Tuesday, August 19, 2008

One more time...

I promise to make this the last post in my Obama trilogy. No crappy prequels or cartoon spin-offs will follow.

From Keith Pavlischek of First Things:
Dr. Hymie Gordon (Mayo Clinic): By all criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.

Dr. Micheline Matthews-Roth (Harvard University Medical School): “It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception.”

Dr. Alfred Bongioanni (University of Pennsylvania): “I have learned from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time of conception.”

Dr. Jerome LeJeune, “the Father of Modern Genetics” (University of Descartes, Paris): “To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion . . . it is plain experimental evidence.”

Rick Warren: At what point does a baby get human rights in your view?
Sen. Barack Obama: Well, I think that whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.

That's it. Promise.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

And more on Obama....

Rick Warren shows us the real Barack Obama...

Rick Warren, the famous, best-selling, megachurch pastor, recently hosted a forum featuring both presidential candidates. As I'm sure you heard. Warren commands by most accounts a large part of the evangelical vote, so just how well McCain and Obama handled themselves last night will no doubt be represented this November.

Warren asked each candidate at what point they believed a baby recieved human rights. McCain answered that he believed those rights were imparted at conception, and mentioned his 25 year pro-life record. Obama naturally didn't choose to highlight his extreme pro-choice record, and decided to answer the question like this:
human rights… whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity … is above my pay grade.
And there you have it. Take it as it folks. Senator Obama is running for the highest office in the United States, and yet he feels that such a question is beyond his pay grade, even though he is already an employed legislator.

::postscript:: If we consider that Obama feels that such a distinction cannot be made by the judiciary or legislative bodies, then we must conclude that he feels that the question can be answered theologically by the Christianity which he professes allegiance to, and scientifically by the scientific world. Hence, since Christianity is clearly opposed to the abortion (I call upon the Didache and the philosophical and theological arguments advanced by the Catholic Church here), and 'science' has proved without question, for over 40 years, that separate, human life occurs at conception, we must admit that Obama is both a shitty Christian and unwilling to heed empirical evidence when it disagrees with him. And that my friends is one crummy candidate for president.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Post hoc ergo propter hoc

LifeSite drops the ball in a serious way.

The problems with this article are legion. First, check out the ledes: "The film could easily be seen to portray good as a weakness used and repeatedly exploited by evil" and "The movie was visually and viscerally stunning but deeply disturbing, even diabolic." That's just two of the first few sentences. Author (and site editor) John-Henry Westen doesn't waste our time in getting his message across. The Dark Knight is the devil and will make stupid people do evil things. That itself is an interesting take considering the film's plot. If you remember, the Joker gets stupid, evil people to do evil things, but cannot get good (and maybe stupid) people to do evil things. In fact, that's pretty much the summation of the plot right there. Just how Westen missed this, and then wrote an article on the movie is beyond my simple brain.

But hey, just a few paragraphs later, Westen dives even deeper: "As sick and scary as that scenario [the Joker's description of his scars] is, it is nevertheless one with which a great many of today's youth - deeply scarred internally - will easily identify as they too have been subjected to domestic violence." Ah, yes - all those kids whose parents abused them will find their perverted moral reference point in the Joker. Because before the Joker, they found themselves sympathizing with Hitler, Pol Pot and other famous criminals who had similarly difficult childhoods.

Not to be outdone by himself, near the end of the article, Westen drops this bombshell: "Seeing the film only a few days after the very disturbing and unexplainable beheading of a passenger on a Canadian bus, I could not help wonder if the perpetrator had seen the Batman film. " Oh. My. The murder of an innocent man by a psychologically disturbed man is being linked to the Joker? That's a pretty big non sequitur - and a gigantic post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy if I've ever seen one.

Unfortunately for LifeSite, men like Westen are what make the social conservative movement so unattractive to many people. The Dark Knight is one of the first movies in a long while to deliver a message of redemption and sacrifice that actually resonates with the public. And rather than using it as an opportunity to discuss these basic-yet-vital concepts with a larger audience, Westen prefers to circle the wagons.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Will Saletan (for such a smart guy, he's really quite stupid)

Will Saletan - columnist for Slate - is really smart. And very stupid.

How do I know?

Well, I read his letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services concerning a possible regulation that would protect a health care worker's right of conscience. In this potential regulation, a worker would not be compelled to provide artificial birth control, or any 'abortafacient', if doing so compromised their personal beliefs. For Saletan, the overall message of the draft is that artificial birth control is wrong, and it's use should be generally discouraged.

Saletan is naturally quite upset, and thinks that he has spotted the Achilles' Heel of pro-life opposition to artificial birth control. In his view, pro-life folks are opposed to birth control because it 'prevents' implantation and thus causes a de facto abortion. Aha! says Saletan, so too does breast feeding. And therefore, in fairness, that also should be discouraged by pro-lifers.

As someone with a very shallow understanding of pro-life philosophy, Saletan's jeering is understandable. But it's also very stupid. Pro-life folks have never, ever, claimed that family planning or preventing pregnancy is wrong. What they have said is that the foreign introduction of a chemical which prevents implantation is akin to abortion. In fact, artificial birth control taken in heavy doses does cause an abortion itself. Saletan himself admits that birth control causes what amounts to an abortion, but dismisses that very fact because the abortive effect is difficult to observe. In it's place, Saletan sarcastically argues that breastfeeding, due to it's preventative effects on implantation, should be discouraged as well.

I suppose at a basic level Saletan does have a point, since breastfeeding can prevent implantation. But here's the rub: It is a natural act, necessarily produced by the mother to nurture the infant at it's most delicate state. It's primary function is not to prevent pregnancy, although it also can have that effect. Artificial birth control however is inherently designed to prevent a pregnancy - and even end it if implantation does occur.

Artificial birth control, by it's own nature, part and parcel of the process of aborting an infant. After reading the letter, I got the feeling that Saletan knows this, but is so steeped in leftish doublethink that he cannot bring himself to admit it. Hopefully he will someday, because not only is his letter not intelligent, it's also painfully not funny.