Pharyngula

Those creationists sure do love their hypocrisy: on one day, they whine about their version of “academic freedom”, which means demanding that creationism be given equal time with legitimate science in the classroom, and the next they throw a hissy fit because someone they disagree with is speaking, such as Barbara Forrest or Richard Dawkins. After failing to block Dawkins from speaking at OU, the Oklahoma legislature is looking for excuses to retroactively punish the university for spending money on his visit. They seem to have this idea that academics they dislike should always work for free, while the ones they like ought to be unquestioningly showered with honoraria.

That’s not the way the system works. Everyone in academia knows that student groups get small allotments of cash to use as they see fit to promote their organization and ideas; this usually works in the conservatives’ favor, because if you look at any university’s roster of student organizations, there’ll be a dozen or more Christian clubs at the trough and maybe one or two, if you’re lucky, freethought clubs. If they want to play that game, bring it on — let’s make Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and Campus Crusade for Christ squeal when we apply the restrictions uniformly and cut them off. Or perhaps the Oklahoma legislators are intending to apply a religious bias to their disbursement of funds?

Likewise, academic departments have small pots of money for bringing in speakers. Is Oklahoma going to meddle directly in the decisions of every unit on a campus? Is their version of “academic freedom” just a fancy justification for micromanagement?

It’s all moot anyway in this case. Dawkins waived his speaking fee for the Oklahoma event. Meanwhile, recently Ben Stein billed OSU $60,000 to speak — where’s the investigation there?

Comments

  1. #1 Kitty'sBitch
    March 15, 2009

    Well isn’t that a nice little tidbit.
    Thank you Oklahoma nutters for helping to put a spotlight on the generous spirit of atheism. lol

  2. #2 The Tim Channel
    March 15, 2009

    Science prostitute giving the god fearing scientists among us a bad name (and making it hard for us to argue that scientists/science can be trusted):

    Over the past 12 years, anesthesiologist Scott Reuben revolutionized the way physicians provide pain relief to patients undergoing orthopedic surgery for everything from torn ligaments to worn-out hips. Now, the profession is in shambles after an investigation revealed that at least 21 of Reuben?s papers were pure fiction, and that the pain drugs he touted in them may have slowed postoperative healing.

    ?We are talking about millions of patients worldwide, where postoperative pain management has been affected by the research findings of Dr. Reuben,? says Steven Shafer, editor in chief of the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia, which published 10 of Reuben?s fraudulent papers.

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=a-medical-madoff-anesthestesiologist-faked-data

    Enjoy.

  3. #3 Richard Harris
    March 15, 2009

    Ben Stein billed OSU $60,000 to speak

    I didn’t know that comedians could demand so much for an appearance.

  4. #4 David Jay
    March 15, 2009

    $60,000! $60,000! “1.21 Gigawatts! 1.21 Gigawatts!”

  5. #5 SteveL
    March 15, 2009

    Link to Ben Stein story is broken.

  6. #7 ERV
    March 15, 2009

    SteveL– Try this.

    Before I just respected Professor Dawkins as a scientist. Now I respect him as a scientist, and because he is THE definition of a gentleman. ‘Honor’ is not something you are born with.

  7. #8 Kristine
    March 15, 2009

    I think that the good citizens of Oklahoma should demand an investigation into any speaking fees of the Oklahoma Legislators.

  8. #9 Just Plain Cliff
    March 15, 2009

    I guess Richard Dawkins only has the right to give a “free” speech, but not the right to free speech. Is Oklahoma still part of the USA? Maybe, but surely not the best part.

  9. #10 JamesR
    March 15, 2009

    I’ll bet this whole thing has been staged by the DI. The DI response to the legislation is so well written yet full of lies. As if it had been written weeks or months ago and manicured to its present condition. That article can be found here:
    http://richarddawkins.net/article,3644,Censorship-is-Wrong,Discovery-Institute

    What I would be very interested in is whether or not the DI is involved in any of the political campaigns in OK. And if the benefactors of the DI are also involved in OK. This whole thing seems fully contrived by the DI. Hmmmmm I wonder what they are up to? Oh yeah right. They’re liars, that’s what they’re up to.

  10. #11 Newfie
    March 15, 2009

    This is what happens when the witch doctor is found out to be a fraud by a tribe member. The witch doctor goes out of his way to discredit that tribe member, in order to keep his authority, and ease of life. Chant a few spells, scatter a few rocks in the dirt, and a tribe member brings you a chicken, or a goat.

    But nowadays, churches give money to supportive candidates, who, when elected, try their hardest to change rules and laws so that they can keep arses in the pews on Sundays. And likely skim some of the donation money for themselves.
    It’s the circle of life, only retarded.

    Until you elect atheists, there will never truly be a separation of church and state.

  11. #12 raven
    March 15, 2009

    They are called christofascists for a reason.

    Left to ther own devices, they really would bring back the Dark Ages. When we talk about failed theocratic states, the familiar list would then include, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Iran, and ….Oklahoma.

    There is no difference between christofascists and islamofascists. We just don’t let ours run around loose.

    I’m sure if the legislaters of Oklahoma were born in a moslem country, they would be wild eyed hate filled Mullahs going bonkers over the very idea that women might expose an eye ball or drive a car.

  12. #13 raven
    March 15, 2009

    Doesn’t look like the Oklahoma legislature even rises to the level of christofascist anti-intellectualism. These are people who celebrate ignorance and stupidity.

    They actually don’t have all that much leverage with the U. system. IIRC, the budget of the Oklahoma higher ed. system is only 20% state funding.

    Don’t know much about the state, but attacking higher ed. is a recipe to remain backward and poor. It is no accident that a huge amount of hi tech industries are located in California and Massachusetts. The technology usually starts in the universities and diffuses outwards.

    I would ask if the legislature has better things to do than run around acting like fundie xian morons. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it.

  13. #14 hje
    March 15, 2009

    “Ben Stein billed OSU $60,000 to speak.”

    Where’s the ROI for that coin?

  14. #15 Newfie
    March 15, 2009

    Prayer = Incantation
    Communion = Cannibalism

    Why not start referring to them as “Cannibal Witches/Warlocks”?

  15. #16 IST
    March 15, 2009

    Bravo for Dawkins… Between this and the co-donations for the Atheist Bus campaign, it’s clear that he’s willing to part with some of his money for causes that he supports. Good man, that.

  16. #17 Jesse
    March 15, 2009

    You know, we need a new term for this. I propose that this practice be known as a “Dawk-block”.

  17. #18 bobbyp
    March 15, 2009

    “Ben Stein billed OSU $60,000 to speak.”

    Yeah, but did they pay him?

  18. #19 JD
    March 15, 2009

    60K for a babbling, walking sinus infection during a time of soaring unemployment. Gimmeafuckingbreak.

  19. #20 Martian Buddy
    March 15, 2009

    JamesR @ #10

    I’ll bet this whole thing has been staged by the DI. The DI response to the legislation is so well written yet full of lies. As if it had been written weeks or months ago and manicured to its present condition.

    I doubt it; it reads like more of their usual “academic freedom” boilerplate. If it sounds polished, it’s because they’ve been rehashing this same set of talking points for years. Egnor can probably crank out these screeds in his sleep by now.

    Not that I have any doubts that they’re busy in Oklahoma trying to get another Orwellian “academic freedom” bill passed; it’s just that their response strikes me more as a matter of opportunism than orchestration.

  20. #21 Kitty'sBitch
    March 15, 2009

    Jesse
    Dawk-block!!
    That’s a win.

  21. #22 Greg Esres
    March 15, 2009

    and making it hard for us to argue that scientists/science can be trusted

    How so? The scientific community exposes fraud within its own ranks. What greater evidence could be provided that science *can* be trusted? If only the religious community had the integrity to do the same… (Of course, then who would be left?)

  22. #23 JamesR
    March 15, 2009

    Martian
    You may be correct about it being Opportunistic. I haven’t been paying much attention to DI for a few years.

    It is just so bazaar to see a state legislator take a stance about this. And as the written record indicates the bill itself is flawed in any number of ways. To me it reads like it was purposely put together for only the reason of getting attention to the matter at hand. Dawkins talk. It lacks any appearance of a bill that would sustain a debate or even minor scrutiny. But then again I don’t know any regular Oklahomans. So this may be Par for the course.

    The oddest part is that it is total hypocracy and bullshit. What are they trying to achieve? I must say too that these are the type of people who breed suicide bombers and the like. I truly hope that OK has more sane people that will run these characters out of office.

  23. #24 SSiE
    March 15, 2009

    Hi guys, completely OT, but I have a poll to crash, all the way from sunny, godless South Africa, that asks if blasphemy should be considered a (wait for it) ‘hate crime': http://www.mnet.co.za/mnet/shows/carteblanche/

    A charity fund-raising student magazine recently got pulled from the shelves of one of our major retail chains after complaints from religiots about blasphemy. What must be the country’s biggest TV journalism show just broadcast a piece on the whole stinking mess, and is asking viewers to vote on whether blasphemy should be considered a hate crime, a loaded term in South Africa, to say the least. Currently it’s 60% for hate crime. Please, please can we change that? Our country has one of the most liberal and progressively secular constitutions on the planet, but we have a major fundamentalist christian demographic that keeps squealing for censorship when someone insults their imaginary friend.

  24. #25 Laurie
    March 15, 2009

    This is totally off-thread, but I am hoping it is okay if I share with readers here the following post by a woman who is just exiting patriarchal, Quiverfull fundamentalism:

    http://2spb.blogspot.com/2009/03/to-those-who-may-be-shocked.html

    She describes the madness to which she was subjected — the expectation of total self-abnegation in the name of God — and the process by which she realized she deserved better. As a lifelong atheist, I am humbled by the sheer courage it must have taken her to break away from a lifestyle and a community in which she had invested so much. Of particular interest is the role she ascribes to an atheist uncle who patiently engaged in a long correspondence her.

  25. #26 David Jay
    March 15, 2009

    I just voted in the poll cited above by SSiE. The wrong answer is currently leading, so please get over there and vote, pharyngulites!

  26. #27 NickG
    March 15, 2009

    “Hypocritical gomers of Oklahoma, unite!”

    Hey…. I treat a lot of gomers and the vast majority are very sweet elderly people whose reputation you besmirch by association with the flaming morons who came up with this resolution.

    Just because you wear a diaper, think Jimmy Carter is president and you can only eat a soft pureed diet doesn’t imply you are a christofascist. Hell, in this case it probably implies a more sophisticated world view than the legislators in OK.

  27. #28 WTFinterrobang
    March 15, 2009

    ****************************
    I want an “I voted” sticker!
    ****************************

    Having grown up in the midwest, I assure you that OK is like the rest of the flyover region….full of Idiotic Creons who support fucktard politicians who spew this filth as if the godbots they represent are human.

  28. #29 steve
    March 15, 2009

    This whole thing reminds me if a recurring nightmare I have where those around me appear to be benevolent but as soon as I drop my guard they are trying to kill me.
    The only answer, in my dream, is to kill them before they overpower and kill me.
    I feel the same about the religious sections of our world; not that I want to kill them but that, at the very least, they should be suppressed, forcibly if necessary. No good can ever come from tolerating them

  29. #30 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 15, 2009

    Just goes to show you that the atheist scientists are getting paid too much to be able to afford turning down getting paid for something.

  30. #31 SSiE
    March 15, 2009

    Thanks to those who voted so far on the whole blasphemy / hate speech thing, I was just informed that the show’s presenters ALWAYS make a point to mention the outcome of the previous week’s online poll, and a few thousand pro-blaspbhemy votes are guaranteed to shake things up a bit here at the other end of Africa. The show is watched by a few million, so it really is a good platform to let ourselves be heard, but atheists are few and far between here in South Africa.

    So, one last time, the poll is at http://www.mnet.co.za/mnet/shows/carteblanche/ and the wrong answer is currently winning!

  31. #32 Nightsky
    March 15, 2009

    If they want to play that game, bring it on ? let’s make Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and Campus Crusade for Christ squeal when we apply the restrictions uniformly and cut them off.

    Eh? At UC Davis, my alma mater, that was exactly how it was: religious groups weren’t eligible for student fee monies. They had to fund themselves via other means. That’s exactly how it should be, IMHO.

