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Michael Egnor: The cowardice of science organizations on when life begins

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The scientific issues regarding the beginning and nature of human life were settled in the early 19th century:

… the science regarding the beginning of human life is settled and has been settled for 200 years. There is no debate on the science. There remain profound questions of ethics, law, and public policy regarding respect for him in life, which are valid issues for debate. There remain no questions regarding the science of the beginning of human life.

Where are the major scientific organizations on this issue? Why has not the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, or the American Medical Association stated clearly and publicly the basic scientific fact that human life begins at fertilization? The answer is obvious: many scientists in these organizations are willing to do what it takes to advance their ideology, and scientists who do understand and embrace the truth about the beginning of human life are generally too cowardly to press the issue. It’s an enormous scandal.

Michael Egnor, “What the Abortion Debate Tells Us About Integrity in Science” at Evolution News and Science Today

Maybe it relates to foolish ideas about the origin of life in general.

See also: The junk science of the abortion lobby Fetuses not only experience pain but experience it more intensely than do adults (Michael Egnor)

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155 Replies to “Michael Egnor: The cowardice of science organizations on when life begins

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Much as I hate to admit it, I agree with Dr Egnor inasmuch as we both believe that the right to life of an individual human being should begin at conception. But note the word “should”. What Dr Egnor and others believe is not a constitutional right nor statute law. If pro-life groups want to make abortion a criminal act, they must change the law through the normal legislative process. The Supreme Court implied as much in its opinion inRoe v Wade:

    Texas urges that, apart from the Fourteenth Amendment, life begins at conception and is present throughout pregnancy, and that, therefore, the State has a compelling interest in protecting that life from and after conception. We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge,is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.

    The Court later argues:

    In areas other than criminal abortion, the law has
    been reluctant to endorse any theory that life, as we recognize it, begins before live birth or to accord legal rights to the unborn except in narrowly defined situations and except when the rights are contingent upon live birth. For example, the traditional rule of tort law denied recovery for prenatal injuries even though the child was born alive. That rule has been changed in almost every jurisdiction. In most States, recovery is said to be permitted only if the fetus was viable, or at least quick, when the injuries were sustained, though few courts have squarely so held. In a recent development, generally opposed by the commentators, some States permit the parents of a stillborn child to maintain an action for wrongful death because of prenatal injuries. Such an action, however, would appear to be one to vindicate the parents’ interest and is thus consistent with the view that the fetus, at most, represents only the potentiality of life. Similarly, unborn children have been recognized as acquiring rights or interests by way of inheritance or other devolution of property, and have been represented by guardians ad litem. Perfection of the
    interests involved, again, has generally been contingent upon live birth. In short, the unborn have never been recognized in the law as persons in the whole sense.

    In the article by Egnor cited in the OP he writes:

    Where are the major scientific organizations on this issue? Why has not the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, or the American Medical Association stated clearly and publicly the basic scientific fact that human life begins at fertilization? The answer is obvious: many scientists in these organizations are willing to do what it takes to advance their ideology, and scientists who do understand and embrace the truth about the beginning of human life are generally too cowardly to press the issue. It’s an enormous scandal.

    Or perhaps it’s not as simple as this disingenuous summary by Egnor suggests. Again, from Roe v Wade

    It should be sufficient to note briefly the wide divergence of thinking on this most sensitive and difficult
    question. There has always been strong support for the view that life does not begin until live birth. This was the belief of the Stoics.” It appears to be the predominant, though not the unanimous, attitude of the Jewish faith. It may be taken to represent also the position of a large segment of the Protestant community, insofar as that can be ascertained; organized groups that have taken a formal position on the abortion issue have generally regarded abortion as a matter for the conscience of the individual and her family. As we have noted, the common law found greater significance in quickening.
    Physicians and their scientific colleagues have regarded that event with less interest and have tended to focus either upon conception, upon live birth, or upon the interim point at which the fetus becomes “viable,” that is, potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid. Viability is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks.” The Aristotelian theory of “mediate animation,” that held sway throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in Europe, continued to be official Roman Catholic dogma until the 19th century, despite
    opposition to this “ensoulment” theory from those in the
    Church who would recognize the existence of life from the moment of conception.” The latter is now, of course, the official belief of the Catholic Church. As one brief amicus discloses, this is a view strongly held by many non-Catholics as well, and by many physicians. Substantial problems for precise definition of this view are posed, however, by new embryological data that purport to indicate that conception is a “process” over time, rather than an event, and by new medical techniques such as menstrual extraction, the “morning-after” pill, implantation of embryos, artificial insemination, and even artificial wombs. (My emphasis)

    If conception is held to be the moment at which an individual human life begins, is the point at which the sperm cell penetrates the outer membrane of the ovum? Or is it when the two nuclei come into contact? Or is it when the the nuclei merge? Or is it when the zygote begins implantation in the wall of the uterus? Or is it when implantation reaches the point where the zygote has become fully dependent on the mother’s life support?

    In practical terms, however, if medical technology is unable to detect any of the above as it happens in real time, it’s irrelevant. The best we can say, and possibly embody in law, is that any detectable zygote, blastocyst or whatever shall be presumed to have the right to life and may not be harmed except in certain specified situations.

    The question of when an individual’s life begins is of significance in this context only as it pertains to a presumed human right. And who shall qualify for the various rights granted by a society is a question for society as a whole not just scholastic bodies or various advocacy groups alone Scientific organizations can give an informed opinion in such matters but for Egnor to accuse them of cowardice for not adjudicating on issues that are not theirs to decide is a cheap shot.

  2. 2
    AaronS1978 says:

    I would say upon first cellular mitosis. DNA transfer was successful and the human life has begun.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky, first off, legally if the unborn baby were granted the status of person-hood, then it would be afforded legal protection under the constitution.

    Unborn children as constitutional persons. – 2010
    Excerpt: In Roe v. Wade, the state of Texas argued that “the fetus is a ‘person’ within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.” To which Justice Harry Blackmun responded, “If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment.” However, Justice Blackmun then came to the conclusion “that the word ‘person,’ as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn.” In this article, it is argued that unborn children are indeed “persons” within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth and Fifth Amendments.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20443281

    Secondly. personhood can not be grounded within the atheistic materialism of Darwinian evolution but can only be grounded within Theism. More specifically, personhood can only be grounded within a ‘soul’ that is created by God.

    What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
    Excerpt: Barr rightly observes that scientific atheists often unwittingly assume not just metaphysical naturalism but an even more controversial philosophical position: reductive materialism, which says all that exists is or is reducible to the material constituents postulated by our most fundamental physical theories.
    As Barr points out, this implies not only that God does not exist — because God is not material — but that you do not exist. For you are not a material constituent postulated by any of our most fundamental physical theories; at best, you are an aggregate of those constituents, arranged in a particular way. Not just you, but tables, chairs, countries, countrymen, symphonies, jokes, legal contracts, moral judgments, and acts of courage or cowardice — all of these must be fully explicable in terms of those more fundamental, material constituents.
    https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

    Thus Seversky as an atheistic materialist, who, by definition of your worldview, is a non-person, then under the law you, legally, simply have no right to life yourself much less do you have the wherewithal within your materialistic philosophy to pronounce on when another human being may be granted the legal protection of personhood.

    Indeed your worldview denies personhood altogether.

    And whereas your materialistic worldview denies personhood altogether, on the other hand, advances in quantum biology have empirically demonstrated that there is indeed a transcendent component to our body that is not reducible to the material particulars of our body.

    Darwinian Materialism vs. Quantum Biology – Part II – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSig2CsjKbg

    i.e. Advances in quantum biology reveal a transcendent soul that is created by God as we are being formed in our mother’s womb. A transcendent soul, that has the capacity to live past the death of our material bodies.

    The implication of finding ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, and ‘conserved’, quantum information in molecular biology on such a massive scale, in every important biomolecule, is fairly, and pleasantly, obvious.
    That pleasant implication, of course, being the fact that we now have very strong empirical evidence suggesting that we do indeed have an eternal soul that is capable of living beyond the death of our material bodies. As Stuart Hameroff states in the following video, the quantum information,,, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed.,,, it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”

    Leading Scientists Say Consciousness Cannot Die It Goes Back To The Universe – Oct. 19, 2017 – Spiritual
    Excerpt: “Let’s say the heart stops beating. The blood stops flowing. The microtubules lose their quantum state. But the quantum information, which is in the microtubules, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed. It just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large. If a patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says, “I had a near death experience. I saw a white light. I saw a tunnel. I saw my dead relatives.,,” Now if they’re not revived and the patient dies, then it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”
    – Stuart Hameroff – Quantum Entangled Consciousness – Life After Death – video (5:00 minute mark)
    https://www.disclose.tv/leading-scientists-say-consciousness-cannot-die-it-goes-back-to-the-universe-315604

    Thus Seversky, if you are going to pronounce on life and death issues of the law, especially when your opinion might effect another person’s life or death, it might strongly behoove you to first find a worldview that can guarantee your own legal protection of personhood under the constitution before you weigh in on whether you think another person should be granted such legal protection for his own life.

    Verse:

    Mark 8:37
    Is anything worth more than your soul?

    Of supplemental note: Besides abortion killing unborn babies because they are not yet ‘legally’ recognized as persons,, there have been several other times in history where people were denied their legal status of personhood

    8 Horrific Times People Groups Were Denied Their Humanity – July 02, 2014
    http://www.personhood.com/8_ho.....r_humanity

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    corrected link:

    8 Horrific Times People Groups Were Denied Their Humanity – July 02, 2014
    https://cultureshiftforlife.com/2014/07/09/8-horrific-times-people-groups-were-denied-their-humanity/

  5. 5
    Bob O'H says:

    ba77 –

    Seversky, first off, legally if the unborn baby were granted the status of person-hood, then it would be afforded legal protection under the [US] constitution.

    Secondly. personhood can not be grounded within the atheistic materialism of Darwinian evolution but can only be grounded within Theism. More specifically, personhood can only be grounded within a ‘soul’ that is created by God.

    OK, so by this argument a foetus can’t then be granted personhood under the US constitution, without violating the Establishment Clause.

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    BO’H: there is an evident in-built law of our morally governed nature which you are overlooking. We are rational, responsible and significantly free creatures. There is a law that rulers or legislators and judges did not invent but only can recognise, starting with truth, right reason, prudence, justice. On justice, the first right is life, which is the basis for any other rights. In that context, the global holocaust of 800+ millions of the unborn in 40+ years is the worst holocaust in history, including the US share, 60 million. The resulting blood guilt is corroding conscience, prudence, reason, truthfulness, justice. That is why the rhetoric of alleging religious imposition is used to try to deflect attention from the real problem: holocaust of our living posterity in the womb. What is the unborn child — switching to Latin simply disguises the reference — but a living human being in his or her earliest, most vulnerable stages? And, the fact that a bit more than half the time, the unborn child is not the same sex as his mother directly contradicts the deceitful notion, a woman’s body: the child is in his mother’s body but is clearly not the same human being as his mother. More can be said, but the point is, that there is a law of our morally governed nature is not to be dismissed as religious imposition, even when the linked IS-OUGHT gap leads to needing an adequate root of reality that is essentially good as ground for a reality that has in it responsible, rational, significantly free, morally governed creatures. Where, if you deny this last, you undermine rationality itself. KF

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky,

    knowledge is warranted, credibly true BELIEF. The correct focus is not whether Egnor et al believe, but the warrant. Here, it is patent that once sperm and egg fuse, a new human life starts as a human zygote.

    Notice, from ENV:

    What does the abortion debate teach us about the integrity of the scientific community? It teaches this: the scientific issues regarding the beginning and nature of human life were settled in the early 19th century. Human life begins at fertilization of the egg by the sperm. After that point, every fertilized egg is a distinct separate human being. There is no scientific debate about this fact. It is a fact as certain as gravity or that the earth orbits the sun.
    Genuine Settled Science

    So how has the scientific community contributed to this debate? Much of the scientific contribution has been, to put it mildly, reprehensible. Despite the fact that it is a scientific fact that each human life begins at fertilization, many scientists have argued publicly and strenuously that children in the womb — from zygote to embryo to fetus to emerging newborn — are not human beings. They have been described as tissue, parts of the mother’s body, etc., and some scientists go so far as to describe them as a kind of parasite or cancer.

    I reiterate: the science regarding the beginning of human life is settled and has been settled for 200 years. There is no debate on the science. There remain profound questions of ethics, law, and public policy regarding respect for him in life, which are valid issues for debate. There remain no questions regarding the science of the beginning of human life.

    In short, the warrant is there, but it is not convenient to where many wish to go.

    KF

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob (and weave) O’Hara’s reasoning is, as usual, very flawed when he states,

    by this argument a foetus can’t then be granted personhood under the US constitution, without violating the Establishment Clause.

    And yet the main point of my argument is that not only unborn babies, but everybody else, especially including the atheistic materialist himself, is a non-person under atheistic materialism, and therefore atheistic materialism undermines any legal protection that the status of personhood might convey upon people under the constitution.

    For instance, the first part of this following video has the atheistic professor Jerry Coyne stating to his class, “You are robots made out of meat. Which is what I am going to try to convince you of today”

    “You are robots made out of meat. Which is what I am going to try to convince you of today”
    Jerry Coyne – No, You’re Not a Robot Made Out of Meat (Science Uprising 02) – video
    https://youtu.be/rQo6SWjwQIk?list=PLR8eQzfCOiS1OmYcqv_yQSpje4p7rAE7-&t=20

    Jerry Coyne is far from the only atheistic professor making such an insane claim, Daniel Dennett claimed that ‘nobody is conscious … we are all zombies’

    “(Daniel) Dennett concludes, ‘nobody is conscious … we are all zombies’.”
    J.W. SCHOOLER & C.A. SCHREIBER – Experience, Meta-consciousness, and the Paradox of Introspection – 2004

    Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT, gets in on the insanity and writes that “a human being is nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules”.”

    Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails – Nancy Pearcey – April 23, 2015
    Excerpt: When I teach these concepts in the classroom, an example my students find especially poignant is Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT. Brooks writes that a human being is nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, “When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are machines.”
    Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: “That is not how I treat them…. I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....95451.html

    As should be needless to say, “robots made out of meat”, mindless “zombies”, and “a machine” made out of biomolecules” are NOT persons. Atheistic materialism simply cannot ground personhood.

    And indeed the Declaration of Independence itself recognizes it as a ‘self-evident truth’ that the equality of persons can only be grounded within Theism

    “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….”
    – Declaration of Independence

    Here are a few more times under American law that people were denied the legal protection granted under the status of ‘personhood’, i.e. denied that people are ‘created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights’.

