Intelligent Design

Some Things are Really Simple

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Here is an example:

Barry to Popperian:

Anyone who cannot unambiguously condemn the practice of chopping little boys and girls up and selling the pieces like so much meat shares in the evil of those who do so.

Popperian responds:

Note how Barry is making my point for me. I wrote:

From time to time, old words become obsolete. For an non-essentialist this is not a problem. This is because non-essentialists view words as a tool, not a Thing with a capital T. If any word ceases to function as a tool, a non-essentialists will quickly let it go and find some other new tool to solve problems with. On the other hand, an essentialist will not do this. Why not? Because, for the essentialist, all words correspond with Things with a capital T. And Things do not just disappear. Because of this view, an essentialist is significantly less likely to change their opinion of anything, if at all.

However, an essentialist is sure that some Thing actually corresponds with his words. As such, he will try to figure out why a non-essentialist won’t admit there really is such a Thing as the Thing he is talking about. The essentialist might merely think the non-essentialist is merely ignorant, or that their intellect is on the fritz. Or he might even decide you are down right evil. But the essentialist certainly won’t agree the Thing he refers to with his word can be so quickly dismissed.

(emphasis in original)

Let’s examine this. It is 1943 and I say:

Anyone who cannot unambiguously condemn the practice of cooking Jews in ovens like so much meat shares in the evil of those who do so.

What would you think of someone who gave Popperian’s response? You would think they agree with the goals of the Holocaust and therefore share in the guilt of that unspeakable evil. And you would be right.

So yes, Popperian, I do say you are down right evil.

Popperian thinks he is oh-so-sophisticated. “Words are so ambiguous; I can’t possibly condemn the killers.” Meanwhile the slaughter of innocents continues unabated.

Damn your pseudo-sophisticated sophistry Popperian. It is counterproductive to dignify it by getting into the weeds and countering your logical fallacies point by point. Instead, like Dr. Johnson and his famous rock kicking demonstration, I refute your moral theorizing thusly:

Does your moral theory compel you unambiguously to condemn the practice of chopping little boys and girls up and selling the pieces like so much meat?

No? Then your moral theory is as worthless as a fresh steaming pile of dog feces.

131 Replies to “Some Things are Really Simple

  1. 1

    Postmodernist, deconstructivist madness.

  2. 2
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Damn your pseudo-sophisticated sophistry Popperian.

    You’re right to call it evil. It’s manipulative – and just another way to tell a lie.

    “They will never love where they ought to love, who do not hate where they ought to hate.” — Edmund Burke

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    BA: Some words and statements do denote real things, i.e. when one asserts such, one accurately describes reality. The issue is, is there a moral reality to be described, in whatever language? And, is it in particular true that our sense of being bound by OUGHT describes a genuine duty above and beyond a perception? If not, how then can one escape the conclusion that we are subjects of general delusion? With, subsequent collapse of rationality itself. If OUGHT is real (and the case of holocaust on the table and the ghost of the kidnapped, sexually assaulted, murdered child I sometimes speak of are patent cases in point) then there is a world-root IS capable of bearing its weight. For which, there is one serious candidate. There is much more at stake here than many are wont to acknowledge. KF

  4. 4
    Barry Arrington says:

    When I think of the evil wanton slaughter that Popperian’s muddled philosophy enables, this quotation comes to mind as if the little boys and girls were speaking:

    and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

  5. 5
    asauber says:

    I still want to know what’s at stake for Popperian in this, that he continues to get on the interweb and make an obvious fool of himself?

    Andrew

  6. 6
    bFast says:

    I’m sorry, but reading through Popperian’s gobbledigook left me wondering what words he is complaining about. I haven’t carefully followed what Popperian’s views are in other threads. Which words does Popperian see as too stuck to real things?

  7. 7
    Silver Asiatic says:

    bFast – he says we cannot know that any real things exist because our senses are electronic impulses that don’t actually receive information from objects.

    So, we create words but the words don’t actually refer to anything real.

    So, I guess the gas chambers were an illusion. He’d have to explain that part.

  8. 8
    Barry Arrington says:

    SA @ 7:

    Good point.

    He also needs to explain whether my words refer to real knives doing a real thing called “chopping” on real boys and real girls and then doing a real thing called “selling” of real pieces of real boys and real girls like so much real meat.

    Or is all of that an illusion?

  9. 9
    Barry Arrington says:

    The post in which Popperian spewed his linguistic sophistry into the combox was entitled:

    How Materialists Mutilate Language in the Service of Mutilating People

    Am I the only one who sees the irony?

  10. 10
    Eugen says:

    Allowing choices promotes humane society.
    To kill unborn baby is a choice.
    Killing unborn babies promotes humane society.

    Is this logic liberals use? They were  crying about Cecil the lion for weeks but not a word about unbelievable massacre of the innocents.

  11. 11
    Mung says:

    Do you think PZ Meyers will be interested in my new baby-q sauce?

  12. 12
    Barry Arrington says:

    Popperian fancies himself an intellectual.

    That reminds me of this from George Orwell

    Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.

  13. 13
    Barry Arrington says:

    Dear readers, please do not get me wrong. We at UD are not against intellectual discussions and highly technical logical disputation. Several of our authors, including StephenB, vjtorley, and KF, engage in such all the time.

    We are against sophistry masquerading as intellectual discourse in the service of evil.

    As I mention in the OP, I sometimes believe that getting in the weeds with such as Popperian is affirmatively counterproductive. After all, their goal is not clarity, and anything one says is always met with more obfuscation. It follows that responding to them gives them more opportunities to obfuscate.

    Sometimes, the best course is to meet their linguistic knots the way Alexander did with Gordias’ knot or the way Dr. Johnson did outside of Berkeley’s church.

    And sometimes the best course is to get in the weeks with them.

    All of which proves yet again that Proverbs 26:4-5 is true.

  14. 14
    Mung says:

    Barry, it’s just impolite in this day and age to say things as they are.

  15. 15
    Learned Hand says:

    Allowing choices promotes humane society.
    To kill unborn baby is a choice.
    Killing unborn babies promotes humane society.

    Is this logic liberals use?

    No.

  16. 16
    harry says:

    Barry Arrington @13

    We are against sophistry masquerading as intellectual discourse in the service of evil.

    That is a perfect description of it: sophistry masquerading as intellectual discourse in the service of evil.

    Those incapable of objectivity, whose analytical skills don’t go beyond agreeing with whoever is saying what they want to believe, are persuaded by such evil sophistry. As for the rest of us, it just makes clear that it is irrational evil with which we contend.

  17. 17
    Barry Arrington says:

    Eugen

    Allowing choices promotes humane society.
    To kill unborn baby is a choice.
    Killing unborn babies promotes humane society.

    Is this logic liberals use?

    Learned Hand replies

    No.

    What rock have you been hiding under for the last 42 years LH? It is not for nothing that pro-abortion advocates call themselves “pro-choice.” What is it they want to choose LH? It certainly isn’t strawberry ice cream.

    I don’t see how denying the obvious advances truth or clarity.

  18. 18
    hrun0815 says:

    If abortion is as bad or worse than the holocaust, then how guilty are the ones who recognize this and don’t do anything about it?

  19. 19
    asauber says:

    “then how guilty are the ones who recognize this and don’t do anything about it?”

    Depends on what the possible courses of action are for each person. But yes, there is responsibility here.

    How guilty are the people who recognize it’s wrong but pretend it’s not and still support/enable it?

    Andrew

  20. 20
    bFast says:

    hrun0815, “If abortion is as bad or worse than the holocaust, then how guilty are the ones who recognize this and don’t do anything about it?”

    Well stated rhetorical. I do believe that abortion is worse than the holocaust.
    > I am actively involved in the leadership of my local right to life group.
    > I have an offer of financial assistance to anyone for whom money will make the difference between aborting and not (managed through my local right to life group).
    > I refuse to vote for a federal/provincial candidate that is “pro choice”. (As I am Canadian, this often means that I don’t vote at all.)
    > I debate this topic valiantly on line and in person.

    What more can I reasonably do?

  21. 21
    Peter says:

    Barry, you ask how long will the Lord wait to avenge rhe blood of innocents? Rejoice, because God has already passed judgement and has been executing the sentence of total genocide against the people that legalized abortion. The execution of this sentence began over forty years ago. God is merciful. He does not send lightning bolts to instantaneously destroy a people. He sinks the birthrate 1/2 percent below replacement per year. So the sentence takes about 200 years. Now that’s mercy, giving us plenty of time to repent. I like to think of the Hispanic invasion of the US as the revenge of the Catholic Church who is punishing a society for rejecting Jesus.

    Isn’t it interesting how radical seculars who are so pro pornography, no-fault divorce, promiscuity, and gay marriage are in favour of Muslim and Hispanic immigration and totally apathetic about their own societies below replacement birthrate? But they are obsessed with changing weather that will have almost no impact.

    And is it a co-incidence that there is a flood of people coming to Europe illegally now too. And the people responsible for our moral disintegration, the seculars, are so keen to allow the immigrants to replace there own people. And these seculars think what they’re doing is best for society (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).

  22. 22
    hrun0815 says:

    What more can I reasonably do?

    I don’t know. I don’t know about your personal opinion, but there are clearly several people on this board who believe that at some point their god will judge for what they did and did not do in the face of what they believe is the biggest slaughter of innocents in the history of the world.

    How guilty are the people who recognize it’s wrong but pretend it’s not and still support/enable it?

    In your eyes (and possibly in your god’s eyes too) probably more so.

    How about the people who do not recognize it is wrong and still support/enable it?

  23. 23
    asauber says:

    “How about the people who do not recognize it is wrong and still support/enable it?”

    I’m not sure who that would be. Anyone in particular? Or do you mean strictly some imaginary/hypothetical “people”?

    Andrew

  24. 24
    hrun0815 says:

    I’m not sure who that would be. Anyone in particular? Or do you mean strictly some imaginary/hypothetical “people”?

    I guess you are implying that everyone knows this to be wrong, yet the folks that support abortion for some reason simply don’t care?

    I guess you could argue that, but then I would think that people here on this board (and elsewhere) should change their approach. Why bother pointing out that abortion is wrong or evil? Everyone apparently already agrees.

    You are now faced with a huge fraction of the population that knowingly does evil. What to do?

  25. 25
    asauber says:

    “You are now faced with a huge fraction of the population that knowingly does evil.”

    Yes. You must have just fallen off the turnip truck.

    “Why bother pointing out that abortion is wrong or evil?”

    So the people supporting it are presented with the opportunity as many times as is reasonably possible to stop supporting it. People often need help overcoming particular sins.

    Andrew

  26. 26
    hrun0815 says:

    Yes. You must have just fallen off the turnip truck.

    I guess I did.

    So the people supporting it are presented with the opportunity as many times as is reasonably possible to stop supporting it. People often need help overcoming particular sins.

    I see, the folks who support abortion are knowingly doing evil, and you think by pointing out one more time that it is evil you think that they will stop knowingly doing evil.

    I guess that’s the Jewish Grandma approach to combating the biggest evil in human history. I wonder how well that is working?

  27. 27
    asauber says:

    “I see, the folks who support abortion are knowingly doing evil, and you think by pointing out one more time that it is evil you think that they will stop knowingly doing evil.”

    They might. There’s no magic bullet. It’s not my responsibility to make their decisions for them, but it is my responsibility to present them with good information, especially in regards to an issue as grave as this.

    So I can conclude your worldview doesn’t aspire to that. Yours aspires to buy and sell baby parts.

    Andrew

  28. 28
    hrun0815 says:

    They might. There’s no magic bullet. It’s not my responsibility to make their decisions for them, but it is my responsibility to present them with good information, especially in regards to an issue as grave as this.

    They might indeed. And good to know that you think this is not your responsibility either. So your fight against the greatest evil in human history is done for a while until it’s time to point the evil out one more time.

    So I can conclude your worldview doesn’t aspire to that. Yours aspires to buy and sell baby parts.

    Andrew, you already pointed out that I know it is evil. So clearly I like doing evil things.

  29. 29
    asauber says:

    “So clearly I like doing evil things.”

    Right (everyone does), and the fact that you are engaging with me right now, means you want to hear what I have to say. You are crying for help, I know. You are not the only one.

    Andrew

  30. 30
    hrun0815 says:

    Right, and the fact that you are engaging with me right now, means you want to hear what I have to say. You are crying for help, I know. You are not the only one.

    Heads you win, tails I lose.

    That’s the beauty of filling in the blanks independent of whatever anybody says. I do understand that it’s easier this way.

  31. 31
    asauber says:

    “That’s the beauty of filling in the blanks independent of whatever anybody says.”

    You filled in the blank by admitting you like to knowingly do evil things. Welcome to the human race.

    Andrew

  32. 32
    hrun0815 says:

    You filled in the blank by admitting you like to knowingly do evil things. Welcome to the human race.

