REPLY #16d TO
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text
and are prefaced by my initials (MB)
This is the last of a four-part reply.
You can extrapolate that simplistic nonsense all the way back through the sequence of getting married, dating, growing up, or even being born in the first place. Sex is a basic instinct. Period.
(R) Thats a half-truth. There are many people who live abstinent lives. If sex was purely instinctional, than how could this be?
(MB) That's because they still have the free will to consciously refuse to have sex even if their bodies want it. Ask yourself if a willfully abstinent man is still capable of having an erection. Abstinent men still masturbate and/or have
nocturnal emissions. They still have sex drives and are still fully capable of having sex. They merely choose not to do so for whatever their personal reasons might be. Instincts can be overcome by conscious decision-making. This is also what allows people to override the instinct for self-preservation and commit suicide.
"Just say 'No'" is not a realistic solution -- especially for married couples.
(R) Just saying "no" for one week out of four should not be a problem for any
couple who desperately do not want a baby.
(MB) Now, you're going from abstinence to the rhythm method. How many different sides of the issue do you want to advocate? Not to mention that your
"fail-safe" method doesn't work for everybody.
Sex is a necessary bonding activity in a marriage. It is naive to expect that it won't happen and it's foolish to demand that couples eat the risk of an unwanted pregnancy and suffer the consequences should it occur by retroactively applying arbitrary standards of morality to them.
(R) Why is this? Couples since the dawn of man have had to deal with that
uncertainty, why should we be any different? What makes us so special that we should be exempt from the responsibility that every other couple from 1973 to the dawn of man, had to deal with? This modern culture is so conceitedly self-centered and spoiled! Its sickening!
(MB) You seem to forget that abortion is not a "new" issue. It has been around since people first figured out how to perform one. You also seem to forget that the US Xian Fundamentalist view on the subject is one shared by only a small minority in this country -- much less in other countries (Xian and non-Xian
alike). So, you can't just throw up your hands and blanketly blame it on "this modern culture". You are going to have to unlock your brain and deal with it in a rational manner. Either that, or you are going to have to demonstrate why the Xian fundie view is not only the best possible view, but the *only* possible view on this issue.
Would you consider it "more respectful" to bear an unwanted and unloved child?
(R) The child could easily be adopted and raised in a loving home.
(MB) Yet another blanket speech that demonstrates a severely restricted view of the issue at hand.
Is it respectful to bear a child with a fatal birth defect who could
never have any sort of normal or happy life?
(R) Many children do live lives with birth defects. They live life in such a
way that produces in them character that you and I have not even seen the
(MB) You didn't even bother to read what I wrote before launching into another blanket speech. Let's try it one more time. How can children live at all if they have fatal birth defects and why is it "respectful" to force a mother to bear such a child?
(R) Why not change the climate of our culture so they would be accepted?
(MB) To what purpose? Why is it not better to allow the mother to abort such a seriously defective fetus and look forward to later conceiving and bearing a normal child which would not require any massive economic, emotional, or
societal changes or adjustments to accomodate? If the mother does not wish to bear as many children as she is capable of producing, why force her to bear a seriously defective child and rob her of the opportunity to bear and raise normal children?
(R) If their defect causes them to be immobile, then why not fund research to mobilize their lives better?
(MB) Again, to what purpose?
(R) Why are you so death-oriented?
(MB) I'm not. I'm oriented towards intelligence and reason. And, these things make it clear that it is much better to allow a woman to bear normal and desired children than to force her essentially to take pot luck. You still haven't
answered the question of what is lost if the woman is allowed to make her own choices. If she only wants two children, why can't she have a say in which two children those are rather than being forced to accept her first two pregnancies?
(R) They are many other solutions and possiblities to make life normal and happy for the disadvantaged. Killing them is not the answer.
(MB) I agree that there are many possbilities. What you fail to realize is that abortion is just one of them. It is not the only solution, nor should it be considered to be the best solution. But, it is an option which the mother must
be allowed to consider and choose freely for herself according to her own beliefs and circumstances.
Is it respectful to bring a child into an environment where it would suffer as a daily norm? Or, is it more respectful not to ever bear the child?
(R) Suffering can be overcome, but death is permanent.
(MB) If the child is never born, it has never had "life". How can abortion take away something which has never existed? On the other hand, the suffering of the child also adds to the suffering of the parents and the rest of the family along with having adverse societal impact. Yes, suffering can be overcome, but such things are far from the norm.
(R) Those who have overcome such suffering have more character in their left pinky than self-centered arrogant cretins like you could ever acheive in their whole lives.
(MB) Is everybody who uses logic and reason rather than emotion and dogma to be considered "self-centered arrogant cretins"? And, how do these ad homimem attacks do anything to explain or justify your views against abortion?
You would be confusing living human beings who had legal rights, privileges,
protections, and status with fetuses. Teenagers and fetuses are not the same.
(R) Human life is human life.
(MB) If that was true, there would be no differences defined in any sense. All circumstances would be equal. There would be no differences in legal, medical or moral interpretations. Since this is not the case, your simplistic answer
has no real meaning.
