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Archive for February, 2007

More on the alliance of pro-lifers and anti-contraceptionists

Posted by Chance on February 24, 2007

In my last post I touched a little bit on the alliance of pro-lifers and people who are opposed to the use of contraceptives, and Michael had a few helpful inputs as well that led to this post.

I have no beef with people who think contraceptives are morally wrong and/or that natural family planning is the best way to go. I think there are many people helpful to the pro-life movement that are also against contraceptives. However, I do worry about people who align their reasons for being against abortion with their reasons for being against birth control.

In my mind, there are two approaches to the pro-life issue. One of these I call the “conservative” argument, which may be a misnomer as many conservatives use what I call the “libertarian” argument, which I will touch on next. The “conservative” argument says that abortion should be outlawed simply because it is bad. Abortion should be outlawed for the same reason that many people think tattoos are outlawed, or any other thing that is morally wrong. And many people using this “conservative” argument truly believe abortion is equal to murder, but I don’t think they frame their argument effectively.

The other argument is what I call the “libertarian” argument, and it is one that I frequently like to use. They try to tackle the women’s rights, or the “my body, my choice” approach by addressing the “rights” arguments head on. Many libertarians state that a woman does in fact have the right to do what she wants with her body, but that she does not have the same right over another body, the fetus. But many conservatives can use this argument also, even if they don’t necessarily believe in libertarian politics. They can use the argument that libertarian policies don’t even apply, as another body is involved. Those employing this argument look at the abortion issue not as an issue of enforcing morality upon others, but a prevention of women enforcing their morality on the fetus. In fact, Neil Simpson’s blog and the Christian site Stand To Reason are not exactly libertarian sites, but they are sites that add fuel to the “libertarian” argument in that they address the rights of the fetus.

In my view, the “conservative” argument simply takes the loss when it comes to the argument of women’s rights. They may focus on abortion as a grave evil that should not be allowed, rights be damned. The “libertarian” argument recognizes the issue of rights, but simply believes that the fetus’s right to exist negates or overcomes the right of the woman to expel the fetus. The “conservative” argument simply states that abortion is wrong, but the “libertarian” argument focuses on why.

Back to the anti-contraceptive movement (I am not trying to use a negative term, if someone has a more positive term, like pro-NFP (natural family planning) I can use that term). I feel that the NFP argument represents the least effective aspects of the pro-life movement, such as outlawing abortion simply because we are not supposed to do it and/or because the Bible says so. The NFP movement has nothing to do with the life of the fetus, but has much to do with someone’s opinion of what is right and wrong and whether or not someone is “playing God” with science. In my view, the least effective side of the pro-life movement doesn’t deal very much with whether the fetus is human or not, simply that abortion is evil, and that someone should not “play God” with science. The NFP argument states that children are a blessing and that one should not use science to plan families, as many pro-lifers argue.

However, I think the “libertarian” arguments are more effective when it comes to pro-life persuasion. These arguments do not rely on the Bible to convince people that abortion is wrong, and they don’t throw in things such as how children are a blessing and how someone shouldn’t use science to plan a family. They don’t use notions of morality primarily owned by conservatives to make a point. What they rely on is scientific and philosophical reasons that are more common to everyone. They tackle the “rights” issue head on and address how the abortion issue is simply not one affecting the person choosing to have it, but one affecting another being of equal worth. In short, these arguments address the personhood of the fetus.

The most powerful arguments in favor of the pro-life movement focus on this personhood and that abortion ends a life. NFP doesn’t have those same arguments. When pro-life and pro-NFP arguments are coupled, in the view of pro-choicers it looks as though (not saying this is true) pro-lifers aren’t so focused on the life of the fetus but that they are simply moral busybodies telling others what to do.

I think if someone believe contraceptives are evil they should say so, and to my knowledge there is not a big drive by NFP people to outlaw contraceptives, like pro-lifers try to do with abortion. Nevertheless, the alliance of the arguments can undermine the effective of the pro-life one. The focus of the pro-life movement needs to be the personhood of the fetus and any additional arguments that keep this from being the forefront need to be kept separate.

Update: I’m not sure I liked the way I categorized the pro-life arguments. Probably a better way would be arguments focusing on the personhood of the fetus and arguments focusing on everything else. I tend to think of the former in a libertarian context because I first found the argument on Libertarians for Life.

Posted in Pro-Life | 4 Comments »

This post is not focused on abortion, I promise

Posted by Chance on February 21, 2007

I think I’ve said enough about that topic for a while, but I wanted to touch on bioethics in general. I’ve done a little bit of surfing on prolifeblogs.com and I’ve noticed that many of the contributors are anti-contraception, and that a significant number of pro-lifers are anti-contraception. Now, if they want to make it illegal, that is not clear, but many regard it as immoral.

