April 8, 2015

"So stupid. Giving up your own life and your baby's for a fantasy. Guess she earned a Darwin award."/"Go Darwin."

Comments at the Washington Post on an article about a woman who, as a Jehovah's Witness, refused to accept a blood transfusion, and suffered the loss of her unborn child and then the loss of her own life.

Another commenter wrote: "I hope the death certificate read suicide and murder! Stupid, superstitious people! Darwin award for sure..."

And here's WaPo:
The baby died while still in the womb, and the woman then delivered it vaginally...

“Refusal of a lifesaving intervention by an informed patient is generally well respected, but the rights of a mother to refuse such interventions on behalf of her fetus [sic] is more controversial,” [doctors at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Australia wrote in a letter published this month in the Internal Medicine Journal]. “A doctor indeed has moral obligations to both the pregnant woman, and perhaps with differing priority to the unborn fetus [sic].”
Why did the WaPo columnist — By Elahe Izadi— or WaPo editor put "[sic]" after "fetus"? The child died in utero. It seems as though somebody wants to get some distance between abortion rights and religious freedom rights. But that separation is not justified. Abortion rights — in America anyway — are premised on the woman's right to form her own beliefs:
At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.
That's religion. Face it. Should a woman's concept of the universe dominate over the life of the unborn child or not?

202 comments:

1 – 200 of 202   Newer›   Newest»
I Callahan said...

And the slippery slope comes into view, regarding both abortion and religious freedom. The fact that they both converge is that much more interesting.

Bob Boyd said...

Maybe the editor put [sic] because "unborn fetus" is redundant.

YoungHegelian said...

Shall we ask the same folks who condemn the Jehovah's Witness if they think Steve Jobs deserves a Darwin Award? I certainly do.

Believing that accepting blood cuts one off from God's community & that "holistic" medicine can cure your pancreatic cancer both have the same amount of scientific evidence behind them --- None. One of them is just much more socially acceptable at the right parties than the other.

Gahrie said...

Should a woman's concept of the universe dominate over the life of the unborn child or not?

Nope.

However the parents' concept of the universe should.

Sebastian said...

"Abortion rights — in America anyway — are premised on the woman's right to form her own beliefs"

As the Constitution clearly provides in, let's see . . .

"At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."

How "one's own" includes babies and fathers must be one of those mysteries.

Big Mike said...

Wow. That's the best laying out of the fundamental questions I've seen. (Perhaps there's as good or better in legal journals, but I don't read them.) Anyway, well done, Professor.

SGT Ted said...

I am sad for their families.

Pro-abortion liberals have no business criticizing this woman's CHOICE. They should keep their yaps SHUT about it.

Wince said...

I agree with Althouse's analysis. This case reveals a strange disconnect when it's a woman's choice for religious reasons rather than a lifestyle choice to receive the secular sacrament of abortion.

But is the "[sic]" due to an insistence on the ancient or British spelling?

A fetus (/ˈfiːtəs/; plural "fetuses"), also spelled foetus or, archaically, faetus, is the term used to refer to a prenatal mammal or other viviparous vertebrate between its embryonic state and its birth.

Etymology

The word fetus (plural fetuses) is from the Latin fētus (“offspring”, “bringing forth”, “hatching of young”).] The British, Irish, and Commonwealth spelling is foetus, which has been in use since at least 1594. It arose as a hypercorrection based on an incorrect etymology (i.e. due to insufficient knowledge of Latin) that may have originated with an error by Isidore of Seville in AD 620. This spelling is the most common in most Commonwealth nations, except in the medical literature, where fetus is used. The etymologically accurate original spelling fetus is used in Canada and the United States. In addition, fetus is now the standard English spelling throughout the world in medical journals. The spelling faetus was used historically.

gspencer said...

"Should a woman's concept of the universe dominate over the life of the unborn child or not?"

It does in this country.

Since January, 1973.

YoungHegelian said...

Should a woman's concept of the universe dominate over the life of the unborn child or not?

At the fundamental level of the child's survival, I would think the answer is no. No parent has the right to take their child's life, since life is the foundation for possessing all other inalienable rights. If I were the doctor, I'd act as if I had two patients, and try as best I could to save both. Which is probably what this poor doctor tried to do.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

That's religion. Face it.

So would you agree that the woman's religious beliefs should not exempt her from generally applicable laws, such as laws against abortion?

jr565 said...

"At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State."
One problem with this in regards to abortion is thst you are defining the personhood of another person based on defining the concept of your own existence, simply because thwt other person needs to share your womb for 9 months. And of course you put it there. So then should your perceived reality allow you to define thst which you kill?

Anonymous said...

Murder? How about abortions? She had the decency to keep her baby company.

Bob Ellison said...

Abortion rights?

Please. That right was formed by Blackmun decades ago.

Rights come from God. Blackmun made them up.

jr565 said...

if you are pro choice then what she did with her kid is no different than what millions do every year. And no different than not doing traditional medicine when faced with a terminal disease.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Strongly held beliefs are good if they're rooted in self-worship. They are evil and dangerous if they're rooted in the idea of a deity.

Because the deity is obviously imaginary, where as one's concept of oneself is totally objective and real.

Anti-religious people get very...agitated... when you point out that they do, in fact, have a religion, complete with dogma and ritual and reviled heretics. They just tend to be more squirrely about admitting who/what they're worshipping.

richard mcenroe said...

If she wanted the kid killed because it would have interfered with her job propects, she'd be a heroine.

sean said...

"Should a woman's concept of the universe dominate over the life of the unborn child or not?"

I'm pretty sure a majority of both reporters and lawprofs would respond: "Only if her concept of the universe is aligned with mine. Otherwise not." Maybe Prof. Althouse thinks that the chattering classes are more open-minded or more libertarian than I perceive them to be.

jimbino said...

Of course the woman's rights are paramount. Logic has it that the gummint can't keep you alive to maintain your nice hair or a fetus or an organ for transplant or kill you to harvest an organ. Maybe a dead woman might be forced to undergo a caesarian to deliver a baby, but then the choice is between the rights of a corpse and a fetus at term.

Furthermore rights to "life, liberty and property" don't extend to the unborn or the dead, and sometimes not even to foreigners or teenagers.

MayBee said...

Strongly held beliefs are good if they're rooted in self-worship. They are evil and dangerous if they're rooted in the idea of a deity.

Exactly, Deirdre.

And great post, Althouse.

(shouldn't there also be a healthy dose of, "Do we really want people who think like this to procreate anyway?" included in their criticisms)

Ann Althouse said...

"Please. That right was formed by Blackmun decades ago."

If you are thinking of Blackmun's opinion in Roe v. Wade:

1. That was an opinion joined by 6 other judges, including the conservative Nixon appointees Burger and Powell. Blackmun was also a Nixon appointee, of course.

2. Roe was superseded by the opinion I've linked to, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reframed the right in the terms I quoted in an opinion written by 2 Reagan appointees (O'Connor and Kennedy) and a George HW Bush appointee (Souter).

MayBee said...

YoungHegelian- good point about Jobs.
I have a lot of well to do, well educated friends who make posts on Facebook, and receive positive comments, about how raw fruits and vegetables are all the medicine we need. Encouraging each other to eschew and suspect western medicine.

jr565 said...

"Roe determined that a woman's decision to terminate her pregnancy is a "liberty" protected against state interference by the substantive component of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Neither the Bill of Rights nor the specific practices of States at the time of the Fourteenth Amendment's adoption marks the outer limits of the substantive sphere of such "liberty.""

the left really loves their 14th amendment. It's ther go to amendment for all questions thyr hold dear. Gay marriage. 14th amendment. Abortion. 14th amendment.
It sounds like they are generating rights out of whole cloth based on reading of 14th that really has little bearing on the rights they supposedly received. This is why I have problems with any justice thst doesn't do strict interpretation of constitution. Because they make basis for laws thst reflect everyone on spectacularly vague readings of text.
Meanwhile when there is an enumerated right, like the right to bear arms, the same lefties keep trying to pass laws that restrict those rights. Even though it says, plain as day, those rights can't be restricted.

Todd said...

I agree with you 100% Ann. The very same people that swear up and down that it is a woman's right to choose are the same ones lining up to vilify this woman because her choice to choose (their way) was based on "wrongthink" i.e. her religious views. The hypocrisy runs deep with that crowd and they are too blind to see it. Principles have nothing to do with that position.

Jason said...

Hitchens, expressing his atheist/humanist view on abortion:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8HhTKzmvas

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Republican presidents suck at picking Supreme Court judges.

jr565 said...

Looking up 14th amendment and due process law I found this interesting tidbit for the lefties:
"Person"
The due process clauses apply to "legal persons" (that is, corporate personhood) as well as to individuals. Fifth Amendment due process was first applied to corporations in 1893 by the Supreme Court in Noble v. Union River Logging.[11] Noble was preceded by in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad in 1886.

wait, so corporations were defined as persons as far back as 1893? And yet lefties would scoff at a it Rommey for saying this? Or scoff at the SC for ruling with Hobby Lobby?
The idea thst corps AREN'T persons is what's the radical argument, or one based on ignorance.

