Here’s Why the Discoveroids Oppose Abortion

The United States has been overwhelmed by hysterical news stories about the likelihood of a Supreme Court decision that will overturn Roe vs. Wade, so that the legality of abortion will once again be up to each state, rather than legal throughout the country as it is now. The creationists are going wild about it — for example, this post from a week ago by Ken Ham: Rumor: Supreme Court to Overturn Roe v. Wade.

You can read ol’ Hambo’s post if you want to, but we’re going to discuss a different one. It’s at at the Discovery Institute’s creationist website, titled When Does Human Life Begin? It was written two years ago by Michael Egnor, and the Discoveroids think it’s so important that they’re posting it again. If you don’t know who Egnor is, here’s his biography at the Encyclopedia of American Loons. Okay, let’s get into it. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

In the abortion debate, the question of “When does human life begin?” is central. Abortion proponents frequently argue that human life does not begin at conception, but at a later time in gestation, and they morally justify abortion on this basis. They argue that abortion of an embryo or fetus before a certain gestational age is moral because the embryo or fetus is not yet a human being.

We interrupt in order to give you your Curmudgeon’s position on this issue. By coincidence, we wrote about it in response to an earlier Egnor post — from seven years ago. That was Egnor Rants About Abortion. We said:

The end of human life isn’t particularly controversial. … [A]lmost everyone agrees that when the brain ceases to function, that’s the end of human life. Your Curmudgeon’s personal belief is that a symmetrical rule should be applied to determine the beginning of human life. That’s when the brain is sufficiently developed that it begins to function — which can be determined by electroencephalography, and which occurs somewhere during the middle of a pregnancy. … [W]hen the brain begins to function, the fetus has become a human being and abortion is wrong — in our humble opinion.

But no one cares about our opinion, so let’s get back to Egnor. He tells us:

There is a clear scientific answer to the question “When does human life begin?” [Really?] Let us consider the various possible scientific answers to that question.

He continues:

One answer (as given above) would be that the fertilized egg or the embryo or the fetus up to a certain age is not yet a human being and in fact is a part of the mother’s body. The pro-abortion argument would be that the embryo or fetus becomes a human being at some point later in gestation and that aborting the embryo or fetus prior to that point is moral because it is merely a part of a woman’s body and not a human being in itself.

We can go with what Egnor just said, even though we explain our position differently, but Egnor doesn’t like it. He explains why:

However, from a scientific standpoint, at the moment of fertilization of the egg by the sperm, a completely new organism is present. The organism is not a part of the mother’s body although he or she is located within the mother’s body. Half of the time, the organism is a boy. The genetic complement of the new human being is unique and different from that of the mother.

Yes, it’s an organism. But is it a human being? Let’s read on:

The argument that this unique human being present in the mother’s womb from the moment of fertilization is a part of the mother’s body until sometime later in gestation is, from a scientific viewpoint, bizarre. … This argument used by abortion proponents — that an embryo or fetus is a part of the mother’s body until a certain point of gestation — is scientific nonsense. When the argument is made by a scientist, it represents either scientific incompetence or deliberate deception.

Egad, we’ve been insulted by a creationist! And now we come to the end:

It is the responsibility of the scientific community [Like the Discoveroids?] to make it clear to the public that this argument is junk science and is obviously used merely to defend the morality of killing a young human being in the womb.

Isn’t it thrilling to see the Discoveroids fighting against junk science?

Copyright © 2022. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

30 responses to “Here’s Why the Discoveroids Oppose Abortion

  1. Derek Freyberg

    Well, it’s nice to know that the DiscoTute adopts the Catholic position; but the article is hardly surprising since Egnor is a known hard-core Catholic.
    But why not the Jewish position, which seems from a couple of letters I’ve seen in the local and national papers to be much more liberal, since their principal spokeswhatever, the Klingon, is apparently Jewish?

