Dialogue

Ep 36 – Being Comfortable with Controversy

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Hello friends!

I’ve got something a little different for you today, I hope you like it. Many people are uncomfortable with controversial conversations, and I hope to change that. I want people to be comfortable with controversy so that we can have productive conversations on issues like (but not limited to) abortion.

The three articles I read in this episode:

Links to things on the backfire effect:

Announcement! I am working on my first book, tentatively titled “Comfortable With Controversy – How to Talk to Your Friends and Family about Politics and Religion”. If you want to be a part of the group of people who get a free copy of the book before it is released, send me an email at FetalPositionPodcast@gmail.com.

If you enjoyed this or thought it was absolutely terrible, let me know in the comments below, on the facebook page, private facebook group, twitter, or by email (FetalPositionPodcast@gmail.com). Thanks so much for reading/listening!

Ep 35 – Top 10 Worst Pro-Choice Arguments

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Welcome to the Fetal Position podcast, where we defend life and liberty! In episode 35, Nicole and I beat up the top 10 worst pro-choice arguments in existence. There certainly more terrible arguments for abortion, but we only addressed 10.
If you have any more you want to add to the list, join the private Facebook group and let us know! For show notes, go to TheFetalPosition.com/35. Please rate/review/share the show to help create a culture of life 🙂

10. The unborn isn’t human
I’ve addressed this in my previous episodes (episode 11, episode 21)

9. The freakanomics argument (like in this video)
Ultimately, economic arguments don’t address the primary issue of whether or not it is ok to have abortions to begin with. This economic argument could easily be used to justify killing toddlers.

8. Calling people “anti-choice”
Anti means against, pro means for. So it’s not even really an argument to just call someone anti-choice. We’re against abortion. We all know that.
We’re against the choice to kill innocent, defenseless, unborn human children. We’re not going to apologize for that.

7. All pro-lifers are “anti-woman” and just want women to be punished for their reproductive freedom!
It wasn’t the pro-lifers who said that women will be punished with children. It was Obama. And we’re not against women having sex at all. We’re against women killing their offspring. Plus, a significant portion of pro-lifers are women (along with many feminists), and it’s gonna be hard to say that feminsts are anti-women. Lol.

6. “Life began a billion years ago, and it’s a continuous process”
While this may be true, there is a point in time at which a new human organism comes into existence. Stop dodging the issue!

5. If abortion is murder, then masturbation is genocide and menstruating women are serial killers.
This just flat out misunderstands that the unborn is a human organism, whereas gametes are just cells. Haploid cells. Stubborn scientific illiteracy can be hard to combat.

4. “You’re not pro-life, you’re pro-birth”
Most of the time, this is not an argument against abortion. It’s just a complaint that you don’t agree with them on various political issues like government social safety nets or whatever.

3. If fetuses have the right to life which means they can use the woman’s body without her consent, I have the right to life so I can take your organs without your consent.
I go into much more detail about this in episode 7, but this is just a basic misunderstanding of the concept of rights. If we kill an unborn human being, we are violating their right to life (as well as other rights, like bodily autonomy).
If you refuse to donate blood or organs, you’re not violating anyone else’s rights. You’re just saying no. That decision may result in harm or death, but it isn’t a violation of someone’s rights to decline the procedure because you don’t have a right to my organs. However, taking an organ from you without your consent is a clear violation of your rights.
During this part of the episode, it skipped a beat a little bit. I don’t know why it did that. The file on my computer doesn’t have that error. Oh well.

2. Human tumors have human DNA and are growing, therefore human tumors are persons with a right to life! (“just a clump of cells” argument)
Misunderstanding of what an organism is. The tumor is alive, yes. And the tumor is human, yes. But it is human in the adjective sense, not in the noun sense. An organism is a human in the noun sense.
An organism is a collection of biological parts that function together to sustain the existence of the whole being that possesses the qualities of life. A tumor is not an organism.
Bad Argument.