Clayton Hennesey said...

Does a fetus/baby become a ward of the State at conception? A citizen? If so, what other rights can be claimed for it from the State from the moment of conception beyond life?

On what basis could any further rights beyond life be denied?

jimbino said...

Anti-religious people get very...agitated... when you point out that they do, in fact, have a religion, complete with dogma and ritual and reviled heretics.

Well-put by a person ignorant of science and the scientific method. In fact, scientist are overwhelmingly atheist and agnostic. An atheist has no use for god-belief and an agnostic doesn't believe in believing, much less in believing in superstition.

Science is evidence-based and every assertion is refutable by more evidence. Religion, on the other hand, is full of beliefs in things like resurrections, apparitions, holy ghosts, ancient unicorns, talking snakes and donkeys and all kinds of other things not susceptible to refutation by evidence. Prayer may be an exception, since it's actually easy for a scientist to set up an experiment to prove that prayer has no efficacy whatsoever. If you can show that it does, you may win the $1M James Randi prize.

Brando said...

"Republican presidents suck at picking Supreme Court judges."

That's for sure. Think of some of the big leftist justices of the past half century--Warren, Brennan, Souter, Stevens, to some extent Blackmun, Burger, Stewart and O'Connor--all GOP appointees. Can you name any equivalently conservative justices picked by a Democrat? Byron White to some degree, but that's about it.

What is it that the Democrats know that the GOP can't figure out?

Jim said...

The Mom thought she was doing the best thing for her child. She had significant skin in the game in that she paid for her decision with her life as well. I don't feel anything other than sorrow for the unborn child and the Mom. Like all of us she was trying to do her best with what she has to use.

tim maguire said...

Should a woman's concept of the universe dominate over the life of the unborn child or not?

This question presupposes that the woman is wrong. That's one of my pet peeves about the secular humanist conception of religious belief--it is a funny little artifact that we will condescend to allow the rubes to hold on to provided they never try to use it to interfere with what we consider important.

Anonymous said...

I'm at a loss to explain the [sic]s. Izadi herself uses the word-- also in its modern American spelling-- in two other places.

The questions mentioned in O'Connor's "sweet mystery of life" passage are philosophical ones: you can draw on religion in answering them, but you don't have to. In any case, as I've pointed out before, a ban on abortion wouldn't stop any woman from forming whatever concepts she liked-- it would only stop her from getting an abortion.

rgr said...

On the one hand you have folks that believe the fetus is an dependent but individual being whose life must be protected. So in this case that would mean forcing life-saving care on the mother to preserve the life of the unborn, even though she profoundly opposes that care.

On the other hand are the folks that that would say the fetus does not possess individual rights, so the right of the mother to choose is determinative as to the level of care.

The problem as I see it is that we, as a society have failed to define WHEN rights are conferred on a being - conception, birth, some intermediary developmental stage? Until we have some law or amendment defining that, these hard situations will come up. And even after, those that disagree with whatever regulatory regime is in place will decry the result.

It's not religion - it's belief. An atheist can still hold the belief that an unborn child is still human and deserving of some basic right to life. A religious zealot can still hold the belief that an unborn child is subservient to the beliefs of the mother and die due to lack of care.

readering said...

I didn't study the article but I don't think the Post put sic after fetus. The word is used throughout the article without sic. I think the use of sic comes from the Australian publication being quoted.

Gabriel said...

It has always amazed me that the 14th Amendment back in 1868 legalized same-sex marriage and abortion, but didn't give women the right to vote. They had to get an amendment of their own, instead of just finding it in the equal protection clause.

Were nineteenth century judges unable to read or something?

Quaestor said...

But is the "[sic]" due to an insistence on the ancient or British spelling?

That may be a Washington Post editor indicating that fetus was used in the original source, an Australian newspaper. Since British orthography is standard in Australia (colour, neighbour, centre, theatre, etc.) it would be unconventional to use the American spelling.

Bob Ellison said...

Professor: You're correct. Many stupid things have been done by many stupid people on both Democratic and Republican circles.

I keep trying to explain to one of my sons that Richard Nixon was a leftist by modern standards. It's a tough sell.

Roe was a disastrous decision. It was the pinnacle of legal stupidity.

Bob Ellison said...

So the game is: how many Republican Presidents appointed SCOTUS judges who did this stupid thing?

Quaestor said...

Strongly held beliefs are good if they're rooted in self-worship... (yaddah, yaddah)

You're totally right Deirdre. I'll remember next Sunday that sleeping in is holy.

Until you're brilliant comment I never realized that not having something is the same as having something. I'll remember that the next time I forego the pie for the sake of my waistline.

American Liberal Elite said...

The "sic" should have followed "is."

Quaestor said...

Now that the right to abortion has been framed in terms of religious freedom, what are we to make of this hoopla over wedding cakes and pizza?

n.n said...

No. In a civilized society, terminating a human life, especially when it can be reasonably assumed to be wholly innocent, for reasons other than self-defense, is not protected by a sincerely held faith, a privacy veil, scientific obfuscation, or any other linguistic legerdemain.

David said...

The sperm donor is not mentioned. He is irrelevant.

n.n said...

"unborn fetus" is redundant

Exactly. It should be unborn child, but that would likely cause an apoplectic seizure for advocates of the abortion or planning industry.

n.n said...

I'd act as if I had two patients, and try as best I could to save both

The argument that reconciliation of rights favors the mother denies the natural process of human reproduction. The rights of the mother do not supersede the rights of her child, other than through a a willful act of debasing human life.

While this self-evident truth cannot be universally enforced because of the special circumstances of human procreation. It is in society and humanity's best interest to normalize the philosophical (i.e. moral) and scientific concept of intrinsic value.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

The whole "Darwin Award" meme reeks of nastiness and ignorance.

Maybe that's why it seems to be doing so well at replicating.

Unknown said...

@Jimbino

"Science is evidence-based and every assertion is refutable by more evidence."

So tell me Jimbino, what scientific experiment was used to determine that humans have inherent worth regardless of the circumstances of their birth or station in life?

Unknown said...

@Jimbino

Also, can you point me to where I can find the molecular structure for "Justice" and "Mercy?"

Sigivald said...

Maybe they thought it should be "foetus", because they're secretly British?

clint said...

Re: [sic]

Context: "...but the rights of a mother to refuse such interventions on behalf of her fetus [sic] is more controversial."

I think the problem in the original is that you can pair mother-child or pregnant woman-fetus. You can't pair mother-fetus. That's a logical and lexical error. Hence, [sic].

mtrobertsattorney said...

"At the heart of liberty is the right is the right to define one's own concept of existence. ... ."

This is the first entry in the "Book of Pretentious Nonsense".

Alex said...

For the first time Ann admits abortion is a killing.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State. That's religion. Face it. Should a woman's concept of the universe dominate over the life of the unborn child or not?

Thank you, Professor, that's a point I made recently w/r/t the Religious Freedom dicussions going on now. My pharsing was something like "so it's ok for a woman to follow the dictates of her conscience when deciding whether to abort a baby she doesn't want (but that the father and other might), but it's too much for an individual to follow the dictates of their conscience when it comes to whether to cater a gay wedding? Does the degree of harm play no role in that judgement? On the one hand the gay couple might have to find another company to work with. On the other hand you have a terminated baby. I guess pro-choice only covers some things, surprise surprise."

traditionalguy said...

Witnesses are group brainwashed into a life of lies. You cannot fix them.

Birches said...

Apparently Deirdre struck a chord... I thought she was just commenting on the jerks who were mocking a dead woman.... alas, others heard the siren call.

Fernandinande said...

Government lawyers attempting to impersonate philosopher-kings said "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State."

A false, hypocritical and pompous yet very silly statement. Where do they dreg up these clowns?

William said...

Besides Jews, Gypsies, and gays, Jehovah Witnesses were also rounded up by the Nazis and died in concentration camps. Unlike the other groups, they could get out simply by renouncing their faith. They didn't. Should they get a Darwin Award for that act of faith?......It was said that they were good Christians, sharing their food etc., even under the duress of concentration camp conditions. This is one group of Nazi victims that Hollywood will never make a movie about.......In this case the child and mother died. There are lots of other cases where the child and mother thrived. If I were a fetus, I rather take my chances inside the womb of a Witness rather than a Prog.

CWJ said...

A very big difference between abortion and this case.

Intent!

The woman's strongly held beliefs led to her death and that of her unborn child. Death was an unintended side effect of those beliefs.

Abortion on the other hand might result in a lawsuit should the baby fail to die.

The cases are not comparable.

Sydney said...

Yes, Deirdre did hit a nerve. You know what they say - "Man can live without God, he cannot live without religion."

Deirdre Mundy said...