    8 Horrific Times People Groups Were Denied Their Humanity – July 02, 2014
    Excerpt: 1. African-American Slaves,,,
    “In the eyes of the law…the slave is not a person.” – Virginia Supreme Court, Bailey v. Poindexter’s Executor (1858)
    “In the opinion of this court … slaves [and], their descendants … had no rights which the white man was bound to respect. … The negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.” – United States Supreme Court, Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857),,,
    2. Native Americans
    “An Indian is not a person within the meaning of the Constitution.” – George Canfield, American Law Review (1881),,,
    3. Persons With Disabilities,,,
    “It is better for all the world… [if] society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind … Three generations of imbeciles is enough.” – United States Supreme Court, Buck v. Bell (1927).,,,
    4. Women
    ,,, In 1928, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously declares that although women are human, women are not “persons” within the meaning of the British North American Act.,,,
    8. Unborn Children
    ,,, “The word person … does not include the unborn.” – United States Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade, (1973) legalizing the killing of unborn children through abortion.,,,
    https://cultureshiftforlife.com/2014/07/09/8-horrific-times-people-groups-were-denied-their-humanity/

    Thus, there is certainly legal precedent in American law for pro-life advocates to stand on in seeking protection of those who are most vulnerable among us. Hopefully Bob is not going to try to argue that it was constitutionally wrong for the legislators and the courts to reverse themselves on those previous unjust matters since it would have, in his eyes, violated the establishment clause. But seeing that Bob has proven himself to be an ideologue, who is not too concerned with being logically consistent in his argumentation in the first place, I certainly would not put it past him to try to argue as such.

  9. 9
    ET says:

    however, by new embryological data that purport to indicate that conception is a “process” over time, rather than an event,

    Life is a process, over time. It has a beginning which is more important than all other stages and as such must be protected.

    And who shall qualify for the various rights granted by a society is a question for society as a whole not just scholastic bodies or various advocacy groups alone Scientific organizations can give an informed opinion in such matters but for Egnor to accuse them of cowardice for not adjudicating on issues that are not theirs to decide is a cheap shot.

    Nonsense. The Courts abide by the science. And the general populations doesn’t get to decide the science. So the science orgs are cowards for not standing up to be counted.

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    BTW, rights like this are not grants of society, they are inherent and rationally evident natural law recognised by sound communities as antecedent to even government. Governments are instituted to protect justice thus the due balance of rights, duties and freedoms. What is merely a grant of Government can be withdrawn by government. KF

  11. 11
    asauber says:

    So, Seversky and Bob O’H act as if they’ve been entitled to deny to others what they enjoy, which is human life in all its stages.

    Maybe one or both of them can explain why they feel this way.

    Andrew

  12. 12
    Bob O'H says:

    Asauber – my only contribution to this thread has been to point out a logical flaw in ba77’s argument. So I’m not sure how you reach that conclusion.

  13. 13
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    my only contribution to this thread has been to point out a logical flaw in ba77’s argument.

    You failed.

  14. 14
    asauber says:

    “my only contribution to this thread has been to point out a logical flaw in ba77’s argument”

    Bob O’H

    So? Unless you at least attempt to explain how I am incorrect, I’d say I nailed it.

    Andrew

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    Indeed Asauber, the atheist falsely imagines that he inhabits a special place ‘above it all’ that somehow makes him uniquely immune to the devastating consequences of his own philosophy.

    Why Evolutionary Theory Cannot Survive Itself
    Nancy Pearcey – March 8, 2015
    Excerpt: An example of self-referential absurdity is a theory called evolutionary epistemology, a naturalistic approach that applies evolution to the process of knowing. The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.
    But what if we apply that theory to itself? Then it, too, was selected for survival, not truth — which discredits its own claim to truth. Evolutionary epistemology commits suicide.,,,
    Of course, the atheist pursuing his research has no choice but to rely on rationality, just as everyone else does. The point is that he has no philosophical basis for doing so. Only those who affirm a rational Creator have a basis for trusting human rationality.
    The reason so few atheists and materialists seem to recognize the problem is that, like Darwin, they apply their skepticism selectively. They apply it to undercut only ideas they reject, especially ideas about God. They make a tacit exception for their own worldview commitments.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2015/03/why_evolutionar/

  16. 16
    Bob O'H says:

    Asauber @ 14 – unless you’re also ba77, that argument makes no sense. I don’t want to get dragged into a debate on abortion, because past experience has told me that it’s not worth the hassle. You’ve already leapt to a conclusion about me without bothering to find out whether I think that (hm, so perhaps you are ba77: he does that a lot). In the past the sort of person who does that tends not to be the sort of person who one can have a good discussion with, especially on such a contentious subject.

  17. 17
    asauber says:

    “I don’t want to get dragged into a debate on abortion”

    Bob O’H,

    Of course you don’t. You are on the wrong and losing side.

    Andrew

  18. 18
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob (and weave) O’Hara, you accuse me of leaping to a conclusion about you “without bothering to find out whether I think that”.

    And yet you yourself are the one who jumped into this thread and did not address the meat of my argument. i.e. That atheistic materialism cannot support ‘personhood’ in the first place and therefore undermines any legal protection of personhood that might be conveyed upon ‘persons’ under the constitution.

    Since you did not even address the argument I actually made on its own merits, it certainly seems readily apparent that you are the one who did not even bother to find out what my argument actually was before you commented on it.

    And this is a repeated pattern on your part. (Hence the ‘bob and weave’ nickname you have earned). You never acknowledge any of the many fatal flaws in your worldview, but completely ignore them. Just because you are an atheist does not give you some sort of special privilege to focus solely on some tangential issue just because the main issue falsifies your atheistic worldview. If you were the least bit concerned with honesty and integrity in your argumentation, you would readily accept this. But alas, if you were the least bit concerned with honesty and integrity in your argumentation, then you would not be an atheist in the first place.

  19. 19
    asauber says:

    “if you were the least bit concerned with honesty and integrity in your argumentation, then you would not be an atheist in the first place”

    BA77,

    And Bob O’H still doesn’t get it.

    Andrew

  20. 20
    Bob O'H says:

    bs77 @ 18 –

    And yet you yourself are the one who jumped into this thread and did not address the meat of my argument. i.e. That atheistic materialism cannot support ‘personhood’ in the first place and therefore undermines any legal protection of personhood that might be conveyed upon ‘persons’ under the constitution.

    I dealt directly with that: the argument is logically incoherent, because it relies on a particular theological view. Therefore, thanks to the establishment clause, it doesn’t have any legal weight in the US. The legal aspect is the meat of your argument, as you are making a legal argument.

  21. 21
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    the argument is logically incoherent, because it relies on a particular theological view.

    LoL! And yet relying on a particular theological view does not make it logically incoherent.

    Therefore, thanks to the establishment clause, it doesn’t have any legal weight in the US.

    That is only YOUR ignorant opinion.

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    So according to Bob’s impeccable legal logic, since ‘personhood’ itself must necessarily be based on a theological view of life, then no one in the Unitied States is entitled to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness.

    Thanks for clearing that up Bob. 🙂

    I’m sure you might sing a very different tune when someone, say someone who finds your life to be an inconvenience for them personally, comes to euthanize you personally.

    Moreover, thank goodness Bob understands law even worse than he understands biology.

  23. 23
    hazel says:

    ba, you are the one who claims “‘personhood’ itself must necessarily be based on a theological view of life,”, not Bob.

    Bob is pointing out that a religious definition of personhood such as that can’t be the basis for legal policy.

  24. 24
    ET says:

    hazel:

    Bob is pointing out that a religious definition of personhood such as that can’t be the basis for legal policy.

    If it is also reality based, then yes, it can be the basis for legal policy.

  25. 25
    asauber says:

    “Bob is pointing out that a religious definition of personhood such as that can’t be the basis for legal policy.”

    Hazel,

    Why can’t it be? Who says?

    Andrew

  26. 26
    Silver Asiatic says:

    The concept of personhood has a religious origin but that does not mean it is false or that non-religious people cannot accept it.

  27. 27
    hazel says:

    to SA: true, non-religious people can accept the conclusion about personhood without accepting that the justification for the conclusion is because of the presence of a soul: that is, one can believe it is false that people have a soul in the Christian sense and still believe, for other reasons, that personhood begins at conception.

    to asauber: one of the principles of our Constitution is that laws can’t favor one religion over another, so we can’t base a law on the religious beliefs of one group that might not be the religious belief of another group.

    to ET: I’m not sure what “reality-based” might mean here, as the subject contains both facts and personal moral and value judgments. Those are both part of “reality”, but the moral and value judgments differ widely among people.

  28. 28
    Silver Asiatic says:

    A lot of things in American policy have religious origin and point to the existence of a soul and afterlife. I’m thinking of honor to veterans and pubic funerals and something like Arlington cemetery and rituals around it. Belief in the soul is a basic concept in America, and it is necessarily a part of the concept of personhood. The concept of personhood is a contradiction to Darwinian/materialist belief.

  29. 29
    bornagain77 says:

    Hazel, apparently without much reflection, claims that,

    “Bob is pointing out that a religious definition of personhood such as that can’t be the basis for legal policy.”

    And yet the entire ‘legal policy’ of the United States itself was founded on that universally accepted Theological definition of personhood.

    IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
    The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
    When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.,,,
    http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/

    I guess the founding fathers just had no idea what in the hell they were talking about when they stated “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,”?

    But that doesn’t seem quite right.

    Of course the other option is that the secular left has twisted the establishment clause so far out of its original intent that it no longer is the guaranteed security for the free exercise of religion in the public square, as it was originally intended to be, but has instead now become a bludgeon of the secular left to try to prevent anyone from freely exercising their religion in the public square.

    And that is, in fact, exactly what has happened: (Thank goodness Constitutional originalists are now being appointed to the high court, despite the desperate attempts by the secular left to prevent it from happening by trying to destroy two honorable men’s lives by blatantly false accusations).

    The Mythical “Wall of Separation”: How a Misused Metaphor Changed Church–State Law, Policy, and Discourse
    By Daniel L. Dreisbach
    Excerpt: The First Amendment, with all its guarantees, was entirely a check or restraint on civil government, specifically Congress. The free press guarantee, for example, was not written to protect the civil state from the press; rather, it was designed to protect a free and independent press from control by the federal government.
    Similarly, the religion provisions were added to the Constitution to protect religion and religious institutions from corrupting interference by the federal government and not to protect the civil state from the influence of, or overreaching by, religion.
    http://www.heritage.org/resear.....-discourse

    In fact, the term ‘separation of church and state’ does not even appear anywhere in the constitution but is a term that was lifted out of one of Jefferson’s personal letters to the Danbury Baptists, and then twisted almost 180 degrees out of its original context. The term ‘separation of church and state’, as Jefferson originally intended it in his personal letter, meant that the Danbury Baptists could rest assured that they were free to exercise their religion completely free from government interference:

    The Truth About “Separation of Church and State”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DS6QGyWVgZY

    Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists – January 1, 1802
    Excerpt: Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black (a former KKK member),, in 1947, put forth the,, argument for a radical separation of religion and politics, he cited Jefferson’s metaphor: “[t]he First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable.”
    Jefferson’s actual aim was quite to the contrary.,,,
    The “wall” does not imprison the free exercise of religion. Rather, Jefferson sought to prevent the domination of particular sects, making free the religious practices of all.
    http://www.heritage.org/initia.....y-baptists

    Charlie Daniels: Separation of Church & State Is Not About ‘Religion’; It’s a Battle Against Christianity By Charlie Daniels | September 18, 2017
    Excerpt: Many people think there is a section in the Constitution, or somewhere in the federal papers that demands separation of church and state, but there is no such terminology.
    The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
    Separation of church and state is part of a letter written by Thomas Jefferson, whose original intent was far from what the enemies of public displays of religion would have you believe.
    https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/charlie-daniels/charlie-daniels-separation-church-state-not-about-religion-its-battle

    Of related note, pro-life advocates have plenty of legal precedent for considering the unborn child as a person under the law. Besides the numerous times that the courts and legislature have reversed themselves in declaring that certain groups of people are ‘non-persons’,,,

    8 Horrific Times People Groups Were Denied Their Humanity – July 02, 2014
    http://www.personhood.com/8_ho.....r_humanity

    Besides that legal precedent,,, unborn babies have already been granted the legal status of personhood on numerous occasions under the law:

    The unborn child is considered a person by law:
    Women have been arrested for killing their unborn child during an attempted suicide – also harming or killing their unborn child by using illegal drugs during pregnancy. Many states that have the death penalty prohibit the pregnant mother from being put to death until the child is born. People have been convicted of double homicide for killing women who are a few weeks pregnant. There are laws against violence to pregnant women and their unborn children. Unborn children can be beneficiaries of trusts and estate settlements.
    In all these cases, the unborn child is considered a person, abortion is the exception.

  30. 30
    hazel says:

    The idea of a soul is deeply embedded in our culture, but the things you mention involving funerals are cultural ceremonies, not things forming the basis of laws. At Arlington, for instance, people of many different religious beliefs, including no religious beliefs at all, are buried. Belief in a soul is a basic concept for many Americans, and is for them “necessarily a part of the concept of personhood.” But people have different ideas about the existence and nature of some non-material aspect of human beings, including whether there is a soul that survives death, and many different ideas about what constitutes personhood. The presence of a soul present upon the moment of conception is basic to many people’s idea of personhood, but not everyones.

  31. 31
    asauber says:

    “we can’t base a law on the religious beliefs of one group that might not be the religious belief of another group”

    Hazel,

    Can you quote me where the Constitution says this?

    Andrew

  32. 32
    asauber says:

    Hazel,

    What do you do with an obligation to “care for the poor” which is a well-known Christian belief? Would you hold the position that such a thing is not legal or couldn’t be financed by government because some other religious group doesn’t believe in it?

    Andrew

  33. 33
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Hazel

    But people have different ideas about the existence and nature of some non-material aspect of human beings, including whether there is a soul that survives death, and many different ideas about what constitutes personhood. The presence of a soul present upon the moment of conception is basic to many people’s idea of personhood, but not everyones.

    True but I don’t think Bob’s opinion is correct that a law based on personhood (which would infer the existence of a soul) would be a violation of the Establishment clause. Many of our laws are based on Christian moral norms. There are laws regarding marriage, for example. The idea that human life has unique value is a theological view. The Darwinian view opposes that.

    I wonder if Bob would prefer our laws to be based on evolutionary/materialistic principles? There wouldn’t be the need for any laws in that case.

  34. 34
    Bob O'H says:

    Asauber @ 31 – I think the First Amendment is what you are looking for (warning: IANAL):

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Basing a law on the religious beliefs of one group but not another would almost certainly break this: the relevant test is the Lemon test. I’m sure there will be cases where the law would be sufficiently secular to avoid this, for example helping the poor is not an idea specific to one religion, or indeed to religions, so I think that would pass the Lemon test. Unless, for example, the law said that help had to be provided in a church, which would (I think) fall foul of the Entanglement Prong.