I myself have no moral issues with artificial contraception, but I have entertained some of the arguments against it. One of the arguments is that one is “playing God” by using birth control. But that’s where things get confusing. Is using birth control worse than simply using natural family planning (planning times of intercourse throughout the month)? What about sex that doesn’t involve intercourse? Doesn’t that produce the same affect?

This “playing God” argument is indeed fascinating, and it is taking on more weight as science advances in the area of cloning, and especially as gender selection becomes more possible ( I did a Google News search and no articles seemed to stand out, although I thought I recalled seeing a commercial where they say this is now possible). We are gaining new ability to control human life.

Here is my theory. I don’t want to say I believe it is a law of nature, as one may be able to point out exceptions, but here goes. I believe that God will prevent or discourage us from doing things one of two ways, and this application is most notable in the area of biotechnology. 1) He will make it scientifically impossible, or 2) Tell us not to do it through His Word. In other words, God provides scientific laws and moral laws. We cannot travel through time because of scientific laws, and we should not, for instance, use science to torture or kill people because of God’s moral law.

With this theory, we can cut through a lot of confusion. At what point do we “play God”? Look to the Bible. (I am talking about the morality of science, not the legality ) If the philosophical argument against a certain area of technology has a foundation in the Bible, then it is legitimate. I believe the Word can provide clear boundaries of where we should and shouldn’t go in science. If one cannot find a scriptural admonition, then I believe we can go as far as God will physically allow us in the realm of science.

That is why I have the opinions on birth control and abortion that I do. I believe abortion is immoral because it ends a life. I am okay with birth control because it does not end a life, and I don’t think people have a moral obligation to take a chance at creating life every time they have sex. People have used the Bible to produce credible and reasonable arguments against birth control, but they are not sufficient in my view.

What about issues such as cloning and gender selection? The idea that we can create another being seems to undermine the role of our Supreme Creator. I think this is an instance where we will actually be limited by science. I believe God intended for life to only be produced by the union of man and woman (even if it is reduced to groups of cells as in the case of sperm-donors), and I am not sure it will be possible for humans to create another human being on their own. What about gender selection? It is something that personally bothers me, and my personal moral sense is opposed. However, I don’t see anything in the Bible giving us limitations. This is an instance of where the principle may take us on paths we may not like. I can’t oppose something simply because of my own personal feelings.

So, in short, when it comes to science, I believe God provides either scientific or moral boundaries on where we should go.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Just when you thought technology could not get more advanced…

Posted by Chance on February 20, 2007


I just got the five-blade Gillette Fusion for free in the mail. I thought the 3-blade razor was something. Then I was totally astounded when they came up with 4-blades. On one razor! Let me tell you, it is at least 5/3 as good as my Mach 3! If you use 4 blades or less for your shaving, you are obviously a dinosaur and belong in a museum.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

Why do we blog?

Posted by Chance on February 18, 2007

I topic I often talk about is economics, primarily, to what level the government should get involved. I also debate economic issues with other people on this blog or on others’ blogs.

Questions of economic philosophy are the hardest to debate. Not only are these issues extremely complex, but they quite often are tied to the core of who we are. Debating economic issues can be fruitless. I was talking to a guy on another blog who thought that people in communist Russia really were not that bad off and that Chavez isn’t doing such a bad job in Venezuala. Now, I am not making fun of this person, I am just pointing out that he is on the totally opposite extreme of where I am. Any debate is pointless.

And that got me thinking, what is the purpose of blogging in the first place? For many, it is an outlet, just an expression of personal thoughts. What about those who post on political topics (such as myself), or heated theological ones? Are we posting on these issues to persuade others? To provide understanding? To simply put down our ideas on paper?

I have written on many political topics, and many times I am not sure why. Am I trying to convince others of my point of view? Or is it just a way of putting down thoughts in my head?

I think this question is important because it can determine our satisfaction with the blogging experience. If I focus too much on persuasion, well, if I don’t persuade anyone, then it can lead to frustration. I can put an emotional investment on making others see my point of view, and when they don’t, it can lead me to be aggravated at the experience and/or them. Debating can simply becomes arguing.

