If in doubt, jump on other people’s misery for your own gain

From the archives of Ray Comfort:

One of the three Cleveland girls who was kidnapped and held captive for ten years says that she had become pregnant five times and that each time her captor, Ariel Castro, starved her and punched her in the stomach until she miscarried. According to CBS News, unlawful termination of a pregnancy in Ohio is to commit murder, and Castro could be given the death sentence.

But one moment. Why is there such an outcry about the termination of five pregnancies? Everyone knows “It’s not a child in the womb,” and besides, each of the pregnancies were the product of rape, and according to pro-abortion advocates should be terminated. The key is the word “unlawful.” Her captive should have had the five children killed lawfully at an abortion clinic. Hypocrisy is not confined to the Church.

It would be a pointless and rather pained task to say what is wrong with this. It should be obvious. However, it does helps highlight the absolute depths that some people will sink to in using misery to score political or “philosophical” points.

The long and short of it is that people who are “pro-abortion” are actually “pro-choice”. And unlike the opposite, “pro-life”, this isn’t an horrific misnomer. When Penn Jillette said on an episode of Bullshit! that “people aren’t ‘pro life’ or ‘pro choice’, they’re for or against abortion” he was wrong. Painfully wrong. “Pro choice” literally means that it should be someone’s free choice to abort or not. This is really orthogonal to being “for” or “against” abortion itself. This isn’t hard to understand.

Except for Ray Comfort, because he lacks the empathic capacity to see it.

Forcing someone to terminate through a brutal and unsafe method (that will become more common should anyone decide to outlaw the safe and legal methods) is emphatically against that “pro choice” principle. Whether it be a product of rape, incest, or even consensual activity, the choice belongs purely with the person experiencing the pregnancy. That’s it. End of discussion.

People like Ray Comfort don’t understand the basic concept of “informed consent”, which underpins a lot of humanistic morality, and don’t believe humans are smart enough to deal with it on their own. They don’t think we can figure out some kind of behavioural guidance for ourselves using tools such as empathy and compassion. Such tools don’t come from a god, but from the ability to imagine being another person; it’s a stretch, it’s an inference, and it’s not always easy, but it can be done. Some of us choose to exercise that ability and put it to use. Sure, it’s difficult and I’m sure being told what is “right” and what is “wrong” is so much simpler, but not all of us need that.

The mere fact that we can do this is a massive problem for fundamentalist evangelists and their followers. A truly massive problem of an epic scale. It means their absolutist views aren’t necessary, and if they’re not necessary, there’s no reason at all to hold them. Indeed, things like presuppositional apologetics outright state that there isn’t a reason to believe in them, and then change the rules of the game to handwave it away. That sort of thing simply cannot survive in the face of people making their own choices.

Given that, why does it still surprise me how far people will go in demonising others and outright misrepresenting their opinions and ideas? It’s the only way they can rationalise their position.

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Go on, derp away...

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