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Bob K
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0 posted 02-04-2012 08:40 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     I worked for Catholic Charities for several years in the late ‘80’s and early 90’s and for the most part they were very nice people who went very far out of their way to help people in a lot of trouble for various reasons, including drug addiction and psychiatric disorders, homelessness, starvation and physical and sexual abuse.  One thing you might find among many of the people served by Catholic Charities, especially among the women served by Catholic charities, is that they were often victims of sexual assault, and that the many of the people sexually assaulted were underaged women, and/or women who were living on the street and who were drinking and at high risk for giving birth to kids with fetal alcohol syndrome.  

     If the children were born, the mothers were often unable to care for them, and the cycle of abuse was frequently carried on for several generations.  The most frequent abusers of children under five tend to be the mothers themselves.  After that, the abusers tend to be the older guys living in those homes; the boyfriends, the husbands.

     I think that there were too many births.  That’s my opinion, of course.  But if there’d been more work on repairing lives, including more outreach with birth control services especially, I think the group as a whole might have fared better.  My emphasis would have been different has I been running things, and there were good reasons that I wasn’t, beyond simple indolence on my own part, and lack of training in that sort of approach at that time.

       We need to remind ourselves here that the business of the Church is not so much in the amelioration of lives, though lives are very important indeed, and it would be deceptive to suggest that the Church is indifferent or uncaring about lives; but it is important to remind ourselves that the business of the church is much more intimately entwined with souls.  Now I happen to believe in souls, but I’m not sure that everybody else does.  Freud, for that matter, does.  When Freud writes about psychoanalysis — one of the reasons that Freud is worth taking seriously, in my opinion — he doesn’t talk about minds or brains of neurologies, the way so many others do.  Almost always, you will find him using the German word Die Seele, which translates as Soul.  The Church is most interested in Souls as well, and that can be a bit of a problem when you’re running a charity that supplies medical treatments.  You are likely to forbid birth control which can be a major intervention in helping out qualitiy of life and health of bodies, but does little or nothing about new souls except tending to help them be born into conditions which are more advantageous to their longterm survival.  And you are likely to forbid abortion, which favors the happiness of souls that are already hanging about and may offer them a chance at bettering their condition, and at offering such new souls that do show up a better chance at having a better time of it.

     This is a choice that the Church has already made, a choice in favor of more souls over that of the ammelioration of the condition of those already here.  I do not condemn the choice, though it is not a choice that I think I want to make for somebody else as I write this right now.  Were you to catch me tomowwow, I think you’d probably find me saying the same thing; but you’d probably also find Mother Theresa disagreeing with me, and she is not somebody that I can say I would like to disagree with very often.

     Sitting in an office, taking to somebody who is drinking like a camel and inhaling large amounts of freebase cocaine is an interesting thing to do.  The laws of normal discourse will be operating as usual at other locations on the planet.  Grocery stores will continue to sell food.  Wedding chapels will pronounce people married.  Judges will pronounce them separated and lawyers will make money trying to move the goalposts between the two, and skim off enough money in the process to keep everybody angry enough to keep coming back for more.

     But talking to people who have “issues,” especially “Issues” with booze and drugs is like spending all day at the fun-house.  No matter what sort of oddness is going on inside these people’s heads, however, for many of them, their bodies are still functioning in a somewhat normal fashion, which means the women are producing the potential of a child every month or so, whether they remember it or not, and they have hormone systems that have put that piece of information very far up on the “to do” list at any given time, rain or shine.  Life has also surrounded them with men who love them very much before they pass out.

     It is hard to remember Birth Control when one tends to forget actually having sex, and to plan having sex in advance is something that can be very difficult.  Few things get in the way of a good drinking life the way children can, so attitudes about planning for sex will quickly run into problems when one talks to a client about whether or not she actually wants to have a sexual relationship with somebody, and what that might mean.  That’s when the conversation is with a woman.  Within the context of a Catholic charity, I don’t recall the subject of the man’s sexual life coming up at all unless he was gay and felt he was suffering from his orientation and the way he felt about himself as a result, or unless the man was talking about the things he thought the woman wanted from him.

     As a counselor, neither birth control nor abortion was an option you were supposed to discuss unless you were there to discourage it, or to offer other options.

     This, to me, is not counseling.  This is anti-counseling, in which the counselor is systematically closing off options that are legal and available to the patient to support what is the counselor’s value system, in the belief that the counselor’s value system is and must be better than that of the client.  It closes off the clients exercise of his legal freedoms and the expression and elaboration of the client’s identity, and to me it is totalitarian and repressive.

     I distinguish this from suggesting that the client should be free to make any decision at all.

     That is already the client’s right, and cannot be taken away from him short of imprisonment or murder of the client by the counselor.  To suggest that it isn’t is silly, and it is merely a suggesting made by some as a red herring, to draw attention away from the actual abridgement of rights forced on the client in this situation by the counselor and the church.

     A client deserves to know what the legal options are, and what the disadvantages and advantages each has so that the client can make up his or her own mind about the issue at hand.  Going to a Charity that is run by a trusted resource is only a good starting point, since one may occasionally be forced to make up one’s own mind about how trustworthy the organization is around some issues.  An example?

     “As a war Veteran, I trust my government utterly to treat me with the respect my years of service and the blood I’ve spilled for my country would naturally entitle me to”  seems in fact precisely that sort of statement.  Many Jewish veterans of the German Imperial Forces must have felt the irony of that as they were lined up to be gassed during the Second World War.  The Catholic Church is not even a close match to the Nazi Party, yet it seems fairly clear that when the cloice has come down to the life of the mother or the life of the unborn child, there have been situations where the mother would have considerable cause to wonder where the interests of the Church would lie.  In needing to consider her own decision on such matters, we live in a country where we are in fact free to make up our own minds about the information we gather as a basis for such a decision.

     In agreeing to limit the amount of information we have in coming to such a decision, I believe that we are not serving our own interests here.

     If the Church believes they are serving a higher interest — and they may well be; nobody gave me special information to answer that question with a more authoritative or more truthful slant than the Church has — then it should feel that more information should bolster its case, make its case more solid, more believeable, more bulletproof.  Instead, it seeks to take information off the table.  It wants its women to know less.  It wants its people to be unbothered by facts, uncluttered by the need to think.

     I didn’t like that attitude then.  I don’t like it now.

[This message has been edited by Bob K (02-04-2012 11:53 PM).]

Bob K
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1 posted 02-05-2012 04:29 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



    If Birth Control and Abortion are to be provided as part of the standard employer funded health care package, that puts the Church in a bind.  As a vendor, it has freedom to decide what it wishes to sell.  It doesn't have to sell fish, for example; or sell all varieties of health care if it specializes in cardiology.  As an employer, however, it does have to provide at least the standard coverage to fulfill its legal obligation.  

     I suspect that it can't impose its religious beliefs on its employees in quite that blanket a fashion without at least some major test case.  Seeing the language they're talking about chucking around, using words like "unjust," I suspect they're working up to such a test case, but don't have it yet.
Stephanos
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2 posted 02-06-2012 10:36 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Bob,

You've stated things in a roundabout way, but if I understand you right, the following summarizes your position.

1)  Abortion and Birth Control are viable and often helpful options

2)  The Catholic Church is against these helpful options

3)  These options remain legal rights in America

4)  Therefore those in the Church who are counselors should be prevented from either presenting these options in a negative light, or conversely not presenting them in a positive light.  