    Silver Asiatic – in general I would agree that a law based on personhood wouldn’t conflict with the Establishment Clause, because I don’t think personhood must be grounded in any theological ideas (it can be, but it doesn’t have to be). But in comment 3 ba77 explicitly wrote “personhood … can only be grounded within Theism. More specifically, personhood can only be grounded within a ‘soul’ that is created by God”, so his claim, specifically, would breach the Establishment Clause. From which one can just conclude that US law shouldn’t use theological arguments to define personhood. I shouldn’t think that would be too difficult for lawyers to do.

  35. 35
    bornagain77 says:

    “Lemon survives, if at all, on the barest of life support and litigants in the court and the lower courts should invoke it at their peril.”

    The Supreme Court’s Peace Cross decision reveals deep fissures over the establishment clause – June 20, 2019
    Excerpt: Establishment-clause cases typically arise in one of five or so discrete factual settings, such as monuments on public property, tax exemptions for religious organization, or prayer in schools. In the 1971 case of Lemon v. Kurtzman, the court attempted to promulgate an all-encompassing test to cover the various scenarios. The Lemon test asks whether government conduct has the purpose and effect of promoting religion or fosters excessive entanglement with religion.
    For many years, though, Lemon has been pilloried by conservative scholars and judges, in particular, who see it as amorphous and overly hostile toward religion. And, in the Peace Cross case, the four most conservative justices — Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh — pulled no punches in dismissing Lemon’s continuing viability and calling for it to be finally kicked to the curb. Gorsuch went so far as to say that the test had been “shelved.”
    So, lesson No. 1 of the opinion is that Lemon survives, if at all, on the barest of life support and litigants in the court and the lower courts should invoke it at their peril.
    Nobody on the court has suggested a replacement for Lemon’s umbrella test, however. So lesson No. 2 of the opinion is that establishment-clause jurisprudence remains balkanized, a collection of individual silos for different fact patterns that don’t communicate with one another. That is a viable state of affairs, but a very odd one for the first clause of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.
    It’s not as though the justices don’t have ideas about the underlying meaning and purpose of the establishment clause. Rather, they do, but they are at near-violent opposition. So, at this otherwise mature point in constitutional understanding, we have the striking feature that the justices come from different planets concerning their views of the provision.
    Thus, the underlying principle in Thomas’s concurring opinion is that the clause prevents only coercion of worship of a specific religion and doesn’t even apply to state governments. This appears to be Gorsuch’s view, as well. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg understands the clause as incorporating a neutrality principle among religions, and between religion and nonreligion. Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen G. Breyer view the clause as serving a religious liberty and tolerance purpose, and maintaining a separation of church and state to allow each institution to flourish.
    Perhaps the court can continue to treat the establishment clause as a silo farm, but it’s equally likely that cases in future terms will push on the fissures in the justices’ views and force some resolution — likely a bitter and narrowly divided one — over the basic question of the purpose of the establishment clause. And judging by the overall trends on the court, the likely result will be to permit significantly more government support for religion in American public life.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/06/20/supreme-courts-peace-cross-decision-reveals-deep-fissures-over-establishment-clause/?utm_term=.c391dc7b149b

  36. 36
    Brother Brian says:

    BA77

    In fact, the term ‘separation of church and state’ does not even appear anywhere in the constitution…

    And neither do God or Jesus.

  37. 37
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob and weave states

    But in comment 3 ba77 explicitly wrote “personhood … can only be grounded within Theism. More specifically, personhood can only be grounded within a ‘soul’ that is created by God”, so his claim, specifically, would breach the Establishment Clause. From which one can just conclude that US law shouldn’t use theological arguments to define personhood. I shouldn’t think that would be too difficult for lawyers to do.

    To put it kindly, that dog don’t hunt. All rights in the constitution are a subset of the unalienable Rights that are endowed on us by a creator in the declaration.

    In the Declaration, we are told that we are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” and then it (the Constitution) lists only a subset of those rights. More rights have been enumerated through the Amendments to the US Constitution; but as I said, without the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution itself would never be valid, and our nation would not exist.
    – Henry Sasser

    You simply can’t make this stuff up. Bob is basically trying to argue that the Theological definition of peronhood in the declaration of independence itself, the Theological definition of personhood that gives the first amendment its force as an unalienable Right in the first place, cannot be legally used as a definition of personhood since, in Bob’s personal opinion, the first amendment prohibits it.

    Bob is, in effect, arguing that first amendment invalidates the first amendment itself as well as invalidating all of our other unalienable Rights that were endowed on us by our creator. ,,, Bob is apparently blissfully unaware that his argument is self-refuting.

    I suppose Bob, as an atheist, would prefer a more secular definition of personhood that would not include God, but as already pointed out, that is impossible. Any definition of personhood must necessarily be based in Theism,

    As pointed out previously, Bob’s worldview itself, atheistic materialism, denies personhood altogether,

    “You are robots made out of meat. Which is what I am going to try to convince you of today”
    Jerry Coyne – No, You’re Not a Robot Made Out of Meat (Science Uprising 02) – video
    https://youtu.be/rQo6SWjwQIk?list=PLR8eQzfCOiS1OmYcqv_yQSpje4p7rAE7

    What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
    Excerpt: Barr rightly observes that scientific atheists often unwittingly assume not just metaphysical naturalism but an even more controversial philosophical position: reductive materialism, which says all that exists is or is reducible to the material constituents postulated by our most fundamental physical theories.
    As Barr points out, this implies not only that God does not exist — because God is not material — but that you do not exist. For you are not a material constituent postulated by any of our most fundamental physical theories; at best, you are an aggregate of those constituents, arranged in a particular way. Not just you, but tables, chairs, countries, countrymen, symphonies, jokes, legal contracts, moral judgments, and acts of courage or cowardice — all of these must be fully explicable in terms of those more fundamental, material constituents.
    https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

    Dr. Suarez states that the irresolvable dilemma for reductive materialists as such, “it is impossible for us to be ‘persons’ experiencing ‘now’ if we are nothing but particles flowing in space time. Moreover, for us to refer to ourselves as ‘persons’, we cannot refer to space-time as the ultimate substratum upon which everything exists, but must refer to a Person who is not bound by space time. (In other words) We must refer to God!”

    Nothing: God’s new Name – Antoine Suarez – video
    Paraphrased quote: (“it is impossible for us to be ‘persons’ experiencing ‘now’ if we are nothing but particles flowing in space time. Moreover, for us to refer to ourselves as ‘persons’, we cannot refer to space-time as the ultimate substratum upon which everything exists, but must refer to a Person who is not bound by space time. i.e. We must refer to God!”)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOr9QqyaLlA

    And as Silver Asiatic asked hazel at post 33, “I wonder if Bob would prefer our laws to be based on evolutionary/materialistic principles? There wouldn’t be the need for any laws in that case.”

    Indeed, there would be no ‘persons’ to make laws for in that case:

    As the following article concludes “This is not a mere abstract point. This dilemma is playing itself out in contemporary debates in bioethics. With whom are bioethicists like Leon Kass (neo-Aristotelian and former chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics) sparring today if not with thoroughgoing Darwinians like Princeton’s Peter Singer, who denies that humans, qua humans, have intrinsic dignity? Singer even calls those who prefer humans to other animals “speciesist,” which in his warped vocabulary is akin to racism.,,,
    If one must choose between saving an intelligent, fully developed pig or a Down syndrome baby, Singer thinks we should opt for the pig.,,,”

    Darwin, Design & Thomas Aquinas
    The Mythical Conflict Between Thomism & Intelligent Design by Logan Paul Gage
    Excerpt: First, the problem of essences. G. K. Chesterton once quipped that “evolution . . . does not especially deny the existence of God; what it does deny is the existence of man.” It might appear shocking, but in this one remark the ever-perspicacious Chesterton summarized a serious conflict between classical Christian philosophy and Darwinism.
    In Aristotelian and Thomistic thought, each particular organism belongs to a certain universal class of things. Each individual shares a particular nature—or essence—and acts according to its nature. Squirrels act squirrelly and cats catty. We know with certainty that a squirrel is a squirrel because a crucial feature of human reason is its ability to abstract the universal nature from our sense experience of particular organisms.
    Think about it: How is it that we are able to recognize different organisms as belonging to the same group? The Aristotelian provides a good answer: It is because species really exist—not as an abstraction in the sky, but they exist nonetheless. We recognize the squirrel’s form, which it shares with other members of its species, even though the particular matter of each squirrel differs. So each organism, each unified whole, consists of a material and immaterial part (form).,,,
    One way to see this form-matter dichotomy is as Aristotle’s solution to the ancient tension between change and permanence debated so vigorously in the pre-Socratic era. Heraclitus argued that reality is change. Everything constantly changes—like fire, which never stays the same from moment to moment. Philosophers like Parmenides (and Zeno of “Zeno’s paradoxes” fame) argued exactly the opposite; there is no change. Despite appearances, reality is permanent. How else could we have knowledge? If reality constantly changes, how can we know it? What is to be known?
    Aristotle solved this dilemma by postulating that while matter is constantly in flux—even now some somatic cells are leaving my body while others arrive—an organism’s form is stable. It is a fixed reality, and for this reason is a steady object of our knowledge. Organisms have an essence that can be grasped intellectually.
    Denial of True Species
    Enter Darwinism. Recall that Darwin sought to explain the origin of “species.” Yet as he pondered his theory, he realized that it destroyed species as a reality altogether. For Darwinism suggests that any matter can potentially morph into any other arrangement of matter without the aid of an organizing principle. He thought cells were like simple blobs of Jell-O, easily re-arrangeable. For Darwin, there is no immaterial, immutable form. In The Origin of Species he writes:
    “I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience, to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms. The term variety, again, in comparison with mere individual differences, is also applied arbitrarily, for convenience’s sake.”
    Statements like this should make card-carrying Thomists shudder.,,,
    The first conflict between Darwinism and Thomism, then, is the denial of true species or essences. For the Thomist, this denial is a grave error, because the essence of the individual (the species in the Aristotelian sense) is the true object of our knowledge. As philosopher Benjamin Wiker observes in Moral Darwinism, Darwin reduced species to “mere epiphenomena of matter in motion.” What we call a “dog,” in other words, is really just an arbitrary snapshot of the way things look at present. If we take the Darwinian view, Wiker suggests, there is no species “dog” but only a collection of individuals, connected in a long chain of changing shapes, which happen to resemble each other today but will not tomorrow.
    What About Man?
    Now we see Chesterton’s point. Man, the universal, does not really exist. According to the late Stanley Jaki, Chesterton detested Darwinism because “it abolishes forms and all that goes with them, including that deepest kind of ontological form which is the immortal human soul.” And if one does not believe in universals, there can be, by extension, no human nature—only a collection of somewhat similar individuals.,,,
    Implications for Bioethics
    This is not a mere abstract point. This dilemma is playing itself out in contemporary debates in bioethics. With whom are bioethicists like Leon Kass (neo-Aristotelian and former chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics) sparring today if not with thoroughgoing Darwinians like Princeton’s Peter Singer, who denies that humans, qua humans, have intrinsic dignity? Singer even calls those who prefer humans to other animals “speciesist,” which in his warped vocabulary is akin to racism.,,,
    If one must choose between saving an intelligent, fully developed pig or a Down syndrome baby, Singer thinks we should opt for the pig.,,,
    https://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=23-06-037-f

  38. 38
    Brother Brian says:

    BS77

    To put it kindly, that dog don’t hunt. All rights in the constitution are a subset of the unalienable Rights that are endowed on us by a creator in the declaration.

    Yet, the declaration is not, and has never been, a legally binding document. It was written by a small group of people (white male property owners) without the consensus or legitimate support of the people living in the future US.

  39. 39
    bornagain77 says:

    Per National Center for Constitutional Studies:

    The Declaration of Independence Part of American Law
    Excerpt: The Declaration of Independence Part of American Law
    Professor John Eidsmoe writes: “The role of the Declaration of Independence in American law is often misconstrued. Some believe the Declaration is simply a statement of ideas that has no legal force whatsoever today. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Declaration has been repeatedly cited by the U.S. Supreme Court as part of the fundamental law of the United States of America. “The United States Code Annotated includes the Declaration of Independence under the heading ‘The Organic Laws of the United States of America’ along with the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, and the Northwest Ordinance. Enabling acts frequently require states to adhere to the principles of the Declaration; in the Enabling Act of June 16, 1906, Congress authorized Oklahoma Territory to take steps to become a state. Section 3 provides that the Oklahoma Constitution ‘shall not be repugnant to the Constitution of the United States and the principles of the Declaration of Independence.’ (Christianity and the Constitution, pp. 360-361),,,
    https://nccs.net/blogs/articles/the-declaration-of-independence-part-of-american-law

  40. 40
    Brother Brian says:

    BS77

    Per National Center for Constitutional Studies:

    Per National Archives:

    Unlike the other founding documents, the Declaration of Independence is not legally binding

  41. 41
    bornagain77 says:

    The full context of BB’s quote mine:

    The Declaration of Independence states the principles on which our government, and our identity as Americans, are based. Unlike the other founding documents, the Declaration of Independence is not legally binding, but it is powerful. Abraham Lincoln called it “a rebuke and a stumbling-block to tyranny and oppression.” It continues to inspire people around the world to fight for freedom and equality.
    https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration

    Now you can see why BB quote mined that out of its original context.

