Saturday, August 06, 2011

The Guardian ‘clarifies’ its anti-LIFE hatchet job

Yesterday, His Grace published a post challenging Ben Quinn’s maliciously deceptive article in The Guardian on the work of the anti-abortion charity LIFE. Mr Quinn wrote that the ‘pro-choice’ charity 'Education for Choice' had uncovered ‘evidence of poor practice and factually incorrect advice’ in an ‘undercover investigation’. His Grace has asked to see the evidence, but has received no response.

Instead, Mr Quinn is continuing to amend his original article in order to ‘clarify’ where he has previously quite blatantly sought to mislead. His Grace expressed incredulity at one paragraph in particular, which he quoted:
At a Life centre in Covent Garden, London, the undercover researcher was given a leaflet entitled Abortions – How they're Done, which said incorrectly that 85% of abortions are carried out using vacuum aspiration. It stated that "the unborn child is sucked down the tube" and that "the woman should wear some protection. She has to dispose of the corpse."
It would appear that Mr Quinn has been reading His Grace’s blog, for this paragraph was swiftly amended yesterday, to read:
At a Life centre in Covent Garden, London, the undercover researcher was given a leaflet entitled Abortions – How they're Done, which said incorrectly that 85% of abortions are carried out using vacuum aspiration. It stated that "the unborn child is sucked down the tube" and that "the woman should wear some protection. She has to dispose of the corpse [in the case of chemically induced abortion]."
At the bottom of his article, Mr Quinn explains: ‘...a reference to a woman disposing of a "corpse" has been updated to clarify the method of termination involved.’

This isn’t merely a ‘clarification’. In the first version, the context is clearly that of ‘vacuum aspiration’: one is given the distinct impression that the ‘unborn child is sucked down the tube’ and, with all the horror of blood and torn-off limbs, the woman is advised to ‘wear some protection’ because she has to dispose of the corpse. And note the inserted full stop after the word ‘corpse’, within the quotation mark. Mr Quinn did not use an ellipsis to suggest omission; he purposely (mis)quoted. LIFE were, he said, informing women that after traumatic surgery they are then expected to dispose of the severed limbs and bloody torso of ‘the corpse’.

Now, however, we read that the context is one of ‘chemically-induced’ abortion (ie RU-486). This pill is usually administered during the early weeks of pregnancy – in the UK before the ‘foetal period’ – when the developing baby is tiny. Women who take this pill at home are indeed left to dispose of ‘the corpse’ themselves, but it is far from the fully-formed human body Mr Quinn suggested with his deceptive juxtaposition.

That is now two amendments which this article has undergone, and His Grace would like to ask Mr Quinn to ‘clarify’ something further. He states:
At a Life centre in Covent Garden, London... The counsellor was said to have focused on mental health issues that she associated with abortion, telling the researcher she was of a good age to have a child, showing her baby clothes and using terms such as "baby" and "grandchild" when referring to the pregnancy.
His Grace has it on very good authority that, while baby clothes are indeed held at some LIFE centres, there are none kept at the Covent Garden centre at all. So, Mr Quinn, fertile imagination? Career in fiction? Your journalism is shoddy, insubstantial and inaccurate. And you could have perhaps mentioned that the lady you purport to quote is not a counsellor at all and does not pretend to be. Her task in an emergency and advice drop-in centre is that of being a ‘skilled listener’ who is trained reflect the language of the client: if the ‘mystery shopper’ refers to a baby, the ‘skilled listener’ will empathetically adopt the terminology in order to reassure. So attacking LIFE for calling a foetus a baby or a child is bizarre: indeed, who are ‘Education for Choice’ to coerce LIFE into accepting and adopting their ‘pro-choice’ terminology? LIFE are concerned with ‘him’ and ‘her’; EFC are concerned with ‘it’. It really ought to be possible to call the foetus a baby without being accused of emotional manipulation.

LIFE have also requested the transcripts of these alleged conversations, and have identified the lady involved. It appears to be the case that she made errors, but one isolated incident does not constitute credible ‘research’, and is certainly not grounds for LIFE losing their accreditation to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), which James Gray of the New Humanist has written to request. Since no counselling was actually taking place, however, it is difficult to understand the rationale for this application. But these are the same tactics that were used against Leslie Pilkington, so it leaves the feeling this is all part of an orchestrated campaign.

And James Gray article is interesting for other reasons. He refers in his opening paragraph to:
New research published today by the charity Education for Choice reveals...
But EFC have published no research, unless Mr Gray is so naïve as to endow The Guardian with academic credibility in the publication of social science research. His hostility and bias are manifest when he refers to the ‘agendas of hardline faith-based groups’ which have ‘cultivated a moderate image’ beneath which they are ‘uncompromising’, ‘aggressive’ and ‘extreme’. His evidence for this? Well, it’s really quite astonishing:
Their (Education for Choice) undercover researcher, who visited a Life counsellor at the office where I met Gooch, was given a leaflet on vacuum aspiration abortion which said "the unborn child is sucked down the tube" and that "the woman should wear some protection. She has to dispose of the corpse."
So Ben Quinn's (now amended and ‘clarified’) misquotation and purposeful deception becomes, for James Gray, authoritative research evidence. Perhaps he, too, might like to ‘clarify’ before he escalates his application to the BACP for LIFE’s membership to be suspended. He writes:
In light of Education for Choice's research I believe that BACP should immediately suspend Life's membership and launch a full investigation into it and any other CPCs on its books. I wrote to Laurie Clarke, BACP's CEO, this morning to urge him to do so. I hope others will join me.
Doubtless they will, Mr Gray. Doubtless they will. But it is quite clear that this is a concerted campaign to discredit LIFE and have them removed from the Government’s Sexual Health Forum altogether. The FPA (Family Planning Association) sexual health charity have tabled amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill to prevent independent sector providers from providing decision-making support on abortion. They write:
Organisations opposed to abortion should not be able to provide pregnancy advice services:
We believe that organisations who are ideologically opposed to abortion must not be able to provide pregnancy advisory services, as by their very nature an ideology against abortion would mean it was not able to offer non-directive and accurate information, about all the choices available to women when they are faced with an unplanned pregnancy.
If LIFE should be removed from the Sexual Health Forum because ‘by their very nature’ and ‘ideology’ they are ‘not able to offer non-directive and accurate information’, a fortiori atheist and humanist groups should be barred from membership of the various governmental and non-governmental faith bodies upon which they sit. If, ‘by their very nature’ and ‘ideology’ atheists and humanists are antithetical to religion, how can they contribute relevant or accurate information to any discussions? Isn’t the ‘evidence’ acquired by Education for Choice against LIFE about as fair, credible and valid as an inquiry led by Dr Richard Dawkins into the historical claims and spiritual authenticity of Christianity?

108 Comments:

Anonymous tony b said...

What are the faith bodies on which atheists and humanists sit?

6 August 2011 at 11:17  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Tony B,

His Grace has now hyperlinked to two.

6 August 2011 at 11:28  
Anonymous Shacklefree said...

Your Grace, the precision with which you analyze the language and prise out the truth is impressively forensic. The purveyors of lies have a mighty foe.

6 August 2011 at 11:49  
Blogger bwims said...

I find it amazing that people who wish to protect the life of the guilty, often truly evil guilty, are quite happy to dispose of the innocent. Because extinguishing the life of an unborn before a certain date is legal, they use the dehumanising terminology of foetus.

Here's an idea. Bring back the death penalty and make it palatable by redefining the condemned as "post human" or "pre corpse", or the old favourite "dead man walking".

6 August 2011 at 12:08  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"I find it amazing that people who wish to protect the life of the guilty, often truly evil guilty, are quite happy to dispose of the innocent."

The term 'the innocent' is an interesting one given what you've said. A foetus without the physical bits for cognitive ability is an amoral lifeform. It cannot be either innocent or guilty, surely?

6 August 2011 at 12:16  
Blogger Albert said...

We believe that organisations who are ideologically opposed to abortion must not be able to provide pregnancy advisory services, as by their very nature an ideology against abortion would mean it was not able to offer non-directive and accurate information, about all the choices available to women when they are faced with an unplanned pregnancy.

It is fascinatingly consistent of those who are opposed to the right to life also to oppose freedom of expression.

In any case, as we saw yesterday, pro-abortion groups do not give a non-directive service either, nor is it in their interest as some of the at least, only get a fee if they manage to get an abortion.

That of course shows another inequality. For while pro-abortion counsellors get state support (because the work for the institutions that "provide" the abortions, pro-life groups have to be funding by donations.

All rights are based on the right to life. Once you give up on that, you give up on everything - including any capacity to claim rights.

6 August 2011 at 12:20  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

What's really scary is that the 'pro-choice' groups really believe that it is acceptable to dispose of life and this is reflected in their language.