I would like to comment on these through responding to some of your quotes:


quote:
"This is a choice that the Church has already made, a choice in favor of more souls over that of the ammelioration of the condition of those already here.  I do not condemn the choice, though it is not a choice that I think I want to make for somebody else as I write this right now.


While, as a good protestant, I would have no qualms with birth control (excepting those forms which terminate conception rather than prevent it), I believe that the pro-life position is misrepresented by your above statement, as if the Church were simply for quantity and not quality of life.  Regarding the Church's position on abortion, this is a false dichotomy.  For example, the Church would say that the guilt and regret that many if not most women face after abortion, even with the easing evasion of another life to support, does not amount to amelioration.  And yet social services, such as adoption and foster care, do in fact take the mother's life and health into consideration.  I'm not responding so much to argue this case, as I am to object to the over-simplification you have given.  


quote:
As a counselor, neither birth control nor abortion was an option you were supposed to discuss unless you were there to discourage it, or to offer other options.

This, to me, is not counseling.  This is anti-counseling, in which the counselor is systematically closing off options that are legal and available to the patient to support what is the counselor’s value system, in the belief that the counselor’s value system is and must be better than that of the client.  It closes off the clients exercise of his legal freedoms and the expression and elaboration of the client’s identity, and to me it is totalitarian and repressive.


So in effect, what you are saying is, is that the Church should not be allowed to practice any ideology that opposes a legislated egalitarianism of ideas (which many, in and outside the church, consider to be a travesty of 'rights').  Thankfully the legality of abortion, and its status of being an individual right, is far from being concluded in the ongoing national debate.  


At the very least, what you are suggesting could turn into a violation of the separation of Church and State, which is usually taken to separate public policy and Church influence, but in its original context was put in place to prevent the tyranny of the Government in telling the Church what it cannot do, regarding its own beliefs practices and convictions.  And counseling women that abortion is (in actual scientific fact) the taking of a human life, and (in moral philosophy) should only be done in those extreme cases where the Mother's life would be lost otherwise, is generally part of those beliefs and practices which are not to be dictated by the State.  Certainly placing legal bounds on the Church about something as unsettled as "abortion rights", would, in my estimation, be totalitarian and repressive.  


And in what sense the Church is withholding knowledge, by taking a definite position against abortion, escapes me entirely.  It's as if you were saying that to be against anything at all, you must be obfuscatory about it.  That's no logical necessity by any stretch.  Informed opposition is not the same as perpetuating ignorance.  Perhaps the Church has resorted to obscurantism before, but certainly so have pro-choice counselors who fail to present the scientific case (made more poignant by developing diagnostic technologies, such as fetal ultrasound) for human life in utero, saying that the unborn human being is little different than an appendix, anesthetizing reason by referring to them as 'products of conception' and other euphemisms.


quote:
The Catholic Church is not even a close match to the Nazi Party, yet it seems fairly clear that when the cloice has come down to the life of the mother or the life of the unborn child, there have been situations where the mother would have considerable cause to wonder where the interests of the Church would lie.


I guess Godwin's law may be forgiven if I provide an analogy from National-Socialist ideology too?  First of all, I'm more than certain it has been a minority in the church who would go to the extreme of wanting to save the unborn child at the expense of the mother's life.  Secondly, of our respective hitleresque comparisons, the dehumanizing doctrines of the Nazis which justified treating a certain class of human beings as non-human, is much more similar to the belief that the unborn are not human beings simply because they are unborn.    


quote:
In agreeing to limit the amount of information we have in coming to such a decision, I believe that we are not serving our own interests here.


I wholeheartedly agree.  


quote:
If the Church believes they are serving a higher interest ... then it should feel that more information should bolster its case, make its case more solid, more believable, more bulletproof.  Instead, it seeks to take information off the table.  It wants its women to know less.  It wants its people to be unbothered by facts, uncluttered by the need to think.


Might this be a caricature of the Catholic position about aboriton in particular, and of the Christian position in general?  To assess whether the Catholic position really is one of obfuscation versus information (or if that charge is unfounded in many cases), check out the writings of Francis Beckwith, who presents a thoughtful and thorough apologetic for the Christian pro-life position.


This of course, does not mean that Mister Kaven and I don't have a lot of common ground.  And I'd love to discuss some of this too.  I just don't think that common ground includes the question of whether abortion should be a right, or whether Church counselors should be made to present it as a viable option.


(Nice to see you 'gain Bob)


Stephen  
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(What happened to Ron's comment?)
Stephanos
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4 posted 02-08-2012 09:07 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ess, though I never saw his comment, I'm guessing it was aborted ...

I know, I know ... You can throw things at me now.


Essorant
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5 posted 02-09-2012 11:03 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

A comment by Ron was originally the first reply to the thread.  It seems suspicious that he would remove it like that.  And now Bob is not posting and responding all the sudden...
Ron
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6 posted 02-09-2012 11:53 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I deleted my comment, Ess.

Bob came back in and edited his original thread, changing the title and pretty much the entire post. My comment, in fact, quoted a comment Bob made in the original that no longer even existed. Bob subsequently made his second post, which I felt, with the mention of health care, changed the direction of this thread yet again. My comment had become a non sequitur so I deleted it, and since we're already discussing religion and health care in another thread, I felt no need to post another comment to replace the deleted one.

Satisfied?
Bob K
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7 posted 02-09-2012 01:57 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Sure, sure, blame the poor poster.  I was just sitting here, all alone. In the dark.  Hiding from the large cruel conservatives.

     Sigh.
Essorant
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8 posted 02-09-2012 11:58 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

quote:
Satisfied?



Not completely, it's not fancy enough.  I was hoping you would say aliens infiltrated the site and stole your comment to take home as proof of the superior heights of intelligence that certain beings on our planet have reached      

[This message has been edited by Essorant (02-10-2012 09:31 PM).]

Stephanos
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9 posted 02-10-2012 01:51 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Bahahaha

Is it an alien or a shape-shifter?  :P


And Bob,

It's not nice to make comments about someone's weight.  
Bob K
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10 posted 02-10-2012 09:01 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


     Ha!

     If you're somebody with a weight problem, I'm sorry to hear it.  I am as well.  Apparently religious identity doesn't have much to do with propensity to eat slowly enough to thoroughly experience the process of eating and enjoying the flavors in food and the actual experience of swallowing and following the physical experience of when hunger crosses into satiety.  We're too busy thinking about things well over our heads.  I wonder if God meant us to structure ourselves this way, or if the weight is simply His reminder that we're not paying attention to one more soul experience.  

     Hey there, Mr. Bob, I can just hear it now, stop feeling so guilty and start paying attention to what it's like to actually eat the food that God's grace supplied.  Do you think it might make any difference in how you treat the people you share the experience of eating it with, and how you want that meal time to go?  Would that change anything.  Would that change your notion of what the notion of, for example, The Last Supper, might have meant, and what the level of sharing might be possible for you withing a loving and religious family?  And so on.

     Even a light conversation with you, Stephen, can be a treat sometimes.  I think that simply feling guilty about being fat is such a waist of an opportunity — Ha! — when you think of the possible joys that exploring the issue might hold, if one can do so with some spirit of amusement and love.

