Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Psychic Powers at Pharyngula?

PZ Myers has acquired the psychic ability to read the minds of pro-lifers. He even knows more about what's going on in our tiny little minds than we do:

It's powerful stuff. Remember, the people who want to end abortion aren't really pro-life—they are out to control women, nothing more.
The comments to the post are worth recommending to any pro-lifer with low blood pressure. It will be raised in a jiffy. The only problem is that they are repetitive. After a few dozen comments claiming that pro-lifers are hypocrites if there's been at least one abortion secretly performed on a pro-life activist or that they must be hypocrites if they disagree with the government handing out free condoms (do such government programs work?) one's eyes start glazing over and the sheer hypnotic effect will send blood pressure back down again.

Even some of the rarer arguments can get old … especially when we compare them to other arguments. Let's see: Pro-lifers are cruel because they don't make exceptions; they are hypocrites because they make exceptions before birth but not after birth; they are hypocrites because they make exceptions after birth but not before birth …

I did see an argument in the middle of the comments from Russell that attempted to make sense:

Daniel, I find most of the rhetoric that equates an embryo with a person is quite dishonest. There is a philosophic gedanken that serves quite well to demonstrate this. Ask the person so arguing to imagine himself or herself in a fertility clinic, that has caught fire. With them is a tray containing a thousand embryos, ready for implantation, and also a child whose legs are in casts from a recent auto accident. They can save one or the other. Who do they save?

Someone who believes embryos are people has to save the embryos. In an emergency situation, one doesn't let a 1,000 people die to save 1. But I've yet to meet anyone who says that that is what they would do. And in their excuses why not, one will find their dishonesty.

On the other hand, I have already covered this:
Fuzzy logic might be appropriate. You can think of the mother and child as two different beings with a fuzzy boundary in space—time. If you cannot believe that an embryo 1 second after conception is not a separate human being but an infant 23 million seconds later is a separate human being then maybe the embryo could be considered 1/23,000,000 part of a human.


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