Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

A simple case for the pro-life position by Scott Klusendorf

Are you able to make a basic case for the pro-life view?

Here’s a short 38-lecture by Scott Klusendorf, president of the Life Training Institute.

This is a long treatment that talks about the challenge of moral relativism and the case for the pro-life view. He does show a clip of abortion in the video to the audience.

There’s also a 35-minute audio recording of Scott on the LTI web site. (H/T Apologetics 315) You can put that on your podcast player and listen to it. Listen to it a lot and soon you’ll sound like Scott.

Scott also has an article posted on the LTI web site for those who don’t have time for the video or the audio.

In the article makes three points:

  1. Clarify the issue
  2. Defend your pro-life position with science and philosophy
  3. Challenge your listeners to be intellectually honest

Here’s the second point:

Scientifically, we know that from the earliest stages of development, the unborn are distinct, living, and whole human beings. Leading embryology books confirm this.2 For example, Keith L. Moore & T.V.N. Persaud write, “A zygote is the beginning of a new human being. Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm … unites with a female gamete or oocyte … to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”3 Prior to his abortion advocacy, former Planned Parenthood President Dr. Alan Guttmacher was perplexed that anyone, much less a medical doctor, would question this. “This all seems so simple and evident that it is difficult to picture a time when it wasn’t part of the common knowledge,” he wrote in his book Life in the Making.4

Philosophically, we can say that embryos are less developed than newborns (or, for that matter, toddlers) but this difference is not morally significant in the way abortion advocates need it to be. Consider the claim that the immediate capacity for self-awareness bestows value on human beings. Notice that this is not an argument, but an arbitrary assertion. Why is some development needed? And why is this particular degree of development (i.e., higher brain function) decisive rather than another? These are questions that abortion advocates do not adequately address.

As Stephen Schwarz points out, there is no morally significant difference between the embryo that you once were and the adult that you are today. Differences of size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency are not relevant such that we can say that you had no rights as an embryo but you do have rights today. Think of the acronym SLED as a helpful reminder of these non-essential differences:5

Size: True, embryos are smaller than newborns and adults, but why is that relevant? Do we really want to say that large people are more human than small ones? Men are generally larger than women, but that doesn’t mean that they deserve more rights. Size doesn’t equal value.

Level of development: True, embryos and fetuses are less developed than the adults they’ll one day become. But again, why is this relevant? Four year-old girls are less developed than 14 year-old ones. Should older children have more rights than their younger siblings? Some people say that self-awareness makes one human. But if that is true, newborns do not qualify as valuable human beings. Six-week old infants lack the immediate capacity for performing human mental functions, as do the reversibly comatose, the sleeping, and those with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Environment: Where you are has no bearing on who you are. Does your value change when you cross the street or roll over in bed? If not, how can a journey of eight inches down the birth-canal suddenly change the essential nature of the unborn from non-human to human? If the unborn are not already human, merely changing their location can’t make them valuable.

Degree of Dependency: If viability makes us human, then all those who depend on insulin or kidney medication are not valuable and we may kill them. Conjoined twins who share blood type and bodily systems also have no right to life.

In short, it’s far more reasonable to argue that although humans differ immensely with respect to talents, accomplishments, and degrees of development, they are nonetheless equal because they share a common human nature.

That’s the core of the basic pro-life case right there. There’s also a good interview of Mr. Klusendorf that I blogged about.

Advanced Objections

You can learn more by reading basic pro-life apologetics… from Francis Beckwith. You might recognize Frank Beckwith as the author of “Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice“. He wrote that book for Cambridge University Press, a top academic press. But before Cambridge University Press, Beckwith wrote easy-to-understand essays for the Christian Research Journal.

Here are four essays that answer common arguments in favor of legalized abortion.

Here’s an excerpt from Part II:

Excerpt:

A woman who becomes pregnant due to an act of either rape or incest is the victim of a horribly violent and morally reprehensible crime. Although pregnancy as a result of either rape or incest is extremely rare, [1] there is no getting around the fact that pregnancy does occur in some instances.

[...]Despite its forceful appeal to our sympathies, there are several problems with this argument. First, it is not relevant to the case for abortion on demand, the position defended by the popular pro-choice movement. This position states that a woman has a right to have an abortion for any reason she prefers during the entire nine months of pregnancy, whether it be for gender-selection, convenience, or rape. [3] To argue for abortion on demand from the hard cases of rape and incest is like trying to argue for the elimination of traffic laws from the fact that one might have to violate some of them in rare circumstances, such as when one’s spouse or child needs to be rushed to the hospital. Proving an exception does not establish a general rule.