    Aeh, you must have forgotten your posts #23 and #25? You filled in those blanks, not just for me but for everybody who supports abortion.

    Welcome to the internet.

  33. 33
    asauber says:

    “Aeh, you must have forgotten your posts #23 and #25?”

    I still remember them.

    “not just for me but for everybody who supports abortion”

    Yes.

    Andrew

  34. 34
    Learned Hand says:

    Eugen

    Allowing choices promotes humane society.
    To kill unborn baby is a choice.
    Killing unborn babies promotes humane society.

    Is this logic liberals use?
    Learned Hand replies

    No.

    What rock have you been hiding under for the last 42 years LH? It is not for nothing that pro-abortion advocates call themselves “pro-choice.” What is it they want to choose LH? It certainly isn’t strawberry ice cream.
    I don’t see how denying the obvious advances truth or clarity.

    I don’t see how denying the obvious advances truth or clarity either. And I think it’s obvious that Eugen’s logical is not the “logic liberals use.” It’s not hard to see why:

    “Allowing choices promotes humane society.
    To [shoot abortion doctors] is a choice.
    [Shooting abortion doctors] promotes humane society.”

    No, this is not the logic liberals use (nor anyone else).

  35. 35
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH @ 34:

    You point out that the logic is terrible. I certainly agree with that. But you are wrong to deny that is it liberal logic.

    “My body, my choice” liberal pro-aborts scream until they are red in the face. The obvious logic is that “choice” as an abstraction is sacrosanct. You are correct. The argument is idiotic, but liberals make it every day.

  36. 36
    Mung says:

    Friend writes to add:

    Mung’s baby-q sauce.

    “Give a whole new zing to your baby back ribs!”

    Where are you PZ Myers?

  37. 37
    Learned Hand says:

    The obvious logic is that “choice” as an abstraction is sacrosanct.

    Your “obvious logic” is not the logic that Eugen wrote down. But you did get to call people idiots again, so mission accomplished?

  38. 38
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH,

    Your “obvious logic” is not the logic that Eugen wrote down.

    It is a corollary to his major premise.

    Dear readers, please take note of what just happened.

    Eugen described the logic of the “pro-choice” movement. Indeed, the idea that “choice” is an absolute rather than a relative good is the very reason that the movement is called the “pro-choice” movement.

    LH demolishes that logic. Choice, he assures us, is not an absolute good. Indeed, choice can be affirmatively evil if what one chooses is evil.

    And LH is indisputably correct when he says that.

    But LH is a liberal who supports the virtually unlimited abortion license the Supreme Court has imposed on us.

    Now that he has demolished the logic of the argument most frequently used to justify the abortion license — indeed the argument for which the movement is named — what is he to do?

    Will it give him pause? I doubt it.

  39. 39
    Learned Hand says:

    Eugen described the logic of the “pro-choice” movement. Indeed, the idea that “choice” is an absolute rather than a relative good is the very reason that the movement is called the “pro-choice” movement.

    Is this what any actual human beings believe? I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who believed that all choices were good. Everyone I can think of believes that (a) the freedom to choose, as a general concept, is a pretty good thing, but that (b) some choices are good and some are bad.

  40. 40
    StephenB says:

    LH,

    Is this what any actual human beings believe? I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who believed that all choices were good. Everyone I can think of believes that (a) the freedom to choose, as a general concept, is a pretty good thing, but that (b) some choices are good and some are bad.

    It has nothing to do with the distinction between good choices and bad choices. Just for fun, tell me what you think Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and Hillary Clinton mean when they use the term, “a woman’s right to choose.” Sum it up in your own words.

  41. 41
    Learned Hand says:

    To be clear, we’re leaving Eugen’s formulation behind, which is fine.

    Generally I think they’re describing a woman’s right to choose an abortion, subject (depending on who’s speaking) to the legal limitations of that right.

  42. 42
    bornagain77 says:

    Since ‘Pro-Choice’ really means to choose death over life, abortion is merely the original sin writ large in modern man
    i.e. The first couple chose death over life:

    Genesis 2:17
    but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

    Genesis 3:6
    And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

    As well, Moses implored the Jewish people to ‘choose life, so that you and your children may live’.

    Deuteronomy 30:19
    This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live,

    How were the Jewish people to ‘choose life’ over death so that they and their children should live?

    Deuteronomy 30:20
    by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days,

    And to this day we find a pretty clear dividing line between those who choose life and those who choose death.
    The most vocal ones who are pro-abortion, (i.e. who choose death), are, for the most part, the ones who most vocally reject God and thus reject life, and the most vocal ones who oppose abortion, (i.e. who choose life), are, for the most part, the ones who most vocally accept God and thus accept life.

    Verse and music:

    John 17:3
    Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

    CHOOSE LIFE [Big Tent Revival]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eX4fC4WFCIU

  43. 43
    StephenB says:

    LH

    Generally I think they’re describing a woman’s right to choose an abortion, subject (depending on who’s speaking) to the legal limitations of that right.

    Can you provide any examples in which Planned Parenthood, in the context of asserting a woman’s right to choose, ever referred to the “legal limitations” of that right?

  44. 44
    StephenB says:

    LH

    To be clear, we’re leaving Eugen’s formulation behind, which is fine.

    To be clear, we are not leaving Eugen’s formulation behind. He made a point. You responded by changing the subject. I returned to that subject in the context of your response.

  45. 45
    Learned Hand says:

    To be clear, we are not leaving Eugen’s formulation behind. He made a point. You responded by changing the subject. I returned to that subject in the context of your response.

    His point was the assertion that liberals support abortion because it’s a choice, and allowing choices promotes “humane society” in their/our eyes. I don’t think I’ve changed the subject; I’ve only made the point, which seems entirely obvious to me, that no one actually supports all choice generally. Which is why Eugen’s logic fails: if you swap “killing unborn babies” with “shooting abortion doctors,” suddenly the formula falls apart. It matters what the choice actually is. (To be fair to Eugen, I doubt he meant his comment to be scrutinized so literally. But once I criticized it, I had to be denounced as dirty liberal dummy.)

    Can you provide any examples in which Planned Parenthood, in the context of asserting a woman’s right to choose, ever referred to the “legal limitations” of that right?

    Yes. Was that a serious question? Did you actually think it would be hard to find examples of PP acknowledging that there are legal limits on abortion? That’s silly.

    http://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/abortion/

    With one google I found a good example of PP asserting that “your state may require one or both of your parents to give permission for your abortion or be told of your decision prior to the abortion.”

    Why?

  46. 46
    Eugen says:

    Allowing choices promotes humane society.
    To [shoot abortion doctors] is a choice.
    [Shooting abortion doctors] promotes humane society.”

    No, this is not the logic liberals use (nor anyone else).
    ——–

    Learned hand, I was wondering what logic are you liberals using, that’s all. You are saying that’s not the one. Please tell us what is the logic and reasoning you are using to justify permanent interruption of unborn human life. Try simple I’m not a philosopher.

    You see, long time ago in East Europe there was a wise king who had bureaucrats to write the law and than king would invite simple peasant to hear the law and see if he can understand it. If it wasn’t understood bureaucrats would have to rewrite the law.Think I am a peasant.

  47. 47
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH,

    Is this what any actual human beings believe?

    LH, it took me about five seconds to find this:

    Pro-choice occupies the broad middle ground on the abortion issue. A large majority of North Americans believe abortion should be decided privately between a woman and her doctor. Pro-choice people include those who are personally against abortion or feel uncomfortable with it, but who would not impose their viewpoint by law onto all women. Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion.

    http://www.prochoiceactionnetw.....oice.shtml

  48. 48
    Learned Hand says:

    Eugen,

    I can’t speak for all liberals. Basically, I don’t believe that a fetus is a person in the same sense that an infant or an adult is. I don’t think there’s a single, objective point where a fetus becomes a person, but in my opinion it’s very reasonable to assume it happens sometime after conception and before birth. As a society we have a hard time deciding exactly where that line should be. Generally I favor making it viability, or the point at which the fetus could survive outside the womb. I do believe that the decision about whether to get an abortion within that period must lie primarily, if not entirely, with the mother. (Outside that period, when the fetus has the protections of a person, it’s no longer her decision to make.)

    Does that answer your question? Obviously it’s a complex issue, and simplifying it is both helpful and unhelpful. But thank you for asking, rather than just making broad and hostile assertions about people whose beliefs you don’t understand. That seems to be all the rage around here.

    You see, long time ago in East Europe there was a wise king who had bureaucrats to write the law and than king would invite simple peasant to hear the law and see if he can understand it. If it wasn’t understood bureaucrats would have to rewrite the law.

    I that’s a terrible idea. But I’m a lawyer, so I’m biased.

  49. 49
    Learned Hand says:

    Barry, look back at the prior comments. Are you sure you’ve understood what I wrote? Pay attention, for example, to the way I substituted “shoot an abortion doctor” for “getting an abortion.”

    Eugen’s proposed logic was that “allowing choices promotes humane society,” and that because abortion is a choice, it must promote humane society. I pointed out that this is not the logic liberals use, and it obviously isn’t, because it equally supports the argument that shooting abortion doctors (or doing heroin or sailing boats or singing songs or doing literally anything else) is good because it promotes a humane society.

    To be fair to Eugen, I doubt he meant his comment to be taken as a strict logical statement–and he responded to my criticism perfectly reasonably, by asking what I believe. You responded by attacking with sarcasm and dramatic outrage. But was I wrong? I note that you haven’t really responded to my criticism of the logic he set out. For example, saying that liberals value the freedom to make a particular choice is not supporting the assertion that all choices promote a humane society, as is clear from my example substituting the choice to shoot an abortion doctor. As I said in the comment to which you’re replying, it matters what the choice is.

  50. 50
    kairosfocus says:

    BA [attn LH et al],

    Let’s try an experiment [–> shift time and topic to c. 1850, USA with Lincoln an obscure Lawyer off in Illinois, I think . . . ], noting that robbing someone of his liberty is a lesser offence than robbing him of his life:

    Pro-choice occupies the broad middle ground on the abortion [–> CHATTEL, PLANTATION SLAVERY] issue. A large majority of North Americans believe abortion should be decided privately between a woman and her doctor [–> enslavement should be decided between a buyer and an owner or dealer in slaves]. Pro-choice people include those who are personally against abortion [–> slavery] or feel uncomfortable with it, but who would not impose their viewpoint by law onto all women [ –> owners or prospective buyers of slaves, who, being of colour are likely not quite as fully human and capable of being free as a white man, anyway]. Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion [–> pro-chattel slavery].

    In short, once an unborn child or a black person c 1850 is a human being, there is no justification for robbing of fundamental rights or freedoms, and every implication of having a duty to stand up for the civil peace of justice.

    But, as ever, when evil is backed up by entrenched power, it is dangerous to be right when the powerful are wrong. The “moderate” position in the face of entrenched evil then reveals itself to be enabling behaviour.

    So, the issue is what sort of reforming movement, if any, is possible, and how one may participate.

    Going further, the real questions on the table have to do with justice, rights, duties connected to rights, and fundamental equality of moral worth and nature among human beings. Where, abundant, bloody history testifies that dehumanisation of a voiceless or marginalised group or minority is the first step to oppression and mass murder.

    Such history also demonstrates beyond responsible, reasonable doubt, that institutionalised, widespread primary and secondary — enabling — bloodguilt is one of the most corrupting influences there is.

    For, a human being is of quasi-infinite value, so there is no finite compensation for bloodguilt.

    A point Lincoln recognised in his second inaugural address:

    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 the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, 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.

    Our civilisation faces a terrible reckoning, the judgement of reaping what we have so willfully sown by corrupting and bloodily tainting law, conscience, institutions, politics and the hearts and minds of ordinary people.

    The scarlet stain is upon us all.

    Guilty, guilty, guilty.

    God, have mercy on us — and that is why the substitutionary atonement is, in my considered opinion, our only hope for redemption, renewal and genuine reform.

    Precisely what ever so many have been deeply indoctrinated to despise and dismiss without serious consideration.

    KF

  51. 51
    Eugen says:

    Practicing arbitrary demarcation on human life promotes humane society.
    Killing baby is practicing arbitrary demarcation on human life.
    Killing baby promotes humane society.

    Learned hand, it appears this is the logic you support. Is that correct?

  52. 52
    kairosfocus says:

    LH:

    The White Rose martyrs sweep away all sophistry and clever argument in enabling of evils.

    I charge you to listen to their voice from the grave in the teeth of entrenched evil and mass bloodguilt, in words paid for in blood at the hands of the evil, CHRISTIAN blood — yes, these are full bore martyrs at the hands of Hitler et al, judicially murdered for telling truth and calling for reform:

    WR, II: Since the conquest of Poland three hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in this country in the most bestial way . . . The German people slumber on in their dull, stupid sleep and encourage these fascist criminals . . . Each man wants to be exonerated of a guilt of this kind, each one continues on his way with the most placid, the calmest conscience. But he cannot be exonerated; he is guilty, guilty, guilty!