No guilt, no shame, no responsibility. Just remove the problem and move on. A woman's right to choose, it's your health and wellbeing that counts, if 'it' is a problem this can removed simply.

The users of their services may feel quite differently of course. It is no help to a woman who is genuinely troubled by the morality of the choice she is to make to have her concerns dismissed or covered by 'helpful' double-speak. She knows she is carrying a potential child and to call the foetus 'it' may depersonalise 'it' for a time. However, the woman is not making a completely free choice until the moral diminsion is explored and how she might feel about this in years to come.

Language is important. It's how we construct and see the world and it impacts on our values. Remember the Nazis dehumanised the Jews before eradicating them in large numbers. It's used to be called 'brain washing'. Look at how our language about sex has changed.

There's a war going on out there for the heart and soul of the nation! It's taking place at the level of values, principles and ethics and the weapons are language and imagery.

In my opinion, the struggle against abortion and the 'culture of death' it represents, is the frontline. It's every Christians duty to speak out against it.

Never mind the death penalty. That's a distraction. What about an on-line petition to change the abortion law?

6 August 2011 at 12:29  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

I may have missed this in someone else's suggestion, and apologise if I did; but may I suggest that there is potential here for a Hari Award?

6 August 2011 at 12:31  
Blogger Albert said...

However, the woman is not making a completely free choice until the moral diminsion is explored

Spot on Dodo. And as we saw yesterday, pro-choicers think giving a woman a choice means telling her which abortions are available. Do pro-choice counsellors ever go through the ethical objections to abortion? Given that, as Marie pointed out yesterday they do not even talk about adoption, it is hard to believe they do. How then do they not disqualify themselves, on their own terms from offering counselling services because of their ideological stance against the pro-life position?

6 August 2011 at 12:35  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Oh, Mr DanJ0, what a sloppy observation: 'The term 'the innocent' is an interesting one given what you've said. A foetus without the physical bits for cognitive ability is an amoral lifeform. It cannot be either innocent or guilty, surely?'

In normal parlance the term 'innocent' means not having done anything wrong. In this perfectly common sense of the word, the trees, the rocks, the sea and the sky are innocent. On any measure (except that of a pedant with an ideological axe to grind) the unborn child, having committed no wickedness, crime or misdemeanour, and, indeed, lacking the capacity to do so, is the epitome of innocence.

Unlike, say, the murderer, or the deceitful journalist...

6 August 2011 at 12:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "In my opinion, the struggle against abortion and the 'culture of death' it represents, is the frontline. It's every Christians duty to speak out against it."

Isn't it your duty to actually act too? There are babies being murdered every day so why aren't Christians storming hospitals? There are (ahem) 71.8M self-identifying Christians in our population, with that number it ought to be a piece of cake to push it into the back streets again.

6 August 2011 at 12:43  
Anonymous tony b said...

Your Grace, I'm obliged to you.

6 August 2011 at 12:44  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

I have to admit that the whole subject is distressing to address, without taking into consideration the diversity of circumstances facing the women at the heart of the matter. That being said, I am always left wondering about the potential outcomes should the 'unwanted' infants be delivered into a world of single motherhood and a financially bankrupt Social Service.

What would be the quality of life those children may endure. What if they were born with varying levels of disability - who would have to support them? What would be the effect on the NHS or Social services who seem already lacking in ability to protect children from inadequate parents?

I'm speaking of the practicalities and consequences of an abortion-free society here, not simply the moral argument which has been already been aired of numerous occasions - but what would be the reality if abortion was returned to an illegal act.

6 August 2011 at 12:46  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Anabaptist: "In normal parlance the term 'innocent' means not having done anything wrong."

And what does a foetus mean in normal parlance? Bear in mind the context of my last comment.

6 August 2011 at 12:47  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Mr DanJ0, it is not difficult to say how the word 'foetus' is normally understood. Given the deluge of propaganda belched out daily by the 'progressive' media and their henchmen in the education and sociological industries, 'foetus' has come to be a euphemism for unborn child. (They used to say 'embryo' until it was observed that that is technically incorrect.) Now they say 'foetus' because it conveys the impression of a non-human object. The use of quasi-scientific language to mask the human relaity of this mass murder is part of the Orwellian world we are living in (just as dirty black 'carbon' is spoken of instead of colourless, odourless (and innocent) carbon dioxide).

Language is part of the propaganda armoury deployed to enable people to think they are doing something modern and scientific rather than killing unborn children.

6 August 2011 at 12:58  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Anabaptist: "Language is part of the propaganda armoury deployed to enable people to think they are doing something modern and scientific rather than killing unborn children."

It's also used by religious activists to equivocate between a child, physically independent of its mother, demonstrating cognition and other mind-oriented things and a zygote, blastocyst, foetus, and so on, for highly emotive reasons which chime with their personal religious beliefs and agenda. There, are we square now?

6 August 2011 at 13:06  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

No, we are not 'square'. Admittedly we all use language which most readily conveys our intentions and beliefs.

There is no such thing as a child physically independent of its mother or some other equivalent supportive intelligent intervention until well into infancy. But your statement implies, in the usual tiresome way employed by abortion supporters, that the test of an infant's ability to survive is independent viability. Until (it is argued) the unborn child is independently viable, it may be thought of as a mere component of its mother, who should therefore be free to dispose of or nurture 'it' as she pleases.

The use of pseudo-scientific terminology (such as zygote, blastocyst, foetus, and so on) is intended to give an impression of enlightened neutrality in contrast to the reality we all know, but which deniers such as you substitute with reductionist biological language. You clothe your language in crisp white coats and place it into modern laboratories. Perhaps if you used normal words, and were not trying to manipulate, you might as accurately say 'meat' or 'offal'.

6 August 2011 at 13:21  
Blogger Albert said...

your statement implies...that the test of an infant's ability to survive is independent viability.

Dan, it looks like I am not the only one who is interested in the moral viability of your belief that it is right and just to discriminate against someone on the grounds that they are dependent.

As you didn't want to answer me on this one, perhaps you will answer Anabaptist.

6 August 2011 at 13:27  
Blogger bwims said...

@DanJ0, the troll:

Easy to misdirect by referring only the very early stage foetus, but what do say about the ones aborted who are capable of independent life? There are many kids who have survived an abortion because the maximum date is set too high.

The next misdirect is to concentrate on "innocence" rather than guilty. You are happy for a human being in development and thus automatically innocent to expire (die) pre-independent life, but, as you missed it out, must be in favour of protecting the life of the guilty, truly evil, guilty. E.g. Moors murderers, Baby P murderers, Sarah Payne, etc.

6 August 2011 at 13:32  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Mr Albert, whilst I acknowledge the validity of your point, I fear it is a waste of time talking to Mr DanJ0 about moral viability. He has no grounds for believing that there is such a thing as morality except what can be made up to suit us as we go along.

6 August 2011 at 13:35  
Blogger Albert said...

Anabaptist,

I do wonder if the average secularist is only a few moves away from moral nihilism.

6 August 2011 at 13:56  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Independent viability is an interesting term.

I assume Mr DanJ0 that you are not a farmer. I conclude that you would not be able to continue to live without the food they provide.

I also assume that you are not a builder, and in fact have no knowledge as to the architecture or method of building houses. Without such people you would die of exposure.

Are you a doctor, I assume that at some point you will have visited one. Whilst you may have survived without one, many wouldn't.

Society is innately dependently viable. No human, bar Ray Mears, Bear Grylls or maybe the Special Forces is independently viable. The unborn child (foetus meaning nothing less than 'bringing forth', 'offspring', or even 'to come into being') is not independently viable, but it is only a simpler inviability to that of a post-nate or adult.

6 August 2011 at 14:11  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Anabaptist: "There is no such thing as a child physically independent of its mother or some other equivalent supportive intelligent intervention until well into infancy."

My emphasis there. You've suddenly slipped that in and I don't think it's pertinent to the dilemmas which equal rights to life in this situation create.

"But your statement implies, in the usual tiresome way employed by abortion supporters, that the test of an infant's ability to survive is independent viability."

Well, I'm sorry you find it tiresome. Feel free not to respond if you're too weary. I won't mind. You're coming across as a tad tired and emotional already you see and that's not likely to be a good thing.

"Until (it is argued) the unborn child is independently viable, it may be thought of as a mere component of its mother, who should therefore be free to dispose of or nurture 'it' as she pleases."

Phew. Luckily, I haven't argued that at all. You must be arguing with someone else there and mistaking them for me.

"The use of pseudo-scientific terminology (such as zygote, blastocyst, foetus, and so on) is intended to give an impression of enlightened neutrality in contrast to the reality we all know, but which deniers such as you substitute with reductionist biological language."