  2. Having an abortion or not should be an ethical question, apart from medical reasons. It certainly should not be a political issue and not a question decided by a ‘Supreme Court’ consisting of nine people.
    If you go back in time fifty years or so, many evangelical Churches supported abortion, because it was seen as a Catholic plot to outnumber the evangelicals. Now it seems to be a completely political issue, with democrats 100% for and republicans 100% against abortion.

  3. The anti-abortion movement clearly won’t stop abortions. What they’ll stop is medically safe abortions, and the non-medical ones that result will often cause the death of the mother, too. And basically, they’ll stop medically safe abortions for poor women. Long ago, in the universe before Roe, I knew a woman whose parents were quite rich and she went of to England for a “semester abroad”. After she returned, she confided in me and my roommate that she had gone to get a abortion. So it’s pretty clear to me that the anti-abortion crowd just want to inflict their person opinions on others, along with whatever misery they can cause, too.

  4. Human reproduction is a biological process. That process begins with meiosis, a special type of cell division, the result of which is sperm cells in the male and ova in the female. The choice of either the male or the female to prevent pregnancy by being celibate is a choice to terminate the reproductive process after it has begun. That sounds to me like a good definition of abortion. No moralist, however, would agree to call it abortion because the moralist wants to find celibacy to be a virtuous choice and abortion to be an evil. But the preferences of the moralist do not change the facts of biology. Abortion is a biologic necessity. All the sperm cells a male produce could never result in humans. The same is true of all the ova a woman produces.

  5. chris schilling

    Firstly: what dubious motives do Egnor (and Ham) have for bringing unwanted babies into a sinful, broken world? And if the babies are wanted, how many have they personally adopted?

    Secondly: at what point in the fertilization or developmental stage is the pernicious concept of “sin” conferred on the embryo? Or are babies literally “born into sin”?

  6. Dave Luckett

    It’s no good complaining that this is an issue of personal morality, and a medical matter, not a political one. Whatever anyone thinks of it, it is a political issue.

    The question is NOT “Is abortion always wrong?”. It is NOT “When is it wrong? Under what circumstances?”. No, the questions are “Should the State prohibit abortion? Or should it permit is under some circumstances? If so, what circumstances?” Those are questions about the powers and duties of the State. They are, ipso facto, political questions.

    The State exists to resolve political issues. It must resolve this. Different States use differing criteria to resolve issues. It is, for example, said by some that precedent and traditional values, or the precepts of a given religion, should have weight, on the reasonable principle that the State itself is a consensus between its past, its present and its future. But the United States is subject to the will of its people, and it is secular. The people decide.

    The people can make foolish decisions. Witness the eighteenth amendment to the Constitution, which has important parallels here. But it is no use saying that the State may not intervene. If the people wish it to intervene, it will. Indeed, it must,

    So. It’s a political issue, to be resolved by political means, and in the US, the people are the means. They must decide. Their decision is not irrevocable, but they are the only means by which it can be made or revoked. It’s no use saying that it’s none of their business, either. By definition: in a democracy, it is their business, if they say it is.

    So the people must be convinced, and those who believe that abortion must be an option free of the intervention of the law operate under a handicap: nobody likes the concept of abortion. Even those strongly convinced that recourse to it on the sole judgement of the pregnant woman is a human right, don’t actually like the idea.

    So the people must be convinced, and to some extent, it must be against their will. But convinced they must be, for the consequences of prohibition will be horrendous. Just as the consequences of Prohibition, capital P, were, when it was tried, and for much the same reasons. The law will be flouted; as abeastwood says. It will be one law for the rich, another for the poor, in effect. It will hand over control of a possibly-lucrative industry to organised criminals, who will purvey the equivalents of imported champagne and blinding bathtub gin to whoever will pay whatever they can extract. Above all, it will lead to desperate teenage girls having dreadful things done to them with knitting needles.

    No to that. No, a thousand times, no. Never.

    It would be such a comfort if the political choices of a nation, a people, an individual were a choice between good and evil. But they are not. Usually, the choice is between rival benefits, or rival evils. I don’t like the idea of aborting a healthy fetus. I admit it. But I must choose the lesser evil. So must we all.

