March 19th, 2009


A question of the sanctity of life

oscillon has an interesting question. We are discussing the morality of embryonic stem cell research:

"What is confusing here is that according to your position, it seems like the primary crime was committed during IVF. The stem cell issue looks like what to do with the bodies. It seems like the focus should be on the primary act that caused the harm. I don't mean that this would justify the secondary issue; it would not, but it does seem secondary."
I will make this as clear as I can.

Harvesting human babies, even small ones, for medical research cheapens human life. Allowing anyone to make a profit, or find it in their self-interest, in an act which cheapens human life is imprudent.

It is a question of incentives. Abortion mills, Planned Parenthood and so on, are not charity organizations. They make a profit from their acts. They buy houses and send their kids to college and so on. It is in their best interest to continue the practice of infanticide, and to expand the practice. The Abortionists have become a faction and a politic power in their own right, and influenced the laws and customs of this nation.

So, here. This stem cell research is worthless, scientifically speaking, or at least not as promising as non-destructive stem cell research. Allowing embryo stem cell research will create a faction with a monetary self-interest in continuing the practice, and expanding it.

This is true even if the primary practice of in-vitro fertilization cannot be stopped.

"I caught the last 2/3 of Apocalypto on late night tv last night. I had avoided it when it first came out because of the ultra-violence. I just don't like watching it anymore. Anyway, there is a scene where the main character escapes from the human sacrifice guys. He comes across a mass grave of the previous victims. I was thinking about this thread. It seems to me the stem cell debate (from your position) is like arguing whether or not to use the bodies to fertilize the fields and ignores the human sacrifice itself."

I will grant you the question but not the conclusion. If I lived in a society that produced mass graves of innocent corpses, I would, as a civilized man, as a Christian, demand the bodies be decently buried and decently treated with respect. The argument would be the same as I use here: namely, that it is imprudent to create an incentive aimed at further dehumanization of the human race. Treating corpses as a raw material is the same as permitting cannibalism on the ground that it is unthrifty to let good meat go to waste. Once we start plowing the dead into the ground as fertilizer, once we stop treating the dead with respect, once we treat human beings as raw materials, it creates a faction with a powerful incentive ever further to erode the bulwark of laws and customs surrounding human dignity. Once that bulwark is down, the weak are livestock for the strong. 

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The Pope in Africa

An interesting article on National Review Online about His Holiness Pope Benedict's visit to Africa, and the (as expected) public displays of ignorance by the mainstream press on the matter. Ignoring everything but the particular object of their obsession, the mainstream press dismisses the Holy Father as being unrealistic and out of touch when it comes to the Church teaching on condom use. The argument is that people must have sex under any and all conditions, even at the risk of their lives, and their behavior cannot be modified; and furthermore that condoms prevent the spread of AIDS. (Both claims are false-to-facts, even simpleminded, but the reality-based community congratulates themselves on being rational, progressive and scientific about the matter.)

One interesting point made here, and not unrelated to an earlier conversation in this space, is that many Africans do not want to use condoms to hinder the spread of AIDS because -- wait for it -- they are married polygamists trying to get their wives pregnant. In other words, they are not engaging in what the Progressives call 'sex' (because when they use the word they mean seeking sexual gratification with a short term partner). They are engaging in what sane people call 'sex' (because when we use that we, are engaging in the act of sexual reproduction aiming at, or at least open to, sexual reproduction).

Hm. Let us see what Merlin the Magician says about what Progressives call sex: 

Sulva is she whom mortals call the Moon. She walks in the lowest sphere. The rim of the world that was wasted goes through her. Half of her orb is turned toward us and shares our curse. Her other half looks to Deep Heaven; happy would be he who could cross that frontier and see the fields on her further side. On this side, the womb is barren and the marriages are cold. There dwell an accursed people, full of pride and lust. There when a young man takes a maiden in marriage, they do not lie together, but each lies with a cunningly fashioned image of the other, made to move and to be warm by deveilsh arts, for real flesh will not please them, they are so dainty (delicati) in their dreams of lust. Their real children they fabricate by vile arts in a secret place.

Who exactly is the Monster we are discussing?

An ongoing discussion. Necoras  is arguing in favor of performing human experiments on death row inmates. In reply to a pointed question, he write this: 

The man who has done murder is now less than a man. I stand by it. Infect him with whatever you want, throw him to the wolves. Fight him to the death and pay off the widow of the murdered (I do have a problem with the degradation of a society who cheers at fights to the death, but that is a separate issue). He deserves no less. I do not make him less than what he was, he has done that himself. I merely speak the truth of what I see.

Degrees of murder are a legal matter. You are (were) the lawyer and can easily argue circles around me there. If evidence is strong enough to condemn a man to death, it should stand up to experimentation, particularly if that experimentation is given as an alternative choice to an electric chair.

I've never been a big fan of the "no cruel and unusual" punishment clause. To paraphrase Heinlein "a punishment must be cruel and unusual or it is not a punishment." Criminal punishment is meant to be a deterrent, not a day spa. Death sentences are made "humane" for the sake of those pulling the trigger, not the dead man. What does he care? At the end of the day he's still dead. The executioner is the one who's been forced to kill (not murder) another and has to live with it. Why force the executioner to torture him first?

Your rabid dog will be taken as a health concern and burned. If your son had ebola he likely would be to. One can hold a remembrance service without a body. A murderer's corpse is the property of the community he has stolen from (the state) and should be treated as such. The wife may take solace in the fact that out of her husbands actions there was some minor restitution.

My comments:

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