Well, thanks for that. Of course, a zygote is two gamete cells fused into one. A blastocyst has relevance to stem cell research. A foetus has varied degrees of brain development. They're not pseudo-scientific, as any biology book will tell you. And they are ethically significant stages to me. Of course, if one is a godbot who thinks a right to life is a god thing then it's all the same and there's not a lot else to say.

"You clothe your language in crisp white coats and place it into modern laboratories. Perhaps if you used normal words, and were not trying to manipulate, you might as accurately say 'meat' or 'offal'."

I don't mind some verbal tackling and scuffles but I normally expect that those develop after a few exchanges between two people. We're off to a good start anyway. ;)

6 August 2011 at 14:26  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

bwins: "@DanJ0, the troll:"

Ha. Way to go!

6 August 2011 at 14:27  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lakester91:"Independent viability is an interesting term."

I'll not quote all your various scenarios. I confess I'm missing the point for some reason or other as I'm talking about so-called equal rights to life issues between a woman and the foetus inside here. Is all of that pertinent?

6 August 2011 at 14:31  
Anonymous Shacklefree said...

Danj0 makes a good point. He says, “Dodo: "In my opinion, the struggle against abortion and the 'culture of death' it represents, is the frontline. It's every Christians duty to speak out against it." Isn't it your duty to actually act too? There are babies being murdered every day so why aren't Christians storming hospitals?”
We don’t need to resort to violence but what are we doing? In America, they do stand in front of Abortion clinics and pray day after day after day, week after week. What are we doing? There seems to be a strong consensus among some of us that we should be critical of government but when they get voted in we stop there. David Cameron on his own authority deselected a Tory candidate who was standing in a Scottish constituency before the last election. Why do we allow it? We could take this country back from the secularists but we have become so passive. We just need to show leadership and determination. We have become so tolerant of the opinions of others, not wishing to impose our values but we have found that they are not so tolerant of us and they have changed our society before our eyes.

6 August 2011 at 14:37  
Anonymous Shacklefree said...

Here is an article about how far the liberal elite are prepared to go in the culture of death.

http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=51121

6 August 2011 at 14:39  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Anabaptist: "Mr Albert, whilst I acknowledge the validity of your point, I fear it is a waste of time talking to Mr DanJ0 about moral viability. He has no grounds for believing that there is such a thing as morality except what can be made up to suit us as we go along."

Gotta love the in-group discussion thing; an enduring feature here.

I don't make up a god as a partisan standard with which to hold other people to account and make it nominally unarguable. That's what you actually mean, I reckon. It's the means by which you lot try to exert social control over other unwilling people who would rather get on without you lot.

6 August 2011 at 14:40  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Shacklefree: "We could take this country back from the secularists but we have become so passive."

The people had hundreds of years of religious hegemony here and they grew tired of it. You lot will eventually die off. The Church of England contains its own demographic timebomb and it knows it full well. It's our country now, not yours. Luckily, we're pretty benign here now, unlike the religious authorities of the past.

6 August 2011 at 14:45  
Blogger English Viking said...

I'm pro-choice - if you don't want a baby, don't get pregnant. That's your choice.

6 August 2011 at 14:54  
Blogger The Gray Monk said...

Your Grace, there is a very simple and just solution to the debate regarding the morality or otherwise of abortion. It is one of the remedies from the age of Solomon and is quoted again in the Gospels. It shoud be made compulsory for all those who counsel for abortion to actually attend the actual abortions carried out on those they advise.

I'm sure that watching the actual death throes of the Foetus on the monitors will give them a new perspective on their advice to others. One of my daughters had an abortion in one of these centres, unfortunately before I could suggest to her that I was fully prepared to take on the child and provide it and her with a home regardless. She is now unable to have children.

To DanJO and to the likes of Mr Gray, the EFC and the Grauniad I have this to say. History will be your judges and sadly it will also demonstrate that you are not a majority, but a pathetic and desparate minority who currently hold sway over the media and that House of Deceit in Westminster. Christianity may be waning, but you will get very short shrift - and no Christian tolerance - from the religion you are helping to fill the vacuum you have created in hearts and minds.

Enjoy your freedom to mock and disparage our moral precepts while you may. Tolerance does have its limits.

6 August 2011 at 15:24  
Blogger moderate.fundamentalist said...

Clearly any organisation that stands in the way of the Guardian's murderous, bloodthirsty agenda is not to be tolerated.

6 August 2011 at 15:26  
Blogger The Minister for Public Enlightenment said...

With inevitable polarisation we will never agree about the pros and cons of abortion. This debate has been dragged off course. The core proposition today is about the right of one party to offer advice/counselling and the tactics of an opposing party.

Arguing your case is one thing. Resorting to dirty tricks is quite another. Is this example a 'mystery shopper' case with reasoned and balanced findings? I think not. More like sensationalist, cheap and defamatory claptrap with the hallmarks of a covert entrapment operation I'd say.

If the Guardian and its agents have manufactured or distorted evidence for nefarious purposes, that should be actionable. If the perpetrators do not publicly retract and apologise LIFE should seriously consider legal action. They cannot just 'turn the other cheek' here because this so called 'evidence' will be used to squash their professional accreditation and shut them down.

6 August 2011 at 15:33  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

The Grey Monk

Well said, Sir.

All Christians ought to be able to unite around this cause. So too Mulims and Jews. All these faiths, regardless of inter and intra divisions, all have a common belief in the sanctity of human life in the womb.

We all need to get organised and expose the emptiness and nilhism of secular, relativist thinking and the 'values' it spawns.

6 August 2011 at 15:43  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Monk: "To DanJO and to the likes of Mr Gray, the EFC and the Grauniad I have this to say. History will be your judges and sadly it will also demonstrate that you are not a majority, but a pathetic and desparate minority who currently hold sway over the media and that House of Deceit in Westminster."

Well, we'll see. I have my eye on an old church not that far from here. It'd make a lovely conversion if I can get a change of use approved once the congregation dies off and it becomes unviable.

6 August 2011 at 15:50  
Blogger The Gray Monk said...

DanJO, good luck to you. The "church" is more than just buildings and many who don't attend one still hold to a faith.

6 August 2011 at 16:24  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

Shacklefree said...
Your Grace, the precision with which you analyze the language and prise out the truth is impressively forensic. The purveyors of lies have a mighty foe.

6 August 2011 11:49

If only this were so.

With all due respect to His Grace.

The reality is that they have little more real opposition then this blog and a few others. Which in my estimation is no amount of opposition at all.

There is a reason for this.

Religiously held belief systems such as abortion, feminism, statism, environmentalism corporatism, socialism, leftism or radicalism in general were born in our great universities and teaching institutions as many as 100 or more years ago. They are the products of seeds planted, which have now grown into mighty oaks.

Which is why this way of thinking has now infiltrated all levels of society, most especially the mass media.

It is now endemic throughout the entire western world, and much of the resr, and so there is very little that can be done about it.

These mind control victims are beyond redemption because they are completely unaware that they have been mind controlled, very mainly because it has taken place over a long period of time.

What makes matters worse is that they have also been mind controlled into genuinely believing that it is the people who oppose their own belief systems which have been mind controlled by their religious, or political leaders, rather then themselves.

Therefore the question that needs asking is this. WHY were these seeds planted?

When trying to answer this question it is important to remember the following.

The establishment think, and they do so LONG TERM. Which is why they are still were they fully intend to stay, and we are where they have always intended to keep us.

Which is poor, impoverished, insecure, terrified, working very hard for no particular reason, demoralized, divided, or of course flushed down the nearest toilet, or burned in the local hospital incinerator before we get a chance to be any, or all of the above.

We already outnumber our owners by several millions to one, and many of us are no quite as stupid as they would like us to be, or remain.

Therefore they long since planned to keep us, the common people, as stupidly ignorant, self-destructive, and rare as they possibly could using a variety of methods, abortion, starvation, world, and local wars, being just a few examples that come to mind.

Although feminism had an extra advantage for our owners and assorted ruling elites.

Which was to create a situation where 2 adults per family unit were paying tax and consuming like tomorrow will never come, instead of largely just one, or none.

It may be difficult for many to understand that there has always been powers that have been manipulating their own thinking and therefore lives for many hundreds if not thousands of years. However just because something is difficult to understand, does not mean that it is not so.

My advice is to give up hopelessly trying to change society as a whole, and concentrate your efforts on changing or conserving your own particular tiny bit of it.

This is after all the conservative way.

6 August 2011 at 16:28  
Blogger The Worker said...

DanJO

Your repeated morally bankrupt justifications of your lifestyle are the pleas of a child looking for acceptance. Your hollow attempts to valididate the murder of early human life in a woman's body flows from your disordered thinking and living.

