow of its former self, setting the stage for possible internal rebellion at any time due to the regime's increasing weakness, and much more helping the US military to achieve Saddam's ouster with little cost in American lives (but not so little after the ouster due to Bush's incompetence, selfishness, and dishonesty!) . . .

Even under the most generous reading of conservative arguments, we must wait at least 12-15 years to pass judgment on whether the Bush plan for bringing democracy to Iraq, much less the Middle East, is working.

Yet, you give only 12 years to the sanctions implemented by Bush 41 and Clinton and other actions, many of which were undermined by the GOP Congress, and dishonestly ignore the good that came out of them, weakening Saddam's regime and destroying his WMD programs.

Too, too funny.

Just goes to show the double standard: conservatives demand years before judgment can be passed on their actions, policies, and plans, but liberals get only whatever time conservatives find politically convenient to give them.

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: Laws don't establish morals.

Congressional Republicans and the Bush administration have certainly proven that.

Ranting and preaching morals obviously, for the same reasons, doesn't establish morals either.

Funny how conservatives always defend the actions of their leaders by proclaiming they are moral because they have stayed within the technical confines of the law, while rampantly violating its spirit (e.g., torture at Gitmo - assuming the administration's position that this is legal only for the sake of argument).

The rest is the real deal democracy.

Each American is entitled to his or her own delusions.

You are entitled to this one.

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, you should try being consistent: if laws don't establish morals, then proclaiming the US military, the Bush administration, the NSA, and others to have acted morally in the Global Whine on Terror because they have stayed within the technicalities of the law (although I disagree that they have) is further proof of your double standard and that of your fellow conservatives.

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Atheist: Do you think a girl should pet on a first date?

"Pet"? Is this 1957? Geezer alert!

Posted by: pet or meat on July 6, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

I didn't have much positive to say about the broader pro-life movement even back when I agreed, in general, with their legislative position. My not having much positive to say about the movement now certainly isn't a big change.

You claim to have been an "ardent pro-lifer," and that your "basic values" haven't changed. I can't remember the last time you said anything even remotely positive, let alone "ardently" supportive, about either the organized pro-life movement, or rank-and-file pro-lifers, or the "basic values" of the pro-life position. Your contributions to abortion discussions during at least the past year have consisted almost entirely of attacks on pro-life theories of human life and human personhood (you just did that again in this very thread), attacks on pro-life political positions, and defenses of pro-choice positions and arguments regarding abortion. You haven't given the slightest indication that you believe abortion to be a profound moral wrong, you haven't displayed the slightest indication that you believe the abortion rate should urgently be reduced, you haven't expressed the slightest criticism or moral rebuke of people who have or perform abortions.

And yet you claim to believe that your "basic values" haven't changed and that you assent to Catholic teaching on abortion. It's a joke. You're a joke.

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, you should try being consistent: if laws don't establish morals, then proclaiming the US military, the Bush administration, the NSA, and others to have acted morally in the Global Whine on Terror because they have stayed within the technicalities of the law...

Huh? Nice non sequitur, since I haven't argued that.

Posted by: Red State Mike on July 6, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

pet, I guess you're not a Woody Allen fan, then.

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

A fetus is not a person under the law; never has been.

OK. For you Christianists, the Bible doesn't establish a fetus as a person either. In fact, it expressly does NOT give it the rights of an adult. Far from it.

It's a clump of cells with odds, and only odds, of becoming a functional human adult if given an opportunity. That's it. It is a clump of potential. A potential cure for Parkinson's, a potential treatment for Huntington's, a potential criminal, a potential doctor, a potential gang banger, a potential miscarriage, a potential porn actor. Potential, nothing more.

No pain, no consciousness, no thoughts, no feelings, no conceptualization. A fetus is a fetus is a fetus, be it a dog, cat, mouse, human, fish.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on July 6, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: Huh? Nice non sequitur, since I haven't argued that.

You have routinely argued that since the actions of the Bush administration have been technically within the law, at least according to their and your interpretation of that law, that liberals are merely spewing Bush hatred when they criticize torture, incarceration, domestic spying, the conduct of the war on terror, the handling of military atrocities against civilians and terrorists alike, etc.

Saying the only options for evaluating liberal criticisms are (1) it is criticism of actual illegal activity, which btw you never find to be the case, or (2) it is spewing hatred of Bush, leaves no option for expressing simple moral repugnance at Bush's actions or means that moral repugnance is the equivalent of criticism of illegal activity.

Thus, by refusing to recognize that moral condemnation has been a separate basis for liberal criticism, you are equating the legality of Bush's actions to their morality, unless instead you mean to say that moral condemnation is the equivalent to spewing hatred for Bush - it must be equivalent to one or the other, though, since you recognize that moral condemnation exists and allow that the only legitimate criticism of Bush is when he and/or his administration actually violate the law.

Or perhaps that was the other Red State Mike that smokes bushijuana?

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK
You claim to have been an "ardent pro-lifer," and that your "basic values" haven't changed.

Yes, quite, and I gave quite a more detailed account of what I meant by that in the thread you cut-and-pasted that from, back in 2005.

I can't remember the last time you said anything even remotely positive, let alone "ardently" supportive, about either the organized pro-life movement, or rank-and-file pro-lifers, or the "basic values" of the pro-life position.

You might want to go back and read my posts in thread you cut-and-pasted that excerpt from, again, then, as I many of my posts in that thread were defending (not as correct, but at least as more reasonable and consistent than others in the thread were painting them) the positions of rank-and-file pro-lifers.

Certainly, I'd say that's more than "remotely positive".

Your contributions to abortion discussions during at least the past year have consisted almost entirely of attacks on pro-life theories of human life and human personhood

I dunno; I'd say that my contributions on, say, this thread from August 2005 (within the past year) were almost entirely related to defending the internal consistency of the Catholic heirarchy's position on abortion with respect to the position on IVF, notwithstanding the fact that I disagree with the heirarchy on the legislative application (among other aspects) of that position.


And I don't think in this Feb 06 thread your characterization is accurate either; I don't think, either, that I was acting as an apologist for the pro-choice position when I said, in response to the question "Why do the righties always blather on about aborting full term babies?"

Ultimately, the same reason why many pro-choicers (like Kevin) pretend to be going out on a limb making a bold stand by saying things like "I don't think nonviable fetuses are human beings. Terminating them doesn't bother me, and it's none of my business anyway."

People on both sides think that the easiest way to score points without risk is to focus on the area where their side has the most natural emotional advantage and ignore the rest of the issue as much as possible. Its a neat rhetorical trick employed by both sides that allows them to keep talking past each other with an issue that generates plenty of heat and no light.

Which is good for the elites aligned with both parties, because it reduces the attention to the moneyed interests that, all too often, drive the substantive policy positions of both sides.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 6, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Not that I don't enjoy a cmdicely-Don P. fight as much as the next guy, but I just didn't want to let this pass to "pet or meat":

Pay no attention to boliway either - Woody Allen's "Take the Money and Run" was released in 1969 and was his first film as writer, director, and star. When Allen's character, Virgil, finds himself on a chain gang, the warden lectures the men and asks if they have any questions. Virgil asks "do you think a girl should pet on a first date?". Later as a punishment for complaining about conditions, I think he is locked in a sweatbox with an insurance salesman. Being locked up with Advocate for God would have been much, much worse.

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

>> This, of course, presumes that the embryo is not actually among "the living", as that term has moral relevance, which is precisely the point in dispute.

No. I'm perfectly willing to accept that an embryo is alive. Certainly in the sense that any cell is alive, and maybe even in the sense that humans are alive. There's no point in disputing whether an embryo is among the living; that's not really something that can be verified or disproven, and it will always have to be framed in strictly moral terms. The point in dispute is (or should be) to what extent should medical science be allowed to experiment with embryonic stem cells in the attempt to develop treatments for diseases of the already born. It's a simple tradeoff: either we succour those who are debilitated, elderly, or critically ill at the expense of a bundle of cells [i]that is not sentient and that will never see a future outside the lab[/i], or we allow a great many members of RSM's "community" to suffer needlessly.

I fail to see how RSM, Doug and their ilk can treat embryos with more moral regard than they do rape victims.

Posted by: fumphis on July 6, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK
I fail to see how RSM, Doug and their ilk can treat embryos with more moral regard than they do rape victims.

I don't think that's a fair characterization. They say other people (including, inter alia, rape victims) shouldn't be allowed to kill embryos (outside of the circumstances, self-defense etc., that would generally justify killing born human beings.)

