Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Life Report #113: Faulty arguments on both sides

Josh brought up a woman who posted "Fetus cupcakes remind your guests how tasty babies can be", along with a picture of cupcakes with babies in -- I think -- icing fetuses atop. The mom had the baby's ultrasound converted to the icing -- 3-D. Verdict: Creepy and weird.

Computer animation of fetal development online, with some criticism of the music, especially since the fetus seems to be dancing to the music in question. The YouTube comments drew some comments -- a prolifer commented that a computer animation was proof that life begins at conception. Conclusion: be careful to comment rationally.

The video called "Planned Parenthood's War on Science" --

(I'll beef with the music being over-dramatic, more suited to a scene from storming the beaches at Normandy.)

I've blogged about this before.

They point out that, quite understandably, Planned Parenthood has tried to force YouTube to take the video down. (I've blogged about that effort.) These are, after all, young people trained by PP to "educate" their peers, and their hostility toward and ignorance of science would be worthy of a Jay Walking segment on Leno. Sadly, considering the cost of such ignorance, it's not funny.

First prochoice quote: "We are not going to try to use science or evidence. The face of the matter is that this is opinion. We all have our own beliefs are far as when human life begins."

Point: This is a formal, forensic-style debate. This sort of debates is supposed to be based on evidence and science. What the Planned Parenthood trained young woman does is assert a post-post-modern worldview in which everything is subjective. There is some discussion of how prevalent this "It's all subjective" worldview is. Though I'm not sure people with this worldview would want to be hauled into an emergency room and be treated by a doctor who embraces such a world view and tries to balance their humors rather than stop their hemorrhage, based on his own subjective views.

Josh points out that the woman then undercuts her own argument by asserting, "It's a matter of reproductive choice: the living, breathing, sentient being that has control over her body is the one that we listen to, not science."

Strict Behaviorism holds that the woman isn't actually sentient or making choices at all -- that thought an sentence are illusions, and that we merely act out as our environment has conditioned us to. So if she's rejecting scientific evidence about the life of the fetus, she needs to also recognize, then, that there are conflicting opinions as to whether the woman is a sentient being as well.

Kyle tries to give the woman the benefit of the doubt, that since she'd been bowled over by the science and was unprepared to refute it, she just spat something out and then had to stick with it. But then, Josh said, Planned Parenthood should have responded after the fact with, "Well, she misspoke," and vowed to train their youth better next time.

"I think we're talking about science as if it's something that's absolutely concrete, as if there's absolute proof that there is, you know, life and there is not life and all this stuff like that. There is, I mean, there's people from this side, from their [prolife] research groups that say the heart beats in 21 days. There's people on our side that have researched this and say the heart doesn't beat until 24 weeks."

This one elicited much laughter, along with a deep sigh. Josh conceded that most of their prochoice viewers cringed when they heard such abysmal ignorance coming out of somebody who was representing them. He invited anybody with anything even remotely credible indicating that the heart doesn't beat until 24 weeks to send him that evidence. And if the heart doesn't start beating until 24 weeks, what is it that women are seeing and hearing when they're going in for their prenatal ultrasounds well before 24 weeks?

Kyle figures that the woman in question just felt trapped and just blurted something out.

"I mean, I have a cold. Say that I have a virus in my body, and you know, that's also something little and living inside me. But if I'm going to try to kill it, I'm not going to be like, 'Oh, no! The virus thing! I just killed a life!'"

First of all, there's currently controversy about whether viruses are really alive. But even if they are, they're not a human life. Even if you had a tape worm -- a living, whole organism -- we'd not object to you killing it. Josh then pointed out the vast differences between a virus and a human embryo.

Josh closed out with an invite for any evidence that the embryonic heart starts beating later than about 22 days.

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