    WR, IV: Every word that comes from Hitler’s mouth is a lie. When he says peace, he means war, and when he blasphemously uses the name of the Almighty, he means the power of evil, the fallen angel, Satan. His mouth is the foul-smelling maw of Hell, and his might is at bottom accursed. True, we must conduct a struggle against the National Socialist terrorist state with rational means; but whoever today still doubts the reality, the existence of demonic powers, has failed by a wide margin to understand the metaphysical background of this war.

    I charge you, again, read: http://www.historyisaweapon.co.....erose.html

    And if that does not stir your conscience, fear, fear for the endarkenment falsely deemed enlightenment that blights our civilisation.

    As One said long ago in his best known sermon — a sermon that is the touchstone, sum and essence of the Judaeo-Christian ethical tradition:

    Matt 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

    We stand rebuked, and warned, 2,000 years ago.

    Guilty, guilty, guilty we are, every last one of us, inexcusably guilty.

    For our own good., let us throw ourselves on the mercy and grace of God and let us seek genuine repentance and reformation.

    For, we dare not call for justice — the mere judgement of the consequences of our willful bloodguilt as a civilisation, would be our utter ruin.

    Guilty, guilty, guilty, we are.

    Let us repent.

    KF

  53. 53
    Barry Arrington says:

    Learned Hand,

    As I said in the comment to which you’re replying, it matters what the choice is.

    And I have said repeatedly, I agree.

    The issue is what is “liberal logic.” And as I have repeatedly demonstrated, they celebrate “choice” as an absolute good. You and I both believe that is wrong.

    Are you prepared to repudiate the rhetoric of the pro-choice movement as illogical?

  54. 54
    Barry Arrington says:

    KF @ 50.

    Just so. Thank you for the excellent analogy demonstrating the poverty of “pro-choice” logic. One wonders if LH — who sees that poverty — will change the subject again, repudiate it, or pretend we are talking about something else.

  55. 55
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Pro-choice logic. LOL.

    For them, you’re either Pro-Choice or Anti-Choice.

    If you’re Anti-Choice, then you don’t let people choose whatever they want.

    Liberals are Pro-Choice. People should be able to choose whatever they want, without legal penalty. Choice is an absolute good. It’s Freedom to Choose. Pro-Freedom. Everybody should be Free.

    They don’t explain that it matters what the choice is. And unborn children don’t get the chance to choose either.

  56. 56
    StephenB says:

    SB: Can you provide any examples in which Planned Parenthood, in the context of asserting a woman’s right to choose, ever referred to the “legal limitations” of that right?

    Learned Hand

    Yes. Was that a serious question? Did you actually think it would be hard to find examples of PP acknowledging that there are legal limits on abortion? That’s silly.

    Wow. How disingenuous can you get? I asked you to find an example where Parenthood, NARAL, etc. acknowledge legal limits to abortions for women, not children. Why did you leave the word woman out of your formulation when I clearly included it in mine? Everyone knows that women are not restricted by law the way children are.

    Now please get serious and address the topic. Can you provide any examples in which Planned Parenthood, in the context of asserting a woman’s right to choose, ever referred to the “legal limitations” of that right? (Hopefully, the bold type will help you stay on topic).

    With one google I found a good example of PP asserting that “your state may require one or both of your parents to give permission for your abortion or be told of your decision prior to the abortion.”

    Irrelevant, as indicated.

  57. 57
    Learned Hand says:

    Eugen,

    No, that logic doesn’t work either. You start with, “Practicing arbitrary demarcation on human life promotes humane society.” But that’s not something that anyone accepts as a general principle. Nor do liberals think that abortion restrictions are necessarily arbitrary. Also, liberals don’t believe that abortion is “killing babies.” (It seems that English, while you write it well, isn’t your first language, so the distinction might not be obvious to you; it’s significant to the debate.)

  58. 58
    Learned Hand says:

    The issue is what is “liberal logic.” And as I have repeatedly demonstrated, they celebrate “choice” as an absolute good. You and I both believe that is wrong.
    Are you prepared to repudiate the rhetoric of the pro-choice movement as illogical?

    The point you’re trying to make eludes me. Eugen’s formulation is right, but not all choices promote humane society so it’s wrong… it seems like you just want to argue and can’t quite concede that the formulation was imperfect. So rather than stamping your foot, why not state the logic you think is at issue? What’s the “liberal logic” you think you’re articulating?

    If you mean to say that liberals think all choices are good, that’s obviously wrong—liberals, like everyone else, discriminate and say that some choices are good and some are bad.

    If you mean to say that liberals think the freedom to make choices is generally good, within certain limits, and accepting that freedom means some people will make bad choices, then that seems pretty fair—but also not just “liberal” logic. I think everyone I’ve ever met believes that, although they’d draw the limits differently.

    If you mean to say that liberals think the right to choose an abortion is a good thing, then that’s pretty obvious. Although again, different liberals will draw different lines, such as what restrictions there should be on the right.

  59. 59
    Learned Hand says:

    Liberals are Pro-Choice. People should be able to choose whatever they want, without legal penalty. Choice is an absolute good. It’s Freedom to Choose. Pro-Freedom. Everybody should be Free.

    They don’t explain that it matters what the choice is.

    Who are these liberals? Literally who believes that people should be able to make any choice they want without legal penalties? That sounds like an anarchist, not a liberal, and even then I’ve never heard of an absolutist anarchist.

    When you say “choice,” do you maybe mean only the choice to have an abortion, rather than any choice at all? Even then, I can’t think of anyone who supports an absolutely unlimited right to abortion. I guess Peter Singer might; I know he walked back some of his more radical positions, but I don’t know where he is today.

  60. 60
    StephenB says:

    Learned Hand

    His [Eugen’s] point was the assertion that liberals support abortion because it’s a choice,…

    No. That was not the point of the quote that you responded to. In it, he wrote,

    Indeed, the idea that “choice” is an absolute rather than a relative good is the very reason that the movement is called the “pro-choice” movement.

    What is it about the word “absolute” that you do not understand? His point was that, according to the abortionist lobby, no one should ever, or for any reason, interfere with that alleged right. You changed the subject and started discussing good and bad choices, which has nothing to do with his argument. I brought you back to the topic with my question, and you answered by trying to change the subject once again.

  61. 61
    Learned Hand says:

    Wow. How disingenuous can you get? I asked you to find an example where Parenthood, NARAL, etc. acknowledge legal limits to abortions for women, not children. Why did you leave the word woman out of your formulation when I clearly included it in mine? Everyone knows that women are not restricted by law the way children are.

    I’m sorry you think that’s disingenuous. Your question is bizarre, so I didn’t put much work into answering it. So here’s another “example in which Planned Parenthood, in the context of asserting a woman’s right to choose, ever referred to the “legal limitations” of that right.”

    http://www.plannedparenthood.o.....rtion-laws

    That is a whole page of Planned Parenthood, in the context of asserting “Texas women’s constitutional rights,” refers to and discusses legal limitations on that right. They do not use the phrase “legal limitations,” as you put in quotes; I hope you don’t think that makes the response disingenuous.

    Do you really think that Planned Parenthood does not acknowledge any legal limitations on the right to choose?

  62. 62
    Learned Hand says:

    What is it about the word “absolute” that you do not understand. You changed the subject and started discussing good and bad choices, which has nothing to do with his argument.

    I don’t understand what you mean by choice being an “absolute” good, if you think the choice being made isn’t relevant.

    In other words, how do you say (a) that liberals think that choice is an absolute good, and (b) that it’s irrelevant that liberals think that some choices are bad? Isn’t the fact that liberals are looking beyond the good of “choice” to the nature of the choice an indication that “choice” in and of itself isn’t the most important thing?

    If what you’re trying to say is that liberals think that “choice” is good, I agree with that. And so do conservatives and libertarians and anarchists and monarchists and whatnot. We all think that freedom is a good thing. We disagree about what choices should be subject to that freedom. That seems like such an obvious point that I’m wondering if I have misunderstood you, or if you misunderstood me in your rush to disapprove.

  63. 63
    Virgil Cain says:

    It’s a child, not a choice. The choice comes BEFORE having unprotected sex.

  64. 64
    Silver Asiatic says:

    LH

    Literally who believes that people should be able to make any choice they want without legal penalties?

    The people who don’t believe that are Anti-Choice, obviously. So, what does the Pro Choice position indicate?

    When you say “choice,” do you maybe mean only the choice to have an abortion, rather than any choice at all?

    Ok, but that wouldn’t work as a slogan. Instead of Pro-Choice (which is absolute) it would be “Pro-Choice to have an abortion”.

    But if one is “Pro-Choosing Abortion”, this is the same as “Pro-Abortion”.

    But we know this is exactly what the term Pro Choice is trying to avoid.

    Even then, I can’t think of anyone who supports an absolutely unlimited right to abortion.

    You may be right, but again logically none of it follows.

    We’ve tried this discussion with several of the materialist/atheist/Darwinists here and it ends up in circles.

    Even without materialism, if abortion is a surgical procedure no different than having an appendix removed (which it would be if the fetus is not a child), then why the claim “I’m personally opposed to abortion”?

    When we asked a chronic-liar like Zachriel, “why are you against abortion?” He claimed it was because some women get upset about it. We since learned it was useless to ever try to get a truthful answer from him. But he’s not so alone with that.

    As for restrictions on abortion, a long political campaign was fought to restrict what is known as partial-birth abortion or even late-term abortion. It was a long fight because there was significant pressure against that legislation and abortion at any stage of pregnancy remains constitutionally-protected in the USA today.

  65. 65
    Learned Hand says:

    Literally who believes that people should be able to make any choice they want without legal penalties?

    The people who don’t believe that are Anti-Choice, obviously. So, what does the Pro Choice position indicate?

    It indicates support for the right to choose an abortion, within limits. People under the “pro choice” banner will disagree over what those limits should be.

    Ok, but that wouldn’t work as a slogan. Instead of Pro-Choice (which is absolute) it would be “Pro-Choice to have an abortion”.

    Sure, labels are rhetorical devices. Just like “pro life” for those people who also favor the death penalty or withholding life-saving social support from the poor—they’re “pro life” in a certain, specific context. Or “anti-war” people who think WWII was a good war, or people who favor the “war on drugs” but have a glass of wine with dinner. Labels are rhetorical devices. So what? No one really thinks that being “pro choice” means “everyone should be able to choose whatever, whenever, with no penalties.”

    Even without materialism, if abortion is a surgical procedure no different than having an appendix removed (which it would be if the fetus is not a child), then why the claim “I’m personally opposed to abortion”?

    I don’t know, it’s not my position. I do think it’s a poor choice for family planning; I’d prefer people use prophylactics and the pill instead. They’re more efficient, safer than an invasive procedure, and less divisive. That’s why I support the notion that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare, although I wouldn’t say I’m opposed to abortion per se.

    It was a long fight because there was significant pressure against that legislation and abortion at any stage of pregnancy remains constitutionally-protected in the USA today.

    Are you sure about that? I don’t really know all that much about the subject, but I was under the impression that most states prohibit, constitutionally, post-viability abortions.

  66. 66
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH:

    The point you’re trying to make eludes me.

    Liar.

  67. 67
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH,

    Who are these liberals?

    He writes as if they were not quoted in comment 47. Pretending not to know something that you do know is another lie.

    LH, you should take note that in defending your position you feel compelled to lie. That should give you pause about your position. I doubt that it will.

  68. 68
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH,

    I’d prefer people use prophylactics and the pill instead. They’re more efficient, safer than . . .

    killing the baby. Yes they are.

  69. 69
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH,

    That’s why I support the notion that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare

    Said every pro-abort ever who cares only that abortion is safe and legal and does absolutely nothing to make abortion rare. LH, you are cliche machine this morning. Bill Clinton coined that particular piece of misdirection in the 90s. And then he turned around and vetoed a bill that would have made it illegal to kill a child when everything but his head was outside of the mother. He is a famous liar. You are like him, except for the famous part.

  70. 70
    StephenB says:

    Learned Hand

    So here’s another “example in which Planned Parenthood, in the context of asserting a woman’s right to choose, ever referred to the “legal limitations” of that right.”

    It’s hard to know if you are really being serious or if your ideology is clouding your judgment. When Planned Parenthood asserts the woman’s absolute right to an abortion, it is claiming that there should be no legal restrictions and that any restriction at all violates the constitution. You have yet to cite an example where Planned Parenthood or NARAL accepts any restrictions on a woman’s right to choose. To acknowledge their existence is, by no means, to accept them as legitimate.

    I will explain the meaning of each complaint that you cite, since, in each case, it seems to escape you.

    After battling the state in court to protect women’s health in Texas, on October 31st a panel of three Federal judges allowed unconstitutional abortion restrictions to take effect. The restrictions clearly violate Texas women’s constitutional rights and drastically reduce access to safe and legal abortion statewide.