Unless they have said other people should be able to kill rape victims in conditions where they wouldn't be allowed to kill people who weren't rape victims, I don't see how its fair to characterize this as "treating embryos with more moral regard than rape victims."

It can certainly be argued to be treating embryos with undue moral respect (if one believes they don't deserve the protection that born persons enjoy in general), or with treating rape victims without due moral respect (if one believes that, notwithstanding the general moral status of embryos, rape victims deserve a special license to kill.) But those are very different claims.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 6, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

As I said, fumphis, Dr. Mengele would be proud of you.

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Doug: Being locked up with Advocate for God would have been much, much worse.

Making being locked up with Doug a virtual hell, I would imagine.

Now, are you as interested in human life after birth or not?

Are you against the death penalty?

Are you against war?

Are you for huge drug company profits trumping life in the US?

Are you for enforcing the speed limits and the DWI laws?

Are you for providing life-saving efforts for EVERY American citizen and resident, legal or illegal?

Are you for outlawing alcohol?

Are you for outlawing handguns?

Are you for forcing chemical companies and other industries that use hazardous materials to stop killing their workers?

Are you for prosecuting police officers that shoot first and ask questions later?

Are you for funding FEMA so that it can prevent, rather than cause, death?

Are you for easy access to contraceptives the prevent conception?

Are you for taxpayer funded voluntary sterilization?

Are you for taxpayer funded health care?

Are you against assassination by our government?

Are you for safe prisons that prevent prisoner-on-prisoner murder?

Are you against extraordinary renditions?

Are you against any action that might cause collateral damage to human beings?

Are you for prosecuting for murder mining companies that fail to take all necessary precautions to protect miners from death?

Are you for prosecuting for murder other corporations that fail to take all necessary precautions to ensure that their products don't cause death?

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Dr. Mengele would be proud of you.

And Goebbels would be proud of you, Doug.

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

,i>You have routinely argued that since the actions of the Bush administration have been technically within the law, at least according to their and your interpretation of that law, that liberals are merely spewing Bush hatred when they criticize torture, incarceration, domestic spying, the conduct of the war on terror, the handling of military atrocities against civilians and terrorists alike, etc.

Bzzzzzt! Wrong. Nope.

Posted by: Red State Mike on July 6, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

I fail to see how RSM, Doug and their ilk can treat embryos with more moral regard than they do rape victims.

Wow, you must be totally out of ideas to pull that one out of the ether.

Posted by: Red State Mike on July 6, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Now, are you as interested in human life after birth or not?

Yes -- I'm sure you will let me know if any of the following are inconsistent with the State's duty to preserve, protect, and defend INNOCENT human life.

Are you against the death penalty?

Not as long as due process is followed.

Are you against war?

No.

Are you for huge drug company profits trumping life in the US?

I am for "huge drug company profits" -- they should not be allowed the unjustified taking of a human life though.

Are you for enforcing the speed limits and the DWI laws?

Yes.

Are you for providing life-saving efforts for EVERY American citizen and resident, legal or illegal?

Yes, within reason, of course.

Are you for outlawing alcohol?

No.

Are you for outlawing handguns?

No.

Are you for forcing chemical companies and other industries that use hazardous materials to stop killing their workers?

See "drug company profits" above.

Are you for prosecuting police officers that shoot first and ask questions later?

Police should not be allowed the unjustified taking of a human life either.

Are you for funding FEMA so that it can prevent, rather than cause, death?

All the money in the world cannot "prevent" death -- remember, it is "preserve, protect, and defend".

Are you for easy access to contraceptives the prevent conception?

Anything that is not an abortifacient, for married couples, yes.

Are you for taxpayer funded voluntary sterilization?

No.

Are you for taxpayer funded health care?

Yes.

Are you against assassination by our government?

No.

Are you for safe prisons that prevent prisoner-on-prisoner murder?

Remember, it is "preserve, protect, and defend".

Are you against extraordinary renditions?

No -- I thought you wanted ALL Gitmo prisoners released back to their home countries?

Are you against any action that might cause collateral damage to human beings?

No -- driving home tonight "might cause collateral damage to human beings" including but not limited to myself.

Are you for prosecuting for murder mining companies that fail to take all necessary precautions to protect miners from death?

No.

Are you for prosecuting for murder other corporations that fail to take all necessary precautions to ensure that their products don't cause death?

No.

Any more questions?

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

Goebbels would be proud of you, Doug.

I'm not the one advocating the creation of human lives FOR THE PURPOSE OF destroying them.

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: Bzzzzzt! Wrong. Nope.

Pssssst! You are in denial. As you are with most other things.

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

Praedor Atrebates,

[A fetus is] a clump of cells with odds, and only odds, of becoming a functional human adult if given an opportunity. That's it.

You do realize you could say the same of any six-year-old, yes?

Posted by: waterfowl on July 6, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

waterfowl:

That makes you Goebbels to them.

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

For the record, I was not the one who brought up the "Boys From Brazil" first.

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

Advocate for God?

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Yes, quite, and I gave quite a more detailed account of what I meant by that in the thread you cut-and-pasted that from, back in 2005.

Your "more detailed account" does not alter the fact that you claimed you used to be an "ardent pro-lifer" and that your "basic values" haven't changed. But as I said, for at least the past year, your contributions to abortion discussions have consisted almost entirely of attacks on pro-life arguments and positions, and defenses of pro-choice ones. You haven't shown the slightest indication that you consider abortion to be a great moral evil. You haven't shown the slightest indication that you desperately want the rate of abortion to be reduced. You haven't made the slightest moral rebuke of women who have abortions, or doctors who perform them. You haven't shown the slightest interest in trying to either seriously restrict or seriously discourage abortion. You have given every indication that you find the current status quo on abortion acceptable (effectively, abortion on demand throughout pregnancy, with little or no social or legal obstacles or stigma).

In short, virtually everything you have said about abortion in recent months is consistent with the "basic values" of the pro-choice position and contradicts the "basic values" of the pro-life position. And yet you laughably continue to claim that your "basic values" haven't changed and that you assent to the Catholic Church's teaching that abortion is a moral holocaust.

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Please, please pay attention to me. I am jobless, sexually frustrated and insane.

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

I really hate those fucking Catholics.

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

I am a stupid lying fool. Also, I have a tiny dick.

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 6, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Who was that "Conspiracy Nut" guy who always wanted and encouraged "fake" posts?

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

RSM:

>> >I fail to see how RSM, Doug and their ilk can treat embryos with more moral regard than they do rape victims.

Wow, you must be totally out of ideas to pull that one out of the ether.


Doug: >> As for the rape victim who takes any innocent human life, yes, that should be murder too, and if she meets the requisite intent and special circumstances, yes, years or decades in prison, or even execution.

cmdicely: >> I don't think that's a fair characterization. They say other people (including, inter alia, rape victims) shouldn't be allowed to kill embryos (outside of the circumstances, self-defense etc., that would generally justify killing born human beings.)


RSM, I apologize if I erroneously bundled you with Doug; I was specifically referring to Doug's post (c/p'ed above), and perhaps hastily assumed you'd be taking the same viewpoint.

cmdicely: Doug thinks that it is NEVER ethical to kill an embryo (no matter what the reason, even if its creation was accidental, or if it could save the lives of others). He does, however, believe that it is occasionally ethical to kill a rape victim (and, by extension, anyone else who commits a sufficiently vicious crime). I interpret that as him regarding the life of an embryo as more sacred than that of a born individual.

He will no doubt respond by saying that an embryo is intrinsically innocent (hard to dispute that), but that a rape victim who aborted has committed a crime. Again, all that does is take us back to the hopelessly moot debate about whether an embryo is really alive. We should move on. The choice is again a clear one: whom do we value more, the unborn or the born?

If the pro-lifers answer "the unborn," then, well, there really is no arguing with them. If they say "the born," the proper course of action is obvious. If they say "we value the born and the unborn equally," which is what Doug seems to be going for, then surely embryonic stem-cell research should be allowed, because the long-term benefits of the research will no doubt save many more lives than it had to end.


Posted by: fumphis on July 6, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

I dunno; I'd say that my contributions on, say, this thread from August 2005 (within the past year) were almost entirely related to defending the internal consistency of the Catholic heirarchy's position on abortion with respect to the position on IVF, notwithstanding the fact that I disagree with the heirarchy on the legislative application (among other aspects) of that position.

