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Monday, November 26, 2012

Philosophy in the abortion issue: part one


[Today's post is by SPL member Clinton Wilcox.]

Science can be a wonderful tool in the pro-life advocate’s arsenal. [1] However, science can’t dictate morality, it can only inform morality. Science can tell us that something we are harming or killing is human; science can’t tell us that it’s wrong to kill that human. So while we can demonstrate scientifically that the unborn are living human organisms from fertilization, we must turn to philosophy to demonstrate whether we can or cannot kill that living human organism.

It seems to me that the burden of proof should always be on the one wanting to take life. As I mention in my article on science, if we don’t know when human life begins (even though we do), the benefit of the doubt should always go to life. As I’ve demonstrated elsewhere, no pro-choice argument is powerful enough to justify killing the unborn human. I’ve looked at pro-choice arguments for personhood and bodily rights. [2][3][4] But now I’d like to turn to some basic philosophy, and look at the bad arguments that people use on both sides of the abortion fence. In this article, I’ll look at logically fallacious arguments. In my next article, I’ll look at arguments that aren’t necessarily fallacious, they’re just bad arguments.

Before we can look at what makes a bad argument, first let’s look at what makes a good argument. A lot of arguments you’ll find are written in essay form. This is fine; most of my articles have been the same. But usually it’s easier to see if an argument works if you put it in the form of a syllogism. A syllogism is simply an argument composed of premises that lead to a conclusion. A basic syllogism has two premises and one conclusion, but arguments can have more premises, and even more conclusions, than that. Here is a basic example of a syllogism:

P1: All men are mortal.
P2: Socrates is a man.
P3: Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

This is an example of deductive logic. Deductive logic argues from a general idea (that all men are mortal) to a specific case (that Socrates, being a man, is mortal). A premise is made up of a statement that can either be true or false. If all the premises are true, then the conclusion can’t be false.

If the conclusion follows necessarily from the premises, then the argument is valid. An invalid argument is one where the conclusion doesn’t follow from its premises. An argument is sound if it is valid, and all of its premises are true. If the argument is invalid, or if it can be demonstrated that one or all of the premises are false, then an argument is unsound. So an argument can be valid, but unsound. An argument can even be invalid, but have a true conclusion (you just arrived at it through bad reasoning). But an argument can't be invalid and sound.

The argument I generally make for the pro-life position is as follows:

P1: It is prima facie immoral to kill a human being.
P2: Abortion kills a human being.
C: Therefore, abortion is immoral.

Premise one can be supported because human beings are inherently valuable based on the kind of thing they are, human beings. All human beings have the inherent capacity as rational, moral agents. It is just as immoral to kill an infant as it is to kill an adult.

The term prima facie is Latin for “at first sight.” I insert this phrase because most pro-life advocates agree that sometimes killing is justified, such as in self-defense. Some pro-life people believe that capital punishment and just war are also justified forms of killing. The idea here is that under most circumstances, it is wrong to kill a human without moral justification. Abortion is an unjustified form of killing.

Premise two is supported through science. We know that all human beings are living human organisms from fertilization.

So the conclusion necessarily follows. If it is immoral to kill human beings, and the unborn are human beings, then it is immoral to kill them.

So we see that it’s immoral, but should it be illegal? Well, I add a premise and a conclusion to show that abortion should also be illegal. My updated argument looks like this:

P1: It is prima facie immoral to kill a human being.
P2: Abortion kills a human being.
C1: Therefore, abortion is immoral.
P3: The unjustified killing of human beings is illegal (e.g. murder).
C2 (from P2 and P3): Therefore, abortion should be illegal.

Premise three is supported because we do make the unjustified killing of human beings, like murder, illegal. In all civilized societies, murder is always illegal (although we sometimes disagree over what constitutes murder).

So conclusion two necessarily follows that abortion should be illegal.

Logical fallacies

A logical fallacy is simply a flaw in your reasoning. There are two kinds of logical fallacies: formal logical fallacies and informal logical fallacies.

In a formal logical fallacy, there is a problem with the form of the argument itself. In an informal logical fallacy, the problem stems from a flaw in reasoning that causes the conclusion not to be supported by its premises. There are many common fallacies made by people who argue in the abortion issue. We’ll be only looking at informal fallacies, since these are the most common.

Appeal to pity

X is in a pitiful situation.
Therefore your argument fails.

