Manata's blog entry is entitled The Illogic of "Pro-Choice".
If you have lots of time to kill, go ahead and give it a read. It’s very long. I printed it out in notepad with all formatting removed (plain text) and it was still thirteen pages. That's a lot of writing for replying to a small handful of comments I made, but I guess it just shows that this topic is very important to Manata. Nothing wrong with that of course, but quite honestly I must admit that I am not as passionate about abortion as Manata is. Therefore, I'm going to try to keep this blog entry short, and I imagine that Manata will not like that I won't respond to everything he wrote, but I don't want to give my readers an eight thousand word response.
Manata first talks about an abortion rally he went to where he out-debated some British college girls, and then he turns to me and my argument:
Some may be upset that I've picked on a British feminist (though she told me that she was on the speech and debate team at her college) and a drunk man. Well, enter Aaron Kinney. Though some may say that he's a worse example to use for the pro-murder cause because he's an Objectivist (even though he doesn't like to be called that), I don't buy it! And, at least Aaron fancies himself an intellectual, as well as do the kids at gods4suckers. So, let's look at some of these claims Aaron makes in the comments section (linked above).
I'm not an objectivist, no. I used to be, but now I like to consider myself and individualist. But as far as Manata and this argument are concerned, it’s irrelevant. My worldview is still very similar to that of objectivism.
Originally Aaron entered the combox and asked, "I am curious, why are you against abortion?" I mentioned that I thought my post made it self-explanatory. I also said that his defense would hinge on how he defined a "human." Simply put, if Aaron is against the murder of humans, and if the unborn is a human, then Aaron is against the murder of the unborn human.
The pigeonholing begins immediately. Manata insists that my pro-choice argument must hinge on the definition of "human"! This is because it’s the only way Manata can mount his attack, but he doesn't want his readers to know that. In Manata's world of Christian master-slave God worship, consent and self-ownership are foreign concepts. All Manata can understand is 1) coercion, and 2) how to apply it according to his definitions. My argument rests not on whether the fetus is a human, but who's in control of the womb, and Manata doesn't want to fight that battle. Instead, he tries to pigeonhole me into the "definition of what is human" argument.
Manata then gives his argument:
My argument is: If Aaron is against the murder of humans, and if the unborn is a human, then Aaron is against the murder of the unborn human. Aaron is against the murder of humans. Therefore Aaron is against the murder of the unborn human. Murder shall be defined as the unlawful taking of life. Let's now see if Aaron is against the murder of humans.
Paul correctly states that I am against the murder of humans, and that includes unborn humans. Paul then says "murder shall be defined as the unlawful taking of life." Already, Paul defeated himself. Why? Because aborting a fetus (or unborn human) is not "unlawful" in America, and therefore, it is not murder. Paul even quotes the penal code later in his post, and admits that it is not illegal to have an abortion by a licensed physician, but then he still claims that its "murder"! Paul wants to have his cake and eat it too. He says that murder is unlawful, but when abortion is found not to always be against the law (when the woman consents and its performed by a doctor), then Manata attacks the law itself with a quote from George Koukl. Which law system is abortion illegal to in Manata's world? Is Manata's definition of murder changing, or when he says "unlawful" does he only mean his own imaginary law, or is it something else?
Paul attempts to clarify further down the post:
In none of these reasons do we find that killing a fetus (homicide) is justified. Since it is not justified, then it is unjustified. If it is unjustified, then the taking of the life of the fetus is murder. Since it is a living human, then to take its life in an unjustified way is to commit murder. And so, Aaron, that's how abortion is murder.
The goalposts are shifting at his convenience. Now all of a sudden, according to Paul, murder can still be murder even if it isn't "unlawful". His argument about murder and unlawfulness fails to get off the ground.
Paul spouts off for a few more paragraphs, using his above argument (which I showed is not "unlawful" anyway) and my own words to show that I am against murder, which I am. Then Paul insists that the argument must revolve around the definition of what a human is. Again, he cannot understand any argument that hinges on self-ownership; he can only understand arguments that hinge on some unspecified laws that are handed down either from 1) the State, or 2) his imaginary God.
Paul then begins more hard-core pigeonholing:
As I have shown, this debate must, of logical necessity, center on the definition of a human. Again this is because of the logical implication of these propositions:
1. Aaron is against the murder of human persons.
2. If the unborn being is a human person, then Aaron is against murdering it.
Now, let's say that I add this premise:
3. The unborn being is a human person.
We would have to draw this conclusion.