     As for the Birth control issue, I think that there's something essentially wrong headed about it.  The Catholics are certainly not against Birth Control, yet the conversation is framed as though Catholics were against Birth Control.  The Doctrine is against "artificial" birth control, and even natural birth control, if done in a dependable fashion, is going to cost money to keep track of body temperatures.  You might even need special medical consultations of some sort or another or you might have to buy a computer or other apparatus to keep track of ovulation times.  For women who've had to do this sort of thing to help get pregnant, even if they don't take drugs to help the process along, the investment in time and energy can be considerable.  What about the monetary investment?

     And would the investment in not getting pregnant in those terms be any less?  All of it is natural, all of it, it seems to me, within the guidelines of "natural birth control."  The Church, since all of this falls inside what is doctrinally approved, should find all of this acceptable, shouldn't it?  

     What's the problem?  The Church should be pleased to pay for what is within church guidelines.

     It supplies an important health need for half the people the Church employees; or, possibly, even more of them.  Perhaps the Church wants to make sure that the money that it pays its employees does not get spent on buying pork products, lest any of its employees be tempted to eat forbidden food and endanger the salvation of their souls.  I am certain that both the orthodox Jews and the Islamic folk who happen to work for the Catholic church in some capacity or another woulkd be happy to have the Church ensure that these sins were also covered, and would be appreciative, especially since the Church's position on Birth Control already so closely approximates their as well.

     I have some rules I would like to have the church include as well, though they would have to throw out several of their own rules in order to substitute mine.  There shouldn't be any problem there, however, because my rules are much more important than their are, you can take my word for it, just as they are asking me to take theirs, and I don't wear funny hats, like the Pope.  Clearly, whatever I say must be more important, bucause I am not cluttered by expensive haberdashery bills, evidence of bad thinking and a wasted childhood.  Just ask me.

     And if you don't believe m,e on my own authority, just ask me to tell you about my secret, and I tell you the real truth.  God told me, but the details are really really secret, and none of you come from the right kind of family to really be told without being struck dead.  Honest.  A neighbor of mine had a dog named Sam, and he told me all about it.
Bob K
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     Maybe I got a little bit off track, there at the end.  Just a little.
Stephanos
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Frankly Bob, it seems to me your response is a curious mix of refreshing insight that shows thoughtful consideration (as in your comments about eating) combined with disappointing humor that shows less evidence of it (as in your statements about God revealing trivialities, which seems to mock revelation on all terms).  But the foibles of some forms of legalism (within the Church or otherwise) are not comparable to other, more weighty convictions and truths of the Church.  And so it doesn't really make sense to use the former to cast doubt on the latter.  More peripheral beliefs about diet and such in no way parallel those about the sanctity of life.  But, it is much easier to obscure this with mention of regulations about eating pork and guidelines for garment length ... et cetera, ad nauseum.      
Bob K
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13 posted 02-12-2012 04:24 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Well, I stand corrected about my tendency to trivialize things that other folks find important.

     The sanctity of life is certainly important.

     I think that you are about as wrong about birth control as a man can get.  The Church allows it, as you should be more than well aware by now.  Knowledge of that fact should take any discussion of The Sanctity of Life off the table here.  

     Were the discussion limited to abortion, you might have grounds for upset that i could follow and sympathize with.  Please explain to me how you have managed to conflatre the two discussions, or how I have made some error in my understanding here.  

     If I have gotten a bit too broad in my humor, I am sorry, and I meant no offense by it, but then the Church has no business in telling me what sort of birth control I should use, either.  If they believe that it's forgivable to have clergy acting the way they believe clergy may act and remain acting as clergy, they have no right to insist that binding legislation be passed affecting the freedom and health of others.  The legal principle in question is that of acting with clean hands, and they do not have hands clean enough to make their wishes  an issue in this debate; no insofar as I understand their behavior over not decades, not centuries, but millenia.

     Show me, don't tell me, the path of moral leadership.
Stephanos
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quote:
Well, I stand corrected about my tendency to trivialize things that other folks find important.


I do appreciate you saying so.  

quote:
I think that you are about as wrong about birth control as a man can get.


I'm really hoping this is hyperbole, because I once knew someone who thought that ... nevermind.

quote:
The Church allows it, as you should be more than well aware by now.


I do know that Bob.  I wasn't under the illusion that the RCs are against any and every method to prevent conception.  When I said that, as a good protestant, I have no problem with "birth control" (excepting those forms which do not merely prevent fertilization), I thought it was obvious I was referring to the methods which most people think of when they say "birth control" ... pills and things, which are in fact the methods central to this particular controversy.

quote:
Were the discussion limited to abortion, you might have grounds for upset that i could follow and sympathize with.  Please explain to me how you have managed to conflatre the two discussions


You mentioned abortion three times in your posts above, making me think that it was included in the discussion.  I've certainly never said that it was limited to that.  Even if I personally chose to only speak of that aspect, it would not mean that I'm limiting the discussion.  I certainly haven't conflated them, since this controversy definitely includes forms of "birth control" such as the "Morning After Pill" ... and also a positive view of abortion itself in your own words.  In the future I recommend that if you don't want an aspect discussed, don't make multiple mentions of it yourself.    


quote:
but then the Church has no business in telling me what sort of birth control I should use, either


Wait a minute ... I thought this controversy was about something that was already a standard declination of the Roman Catholic Church for their religious reasoning, and already well known by its willing and consensual employees, which Obamacare is seeking to alter ... not about how the Church wants to legislate anything new to dictate whether anyone practices birth control.  Those details and nuances are important to mention lest anyone get the wrong impression here.


quote:
If they believe that it's forgivable to have clergy acting the way they believe clergy may act and remain acting as clergy, they have no right to insist that binding legislation be passed affecting the freedom and health of others.


Maybe you're right.  Maybe you're not telling the whole story.  But moral leadership is a principle I generally agree with.  Still, the right of the Church to make its own decisions about what it provides or pays for (because of a moral conviction) is a different matter entirely ... and the right of the Government to change that for them.

quote:
no insofar as I understand their behavior over not decades, not centuries, but millenia.


That's stretching it (pun intended).  I'm not sure that any cultural group of people, religious or otherwise, can claim clean hands for millenia.  The folks we came from Bob traded in chattel slavery.  I'm sorry for it.  But I don't think it can or should be used to challenge my own moral integrity however (or yours), and I don't feel personal guilt about it.  What the Church can claim as original is the truth of the doctrine of original sin, which is as true for you and me, as for anyone else, and is confirmed by your statements.  I'm not saying that your point is wrong, as much as it is taken too far.  That kind of insistence would discredit everyone, and were I to believe it, I could hardly believe you.    


Anyway, as always Bob, it's lively and energetic talking with you my friend.  

Stephen        
  
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     Simply because I think you're wrong, doesn't mean you are wrong.  Simply because I think you're about as wrong about birth control as a man can get, doesn't mean the situation isn't reversed, and the party in the wrong isn't me, even though I'd be the last person in the world to assure you of that.  Just went off antidepressants after about 20 years.  I find that I have much better access to my feelings, and that the old truism about depression being anger turned inward is getting a workout as about 20 years worth of anger is getting vented into the ionosphere.  If the EPA could tax this stuff, it'd make a fraking fortune.

     I don't believe in original sin.