  32. #33 Felix
    March 15, 2009

    #31,
    there, it turned around. :)

  33. #34 Glen Davidson
    March 15, 2009

    Censors reveal their censorious plans.

    It’s why these bozos aren’t likely to win without seriously dumbing the nation down further (not that they haven’t had considerable success thus far). They can’t keep from doing what they project onto others.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  34. #35 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 15, 2009

    Is blasphemy hate speech or freedom of expression
    Thank you, your vote has been counted!

    Hate speech
    47.9%

    Freedom of expression
    52.1%

    This poll is not scientific and reflects the opinions of only those Internet users who have chosen to participate. The results cannot be assumed to represent the opinions of Internet users in general, nor the public as a whole.

  35. #36 Josh
    March 15, 2009

    Needs bacon

  36. #37 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 15, 2009

    Needs bacon

    exactly

  37. #38 Josh
    March 15, 2009

    And bacon aside, at the risk of repeating myself:

    Oklahoma–America’s Iran.

  38. #39 CalGeorge
    March 15, 2009

    What could anyone learn from Ben Stein that is worth 60,000 dollars?

    What a waste.

  39. #40 woody
    March 15, 2009

    where’s the investigation there?

    Probably, Ben Stein didn’t hold up the gomers in the Okie Lege for scorn and ridicule when he addressed the audience he was brought in to propagandize– though they clearly deserved it, considering the amount he fleeced ‘em for.

    I mentioned somewhere during the flap that I’d bet the Lords of Okie-dom would exact some revenge upon OU in the way of some funding cuts…

    They’re some narrow-minded, mean-spirited, xenophobic folks back there. I’d never return, if I-40 didn’t run through it

  40. #41 Zach
    March 15, 2009

    I wish I were surprised by this news.

  41. #42 debaser
    March 15, 2009

    Blasphemy is funny. You’d think the people who invented eternal punishment would be able to let this kind of thing slide. But once again it isn’t enough for religious people to follow their own rules, they need everyone else to do it to. And they need to use the power of the state to do it. The powers of god, they must not have much faith in.

    That makes sense, since god is imaginary, has only imaginary powers, and can only exact imaginary revenge. I’m ok with whatever made-up punishment I get for insulting them through calling their god a cosmic sky fairy. You can declare I will really reallyreally burn super-duper hard for two eternities back to back. Still not a real crime, still don’t care. I guess since god never responds to insults it is yet another duty the all-powerful sky daddy can’t be bothered with. Lazy fucking god.

    I mean, wasn’t one of the people in dante’s inferno a character who had been killed by Zeus for daring to protect him? Dude challenges a god, and gets killed by a lightning bolt before the words finish leaving his mouth. I could respect that. If blasphmey was a crime that offeneded real gods, it’d be compelling evidence — anyone calling jesus a douchebag or allah a bitch, instantly nailed by lightning? Compelling! Too bad it seems like gods dont care if they are mocked, or just don’t exist. Divine lightning would be fun to have.

  42. #43 JohnnieCanuck
    March 15, 2009

    Well, it’s a datum on the graph of how many lies he will tell for what price.

    Either that, or now that we know that he is a liar, all we have to do is negotiate. How much would you pay Ben Stein to listen to one of his Lies?

    Negative values allowed required, I would expect.

  43. #44 JohnnieCanuck
    March 15, 2009

    Divine lightning.

    Coming soon to a Pride Parade near you.

    Fabulous colours.

  44. #45 articulett
    March 15, 2009

    Instead of bleating “free speech for me, but not for thee”, I think the true believers ought to employ the “do unto others” rule. If they were as private and humble in expressing their own opinions as they wish those other cults (and the mean old atheists) to be, I bet their complaints would vanish with nary a prayer. Unless they didn’t have the proper amount of faith, of course.

    What are they so afraid of anyhow?–that their delusion cannot stand up to scrutiny? Free speech is not threat to the truth. Reality doesn’t care what people believe about it.

    Oh, and are there any Christians who aren’t complete hypocrites regarding free speech? Or do they all think their opinions are “constructive criticism” and those who return the “constructive criticism” are indulging in strident “hate speech” that must be silenced?

    In my punchy moments, I imagine some “intelligent designer” sending them to us specifically for our amusement. They are a never-ending font of self-righteous irony. And the responses they inspire from the smart people at Pharyngula never cease to delight.

  45. #46 raven
    March 15, 2009

    Oklahoma–America’s Iran.

    Thinking that myself.

    Has oil…check

    Run by mindles, vicious theocratic fascists….check

    Lousy climate, low rainfall, hot in summer, cold in winter…check.

    Supports terrorists. Not that I know of. Yet. The next state over, Kansas is home to xian terrorist Randall Terry who called for the execution of MDs. Since that time, 7 have been assassinated and over 200 health care workers have been wounded, some seriously.

  46. #47 Lurky
    March 15, 2009

    Atheist bus campaing has reached Finland:

    http://uskomaton.fi/kampanja/

    (sorry, in finnish only)

  47. #48 Conor H.
    March 15, 2009

    Raven – supports terrorists? Tim McVeigh?

  48. #49 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 15, 2009

    sigh

    No Oklahoma doesn’t support terrorists any more than any other state.

    Some people in OK might but that does not mean OK as a whole does.

  49. #50 Sha
    March 15, 2009

    Ugh, I knew that Ben Stein spoke at my university but I had no idea he charged sixty thou. No wonder my fees are so fucking high.

  50. #51 Kel
    March 15, 2009

    Atheist bus campaing has reached Finland:

    http://uskomaton.fi/kampanja/

    (sorry, in finnish only)

    Hyvää!

  51. #52 cactusren
    March 15, 2009

    Raven – supports terrorists? Tim McVeigh?

    Umm…I think McVeigh would be reason for most Oklahomans to denounce terrorism. And he wasn’t from Oklahoma, anyway.

  52. #53 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 15, 2009

    Dang, never learned Finnish when I was in da YooPee. The highest rated show on the local PBS station was about Finland–in Finnish. What der hey!

  53. #54 Kel
    March 15, 2009

    I only know the very basics, actually less than the basics. Though I’m trying to change that, my girlfriend is Finnish so it’s best I try to learn the language. So I’m not sure whether I should have said ‘Hyvää’ or ‘Hyvä’ there, grammar has never been my strength.

  54. #55 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 15, 2009

    I just want to learn any language where I get to use cool umlauty things.

  55. #56 Ichthyic
    March 15, 2009

    Umm…I think McVeigh would be reason for most Oklahomans to denounce terrorism. And he wasn’t from Oklahoma, anyway.

    yes, in case people had forgotten, Oklahoma was the site of the largest domestic terrorist act in US history, the bombing of the Federal Building.

    However, I’m sure OK has as many mutty militant groups fomenting hatred for anything the govnt does (cited by McVeigh as his primary motivators) that they disagree with as any other midwestern state.

  56. #57 Skemono
    March 15, 2009

    So, one last time, the poll is at http://www.mnet.co.za/mnet/shows/carteblanche/ and the wrong answer is currently winning!

    Not right now:

    Is blasphemy hate speech or freedom of expression
    Hate speech 33.9%
    Freedom of expression 66.1%

    But maybe we can tip those numbers a little more.

  57. #58 Lurky
    March 15, 2009

    Kel @#54

    “Hyvä!” is correct there, unless you meant to say that atheism tastes good ;)

  58. #59 Ichthyic
    March 15, 2009

    unless you meant to say that atheism tastes good

    no, atheism is less filling!

  59. #60 Kel
    March 15, 2009

    Kiitos Lurky, I’ll get there one day.

  60. #61 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 15, 2009

    no, atheism is less filling!

    uh oh

  61. #62 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    March 15, 2009

    Oh my! This thread has turned into a thrty year old bear commercial. Lurky and Ichthyic better not be retired pro athletes.

  62. #63 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    March 15, 2009

    I am too far gone if I cannot tell the difference between a “beer” and a “bear”.

  63. #64 Conor H.
    March 15, 2009

    Does anyone else think it’s hilarious that the tagline on that poll website is “Where magic lives”?

  64. #65 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    March 15, 2009

    This is where I lay the blame of my “beer” and “bear” confusion.

  65. #66 Ichthyic
    March 15, 2009

    Lurky and Ichthyic better not be retired pro athletes.

    *absentmindedly scratches beer belly*

    *BEEEEELLLLLCCCHHHH*

    *drinks another beer*

    *ahhh*

    I sure hope not.

    That would mean I wasn’t always in the marvelous shape I’m in now.

    ;)

  66. #67 Ichthyic
    March 15, 2009

    oops, almost forgot the link to the professional sport of beer drinkers in the US:

    LESS FILLING

  67. #68 Ichthyic
    March 15, 2009

    btw, has anyone got a pill or something to get this fucking “narwhal” song outta my head?

    It’s been rolling around in there ever since PZ gave the link to it a couple days back.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykwqXuMPsoc&feature=related

    here, maybe watching it will give someone an idea of how it might be removed from one’s skull?

    It’s one evil fuckin’ meme, I tells ya!

  68. #69 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    March 15, 2009

    Turn this up really loud and put year head next to the speaker. It should blast the earwig out of your head.

  69. #70 Rick R
    March 15, 2009

    Pidän suomenkielestä. Haluaisin matkustaa suomeen joskus. Täytyy harjoitella enemmän suomenkieltä.

  70. #71 Ichthyic
    March 15, 2009

    it helped a bit, but it’s not fast enough.

    :)

  71. #72 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    March 15, 2009

    Those songs are slower then their normal speed. But you had to be amused by the covers and the recreation of the artwork.

  72. #73 debaser
    March 15, 2009

    #52

    Umm…I think McVeigh would be reason for most Oklahomans to denounce terrorism. And he wasn’t from Oklahoma, anyway.

    Yes, because this is america, and its very important to remember:

    White domestic terrorists in no way represent other white americans. That rule only gets applied to minorities.

    I will NOT be stereotyped by every lazy black man, money hoarding jew, islamoterrorist, and illegal mexican for the mis-deeds of someone else. That shit is not cool.

  73. #74 JamesR
    March 15, 2009

    Freedom of speech 77%
    Hate speech 22%
    Little do they know that they will be assimilated into the great Pharyng Hive.

  74. #75 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 15, 2009

    ?

  75. #76 AJ Milne
    March 15, 2009

    What could anyone learn from Ben Stein that is worth 60,000 dollars?

    If Ben Stein offered me sixty grand to listen to him for an hour, I think I’d feel compelled to demand a better offer.

  76. #77 Kitty'sBitch
    March 15, 2009

    Rev
    Is that some Pharyngucult symbol I’m unaware of?

  77. #78 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 15, 2009

    Kitty’sBitch

    interrobang.

    Which was pointing to debaser’s comment which I wasn’t really sure what he/she was getting at.

  78. #79 Kitty'sBitch
    March 15, 2009

    Rev
    I thought interrobang was a shitty skaterat garage band.
    Thank you for learnin’ me.

  79. #80 cpsmith
    March 15, 2009

    Ichthyic @68

    I think I may have the antidote to the Narwal song, but be forwarned, the cure may be more devastating than the disease…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlNw5ZuDYsk&feature=channel

  80. #81 Insightful Ape
    March 15, 2009

    #73 you forgot the gays that are trying to force their lifestyle on everyone else.

  81. #82 Ichthyic
    March 15, 2009

    @80:

    nope. tried that one, still have narwhals on the brain.

    did you know that they are the unicorns of the sea?

    *ARRRRRGHHHHH*

  82. #83 Monado
    March 15, 2009

    If you copy
    http://www.mnet.co.za/mnet/shows/carteblanche/
    then open a new browser window and paste it, it won’t show you as coming from a link on the dreaded P?? site.

  83. #84 woody
    March 15, 2009

    Umm…I think McVeigh would be reason for most Oklahomans to denounce terrorism. And he wasn’t from Oklahoma, anyway.

    I was living there–in Norman–at the time and I sincerely believe if they’d lit that thing off on a Sunday afternoon, when there was nobody around, they’d have been thought heroes…

  84. #85 co
    March 15, 2009

    For all with the narwhals song stuck hard in their brain, try the following:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ecujf0jCZXQ

  85. #86 woody
    March 15, 2009

    However, I’m sure OK has as many mutty militant groups fomenting hatred for anything the govnt does (cited by McVeigh as his primary motivators) that they disagree with as any other midwestern state.

    out by the Arkansas line, a place called elohim city, was where Mcveigh was heading when he got popped. a veritable hive of xian/dominionist/militia activity…

  86. #87 Ichthyic
    March 15, 2009

    @co:

    thanks!

    that did the trick.

    my mind has been reset.

    now…

    where am I?