4. Therefore, Aaron is against murdering it.
So far so good. But the paragraph that follows is rather half-baked:
Therefore, by Aaron's own hand, his position logically leads us to the conclusion that Aaron would be against abortion if the unborn being was a human. The only way out of this for Aaron is if the unborn being is not a human. The only way for Aaron to get out of the dilemma, in other words, is if he can define 'human' in such a way that excludes the unborn being from that class.
BZZZT! Wrong answer! Paul wants us to think that the only way out of this is to play with the definition of what a human is. But that is not the case. Paul said, "Aaron would be against abortion if the unborn being was a human," but this assumes that abortion is "murder," which I have shown that it is not, despite Paul’s attempts to shift definitions.
I had originally noted this in the combox, but Aaron responded that "[his] reasons for supporting abortion do not hinge on [his] definition of human life.” But, and here's the crucial "if," if the unborn being is a human than, according to Aaron, he is against its murder. Aaron must grant this.
I love it when someone I am disagreeing with provides me with an argument, and then I concede their point, and then point out that the condition they challenged me on can be conceded while keeping my defense intact, therefore proving their argument to be fallacious.
Just watch: Yes I am against the murder of an unborn human. I grant this, as Manata says I must. For example, shooting a pregnant woman in the womb is a no-no. But I am not against abortion, because abortion is not the "unlawful" killing of an unborn human as defined in Manata's argument.
Aaron fudges a bit. He comments after much prodding by some other commenters that he needs to "clear this up." He then tells us that his "argument is not CENTERED on the definition of a human." "However, the definition of what is a human does come in to play to some degree..." He fails to tell us to what extent this definition "come[s] in to play." What he must admit, given the above analysis, is that the definition is central.
Actually I did state to what degree the definition of a human comes in to play. I stated that it comes in to play when I keep getting asked what my definition of human is by all the Christians who cannot understand that my argument rests on self-ownership. I do not admit that the definition of what a human is, is central to the argument.
My main premise is: A woman has the right to control her own body at all times. Note that the definition of human does not come in to play in my main premise. The problem is that Christians don't acknowledge individualism or self-ownership, since everyone is supposed to submit to their grand sky-fairy authority that supposedly owns everyone in the first place.
Paul then gets a few jollies by nitpicking the shit out of my informal definition of human (from a comments section no less) as if it were supposed to be some scientific, uber-specific definition. Observe:
Aaron's Definition of Human:
One gets the idea that Aaron senses the force of all of this and so he throws out a definition of 'human.' Aaron tells us that the definition of a human is"
"[A] "human" is defined as an organism that can survive outside the womb."
Okay, let me slowly think through this, here is a small list of "organism[s] that can survive outside the womb:"
A plant is an organism that can survive outside the womb.
A tetra hydra is an organism that can survive outside the womb.
An amoeba is an organism that can survive outside the womb.
An ant is an organism that can survive outside the womb.
So this must be why Aaron does not have a problem with abortion. He doesn't have a problem killing bugs and eating vegetables! No, this can't be what he meant. He must have meant that:
"A human is an organism that can survive outside of its own mother's womb."
There, is that better? Hardly. Here's another small list:
A rat is an organism that can survive outside of its own mother's womb.
A three-toed sloth is an organism that can survive outside of its own mother's womb.
A platypus is an organism that can survive outside of its own mother's womb.
A dog is an organism that can survive outside of its own mother's womb.
On Aaron's definition a 'human' can be almost anything except, say, a table!
Paul is so childish with this that its almost sad. Is he writing this just to be funny, or is it a desperate attempt to strike out at any level of ambiguity I may have allowed in my definition of what a human is in the hopes of making me look worse in his own eyes? I'm not sure.
But let's take a close look at what I said was a human: "...is defined as an organism that can survive outside the womb." A few things are assumed in my definition, and it was in no way meant to be taken to the extreme literal degree that Manata took it. I'm not writing a biology book here. Any John Doe reader of the comments section would have understood that I was talking about homo sapien fetuses that are newly conceived and developing inside the wombs of homo sapien women. To call up plants, ants, and rats is frankly quite immature and only serves as a waste of reading time.
Paul then confuses what an abortion actually is:
Now, let's take abortion by saline solution. This method chemically burns the live baby. Upon analysis, then, Aaron has just admitted that it is okay to chemically burn a human being (the baby in the picture could survive outside the womb) because someone else wants to. This human, then, was put to death. What justification is there for this?
