Monday, January 25, 2010

Atheism and Abortion

Is atheism compatible with legalized therapeutic abortion? Through my experience talking to and hearing stories from atheists I have concluded that atheism is very much incompatible with legalized therapeutic abortion.

The key to understanding if atheism is compatible with legalized therapeutic abortion is simple: 1) remove God from the equation and 2) put in place common human decency instilled in all humans to not kill each other.

Accomplishing the first premise of removing God from the equation is a simple task. What remains is science and law. Then a question quickly becomes clear: what do we rely on for an answer, science, law, or both?

I have found that the majority of pro-choice atheist choose to base their arguments on law almost entirely. The reason for this is obvious; the law does not recognize the person that is the unborn human being. Countering this argument is easy, though. Say that slavery in the United States of American did not end with the Civil War, does that mean that slavery would still be justified and moral if it was still legal? The answer is no. Another simple rhetorical question could be that if one day a Personhood Amendment became part of the United States Constitution that defined a person as "any human being from conception to natural death" would that magically make an unborn human being a person? The answer is no, a law cannot make something true or false; law is very much just a reflection of a person's (or a people's) view in which a society should be governed. Basing an opinion from law is similar to basing an opinion based on public opinion polls; it's absolutely useless and completely illogical.

When pro-choice atheists jump into the fray of scientific evidence to support their claims, their arguments fall flat. I have oftentimes asked simple questions to pro-choice atheists that they almost always dodge and try every trick in the book to not answer. I have been discussing abortion with an atheist online, the following is a part of that conversation:

SegaMon: Consider the statement: "Clearly God has caused more abortions than we have." Does that make elective abortion moral? Nope.

Now consider this statement: "Clearly God has caused more murders to happen than we have." Does this statement make murder moral? Nope.

Pro-Choice Atheist: Can you please have your god come out and talk to us and tell what she wants?!? That would clear up a lot of misunderstandings. Thanx.
Where is the logic of abortion being immoral?

SegaMon: Knowing what God wants can often times be internal. For specifics, the Bible has given us many things to direct us in the right way.

Killing people ourselves is wrong (ie murder is a sin). Even the majority of atheists believe in this form of morality (ie elective abortion is NOT a religious issue).

Now, can you answer the question that I asked? "Does this statement make murder moral?"

Pro-Choice Atheist: I will only answer questions that come directly from your god. You are but a misguided middle man with a tedious and banal way of thinking. As far as I can tell god hasn't caused anything, show us some proof, then I might take your ramblings more seriously. btw - Abortion cannot be murder, by the definition of murder.

SegaMon: I wasn't saying that "abortion is murder." However, if the law starts to protect the unborn just like the born, then that statement would certainly be true (it's a term of law).

My "ramblings?" Come back down to Earth, your ego is making you float away.

I don't have to "prove" God to you. Just the fact that we will NEVER fully understand the human body is enough proof of God that I need.

I was using LOGIC, something that you claim to have such a handle on. Just answer my question please.

Pro-Choice Atheist: I guess I haven't been clear enough. Your god doesn't exist and therefore your question is nonsense. You can't use logic and proof of god in the same paragraph. hehehe

SegaMon: YOU were the one talking about God, not me.

Thus, I used the same exact statement that you had and then replaced "abortion" with "murder" and asked if you could explain it.

Again, it wasn't me that brought up God, it was you!

My question was NOT about God.

Read my first post again and answer the question. If you do not answer, you have failed to follow truth and use proper logic.

If we are going to blame God for more abortions, then we should certainly blame God for more murders. God certainly kills more born people than we do from heart attacks, falls, strokes, cancer, hepatitis, HIV, TB, etc.

So please, if you fail to answer then you are conceding to defeat.

Pro-Choice Atheist: As I have said breore god does not exist (at least the christian concept) so, a nonexistent being can have no effect. No moral laws, no killing, no giving of life or death. Your question is nonsense. Change your question to something that relates directly to abortion and i will answer it.

SegaMon: [[Here I mistakenly thought that this poster was the poster of the video]] My question has EVERYTHING to do with abortion. Thus you concede to defeat.

Pro-Choice Atheist: [[Here the poster is correcting me that he is not the poster of the video]]

SegaMon: I do concede that I wrongly assumed that you made the video based upon your answers (I should have double checked).

