76 Comments

  1. Bwaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahaha. Obviously that statement is horrible yet somehow unbelievably funny at the same time. A truly tasteless joke (right my alley of course).

  2. Poor grammar aside, that abortion sentence is rather appalling (if true). I’m pro-choice, but I still think abortions are horrible. A woman who would go to get an abortion and make a statement like that is a vile person unworthy of EVER procreating.

  3. “A woman who would go to get an abortion and make a statement like that is a vile person unworthy of EVER procreating.”

    I agree. I think that’s the point.

    So many people don’t realize that art which begets a negative reaction is still art.

  4. “A woman who would go to get an abortion and make a statement like that is a vile person…

    It said “we had an abortion” — it could have been a guy. Would that make a difference?

    And at any rate, how can you be pro choice, yet consider a person who has an abortion vile, for making that choice? That’s like being pro free speech, yet considering people who’s opinions differ from yours, vile…

    I see nothing vile in that sentence. I see gallows’ humor.

    It has been said that if men gave birth, abortions would be sacraments. I think that’s a valid point — although in truth, it doesn’t go far enough… If men gave birth, and women tried passing laws governing whether or not we could have abortions, we’d rise up in revolt and kill the bitches. And as such, we’re fucking lucky they haven’t risen up and killed us assholes… It’s a woman’s body, m’kay?

  5. @Eel Feather
    I don’t think your analogy of McGee’s original statement is very conclusive. You could have an abortion, but to celebrate afterwards? hmmm…
    You could be pro free speech, but would you support hateful free speech? It’s not about having different opinions, it’s about respecting others in a rational and diplomatic manner.

    I don’t see it as an all-or-nothing affair, some lines have to be drawn…

  6. And at any rate, how can you be pro choice, yet consider a person who has an abortion vile, for making that choice? That’s like being pro free speech, yet considering people who’s opinions differ from yours, vile…

    I think you have the free speech thing completely wrong. For example I think the KKK members are vile sub humans. However I think they have the right to free speech, so I must put up with them speaking their vile message. And I will defend their right to do so.

    I am on the fence as far as abortion is concerned. I think it should be legal up to a certain time, however at some point the cells growing become a human being. I would put this at the time frame that measurable brain waves can be detected. That is the definition of clinical death, so it makes sense for it to legally determine life as well.

  7. I think it should be legal up to a certain time, however at some point the cells growing become a human being. I would put this at the time frame that measurable brain waves can be detected. That is the definition of clinical death, so it mak

    And it is at this time that I feel generally bummed out and stupid for even opening up my browser.

    I look at Cynical-C, and a few other sites.

    And sometimes, I see some idiotic shit there.

    Buy dang…

  8. Eel, why is what I said idiotic? If you don’t agree explain why.

    Here is my logic: At conception it is a single cell. I have no problem with abortion at this point. At 40 weeks or so it comes out a baby. I feel killing a freshly born baby to be murder. I suspect we agree on this much. At some point it crosses a boundary between acceptable and unacceptable. For me it is well before birth, since the fetus could survive just fine at 36 weeks if surgically removed from the womb and would behave just like many babies I have seen born early. My friends’ daughter was born at 24 weeks and has no known deficits. She obviously was “alive” at that time. So it is before this time as well.

    If your boundary point is birth, then I don’t understand you.

  9. LL,

    I don’t think that what you said is ‘idiotic’ but I do think that you need to study the physiology of brain development before coming to such a conclusion. I’m very, very far from being any kind of authority, but as I understand it one problem is that the brain develops sloooooowly, starting very early in pregnancy and finishing some time after birth.

    From the first, the fetal brain is functional: the thing is that its early functions are purely motor… so it’s a bit of a stretch to see detectable brain function as an indicator of humanness imho. (To put that into concrete time scales, that would mean banning abortion after 8 weeks.)

    Brain function is a tricky one: an early fetus has a functional brain that allows minimal movement (less than, say, a sea cucumber), and the brain slowly matures.

    Try reading this page: http://brainmind.com/FetalBrainDevelopment.html – it won’t resolve any dilemmas for you but it should make clear why ‘brain function’ is a really poor standard for making decisions about abortion.

    Rgds,

    Outeast
    (PS Don’t worry about Eel Feather, he’s somewhat given to… assertive rhetoric, let’s say.)

  10. LL – don’t mind Eel, he has tourette’s.

    Most sites that I checked out say that brain waves can be detected between 5 and 7 weeks. At least by eight weeks – even wiki says that by then all major organs are developed. I don’t think that abortions can be performed before 5 weeks to ensure that all of the embryo is taken.

