Night Owl Mk. II

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Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.

Italicized/emphasized 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 third of a four-part reply. Select the "Go to next reply" link at the end of each part to read the next part of the reply.

(R) Another problem is the devastating blow that our cultural view of human life receives.
(MB) OK, I'll bite. What "devastating blow" has been received? Also, why is "our cultural view" (meaning, most likely, the Christian fundamentalist view) the correct one?

(R) And yet another problem that abortion creates is the varying degrees of mental disturbances and depressions that most women go through after receiving an abortion, as well as the health risks involved with the procedures.
(MB) I've already discussed the blinders you're wearing on this one. The same argument can be made to an even greater degree for women who are forced to bear unwanted children.

[RE: The abstinence I am referring to is simply days 10-16 of a women's mentrual cycle.] That's the rhythm method, isn't it? That doesn't work to any satisfactory degree of reliability since not all women follow that precise cycle.
(R) It may be akin to the rhythm method, but it is not the same.
(MB) How is abstinence at regular and specific times during the month not the same thing as the rhythm method?

(R) Besides, I guess your memory doesn't serve you very well since I have never proposed this as a sole method of protection. I simply proposed it as an augmentation to assist in protection when used in conjunction with another method. (such as Depo, or the pill)
(MB) I've already asked you why "another method" would have to be used if the woman can already not get pregnant if she simply abstains during her ovulation cycle. The answer supports my argument that the woman can't depend simply on relying on the absolute cyclic nature of her ovulations.

(R) There are many ways a woman could determine her cycle. In fact, there are many ways that a woman could know when she has begun to ovulate. (Such as drop in body temperature, looking at a calender, etc.)
(MB) I've already explained how these neat and tidy solutions don't work for all women. Few women are as regular as clockwork when it comes to their monthly cycles. There are many causes for this including stress, illness, injury, or high (or low) physical activity levels. Women do not always ovulate on the same day every month and do not always exhibit the same physical reactions to the onset of ovulation. There is also a body of evidence which shows that a group of women in close proximity (such as an office full of female secretaries or a female military barracks) will see their individual menstrual cycles change to effectively "synchronize" with each other. This will throw your advocated ovulation pattern completely out the window.
    The bottom line is that each woman is different and you can't apply blanket and stereotypical solutions to all of them as a group. You are always going to have to consider the circumstances of each individual case. This is what strictly moralistic solutions are so poor at doing.

Oh, please. There are several hundred million Catholics in the world who will provide a conclusive case study into how well the rhythm method "works".
(R) Again, I guess you still don't know how to read, or, you simply have a hyper-selective memory.
(MB) Again, I have demonstrated that your diatribe applies to your own arguments and not to mine. This is also additional proof that you can't handle facts or reality when they would conflict with your chosen dogmatic views.

(R) I have explicitly said repetitively that selective-abstinence IN CONJUNCTION with an effective birth control method will make it impossible for a women to get pregnant.
(MB) And, I have asked why any method other than selective abstinence would need to be used if what you advocate has any merit. If another effective birth control method is required because of the gray areas inherent with selective abstinence, you have the further problem of justifying the "impossibility" of getting pregnant when not even Depo-provera is 100% effective. I've already run the numbers for you on this one. No combination of solutions that are not all 100% effective individually can possibly make it "impossible" to get pregnant.

(R) That hardly could apply to Catholics since that prohibit the use of birth control.
(MB) I've already shown that this is a false claim.

(R) In order to argue against this, you have to argue that women can get pregnant even if there is no sperm in her body.
(MB) That is a red herring argument. There would be no need for any sort of birth control method whatsoever if there was no way for the woman to get any sperm into her uterus. Of course, that's the general idea behind condoms, vaginal barriers and coitus interruptus. Needless to say, none of those methods is 100% effective, either.
    You can't get around the fact that you are still going to have to deal with each case of unwanted pregnancy. It doesn't matter if there are 10 cases or 10 million cases. Your moral solutions must necessarily apply equally in all scenarios.