1. (This one comes from this stupid article) If the fetus is a person, why don’t we…
– Issue conception certificates?
– Send them to a pediatrician instead of an OBGYN?
– Claim them on our taxes?
– Start counting age from conception forward?
– Tell everyone right away? Instead we keep it a secret for 3 months!
– Give the fetus its own food?
– Have the fetus live outside the womb?
– Consider the pregnant woman to be two people? A pregnant woman should be allowed to drive in the carpool lane!
– Have funerals for miscarriages
– Have a census that counts fetuses?
– Finalize adoptions until after the baby is born

There are many more that could have been included here but these were the ones that we thought deserved to be at the top of the list

If you enjoyed this or thought it was absolutely terrible, let me know in the comments below, on the facebook page, private facebook group, twitter, or by email (FetalPositionPodcast@gmail.com). Thanks so much for reading/listening!

Ep 34 – Top 10 Worst Pro-Life Arguments

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Hello friends! thanks for joining me and Nicole for this episode of the Fetal Position podcast! In episode 34, we discuss the top 10 absolute worst pro-life arguments/tactics. The relevant links are at the bottom, and for more details about each point… I guess you’re gonna have to listen to the show! 😉

10: “Women regret their abortion”

9: :Women can die (or be hurt) from a legal abortion”

8: “Abortion is wrong because it hurts the economy”

7: “Because the bible/God says (this depends on who your audience is)”

6: “You’re pro-choice on abortion but not schools, health care, gun ownership taxes, etc”

5: “I’m more pro-life than you because I am in favor of universal health care, etc”

4: Condemning women who have had abortions.
– Saying things like “that woman deserved to die during the abortion” or “i’m glad she killed herself after the abortion”

3: “What if your mother had aborted you?” or “You should have been aborted!”

2: “Progress towards protecting life from abortion is ‘compromising’”

1: “You might have just aborted the next Beethoven/Einstein/Washington

Here’s the link to DANK PRO-LIFE MEMES, and if you enjoyed this or thought it was absolutely terrible, let me know in the comments below, on the facebook page, private facebook group, twitter, or by email (FetalPositionPodcast@gmail.com). Thanks so much for reading/listening!

 

 

Ep 30 – What Makes a Person a Person? with Josh Brahm

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Hello friends and Fetal Position listeners! Today, I have one of my pro-life mentors and president of the Equal Rights Institute, Josh Brahm, on the show with me to talk about personhood. We go pretty deep, philosophically, but it’s nothing that you can’t handle.
It might just mean you have to listen twice 😉

Click the media player at the top of the page, or click here to listen to it in a new window.

One of the reasons I wanted to have Josh on the podcast is because of his interesting approach to answering the difficult question of personhood. Is the unborn a person? And if so, how in the world can we communicate that to other people? We dive deep into it during the show and you should definitely listen to it, but the thrust of his approach is pretty straight-forward. Here’s my summary of his position on this.

The Equal Rights Argument

  1. Don’t we all deserve the right to life?
  2. Doesn’t that mean there is something the same about us? That we all have equally?
  3. What is that property that grounds us all having an equal right to life?

When we look out into the world, we see people with varying IQs, sizes, abilities, races, etc. But there is one thing that we all know about any group of people. And that is that they all have the right to life. Given how different they all are, what exactly is it that grounds that right to life? This can’t be a degreed property because that wouldn’t ground the equal right to life that we all have and recognize. This is trying to extract a principle based on the clear cases of personhood, and once we figure out that principle, we can use that to figure out personhood generally.

Josh (and the others who have worked on this argument) say that it is something like humanness. Something like being a human.

He says something like humanness deliberately, because he doesn’t want to say that you have to be a human in order to have the right to life or to be a person. After all… Kryptonians, Vulcans, and Heptapods are not biological humans, but they certainly seem to have the right to life.

At this point, the pro-choice advocate may try to attach personhood to something other than something like humanness. Perhaps they say sentience or awareness or something  like that. At this point, the pro-choicer is begging the question, and to illustrate this, Josh uses an analogy.