You're not merely "disagreeing" with the "hierarchy" on "legislative application." You're dissenting from the "essential and fundamental content of Catholic faith and morals", and on an issue to which the Catholic Church attaches profound importance.

But then, we already know you're just playing at being a Catholic. Call it a hobby.

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the "long-term" benefits of research on 6-year olds could no doubt save many more lives than it has to end as well. Are you for that too?

BTW: I don't think that it is NEVER ethical to kill an embryo. See, ectopic pregnancy above. If you have any other questions, let me know.

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry for any confusion -- that last post was to: fumphis.

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

>> Well, the "long-term" benefits of research on 6-year olds could no doubt save many more lives than it has to end as well. Are you for that too?


Aha. So, by your irony, you're saying you regard a 6-year-old as more deserving of life than an embryo.

If that's the case, aren't you saying you value the born over the unborn? And if that's the case...why would you be against stem cell resarch?

Posted by: fumphis on July 6, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

Doug,

Still waiting for your explanation of why the state should have the power to force a woman to endure pregnancy and childbirth, but not the power to force life-saving organ or tissue donation (whether between parent and child or any other two people). Of course, it if were forced it wouldn't be a "donation" at all, it would be the forced removal of one's organs by the state.

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

I'm NOT saying that I regard a 6-year-old as more deserving of life than an embryo. I think I've stated exactly why I am against ESCR -- it is unethical regardless of the benefits -- care to answer my question now?

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Atheist:

I thought I answered that already re: special parent-child relationship -- the State cannot "force" parents to do plenty of things like running into a burning building or other unnatural acts -- pregnancy is about as "natural" as it gets.

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

fumphis -- here's the question again:

Assuming arguendo the "long-term" benefits of research on 6-year olds would no doubt save many more lives than it has to end, are you for killing BORN children too?

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Boys (and I say boys because women seemingly don't engage in these debates)the ethical horse left the barn when, as a society, we decided it was ethical for fertility clinics to engage in in vitro fertilization. That procedure necessarily creates many, many unused embryos, most of which are either destroyed or frozen and later destroyed. Nobody is going to carry those embryos to term. If you want to complain, complain about the work of fertility clinics in helping women get pregnant. You don't want to go there, then pray tell us if you think society should create artificial wombs to carry all of those strays to term. Better yet, when a woman receives implants of test tube embryos she will often have a multiple pregnancy. Many times the woman will be carrying 5, 6, 7, 8 or more fertilized eggs. The clinic then will recommend that some be aborted, otherwise none of the eggs will carry to term or the mother will be in great danger. Nobody seems to have an ethical problem with that, at least I have never heard anybody talk about prosecuting the mother for murder.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 6, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Are you calling Ann Coulter a "boy"? Perhaps you missed my posts above re: the unjustified taking of any innocent human life should legally be murder, and if she meets the requisite intent and special circumstances, she should get years or decades in prison, or even execution. Next question?

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

>> fumphis -- here's the question again:

Assuming arguendo the "long-term" benefits of research on 6-year olds would no doubt save many more lives than it has to end, are you for killing BORN children too?


Why, of course not. When did I ever say such a thing?


>> I'm NOT saying that I regard a 6-year-old as more deserving of life than an embryo. I think I've stated exactly why I am against ESCR -- it is unethical regardless of the benefits -- care to answer my question now?


So you don't regard born people as more deserving of life than unborn people. Do you think the unborn are more deserving than the born? If you do, come out and say it, and I'll have to drop it there--such a position is purely and blindly moral and can't be reasoned with. If, however, as I think a reasonable person would, you value the two equally, then how can you be against a technology that would in the long run save countless lives while ending only a few?

Posted by: fumphis on July 6, 2006 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK
But as I said, for at least the past year, your contributions to abortion discussions have consisted almost entirely of attacks on pro-life arguments and positions, and defenses of pro-choice ones.

1) This is factually inaccurate, whether the time frame is today, this week, this month, this year, or this decade;
2) Since I make no pretense that for several years I've supported, as a policy position, something closer to the "pro-choice" position than the "pro-life" position (both of which I think are bad labels), its hardly surprising that I am more likely to post things that disagree with the former position, anyway, whatever I used to believe, and whether my underlying values from which I come to a "pro-life" or "pro-choice" policy position have changed.

You haven't shown the slightest indication that you consider abortion to be a great moral evil.

I don't consider "abortion" to be a great moral evil any more than I consider "death" to be a great moral evil; I do consider direct homicide or indirect homicide resulting from wilfull actions with known risks taken for disporportionate reasons (including direct abortion and indirect abortion resulting from acts taken for reasons disproportional to the known propensity or certainty of producing abortion) to be serious moral wrongs.

You haven't made the slightest moral rebuke of women who have abortions, or doctors who perform them.

This is an area where there is confusion between common language and the relevant moral categories; people who seek to have a pregnancy terminated in a way which produces, as a certain effect but not an instrumental means, are not procuring what is, in the language of Church doctrine or the morally relevant category, abortion; death is not willed as a means or ends, but accepted as a consequence; abortion that results is indirect, even if, because of the certainty of death in the process, the procedure is called in common language or medical terminology an "abortion". The relevant moral analysis then turns on the proportionality of the reasons, which is a matter of the particular circumstances of particular cases. One can not make categorical statements about the morality of such acts without reference to circumstance, so blanket moral rebukes are inappropriate.

You haven't shown the slightest interest in trying to either seriously restrict or seriously discourage abortion.

I diasgree with this, I think I've said over and over that the best way to discourage abortion is not to restrict it but to deal with the circumstances which lead people to chose paths that lead to it, and that the role of legislation is not to reflect morality, but to acheive moral ends.

In short, virtually everything you have said about abortion in recent months is consistent with the "basic values" of the pro-choice position and contradicts the "basic values" of the pro-life position.

This is immaterial. My basic values are neither those of the "pro-choice position" or those of the "pro-life position", whatever those are supposed to mean. They are values that, based on my former interpretation of the factual circumstances, led me to adopt a version of the pro-life position on policy, and later to adopt, based on different interpretation of the factual circumstances, a version of the pro-choice position. While I think I understand many of the arguments common on both sides of the issue, I don't really subscribe to the dominant arguments on either side, nor did I when I was on the opposite side from the one I'm on now.

And yet you laughably continue to claim that your "basic values" haven't changed and that you assent to the Catholic Church's teaching that abortion is a moral holocaust.

I have never claimed to "assent" to the claim that abortion is a "moral holocaust".

Posted by: cmdicely on July 6, 2006 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Edit for clarity: When forced to choose between born and unborn, I choose the born. So the 6-year-old argument is invalid.

Posted by: fumphis on July 6, 2006 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK
The choice is again a clear one: whom do we value more, the unborn or the born?

If the pro-lifers answer "the unborn," then, well, there really is no arguing with them. If they say "the born," the proper course of action is obvious. If they say "we value the born and the unborn equally," which is what Doug seems to be going for, then surely embryonic stem-cell research should be allowed, because the long-term benefits of the research will no doubt save many more lives than it had to end.

The logic seems to imply that it would be morally acceptable to, as policy, deliberately kill (not merely allow to die) smaller numbers of innocent people to save greater numbers. I think many people would reject this position; the belief that deliberate killing can only be justified by wrongdoing of the victim is fairly common.

This isn't a matter of who is "valued more", its simply a matter of the threshold justification for deliberate homicide. Now, admittedly, that is a value system that isn't purely utilitarian, but that's hardly uncommon.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 6, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

Doug,

thought I answered that already re: special parent-child relationship

You didn't. We don't force life-saving organ donation even from parent to child.

-- the State cannot "force" parents to do plenty of things like running into a burning building or other unnatural acts -- pregnancy is about as "natural" as it gets.

Why is that relevant? And if the pregnancy resulted from rape, or artificial insemination, or IVF, or surrogacy, it's hard to see how it's any more "natural" than organ or tissue donation. So again, how do you justify your double standard?

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

Are you calling Ann Coulter a "boy"?
Doug

If the codpiece fits...

Doug, your passion is commendable. To bad it isn't matched with wisdom.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 6, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, waterfowl, but the 6-year-old argument has been declared "invalid".

fumphis:

As I already stated, I'm NOT saying that I regard a 6-year-old as more deserving of life than an embryo. I also don't regard an embryo as more deserving of life than a 6-year-old. As cmdicely alluded, it is NEVER morally acceptable to, as policy, deliberately kill (not merely allow to die) smaller numbers of innocent people to save greater numbers. That decision is God's providence alone. Speaking of which . . .