  87. #88 Rokesmith
    March 15, 2009

    “Want to make a pro-life group literally eat it?”

    The Justice For All (JFA) Exhibit (www.jfaweb.org) was invited to speak at OU last fall. Your readers should be happy to know that no $$ changed hands between OU and JFA. (though some might assert that OU got what they paid for…?) Stereotyping aside, the predominately (so-called) pro-choice OU community was alive and ready to debate.

    Most recently the JFA Exhibit revisited the University of Texas-Austin (late Feb ’09). In fact Professor Myers, I’m in possession of correspondence between yourself and a University of Texas at Austin student by the name of Mark.

    Mark handed me a copy of his email addressed to you, and your email response addressed to him dated February 25, 2009, citing it as evidence that would require me to eat the page upon which your response to Mark was printed.

    Mark presented me your response for literal digestion because during the JFA presentation at UT-Austin several weeks ago I was heard to offer to eat the page of the biology textbook in use on the UT-Austin campus that asserts that “someone having human parents can be something other than biologically fully human, at any point in their existence.”

    I proffered my eating-the-page challenge that day in response to numerous students’ claim that the offspring of two human parents was not biologically human until birth (in their defense most of the students making this claim were not science majors).

    I did not eat the page that Mark handed me that day because it did not contain the evidence I requested. Which is why I now write to you. Mark believes and your response suggests that backing up your claim that “[Human] life does not begin at conception” should not be difficult.

    You further answered Mark that “…There is never a ‘dead’ phase — life is continuous. Sperm are alive, eggs are alive; you could even make the argument that since two cells (gametes) enter, but only one cell (a zygote) leaves, fertilization ends a life. Not that I would make that particular claim myself… .”

    I’m encouraged that you don’t make the claim that human fertilization ends a human beings’ life; however in postulating the argument you seem to grant pharyngulistic scientific credibility to those who might make such a claim? For what purpose? Surely not to discredit my position which you stated is “simplistic” and “nonsensical.”

    Unless you believe in the possibility of an extra-physical or metaphysical existence, I seriously doubt that you believe your own assertion that “…there is never a ‘dead’ phase… .”

    On what evidence do you base this claim? Do you believe in life after death in some physical or metaphysical sense? If you mean by this that at least one human self-directing organism must contribute living genetic material in order for a new member of the human species to come into existence, I quite agree.

    But then would we not also agree that sexually reproduced human beings have a beginning, and that that beginning is the conception of the new species member?

    Back to Mark’s question…from a biology or human embryology textbook in use on an accredited university campus (your own University of Minnesota-Morris campus would be fine), is there a chapter and page that unequivocally states that human beings do not begin at conception/fertilization?

    I look forward to your reply. Respectfully,

    R.

  88. #89 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 15, 2009

    Rokesmith, you bible says a baby is human until it is 1 month old. Either you lie or your bible lies. Anyway, you are wrong. Go away.

  89. #90 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 15, 2009

    wait

    What?

  90. #91 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 15, 2009

    Caught some of the Rev.’s typos. #89, …a baby isn’t human…

  91. #92 Josh
    March 15, 2009

    And who the fuck is that fuckhead?

    Hey, Rokesmith–today the 15th, dickweed. You missed New Troll Day. Try again.

  92. #93 Ciaphas
    March 15, 2009

    Nerd,

    Do you know where it says that? I’ve been sure it did for ages, but my google-fu is weak and I haven’t been able to find it. Probably just using the wrong search terms.

  93. #94 co
    March 15, 2009

    For those with tunes stuck in their heads, try doing some hard maths. I read (it may well be pseudo-scientific woo) that some of the same neural pathways are used for such things and for the subconscious repeating of annoying tunes. Probably someone here can confirm or correct that. In any case, it works wonders for me!

  94. #95 Sastra
    March 15, 2009

    Rokesmith #88 wrote:

    Back to Mark’s question…from a biology or human embryology textbook in use on an accredited university campus (your own University of Minnesota-Morris campus would be fine), is there a chapter and page that unequivocally states that human beings do not begin at conception/fertilization?

    I think you’re running into problems here with using different meanings of the term “human.” It can refer to species classification, or it can refer to personhood — someone who is conscious, aware, etc. I don’t think you can use one meaning to infer something about the other (such as, if it is human, then it is a human person.)

  95. #96 Sven DiMilo
    March 15, 2009

    Dude, unless you can define the term “diploid” and explain to me why diploid cells are “biologically human” whereas living haploid cells are not, you can take your ignorantly poaded questions and eat those.

  96. #97 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 15, 2009

    Ciaphas, Patricia or Owlmirror should be able to give us chapter and verse. It was old testament if I recall. Gotta finish a letter to the relatives or I would chase it down.

  97. #98 Sven DiMilo
    March 15, 2009

    that’s loaded questions…

  98. #99 DLC
    March 15, 2009

    I wouldn’t pay Ben Stein 50 cents for his visit.

    I would pay Richard Dawkins 60,000 for his. Of course, I’m not a college.

  99. #100 Rokesmith
    March 15, 2009

    Sastra, I purposefully use the more objective biological meaning of “human,” not the subjective connotations of personhood .

    Historically those with greater power have used legal and philosophical criteria for personhood to deprive humans they deem inferior of their value and rights.

    My definition of personhood is to ask “Who/what are your parents?” If they’re human beings, they’re persons. Period.

  100. #101 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 15, 2009

    Rokesmith, care to point us to a link that explains what the hell that rant above was referring to?

  101. #102 WTFinterrobang
    March 15, 2009

    I think these are the passages relevant to 1 month old children:

    Numbers 3:15
    Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers, by their families: every male from a month old and upward shalt thou number them.

    Leviticus 27:6
    And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver.

    It should be noted that children less than one month are not specifically noted; they’re just absent.

    I hope this doesn’t qualify me as a godbot! I promise I don’t believe in that bullshit and had to google it.

  102. #103 Natasha Yar-Routh
    March 15, 2009

    If you really want to blow your aural passageways out try these;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWYhxcj6Q0I

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_G9Gxd

    Play at Maximum Volume, repeat as necessary

    *Not responsible for bleeding from ears

  103. #104 vhutchison
    March 15, 2009

    Fortunately, under current law the Oklahoma Legislature does not directly control funding to individual colleges/universities. They appropriate a lump sum to the State Regents for higher education and the Regents decide how the funds are distributed to each institution. The Legislature, can pass a resolution offering their opinion, but such is not binding. Some legislatures woudlike to change this, but it is not on current agends to do so.

    Also, as mentioned in some posts above OU’s budget is only about 20% from State funds. As President David Boren of OU has said, OU is more like a ‘private’ university that gets some funding from the State. During Boren’s tenure he has been able to increase the OU endowment to over a billion dollars, add 400+ endowed chairs and professorships, established a large residential honors college, increase admission requirements, build a first class natural history museum, establish exchange relationships with numerous foreign schools, achieve one of the highest number per capita of national merit scholars, and much more. These major advances came with private, not State, funds.

  104. #105 Sastra
    March 15, 2009

    Rokesmith #100 wrote:

    Historically those with greater power have used legal and philosophical criteria for personhood to deprive humans they deem inferior of their value and rights.

    And historically this has only bothered us when the criteria for personhood was too narrow. If a doctor pulls the life support plug from someone who is irreversibly brain-dead, we do not use this as an example of “those with greater power” depriving a human of their values and rights. It does not strike us that way.

    The dispute then, I think, is over the criteria for being a person.

    My definition of personhood is to ask “Who/what are your parents?” If they’re human beings, they’re persons. Period.

    Bad definition from your point of view, since, if you asked a human zygote “who are your parents?” — it could not answer.

  105. #106 Rokesmith
    March 15, 2009

    RBDC, If you’re referring to my first rant go here:

    http://oudaily.com/news/2008/nov/06/our-view-photos-good-debate-despite-discomfort/

    If you’re referring to my response to Sastra,

    It’s my view that various people groups in American history, e.g., women, native Americans, African Americans, Japanese Americans, etc., who have always been full members of the human community, were historically (and in some areas and ways are still) deprived of their rights based upon an arbitrary criteria of personhood enforced by those in power.

  106. #107 Falyne
    March 15, 2009

    Mark handed me a copy of his email addressed to you, and your email response addressed to him dated February 25, 2009, citing it as evidence that would require me to eat the page upon which your response to Mark was printed.

    Parsing…. fail… sense not make. Eat an email? What evidence-citing would require eating anything…?

    We’ve got something weird about eating paper, and an anti-abortion rant, and it all appears to have fuck-all with the thread topic, except perhaps a tangential reference to an event at the same University.

    What. The. Fucking. Fuck.

  107. #108 debaser
    March 15, 2009

    Eheh, sorry my point was that just like people from Oklahoma don’t like being associated with domestic terrorism because of one act of terrorism by one guy, many other groups of people don’t like to be stereotyped based on the actions of one individual. In America though, white people (like me) almost never think that any particular terrible thing another white person does will cast aspersions on the rest of us. The same privilege is not granted to most everyone else.

    I figured the over-the-topness of the last sentence would mark it out as a parody/sarcasm. Didn’t do a good enough job I guess

  108. #109 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 15, 2009

    Ah ok. That’s what i thought but I had a hard time parsing it.

    I blame staying up way too late last night.

  109. #110 Rokesmith
    March 15, 2009

    Sastra #105 re: asking a human zygote who their parents are:

    True, but then neither could a newborn?

  110. #111 Falyne
    March 15, 2009

    Also, what about clones? They’ve got no parents, but they’d be human!

    Born in a science lab late one night,
    Without a mother or a father
    Just a test tube and a womb with a view.

    Seriously though, that’s one hell of a slippery slope you’ve got there. Yes, the personhood of oppressed groups has been (and still sometimes is) called into question. But grown humans of any ‘type’ are covered by “cogito, ergo sum”, while an embryo ain’t. It may be human tissue, but it’s not yet a human being.

  111. #112 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 15, 2009

    #109 was to debaser

  112. #113 debaser
    March 15, 2009

    @110

    Yeah that’s another example of why it’s a bad definition. What about people who can’t communicate? Never met their parents? Were raised by chimps?

    And anyway, what is the point of your “if its human, it’s human” argument?

  113. #114 WTFinterrobang
    March 15, 2009

    Sounds like Rev. BDC needs some bacon with a side of bacon grease.

  114. #115 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 15, 2009

    Sounds like Rev. BDC needs some bacon with a side of bacon grease.

    no kidding.

    Wife coming home at 1 am with friends does not make an early night.

  115. #116 cpsmith
    March 15, 2009

    Rookesmith @100

    The problem I think folks are trying to point out to you is that things which are biologically human are often not human beings (persons). A cancerous cell is biologically human as is every other cell or group of cells with human DNA. A sperm cell is human, an egg is human, your appendix is made of human cells and yes, an embryo is human. The point is that while these things are human (they all come from humans and have human DNA), they are not necessarily human beings.

    It takes more than DNA to make a person. In fact, not only is DNA not sufficient for personhood, I would argue that it is not even necessary. If we were to ever come across an advanced civilization on another planet, would we treat those individuals as sub-human just because they did not share our DNA? I would hope not.

    Personhood is not about what what DNA you do or do not have. It is about your capacity to think and feel. Persons have the right to life because we want to live. It is our hopes, dreams and our capacity to love our lives that makes us human beings rather than simply human. Embryos simply do not do this. They do not have the capacity to think, feel or have any opinion whatsoever on the subject of their continued existence. As far as I’m concerned, that means that an embryo is no more a person than my appendix.

  116. #117 JohnnieCanuck
    March 15, 2009

    Especially when the technology to take an appendix and create an embryo is just over the horizon.