    It means that those restrictions are unconstitutional because, in their judgment, a woman’s right to choose is absolute. These restrictions, in other words, “violate constitutional rights, just as it says.

    When Planned Parenthood speaks of a woman’s right to choose, it is saying that any legal restriction whatsoever is unconstitutional and violates that same right. That is what they mean by the phrase “right to choose”–to be free of any such restrictions.

    This fight is far from over. Women in Texas should have access to the highest quality health care, no matter where they live. That is why we will continue to fight to protect women’s access to health care across the state.

    What do you think the fight is about? It is about the conflict between Planned Parenthood’s claim that the right to choose leaves no room for any restrictions whatsoever and the states intrusions on that right in the form of unconstitutional restrictions.

    It has nothing to do with acknowledging the fact that restrictions exist and everything to do with their claimed right to be free of any such restrictions.

    As of October 1st, 2011, state law now requires all women seeking an abortion to have at least 2 visits to the abortion facility. Why do I have to make two visits for an abortion?

    Translation: My absolute right to choose is violated when I have to make two visits.

    In the summer of 2011, the Texas Legislature passed a bill that requires women to have an ultrasound at least 24 hours before she has an abortion. Planned Parenthood always puts women’s health first and we fought against this law because there is no medical reason for requiring women to come 24 hours in advance. Ultrasounds have been a standard part of abortion services and are always performed on every patient before any type of procedure is done.

    Are you getting the pattern yet? Planned Parenthood “always puts women’s health first.” No matter what. Planned Parenthood does not recognize the legitimacy of any restriction in the context of a woman’s right to choose. This was Eugen’s original point about the meaning of the “absolute” right to choose.

    I have asked you to find an exception to that rule. I submit that you will never find one because no such exception exists.

  71. 71
    Barry Arrington says:

    StephenB,

    While I admire your tenacity with Learned Hand, are you not violating Matthew 7:6? LH is many things, but he is not stupid. He has understood you from the beginning. Pretending not to understand is one of his favorite deceptions. It is a tactic he employs to deflect an argument from the main topic to endless explanations he steadfastly denies understanding.

  72. 72
    kairosfocus says:

    LH, kindly cf 47 above and my remarks at 50 above — this, I now link: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-577848 . . . where we need to know that taking away another human being’s life is even worse than taking away his liberty. VC is right to say, there is a choice made before undertaking an act that all able to consent know is biologically directly connected to procreation. Our guilt and willful blindness cry up from the ground against us, where what is at stake is the fate of literally hundreds of millions, and the consequence of mass bloodguilt for our whole civilisation. I repeat, nothing is more corrupting than bloodguilt. KF

  73. 73
    Learned Hand says:

    Who are these liberals?

    He writes as if they were not quoted in comment 47. Pretending not to know something that you do know is another lie.

    What I asked was whether there are any people who believe that “choice” “is an absolute rather than a relative good.” What you quoted were people who believe that “choice” is a good thing, but not anything or anyone who believes that “choice” is an absolute good. I presume that by “absolute” you mean “good under any circumstances”; otherwise I don’t see how you could disagree with my criticism of Eugen’s logical formulation. That is, no actual liberals believe that choice is just plain always good; liberals, like everyone else, think choice is generally good but look through it to pass judgment on the actual choice being made. If you disagree with this, it’s hard to see how or why; your argument seems to boil down to insults and posturing.

    I am not a liar; I have not lied in this thread or ever at UD, as far as I can remember. I don’t expect you to agree with me. I expect you to gratify yourself by shouting insults at people you despise. You seem to greatly enjoy it, and to have trouble engaging constructively with such people. I actually can’t think of any example of you engaging civilly with people who disagree with you on this blog. It always seems to devolve into you heaping scorn and abuse on them, to your apparent gratification and the detriment of the conversation. I don’t expect this conversation to go any differently. As I consider civil, honest conversations to be a moral good, though, and something I work hard to support, I will endeavor to respond civilly to any actual argument you care to make. “Liar” is not an argument.

  74. 74
    Learned Hand says:

    Said every pro-abort ever who cares only that abortion is safe and legal and does absolutely nothing to make abortion rare.

    This is an assumption that is supported by nothing other than your desire to vent your disgust. In fact I do support measures that make abortion rarer, for example through sex education in public schools and greater access to contraceptives. Those might not be your preferred tools, but your assertion is factually wrong and obviously made in ignorance.

  75. 75
    StephenB says:

    SB: What is it about the word “absolute” that you do not understand. You changed the subject and started discussing good and bad choices, which has nothing to do with his argument.

    I don’t understand what you mean by choice being an “absolute” good, if you think the choice being made isn’t relevant.

    Maybe that is because I didn’t use the term “absolute good.” Did you ever think of that? The term “absolute right” is not synonymous with “absolute good.” It appears that you injected that new phrase into the discussion as a conscious distraction. Is that what it was?

  76. 76
  77. 77
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH

    I presume that by “absolute” you mean “good under any circumstances”; otherwise I don’t see how you could disagree with my criticism of Eugen’s logical formulation. That is, no actual liberals believe that choice is just plain always good

    The context of this entire discussion has been abortion. And yes, as SB studiously points out over and over and over, and you just as studiously ignore, liberals like those at Planned Parenthood believe that in the abortion context choice is an absolute good. In your words, the choice to have an abortion is “good under any circumstances.” Yes, liberals at Planned Parenthood “believe that choice is just plain always good.”

    I am not a liar; I have not lied in this thread or ever at UD, as far as I can remember.

    The readers will decide for themselves whether you are a liar or if you are actually stupid enough to believe the false statements you make at UD.

    I actually can’t think of any example of you engaging civilly with people who disagree with you on this blog.

    I engage civilly with everyone who comes here and argues in good faith. It is true that I heap contempt on liars. I despise them.

    “Liar” is not an argument.

    True. I am not making an argument. I am making an observation.

  78. 78
    Learned Hand says:

    Maybe that is because I didn’t use the term “absolute good.” Did you ever think of that? The term “absolute right” is not synonymous with “absolute good.” It appears that you injected that new phrase into the discussion as a conscious distraction. Is that what it was?

    Maybe? If you have a particular position, would you mind just stating it? This game of alluding to it and then getting outraged that I didn’t understand you is a little tiresome. Especially as both you and Barry are doing it, which makes it very difficult to tell what you’re trying to say. For example, no, you didn’t say “absolute good.” Barry did. I’m sorry I imputed his statement to you.

    OK, “absolute right.” I have never seen PP (or anyone) assert that there should be an absolute right to terminate a pregnancy at any point, other than Peter Singer. I don’t mean that there aren’t such people, only that the opinion is not a popular one, even among liberals. Can you show us anything to support your assertion that PP, as an organization, wants an “absolute right” to abortions?

    I don’t believe that your assertion is accurate. I don’t know how to test it, other than by asking you to support your position. As an organization pushing back against much stricter restrictions than it is prepared to accept, I don’t know under what circumstances PP would ever put out a statement saying, “here are the restrictions we’d accept.” That doesn’t mean they don’t want or wouldn’t accept any restrictions, though.

  79. 79
    Learned Hand says:

    The context of this entire discussion has been abortion. And yes, as SB studiously points out over and over and over, and you just as studiously ignore, liberals like those at Planned Parenthood believe that in the abortion context choice is an absolute good. In your words, the choice to have an abortion is “good under any circumstances.” Yes, liberals at Planned Parenthood “believe that choice is just plain always good.”

    The context was also “liberals,” not “Planned Parenthood.” Do you also believe that liberals generally always think the choice to have an abortion is good under any circumstances?

    When I go the PP site, I see materials discussing the choice between abortion, adoption, and parenthood. I see statements like “abortion is very safe, but the risks increase the longer a pregnancy goes on.” That doesn’t sound like they’re saying that abortion is good under all circumstances. It sounds like they’re real people, in a real world, with real opinions that are more complex than the hateful caricature you thrust at them.

  80. 80
    kairosfocus says:

    LH, abortion is essentially 100% fatal for its intended victims, our unborn children. The promotion, entrenching and protection of this as a widespread practice across the world over the past generation has stained the ground with the blood of hundreds of millions. That blood cries up from the ground against our whole civilisation, but being directly implicated in bloodguilt or in enabling such a holocaust is extremely corrupting, benumbing and endarkening of conscience, heart and mind. I fear that only reaping horrific, undeniable consequences of our willful march of folly will begin to wake us up. As Lincoln and the White Rose martyrs warn. KF

  81. 81
    Barry Arrington says:

    KF @ 80:

    You misunderstand LH. When he says he wants abortion to be “safe,” he does not mean he wants it to be safe for the little boy or (more commonly) little girl who is being killed and chopped into little pieces.

  82. 82
    StephenB says:

    Barry, @71,

    While I admire your tenacity with Learned Hand, are you not violating Matthew 7:6? [The metaphor that exhorts Christians not to cast their pearls before swine] LH is many things, but he is not stupid. He has understood you from the beginning. Pretending not to understand is one of his favorite deceptions. It is a tactic he employs to deflect an argument from the main topic to endless explanations he steadfastly denies understanding.

    Ah, yes, Matthew 7:6 is a powerful exhortation. Fortunately, though, a public forum provides us with one additional factor: The onlookers can take the pearls and identify the swine by observing his reaction to them. Of course, I am aware of LH’s tactics, but I find that after about five exchanges with a materialist, the answers become so increasingly bizarre (and dishonest) that even the lurkers start scratching their heads.

    Materialists seldom give me their craziest stuff right off the bat. Prompted by the right questions, though, they will not disappoint. The one question I want disinterested observers to ask themselves is this: “Why did that materialist, who sounds like my professor, feel the need to ignore?, lie?, evade?, or distract? Why is he using the language to obfuscate rather than to clarify? Doesn’t the truth inspire confidence?”

  83. 83
    kairosfocus says:

    BA, I am pointing out that abortion is the willful inflicting of death on innocent human beings. To describe it as “safe” is then a travesty, as it is all about the deliberate taking of innocent life; usually for reasons of convenience and often with the brazen claim that there are rights to “choose” being exerted. It is a loss to gain the world at the expense of one’s soul, we have on very good authority. KF

  84. 84
    Eugen says:

    Learned hand

    We (try to) live by a simple Commandment “you should not murder”. How would you change this Commandment to fit your liberal worldview? Think you are liberal god making Commandments for modern secular state.

    Again please be simple. You may be gifted with writing skills but so far you would not be hired by a wise East European king.

  85. 85
    StephenB says:

    LH

    I don’t believe that your assertion is accurate. I don’t know how to test it, other than by asking you to support your position. As an organization pushing back against much stricter restrictions than it is prepared to accept, I don’t know under what circumstances PP would ever put out a statement saying, “here are the restrictions we’d accept.” That doesn’t mean they don’t want or wouldn’t accept any restrictions, though.

    OK, good. You are now beginning to confront the issue. I appreciate it. So, it seems, then, that your answer to my question is this:

    “No, I know of no case where Planned Parenthood would ever accept a restriction on a woman’s right to choose.”

    So, my next question is this: Can you even imagine such a scenario. If so, can you describe it. (For my part, I cannot).

  86. 86
    Learned Hand says:

    Eugen,

    I wouldn’t change that rule. I think “do not murder” is a good rule. I do not think that fetuses are people, so I do not think that rule applies to abortion.

  87. 87
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH,

    I do not think that fetuses are people

    In German this is expressed, “Lebensunwertes Leben.”

  88. 88
    Learned Hand says:

    So, it seems, then, that your answer to my question is this:

    “No, I know of no case where Planned Parenthood would ever accept a restriction on a woman’s right to choose.”

    That’s a very aggressive interpretation of what I said. PP doesn’t fight every restriction on abortion; it accepts laws restricting abortion to non-viable fetuses, for example, as far as I know. I’m sure there are people in PP who would reject such restrictions if they had the choice, but I suspect it’s a minority position.

    Maybe an analogy would help? I’m not aware of the ACLU ever identifying a good restriction on speech. But that doesn’t mean that the ACLU’s position is that the right to speech is completely absolute. Presumably it accepts the limitation that “I will kill you unless you pay me money” is punishable speech. But how would we know, from the outside of the organization? I think if your position is, “This organization believes X,” you should be able to make some argument or provide some evidence that this is true. Otherwise you’re just speculating. Which is amusing, but not very meaningful.

    So, my next question is this: Can you even imagine such a scenario. If so, can you describe it. (For my part, I cannot).

    So, my next question is this: Can you even imagine such a scenario. If so, can you describe it. (For my part, I cannot).

    Yes, very easily. I’m assuming we’re talking only about morality here; obviously PP would and does accept health and safety limitations.

    So for example, A goes for an abortion and meets with P, a Planned Parenthood counselor. A is 8 months pregnant at least. P says, “Post-viability abortions are illegal. This is a reasonable law; I think it is immoral to violate reasonable laws. It would be immoral for you to have an abortion. I will not assist you, and would not even if I could.”