Atheist:

It is not a double standard to admit that an ongoing pregnancy is a unique situation not analogous to forced organ or tissue transplantation. For instance, Child Protective Services cannot simply extract the (pre-viable) baby to otherwise provide for her safety. Once we get this issue settled, perhaps we need to re-think life-saving organ donations from parent to child too.

Ron Byers:

Ouch.

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

1) This is factually inaccurate,

No, it's completely accurate. Almost all your comments on abortion in the past year or so have been attacking pro-life arguments and positions and defending pro-choice ones. I expect we'll shortly see a flurry of posts from you doing the opposite to try and create the impression that you still hold your previous "ardent pro-lifer" "basic values," but that ship has already sailed.

2) Since I make no pretense that for several years I've supported, as a policy position, something closer to the "pro-choice" position than the "pro-life" position (both of which I think are bad labels), its hardly surprising that I am more likely to post things that disagree with the former position,

More nonsense. You've been attacking pro-lifers not only on the legal status of abortion, but on the arguments they make in support of their position from claims about the nature and rights of fetuses and pregnant women. In fact, you've often repeated arguments in support of legal abortion that were made to you by other people two or three years ago and that you rejected at the time. And you just did it again in this thread, where you attacked Doug's DNA-based arguments about the nature and rights of embryos. This behavior completely contradicts your claim that you support legal abortion only as a matter of reluctant necessity rather than because you believe women have a basic right to the procedure.

I don't consider "abortion" to be a great moral evil any more than I consider "death" to be a great moral evil; I do consider direct homicide or indirect homicide resulting from wilfull actions with known risks taken for disporportionate reasons (including direct abortion and indirect abortion resulting from acts taken for reasons disproportional to the known propensity or certainty of producing abortion) to be serious moral wrongs.

Another attempt at misdirection. The vast majority of induced abortions are what your church calls "direct abortions," and thus categorically forbidden under Catholic teaching. There are around a million such abortions a year in the U.S. Yet you haven't given the slightest indication that you think these million+ "direct abortions" a year are a great moral evil, or even merely a great tragedy. You haven't given the slightest indication that you think the women who have these abortions, and the doctors who perform them, are doing something profoundly immoral. You haven't given the slightest indication that you desperately want the number of abortions to go down. As I said, virtually all your abortion-related comments in recent months have consisted of attacks on pro-life arguments and positions.

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

people who seek to have a pregnancy terminated in a way which produces, as a certain effect but not an instrumental means, are not procuring what is, in the language of Church doctrine or the morally relevant category, abortion; death is not willed as a means or ends, but accepted as a consequence; abortion that results is indirect, even if, because of the certainty of death in the process, the procedure is called in common language or medical terminology an "abortion".

As I've told you before, this claim about Catholic teaching is completely, utterly, totally wrong. You continue to misrepresent Catholic teaching to try and maintain the ridiculous fantasy that your own views are consistent with it. "Direct abortion," abortion that is categorically forbidden by your Church regardless of circumstances, includes all directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability. The vast majority of procured abortions in America fall into this category. There is no separate requirement that the woman has to "will the death" of her fetus in order for her abortion to be categorically forbidden. That is something you just made up out of thin air because you refuse to confront the contradiction between your own beliefs and the teachings of your church.

So why aren't you making even the slightest moral rebuke against the women and abortion providers who are perpetrating these million+ "direct abortions" a year, abortions that the Catholic Catchism describes as "an abominable crime" and that Pope John Paull II described as "murder?"

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

You know, I have to agree with Atheist on this point -- cmdicely never even says whether he is one of the "many people" who would reject this position or not:

"The logic seems to imply that it would be morally acceptable to, as policy, deliberately kill (not merely allow to die) smaller numbers of innocent people to save greater numbers. I think many people would reject this position . . ."

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services:

"Abortion (that is, the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability or the directly intended destruction of a viable fetus) is NEVER PERMITTED."

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK
No, it's completely accurate. Almost all your comments on abortion in the past year or so have been attacking pro-life arguments and positions and defending pro-choice ones.

Even if this was true, which, again, its not anywhere close to by any reasonable interpretation of "almost all", so what? No matter what the underlying values were which led me once to be pro-life, and now to be pro-choice, I am pro-choice now, so certainly I'm going to spend more time now making arguments supporting the position I now hold. So, while I think you are making a ridiculous exaggeration, even if it was true, its meaningless.

I expect we'll shortly see a flurry of posts from you doing the opposite to try and create the impression that you still hold your previous "ardent pro-lifer" "basic values," but that ship has already sailed.

Er, whatever. You can't even predict the past accurately, who cares what you think about the future?


You've been attacking pro-lifers not only on the legal status of abortion, but on the arguments they make in support of their position from claims about the nature and rights of fetuses and pregnant women.

So, I did that even when I was a pro-lifer. (And I do the same thing, conversely, to pro-choicers including in this thread.)

In fact, you've often repeated arguments in support of legal abortion that were made to you by other people two or three years ago and that you rejected at the time.

So? Even if true (not that I trust your presentation), who cares? I don't recall claiming that my opinion of the validity of every specific argument on abortion has remained constant over the past two years.

This behavior completely contradicts your claim that you support legal abortion only as a matter of reluctant necessity rather than because you believe women have a basic right to the procedure.

What claim that I "support legal abortion only as a matter of reluctant necessity"?

There is nothing reluctant about it, as I generally favor a minimum of criminal sanction. Where I support criminal sanctions, it is as a matter of reluctant necessity; where I oppose them, it is simply a matter of the burden of demonstrating the desirability of such sanction has not been met.

The vast majority of induced abortions are what your church calls "direct abortions," and thus categorically forbidden under Catholic teaching.

As a factual matter, I disagree that this is clearly the case in terms of the doctrinal definitions of "direct" homicide and the principle of double effect; insofar as, notwithstanding the doctrinal definitions, members of the heirarchy describe the vast majority this way, this is, IMO, a prudential error in applying the doctrine to the facts.

(Of course, there are cases where abortion may be "direct" as regards one participant as not another, since whether it is "direct" or not depends on whether the death of the fetus is a desired result, rather than merely an accepted consequence, however certain, of an act with a different desired result.)


Posted by: cmdicely on July 6, 2006 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

Doug,

Sorry, waterfowl, but the 6-year-old argument has been declared "invalid".

Aaack. I see I've unleashed the dread six-year-old meme. All I was doing was pointing out that "a clump of cells that has good odds to become a functioning adult human being," or whatever language Praedor Atrebates used, was as good a description of a born child not yet adult as of a fetus. I really don't want to get into hypotheticals about people slicing up random kindergarteners looking for possible cures for Huntington's Disease.

Posted by: waterfowl on July 6, 2006 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Look here, if it could help Christopher Reeves walk again, how could you possibly be against it?!

Posted by: Doug on July 6, 2006 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Even if this was true, which, again, its not anywhere close to by any reasonable interpretation of "almost all", so what?

I already told you so what. So, your claim that you still hold the "basic values" of the "ardent pro-lifer" you used to be is utter nonsense. Virtually every post you have made on abortion in the past year or so betrays that claim as a lie, although I suppose one might charitably attribute it to self-deception.

No matter what the underlying values were which led me once to be pro-life, and now to be pro-choice, I am pro-choice now, so certainly I'm going to spend more time now making arguments supporting the position I now hold.

You're evading the issue again, which is your ridiculous claim that your "basic values" on abortion haven't changed. You claimed your conversion to support for legal abortion was only a matter of reluctant pragmatic necessity (criminalizing it would do more harm than good) rather than because you had come to see that the right of the woman to terminate her pregnancy supercedes the right of the fetus to life. But almost every post you have made in recent months contradicts that claim about your "basic values." You have repeatedly argued against pro-life claims that fetuses are equivalent or tantamount to born persons, and have repeatedly argued in favor of the pro-choice claim that women have a strong right to control their bodies. I can't think of anyone else who has likened an unwanted fetus to a hostile intruder in someone's home as many times as you have.

But, you still have the "basic values" of a pro-lifer. Riiiiiiiight.

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

As a factual matter, I disagree that this is clearly the case in terms of the doctrinal definitions of "direct" homicide and the principle of double effect; insofar as, notwithstanding the doctrinal definitions, members of the heirarchy describe the vast majority this way, this is, IMO, a prudential error in applying the doctrine to the facts.