Regardless of my mistake, my response was in regards to the video itself. My question has much merit in relation to the statements made in the video. Do you like this video? Do you agree with this video? If so then you should still answer my question.

Mistaking you for the video's creator is not as bad as not answering a simple question.

Besides does it really matter if I'm smart of not? If someone asks a very simple question, even if it's asked by a complete moron, then someone with half a brain should be able to answer it. So why do you not answer it?

Pro-Choice Atheist: I answered over and over and over and over. The question does not relate to me. How can I answer a question about god's actions if I think the whole bible is myth and metaphor ie that there is no such being? Answer your own question, i guess that's what you want to do any way?? Tell us what the point is you are trying to make.

SegaMon: You didn't answer the question: "Does the previous statement make murder moral?"

This is not a question about God. This is not a question regarding religion. This is a response to the video's statements. You didn't answer this question!

The reason why I wanted you to answer the question was to help guide you through my reasoning then hopefully you could see where I was coming from.

My point was if abortion is moral because God does it then murder must be moral because God murders too.

Pro-Choice Atheist: What if god doesn't exist? Like I've been saying over and over and over and over. Then, isn't your point meaningless? THAT'S what I've been trying to tell you.

SegaMon: My question was directly countering what was in the video (which was made by an atheist). My question was NOT about God. It was NOT about religion. How many times do I have to tell you that? I'll make my question easier for you to understand by using non-God speak:

"Clearly [mother nature] has caused more murders to happen than we have.

"Thus, does the previous statement make murder moral?"

Please answer the question. (I wonder how long this game of ping-pong will last, lol)

You said that "the question does not relate to me." Then why did you respond to my post to begin with? There must have been something that interested you in what I said. I can't stand it when people stifle conversations by not answering simple questions and ignoring the topic's core. That was what you did. If this conversation is not important to you, then maybe you shouldn't be talking to me.

Why would pro-choice atheists choose to not answer simple and direct questions? An answer that comes to mind would be that they are uncomfortable with either the facts that they know or uncomfortable with the facts that they may learn in the process of conversation. Although I am a staunch right-wing conservative eastern Catholic Christian it is amazing to find out that I am the one siding with scientific facts.

Knowing that every human being's life begins at conception is the crux of the scientific debate. The most important hypothetical question that must be asked of these pro-choice atheists is the following: if we do not side with protecting what science defines as a human being, then at what point of development do we start defending human life? Answers to this question have much variety ranging from "when brain waves that can be detected" to the extreme "when the umbilical cord is cut after birth." Then the response to whatever their answer is should become blatantly obvious; the answer is do we base decisions on the objective facts of science or on one of the numerous subjective opinions of imperfect minds? It would be a natural choice to side with undeniable scientific facts than with the imperfect opinions that our minds have determined for ourselves.

Thus, the argument is won in favor of life. Of course, the prideful pro-choice atheist will kick and scream in objection, but there is no denying their defeat. This is all done without the acknowledgement of God's existence. To deal the deafening blow to the pro-choice atheist's argument at this time is to state that it is common human decency to protect our own species from purposeful death (murder). If the person believes that there is no such thing as common human decency, then ask him if he is willing to kill a born person to prove his thesis. If this person is not willing kill then he does have common decency and is just being stubborn. However, if the person is willing to kill a born person then there is no use in talking to an insane lunatic who may one day become a murderer (I have actually met people that have said this).

Pro-lifers of all faiths, use the following information to define the beginning of human life at conception:

**Credit goes to for the following list of sources**

"Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm (spermatozoo developmentn) unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual. A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo)."
Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003. pp. 16, 2.

"Human embryos begin development following the fusion of definitive male and female gametes during fertilization... This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development."
William J. Larsen, Essentials of Human Embryology. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1998. pp. 1, 14.

"Every baby begins life within the tiny globe of the mother's egg... It is beautifully translucent and fragile and it encompasses the vital links in which life is carried from one generation to the next. Within this tiny sphere great events take place. When one of the father's sperm cells, like the ones gathered here around the egg, succeeds in penetrating the egg and becomes united with it, a new life can begin."
Geraldine Lux Flanagan, Beginning Life. New York: DK, 1996. p. 13.