    I’m guessing the sentance was written by a man. An abortion would slow you down, at least for an evening. (The websites I checked out say that there is bleeding and cramping afterward.)

    The other stories on the site weren’t “gallows humor.” Probably lots of people are relieved to celebration after an abortion, though I don’t expect Hallmark to market any cards.

  11. While I am pro-choice, I do find something wrong with the statement above. Although it’s not as irresponsible and vile as having unprotected sex the day after you have an abortion, that statement just rubs me the wrong way.

  12. Vegastar – are you from Vegas?

    When I lived in Vegas, we had to pay a $500 fee to have someone come and inspect our land to make sure that there weren’t any tortoise eggs on our property before we could build. If there had been any, we would not have been able to build on our property until after they were hatched and another fee paid to have them removed.

    Ironic, huh?

  13. If I must spell it out:

    Tortoise eggs are federally protected (at great cost and despite the loss of land owners rights) but not the human fetus.

    It was my property… why couldn’t I make a desert tortoise omelette if I wanted to?

  14. I looked it up – bullshit is a better word.

    Irony: “incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs”

  15. Tortoise eggs are federally protected because land developers have been encroaching on their habitat for some time rendering the entire species in danger of extinction.

    It has nothing to do with abortion so your “irony” statement is just idiotic and pandering.

  16. The subject of irony sounds to me like a good excuse to lighten the mood and link to one of my favourite bits of stand-up ever…

  17. Too funny Schmoo…

    Let me rephrase the above sentance w/ an ironic twist.

    I was at my post-abortion party in the backyard, drinking a beer and having a great time, when I broke my leg in that damn tortoise hole that I’m federally mandated to keep in order to protect the tortoise eggs.

    nah – that’s just unfortunate.

  18. So, you celebrate your conception day, or your birthday? Or your “weeee, the brainwave detector proves there’s life in there!”-day?

    Whatcha think Terri Schiavo celebrated? This “logic” bisniz is tricky shiet, aint it?

    And for the record, I don’t particularly mind being accused of having Tourette’s. The last time I made that kinda faux pas, I learned something — I called someone a retard, and this dude came to my defense and said his brother had Down syndrome. I thought, “Oh shit.” Window seat, please… But the guy actually came to my defense, and said his brother was technically speaking what you might call a retard — but that this nasty word didn’t mean too much, comparatively speaking. And, most importantly — even though his brother had Down, he could still run intellectual circles around the fucktard I was debating.

    I suspect he could have done the same around you…

  19. hmmm, I think I’ll start using the term “fucktard” so as not to offend anyone.

    and I DO celebrate my birthday. At least I’m alive to do so.

  20. hmmm, I think I’ll start using the term “fucktard” so as not to offend anyone.

    Please, gosh — please do. Just stop posting any more fucktarded arguments.

    and I DO celebrate my birthday. At least I’m alive to do so.

    Well, that’s just because the better part of you slid down your mother’s shit-stained thighs and dried out on some cum-soaked sheets, isn’t it?

    Oh gosh. Golly — now, THAT was offensive, wasn’t it? I don’t think I’ll make such an offensive remark again. But I think it should stand — you know, unmoderated and uncensored, just for the sake of it all. To demonstrate what it actually means, to be offensive. Don’t you?

  21. Are you married Eel Feather? I think I’m in luuuuvvv….

    Don’t worry, I don’t post that many comments here – y’all do so offend my delicate sensibilites.

    However, I might come around again just to remind you that you aren’t everyone’s hero. Otherwise, when Chris wants to know why it’s the same handful of people commenting on his blog he can ask you.

    Course, Chris may like it that way.

  22. ok, i have absolutely no desire to get entrenched in an abortion-rights debate here. however, i do think it’s necessary to interject that many would argue you’re making a fundamental mistake in framing the discussion solely around the rights of the fetus. it’s neglecting the fact that a pregnant woman is hosting this entity within her own body, perhaps against her will, and certainly at a substantial physiological and psychological cost.

    yes, infants are innocent, beautiful and amazing, so anything that reminds us of them tends to acquire special status in moral considerations. but imagine if a random grown stranger were somehow grafted onto your body, in such a way that removal would be fatal. sure, you might feel that the “right” thing to do would be to wait out the months that the stranger’s attached to you, even if it means there are substantial negative consequences (e.g. pain, sickness, disability, possible ostracism) for you during this time. however, do you think that you should still have the RIGHT to have the stranger removed if you choose to (or if you feel given your circumstances you have no choice but to do so)? if so, on what conditions would this right be contingent? if not, under what conditions might that right appear?

    weird thought experiments aside, i just think it’s important to acknowledge that “it’s MY body” isn’t just a talking-point. i think that most of us consider our own bodies to be our one absolutely inviolable physical domain, into which the government just can’t intrude without our consent — whether there’s a fetus in there or not.