You and other hedonistic secularists may be in the majority. You may eventually achieve the libertarian society you crave. However, there are signs this religion of indulgence and pleasure is crumbling. Its consequences become ever more apparent in the misery it causes.

Go buy the church you have cast your envious eyes over. Remove its soul and replace it with your spiritless presence. God exists outside of the confines of buildings and in the hearts and minds of men. Whatever the future holds, be sure of one thing, God Will will be done.

6 August 2011 at 16:30  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Worker:" Your repeated morally bankrupt justifications of your lifestyle are the pleas of a child looking for acceptance. Your hollow attempts to valididate the murder of early human life in a woman's body flows from your disordered thinking and living."

Next to your stentorian announcement of religious wishful-thinking and dire outlooks, they probably look a bit low key I suppose. I need to up my game. The trouble is, all we have is reality and people are very familiar and comfortable with that. :(

6 August 2011 at 16:39  
Anonymous James Gray said...

Thanks for your comments on my article. Just wanted to clarify a few things.

Life does not have BACP "accreditation". It is an organisational member of BACP. As I wrote in my article, that means that Life agree to abide by BACP's code of ethics. It certainly does not mean - as you said yesterday - that Life is "obliged to provide non-judgmental, non-directive factual information about abortion". This confusion between counselling and advice is something BACP are eager to clear.

I am not calling for Life to lose their organisational membership of BACP. What I have asked BACP to do is suspend Life's membership and launch an investigation into the claims reported in The Guardian. I think these allegations are serious enough to warrant investigation. If there is no evidence for them, as you suspect, then BACP can reinstate Life's organisational membership.

I did not say that Life were "aggressive", quite the opposite. I said that their views on abortion are as uncompromising as other organisations, such as SPUC, which are perceived as aggressive. Philosophically their positions are the same but their tactics are very different. As for "extreme" - what I actually said was that most Britons would regard Life's view on abortion following rape "as an extreme position". Opinion polls suggest that's true, and even Life's Niall Gooch reluctantly agreed with me.

Finally, I can assure you that I am not part of any orchestrated campaign.

6 August 2011 at 16:57  
Anonymous Shacklefree said...

Thanks for the clarification. I would also appreciate some clarification about the bodies on the BACP i.e. which of those bodies are government funded. I got the impression from previous contributors that Life is funded privately whereas some of the other (pro-abortion) organizations get government funding. I am not sure of the facts in this case and it would be good to know if Marie Stopes and other pro-abortion organizations are paid for by our taxes.

6 August 2011 at 17:16  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

The Grauniad has another abortion article today involving Nadine Dorries.

6 August 2011 at 18:01  
Blogger English Viking said...

Gray Monk,

Well said Sir.

How sad concerning your daughter. It's a wicked world we live in.

As David said concerning the child from her that had been the wife of Uriah, upon the mite's death:

He cannot come to me, but I shall go to him.

Heaven is the place for these little ones. Comfort yourself with that thought.

6 August 2011 at 18:10  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

I can't help but feel that all this fighting between the pro lifers and pro choicers is not actually
conducive to anything but showing themselves up as spiteful and foolish. Publishing leaflets with lies like that discredits the whole organisation and fuels the public thought that they are not serious or helpful.

Instead action is needed but not storming buildings or standing around outside. To really support choice these clinics should be able to employ independent counsellors/advisers who can advise on all the choices available and to discuss a patients life, hopes wishes, desires fears and anxieties and to advise on all options giving as much info as possible and that would include the names and addresses of local adoption agencies too. Of course it would cost the clinics money if the patient went for adoption or ended up keeping the baby.


Having and giving a child up for adoption should not be touted as a failure in ones life but as a success in that the woman has chosen to give someone the gift of life instead of aborting it. The fact that she is not in a position to look after it shouldn't come into it. In later yrs when the person seeks out their real parents she can say that she chose to give him/her life and a gift to another person who either couldn't have children or who was in a better position to physically take care of another dependent human life.

But if she wishes to go ahead with abortion then that is ok too as she will have been able to consider all the options and have a bit of time to get used to what she wants to do.

I think there are a lot of silly myths about abortion flying around and fear stories that are childish and unnecessary

6 August 2011 at 18:14  
Anonymous Shacklefree said...

We have reached a point in the debate where arguments have been presented on both sides relating to the advice being given to women considering an abortion. It was agreed I think that the woman should not be misled.

We have had the following suggestions:
1) Give objective impartial information by means of ultrasound.
2) Deny this impartial information because it might convince her not to have abortion
3) Organisations such as governments, religions, corporatism, socialism are all mind control institutions so just decide for yourself whatever you want
4) Don’t listen to religions because those of us who oppose them are the benign ones
5) God is a partisan standard used to exert social pressure over the unwilling
6) A child is not physically independent of its mother until well into infancy
7) the unborn child is a mere component of its mother, who should therefore be free to dispose of or nurture 'it' as she pleases."
8) Blastocysts and foetuses are ethically distinct stages and therefore different criteria apply to them
9) Language is part of the propaganda armoury … used by religious activists to equivocate between a child, physically independent of its mother
10) A foetus without the physical bits for cognitive ability is an amoral lifeform

6 August 2011 at 18:17  
Blogger Windsor Tripehound said...

The Worker said...

You may eventually achieve the libertarian society you crave.


Sadly Worker I think that you and I both know that this will not be the case.

Increasing secularization is driving us inexorably in the opposite direction; to unaccountable government, to the suppression of free speech, to the creation of totally spurious human "rights".

6 August 2011 at 18:34  
Blogger The Worker said...

Shacklefree

Not quite a complete listing of positions.

The most important 'suggestion' is that life is a gift from God, whatever the circumstances, and it is against God and the natural law to wilfully abort and end life.

6 August 2011 at 18:39  
Blogger The Worker said...

Windsor Tripehound

You ommitted the second sentence.
"However, there are signs this religion of indulgence and pleasure is crumbling. Its consequences become ever more apparent in the misery it causes."

I count the ills you list as being amongst the misery caused by amoral secularisation.

6 August 2011 at 19:05  
Anonymous Shacklefree said...

Agreed

6 August 2011 at 19:06  
Anonymous Niall Gooch said...

As the interviewee in question, who "relucantly agreed" that many people would find LIFE's position "extreme", I think it is worth noting that when James Gray says that he favours "unrestricted access to abortion" (i.e. abortion on demand, at any stage of pregnancy, for any reason a woman considers appropriate),that too is a relatively extreme position, according to most polling. It may well be that most people are "pro-choice", but that does not mean that they favour totally unrestricted access to abortion.

6 August 2011 at 20:04  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Shacklefree, I'm really not sure you're best suited for that sort of work.

6 August 2011 at 20:09  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

god as a partisan standard with which to hold other people to account and make it nominally unarguable. That's what you actually mean, I reckon. I

Perhaps you should do some wider reading then.

The Church of England contains its own demographic timebomb and it knows it full well.

True enough, but not true of the Catholic Church.

It's our country now, not yours

So because I am not a secularist, this is not my country?

6 August 2011 at 20:13  
Blogger Albert said...

Mr Gray,

What I have asked BACP to do is suspend Life's membership and launch an investigation into the claims reported in The Guardian. I think these allegations are serious enough to warrant investigation. If there is no evidence for them, as you suspect, then BACP can reinstate Life's organisational membership.

Wouldn't it be fairer to have the investigation first and then take action?

While we're on that subject, do take a look at Marie's experience of the abortions carried out on two of her close friends' unborn children (you can see the comments on yesterday's blog post). Neither abortionist even mentioned the possibility of adoption, but in both cases, adoption may well have been a preferred choice, had the choice been given. The only choice offered appears to have been over which abortion to have. The experience was that no one really cared for the women and that it felt like a conveyor belt. Shouldn't such institutions be suspended, until such allegations can be found to be false?

And while we're on the subject of dodgy dealings, do you think it is right that the abortion advice people should be the same organisations that stand to gain financially from the woman having the abortion? Shouldn't these things be separated? Doesn't the conflict of interest plead for a suspension of such organisations pending an investigation?

How many abortion clinics help women to understand the ethical objections to abortion, so that they can make "the right choice for them", rather than finding out later (with great remorse) that they have done something, which on reflection, and outside of the emotion of the moment, they think was gravely wrong? Have you any experience of women experiencing emotional trauma after the abortion?

I would love to hear you answers on this, because I expect you think LIFE should be suspended because you think they are not putting the women first.

6 August 2011 at 20:24  
Blogger English Viking said...

Let me get this straight;

It's 'extreme' to want to prevent the wholesale, industrial slaughter of unborn children, but it is 'liberal' to prevent organisations from telling pregnant ladies the details of the slaughter and also to provide her with a list of alternatives?

Totally bonkers.

