Saturday, November 23, 2013

Full of Hot Air

Stephen Woodworth, our local Conservative MP, is back with a new motion about the definition of "human being". He's also published this bizarre allegory that he thinks explains why.

It explains a lot. The engineer in his allegory doesn't like balloons. Stephen Woodworth doesn't like abortion.

The engineer in his allegory can't convince anyone to outlaw balloons. (Maybe that's because, at least in the allegory, not a single argument against balloons was offered.) So he tries an end-run around the issue by suggesting a bogus study of "aviation principles".

Then, despite his irrational hatred of balloons, the engineer is surprised that people see through his ploy and "accuse the aviation engineer of being a ballooning-hater whose only motive was to destroy the ballooning industry". Well, in the allegory, that was true, wasn't it? In the first paragraph, we learned that "He actively spoke and wrote against ballooning, penning letters to the editor and articles in professional journals to express this opposition to ballooning." So these accusations are perfectly justified, aren't they?

That allegory doesn't mean what Woodworth thinks it means. Somebody's full of hot hair.


Jeff Orchard said...

I love it when religious ideologues try to use scientific analogies. One example that boils my blood is Galileo. Proponents of intelligent design see themselves as Galileo, fighting an uphill battle against the "establishment". But I see Galileo as a scientist fighting an uphill battle against religion. I think that's the exact opposite of the message they wanted from the comparison.

Jeff Orchard said...

I think Woodworth's allegory would have made more sense to me if he had swapped the two sides. He should have chosen a ballooning ideologue to represent his antiquated notion that the soul enters the fetus at some instant, and used the encompassing field of aviation to represent the modern, biologically-informed freedom to choose.

Robert Byers said...

It is about the great idea of when mankind has become mankind with all rights and love deserving.
To kill mankind without just cause is murder.
Abortion kills something.
Pro-lifers say its a human being and pro-coicers say its not or a few might say it doesn't matter. I don't know the stats.
So how to decide if a fetus is a human being!
It seems pro choicers have already decided.
So its up to them to prove it to pro-lifers and end the great contention.
Pro-lifers go out of their way to persuade everone the fetus is a kid.
I never see pro-choicers strive to persuade pro lifers it ain't a kid.
I insist its because they have the inferior intellectual position on this issue and they know it at some level.
It really does seem like baby people come out out other peoples bodies. so implying they were within same bodies for all or some of the time since conception.
Abortion is not a clash of morality, as far as can be seen, but rather a clash of intellectual opinion on the status of the fetus relative to its later status in the baby carriage.

cody said...

Robert Byers, you've failed to understand the pro-choice position.

“It is about the great idea of when mankind has become mankind with all rights and love deserving.”

I can not possibly agree more that every offspring of humankind deserves love and all their needs met, including needs for healthcare, education, and developing social skills. And that is exactly why I am pro-choice.

My goal is to reduce the overall amount of suffering in the world. When a pregnancy threatens the life of the mother, I think there is no question that the amount of suffering the fetus will endure during termination is pale by comparison to the amount of suffering that the loss of the mother will create. There isn't just the suffering of the woman, there is the suffering of a child who lost a parent figure, possibly of a partner who lost their wife or girlfriend, the friends and family of the person. In fact, the emotional suffering of some women who have to choose abortion either for their own health or because the fetus is malformed and not going to survive long, etc., the parents likely suffer much more significantly than the fetus, even at late stages in pregnancy. Because adult nervous systems are far more complex, and capable of suffering, than fetuses are.

We're not saying you can't define human to include that initial fertilized egg that has a reasonable chance of becoming human to be a human already, you can do that if you want. But it's certainly not on equal footing with, for example, the wellbeing of a young rape victim.

Peter Singer and Noam Chomsky both make excellent points in this video, including the fact that abortion is going to continue happening whether we allow it or not, and if we do not allow it we're basically condemning poorer women to turning to more dangerous methods.

When I weigh the suffering of a developing fetus being aborted so that the parents can wait until they are capable of supporting a baby with all those rights I think every baby deserves, versus one born into a family that resents it's unexpected and straining nature, I'd rather they abort it. I'd rather every child be brought into the world by capable parents with all the resources they need, and I'm not going to fault someone who makes a decision to terminate a pregnancy because they don't think they're capable of providing for it adequately.

If pro-lifers really care so much about life, they should spend their resources helping the huge number of children who are already born, and suffering greatly. Millions of children die every year from malnutrition and preventable diseases, and you wouldn't be destroying the lives of any adults by helping these children.

As Sam Harris put it: imagine something like the tsunami that killed 250,000 people in Indonesia in 2004 — one of those, every ten days, all year long, killing only children under 5. And you assholes have to go and shame women at clinics, guilt them for what is already a terribly stressful decision. It is infuriating.

colnago80 said...

The extreme anti-choice position is that life begins at conception. If this is the case, then god is the world's greatest abortionist as better then 1/2 of all fertilized eggs fail to implant and are expelled. This is, in addition to spontaneous abortions that can take place after the fertilized egg implants so that god must be held responsible for those as well.