  23. I know this is a divisive issue, but what the hell happened here?

    What the hell happened has nothing to do with this being a divisive issue per se; Eel Feather is quite capable of finding a difference of opinion to get rabidly abusive over in a discusion of the etymology of the word ‘crocus’.

    ‘Reasoned, logical debate’, to Eel, means accusing someone of a logical fallacy or a bit of weak reasoning (often with some justification) then peppering the discourse therafter with abuse, non-sequiteurs, well-poisonings, and other equally endearing abuses of argument (all of which I tactfully referred to as ‘assertive rhetoric’) delivered in a sneering tone intended no doubt to reassure us as to his absolute superiority of mind.

    It really stimulates intelligent discussion.

  24. billerica asks: “So sg, you want Chris to ban Eel Feather?”

    I would not presume to tell Chris what to do… In fact, I’ll take this opportunity to brown-nose and thank Chris for all of the time he puts into this excellent site.

    As far as eelfeather goes, I hear wedding bells… my heart palpitates when I see his name pop up. (my luck would be that “he” is actually a big woman in a lonely apartment with a lot of cats…)

  25. Eel Feathers, Terri Schiavo was clinically dead when her doctors measured higher level brain function. So why bring her into this discussion? It actually reinforces my point: she was dead so there was no harm in turning off the equipment that kept her body alive.

    What we celebrate is hardly a good argument for what constitutes life. If you don’t celebrate your birthday are you dead in your mind?

    If that is the best you can do, I suspect the retard could use logic to put you in a corner.

    From what I can see you are no better than the fundies that refuse to apply logic and base everything on what “God” tells them. You are simply at the other end of the belief spectrum, but just as irrational.

    Tell me why you don’t think the existence of higher level brain waves is a good indicator of life.

    le_sacre has a good argument in that we should look at the life of the mother as well as the fetus. I’m not sure how the two should be weighted, but I can see the point. Maybe the mother’s comfort should outweigh everything else. I tend to think not, but I can see how others might.

  26. Jeeeebus… Eel is — I’m gonna have to scroll up, to check that out again….

    Yeah okay, here we go: Is Eel married, because sone-and-so think he’s in love? Eel makes everyone run away, so that only a few people contribute to the forum (including, I guess, the ones who wonders about my marital status). Should Eel be banned? Eel gets rabidly abusive over the word “crocus” Is Eel even a man — maybe Eel is a big woman, in a lonely, cat-filled apartment?

    I particularly love that last bit. It seems so completely brilliantly ironic, to be “accused” of being a woman, in a thread on this topic…

    Tell me why you don’t think the existence of higher level brain waves is a good indicator of life.

    Whoa! Fuck me, someone wants to debate an issue?! Cool. Thanks, dude. Lemme have a stab at that one.

    Now, that’s a bad question, you see… “Higher brain waves” is no requirement, or indication of life. “Life” isn’t actually the issue. See how easily you made that fucktarded argument? Or maybe that’s a negative approach for me to take, what, accusing you of making a dumb arguments. Sorry. I’ll try again:

    Tell me why you don’t think the existence of higher level brain waves is a good indicator of life.

    Uh, broccoli?

  27. I guess you can’t debate something without resorting to name calling, so Fucktard (I’m not as good with creative abuse as you seem to be, so I’ll just recycle your witty insult) I am not talking about any life, but the legal and medical definition of life. While it may not be perfect, I see it as a good starting point for a discussion.

    I suspect you already knew I was talking about the clinical definition of life, but, not having an intelligent counter argument decided to resort the insults.

    So, tell me why you don’t think the clinical definition of life is a good indicator for when a human (not broccoli) is legally alive, thus deserving legal protection.

  28. LL

    Did you read my response to your suggestion? While Eel is full of it, his key point (insofar as such a thing can be inferred from his verbal effluvia) seems to echo mine: the cessation of activity in a mature brain is a pretty definitive cut-off point and a final assurance that humanity is fled, but given the way the brain develops in utero the measure cannot simply be switched around. There simply is no neat point at which we can say ‘this is now a human being’; conception is certainly inadequate, birth too, and detectable brain activity, I’m afrad, is no more useful.

    A clue to this is that patients in PVS (like Schiavo) tend to retain some brain stem activity (allowing limited reflex responses to stimuli, for example): the key factor is that higher brain functions have ceased. Looking to higher brain functions as a measure of when a foetus becomes a human, though, could be very tricky. One problem is that such activity is hard to distinguish. Another is that the forebrain does most of it’s maturing after birth, so many of the brain functions that we see ending as patients enter a PVS state have not yet even begun! From the link I supplied: ‘At birth and for the ensuing weeks, the forebrain is so immature that its influences are limited to signaling distress in reaction to hunger or thirst.’