(R) The whole question of "rights" is what the abortion debate is all about.
The hypocrisy that is being showcased to the youth of our country is unparalleled.
(MB) What "hypocrisy" is this? Are we to inform our youth that women don't have rights? Is it better to teach them that somebody's else's arbitrary morality is more important than is the woman's circumstances? Do we teach them that the Xian Fundamentalist way is the one and only way?
(R) We teach kids in school that they are nothing but highly evolved germs that are nothing more than a product of a series of accidents, teach them that it is acceptable to kill another human as long as its unborn, and then we get baffled when they go through schools blowing people up.
(MB) This is muddled reasoning. You can't extrapolate teaching evolution or reproductive rights into teenagers believing that they are justified in going on shooting rampages in schools (or anywhere else, for that matter). Your
reasoning is even more muddled since it doesn't explain how Xian Fundies can consider it A Good Thing to blow up abortion clinics, murder physicians, and harass pregnant women even though they don't believe in evolution or the other things which you claim lead to teenagers going on rampages.
(R) I also find it no coincidence that most if not all of these school shootings
have happened during president clinton's presidency. Clinton is the biggest
supporter of abortion, and kids are not fooled by his or your hypocrisies, and they will shoot up schools to prove it.
(MB) This argument doesn't even deserve to be called insipid. I'm certainly no supporter of Clinton, but there is absolutely no justification for blaming him for the recent spate of school violence. It is a logical fallacy to equate
correllation with causality. (Do you *really* believe that kids will shoot up a
school because they want to prove that they are not fooled by Clinton?)
I also don't buy the equally fallacious arguments that video games, movies, or the media are to blame for school violence. If any of those arguments was true, we should be seeing *FAR* more violent incidents than we actually do since many millions of teenagers are exposed to them but only a handful actually
commit these acts.
However, those exceptional situations would not be present at the time that the child was conceived and the parents were faced with the immediate decisions surrounding its eventual birth. The fact that bad things might happen in the future is not the same thing as the reality that things might be bad already and have little hope of improvement.
(R) Circumstance and situations can change, but death is permanent. I have no respect for people who think death is a viable alternative when situations are not just so.
(MB) Considering that you can't even define "human life" coherently and that you can't even begin to explain what is "special" about it or why anything even should be "special" about it, the fact that you claim to have no respect for anybody who doesn't share your beliefs doesn't mean a whole lot. All it proves
is that this question is a matter of emotion and dogma for you instead of one based on logic, reason, or facts.
(R) My sister and her husband had their first baby under the most trying of circumstances, yet, they perservered and now they have a happy home with a beautiful little 4 year-old daughter.
(MB) Terrific! However, if they had chosen abortion earlier and had conceived another child a year or two later, what would have changed except that they would now have a 2-3 year-old daughter instead of one which is four years
(R) Circumstance change. Death is not a solution. Its just that most women would rather chicken-out and evade responsiblity and take the easy-way out.
(MB) What "responsibility"? Is it more "responsible" to bear a child before that child can be properly loved and supported?
(R) I have no respect for such lilly-livered, spineless, character-deficient jellyfish who are not willing to rise above tribulation and challenges, and learn and
grow in maturity as a result of their endurances.
(MB) So why don't you give up all of your possessions and money and live the secluded and austere life of a monk? Are you too lilly-livered, spineless, and character-deficient to accept the challenges of that lifestyle? Your Jesus advocates such things, you know. Don't you trust what he says?
At such time, they could freely choose to have children who would gain the benefits of the parents' improved ability to love and support them. What is lost if the prospective parents are allowed to have their children at a time when they are best able to raise them? What is gained if those same parents are forced by some arbitrary moral dictates to bear children they don't want or can't support at the time they might be conceived?
(R) Your moral ideals could be considered just as arbitrary as any other.
(MB) Perhaps. But, I judge the moral value of an idea based upon its consequences and can justify it on that basis. You judge yours based upon the
dictates of a belief system invented by nomadic shepherds thousands of years ago which is, in turn, based upon the belief in a supernatural entity for whom there is no evidence of existence. Your morality can not be justified by appealing to that belief system since that would be circular reasoning.
(R) Whats gained by not aborting is the birth of a human person into the
(MB) You still need to answer this question: If a woman wants to have one child, what is lost if that child is not produced as a result of her first
pregnancy? Is not one baby essentially the same as any other?
(R) Whats gained is repect and consideration for human life. Whats gained is
character and integrity. All these are priceless.
(MB) How are any of these things lost if the woman is allowed to bear the children she wants? Once those children are born, they will be given all the
rights and privileges and consideration that accrue to any other person. To do as you advocate gives supremacy to upholding a specific and arbitrary dogmatic system of morality that is the exclusive realm of American Fundamentalist Xianity.
Since I have said nothing of the sort, your claim is nothing more than the irrational blithering of somebody who can't justify his own opinions. Your case is not improved by trying to distort mine.
(R) Your logic could be reduced to this principle: (1) "if life is not
guaranteed to be optimal, it should be aborted."