"Biologically speaking, human development begins at fertilization."
The Biology of Prenatal Develpment, National Geographic, 2006. {A video documentary]

"The two cells gradually and gracefully become one. This is the moment of conception, when an individual's unique set of DNA is created, a human signature that never existed before and will never be repeated."
In the Womb, National Geographic, 2005. [A video documentary]

"Development begins with fertilization, the process by which the male gamete, the sperm, and the femal gamete, the oocyte, unite to give rise to a zygote."
T.W. Sadler, Langman's Medical Embryology, 10th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006. p. 11.

**Credit goes to Bobby Bambino of the Jill Stanek blog for the following list of sources**

"Almost all higher animals start their lives from a single cell, the fertilized ovum (zygote). ... The time of fertilization represents the starting point in the life history, or ontogeny, of the individual."
Carlson, Bruce M., Patten's Foundations of Embryology, 6th edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996, p.3.

"The development of a human being begins with fertilization, a process by which two highly specialized cells, the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female, unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote."
Langman, Jan. Medical Embryology. 3rd edition. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1975, p. 3

"Zygote. This cell, formed by the union of an ovum and a sperm (Gr. zygtos, yoked together), represents the beginning of a human being."
Moore, Keith L. and Persaud, T.V.N. Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology and Birth Defects. 4th edition. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1993, p. 1

"Although human life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed. ... The combination of 23 chromosomes present in each pronucleus results in 46 chromosomes in the zygote. Thus the diploid number is restored and the embryonic genome is formed. The embryo now exists as a genetic unity."
O'Rahilly, Ronan and Müller, Fabiola. Human Embryology and Teratology, 2nd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996, pp. 8, 29.

"...the term conception refers to the union of the male and female pronuclear elements of procreation from which a new living being develops. It is synonymous with the terms fecundation, impregnation and fertilization ... The zygote thus formed represents the beginning of a new life."
J.P. Greenhill and E.A. Freidman. Biological Principles and Modern Practice of Obstetrics. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Publishers, pages 17 and 23.

"Fertilization is a sequence of events that begins with the contact of a sperm (spermatozoon) with a secondary oocyte (ovum) and ends with the fusion of their pronuclei (the haploid nuclei of the sperm and ovum) and the mingling of their chromosomes to form a new cell. This fertilized ovum, known as a zygote, is a large diploid cell that is the beginning, or primordium, of a human being."
Moore, Keith L. Essentials of Human Embryology. Toronto: B.C. Decker Inc, 1988, p.2.

"Embryo: An organism in the earliest stage of development; in a man, from the time of conception to the end of the second month in the uterus."
Dox, Ida G. et al. The Harper Collins Illustrated Medical Dictionary. New York: Harper Perennial, 1993, p. 146.

"...every time a sperm cell and ovum unite, a new being is created which is alive and will continue to live unless its death is brought about by some specific condition."
E.L. Potter, M.D., and J.M. Craig, M.D. Pathology of the Fetus and the Infant (3rd Edition). Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, 1975, page vii.

"Embryo: The developing individual between the union of the germ cells and the completion of the organs which characterize its body when it becomes a separate organism.... At the moment the sperm cell of the human male meets the ovum of the female and the union results in a fertilized ovum (zygote), a new life has begun.... The term embryo covers the several stages of early development from conception to the ninth or tenth week of life."
Considine, Douglas (ed.). Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia. 5th edition. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1976, p. 943

“The chromosomes of the oocyte and sperm are…respectively enclosed within female and male pronuclei. These pronuclei fuse with each other to produce the single, diploid, 2N nucleus of the fertilized zygote. This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development.”
- Human Embryology. 2nd edition. 1997, p. 17

“In this text, we begin our description of the developing human with the formation and differentiation of the male and female sex cells or gametes, which will unite at fertilization to initiate the embryonic development of a new individual. … Fertilization takes place in the oviduct … resulting in the formation of a zygote containing a single diploid nucleus. Embryonic development is considered to begin at this point… This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development.”
Essentials of Human Embryology 1998 1-17.

“[The Zygote] results from the union of an oocyte and a sperm. A zygote is the beginning of a new human being. Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm … unites with a female gamete or oocyte … to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”
The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 6th ed. 1998, pg. 2-18.

“Fertilization is an important landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed… Fertilization is the procession of events that begins when a spermatozoon makes contact with a secondary oocyte or its investments… The zygote … is a unicellular embryo…”
Human Embryology & Teratology 1996 pg. 5-55.

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