Birches - It's because they take it as axiomatic that 'reason' and 'science' exist-- that we live in an ordered universe, and that 'I can replicate this result' means 'this result is true.'

The thing is, even the belief that "science is true' has to rest on certain dogmas. For instance, the idea that the rules are static across time and space. And that you can trust that the reported results are the actual results. And that the people doing the experiments are disinterested in profit and actually in search of truth.

The atheist/agnostic view of "Science as the path to truth' actually rests on core assumptions about the nature of reality. And if they have to throw out those assumptions, it unravels rapidly.

In fact, that's one reason why science as we know it rests on the back of Christian Cosmology. It makes sense because we assume that the universe is rational, follows certain laws, and isn't out to trick us.

But... how can you KNOW that the universe is rational and follows certain laws? How can you know that if NaOH+HCL makes salt water on Monday at noon, it will also make salt water 3 years from now in a hurricane?

Even "Mr. Science" has to have some deeply held, unprovable beliefs, or he wouldn't be able to function.

___
For the people who assumed I was saying that self-worship is superior to worship of God, I'm just assuming that they're unfamiliar with my lifestyle-choices and comment history and missed the irony. ;)

Does that mean that I earn a Blighter Point? Because I've always wanted a Blighter score!

carrie said...

Why is this different than an atheist using alternative medicine to treat cancer instead of conventional medical treatment, like Steve Jobs did? Or a vegan mother refusing to give her newborn breast milk? Or a mother deciding to give birth at home with a midwife instead of at a hospital where immediate medical intervention is available if something went wrong with the birth? Etc.

Laura said...

"Should a woman's concept of the universe dominate over the life of the unborn child or not?"

Would Scott Bollig's appeal fall into Justice Ginsberg's blind spot?

(Regrettably premature ejaculation. The case stimulated a sympathetic spinal reflex, but the verdict has not been published.)

DanTheMan said...

>>Science is evidence-based and every assertion is refutable by more evidence.

Let's posit that the union of the sperm and egg is not a person. Let's also posit that at age 2, a toddler is a person.

Using science, exactly when does a fetus become a human being?

Two places past the decimal, please.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Carrie- Because a certain subset of people believe that actions in themselves are neither good nor evil, it's the INTENTION that matters.

So, Steve Job's intention was to live naturally, so his actions are good.

This woman's intent was to obey the dictates of her religion, therefore her actions are bad.

Thus, if a Franciscan Hospital offers free healthcare to the poor, it is evil, because they're seeking to follow the commands of Jesus.

If a politician for the correct party offers free healthcare to the poor, it is good, because he is seeking election.

See? It's simple! If you're one of the special chosen people, EVERYTHING you do is blessed. If you diverge from the correct views, you are cursed in all things.

Totally rational. I don't see why this is so hard to understand! This is why we need a political system that rewards good beliefs and punishes bad beliefs!

Anonymous said...

I have personally witnessed a well-formed, well-developed 3 yr/old child of practicing JW's die following successful open heart surgery, probably secondary to a catastrophic fall in hemoglobin (of course, a transfusion was not allowed by the parents). These are serious, complex, and terrible situations. This wri8ter's snarky judgement is inappropriate.

Fernandinande said...

Ralph Hyatt said...
@Jimbino
Also, can you point me to where I can find the molecular structure for "Justice" and "Mercy?"


That's an easy one: your brain.

PB said...

the person who said that doesn't understand what the Darwin Awards are all about. the author seems likely to commit a Darwin Award by committing an act of mortal stupidity.

jimbino said...

Ralph Hyatt,

Inherent worth, justice and mercy are conceits of yours. There is no evidence that they exist any more than do the unicorns of the Bible. cf: Psalm 29:6, Isaiah 34:7.

jr565 said...

Deirde wrote:
Because the deity is obviously imaginary, where as one's concept of oneself is totally objective and real.

Yup, so you can simply say the fetus in your uterus is not alive simply because you don't want it. And you can say you are a woman and need to have a (state paid for) sex changes simply because that's how you feel, even though science would say you are not in fact anything other than what your chromosomes say. And that you can't really change someone's sex.

jimbino said...

Ralph Hyatt,

You should note that abstractions like love, mercy, justice and truth, to name a few, were not part of the Old Testament Hebrew, but were instead inventions of the Greeks that followed.

jr565 said...

Alex wrote:
For the first time Ann admits abortion is a killing.

She's admitted it before. She doesn't think it matters though.

sparrow said...

You're awesome Deirdre

Unknown said...

@Fernandinade

Exactly. Justice and Mercy are abstract ideas that exist merely as constructs within our minds.

Now can you tell me why I should care about them?

Yes, yes. I know, society needs people to care about each other and propagate my alleles, blah, blah, blah.

But, all that presupposes that I care about society or progeny or blah, blah, blah.

But, according to you when I die, I die. In other words, when I die, the world ends. So why should I care about progeny and society and blah, blah, blah.

Which doesn't mean that God exists. That's not what I am trying to demonstrate.

But everyone, everyone, has axiomatic beliefs that they cannot prove. For instance, you believe that the scientific method is the best method for determining the truth and the truth is superior to false.

Prove that to me using the scientific method.

I Callahan said...

Apparently Deirdre struck a chord... I thought she was just commenting on the jerks who were mocking a dead woman.... alas, others heard the siren call.

This was my feel as well. I was wondering why so many were jumping on Deirdre...

Todd said...

Sigivald said...
Maybe they thought it should be "foetus", because they're secretly British?

4/8/15, 11:36 AM


I saw where you wrote "foetus" and assumed you were going to say it was because most abortion rights supporters view a "fetus" as a "foe" until such time as the mother decides she "wants" it which depending on circumstances could take up to a few months after birth.

Fernandinande said...

DanTheMan said...
>>Science is evidence-based and every assertion is refutable by more evidence.

Let's posit that the union of the sperm and egg is not a person. Let's also posit that at age 2, a toddler is a person.


"Let's not and say we did."

Using science, exactly when does a fetus become a human being?
Two places past the decimal, please.


As posed, your question is pointless since you've already (incorrectly) defined who or what is a human and who or what isn't.

A new human being starts at conception.00 (two decimal places).

Unless you're a government lawyer trying to obfuscate your hypocrisy, it's really not complicated.

Tank said...

jr565 said...

Alex wrote:

For the first time Ann admits abortion is a killing.

She's admitted it before. She doesn't think it matters though.

Pretty sure that is not a fair description of her position.

I Callahan said...

Does that mean that I earn a Blighter Point? Because I've always wanted a Blighter score!

That place is my other daily read. I look forward to the Blighter sightings...

jimbino said...

Dan the Man: Using science, exactly when does a fetus become a human being?

The Constitution grants rights to "persons," not to "human beings." It has nothing to do with science and everything to do with legal definition.

Let's posit that sperm and eggs are "human beings." Should they also have Constitutional rights?

garage mahal said...

A new human being starts at conception.00 (two decimal places)

Even Muslims?

Unknown said...

"You should note that abstractions like love, mercy, justice and truth, to name a few, were not part of the Old Testament Hebrew, but were instead inventions of the Greeks that followed."

Peace

Psalm 29:11, 34:14, 37:37

Isaiah 9:6, 26:3, 26:12

Genesis 15:15

Jeremiah 33:6

among many others.

And I can find references to the other concepts in the Old Testament as well. Its called a concordance.

Unknown said...

Oh, and by the way, unicorn was a mistranslation of the Hebrew word for wild ox.

mtrobertsattorney said...


So "Justice and Truth" are inventions of the Greeks.

Finally, we're getting somewhere. Now if only someone can describe for us exactly what the molecular structures of the brain are that caused the "creation" of these concepts, and where they are located, then we will be well on our way to the perfect society.

Birches said...

Or a vegan mother refusing to give her newborn breast milk?

Wait, is that a thing? What do they feed the baby? I would assume the vegans would think formula was worse?

n.n said...

Tank:

My characterization of Althouse's position is that she classifies abortion as murder; but that she is pro-choice because of a perception that the reconciliation of individual dignity and intrinsic value is an intractable problem that requires deference. However, she is open to keeping the conversation open and active. Perhaps as a testament to her intellectual integrity and as a gesture to her religion (or faith).

DanTheMan said...

Stop ducking the question, jmb. I'm not asking about the Constitution.

Using science, please answer the question: When does the union of a sperm and egg become a person?

Fernandinade says this occurs 0.00 seconds after the union of these two cells, but he gets no credit, as he failed to show his work.

Unknown said...

@mtrobertsattorney

Don't be ridiculous. Greeks are a bunch of old dead white guys. If they invented those concepts it is self-evident that they are bad.

Anonymous said...

Jimbino writes;

Let's posit that sperm and eggs are "human beings." Should they also have Constitutional rights?

Nope. And I wouldn't posit that they are human beings or persons.

On the other hand, once the sperm fertilizes the egg, then yes. They are human beings and persons from the point of conception.