An appeal to pity is where someone claims that an argument fails because someone is in a pitiful situation. A common example of a pro-choice appeal to pity is that abortion is needed because some women are too poor to afford a child. This would be represented as follows:

P1: Some women are too poor to raise a child.
C: Therefore, abortion should be legal.

But how does it follow that because someone is too poor to raise a child, we may kill the child? Ask yourself if a woman may kill her two-year-old child because of poverty? Of course not. So why would we justify abortion for the same reason?

Ad hominem

X is a horrible person.
Therefore, X’s argument fails.

This one seems to be everyone’s favorite fallacy. Ad hominem is Latin for “to the man.” In this fallacy, you are simply attacking the character of the person making the argument, rather than the argument itself. An argument does not succeed or fail based on the person making the argument.

A common pro-choice ad hominem fallacy is that men have no say because they can never get pregnant, which I have responded to in a previous article. [5] A common ad hominem fallacy from the pro-life side is that pro-choice people hate babies. Most pro-choice people don’t hate babies, but even if they did, how would it follow that their argument fails because they hate babies?

Strawman argument

X believes Y.
I’ll attack argument Z.
Therefore argument Y fails.

A strawman argument is when you attack a similar but different argument than the argument presented because it’s easier to refute.

A common argument you hear from pro-choice people is that pro-lifers want to enslave women. No pro-lifer wants to enslave women. But it’s easier to dismiss the pro-life position when making such an extreme claim.

Another argument you hear is that skin cells are human, so pro-lifers should be against the death of skin cells (they might make their argument a bit more colorfully, like saying if abortion is homicide, then masturbation is mass murder). But here, they’re actually attacking a strawman. We don’t claim that it’s wrong to kill skin cells. This is because there’s a difference between a skin cell and an unborn human. The skin cell is just part of a larger organism; left on its own, it will never be anything but a skin cell. However, the unborn human is an organism, developing itself from within into a more mature version of itself, along the path of human development. There’s a major difference between the two.

Begging the question

This is one that confuses a lot of people. Usually when someone says “that begs the question,” they really mean “that raises the question.” But when someone begs the question, they assume that a statement or claim is true without evidence other than the statement or claim itself.

Pro-life people do this a lot, when they talk of abortion killing a baby. If your argument includes talk of killing a baby, but you have not proven whether or not the unborn are babies, you are begging the question.

Pro-choice people do this, too, usually when they talk of viability making someone a person. For example:

“The unborn are not persons.”
“Why are they not persons?”
“Because they’re not viable.”
“Why does viability make someone a person?”
“Because they can survive outside the womb.”
“Why does surviving outside the womb make someone a person?”
“Because they’re viable...”

And around you go. This is an example of circular reasoning, but they are begging the question by assuming that viability makes the unborn a person without actually proving it.

Non Sequitur

If A, then B.
C.
Therefore, B.

Non sequitur is Latin for “it does not follow." If you are committing a non sequitur, then your conclusion does not follow from its premises.

A common pro-life non sequitur is that abortion hurts women. Abortion does hurt women, but that doesn’t make it immoral, or mean that it should be illegal. There’s a difference between what’s wrong with abortion and why abortion is wrong. There are many things wrong with abortion, like the fact that it hurts women. But that doesn’t automatically make the practice wrong. For example, cars are dangerous. Many people die in car accidents, but it is not inherently immoral to drive. Abortions do hurt women (and some women die from botched abortions), but that doesn’t make it immoral. It is immoral (and should be illegal) because it unjustly takes the life of an innocent human being.

Another common non sequitur you hear from either side of the debate is “we have aborted X.” A pro-life person will say “abortion is wrong because we’ve aborted the next Beethoven, or the cure for cancer!” But how does it follow that just because we may have aborted someone who would grow up to be great, that abortion should not be allowed. This is a bad argument because the pro-choice person can just retort with “but we’ve also aborted the next Hitler or a serial killer!” It’s a bad argument because the other side can just respond with a hypothetical person we’ve aborted. But it’s still a non sequitur, even if it’s true.

As you can see, there are many ways in which someone might have an error in reasoning. I’ve only just scratched the surface in this article. There are many more, but this should get you started. If you avoid these common pitfalls, your discussions on abortion should be much more productive. In my next article, I’ll cover arguments that are not necessarily logically fallacious, just simply bad arguments.

[1] http://prolifephilosophy.blogspot.com/2012/07/what-is-unborn.html

30 comments:

aimee m said...