[...]Fourth, this argument begs the question by assuming that the unborn is not fully human. For if the unborn is fully human, then we must weigh the relieving of the woman’s mental suffering against the right-to-life of an innocent human being. And homicide of another is never justified to relieve one of emotional distress. Although such a judgment is indeed anguishing, we must not forget that the same innocent unborn entity that the career-oriented woman will abort in order to avoid interference with a job promotion is biologically and morally indistinguishable from the unborn entity that results from an act of rape or incest. And since abortion for career advancement cannot be justified if the unborn entity is fully human, abortion cannot be justified in the cases of rape and incest. In both cases abortion results in the death of an innocent human life. As Dr. Bernard Nathanson has written, “The unwanted pregnancy flows biologically from the sexual act, but not morally from it.” [5]Hence, this argument, like the ones we have already covered in this series, is successful only if the unborn are not fully human.

Scott Klusendorf wrote the The Case for Life, which is the best book for beginners on the pro-life view. For those looking for advanced resources, Francis Beckwith, a professor at Baylor University, published the book Defending Life, with Cambridge University Press, 2007.

I found a very polished hour-long talk by Scott on Youtube. That talk was delivered to students and faculty at Furman University.

Finally, if you want to see Scott Klusendorf in a debate with a former ACLU executive, you can see it right here.

My friend Papa Georgio sent me a post that features THREE talks by Scott Klusendorf. (H/T Religio-Political Talk)

Learn about the pro-life case

And some posts motivating Christians and conservatives to take abortion seriously:

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Not just aborting babies with Down’s syndrome – Dawkins supports infanticide

Listen up you atheists, the Pope has spoken

Listen up you atheists, the Pope has spoken

The UK Telegraph reports on the latest Dawkins blunder.

Excerpt:

Richard Dawkins, the atheist writer, has claimed it is “immoral” to allow unborn babies with Down’s syndrome to live.

The Oxford professor posted a message on Twitter saying would-be parents who learn their child has the condition have an ethical responsibility to “abort it and try again”.

His comments were dismissed by charities and prompted fury online from opponents but he insisted his stance was “very civilised” because foetuses do not have “human feelings”.

He claimed that the important question in the abortion debate is not “is it ‘human’?” but “can it suffer?” and insisted that people have no right to object to abortion if they eat meat.

[...]Anti-abortion campaigners describe the practice of aborting foetuses on physical grounds as a form of “eugenics”.

But Prof Dawkins strongly defended its as simply standard practice and ridiculed his critics as portraying him as “a horrid monster”.

The row erupted during a debate on Twitter about calls for further changes to Ireland’s abortion laws in the wake of the case of a rape victim who was forced to carry the child until she could deliver by caesarean section.

One participant said they would suffer a real ethical dilemma if they were carrying a child with the condition.

Prof Dawkins replied: “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”

Another pointed to recent figures asking: “994 human beings with Down’s Syndrome deliberately killed before birth in England and Wales in 2012 – is that civilised?”

He responded: “Yes, it is very civilised. These are foetuses, diagnosed before they have human feelings.”

I’m really not sure why anyone is surprised by this. Dawkins is an atheist and as such, he has no rational grounding for objective moral values and duties. He also does not have any rational grounding for free will, which is required for making moral choices and bearing moral responsibility. To an atheist, what people ought to do is decided by conventions and customs that vary by time and place. There is no objective moral standard for the way humans ought to be. Dawkins is an evolutionist. He believes in survival of the fittest. The unfit should die – if necessary, directly at the hands of the fit.

Listen to what he writes in his book:

In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, or any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference… DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.

–Richard Dawkins, (River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (1995))

I’m not misrepresenting him – the man is a very consistent atheist, and there is no room for morality on atheism. It’s not rationally grounded.

Here’s how far Dawkins takes his view that there is no evil and no good:

Richard Dawkins explains morality on atheism

Richard Dawkins explains morality on atheism

But wait!

He goes even further than mere abortion – he also supports infanticide:

Richard Dawkins even advocates for adultery. So I’m really not sure why people are so fascinated by atheism, when this is the kind of person it produces.I am not saying that every atheist is going to treat morality as all personal preference and social convention. Just the ones who really understand it, and are consistent with it. Real atheists don’t have any rational grounding for morality in their worldview. This man has 1 million twitter followers. He is their spokesman because he reflects their views.

And finally, in the past, Dawkins has expressed that his goal is to destroy Christianity. Is this the same kind of destruction of Christianity that his fellow atheist Stalin wanted? Given Dawkins views on murdering innocent unborn and born children, I think we can infer what he means by “destroy Christianity”.

By the way, Nick Peters has also written about Dawkins’ comments, and I stole the image of Pope Dawkins from his post.

Filed under: News, , , , ,

In Canada, goose eggs are protected, but unborn children can be killed through all 9 months

Eagle eggs are protected, unborn babies are not

Eagle eggs are protected, unborn babies are not

From Life News a story not about eagle eggs, but about goose eggs – in Canada.