Tank said...

n.n said...

Tank:

My characterization of Althouse's position is that she classifies abortion as murder; but that she is pro-choice because of a perception that the reconciliation of individual dignity and intrinsic value is an intractable problem that requires deference. However, she is open to keeping the conversation open and active. Perhaps as a testament to her intellectual integrity and as a gesture to her religion (or faith).

Don't know if that's exactly right, but it's sure a lot closer than "she doesn't think it matters."

Anonymous said...

I'm glad we can talk about this even though the mother died.

Usually the resident lefties here begin with, "Have you no shame!" when someone has died and there is a political message involved.

It seems this is the right message that we don't have to suffer through the, "Have you no shame!" silliness.

Deirdre Mundy said...

The problem is that 'personhood' isn't a scientific concept. It's a philosophical and legal concept. So science can't determine whether someone is a person or not.

And science can't determine what is just. Or merciful. It can't make value judgements.

Which is why hilarity ensures when reactionary anti-deists attempt to justify everything with 'because science.'

Science can tell you what will happen if I fire a gun at the person across the street, for example. It can't tell you whether I OUGHT to fire the gun.

Some of the 'Science is how I decide' crowd would say that the law will determine whether I should or should not fire the bullet, but it can't tell me whether we ought to have laws, or who should make and enforce the laws.

It can only describe what is. Anyone who tells you otherwise is worshiping the deity 'Science,' not 'doing science.'

Richard Dolan said...

"Should a woman's concept of the universe dominate over the life of the unborn child or not?"

Not a very helpful way to put it. Under current law, states may regulate abortion at the point of viability. Along that spectrum, there is a point where only a concern for the mother's health rather than her conception of the universe will suffice to justify an abortion. "Unborn child" suggests that, in this pregnancy, the point of viability had been passed.

Born/unborn can't be the relevant line for many obvious reasons, and 'viability' is quite vague especially during the middle of a pregnancy. (Not so vague at, say, 34 weeks.) "Mother's health," too, isn't nearly as clear as it sounds, especially when mental health is taken into account. But, absent a total ban on abortions, for which there is almost no real support in this country, no one has come up with anything better.

It's all well and good to say that a mother's beliefs about when a new person has been created are religious in nature. But so what? A mother's belief that God is calling her to sacrifice her child, as He did Abraham with Isaac, is also religious in nature. But that is hardly an impediment to a rule prohibiting such sacrifices.

Abortion rights are not "premised" on religion, even if Kennedy's opinion in Casey invoked the "sweet mystery of life" in upholding the core of Roe. More to the point was the notion that a woman has a right to control her own body absent a compelling state interest to interfere with that right.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Fernandinande said...
Ralph Hyatt said...
@Jimbino
Also, can you point me to where I can find the molecular structure for "Justice" and "Mercy?"

That's an easy one: your brain.


Wait, what?

All brains recognize Justice and Mercy? What if my idea of Justice is different than your idea of Justice? What if my idea of Mercy is different than your idea of Mercy?

Or are you saying there is no such thing as Justice or Mercy, there are only chemical reactions in the brain which lead us to do certain things that some of us call Justice and Mercy, while others call Rape and Murder?

Deirdre Mundy said...

The reason people get so worked up about that is that a number of Americans (mostly NOT scientists) have convinced themselves that being 'scientific' makes them morally and intellectually superior to 'those religious rubes.'

So.. they've basically created a theology of science, complete with prayers and ejaculation "Because Science!" and rituals. But.... a core tenet of their belief system is that belief systems are stupid and unscientific.

Since they can't hold two contradictory ideas at once (because it's irrational), they explode.


hombre said...

"Should a woman's concept of the universe dominate over the life of the unborn child or not?"

Absolutely!! And over the life of the neighbor and the neighbor's children, and of the letter carrier, and of the gay couple down the street.

jimbino said...

Eric writes:

On the other hand, once the sperm fertilizes the egg, then yes. They are human beings and persons from the point of conception.

On this point SCOTUS and I, one the one hand, and you, on the other, disagree.

What the pope says about it is nothing but pure religious conceit that has no place in science and, if reason prevails, in law.

n.n said...

Richard Dolan:

Abortion rights have the following premises: a quasi-scientific argument of viability (i.e. spontaneous conception) that denies the human life process or evolution; a sincerely held faith (i.e. religion or moral philosophy) that grants women an exclusive right commit premeditated murder without sanction; the State's compelling interest to ensure a woman remains productive (i.e. taxable); the Democrat Party's compelling interest to ensure a woman votes for her opiates (e.g. dissociation of risk); the general population's avoidance of hard problems when offered suitable renumeration; and to make room for excessive and unmeasured (i.e. illegal) immigration in order to marginalize or neutralize the native population. Oh, and the abortion or "planning" industry. I think that covers the dynamic and the various special interests that have a stake in normalizing (i.e. promoting) sacrificial rites.

It requires a sincerely held faith to deny the scientific, and, more so, the self-evident truth that a human life evolves from conception to a natural, accidental, or premeditated death. It requires a religion or moral philosophy to capriciously deny life to a wholly innocent human body when it is uniquely vulernable. However, it is not "faith", but rather a simple myth that they receive and accept as comfort. It is not religion or moral philosophy, but rather a-religion or amorality that takes life for cheap and capricious causes.

Unknown said...

re: Science

I'm still waiting for "scientific proof" of the origin of the universe. For instance, prove to me scientifically where the atoms that were involved in the "big bang" came from. There's your unicorn.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Stanley-- I guess they could make the 'Flatland" argument-- that we can't really SEE the system because we are PART of the system.

So from inside the universe it could be impossible to prove what processes happened OUTSIDE the universe.

But then that's getting quasi-religious again-- that there might be something outside observable reality. Science is all about what we can observe.

Unknown said...

@jimbino

Please, enlighten us with your scientific definition of what constitutes a "human being."

Does a being with homo sapiens sapiens DNA qualify as a "human being?"

hombre said...

Jimbino: "The Constitution grants rights to "persons," not to "human beings." It has nothing to do with science and everything to do with legal definition."

Aside from the fact that a person is a human being, it is absurd to say it "has nothing to do with science." Regardless of the momentary vagaries of our judicial oligarchs, for example, whether or not the killing of a fetus, other than by the mother, is a homicide has been determined by "quickening," a scientific measure.

Gabriel said...

@Deirdre Mundy:The thing is, even the belief that "science is true' has to rest on certain dogmas. For instance, the idea that the rules are static across time and space. And that you can trust that the reported results are the actual results. And that the people doing the experiments are disinterested in profit and actually in search of truth.

No, science actually does not depend on any of these things.

Whether the rules change across time and space is a scientific question, and one can propose experiments that can tell.

You do not have to trust reported results are actual results, we catch frauds and correct errors all the time; though not 100% of the time.

And evidence is evidence regardless of motive. It does not matter if Newton stands to make a buck if gravity exists.

sparrow said...

Justice and mercy are abstract concepts that exist independently of your brain or mine. In short the idea of Truth or Beauty or Love is accessed an evaluated by our brains but it's existence is not physical. This point is generally brought up to point out to extreme materialists that not everything that exists is necessarily physical, measurable testable etc. In other words Science is limited.

n.n said...

While religion and faith are separable, religion or moral philosophy is always based on faith, which is commonly backed by reason. Faith is either an intrinsic property of human freewill or a myth (i.e. attested but not verifiable) that has been passed through the generations. Religion is not a fantasy. If faith is a fantasy, then it is a universal fantasy.

Carl said...

Should a woman's concept of the universe dominate over the life of the unborn child or not?

If her concept of the universe isn't centered on the life of her unborn child -- if it is even possible for a conflict to arise -- then ipso facto she's an unfit mother and, cruel as it may be, the child probably should be aborted.

I just think she should be immediately forceably sterilized, too. And any previous children that managed to slip out should be removed and given to good mothers to rear.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I suppose a truly scientific soul would have to be a true behaviorist-- unable to know, or even guess at the internal states of other humans, but only to record their behavior and see if it follows a pattern.

"When my wife throws dishes at my head, I can make her stop by saying, 'I'm sorry. I love you.""

People in a truly scientific worldview wouldn't be happy or sad or angry. They'd be like complex machines. "His vocal emissions are of a larger magnitude than they normally are." "There appears to be liquid coming from her eyes." "He is showing his teeth and moving his head up and down. From past experience, this means that he will not hit me in the next 5 minutes."

Again, even the people who claim that they base their thoughts and actions off of 'pure science and reason', don't. You can't prove that reason works. You can't prove that other people have mental states like you're own. And a 'scientific man' still blindly trusts authority. He has just chosen different authorities to trust.

He has to. There's no other way to live and function in society. The man who truly submitted every aspect of his life to the scientific method would be paralyzed.

Gabriel said...

@Deirdre Murphy: It makes sense because we assume that the universe is rational, follows certain laws, and isn't out to trick us.

Again, not necessary assumptions.