Marie,

I'm shocked. You need to have a word with your 'priest' if you think abortion is OK.


Rachel weeps, and refuses to be comforted.

6 August 2011 at 20:25  
Blogger Albert said...

By the way Mr Gray, since you are so fond of opinion polls, what's your view on the death penalty for people guilty of killing children?

6 August 2011 at 20:26  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Marie Stopes, the great campaigner for abortion, was a prominent campaigner for the implementation of eugenics.

She called for the "sterilisation of those totally unfit for parenthood [to] be ... made compulsory" and wanted "racial purification (to) eliminate those sources of defect from the coming generation ..." She had an interesting social policy too seeing the middle classes as being crushed by the burden of providing for the children of the poor who recklessly bring children into the world.

Who says this is free from a moral position?

Eugenics=Family Planning.

6 August 2011 at 20:30  
Blogger Albert said...

Yes, Marie Stopes is rather an odd poster-girl for the pro-choice lobby. Her interest in promoting contraception was because she did not want the wrong class of people to breed (i.e. the working classes). She wrote love-letters to Hitler, and she wrote her son out of her will because he married a woman who wore glasses. She even attended a Nazi sponsored eugenics conference in Germany.

Who better to represent the pro-choice lobby?

6 August 2011 at 20:35  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Another prominent pioneer was Havelock Ellis. A shining example too. Impotent until the age of 60 until he discovered watching a woman urinating aroused him.

He wrote:
"Eventually, it seems evident, a general system, whether private or public, whereby all personal facts, biological and mental, normal and morbid, are duly and systematically registered, must become inevitable if we are to have a real guide as to those persons who are most fit, or most unfit to carry on the race."

I wonder, given his proclivity, whether he would have been granted life!

6 August 2011 at 20:43  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

Gray Monk,
Mr Viking and I disagree on a number of issues but I fully associate myself with his kind sympathy towards the tragedy you describe.

I have experience within my family of miscarriage which was/ is bad enough. I am sure many here will remember you and your lost grandchild in prayer.

6 August 2011 at 20:44  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Christ on a bike, look at the final sentence in that Nazi comment. It's a marvellous thing to behold. :)

6 August 2011 at 21:34  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

DanJO

Havelock Ellis proposed the selection of those who should be permitted to breed. Read the quote.

He and his kind would most certainly have asked the question posed, which I agree is offensive, and it would have been asked not just of those with urolagnia.

6 August 2011 at 22:03  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo, I read it all already from Wikipedia just like you did. I'm really just chuckling at the mud-slinging.

6 August 2011 at 22:13  
Blogger The Worker said...

Judaism has a morally and ethically interesting position on abortion.

Rashi, the 12th century commentator on the Bible and Talmud, states clearly of the foetus "lav nefesh hu" (it is not a person). The Talmud contains the expression "ubar yerech imo" (the fetus is as the thigh of its mother" (i.e. the fetus is deemed to be part and parcel of the pregnant woman's body).

Halacha (Jewish law) defines when a foetus is a "nefesh" (a person) "...a baby...becomes a full-fledged human being when the head emerges from the womb. Before then, the foetus is considered a 'partial life.'" In the case of a "feet-first" delivery, it happens when most of the foetal body is outside the mother's body.

Jewish authorities have ruled in specific cases:
- One case involved a woman who became pregnant while nursing a child. Her milk supply would dry up. If the child is allergic to all other forms of nutrition except for its mother's milk, then it would starve. An abortion would be permitted in this case. An abortion of the foetus, a potential person, would be justified to save the life of the child, an actual person.
- An abortion would be permissible if the woman was suicidal because of her pregnancy.
- Jewish authorities differed in a case where a continued pregnancy would leave the mother permanently deaf. She obtained permission for an abortion from the Chief Rabbi of Israel.
- Many Jewish authorities permit abortion in the case of a pregnancy resulting from a rape, if needed in order save her great mental anguish.
- Most authorities do not permit abortion in the event that the fetus is genetically defective or will probably pick up a disease from its mother. The rationale is that even though the child will be malformed, disabled, or diseased, it would still be formed in the image of the creator. Rabbi Eliezar Waldenberg is one authority who believes otherwise. He allows first trimester abortion of a foetus which would be born with a deformity that would cause it to suffer, and termination of a foetus with a lethal fetal defect up to the end of the second trimester of gestation.
- An abortion is sometimes permitted if the woman suffers great emotional pain about the birth of a child who will experience health problems.
- Abortions are not permitted for economic reasons, to avoid career inconveniences, or because the woman is unmarried.
- In a very unusual case, a woman in New Jersey was pregnant with a hydroencephalic fetus. Its large head prevented a conventional delivery. The physician recommended a Caesarian section. But the woman asked for a D&X (i.e. dismembering the foetus and removing it limb by limb from the womb) procedure on the grounds that the foetus' life was doomed anyway and a C section would weaken her uterus for her next pregnancy. Her rabbinic authorities agreed.

6 August 2011 at 22:37  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

DanJO
And there I was thinking he'd be a hero of yours given his 'research' into non-heterosexuality.

Just imagine his and little band of eugenicists (is that a word?) today.

Sex would be unnecessary. Do it for fun with whomever you want in whatever way you want. It'll need to be disease free though so play safe. You can be sterilised too and have your seed and eggs stored.

We'll just select the 'best' sperm and the 'best' matching egg, fertilise the egg and chose an appropriate womb. We can help match the 'best' child with you.

Hey presto a perfect race will emerge in a generation or two!

No, wait! This is where we're heading in the minds of the amoral secularists!

6 August 2011 at 22:59  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Question:

If I comment critically on the Jewish ethics on abortion will I be labelled 'anti-semetic'?
Whereas, if I comment critically on Islam I am not labelled 'anti-semetic'.

6 August 2011 at 23:13  
Blogger English Viking said...

Mr Sewell,

True, that we differ on matters of religion.

But how could anyone that considers themselves human differ on the matter of chopping up little babies?

You do not need to be Christian to think as we do, merely human, surely?

I know I am an oaf sometimes. I know I have a loud-mouth.

But on this matter, I will be silenced by nothing but the grave.

What a wickedness, to snatch the life from a child, before he even smiled at you.

7 August 2011 at 00:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If 'The Worker' has presented the Jewish position on abortion correctly it is very similar to existing British abortion law - but has replaced religious authority with secularism.

If a woman is suicidal or suffers mental anguish, following a rape, possible harm to the woman's physical health, if there's a deformity (possibly), or if there is great emotional pain on the part of the mother if the child will have a health problem.

Abortion on demand without the applicatio of genuine ethics and close scrutiny of individual circumstances before permission is granted.

Still unacceptable to a Christian because it places man above God in not accepting the right to life from the moment of conception.

7 August 2011 at 01:11  
Anonymous Shacklefree said...

I just googled to find out the position of the Church of Scotland on abortion and it is similar:

The church believes that in the great majority of cases abortion has no moral justification and is "the unwarranted destruction of human life".Abortion can only be sustained if:
it risks the life or serious health of the mother, either physical or mental
a case of rape or incest has been proven
or where it is known the foetus is damaged or deformed.

7 August 2011 at 07:05  
Anonymous IanCad said...

The religion of Moloch is flourishing. Thank you YG for leading out against this vile trade.
Anabaptist puts it well:
'The use of quasi-scientific language to mask the human relaity of this mass murder is part of the Orwellian world we are living in.'
From the BPAS website:
'Vacuum aspiration uses gentle suction to remove the pregnancy and takes about 5-10 minutes--'
The pregnancy as in 'the tumor?'
The notion of the 'Banality of Evil' could well apply to the abortion industry.

7 August 2011 at 07:43  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "And there I was thinking he'd be a hero of yours given his 'research' into non-heterosexuality."

Dodo, I'd never heard of him until very, very recently. He was mentioned on Radio 4 in the last week I think and up he pops here.

Look, the supporting arguments for women having some sort of a choice whether her pregnancy proceeds, subject to law, and the staged increase in ethical status of the foetus used in the UK stand independently of whether some bloke 90 years or so ago got a hard on over a women pissing. You realise that, right?

It's similar with Stopes. My rights as a gay man are not dependent on the good name of (say) Peter Tatchell or on whether (say) Stonewall exists. Neither Tatchell or Stonewall speak for me even if they lobby for gay stuff. I realise that anti-abortionists are on the back foot (and then some!) but throwing toys out of the pram by mud-slinging at the long-dead Stopes doesn't help anything. It just looks silly.

"No, wait! This is where we're heading in the minds of the amoral secularists!"

I'm normally quite well disposed to you but it has to be said you do talk complete bollocks at times.

7 August 2011 at 08:01  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Anonymous: "If 'The Worker' has presented the Jewish position on abortion correctly it is very similar to existing British abortion law - but has replaced religious authority with secularism."