Thanks for sharing, i appreciate reading this :)

Michael Lindner said...

Thank, I really like this article. Well said, except you have committed a formal logical fallacy. In

P1: It is prima facie immoral to kill a human being.
P2: Abortion kills a human being.
C1: Therefore, abortion is immoral.
P3: The unjustified killing of human beings is illegal (e.g. murder).
C2 (from P2 and P3): Therefore, abortion should be illegal.

C2 does not follow from P2 and P3 because P2 does not prove that abortion is not justified. An abortion advocate would claim that abortion is justified to protect the rights of women.

To that I would say something along the lines of

P1: All rights depend upon the right to life (e.g. a dead person has no rights).
P2: Abortion kills a human being.
C1: Therefore abortion impinges on all rights of a human being.
P3: Law exists to restrict human actions when they impinge upon the rights of another.
C2: Therefore abortion should be illegal

NorthStar156 said...

Sorry, but I thought that the article was filled with unsound reasoning, including many of the logical errors enumerated in the article.

For example, you assume that "...we can demonstrate scientifically that the unborn are living human
organisms from fertilization..." That assumption perfectly fits your definition of "begging the question."


I think pro-lifers rely too heavily on philosophy for two reasons. First, philosophical arguments rarely translate easily into public policy. Second, people are rarely influenced by philosophical arguments.



Do you even care if the number of abortions is actually reduced? Some pro-lifers seem to care more about winning debates than saving babies.

Kelsey said...

"An abortion advocate would claim that abortion is justified to protect the rights of women."

Excellent point. Clinton, perhaps this is something you can address in Part Two.

Clinton Wilcox said...

Thank you, Michael. I have not actually committed a formal logical fallacy (and if I have, would you please point out which one I have committed)?

I don't see anything wrong with the form of the argument. What you have pointed out is a way in which a pro-choice advocate could respond to this argument, by attacking one of the premises and showing the argument to be unsound. This would not be a logical fallacy, but it would prove that the argument doesn't work.

A pro-choice advocate could attack my premise three and show that abortion is justifiable killing. That would be perfectly legitimate (though not a fallacy on my part). However, I did not feel it necessary here to give a full-blown defense of the pro-life position, and show how, exactly, abortion is unjustified. I have done that in several other articles, and posted links to those articles that show that abortion is unjustified killing.

Clinton Wilcox said...

NorthStar, there is no logical fallacy in my argument (at the very least, you have failed to show any). I am not begging the question. Science has proven that the unborn are human beings from fertilization. This was not an assertion, nor was it begging the question. I provided a link to an article (in a footnote) which defends the proposition that the unborn are human beings from fertilization. If you don't agree, your contention is with science, not with me. No one argues whether or not the unborn are human beings from fertilization. That question has been settled long ago. The only people who disagree are pro-choice people with an agenda. Where the argument lies is at what point should the unborn be given rights and value.

Philosophy is all around us. All of our laws are based on philosophy. For example, why should we have murder illegal? You can't answer that scientifically. The only way you can answer that is through philosophy. What makes humans so valuable that we make killing them illegal, but not killing most animals? What makes humans outside the womb so valuable that we should make it illegal to kill them, but keep it legal to kill humans inside the womb? The only way to answer that is through philosophy.

If you reject philosophy, the only thing that will result is you will continue to do philosophy...badly.

Of course I care if the number of abortions is reduced. The problem is that the science and philosophy rests squarely on the pro-life side. The best arguments for why abortion should be legal come from the pro-life camp. All human beings are intrinsically valuable, so it should be illegal to kill any human without proper justification. Almost no reasons for abortion are properly justified killing.

Clinton Wilcox said...

Thank you, Aimee. :)

Clinton Wilcox said...

I will probably do that. Thanks, Kelsey.

Michael Lindner said...

Clinton - I was considering that P1 (immorality) is not used in the proof, and so is extraneous. P3 refers to unjustified killing, but P2 does not say claim abortion is unjustified killing, only killing. Without specifying whether abortion is justified or not, P3 may or may not be applied to it.

One could equate immorality with a lack of justification, but the two are not normally considered equivalent.

That said, I'm not trying to be argumentative. I fully support your premises and conclusion, I just don't think your presmises are sufficient to prove the conclusion.

Real California Republican said...