The Zoo Shooting Analogy

There’s a shooting at a zoo, and the shooter fires 6 bullets and kills 6 entities:

  • A cockroach
  • A squirrel
  • An elephant
  • A newborn
  • A toddler
  • An adult woman

Imagine a circle where everything within the circle has an equal right to life. The pro-choicer’s personhood criteria will either have too many things within the circle (like squirrels and cockroaches) or have not enough within the circle (like human newborns).

So what grounds equality? Perhaps it is sentience.
If sentience is the criteria, and sentience is defined as the ability to perceive the world and experience things, this would entail that cockroaches are within the circle. And this would mean that cockroaches and adult humans have an equal right to life.

So they might move to something like self-awareness.
But if self-awareness is the criteria, then the elephant would have an equal right to life as the toddler and the adult woman, but the newborn does not! Elephants pick stickers off of their heads while examining themselves in a mirror and newborns don’t have self-awareness until at least 3 months. And that’s clearly a problem. If they bite this bullet, they’re just guarding turf. Very rarely does someone actually believe it is morally neutral to kill a newborn.

At this point, they might go to something like human + sentience.
They might feel as though this might solve the problem. All humans are persons, but they know they want to exclude the unborn. This is incredibly ad hoc. They know where they want to end up, and they’re combining features in order to get there. They’re essentially just saying “my personhood definition can be boiled down to ‘all humans except unborn humans’

So, as demonstrated by this thought experiment, the pro-choice advocate’s criteria for personhood either allows too many or too few entities into the ‘right to life circle’, or it is simply ad hoc and they’d need to give a positive reason to believe it. They can’t just assert it.

But let’s jump back to what exactly it is that makes a person a person. Remember, we’re working off of the idea that the thing that grounds personhood is something like humanness, but it is not biological humanness because Spock and Superman are totally persons too.
… if they exist, of course.

So what is it? What is a better way to understand something like humanness? It is something that all humans have that isn’t just biological humanity.

It is having the intrinsic ability to think and act morally.

An immediate ability is an ability you can do right now. An intrinsic ability is an ability that you have in virtue of the kind of thing you are. This isn’t a potential ability, it is an ability that you have because of the kind of thing you are. If you pick an immediate ability, you’re going to get wrong answers. The key here is to ask about the intrinsic ability to do what? At the moment, thinking and acting morally makes the most sense at the moment. And members of the human family are entities that are naturally ordered to thinking and acting morally.

It’s also possible that personhood is grounded in the fact they are a member of a rational kind. It seems to me that if we assume a dualistic paradigm (in philosophy of mind), both criteria work. Dualism would be ok with both the intrinsic ability to think and act morally, as well as the member of a rational kind. However, physicalism wouldn’t likely give much credence to the intrinsic ability criteria (if that is grounded in a soul or a spirit of some kind), but would give credence to the member of a rational kind criteria.
[I really enjoyed this aspect of the conversation]

Resources mentioned:

 

Ep 26 – Should Pro-Choicers Be Willing to Perform Abortions? & “Thinking It Through”

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Hello friends! Thanks for listening to the Fetal Position podcast!
To listen to it in a new window or download it, please click here!

In this episode, I discuss a potentially new argument against abortion that says “If you support abortion, why does seeing it make you so angry?” where I conclude that it isn’t an argument we ought to use. I think it has potential, but it needs to be fleshed out more.

I also toss in some clips from a podcast I was on in December called “Thinking It Through” with Jerome Danner. I had an awesome time discussing this pro-choice article with him. To listen to that episode, click here! It’s not the most amazing article, but it does argue in a way that many pro-choicers argue for their position.

Thanks again for listening!
Let me know what you think by contacting me on the facebook page, private facebook group, twitter, email: FetalPositionPodcast@gmail.com, or you can comment on this post.

Talk to you on Sunday, March 11th, when I go live for the first time at 2:30EST.