I just quoted the Catholic Church's ethical and religious directives to you, stating in the clearest, starkest possible terms that "the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability ... is NEVER PERMITTED". What part of this crystal clear statement don't you understand?

...whether it is "direct" or not depends on whether the death of the fetus is a desired result, rather than merely an accepted consequence

How many more times are you going to repeat this piece of fabricated nonsense. Nowhere, nowhere, does your Church state that a woman must "desire the death of the fetus" for her previability abortion to be categorically forbidden. The Church's ethical directives on abortion explicitly contradict your claim. You have just invented this condition out of whole cloth. You're trying to rewrite Catholic teaching to say what you want it to say, rather than confront what it actually says and face up to the consequences for your claim that you assent to the Church's teaching.

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Advocate for God:

Actually, you don't even legally OWN your own body parts. See, Moore v. Regents of University of California, 51 Cal. 3d 120, 793 P.2d 479, 271 Cal. Rptr. 146.

Atheist:

The parent-child relationship is a recognized special relationship at law. We would probably have to make some minor adjustments re: in vitro application, but anything (born) child protective services can do, so should IV-CPS. As for the rape victim who takes any innocent human life, yes, that should be murder too, and if she meets the requisite intent and special circumstances, yes, years or decades in prison, or even execution. Next question?

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Posted by: sam on July 6, 2006 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

Christ almighty, you're tedious, atheist.

This really isn't so damned complicated. The purpose of government is not to prevent individuals from making immoral choices. The purpose of government is to set rules that help bring about the best possible outcomes in society.

Abortions will occur regardless of whether the act is legal or illegal. Banning abortions would reduce the number of abortions but would certainly create a black market for abortion providers and increase the likelihood of death or serious injury to women.

Alternatively, one could pursue a policy agenda of reducing the number of abortions by improving sex education and access to contraception, simplifying the adoption process, and encouraging social changes that eliminate the social stigma against out-of-wedlock pregnancy that drives most women who choose abortion to do so in the first place.

If you view early-term abortion as a generally immoral choice that falls well short of murdering an autonomous human being, as most of us do, the latter policy is likely to achieve more desirable outcomes without inhibiting personal freedom.

Now, obviously, the Catholic Church hierarchy doesn't see things that way. But such a policy is perfectly consistent with a basic value of protecting innocent human life. What it is inconsistent with is the basic value of detesting female sexuality and wanting to punish sexually liberated women, which seems to be shared by religious conservatives of all major faiths.

Posted by: ajl on July 6, 2006 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

Christ almighty, you're tedious, atheist.

If you find my posts tedious, don't read them.

I agree that promoting contraception/sex education is a better way of reducing the rate of abortion than criminalizing it, although the policies are obviously not mutually exclusive.

But I'm not sure what that has to do anything I've been saying in this thread.

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

It is not a double standard to admit that an ongoing pregnancy is a unique situation not analogous to forced organ or tissue transplantation.

The question is why a woman should be forced to endure pregnancy and childbirth to save the life of a fetus, but not forced to donate organs or tissue to save the life of another person. You first tried to justify this double standard by appealing to a supposed special relationship between parent and child in the case of pregnancy. But that doesn't work because the organ donor and recipient may also be parent and child. Then you appealed to the supposed "naturalness" of pregnancy. But it's hard to see how a pregnancy resulting from artificial insemination or IVF is any more "natural" than organ donation. Both involve "artificial" intervention to produce a "natural" process. So that doesn't work either. Do you have anything else?

Once we get this issue settled, perhaps we need to re-think life-saving organ donations from parent to child too.

Well, do you think the government should have the power to force a parent to "donate" life-saving organs or tissue to her child, or don't you?

Posted by: Atheist on July 6, 2006 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

Cloning for embryonic stem cell research runs ahead of any well thought out moral/legal framework for cloning. It likely anticipates the destruction of the cloned (don't even know what word to use here; individuals, persons, entities?) within a a period of a few weeks of thier creation. The danger, it seems to me, is one of the tail wagging the dog. We need ethical/legal standards for the creation and destruction of cloned human cells that are then applied to the use of cloned cells in stem cell research. The reserach should not drive the ethical/legal question.

Posted by: Kim Hanson on July 7, 2006 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK
I just quoted the Catholic Church's ethical and religious directives to you, stating in the clearest, starkest possible terms that "the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability ... is NEVER PERMITTED".

No, you didn't. You quoted the US Conference of Catholic Bishops "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare", not "the Catholic Church's" unqualified "ethical and religious directives". The distinctions are important for two reasons:

  1. Authority, as the US Catholic Conference lacks universal authority, and, to the extent that (even acting completely within the teaching office of the Church) its teaching contradicts the teaching of the Holy See, it is wrong even as a statement of the present teaching the "Catholic Church", and,
  2. Functionthe "Ethical and Religios Directives for Catholic Healthcare" are not an exercise of the teaching office, but an exercise of governing authority over the institutes of the Church; as such, they necessarily and inextricably blend understandings (correct or not) of doctrine with prudential judgements.
To the extent that the categorical prohibition here is broader than that authoritatively commanded in the doctrines of the Church, which hold that killing of a fetus is no different than killing a born person, whether the source of that difference is error of doctrine or a prudential judgement that the harm that would result from, as managers allowing others to have discretion in that area is greater than the harm that would result from enforcing the broader prohibition is hard to tell. Though the fact that, unlike many of the directives, this one does not cite doctrinal authority, but does cite specifically the concern for avoidance of scandal is at least somewhat suggestive of the latter.

What part of this crystal clear statement don't you understand?

There is no part of the statement that I don't understand; clearly, though, you don't understand the role of the document in which it is contained, or the nature of the source.

How many more times are you going to repeat this piece of fabricated nonsense.

Its not "fabricated nonsense". Abortion is the termination of pregnancy accompanied by the death of the fetus. The doctrine of double effect distinguishes between harms that are "direct" (where the bad end is sought) and those that are "indirect" (thouse where the bad end is not sought but nonetheless a foreseenwhehter possible, probable, or certaineffect).

Where the death of the fetus is not sought, abortion is, by definition, not sought. Authoritative doctrinal statements consistently, while recognizing the unborn as especially vulnerable, do not frame abortion as a special, additional protection, but simply as a recognition that the unborn share the rights of the born (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church at 2270, 2273, 2274), and are likewise to be protected from homicide; the prohibition of abortion is therefore simply the prohibition of homicide, applied to the unborn. "Direct abortion" exists in the termination of a pregnancy only when it is "direct homicide", that is, where death is sought.

Its worth noting that directives of the Church also, independently stress the importance of avoiding scandal by avoiding complicity in deliberate abortion (cf. Donum vitae, 4). This certainly is a reason Catholic authorities, acting within their role as managers of the institutions of the Church rather than simply moral teachers, might craft policies that extend broader categorical prohibitions than the doctrines of the Church to avoid unwitting complicity in direct abortion committed by others, specifically citing the importance of avoiding scandal.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 7, 2006 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Come on, Don P., you got nothing in rebuttal?!

Posted by: Doug M. on July 7, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

No, you didn't. You quoted the US Conference of Catholic Bishops "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare", not "the Catholic Church's" unqualified "ethical and religious directives".

The USCCB's ethical and religious directives ARE the Catholic Church's ethical and religious directives. The directives are an official Church document. They were approved by the Vatican.

Its not "fabricated nonsense".

Your claim is absolutely a piece of fabricated nonsense. Nowhere, nowhere, NOWHERE does the Catholic Church teach that previability abortion is categorically forbidden only if the woman "desires the death of the fetus." You have invented this condition out of thin air. Your claim is explicitly contradicted by the Church's ethical and religious directives I quoted. Your claim is explicitly contradicted by the Catholic Catechism. Your claim is explicitly contradicted by papal encyclicals. Stop lying about what Catholic doctrine says about abortion.

"Direct abortion" exists in the termination of a pregnancy only when it is "direct homicide", that is, where death is sought.

Again, this claim is complete and utter and total nonsense. The ethical directives clearly state that all directly intended terminations of pregnancy before viability are categorically forbidden. The Catholic Catechism explicitly states that all abortions willed as a means or an end are categorically forbidden. Nowhere does your Church teach that a woman must "seek the death of the fetus" for her abortion to be categorically forbidden. The Catholic Church does not define a "direct abortion" as an abortion in which the death of the fetus is willed. The Catholic Church teaches that every procured abortion is a moral evil, and that every abortion willed as a means or an end is a "direct abortion," and is categorically forbidden:

"2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of EVERY procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law

Your nonsensical claim that it's a "direct" abortion only if the woman specifically wants the fetus to die is explicitly contradicted by every Catholic document that discusses the issue.

