Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Science Over Subjectivity in the Abortion Debate

America since its very founding as a nation was predicated on the belief that our rights came from a Divine Creator, and not granted by a King or governments comprised of men.  Further,  our founders believed that the primary purpose of our government was to secure, protect, and defend those rights for all Americans.  Indeed, Thomas Jefferson specifically penned in our founding document as a nation that paramount amongst  those inalienable rights were life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I shudder when I see what a tumble down the cliff we have taken in no longer protecting one of our most elemental rights since 1973 with the Supreme Court’s finding of the “right” to abortion existing in our Constitution, via their landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

The right to life is the sine qua non of all human rights; that is to say that without the existence of this right, there can be no others.

Now the pro-life versus pro-abortion divide is not over whether government should prevent the killing of innocent human life.  I think it is safe to say that nearly all Americans agree that innocent human life absolutely must be protected.  The divide exists over how to define human life; or more specifically, how government should define that human life which deserves the protection of the law against its intentional destruction.  In other words the debate regarding abortion typically comes down to when life begins.  The question at hand is at what point of development of the fetus does abortion actually constitute the killing of a human life? 

Many pro-abortion advocates argue that most pro-lifers are strongly guided or at least influenced by religious faith and subjective opinions instead of science with their unwavering stances against abortion.  They decry that pro-life advocates want to remove the choice of a woman to abort her unborn child, and thus remove her right to control over her own body.  The argument is that we don’t know at what point a life is truly its own, so rather than succumb to religion and superstition, we should not infringe upon a woman’s choice in what to do with her own body, accordingly.

I would argue that precisely the opposite is true.  It is the pro-abortion advocate that is ignoring science and using subjectivity and human opinion in their determination of when human life begins in the womb.

Most pro-life advocates support the concept that life absolutely begins at conception.  This position seems far more rooted in science and objectivity than does the pro-abortion stance.  Indeed, at the very moment of conception there is the creation of a life that is genetically complete and distinct that comes into existence.  The gender and most all physiological traits of that human are in place at that moment of conception.  Before conception, there was not a separate and distinct life; after conception, there is objectively and scientifically a unique human life that will continue to develop and change incrementally until his or her death. 

Indeed, after conception all further change will be incremental.  There will be a moment before the first fetal heart beat and the moment after it.  There will be the moment that a newborn will take its first breath of air and the moment immediately after it.  There will be the first moment a middle aged lady finds a gray hair and the first moment afterwards.    Each moment in development, maturation -- in life-- will be just one more incremental step before and after each subjective moment in a timeline. 

Trying to determine at which other point beyond conception in that incremental growth timeline of a person that human life actually begins is purely subjective, no matter what government, advocates, judges, pregnant women, or even doctors opine on the topic.  And indeed, they are all nothing but subjective opinions based on human determined criteria.  Conception is absolutely and unequivocally the most scientifically verifiable and defensible position for when life begins.  It is, therefore, at that moment of conception that life, HUMAN life, should and indeed must be afforded the protections that God has granted and our government was founded to defend.  After conception, the choosing of a point to allow the abortion of a human life is relegated to personal opinion and is simply an elevation of that subjective opinion above that of objective science.

When subjective opinion and ideology are the factors that comprise the rationale for government’s actions in their not exercising of a paramount responsibility, then all of rational government is jeopardized.

Now it may not seem intuitive or obvious to equate a newly conceived zygote with a twenty year old man, but from an objective scientific perspective, both are unique and individual creations of life.  If left to take their natural courses, both will continue to mature, learn, love, and have the opportunities to reach their potentials for good or ill that they so desire.  Aborting that unborn child, that zygote, is every bit the same as killing that twenty year old man in the fact that both lives are taken and prevented from ever further reaching that potential for which those lives were intended.  Making a decision to abort that child based on some nuanced idea of viability or other subjective factor is absolutely wrong.  I would far rather trust my stance on the abortion debate to be based on intellectually defensible science, accordingly.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

An Argument for God: The World as an Interacting Whole

I happened to hear about a fantastic book that I immediately ran out and purchased which is written by two brilliant professors who teach philosophy of religion at Boston College.  (Peter J. Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli)  The book is entitled “Handbook of Catholic Apologetics”.  I have a long way to go still in my reading of it, but have thus far been thoroughly engrossed by their well-written and strongly presented arguments throughout the book.  In the second chapter of the book, the authors give twenty different arguments for the existence of God.  They are all very well-reasoned and logical in their presentation.  I thought I would share one of these gems with my few readers accordingly to see what you all thought about their logic.  Enjoy:

Norris Clarke, who taught metaphysic and philosophy of religion for many years at Fordham, has presented in The One and the Many an intriguing version of the design argument.  We present it here, slightly abridged and revised, for your reflection.