    On a broader level, P could say, “The viability limitation is a good one because we have to draw the line somewhere, and viability gives women a reasonable opportunity to exercise autonomy while setting a conservative lower limit on the age at which a fetus becomes a person with rights.”

    This is, again, purely speculation. Have you ever looked up PP white papers or position statements? I have no idea whether such things exist, but I’ve never looked. Have you?

  89. 89
    Popperian says:

    Is seems that Barry has failed to respond to or even quote one of my comments which is very reviling to the question at had. Specifically, I’m referring to..

    Barry want’s me to condemn something with his terms, rather than decide on terms we can agree on. But that is the underlying problem in the first place. In setting it up that way, we won’t get anywhere.

    And, for that I’m evil?

    UDEditors: No, Popperian, you are evil because you employ sophistry in the service of evil.

  90. 90
    StephenB says:

    LH

    Yes, very easily. I’m assuming we’re talking only about morality here; obviously PP would and does accept health and safety limitations.

    I am sure that you know better than that. PP is not the least bit interested in morality.What would prompt you to say such a thing. The issue is about legality. The right to choose is a legal construct, not a moral construct. It is defined by the abortion lobby (including Planned Parenthood and NARAL in the following way:

    “Abortion represents a woman’s right to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy, and this is a fundamental human right and reproductive freedom that is protected by the United States Constitution.”

    I don’t know what could be more clear. For them, a woman has the unqualified right to continue or to end a pregnancy. There are no exceptions because it is, as they would have it, no one’s business. It is the woman’s “private” decision based, among other things, on a perverted interpretation of the right to privacy. Are you saying that PP allows for exceptions to this fundamental right? If so, you will have to provide some evidence.

    So for example, A goes for an abortion and meets with P, a Planned Parenthood counselor. A is 8 months pregnant at least. P says, “Post-viability abortions are illegal. This is a reasonable law; I think it is immoral to violate reasonable laws. It would be immoral for you to have an abortion. I will not assist you, and would not even if I could.”

    Irrelevant. According to PP (and all the others) that woman has the constitutional “right” to abort and PP is obliged to honor that decision, or even encourage it. For them, viability and reasonableness has nothing to do with “rights.”

    On a broader level, P could say, “The viability limitation is a good one because we have to draw the line somewhere, and viability gives women a reasonable opportunity to exercise autonomy while setting a conservative lower limit on the age at which a fetus becomes a person with rights.”

    Where in the definition of the right to choose do you read anything about drawing a line? For them, abortion is a private decision to be made between a woman and her doctor (the baby’s killer). On reproductive issues, it is said that the woman can “choose” what she will do with her own body (they are too stupid to know that it isn’t part of her body) and no one, least of all the state, may draw any lines. I have given you PP’s definition of the right to choose and the rationale for it. Do you have any evidence that Planned Parenthood or NARAL rejects their own definition of “choice” and claims that someone other than the mother should be allowed to “draw a line.”

    This is, again, purely speculation. Have you ever looked up PP white papers or position statements? I have no idea whether such things exist, but I’ve never looked. Have you?

    The entire abortion lobby is of one mind: A woman’s has the right to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy. It is “a fundamental human right with respect to reproductive freedom. It is protected by the Constitution.”

    Do you agree with that definition or don’t you? If so, then why do you carry on. If not, why not?

    Do you think that the babies that they slice up and sell as meat are not “viable?”

  91. 91
    Learned Hand says:

    I am sure that you know better than that.

    “You actually agree with me, you’re just lying.” Again. No, Stephen. I am not Stephen. I have opinions that are not yours.

    PP is not the least bit interested in morality.What would prompt you to say such a thing.

    PP is an organization made up of human beings, who are generally very interested in morality. And I don’t see that the people who make up PP are any different than the rest of us. They disagree with you about what is moral, but they do care about morality. They believe that restricting the autonomy of women is immoral, for example. It’s one of the chief reasons people volunteer to work for PP and similar organizations; they feel an important right is being trampled, and they value the protection of such a right.

    The issue is about legality. The right to choose is a legal construct, not a moral construct. It is defined by the abortion lobby (including Planned Parenthood and NARAL in the following way:
    “Abortion represents a woman’s right to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy, and this is a fundamental human right and reproductive freedom that is protected by the United States Constitution.”
    I don’t know what could be more clear. For them, a woman has the unqualified right to continue or to end a pregnancy.

    Does the statement say that PP believes the right is unqualified? Speech is a fundamental human right as well, and even the fiercest free speech advocates don’t believe that right is unqualified. Again, there are probably some people here and there who would take that position, but I can’t think of any. Can you? Can you find someone actually saying that the right to an abortion should be totally unqualified? It seems like you’ve built a very detailed model of PP in your head; what are you doing to test whether that model is accurate?

    Are you saying that PP allows for exceptions to this fundamental right? If so, you will have to provide some evidence.

    You’ve decided that PP has an opinion, but you can’t find any actual statement of theirs that states that opinion. Rather than looking for it, you’ve asked me to find evidence that your opinion isn’t true. I’m on an airplane with slow internet, so no, I’m not going to go googling for you. Also, I don’t care very much. Your opinion isn’t based on facts, so why would I expect facts to change it?

    Irrelevant. According to PP (and all the others) that woman has the constitutional “right” to abort and PP is obliged to honor that decision, or even encourage it. For them, viability and reasonableness has nothing to do with “rights.”

    Huh? PP thinks that the right to an abortion runs up to 8 months? I doubt that’s an official position of the organization. And I doubt that it’s a popular opinion with the people in the organization, or anywhere else. Perhaps you could find some evidence supporting your opinions about what “all the others” believe? Because you seem to be running on intuition here. That’s not a very reliable guide to what people who don’t have Stephen’s opinions believe. If such people exist, which you seem to find doubtful.

    Where in the definition of the right to choose do you read anything about drawing a line?

    I don’t. Nor do I find anything stating that there is no such line. I assume, in the absence of a clear statement one way or another, that the people in the organization have the opinions that are most common among liberals: abortion should be legal, there can and should be reasonable limits on it. And I assume the people in the organization disagree about what those limits are. If anyone thinks there shouldn’t be limits, I haven’t seen any evidence of it.

    The entire abortion lobby is of one mind: A woman’s has the right to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy. It is “a fundamental human right with respect to reproductive freedom. It is protected by the Constitution.”

    The free speech lobby is of one mind: Speech is a fundamental right. It is protected by the Constitution. But does that mean that the ACLU believes people should be free to say anything, at any time, even crying “fire” in a crowded theater? You’re making assumptions that aren’t supported by the plain evidence—there’s a reason you’re having a hard time finding anyone actually articulating the position you say that all pro-choice advocates have.

    Do you think that the babies that they slice up and sell as meat are not “viable?”

    I think in those states with a viability limit, the fetuses are not viable. I don’t know in the others.

  92. 92
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH:

    I am not Stephen.

    I would have bet $1,000 that LH would sooner or later employ his condescending “speak of your opponent by their first name — i.e. there are other people than Stephen; I’m not Stephen, etc. It usually comes out after his someone (often Stephen) shoots his arguments to pieces. It is a sure sign of desperation.

    You are nothing if not predictable LH.

  93. 93
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH:

    PP is an organization made up of human beings, who are generally very interested in morality.

    Let’s try this:

    The Nazi Party is an organization made up of human beings, who are generally very interested in morality.

    Yeah, it doesn’t work. What do the PP and the Nazis have in common? They both have the blood of millions on their hands.

    But a fetus is not human LH insists.

    Is that so? Are you saying that when a fetus gets chopped to pieces the blood that is shed is not human blood?

  94. 94
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH’s insistence – contrary to facts widely known in the legal profession – that Planned Parenthood is not absolutist on the “right” to abortion has grown tedious.

    LH insists that Planned Parenthood would happily concede that some restrictions on abortion should be allowed. Nonsense. LH is a lawyer, and it is difficult to believe that any lawyer would be so ignorant as to believe that Planned Parenthood would ever under any circumstances concede any such thing. Planned Parenthood’s absolutism on the issue is widely known in the legal profession.

    Consider a situation in which a viable baby is nine-tenths outside the mother. Indeed, if the doctor loses his grip on the baby and it slips the rest of the way out, killing her would be murder in every state. Should the doctor be able legally to suck the baby’s brains out before the head is allowed to slip out?

    Yes, says Planned Parenthood. See Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.

    A more absolute position on the abortion issue is scarcely imaginable

  95. 95
    StephenB says:

    LH

    “You actually agree with me, you’re just lying.” Again. No, Stephen. I am not Stephen. I have opinions that are not yours.

    You stated that the “right to choose” is a moral issue. In fact, it is a legal construct. The proper response on your part would be, “I stand corrected.”

    [PP and company]: “Abortion represents a woman’s right to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy, and this is a fundamental human right and reproductive freedom that is protected by the United States Constitution.”

    Speech is a fundamental human right as well, and even the fiercest free speech advocates don’t believe that right is unqualified.

    Irrelevant to PP’s definition of the unqualified “right to choose.” On the subject of partial-birth abortion, Alisa Lapolt Snow, speaking for the Florida affiliate of PP, said this:

    “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.”

    So, it is clear they believe there should be no restrictions. They believe a woman’s right to choose remains legitimate up to the point of birth, or as they put it, “any decision.”

    Huh? PP thinks that the right to an abortion runs up to 8 months? I doubt that’s an official position of the organization.

    Except that I just provided evidence to the contrary. Do you have any evidence to support your position, or are you asking me to accept your doubts as evidence?

    SB: Do you think that the babies that they slice up and sell as meat are not “viable?”

    I think in those states with a viability limit, the fetuses are not viable. I don’t know in the others.

    That is the craziest thing I have ever heard. You think that the ability of a fetus to survive outside the womb is contingent on what state law says about it?

    ——————————————————

    Barry, this is an example of what I was talking about. Let these people talk long enough, and they will say something totally insane. Then you have something that you can save for posterity.

  96. 96
    StephenB says:

    Barry @94, I notice that we both made the point about PP and partial birth abortion independently. I wrote my comment @95 before I read yours.

  97. 97
    mike1962 says:

    So then, after digesting all of this, the bottom line is, if I listen to the subjectivists and adopt their core philosophy, who do not believe there is any absolute morality, I am free to jettison those old pesky irrational moral feelings and go ahead and strike out and do whatever the hell I want, WITHOUT ANY RATIONAL BASIS FOR GUILT!

    Wahoo! I’m in!

    If I feel like it, I get to chop you up and eat you, without guilt. (With a side of fava beans, of course.) And do anything else I want. I LOVE IT.

    Count me in. I should have become a materialist, atheist, nihilist a long time ago. It sounds like FUN!

    My will be done.

  98. 98
    Barry Arrington says:

    Mike at 97,

    No, no, no, no. Empathy compels you to act right lest you feel bad. hrun0815 assures us it so. I suppose he is just as sure that you cannot condition yourself to suppress empathy in the teeth of all the evidence that one can do that very thing.

  99. 99
    Learned Hand says:

    LH’s insistence – contrary to facts widely known in the legal profession – that Planned Parenthood is not absolutist on the “right” to abortion has grown tedious.

    Widely-known facts usually aren’t that hard to support with evidence. Maybe a statement from PP that actually takes the position you attribute to it?

    LH insists that Planned Parenthood would happily concede that some restrictions on abortion should be allowed. Nonsense. LH is a lawyer, and it is difficult to believe that any lawyer would be so ignorant as to believe that Planned Parenthood would ever under any circumstances concede any such thing. Planned Parenthood’s absolutism on the issue is widely known in the legal profession.

    Hmmm. In an adversarial context, I can certainly see an organization refusing to make any unnecessary concessions. In other words, under what circumstances would PP say, “This would be an acceptable limitation”, even if we assume it would accept certain limitations? Perhaps none! I don’t think that establishes what the organization’s position is one way or the other. After all, have they ever actually asserted that abortion should be legal up to the moment of natural birth? Or permissible without any limitation for minors? I think I recall PP asserting that minors should be able to get out of parental notification by showing that such notification would put them at risk, but I don’t know if they’ve ever taken the position you seem to attribute to them: that there should be no limitations on abortion whatsoever.

    Here’s one thing LH knows as a lawyer: when someone writes, “It’s widely known,” repeatedly, without actually supporting the statement, they don’t actually know what’s supposedly widely known.

    I shouldn’t exceed the limits of my own knowledge, either. I don’t know what PP’s position is. It’s certainly possible that as an organization dedicated to defending a right that’s under significant pressure, the subject of what limits the organization would accept has never come up. But maybe it has, I don’t know. I don’t think you do either.

    UDEditors: PP refuses to back down on the right to abortion even when the baby is 9/10 out of the mother. But nooooooo they’re not absolutist. I want to thank you though. I write an article about insane, irrational denial, and literally hours later you give me another example. The readers know.