    And again, the claim that the declaration has no legal force is simply a false claim, To repeat, “The Declaration has been repeatedly cited by the U.S. Supreme Court as part of the fundamental law of the United States of America. “The United States Code Annotated includes the Declaration of Independence under the heading ‘The Organic Laws of the United States of America’ along with the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, and the Northwest Ordinance. Enabling acts frequently require states to adhere to the principles of the Declaration; in the Enabling Act of June 16, 1906, Congress authorized Oklahoma Territory to take steps to become a state. Section 3 provides that the Oklahoma Constitution ‘shall not be repugnant to the Constitution of the United States and the principles of the Declaration of Independence.’ (Christianity and the Constitution, pp. 360-361),,,”

    The Declaration of Independence Part of American Law
    Excerpt: The Declaration of Independence Part of American Law
    Professor John Eidsmoe writes: “The role of the Declaration of Independence in American law is often misconstrued. Some believe the Declaration is simply a statement of ideas that has no legal force whatsoever today. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Declaration has been repeatedly cited by the U.S. Supreme Court as part of the fundamental law of the United States of America. “The United States Code Annotated includes the Declaration of Independence under the heading ‘The Organic Laws of the United States of America’ along with the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, and the Northwest Ordinance. Enabling acts frequently require states to adhere to the principles of the Declaration; in the Enabling Act of June 16, 1906, Congress authorized Oklahoma Territory to take steps to become a state. Section 3 provides that the Oklahoma Constitution ‘shall not be repugnant to the Constitution of the United States and the principles of the Declaration of Independence.’ (Christianity and the Constitution, pp. 360-361),,,
    https://nccs.net/blogs/articles/the-declaration-of-independence-part-of-american-law

    Indeed, The Declaration of Independence Is the Moral and Legal Foundation of America

    The Declaration of Independence Is the Moral and Legal Foundation of America
    Timothy Sandefur July 2, 2018
    Excerpt: The Declaration of Independence is law. It was voted on and approved by the Continental Congress—the governing body of the nation at that time—and it had, and still has, legal effect. It’s codified in the United States statutes, today, at page 1, volume 1, of the Statutes at Large and in a supplemental volume of the U.S. Code. The Constitution refers to the Declaration directly (it was signed “in the Year . . . of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth”) and indirectly, as when it refers to “the people of the United States”—the same “one people” identified in the opening line of the Declaration. In fact, the Declaration of Independence is a precedent to the U.S. Constitution and, as such, an understanding of the Declaration is vital to interpreting the Constitution.
    For instance, the Declaration announces the principles on which national sovereignty is based. Its pronouncements that all men are created equal, and that they create government to secure their rights, reserving always the right to alter or abolish it, serve as the foundations for the Constitution. Indeed, these principles are why the people had any right at all to create a constitution (a point James Madison made in Federalist No. 40).
    The Declaration also answers the question of whether sovereignty ultimately rests with the nation as a whole or with the states. Was the sovereignty that was seized from Great Britain in the Revolution inherited by the American nation or by the states separately? If sovereignty rests with the states, must they abide by the Constitution or the principles of liberty and equality that undergird it? These were crucial questions in the years surrounding the Civil War.
    But that wasn’t the first time that such questions arose or that such debates raged. Even during the writing of the Constitution, when Maryland delegate Luther Martin claimed the states were sovereign, he was soundly rebuffed by Pennsylvania delegate James Wilson. The states, Wilson observed, had declared independence “not Individually but Unitedly,” and they had never engaged in “the great and distinguishing acts of Sovereignty,” such as foreign relations.
    Siding with Wilson, the authors of the Constitution created a system that ensured that the “one people” of America were the basic source of political authority—and that such authority would be limited by the moral principles of equality and liberty as laid down in the Declaration.
    https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/2018/07/the-declaration-of-independence-is-the-moral-and-legal-foundation-of-america/

  42. 42
    hazel says:

    It was 13 years between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and the Constitution very clearly does not mention God or souls. My understanding (and IANAEOTC) is that the drafters thought carefully about the exclusion of any religious statements.

  43. 43
    bornagain77 says:

    “My understanding is that the drafters thought carefully about the exclusion of any religious statements.”

    My understanding of the founding fathers sentiment towards God is quite different from yours:

    A Few Declarations of Founding Fathers and Early Statesmen on Jesus, Christianity, and the Bible
    Excerpt: John Adams
    SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; JUDGE; DIPLOMAT; ONE OF TWO SIGNERS
    OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS; SECOND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
    The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.1,,,

    George Washington
    JUDGE; MEMBER OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS;
    COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE CONTINENTAL ARMY;
    PRESIDENT OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION;
    FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES; “FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY”
    You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are.121
    https://wallbuilders.com/founding-fathers-jesus-christianity-bible/

  44. 44
    vividbleau says:

    BB
    “……without the consensus or legitimate support of the people living in the future US.”
    Can anyone else make any sense of this?

    Vivid

  45. 45
    hazel says:

    ba, of course they were religious people, but they deliberately wrote a document that contained no religious statements.

  46. 46
    vividbleau says:

    Hazel
    “, of course they were religious people, but they deliberately wrote a document that contained no religious statements”

    And they make no mention of the first amendment in the second amendment.Sheesh

    Vivid

  47. 47
    hazel says:

    Non sequitur????

  48. 48
    Brother Brian says:

    BS77

    Now you can see why BB quote mined that out of its original context.

    No. I “quote mined” it because constitutional scholars, and lawyers, say that it is not legally binding. Or are you in favor of a text that is not supported by the population being legally binding? Didn’t Stalin, and Hitler try that?

  49. 49
    bornagain77 says:

    LOL

    “……without the consensus or legitimate support of the people living in the future US.”
    Can anyone else make any sense of this?

    Vivid

    LOL, Lewis Carroll, i.e. Alice in Wonderland, might have a shot at making sense of it.

  50. 50
    Brother Brian says:

    BS77, can you explain, and justify, why 41 of the 56 signatories of the declaration owned slaves? Why none of them were women? Why none of them were anything other than white, land owners? Did they really represent the will of the people? Or did they represent the will of the wealthy landowners?

  51. 51
    Ed George says:

    BA77, I am afraid that BB has a point. You can oppose it simply because he is a materialist, but it doesn’t detract from the accuracy of his claim. Which, sadly, is accurate.

  52. 52
    vividbleau says:

    BB re 50
    What is it that you specifically object to in the Declaration of Independence?

    Vivid

  53. 53
    Brother Brian says:

    VB

    What is it that you specifically object to in the Declaration of Independence?

    Nothing. I think that it is a wonderful, and brazen, document. A document needed at the time. But to pretend that it has more legal clout than it does is just wishful thinking simply because it talks about God. When the drafters of the constitution, after extensive sober second thought, decided to avoid any mention of Jesus, God or any other deity, and specifically put restrictions on the government enacting any legislation that deals with religion, it should be given precedent over a bunch of political hot heads who drafted something that was more about protecting their property holdings than it was about protecting the vast majority of future citizens.

  54. 54
    vividbleau says:

    BB
    “, it should be given precedent over a bunch of political hot heads who drafted something that was more about protecting their property holdings than it was about protecting the vast majority of future citizens.”

    And yet you have no objection to the Declaration and think it brazen and wonderful, so whatever their motivation they produced a document and the ideas expressed in that document that you find wonderful.Makes no sense to me. Are you incapable of separating a great idea or discovery from its originators behavior or motivations?
    .
    Vivid

  55. 55
    bornagain77 says:

    Oh goody, an atheistic amoralist yet again bemoaning the moral injustice of others when it suits his preference.

    Frankly I can’t see how atheists tolerate their own double standards on issues day in and day out.

    I guess even sanity itself must be sacrificed when one is determined to be an atheist no matter what.

  56. 56
    vividbleau says:

    BB
    “, it should be given precedent over a bunch of political hot heads who drafted something that was more about protecting their property holdings than it was about protecting the vast majority of future citizens.”

    What specifically is in the Declaration that does not protect the vast majority of its future citizens?

    Vivid

  57. 57
    hazel says:

    re 53: I agree with the first part of BB’s post at 53, but not at all when he wrote “a bunch of political hot heads who drafted something that was more about protecting their property holdings than it was about protecting the vast majority of future citizens”

    The drafters of the Declaration of Independence were bold national leaders willing to declare independence from England, and I applaud them for that. I don’t think it’s reasonable to degrade them because they were rich landowners who owned slaves: that’s who leaders were at the time. However, I agree they were more immediately concerned with the present, breaking away from England, and that the framers of the Constitution were looking more for the future, with the idea that they were establishing new ideas for a new country.

  58. 58
    bornagain77 says:

    Again,

    The Declaration of Independence Is the Moral and Legal Foundation of America
    Timothy Sandefur July 2, 2018
    Excerpt: The Declaration of Independence is law. It was voted on and approved by the Continental Congress—the governing body of the nation at that time—and it had, and still has, legal effect. It’s codified in the United States statutes, today, at page 1, volume 1, of the Statutes at Large and in a supplemental volume of the U.S. Code. The Constitution refers to the Declaration directly (it was signed “in the Year . . . of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth”) and indirectly, as when it refers to “the people of the United States”—the same “one people” identified in the opening line of the Declaration. In fact, the Declaration of Independence is a precedent to the U.S. Constitution and, as such, an understanding of the Declaration is vital to interpreting the Constitution.,,,
    Even during the writing of the Constitution, when Maryland delegate Luther Martin claimed the states were sovereign, he was soundly rebuffed by Pennsylvania delegate James Wilson. The states, Wilson observed, had declared independence “not Individually but Unitedly,” and they had never engaged in “the great and distinguishing acts of Sovereignty,” such as foreign relations.
    Siding with Wilson, the authors of the Constitution created a system that ensured that the “one people” of America were the basic source of political authority—and that such authority would be limited by the moral principles of equality and liberty as laid down in the Declaration.
    https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/2018/07/the-declaration-of-independence-is-the-moral-and-legal-foundation-of-america/

  59. 59
    Brother Brian says:

    VB@54, I look at the declaration as a selfish act that worked out for the benefit of most, in spite of the intentions of those who drafted it, even though it took a couple centuries. The Magna Carta in England is a similar document. It was a document intended to benefit the nobility, but ultimately benefited others.

    The bigger question is, if the drafters of the declaration knew that it would ultimately give equal rights to women, immigrants, blacks, homosexuals, transgendered, non-land-owners, the homeless, atheists,, etc. would they have pursued it? Somehow, I doubt it.

  60. 60
    Brother Brian says:

    Hazel

    The drafters of the Declaration of Independence were bold national leaders…

    You know that we generally agree more than we disagree, but I think this is where we may diverge. Were they bold national leaders or were they businessmen (all men) who cooperated to promote mutual selfish interests? I suggest the latter. The fact that it resulted in the establishment of a great country owes more to serendipity than to altruistic forethought. I am not trying to detract from the outcome, just suggesting that pillars we place the “architects” on are pillars of lucky posterity, not ones of planned outcomes.

  61. 61
    vividbleau says:

    BB
    “The bigger question is, if the drafters of the declaration knew that it would ultimately give equal rights to women, immigrants, blacks, homosexuals, transgendered, non-land-owners, the homeless, atheists,, etc. would they have pursued it? Somehow, I doubt it.”

    Couple of thoughts
    Why is the above the bigger question?
    The idea they put down on paper that it is self evident that ALl men are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights virtually made certain that equal rights would eventually be possessed by the groups you list. Ideas always go to their logical conclusions givin enough time. Sort of like “safe legal and rare “ now includes infanticide, and a few years we will be at euthanasia, sex selection, color selection etc, it’s inevitable.
    What makes America great is NOT Jefferson, Washington, or any of the founders, what makes America great is the ideas put down and expressed by its founders.
    Take slavery one of the most consequential laws ever enacted by Congress was the passing of the Northwest Ordinance soon after the ratification of the Constitution which pertained to the territories of Ohio, Indiana,Michigan, Illinois and I think Wisconsin that outlawed slavery. The Declaration gave the moral impetus to Lincoln and all that followed that included the Civil War.

    Vivid

  62. 62
    vividbleau says:

    BB
    “Were they bold national leaders or were they businessmen (all men) who cooperated to promote mutual selfish interests?”

    They were fallible and flawed men like all of us ,that formed a country based on a revolutionary idea that was mocked around the world, that all men were created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights, one of those being the right to self governance. It is obvious you have no idea how revolutionary these ideas were at the time, you just take it for granted. Furthermore these greedy white men went against the most powerful military power in the world and givin no chance that they would win yet still signed the Declaration knowing it meant their death if unsuccessful. I doubt you would have the same courage.
    As to protecting their property, this too is a canard. They were quite prosperous under English rule and were not in danger of losing that privilege under English rule.

    Washington went through incredible hardship and prevented his troops from marching on Philadelphia. When Washington did not take control of the Govt after winning the war the British were astounded. So please your self righteous moralizing from your 21 century lense is a bit much, your profound ignorance of American history is alarming since it is also shared by so many.

    Vivid

  63. 63
    Brother Brian says:

    VB

    The idea they put down on paper that it is self evident that ALl men are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights virtually made certain that equal rights would eventually be possessed by the groups you list.

    How do you figure this? Are you certain that all of the signatories in the declaration would support women’s rights? African American rights? Native American rights? Homosexual rights? Immigrants’ rights? Childrens’ rights? Somehow, I doubt this very much. Many of these rights are the types of taxable obligations they were opposed to.

    I am fully in favor of acknowledging our country’s founders for what they were responsible for. But I am opposed to assigning them some level of omniscience that, I suspect, even they would deny. When we deify them, as we appear to be doing, we are denying that they were flawed individuals, as we all are, and may be in error. Why do we pose every question with respect to what the founding fathers really meant? The fact is, the founding fathers were not gods. They may have been wrong.

  64. 64
    hazel says:

    I’m with Vivid on this one.

  65. 65
    vividbleau says:

    BB
    “How do you figure this?”
    I already told you how I figure this in 61.

    “ Are you certain that all of the signatories in the declaration would support women’s rights? African American rights? Native American rights? Homosexual rights? Immigrants’ rights? Childrens’ rights? “

    Doesn’t matter what they support it’s is what the ideas they put forth that matter and what they support and the proof of what I wrote:in 61 is that these rights have been extended to all the above groups although much remains to be done.

    Vivid

  66. 66
    Brother Brian says:

    Hazel

    I’m with Vivid on this one.

    Et to Brute? 🙂

    All I am suggesting is that we filter our founding fathers’ actions through a modern day perspective. I don’t deny that they thought that they were doing what they thought was best for everyone. But did they consult women ( half the population)? Employees and other non-land owners? Slaves? Indentured servants? Chinese and Japanese immigrants? The indigenous peoples? If they didn’t, they were only speaking for a small fraction of the US population of the time. And if that is the case, why do we insist on filtering everything we do through what we think their intentions were?

  67. 67
    hazel says:

    But I don’t think it’s reasonable to filter their actions through a modern filter. They were in the times they were in, doing very important things, but being people as people were then. I think this has to apply to all history. In ways, people are people no matter when they live, but in very important ways they are part of their culture, and need to be looked at sort of anthropologically, I think, not with judgments based on hindsight or our current culture.

  68. 68
    Brother Brian says:

    VB

    Doesn’t matter what they support it’s is what the ideas they put forth that matter….

    I am confused. We base our laws on what we thing the founding fathers intended when they wrote the constitution (or, less so, the declaration)? That is the prime function of the Supreme Court. Interpreting the constitution with regard to the intentions of the drafters. But you are suggesting that we ignore what their beliefs and intentions were.

  69. 69
    AaronS1978 says:

    Hazel
    June 25, 2019 at 8:43 pm
    But I don’t think it’s reasonable to filter their actions through a modern filter. They were in the times they were in, doing very important things, but being people as people were then. I think this has to apply to all history. In ways, people are people no matter when they live, but in very important ways they are part of their culture, and need to be looked at sort of anthropologically, I think, not with judgments based on hindsight or our current culture.

    What the heck is this trash I came in here to check out what the hubbub was all about in this thread because my other threads died and this is what I’m reading (joking)

    *gasp*

    This is an oddly eloquently peaceful statement and I find myself in complete agreement with you no matter what the context well said

  70. 70
    Brother Brian says:

    Hazel@67, I’m not sure I understand what you are saying. I am not suggesting that we judge them as people through a modern filter. I don’t think that is fair. I don’t think that I would like to have all of my actions from the 1960s judged on 2019 standards.