Starting Point.  This world is given to us as a dynamic, ordered system of many active component elements. Their natures (natural properties) are ordered to interact with each other in stable, reciprocal relationships that we call physical laws.  For example, every hydrogen atom in our universe is ordered to combine with every oxygen atom in the proportion of 2:1 (which implies that every oxygen atom is reciprocally ordered to combine with every hydrogen atom in the proportion of 1:2).  So it is with the chemical valences of all of the basic elements.  So too all particles with mass are ordered to move toward every other according to the fixed proportions of the law of gravity.

In such an interconnected, interlocking, dynamic system, the active nature of each component is defined by its relation with others and so presupposes the others for its own intelligibility and ability to act.  Contemporary science reveals to us that our world-system is not merely an aggregate of many separate, unrelated laws but rather a tightly interlocking whole, where relationship to the whole structures and determines the parts.  The parts can no longer be understood apart from the whole; its influence permeates them all. 

Argument.  In any such system as the above, (like our world) no component part or active element can be self-sufficient or self-explanatory.  For any part presupposes all the other parts—the whole system already in place – to match its own relational properties. It can’t act unless the others are there to interact reciprocally with it.  Any one part could be self-sufficient only if it were the cause of the whole rest of the system – which is impossible, since no part can act except in collaboration with the others. 

Nor can the system as a whole explain its own existence, since it is made up of the component parts and is not a separate being, on its own, independent of them.  So neither the parts nor the whole are self-sufficient; neither can explain the actual existence of this dynamically interactive system.

Three Conclusions

1.       Since the parts make sense only within the whole, and neither the whole nor the parts can explain their own existence, then such a system as our world requires a unifying efficient cause to posit it in existence as a unified whole.

2.       Any such cause must be an intelligent cause, one that brings the system into being according to a unifying idea.  For the unity of the whole – and of each one of the overarching, cosmic-wide, physical laws uniting elements under themselves – is what determines and correlates the parts.  Hence, it must be somehow actually present as an effective organizing factor.  But the unity, the wholeness, of the whole transcends any one part and therefore cannot be contained in any one part.  To be actually present all at once as a whole, this unity can only be the unity of an organizing unifying idea.  For only an idea can hold together many different elements at once without destroying or fusing their distinctness.  That is almost the definition of an idea.  Since the actual parts are spread out over space and time, the only way they can be together at once as an intelligible unity is within an idea.  Hence the system of the world as a whole must live first within the unity of an idea.  Now, a real idea cannot actually exist and be effectively operative save in a real mind, which has the creative power to bring such a system into real existence.  Hence the sufficient reason for our ordered world-system must ultimately be a creative ordering Mind.  A cosmic-wide order requires a cosmic-wide Orderer, which can only be a Mind.

3.       Such an ordering Mind must be independent of the system itself, that is, transcendent –not dependent on the system for its own existence and operation.  For if it were dependent on – or part of – the system, it would have to presuppose the latter as already existing in order to operate and would thus have to both precede and follow itself.  But this is absurd.  Hence it must exist and be able to operate prior to and independent of the system.  Thus our material universe necessarily requires, as the sufficient reason for its actual existence as an operating whole, a Transcendent Creative Mind.

And that transcendent creative mind is God.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Wisdom of G.K. Chesterton

“It is absurd for the Evolutionist to complain that it is unthinkable for an admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing, and then pretend that it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into everything.”

“Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference which is an elegant name for ignorance.”

“A dead thing goes with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”

“Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”

“Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

“When you break the big laws, you do not get liberty; you do not even get anarchy. You get the small laws.”

“Carlyle said that men were mostly fools. Christianity, with a surer and more reverend realism, says that they are all fools.”

“In so far as I am Man I am the chief of creatures. In so far as I am a Man I am the chief of sinners.”

“There is only one very timid sort of man that is not afraid of women.”

“When a man has found something which he prefers to life, he then for the first time begins to live.”

“Politicians have to be progressive; that is, they have to live in the future, because they know that they have done nothing but evil in the past.”

“The only persons who seem to have nothing to do with the education of the children are the parents.”

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”

“One can sometimes do good by being the right person in the wrong place.”

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Progressive's Declaration of Dependence

Today, July 4th 2012, marks the two hundredth and thirty-sixth year of the existence of the United States of America.  On this date in 1776, 57 men signed the document that created the American republic, which has thus risen to become the greatest nation in the history of the world in terms of freedom, economic power, and military might that mankind has ever seen.  These brave signers truly risked their lives, fortunes, and sacred honors in establishing the Declaration of Independence as they were then considered guilty of sedition and treason by the British Crown.  The odds of a nascent America surviving to become the bastion of freedom it STILL is today were very great indeed.  But by seemingly Divine Providence, we won our independence from Great Britain and established that shining city on a hill called America.