  100. 100
    Learned Hand says:

    You stated that the “right to choose” is a moral issue. In fact, it is a legal construct. The proper response on your part would be, “I stand corrected.”

    The “right to choose” is not a moral issue? I don’t have any idea what you mean by that. Or why you think “legal construct” and “moral issue” are mutually exclusive. I don’t think they are; I think our morals guide us in determining what rights exist. (I suppose you could mean that the strict legal question of whether the Constitution protects such a right is not a moral issue, but even that doesn’t read like a coherent statement to me.)

    “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.”
    So, it is clear they believe there should be no restrictions. They believe a woman’s right to choose remains legitimate up to the point of birth, or as they put it, “any decision.”

    That’s not actually what she said. She said the decision should also be up to the family and physician. Which is an odd thing to say if she’s talking about the overall right to abortion—I’m pretty sure PP doesn’t think that a woman’s family has the right to make the decision for her. So I’m a little dubious that she’s making a blanket statement about PP’s position on the right to choose. Yes, she says “any decision” – but does she, in context, mean “any decision that a woman makes about abortion, period”? The inclusion of the family and physician makes me skeptical. As does your decision not to provide any context for the statement.

    Do you have any evidence to support your position, or are you asking me to accept your doubts as evidence?

    My position is that I doubt that PP takes the position that the right to abortion should be totally unlimited. I don’t know how to provide evidence for that, or why I should. Let’s just say it’s self-evident! If you doubt my doubts, you must be a liar or something. (No, not really.)

    That is the craziest thing I have ever heard. You think that the ability of a fetus to survive outside the womb is contingent on what state law says about it?

    No. You misunderstood me. I think that in those states that bar pre-viability abortions, PP isn’t performing pre-viability abortions.

    Barry, this is an example of what I was talking about. Let these people talk long enough, and they will say something totally insane.

    Y’all work hard to find reasons to exercise your contempt for others.

    UDEditors: Why yes, we do hold you in contempt LH, because you support the practice of killing little boys and girls, chopping them into little pieces, and then selling the pieces like meat. That is contemptible. Therefore, having contempt for it is the right and natural response.

  101. 101
    Learned Hand says:

    I dunno, Mike. Are feelings of guilt and fear of punishment the only reason you don’t chop people up and eat them?

  102. 102
    goodusername says:

    So then, after digesting all of this, the bottom line is, if I listen to the subjectivists and adopt their core philosophy, who do not believe there is any absolute morality, I am free to jettison those old pesky irrational moral feelings and go ahead and strike out and do whatever the hell I want, WITHOUT ANY RATIONAL BASIS FOR GUILT!

    Wahoo! I’m in!

    If I feel like it, I get to chop you up and eat you, without guilt. (With a side of fava beans, of course.) And do anything else I want. I LOVE IT.

    Count me in. I should have become a materialist, atheist, nihilist a long time ago. It sounds like FUN!

    My will be done.

    I’m not sure how any of that is related to whether morality is subjective or not.
    Can you not do those same things if morality is objective?

  103. 103
    mike1962 says:

    Learned Hand: Are feelings of guilt and fear of punishment the only reason you don’t chop people up and eat them?

    What difference does it make?

    There’s no rational reason not to suppress and ignore them, if I choose.

    My will be done.

  104. 104
    mike1962 says:

    goodusername: Can you not do those same things if morality is objective?

    There are some people I would probably kill if I could get away with it, if I didn’t think a Creator existed who frowns on such actions.

    You bet your ass it matters.

    I hope that help.

  105. 105
    goodusername says:

    There are some people I would probably kill if I could get away with it, if I didn’t think a Creator existed who frowns on such actions.

    You bet your ass it matters.

    I hope that help.

    Ok, well, keep the faith.

  106. 106
    Learned Hand says:

    I think GUN and I are on the same wavelength here. To explain my perspective, at least, I don’t think that fear of divine punishment (or disapproval) is actually what restrains most people from wanton murder and rapine.

    In other words, suppose God Almighty descended from heaven and said, “We’re going back to Old Testament rules and then some. The Iranians have offended me. There will be no punishments whatsoever for killing, torturing, or eating Iranians.” I think the vast, vast majority of Christians would continue behaving as they, and pretty much everyone else, do already: not murdering or torturing or eating people.

    To those of us who don’t see the threat of divine punishment as the driver of morality, your assertion sounds downright bizarre. We have a hard time understanding the position that you’d love to go do some murders.

    I think GUN said pretty much the same thing, but better and more efficiently.

  107. 107
    Barry Arrington says:

    LH and GUN,

    Person 1 believes all moral rules are the product of mere sentiment. Call it empathy if you like. But he also understands that empathy is just a feeling and like all feelings the calculating part of the brain can, over time, suppress it.

    Person 2 believes that a maximally great, perfect, good and just God grounds the rules of morality in his being. The rules are objective and real and consequences necessarily follow if they are broken.

    LH and GUN: The differences in attitude make absolutely no difference in behavior.

    Idiots.

    And no, LH, I don’t call you an idiot because it find it agreeable, fun or otherwise pleasurable. In fact it causes me great pain that you spew your idiocy here and we have to clean up after you.

    BTW, neither of you has laid a finger on the arguments set forth here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....columbine/

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....bermensch/

  108. 108
    goodusername says:

    Fear of punishment from God is certainly extra motivation to behave a certain way.
    Although, for most people, I don’t think that’s the primary reason that they behave in a way that they consider moral.

    I also don’t think that punishment from God is why most people consider certain things as immoral.

    If God appeared in the sky – apparent to all – and said that wearing blue socks will result in eternal damnation, the vast majority of people would probably stop wearing blue socks.

    But would we consider it immoral? I don’t think so. We still wouldn’t view wearing blue socks the same way we do murder or stealing. It would just be something that we’d be careful to not do.

    But he also understands that empathy is just a feeling and like all feelings the calculating part of the brain can, over time, suppress it.

    I can’t imagine anyone who isn’t an idiot – and probably also insane – who would actually try such a thing.

    LH and GUN: The differences in attitude make absolutely no difference in behavior.

    Idiots.

    Sigh. I never said such a thing.

    BTW, neither of you has laid a finger on the arguments set forth here:

    I still can’t make sense of the argument there:

    He would consider empathy to be nothing but weak-kneed sentimentality.

    Empathy is a central part of who we are (unless one’s a pyschopath) – and plays a central role in what we desire and what makes us happy.
    Barry believes that a “clear-eyed” materialist would push his empathy aside.
    Yeah, that makes sense.
    Why not view ALL desires as “weak-kneed sentimentality”?

  109. 109
    mike1962 says:

    Learned Hand: We have a hard time understanding the position that you’d love to go do some murders.

    I have a hard time understanding how people can kill infants and chop them up while their heart is still beating then laugh about it when they sell off their body parts. Oh well.

    “We have a hard time understanding” is really another way of saying, “my morality is better than yours.”

    That you don’t understandable is irrelevant to my point, and the point made by others, which seems to evade you guys over and over again.

    Now, I didn’t use the word “murder.” That’s your word. I used “kill.” “Murder” is unjustified homicide. But justification, outside of sheer matters of law, is based on morality. If you were raped or someone murdered your child you might feel differently about taking the life of someone. This would be natural. In general, humans have a natural proclivity for revenge. However, Christians are forbidden to take out vengeful retribution against evil-doers. So if I have an experience with Christ that directs me to suppress my natural desire to kill the offenders maybe you can understand how outcome can be affected by the will of a “higher power” for my life.

    Or, hell, I may just be a sociopath who likes to kill people for fun and eat their livers with fava beans, and for whatever reason, still believe in divine retribution. Or karma. Certainly you can understand the concept why that might have a dampening effect. Or, maybe you’re not a sociopath, and maybe I’m not, so that desire would not naturally come up, but surely you can understand that your repugnance to a sociopath’s desire to eat a human liver with fava beans is quite useless to the sociopath, and that rational argument is impossible. In a world free of an absolute morality, at bottom it’s nothing but emotion against emotion. Not reason against reason. You’re never going to go from emotion to reason no matter how hard you try. You may as well try to reason with a lion that killing gazelles is “immoral.”

    And yet you act as if your morality, which in your worldview can be nothing but emotional repugnance, has a reality outside of yourself. But you have no rational grounds to stand on. This is to your credit actually, for you still have a “chest”, you simply deny where it came from, and why it matters to the degree you act like it does. If you want to know why, read The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis.

    I hope that helps.

    My will be done

  110. 110
    StephenB says:

    SB: You stated that the “right to choose” is a moral issue. In fact, it is a legal construct. The proper response on your part would be, “I stand corrected.”

    Learned Hand

    The “right to choose” is not a moral issue?

    You know very well that we are discussing the “right to choose” as it is understood by Planned Parenthood, which is an appeal to a constitutional right–a solely legal construct. That fact that the Constitution is based on the natural moral law is a fact that bothers them not in the least.

    I don’t have any idea what you mean by that.

    I don’t believe you.

    Or why you think “legal construct” and “moral issue” are mutually exclusive.

    Again, you know very well that we are discussing what Planned Parenthood believes, not what I believe. You also know that I personally believe that the right to choose is very much a moral issue, which is why I decry Planned Parenthood;’s formulaton. So, your disengenuity is duly noted.

    (I suppose you could mean that the strict legal question of whether the Constitution protects such a right is not a moral issue, but even that doesn’t read like a coherent statement to me.)

    Notice, that after pretending not to know what I mean, LH finally confesses that he does know what I mean– Unbelievable.

    A quote from Planned Parenthood in the context of rationalizing a partial-birth abortion: “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.”

    That’s not actually what she said. She said the decision should also be up to the family and physician.

    Bad Logic. The “right to choose” is, according to PP, solely hers. The physician has no such alleged right to choose. Presumably, he helps her decide, but he doesn’t share in the so-called” right.”

    Which is an odd thing to say if she’s talking about the overall right to abortion—I’m pretty sure PP doesn’t think that a woman’s family has the right to make the decision for her. So I’m a little dubious that she’s making a blanket statement about PP’s position on the right to choose.

    I don’t believe that you are dubious. The facts are compelling.

    Yes, she says “any decision” – but does she, in context, mean “any decision that a woman makes about abortion, period”?

    Yes, that is exactly what she means and you know it.

    SB: Do you have any evidence to support your position, or are you asking me to accept your doubts as evidence?

    My position is that I doubt that PP takes the position that the right to abortion should be totally unlimited.

    Translation: I have no evidence.

    I don’t know how to provide evidence for that, or why I should.

    Translation: I have no evidence to counter your evidence, which I conveniently discounted. Further, I expect you to accept my doubts, however sincere or insincere they may be, over your evidence. So sad. Really.

    Let’s just say it’s self-evident! If you doubt my doubts, you must be a liar or something. (No, not really.)

    Translation: I don’t know the difference between a self-evident principle and a demonstrable fact.

    SB:That is the craziest thing I have ever heard. You think that the ability of a fetus to survive outside the womb is contingent on what state law says about it?

    No. You misunderstood me. I think that in those states that bar pre-viability abortions, PP isn’t performing pre-viability abortions.

    OK, I accept that clarification and retract my response. Whenever, I read something that makes sense, I respond.

    Y’all work hard to find reasons to exercise your contempt for others.

    Yes, LH, we know how this works: Pro-lifers are mean people because they express verbal outrage over perverts who kill babies and sell their body parts, but abortionists are loving people because they smile, giggle, and radiate with kindness as they remove the brain from a baby with a beating heart and say, “that’s kinda cool.”

  111. 111
    Barry Arrington says:

    GUN

    I can’t imagine anyone who isn’t an idiot – and probably also insane – who would actually try such a thing.

    And I can’t imagine why your inability to imagine everyday common occurrences should count as an argument.

    Do you not understand that much of military training is doing just that, i.e., conditioning the trainees to suppress their empathy for the people they will be expected to kill.

  112. 112
    Barry Arrington says:

    GUN:

    Empathy is a central part of who we are (unless one’s a pyschopath) – and plays a central role in what we desire and what makes us happy.
    Barry believes that a “clear-eyed” materialist would push his empathy aside.
    Yeah, that makes sense.
    Why not view ALL desires as “weak-kneed sentimentality”?

    Yes indeed GUN, why not. That is the point. The answer as made clear in those two posts is: “There is no logical reason whatsoever.” The logic compels the conclusion inexorably GUN. You kick against the goads but have nothing to say other than “I don’t FEEL like that conclusion is right.” Well, as my professor in law school kept saying, “We are not interested in the condition of your viscera. We want to know about the soundness of your logic.”

  113. 113
    Axel says:

    Imagined response of GUN:
    ‘My gut feeling is…

  114. 114
    Popperian says:

    UDEditors:

    UDEditors: No, Popperian, you are evil because you employ sophistry in the service of evil.

    Phew.. I’m glad you showed me the error of my ways.