    What I am suggesting is that we shouldn’t judge our modern society through the filter of their day. For example, the right to bear arms was written when match-lock, non-rifled guns were the height of the arms industry. Should we completely ignore advances in armaments when we interpret this amendment? Similarly, should we interpret women’s rights based on what the founding fathers’ intended (which was that women were subservient to men) or should we acknowledge that times have changed and that what they believed in 1776 does not apply today?

  71. 71
    vividbleau says:

    BB
    “I am confused. “
    No argument there.

    “We base our laws on what we thing the founding fathers intended when they wrote the constitution (or, less so, the declaration)?”

    No we base our laws on the constitution which flows from the Declaration.

    “ That is the prime function of the Supreme Court. Interpreting the constitution with regard to the intentions of the drafters. “

    No , the SC interprets whether a law is Constitutional , sometimes they will try to understand what the drafters meant while others, such in Roe v Wade base it on a “penumbra “

    “But you are suggesting that we ignore what their beliefs and intentions were.”

    Their intentions are pretty clearly defined both in the Declaration and the Constitution , what is in those documents that are unclear to you.

    Vivid

  72. 72
    hazel says:

    I see, BB. I agree then: obviously we have to look at our own times because we aren’t 1790’s America anymore, balancing fundamental core principles with changes in the facts of our culture now vs then.

  73. 73
    vividbleau says:

    BB
    “The concept that all men are created equal was a key to European Enlightenment philosophy. But the interpretation of “all men” has hovered over the Declaration of Independence since its creation. Although most people have interpreted “all men” to mean humanity, others have argued that Jefferson and the other authors of the Declaration meant to exclude women and children. Within the context of the times it is clear that “all men” was a euphemism for “humanity,” and thus those people, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, who used the Declaration of Independence to demand equality for African Americans and women seized the historical as well as the moral high ground” Library of Congress

    Brian I repeat your understanding of American History is deeply flawed.

    Vivid

  74. 74
    Brother Brian says:

    Hazel

    I see, BB. I agree then:

    Thank you. I can now sleep well. 🙂

    I fear that I was poor in presenting my argument.

  75. 75
    Brother Brian says:

    VB, I don’t deny that my understanding of US history is deeply flawed. But I share that with 95%+ of the population. Who won the war of 1812?

    But to suggest that the line of “ All men are created equal…” included women and blacks and Chinese and Japanese ignores most of American history. Blacks are assigned a fraction of human status in the constitution. Women were not given equal legal status to men until well in to the 20th century. Japanese Americans had there “equal” rights stripped during the Second World War. Homosexuals are still “legally denied employment.

  76. 76
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks,

    Much of the above would be amusing, if it were not so sad. For example, the religious exclusion interpretation of the US Constitution is sustained only by cultivation of ignorance of its contents and context; the DoI being only the most obvious case. Where, that DoI is brought in in the reference to the 12th year of Independence and the context that this is delivering on the new government promise of para 2.

    Now, observe grand statement structure — a common feature in traditional legal documents, where the whole constitutes a structured elaborate statement.

    First, Confederation, 1778:

    And Whereas it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in Congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union. Know Ye that we the undersigned delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose, do by these presents, in the name and in behalf of our respective constituents, fully and entirely ratify and confirm each and every of the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union . . . . In Witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands in Congress. Done at Philadelphia in the State of Pennsylvania the ninth day of July in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-Eight, and in the Third Year of the independence of America.

    Now, Constitution 9 y later:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America . . . . [Main Body, Arts I – VII] . . . . Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names. . . . . [AMENDMENTS].

    Notice, “blessings of Liberty”?

    “Blessings” of course — as Madison, principal author (who studied theology at New Jersey College [now Princeton] under Witherspoon; the only clergyman to sign the DOI) surely knew — is in the main a covenantal, theological term, not generally a legal one. It is noteworthy that in the May 1776 fast proclamation, a specific petition was that God would be pleased to restore the American Continent to the blessings of peace and liberty. Similar language repeatedly appears in the other Congressional proclamations from 1776 – 1783, in a consistent, explicilty Christian context. In short, the US Constitution is best understood in that materially Christian context as an instrument for the restoration and preservation to posterity of the God-given blessings of liberty through the institution of new Government under God.

    Let me cite:

    May 1776 [over the name of John Hancock, first signer of the US Declaration of Indpependence] : In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered by the secret machinations and open assaults of an insidious and vindictive administration, it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publickly to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger, and prospering our strenuous efforts in the cause of freedom, virtue, and posterity.. . . Desirous, at the same time, to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God’s superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely, in all their lawful enterprizes, on his aid and direction, Do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies; . . . that it may please the Lord of Hosts, the God of Armies, to animate our officers and soldiers with invincible fortitude, to guard and protect them in the day of battle, and to crown the continental arms, by sea and land, with victory and success: Earnestly beseeching him to bless our civil rulers, and the representatives of the people, in their several assemblies and conventions; to preserve and strengthen their union, to inspire them with an ardent, disinterested love of their country; to give wisdom and stability to their counsels; and direct them to the most efficacious measures for establishing the rights of America on the most honourable and permanent basis—That he would be graciously pleased to bless all his people in these colonies with health and plenty, and grant that a spirit of incorruptible patriotism, and of pure undefiled religion, may universally prevail; and this continent be speedily restored to the blessings of peace and liberty, and enabled to transmit them inviolate to the latest posterity. And it is recommended to Christians of all denominations, to assemble for public worship, and abstain from servile labour on the said day.

    Theologically, this was an act of covenant with God called for by the representatives of a nation shaped by the fires of revival through the work of Whitefield and many others. Yes, CONGRESS preached revival as the context of restoring God’s blessing to an errant nation whose sin had opened the way for Satan’s minions to vex them with acts of war, which had been underway since about April 1775. Two months later, after petitions failed, the call for Independence was issued and it clearly falls well within the double covenant creation order view of nationhood and government under God. Let us remember:

    When . . . it becomes necessary for one people . . . to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, [cf Rom 1:18 – 21, 2:14 – 15], that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security . . . .

    We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions [Cf. Judges 11:27 and discussion in Locke], do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

    And again, seventeen months later, Congress again called the nation to its knees:

    December 1777: FORASMUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of; And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence, but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defence and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased in so great a Measure to prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops and to crown our Arms with most signal success: It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for Solemn Thanksgiving and Praise; That with one Heart and one Voice the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favour, and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD, through the Merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance; That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole; to inspire our Commanders both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty GOD, to secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE; That it may please him to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People and the Labour of the Husbandman, that our Land may yet yield its Increase; To take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand, and to prosper the Means of Religion for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom which consisteth “in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.”[i.e. Cites Rom 14:9] [Source: Journals of the American Congress From 1774 to 1788 (Washington: Way and Gideon, 1823), Vol. I, pp. 286-287 & II, pp. 309 – 310.]

    That is the specific theological context, and it fully justifies the following Library of Congress note on the matter:

    The Continental-Confederation Congress, a legislative body that governed the United States from 1774 to 1789, contained an extraordinary number of deeply religious men . . . both the legislators and the public considered it appropriate for the national government to promote a nondenominational, nonpolemical Christianity . . . . Congress was guided by “covenant theology,” a Reformation doctrine especially dear to New England Puritans, which held that God bound himself in an agreement with a nation and its people . . . The first national government of the United States, was convinced that the “public prosperity” of a society depended on the vitality of its religion. Nothing less than a “spirit of universal reformation among all ranks and degrees of our citizens,” Congress declared to the American people, would “make us a holy, that so we may be a happy people.”

    The radical secularist wrenching of the text and context of the US Constitution is without merit and a manifest case of failure of duty to truth and warrant passed of as erudition and now conventional wisdom.

    In the context just outlined, that leads us to the proper conclusion — but one of course now hotly disputed by secularists and their ilk [sadly, on the evidence, based on negligence (or worse . . .) relative to the material facts] — that the US Constitution sought, in an explicitly Christian context to secure the rights of liberty endowed by the Creator, through instituting a new order of Government, which eventually became what we think of today as representative democratic self-government by free peoples. [In passing, notice the way the dates acknowledge Jesus as Lord, cf. Rom 1:1 – 5; contrasting the French Revolution’s new secularised calendar of only a few years later.] In doing so, the Constitution set out to fulfill the promise in the Declaration of Independence, and was thus the second of the two covenenats envisioned in the reformation era Biblically derived theory of legitimate government first developed in detail in Vindiciae, so it was deeply informed by the reformation stream of thought that viewed revolution through interposition of lower civil authorities as justified to depose tyrants and set up a better form of Government under God to protect justice, thus rights. In that regard, it has been a great success for some 220 years now, and blazed a path down which more and more of the world has trod.

    Finally, since the First Amendment’s establishment clause — which simply does NOT mention “separation of church and state” [a phrase from a letter by Jefferson (who, being in France at the time, is not one of the authors of the US Constitution)] — is also often the subject of a related confusion, let us pause to address this too:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    It is helpful to see this in light of the American Founders’ tendency to look for and adapt or adopt successful precedents as far as possible for their own experiment in liberty — and not just parochially in the history of the American colonies or the British motherland, either. For, as the Federalist papers reveal, they had a wide sweep of historical understanding (gaps in it notwithstanding).

    That brings to focus, the events in the aftermath of the reformation and the resulting sad and horrendous wars over religion, which were finally settled through the religious principles of the 1555 Peace of Augsburg and the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648, especially the point therein, that (as a part of the broader principle of non-interference in local affairs) the religion of the local state would be that of the local prince (cuius regio, eius religio). As even so humble a source as Wikipedia notes of this and associated treaties: “[t]he peace as a whole is often used by historians to mark the beginning of the modern era . . . . The Treaty established a framework of international law [resting on: [1] the sovereignty of nation-states and the fundamental right of political self determination; [2] (legal) equality between nation-states; [3] internationally binding treaties between states; [4] non-intervention of one state in the internal affairs of another state] . . . intended to establish a durable peace between the parties involved. This was revolutionary at the time, because it relied on international agreements between sovereign states rather than military strength.”

    In effect, the Framers adapted the cuius regio, eius religio concept to federal-republican circumstances, by stipulating: [1] there would be no federal church of the USA (contrast, say, the Anglican Church in Britain, and Lutheran, Calvinist/Reformed and Catholic churches in Europe) — in fact [2] Congress and associated federal bodies have no proper jurisdiction on establishment, so can make no law on that subject; [3] Congress may not prohibit the free exercise of religion and commonly associated behaviours: speech, publication, assembly, petition for redress. (It is helpful — this side of the Civil War — to recognise that there is a reason why the founders sometimes spoke of “these united States.”) Thus, in a republican context, the right of the local state to establish its own state church was protected [nine of thirteen states has just such state churches at the time], and the rights of dissenters were protected. Backing this up, the 10th Amendment reserves rights not explicitly delegated to the Federal Government to the states and their people. The intended effect — sadly, long since materially subverted through activist courts imposing and in effect establishing decidedly minority secularist opinions on matters where the courts often have no proper jurisdiction [and thus are building up exactly that tidal wave of hostility that the Framers sought to avert!] — would be that in the local community, the majority sentiment would shape its general religious tone, but the minority down to the individual would be heard and protected. Liberty, in short.

    KF

  77. 77
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, there you go again, predictably almost obsessively, with the oppression thesis of cultural marxism designed to pervert our understanding of the roots, structure and fruit of the blessings of liberty that are a heritage of Christendom and particularly of the impact of the reformation era. You forget that the US fought a civil war, largely over the issues that man stands for humanity. Accordingly, let me put on the table Lincoln’s second inaugural address:

    Fellow-Countrymen:

    At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of this great conflict which is of primary concern to the nation as a whole, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

    On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.

    One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

    With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

    Much more could be said, but this is enough to expose that distorted thesis for the subterfuge it is, a turnabout projection driven propaganda accusation used by those who on manifest record are demonstrated enemies out to subvert genuine liberty and put licence and libertinism backed by domination of key power centres in its place.

    KF

  78. 78
    vividbleau says:

    BB
    “VB, I don’t deny that my understanding of US history is deeply flawed. “

    Then I suggest you get back to me when it isn’t.

    Vivid

  79. 79
    asauber says:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

    Bob O’H,

    This doesn’t say you can’t have any religious-based gov’t positions. We have them right now and have had them since the dawn of gubbermints.

    Andrew

  80. 80
    asauber says:

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    And if any of you Atheist/Progressive/Statists can read for comprehension anymore, there are several examples of religious ideas and assumptions right here in the Preamble to the Constitution.

    Andrew

  81. 81
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob

    in general I would agree that a law based on personhood wouldn’t conflict with the Establishment Clause, because I don’t think personhood must be grounded in any theological ideas

    The challenge here would be to find some non-theistic grounding of the concept of personhood. I don’t think it can be done from an evolutionary/materialist perspective. To do so would assign a very special status to human life that evolution cannot support.

  82. 82
    kairosfocus says:

    BB 75:

    To assert:

    to suggest that the line of “ All men are created equal…” included women and blacks and Chinese and Japanese ignores most of American history. Blacks are assigned a fraction of human status in the constitution . . .

    ignores basic English, where man historically stood as generic reference to humanity without regard to particular distinctives. And you are too educated not to know this.

    Next, the point of a morally based principle of the natural law is that it is an ought not an is. That we fall below the standard is part of the moral hazard of being human. Again, you are far too well educated not to know this.

    Third, you are obsessed with pushing in matters of behaviour that is morally dubious as though they were equivalent to inborn characteristics of ethnicity or having XY vs XX chromosomes. This is again a dishonest rhetorical tactic.

    You have thus been duly corrected for record.