     Even if I did, that doesn't mean that gives me the right to impose that belief on others; nor to impose the consequences that belief may suggest, if accepted as true.   That's one of the reasons that we do not have a state religion.  That’s also one of the reasons why so many religions would love it if the United States would only be reasonable and choose theirs to be the state religion to clean up the errors of all those clearly wrong-headed and ill intentioned others who worship inferior loas who lack sufficient understanding.  

     While most religions are willing to tell us why other people are wrong, they seem to have a great deal of trouble making their own injustices, sins and loathsome practices seem practical, tasty and delicious to such folks  as have been on the receiving end.  Feel free to fill in your own examples here __________.  Attach such extra sheets as you feel may be needed.  

     One would be tempted to say that the notion of original sin has been placed at the heart of so much Christian theology simply as an excuse for the way that Christians seem to believe they have a right to act toward others, and for the high-handed fashion they seem to feel is forgivable in the way they treat others, except Christians are not the only ones who find the set of behaviors congenial.

  
quote:

I do know that Bob.  I wasn't under the illusion that the RCs are against any and every method to prevent conception.  When I said that, as a good protestant, I have no problem with "birth control" (excepting those forms which do not merely prevent fertilization), I thought it was obvious I was referring to the methods which most people think of when they say "birth control" ... pills and things, which are in fact the methods central to this particular controversy.



     Well, that’s interesting, I suppose, but let’s be a little bit clear here.

     I really have substantial trouble believing you.

     It’s not that I think you’re a liar; I really don’t think anything of the kind.  I simply don’t think you’ve thought the issue through in any but the most abstract of terms, and I really don’t think you have a clear notion of what you’ve signed up for here.  Or if you do, you’re running on a level of reality that I simply don’t think I can follow.

     What’s a person?  Let me put that in Caps for a bit more emphasis, albeit drawn from artificial sources, WHAT’S A PERSON?

     WHAT’S A PERSON?

     I have known a lot of them, and sometimes I even are one myownself.  Some of them, for all practical purposes, are stupid as bricks.  I worked for a while at The Fernald School, in Waltham, Massachusetts as a mental health worker with retarded men.  We called them “Students,” because they went to a State School, though some of the guys I worked with were in their seventies, and some of them had IQ’s in the 30’s and 40’s.  I also knew people whose IQ’s were essentially immeasurably low, and who were pretty much confined to hospital beds and who looked a lot like flesh-covered fish, with rudimentary feet and hands.  They couldn’t talk.

     I felt all these folks were persons, were people, and some of them were friends of mine, and my relationships with them were actually much more personal than any of the relationships I had with the people I grew up with, and knew for ten years, twenty years and more.  There were people I knew all my life that I found I kept at a distance; and I wasn’t able to do that with some of these people.  There was something about them that was much more personal because I experienced them much more directly.  I felt in some ways that I was their guest.  In some ways, it was as if I was visiting a place where everybody was in third grade and had been in some cases for 50 years, and they all had third grade down perfectly.  It was wonderful.  Even the terrible bullies of third grade had perfected themselves in that art, and the experience was huge, personal and, somehow, magnificent.

     The experience was powerfully tactile.  It touched me all over, like water.  You could smell it, because nobody was particularly clean, and it had a scent like the sour milk the state sent down from another state school in Templeton which everybody called The Colony.  My guys called the milk "Moo Juice."

     All of these folks were people, and you couldn’t escape it.

     Yes, there were other people.  I’ve known people in my everyday life, but then so has everybody else.  I’ve know patients on locked units, and that’s different, Stephen; but I imagine not so different from stuff that you've seen.  You can probably imagine yourself working there; and family, sure; you'll know more about the experience of our own kids because I don’t have any, though I’ve worked with kids and loved some, and raised some, at least for a while, when  I was a kid, and carried my kid brother around on my shoulders.  And I’ve dealt with strangers, who are people,

     But when I start talking about the morning after pill, I am talking about abstractions when I talk about the people that don't become people as a result of women who take a dose.  These might someday be people someday, sorta, too, but I don’t have that experience when I talk about them or think about them.   I can't smell the garlic on their breath, or think what an unpleasant comment to make about a friend of mine, or what an attractive way of holding her head.  When I am around people, I feel the surround at all times and I can feel the interaction, the back and forth of it at all times as powerfully as I can feel the ministry — believe it or not — of this fella who was at that school I mentioned.  He was not very bright, he was one of the students in fact, unshaven and toothless, and he had a minister’s robe he wore.  I can’t tell you his name because it really is unfair to do so.  He felt he was a minister and he took his role very seriously, and I think that for all practical purposes, embarrassing as he might have been to the actual minister at the school at the time, he may have been one in real human terms.  I think God would have smiled on the ministry and understood it, and I think I’m certainly reasonably respectful of it now; more so, certainly, than at the time.  He was a person, and you could feel him.

     I have had discussions about birth control with friends before; frequently, in fact.  I could always tell that the people I  was conversing with were people because they felt like people, and I experienced them as people and they had a personality about them.  In fact, even the folks on the Green Blind Unit at The Fernald State Hospital, who could not see the color Green, and who were frequently profoundly retarded had personalities in my memory, and you couldn’t avoid the experience of knowing that.  For me, this was not an abstraction, it was a fact as solid as a cinder block foundation.  You could build on it, you could stub your toe on it, even if you didn’t want to.  

     These are people.

     There are people that you live with historically, too.  These folks have as immediate a presence as the bus driver, your wife, or your pastor.  We can pretty much agree about these folks, and we can often agree on the names they have because they often have some actual historicity.  Moses, Jesus, Julius Caesar, Van Gogh and the various heros and villains are right there, as well as the more personal family ancestors and the folks that populate our individual histories.

     The sort of folks that the church is asking me to accept into the realm of the real, however, don’t have that impact for me.  They aren’t people. They never were people and they never will be people.  They may be somebody’s hopes for being a person someday, but then they may not even be that.

     These are not people, these are not human, these are not even quickened,since we are not talking about abortion here but birth control.  We are talking about abstractions being granted the equivalent of citizenship.

     I’m willing to go very far to give rights and privileges to people.  

     I’m willing to listen to ideas.

     The Church can say that they don’t believe in artificial means of birth control, and it can encourage everybody to use natural means of birth control or no means of birth control at all if it so chooses.  The issue is not control over what people believe; there, the church  has as much right as the zero population growth folks, and neither should force the public to have children or not have children.  It wouldn’t be fair.

     The issue is the availability of birth control for those who want to use it and for those who may need it, and for that reason, the service needs to be funded.  Even if the Church itself believes that the service is a terrible and an evil thing, evidently up to 90% of the members of that church have made use of that wretched thing from time to time.  You don’t stop needing health services when you’re a sinner, and being a sinner doesn’t make you less deserving of them, despite the implication here suggesting that we shouldn’t take care of what our sinners need, we should only take care of what our sinners say policy should be when they’re being hypocritical.

     To me, frankly, planning on that basis, seemly like planning to get into trouble and wondering how the trouble ever could have happened.  However did that unwanted pregnancy happen, anyway?  That abortion was completely uncalled for, and we thought we understood our daughter.  Now we’ll just have to forgive her for the rest of her life, if any of us can quite manage it.