Yes. It has to really since most people here are not Christians. Justifying laws and society-wide ethics on the basis of religious scripture is the stuff of theocracies. Medical ethics are about how we go on in real life when faced with real life medical challenges.

7 August 2011 at 08:12  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

Your position is deeply paradoxical. You like to knock Christian ethics because of their biblical basis, but then you don't like it when the same genetic fallacy is applied to abortion with reference to Stopes etc.

Catholic moral theology argues from both philosophy and revelation. It is possible to defend the unborn child on purely philosophical grounds. Eventually such arguments become unconvincing with secularists, but this is not because there is a flaw in Catholic moral thought, but because all moral arguments become unconvincing on secular grounds.

The reason I have referred to Stopes is not because Stopes' views on family planning have some pretty unpleasant foundations, but because the "pro-choice" camp choose her as their pin-up girl. Either they don't know much history or philosophy or they are terribly immoral.

My rights as a gay man are not dependent on the good name of (say) Peter Tatchell or on whether (say) Stonewall exists.

Absolutely not. But your rights as a gay man are not based on your homosexual orientation either. Your rights are based on your humanity, the humanity you share with the unborn child. Every time you discriminate against the unborn child, you undermine your own case not be discriminated against - and for the matter, the case of each us not to be discriminated against.

7 August 2011 at 10:22  
Anonymous Shacklefree said...

I support that. Human dignity is part of everyone's make-up whether they are homosexual, prostitutes, bank robbers, tax evaders, drug addicts etc. We all have our addictions and our dignity does not depend on other people recognizing it. We listen to your arguments Danj0 and we disagree with your conclusions not with your inherent dignity as a human person. Our conclusions are based on the idea that there is a moral order which we should obey. Your conclusion is based on the idea that humans in this world just have to make the best of a bad job. If there is no God then you are correct. At the end of the day it all comes down to whether morality is made up of decisons made by people at different times in which case it is changeable or whether there are some things that can never be right regardless of the circumstances.

7 August 2011 at 10:45  
Blogger Albert said...

The reason I have referred to Stopes is not because Stopes' views on family planning have some pretty unpleasant foundations,

Sorry, not quite clear. I mean just because Stopes' reasons for supporting family planning etc. are pretty unpleasant and that she was a horrible woman, it doesn't follow that family planning is evil. That the pro-abortion camp use her is the surprise. If ever there was a person not to be an ambassador for abortion, it is Marie Stopes.

But the who else would you have? When the Soviets introduced abortion, the West was horrified. Perhaps they should be called "Joseph Clinics".

7 August 2011 at 10:45  
Blogger Albert said...

Danj0 and we disagree with your conclusions not with your inherent dignity as a human person

Exactly, we disagree with you not because we dispute your dignity as a human person but because we uphold your dignity as a human person. We think your "one rule for one another rule for another" undermines anyone's dignity - including your own and our own.

7 August 2011 at 10:48  
Blogger The Worker said...

Both Judaism and the Church of Scotland support the principle of abortion in certain defined situations.

Where does the Church of England?

"The Church of England combines strong opposition to abortion with a recognition that there can be - strictly limited - conditions under which it may be morally preferable to any available alternative." (General Synod)

The Church of England shares the Roman Catholic view that abortion is 'gravely contrary to the moral law'. However "where (pregnancy)threatens the life of the mother a termination of pregnancy may be justified."

7 August 2011 at 11:13  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Albert: "Your position is deeply paradoxical. You like to knock Christian ethics because of their biblical basis, but then you don't like it when the same genetic fallacy is applied to abortion with reference to Stopes etc."

What you're really saying here is that you got angry again by being ignored, laid into the pro-choice camp (as you call it in some very broad-brush way) by rubbishing Stopes to relieve yourself, and are now backpeddling by trying to make it sound like a deliberate approach. That's not deeply paradoxical, or some other pseudo-logical (to parrot Anabaptist) language, it's just crap.

When I 'knock' Christian ethics, I'm putting it in its place. I am prepared to assume that the underlying morality is internally valid for the sake of argument. But is it sound? It needs to at least appear be in order to put it in place in the real world. But you know you can't show that. Let's face it, how could you? It's as likely to be Allah as Jehovah. You're just a bunch of special interests people wanting your own way.

"Every time you discriminate against the unborn child, you undermine your own case not be discriminated against - and for the matter, the case of each us not to be discriminated against."

No. Or at least it undermines it specifically with Christians who, because of their religious beliefs, think that a 20 week old foetus and a child have a spirit/soul given by their god, and that life belongs to their god, and that the right to life is something to do with their god.

You imbue your comments with your own assumptions as premises and try to hold me to the subsequent logic. If I don't accept your premises then why would I have to accept your conclusion even if it follows from the argument? Look at what you have written in the last sentence there. I mean properly look. It's crap isn't it? The core assumption ought to jump out and slap you across the face. Why on earth doesn't it?

Besides, do you think that your politico-religious organisation would recognise and defend my rights if I decided I was anti-abortion? Ha. Like feck they would.

7 August 2011 at 11:39  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Shacklefree: "Human dignity is part of everyone's make-up whether they are homosexual, prostitutes, bank robbers, tax evaders, drug addicts etc. We all have our addictions and our dignity does not depend on other people recognizing it."

Speaking of built-in assumptions etc. Very good. That's deliberate though, right? Could you add Catholics to your list and add addiction to self-righteousness and control-freakery. Their dignity doesn't depend on it of course. ;)

"Our conclusions are based on the idea that there is a moral order which we should obey. Your conclusion is based on the idea that humans in this world just have to make the best of a bad job."

Well, you're almost right. I don't really think it's a bad job. The world is a very beautiful place and life is to be enjoyed. Sure, bad things happen. But they do in the morally ordered world you imagine and hope for too, such as the nasty, brutish, and short lives of most animals. Or don't animals count at all in your moral system? It wasn't mankind who set that particular system up was it? What sort of god creates parasites which survive by burrowing into the eyeballs of mammals, making them blind for god's sake?

"At the end of the day it all comes down to whether morality is made up of decisons made by people at different times in which case it is changeable or whether there are some things that can never be right regardless of the circumstances."

I'm tempted to modify and ameliorate the starkness of that that but now is not the time.

7 August 2011 at 11:51  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Worker: "The Church of England shares the Roman Catholic view that abortion is 'gravely contrary to the moral law'. However "where (pregnancy)threatens the life of the mother a termination of pregnancy may be justified.""

It's a curious position. If there are two people in hospital, one needing a new heart within days if he is not to die and one dying of something else then is it okay to kill the second one against his will to harvest his organs in order to save the first even if the alternative is that they both die?

7 August 2011 at 12:31  
Anonymous Shacklefree said...

Danj0, I absolutely do include Catholics. No-one is free of addictions – it’s how we respond that is important and there will be priests, bishops and Popes, who will find themselves suffering the torment of hell because of their unwillingness to confront their own addictions. I agree with much of what you say. I too believe the world is beautiful and that there has in the past been quite a lot of control-treackery within the Catholic Church and some modern events illustrate cover-ups of some pretty horrendous people. I don’t like to say it but it is true and we have to live with traitors in our midst. However, I don’t think this is a problem only for the Catholic Church and if we look at politics, even modern democratic politics we see a very flawed system being manipulated to the ruin of many world-wide.
You raise very good points about parasites and other aspects of our world which create misery and personally I find the argument very strong but I also find the evidence of modern (scientifically authentic) miracles to be very convincing. It proves to me there is a power far above what we can imagine and yes you may ask “Well why doesn’t he use it more often”. I don’t know but an imperfect world requires people to love each other and it is there we see the greatest human dignity and achievement. Parasites notwithstanding, I think that the greed and exploitation we see in the world are very much the result of human choices which are made out of unbelievable viciousness and self-centeredness.
I accept that if there is no God, then we are deluded. In such a scenario we would have to accept certain things as being regrettable but necessary. However my problem there is that it is possible to justify almost anything on that account. Hitler for example, justified what he did because of the extreme poverty forced on the German people by the winners of the First World War. Between 1907 and 1970 more than 60000 in the US were forcibly sterilized in America because of the view that some people were sub-human. Generally speaking political leaders have decided what they wanted and gone for it regardless of the effect on others Robert Mugabe being a recent example. I don’t think people can come to an agreement about what is best for the world unless they have a philosophy which is truly just. The United Nations makes an attempt but we have seen how ineffectual it is and in some cases it is part of the problem. No agreement is worth anything without authority and we cannot get it from humans so where is the hope?
Can I say, you have stuck to your guns and argued your case with a sense of compassion for those women who find themselves in difficulty. I don’t agree with your conclusions but I wish you well.