Excerpt:

Though majestic in flight, [geese] have become a nuisance in recent years, and with a birth rate hovering around 5 goslings per year, new methods of population control are being explored.

One such method is egg addling.

This practice, which is detailed on Environment Canada’s website as well as The Humane Society of the United States, is a process whereby geese eggs are gently removed from the nest, coated in vegetable oil and then returned to the nest. The purpose of the oil is to prevent the embryo from developing any further. Essentially, it blocks the transfer of oxygen and other gases through the shell.

The reason this practice is highly successful is because the female goose will continue laying on the eggs for a lengthy period not realizing they will never hatch. Alternatively, if the eggs are removed and destroyed, she simply will lay more eggs nearby and nullify any attempt to decrease the population. In both the United States and Canada, anyone wishing to engage in the practise of egg addling must first retain a permit from authorities.

One of the steps in the process of addling is to place the eggs in a bucket of water. If the egg sinks it is considered humane to coat it with oil. On the other hand, if the egg floats it is understood to be past 14 days of incubation which means the embryo is now viable and it would be inhumane to kill it. Regardless of your views of Canada geese, it is understandable there are some guidelines on when and how their pre-born goslings can be killed.

Juxtapose these regulations with the complete lack thereof when it comes to unwanted humans. The contrast is difficult to ignore.  We have rules based on compassion to prevent people from killing a viable pre-born gosling, but no rules whatsoever when it comes to people killing unwanted pre-born people.

In Canada there are multiple ways to legally end the lives of viable fetuses; some of which are barbaric and cruel. In 2010 there were over 10,000 abortions past 13 weeks gestation in our country. These pre-born children suffered through the inhumane procedure of being torn limb by limb from their mother’s womb. Almost every other civilized nation and the vast majority of European countries provide fetal protection after 13 weeks gestation. Is this because these countries are paternalistic and oppressive? No, it’s because they care about human rights.

Canada is a very secular country, so their abortion law is very much in favor of allowing the strong to kill the weak legally through all nine months of pregnancy. Canada has no federal law governing abortion.

Keep in mind that abortion in Canada is 100% taxpayer-funded. Everyone who pays taxes there is indirectly forced to take part in this practice.

 

 

 

 

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Ohio late-term abortion clinic closed for failure to comply with regulations

I'm Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this decision

I’m Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this decision

From Life News.

Excerpt:

An Ohio judge issued a ruling today ordering a late-term abortion practitioner to close his abortion facility.

Previously, Ohio passed a law requiring that all ambulatory surgical centers must be licensed by the state and, in 1999, it came to the attention of the Ohio Health Department that abortion clinics were not in compliance with the law, having never applied for licensing. The OHD began the process of insuring that all abortion clinics came into compliance.

Haskell (pictured below right), a nationally-known late-term abortionist who helped develop the now outlawed Partial-Birth Abortion procedure, has fought with the state for years and he sued the Ohio Department of Health this month for ordering his Sharonville abortion facility to close because it does not meet the minimum medical safety standards in Ohio law.

[...]Officials with Ohio Right to Life also applauded the decision.

“Shutting down Haskell’s facility is a long-sought victory for the pro-life movement,” said Stephanie Ranade Krider, executive director of Ohio Right to Life. “As the self-proclaimed ‘poster child’ of partial birth abortion, Martin Haskell has endangered southwest Ohio children for the last 30 years. We are hopeful that this will be the final order that puts Haskell out of business in Sharonville.”

“This decision is about common-sense, as evidenced by the non-partisan nature of this ruling,” said Krider. “We are grateful to the Ohio Department of Health and the office of Attorney General Mike DeWine, but we are also grateful to Judge Metz, a Democrat, for ensuring that abortionists aren’t skirting basic health and safety regulations.”

Although the Democrat made the right decision in this case, we have to keep in mind that Senate Democrats want to pass a law to strike down ALL state and local restrictions on abortion. If you vote for a Democrat, this is what you are voting for – unregulated abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.

I also hope this news story is a lesson those pro-lifers who are opposed to incremental measures that fall short of an immediate, full abolition of abortion. We have to pursue an incremental approach – that’s what works.

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If you want to annoy the left, then raise your children to be like Texas senator Ted Cruz

Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz

Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz

Here’s a profile in National Review of my one of my favorite senators.

Excerpt:

The party’s highest-profile Texans, George W. Bush and Rick Perry, tended to match inarticulateness with cowboy swagger and lend themselves to mockery as intellectual lightweights. Bush went to Yale and Harvard Business School, yet no one naturally thinks of him as an Ivy Leaguer. The two Lone Star State governors played into the Left’s stereotypes so nicely that if they didn’t exist, the New York Times editorial board would have had to invent them.