This chemical burn scenario isn't an abortion according to my definition of the word "abortion". My definition of "abortion" coincides with the Dictionary.com definition, which is: "Termination of pregnancy and expulsion of an embryo or of a fetus that is incapable of survival." Because Paul said that the baby in the picture could survive outside the womb, then it wasn't an abortion.
Now Paul's argument fails on all levels, and I have shown that my argument does not center on the definition of what a human is. Observe my argument:
A woman has the right to control her body at all times. She has the right to terminate her pregnancy whenever she wishes, because her womb is her own, and nobody else's. A human is a fetus that is developed enough to survive if it were to leave the womb. An abortion is the artificial termination of a pregnancy of a fetus or embryo that cannot survive outside the womb.
So, abortions only happen to non-humans. Otherwise it's just prematurely induced labor. An 8 month old baby can be prematurely removed from the womb and survive on it's own. The chemical scenario Paul provided wasn't even an abortion at all! It was induced labor coupled with a chemical death. Two separate actions. I imagine that Paul would equate government-enforced Chinese infanticide with "abortion" just to demonize abortion itself, despite the fact that they commonly wait until natural birth occurs and then murder the baby in a separate act.
I want to touch on something I find amusing. Paul says:
Furthermore, Aaron seems to be guilty of sizism. That is, because the fetus is small (a lump of cells) then it is less than a real person. But, it is exactly the right size it should be. It is the size we all were at this stage in our development, just like a toddler is the size he is and Aaron is the size he is (I'm speaking vertically, not mentally). Moreover, as Steve Wagner as appropriately labeled this, to discriminate based on level of development could be called, developmentalism. Should we also kill mentally retarded people because of their level of development?
Lets agree with Paul and take it to the extreme. I'm talking about Sperm and Eggs. Masturbating into a sink, or having one's girlfriend swallow, should equate with murder in Paul's "development" argument. What about periods? Every 28 days, does a woman kill her baby if she menstruates due to a failure to get pregnant? This development argument of Paul's is ridiculous. Unless, of course, Paul is against "ejaculation without insemination" or "menstruation before insemination." At least then he would be consistent.
Obviously, the definition of what is human is central to Paul's argument, while my argument uses it as an accessory or just another step in the chain of logic. When does Paul define a living organism/cell or whatever as "human"? I imagine that Paul defines "human" at the start of when an egg first gets fertilized. Isn't that also a case of "developmentalism"? Why should Paul exclude the sperm and egg that are not yet joined from the definition of "human"? Does Paul consider a single blood cell to be human, and to destroy it is murder? I should hope so, otherwise Paul is also guilty of "sizism."
Paul then compares me to Hitler:
Thus there is nothing that distinguishes Aaron from a human fetus other than physical appearance, location, and level of development. Since all Aaron is is a "clump of cells" then on Aaron's own terms, he's not a human. Aaron allows for his own death, again! Not only that, but his illogic is the illogic of Hitler, and every other genocidal maniac.
A slippery slope applies here that Paul will slip down on, because of the fact that his argument is based on what a human is. I contend that sperm and eggs (from the genitalia of homo sapiens) are also human, because the only thing that distinguishes them from Paul is physical appearance, location, and level of development, just like he said in regards to the difference between a fetus and me.
As a funny aside, if I'm Hitler, then what is Paul's God? Hitler times infinity? I contend that if God exists, then He is responsible for more terminated pregnancies and deaths over the ages than any one man ever was. But of course, the same rules that apply to us don't apply to Paul's sky-dictator. For Paul's sky-dictator is above the rules. Sorry, but nobody is above the rules in my worldview. I make no exceptions for any self-proclaimed authority figure. But Paul does. I wonder why Paul doesn't condemn his God on the same grounds that he is condemning me on? Never mind, I already know: Because Paul subscribes to an immoral master-slave, theist-dictator, might = right worldview.