    KF

  83. 83
    kairosfocus says:

    BB 70: FYI, the point of the US 2nd Amdt — which secures the classical liberties of the 1st in the linchpin state in our civilisation (and so safeguards all of our states) — is that the people, individually and collectively are the ultimate guarantee of liberty in the face of oppressors and tyrants. Accordingly, they should have personal and local access to arms sufficient to deter a military setting out on the sort of confiscation and subjugation attempted by the UK c April 1775. The main target of that confiscation attempt was actually cannon held by community militias, i.e. artillery (which was capable of firing grapeshot roughly comparable to a machine gun); the result was that the march of confiscation was harassed by musketry and rifle fire then faced determined local men standing at Breed Hill, ending in 1,000 red coats and 500 locals dead IIRC. Providentially, the British army had mis-matched their cannon to the ammunition so could not stand off and pound with artillery as was commonly done in Scotland. That is where the American Revolution began. So, your analysis is wrong from the outset. KF

    PS: In a day of increasing terror threat [think, the recent Paris and Mumbai or Kenya and Las Vegas attacks], I have suggested that there is need for systematic hardening of potential targets to include overwatch with effective semiauto rifles [full auto is over-rated] and close in protection with PDWs and semiauto pistols. I have suggested the Tavor in 6.5 mm Grendel as a good 800 – 1,000 m round. For longer reach, I add the 6.5 mm Creedmore. I have low regard for the 5.56 mm round and think the AR-15 family is outdated technology and think the usual .30 calibre rounds are not best for current circumstances though the well trained and familiar can make good use, 6.5 mm simply has better sectional density thus better ballistics with good recoil properties. I also note the Swiss model of the full marching kit in the cupboard, and how private persons were encouraged to buy older artillery pieces. Local units should have medium MGs and APC level vehicles; modern tanks are too technical for that much localisation. Responsible disciplined structure similar to Switzerland would safely manage such: crimes using such are subject to court martial. The aim, here, is to have a rifle behind every blade of grass as the Japanese admiralty noted in the 1940’s, and a shotgun [I favour no 4 buck] behind every front door. Any state that is afraid to trust its lawful citizens with such a disciplined structure is already by that fact on the road to tyranny.

  84. 84
    kairosfocus says:

    H, 30

    The idea of a soul is deeply embedded in our culture

    Something very much like the soul is a requisite of responsible, rational freedom thus the credibility of the mind and its products.

    The undermining of this has been one of the worst effects of evolutionary materialistic scientism.

    KF

  85. 85
    kairosfocus says:

    BO’H, 16

    I don’t want to get dragged into a debate on abortion, because past experience has told me that it’s not worth the hassle.

    Let’s not talk about the central evil of our time, the worst holocaust by far in history, 800+ million victims in 40+ years, proceeding at another million more per week.

    That speaks volumes.

    KF

  86. 86
    Bob O'H says:

    Silver Asiatic – I’m not sure an evolutionary perspective is a big issue. Humans are a “good” species, and that’s what we are interested in, so a person is any human. A big issues is when does one start to become human (which is relevant to the abortion debate), and I can’t see that any one clear dividing line is objectively better than any other, although it’s clear that the line has to be drawn somewhere and there are costs and benefits wherever it’s drawn.

  87. 87
    asauber says:

    “it’s clear that the line has to be drawn somewhere”

    And of course, Bob O’H gets to draw the line. Funny how it works out that the great Bob O’H gets to decide who is on the death side of the line. Where did you get the right to do this, Bob O’H? In a science paper? lol

    Andrew

  88. 88
    Bob O'H says:

    Asauber – why did you make that claim when I wrote nothing that could be construed as supporting it, and indeed it is utterly false?
    FWIW, I certainly shouldn’t be the person to make such a decision: I don’t have the necessary expertise. Actually, I don’t think it should be up to a single person: it is an issue that would require looking at from several perspectives.

  89. 89
    Brother Brian says:

    Andrew

    And of course, Bob O’H gets to draw the line.

    I would leave it up to the people who are experts in embryonic development draw the line. And, to a great extent, they have. In Canada, abortion is perfectly legal up until the first breath is taken. In spite of this, roughly 95% of abortions occur in the first trimester.

  90. 90
    asauber says:

    “In Canada, abortion is perfectly legal up until the first breath is taken.”

    BB,

    But that’s kinda the point right? You are killing someone if the line is drawn at the first breath or the first week.

    Do you not understand that?

    An after the fact imaginary line doesn’t change anything other than someone’s attitude.

    Are you actually this obtuse or are you just posturing for your internet friends?

    Andrew

  91. 91
    ET says:

    If a line has to be drawn, as Bob insists, then it needs to be drawn at the having sex part. Humans are supposed to be above the other animals. It’s time we started acting like it.

  92. 92
    Bob O'H says:

    But that’s kinda the point right? You are killing someone if the line is drawn at the first breath or the first week.

    Do you not understand that?

    I think the point is that different people have different views on when to call a foetus a person, i.e. when is “someone” actually someone. There is no clear universal answer to this, which is why there is a considerable difference of opinion (which is then made more complicated by the notion that a mother should have rights too).

  93. 93
    asauber says:

    “I think the point is that different people have different views on when to call a foetus a person”

    Bob O’H,

    People have differing opinion on when to water their plants, too.

    So your argument/defense of killing someone is that you have different opinion?

    That’s it? That’s all it is? That’s all you have?

    Andrew

  94. 94
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    I think the point is that different people have different views on when to call a foetus a person, i.e. when is “someone” actually someone.

    Seeing that you cannot get to be someone without a beginning, that would be the place to start- conception. And if that bothers you then don’t have sex. And if you cannot control yourself seek help.

  95. 95
    asauber says:

    It’s a race to the bottom and beyond between BB and Bob O’H to see which one looks more impenetrably block-headed on this topic.

    Andrew

  96. 96
    bornagain77 says:

    “when is “someone” actually someone.”?
    – Bob O’H

    Well, according to Darwinian materialists, someone is never someone. So should the arbitrary line of when we can kill someone be drawn there and should it be legal to kill Darwinian materialists, such as say Bob O’Hara and BB, since they are not really persons?

    “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does. Every morning’s introspectively fantasized self is a new one, remarkably similar to the one that consciousness ceased fantasizing when we fell sleep sometime the night before. Whatever purpose yesterday’s self thought it contrived to set the alarm last night, today’s newly fictionalized self is not identical to yesterday’s. It’s on its own, having to deal with the whole problem of why to bother getting out of bed all over again.
    – A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

    “I’m not arguing that consciousness is a reality beyond science or beyond the brain or that it floats free of the brain at death. I’m not making any spooky claims about its metaphysics. What I am saying, however, is that the self is an illusion. The sense of being an ego, an I, a thinker of thoughts in addition to the thoughts. An experiencer in addition to the experience. The sense that we all have of riding around inside our heads as a kind of a passenger in the vehicle of the body. That’s where most people start when they think about any of these questions. Most people don’t feel identical to their bodies. They feel like they have bodies. They feel like they’re inside the body. And most people feel like they’re inside their heads. Now that sense of being a subject, a locus of consciousness inside the head is an illusion. It makes no neuro-anatomical sense.”
    Sam Harris: The Self is an Illusion
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fajfkO_X0l0

    Eagleton on Baggini on free will
    Excerpt: “What you’re doing is simply instantiating a self: the program run by your neurons which you feel is “you.””
    Jerry Coyne
    https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/eagleton-on-baggini-on-free-will/

    There Is No Such Thing as Conscious Thought
    Philosopher Peter Carruthers insists that conscious thought, judgment and volition are illusions. They arise from processes of which we are forever unaware
    By Steve Ayan on December 20, 2018
    Excerpt: Peter Carruthers, Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Maryland, College Park, is an expert on the philosophy of mind,,,
    ,,, in 2017, he published a paper with the astonishing title of “The Illusion of Conscious Thought.”,,,
    Carruthers explains,,,, “I believe that the whole idea of conscious thought is an error. I came to this conclusion by following out the implications of the two of the main theories of consciousness.”
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/there-is-no-such-thing-as-conscious-thought/

    The Consciousness Deniers – Galen Strawson – March 13, 2018
    Excerpt: What is the silliest claim ever made? The competition is fierce, but I think the answer is easy. Some people have denied the existence of consciousness: conscious experience, the subjective character of experience, the “what-it-is-like” of experience.,,,
    . Few have been fully explicit in their denial, but among those who have been, we find Brian Farrell, Paul Feyerabend, Richard Rorty, and the generally admirable Daniel Dennett. Ned Block once remarked that Dennett’s attempt to fit consciousness or “qualia” into his theory of reality “has the relation to qualia that the US Air Force had to so many Vietnamese villages: he destroys qualia in order to save them.”
    One of the strangest things the Deniers say is that although it seems that there is conscious experience, there isn’t really any conscious experience: the seeming is, in fact, an illusion. The trouble with this is that any such illusion is already and necessarily an actual instance of the thing said to be an illusion.
    http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2.....s-deniers/

    At the 23:33 minute mark of the following video, Richard Dawkins agrees with materialistic philosophers who say that:
    “consciousness is an illusion”
    A few minutes later Rowan Williams asks Dawkins ”If consciousness is an illusion…what isn’t?”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWN4cfh1Fac&t=22m57s

    “that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.”
    Francis Crick – “The Astonishing Hypothesis” 1994

    Dr. Dennis Bonnette, at 37:51 minute mark of following video, in applying the law of identity to the philosophy of reductive materialism, shows that Richard Dawkins does not really exist as a real person: (the unity of Aristotelian Form is also discussed). Thus, in a sweet twist of poetic justice, in the atheistic materialist denying that God really exists as a real person, the atheist ends up denying that the himself really exist as a real person.

    Atheistic Materialism – Does Richard Dawkins Exist? – video 37:51 minute mark
    Quote: “It turns out that if every part of you, down to sub-atomic parts, are still what they were when they weren’t in you, in other words every ion,,, every single atom that was in the universe,, that has now become part of your living body, is still what is was originally. It hasn’t undergone what metaphysicians call a ‘substantial change’. So you aren’t Richard Dawkins. You are just carbon and neon and sulfur and oxygen and all these individual atoms still.
    You can spout a philosophy that says scientific materialism, but there aren’t any scientific materialists to pronounce it.,,, That’s why I think they find it kind of embarrassing to talk that way. Nobody wants to stand up there and say, “You know, I’m not really here”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVCnzq2yTCg&t=37m51s

  97. 97
    kairosfocus says:

    Bo’H, 86:

    A big issues is when does one start to become human

    The answer is actually obvious, as there is a clear beginning to a distinct human life: when sperm cell and egg cell fuse to form a zygote.

    KF

  98. 98
    kairosfocus says:

    BO’H, 92:

    different people have different views on when to call a foetus a person, i.e. when is “someone” actually someone.

    Notice, how opinions (often manipulated by agendas using media and controlling education systems) are substituted for basic facts?

    The issue is that we deal with a distinct human life, known to begin at formation of the zygote — over 1/2 the time not the same sex as his mother — and the willful killing of a living human being.

    KF

  99. 99
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob

    I’m not sure an evolutionary perspective is a big issue.

    I see it as a huge issue that informs the debate. Why would it matter that much where we draw the line between human and non-human? Evolution says that there is no line really. It’s arbitrary.

    Humans are a “good” species, and that’s what we are interested in, so a person is any human.

    Seriously, Bob. You’re saying “humans are a good species” and there are other species that are not good? No, evolution just creates species. There is no good or bad. In evolution, humans are not ‘persons’. They’re just apes with slightly different developments. There is nothing special about what evolution produces. There is bacteria, plant life, birds, fish, humans, insects. All from the same source all with the same value. Your statement ‘humans are a “good” species’ … ???
    Well, that is your justification for considering humans special in some way. But chickens are not a good species? We kill chickens all the time.

    A big issues is when does one start to become human (which is relevant to the abortion debate), and I can’t see that any one clear dividing line is objectively better than any other, although it’s clear that the line has to be drawn somewhere and there are costs and benefits wherever it’s drawn.

    I think you could see the problem with murdering people. So, if we draw the line at birth, you do not see the risk that we are actually murdering children who are in no way different than they are days before birth in the womb?

    I can fully appreciate that from an atheistic perspective, it doesn’t make much difference. What are the consequences of killing children? There is no God to judge the sin. The parents felt the child would not be cared for, so it is best to kill it. How could that be “wrong”? We might decide later that we want to preserve the children, but nobody could be considered guilty for wanting to kill the child. It’s part of evolution. There are no consequences in the atheistic view.

    If instead, God created the child and human life is sacred and loved in the eyes of the Creator, then we have a huge responsibility to care for that life and protect it, and there are huge consequences if we don’t care and actually kill it. It’s what theists would refer to as “The Judgement”. That’s when sins are put forward. So, I think people who believe in God are very careful about where lines are drawn, since we’re making a judgement about what God created.

    When there’s a belief that God doesn’t exists, we put the line somewhere, debate about it, put it somewhere else. The kids who had to die because the line was wrong, it doesn’t matter much. They’re gone. They do not speak to us any more from eternity. There is nobody in heaven to lament their loss or to judge us for our callousness. It’s just like an animal that dies, not a big deal.

    To me, that is the dehumanization that atheism causes, given in a very clear picture.

  100. 100
    Brother Brian says:

    Bob

    I think the point is that different people have different views on when to call a foetus a person, i.e. when is “someone” actually someone.

    I agree. For example, I don’t feel any guilt over a previous girlfriend using an IUD. Or with my wife who used the birth control pill before and after we got married. Even though neither necessarily prevent fertilization. And I don’t have any problem with women who choose to use the morning after pill. And any woman who chooses to have an abortion early in a pregnancy has my support. I simply can’t get myself worked up over it.

    Conversely, any one who chooses not to use birth control and chooses not to have an abortion also has my support. The people who don’t have my support are those who try to force their will on others.

    To demonstrate how insane the absolutist version of the right to life movement can be, I refer you to a recent Alabama news item.

    https://www.google.ca/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/06/27/us/alabama-pregnant-woman-shot-in-stomach-manslaughter-indictment-trnd/index.html

  101. 101
    Silver Asiatic says:

    BB

    And any woman who chooses to have an abortion early in a pregnancy has my support. I simply can’t get myself worked up over it.

    Presumably you would get worked up if it occurs later in pregnancy, right?

  102. 102
    Silver Asiatic says:

    BB

    To demonstrate how insane the absolutist version of the right to life movement can be, I refer you to a recent Alabama news item.

    I didn’t find that insane at all, in fact, quite reasonable. The law is just saying that a pregnant woman has a greater responsibility to avoid that which would put her child at risk of death. Engaging someone in a fight while carrying a child is a very dangerous activity.

    “It was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby,”

    It’s reckless behavior that put the life of the child at risk. A civilized society will protect children from such things.

  103. 103
    Brother Brian says:

    SA

    I didn’t find that insane at all, in fact, quite reasonable.

    So, you think it is reasonable to charge the woman who got shot with manslaughter (and be sentenced to up to 20 years) but not to charge the woman who pulled the trigger. You and I obviously come from two different worlds. I prefer to live in my world.

    But even if we accept your premise, where do you draw the line? What if she got in a car accident in which she was at fault and the fetus died? Driving is known to carry risks. What if she miscarried while having sex? What if she was a pregnant police officer and miscarried while performing her job? What if the woman had several cats and had a spontaneous abortion due to a cat scratch?

    In your world, the appropriate thing to do would be to confine all pregnant women, against their will, until they gave birth. Again, I don’t like your world.

  104. 104
    Brother Brian says:

    SA

    Presumably you would get worked up if it occurs later in pregnancy, right?

    That would depend on the risk to the mother of continuing the pregnancy. However, even if the likely outcome was the woman’s death, if she wanted to continue the pregnancy I would support her decision.