(MB) You still don't get it, do you? My principle is that the woman should be able to freely choose from all available options rather than having the choice forced upon her by others. If she doesn't choose abortion, she doesn't have to
have one. If she does chooses abortion, she should be permitted to have one. What about this is so difficult to understand?
(R) My point was exposing the absurdity of your logic by showing that if we carried it out to its logical end, we would all abort our own lives because we have no guarantee that our lives will be "optimal" in the future.
(MB) Since you have demonstrated that you don't even know what I advocate, how can you claim what it would lead to? Relying on silly extremes only shows the weakness of your own arguments.
The reason we hear about them is because those cases are so rare. Ifthe majority of cases were that way, they wouldn't be news nor would they be inspiring. The reality of the matter is that far more children never overcome horrible childhoods and many of those childhoods are horrible because the children themselves were unwanted when they were born.
(R) Thats false. Many "horrible" childhoods occur in all walks of life from welfare families all the way up to upper class households. Most of the children who grow up in horrible environments were wanted.
(MB) Please try to read what I write before launching into another unjustifiable speech. I said that far more children never overcome horrible childhoods. I said not a single word about the economic status of their households. Also, I said "many", not "most", when saying how many of these children were unwanted.
You either need to address what I say or justify your modifications.
Even if a few do rise above it all, what reason is there to force them to have been born into such a situation in the first place? Is there some perverse "justice" in forcing so much suffering on children just because a few might overcome it? That's not too far from something as foolish as justifying the Holocaust because a few people survived it.
(R) The comical thing about your analogy of the holocaust is that the holocaust
was the extermination of human life.
(MB) Of course, all of the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust were already born, correct? Not to mention that your simplistic and evasive retort doesn't even begin to answer the questions that I asked.
(R) Regardless of whether or not a baby is "wanted," suffering occurs in life to
(MB) Does that mean that suffering is "good" or that something which might reduce suffering is "bad"? Your statement essentially boils down to "Shit
happens. Deal with it." The problem with it is that you wish to limit the ways in which people *can* deal with it.
(R) There is no guarantee that one will have good life, even under the most optimal conditions at the time of birth. Things change, people change, economies change and there is no guarantee that suffering will not happen. So "suffering" fails as a
ligitimate basis for killing the unborn child.
(MB) More of the same. See above...
You have yet to explain why the US is practically alone in the sort of attitudes toward abortion that you support. In most of the rest of the world, it's barely even an issue. If our culture is so weak that abortion can turn it into barbarism, we have *far* more serious problems to deal with. In fact, if a culture is barbaric, it makes even *less* sense to force unwanted children to be born into it.
(R) A) I have no way of knowing how accurate the information you are communicating to me concerning how the world views abortion actual is.
(MB) Then, I guess you need to do your research before you start proposing blanket moralities which you would apply to everybody.
(R) B) make the culture not barbaric, and do not kill the unborn children. That
way, we would establish two "goods" as opposed to giving way to two evils.
(MB) You have yet to establish how abortion makes a culture "barbaric" in any way, much less justify that abortion is "evil".
Abortion is just one option out of many that are (and should be) available for parents to choose from. Not all solutions work for all people in all cases. To arbitrarily deny any options is to deny some people the right to choose what is best for them and their situation. The choice belongs to the parents -- and *only* to the parents. Nobody else has any right to interfere in that choice. You are certainly free to disagree with any choice they may choose to make, but you can not deny them the
right to make their choice.
(R) If parent's "choice" is so supreme, how far away are we from allowing parent's to terminate the lives of their children after their born?
(MB) I'd say that we are a tremendous distance away from allowing that. Your statement is another example of an invalid extrapolation. And, need I say it again, it doesn't address the points being made. Why can't you address the simple question of why the parents must have their abortion decision forced upon
(R) Why couldn't killing your 2 year-old be a valid option if it best fits the
parents' situation? Where does it end?
(MB) It ends at the moment of birth -- when the child gains all the legal rights and privileges that the rest of us enjoy. No illogical extrapolations or emotional appeals will change that.
(R) Also, you have yet to show how the morality: "human life should be
protected," is arbitrary.
(MB) Oh, really? If it's not arbitrary, then from what absolute source does it derive? Please remember that the answer to this question must be supported by unquestionable evidence and must not be dependent upon any dogmatic system of belief that does not enjoy universal hegemony.
In this age of technology and scientific enlightenment, it is a shame that so many people are still brainwashed by ancient mythology and can't think clearly enough to make their own decisions or allow others to do so.
(R) Valuing unborn human life is "ancient mythology?" Since when?
(MB) Not only did I not say this, you've got your history bass-ackwards (again). Valuing "unborn human life" is a recent development which corresponds with the rise of American Xian Fundamentalism.
(R) Oh, wait, this is probable a feeble attempt by you to slip in a little
religion-bashing by spewing forth your historical ignorance and stereotypical rubbish.
(MB) Once again, please read what I wrote before launching into further speech-making. I said that it is a shame that people are still brainwashed by
ancient mythology and can't think clearly enough to make their own decisions or
allow others to do so. Do you dispute this?