Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Activist stresses logic, not religion, in anti-abortion debate

**Edit: I realize now that in this post I was basically ranting. I also realize that I kind of made my own logical fallacy: ad hominem. I didn't conclude this very well because I didn't show that I proved him wrong. So I'm sorry. I don't think he can be proven wrong, but I was trying to make the argument (which I did very poorly) that if he was thinking logically and not religiously, he would see that it's nothing more than some cells trying to make the right connections to become a human being. Thinking religiously, one would say that this thing has a soul from the beginning of conception and is, therefore, a human being from conception. Do I make more sense? I'll try to keep on topic and do better on my next. I also realize that the abortion topic is one that is very sensitive for most, so I'm sorry if I've offended anyone.**

The article highlights points made by Scott Klusendorf, president of the Life Training Institute and anti-abortionist, on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus. The man is attempting to use logic in his debate regarding abortion, though conclusions point towards the use of religious values. Let's see just how logical Mr. Klusendorf is.

Klusendorf spent more than an hour defending his position using logical principles instead of religion.

We shall see.

He said the basis of the argument comes down to defining the unborn.


If someone can prove fetuses are not actually human beings, Klusendorf said he could find no reason to oppose abortion and embryonic stem cell research.

Edit: Logical fallacy - shifting burden of proof.

Klusendorf said from the point of conception, embryos are whole human beings.

Wait just one second here. How do you know this? Is there any proof that a human being is what is present after a sperm and ovum collide? Three to five days after conception, the "human being" is simply a mass of cells that have yet to differentiate (form into different types of cells), yet continue to proliferate. Do you consider this mass of cells a human being? If you want logical standards to determine if something is a human being, follow the Personhood Theory. It claims, "The criteria a person must have in personhood theory are one or more of the following:

  1. Consciousness.
  2. The ability to steer one's attention and action purposively.
  3. Self awareness, self bonded to objectivities.
  4. Self as longitudinal thematic identity, one's biographic identity."
These criteria make sense. If a being is to be considered human, it must act in a way that differentiates it from other species. A mass of cells that is proliferating is simply acting like a cancerous mass. When the cells begin to differentiate and appendages and organs are formed, it could be a member of any mammalian species, though it would be an odd-looking pig. (Note: Although these cells contain human DNA and the potential to develop into a human being, this does not necessarily indicate that they will develop into a human being. For example, in the case of spontaneous abortions, these cells have human DNA but were not able to develop into a human being.) It all comes down to the following: certain neural connections (involved with the ability to speak and reason logically, etc.) have made and continue to make human beings different from other species. That's it.

He also discussed public policy issues and said he would initially support any bill that would prohibit abortion, with exceptions in cases of rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother. However, he said: "Hardship doesn't justify homicide."

Well, it's about time you showed your religious personality: a blood-thirsty fuckhead (refer to the episode of "Trading Spouses" where one mother goes insane because her children were subjected to a mother that was not Christian.) "Hardship doesn't justify homicide." Is he serious? Does he not understand what a mother-to-be endures during a pregnancy? Normal mothers must deal with extra weight that limits them physically, but also endure some sort of mild depression during the pregnancy. For a mother-to-be who has been a victim of rape, incest, etc., the emotional stress is increased ten-fold. It's unnecessary, considering that most victims are younger and not prepared for such instability. I've no thoughts on prohibiting abortions to prevent danger to the life of the mother, but it should be allowed. And once again, it's not homicide if the thing isn't a human being.

Partway through his presentation, Klusendorf showed a short video on abortion. The audience of about 45 students and Lincolnites sat in silence as they watched pictures of bloody aborted fetuses and miniature body parts.

Logical fallacy: appeal to pity. Obviously showing this type of tape will appeal to anyone who has a heart, but those who think logically will realize that it is simply a necessary product of some action. You can not justify something because it makes others weak at the knees. Plus, I'm sure that movie was gross. :D

After his presentation, Klusendorf said he hoped attendees would be more confident they could rationally defend their anti-abortion position without involving religion. He also said his goal was to encourage the audience to put their thoughts into action.

Yes, because all thoughts presented involved logical rationalizations and were not in any way, shape, or form influenced by any religious ideals. Throw me a friggin' bone. He showed no proof of any of his claims, nor did he prove that he was even attempting to think logically. This is simply my interpretation, but it seems that if he didn't believe this thing had a soul, he would be able to see it as just that: some kind of thing. A mass of cells is not a human being, but if this mass already has a soul, it's human. I don't know how they think, but these people are crazy.

"I think we need to re-invent ourselves," he said. "I think we need people who are both passionate and informed."

No more of these people, please! We all hate seeing them protesting everywhere!


Anonymous said...

Normally, I don't comment on abortion-related things, but this stood out:

If someone can prove fetuses are not actually human beings, Klusendorf said he could find no reason to oppose abortion and embryonic stem cell research.

Fallacy: Shifting burden of proof.

Crystal said...

Very true. Thanks! I didn't want to look up all logical fallacies and point them out one-by-one. Too time-consuming. :D

Ryan Michael said...

Aaargghh! Reminds me of that Dana Hata woo-woo from Skeptico that kept saying it's my job to prove Louis Pasteur never recanted on his deathbed. I've only found one reference to that comment in a book. "Awakenings" by Dr. Oliver Sacks. I had to buy it just to prove this a$$ wrong.

Michael Bains said...

The November 2005 Scientific American has an excellent article on the concept of "Self". What it means apparently involves a tremendous amount of awareness of one's own thoughts and experiences.

I wonder how many 2nd trimester "people" this quack thinks could relate to him anything about their "self"?

I don't like the whole abortion option any more than I thrill to thoughts of invading the sovereign lands of another culture. Sometimes it is simply the most moral and efficacious of all known options.

And sometimes it's just vicious and lazy irresponsibility.