    If it’s got the same potential…

  117. #118 Smidgy
    March 15, 2009

    Rokesmith, although it is hard to tell, given the complete and utter lack of context for your utterings, I think I can figure out what you’re on about. Unfortunately, you only reference the main thrust of PZ’s argument in exceedingly general terms, so I can’t really tell whether your assertion that he didn’t prove what you wanted is correct or not. However, one particular side point I gather PZ made, going by your post, is one that you actually seem to have missed – you cannot say ‘life BEGINS at conception’ because sperm and eggs themselves are, in fact, alive.

    Another thing that I note is the seemingly unconscious conflating of two terms – ‘life’ and ‘human life’. Again, going by your comments, PZ made the point that it could even be argued that conception actually ENDS a life, as two lives enter the process (the sperm’s and the egg’s), and only one results (the zygote), though it’s not an argument he would make himself. You answer that by saying, “I’m encouraged that you don’t make the claim that human fertilization ends a human beings’ life…” Even going purely by your comments, that’s not what PZ suggested – he suggested it could be argued it ends a LIFE. That life is not necessarily human.

    I would have said it was due to this conflation that you seem to go entirely off the deep end in the next section of your comments, by suggesting that PZ must believe in life after death to make the point that non-living matter is never involved in the conception process. However, you actually reference this idea, and then, seemingly make the leap that, if no non-living matter is involved, this ‘proves’ that human life begins at conception. This is a complete non sequitur.

  118. #119 Sven DiMilo
    March 15, 2009

    Living, diploid human cells are thriving in cell-culture Petri dishes all over the world. They are human cells, not human beings.

  119. #120 Ryan F Stello
    March 15, 2009

    Rokesmith spoke too soon,

    Sastra #105 re: asking a human zygote who their parents are:

    True, but then neither could a newborn?

    Methinks Rokesmith doesn’t get that that’s yet another strike against his/her idiotic definition of personhood.

    This is going to be a lonnnnnggg thread.

  120. #121 raven
    March 15, 2009

    I think you’re running into problems here with using different meanings of the term “human.”

    Naw. He is just a Liar for jesus doing what they do, trying to mislead people and boring the crap out of them with a nearly incoherent rant.

    Sperm can be human.
    Eggs can be human.
    Brain tumors can be human.
    Hela cancer cells in a petri dish are human.
    Hela cancer cells poured down the sink are human although they will soon be dead human cells.

    Human can be used as mofifier for anything caused or associated with or derived from humans. Human mediated global warming, human hands, human footprints, and so on.

  121. #122 Smidgy
    March 15, 2009

    Ah, I see from comments posted whilst I was typing my earlier comment, you are using the biological definition of ‘human’ to determine what is and is not a ‘human being’ – so even the single cell of a newly fertilised egg could be called a ‘human being’. Well, if that’s the case, I think PZ hit the nail on the head when he called your position ‘simplistic’ and ‘nonsensical’. By that reasoning, if, for example, I accidentally cut off the tip of my finger, then, by your reasoning, that finger-tip should be rushed to hopital, and all efforts should be made to make it survive in it’s own right as an independant being, as, biologically, it’s human, and therefore it is a human being.

  122. #123 Rokesmith
    March 15, 2009

    cpsmith #116 wrote:

    >>>”The problem I think folks are trying to point out to you is that things which are biologically human are often not human beings (persons). A cancerous cell is biologically human as is every other cell or group of cells with human DNA. A sperm cell is human, an egg is human, your appendix is made of human cells and yes, an embryo is human. The point is that while these things are human (they all come from humans and have human DNA), they are not necessarily human beings.”

    Agreed. If my arm was severed it would not be a separate self-directing human organism. But a developing human (unborn or born) can actually continue developing without an appendix. An appendix by itself cannot continue to develop.

    >>>”It takes more than DNA to make a person. In fact, not only is DNA not sufficient for personhood, I would argue that it is not even necessary.”

    Yes, but does it take more than DNA to make a self-directing human organism? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I think an arbitrary system for determining who has the sufficient appearance, development, size, independence or environment pulls up short of any system most born people would want to be measured by.

    >>>”If we were to ever come across an advanced civilization on another planet, would we treat those individuals as sub-human just because they did not share our DNA? I would hope not.”

    I agree. But then the U.S. doesn’t exactly have a spotless track record for how it treats newly found civilizations who look or act different. Unborn humans share our DNA; they normally share our capacity to think, feel and do calculus. Why should they be made second class humans for the purpose of getting rid of them if we don’t want them? (i.e., who aborts a wanted fetus?)

    >>>”Personhood is not about what what DNA you do or do not have. It is about your capacity to think and feel. Persons have the right to life because we want to live. It is our hopes, dreams and our capacity to love our lives that makes us human beings rather than simply human. Embryos simply do not do this. They do not have the capacity to think, feel or have any opinion whatsoever on the subject of their continued existence. As far as I’m concerned, that means that an embryo is no more a person than my appendix.”

    By capacity do you mean persons have to be able to perform the think and feel functions on demand or simply have the reasonable expectation (capacity) to think and feel at some future time?

  123. #124 raven
    March 15, 2009

    rokesmith the christofascist troll lying:

    Sastra, I purposefully use the more objective biological meaning of “human,” not the subjective connotations of personhood .

    Naw, you are just lying again. You are a Death Cult fanatic trolling this blog. Cut to the chase. Your message is, “You pro choice atheists are all baby killing fiends from the Outer Darkness.” Go ahead, save us some time dealing with yet again another evil fundie. You know you want to.

    How to you feel about forced childbearing and treating the majority of the population as walking wombs with no free will? The majority of the US population has rejected slavery for women. Tough world for you creeps these days.

  124. #125 AnthonyK
    March 15, 2009

    What sort of fuckwit is this? Impossible to understand his first post, long, badly written, cross. Drunk?
    Rokesmith. If anyone here or PZ Myers have ever done anything wrong to you, that’s a shame. We share your hurt and hope it soon goes away. We can help you no further. OK?
    Otherwise fuck off*.
    In Christ
    AnthonyK

    *He won’t though, will he?

  125. #126 rokesmith
    March 15, 2009

    Smidgey, I took issue with PZ’s claim that “…there is never a dead phase.”

    Maybe it’s best to ask Professor PZ to explain his own statement?

    —————–

    Sastra, how do you do the indent feature for text with the cool vertical line?

    Thanks, R.

  126. #127 AnthonyK
    March 15, 2009

    Don’t tell him, Sastra!

  127. #128 WTFinterrobang
    March 15, 2009

    Ha! I knew it: the godbot fucktards are always into the kinky shit!

    http://www.seekdiscipline.com/p/Rokesmith/

  128. #129 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 15, 2009

    Ha! I knew it: the godbot fucktards are always into the kinky shit!

    http://www.seekdiscipline.com/p/Rokesmith/

    hahahahahhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  129. #130 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 15, 2009

    Rokesmith, PZ owes you nothing and doesn’t have to respond to your inane assertions. But then you know that. Why don’t you put out your ideas and defend them. That would make this whole process quicker. You coy godbots are boring, as it takes you two days to get to your points–which we are well prepared for.

  130. #131 raven
    March 15, 2009

    Fortunately, under current law the Oklahoma Legislature does not directly control funding to individual colleges/universities. They appropriate a lump sum to the State Regents for higher education and the Regents decide how the funds are distributed to each institution.

    A lot of states do it this way. This is to insulate the universities from third rate politicians who want to promote their pet delusions or destroy any program that promises to delay the new dark ages.

    Like the christofascists of Oklahoma.

    A lot of states also adopted that funding disbursement mechanism after state politicians started mucking around with the curriculum and research programs. Frequent targets are human sexuality research, evolutionary biology, anything to do with politics or economics, or just anything they think is commie liberal stuff.

    I’m sure if you presented the legislators of Oklahoma with a copy of the US constitution, they would be appalled and start muttering about commie islamic propaganda.

  131. #132 AnthonyK
    March 15, 2009

    Sorry, bit rude there.

    Indent feature with cool vertical line

    It’s difficult to do immediately, and on Explorer and Firefox (not sure about Macs) will take at least 24 hours.
    First, save your work, and close down the computer. Leave it off for at least 30 mins, coming back to this message. Repeat 3 times. On the fourth time, go to tools>options>formatting>paragrahindent>science.
    Follow the directions as far as possible, closing down when needed. In 24 to 36 hours, full indent facility will be installed when you right click twice in the subject box of each post.
    Persevere Rokesmith, the above procedure will improve your posts immeasurably, at least in the short run.

  132. #133 'Tis Himself
    March 15, 2009

    Unborn humans share our DNA; they normally share our capacity to think, feel and do calculus.

    I’ve known a couple of people whose egos are so inflated that they’d probably claim they could do calculus while still in the womb. In reality, a very bright 15 year old can learn calculus, but I don’t think anyone too much younger could.

    Or were you trying to make a metaphor and failing miserably?

  133. #134 Ray S.
    March 15, 2009

    It seems to me that any sufficiently powerful deity that was truly offended by the termination of a zygote could prevent the termination from occurring. I’ve known couples who have learned through amnio, ultrasound or other methods that their pregnancy is doomed and chose the path that results in the least harm to the greatest number. For those who would refuse modern medical advice and treatment in such cases and possibly lose both mother and child, I think they have that right. What they don’t have is the right to birth such a child at enormous expense, especially if the child lives but is profoundly disabled, and foist the expense of caring for that child on the taxpayers.

    It also seems to me that a majority of those opposing abortion really think it’s only used as an ex post facto method of birth control.

    Rokesmith@123:

    Unborn humans share our DNA; they normally share our capacity to think, feel and do calculus.

    That’s a mighty smart fetus you’ve got there. How do you know it can do calculus?

  134. #135 Falyne
    March 15, 2009

    I have almost enough faith in humanity to believe that’s not the same Rokesmith. I mean, you’d hopefully not go trolling on the same name as your fetish ads, especially those that turn up on the first page of google results. Hell, you’d normally not want to do ANYTHING with that same name.

    Then again, there’s only two things that are infinite, and I’m not so sure about the universe, so…

    Plus, you’d generally wanna google your chosen name, to avoid coinkydinks like this, anyway. So maybe, I dunno.

  135. #136 paul
    March 15, 2009

    Yes, but the university will get millions from the Sooners’ appearance in the NCAA basketball tourney as a 2-seed. Who cares what the students think? Thinking, at this point, is out the window. By the way, what do the basketball players think? Or do they? What they paid Ben Stein is a drop in the bucket to what they’ll reap in from March Madness.
    However, I think they’ll go down in the second round.
    The kids should have learned more from “the Dick to the Dawk.”
    Legislate thinking? Gimme a brk!

  136. #137 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 15, 2009

    However, I think they’ll go down in the second round.

    Clemson ftw

  137. #138 AnthonyK
    March 15, 2009

    It’ll take him a few posts to clear his name though – if he can – and that may take time, especially if he decided to install Paraindent as I suggested.

  138. #139 Blind Squirrel FCD
    March 15, 2009

    that may take time, especially if he decided to install Paraindent as I suggested.

    Decent of you to tell him about the short method.

  139. #140 cpsmith
    March 16, 2009

    Rokesmith @123

    “Agreed. If my arm was severed it would not be a separate self-directing human organism. But a developing human (unborn or born) can actually continue developing without an appendix. An appendix by itself cannot continue to develop.”

    Neither can an embryo which requires that someone provide it with nutrients, hormones, an environment at just the right ph, temperature, salinity and so on.

    “Yes, but does it take more than DNA to make a self-directing human organism?” -obviously yes- “I don’t know the answer to that question,” -seriously?- “but I think an arbitrary system for determining who has the sufficient appearance, development, size, independence or environment pulls up short of any system most born people would want to be measured by.”

    How is your method not arbitrary. All of the comments thus far have been pointing out that conception is an arbitrary point in development that does not coincide with the appearance of any traits which would confer personhood to the resulting embryo.

    “I agree. But then the U.S. doesn’t exactly have a spotless track record for how it treats newly found civilizations who look or act different.”

    How is this relevant? I argue that using DNA as a necessary criterion for personhood means that you potentially leave out people who aught to be considered persons and your counter to this is that appearence and behaviour are not good indicators either. Well then, on this point we are agreed, but that still leaves us with the fact that DNA is not a necessary or sufficient condition for personhood.

    “Unborn humans share our DNA; they normally share our capacity to think, feel and do calculus.” -seriously???- “Why should they be made second class humans for the purpose of getting rid of them if we don’t want them? (i.e., who aborts a wanted fetus?)”