  105. 105
    Silver Asiatic says:

    BB

    So, you think it is reasonable to charge the woman who got shot with manslaughter (and be sentenced to up to 20 years) but not to charge the woman who pulled the trigger.

    I’m sorry I thought you meant that the insanity had to do with charging the woman who put her child at risk. But you’re concerned about the woman who pulled the trigger. If so, I’ll agree. The other woman should have been charged.

    What if she got in a car accident in which she was at fault and the fetus died?

    If she is DWI for example, and there is a child in her car? She will be charged in a similar manner.

    In your world, the appropriate thing to do would be to confine all pregnant women, against their will, until they gave birth.

    Your attempts at showing that there are gray areas, followed by some moral outrage regarding things I never said, just tell me that your view is not reasonable. There should be no need to exaggerate the point as you’ve done.

  106. 106
    Silver Asiatic says:

    BB

    SA Presumably you would get worked up if it occurs later in pregnancy, right?
    BB That would depend on the risk to the mother of continuing the pregnancy. However, even if the likely outcome was the woman’s death, if she wanted to continue the pregnancy I would support her decision.

    I would call that a non answer. Or else you’re saying “no”. You presented “early in pregnancy” as a qualifier but when I asked about “later in pregnancy”, you are ambiguous. I don’t think you’d get worked up at all, right?

  107. 107
    Brother Brian says:

    SA

    I’m sorry I thought you meant that the insanity had to do with charging the woman who put her child at risk.

    The woman who put her child at risk was the one who was carrying a gun.

    If she is DWI for example, and there is a child in her car? She will be charged in a similar manner.

    Who said anything about DWI? I was just talking about an at-fault accident. Following too close, illegal lane change, etc. Driving, by it’s nature, is one of the most dangerous things that any of us do. As such, shouldn’t a woman who partakes in this type of risky behaviour and suffers the loss of a pregnancy be charged? I don’t know the stats. But I would be willing to bet that more women suffer the loss of a fetus due to car accidents than due to arguments.

    Your attempts at showing that there are gray areas,…

    My point was that it is ludicrous to charge a woman with manslaughter because she got shot by someone else.

  108. 108
    Brother Brian says:

    SA

    I would call that a non answer.

    Taking circumstances into consideration is not a non-answer. Life isn’t black and white. Personally, I don’t think that abortions should be allowed after the first few months unless the woman’s life was at risk. But I could even envision some exceptions to this.

  109. 109
    Silver Asiatic says:

    BB

    Personally, I don’t think that abortions should be allowed after the first few months unless the woman’s life was at risk.

    You asked me to draw a line but you give a range of “a few months” and after that it is illegal? I don’t see you as being consistent. Why is it a problem for you after a number or “a few” months? Why not one month? What is the criteria, or why would you be opposed to abortion in any case?

  110. 110
    Silver Asiatic says:

    BB

    My point was that it is ludicrous to charge a woman with manslaughter because she got shot by someone else.

    Again, you’re distorting what happened and that speaks to the unreasonableness of your view. You’re calling it “insane”. So why not just say what happened? It is incorrect to say the got charged with manslaughter “because she got shot by someone else”. That is not the reason and you know it. So why twist what happened to exaggerate your point?

  111. 111
    Brother Brian says:

    SA

    You asked me to draw a line but you give a range of “a few months” and after that it is illegal? I don’t see you as being consistent. Why is it a problem for you after a number or “a few” months? Why not one month? What is the criteria, or why would you be opposed to abortion in any case?

    I base it on my admittedly limited knowledge of embryonic development. It is my understanding that in the first few months the nervous system is not sufficiently develop to be self aware or to perceive pain. Of course I could be in error, which is why I said that I would leave that decision up to the people who are experts in embryonic development. Certainly not you, me, KF or BS77.

  112. 112
    Brother Brian says:

    SA

    It is incorrect to say the got charged with manslaughter “because she got shot by someone else”

    Well, I doubt very much she would be charged if she wasn’t shot. And I am pretty sure it is reasonable to expect not to be shot just because you have an argument with someone else.

    Let’s look at it in a different way. Let’s assume that you and I get in an argument. As a result I pull a gun, that you didn’t know I had, and shoot you. The bullet passes through your body and kills the person standing behind you. Are you guilty of manslaughter?

  113. 113
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, by personalising, you are ducking the obvious fact; one BTW established long since by embryology and never overturned since. When egg and sperm cells fuse to form a zygote, a new human life begins. A bit more than half the time, the child is not even the same sex as his mother. The real question, then, is not the humanity of the unborn child from his or her earliest stages of development but our view on the moral worth of a human being. Where, it is obvious that evolutionary materialistic scientism, atheism and fellow travellers have undermined morality in general and the respect due to mother, father and child from the outset of a new life. But then, as reasoning is morally governed through undeniable duties to truth, right reason, prudence (including the avoidance of reckless harm or endangerment), fairness, justice etc, the general amorality of evolutionary materialism — which is self-refuting and thus self-falsifying — will undermine ability to reason soundly, justly and prudently also. The results of the dominance of this ideology and its fellow travellers are visible all around us: chaos and the corrupting taint of blood guilt from the holocaust of our living posterity in the womb. KF

  114. 114
    Silver Asiatic says:

    BB

    Well, I doubt very much she would be charged if she wasn’t shot. And I am pretty sure it is reasonable to expect not to be shot just because you have an argument with someone else.

    You’re resorting to sophistry. The reason she was charged was not, as you said, because she was shot. It was because she put her unborn child at risk.

    Let’s look at it in a different way. Let’s assume that you and I get in an argument. As a result I pull a gun, that you didn’t know I had, and shoot you. The bullet passes through your body and kills the person standing behind you. Are you guilty of manslaughter?

    It’s good that you compare the death of the unborn child to the death of a person standing behind me. But other than that, it’s a false equivalency. The mother has a responsibility to care for the child she is carrying.

    You think that this idea is “insanity” but currently, at least 38 states have fetal homicide laws.

    http://www.ncsl.org/research/h.....-laws.aspx

  115. 115
    Silver Asiatic says:

    BB

    It is my understanding that in the first few months the nervous system is not sufficiently develop to be self aware or to perceive pain.

    If a human being is not self-aware (unconscious) and is not feeling pain (drugged), then it is ok to kill him or her?

  116. 116
    asauber says:

    To put it bluntly, abortion supporters are chasing affirmations of their lifestyles by being an enthusiastic organs of the Culture of Death. I admit it takes a little fortitude to break out (which is what the OP is about), but staying in it is not going to do you any good.

    Andrew

  117. 117
    bornagain77 says:

    Asauber as to: “it takes a little fortitude to break out” of the culture of death.

    You may appreciate this. It appears that many young people, contrary to the crusty ole dogmatic atheists that we deal with here on UD, are much more open, and they have not hardened their hearts against the unborn. And they will still listen to reason, and thus change their minds and hearts.

    7 Reasons | Full Abortion Movie 2019 (HQ)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mB1vV2EgS5A&list=PLF7A795CE0A9857FE&index=24

    180 – movie
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y2KsU_dhwI&list=PLF7A795CE0A9857FE&index=3

  118. 118
    ET says:

    Brother Brian:

    It is my understanding that in the first few months the nervous system is not sufficiently develop to be self aware or to perceive pain.

    So what? Being a human is a process in which the beginning is very important. And the beginning is where humans are the most vulnerable and should be protected by all.

    Once a woman gets pregnant it is no longer just her body. Hers is a shared body.

  119. 119
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    BB, by personalising, you are ducking the obvious fact; one BTW established long since by embryology and never overturned since. When egg and sperm cells fuse to form a zygote, a new human life begins. A bit more than half the time, the child is not even the same sex as his mother.

    I have no idea why you think it is important that the fetus may be a different sex than the mother.

    Yes, once a zygote is formed, it has the potential to develop into a functioning human being. So what? Nature prevents this from happening on a daily basis. I see no moral problem with using the IUD or the pill to prevent this zygote from becoming implanted in the uterus. Any arguments against this are religious ones, and your religious beliefs are not binding on me or anyone else.

    The real question, then, is not the humanity of the unborn child from his or her earliest stages of development but our view on the moral worth of a human being.

    I don’t agree. It is about a balancing of rights between the woman and the fetus. I am comfortable with the fact that we as a society value a woman’s rights higher than those of the fetus.

    Where, it is obvious that evolutionary materialistic scientism, atheism and fellow travellers have undermined morality in general and the respect due to mother, father and child from the outset of a new life.

    That is not obvious. It is just your opinion.

    But then, as reasoning is morally governed through undeniable duties to truth, right reason, prudence (including the avoidance of reckless harm or endangerment), fairness, justice etc, the general amorality of evolutionary materialism — which is self-refuting and thus self-falsifying — will undermine ability to reason soundly, justly and prudently also.

    Again, your are voicing an opinion, not fact. My opinion is different than yours. And I sleep quite soundly at night as a result of my opinions.

    The results of the dominance of this ideology and its fellow travellers are visible all around us: chaos and the corrupting taint of blood guilt from the holocaust of our living posterity in the womb.

    Lower violence rates, lower infant mortality, higher life expectancy, greater acceptance and tolerance of others, ever decreasing abortion rates, improved health care, equal rights for women and minorities, increased emphasis on workplace safety, legalization of same sex marriage, less acceptance of spousal abuse and sexual assaults, improved environmental conditions in western countries, increased access to safe and reliable birth control, Access to safe drinking water and food, better access to accurate information on sex and health, etc. If this is chaos, I am all in favour of it.

  120. 120
  121. 121
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, that a female mother has a male child growing within — as you know or should know — directly implies a different human life, so the oh it’s a parasitical lump of flesh suggestion fails. The zygote is the point where a new human life begins, period. The evasions would be amusing, if they were not so sad and loaded with implications for the death of a million more of our unborn living posterity in the womb per week. You are managing to show us how dehumanisation leads to robbing of life, the first right. KF

  122. 122
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    BB, that a female mother has a male child growing within — as you know or should know — directly implies a different human life, so the oh it’s a parasitical lump of flesh suggestion fails.

    As I have never suggested that it is a parasitic lump of flesh, whether the zygote has two Z or an X and a Y is not relevant.

    The evasions would be amusing, if they were not so sad and loaded with implications for the death of a million more of our unborn living posterity in the womb per week. You are managing to show us how dehumanisation leads to robbing of life, the first right.

    There has been no evasion. I have acknowledged that all human life begins as a zygote. I just don’t believe that the rights of the zygote are comparable to the rights of the woman. I am happy that the use of birth control is increasing and the abortion rates are decreasing. But I am not going to judge any woman who decides to have an abortion.

  123. 123
    asauber says:

    “I just don’t believe that the rights of the zygote are comparable to the rights of the woman.”

    BB,

    Based on what principle or philosophy? Since you agree this is comparing one human life to another. Why is one more valuable to you than the other? What scientific method have you applied to this position? What logic?

    Andrew

  124. 124
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, you full well know the claim, it’s my body. That the unborn child is male shows directly that this is wrong, if proof were needed. A similar point can be made regarding blood types etc. KF

  125. 125
    Seversky says:

    The other side of the question is whether you believe you have the right to impose your will on another to the extent that you are entitled to force a woman to carry to term a child she does not want, especially in the (relatively rare) case that it is the product of rape, with all the physical and psychological stresses that entails.

    I still believe the right to life should attach to any detectable individual, however early it’s state of development. But in my view any pro-lifer should read philosopher Judith Jarvis Thompson’s paper A Defense Of Abortion if they want to reach a rational and considered conclusion on the subject.

  126. 126
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    BB, you full well know the claim, it’s my body. That the unborn child is male shows directly that this is wrong, if proof were needed. A similar point can be made regarding blood types etc. KF

    So, if the fetus was a clone of the mother, abortion would be OK? Whether or not the fetus has a different genome than the mother has no bearing on whether its rights are equal to the woman’s.

    You have a long history here of opposing any strategy that will significantly reduce abortion. This is an attitude that completely mystifies me.

  127. 127
    hazel says:

    Aaron writes, “What scientific method have you applied to this position? ”

    The question of at what point and under what conditions one should consider it legal to have an abortion, vs when it should not be legal s not a scientific question: one should not expect science to answer questions which involve some combination of theology, philosophy, value, morals, balancing competing interests, etc. Accurate scientific information is important, and should be a part of the factual background that one tales into consideration, but in many issues (and this is one) more than science is needed for one to make a judgment or take an action.

  128. 128
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky, no, the point is whether you can force your will on another by taking innocent life at will. KF

  129. 129
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, you are evading the point; showing that you know that you are arguing for the indefensible. It is high time for us to wake up to where we have been taking our civilisation. KF

  130. 130
    kairosfocus says:

    H, the root question is brutally simple: will we protect innocent life? If not, we have lost the moral centre of our civilisation. KF

  131. 131
    hazel says:

    kf, your post didn’t really address my point at 127: the abortion issue is one that is not decided by any “scientific method.”

    I know your position, as stated at 130. However, do you disagree with anything I wrote at 127?

  132. 132
    vividbleau says:

    Sev re 125
    It was nice for a change to read someone that actually makes a rational argument for abortion even though I am pro life. I thought this to be quite applicable regarding the evolution of abortion from “Safe,legal and rare” to basically infanticide.

    “Second, while I am arguing for the permissibility of abortion in some cases, I am not arguing for the right to secure the death of the unborn child. It is easy to confuse these two things in that up to a certain point in the life of the fetus it is not able to survive outside the mother’s body; hence removing it from her body guarantees its death. But they are importantly different. I have argued that you are not morally required to spend nine months in bed, sustaining the life of that violinist, but to say this is by no means to say that if, when you unplug yourself, there is a miracle and he survives, you then have a right to turn round and slit his throat. You may detach yourself even if this costs him his life; you have no right to be guaranteed his death, by some other means, if unplugging yourself does not kill him. There are some people who will feel dissatisfied by this feature of my argument. A woman may be utterly devastated by the thought of a child, a bit of herself, put out for adoption and never seen or heard of again. She may therefore want not merely that the child be detached from her, but more, that it die. Some opponents of abortion are inclined to regard this as beneath contempt–thereby showing insensitivity to what is surely a powerful source of despair. All the same, I agree that the desire for the child’s death is not one which anybody may gratify, should it turn out to be possible to detach the child alive.”

    I am strongly pro life but I do appreciate her rational approach to a very emotional subject.
    I myself have a bit of a pet peeve with a simplistic pro life position. It is not enough to be pro life if we forget other considerations that drive abortion. If we in the pro life camp want to see fewer abortions we must financially support the keeping of the baby. Specifically the Govt must give financial incentives to have the baby and help the mother financially.
    Pro lifers as a group need to help the mother emotionally and financially as part of the adoptive process if that is a viable alternative.
    Corporations and businesses should be required to provide free, on premises childcare where the mother can visit their child during the workday and pursue a career if that is her preference. Just saying I am pro life is not enough.