  29. outeast, sorry I had completely missed your post. I will read the article soon. Not being an expert on fetal brain development what you say is news to me, though I guess not surprising. That bit of information could certainly change my opinions on what makes a good indicator. Thanks for the intelligent posts.

  30. 🙂

    Let me know what conclusions you reach…

    I only learned anything about foetal brain development when my wife was pregnant with our firstborn: we had a problem with toxoplasmosis, so suddenly it became really urgent to learn at least a bit about this stuff because there was a risk of severe brain damage on the one hand and a need to consider abortion on the other.

  31. LL: While it didn’t carry an explicit explaination of the reasoning behind it, the manner in which it was delivered was different and may not have been to your taste, Eel’s response of “broccoli” to the question of brainwaves defining life was essentially the same as Outeast’s.

  32. I think the “beauty” in the one-line story above is not that it asks the question of when does life begin, but what is the value that is put on it.

    Broccoli and brain waves aside, what is called an embryo then fetus, is a human being.

  33. what is called an embryo then fetus, is a human being

    That’s highly presumptive. It’s human, yes, but whether that is sufficient for it to be described as a human being is somewhat disputable. Of course, I know you’ll never concede ground here and are just trying to stir the shit:)

  34. Being: “the state or fact of existing” or
    “the nature or essence of a person” or “a living creature”

    No – I won’t give any ground on that point. Regardless of viability and quality of life, a fetus is in a state of being human.

    And if disagreeing with you means I’m stirring shit, then, well, where’s my spoon?

    Actually, I’m not as militant as you might think… There are various reasons that I would actually agree with an abortion, but I won’t dehumanize the fetus just to make it more palatable.

  35. If I have misconstued your meaning, I am sorry and withdraw my claim that you are stirring shit; I think, though, that the mistake was easy to make. The conclusion that ‘a human being’ means ‘in a state of being human’ is in conflict with the sense of the term as commonly used: I think ‘human being’ is generally interpreted as synonymous with ‘human person’ (and certainly the compilers of the OED take that view).

    A human foetus is indisputably characterized by the quality of being human; so too, however, is any cell in the human body. ‘Human being’ implies a discrete personality (in the sense of ‘personage’). Few pro-choicers would agree that a cluster of barely-differentiated cells possess personhood (the state of being ‘a human being’, rather than merely ‘human’). That’s the crux of the debate: at what point does a cluster of human cells with the potential to become a human being actually become sufficiently developed to be deserving of protection?

    Certainly there is a lot of scope for disagreement on when a human foetus becomes ‘a human being’ in thwe sense in which I defined it above. Also on whether that point is the point at which an entitlement to protection commences…

  36. Honestly, I was just stating my opinion. I do reserve the right however, to keep my spoon handy.

    “at what point does a cluster of human cells with the potential to become a human being actually become sufficiently developed to be deserving of protection?”

    Yes – that is the million dollar question.

    Do you protect at conception when the DNA swaps and everything is present for that new life to grow and be its own person? If so, then you should not only picket the abortion centers but pharmacies as well. (Some birth control sheds the lining of the uterus w/out prohibiting ovulation and/or conception).

    Do you wait until the baby is viable? The record is 21 weeks and with technology, you can count on that number getting lower and lower. And really, how viable is a newborn anyway? It may be alive and kicking but without any other help it won’t stay that way for long. It’s just as dependent on Mom outside of the womb as it was inside the womb.

    At any rate, I think you’ve made a good case against not being able to use brain waves.

  37. giving the ole’ dictionary a workout today…

    viable: “capable of life or normal growth and development (Example: “Viable seeds”) or “capable of being done with means at hand and circumstances as they are”

    Wouldn’t technology be the “means at hand”? At some point we’ll be hearing about artificial wombs that are available not only for conception and then mid-term deliveries, but for the whole 9 months.

  38. outeast, the conclusion I can draw is that the subject is very complicated and my desire to use brain waves as a determinant is too simplistic. Have any better ideas?

    I don’t find the idea of banning abortion at the beginning palatable. Likewise I think an abortion at 39 weeks is “inhumane”. My guess is we won’t ever all agree on where to draw the line. In fact I think some here would be fine with infanticide.

    Schmoo, I sure don’t read Eel feather’s responses the same as outeast’s. One provided a sound argument refuting what I proposed. The other provided an irrelevant comparison of a human to a plant, combined with bullying remarks. So while the two may have been trying to say the same thing, one of them failed miserably at actually saying much of anything constructive. An ass is an ass, even if you agree with him. Why make excuses for it?