Einstein's gravitation is closer to experiments than Newton's. Maybe the universe tricked Newton and changed the laws of gravitation after he published them, but that's irrelevant to the question of which one better matches experiments.

If what you said about assumptions were true, then scientists would never revise science.

sparrow said...

Gabriel
Science absolutely depends on the reproducibility of scientific method and the concept of an intelligible universe. It's impossible to conduct science without these assumptions. Don't be deliberately obtuse; all complete rational systems have axioms that are unprovable (Godel's theorem)

Gabriel said...

@Deirdre Murphy: suppose a truly scientific soul would have to be a true behaviorist-- unable to know, or even guess at the internal states of other humans, but only to record their behavior and see if it follows a pattern

This is exactly what you have done your whole life in order to judge other people's mental and emotional states, unless you are claiming telepathic powers.

You cannot directly experience another person's emotions.

Scientists, of course, experience their own emotions, and so it would make no sense for them to deny them. Our emotions are an observable fact of our own observable existence.

Gabriel said...

@sparrow:Science absolutely depends on the reproducibility of scientific method and the concept of an intelligible universe.

No it doesn't. We have mutually incompatible, yet accepted, theories in physics and we keep on truckin'.

Maybe the unexplained things in the universe are unexplainable, but that doesn;t make the explainable things go away.

n.n said...

Gabriel:

Evidence is an imperfect witness when it is circumstantial, speculative (e.g. modeled), or inferred (i.e. created). The premise for construction of the scientific method is the observation that accuracy is inversely proportional to the product of time and space offsets from an established frame of reference. It further postulates that only through deductive reasoning and replication, can a problem be considered in the scientific domain.

Gabriel said...

@sparrow:reproducibility of scientific method

The historical sciences: astronomy, paleontology, etc, refute this. Astronomers cannot conduct experiments, and paleontologists cannot rewind history and see what else might fossilize.

I may have woken up the Althouse creationists at this point though.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Gabriel

No, because one of the assumptions is that "if a rule doesn't apply in X situation, we must not fully understand what's going on and need to revise the rule."

In a universe that was capricious and changing, the assumption would be "One cannot determine rules."

Imagine that you're a Greek who really believes in the Gods. Well, then sometimes, making a sacrifice might get you killed. Or turned into a goose. Or made into a demigod. However, there's no way to predict what will happen, because the powers that control the universe are totally capricious, and things like 'rain' and 'sea' come with personalities attached.

Meanwhile, we take it as axiomatic that gravity is an impersonal force which always follows certain rules, even if we're still puzzling out what those rules are.

Sheesh! I just failed the 'not a robot' check box.

I must be doing a good job putting myself inside Commander Data's head, then! ;)


Gabriel said...

@n.n.The premise for construction of the scientific method is the observation that accuracy is inversely proportional to the product of time and space offsets from an established frame of reference. It further postulates that only through deductive reasoning and replication, can a problem be considered in the scientific domain.

This is True Scottish Science. Who sez? You?

Again, historical sciences refute this.

And deductive reasoning is not the only tool scientists use.

It would never occur to me, a non-plumber, to tell a plumber how plumbing "really" works.

The science concern trolling from non-scientists and creationists gets old after a while.

sparrow said...

You have the typical physicists blindness to metaphysics. You cannot assert anything is true or false in the absence of abstract assumptions about knowledge and truth. Science isn't everything and it does not stand alone without philosophy.

Deirdre Mundy said...

1. Not a creationist of the 6 day sort.
2. Do enjoy philosophy of science, have a strong background in the sciences.


Let me guess. You have an engineering degree.

And google is totally convinced I'm not human now!

Fascinating.....

Gabriel said...

@Deirdre Murphy: "if a rule doesn't apply in X situation, we must not fully understand what's going on and need to revise the rule."

Nonsense. You just don't apply it that situation. It may very well be that the universe has different rules for different situtations. It may very well be that the rules change. It may very well be that there aren't any rules, only conincidences.

None of these make science impossible.

n.n said...

Gabriel:

You are conflating science and philosophy. These are two separate but intersecting domains. There is a traditional and contemporary propensity to merge the two domains in order to entertain personal interests.

sparrow said...

"The science concern trolling from non-scientists and creationists gets old after a while."

I'm a scientist BTW - no need to be insulting

Unknown said...

@sparrow:Science absolutely depends on the reproducibility of scientific method and the concept of an intelligible universe.

No it doesn't. We have mutually incompatible, yet accepted, theories in physics and we keep on truckin'.

Maybe the unexplained things in the universe are unexplainable, but that doesn;t make the explainable things go away.


Well then Gabriel, could you please explain to us what exactly science does depend on?

Deirdre Mundy said...

Sparrow - do physicists really ignore metaphysics? Most of the ones I've encountered are actually very aware of the assumptions that make their work possible.

The agnostic or atheist physicists of my acquaintance argue that their axioms are more useful than mine, but they don't argue that they're working from axioms!

Also- Screw you, Google. I AM NOT A ROBOT. I am not selling sunglasses or offering ways to make money from home. What is your problem?

hombre said...

Althouse: "If you are thinking of Blackmun's opinion in Roe v. Wade: 1. That was an opinion joined by 6 other judges, including the conservative Nixon appointees Burger and Powell. Blackmun was also a Nixon appointee, of course. 2. Roe was superseded by the opinion I've linked to, Planned Parenthood v. Casey...."

Oh well, hell, if both sides of the judicial political spectrum were represented small wonder the oligarchs felt justified in "superseding" both God and the Constitution.

A number of scholarly articles were written immediately after Roe questioning its reasoning. We no longer see those, or similar questioning Casey, because scholars are much smarter today. Right?

Birches said...

The problem is that 'personhood' isn't a scientific concept. It's a philosophical and legal concept. So science can't determine whether someone is a person or not.

And science can't determine what is just. Or merciful. It can't make value judgements.

Which is why hilarity ensures when reactionary anti-deists attempt to justify everything with 'because science.'

Science can tell you what will happen if I fire a gun at the person across the street, for example. It can't tell you whether I OUGHT to fire the gun.


Wow. You hit it out of the park with this comment.

n.n said...

Gabriel:

Touchy. Are you a non-scientist or a creationist? Perhaps you should reframe your perspective.

Gabriel said...

@Deirdre Murphy:Let me guess. You have an engineering degree.

No, a Ph. D. in physics with a strong interest in philosophy of science.

@sparrow:You cannot assert anything is true or false in the absence of abstract assumptions about knowledge and truth.

Who said anything about "true" vs "false"? "Truth" as you use the word may not exist to be discovered, or it may change. Science is the antithesis of pronouncing things to "true" or "false".

Science isn't everything and it does not stand alone without philosophy.

I didn't say science is everything, and it certainly does need philosophy.


Ignorance is Bliss said...

Stanley Smith said...

I'm still waiting for "scientific proof" of the origin of the universe. For instance, prove to me scientifically where the atoms that were involved in the "big bang" came from. There's your unicorn.

Stanley-

Nobody with any scientific knowledge will attempt to prove where the atoms that were involved int the "big bang" came from, since there were no atoms involved in the big bang.

If you wish to understand what scientist know about the big bang there are plenty of sources available that give reasonable explanations of what we know, and how we know it, at a popularly accessible level. If that is not proofy enough for you, then you would have to actually learn some science in order to understand the arguments.

Even then, science does not offer proof, only theories that successfully predict the behavior of the physical world to incredible precision.

Science will never be able to prove to you that the big bang happened, any more than science could prove to you that the sun rose in the east this morning. If you doubt that the sun rose in the east this morning, the problem is not with science.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Gabriel said...
@Deirdre Mundy:The thing is, even the belief that "science is true' has to rest on certain dogmas. For instance, the idea that the rules are static across time and space. And that you can trust that the reported results are the actual results. And that the people doing the experiments are disinterested in profit and actually in search of truth.

No, science actually does not depend on any of these things.

Whether the rules change across time and space is a scientific question, and one can propose experiments that can tell.


It actually does depend on those things.

But it should be easy for you to prove otherwise. Devise just one scientific experiment that will prove that science is true.

sparrow said...

Deirdre,

I would argue Stephen Hawkins is weak on metaphysics (borrowing heavily from Father R Barron).

Unknown said...

Does science say I should be able to rely on these charts or is science a big cheat?

http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/boiling-point-water-d_926.html


Gabriel said...

@n.n.:You are conflating science and philosophy. These are two separate but intersecting domains. There is a traditional and contemporary propensity to merge the two domains in order to entertain personal interests.

Who sez? You? Where's the demarcation? Publish that and you'll be more famous than Popper. Square the circle while you're at it, you might finish that first.

Are you a non-scientist or a creationist?

Scientist and non-creationist. What's the difference? You said "science needs x y z or it can't blah blah blah", and expect me to take this as your bare assertion without you showing any work. It's because you want to redefine science to exclude results you don't like.