Oh god did you people really read this? What difference does it make if you have this pedantic, verbose, perhaps internally conistent argument if it's based on false assumptions? What a waste of text! Perhaps the author is just trying to explain what she learned in propositional logic class.

NorthStar156 said...

"Science has proven that the unborn are human beings from fertilization."

I disagree.

"I provided a link to an article (in a footnote) which defends the
proposition that the unborn are human beings from fertilization."

You mean the first one? The article did not make that connection clear. The only reference to that link was above both assertions of the claim.

Here is the argument given in that linked article: "[t]he unborn are alive because they grow." But you established neither that all unborn babies grow at all times nor that a zygote is alive if it grows."

"No one argues whether or not the unborn are human beings from fertilization."

This is an example of a strawman argument. I did not suggest that the unborn are not human beings from fertilization.

NorthStar156 said...

"All of our laws are based on philosophy."

One definition of "philosophy" from Webster is "a search for a general understanding of values and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means."

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/philosophy

A definition of "speculate" is "to meditate on or ponder a subject."

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/speculate

Many of our laws cannot possibly be a result of someone pondering a subject. For example, Title 26, clause 401(k)(3)(A)(ii) of the United States Code is, at essence, as follows:

"A cash or deferred arrangement shall not be treated as a qualified cash or deferred arrangement unless...
the actual deferral percentage for eligible highly compensated employees (as defined in paragraph (5))
for the plan year bears a relationship to the actual deferral percentage for all other eligible employees for the preceding plan year which meets either of the following tests:

(I) The actual deferral percentage for the group of eligible highly compensated employees is not more than the actual deferral percentage of all other eligible employees multiplied by 1.25.

(II) The excess of the actual deferral percentage for the group of eligible highly compensated employees over that of all other eligible employees is not more than 2 percentage points, and the actual deferral percentage for the group of eligible highly compensated employees is not more than the actual deferral percentage of all other eligible employees multiplied by 2. If 2 or more plans which include cash or deferred arrangements are considered as 1 plan for purposes of section 401 (a)(4) or 410 (b), the cash or deferred arrangements included in such plans shall be treated as 1 arrangement for purposes of this subparagraph."

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/401

Do you really think that provision of law was a product of meditation?

NorthStar156 said...

"The only way you can answer that is through philosophy."

Another of the definitions of "speculate" is "to take to be true on the basis of insufficient evidence." Before we embark on the complicated task of devising, enacting, and implementing public policy, we must know the facts. We must know how to convince enough people to agree to the law. We must write the specifics of the law. We must decide on the penalty. We must decide how to enforce the law. We must fund and oversee the enforcement efforts. We must know whether the law will have the impact we hope and must fashion policy to obtain the results. We might need to enact other policies that are also aimed at achieving the goal of the policy. We might consider alternative proposals if those have fewer negative consequences relative to their ability to achieve the objectives. We cannot obtain that information by meditation alone.

Remember that not all killing is illegal. Right now we have a case in Minnesota of a man killing two teenagers purportedly in self defense. He was charged because the prosecutor thought that his actions went beyond those allowed by the self-defense principle. These are complicated issues that cannot be resolved from some general principle like "killing is wrong."

"The only way to answer that is through philosophy."

Those are philosophical questions, not questions about public policy.

NorthStar156 said...

I think I might have lost a couple of posts. My last one might not make as much sense if they do not reappear.

LN said...

Yet another reason you could keep it to one post!

Edward said...

"Abortion is an unjustified form of killing"

All of this discussion, when it all gets nullified by this sentence. A classic case of special pleading.

Also, in response to:

"All rights are based on the right to life"

That is circular logic, as a right cannot be based on a right. If rights are based on life, then you must weigh which life is more valuable, the mother or the fetus, as if you choose the fetus you must argue how slavery is moral, as the mother is forced to support a paracitic fetus, up to and including at the risk of her own life.

Clinton Wilcox said...

I understand. As I indicated, it wasn't really my intention to present a full-blown case for the pro-life position. C1 does necessarily follow from the first two premises. If killing a human is prima facie immoral (as P1 asserts), and abortion kills a human being, then the Conclusion naturally follows from the first two premises that abortion is immoral. Maybe I'll spend time in my next article giving a full defense of the argument. That way there will be no confusion.

I'm thinking about splitting it into three parts. In part two I can defend the argument and show how to respond to an argument, and save the other bad arguments for and against abortion for the third part.

Clinton Wilcox said...