  39. Regardless of where “life” is defined, you know what sucks(besides the literal abortion)? It sucks to me that some women use abortion as a form of birth control. (Don’t say that it doesn’t happen often – it does. I know someone who performs abortions)

    It also sucks that women choose abortion over adoption (when there are no other health risks, etc.)

    There are over 1.5 million abortions a year (from a Planned Parenthood site). Yet the women who grieve for a child of their own have to wait years and pay an average of $20 – 25,000. And that’s usually after years of trying and trying at fertility clinics. I wish more women would consider that option but I guess it is easier to have the abortion and never have to wonder how and where your child is.

    Really though, the easiest thing is to either not have sex or put a plug over your johnson if you aren’t ready to be a parent.

  40. The other provided an irrelevant comparison of a human to a plant, combined with bullying remarks. So while the two may have been trying to say the same thing, one of them failed miserably at actually saying much of anything constructive. An ass is an ass, even if you agree with him.

    You’re whining that I’m irrelevant, and that I’m BULLYING you? The answer to your higher brain function question was completely relevant. In fact, if you had any genuine care for the actual debate, you’d realize that it was downright poignant — the question was actually the bit that was irrelevant…

    Maybe you can get a special user icon of some sorts — something that indicates that please don’t nobody disagree with me, or I’ll start whining and accuse you of being a bully. And then, just to prove that my irony-sensor is a tad defective also, I’ll go ahead and call you an ass, just for good measure…

    And perhaps I can get my own icon that indicates a genuine desire to engage in a debate, and to leave the fucking egos outside. That’d be great, wouldn’t it?

    To get back to the point…

    Really though, the easiest thing is to either not have sex or put a plug over your johnson if you aren’t ready to be a parent.

    Yup, true. That’d be nice. But it isn’t exactly practical, is it? I mean, it’s not realistic.

    It isn’t as if anyone’s arguing that abortions are fun happy things (although I HAVE seen an anti-abortionist fall for an Onion article that described it that way…) — it’s just that the alternative is worse. And nope, that alternative is not carrying the thing through and giving birth to an unwanted child…

    When you restrict access to abortion, bad things start happening. When abortions were outlawed in Ireland, girls traveled to England to get it done. If that option hadn’t been available, the alternative would have been even worse. In fact, one poor wretched soul killed herself because she couldn’t get an abortion, in spite of having been raped by her stepfather. So, they changed the rules, and said that if there was a medical problem — including suicide risks, they’d allow an abortion. Recently, they ended up denying a woman the right to leave the country because they feared she’d go have an abortion in England — and she was deemed to not be a suicide risk. What’s her options? Try sneak out of the country, like she’s some kinda fugitive — because she is trying to have a medical procedure carried out that most civilized, Western countries considers a basic, human right? To kill herself? A coat hanger? I tell you, bad things start happening at that point…

    I don’t know what drives people’s obsession with abortion, but I suspect there’s some sexual things going on with it, like Ted Haggard’s homophobia.

    I feel like tracking down some of those quiverful nutcases and start chasing them with a wire coathanger — I’M AN ATHEIST, AND I’VE COME TO ABORT YOUR BABIES! OOOGABOOOGAH!

  41. I sure don’t read Eel feather’s responses the same as outeast’s. One provided a sound argument refuting what I proposed. The other provided an irrelevant comparison of a human to a plant, combined with bullying remarks. So while the two may have been trying to say the same thing, one of them failed miserably at actually saying much of anything constructive.

    Sounds to me like you agree the point I’m making – that the effectiveness of Eel’s argument to you is determined by the thickness of your skin.

    An ass is an ass, even if you agree with him. Why make excuses for it?

    Because I think bluntness is a perfect valid, if not downright useful, tool. Whether you’re offended by the way an argument is presented or not doesn’t in any way change its validity.

  42. I strongly agree with LL on this one. Look at the post that triggered Eel’s ‘response’: at the beginning of the post, LL wrote:

    Terri Schiavo was clinically dead when her doctors measured higher level brain function. … she was dead so there was no harm in turning off the equipment that kept her body alive.

    Yes, LL’s use of ‘alive’ and ‘dead’ was imprecise, but in making this statement he (or she?) clearly established the frame of reference (as in Schiavo was dead=no longer a person vs her body was alive=broccoli).

    I understood what LL meant in suggesting brain functions as an indicator of life easily enough. If Eel was really interested in debate he would try to understand what people are trying to say, rather than simply stiffing people for accidental lack of clarity. Since it was so easy to arrive at a correct interpretation of LL’s point one can only assume that Eel was being dumb as pigshit or deliberately obtuse. Either way, he ended up attacking a straw man and resorting to personal abuse.