I Callahan said...

philosophy of science

According to your comments in this thread, the above is a contradiction in terms.

sparrow said...

Gabriel
Who said anything about "true" vs "false"? "Truth" as you use the word may not exist to be discovered, or it may change. Science is the antithesis of pronouncing things to "true" or "false".


This is relativistic BS. Science is the search the the truth; it's not complicated at all. You only pass on this drivel because you can not admit you're wrong. Not very scientific of you.

Gabriel said...

@eric:Devise just one scientific experiment that will prove that science is true.

Category error. Devise just one scientific experiment that will prove that a rock is true.

You are stringin English words together in a way that makes no sense, like "leather sunrise". Science is a verb, not a noun.

I Callahan said...

Science is the search the the truth

The operative word here being "Search". Some people who abide by "science" seem to think that search is over.

Gabriel said...

@ICallahan:According to your comments in this thread, the above is a contradiction in terms.

If it is a contradiction in terms, restate my premises and conclusions to show it, should be easy.

Gabriel said...

@sparrow:Science is the search the the truth; it's not complicated at all.

1 + 1 = 2. Is this sentence true?

1 + 1 = 3. Is this sentence true?

It is raining. Is this sentence true?

Already, you see, you have multiple definitions of "truth" in play and you haven't even started talking about anything hard yet.

It is exactly as complicated as it is. I did not make the universe, I just found myself in it, and I can't apologize for the state it's in.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Gabriel said...
@eric:Devise just one scientific experiment that will prove that science is true.

Category error. Devise just one scientific experiment that will prove that a rock is true.

You are stringin English words together in a way that makes no sense, like "leather sunrise". Science is a verb, not a noun.


If you cannot use a scientific experiment to demonstrate that science works and leads to truth, then how do you know that scientific experiments, or the scientific method, brings you anything other than confusion? What, outside of the scientific method, do you use to examine the scientific method for it's accuracy?

wildswan said...

Suppose someone went into a feminist bakery and asked them to bake a cake celebrating abortion of a female? And the feminists refused? Is that their right?

Would Lena Dunham bake a cake celebrating the 10 millionth female sex-selection abortion in China?

The left isn't bothered because they have no social principles. They just "tweet-flock" like these great swarms of starlings you see.

People used to think they could get principles for how to build society from science. But you have to use some specific part of science when you build society with science and the part you use has to be biological principles, i.e., evolution. Then that gets you to selection as the basis for a science-based society - and there you are at eugenics and the Nazis. Building a science based society was the basis for the attraction of eugenics and led right to the Nazis in a straight line.

We all now know that choosing the principle of selection is an unscientific process. And thus culture all comes back - morality, ethics, right, wrong,

who is my neighbor?

Gabriel said...

@Ralph Hyatt:Well then Gabriel, could you please explain to us what exactly science does depend on?

If I could make an exhaustive list that everyone agreed on, and no one could argue with, then I would already be a household name and you'd have learned it school what it was.

The people who are arguing with me that science fundamentally requires this or that are 50 - 100years behind the conversation. It's like they're talking about phlogiston or protoplasm.

That is my only point. A lot of scientists and philosophers have argued about what science does and does not require and there is nothing that everyone can agree on.

Unknown said...

1 + 1 = 2. Is this sentence true?

Yes

1 + 1 = 3. Is this sentence true?

No

It is raining. Is this sentence true?

Undoubtedly it is raining somewhere and not raining somewhere else. But the thing is, this is just a linguistic trick.

Scientifically to answer the question (find the truth) you would define your terms. Where is it raining? What constitutes rain? What time frame? A scientific formulation of the question would be:

Is it currently raining at the following longitude and latitude as measured by instrument such and such?

Gabriel said...

@eric:If you cannot use a scientific experiment to demonstrate that science works

What does "work" mean? A screwdriver easily drives screws but poorly hammers nails. Does a screwdriver "work"? How can the use of a screwdriver lead to anything but confusion, if you can't prove that screwdrivers are tools?

leads to truth

Lead me to truth. Determine whether the statement "it is raining" is "true" or "false".

What, outside of the scientific method, do you use to examine the scientific method for it's accuracy?

When you think a ruler is inaccurate, what do you measure it against? By your own rules, you can't use a ruler.


Gabriel said...

@Ralph Hyatt:Is it currently raining at the following longitude and latitude as measured by instrument such and such?

Are you sure we're talking about Earth and liquid water?

But you are getting the idea. What you are describing is an operational defintion of "raining". "Raining" is defined by what you do to determine if it is raining.

If someone does something different, that is a different operational definition. You might use the same word to describe the thing, but they are not, strictly speaking, the same.

Now, you see why science doesn't labe statements "true" or "not true".

Unknown said...

So if science doesn't require belief in a rational universe or reproducible and consistent results, and everything may, in fact, just be a coincidence, then why prefer it over any other philosophy?

At that point science would seem to be indistinguishable from religion to me.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Nobody with any scientific knowledge will attempt to prove where the atoms that were involved int the "big bang" came from, since there were no atoms involved in the big bang.

Ok, my ignorance is showing. I guess the big bang covers a longer period that I had though, up to the formation of atoms. The big bang theory explains where the atoms came from, in ways that are consistent with observations of the universe as well as with experimental results.

Again, it will never 'prove' that the sun rose it the east this morning, it will only explain why, and predict where it will rise tomorrow.

Gabriel said...

@Ralph Hyatt:At that point science would seem to be indistinguishable from religion to me.

The computer you type on was not prayed into existence. The quantum physics of semiconductors it depends on to function were not revealed on stone tablets.

There is an observable difference.

Gabriel said...

@Ralph Hyatt: A lot of people are imputing opnions to me that I do not hold.

I think emotion, religion, tradition, philosopy, are enriching and wonderful for humans. I don't personally partake in all of these, but I don't discount their value.

Science is objectively useful, but it is limited. Its strength and usefulness arise from its limitations.

If God revealed the same things to everyone, then there'd only be one religion and no argument about it, except for those hardy souls who thought God was wrong. But religion doesn't work that way; it is unlimited by what we observe and can imagine.

You can always say "Sez Who" about religion and morality. Referring it back to God doesn't help--whose God, and which revelation, and now we're back to arguing postulates again.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Ralph Hyatt said...

So if science doesn't require belief in a rational universe or reproducible and consistent results, and everything may, in fact, just be a coincidence, then why prefer it over any other philosophy?

Science does not require those things. It observes those things, to the extent they exist, comes up with models to explain them, then makes predictions that can be tested. If the universe was not rational, reproducible, and consistent you could still do science, but the science would likely be less useful since it would generally be disproving any model you tried to establish.

Unknown said...

@Gabriel

Defining terms and conditions is a necessary part of science, but it isn't science.

What you are arguing is semantics, a sub-field of logic. Also necessary for science, but not science.

A screw driver is necessary in order for automotive repair to be accomplished (sometimes) but it is not automotive repair.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Gabriel said...
@eric:If you cannot use a scientific experiment to demonstrate that science works

What does "work" mean? A screwdriver easily drives screws but poorly hammers nails. Does a screwdriver "work"? How can the use of a screwdriver lead to anything but confusion, if you can't prove that screwdrivers are tools?


What do you want "work" to mean? I thought you used the scientific method, do you not? Why do you use it? Does it give you results? Is it accurate? What's the point of using the scientific method?

If you say it's because it gives you proofs, then show me the scientific method that gives you the proof that the scientific method works. Or fill in the blank, "I use the scientific method because it gives me X" What is X?




I have no idea how to do that. I'm trying to get you to show me why science and the scientific method is so important to you. Convince me.


What, outside of the scientific method, do you use to examine the scientific method for it's accuracy?

When you think a ruler is inaccurate, what do you measure it against? By your own rules, you can't use a ruler.


My own rules? What rules are those?

I'm trying to figure out your rules. I'm happy to use your rules. What are they?

Tell me how to do it. I'd like to hear your explanation for figuring these things out. I'm your blank slate.

Help me out here.

gerry said...

including the conservative Nixon appointees

Nixon was not a conservative. The appointees? Debatable.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I will say that it is theoretically possible that science is entirely misguided because a devious god has been actively interfering with the experiments in ways designed to make scientists believe the universe works one way when it really works another way. Of course, as long as that god keeps interfering in that same way, well, then the universe is actually working that way. The only way for this to undermine science is for the god to one day stop interfering in that way. At which point the scientists notice that their results change, and try to figure out why. The science goes on.

Scott M said...

"At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."

"At the heart of 42 is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."

Fixed it for you.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

And if you believe such a devious god is a problem for science, why would it not also be a problem for religion? Maybe the christian God believes that it created the world, and sent his only son to die for our sins, but really there is a devious meta-god who is tricking God into believing those things.

If you spend your time worrying about such things you've really got too much time on your hands. Likely thanks to science.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Gabriel, have you ever been in the room with someone more intelligent than you are?

If so, when?

Unknown said...