No. If the philosophy behind the argument is sound, then abortion is immoral and should not be performed by people who wish to live moral lives. And if abortion is on par with murder of a human being outside the womb, it should be illegal just like murder is. If you have no response to the argument, maybe you should consider its soundness and change your views (which appear to be pro-choice).

Clinton Wilcox said...

You absolutely did.

Me: "Science has proven that the unborn are human beings from fertilization."

You: I disagree.

You again: I did not suggest that the unborn are not human beings from fertilization.

Science has absolutely proven that the unborn are human beings (that is, belonging to species Homo Sapiens) from fertilization. Pro-choice philosophers realize this, as well (the only people who disagree are lay pro-choice people with an agenda). If you spend just a little time with an embryology textbook, you will see that.

NorthStar156 said...

"You absolutely did."

Actually, you are right. But it was because you pulled a bait-and-switch on me in the form of a strawman argument, as I discussed below. You pretended like you were responding to my point when you were really changing the subject entirely.

Returning to my response with that correction, my response is just the last paragraph:

"This is an example of a strawman argument. I did not suggest that the unborn are not human beings from fertilization."

That correction actually weakens your position considerably. You actually did not respond to my point at all. It stands even more strongly -- you have provided no evidence whatsoever that "...we can demonstrate scientifically that the unborn are living human organisms from fertilization..." As such, it perfectly fits your definition of "begging the question" ("...[A]ssum[ing] that a statement or claim is true
without evidence other than the statement or claim itself").

NorthStar156 said...

"All of our laws are based on philosophy."

What definition of "philosophy" are you using? One of the definitions in Webster is: "a search for a general understanding of values and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means."

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/philosophy

One definition of speculate is: "to meditate on or ponder a subject."

Many laws cannot possibly be based on meditation. For example, Title 26, clause 401(k)(3)(A)(ii) is, at essence, the following:

"A cash or deferred arrangement shall not be treated as a qualified cash or deferred arrangement unless...
(ii)
the actual deferral percentage
for eligible highly compensated employees...for the plan year bears a relationship to the actual deferral percentage
for all other eligible employees for the preceding plan year which
meets either of the following tests:




(I)
The actual deferral
percentage for the group of eligible highly compensated employees is not
more than the actual deferral percentage of all other eligible
employees multiplied by 1.25.




(II)
The excess of the actual
deferral percentage for the group of eligible highly compensated
employees over that of all other eligible employees is not more than 2
percentage points, and the actual deferral percentage for the group of
eligible highly compensated employees is not more than the actual
deferral percentage of all other eligible employees multiplied by 2.


If 2 or more plans which include cash or deferred arrangements are considered as 1 plan for purposes of section
401
(a)(4) or
410
(b), the cash or deferred arrangements included in such plans shall be treated as 1 arrangement for purposes of this subparagraph."

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/401

Do you really believe that this was just the product of people pondering profit-sharing plan policy?

NorthStar156 said...

OK, now I think I have fully recreated the only lost post.

Clinton Wilcox said...

I didn't pull a bait and switch. At all times, when I say we are human beings from fertilization, I am speaking biologically. If you mean something else, it's your responsibility to make yourself clear. My contention is that all human beings are equally valuable, so it is just as wrong to kill a human being at an early stage of development (e.g. the embryonic stage) as it is at a later stage of development (e.g. the adult stage). Science supports this. No embryologist (the experts on human embryology) contest this. In every scientific sense of the term, the unborn are living human beings from fertilization.

Where the debate lies is when rights and values should be granted to the human being. Since there has been such confusion, I have decide to give a full-blown defense of my argument in my next article, and stretch it out to three parts (in the interest of length).

NorthStar156 said...

"I didn't pull a bait and switch."

Yes, you did.

"At all times, when I say we are human beings from fertilization, I am speaking biologically."

You are changing the subject. Also known as a strawman argument.

"If you mean something else, it's your responsibility to make yourself clear."

I think I made myself perfectly clear. You asserted that "...we can demonstrate scientifically that the unborn are living human organisms from fertilization..." and I observed that the assertion was an example of begging the question. What could be more clear?

"My contention is that all human beings are equally valuable, so it is
just as wrong to kill a human being at an early stage of development
(e.g. the embryonic stage) as it is at a later stage of development
(e.g. the adult stage). Science supports this. No embryologist (the
experts on human embryology) contest this."

Again you are changing the subject.