However, I think I can still try to write persuasively, because, well, it comes with writing on controversial topics. But persuasion cannot be my ultimate goal. I have to be satisfied with simply providing understanding of my viewpoints. And I think that is where blogs and similar forums are effective. If we don’t agree, we can at least understand why others believe the way they do, whether it be politics, theology, or the NFL Draft. Understanding others’ viewpoints is vital because it can show that they can basically have a good heart or pure motives, they just see a different way to achieve a common goal, or they simply prioritize their goals differently. This is what I was trying to touch on in my post about if we all want the same things in politics.

Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

5 things I haven’t mentioned before, that are not necessarily true

Posted by Chance on February 16, 2007

The previous post lists 5 things about me that are true.

1. My skullet is now shoulder length.

2. I survived the mean streets of Oklahoma through my mad rapping skills and my ability to solve non-homogeneous differential equations using infinite polynomials.

3. I think more people need to listen to L. Ron Hubbard.

4. I made Chuck Norris cry.

5. My favorite group is not U2, but the Zack Attack.

I tag Josh, and anyone else who wants to participate.

Posted in Tagging | Leave a Comment »

5 things I haven’t mentioned before, that are not necessarily true

Posted by Chance on February 16, 2007

The previous post lists 5 things about me that are true.

1. My skullet is now shoulder length.

2. I survived the mean streets of Oklahoma through my mad rapping skills and my ability to solve non-homogeneous differential equations using infinite polynomials.

3. I think more people need to listen to L. Ron Hubbard.

4. I made Chuck Norris cry.

5. My favorite group is not U2, but the Zack Attack.

I tag Josh, and anyone else who wants to participate.

Posted in Tagging | 3 Comments »

5 things I haven’t mentioned before

Posted by Chance on February 16, 2007

I was tagged by Josh. Some of his entries inspire my own.

1. Similar to Josh, a friend and I randomly drove from Stillwater, Oklahoma to Kansas simply because we were bored. I don’t remember what town it was. (Perhaps the seed of libertarian thought was planted. I saw a tattoo parlor over the state line and wondered why Oklahoma didn’t (at the time) allow tattoos)

2. Similar to Josh, I have slightly obsessive compulsive tendencies. Whenever I saw a number, I used to add up the digits to see if it was divisible by 3. I don’t do that anymore.

3. Whenever I talk about music on my blog posts, I mostly talk about U2. They are my favorite group, but I’m also quite fond of The Beatles. At least the music. I’m not into their new age philosophies and such. I think the White Album and Sgt. Peppers are brilliant (I tried looking for another word, as I didn’t want to sound like a pretentious person throwing around adjectives commonly used by Brits to describe things they like, but oh well).

4. I’m mentioned it on Josh’s blog, but not here, but I’ve known Josh since Kindergarten, and went to school with him 9.5 out of 13 years (and 3 different schools at that).

5. Most people know I’m a Christian, but specifically, I am non-denominational. Theologically, I am closest to Baptist, but I also believe in certain things emphasized by charismatic branches, such as the ability to speak in tongues, spiritual warfare, etc…

I tag, I suppose anyone who reads this and wants to participate.

Posted in Tagging | Leave a Comment »

5 things I haven’t mentioned before

Posted by Chance on February 16, 2007

I was tagged by Josh. Some of his entries inspire my own.

1. Similar to Josh, a friend and I randomly drove from Stillwater, Oklahoma to Kansas simply because we were bored. I don’t remember what town it was. (Perhaps the seed of libertarian thought was planted. I saw a tattoo parlor over the state line and wondered why Oklahoma didn’t (at the time) allow tattoos)

2. Similar to Josh, I have slightly obsessive compulsive tendencies. Whenever I saw a number, I used to add up the digits to see if it was divisible by 3. I don’t do that anymore.

3. Whenever I talk about music on my blog posts, I mostly talk about U2. They are my favorite group, but I’m also quite fond of The Beatles. At least the music. I’m not into their new age philosophies and such. I think the White Album and Sgt. Peppers are brilliant (I tried looking for another word, as I didn’t want to sound like a pretentious person throwing around adjectives commonly used by Brits to describe things they like, but oh well).

4. I’m mentioned it on Josh’s blog, but not here, but I’ve known Josh since Kindergarten, and went to school with him 9.5 out of 13 years (and 3 different schools at that).

5. Most people know I’m a Christian, but specifically, I am non-denominational. Theologically, I am closest to Baptist, but I also believe in certain things emphasized by charismatic branches, such as the ability to speak in tongues, spiritual warfare, etc…

I tag, I suppose anyone who reads this and wants to participate.

Posted in Tagging | 1 Comment »

Parents vs. the government

Posted by Chance on February 13, 2007

Thanks for the comments on my last post. Josh posted the following comment.