    Oh wait, no one has successfully shown that my arguments are actually fallacious.

    Specially, it’s unclear how, Barry, or anyone else for that matter, has any other recourse but to conjecture solutions to moral problems an criticize them.

  115. 115
    goodusername says:

    Barry,

    Do you not understand that much of military training is doing just that, i.e., conditioning the trainees to suppress their empathy for the people they will be expected to kill.

    Yes, that’s perhaps a good example. But I would say it’s more an exception that proves the rule. Yes, many of them do need to suppress their empathy. And they pay a heavy price for that. it’s quite a shame that such anyone needs to do such a thing.

    It’s part of the sacrifice they make that we should all both respect – and lament.

    Yes indeed GUN, why not. That is the point. The answer as made clear in those two posts is: “There is no logical reason whatsoever.”

    Well, it’s a bit like answering the question, “Why not repeatedly poke my eyes with a fork and stick my feet on hot lava? Why not?”

    Yes, it’s hard to come up with a “logical” reason “why not?”- I may have to pull the “self-evident” card.

    I can only say that I can’t imagine you being happy doing so. I suppose the fellow with the forks in his eyes and feet in lava would call me a weak-kneed sentimentalist.

    So my answer to “Why not view ALL desires as ‘weak-kneed sentimentality’?” is that I care about what makes me happy.
    Why should I care about things that make me happy? Uh, because one does – by definition. It’s a tautology.

    Even for the Christian, the answer, ultimately, to “Why have a relationship with God and strive to be moral?” Is because it ultimately leads to happiness. Just more “weak-kneed sentimentality”, right?

    If being happy isn’t the goal, than what is?

  116. 116
    Popperian says:

    Why yes, we do hold you in contempt LH, because you support the practice of killing little boys and girls, chopping them into little pieces, and then selling the pieces like meat.

    “You support” is completely void of any particular problem to solve. It would also include “supporting”, for not other reason than entertainment on Saturday night, the idea of finding a random child, chopping it into small peaces, then selling their flesh at a yard sale on Sunday morning because, you know, infant flesh collection is much more popular than collecting those little glass figurines these days.

    What you’re saying is that, unless murder is defined in precisely such as way that you think it ought to be, using a philosophical means that you thing ought to be used, murder means nothing and anything goes. After all, if we could make progress on solutions to moral problems, then morality did not really exist in the first place? This is immoral, as presenting such a dilemma justifies the very things you claim to denounce.

    You’re essentially claiming that, unless we somehow got it right the first time, then anything goes. But it’s unclear why you would expect us to get it right in the first place. Underlying this issue is a claim or specific theory about about knowledge, such as it comes from authoritative sources, which no one seems want to acknowledge or address.

    Not to mention that you forgot to add an important qualifier to the end of that sentence.

    Why yes, we do hold you in contempt LH, because you support the practice of killing little boys and girls, chopping them into little pieces, and then selling the pieces like meat, unless God demanded you to.

    Apparently, in that case, you would not hold LH in contempt.

    However, the very same arguments one could use to “justify” God of demanding the death women and their unborn children by the sword could be used to “justify” the actions of abortionists.

    For example, if a women is evil enough to want their child to die, then one could argue that their child’s death would be God’s punishment for her evil. And being raised in such a family, such a child would have just been evil as well. IOW, it’s unclear how you could know that God isn’t just using abortionists as a “surgeon” to “cut out” evil that exceeded some limit that we cannot comprehend.

    Again, t’s still unclear how, when faced with a moral problem, in practice, you have any other recourse then to conjectures solutions and criticize them. That is, you would need a way to infallibly identify an infallible source, then interpret it infallibly to “morally” denounce the above. In absence of an explanation of how this is possible, you must conjecture ideas that God is like X, Y or Z, take those ideas on-board seriously, as if they were true in reality, then discard those ideas that not survive criticism. To exclude the above scenario, that’s what you would have done

    Even if there is some objective moral principles, it’s unclear how you are in any better position than anyone else.

    Let me guess: we must be able to infallibly identify an infallible source and interpret it infallibility, or anything goes?

  117. 117
    Barry Arrington says:

    GUN:

    Yes, it’s hard to come up with a “logical” reason “why not?”- I may have to pull the “self-evident” card.

    Do you realize what you just said? I am not arguing FOR being a psychopath in those posts. I am merely taking materialist logic to its ultimate conclusion. The answer, as you see here, is to reject the logic of materialism, because it is self-evidently false.

    Good for you GUN. You went right up to the edge of truth there.

    Even for the Christian, the answer, ultimately, to “Why have a relationship with God and strive to be moral?” Is because it ultimately leads to happiness. Just more “weak-kneed sentimentality”, right?

    If being happy isn’t the goal, than what is?

    And then you backed away from the edge. I will tell you the answer to that question. The goal is to be good. And if one must choose between being good and being happy, then one must sacrifice happiness for the sake of goodness. Examine the life of any good person. You will see that they did not strive for happiness and often were among the most miserable people of all.

    Anyone who says “happiness” is the ultimate goal has been thoroughly conditioned by and assimilated into the 21st century Western zeitgeist. GUN, you can escape if you try hard enough. I will not lie to you and tell you it is easy. But resistance is NOT futile.

  118. 118
    Barry Arrington says:

    Popperian

    Oh wait, no one has successfully shown that my arguments are actually fallacious.

    Correction, you have stubbornly resisted correction. Not the same thing Pop, not the same thing.

  119. 119
    Barry Arrington says:

    Popperian @ 116:

    Dear readers, I invite you to read the 544-word logorrhea Popperian spews into the combox at 116. Apparently he is unable to heed the title of this post.

    Pop, I will give you another chance and repeat the next to last line of the OP and await your response. No need to spew several hundred more words into the combox. A simple “Yes” or “No” will do.

    Does your moral theory compel you unambiguously to condemn the practice of chopping little boys and girls up and selling the pieces like so much meat?

    And if the answer is “no”, I repeat the last line:

    Then your moral theory is as worthless as a fresh steaming pile of dog feces.

    I understand you are very prideful and want to demonstrate your superior intellect. But it really is just that simple. Any child can understand it. Can you?

  120. 120
    Popperian says:

    Dear readers, I invite you to read the 544-word logorrhea Popperian spews into the combox at 116. Apparently he is unable to heed the title of this post.

    The funny thing is, it you who is arguing for something far more complicated than I am.

    I’m suggesting that all knowledge – including knowledge in the moral sphere and regardless if in brains, books, or even the genomes of organisms – grows via some form of conjecture and criticism. IOW, a theory for the universal growth of knowledge.

    On the other hand, AFAIK, no such theory has been pressed here. At best, it’s simple because there is no theory beyond, “that’s just what some designer must have wanted.”

    Even then, you’re still left with different spheres, such as human knowledge, moral “principles” and God’s… well… I still can’t get a clear answer because both ID and theism has no explanation for the knowledge found in organisms. I can’t even get anyone to indicate if the knowledge in organisms, which are the origin of that organisms features, started out in once place, in God, then was copied to another place, in the cells of organism. It’s like putting teeth.

    Then again, the details of how God actually does anything must remain unexplainable. So, it would come as no surprise that your theory lacks an explanation. Otherwise, this would yet another case where God just gets pushed back further and further.

    IOW, if your theory is simple because its explanation for knowledge is absent, irrational or supernatural, and therefore inexplicable, that’s not a feature.

    Barry:

    Does your moral theory compel you unambiguously to condemn the practice of chopping little boys and girls up and selling the pieces like so much meat?

    [If no, then] your moral theory is as worthless as a fresh steaming pile of dog feces.

    First, “unambiguous” means, not being open to more than one interpretation. However, I’ve been pointing out problem with just that assumption. So, let me fix that for you.

    Does your moral theory compel you – though the infallible identification and interpretation of an infallible source of moral principles – the practice of chopping little boys and girls up and selling the pieces like so much meat?

    [If no, then] your your moral theory is as worthless as a fresh steaming pile of dog feces.

    One such illustration…

    However, the very same arguments one could use to “justify” God demanding the death women and their unborn children by the sword could be used to “justify” the actions of abortionists.

    For example, if a women is evil enough to want their child to die, then one could argue that their child’s death would be God’s punishment for her evil. And being raised in such a family, such a child would have just been evil as well. IOW, it’s unclear how you could know that God isn’t just using abortionists as a “surgeon” to “cut out” evil that exceeded some limit that we cannot comprehend.

    Are you saying we can unambiguously rule this out? If so how?

    Are the only “legitimate” cases in which God interacts with human beings, such as revealing moral commands, those documented in ancient holy texts? But that would be like saying the only “legitimate” cases in which God saves a person in an aircraft accident or heals someone who is ill are those documented in ancient holy texts. Somehow I don’t think you’d agree with that.

  121. 121
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Some things are simple, and other things are pompous and unintelligible. Some apropos commentary here from back in 1898 but could have been written today with a few modifications.

    Surely, … we can arrive at the conclusion that Kant’s philosophy is as obscure and uncertain as it is pretentious. Is it possible that this is the secret of its influence? It has ever been the way that the mysterious and the incomprehensible seem greater than truth which is comprehended, and thus, as it were, reduced to the dimensions of the mind which makes it its own. Moreover, besides the sense of liberty and expansion, which the mysterious and unaccountable carry with them, the study involves no real labour : it is easier to affirm, or dream all day long, than to solve one problem in Euclid.

    ” The lowest stage of degradation,” says Schopenhauer, “was reached by Hegel, who to stifle the freedom of thought won by Kant, turned Philosophy, the daughter of Reason … into an instrument of obscurantism, … but in order to hide the disgrace, and at the same time stupefy men’s brains to the utmost, drew over her a veil of the emptiest verbiage and the most senseless hodge-podge ever heard out of Bedlam.”

    I got a good laugh there. “Pretentious, hodge-podge, empty verbiage”. Also: “the mysterious and the incomprehensible seem greater than truth which is comprehended”.

    “Who has ever yet uttered one intelligible word about Hegel? Not one of his countrymen -not any foreigner seldom even himself;” and certainly I think, that any one who reads a few pages of the philosopher, or his commentators will share in the perplexity of Professor Ferrier. So it was ninety years ago with Sydney Smith in the presence of ” Professor Kant and his twelve categories; his distinctions between empirical, rational and transcendental philosophy ; his absolute unity, absolute totality, and absolute causation; his four reflective conceptions, his objective noumenal reality, his subjective elements, and his pure cognition “. Sydney Smith had singular powers of perception, but he was unable to penetrate Kant’s “realm of shadows ” ; the title which Hegel, with amusing candour, gives to his own system. “

    🙂

    It is onlv children and barbarians who take people at their own valuation : a privilege freelv granted to Kant, and his many imitators. When a philosopher has obtained this semi-religious position, his disciples expect him to be treated with a kind of veneration, and any failure in this arouses indignation, and that retaliation which puts an end to discussion. In this country at present this is one of our greatest difficulties. Indeed, enthusiasts for the New Philosophy go farther, and are indignantly contemptuous, when we timidly say we do not understand masters, who boldly assert that they are new in every sense of the word, and that their mission is to lead the reason of mankind by paths which were never before imagined. Surely there is nothing offensive in saying that, we are nervous when asked to give up our veteran pilots for others who have only made voyages on the map.

    New Philosophy must be a fatal objection. Schopenhauer s view that ” Philosophy, the daughter of Reason,” is merely the ” future mother of Truth,” will only satisfy those who hold that the pursuit, not the possession of Truth, is the end of life; an idea which is the animating principle of modern unbelief, and is boldly affirmed by some of its leaders. Herein lies one secret of its influence and its fascinations. It is important, however, to reflect that this characteristic of our times is only a new fashion of an old folly. St. Bernard tells of those whose glory it was to “doubt everything, and know nothing,” and Lord Bacon, “Certainly there be that delight in giddiness, and count it a bondage to fix a belief, affecting free-will in thinking as well as in actiuo- ” Again it is one of the strange perversities of the mind that it prides itself on asking questions to which it does not expect an answer. It was said of old that ” one fool can ask more questions than ten wise men can answer : for he does not know that his questionings are an evidence of his ignorance of the Boundaries of knowledge, and of those t reason itself: ”

    Their glory to doubt everything and know nothing. Asking questions to which it does not expect an answer. The pursuit not the possession of truth is their end in life.

    The worship of ” mistiness as mother of wisdom” is no novelty; Edmund Burke speaks of “certain compositions, admired by credulous ignorance, for no other reason than because they were not understood, the generality being content to admire because it is the fashion to admire. If the work under these circumstances be pompous and unmeaning, its success is sure, as its pomp dazzles and its vacancy puzzles, both which are admirable ingredients to procure respect.”

    Excerpts from The Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Pascal
    William Bullen Morris

    Compositions admired for no other reason than because they were not understood. 🙂
    Pompous and unmeaning – it’s pomp dazzles and its vacancy puzzles. 🙂

  122. 122
    Learned Hand says:

    Mike,

    “We have a hard time understanding” is really another way of saying, “my morality is better than yours.”