7 August 2011 at 14:24  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Here's a thing: I don't like uprooting a small tree or even pruning one back. There's something ethical involved there too for me. So an abortion is not a trivial thing to me by any means. I don't want abortion as a end goal at all.

The thing that keeps popping up about anything being possible if we don't have a god to handle morality: that's just an argument. It doesn't necessarily have a bearing on the nature of reality. Just because one can define something like that does not mean it is so.

Strictly speaking, I don't hold a relative morality position. At least a pure one anyway. But even if I did then that does not mean that it has no value. It's just means that it does not feel entirely satisfactory, in particular because it doesn't seem entirely grounded. But that may just be the way things are.

I could claim that utilitarianism ought to apply to everyone, including many non-human animals, because we all avoid pain and seek pleasure. Hey, it's moral objectivism. But is it satisfactory? I don't think so. When we consider the answers it gives to moral dilemmas, it doesn't always match what we feel is right or wrong. So we're using something of ourselves to verify these things.

If we take the standard of the UN declaration of human rights as our working model then we need to get people to agree to it and argue the detail. If we take the musings of the Catholic Church instead then we still need to get people to agree to them. We've had 1800 years to fully buy into them and it hasn't happened. These things are just standards we set up.

7 August 2011 at 15:52  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

DanJ0 said ...
"I'm normally quite well disposed to you but it has to be said you do talk complete bollocks at times."

Of course I do, we all do. That's part of the joy of life.

Without morality underpinning ethics anything is permissible eventually in the field of human sexuality and reproduction.

Just had a browse through the more recent postings and I have to say neither the Jewish postion nor the Church of England's stance on abortion strick me as morally acceptable.

Certainly the Jewish one denies the foetus any rights and places the emphasis on the woman's mental and physical wellbeing. The Church of England's equivocation is disappointing.

7 August 2011 at 16:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DanJ0 said...
"Here's a thing: I don't like uprooting a small tree or even pruning one back."

You're a total plonker then! And to try to make a comparison between non-sentient and potentially sentient life is obscene.

A morally stunted plonker!

7 August 2011 at 17:44  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Anonymous: "You're a total plonker then! And to try to make a comparison between non-sentient and potentially sentient life is obscene. A morally stunted plonker!"

Ha. With an IQ as low as that no wonder you can't come up with a moniker for yourself. Here's a very apt one for you: Numbnut. Feel free to use it.

7 August 2011 at 18:32  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

What you're really saying here is that you got angry again by being ignored

I think perhaps you need to question you capacity to read someone psychologically from a blog comment. I wasn't remotely angry when I posted about Stopes - if anything, I was somewhat gleeful.

laid into the pro-choice camp (as you call it in some very broad-brush way) by rubbishing Stopes to relieve yourself, and are now backpeddling by trying to make it sound like a deliberate approach.

Not at all: if you re-read what I wrote you will see I did not commit the genetic fallacy, you keep making, but was talking about the need of the abortionists to use her as a poster girl. Here's what I wrote:

Marie Stopes is rather an odd poster-girl for the pro-choice lobby. Her interest in promoting contraception was because she did not want the wrong class of people to breed (i.e. the working classes). She wrote love-letters to Hitler, and she wrote her son out of her will because he married a woman who wore glasses. She even attended a Nazi sponsored eugenics conference in Germany.

Who better to represent the pro-choice lobby?


Then you write:

When I 'knock' Christian ethics, I'm putting it in its place.

No, you don't know enough about Christian ethics to be able to talk about it meaningfully. Again, and again I have warned you about assuming it is all reducible to divine command theory, and yet you still write this kind of stuff:

Let's face it, how could you? It's as likely to be Allah as Jehovah.

And then here's your grasp of Christian moral thinking on this question:

Or at least it undermines it specifically with Christians who, because of their religious beliefs, think that a 20 week old foetus and a child have a spirit/soul given by their god, and that life belongs to their god, and that the right to life is something to do with their god.

Again, have you ever read a serious Catholic paper on the right the life or the question of the unborn? As far as I can see you are in favour killing without having explored all the issues.

You imbue your comments with your own assumptions as premises and try to hold me to the subsequent logic.

Every comment includes assumptions (tu quoque). It is part of the nature of a debate to tease out those assumptions. It is not therefore a fallacy to debate in this way.

Actually, what I have said again and again is that if we follow your assumptions we end up in some very dodgy moral areas.

You adopt what might be called an instrumentalist view of the human person. It enables you to discriminate who is or who is not a human being with human rights on the basis of their capacities. All it takes is someone else to follow your instrumentalist view, but chose a different set of capacities and before you know it homosexuals are unjustly discriminated against. It's happened in living memory, and yet you make the same fundamental moral decision.

So an abortion is not a trivial thing to me by any means. I don't want abortion as a end goal at all.

That's interesting. What is moral status of the foetus (to use your language) then?

Strictly speaking, I don't hold a relative morality position.

I don't think you are either, but you don't have the metaphysics to enable moral absolutes either, as far as I can see. Hence...

These things are just standards we set up

...you are a moral nihilist.

7 August 2011 at 18:32  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

Given that you think human rights are "just standards we set up". How do you escape the condemnation you directed at Christians that

You're just a bunch of special interests people wanting your own way

7 August 2011 at 18:55  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Albert: "I think perhaps you need to question you capacity to read someone psychologically from a blog comment. I wasn't remotely angry when I posted about Stopes - if anything, I was somewhat gleeful."

As you wish. ;)

"Every comment includes assumptions (tu quoque). It is part of the nature of a debate to tease out those assumptions. It is not therefore a fallacy to debate in this way."

Nice try. That's not what you are doing is it? You're basically begging the question at times.

"...you are a moral nihilist."

Oh dear.

"You adopt what might be called an instrumentalist view of the human person. It enables you to discriminate who is or who is not a human being with human rights on the basis of their capacities. All it takes is someone else to follow your instrumentalist view, but chose a different set of capacities and before you know it homosexuals are unjustly discriminated against. It's happened in living memory, and yet you make the same fundamental moral decision."

There's some truth in that, but of course there's a lot more to it. If you think I'm justifying (say) the decriminalisation of homosexual acts based on how human we are then you're quite far off. We need to come to some common understanding of the nature of rights and I doubt that's possible between you and me.

Is an 'instrumentalist view of personhood' the best way to describe seeing a zygote i.e. a sperm and an ovum just fused as something very different to an Albert? Are we really arguing about capabilities there, where an Albert (gleefully?) throws around trivial labels about moral nihilism and a zygote would like to do so if it only had a brain to think with and some fingers to type, this being a mere step or two away from Jews in gas chambers? You know, I'm not sure we are.

I've ditched your Catholic stuff, basically because I cannae really be arsed with it. Sorry.

7 August 2011 at 19:10  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Albert: "Given that you think human rights are "just standards we set up". How do you escape the condemnation you directed at Christians [...]"

Escape from it? I can live with the rhetorical flourish but, Albert, are you assuming again there?

I suppose I should warn you, I will not be spending (i.e. wasting) a week arguing down all your assumptions, tangents, and eureka moments when you think you have found a flaw if you view something I wrote in just the right sort of light to suit you.

You're responsible for your own feelings and I'm not willing to be part of a game where you need to 'punish' me in public on your own terms for daring to be as equally condescending to some of the religionists here as they are to others so you can feel better in yourself. Hard luck.

7 August 2011 at 19:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"It's a curious position. If there are two people in hospital, one needing a new heart within days if he is not to die and one dying of something else then is it okay to kill the second one against his will to harvest his organs in order to save the first even if the alternative is that they both die?"

I'll just leave that there if I may. The answer to it, I reckon, is indicative of a particular position.

7 August 2011 at 19:32  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Talking of zygotes, if the sex of a new human is determined at fertilisation. (A chromosome from the father's sperm is the deciding factor on whether the child is male or female.) I wonder then at what point is the soul? For it too must be at fertilisation point because both the ovum and the sperm are live before they fuse to become the zygote. Surely the blueprint in that half is in the man the other half in the female has already bean created and from fertilisation starts the process of erecting the human. The soul of which would be the instigator of the development.

Such a shame about yr daughter EV bless her, would she consider adopting now then?