Chance, I think you know my stance on this, so I’m not even going to go there. An incredible inconsistency was shown last week in the Texas Legislature.

If you have time, read this article.

How come when it comes to this new vaccine, the conservative parents think that they have the right to say whether or not their daughter gets vaccinated? Isn’t this a stem of “my body, my choice”? The opposite is also true of liberals who are completely for the government stepping in and mandating the vaccine. Shouldn’t they also be for the government ban on abortion?

I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m taking sides in the above paragraphs, but I think that the inconsistencies should be pointed out.

I’m curious as to Jefferson’s definition of the word “created” in his opening paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. Considering his spiritual stance and the culture of that time I have my guesses, but I’m really not sure.

I hope you don’t mind me taking the podium on your blog, but I have a question:

Where does it stop with the government saying what we should or shouldn’t do as parents or possible parents? Abortion… Vaccination… should these be viewed as separate matters or lumped into the same category.

I’m sure many are going to say that I’m comparing apples to oranges, and to be honest, it does somewhat sound like I am. What I’m arguing is the principle of the matter.

Any post that gets me opening my fat yap is a good one. This may be one of your best.

I can’t wait for your response.

The central question is “Where does it stop with the government saying what we should or shouldn’t do as parents or possible parents? Abortion… Vaccination… should these be viewed as separate matters or lumped into the same category.”

I do disagree with Perry’s decision. I think it is up to the parents to decide on medical treatment. I think I would allow for an exception if there was a highly dangerous and contagious disease going around at the time, but I think that is an emergency situation warranting special circumstances.

Concerning your question as our rights as parents, it may be one of the most important of our time. I typically support a high degree of parental sovereignty. That is, I think a parent should raise them with pretty much any philosophy or religion they want to. After all, because of the First Amendment, we cannot enforce any type of religion, which means that we have to leave it up to the parents to teach whatever religion they want to their children. If we are willing to entrust the single most important matter to parents, why not trust other areas of life as well?

One issue fueling my libertarian viewpoints is the erosion of parental rights, as the government becomes more involved in raising our children. I think it is (ultimately) up to the parents to teach their kids about sex and life in general. That’s why I support methods of school choice because I think schools should be an extension of the parents in raising kids, not in contradiction. I also see it as the parents’ responsibility as far as medical care, therefore I disagree with Perry here.

Where I draw the line is when it comes to abuse, or as I state in no uncertain terms, abortion. I think spanking should be allowed as I do not consider that abuse.

The line is not always clear, I admit. What if a girl did have cancer, but the parents chose not to treat her? What if the treatment was almost guaranteed to help, or what if the treatment was miserable and most likely useless, and the parents just wanted to enjoy the last days with their daughter? What if the parents can’t afford to feed their kids. So, where the line belongs is not clear. But that does not mean there is not a line. In my view, parents should not be allowed to beat or kill their kids. Also, kids need to be fed, so I do support the state stepping in on certain cases there.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

A conversation on abortion

Posted by Chance on February 12, 2007

With the diversity of political beliefs on this blog, I am always hesitant to post on abortion. It is an issue I am passionate about, but I know it is a very heated subject, and I don’t want to make the atmosphere of this blog too serious. However, as with any topic, it is helpful that both sides understand each other.

I was visited Neil Simpson’s blog, and he had a post regarding Barack Obama’s position on abortion. A pro-choice commenter posted a comment here . (Note, no offense against the commenter, but I know many pro-choicers can be more considerate and diplomatic in their comments, this is not the typical commenter, but just one slightly overcome by emotions, as I can be).

Here is Neil’s response, along with mine.

The gist is this. Pro-lifers such as myself believe that the fetus is a person. Therefore, any talk of personal freedom or “my body, my choice” in reference to abortion falls on deaf ears. Because we believe the fetus is a person, we do not believe other people, whether it be a person shooting a pregnant woman, or the mother herself, has the right to harm the fetus. We do not believe there are any significant scientific factors that separate a fetus from a born person. If pro-choicers want to convince me that abortion should be legal, they need to quit the “libertarian” arguments, especially since I have libertarian viewpoints on many things. The crux of the argument is whether or not the fetus is a person. If the fetus is not, then the libertarian argument would follow that abortion should be legal. If the fetus is a person, then the libertarian argument would demand that abortion be outlawed.

Again, the purpose of this point is not pro-life proselytizing, but to simply point out the central issue of the debate. And no, I don’t think there are two classes of humans, as people who opposed women’s right to vote and abolition of slavery often argued.

Posted in Politics, Pro-Life | 4 Comments »