"In every scientific sense of the term, the unborn are living human beings from fertilization."

Now you are just repeating the original assertion but, again, provide absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support the claim.

"Where the debate lies is when rights and values should be granted to the human being."

I think a great deal of the debate lies with whether the zygote is a living human being. For example, Roe v. Wade cited uncertainty regarding when life begins as a reason for its ruling.

"in the interest of length"

Ha! Good idea; we are having so much fun.

NorthStar156 said...

What definition of "prima facie" are you assuming?

Edward said...

"C1 does necessarily follow from the first two premises. If killing a human is prima facie immoral (as P1 asserts), and abortion kills a human being, then the Conclusion naturally follows from the first two premises that abortion is immoral."

To make a logical argument, the conclusion must stay in line with the reasoning. You cannot magically remove "prima facie" from the conclusion. Your conclusion is equally as superficial as your premise.

Frankly, I sincerely hope you don't make other such life decisions on face value, knee jerk thinking, pretending you have thought it through instead of actually thinking it through.

Jillian said...

I disagree with the author's formulation on this as well. The whole reason there is a huge debate on abortion is because of the idea of *justification*. Pro-lifers feel there is none, if any; and pro-choicers feel there are plenty of justifications.

Here are the ways that the two sides would revise the syllogism:

Pro-Lifers
P1: It is immoral to kill a human being without sufficient justification.
P2: Abortion kills a human being without sufficient justification. ***
C1: Therefore, abortion is immoral.
P3: The unjustified killing of human beings is illegal (e.g. murder).
C2 (from P2 and P3): Therefore, abortion should be illegal.

Pro-Choicers
P1: It is immoral to kill a human being without sufficient justification.
P2: Abortion kills a human being, but with sufficient justification. ***
C1: Therefore, abortion is not immoral.
P3: The justified killing of human beings is legal (e.g. self defense, just war)
C2 (from P2 and P3): Therefore, abortion should remain legal.

I don't see anywhere in the author's syllogism that it proves that Abortion = Unjustified. (I've marked this unsupported part of my claim in both P2's above with "***".) The idea that it's unjustified is just declared. And that is the whole crux of the abortion debate--whether it's justified or not. Writing up a syllogism that overly generalizes--to allow for quickly getting to the pro-life position--is not going to convert anyone from pro-choice to pro-life.

(And we're not even getting into "what counts as 'abortion'". How would the author's formulation deal with "life of the mother cases"? The syllogism would say it should be illegal ... either that, or you have to say that treating ectopic pregnancy, for example, is "not abortion".)

Clinton Wilcox said...

Hi, Jillian:


Regarding life of the mother cases, I believe that those are morally justified (and have written about it here in the past). I have written up a follow-up post to this article which should appear in a few days, which gives a much fuller defense of this argument. Of course, a pro-choice person could argue that abortion is the justified killing of a human being, but they bear the burden of proof to show that it is so.
The burden of proof always rests on the one wanting to take life.

It's not hard to see that most pro-choice arguments are not sufficient justification for taking a life. You can usually see this by applying that same argument to a toddler. Do you support abortion if a woman can't afford a child? Well, that's not adequate justification because you wouldn't allow that argument if she wanted to kill a toddler. So killing the unborn human because she can't afford a child is not sufficient enough justification for abortion.


This was just meant to be a treatment of my basic argument. This was not meant to be the "final nail in the coffin" of the pro-choice position. It would be unfair to say that, because for any argument there are always rebuttals. So to say that this would defeat any pro-choice argument is not the intent of this article.


However, that being said, I have studied the abortion issue for over ten years now, and I have read the best arguments on both sides of the abortion fence. I have never seen an argument for abortion the properly justifies it. The arguments for the pro-life position all have the greatest explanatory power.

Coyote said...

I disagree with your premise P1. I do think that it's acceptable to kill human beings in certain very rare cases when they are infringing on your rights and there is no other way to stop their infringement right now.

~E said...

Hm well I'm assuming you read it too or you wouldn't be commenting on it. :/ Also, you should elaborate on what you feel are "false assumptions" if you want your opinion to be taken into consideration. Otherwise, you're just saying there are false assumptions with no evidence or proof. Which I find really ironic since this article is all about how to present a rational, proper argument.


Personally, I found it a worthwhile read, even if ti was a bit technical at times. But I think it's a valid piece and people can learn how to debate better from reading it.