    It was also pretty ugly the way he accused LL of being ‘a fucktard’ etc when he had actually made a perfectly reasonable suggestion: the problem with the brain activity idea was not a logical error but a false premiss, and LL’s rationalism is evident in the way he readily changed his mind when presented with further evidence.

    Don’t conflate bluntness with rudeness.

  43. So essentially, the things you’d consider an “accidental lack of clarity” amongst those whose opinions you agree with, you’d label “being dumb as pigshit or deliberately obtuse” amongst those who dare express opinions that differ from yours.

    And “dumb as pigshit” ain’t personal abuse?

    Don’t get me wrong here — I don’t mind personal abuse. Sticks and stones, and that… I’d be a hypocrite, if I couldn’t take at least as well as I give. It isn’t even that I mind the hypocrisy that someone would whine about being bullied, and bitch about personal attacks — while making personal attacks…

    It’s just the fucking stupidity of it. I mean, I almost feel ashamed to have to point out the idiotic hypocrisy of it.

    Put together a coherent argument, please. And please — pretty fuckin’ please, with sugar on the fucking top — quit yer fuckin’ whining.

    And yeah — Schmoo, thanks dude. I know I don’t come across as too sympathetic, and that it isn’t an easy thing to take my side, so well, hey — I appreciate that.

  44. No, Eel. I consider it ‘an accidental lack of clarity’ when someone tries to make a point but uses a word or term in a way which is non-orthodox or otherwise subject to misinterpretation. In some cases – as in the case with LL’s posts above – what is actually meant can readily be inferred from context. It’s part of the negotiated process of interpersonal communication.

    The comments I described as evidence of you being ‘dumb as pigshit or deliberately obtuse’ did not lack clarity, accidentally or otherwise; they merely engaged with an argument that LL was not actually making. Was I calling you dumb as pigshit? You tell me: after reading LL’s posts did you really fail to understand what he wanted to say? I actually suspect not – my feeling is that you were simply more interested in trying to make him look stupid than in actually engaging with his ideas and so really didn’t care what his intended point was. So really, I would accuse you of disingenuousness rather thanm stupidity.

    As to ‘those who dare express opinions that differ from yours’, I actually opposed LL’s point and agreed with yours. It’s your attitude and behavour that make you an appropriate target for abuse, not you opinions.

    Finally, a coherent argument? I actually think that the fact that my posts helped LL to reassess his conclusions suggests that I did make a coherent argument.

  45. Addendum: If you did genuinely misconstrue LL’s point, it is perfectly possible that this was as a consequence on intellectual laziness rather than idiocy. In which case, I withdraw the ‘pigshit’ accusation.

  46. Eel Feather, see it would be ironic if I was the one who slung the first insult, and then complained when you insulted me back. But that’s not what happened: you called me a ‘fucktard’; I then called you a bullying ass because of your prior action. Hardly ironic to dish it back. If I said I was against any sort of personal insult, and then insulted you back, that would also be irony.

    Bill O’Reilly doesn’t think he’s a bullying ass either.

    Schmoo, their is a line between bluntness and rudeness. Name calling is not bluntness, it is rude. Bluntness would be telling me that my spelling sucks (I misspelled there as their, in case you missed it); rudeness would be calling me a fucktard because I can’t spell.

  47. It’s your attitude and behavour that make you an appropriate target for abuse, not you opinions.

    — outeast

    An appropriate target of abuse?

    I like that. That’s completely insane. Maybe I could start a religious cult with it or something.

    “An appropriate target for abuse” — how should I phrase my response, so that I ain’t bullying nobody, should I just say that that’s a fucktarded moron thing to say, or that whoever said was a moron? Oh okay — I get it: that was a damned fucktarded thing to say…

    “An appropriate target for abuse” — Jesus, that is a scary thing to say. And it’s a fucking terrifying thing to hear from someone who obviously tries to debate things in an intelligent way, on the Internet.

    An appropriate target for abuse — that’s a helluva phrase to use in a thread on abortion. I mean, shit. I mean, sometimes I laugh at the things people say on some forums, because the things they say aren’t well informed. But in this case, I get a little scared.

    Triviality of Evil, I guess.

    So… anyone ready to actually debate the topic — abortion — rather than your hurt egos? I’m still game.

  48. Eel Feather says: “So… anyone ready to actually debate the topic — abortion — rather than your hurt egos? I’m still game.”

    Sure honeybunny, I’m game.

    Let’s talk about life again. (first let me acknowledge the complexities that happen when abortion is outlawed. I will chew on that.)