    Because they do not share our capacity to think feel and do calculus! That was my whole point! Well, perhaps not the calculus part, but the rest of it was. A foetus does not care if you kill it. If you have an abortion you are not squashing the hopes and dreams of the foetus because it doesn’t have any! Like I said, it has no opinion whatsoever on the issue. No preference at all. No hopes, no dreams, no sense of self, no cares about its existence nothing. It is because we do not see these traits to any significant degree in most other species that we feel justified in killing them for food. If we were to see these kinds of traits in another species to the extent that we see them in humans, we would be morally obligated to extend to them the status of personhood. It is because all human beings, regardless of race or sex, have these traits that personhood was ever extended. It is our thoughts, feelings and our sense of self that makes us human beings rather than just human.

    Lastly to answer your question, I used the word capacity to mean something like -capable of doing so now.

  140. #141 Ciaphas
    March 16, 2009

    WTFinterrobang @102

    I think these are the passages relevant to 1 month old children:
    Numbers 3:15 (clipped)
    Leviticus 27:6 (clipped)
    It should be noted that children less than one month are not specifically noted; they’re just absent.

    Thanks WTF. I was hoping for something that more specifically addressed personhood but you can only provide what’s actually there. In any case these should be enough for me to try and out-crazy someone later.

  141. #142 Notagod
    March 16, 2009

    rokesmith,

    Every freaking cell has the capacity to be another human being. By christian reasoning all cells should be frozen until humans have the ability to grow the cells into self sustaining humans. Fertilized eggs are only one of the ways to develop an individual.

    Are you suggesting that a cloned human wouldn’t be human? What of all the human cells that are thrown away every day, what do you intend to do with those cells? Would you allow research to be done? How about testing? Remember each cell is a potential human.

  142. #143 Mena
    March 16, 2009

    Yet again I find myself thinking that the Republican party should just officially make the “All in the Family” theme their official song.

  143. #144 rokesmith
    March 16, 2009

    cpsmith #140:

    >>> “It is because all human beings, regardless of race or sex, have these traits that personhood was ever extended. It is our thoughts, feelings and our sense of self that makes us human beings rather than just human.”

    History is replete with examples of race and sex being the very tool used to deny personhood.

    But assume I grant the point. If it’s what we know or feel or what we can do that makes a human a person, wouldn’t we normally pick out age appropriate criteria for assigning personhood? e.g., what can we expect a toddler to think, feel or do? If they can’t act like a teen, do they only fail the teen personhood test, or do they fail your personhood test entirely?

    >>> “Lastly to answer your question, I used the word capacity to mean something like -capable of doing so now.”

    So then at what human age in your personhood paradigm do most humans become persons? e.g., are most human 6 month old babies persons by this definition?

    R.

  144. #145 Discombobulated
    March 16, 2009

    @rokesmith:

    Given that we define death/loss of personhood as the point where brain activity ceases, why not do that for the other end, too? When brain activity starts, the clump of cells is no longer just an unguided, dividing clump of metabolic activity.

    At the risk of making a fool of myself on a blog full of biologists, I’ve read that this happens toward the end of the first trimester, at about 10 weeks or so (corrections graciously accepted).

    Seems most consistent, anyway.

  145. #146 simon
    March 16, 2009

    “Cheap meat is morally expensive” – (Jonah Lehner)

    Jonah is right.

    however, every “cheap meats” thrown by PZM gluttonously ate by his followers.

  146. #147 WTFinterrobang
    March 16, 2009

    Discombobulated said:
    “When brain activity starts, the clump of cells is no longer just an unguided, dividing clump of metabolic activity.”

    Does this make it legal to abort the godbots up until the time they renounce their beliefs?

  147. #148 cactusren
    March 16, 2009

    Rokesmith: I think what cpsmith is getting at is that a fertilized egg (which you consider to be a person) is a single, undiferentiated cell. This means it has no nerves, no brain, no eyes, etc.; in short, no ability to feel or think at all.

    The fact that some people have been abused and not treated as full people or citizens through history, while tragic, does not mean that we need to now extend the priveledges of personhood to unthinking, unfeeling clumps of cells.

  148. #149 cpsmith
    March 16, 2009

    “History is replete with examples of race and sex being the very tool used to deny personhood.”

    Yes. That was my point. Sex and race, like DNA, are not good ways of assigning personhood. Cognitive traits, not physical traits are what is relevant to personhood. It is because people share important cognitive traits that we largely abandon the use of such physical traits when deciding who is and who is not a person.

    “If it’s what we know or feel or what we can do that makes a human a person, wouldn’t we normally pick out age appropriate criteria for assigning personhood?”

    No, and I really don’t see why you think this would be the case. The kind of stuff that I (and others) have been talking about as the criteria for personhood (like the sense of self), are all things which are present within the first few months after birth.

    “So then at what human age in your personhood paradigm do most humans become persons?”

    Technically I would say they don’t really become persons until some months after birth (though others may not agree). However, I would support the legal personhood of newborns because:

    a)While granting foetuses personhood can cause a great deal of harm for women, I fail to see how granting newborns personhood could cause much harm to anyone.

    b)There is no knowing the exact time a newborn gains all these traits and all else being equal, it is better to grant personhood when it is not warranted than to deny it when it is warranted.

    c)Once born the baby becomes an independant part of our society, finally able to interact with those around it. As such a harm to it can easily and reasonably be a great harm to those it interacts with (kill a newborn and the parents, grandparents and so on will likely be devastated). Therefore it needs to be protected, not just for its own sake, but also for the sake of the society/family it is interacting with.

  149. #150 Discombobulated
    March 16, 2009

    @WTFinterrobang:

    Does this make it legal to abort the godbots up until the time they renounce their beliefs?

    Well played, sir :-) That would definitely have to be taken into consideration.

    However, their autonomic nervous system would seem to be intact, providing the basic stimulus/response reaction (see logical argument based on evidence -> cut/paste apologetic from ICR/AIG), so perhaps that would have be granted as an exception to the guideline.

  150. #151 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    Given that we define death/loss of personhood as the point where brain activity ceases, why not do that for the other end, too? When brain activity starts, the clump of cells is no longer just an unguided, dividing clump of metabolic activity.

    At the risk of making a fool of myself on a blog full of biologists, I’ve read that this happens toward the end of the first trimester, at about 10 weeks or so (corrections graciously accepted).

    Actually, human cortex is innervated only after 17th week. so prior 17th week no consciousness, just brainstem reflexes.

    While I personally agree with you, that defining both start and end of personhood by brain function, is the most reasonable and constistent way,
    I don’t think that you find much support for this approach because there are too many singerians ( you are person only if you can prove your persoonhood ), propertyists ( it depends with his life on me, so it is my property, I can kill it at whim ) and parasitists ( it takes nutrients from my, so it is a parasite because parasites take nutrients from their hosts ) in the pro choice camp.

  151. #152 Conor H.
    March 16, 2009

    “But assume I grant the point. If it’s what we know or feel or what we can do that makes a human a person, wouldn’t we normally pick out age appropriate criteria for assigning personhood? e.g., what can we expect a toddler to think, feel or do? If they can’t act like a teen, do they only fail the teen personhood test, or do they fail your personhood test entirely?”

    We do do something like that. There are developmental milestones that children are supposed to reach by certain ages and it tends to cause concern if they don’t. Now, this doesn’t mean we kill them or relegate them to second class citizenship. OTOH, we can make people of diminished mental capacity wards of the state or otherwise abridge their rights… so I guess we do do that in a sense.

  152. #153 Blue Fielder
    March 16, 2009

    Note that rokesmith changed from using a capital letter to not using one.

    Killfile evasion; therefore, troll; therefore, b&worthy.

  153. #154 Conor H.
    March 16, 2009

    T_U_T, that’s not my experience at all, in fact I can’t name a single person who ascribes themselves to any of those positions in my circle of liberal intellectual pro-choice friends. Conversely, I think most of them would find a neuroscience driven argument much more reasonable and persuasive.

  154. #155 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    Conor.H.
    I was talking about this blog. ( and other blogs) where those opinions are much more presented than in real life.
    I neither know personally any of those ilk.
    But, I’ve seen loads of them online.

  155. #156 Leigh Williams
    March 16, 2009

    Laurie, thank you for the link to “No Longer Quivering”. I have personal reasons for wanting to keep tabs on the Quiverfull heresy, and these women’s stories are important.

  156. #157 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 16, 2009

    “Cheap meat is morally expensive” – (Jonah Lehner)

    Jonah is right.

    however, every “cheap meats” thrown by PZM gluttonously ate by his followers

    Simon. Shut up.

    You’re an idiot.

  157. #158 Soapy Sam's Monkey
    March 16, 2009

    Rokesmith’s argument is more fun with singing and dancing:

    Every sperm is sacred

  158. #159 Ray S.
    March 16, 2009

    The Christian bible clearly condones slavery. How is that not creating two or more classes of humans? And the Old Testament dodge won’t work, because Paul’s teachings clearly claim women are inferior to men. Look at how recently women gained the right to vote even in the US. How about all Christians abandon the line of argument claiming a fetus is a second class citizen until there is a female pope.

  159. #160 simon
    March 16, 2009

    an idiot makes you look clever.

    thanks to idiots.

  160. #161 WTFinterrobang
    March 16, 2009

    @Soapy Sam’s Monkey #158

    Uhhhhh….I guess that makes a single guy’s drain one of the most sacred places on earth.

    @Rev BDC #157
    Thank you! My sentiments exactly.

  161. #162 Leigh Williams
    March 16, 2009

    Rokesmith, there are many of us in the pro-choice camp who are amenable to the argument from neuroscience: that is, when the fetus develops a cortex and has recognizably human brain function, it attains personhood. That is, I believe, around the 20th week of gestation.

    A oocyte is a single cell. A blastocyst is a small clump of cells. The embryo isn’t even recognizably human until the end of the first trimester. It’s also worth noting that at least 1/3 of pregnancies never make it to this stage due to entirely natural causes . . . the blastocyst didn’t emplant, it didn’t develop naturally, the woman’s body couldn’t support it . . . a whole host of reasons.

    So, does it really make any sense to call the product of conception a human being before it has a brain and human brain waves? We don’t have funerals for early-stage miscarriages, you know.

    Maybe that ought to be your criteria for personhood — we have funerals for people.

  162. #163 Leigh Williams
    March 16, 2009

    Oh, heck. IMPLANT. I spell like a maroon when I am tired.

  163. #164 Luis
    March 16, 2009

    My definition of personhood is to ask “Who/what are your parents?” If they’re human beings, they’re persons. Period.

    One day, a few years ago, my then-supervisor came to my office and asked me what I thought about a certain as-yet unstudied phenomenon. Together, we produced this:

    doi:10.1016/j.lingua.2007.11.007

    We can be considered the parents of this paper: (i) it wouldn’t exist without us; (ii) neither of us alone could have produced it without the other’s help; (iii) we were both involved in every stage of its development, from the first “let’s write something moment” until its maturity (publication in a peer-reviewed journal).

    Now, my co-author is human. So am I. So, to the extent we can be considered the parents of this paper, this paper is human. You’ll be taken to court for murder if you are caught defiling the journal issue that contains it.

  164. #165 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    “Who/what are your parents?” If they’re human beings, they’re persons. Period.

    then henrietta lacks is still among us, so, we should ask her descendants to give her property back, because you can inherit from a still living person.

  165. #166 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 16, 2009

    an idiot makes you look clever.

    thanks to idiots.

    Yep, idiots like you Simple Simon the Gay Lieman. If you ever have an idea, don’t bother to let us know. We don’t care.

  166. #167 amphiox
    March 16, 2009

    One day a computer program will probably attain a suite of cognitive abilities equivalent to any human being, and I would hope that when that day comes we will grant it legal recognition of personhood, regardless of the fact that it has no DNA or any other biological property whatsoever.

    I would also point out that the full suite of cognitive abilities that we recognize as human (judgment, empathy, emotion, etc, etc, etc) is not fully attained by most of us until well into our late teens/early twenties, and some of us never attain the full set, while others of us will lose some of these abilities, from illness, accident, or simply age.