     This is the sort of statement that gets me in trouble for being unsympathetic, but it’s also the sort of statement that is founded on unpleasant reality based experiences that flow out of refusing to deal with the conflicts that come up in dealing with moral binds such as this one.  I don’t mean to be unsympathetic, but the binds that come up in dealing with this sort of stuff do not go away as easily as my friends on the right would hope.

     And I would hope as well, for that matter, since I don’t love pain any more than you do.

     The masses of cells that don’t end up graduating Harvard as a result of the morning after pill may in fact amount to a profound disturbance to you, as might the number of cells that don’t implant into the uterine wall as a result of a woman taking The Pill, or the more usual issues with the diaphragm.  I am willing to believe that these things are issues for you and amount to a disturbance of some proportion.  I have known you for a while, and I credit you with a lot of depth, so I have trouble imagining that the level of upset is on a very concrete level.  I’ve gone to some trouble to talk about what that concrete level means to me, because I don’t want to trivialize it or to play language games with it.  I mean a level in which the experience actually is personal because there is a person involved.

     I think that a lot of the discussion here is difficult because the whole notion of life in general and personhood in particular has gotten really muddied up, and that the distinction has gotten lost.  For me the distinction is important.  The Buddhists will frequently talk about reverence for life, when what the mean is a reverence for sentient life.  The Janes will carry a whisk to brush insects away because they carry things a bit further.  I would need a lot of convincing before I’d go to the wall to fight for an insect, or even  a 64 cell human blastula, frankly, and for me the distinction turns around that issue of personhood, and what is a person.  I’ve lost teeth and tonsils and had surgical repairs following accidents that have cost me in the Big Mac range (seemed like it at the time, at least; mano-a-machina with a conveyor belt).

     I want the thing I invest my sympathies in to have a palpable personhood to it.  It will probably have to have   quickened before I will actually feel outrage, or for me to be sure that my sympathy is genuine and not manipulated.

     I don’t demand that anybody else follow my principles, nor do I see how I could.  People operate so differently.  But I can ask myself what an authentic claim might be on my sympathies, and why I might believe that I could look somebody in the eye and say that I think birth control was fine, and why I thought that a morning after pill would be fine, and why I thought that hormonal birth control would be fine.

oceanvu2
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I think the "original sin" was coming to consciousnes, and Freud wrote fiction.  

Other than that adiscussion of "procreative rights" is absurd.  We have a biological imperative to procreate, but it seems that at the moment we've procreated enough to ensure the survival of the species and men, as well as women have choices.

If, as has happened in the past, the population of human animals is catastrophically reduced, we will probably find ourselved making like bunnies for good reason, and looking down on those who don't.

I would just hope the progeny of such bunnies don't make the same hash of things.

For the heck of it, I'll throw in the notion that belief is always irrelevant.  One can believe or not believe in birth control, for example.  Neither belief has much effect on either birth or control.  

Jimbeaux

Stephanos
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Bob:
quote:
Simply because I think you're about as wrong about birth control as a man can get, doesn't mean the situation isn't reversed, and the party in the wrong isn't me, even though I'd be the last person in the world to assure you of that.


I objected to this simply to point out that when someone says "You're as wrong as you can be", they've usually deceived themselves on one or more of the following points: 1) They fully understand the other side's position 2) they have no points of agreement with their disputant and that 3) he or she has no points of validity whatsoever.  Usually you're the one pointing out such triumphalist fallacies when others debate.  I just found it odd that you'd say such a thing, that's all.  I certainly don't think that you're as wrong as a man can be regarding birth control or even abortion, though I disagree about some pretty significant points.    


quote:
I don't believe in original sin.


Well, you do apparently believe in the ubiquity of the reprehensible behaviors that believers recognize as sin, and usually respond to such with obvious moral indignation rather than dismissing it as another natural variation, so that's good enough for now.


quote:
Even if I did, that doesn't mean that gives me the right to impose that belief on others; nor to impose the consequences that belief may suggest, if accepted as true.   That's one of the reasons that we do not have a state religion.


I certainly wouldn't think so either.  For the most part however, I've felt that this conversation is about how you think the Catholic Church should themselves be made to behave regarding what they teach, support and provide for.  That's a different state of affairs altogether, and one that you haven't commented on yet, preferring the repeated charge of Ecclesiastical bullying instead.  And it's quite reasonable for me to say this without having to believe myself that religious leaders have never oppressed anyone in the name of religion.  And it's quite unreasonable to spread a one-sided historical panorama of castigation, as if that spoke anything to the present debate ... and as if, even if it did (which maybe it does, I've certainly conceded the importance of moral example and cleaning one's own house first), there were not a whole array of positive and self-reformative examples in Roman Catholic history which you simply choose to omit.

quote:
While most religions are willing to tell us why other people are wrong, they seem to have a great deal of trouble making their own injustices, sins and loathsome practices seem practical, tasty and delicious to such folks  as have been on the receiving end.  Feel free to fill in your own examples here __________.  Attach such extra sheets as you feel may be needed.


While I agree with this principle of self-examination that Jesus prescribed, which so many secularists find useful for ecclesiastical bashing, I would say there's certainly a few blank pages (of more positive examples throughout history) that you might insert as well, if even-handedness were a goal in this discussion.


quote:
One would be tempted to say that the notion of original sin has been placed at the heart of so much Christian theology simply as an excuse for the way that Christians seem to believe they have a right to act toward others, and for the high-handed fashion they seem to feel is forgivable in the way they treat others


At least I'm grateful that you recognize it a temptation, rather than a positively meritorious way of viewing the matter.  It's true enough in many examples, but there is much to counter-balance a wholesale incrimination.


quote:
WHAT’S A PERSON? ...

All of these folks were people, and you couldn’t escape it.


What I find ironic is, that many of the people in your examples are not obviously "persons" to many others.  It's one thing to quickly ramble about people in vegetative states, disabled beyond contributing anything to the societal machine, those with terminal illnesses, or even newborn infants, and declare how personhood is so obvious for them.  I would certainly be an idiot and a bit dispicable to argue otherwise.  And yet all of these examples have been (and are) challenged from time to time regarding their personhood, on similar lines of reasoning involving either function or development.  Sound familiar?  Of course arguing for the non-humanity of these will not be the same in details as those in abortion-rights arguments, but they are doubtless the same principles.


Secondly, I'm really not interested in arguing with you about my own existence, as an exercise in how far the Sophist method can extend.  And while I think the question of whether someone is human regarding those with no voice, isn't quite so obvious as it is with certain philosophers (I do believe it's obvious with them too, I'm convinced ... I think they're human even when their philosophy disallows that conclusion), I think the whole "What exactly is _____ anyway?" is very much an overplayed refrain.  


For the sake of this discussion, I'm willing to go with the simple but sound notion that scientifically speaking, biologists admit that a zygote is a human organism in the earliest of stages, not an organ or appendage of another organism, exhibiting quite a unique status, and that the Roman Catholic Church extends this knowledge into the ethical/ moral realm.  And though I think they're right in principle, if not in all specifics, it's not necessary here to argue that point.  The RCs accept such, and have religious freedom to decline providing for such procedures and treatments that go against that religious conviction.  People still have the freedom to either work for them or not, to seek employment elsewhere or accept these terms.  