"The computer you type on was not prayed into existence. The quantum physics of semiconductors it depends on to function were not revealed on stone tablets."

Sez you. How do I know that it (and me) didn't pop into existence 2 minutes ago.

So the argument is from results.

In addition to computers and quantum physics science is also responsible for sarin gas, hydrogen bombs, thalidomide, land mines, pipe bombs, and MTV. Science actually has the power to wipe out human life. Seems to me the results are decidedly mixed. I enjoy life in this current technological utopia. Perhaps any survivors in a radiologically and chemically contaminated land will be less sanguine.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

eric said...

"I use the scientific method because it gives me X" What is X?

I have no idea how to do that. I'm trying to get you to show me why science and the scientific method is so important to you. Convince me.


The scientific method gives me models of how subsets of the universe behave. These models then allow me to construct physical systems that behave in ways that are useful to me and/or to others.

Some examples of such systems would be an inclined plane, a nuclear bomb, and a computer.

Note-when I say me, I am talking about the scientific/engineering community as a whole. I have not actually constructed a nuclear bomb.

Gabriel said...

@Deirdre Murphy:Gabriel, have you ever been in the room with someone more intelligent than you are?

If so, when?


Daily through my last two years of graduate school, and at every conference I've attended, I can say with certainty that smarter people than I am were there.


Wiser people than I am in the same room with me, now that happens a lot more often, just about daily.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Ralph Hyatt said...

Sez you. How do I know that it (and me) didn't pop into existence 2 minutes ago.

Ralph- I already provided a brilliant proof of this that thoroughly convinced you of all this just two minutes ago*, so I'm not going to waste my time proving it again.

*Sez me. How do you know that I didn't?

Gabriel said...

@Ralph Hyatt:Defining terms and conditions is a necessary part of science, but it isn't science.

Who said it was equivalent? I didn't.

What you are arguing is semantics

No I'm not. I'm not arguing about what anything "really" means.

What I'm saying is that you have to pick something and DECIDE what it means for your specific purpose and it has to be something that is essentially a series of actions.

If your purposes change, or the situation changes, or if your understanding changes, your operations may change.

This is why we don't weigh people to see how much love is in their hearts.

And of course operations are not all there is to science, and I never said their were.

My whol purpose was to refute that science deals with "truth". It doesn't, because it can't be separated from what humans do.

n.n said...

Ignorance is Bliss:

god has been actively interfering with the experiment

Not according to Judeo-Christian philosophy. Its concept of God is an extra-universal entity that established the underlying order of the universe and directed his children/creations to understand and exploit that order to their benefit within the framework of a religious or moral philosophy. This faith and philosophy are unique in that they reconcile religious and secular domains.

The role of science in discovery and exploitation of the natural order arises from a mortal limitation that precludes omniscience and omnipotence in both time and space, respectively; but, that is a final limitation likely imposed through existence within the system of interest.

If anything, time is merely a perception of motion, invented by humans as a measure or model to estimate unwieldy processes, that even an extra-universal entity would not be capable of circumventing without reordering the entirety of the system.

n.n said...

Ignorance is Bliss:

Well, perhaps once or twice or thrice, and in an isolated events. Typically when the tenets of his religious or moral philosophy were violated. Unfortunately, they are either myths, personal experiences, or events outside of the scientific domain that can neither be observed nor reproduced. At best, they are philosophy (e.g. "fossil" fuels). Likely they are articles of faith (e.g. evolutionary creation). And at worst they are fantasy (e.g. spontaneous conception).

Gabriel said...

@eric:Or fill in the blank, "I use the scientific method because it gives me X" What is X?

The scientific method tells you, more reliably than any other method developed, the ways in which the physical universe is unlikely to operate.

It tells you that given this and that condition (and here's what you do to decide if these apply), these are the things that are probably not going to happen, and these are specific actions you do to determine if these things have not occured.

Sometimes you can go from there to "here are things that you may see if you look for them, and this is what you do to look and this is what you do to determine if you found those things".




Gabriel said...

@n.n.At best, they are philosophy (e.g. "fossil" fuels). Likely they are articles of faith (e.g. evolutionary creation).

As I predicted, the creationist is here to explain how "real science" excludes evolution.

Gabriel said...

@Ralph Hyatt:In addition to computers and quantum physics science is also responsible for sarin gas, hydrogen bombs, thalidomide, land mines, pipe bombs, and MTV. Science actually has the power to wipe out human life. Seems to me the results are decidedly mixed. I enjoy life in this current technological utopia. Perhaps any survivors in a radiologically and chemically contaminated land will be less sanguine.

I never said that what science produces is what you think is good. You wanted to know how science was different from religion.

But you know all about the Thirty Years' War and the Book of Joshua and if you don't you've heard of jihad, so you know that the results of religion are decidely mixed; the topic of this thread, after all, is how a woman killed herself and her baby because of her religion.

n.n said...

Gabriel:

I acknowledge that both evolutionary creation and intelligent design are articles of faith. I do not wantonly indulge in liberal assumptions of uniformity and independence; and do not wander from the scientific domain in to the far reaches of space and time.

That said, the "theory of evolution" is an anthropomorphization and model (i.e. estimate) of the physical process. Evolution is actually a chaotic process (i.e. incompletely or insufficiently characterized and unwieldy) with undeniable principles in a limited frame of reference that abortionists deny for secular (e.g. wealth, pleasure, leisure, power) causes.

Anyway, you have mischaracterized my perspective. It's easy to do when you rely on inference and correlation. Consider the context and your prejudice before you indulge in further speculation.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"I believe in the theory of evolution, but I believe as well in the allegorical truth of creation theory. In other words, I believe that evolution, including the principle of natural selection, is one of the tools used by God to create mankind. Mankind is then a participant in the creation of the universe itself, so that we have a closed loop. I believe that there is a level on which science and religious metaphor are mutually compatible.[13]"

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Langan

n.n said...

Gabriel:

You are a quasi-scientist and an unacknowledged creationist. Consider the constraints encouraged by the scientific method in order to understand the open boundary of the scientific domain and intersections with the other logical domains, including philosophy (i.e. theory), faith, and fantasy. Consider further the probable paths that human and enhanced perception can follow in order to cross domains.

Anyway, we have wandered too far and risk obfuscating the topic of this thread: intrinsic value of human life. A legitimate discussion of human rights must acknowledge our full life cycle or evolution of a human life from its source: conception, to its sink: natural, accidental, or premeditated (e.g. abortion) death. The abortion industry and its consumers and advocates, must acknowledge that their reconciliation of dignity and value favors the former, selectively, and is an opportunistic debasement of humanity.

Lydia said...

About that "[sic]":

The Australian newspaper (Sydney Morning Herald) quoted in the Washington Post article didn't put it there, even though it was quoting directly from the Internal Medical Journal's article, which uses "foetus". Maybe the Washington Post's copyeditor is a bit academic-prissy and simply had an urge to improve upon the Australian newspaper's failure to use it.

RecChief said...

I wonder how many of the commenters who called her a murderer vaccinate(d) their kids?

Unknown said...

"But you know all about the Thirty Years' War and the Book of Joshua and if you don't you've heard of jihad, so you know that the results of religion are decidely mixed; the topic of this thread, after all, is how a woman killed herself and her baby because of her religion."

Yeah, bad things have occurred in the name of religion. But religion, by itself, is not going to be able to cause the extermination of human life. Science could. And, in fact, the propensity for religion is sort of baked into the cake of humanity. We seem to have had it all of our existence. Science? Not so much.

Unknown said...

Yo, Ignorance is Bliss:

The point of the statement is that it takes just as much "faith" to believe in the "scientific" creation of the universe as it does to believe that a white-bearded man on a golden throne did it in 6 days. You're right, there's no "proof" of either theory, only "faith" in what people choose to observe and believe. Science doesn't have all the answers.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said... Should a woman's concept of the universe dominate over the life of the unborn child or not?

Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Chairwoman of the DNC):
Wasserman Schultz quickly responded, saying Paul should explain whether he believes abortion should ever be legal.

"Here's an answer," she said in an emailed statement. "I support letting women and their doctors make this decision without government getting involved. Period. End of story. Now your turn, Senator Paul."

So yeah, if you're a WOMAN, the government shouldn't be allowed to "get inolved" at all, according to the head of the DNC.8 months, 9 months, perfectly healthy otherwise? According to good ol' Debbie, abort away, it's none of the gov's business. Because women, ok? Women.

gadfly said...

Wait - this cannot be a WaPo article. Since when was the life of an unborn baby a concern of the liberal print media?

Deirdre Mundy said...

As far as the intrinsic value of human life---

Does human life actually HAVE an intrinsic value in American Law? Obviously not, before birth. Or if you've committed certain crimes...

Or, the intrinsic value of life isn't high enough to preclude taking lives in certain situations.

I'm not sure you can argue for 'human life' in a non-religious context.

The current state of the laws in many places seems to be "an unborn human life has value if the mother deems it to have value."

