Sunday, January 18, 2009

Just when I thought they couldn't get any dumber...

I saw this.

I was understandably [miffed].

So I emailed the author:

This blog post was borderline slander. There are many secular pro-life arguments. I should know.

I am a pro-life atheist.
So is Nat Hentoff. So is the Raving Atheist.

Might I suggest:
Atheist and Agnostic Pro-life League
Libertarians for Life - their arguments are entirely secular
Democrats for Life
Feminists for Life - continuing the legacy of Susan B. Anthony and other original feminists
Pagans for Life
Restraint of the Heartless - a pro-life liberal atheist's blog, did a good rebuttal of your anti-Personhood Reality Check episode

She replied:

I never said atheists can't be sexist. But in order to promote the idea that you think an embryo is a life that has more value than that of a living, breathing, feeling woman, you do have to believe in magic. Here's the argument.

Non-religious arguments about women's subjection don't really make a lot of sense when you tease them out. Given the choice between his atheism and his sexism, Raving Atheist chose to convert to Christianity. Perhaps you should think harder about these things! But you should do it by yourself, because demanding that I hold your hand through email "debates" about my own right to live my life is something I don't have time for.

Baffled by her stupidity, I responded:

Main Entry:
1sex + -ism (as in racism)
1: prejudice or discrimination based on sex ; especially : discrimination against women
2: behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex
— sex·ist \ˈsek-sist\ adjective or noun

Being pro-life just means you recognize that one person's right to live overrules another person's right to not be inconvenienced. We hold unborn children as equal, not superior to, women. We don't think men should be allowed to kill unborn children either.

She, of course still as Roebotic as ever, replied:

Okay, you will get to waste one more minute of my time on you, even though you're clearly unwilling to think about things. But yes, it's sexist to suggest that women's basic rights to bodily autonomy should be restricted in order to punish them for having sex. The double standard with sex is the oldest there is. I reject the idea that "pro-life" has anything to do with the preciousness of fertilized eggs, except insofar as a lot of men have patriarchal fantasies about how babies are made by men ejaculating. It's an attempt to erase women's enormous effort in creating a baby through 9 months of hard work. Unshockingly, most atheist anti-choicers I meet are men with major issues regarding women.

I replied:

It's not about punishing anyone for having sex. I'm fine with nonviolent forms of birth control. I'm fine with embryo "transplants". The only thing I'm not fine with is homicide: the killing of one human being by another. I am not "anti-choice" any more than you are. Neither of us support the right of a man to choose to rape a woman, or of a person to rob a bank. I am no more "anti-choice" than you are "anti-life".

Abortion, like corporal punishment, is saying it's okay to use violence (against thosew you feel are beneath you) to get what you want. You say, "I reject the idea that "pro-life" has anything to do with the preciousness of fertilized eggs". First of all, there are no "fertilized eggs"; when the sperm and egg meet they become a zygote by definition. Second of all, I think I know my reasons for what I believe better than you do.

I am a full supporter of women's liberation. However, as with the feminist foremothers, I reject the notion that a mother has the right to kill her own child out of mere inconvenience.

[Note: The following paragraph is a quote from SciVille of Eight Mine Fortress.]
I get sick of being judged for it like it makes me a monster for believing the embryo's right to life should take precedence over the mother's convenience. Because that is all this is. If the mother's right to not want to be pregnant take precedence over the embryo's right to live, then you're pro-choice. If the other way around, you're pro-life. People like to throw in other reasons, like population or economic status or whatever, but it's irrelevant.

She didn't respond, so I sent another email:

This time, she responded:

I told you initially that I have yet to meet an atheist anti-choice nut who isn't a misogynist with massive issues regarding women and sex, and your relentless emailing has proven the point. Thanks!

I replied:

1. That's because nobody is "anti-choice". Do you support the right of parents to choose to rape their children? Do you support the right of men to choose to beat their wives? By your logic, pro-gun control is anti-choice (choice to own a gun). [Note: And if pointing out the obvious fact that the child's right to live overrules the mother's convenience makes me a "nut", then call me nutty!]

2. I am not a misogynist.

3. The simple act of holding an email conversation does not make me misogynist.

Reading more of her post, and not yet recieving a reply, I said:

Two words: Jen Roth

She replied:

Your ongoing entitlement issues are doing nothing to convince me that this isn't about sexism.

I replied:

  1. I have no idea what you're talking about.
  2. That's an ad hominem
  3. I just linked you to a female pro-life atheist.

So, faithful readers, do you think you can find a dumber Roebot than Amanda Marcotte?

I'll also be trying to pull some of the "Raving Theist"'s former subscribers over here, so expect some more antitheistic posts in the future.


Magnifikitty said...

Clearly there is more than one kind of "fundamentalist". Ms. Marcotte is living proof of that.

Although, when you call people dumb, you pretty much guarantee that they won't listen to anything you have to say.

Demetrius said...

I heard this woman's blather in a YouTube video. She is one of the least forensically capable Pro-choice advocates I have ever heard. But, she is famous, and I'm not. So, I guess she has her finger on the pulse of *something*. Like many of the Right Wing religious ideologues she rails against, she has an audience because she is loud and they happen to agree with her already.