Posted by: Atheist on July 7, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Fucking Catholics! I hate them!

Posted by: Atheist on July 7, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

I hate all Jews. Fuckin' kikes. Also, I like to fondle little boys in movie theaters.

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 7, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK
The USCCB's ethical and religious directives ARE the Catholic Church's ethical and religious directives. They were approved by the Vatican.

I see no evidence on your claim of Vatican sanction. Certainly, nothing on the USCCB page concerning the directives, indicates that. That omission would be highly unusual if it was specifically endorsed by the Vatican, as the USCCB is hardly reluctant to back up any statement it makes with any available authority to add weight to it.

Even were they sanctioned by the Vatican, the fact remains that the directives necessarily involve prudential application of doctrine to concrete practice, and are not pure statements of doctrine.

Your claim is explicitly contradicted by the Catholic Catechism.

No, its drawn directly from the Cathechism (though reinforced by other sources), and I've already provided the direct references. Simply asserting a contradiction that does not exist without providing either evidence or argument is pointless.

Your claim is explicitly contradicted by papal encyclicals.

Really? Please, show the contradiction.

The Catholic Church teaches that every procured abortion is a moral evil, and that every abortion willed as a means or an end is a "direct abortion," and is categorically forbidden:

That's not in dispute. What you are missing, again, is that where death of the fetus is not willed, willing termination of pregnancy is not, even if death of the fetus is reasonably certain as a material judgement to occur as a result, willing abortion.

Termination of pregnancy alone is not "abortion". Where that is what is willed, and the death of the fetus is an effect rather than a means by which that termination is effected, or the purpose for which it is sought, there is no direct abortion, because what is willed is not abortion.


Posted by: cmdicely on July 7, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

see no evidence on your claim of Vatican sanction.

That's because you don't know what you're talking about, as usual. It was the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that instructed the USCCB to develop the directives in the first place, and every revision to the directives is submitted to the Congregation for prior approval before publication. The most recent revision to the directives, in 2001, was made in response to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's prompting of the USCCB to bring the section on sterilization in line with church teaching. So your claim that the directives do not reflect official church teaching but are instead only the "prudential" views of a few Bishops is just utter nonsense.

Even were they sanctioned by the Vatican, the fact remains that the directives necessarily involve prudential application of doctrine to concrete practice, and are not pure statements of doctrine.

Again, this claim is complete and utter nonsense. The statement "the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability is NEVER PERMITTED." is not a "prudential application" of anything. It's an explicit clarification of the meaning of the Church's doctrine on abortion.

Posted by: Atheist on July 7, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

No, its drawn directly from the Cathechism

Nonsense. Nowhere, NOWHERE does the Catholic Catechism define "direct abortion" as abortion in which the death of the fetus is willed. You have just made this claim up out of thin air. All terminations of pregnancy before viability are abortions. The Catechism defines a direct abortion as a willed abortion, not as a willed death. Stop lying about what the Catholic Catechism says.

Really? Please, show the contradiction.

"I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder" --Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae

Termination of pregnancy alone is not "abortion".

Termination of pregnancy before viability is always abortion. That's how the Catholic Church defines it. That's how ordinary dictionaries define it. Only you claim that termination of a pregnancy before viability "alone" is not an abortion. Nowhere, NOWHERE does the Catholic Church make this claim. Stop trying to pass off your personal beliefs as the teaching of the Catholic Church. Stop lying.


Posted by: Atheist on July 7, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK
That's because you don't know what you're talking about, as usual. It was the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that instructed the USCCB to develop the directives in the first place, and every revision to the directives is submitted to the Congregation for prior approval before publication. The most recent revision to the directives, in 2001, was made in response to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's prompting of the USCCB to bring the section on sterilization in line with church teaching.

As far as I can tell, this is only a distant shadow of the truth; the current revision was a result of a request for revision by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for revision (prompted by concerns about provisions regarding cooperation with non-Catholic healthcare services in general which became an issue because of a request made to that Congregation regarding sterilization; but sterilization, qua sterilization, was not the focus of the revision.)

At any rate, the whole issue of sanction is largely tangential, the central issue here is the role and function of the document.

So your claim that the directives do not reflect official church teaching but are instead only the "prudential" views of a few Bishops is just utter nonsense.

I made no such claim. I said they go beyond exposition of doctrine and that the proscriptive elements—that is, the numbered directives themselves—necessarily include prudential application of doctrine, recommending practices to "promote and protect" doctrine, not merely being expositions of doctrine; I certainly never said anything about them being anything (whether exercise of pure teaching authority or prudential application of doctrine) by "a few Bishops".

Outright lies about the positions you are arguing against doesn't help your case.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 7, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK
Nowhere, NOWHERE does the Catholic Catechism define "direct abortion" as abortion in which the death of the fetus is willed.

The Catechism does not define abortion explicitly at all—it never says "Abortion, which is thus-and-so"; nevertheless it, in the passages I already cited, makes quite clear that the protection the unborn enjoy against abortion is exactly the protection against homicide that exists more generally, explicitly extended to include the unborn. Thus, death is a necessary element of abortion and not willing death is not willing abortion.

The Catechism also never defines—nor provides any support for defining—abortion to exist in any act which does not involve death and, therefore, as for a thing to be direct it must be willed, provides no support for any definition of "direct abortion" which does not involve willing the death of another.

"I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder" --Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae

Off-point. The dispute is not whether any encyclical supports that direct abortion is categorically prohibited, but whether any encyclical supports your contention that "direct abortion" exists where the necessary elements of abortion, viz., the death of the fetus, are not willed.

Termination of pregnancy before viability is always abortion. That's how the Catholic Church defines it. That's how ordinary dictionaries define it.

Actually, any termination of pregnancy, whether willed or not, and whether any other fact was willed or not, in which death results, whether as it almost certainly does before what is judged as "viability" or as it may nonetheless do after what is judged as "viability" (itself, it must be noted, a shifting prudential judgement, rather than a crisp moral line), is "abortion", both as the Catholic Church and common dictionaries define it—but what constitutes "abortion" is not really what is in contention, here; the point in contention is the definition of "direct abortion". As death is a necessary element of abortion, as the proscription on abortion is exactly the proscription of homicide, where death is not willed, what is willed is not abortion.

As "direct X" only exists where "X" is willed, and as where death is not willed, what is willed is necessarily not abortion, therefore, the inescapable conclusion is that where death is not willed, there can be no "direct abortion".

Posted by: cmdicely on July 7, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

As far as I can tell, this is only a distant shadow of the truth

No, it is the absolute truth. In 2000, the CDG instructed the USCCB to revise certain sections of the directives to clarify their meaning. Directive 45 states: "the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability ... is NEVER PERMITTED." NO CHANGES TO THIS DIRECTIVE WERE INSTRUCTED BY THE CDG because it accurately expresses the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church as determined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Stop pretending that Catholic doctrine is that abortion is categorically forbidden only in cases where the death of the fetus is willed. Stop trying to pass off your personal beliefs as the doctrine of the Catholic Church. Stop lying.

Posted by: Atheist on July 7, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

As "direct X" only exists where "X" is willed, and as where death is not willed, what is willed is necessarily not abortion,

Utter nonsense. The Catholic Church defines categorically forbidden abortions to include all "directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability." There is absolutely nothing in this definition about "willing death." You have just invented that condition out of thin air. The only thing that is necessarily "willed" in the Catholic definition of categorically forbidden pre-viability abortion is the termination of the pregnancy before viability. Stop lying.

The overwhelming majority of procured abortions in America, around 99% in fact, are performed before viability. In most cases, long before viability. Under the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church on abortion, these abortions are categorically forbidden.

therefore, the inescapable conclusion is that where death is not willed, there can be no "direct abortion".

Again, stop making things up. Stop lying. Nowhere, NOWHERE, NOWHERE does the Catholic Church state that abortion is categorically forbidden only in cases where the death of the fetus is willed. The Catholic Church explicitly states that "the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability ... is NEVER PERMITTED."