Unfortunately, there are many of our fellow American brothers and sisters today that think America is evil and must be changed to align with their progressive designs.  Unfortunately our current President Obama seems to be amongst these folks.  With that in mind, I have been only mildly presumptuous in drafting a new declaration for these folks; a Declaration of DEPENDENCE, if you will:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for millions of amerikans to dissolve their allegiance which have connected them in equal station with all of America and to assume among them the rights of their progressive ideology, the separate and greater station to which nature, Mother Goa, and the Democratic Party entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of all rabble rousing protestors should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that your truth is not necessarily my truth, that government is the source and summit of our rights, and that the purpose of that said government is to solve whatever problems we would rather not confront ourselves, and to provide us with whatever entitlements we desire out of the public coffers.  That to secure these rights, our government should be instituted among hyper-liberal Men, Women, and transgender people, deriving their just powers from the various labor unions, progressive PAC’s, and liberal Democratic party members, regardless of the opinion of the majority of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the amerikans to alter, abolish, or form an “occupy” rally to intimidate government to acquiesce to our demands.    The history of the past Republican congress and President Bush, even though he was illegally elected by disenfranchising the votes of our progressive brothers and sisters in the state of Florida, is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world or at least to those that watch MSNBC or read the Huffington Post.

He and evil tyrannical conservatives have insisted on governing “constitutionally”, instead of recognizing that the constitution is a living breathing document and is really more just a set of guidelines anyway.

He and evil tyrannical conservatives have tried to infringe upon our right to abortion on demand.  The government has no business making laws that affect life, no matter what the Declaration of INDEPENDENCE stated.  Why should we be “punished with a baby” after all?

He and evil tyrannical conservatives have tried to enforce our national borders, thus potentially disenfranchising a whole new voting block of illegal alien Democrat voters.

He and evil tyrannical conservatives have tried to block Obamacare in order that single payer socialized medicine cannot be incrementally realized, thereby preventing the ushering in of a greater progressive utopia, even if health care services will suffer as a result.

He and evil tyrannical conservatives have tried to enact laws that would cut our welfare entitlements so that we would have to actually leave our parents’ basements, find work, and become self-sufficient against our wills.

He and evil tyrannical conservatives have tried to curb the already waning power of progressive unions by making public sector union employees actually pay for a slightly greater part of their health care and retirement.  Oh! The inhumanity of it!

He and evil tyrannical conservatives have brought contempt charges on our beloved Attorney General Holder simply because a few hundred (or thousand… whatever) people were killed in an illegal gun-walking operation with his knowledge, instead of realizing that this program was instituted for the greater good of ridding the nation of guns (at least by the law-abiding anyway) and thereby making irrelevant that silly second amendment thing.

He and evil tyrannical conservatives have had a hissy-fit that our current beloved leader refuses to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act.  They still want to govern by the antiquated notion that marriage should be between a man and a woman.  We want to love, or at least lust after, in marital bliss (or at least on a trial basis) the person we so desire.

He and evil tyrannical conservatives actually want to cut government spending and balance the budget, when everyone knows that only through Keynesian economics and ever greater government spending of the dwindling tax payer dollars will we amerikans be able to get all of the goodies and rightful entitlements which we want. 

He and evil tyrannical conservatives want to cut taxes for the evil rich who refuse to pay their fair share, even though we bottom 50% of wage earners either pay no net taxes now or actually get a tax refund/credit.  If we cannot confiscate more of the tax dollars from all of the evil rich, how are we to fund our government-provided desires, aside from the federal reserve simply printing more money from thin air, of course?  (Note: George Soros, Warren Buffet, and any Hollywood liberal should be exempt from such taxation as they are working for the common good behind the scenes.)

We, therefore, the Representatives of the progressive movement of amerika, assembled in chat rooms, Starbucks, and union halls throughout the country, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world, John Roberts, for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the DNC, solemnly publish and declare, that these United States are, and of Right ought to be subjected to a new all-encompassing government that will govern not by some silly archaic constitution that was written hundreds of years ago by sexist, homophobic, old white guys, but rather by the will of the progressives that want to be governed by an all –powerful and benevolent federal government. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of the ACLU, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives (as long as they really aren’t in jeopardy), our Fortunes (as acquired from the evil and greedy rich), and our sacred Honor.  (So don’t you dare ‘dis us!)