    But back to when life begins… I was persuaded that life began at conception after taking a college biology class where I learned that once DNA melted and mingled, that everything was present to make a child. Everything was determined at that moment, from eye color to personality traits. Those cells were no longer mama and they were no longer daddy. They were something completely different. To me – that is life.

    And since you bring up evolution, if you can believe that life on earth began with a few cells in the primordial soup, how much harder is to believe that life begins with a few cells in the womb?

  49. But sg, what you have is still not a person. Why should a few cells be protected simply because they contain the genetic determiners of a person? (Absent the concept of a soul, that is.)

  50. A few cells? By 7 days there are over 120 cells and by 25 days the kidneys, liver are forming and the heart cells are beating. By 24 weeks (when abortion is usually still legal to perform, though not common) it’s a skinny little baby thing developing fingerprints.

    This is NOT something that “contains the genetic determiners of a person”… I would say that the genetic determiners were the egg and sperm. The zygote IS a determined thing – every website I visited said as much. It has everything it needs to develop into a person.

    “Why should a few cells be protected”
    Which is why I brought up earlier the absurdity of tortoise eggs. No one questions whether or not a tortoise egg will become a tortoise. And as Roger aptly noted, we value desert tortoises so we protect their eggs. Why should it be any different for humans?

    You were still developing reflexes, muscles, brain waves when you were still sucking on your mama’s teat. You needed protection then because you could not protect yourself. That little “parasite” in the womb can’t protect itself either.

    (I will keep absent the concept of the soul as well. Too deep that is)

  51. sg

    Immediately following conception we are dealing with ‘a few cell’ (frankly, 120 cells is only ‘a few’, but…). I’m trying to establish a playing field, here: if I understand you correctly, you feel that the possibility of becoming a human person is sufficient for an embryo to deserve protection even when those cells really are no more than a pinhead of mindless matter. Am I correct? If so, what a 25-day foetus is like is irrelevant to your position, isn’t it?

    To me, a bunch of cells that have got no further than distinguishing polarity are clearly not deserving of much protection; on the other hand, a foetus which would be viable without extensive medical; support clearly is. Thus my concern is establishing where we can draw some kind of line…

    As to the turtle eggs thing, we don’t protect turtle eggs because we believe the eggs themselves (or even the individual turtles) are of intrinsic value, but because we wish to save the species. It’s thus purely a matter of the statisticas of viable populations: we don’t, after all, protect sparrow’s eggs. So though it’s a powerful bit of rhetoric, the turtle eggs analogy is irrelevant.

    PS If I don’t reply for a time, it’s not from rudeness – I don’t generally Interweb at weekends. Kids you know:)

  52. What a 25 day old fetus is like is germane because my position is that not only is the embryo of a few cells life but so is the fetus. It’s a developing thing. (btw, 120 may be a few for you, but when I say I have a few dollars in my pocket, you can bet it’s a lot less than $120). My point was – that the developing embryo stays only a “few cells” for less than a week.

    To develop a level playing field, let’s take the issue of whether or not it deserves protection out of the picture. For debate, let’s ascribe no moral values. You and I (LL, too if he/she is still tracking with us) clearly have presuppositions. I acknowledge that the decision about abortion for many women, teens and their families is often heartbreaking and life altering.

    I say divorce yourself from the implications and ask only if the embryo is a seperate life from Mom, beyond brocolli. Is viability the only thing that defines life for you? How many cells does it take for you to acknowledge that the embryo/fetus is more than some sort of ovarian cyst?

    All I’m saying is – no matter where you stand on the rights of that life in the womb, at least acknowledge that it is a life – not some cellular glob.

    Hope you’re enjoying your weekend… Think I’m going fishing.

  53. SG, well, here we are again… 🙂

    IF you consider a human life to start at conception, is it a full human life, with all the rights and protections of a child?

    If so, then all miscarriages, even the countless first-trimester ones, should be investigated by the police, with all the vigor of the death of a child, right? Oh, *that’s* a good idea.

    Okay, not quite all the rights and protections, then. How do we establish what rights and protections happen at what point during pregnancy?

    Or, conversely, why pick on only abortion? In order to philosophically support prohibiting just abortion, you have to tell me how that’s different than using drugs while pregnant, or smoking, or riding a motorcycle, or…here we go again.

    Your ball.

  54. Good lawd, Chris! Why couldn’t you have posted another flippin’ “True Story”? Folk are losing their minds over this one!

  55. DaveS says: “SG, well, here we are again…”

    Like ships that pass in the night…

    Your argument is pretty weak, IMHO. Is every death of someone outside of the womb investigated by the police? You know, we are all terminal and die for some reason. If the death is suspicious, it gets investigated.