    And our legal systems recognize this. Young children are afforded protection under the law, but not the full suite of rights granted to adults. (They can’t vote, drive, drink, and they do not have freedom of association – they are not allowed to leave their parents and they are compelled to attend school, for example) Disabled persons may also have some of their rights taken away. If you have certain illnesses, you are not allowed to drive. Freedom of movement is restricted for some of the mentally ill. People who are comatose cannot vote.

    In the most extreme example, it is acceptable, though emotionally searing, to separate conjoined twins in some circumstances even if doing so guarantees the death of one of them. The very right to life for one twin is curtailed for the sake of the other.

  167. #168 WTFinterrobang
    March 16, 2009

    Speaking for the Gays:

    We do NOT want Simon!

  168. #169 amphiox
    March 16, 2009

    Those who advocate for the legal recognition of a fetus, under whatever criteria, either fail to see (or deliberately refuse to acknowledge) that, relevant to the abortion issue, the whole argument is an obfuscation.

    A fetus cannot exist independent of a woman. So long as the woman’s rights are recognized as primary, whatever recognition you choose to grant to the fetus is irrelevant to the question. The pro-life position is about curtailing the rights of women, nothing more and nothing less.

  169. #170 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    And there goes the first propertist.

    A fetus cannot exist independent of a woman. So long as the woman’s rights are recognized as primary, whatever recognition you choose to grant to the fetus is irrelevant to the question.

    So, for patients admitted to the intensive care unit, the hospital should be recognized as primary, and may dispose of them as needed. I sincerely hope you will never need a dialysis machine because otherwise you will become property of the hospital owning it.

  170. #171 Rokesmith
    March 16, 2009

    Conor H. #152 wrote:

    Now, this doesn’t mean we kill them or relegate them to second class citizenship.

    My point exactly. Imagine a professor who after a semester of instruction gives the students a test that would normally require 6 additional months of instruction and study to pass; but since no student after only 3 months of instruction can pass the exam, the prof passes only those he or she wants to pass, and “because” the rest of the class can’t pass the test, they’re thrown out with the trash.

    Note abortion physician Dr. Warren Hern’s explanation (he’s also a teaching physician at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver):

    “Unwantedness may be regarded as a major complication of pregnancy, with abortion as the indicated treatment rather than medical management as would be the case with a wanted pregnancy.” p.8, Abortion Practice, 1984.

    I also appreciate Naomi Wolf’s honesty in this regard:

    “So, what will it be: wanted fetuses are charming REM-dreaming little beings whose profile on the sonogram looks just like Daddy, but unwanted ones are ‘mere uterine material’?” (her emphasis) The New Republic, 10/16/95

    Americans are aborting thousands of “unwanted” children each year that could normally be cared for in most neo-natal health facilities in this country.

    At what expense? Less than U.S. taxpayers currently fork over for incarcerating people deemed seriously harmful to society.

    OTOH, we can make people of diminished mental capacity wards of the state or otherwise abridge their rights… so I guess we do do that in a sense.

    True. But isn’t the goal of that action supposedly to protect rather than harm?

    R.

  171. #172 Leigh Williams
    March 16, 2009

    Logic FAIL on #170. Amphiox declares that, of two people recognized in the pregnancy, the woman’s rights prevail on the basis that she is already an autonomous individual, whereas the fetus is not.

    A hospital is not a person and does not have privacy and bodily autonomy rights as a person does. You’ve comparing apples and bicycle parts. And frankly, the very idea that you would compare a living female human being to a heart-lung machine is disgusting.

    I myself would agree with Amphiox entirely, but only up to the 22nd week of gestation (lower boundary of viability). After that, I believe the woman’s life and health take priority in life-threatening situations. Furthermore, in cases of major fetal defect, the parents’ wishes should be honored without delay. And yes, I think that parents should decide what constitutes a major defect. They are, after all, the people who would have to carry the burden of a child with a major developmental defect.

  172. #173 frog
    March 16, 2009

    Discombobulated: At the risk of making a fool of myself on a blog full of biologists, I’ve read that this happens toward the end of the first trimester, at about 10 weeks or so (corrections graciously accepted).

    Um, no. Myelinization isn’t complete until 3 months after birth — that’s when “human thought” begins. Until then, a week old puppy has more coherent thought patterns than a human newborn. “Brain waves” only means that the tissue is healthy — the question is when thoughts happen, which requires coherent behavior of the brain as a whole.

    The problem that the theocrats have is that any line they draw then erodes the line between human beings and animals. They want to deny the essence of humanness — thought — and reduce us to blobs of cells in order to differentiates us from other mammals who share “thinking” with us. If we think about this rationally, we actually have more of a moral responsibility toward a chimp than a fetus.

    But Zombie-God’s flesh isn’t for the other Great Apes. He’s not a moral entity, but a purely tribal one.

  173. #174 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    I also appreciate Naomi Wolf’s honesty in this regard:

    “So, what will it be: wanted fetuses are charming REM-dreaming little beings whose profile on the sonogram looks just like Daddy, but unwanted ones are ‘mere uterine material’?” (her emphasis) The New Republic, 10/16/95

    seems quote mines work at full capacity today.

  174. #175 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    Myelinization isn’t complete until 3 months after birth — that’s when “human thought” begins. Until then, a week old puppy has more coherent thought patterns than a human newborn. “Brain waves” only means that the tissue is healthy — the question is when thoughts happen, which requires coherent behavior of the brain as a whole.

    there is evidence for both fetal learning and neonate cognition, so, no, I am not buying this, until there is real evidence that full myelinization is a must have for consciousness .

  175. #176 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    Logic FAIL on #170. Amphiox declares that, of two people recognized in the pregnancy, the woman’s rights prevail on the basis that she is already an autonomous individual, whereas the fetus is not.

    the thing is, that I disagree that your rights should be conditional upon your autonomousness. Otherwise disabled people become fair game.

  176. #177 Leigh Williams
    March 16, 2009

    And no, we are not aborting “thousands” of viable fetuses every year. That’s pure nonsense.

    According to Guttmacher, approximately .04% of abortions in the U.S. are performed in the third trimester, and .08% after 20 weeks. This amounts to perhaps 400-700 per year past viability; the reporting agencies don’t include that as a category. It is possible these numbers are underreported, as Guttmacher notes. Our data are not conclusive. But given that post-viability abortion is legally limited in 36 states, I personally doubt it.

    We also don’t know how many of these are done for reasons involving fetal defect or health risks to the mother. Your notion that we’re out slaughtering thousands of viable fetuses is just plain wrong.

  177. #178 Leigh Williams
    March 16, 2009

    T_U_T: “the thing is, that I disagree that your rights should be conditional upon your autonomousness. Otherwise disabled people become fair game.”

    Well, no. Disabled people can use MACHINES to continue life. To make this apples-to-apples, you’ve got to argue that they have the right TO USE SOMEONE ELSE’S BODY to remain alive.

    We don’t grant that right to born people. Why should be grant it to fetuses?

  178. #179 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    And frankly, the very idea that you would compare a living female human being to a heart-lung machine is disgusting.

    frankly, you are putting shit in my mouth.
    I said something completely different. I wanted to point out, that once the principle that someone you depend with your life on can kill you is established, there is really no difference between being dependent on one person, or entire group of persons. And also, comatose patient can be far more burdensome for the staff than a fetus can be for the mother, so we would have to accept both killing an unwanted fetus, and killing a difficult patient.

  179. #180 Tulse
    March 16, 2009

    Disabled people can use MACHINES to continue life. To make this apples-to-apples, you’ve got to argue that they have the right TO USE SOMEONE ELSE’S BODY to remain alive.

    But I’m sure that T_U_T is completely consistent and, for example, supports legally enforced seizure of healthy kidneys from “donors” to ensure that others with kidney disease can get transplants….right, T_U_T?

  180. #181 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    have the right TO USE SOMEONE ELSE’S BODY to remain alive.

    many disabled people require almost nonstop care. You say, that one can still be transported to other hospital/doctor. But what if it is the only hospital around or the patient can not be transported at all ?
    You can not have it both ways. If you lose your right to life to the person/group you lost your autonomy to, then patients can be killed too.

  181. #182 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    But I’m sure that T_U_T is completely consistent and, for example, supports legally enforced seizure of healthy kidneys from “donors” to ensure that others with kidney disease can get transplants….right, T_U_T?

    if you make kidney transplants as safe for the donor as pregnancy is, then I would say yes, but, I am afraid we will be able to grow artificial kidneys much sooner, so your point is moot.

  182. #183 Leigh Williams
    March 16, 2009

    And once again I point out to you that we have a well-established body of law that protects disabled people from being murdered. And I remind you that the right to bodily integrity is at stake, and that is no small matter.

    Because what we don’t have is any law that COMPELS a human person to offer parts of her body to save someone else’s life. No one can even be constrained to donate blood to save someone’s life. But in this one situation, you’re quite willing to compel a woman to offer her entire body and all her organ systems to save someone else’s life. Can’t you see how wrong that is, and how your analogy is flawed?

    Take this to its logical conclusion. If we can so compel women, why can’t we compel YOU to donate, say, a kidney to save a life? You’re pro-life, aren’t you? So you won’t mind if we take a kidney (you’ve got two), or a piece of liver (it will grow back, probably), or bone marrow (sure, it hurts, but that’s okay, isn’t it, when the stakes are so high?).

  183. #184 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    No one can even be constrained to donate blood to save someone’s life.

    And there we disagree again.

    If we can so compel women, why can’t we compel YOU to donate, say, a kidney to save a life?

    Here in europe we have actual duty to save other person as long as it doesn’t put our own life in danger. So, make kidney donation comparably safe to birth , and I will agree . And, also it works in the opposite direction as well. If the pregnancy posses as much risk to the mother as kidney donation, then there are really medical reasons for the abortion, and no one is opposed to it.

    You’re pro-life, aren’t you?

    No, not really. I think that we can rule personhood before 17h week out, so I would allow abortion up to week 16.

  184. #185 Tulse
    March 16, 2009
    But I’m sure that T_U_T is completely consistent and, for example, supports legally enforced seizure of healthy kidneys from “donors” to ensure that others with kidney disease can get transplants….right, T_U_T?

    if you make kidney transplants as safe for the donor as pregnancy is, then I would say yes

    Holy crap! Really?!?! You want the State to be able to compel me to undergo a medical procedure that would remove one of my organs to give to a total stranger? I’m speechless, except to say that I now know what a frickin’ loon you are.

    As an aside, I find it bizarre that the Right feels the government should legally compel a woman to remain pregnant for nine months for the good of another potential human being, yet refuses to pay taxes for social programs.

  185. #186 Smidgy
    March 16, 2009

    Smidgey, I took issue with PZ’s claim that “…there is never a dead phase.”

    Maybe it’s best to ask Professor PZ to explain his own statement?

    Well, just taking that statement to mean what it says, what he means is that there is never a phase in conception where something dead is involved. Going by your original comments, your ‘issue’ is that:

    1) PZ, for some reason you don’t clearly explain, must believe in some kind of life after death to make this statement, or;

    2) This somehow directly proves that a zygote of two humans is a human being, or;

    3) Both of the above.

    Unfortunately, you haven’t actually explained the logic you used to come to this conclusion, so it appears to be ‘none at all’.

    Your further comments after that reply to me seem to generally disvow the statement you made earlier which seemed to indicate that anything that was biologically human was a human being (“I purposefully use the more objective biological meaning of “human,” not the subjective connotations of personhood”), by adding in other criteria over and above the simple definition of ‘if it’s biologically human, it’s a human being’. So, can you give us a clear, unequivocal definition of what, according to you, qualifies as a human being, bearing in mind that you have already indicated that includes that something must be a ‘separate self-directing human organism’, even though this also rules out a human zygote, and even a gestating human fetus?

    Further on in this thread, you continue, as a response to cpsmith:

    If it’s what we know or feel or what we can do that makes a human a person, wouldn’t we normally pick out age appropriate criteria for assigning personhood? e.g., what can we expect a toddler to think, feel or do? If they can’t act like a teen, do they only fail the teen personhood test, or do they fail your personhood test entirely?