    It really isn’t. I’m sorry you thought so. Perhaps it’s better we not continue.

  123. 123
    Learned Hand says:

    You know very well that we are discussing the “right to choose” as it is understood by Planned Parenthood, which is an appeal to a constitutional right–a solely legal construct.

    Now I definitely don’t understand you. Are you saying that PP believes that the right to choose, as a purely legal construct, should be interpreted as wholly unbounded? Or rather that PP believes, as a moral matter, should be wholly unbounded? I think both are wrong, but they’re different points, and you seem upset that I misunderstood which one you intended. I thought the latter, but apparently not?

    That fact that the Constitution is based on the natural moral law is a fact that bothers them not in the least.

    Probably because they, like a lot of people, don’t think that “natural moral law” is a meaningful standard in court. Because like a lot of objectivist standards, it’s incommunicable. Law requires drawing hard lines and distinguishing in a careful way between “permissible” and “impermissible.” “Natural moral law,” being the sort of thing that people have to argue and debate even though it’s supposedly objective and obvious to all, makes a very poor standard for drawing fine lines. Which is one reason why we have a written constitution instead of a universal appeal to “natural moral law” – objectivism failed us there, so we turned to the sort of thing subjectivists would use, consent. Consequently, when PP or anyone else wants to figure out what the law of the land is, they turn to the written constitution rather than “natural moral law.”

    I don’t believe you.

    OK. I’m sorry about that. But I don’t think there’s really any way to misunderstand or disagree with StephenB without being a liar or an insane person, so I don’t know what I can do about it. I really don’t get the point you were trying to make. You said that the “right to choose” is not a “moral issue”, which seems so wildly off base from the entire conversation that surely it deserves some kind of explanation. You complain that I don’t acknowledge that we’re discussing what PP believes, but I’m pretty sure PP would acknowledge that the right to choose is a moral issue. It can be a legal issue too, but the morality precedes the legalism for most people. That is to say, most people who are pro-choice believe that it is morally right for women to have the autonomy to choose abortion (subject to limits, those limits varying depending on who you ask).

    So given that the morality seems central to the question to everyone involved, from PP to me and you and Barry, no, I really don’t understand what you mean when you say the legal right to choose isn’t a moral issue.

    A quote from Planned Parenthood in the context of rationalizing a partial-birth abortion: “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.”

    In the context of defending a specific procedure. I looked up the quote. I think when she says “any decision,” that she means “any decision made during this procedure,” as in the decision to terminate or save the fetus. I don’t think she meant “any decision about any procedure,” since in context she wasn’t talking about all procedures.

    I don’t think you can extend her statement from that to prove either that she personally, or PP, believes the right should be totally unbounded. My skepticism is a drop of water in the blazing sun of your self-certainty, yet it exists.

    Translation: I have no evidence.

    That’s true. I have no evidence of what PP’s position is. Nor have I seen any from you, but for one comment from one person representing one PP chapter, from which you plucked a few words to be grandly extended and taken as a policy statement for the entire organization. In other words, neither of us has any evidence. I’m comfortable being skeptical of the grand, furious conclusions you’ve drawn.

  124. 124
    Barry Arrington says:

    I have given Popperian multiple opportunities to declare that killing little boys and girls and cutting them into pieces and selling the pieces is evil.

    He refuses to do so. Instead we get hundreds of more words that amount to get “It is oh so sophisticated and nuance-y and subtle. I just can’t say whether cutting little boys and girls up is bad.”

    Like I said at the end of the OP, Popperian’s words are the moral equivalent of a fresh steaming pile of dog feces.

    There is no sense in moving forward. Popperian has descended into the insane denial I discuss here. Madness. Sheer evil madness. Conversation over.

  125. 125
    Barry Arrington says:

    Learned Hand at 123 continues with his version of insane denial.

    In the partial birth abortion cases Planned Parenthood insisted a woman should still have the right to have her baby murdered even during the process of birth when 9/10 of its body was out of the womb.

    Inexplicably LH continues to insist that PP is not absolutist with respect to the “right” to abortion.

    LH, you are not fooling anyone, least of all yourself. Your insane denial has been exposed. You are a liar. What’s more, everyone knows you are a liar. It is a mystery why you persist. That is quite enough. Stop it.

  126. 126
    goodusername says:

    Barry,

    Do you realize what you just said? I am not arguing FOR being a psychopath in those posts.

    Yes, I realize that you believe that what you’re saying only applies to materialists should do if they are being logically consistent.

    I am merely taking materialist logic to its ultimate conclusion. The answer, as you see here, is to reject the logic of materialism, because it is self-evidently false.

    What is the “logic of materialism”? How, pray tell, does that logic dictate that a clear-eyed materialist would suppress empathy and perhaps all desires?
    It sounds like you’re saying that materialists logically ought to become masochists or ascetics or something.
    I need help making the leap from “I’m a materialist” to “I therefore ought to forgo all of my desires and anything that which makes me happy”.

    The goal is to be good.

    Why is that the goal?

    Examine the life of any good person. You will see that they did not strive for happiness and often were among the most miserable people of all.

    I don’t believe that there’s usually a conflict between being a good person and the pursuit of happiness – they usually coincide, like being a good parent.
    I think the most miserable people I know were people who actually did strive for happiness – but were mistaken in what it is that would make them happy – and so did things they regret because they thought that it did conflict with being a good person.

    And even Christians that are miserable in this life while doing good in this world (or because of it), they are doing so in the hope or belief of having happiness in the next.

    Anyone who says “happiness” is the ultimate goal has been thoroughly conditioned by and assimilated into the 21st century Western zeitgeist.

    It’s a tad older than the 21st century. There’s a reason that the right to “pursuit of happiness” is listed as a “self-evident” truth.

    GUN, you can escape if you try hard enough. I will not lie to you and tell you it is easy. But resistance is NOT futile.

    Escape what? The desire or pursuit of happiness? Why would anyone (Christian or materialist) do that?

  127. 127
    kairosfocus says:

    GUN, 115:

    I may have to pull the “self-evident” card.

    Self-evidence is not a rhetorical trick.

    Start with, 2 + 3 = 5. Once we are in a position to understand what is being claimed, we see it is true and that it must be so on pain of patent absurdity on attempted denial.

    At a slightly more difficult level, try, error exists. Cal this E. Try to deny it, ~ E. Put them together E and ~E, which as a contradiction is necessarily false. To try to deny E necessarily, directly entails that error exists.

    And more.

    More directly to what you would dodge and duck, it is self-evidently wrong and evil to kidnap, bind, gag, sexually assault and murder a young child who had been walking home from school.

    Try to deny that and make sense.

    Cannot be done.

    Hence the distractions.

    Likewise, the unborn child in the womb half the time is not even the same sex as the mother. Even if female, it is genetically distinct, e.g. she may be of a different race or have a different blood type. And, as we all know we came from such unborn children, we celebrate our birthdays.

    The unborn child is human, is of a distinct identity from either parent and the point where that new human life begins is when sperm meets and enters ovum, triggering the continuous development process known as pregnancy.

    Which (generally speaking) points out the true moment of the right/responsibility to choose: the decision to keep the knees together or apart, in simple terms. Once the knees open up under well known circumstances a process leading to potential conception is set in motion.

    Imposing death on the innocent under such circumstances, largely for reasons of convenience [the notorious hard cases being a tiny percentage and shrinking in the face of C21 medicine], is dubious.

    The absurdities and corruptions of thought, morality, medicine, nursing, law, government, media, education, society and culture that flow from such moral absurdities, are patent.

    Our civilisation’s bloodguilt for hundreds of millions of cases cries out to heaven against us.

    KF

  128. 128
    goodusername says:

    KF,

    Self-evidence is not a rhetorical trick.

    And I wasn’t using it as such. Anything can be used as a rhetorical trick though.

  129. 129
    kairosfocus says:

    GUN, On wide observation, generally when one says that someone is using or playing the X-card, that carries with it an aura of such being a questionable but strong move. Particularly when what plausibly seem to be scare quotes — another suggestion of something being dubious at best (or at minimum distancing oneself) — are also used. That is why I responded as above. KF

  130. 130
    StephenB says:

    Learned Hand.

    Probably because they, like a lot of people, don’t think that “natural moral law” is a meaningful standard in court.

    You may be certain that I will not discuss the subtleties of the natural moral law with someone who rejects simple evidence in a futile attempt to avoid refutation. That would be like discussing integral calculus with someone who thinks 2 +2 does not equal 4.

    SB: I don’t believe you.

    OK. I’m sorry about that. But I don’t think there’s really any way to misunderstand or disagree with StephenB without being a liar or an insane person, so I don’t know what I can do about it. I really don’t get the point you were trying to make.

    It has nothing to do with my attitude about those who disagree with me (and old and desperate materialist trick) and everything to do with your record of making false statements.

    You said that the “right to choose” is not a “moral issue”, which seems so wildly off base from the entire conversation that surely it deserves some kind of explanation.

    This is a good example of one more of your many false statements. As I made clear, I do believe it is a moral issue. Planned Parenthood, on the other hand, does not treat it as a moral issue. For them, only “persons,” as they define it, have a right to live.

    You complain that I don’t acknowledge that we’re discussing what PP believes, but I’m pretty sure PP would acknowledge that the right to choose is a moral issue

    You are “pretty sure?” Is that your argument?

    So given that the morality seems central to the question to everyone involved, from PP to me and you and Barry, no, I really don’t understand what you mean when you say the legal right to choose isn’t a moral issue.

    Marvelous. The lies just keep coming. Barry and I both know that abortion is a moral issue. No one believes you when you go into your “I don’t understand why you think it isn’t a moral issue” routine or your “I am doubtful about the meaning of the facts” gambit, or your “I am skeptical that PP is really that way” tactic.

    A quote from Planned Parenthood in the context of rationalizing a partial-birth abortion: “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.”

    In the context of defending a specific procedure. I looked up the quote. I think when she says “any decision,” that she means “any decision made during this procedure,” as in the decision to terminate or save the fetus. I don’t think she meant “any decision about any procedure,” since in context she wasn’t talking about all procedures.

    So, you add delusion to dishonesty. Remarkable. She means any decision that involves the continuing or the ending of a pregnancy. There is no question about it. Further, it is consistent with Planned Parenthood’s stated philosophy, about which you obviously know nothing—unless, of course, you do know and are knowingly making more false statements.

    I don’t think you can extend her statement from that to prove either that she personally, or PP, believes the right should be totally unbounded. My skepticism is a drop of water in the blazing sun of your self-certainty, yet it exists.

    Your alleged skepticism is a mere rhetorical dodge in the teeth of facts in evidence. Why an attorney would so degrade himself in a futile attempt to escape refutation is a mystery.

    SB: Translation: I have no evidence.

    That’s true. I have no evidence of what PP’s position is.

    Congratulations. You really can make a truthful statement when you want to. Keep it up.

    Nor have I seen any from you, but for one comment from one person representing one PP chapter, from which you plucked a few words to be grandly extended and taken as a policy statement for the entire organization. In other words, neither of us has any evidence. I’m comfortable being skeptical of the grand, furious conclusions you’ve drawn.

    It was merely one quote among many that I could have provided. Indeed, you responded to Barry’s evidence about PP’s legal battles over a woman’s absolute right in the same way that you responded to my quote. Obviously, you are unaware of the many other legal battles and the many other quotes. As a tactical maneuver, you simply dismiss the evidence, however compelling, and continue on with your sophistry. Every knowledgeable person knows that Planned Parenthood and NARAL hold that there should be no exceptions: For them, it is always a woman’s right to choose whether or not to continue or end her pregnancy.

    Planned Parenthood is the most evil organization on the face of the earth. That is why abortionists from this same organization will extract the brain from a live baby and giggle while they are selling it. That you staunchly support them even to the point of degrading yourself is instructive.

  131. 131
    mike1962 says:

    I think for me the take-away from all of this boils down to the following:

    Materialist: That’s not fair/moral/ethical.

    Me: In your world, fairness/morals/ethics is some murky subjective notion based on molecules in a certain configuration. Fairness is an illusion, and if you and I disagree, guess whose will I am going follow? To whom or what will you appeal if I decide I’m hungry for your liver? Maybe the State or someone else with big guns will come to your aid, maybe it won’t, but let’s not hear any more of this business about fairness and morality. I’m hungry for your liver with fava beans. Period.

    My will be done

    Now, maybe Reality is really is as the materialists believe. Can my deepest intuition and profound spiritual experiences really be so utterly deceived? I sure as hell hope not. For if I’m that utterly deceived, than I have no reason to believe in anything.

    Arguing with these moral nihilists is like arguing with congenitally blind men who pound the table and insist that color doesn’t exist. You’re never going to convince them until something or someone grants them eyes to see. They can’t help it. They were born without eyes.

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