You're right, we don't have a State Church.  But that also means we shouldn't have a State that rules the Church in such matters, which pragmatically would amount to the same thing.  The original situations, from which the separation of Church and State idea grew, were typically examples of the Government imposing rules on the churches, not examples of the Church refusing to comply with liberating and enlightened Government.


quote:
But when I start talking about the morning after pill, I am talking about abstractions when I talk about the people that don't become people as a result of women who take a dose.  I can't smell the garlic on their breath, or think what an unpleasant comment to make about a friend of mine, or what an attractive way of holding her head.


Bob, We’re past the days (if there ever were such) when the unborn are ‘abstractions’.  They are at least a brand new organism distinct from their parents.  

quote:
These might someday be people someday, sorta, too, but I don’t have that experience when I talk about them or think about them.  I can't smell the garlic on their breath, or think what an unpleasant comment to make about a friend of mine, or what an attractive way of holding her head


Someday sorta?  How about most always definitely?  It seems like intentional ambiguity on your part, which has very little resemblance to the real situation, and which is no rational argument against the pro-life position.  Perhaps the “feelings” forum is better place for that kind of statement?  You can’t smell garlic on their breath ... what a criterion!  Conventional eating habits, according to Bob, is a good determiner of humanness.  

As to your comments about someone’s appearance, or lack there of ... have you never witnessed a group of ladies cooing over (increasingly definitive) ultrasound pictures?  I have.  I work among a predominately female population in Nursing.    Besides, the fact that one woman makes such a connection while another doesn’t, is irrelevant to the reality of what or who is being commented on.  I'm certainly not making my own argumentation based upon the prenatal cooing, though I affirm that one reaction is more fitting and proper to reality than its cold alternatives.  

quote:
The issue is the availability of birth control for those who want to use it and for those who may need it, and for that reason, the service needs to be funded.


Right.  Just not by the Church whose religious dogma stands against it.  It can and should be obtained by other means.


quote:
 I have known you for a while, and I credit you with a lot of depth, so I have trouble imagining that the level of upset is on a very concrete level.  I’ve gone to some trouble to talk about what that concrete level means to me, because I don’t want to trivialize it or to play language games with it.  I mean a level in which the experience actually is personal because there is a person involved.


But be careful not to skew the issue here.  It’s always easier to be less “upset” when something doesn’t directly involve you, INCLUDING the death of those we both agree are fully and unequivocally human.  No, a feeling of upset based upon personal experience is not as relevant as you’re making it.  I certainly think other questions are more central to the discussion, given that human emotions (or lack thereof) are fickle and often irrational.

quote:
I think that a lot of the discussion here is difficult because the whole notion of life in general and personhood in particular has gotten really muddied up, and that the distinction has gotten lost.


Yes, I’ve witnessed the muddling process in the last couple of thousand words.  But the fact remains, that at the moment of conception we have a brand-new organism, and at the earliest stages the fetus has undeniable human characteristics (such as a four-chambered beating heart at 3 weeks).  Does this amount to comprehensive knowledge, or the kind of philosophical certitude you usually debunk or demand alternately?   Of course not, such a degree of modernistic certitude isn’t available about any human discussion.  But neither is the question of human life all that muddled except by those who choose to pour ink in the water.    


quote:
The Buddhists will frequently talk about reverence for life, when what the mean is a reverence for sentient life.  The Janes will carry a whisk to brush insects away because they carry things a bit further.   I would need a lot of convincing before I’d go to the wall to fight for an insect ...



a bit further?  So I guess those who are against the murder of us human beings walking around in the direct sunlight, are also only taking it a “bit” further still?  What’s a few trillion cells anyway?  Why would you even suggest the necessity of defending “pro-bug-life” as some kind of prerequisite for defending human life?  Sticking a 64 cell blastocyst next to an ameoba, is simply to obscure the difference with superficiality, at least for those of us who have already accepted that human ethics don’t extend to the centipedes.  Why must you force someone to argue every point, before they can argue any point?    

quote:
I want the thing I invest my sympathies in to have a palpable personhood to it.



So very few will have this advantage Bob.  Remember that the emotive approach (what I feel is real) isn’t always the best guide in decisions.  I’m sure you’ve observed the truth of this from the vantage of psychological therapy.  Let me use one of your methods and ask you "what does palpable mean"?  

quote:
I don’t demand that anybody else follow my principles, nor do I see how I could.  People operate so differently.  But I can ask myself what an authentic claim might be on my sympathies, and why I might believe that I could look somebody in the eye and say that I think birth control was fine, and why I thought that a morning after pill would be fine, and why I thought that hormonal birth control would be fine.


But this conversation didn’t start about you.  It was about why the Church, and her counsellors, or finance officers, should be made to fund and support something that is against their religious beliefs and convictions.  




Jim:
quote:
For the heck of it, I'll throw in the notion that belief is always irrelevant.  One can believe or not believe in birth control, for example.  Neither belief has much effect on either birth or control.


Hey Jim, it's been a while since we've spoken to one another.  Good to see you around.  


But I want to ask ... Are you saying that belief doesn't influence action?  Certainly if one believes that abortion is wrong (for example) then abortion will not likely happen with them.  Other courses of action will be followed.  Likewise, if one believes a fetus is a non-human-being, or that the intentional termination of a human life is somehow justified, then an actual abortion may happen.  


I could be wrong, but it seems to me that that your "belief" about belief amounts to a kind of philosophical fatalism or determinism.  As if to say "what happens happens".  I can understand this sort of philosophy which has little to do with reason and more to do with resignation (or despair?) ... But I still insist that in your every day experience and assumption, belief still very much affects human choice and action.


Stephen  

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (02-19-2012 05:32 PM).]

Bob K
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quote:


Bob, We’re past the days (if there ever were such) when the unborn are ‘abstractions’.  They are at least a brand new organism distinct from their parents.  



     This seems a hopeful but incorrect conclusion.

     It is hard to imagine a more deceptive paragraph, and I’d like some clarification.  Who are the “We” you speak about in your first sentence?  If you intent to include me in that number, you have made a mistake, and I want to be clearly excluded.  Furthermore, I want to know why you would write a sentence who would be ambiguous enough to suggest that I might be among that number.  In bluring the distinction between those who hold your somewhat unclear point of view and those who do not, you suggest that there is no distinction to be made.

     If you are unaware of the distinction, you should make yourself aware of it.  

     One of the points of distinction is around the very use of the adjective “unborn” as a noun, “the unborn.”  People who make sense of the position you appear to be attempting to articulate, one which I frankly have a great deal of trouble understanding, seem to believe that you may use that adjective “unborn” with the indefinite article in front of it, and that by doing so, it seems to specify some specific and identifiable thing having to do with life.  I have no seen any evidence that this is so.

     Prions are unborn.  Bacteria are unborn.  Rocks and elements are unborn.  My grandneice, delivered by Caesarean section two days ago is also unborn and will remain so her whole life.  The play Hamlet turned on exactly such a play on words, if those of us who actually read or saw the play will remember.  The adjective “unborn” becomes meaningful with the addition of some useful and appropriate noun afterward unless the person who using the construction is attempting some tricky and generally deceptive locution.

     The nature of the noun generally underlines exactly how deceptive the usage is, as in, for example, the phrase “pre-owned”  rather than “used” to go with the noun “car.”  George is a “pre-owned car salesman,” for example sounds even more deceptive than “used car-salesman.”

     In this case, I fail to see ther distinction between speaking of ”the Rights of the Unborn” and “The Rights of the Pre-born.”  The Unborn or The Pre-Born What?  