7 August 2011 at 19:38  
Anonymous Shacklefree said...

Danj0, Agreement is difficult. You are right - whether it is the teachings of the Church or the U.N. and so far it hasn’t happenned and I think it brings us back to the question of freewill and how God (if he exists) deals with us. For Islam, there is no problem - we simply have to submit and doubt itself is a sin. That is why I think Islam is such a terrible heresy – it tells people to stop thinking – just accept that God gave Mohammed a special dispensation (available to no-one else on the planet) to have 15 wives etc. We have seen the same thing at times in Christianity but I think that God which authentic Christianity teaches recognizes us where we are and a step in his direction results in a greater movement from him towards the person. I personally respect your comments that “I don't like uprooting a small tree … an abortion is not a trivial thing to me by any means”. You say the statement that anything is possible if we don’t have god as a handle is just an argument and that defining something doesn’t make it real. Yes, that’s true but I think you will agree that it is an important point because the answer determines the legitimacy of the very term morality. On one hand it is the law established by God when he made the universe and on the other it is that consensus that ‘reasonable’ people arrive at when they try to legislate for the common good. Both positions stem from good intentions but which one is correct? As you say utilitarianism may be objective but is it satisfactory? I don’t think so you say. We are not that far apart.

7 August 2011 at 19:53  
Anonymous 'Numbnuts' said...

DanJ0

My goodness you do go on and on and on and on ....

7 August 2011 at 20:26  
Anonymous 'Warm Nuts' said...

and on and on and on and on ....

7 August 2011 at 20:28  
Blogger Albert said...

I'm not willing to be part of a game...I've ditched your Catholic stuff, basically because I cannae really be arsed with it. Sorry.

That's fair enough Dan. Why should you be interested in it? But then, I find it a little hard to see why you spend time critiquing Christianity and mocking Christians on this blog, when, by your own admission, you have no interest in being informed or corrected about it. And remember, what has been at stake here is human life. Why should you expect to be unchallenged with supporting a position, which you know full well, Christians have regarded as the murder of infants?

Please note, I have only ever argued on philosophical grounds. I have never sought to foreclose the discussion with a reference to the Magisterium or the Bible. If you will not even discuss with me on philosophical grounds, how can you say you are seriously engaging with Christianity?

I won't respond to your points, as you clearly to terminate the discussion - I respect that. Let me just clarify that I never thought for one moment that you would seek to defend the decriminalisation of homosexuality on instrumentalist grounds. To be honest, it had never occurred to me that anyone would. I think simply that if you accept an instrumentalist view of the human person, you leave yourself open to the same kind of discrimination against yourself. In contrast, I defend your dignity as a gay man on absolute grounds.

Responding to your question at 1932, that is patently absurd. It would be good to hear from Cranmer if it fairly describes the CofE's position. I think it does not.

7 August 2011 at 20:29  
Blogger Albert said...

Marie,

In answer to your question, according to contemporary Catholic thought, the soul is implanted at conception/fertilization (or at least, this is the most likely moment). Please note though, that this belief is philosophically grounded. That is to say, we don't just believe it because the Church says so (which would be reason enough), rather because, on rational reflection on the nature of the human person, this is the most likely time.

7 August 2011 at 20:34  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Shacklefree: "On one hand it is the law established by God when he made the universe and on the other it is that consensus that ‘reasonable’ people arrive at when they try to legislate for the common good. Both positions stem from good intentions but which one is correct?"

Who knows? But we have to go on in life nonetheless. It's a little worse than what you describe, actually, but this is not really the sort of topic suited to detailed debates in blog comments. I'll lay out its form though.

I'm a value-pluralist in moral terms I think. That is, I think morals follow from our values and I think those values are not all of the same fundamental type. The result is that there may be multiple right answers to moral dilemmas and there may be right answers which leave what could be called a moral residue. I suspect moral reasoning is not completely rational too.

I'm comfortable with that. I find I don't need a 'paint by numbers' approach to life and I don't need to see the whole picture if indeed one exists to see. I'd say there is probably no grand theory of morality at all. I'd say some wrong things are near enough universal and others are more cultural. All of them require a moral sense too, which I attribute to evolved things like self-awareness, empathy and gregariousness, and others might attribute to a god-given internal voice.

I'm just bouncing around ideas now but I wonder if people are inclined to be religious or not depending on the degree to which they are comfortable with the idea that we don't know how our reality came about, or the idea that we simply cease to exist as individuals at some point, or that we have no purpose other than the micro ones we create ourselves as experiencing beings. I'm very comfortable with that but I know lots of religious people for whom that is terrifying.

7 August 2011 at 20:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Albert: "If you will not even discuss with me on philosophical grounds, how can you say you are seriously engaging with Christianity?"

I hate to break this to you but you are not Christianity and this blog is not the only forum I attend or ever attended. I was actually debating Christianity with people at the very start of Usenet. The web didn't even exist back then.

Also, I have engaged with you in the past. Forum debates are virtual arm-wrestles and can be useful for testing out one's ideas and arguments in a relatively positive way even if the forum is typically stroppy. However, I no longer view engagement with you as anything positive as I believe your intention is purely aggressive and a little obsessive.

7 August 2011 at 20:59  
Blogger Albert said...

I hate to break this to you but you are not Christianity

Dan,

Again, you misunderstand me. Obviously, I don't think I am Christianity - how could a Catholic ever think that?! Perhaps if you thought a little more, instead of responding so emotionally (and frankly defensively) you wouldn't find me picking up so many of your points.

My point is that if you will not even discuss philosophy with a Christian - if you cannot even go so far towards Christianity - how can you think you are capable of discussing Christian theology?

If I went on a gay website, was as rude as you are here, dismissed those who disagreed with the kinds of off-hand remarks asserting that they would disagree with me for psychological reasons as you do, I wonder if the gay commentators would feel I was engaging seriously with them.

as I believe your intention is purely aggressive and a little obsessive

Aggressive? I don't dismiss your position with the aggressive hand-waving and arm-chair distance psychology that you dismiss others with. I carefully look over your points and raise arguments against them or suggest places where you have misunderstood Christianity. I find it interesting that you regard such an approach as aggressive.

We live in a world in which Christianity is frequently misrepresented. People present straw-men to attack, in order to enable themselves to feel intellectually superior - often such satisfaction is expressed explicitly. I have an interest in correcting the misapprehensions, and on moral issues I feel strongly about (like life issues) attacking the opposition as morally and intellectually vacuous. Those who are honest truth-seekers should not find anything to fear in this.

7 August 2011 at 21:30  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

In another environment, I actually think you'd be stalking at this point seeking 'revenge' for perceived wrongs. It's becoming a bit creepy to be honest.

7 August 2011 at 21:42  
Anonymous Hot Nuts said...

'Numbnuts' said...
"DanJ0
My goodness you do go on and on and on and on ...."

And yet you don't want anybody to pick up on your loose and ill-informed portrayal of the opinions of others.

7 August 2011 at 21:55  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

It's a discussion board. If you don't want to discuss don't post here.

I was going to say that if you do come, don't complain when other people pick up on your arguments, but I see "Hot Nuts" has got there first (I expect you'll say Hot Nuts is just me on another log in).

7 August 2011 at 22:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There should be absolutely no reason for any but a very very few abortions in these days . Who on earth does NOT know about contraception . If they know and they chose NOT to use it for whatever reason, then they exercised their choice . They have to take responsibility for the life they have created . Whatever happened to the need for two doctors to sign a consent form for abortion and that it should occur only in dire adverse circumstances for the mother. That is what we were told in the beginning and this is what we will be told about euthanasia , only in exceptional circumstances with two doctors agreeing and counselling and blah de blah de blah

7 August 2011 at 22:19  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Albert: "I expect you'll say Hot Nuts is just me on another log in"

It has certainly crossed my mind given the timings and on various occasions.

"It's a discussion board. If you don't want to discuss don't post here."

It's not the discussion, it's the discussion with you. I've been crystal clear about that.

So, it looks like I'll have a creepy stalkerish old man following me around and obsessing. Oh joy.

Please tell me you won't be wanking furiously over your bible when you do it.

7 August 2011 at 22:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Oh crap, I wish I hadn't thought of that now. I have an image of Steptoe on my mind. Ewww.

7 August 2011 at 22:32  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

danj0 said "Oh crap, I wish I hadn't thought of that now. I have an image of Steptoe on my mind. Ewww."
Tee Hee serves you right that'll teach you. You got a secret penchant for elderly gents- the young man and his uncle syndrome.

7 August 2011 at 23:12  
Anonymous Hot Nuts said...

How dare you say I'm Albert!

I'm the cousin of Numbnuts and Warm Nuts.

Bloody cheek!

7 August 2011 at 23:45  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Tee Hee serves you right that'll teach you. You got a secret penchant for elderly gents- the young man and his uncle syndrome."

*shudder*

Thankfully we don't have private messaging here. I'd have at least half a dozen uninvited ones in there by now, ranging from the candid and stroppy, through faux-conciliatory, to extreme anger because I haven't replied. I speak from experience there.

8 August 2011 at 06:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LIFE is an evil, nasty organisation. I loathe The Guardian but fully support its campaign to prevent LIFE being involved in anti-abortion advice.

9 August 2011 at 07:25  

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