So... maybe you could condemn this woman because she believed her child's life had value, yet didn't preserve it? Meanwhile, the woman getting an abortion doesn't believe the child's life has value, so she's fine?

We're back to the 'deeply held beliefs' thing again.

Matt said...

One important distinction in comparing religious freedom vs. abortion rights is to understand that the law regarding abortion in many states does not usually allow abortion once the fetus is 'viable' and can survive outside the womb. In this case the fetus was viable so this now falls strictly into the realm of religious freedom. I saw no, in this case, a woman's concept of the universe should not dominate over the life of the unborn child.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Stanley Smith said...

The point of the statement is that it takes just as much "faith" to believe in the "scientific" creation of the universe as it does to believe that a white-bearded man on a golden throne did it in 6 days. You're right, there's no "proof" of either theory, only "faith" in what people choose to observe and believe. Science doesn't have all the answers.

1) What the fuck is "scientific" creation?

2) If that was the point of the statement, then the statement misses the point wildly.

3) While there is no proof of either theory, there is a fuck-load of evidence for the big bang. The theory makes numerous predictions that can ( and have ) been tested. The idea that there is only faith is wildly ignorant.

4) You are correct, science does not have all the answers. It does not answer questions of ethics or morality. It has not yet, and almost certainly never will, answer all of the questions within the domain of the physical world. But it offers a process by which we can improve our understanding of the world around us, and a method by which rational people can judge the results.

Matt said...

HoodlumDoodlum

Actually, that's not all Schultz said. She continued.

"Then, she posed some questions of her own, saying: "We know you want to allow government officials like yourself to make this decision for women -- but do you stand by your opposition to any exceptions, even when it comes to rape, incest, or life of the mother? Or do we just have different definitions of 'personal liberty'? And I'd appreciate it if you could respond without 'shushing' me.""

These are questions Rand should answer.

Pulp Herb said...

Should a woman's concept of the universe dominate over the life of the unborn child or not?

It depends on if her concept of the universe is approved by the Left.

Seriously, Ann, I get your point but right to thought and expression are only considered legit at places like the Post if they agree with them. This cannot be news to you.

Anonymous said...

Ignorance: I'll make it simple for you. Where did the forces that science postulates combined to form the universe come from? It's like immaculate conception, right? Everything was just there to form the universe, right? Seems an awful lot like"in the beginning was the Word" to me. It requires just the same amount of faith. The point is, nobody knows, and can't prove anything one way or the other.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Stan Smith said...

Ignorance: I'll make it simple for you. Where did the forces that science postulates combined to form the universe come from? It's like immaculate conception, right? Everything was just there to form the universe, right? Seems an awful lot like"in the beginning was the Word" to me. It requires just the same amount of faith. The point is, nobody knows, and can't prove anything one way or the other.

Where they came from assumes that they were not always here, which I'm not sure is a valid way to describe what we know about space/time. But in any case, science can say it doesn't know every detail about how something happened, but can still make very clear what it does know, and why.

That is very different from saying In the beginning was the Word. There is much evidence supporting one, there is nothing but believe supporting the other.

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

Abortion rights — in America anyway — are premised on the woman's right to form her own beliefs:

Some people - apparently not conservatives - distinguish between harmless beliefs and stupid beliefs.

No defender of abortion rights denies the science of transfusions. Which is why Annie implies, among her infinite straw men, that they must. To reach for a comparison that outlandish requires massive desperation, laziness, stupidity or an outright willingness to so dishonestly mischaracterize a mainstream belief. Or all four.

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

Shall we ask the same folks who condemn the Jehovah's Witness if they think Steve Jobs deserves a Darwin Award? I certainly do.

Sure. Steve Jobs was stupid - insofar as preserving one's life is concerned. But it seems he might have changed his mind in less than nine months. And transfusion and pregnancy are conditions much better understood by mainstream society than is a rare form of pancreatic cancer.

Anonymous said...

I"Where they came from assumes that they were not always here"

"In the beginning was the Word"


Please describe the difference in those two statements.

Fen said...

Should a woman's concept of the universe dominate over the life of the unborn child or not?

No. But I can't argue "compelling governmental interest" here because of Rowe V Wade.

America has legalized the murder of the unborn. A consequence to that is the mother's wishes trump the life of her child.

Shouldn't be that way, but until we start defining abortion as murder, it will remain.

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

The reason people get so worked up about that is that a number of Americans (mostly NOT scientists) have convinced themselves that being 'scientific' makes them morally and intellectually superior to 'those religious rubes.'

So.. they've basically created a theology of science, complete with prayers and ejaculation "Because Science!" and rituals. But.... a core tenet of their belief system is that belief systems are stupid and unscientific.


Quite right. Much better that we consult a theological politician schooled in the ecclesiastical arts and dictating to hundreds of millions of followers from Rome for a definition of the limits on empirical and rational knowledge.

Fen said...

Science is evidence-based and every assertion is refutable by more evidence. Religion, on the other hand, is full of beliefs in things like Global Warming

/fixed

And please, don't lecture us about atheists ascribing to the Scientific Method. Not after what we've seen from the likes of Mann and Tyson.

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

In fact, that's one reason why science as we know it rests on the back of Christian Cosmology. It makes sense because we assume that the universe is rational, follows certain laws, and isn't out to trick us.

BULLSHIT. Is there a reason why Western theists seem to disdainfully neglect Greek antiquity so horrendously?

Perhaps it's jealousy.

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

In fact, that's one reason why science as we know it rests on the back of Christian Cosmology. It makes sense because we assume that the universe is rational, follows certain laws, and isn't out to trick us.

Science as we know it started with the Greeks hundreds of years before Christianity and the only significant role played by the persistently theistic latter in said scientific enterprises was generally to suppress them. Especially at the institutional level from which most of today's "best organized" "believers" tend to receive their instructions.

At the most, you could make an exception for Newton - (who was also, incidentally, quite enamored with some really nonsensical biblical explanations for things) - but that's somewhat unhelpful given how ingrained theistic presumptions remained in his day.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Stan Smith said...

Please describe the difference in those two statements.

Mine observes something that is here now, and says that it might have always been here ( or might not have always been here, I've made it quite clear that I don't know. )

The other claims that something that some people believe based on nothing but faith has always existed.

Observation vs. belief.

Drago said...

R&B's: "Is there a reason why Western theists seem to disdainfully neglect Greek antiquity so horrendously?"

LOL

"hey hey ho ho Western Civ has got to go!!!" said all the lefties....which R&B's "forgot" to mention.

'cuz "ouch", it's hurt the narrative.

Drago said...

Plus aren't all those Greeks of antiquity just a bunch of DWEM's?

Well, the left has certainly been warning us about them for about 40 years now!

Phunctor said...

One mention of Popper. Zero mentions of "falsifiable". Do you even scholar, bros and soeurs?

chickelit said...

'hey hey ho ho Western Civ has got to go!!!' said all the lefties....which R&B's 'forgot' to mention.

That's gonna leave a mark.

RecChief said...

Sound and Fury signifying nothing said...

Much better that we consult a theological politician schooled in the ecclesiastical arts and dictating to hundreds of millions of followers from Rome for a definition of the limits on empirical and rational knowledge.


Say, do you know who postulated the big bang theory? Or the study of genetics?

I hope MMFA pays well, although I don't see how, the quality of your spew shows they have finally reached the bottom of the hiring barrel.

Katrina said...

"BULLSHIT. Is there a reason why Western theists seem to disdainfully neglect Greek antiquity so horrendously?"

You wouldn't even know about Greek antiquity if it weren't for Western theists who preserved the best of it.

And anti-Christian bigots never mention the worst of paganism: infanticide. Perhaps that's because anti-Christian bigots don't consider infanticide such a terrible thing, which is why they have no qualms about leaving infants to die on tables in Illinois. Yeah, you people really prove that atheists are morally superior to the benighted rubes who laughably believe we are made in the image and likeness of God. Uh huh.

Laura said...

"No defender of abortion rights denies the science of transfusions."

One just did. The article alleges that pregnant women with acute promyelocytic leukemia who undergo standard induction treatments report an 83 percent remission rate. That leaves a 17 percent treatment failure rate.

Wanna go scientific on how many abortion consumers inspect their personal "medical waste" before disposal? Why the denial?

Opinh Bombay said...

Speaking plainly, you ain't free if the government won't let you be stupid.

tim in vermont said...

Some people - apparently not conservatives - distinguish between harmless beliefs and stupid beliefs.

Leftism in a nutshell.
- We will allow only those beliefs we can tolerate.

Depending on the circumstances it is either an irrelevant tissue mass or a human child. And those circumstances are not determined by the mother but rather by the needs of the Left.

Aussie Pundit said...

I hate the Darwin Awards.
What a nasty, vicious meme it is.
"That person who made a stupid mistake, or for some reason had a very low IQ, died because of their cognitive limitations. Ha ha! Screw them!"

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