Pharyngula

The IDiots at Uncommon Descent are horrified and appalled by my ideas about the status of fetuses and babies … so horrified, in fact, that some of them want to make me the poster child for the fall of Western Civilization into a godless, nihilistic chaos in which babies are casually destroyed, and there are of course, a few comparisons to Hitler. But then, they are IDiots, after all.

I was amused by this remark from one of the deathcultists:

Sad to say, what we just saw from PZM, is the outworking of the corrosive nihilistic amorality that is inherent to evolutionary materialism. Hopefully, sufficient of us still have enough moral sensitivity to see the absurdity and the danger if this agenda is allowed to triumph in our civilisation.

Anyway, they found this list of the 25 most influential atheists, and fired off a questionnaire to all of them, looking to see if all atheists are as evil as I am, or whether I’m just the most evil of them all.

(a) Do you believe that a newborn baby is fully human? Yes/No

(b) Do you believe that a newborn baby is a person? Yes/No

(c) Do you believe that a newborn baby has a right to life? Yes/No

(d) Do you believe that every human person has a duty towards newborn babies, to refrain from killing them? Yes/No

(e) Do you believe that killing a newborn baby is just as wrong as killing an adult? Yes/No

As you can see, they’re blinded by an assumption that you can reduce a continuum of potential and actuality to black & white answers, which is the whole problem I’ve complained about before, and what they’ve written is actually a confirmation of my complaint about pro-lifers: they don’t think, and they don’t comprehend. They’ve gotten a few replies from those influential atheists, and most have fallen into the trap. I have to give James Randi credit for making the best answer:

I will not respond to such a heavily biased set of questions, and I could not do so without providing extensive explanations for my answers. The “quiz” is short, but the answers would be far too involved and lengthy.

I will simply repeat what I’ve said before, and not bother with their stupid poll. We all understand “being human” to mean something more than being a eukaryote with a certain assortment of genes: there are “fully human” cells that I will unconcernedly dump into the toilet and flush away every morning, and there are fully developed individuals in my life who I will revere and honor, and everything in between. The dehumanizing aspect of the so-called pro-life position is the flattening of the complexity of humanity and personhood, and its reduction to nothing more than possession of a specific set of chromosomes. To regard a freshly fertilized zygote as the full legal, ethical, and social equivalent of a young woman diminishes the woman; it does not elevate the zygote, which is still just a single cell. It is that fundamentalist Christian view, shallow and ignorant as it is, that is ultimately the corrosive agent in our culture, since it demands unthinking obedience to a rigid dogma rather than an honest evaluation of reality, and it harms the conscious agents who actually create and maintain our culture.

My position is one that demands we respect an organism for what it is, not what it isn’t. It recognizes that an epithelial cell shed from the lining of my colon is less valuable than a gamete is less valuable than a zygote is less valuable than a fetus is less valuable than a newborn. It does not imply that one must still adhere to the black & and white thinking of the IDiots and draw a line, and say that on one side of the line, everything is garbage that can be destroyed without concern, and on the other side, everything is sacred and must be preserved at all costs.

A seed is not a tree. That doesn’t imply that I’m on a crusade to destroy seeds.