Paul eventually lays out my basic argument, and concedes (possibly unknowingly) that indeed my argument does not rest on the definition of human, but on the principle of self ownership:
His argument can be stated thusly:
1. If a woman owns her body then she can do whatever she wants with her body.
2. A woman owns her body.
3. Therefore a woman can do whatever she wants with her body.
4. If a woman cannot have an abortion, then she cannot do whatever she wants with her body.
5. But a woman can do whatever she wants with her body.
6. Therefore a woman can have an abortion.
Close enough. Paul then attempts to refute it:
Aaron's Argument For Women's Right to Abortion Refuted:
i. We should not that not only are his premises questionable, but some are also false. For example, even if a woman "owns her body" it is not true that "she can do whatever she wants with it." There are restrictions on what a woman (or, anyone!) can do with her body. For example, what if a woman "saw fit" to use a body part (her hand) to drive a knife through the heart of her husband while he sleeps?
Paul is mistaking entities. A woman can do whatever she wants with her own body, but a she cannot do whatever she wants with her husband's body. Again, the concepts of self-ownership, coercion, and consent all escape Paul's logic. This is expected, considering the immorality, self-ownership violation, and sanctioning of coercion that is found all throughout the Bible.
ii. This argument begs the question. If the fetus is a human person, with its own body (which should be obvious) then a woman is not doing what she wants with her body only, but she is also doing something to another body.
Here is where the definition of human comes in to play in my argument. Note though how it is not central to my argument. A human is a homo sapien at a stage of development where, if expelled from the womb, it can survive. And an abortion is the termination of a pregnancy of a fetus that cannot survive outside the womb. Why do I get the feeling that Paul will object (yet again) to my use of the dictionary?
iii. If x is identical to y then any property, P, that x has, y must be said to have. This is the law of identicals. Now, since a fetus can have a penis then does the woman have a penis? If not, then they are not identical bodies.
This one is hilarious. Let me answer Paul: A human being can have a vagina, a penis, or both, or portions of both, or neither. So my reply, actually, is that a human being doesn't have to lie within the "man" or "woman" labels to be human. Indeed, if Paul is correct that a human is a human at fertilization, when the fetus is one cell without any genitalia, then Paul's use of the word "woman" is inapplicable here. Besides, anyone who has seen the ads in a porno magazine knows that chicks can have dicks.
Paul goes on with more roman numerals, but I want to focus on one more specifically:
vi. Who says the woman has "complete ownership over her body?" As a Christian I deny this premise, and so it is up to Aaron to prove it, not beg the question against the theistic defense of the unborn.
Disgusting. The immorality of Paul's worldview is plain to see. So who owns a woman's body? Her husband? God? It doesn't matter, because any answer other than the woman herself is immoral and implies a master-slave relationship. This is so sick. And Paul has the nerve to say that it’s my burden to prove self-ownership. Absurd. I'm not getting into a burden of proof argument here because I don't want my reply to be 8,000 words, and I think all my readers know already why this attempt to put the burden of proof on my shoulders regarding self-ownership is ridiculous.
Paul then exposes his own arbitrary definitions of what is and is not human, and proves that he is guilty of the same things he accuses me of, namely sizism and developmentalism:
Aaron asks, "Would you define taking the morning after pill as murder?" I would call taking the morning after pill, after conception has occurred, murder, yes.
He asks, "Or what about pulling out just before ejaculation?" No.
Aaron "imagine[s] that [I] probably don’t define condoms or pulling out methods as murder, but [I] probably define the morning after pill as murder. If my assumption is true, then why is that?" Well, the simple answer is that a sperm cell isn't human.
Paul then lays out very plainly his disgusting master-slave worldview:
Aaron wants to know "If [I] could answer [a question] straightforward for me I would appreciate it. [I] said that you are sickened by these abortions... does that also include when God causes a woman to naturally miscarry (when God does the abortion)? Or does it only make you sick when humans do it?" Well, there's just a bit of a difference between God and man, Aaron. So, this is disanalagous. What God is free to do and what we are free to do is not the same. Your question is like asking, "what does yellow taste like?" It's a category mistake. All life is God's. He owns all life, and therefore can do with it as He pleases. Also, since all life is God's, and since He's all-just, then he always takes life lawfully, and therefore cannot be guilty of murder.
I feel gross just reading that. Might = Right talk, and Master-Slave talk always makes my skin crawl. Who's the Hitler now?
My pro-choice stance is consistent. Paul's arguments against choice are not. Paul's anti-choice arguments revolve around a master-slave relationship, while my pro-choice arguments revolve around self-ownership. Paul's anti-choice argument is immoral and inconsistent.
Look, it only took me about 4,000 words to reply! Although many words in that word count are words I quoted that Paul wrote. But damn this post is still way too long. Sorry about that everyone.