     In fact the Unborn HAVE to be abstractions gramatically because there is no noun to fix person, place of thinghood upon, and without that noun, all we have is quite literally a modifier without identity.  Stephen accuses me of doing what he has done in fixing the very terms of the discussion.  If he wishes to be more specific, he must specify which noun he wishes to use.  Child, fetus, collection of cells are all, I suppose possible, though none of them fit the terms of the discussion he would appear to wish to frame.

     This is why the Religious Right is trying to reinvent the language and the reality with which the English language can frame the discussion right now.  A Child is traditionally saved for somebody who is already born, and there are legal traditions and ruling that seem to apply.  The religious right tends not to want to use that word.  

     It also tends to have some v ery different feelings about how children are supposed to be treated than how children are to be treated before they are born.  Beatings of young children by parents are often thought of as very much the right of the parents to administer as they see fit, and they right of the parents to allow those children to die for lack of standard medical treatment is often championed by the religious right.  If the question involved here were one of pre-birth care, for example to prevent death of th child in childbirth from predictable complications, the discussion would or could be very different.  The Religious right might well be taking the side that no medical care could be permitted despite the sure knowledge of birth complications and the liklihood of abortion because the only care permitted could be prayer.

     Right?

     The issue isn’t the health and safety of the child, and pretending that it is makes me a bit queasy, though I do appreciate the degree of self-righteousness involved in the discussion.  The Religious Right will argue that the parents have a right to pray for the child to recover from a breach birth position or to not require a transfusion to save its life and that the State should not be able to say otherwise.

     I say that the law should come first.  And that the Church should have to follow the law the same way any other employer does if it wants to function as an employer within the country.  It is not above the law.

     IUf The Religious Right doesn’t want to speak about the Unborn as abstractions, then it should attach the appropriate noun to the construction they’re using for the proposed discussion, and allow the discussion to develop along those lines.

     “The Unborn,” in the meantime, certainly appear to be abstractions until they are capable of existing as specificities and as individuals on their own.  If you believe they are brand new organisms distinct from their parents, I think that there may be cases when you are correct, but I would like to know how you determine that.  Many of the tests that you come up with would be, I suggest to you, impractical.  Many of the tests would probably be simply wrong.

     A great many of them would involve making choices that I saw many Republicans say were inhumaine or too expensive to pay for when the thought of them came up in discussion of the health care legislation last year and the year before involving rationing of health care services.  Given that you might be able to keep some of these babies alive at the cost of having to allow other patients to die, who do you believe is going to make those decisions, and which voters do you believe will support  making those decisions?  

     If you refuse to deal with these people as “abstractions,” then you need to deal with the realities that these decisions insist we face.  That’s what I believe, if you think these situations have to be dealt with.  Please, how do you suggest we do the things you say we have to do?
Bob K
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Deleted as a duplicate entry...reading it once was enough!

[This message has been edited by Balladeer (02-21-2012 08:47 AM).]

Stephanos
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20 posted 02-21-2012 09:28 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Bob:
quote:
It is hard to imagine a more deceptive paragraph, and I’d like some clarification.  Who are the “We” you speak about in your first sentence?  If you intent to include me in that number, you have made a mistake, and I want to be clearly excluded.  Furthermore, I want to know why you would write a sentence who would be ambiguous enough to suggest that I might be among that number ...


Melodrama aside, what I meant is that such are the days when technology has made known in ever more definitive ways, what the fetus really is like.  Week 12, hair and fingernails.  And no you're not exempt from that kind of proliferating knowledge.

quote:
One of the points of distinction is around the very use of the adjective “unborn” as a noun, “the unborn.”  People who make sense of the position you appear to be attempting to articulate, one which I frankly have a great deal of trouble understanding


Don't read too much into the Grammar.  In simplest terms, since "human being" is denied by abortion-rights-advocates, the term "unborn" is a substituted or shortened form of "unborn human-being", which proves little, except that pro-lifers either concede too much in their own communication, or they're just okay with abbreviated forms.  Probably as simple as that.  Whatever else you might read into this is lost on me.  

quote:
Prions are unborn.  Bacteria are unborn.  Rocks and elements are unborn.


Really?  

The obvious difference being that they can't be born, and never are.  It's been proven otherwise, billions of times over with the fetus.  Here's something to ask yourself:  "what is a category error"?


quote:
My grandneice, delivered by Caesarean section two days ago is also unborn and will remain so her whole life.


That's ridiculous Bob.  I work in the medical field, and "birth" is not limited to vaginal delivery.  Cesarian Birth, is very much a common term.  I can get to the next floor up by stairs or elevator Bob, but either way I don't stay on ground level.  Honestly, such semantic tomfoolery doesn't make for good argumentation.  


quote:
The adjective “unborn” becomes meaningful with the addition of some useful and appropriate noun afterward


Which is "human being", and which is the heart of the very debate, the thing we are disputing.  You can only assume your argument is correct, in order to deny that a fitting noun exists, which is circular.

Am I denying circularity on my part?  Of course not.  I'm assuming my argument, in order to call the fetus what it is, human.  But I'm also arguing why one circle is a better fit for reality than the other, and providing reasons.  

quote:
George is a “pre-owned car salesman,” for example sounds even more deceptive than “used car-salesman.”


And yet, either term wouldn't prevent most anyone from grasping the reality of the situation.  A car is a car, whether in assembly, new on the lot, trashed by a careless owner, or refurbished and resold.  My point is that most people effortlessly glide past the terminology used (which is always imperfect due to the nature of language) without constant suspicion of conspiracy or deceitfulness.  Post-modern philosophy has exerted a demagogic control over your methodology that extends to literally everything you speak of lately.  I wonder if you realize how controlling such a "hermeneutic of suspicion" can be for someone who accepts it uncritically.  

Last time I bought a used or pre-owned vehicle, neither I nor my car-salesman was under much delusion about the meeting of interests involved.  So what?

Someone once posted the following on piptalk, and I feel about the same way:

"can't decide if this is a shade of  'pale smoke', 'fuzzy sheep', 'ash essence', 'moth grey', 'fog', 'thin ice', or 'arctic cotton'. The possibilities are endless. A grey belt in origami might help, but sadly, I lack credentials in that cutting edge martial art ..." (DRS)

quote:
In this case, I fail to see ther distinction between speaking of ”the Rights of the Unborn” and “The Rights of the Pre-born.”  The Unborn or The Pre-Born What?


Human beings ... I thought you at least understood that the basic pro-life argument was for this.  If not, now you do.

quote:
A Child is traditionally saved for somebody who is already born, and there are legal traditions and ruling that seem to apply.  The religious right tends not to want to use that word.


Okay... and ...?  

"Human being" works just fine, for my position, and for most pro-life advocates.  I'm sure that those of both sides, however, understand that human status is what is being argued about.  It would be impractical if not ridiculous to expect your opponent to use your own verbal biases in framing his or her argument now wouldn't it?  ... and to protest this over and over rather than to argue your own case?  