Cruz is different — a Princeton and Harvard man who not only matriculated at those fine institutions but excelled at them. Champion debater at Princeton. Magna cum laude graduate at Harvard. Supreme Court clerkship, on the way to Texas solicitor general and dozens of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Cruz is from the intellectual elite, but not of it, a tea-party conservative whose politics are considered gauche at best at the storied universities where he studied. He is, to borrow the words of the 2008 H.W. Brands biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt, a traitor to his class.

Democrats and liberal pundits would surely dislike Cruz no matter where he went to school, but his pedigree adds an element of shocked disbelief to the disdain. “Princeton and Harvard should be disgraced,” former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell exclaimed on MSNBC, as if graduating a constitutionalist conservative who rises to national prominence is a violation of the schools’ mission statements.

[...]In a Washington Post column a year ago, Dana Milbank noted Cruz’s schooling and concluded that his tea-party politics must be a put-on, that he is, underneath it all, an “intellectually curious, liberal-arts conservative.” Note the insulting assumption that an interest in books and ideas immunizes someone from a certain kind of conservative politics.

One of the Left’s deepest prejudices is that its opponents are stupid, and Cruz tramples on it. At hearings, Cruz has the prosecutorial instincts of a . . . Harvard-trained lawyer. Watching Attorney General Eric Holder try to fend off Cruz’s questioning on the administration’s drone policy a few months ago was like seeing a mouse cornered by a very large cat.

Cruz hasn’t played by the Senate rules that freshmen should initially be seen and not heard. In fact, he joined the upper chamber with all the subtlety of a SWAT team knocking down a drug suspect’s front door.

For people who care about such things — almost all of them are senators — this is an unforgivable offense. At another hearing, as Cruz says that the highest commitment of senators should be to the Constitution, another senator can be heard muttering that he doesn’t like being lectured. Chairman Pat Leahy (probably the mutterer) eventually cuts him off and informs him he hasn’t been in the Senate very long.

Cruz lacks all defensiveness about his positions, another source of annoyance to his opponents, who are used to donning the mantle of both intellectual and moral superiority.

And here’s a quick review of where Ted Cruz came from:

Rafael Cruz, the father of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, invigorated the crowd during tonight’s FreedomWorks Free the People event.

Describing his own personal journey escaping Cuba and working hard to build a life for himself in the U.S., the elder Cruz noted comparisons that he believes exist between Fidel Castro’s governance and President Barack Obama’s executive actions.

Upon rising to power, he said that Castro, like Obama, spoke about hope and change. While the message sounded good at the time, it didn’t take long for socialism to take root in his home country. And he paid the price.

For his part in the revolution — one that many originally assumed would yield a more vibrant country — Cruz was punished while in Cuba.

“I was in prison,” he said. “I was tortured, but by the grace of God I was able to leave Cuba on a student VISA and came to the greatest country on the face of the earth.”

Cruz described his efforts working as a dishwasher in America and paying his own way through the University of Texas. From there, he built a life for himself — one that was filled with experiences that caused him to greatly appreciate the country that had given him so much.

His plight in Cuba colored his American experience

“You can’t understand a loss of rights unless you’ve experienced it,” Cruz told TheBlaze following the speech.

His unique perspective leaves Cruz with the ability, he argues, to see the troubling signs surrounding socialism. Young people in America today, he told TheBlaze, take for granted the rights and privileges that the U.S. has afforded them.

Fascinating.

Now people always complain when I say that I am trying to find a wife with the background, education, experience and temperment to raise effective, influential children. I have a whole list of influential people I want to clone, in fact. I want a William Lane Craig, a Wayne Grudem, a Michael Licona, a Guillermo Gonzales, an Ann Gauger, a Jennifer Roback Morse, a Scott Klusendorf, a Mark Regnerus, and… a Ted Cruz. And I’ve saved the money to be able to get at least a few of those, too. The truth is that I had some of the experiences that Cruz’s father had, and if he can make a Ted Cruz, then so should I be able to. They have to come from somewhere!

Now of course it’s hard to guarantee outcomes when it comes to raising children, but there are some things you can prepare for. You can study things you hate that are hard, and save your money for Ph.D tuition. You can go to grad school yourself and publish research. You can look for a wife who shows the ability to nurture people so that they get better and rise higher. And maybe, you might just raise the next Ted Cruz. I think the old adage “if you aim at nothing, then you will surely hit it” is a good saying for marriage. If you are going to put hundreds of thousands of dollars and decades of your life into a marriage, then you should aim at something. You might hit it. You’re not just there to make another person feel good – you’re there to make the marriage serve God. Raising influential, effective children is one way of doing that. But it doesn’t happen by accident. And it isn’t necessarily going to be “fun”.

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