Posted by: Atheist on July 7, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK
NO CHANGES TO THIS DIRECTIVE WERE INSTRUCTED BY THE CDG because it accurately expresses the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church as determined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Its not a statement of doctrine; the preamble clearly states that the proscriptive directives are concrete (i.e., prudential) applications. While, certainly, the absence of a directive to revise it may suggest (though only suggest; such directives for revision may be, as the one on cooperation that led to the 2001 revision was, issued in response to bottom-up requests for rulings on the propriety of the directives for the Congregation—The Congregation's role is often more reactive than proactive, here) that the application is consistent with the doctrines of the Church, that is not the same thing as saying it is an expression of the doctrine.

The Directives at issue here are intended principally to govern Catholic institutions; a substantial concern (why the 2001 revision re: cooperation with non-Catholic providers was made, for instance) is to prevent institutional complicity, even unwitting, in moral wrongs, for fear of scandal which might induce others to wrongdoing; what is absolutely forbidden by the directives may be more expansive than what is categorically forbidden by doctrine without any conflict—the directives are a means of achieving the moral ends defined by doctrine, not simply a reiteration of doctrine.

Stop pretending that Catholic doctrine is that abortion is categorically forbidden only in cases where the death of the fetus is willed.

I'm not pretending; I've shown the precise source of this conclusion in the Catechism, and you've done nothing to rebut it, merely used repetition and bold type to assert that I'm wrong without argument or evidence.

Stop trying to pass off your personal beliefs as the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

I'm not; I've been quite clear in this thread about my reservations where it regards the doctrines of the Church on this matter.


Stop lying.

I'm not the one lying.


Posted by: cmdicely on July 7, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK
The Catholic Church defines categorically forbidden abortions to include all "directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability."

You have claimed this definition is explicit in the catechism and in papal encyclicals. Yet you have yet to provide any citation to either of these sources, or any other doctrinal statement of the universal authority of the Church, to support this definition.

In fact, you've provided nothing to support it but a negative inference from the fact that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has not objected to a prohibition on those terms in the USCCB directives for healthcare; but since that failure to object is only suggestive (ratehr than dispositive) that that prohibition is consistent with (rather than a necessary consequence of) Catholic doctrine, that is, at best, a weak argument even standing on its own.

Further, it conflicts with the authoritative characterization, in the Catechism and elsewhere, of the proscription against abortion as exactly the extension of the same right of life to the unborn that is extended to the born, which categorically prohibits "direct" killing, and likewise prohibits "indirect" killing but for proportional reason. Clearly, extending a categorical prohibition to an action where killing was not intended, without reference to proportionality, would be a different prohibition, rather than an extension of the same right to life. Therefore, the negative inference you have suggested must be rejected.

Again, stop making things up. Stop lying.

Until you present the citations from the catechism and encyclicals to the explicit definitions you've claimed, you should perhaps consider directing those admonitions at yourself.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 7, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Its not a statement of doctrine;

It's a statement of which abortions are categorically forbidden by Catholic doctrine. It states that categorically forbidden abortions include all "directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability." There is nothing in the statement about "willing the death of the fetus." Stop making things up. Stop lying.

While, certainly, the absence of a directive to revise it may suggest ... that the application is consistent with the doctrines of the Church, that is not the same thing as saying it is an expression of the doctrine.

More nonsense. If the directive misrepresetnted Catholic doctrine, if there were circumstances under which "directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability" were permitted under Catholic doctrine, the CDG would have instructed the USCCB to change the directive. No such instruction was given.

The Directives at issue here are intended principally to govern Catholic institutions;

The directive does not apply only to Catholic institutions. It applies to all abortions that fall within the stated definition, regardless of where they are performed. All "directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability" is categorically forbidden, period. The vast majority of procured abortions in America are directly intended terminations of pregnancy before viability.

I'm not pretending;

You're absolutely pretending. You're lying. You're pretending that Catholic doctrine states that an abortion is categorically forbidden only in cases in which "the death of the fetus is willed." That is a lie. You're a liar. No such condition is stated anywhere in Catholic teaching. Stop lying.

I've shown the precise source of this conclusion in the Catechism,

You have provided NOTHING from the Catechism or any other Catholic document to support your claim about which abortions are categorically forbidden. The Catholic Church's ethical and religious directives explicitly contradict your claim, clearly stating that all "directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability" is categorically forbidden. There is absolutely nothing in these directives or any other Catholic document stating that directly intended terminations of pregnancy before viability may sometimes be permissible. Stop lying about the teachings of the Catholic Church.


Posted by: Atheist on July 7, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Further, it conflicts with the authoritative characterization, in the Catechism and elsewhere, of the proscription against abortion

Nonsense. Nowhere in the Catechism, or any other Catholic document, is it stated that abortion is categorically forbidden only in cases in which "the death of the fetus is willed." The Catholic Church defines "direct abortion" as "willed abortion," not "willed death of the fetus." The Church defines abortion to include all terminations of pregnancy before viability. The secular definition of abortion also includes all terminations of pregnancy before viability. Stop lying about the Church's definition of abortion. Stop lying about the Church's definition of direct abortion. Stop lying about which abortions the Church categorically forbids.

Posted by: Atheist on July 7, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

I'm not pretending; I've shown the precise source of this conclusion [that Catholic doctrine is that abortion is categorically forbidden only in cases where the death of the fetus is willed] in the Catechism

More lies. More nonsense. The Catechism paragraphs you cited are 2270, 2273 and 2274. None of those paragraghs says anything whatsoever to the effect that abortion is categorically forbidden only in cases in which the death of the fetus is willed. In fact, they don't say anything about what is "willed" at all. Have you even read them? Nowhere in the Catechism is your claim stated. You're just making it up out of thin air. You're lying about what the Catholic Catechism says. Stop lying.

Posted by: Atheist on July 7, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK
It's a statement of which abortions are categorically forbidden by Catholic doctrine.

No, its not, because, once again, it is not and does not even purport to be a statement of doctrine.

There is nothing in the statement about "willing the death of the fetus." Stop making things up. Stop lying.

I never said there was anything in the statement about it; by suggesting that I did, you are the one lying and making things up. If you oppose such behavior, perhaps you would stop engaging in it.

If the directive misrepresetnted Catholic doctrine, if there were circumstances under which "directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability" were permitted under Catholic doctrine, the CDG would have instructed the USCCB to change the directive.

I'm not sure what this "CDG" you keep referring to is. The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as I've already explained, may or may not identify and take issue with a doctrinal error in such a document (its role, again, is primarily reactivenothing in doctrine changed in the years between the third edition of the directives and the question brought to it that resulted in the direction to produce the fourth edition, but if one were to take your standard seriously, the absence of any objection until 2000 would be conclusive proof that everything, including the error later identified, in the third edition was completely in line with doctrine. This is, patently, ludicrous, and, therefore, the argument you have presented which leads inexorably to that conclusion must be rejected.)

More importantly, though, as I've also already explained, these directives are not statements of doctrines, they are directives on how to acheive the principals laid out in doctrine, and necessarily involve prudential judgements as to the best way to acheive various interests defined in doctrine and policies of the Church, including the categorical command against direct abortion, and the general directive for institutes of the Church to avoid "scandal", particularly, as it relates to abortion, by avoiding complicity, even incidental or unwitting, in direct abortion.

This is made clear in the Preamble to the Directives, which describes the structure of the document; there are portions devoted to theological background, whereas the numbered proscriptive directives themselves constituted practical directives deriving from the application of doctrine to circumstances (the very definition of a prudential judgement.)

The directive does not apply only to Catholic institutions.

The Directives (the entire document) exist for the express principal purpose of governing Catholic healthcare institutions, and are drafted with that in mind; they may have other utility, but it is secondary. From the preamble to the directives themselves: The Ethical and Religious Directives are concerned primarily with institutionally based Catholic health care services.


You have provided NOTHING from the Catechism or any other Catholic document to support your claim about which abortions are categorically forbidden.

I've provided direct reference to the Catechism's explicit statement that the prohibition of abortion is exactly the application of the same right to life and protection against homicide that all persons enjoy to the unborn. And that protection is, exactly, that direct homicide (where death is willed) is forbidden, and that indirect homicide (where death is a forseen consequence) is forbidden except for proportional cause.

There is absolutely nothing in these directives or any other Catholic document stating that directly intended terminations of pregnancy before viability may sometimes be permissible.