I support a woman's right to choose to have an abortion - just like I support the right of a woman to choose to have a root canal. (This does NOT mean I equate the gravity of these procedures.) I believe that whether a medical decision is warranted should be up to the doctor and patient. I *don't* however, labor under the misconception (neither pun intended) that a human life is not lost in the course of an abortion. Biology and logic support that a human zygote/embryo/fetus is a human being. Biology would make it human, rather than some other species. Logic dictates that conception (the creation of a human genome distinct from either parent) is the only point at which a new *being* comes into existence. Before that, there was sperm and egg. Everything after that, until death, is just development and growth. Whether that human being is a *person* is a matter of law. A "person" is an entity with certain legal rights. And, given that the history of human beings *not* being considered persons isn't a pretty one, I would argue for a human's personhood to be concurrent with it's existence. I believe that in certain circumstances the sacrifice of a human life may not be the worst thing that can happen - in the grand scheme of things or in a particular moral equation. To put it bluntly, "sometimes you gotta kill people."

What does this mean for the abortion debate? I'm not sure. But, I think the debate would be better (more productive) if we got to that part of it instead of arguing the humanity of the unborn.

Nulono said...

The problem is the humanity of the unborn is all that matters. If the preborn child is a person, abortion is manslaughter, regardless of whether or not it is commited by a medical professional.

Demetrius said...

The humanity of the unborn is not *all* that matters. There are times when it is morally/legally acceptable to take a life. When is that? If we apply those same criteria to taking the life of an unborn person we can at least have consistency in our thinking and policy.

Nulono said...

Yes, but my point was even a medical procedure can be immoral.

Would you suppot a constitutional amendment (federal or state) that defines personhood as beginning at fertilization, as was done in Colorado?

Demetrius said...

The morality of the medical procedure would depend on the circumstances under which it was carried out. The reason that I support abortion rights is that I don't trust anyone who is not performing or undergoing the procedure to determine if it is justifiable. I think the way to reduce the number of abortions performed is not to make it illegal, but to educate women and doctors as to alternatives - and to create a socio-economic climate where those alternatives are viable.

Nulono said...

I agree, but the same would be acheived by a ban in all cases but when it is absolutely necessary. Now, you have late-term babies being killed for "temporary depression of the mother".

Without a ban, unjustifiable abortions will still be done; the doctor gets paid whether or not he "determines it is justifiable".

Demetrius said...

Who would you propose be the arbiter(s) of when a procedure is justified in any particular situation (if not the doctor and patient?) Politicians? Clergy? Judges? Insurance adjusters? Parents?

Nulono said...

The jury. Whether or not any action is justified is to be determined by the jury, though the medical professionals would be able to testify.

I'd be fine with a ban on all unjustified abortions. If things are left as is, however, there is nothing stopping abortionists from performing unjustified abortions even if they judge them to be unjustified.

I'm sorry, but medical professionals aren't really the people to as when it comes to morality; the judges would say what circumstances make an abortion justified, and them the doctor's job is to determine whether or not any of said circumstances apply. The court's job is to determine if abortion is justified to save the mother's life, and the doctor's job is to determine if an abortion is necessary to save the mother's life.

Demetrius said...

Assuming we are only justifying abortion in cases where the woman's life is at risk, what qualifies the judge to determine if her life is at risk? Are we going to require every woman who, on the advice of her doctor, seeks an abortion to first file a legal injunction against the fetus? How long would the advocates for the fetus (I'm sure there would be many) have to present their defense to the jury before the case is rendered moot by an uneventful birth of the baby - or a very eventful death of the mother? Are we willing to lock the pregnant woman up until the case is resolved in her favor in order to keep her from harming the fetus?

Making abortion illegal would be neither effective or feasible. Making abortion *unnecessary* is the best way to deal with it.

Nulono said...

I just said it would be up to the doctor to determine whether or not the mother's life was endagered. ("The court's job is to determine if abortion is justified to save the mother's life, and the doctor's job is to determine if an abortion is necessary to save the mother's life.")

Judgement happens after the action; you don't have to wait for a court ruling before excercizing self defense, but you may be asked to defend said action in court.

Demetrius said...

Hmm... I guess I'm not comfortable having private medical decisions dragged into court. And, I'm not comfortable with women having to defend their medical choices against some of those who would be self proclaimed Defenders of the Unborn. I'm going to have to use whatever energy I have to spend on this trying to create an environment where fewer women are choosing to *have* abortions because the pregnancy was prevented in the first place, or, because alternatives to abortion after the fact of the pregnancy are feasible. I don't see how making the choice illegal is a workable solution.

Nulono said...

No decision that results in the harm of a victim is personal. There's a reason why child abuse is illegal and isn't called a "private parenting decision". Parents who do so have to defend their choice against self-proclaimed Defenders of Children.

But I agree that we must also make abortion rare by making parenting easier.

Demetrius said...

Every abortion kills a human being. Would every woman who chooses to have an abortion have to face a jury to determine if it was self defense or murder?

Nulono said...

I'm not sure. Does every person who kills a born human have to face a jury to determine if it was self defense or murder?

Nulono said...

^ A female pro-life atheist