  7. Egnor: “However, from a scientific standpoint, at the moment of fertilization of the egg by the sperm, a completely new organism is present. The organism is not a part of the mother’s body although he or she is located within the mother’s body.”

    Does this “separate organism” argument also apply to intestinal worms?

  8. @Derek Freyberg, @hans435

    Baptist Press, News Service of the Southern Baptist Convention, Nashville, TN

    January 31, 1973
    News Analysis
    High Court Holds Abortion To Be ‘A right of Privacy’

    WASHINGTON (BP)–The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision that overturned a Texas law which denied a woman the right of abortion except to save her life, has advanced the cause of religious liberty, human equality and justice.
    * * * * *
    Religious bodies and religious persons can continue to teach their own particular views to their constituents with all the vigor they desire. People whose conscience forbids abortion are not compelled by law to have abortions. They are free to practice their religion according to the tenets of their personal or corporate faith.

    The reverse is also now true since the Supreme Court decision. Those whose conscience or religious convictions are not violated by abortion may not now be forbidden by a religious law to obtain an abortion it they so choose.

    In short, if the state laws are now made to conform to the Supreme Court ruling, the decision to obtain an abortion or to bring pregnancy to full term can now be a matter of conscience and deliberate choice rather than one compelled by law.

    Religious liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the Supreme Court abortion decision.

    Click to access 3521,31-Jan-1973.pdf

  9. Egnor: “There is a clear scientific answer to the question ‘When does human life begin?’ “

    Sorry – no
    Rational Wiki

    When does life begin? is a question that seems simple and straightforward, but really isn’t.
    * * * * *
    Ultimately, it is not a question of science, but of morality, politics, and ethics

    Current scientific thinking regarding when “life” is considered to have started falls into five categories which are outlined below. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there are five possible “points” to choose from and you just pick your favorite. The reality is complex and these aren’t so much five different points as five different criteria leading to five different areas of change that could be defined as “life beginning.” The complexities are best demonstrated in the first category, where life doesn’t really “begin” at all.

    One of the main viewpoints, and the one that possibly best reflects the reality of the situation, is that there is no one point where life begins. Instead, the beginning of life is a process, not an event.

    [More at link]

    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/When_does_life_begin

  10. You would that since they are creationists God would simply go around creating people and save everyone all the trouble. But no God is a little brat that only does things one time. “Waaaa I already created once, I don’t do things twice for some reason, waaaaaa…”

  11. Lets look at murder. Why are there laws about murder NOT because some book of BS FairyTales says so, but because if you are st00pid enough to try to kill me, I bet I can get you 1st. So society decided that this is bad for growth and happiness. Now why is there anti-abortion? Because trump-st00pid, crazy rePUKEians hate women doing sex without repercussions and they hate the poor & minorities; as these are the ones that will suffer. And the rich? Well they are rich-NO PROBLEM!!!

  12. [blockquote]”When you say ‘social safety net’ in Texas, it sounds like a joke,” said D’Andra Willis of the Afiya Center, a North Texas reproductive justice group. “Everything they could have set up or increased to protect people if they really cared, they’re not doing it here.”[/blockquote]
    https://abc13.com/texas-abortion-laws-ban-roe-v-wade-supreme-court-opinion-draft/11834520/

    I’ve read complaints that the “don’t care about babies” argument is unfair and unhelpful. Nevertheless, there remains a great deal of evidence that it is true.

  13. Charley Horse X

    No better argument could be made for abortion than the failure of Trump’s mother to of had one. Same goes for a lot of the Retaliban pols using OT religious crapola to win votes from the elective ignorant.