    Vivid

  133. 133
    daveS says:

    KF,

    H, the root question is brutally simple: will we protect innocent life?

    Complications eventually arise, however.

    Consider the case of the 10-year-old Paraguayan girl who was raped by her stepfather. Should an abortion have been allowed in that case?

    Exactly what penalties should be paid by a woman (say one past the age of majority) who has an abortion? Should she be charged with murder?

    IIRC, you have been very coy about such questions. Your opponents (and even some on the pro-life side) are likely curious to know how your plan deals with these cases.

  134. 134
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    BB, you are evading the point; showing that you know that you are arguing for the indefensible.

    I am quite comfortable defending my position. The fact that you disagree with it is irrelevant.

    It is high time for us to wake up to where we have been taking our civilisation. KF

    Didn’t we already go over this? Let me snip from 119 where I highlighted where we are taking our civilization.

    Lower violence rates, lower infant mortality, higher life expectancy, greater acceptance and tolerance of others, ever decreasing abortion rates, improved health care, equal rights for women and minorities, increased emphasis on workplace safety, legalization of same sex marriage, less acceptance of spousal abuse and sexual assaults, improved environmental conditions in western countries, increased access to safe and reliable birth control, Access to safe drinking water and food, better access to accurate information on sex and health, etc.

    The vast majority of people are happy with this trend. As am I. The big mystery is why you are not optimistic about these trends. But, frankly, I view that as your problem. Not mine.

  135. 135
    Brother Brian says:

    VB

    It is not enough to be pro life if we forget other considerations that drive abortion. If we in the pro life camp want to see fewer abortions we must financially support the keeping of the baby. Specifically the Govt must give financial incentives to have the baby and help the mother financially.

    In this we agree. I fully support more incentives for keeping the baby. Or, more accurately, bringing it to term even if you give it up for adoption

    But are you willing to take the next step, which KF and others are not? Providing comprehensive, non-judgemental, sex education at an early age. Including ready access (and education on pros and cons) to safe and reliable contraceptives, including IUDs and the pill.

    This approach has been very effective in some countries.

    To pretend that we can teach our kids not to be sexually active is pathetically naive. The best we can do is to provide them with accurate knowledge and resources, and hope that they make the proper decisions.

  136. 136
    vividbleau says:

    BB
    “But are you willing to take the next step, which KF and others are not? Providing comprehensive, non-judgemental, sex education at an early age. Including ready access (and education on pros and cons) to safe and reliable contraceptives, including IUDs and the pill.”

    I don’t see why it’s the next step, however to answer your question directly, no I don’t

    Vivid

  137. 137
    hazel says:

    Vivid, leaving the sex ed part out, do you support readily available and affordable contraception for adults?

  138. 138
    vividbleau says:

    Hazel
    I would not do anything to oppose or support any law that would prevent adults from access to contraceptives.

    FWIW I have a strong libertarian tendencies.

    Vivd

  139. 139
    Brother Brian says:

    VB

    I don’t see why it’s the next step, however to answer your question directly, no I don’t

    Thank you for being honest. Which part do you oppose? The non-judgemental comprehensive sex education at an early age? The access to birth control? Both? And what is your proposed alternative?

  140. 140
    vividbleau says:

    BB
    Both
    BB I think our schools have become indoctrination camps, my proposed alternative is for the schools to actually prepare their students for high school and college and stop their social engineering projects.

    Vivid

  141. 141
    kairosfocus says:

    H,

    it is very clear that evolutionary materialistic scientism — which is both self-refuting and inherently amoral — has been dressed up in a lab coat and used to undermine the moral core of our civilisation. That is a big part of how we have been led into enabling or being part of the worst holocaust in history, 800+ millions of our living posterity in the womb snuffed out in 40+ years, currently growing at another million per week.

    BB,

    The inherent amorality of “non-judgemental” is exposed by the fact that IUD’s are in effect by and large early, silent abortion devices. This goes right to the challenge to our civilisation: will we recognise and protect innocent life? If we refuse, we have lost the moral core of our civilisation. Beyond a certain point, with that core rotted away through amoral gangrene, our civilisation will collapse, carrying with it much that has been built up. And don’t fool yourself that you can pick and choose consequences at will; the very case of enabling holocaust before us is a proof of the dark age we are on the brink of.

    When will we wake up to what we are doing?

    Are our consciences that benumbed or dead?

    KF

  142. 142
    hazel says:

    kf, what I wrote at 127 has absolutely nothing to do with “evolutionary materialistic scientism.” In fact what I wrote directly contradicted scientism.

    Do you agree with this, in part or in whole, and why or why not?

    The question of at what point and under what conditions one should consider it legal to have an abortion, vs when it should not be legal is not a scientific question: one should not expect science to answer questions which involve some combination of theology, philosophy, values, morals, balancing competing interests, etc. Accurate scientific information is important, and should be a part of the factual background that one takes into consideration, but in many issues (and this is one) more than science is needed for one to make a judgment or take an action.

  143. 143
    Brother Brian says:

    VB

    Both
    BB I think our schools have become indoctrination camps, my proposed alternative is for the schools to actually prepare their students for high school and college and stop their social engineering projects.

    I agree. Give them factual information about human sexuality and contraceptives and you will be providing them valuable information that will help prepare them for high school and college. That is all I have been advocating for. I’m glad that we finally agree on something.

  144. 144
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    The inherent amorality of “non-judgemental” is exposed by the fact that IUD’s are in effect by and large early, silent abortion devices.

    So? I don’t see anything amoral about preventing a zygote from becoming implanted in the uterus. In fact, for a woman not ready for children I find it a morally responsible decision.

    This goes right to the challenge to our civilisation: will we recognise and protect innocent life?

    Preventing unwanted children is protecting innocent life. I see this as a morally responsible act.

    If we refuse, we have lost the moral core of our civilisation. Beyond a certain point, with that core rotted away through amoral gangrene, our civilisation will collapse, carrying with it much that has been built up.

    Again, let me clip from 119 above some of this amoral gangrene you keep alluding to:

    Lower violence rates, lower infant mortality, higher life expectancy, greater acceptance and tolerance of others, ever decreasing abortion rates, improved health care, equal rights for women and minorities, increased emphasis on workplace safety, legalization of same sex marriage, less acceptance of spousal abuse and sexual assaults, improved environmental conditions in western countries, increased access to safe and reliable birth control, Access to safe drinking water and food, better access to accurate information on sex and health, etc.

    If that is gangrene, bring it in.

  145. 145
    kairosfocus says:

    H, evolutionary materialistic scientism is the dominant influence behind the scientism you alluded to. Today, we speak of being “unscientific.” Formerly — and far more appropriately — they spoke of being “unphilosophical.” The acid corroding our thought-frame is such that we too often do not recognise that ethical matters are philosophical ones, inherently; and there is a tendency to denigrate whatever is not warranted by the imaginary imprimatur of THE [imaginary] scientific method. And, many who do not assent to the atheistical ideology find themselves enabling its scientism and a priori materialism. Which is inherently amoral and irretrievably self-refuting. Until and unless this ghost is exorcised, it will haunt and dominate all discussions — including the issue of recognising the humanity and rights of our living posterity in the womb. KF

  146. 146
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, you are unfortunately continuing to exemplify precisely the hollowing out and decay of the moral core of our civilisation. That behaviour enables the ongoing holocaust of our living posterity in the womb at the rate of a million further victims under false colour of law per week. Which, of course, therefore is not recorded in our crime statistics. For, part of the corruption is that through legal positivism, it is held that once one holds a position of power, whatever one rules becomes law. We have been led to forget that law which is written into our nature as responsible, morally governed creatures. Which is where we read the law that the first right is life; as, one robbed of his or her life can exercise or enjoy no further rights. Such laws were made by no judge legislating from the bench (or even unilaterally amending constitutions from the bench, God help us), or no parliament, or no king ruling by decree. They did not make them, they cannot change them, the injustice of undermining such is manifest. With the case of the holocaust of our living posterity in the womb being the central moral failing of our time. And yes, I know that such is not a welcome message for far too many in our day . . . a further sign of what has gone wrong. KF

  147. 147
    hazel says:

    kf, I guess I understand that you are saying that you agree with my post at 127, which I re-quoted at 143: “The question of at what point and under what conditions one should consider it legal to have an abortion, vs when it should not be legal is not a scientific question: one should not expect science to answer questions which involve some combination of theology, philosophy, values, morals, balancing competing interests, etc.”

  148. 148
    ET says:

    Brother Brian:

    In fact, for a woman not ready for children I find it a morally responsible decision.

    Nonsense. The responsible decision would have been to not have sex.

    Preventing unwanted children is protecting innocent life.

    Not if you are killing those unwanted kids.

    To prevent abortions we should start fining both the men and women involved in the unwanted pregnancy. Then we can move on to jail time and chemical castration.

  149. 149
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    BB, you are unfortunately continuing to exemplify precisely the hollowing out and decay of the moral core of our civilisation.

    Again, I clip from 119 above in reference to your hollowed out moral core of our civilization:

    Lower violence rates, lower infant mortality, higher life expectancy, greater acceptance and tolerance of others, ever decreasing abortion rates, improved health care, equal rights for women and minorities, increased emphasis on workplace safety, legalization of same sex marriage, less acceptance of spousal abuse and sexual assaults, improved environmental conditions in western countries, increased access to safe and reliable birth control, Access to safe drinking water and food, better access to accurate information on sex and health, etc.

    Our core moral civilization can use a little more of such “hollowing out”.

    That behaviour enables the ongoing holocaust of our living posterity in the womb at the rate of a million further victims under false colour of law per week.

    In spite of the fact that the behavior I have been referring to has been shown to significantly decrease the “holocaust of our living posterity in the womb
    The fact that you don’t think that things like early, non-judgemental sex education, ready access to reliable and effective birth control, de-stigmatizing sex for pleasure and removing the ludicrous idea that masturbation and oral sex are sinful, are acceptable does not change the fact that they are very effective.

  150. 150
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    BB, you are unfortunately continuing to exemplify precisely the hollowing out and decay of the moral core of our civilisation.

    Again, I clip from 119 above in reference to your hollowed out moral core of our civilization:

    Lower violence rates, lower infant mortality, higher life expectancy, greater acceptance and tolerance of others, ever decreasing abortion rates, improved health care, equal rights for women and minorities, increased emphasis on workplace safety, legalization of same sex marriage, less acceptance of spousal abuse and sexual assaults, improved environmental conditions in western countries, increased access to safe and reliable birth control, Access to safe drinking water and food, better access to accurate information on sex and health, etc.

    Our core moral civilization can use a little more of such “hollowing out”.

    That behaviour enables the ongoing holocaust of our living posterity in the womb at the rate of a million further victims under false colour of law per week.

    In spite of the fact that the behavior I have been referring to has been shown to significantly decrease the “holocaust of our living posterity in the womb
    The fact that you don’t think that things like early, non-judgemental sex education, ready access to reliable and effective birth control, de-stigmatizing sex for pleasure and removing the ludicrous idea that masturbation and oral sex are sinful, are acceptable does not change the fact that they are very effective.

  151. 151
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, redefining amoral behaviours and the mass slaughter of innocent life at the rate of a million further victims per week (not counting the silent toll) simply underscores the point of a civilisation that has lost its moral compass and is heading over the cliff. KF

  152. 152
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    BB, redefining amoral behaviours and the mass slaughter of innocent life at the rate of a million further victims per week (not counting the silent toll) simply underscores the point of a civilisation that has lost its moral compass and is heading over the cliff.

    OK. You are willing to classify behavior as “ amoral” even though it has resulted in quantum leaps in society. Shall I clip again? Why the hell not.

    Lower violence rates, lower infant mortality, higher life expectancy, greater acceptance and tolerance of others, ever decreasing abortion rates, improved health care, equal rights for women and minorities, increased emphasis on workplace safety, legalization of same sex marriage, less acceptance of spousal abuse and sexual assaults, improved environmental conditions in western countries, increased access to safe and reliable birth control, Access to safe drinking water and food, better access to accurate information on sex and health, etc.

  153. 153
    kairosfocus says:

    BB,

    the enabling of holocaust through domination of views that inherently undermine moral government is not progress. On that imposition, the worst holocaust in history, mounting at a further million victims per week, is made to vanish from the statistics, poof. Then, with a rhetorical flourish, it is announced: lower violence. Sorry, a million victims each new week for a holocaust that in 40+ years has created 800 – 1,400 million victims is not a reduction of violence.

    Similar things can be noted regarding several of the claims you make and examples of alleged progress. Progress towards and building up of associated momentum as we head for a cliff is not advancement but ruin. Unfortunately, the cultural marxist oppression thesis that seeks to taint and discredit the past while touting the rise of amorality, libertinism and licence as liberation, is leading us towards consequences that will be awful.

    But then, Machiavelli aptly warned on how hard it is to anticipate ruinous consequences of a business as usual consensus. The ongoing holocaust of living posterity in the womb is the central sign that this is an untoward generation weighed in the balances and found wanting. The wrecking of family, marriage, personal identity, law, prudence and soundness in general proceed apace and the merry march to the cliff’s edge proceeds.

    Already, the USA is in low end, 4th generation warfare civil war with lawfare backed by street theatre and agit prop manipulation the preferred means to impose the cultural marxist agenda. Mob swarms, fanned by media spread slander, tear up the principle of protection of innocent reputation, pushing towards a Gresham’s law of bad politics and worse policies driving out the sound. Britain’s elites are busily discrediting themselves. The academy and the sciences are burning up the intellectual inheritance of our civilisation. Unsound economics and linked ideologies are massively promoted rather than widely exposed i/l/o history and sound economics — e.g. socialist systems cannot assign due values and predictably lead to massive misallocations and failure, even as markets have failures that require prudent management.

    There is a general looting of the inheritance of our civilisation (hard and soft infrastructure is going to be neglected increasingly) and the mutiny on the various ships of state proceeds apace. We have by and large never been soberly taught the lessons of that parable by Plato and linked history on the dangerous instabilities of democracy that must be counterbalanced through a sound cultural consensus.

    The consequences are predictable but we have no patience to listen to such warnings even as we eat up our civilisation’s seed corn.

    KF

  154. 154
    Bob O'H says:

    kf – did you miss this in the list

    ever decreasing abortion rates,

    It’s a strange sort of moral compass that deplores abortion, but wants to act in a way that will increase the number of abortions.

  155. 155
    Battman says:

    How can scientists tell when a new unique human life has begun?
    Unique DNA.
    Conclusion: DNA, therefore, Do Not Abort
    But every woman has the right to end the life of an innocent human being.
    Seriously?
    Think EPA. If a new human being happens to be living in life’s original Environmental Protection Agency, think again.

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