    Again, you’re conflating. Cpsmith’s point (as I understand it, anyway) is that these people can undeniably think and feel and have a sense of self. WHAT they think and WHAT they feel is absolutely irrelevant – they do it, so your idea of a teen ‘failing the teen personhood test’ or even ‘failing the personhood test entirely’ because they think or feel the wrong thing is equally irrelevant. This is definitely not true of a fetus in the earliest stages of gestation, and probably not true of a fetus until a significant period into gestation (T_U_T quoted the 17th week of gestation), and quite possibly not until after some months after birth, as Cpsmith says. I am not an expert in that area, so I’ll leave that to those who are. What is certain is that a zygote, or small cluster of cells, cannot possibly have these capabilities, so your definition, and underlying argument, is wrong. As for your assertion that unborn fetuses can ‘do calculus’, I’ll just leave that to stand on it’s own – the idea is so absurd, it defeats itself.

    Now, on to your point about the professor at #171. This is an incorrect analogy. A better analogy would be if a group of researchers was trying to grow a clone of a sheep. He modifies 277 sheep ovules by replacing their nuclei with the nuclei from cells from a cell culture grown from the mammary gland of an adult sheep. Only one grows into a healthy adult sheep. According to your logic, he has actually succeeded 277 times.

    As for your quote from Warren Hern, well, firstly, that’s actually from a paper presented to the American Anthropological Association in 1970. Part of the study the paper is about is the psychological impact and implication of pregnancy on women, and, if I remember correctly (it was a while since I read it) that the psychological impact of an unwanted pregnancy may be so great that it accentuates the physiological symptoms of pregnancy to such a degree that they risk harming the fetus, so termination may be the medically correct course of action.

    As for your quote by Naomi Wolf, have you actually read the article that’s from? If so, then her point obviously went WAY over your head. If not, why use that quote? That quote, in context, actually undermines your argument, not supports it, because she is trying to argue that things aren’t as black and white as that.

    As for your last point about prison spending, all you’ve successfully done is argue, effectively, that the US has too many criminals.

  186. #187 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    You want the State to be able to compel me to undergo a medical procedure that would remove one of my organs to give to a total stranger?

    No, not really. There is no way to make removal of your kidney to be safe . ( there is a reason why we have two of them after all )

    I’m speechless, except to say that I now know what a frickin’ loon you are.

    I am sorry to disapoint you, but I lost my sanity long ago, and consistency remains the only way to not explode in a cloud of highly radioactive madness. :O)

    I find it bizarre that the Right feels the government should legally compel a woman to remain pregnant for nine months for the good of another potential human being, yet refuses to pay taxes for social programs.

    Actually, I find it bizarre too, but I am just a frickin’ loon, so it does not count.

  187. #188 Leigh Williams
    March 16, 2009

    You know, I was going to demonstrate to T_U_T that kidney donation is already as safe as pregnancy and childbirth, and then I thought, WTF?

    This is someone who just told us he would support COERCED ORGAN DONATIONS.

    Conversation over. Goodbye, nutjob.

  188. #189 Tulse
    March 16, 2009

    There is no way to make removal of your kidney to be safe .

    And pregnancy is totally safe? No woman ever dies or has permanent complications resulting from pregnancy?

    And, even if a medical procedure is perfectly safe, does that then give the State carte blanche to demand it of its citizens? Do you think that, for example, people should be legally compelled to give blood?

  189. #190 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    I was going to demonstrate to T_U_T that kidney donation is already as safe as pregnancy and childbirth,

    no way. cutting out your kidney as safe as childbirth ? No way. A child usually doesn’t take half of the womb with it.

    This is someone who just told us he would support COERCED ORGAN DONATIONS.

    garbage in -> garbage out.

    Sci-fi circumstances in -> sci-fi results out

  190. #191 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    And pregnancy is totally safe? No woman ever dies or has permanent complications resulting from pregnancy?

    nothing is 100% safe, you can not demand the impossible. So, reasonable safety is enough. In developed countries, the risk of childbirth is really miniscule.

    does that then give the State carte blanche to demand it of its citizens? Do you think that, for example, people should be legally compelled to give blood?

    Here in the europe, the government already has the carte blanche to force you to rescue other peson’s life as long at it does not put yourself in (unreasonable) danger. And nothing bad happened yet. No forced drowning child rescue totality happened yuet,

  191. #192 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    screwqed the blockquote tag, so,

    I was going to demonstrate to T_U_T that kidney donation is already as safe as pregnancy and childbirth,

    no way. cutting out your kidney as safe as childbirth ? No way. A child usually doesn’t take half of the womb with it.

    This is someone who just told us he would support COERCED ORGAN DONATIONS.

    garbage in -> garbage out.

    Sci-fi circumstances in -> sci-fi results out

  192. #193 Josh
    March 16, 2009

    ( there is a reason why we have two of them after all )

    And what reason, beyond bilateral symmetry, would that be?

  193. #194 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    And what reason, beyond bilateral symmetry, would that be?

    filtering capacity reserve. If it is too low, you would run into serious trouble each time your body would need to excrete something really swiftly.

    ( if only one kidney would be enough, and we would have two of them, their size would be reduced during evolution till further decrease is more costly in terms of fitness than the energy expended on excess kidney capacity )

  194. #195 stogoe
    March 16, 2009

    Dude, just stop while people think you’re just a fucking nutbag. Stop. Digging. You fucking nutbag.

  195. #196 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    Dude, just stop while people think you’re just a fucking nutbag. Stop. Digging. You fucking nutbag.

    You think I am a fucking nutbag because in completely made up sci-fi circumstances I would make a completely sci-fi decision.
    I think you are a fucking nutbag because in rather common circumstances you would kill one person for other person’s convenience. Pretty symmetric, isn’t it ? No, not really. Note the difference between ‘completely sci-fi’ and ‘rather common’.

  196. #197 cpsmith
    March 16, 2009

    Actually, lots of people are born with only one kidney and they suffer no I’ll effects. I only found out that I was missing one because I was getting a scan for something completely unrelated. Most people with this will never know the difference. You only need one.

    And while we are talking about whether it is ok to compell people to donate organs and whatnot, could anyone seriously support compelling people to go through a procedure as painful as pregnancy? I’ve never gone through it myself, but I hear it hurts alot. Like, alot alot. Not to mention all the tearing that usually happens…. Seriously, giving birth often results in some nasty damage to the vagina.

  197. #198 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    could anyone seriously support compelling people to go through a procedure as painful as pregnancy?

    Do you think that abortion is less painful to the fetus ?

  198. #199 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    actually, lots of people are born with only one kidney and they suffer no I’ll effects. I only found out that I was missing one because I was getting a scan for something completely unrelated. Most people with this will never know the difference. You only need one.

    Not true. For example people with one kidney were excluded from draft, and even back then, when commies were in charge here. And they weren’t really picky.

  199. #200 Notagod
    March 16, 2009

    Using tut’s reasoning he should accept all of us when we move into his house. Tut how long will it take before you abort any one of us?

  200. #201 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    Using tut’s reasoning he should accept all of us when we move into his house. Tut how long will it take before you abort any one of us?

    I think you can survive outside of it pretty well. So, no. I am not required to let you in. (if it was for example a fallout shelter during nuclear war, I would of course be morally obliged to let all people up to the maximum capacity in)

  201. #202 Iain Walker
    March 16, 2009

    Rokesmith (#171):

    Imagine a professor who after a semester of instruction gives the students a test that would normally require 6 additional months of instruction and study to pass; but since no student after only 3 months of instruction can pass the exam, the prof passes only those he or she wants to pass, and “because” the rest of the class can’t pass the test, they’re thrown out with the trash.

    This has to be one of the sillier analogies I’ve seen trotted out by an anti-abortionist.

    Firstly, the unfairness of such a scenario lies in the fact that the participants are already persons with the rights this entails, and the professor is acting arbitrarily and in bad faith, given the norms of the teacher-student relationship. The professor has an obligation to pass or fail students on the basis of what they should reasonably be expected to know and understand at the time of the test, and the obligation arises because the students are other persons with whom the professor has an implicit contract to judge fairly. But in the case of a foetus being “passed” or “failed”, we cannot assume that this kind of moral consideration applies, since the issue in contention is whether a foetus is a person in the first place.

    In other words, you’re trying to draw a parallel between a situation in which the morality or reasonableness of a test depends on the assumption that a given criterion applies, and a situation in which the test itself is for whether that criterion applies at all. So your analogy does not show that what is objectionable in the professor’s case is objectionable in the case of abortion.

    Secondly (and this is partly a restatement of my first point), in the case of abortion, the personhood test is more akin to an entrance exam than a class test – it is a test to see whether it is an entity to which it is appropriate to ascribe the rights and interests of a morally significant being, just as an entrance exam is a test to see whether it is appropriate to grant someone the rights of membership of the student body. So a better analogy would be with a professor who sets a test which is automatically passed by anyone who is a matriculated student, and which may be passed or failed by non-students, depending on other criteria.

    Thirdly, in your analogy, there is no indication of why the professor is acting in this way. Does he/she want to streamline the class? Then why not apply a test that will genuinely distinguish between the gifted students and the less gifted (or whatever the criterion is that the professor has in mind)? As you describe the situation, the professor’s behaviour appears irrational, not only because the test is pointless under the circumstances, but because there is no suggestion at all that he/she has any reason for his/her decision to pass or fail any given student – it is presented as being genuinely arbitrary. Whereas with abortion, there are plenty of morally relevant reasons that might affect a decision to “pass” or “fail” a given foetus – e.g., the health of the mother, the burden of caring for an unwanted child etc etc.

    And fourthly, since there is no obvious downside to a student passing the test, no potentially negative effect on the rights and interests of others, there is no analogue to the potential harm that an unwanted pregnancy can bring. There’s no comparison with the various pros and cons that a pregnant woman must weigh up when making such a decision.

    So all in all, a massive analogy fail.

  202. #203 cpsmith
    March 16, 2009

    @198

    I imagine that would depend on how it is done and at what stage of development. But keep in mind, my point was simply that pregnancy is not the harmless experience that some people make it out to be. Unless you support forcing everyone to undergo equally harmful and painful procedures to save the lives of others, it is hard to see why one could think it acceptable to compel women to do so.

    PS – that the military once rejected individuals with only one kidney is not in and of itself evidence that having only one kidney is harmful. They also have not been to keen on homosexuals but that says nothing about homosexuals and everything about the military. My doctors tell me that there is no harm in having only one kidney so unless you can find some research that says otherwise I’ll take them at their word.

  203. #204 Notagod
    March 16, 2009

    Tut, no. You are arguing that a foreign body has precedence over the owner of the body. If we want to stay in your house, you have to feed us and deal with it.

  204. #205 windy
    March 16, 2009

    if you make kidney transplants as safe for the donor as pregnancy is, then I would say yes

    Donating blood is safer than pregnancy and can save lives, should it be compulsory?

  205. #206 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    You are arguing that a foreign body has precedence over the owner of the body. If we want to stay in your house, you have to feed us and deal with it.

    Please. Stop putting shit in my mouth. I did not say anything even close to that.
    I put one person’s survival over other persons convenience. Nothing more than that.

  206. #207 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    Donating blood is safer than pregnancy and can save lives, should it be compulsory?

    There is no need. People do it voluntarily. If most of the people refused, but, this is sci-fi again, so don’t be surprised if you get sci-fi like resolutions to sci-fi problems.

  207. #208 windy
    March 16, 2009
    Donating blood is safer than pregnancy and can save lives, should it be compulsory?

    There is no need. People do it voluntarily.

    People carry fetuses to term voluntarily too, I have understood! Just not all of them. So where’s the difference? In both cases a lot of people do it voluntarily, but coercion might save some few additional lives in case of a blood shortage (or produce additional lives in the case of restricting abortion)

  208. #209 Lee Picton
    March 16, 2009

    I can’t say that a child being born doesn’t experience pain, but the experience of pain development proceeds from the trunk outward. I clearly remember accidentally driving a diaper pin into my baby’s thigh and having him not react at all, except to continue laughing while I changed him. I felt terrible, of course, but was struck by the fact that it didn’t bother him at all. A couple years later, that all changed; he stuck his finger in an electrical outlet and screamed “It bit me!”

  209. #210 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    people carry fetuses to term voluntarily too, I have understood! Just not all of them. So where’s the difference? In both cases a lot of people do it voluntarily, but coercion might save some few additional lives in case of a blood shortage (or produce additional lives in the case of restricting abortion)

    you make up shit as you go, don’t you ? I don’t think there has been a blood shortage caused by people refusing to donate blood. Blood shortages for other reason, sure, not this one.

