Saturday, September 08, 2012

Kreeft's "Apple Argument Against Abortion"

See Peter Kreefts' "Apple Argument Against Abortion." He dares anyone to defy his logic.

The point Peter Kreeft doesn't press is that most pro-choice advocates really aren't interested in reason or logic. They just want abortion to be legal (and now Democrats want to force everyone else to help pay for it)! Most of their arguments are merely smoke and mirrors.


Kevin said...

I am pro-life. This argument stinks.

Do "we" know what human beings are? This begs the question who is "we"? A "reasonable" person? Me? You? A scientist? A Democrat? A Republican? Some people have said that people with black skin weren't actually human. Others have said Jews, people with disabilities, or people who aren't born are not human. It doesn't seem we all agree what a "human" is.

I think the definition of person-hood does need to be defined clearly. I think that a person has a unique genetic code different from both of its parents (I'm probably not wording this exactly right... the idea is that sperm + egg = something new).

I suspect that most pro-choice people focus on the mother's benefits and so conclude that a human is only a human when it takes its first breath on its own. Before that it is something else. I'm sure there are variations and complexity here, but this seems somewhat arbitrary. The threshold of breathing is arbitrary... maybe a beating formed heart is better, or perhaps being able to walk or perhaps being able to contribute to society... I believe other societies have been comfortable murdering (sacrificing) children up until the age of 13 (maybe I'm wrong... the point is "breath" is just a comfortable choice for defining "human").

Further complexity arrives with those who are pro-life, but have difficulty having children. Current medical technology allows fertilized eggs to be frozen until their ready to be used... and I believe disposed of if the parents aren't ready to use them... I'm using my memory here, but I believe Mississippi tried to pass a law giving these embryos (maybe I've got the words wrong) the same rights as other humans and it was completely shot down... almost ridiculed. My point is, again, that MOST people cannot agree on what a human is. These embryos have unique DNA, just like you and I, but don't look like we do yet. Are they human? I'd say yes. But the mostly conservative folks in Mississippi didn't think so.

I think some of the politics around this is more about outcomes... the idea that there are these women who use sex for their own benefit without thinking about preventing a new life from being created and then if a life is created they destroy (murder?) it to preserve their own situation fits with a certain political bent... but the idea that two married loving parents who want a child and use science to create a bunch of embryos that they may or may not actually use and may eventually destroy (murder?) is more acceptable some people... showing that for a lot of (most?) people defining what a human is is very difficult.

Defining a person as a unique set of human-based DNA is probably pretty safe (again, the wording is probably wrong... hopefully the idea gets through), but this creates outcomes that a lot of people do not want... some people do not want their unborn children, some people do not want their unused embryos once they've had a child or two. Some people don't want to support the elderly, the sick, or the disabled... defining a person as anything other than unique set of human-based DNA opens the door to destroy any of these people (organisms? that doesn't even sound right does it?).

After all of this... my point is that the argument in the article stinks... I don't think most people know what a "human" is. I'd guess that if we weren't taught that a Granny Smith (green) apple is the "same" as a Red Delicious (red) apple we'd probably think they weren't the same.

The best course of action is to show the clarity and scientific-basis of defining a person as an entity with unique human-based DNA and to show that this definition best supports the outcomes most people want, and that alternative definitions however convenient for supporting particular outcomes actually undermine other outcomes most people want.

Phil said...

however, Kreeft addresses the "not knowing" part at the end of the article so that nullifies the argument of "not knowing what a human is" aspect as well. That was the addressing of the skeptic. What it comes down to is exactly what the doc said: Pro-choicers do not care about logic.

In fact, the most common arguemt I've seen to date (other than the comparison of apples to oranges of "you can't be pro-life and support the death penalty" and the one that is recently gaining momentum is you aren't pro-life if you support the child being born but don't support your tax dollars feeding the child [also a red herring and just plain unsound]) is that sex is a necessity; we cannot expect people to be abstinent thus we should not expect people to face the consequences of satsifying their needs.

Of course, that argument is based on false information and is entirely not sound either.

Dennis said...


Thanks for your well thought out review of Kreeft. Just a couple random comments:

A "reasonable person" is a pro-life Republican, of course :-)

I think people can reasonably disagree about what a "person" is, or when someone becomes a person, but to debate whether an unborn baby is human is to be willingly ignorant of scientific fact.

I once had a debate about this topic on this blog. A pro-choice advocate argued with me that we need to stop all the useless arguments about philosophy and theology of personhood and just go with science.

I responded that he was absolutely right. The whole idea of separating personhood from human-hood is pretty shaking ground if you ask me.

Much better to stick with science--and I think biologists would agree that a fetus, at least a fetus beyond about 12 weeks, is biologically human (if it isn't human, what is it? Plant? Mineral? Alien? a non-human animal?)

When we think we can define when a human is actually a person--and further think we then have the right to kill non-persons--we are on very scary ground, as you pointed out. It is the kind of ground that Hitler used to justify killing Jews or that some in America used to justify slavery.