    You can’t say that you want to keep abortion legal just because of the complexities involved to outlaw it. If that were that case, why not keep drugs legal?

    You can’t say that you want to keep abortion legal because “what would happen when girls get them illegally?” Bad things happen when people use drugs illegally but no one goes around defending another’s right to use them. Drugs are illegal for a reason – they should be hard to get. Besides, while illegal abortions usually turn ugly for the girl getting them – abortions ALWAYS turn out pretty bad for the fetus.

    I’m still waiting for someone to tell me when life begins…

  56. SG: [Your argument is pretty weak, IMHO. Is every death of someone outside of the womb investigated by the police?]

    HHS investigates, as a matter of course, every death of a minor child. If the child gets sick and dies, the doctor is the only one who reports to HHS. If your baby, heaven forbid, has an unexplained crib death, HHS certainly DO investigate, and if negligence or malice is suspected, the police get involved. The reason for that is that the baby is a full-fledged human being.

    If you consider an embryo a full-fledge human being (pretty much the only logical way you can justify prohibiting first-trimester abortion) then you HAVE to give the same attention to a woman who has a miscarriage.

    This isn’t about claiming complication. This is about showing how silly the argument really is that life begins at conception. If you really support that, you end up with untenable situations. You can’t just ridicule that to avoid it.

    Actually, I’m also anti-prohibition. Alcohol, and drugs. (They’re ALL drugs.) Different reasons, though.

    SG: [I’m still waiting for someone to tell me when life begins…]

    Time for a joke:

    A Jewish rabbi, a Catholic priest, and a Unitarian Universalist minister were sitting on a train having an argument about abortion.

    The Catholic priest declares, “The Bible teaches us that life begins at conception.”

    The Jewish rabbi declares, “Reason dictates that life begins at the moment of birth.”

    The UU minister says, “Well, that’s all very well, but anyone who’s been there knows that life begins when the kids move out and the dog dies!”

  57. Dave S. says “full-fledge human being”

    Is that a scientific term?

    Dave S.: “then you HAVE to give the same attention to a woman who has a miscarriage.”

    eh – I don’t think so. It would be the doctors call to see if anything is suspicious. If illegal abortions are as horrific as they sound, there would be no doubt as to what happened.

    DaveS: “You can’t just ridicule that to avoid it.”

    I wasn’t aware that I’ve ridiculed anything.

    DaveS: “Actually, I’m also anti-prohibition.”

    At least you are consistent. 🙂

    nyuk nyuk on the joke… still waiting for what you define as that magic moment of life.

  58. Personally, I think the ‘moment of life’ thing is a red herring. I would not dispute that even a blastocyst is ‘alive’, but as Eel Feather put it: broccoli. Personhood is far more important: when does a human embryo/foetus really begin to become a ‘human being’?

    I do not see any reason for regarding a human blastocyst (or, for that matter, embryo) as a ‘human being’: it is alive, and it is human, but so are cultured human skin cells. 🙂 ‘Life’ and ‘humanity’ per se are necessary but not sufficient conditions for human-personhood; determining what are sufficient qualities, and deciding where we draw the line beyond which kiling a foetus is unacceptable, are moral questions that are played out in a big ‘grey zone’ and not in a clearly delineated black-and-white world.

    If at some point an embryo was endowed with a soul then we would have a nice neat line; absent this, we are left with human-personhood as an emergent property of development.

    A common trope in this ‘stage of life’ debate is to ask: is an acorn an oak tree? This is a reasonable analogy (a seed is an embryonic plant, not analogous to sperm despite the misnomer of ‘semen’ given to the latter).

  59. Outeast says: “I would not dispute that even a blastocyst is ‘alive’, but as Eel Feather put it: broccoli. ”

    A blastocyst is a human being because that’s what type of cells they are – and what it will continue to become. It is not broccoli because it develops brain cells, a heart, etc, etc. If you would like to define life as beginning when brain cells differentiate, that would at least be something.

    Cultured skin cells stay cultured skin cells and obviously (to me) cannot be likened to the complexities of an embryo.

    I can’t say when a person gets a soul… If we can’t agree on when it is scientifically classified as a human being, how on earth do you expect us to even talk about souls!

    Frankly, I don’t give a flying rat’s ass whether or not you want to call an acorn an oak tree. I understand that it comes up in this type of debate, but it is not a human embryo – which is the topic of discussion.

    I would like for you to tell me where you believe life begins – did you say at viability in one of the earlier posts? At a certain week? At a developmental stage? Where do you think it begins? Can you give me some fact to back up your belief?

    Thank you for the debate, though it seems quite futile to continue… I appreciate your being reasonable, though we obviously disagree.

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