  210. #211 Tulse
    March 16, 2009

    I don’t think there has been a blood shortage caused by people refusing to donate blood.

    Oh really?

  211. #212 windy
    March 16, 2009

    you make up shit as you go, don’t you ? I don’t think there has been a blood shortage caused by people refusing to donate blood. Blood shortages for other reason, sure, not this one.

    I make up shit as I go along? There are frequently blood shortages which could be avoided if more people donated blood. If the blood supply is based on donations it’s ridiculous to suggest that shortage of donors is not among the causes of blood shortages. And you’re still not addressing the analogy.

  212. #213 Josh
    March 16, 2009

    Blood shortages for other reason, sure, not this one.

    Wait–what? Can you support that with a reference?

  213. #214 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    tulse. Just publicly asking people to donate blood resolves those emergencies quite neatly.

    cpsmith. we are talking about 17 + week, and late term abortion is hugely more painful than childbirth( full anesthesia is required, where during childbirth local anesthesia is optional ) and has triple mortality rate, so in terms of pain, and danger, there is abso-fuckin’-lutely no reason to do this kind of stuff. No other reason than getting the fetus killed. The woman paying cost in terms of both more pain and more health damage.

  214. #215 Tulse
    March 16, 2009

    Just publicly asking people to donate blood resolves those emergencies quite neatly.

    And your evidence for that claim is…?

  215. #216 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    There are frequently blood shortages which could be avoided if more people donated blood.

    Lots of people donate blood quite voluntarily, so, after some hospital publicly announces a blood shortage, well, I did not hear yet about the shortage persisting much longer after that and/or claiming lives after public announcement of blood a blood shortage. So, I think the problem is in the logistics, not in people not wanting to donate even if asked.

  216. #217 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    And you’re still not addressing the analogy

    There is no analogy. If one person refuses to donate blood there is a lot of people who don’t. If one person refuses to carry a fetus to term there is no one to do it. Completely different stuff.

  217. #218 Leigh Williams
    March 16, 2009

    Here’s another fucktard trotting out the “convenience” lie. Here’s a dose of reality, you asshole:

    pregnancy #1: Violently ill for nine months. Lost 15 pounds in the first trimester. Lost my job because of it; couldn’t do it from the bathroom, and the dehydration and fainting were a safety hazard. Finally delivered a healthy, though skinny, baby girl two weeks late after an emergency c-section. Took 4 months to recover from the c-section; the USAF surgeon was fast getting to the baby (very good) but was of the slash-mom-from-navel-to-pubis school. Never recovered muscle tone in lower abdomen due to muscle and nerve damage.

    pregnancy #2: Violent nausea again, but this time I knew what to expect and was a stay-at-home with baby #1. Planned c-section with a great surgeon; that and being back home in Texas with lots of help made for a quicker recovery.

    pregnancy #3: Significant nausea, but was able to keep working. Still, didn’t gain much weight, in spite of carrying twins, until preeclampsia set in at 28 weeks. Had to keep working to keep insurance. Miserable from cholestasis with itching 24/7. Edema everywhere, but especially in abdomen and thorax, making it difficult to breathe and almost impossible to eat or sleep. Blood pressure skyrocketed. Gestational diabetes set in. Delivered healthy twins at 34 weeks after emergency c-section; blood pressure was now >200 over >150 and doc was afraid I’d stroke out. Weighed more after the delivery than before because of continued water retention. Condition continued for 1 month after delivery, but I went back to work after 2 weeks; had to keep that insurance. Emergency gall bladder surgery 3 months after delivery was also pregnancy-related. Made an almost complete recovery with only some liver damage thanks to WONDERFUL kidneys that didn’t fail.

    So don’t talk to me about CONVENIENCE, you slime-with-eyes. Pregnancy is hard; even in today’s world, there is signficant danger in it. It does permanent damage to female bodies.

    It’s one thing for me to volunteer for nine months of misery as a trade-off for babies I very much wanted. But it’s quite another — and the height of arrogance — for some creep who will never face those risks to trivialize the very real impact pregnancy makes on women’s lives and health with the word “convenience”.

  218. #219 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    1. I am very sorry that you have such serious health problems.
    2. most of other women don’t have. ( otherwise pregnancy mortality would be orders of magnitude higher )
    3. I was never saying a word against pregnancy termination because of health problems.
    So, please, dont call me names. There is no reason to insult me. I don’t want you nor anybody else to get hurt.

  219. #220 Leigh Williams
    March 16, 2009

    Preeclampsia occurs in 5% of U.S. pregnancies; the world rate is 5-14%. It is the third leading cause of maternal mortality, after hemorrhage and embolism. A 5-14% risk is not insignificant.

    But here’s my point: You trivialize the very real risks to women’s health from pregnancy. I could list a variety of other problems women have later in life that are caused by pregnancy; in my own family, uterine prolapse and circulatory problems have plagued some who had vaginal deliveries, requiring multiple surgeries to correct. Gall bladder surgery is almost ubiquitous in my family after pregnancy.

    I’m not even considering the economic impact of being absent from the workforce during pregnancy and child-rearing in this argument, but it is enormous.

    You seem to think that childbearing is a minor and temporary inconvenience. It is not; it’s major and life-altering, both physically and mentally.

    You give the impression of valuing a fetus far more than the woman who carries it. That is a common viewpoint among pro-lifers, and is profoundly dismissive of the value of women and relegates us to a decidedly secondary status. And yes, that makes me very, very angry.

    Furthermore, your argument for coerced donation of an individual’s body or body parts for the benefit of another individual is indefensible, both legally and morally. A society where individual bodily autonomy is not recognized is not civilized.

    Women are not cattle placed on earth for use by men. We are not your sexual toys, your property, or your breeding stock. Your opinion stops where my body begins; and frankly, unless you have a uterus, your opinion is of no value whatsoever to me, because you’re speaking of risks and impacts that you can never experience.

  220. #221 T_U_T
    March 16, 2009

    trivializing something and talking about something else is not quite the same thing.
    I was never talking about situations where there is significant danger for the mother.

    I was talking about normal regular pregnancies where there is less chance of death than by a car accident.

    And, also, I don’t trivilalize rigors of even normal pregnancy. It is just, that, compared to the death by being torn to pieces, realy it really is not that bad. I repeat it again death by getting your head crushed alive, your brain sucked out and being torn to pieces. Be honest. Was your suffering even close to the experience of getting your brain sucked out ?

    I dont value fetus more than you, I just value all persons equally. Even the fetus.
    No, you are not second class. You are as much worth.
    Just to avoid misunderstanding. We are talking about nearly viable fetus at 17 + weeks Prior to that it is just a person-less collection of tissues and can be disposed at will.

    Please, stop putting shit in my mouth and then beating me if I try to cough it out.

  221. #222 Leigh Williams
    March 16, 2009

    I thought I had made my position clear in post 172, but on re-read I was not crystal clear.

    I actually AGREE with T_U_T about later-term abortions, though I tentatively put the limit at 22 weeks whereas he puts it at 17.

    This in spite of the fact that I reject his reasoning throughout the later part of this thread.

    And let me point out, T_U_T, that we’re talking about an absolutely tiny number of abortions; in the U.S., Guttmacher puts the number of third-trimester terminations at 320-600 per year. It is not clear from the data how many of these were due to maternal morbidity.

    But I am comfortable with limiting third-trimester abortions to situations where maternal risk and/or fetal abnormality is present. We can argue about exactly what the cut-off should be, but in principle we are on the same page.

    That presumes, of course, that safe and legal abortion is readily available during the first sixteen weeks of pregnancy.

  222. #223 cpsmith
    March 16, 2009

    @221

    Actually, having your head crushed would be a pretty quick and painless way to go since it is your head is what does the feeling and experiencing (unless they did it really slowly or something). If someone were to ask me whether I would prefer to experience the sensations of a woman at childbirth or a foetus getting its head crushed, I would pick head crushing.

  223. #224 cpsmith
    March 16, 2009

    @ #222

    “But I am comfortable with limiting third-trimester abortions to situations where maternal risk and/or fetal abnormality is present. We can argue about exactly what the cut-off should be, but in principle we are on the same page.”

    I’m of the opinion that one has a moral obligation to get an abortion done before this time (person or not, you shouldn’t cause any pain to other creatures unless absolutely necessary) but I would not want a law against it. In Canada we have no laws governing abortion and yet we still have vanishingly small numbers of late term abortions (I think we may even have smaller numbers than the US). I think we should take this as a sign that women can be trusted to govern their own bodies.

  224. #225 adobedragon
    March 16, 2009

    So, please, dont call me names. There is no reason to insult me. I don’t want you nor anybody else to get hurt.

    Sure you do, you miserable, misogynistic sack of shit. You have no fucking idea what the risks are with pregnancy. Just because most women live through pregnancy today, doesn’t mean it is in any way “safe.” High survival rates are the function of modern medicine, and don’t negate the risk and complications.

    Go fuck yourself.

  225. #226 Zmidponk
    March 16, 2009

    T_U_T, you know why you rarely, if ever, hear of blood shortages killing people? Because they don’t, directly. What happens is that an underlying injury or illness kills them – which could have been fixed, if it wasn’t for the blood shortage.

    As an aside, earlier up the thread, in answer to the question of ‘do you advocate compulsory blood donations?’, you stated that, ‘There is no need. People do it voluntarily. If most of the people refused, but, this is sci-fi again, so don’t be surprised if you get sci-fi like resolutions to sci-fi problems.’ Well, it’s NOT sci-fi – most people do NOT donate blood. The number of blood donors in the US is around 8 million. The population of the US is estimated at around 305 million. Even taking into account only 38% of the population is eligible to donate blood, that is under 10% of those who are eligible do so that actually donate blood. Does this therefore mean, in accordance with your earlier comments, you advocate compulsory blood donations, or, at the very least, asking people to ‘voluntarily’ donate, with the threat of compelling them to do so if they say ‘no’?

  226. #227 Leigh Williams
    March 17, 2009

    @cpsmith #224: You are very likely correct. And, truth be told, trusting women is my first inclination. I guess I have some notion of trying to participate in a compromise that would take abortion off the front burner since it’s been such a toxic political football in the U.S.

    That’s probably a naive and forlorn hope.

  227. #228 Nec_V20
    March 17, 2009

    To paraphrase the song by Annie Lennox:

    “No more “I love you’s”
    Changes are shifting outside the womb”

  228. #229 WTFinterrobang
    March 17, 2009

    @T_U_T 214

    General anesthesia is NOT required for late term abortions. In fact, sometimes the woman has to be awake and able to push, which is often a deterrent for women seeking late term procedures.

  229. #230 Nec_V20
    March 17, 2009

    The woman this and the woman that – bollocks.

    It is always ONE woman, ONE pregnancy and ONE situation.

    There is not ONE size that fits all.

    So the woman got fucked, but should she therefore be FUCKED?

    The guy goes away happy and contented but she might be just as contented and left with a permanent reminder.

    It reminds me of a joke:

    A guy was sitting on a park bench smoking a cigarette. Another guy comes up to him and asks, “Can I have a light?”.

    The guy on the bench replies “No”.

    The other guy asks, “Why not?”.

    The guy on the bench says, “Well look, you are going to get a light from me and then we are going to sit here and talk and we will not notice the time going by. We’ll go to a pub and talk some more and then you will say that it is too late to get a hotel. I’ll then invite you to sleep in our guest bedroom and at some time in the night you will get up for a pee. At that point you will meet my daughter and after a bit of too and fro and banter the pair of you will have it away with each other. A few weeks later she will come up to me and tell me she is pregnant and I will be stuck with the Schlamassel.”

    The guy asking for a light said, “I would never do something like that”

    The guy on the bench replies, “You’re fucking right, because I’m not giving you a light”.

  230. #231 windy
    March 18, 2009

    And, also, I don’t trivilalize rigors of even normal pregnancy. It is just, that, compared to the death by being torn to pieces, realy it really is not that bad. I repeat it again death by getting your head crushed alive, your brain sucked out and being torn to pieces.

    So what’s the reason to assume that the 17 week fetus suffers more, or is more of a “person” than a cow in a slaughterhouse or a rat getting crushed in a trap? They have brain activity too.

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