Relax Bob, I'd never expect you use the term human being when discussing a blob of uterine cells with fingernails and hair.  And though, as for myself, I'm quite convinced that science has adequately distinguished between a fetus and a dermoid cyst (or teratoma), I certainly don't feel the need to perpetually object to you sticking to your linguistic guns.


quote:
Beatings of young children by parents are often thought of as very much the right of the parents to administer as they see fit


Not always "as they see fit", by any means.  But, indeed, most abused know when they've been, and as a well adjusted adult I can say that corporal discipline benefited me.  But that is a separate issue.  Let's talk about the difference between a dermoid and a fetus.  


quote:
and they right of the parents to allow those children to die for lack of standard medical treatment is often championed by the religious right.


Right ... But I'm certainly not arguing that religious freedom should be boundless.  In the case we're discussing however, employees may still choose among employers (children don't usually have this option among parents), and the question is about whether the Church should be made to fund or provide something their dogma has been against for some time.  

Again, do I have to argue for everything before I can argue for anything?  Is this a "smokescreen" like in those old spy movies I watched as a kid?

quote:
The Religious right might well be taking the side that no medical care could be permitted despite the sure knowledge of birth complications and the liklihood of abortion because the only care permitted could be prayer.


"Might well be"?  How about "Doesn't"?  As far as I know, both medical care and prayer are both permitted by most Protest and Catholic Churches.  Must you now invent theoretical arguments (or present fringe arguments) that need be defended before we resume discussion of why you think the Catholic Church should be made to provide certain kinds of birth-control and abortion?  Again why should I have to argue for everything before I argue for anything?


quote:
The issue isn’t the health and safety of the child, and pretending that it is makes me a bit queasy, though I do appreciate the degree of self-righteousness involved in the discussion.


O diviner of motives, apparently righteous but not self-so, one thing I can't pretend, is to have the certainty that you have concerning this.  And so, I'll abstain from thine queasiness.


quote:
The Religious Right will argue that the parents have a right to pray for the child to recover from a breach birth position or to not require a transfusion to save its life and that the State should not be able to say otherwise.


I'm not sure the "religious right" is as unanimous as you say they are about this issue.  But even if so, I've never claimed to unconditionally support what religious-right wants.  So, am I still having to argue for everything?  I'm convinced that you're quite intelligent, and can divine that there may be actual differences between issues, even (believe it or not) those having similar dynamics.


quote:
The Religious Right doesn’t want to speak about the Unborn as abstractions, then it should attach the appropriate noun to the construction they’re using for the proposed discussion, and allow the discussion to develop along those lines.


I'm not aware that it hasn't developed along those lines ... ie, that those in discussion are human-beings.  It makes me think you haven't read much by way of any serious pro-life apologetics (along the lines of Francis Beckwith or Scott Klusendorf), which, like any other position, couches its language within its own assumptions, even in defense of those assumptions.  Human Being is a noun used over and over.  On the one hand you'd accuse the noun users of circular reasoning (which is invariable with presuppositions), and on the other you'd accuse those who refrain from using the noun of deception.  Sounds more like a trap called "false dilemma" than any reasonable argument of your own.


quote:
If you believe they are brand new organisms distinct from their parents, I think that there may be cases when you are correct, but I would like to know how you determine that.  Many of the tests that you come up with would be, I suggest to you, impractical.  Many of the tests would probably be simply wrong.


From the standpoint of Embryology the "test" is whether fertilization has occurred, where a brand-new genetic code emerges when the nuclei of sperm and egg fuse, beginning the life of a brand new human organism that will likely proceed to birth if not terminated.  And while a fertilized egg that has not implanted presents conundrums for us in the question of ethics and birth control, most abortion cases lack this kind of ambiguity.  

quote:
Given that you might be able to keep some of these babies alive at the cost of having to allow other patients to die, who do you believe is going to make those decisions, and which voters do you believe will support  making those decisions?  


Well, I never said that Health Care didn't present us with dilemmas.  But solving them by the active termination of human-beings in early stages of development is not the path I'm willing to support.  There are certainly many ways to promote adoption and foster care, and to unite couples with fertility problems (or couples who simply want to adopt in addition to having biological-children) with babies with social problems.  These issues will have to be explored and tended to whichever path is chosen.

quote:
If you refuse to deal with these people as “abstractions,” then you need to deal with the realities that these decisions insist we face.  That’s what I believe, if you think these situations have to be dealt with.  Please, how do you suggest we do the things you say we have to do?

Well I must say I suspect that your questions here are merely rhetorical.  But to answer, I'm a big advocate of adoption and foster care, we could start there.  We could start by suggesting that the funds allocated for fetal exterminations be transferred to programs that promote more life-affirming choices.


Stephen  
Stephanos
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21 posted 02-21-2012 11:56 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Mike, did you just accuse Bob of duplicity?  :P
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22 posted 02-21-2012 01:52 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Uh, call it restless finger syndrome
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quote:


Really?  

The obvious difference being that they can't be born, and never are.  It's been proven otherwise, billions of times over with the fetus.  Here's something to ask yourself:  "what is a category error"?





     The first response when I google is the dictionary of atheism.  

     The problem isn’t with what is born alive or not.  The problem is with the failure to specify the noun, as you are well aware.  The category error is either unlikely or impossible without the confusion thrown into the mixture by the Religious Right which fails to specify the terms of the discussion.  You are being disingenuous to suggest otherwise.  

     In fact, that particular category error is exactly what the Religious Right counts upon in the discussion; that people will assume that masses of tissue women walk around with in their wombs for nine months before giving birth do have the same quality of sentience, awareness and life that Ryle, Aristotle, and their own wives, children and friends have.

     Do they?

     I really don’t know.  

     I also know that you don’t know, either; though I have every reason to believe that your belief and all your reason tell you that it’s so.  There’s simply no absolute way of knowing these things because there’s really no absolute way of knowing anything.  That’s the philosophical conundrum that folks have been facing for as long as there have been folks to face things.  We do the best we can with the limits that reality places on us, and many of us try to pretend that we can do better for reasons that are best known to them.  Bless ‘em, and I hope they get the best of the deal.  I hope they’re right and I’m not.  

     If you don’t want me to make these kinds of category errors, give me a concrete noun.

     I do appreciate “Human Being,” by the way.  I think that’s a sincere good try, and knowing you, I believe you mean it, and that you’ll do your best to keep your statements in line with that proposal for the noun.

     I’m going to use this as a small section of my response and ship it off.  I’ll try to ship of small, chewy, bite sized chunks and see what we can make of them.  It’ll probably help me stay clear and preserve my bouncy and delightful mood over the difficult topic, and to treat you with the honor and courtesy you deserve, and which your religious convictions deserve as well.  I don’t have to agree with them, but I know how well they treated you and your family, and how well they treated other people who’ve needed their help, and I’m going to do my best to treat them well.  I only hope I can do it consistently.

     My best, Bob.
Stephanos
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24 posted 02-24-2012 08:31 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
If you don’t want me to make these kinds of category errors, give me a concrete noun.

I do appreciate “Human Being,” by the way.


Well, Bob, in your reply you've simultaneously continued to demand a "noun" (were you a grammar teacher once? you remind me of one I had long ago), and pointed out in positive terms that I've provided one, without offering any critique of it, apart from your epistemology that nothing whatsoever is certain.  Maybe you could offer a critique of "fetus as human being in early stage of development" that makes use of something other than the impossibility of philosophical certainty about anything at all?    


I respect you too Bob, and have enjoyed the exchange.  And boy, I'm glad you posted a short one this time.  


Stephen  
 
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