There is no such thing as a 100% probability of not becoming pregnant for any method other than complete and total abstinence for women who are still physically capable of conceiving.
(R) Have absolutely no reason to believe that.
(MB) I didn't think so. Why let facts get in the way of a perfectly good dogmatic viewpoint, right?

(R) As I have previously pointed out, there is no way that a women can become pregnant if there is no sperm in her body during her ovulation phase.
(MB) This has already been addressed.

That doesn't matter. Both the car accident and the accidental pregnancy are one-time incidents.
(R) It does matter. The analogy fails because it is positing an entirely different type of "accident" with entirely different types of prevention measures.
(MB) An "accident" is still an "accident", is it not? An "accident" is something that happens which was not intended, desired, or planned. The exact type of accident is irrelevant to the point. Isn't that the rationale for the use of analogies? Your quibble is nothing more than another attempt to evade addressing the point directly.

Most of the time, the careful driver will have no accidents. Most of the time, the careful woman will not become pregnant. However, it just takes once to counteract any number of previous successes. When that happens, the person involved must be able to choose from all possible solutions.
(R) While its true that accidents do happen, what constitutes as a "solution" to this "accident" is what the entire abortion debate is all about.
(MB) Abortion is obviously a solution. It may not be an *acceptable* solution to you, but that is a moral judgment that is not shared by everybody. The only person who should make the determination as to what solution may be acceptable for any given scenario is the person who is directly affected. In the case of an accidental pregnancy, that determination belongs to the woman and not to anybody else. Moral arguments are just one consideration among many that she must weigh in making her decision.

(R) Also, the whole notion of whether or not a baby is an "accident" to begin with remains to be seen.
(MB) What else would you call an unplanned, unwanted, and undesired pregnancy that may well have happened despite efforts in good conscience to avoid it?

(R) People don't accidentally have sex, therefore, they don't accidentally make babies.
(MB) That conclusion does not follow from your premise. The proof of this is that people willingly have sex with absolutely no intention of a pregnancy. After all, if they wanted a pregnancy as a result of having sex, why would they use any sort of birth control at all?
    People don't accidentally drive their cars, either. But, they can certainly become involved in accidents while driving even if they take every precaution. Applying your "retroactive solutions" argument, you would feel justified in telling the accident victim that he "should not have driven".

(R) It takes conscious, willful, and coherent thoughts and actions in order for two people to have sex.
(MB) Do you consider sex as a result of rape, incest, or incompetence to be "conscious, willful, and coherent"?

(R) That this voluntary activity produces babies is well known. Therefore, there are no accidents unless one wants to relegate the entire reproductive processes of humans to being an "accident."
(MB) This is a staggeringly incompetent argument unless you can somehow justify the claim that an unwanted pregnancy and the failure of good faith efforts to prevent it does not constitute an accident.

(R) Your analogy fails because the baby is not born "totaled." Nor is it a flawed or damaged product in the womb. It is a perfectly healthy biological entity. Therefore, it would not need to be "terminated." This is another reason why your analogy failed so sorefully.
(MB) Your failure to comprehend the meaning of the analogy is not an indication that it is flawed. The physical nature of the fetus is not the problem here. The fact that there is a fetus *at all* and that it was the result of an accidental and unplanned pregnancy is the problem for which a solution is being sought. In my analogy, the problem was not the state of the car after the accident. The problem was what to do once the accident has happened.

That doesn't mean that the driver can't go out and buy another car. Likewise, if a woman has an abortion, that doesn't mean that she couldn't later have another child at a time of her own choosing.
(R) Thank you for perfectly codifying the real issue. In this materialistic society, abortion is all about convenience. It if you don't want your human child now, terminate it. You can always have another one.
(MB) In some cases, convenience may well be a factor. In other cases, that is not an issue. In either case, the same decisions must be made. Are you better equipped to make those decisions for somebody else than is the woman who faces them directly and personally? Are you (or your religion) the ultimate arbiter of which reasons are "acceptable" and which are not? Is abortion acceptable in some cases and not in others? If so, where do you draw the line and why? You have yet to explain what the problem is with the woman freely choosing to have the children she wants to have at the time(s) she wishes to have them. What is really lost if she is granted that right?

