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Let me say upfront that I understand this article it not a proof for Christianity. Rather, I am explaining that if one cares for the weak in society, then one must adopt the Judeo-Christian worldview. Likewise, if one is a naturalist, one must not care for the weak or, at the very least, admit that one is contradicting one’s naturalism in caring for the weak.

Within Western culture a great divide has grown between the metaphysical views of materialism and supernaturalism and such a divide has slowly impacted how Western society treats its weak.[1] The vast majority of lawmakers in Western culture, regardless of religious claims, operate under a materialistic worldview. Such a worldview lacks a proper justification for absolute morality and in many cases justifies the extermination of the weak. The Judeo-Christian worldview alternatively, provides the best justification for an absolute morality that protects the weak. The Judeo-Christian worldview best fits with what humans know a priori to be right, namely that a society should take care of its weak rather than bring them harm.

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Dealing with Intrinsic Human Value

Prelude | Essence and Potentiality | Definitions | What is human? | Intrinsic Value of humanity | Of fetuses, infants, disabled, and others (Part a) Of fetuses, infants, disabled, and others (Part b) | Functionalism and Utilitarian ethics revisited | Conclusion


Chris over at BioSled TrueFire offered up an article on intrinsic human value. He wanted my opinion on it and here it is:

1) From a secular view, it’s a good argument. It points out that the only consistent part of human nature is our flesh and blood. However, he leaves it there. The problem is that many biological creatures also have flesh and blood, but we don’t consider them human. However, this can be easily tweaked to point out that all humans share the same DNA. Both the astronaut and the homeless man have the same DNA (not replicated, but the few differences simply distinguishing how they will look within their species; by saying “same” I mean of the same type, not replicated). What is more, from the moment of conception to the moment of death, the DNA does not naturally change.

The importance in this is that if we reject intrinsic human value, as Chris argues, we end up promoting discrimination. Some humans perform at better levels and do more for society than other humans. Someone who wins the Nobel Peace Prize has more utilitarian value than someone who works a minimum wage job and plays video games all day. Thus, if we reject intrinsic value in humans, we must rely on utility. This has interesting implications not only in the abortion debate, infanticide, and end of life issues, but carries over into legal matters; when a person is killed, rather than simply looking for who did it and punishing the person, we would have to evaluate the persons involved, the utility of the victim, and the utility of the perpetrator. If the perpetrator has a higher utility and terminated the person of lower utility because of that person’s lower utility (especially if the person lowered the utility of society as a whole), then the killing could easily be seen as justifiable.

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One of the biggest reasons for allowing abortion is the belief that it somehow helps in the general women’s liberation, specifically in female sexual liberation. By allowing abortion, so the argument goes, it gives a woman complete rights over her reproductive system, which gives her full liberation. It doesn’t matter what the woman chooses, so long as she has a choice. There are, of course, multiple problems with this view:

#1 – It assumes that women (or men for that matter) have an autonomous right over their own bodies.

This way of thinking assumes too much – it assumes that we can do whatever we want to our bodies without having a communal consequence. However, there are times where what I do to my body will inevitably affect those around me (i.e. if I inject myself with an airborne disease, because it will harm those around me I do not have the right to do such a thing). Almost everyone would argue that if we take an action against our body that negatively affects others, that action shouldn’t be taken.

In this case, the child in the womb is ontologically separate from the mother, though reliant. That is to say, the child really isn’t part of the mother’s body. The mother plays host to the body. If a guest comes into your house, eats your food, drinks your water, and sleeps in your bed, does that guest belong to you? Of course not – the guest, though reliant upon you, is not a part of who you are.

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Cross posted at The Christian Watershed.

There are several arguments used by pro-abortion advocates that argue the ramifications of not allowing abortion outweigh the ramifications of allowing abortion.

With the previous topic in mind – that human life is most logically defined as that which begins at conception or implantation – let us look at some of the common scenarios presented:

If abortion is no longer allowed, women will go back to coat hanger abortions.

It might be true that if abortion is no longer allowed (outside of medical conditions) some women might go to “back alley abortionists,” which inevitably puts the mother at significant risk. Obviously law enforcement would have to step up investigating doctors and other people who offer such illegal services. This would, in turn, drive up the cost of enforcement, which would force taxpayers to pay a heavy toll. Is banning abortion worth this?

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I write this intending to avoid a religious argument or religious justification for abortion. While I believe certain “sins” can only occur with a religious backing (i.e. blasphemy against God or why homosexuality is wrong [having the religious backing doesn’t mean these views of morality are subjective, merely that one must invoke God in explaining why they are wrong]), there are others that one can look at through a secular point of view and still see these actions as being wrong (i.e. murder and abortion). Thus, though I believe Christianity has the best definition for humanity and the best argument against abortion, I believe one can use an entirely secular argument to discredit abortion. This article attempts to do that.

The problem with abortion is that, in the very least, no one really knows when human life begins (I do believe we can know, but in the very minimalist sense we can plead ignorance). Science can help us determine the ontology of a human, but we set the boundaries for what is and is not human. Such boundaries in the abortion debate, have not been set.

One could argue that the ontological boundary has been established that something moves from being a “fetus” to a “human” at the point it leaves the womb alive. This, of course, allows for third term abortions. Some courts, however, have ruled that Roe v. Wade does not protect third term abortions and that life in the third trimester is human, thus it cannot be exterminated. This would mean that some courts view human life beginning when the “fetus” is viable outside of the womb.

The problem with the above definition – that human life begins when a fetus leaves the womb and is viable – is that some babies naturally born are not technically viable outside of the womb. Some need to be put on ventilators; others require other technological advances in order to live. A baby that is operated on in the womb – such as having a stunt put in the heart to help the baby develop properly – are never technically viable outside of the womb; they will always require some outside source in order to function properly. Under the idea that “viability” somehow makes someone human, such people are no longer human. Likewise, if someone is injured in an accident and requires any technological assistance in order to live, that person is really no longer a person. This definition of humanity, therefore, is severely lacking. Read the rest of this entry »

Cross posted at The Christian Watershed:

One voice in the abortion debate that is beginning to emerge within Christianity is the one saying that we’ve wasted our time on the abortion issue and that its time to move on. Certainly there has been an emphasis on the effects of abortion and not on the root cause of abortion – this has led to avoiding a real solution. Does this overemphasis, however, mean that abortion is a worthless topic of discussion?

Murder vs. Dignity

If the pro-life side of abortion is correct – that abortion is the murdering of a human life – then abortion is the single greatest moral tragedy in the modern world. It would be the greatest evil (the systematic killing of unwanted humans) of the modern age and, by default, require legislative action.

If the pro-choice side of abortion is correct – that the ‘baby’ is really just a fetus, or an underdeveloped human (non-human) and a collection of tissues – then by speaking out against abortion Christians would be speaking out against a woman’s right to her own body. This would be speaking out against the dignity of choice.

No matter where a person falls on this debate, the issue should be an important one. Though it might appear to be a dead horse, it truly isn’t one – when human dignity and state approved murder are up for discussion, it’s hard to say that the issue is an unimportant one.

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