  14. Techreseller

    Completely off topic. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster made the “This is True” newsletter. I recommend the newsletter, either the free or paid version. From the newsletter:

    He Keeps Tricorning: “I will have you know that as the captain of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., a legally constituted religious organization in good standing under the B.C. Society Act,” Gary Smith wrote in an email to the government corporation in charge of driver’s licenses in British Columbia, Canada, “I have successfully argued the right to wear religious headgear in conformance with my beliefs on three other occasions.” The Grand Forks resident had shown up in a brown, three-cornered pirate’s hat for his license photo, and the ICBC had refused to let him appear on his license with it. The tricorn is an alternative to the colander sometimes worn by Pastafarians like Smith, but the ICBC told Smith in February that “we do not recognize you as a member of a religious group that requires accommodation.” In a 2020 case, Smith argued that government agencies have no way to tell whether an individual’s professed religious beliefs are held in good faith, but the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal said the government was not required to accommodate “a practice satirizing religious practice.” (AC/Victoria Times Colonist) …They don’t recognize him? Even with the hat on?

  15. According to the arguments of creationism, the defining of a human individual is not a natural, physical, material, or scientific event. It can only be an act of God. But there is no clear guidance given by the Bible.

  16. Eddie Janssen

    I am not familiar with the ins and outs of the American legal system but can’t you just travel to a state were abortion is allowed in case you want an abortion and your own state has a law against it ?

  17. As far as Biblical guidance, there is God giving breath into Adam!

  18. @TomS Yep. Adam represents humanity, therefore life begins at first breath. (Or first rib.)

  19. @Eddie Janssen: That’s right, just go to another state. Not much of a problem.

  20. @Dave Luckett
    You put it very well, and I totally agree with you.
    When I said earlier that it is a political issue, and 100% democrats are for legalising abortion and 100% republicans are against – I meant the politicians, deciding for political reasons, and not the general public.

  21. @curmudgeon. Unless your state passes laws that will prosecute you for leaving the state pregnant and returning non pregnant. Then you might have an issue.

  22. @Formerly Holding, Half of the country has gone rabidly Q-mad and they’ve tasted blood and they are out for revenge. Expect death penalty legislation.

  23. But there is no clear guidance given by the Bible.

    I was told by a MS Lutheran minister that a child has no soul until they are baptised. I couldn’t say if that’s in the Bible either.

    … but can’t you just travel to a state were abortion is allowed in case you want an abortion and your own state has a law against it ?

    Yes, but depending on the state where you live, that could be up to a full day drive one-way (parts of Texas). For women with no car, little money, and a job or children to care for, travel may not be possible (at least not on short notice).

  24. Retired Prof

    I enjoy the definition by a Jewish comedian–I forget who:

    “Life begins when the kids move out on their own and the dog dies.”

  25. @retired
    Barb Taub
    Book title “Life Begins When the Kids Move and the Dog Dies”

  26. Alex Marek

    Human beings develop, Before they are adults we do not let them drink or vote. There are various laws that recognize younger children as having individual rights and responsibilities at different ages.

    Society can debate about when in the transition from a fertalized egg to a newborn baby the embryo/fetus develops a right to life that outweighs the Mother’s right to bodily autonomy, but absolutist statements about when “Human Life” begins are rediculous.

    P.S. My personal belief is that a fetus gets a right to life only when it is out of the birth canal.

  27. Given the Fall of Adam, is there such a thing as an innocent person, one who has any rights, in particular, a right to life?

  28. @TomS He didn’t want to say “human life” and sound hypocritical about absolute statements about human life so he said “right to life”.

  29. Dave Luckett

    Obviously, nobody has a right to life. If we did, we wouldn’t die.

  30. If only as much concern was given to the already born and breathing as is given the unborn.

    As a free-nation society, we cannot prevent anyone from bearing children, including those who insist upon procreating regardless of their inability to raise children in a psychologically functional/healthy manner. We can, however, educate all young people for the most important job ever, even those high-schoolers who plan to remain childless.

    If nothing else, such curriculum could offer students an idea/clue as to whether they’re emotionally suited for the immense responsibility and strains of parenthood. But simply mindlessly ‘minding our own business’ often proves humanly devastating.

    As for abortion services, they, along with critical health services and long-term-care residences, should never be a for-profit, let alone for BIG profit, medical procedure. But it seems there’s nothing sufficiently sacred to be made hands-off to corporate interests.