There is quite a bit in authoritative statements of Catholic doctrine stating that the proscription of abortion is precisely the proscription against homicide more generally applied to the unborn; indeed, authoritative statements that make it quite clear that it is doctrine that the right to life be treated identically at all stages of life from conception, not more or less at different stages. In addition to the previously-referenced statements in the Catechism, consider the CDF's Declaration on Procured Abortion, ratified by Paul VI in 1974, at 12: Any discrimination based on the various stages of life is no more justified than any other discrimination.

This equivalence, and the fact that it is the heart and the logical precedent of the proscription of abortion is stated with even greater gravity throughout the encyclical Evangelium Vitae. E.g., at 62: I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being.

"Viability" itself is, inherently, a material and prudential judgement, rather than a moral category; as it relates quite directly to the degree of certainty that death will result, it is clearly quite relevant to the consideration of proportionality where an act not willed to kill may yet kill indirectly. But even certainty of death as an effect (which is certainly present, as near as any certainty can be in the material world, in pre-viability termination of pregnancy) cannot transform an act where death is willed neither as an ultimate or an instrumental end into a deliberate killing, and it is beyond question that the categorical proscription on direct abortion is precisely the categorical proscription on deliberate killing.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 7, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

No, its not, because, once again, it is not and does not even purport to be a statement of doctrine.

Yes, it is. It is a statement of which abortions are categorically forbidden by Catholic doctrine. It states that all directly intended terminations of pregnancy before viability are categorically forbidden. The statement was approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Stop lying.

I never said there was anything in the statement about it; by suggesting that I did, you are the one lying and making things up.

You are lying and making things up. You keep telling the same lie. You're claiming that Catholic teaching does not categorically forbid all directly intended terminations of pregnancy before viability. That is a lie. The Catholic Church's ethical directives explicitly contradict your claim. Stop lying.

The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as I've already explained, may or may not identify and take issue with a doctrinal error in such a document

Another lie. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith APPROVED the directives. In fact, the 2001 version of the directives was submitted to the CDF for approval even before the U.S. bishops voted on it--a vote that was unanimous. Your claim that the directives do not express Catholic doctrine on abortion, but merely the "prudential judgment" of certain individuals is nonsense. It's a lie. Stop lying.

The Directives (the entire document) exist for the express principal purpose of governing Catholic healthcare institutions

That claim is completely irrelevant to the prohibition. The categorical prohibition in the directives of all directly intended terminations of pregnancy before viability applies to ALL such terminations, regardless of whether they are performed in a Catholic healthcare facility or anywhere else.

Posted by: Atheist on July 7, 2006 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

I've provided direct reference to the Catechism's explicit statement that the prohibition of abortion is exactly the application of the same right to life and protection against homicide that all persons enjoy to the unborn.

You're just repeating the same lie I already refuted. You cited paragraphs 2270, 2273 and 2274 of the Catechism. None of those paragraphs say anything remotely to the effect that abortion is categorically forbidden only if "the death of the fetus is willed." In fact, they don't say anything whatsoever about the relationship between what is forbidden and what is willed. If you still dispute this, QUOTE the text in which you claim the Catechism states that the directly intended termination of a pregnancy before viability is categorically forbidden only in cases in which the death of the fetus is willed, rather than in all cases. You won't be able to do this of course because there is no such text. You're lying about what the Catechism says about abortion. Your lie is explicitly contradicted by the ethical directives approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

This equivalence, and the fact that it is the heart and the logical precedent of the proscription of abortion is stated with even greater gravity throughout the encyclical Evangelium Vitae. E.g., at 62: I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being.

I have no idea what you think this quote has to do with your claim. It says nothing whatsoever about "willing the death of the fetus." What is "willed" in "direct abortion" is the abortion. Termination of pregnancy before viability is always abortion, by definition of the Catholic Church and by virtually every secular definition of abortion too. Therefore, "willed" (i.e., directly intended) termination of pregnancy before viability is always direct abortion and thus always forbidden, just as the ethical directives state in crystal clear language. You have provided nothing that claims otherwise. There is no Catholic document that claims otherwise.

And your spiel about the medical uncertainties regarding "viability" is also utterly irrelevant to the issue of which abortions are categorically forbidden, which rests on the direct intention of the aborter to terminate a pregnancy before viability, not on whether the fetus actually is viable or not. You're engaging in these extended irrelevant digressions to try and draw attention away from the fact that there is NOTHING WHATSOEVER in Catholic teaching that states that directly intended terminations of pre-viability pregnancies are forbidden only in some cases and not in all cases. Stop lying.

Posted by: Atheist on July 7, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

Atheist,

You seem to have missed the key part of my last post, the one that makes it quite clear that your interpretation of doctrine, your negative inferences, and your attempt to distort the role of the Directives cannot be correct. I reproduce it here:

There is quite a bit in authoritative statements of Catholic doctrine stating that the proscription of abortion is precisely the proscription against homicide more generally applied to the unborn; indeed, authoritative statements that make it quite clear that it is doctrine that the right to life be treated identically at all stages of life from conception, not more or less at different stages. In addition to the previously-referenced statements in the Catechism, consider the CDF's Declaration on Procured Abortion, ratified by Paul VI in 1974, at 12: Any discrimination based on the various stages of life is no more justified than any other discrimination.

This equivalence, and the fact that it is the heart and the logical precedent of the proscription of abortion is stated with even greater gravity throughout the encyclical Evangelium Vitae. E.g., at 62: I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being.

The doctrinal prohibition on direct abortion is, again, nothing more or less than the prohibition on direct homicide applied to the unborn. This is stated in the least uncertain terms, in virtually the most authoritative way possible. There can be no reasonable question what the doctrine is on this point.

Unless you have some response that directly addresses that authority, I'm done here.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 7, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK
You're just repeating the same lie I already refuted. You cited paragraphs 2270, 2273 and 2274 of the Catechism.

Its not a lie, and you nowhere refuted it. All you did is contradict it, without evidence or argument. And assert, indeed, that the Catechism and encyclicals expressly support your definition; I've shown where the Catechism makes clear the contrary without an express definition of "abortion", and I've shown the encyclical where the categorical prohibition on direct abortion is unambiguously described as a subset of the categorical prohibition on direct homicide.

I have no idea what you think this quote has to do with your claim.

That quote is my entire claim, Atheist. The categorical prohibition of direct abortion is, exactly the categorical prohibition of direct homicide, the former is a subset of the latter, and where the latter is not present, necessarily, the former is not either. As deliberate killing is not present where death is not sought, so, necessarily, by the doctrine unambiguously articulated in Evangelium Vitae, direct abortion does not exist where death is not sought.

Unless you can understand and respond to that, there is nothing more to discuss.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 7, 2006 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

You seem to have missed the key part of my last post, the one that makes it quite clear that your interpretation of doctrine, your negative inferences, and your attempt to distort the role of the Directives cannot be correct.

Ha ha ha ha ha! My "interpretation" of doctrine consists of quoting the statement in the Catholic Church's ethical and religious directives stating that all directly intended terminations of pregnancy before viability are forbidden. The statement contains no exceptions, no qualifications, no loopholes, no additional requirement for the woman to "will the death of the fetus." All such pregnancy terminations are forbidden, period. This is not my "interpretation," this is what the Church explicitly states. The statement appears in an official Church document, approved by the Congregation for the DOCTRINE of the Faith, and unanimously endorsed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

And yet you're claiming that they're all wrong, the Bishops, the CDF, the Pope, all of them, that they're "misinterpreting" Catholic doctrine on abortion and that you alone have discovered the true meaning of Catholic teaching on this issue.

You're never exactly sane, but sometimes your arrogance and delusions become so overwhelming that one really has to wonder about your mental health.

Posted by: Atheist on July 7, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

As deliberate killing is not present where death is not sought, so, necessarily, by the doctrine unambiguously articulated in Evangelium Vitae, direct abortion does not exist where death is not sought.

Here you go again. Spin, spin, spin. Interpret, interpret, interpret. You don't get to define what John Paul II meant by "deliberate killing." If an act is deliberate, and an act kills, then the act may be called a deliberate killing. That obviously doesn't mean the death caused by the killing was willed, only that the act that caused the death was willed.

Once and for all, stop spinning. Stop hypothesizing. Stop pretending you can read the minds of the authors of the Catechism. QUOTE the text that you claim contradicts the explicit, crystal-clear statement in the Catholic Church's ethical directives that ALL directly intended terminations of pregnancy before viability are forbidden. You can't, of course, because there is no such text. There's only the fevered workings of your imagination. There's only your lies.

Posted by: Atheist on July 7, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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