(R) To show the utter flaws of your logic, I'll take it a step further with a parrot argument---"Why not make the age 1 or 2 years old? Because you can't manage your 2 year old, why not kill it? You can always have another one at a time of you own choosing when you can better manage it. And if you have a problem with that, too bad. We don't need to be told what is right and wrong by you who claim to occupy some "moral high ground."
(MB) This is not a parallel argument since a child who has been born is not treated by our legal system or by eons of human custom (or even by your own religion) as being the same as an unborn child. Therefore, killing a 1-2 year old child is not comparable to aborting a fetus. Since the basis of your argument is unsound, the arguments from it are irrelevant to the point under discussion.
    Perhaps you should look a little more closely at the last two sentences of your argument. Wouldn't you want those who purport to occupy the moral high ground to be able to mount a coherent defense of their position? This is why I keep calling for you to defend your arguments rather than just stating and restating them as blanket speeches.

Only in the case of a totaled vehicle which can't be returned to its original condition. Of course, since a woman can't "un-conceive", an abortion is an analogous situation.
(R) If only it were. Unfortunately, the fatal flaw of your analogy lies with the discrepancy involving the hypothetical cause, as well as the assertion that a perfect human life in the womb is analogous to a "totaled" vehicle. The "condition" of the baby is not what is in question. Its EXISTENCE is. Thus, you analogy fails at yet another level.
(MB) You've just unwittingly argued yourself into a logical corner here. Your last three sentences are exactly what I stated earlier and actually constitute a refutation of the position you are trying to defend!
    In both cases, the respective accidents exist, don't they? In each case, there is a problem that must be resolved, isn't there? In each case, there is a set of possible resolutions from which the ultimate solution must be drawn, isn't there? In both cases, shouldn't the accident victims be allowed to arrive at the solution which works best for them and not have something forced upon them by an outsider?

No, I compared two situations in which a person must make a crucial decision. My point is that the decision can't be forced upon them and that options can't be denied to them. Your diversionary attack merely seeks to avoid dealing with that point.
    Finally, if there was a consensus on whether or not an unborn baby was "human", there would be no issue here to debate. Therefore, your complaint is little more than question-begging tinged with an appeal to emotion.

(R) It is quite clear that the analogy falls apart at many vital points.
(MB) It is quite clear that you have actually agreed with my argument in the course of trying to refute it. See above. It is also quite clear that you are merely disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing without giving your arguments enough thought.

(R) A baby is not a damage product, the car is.
(MB) Just what is a "damage product"? We're talking about the nature of accidents and resolutions here.

(R) The accident for the car can happen on any day of the year, at any time of day, whereas a pregnancy can only occur 4 days out of a month.
(MB) None of that is relevant. A driver can't get into an automobile accident unless he is driving. A woman can't get pregnant (in vitro fertilization excepted, of course) without having sex. Your comparison only makes sense if you use and compare the relative percentages against an accident in each case. Also, I remind you that days 10-16 are a total of *7* days -- not *4* days.

(R) Also, a baby 99% of the time results from two people's decision to have irresponsible sex, whereas car accidents involve pure chance with little or no decision making involved women.
(MB) This is pure nonsense. Any time somebody drives, they are at risk for an accident. I know of no drivers who intentionally wish to increase that risk. In fact, most drivers take extra precautions to avoid them. Yet, they still happen.
    The same goes for the risk of pregnancy from sex. It's not a matter of "responsibility" unless you wish to argue that all failures of conscientious birth control must be classified as "irresponsible" and that is pure hogwash. Did you really mean to say that 99% of all babies are conceived irresponsibly?

(R) Its safe to say that your argument is bunk, as well as the logic you used to construct it.
(MB) All you've done is prove that you have no rational counters with which to refute my arguments. Your "facts" (when you present any) are invariably erroneous, your own arguments are inconsistent with each other, and you've constantly avoided answering the tough questions in order to make meaningless moralistic speeches. As such, your personal evaluation of the strength of my arguments is equally meaningless.

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