Abortion and the Biblical Sixth Commandment
Debate Rounds (3)
The Biblical Sixth Commandment states "Thou shalt not kill." Abortion opponents like that. But there is a problem. It is impossible to obey the exact literal wording of that Commandment, and therefore it must be interpreted differently from what it literally says.
Why is the literal wording impossible to obey? Modern science has discovered that the volume of physical space occupied by the average walking human body is not entirely human. In fact, about 90% of all the living cells in that volume of physical space are bacterial, and only about 10% are human.
Some of those bacteria are "symbiotic"; humans can't survive without them, and the bacteria can't survive without the humans. But other bacteria are pathological opportunists. The immune system of the average human body is constantly *killing* those bacteria.
You would probably die within a week if your immune system started literally obeying the Biblical Sixth Commandment.
Therefore it is necessary to interpret that Commandment differently from what it literally says. How about "Thou shalt not kill humans."?
Obviously abortion opponents could embrace that interpretation. It also has advantages with respect to the living things that we often kill for food (including seeds), and with respect to the bugs or rats that we kill because they would eat our food.
Unfortunately, this particular interpretation is seriously short-sighted. Consider dolphins, for example:
If dolphins have names and language, should we believe that we are allowed to kill them as freely as we kill bacteria, simply because they are not human?
And what of the far-distant future, when we start exploring the stars and eventually (it is a *big* Universe out there!) encounter other technologically advanced species? Will it be smart or stupid to believe that all non-human intelligent beings can be freely killed, *just* because they are not human?
Consider for a moment "the other side of that coin", which has been portrayed in such fictional scenarios as the movie "Independence Day". Those non-human intelligent beings seemed to think that humans could be killed freely! Perhaps they had their *own* version of the Biblical Sixth Commandment, perhaps "Thou shalt not kill your own kind."...
It should now be obvious that we (and all other intelligent species in the Universe) need a less-specific interpretation of the Biblical Sixth Commandment. So, how about, "Thou shalt not kill intelligent beings."?
I don't see any problem with that. But abortion opponents will. Because *no* unborn human qualifies as an "intelligent being"! (Humans don't even qualify for several months after birth, but that fact is irrelevant to any abortion debate.)
Your Challenge in this Debate, should you choose to accept it, is to specify *why* the Biblical Sixth Commandment should be interpreted in some way that forbids abortion, similar to how I have specified why its literal form is flawed, and why an alternate interpretation is necessary.
I would like to thank Pro for this unusual debate.
For the sake of clarity, I would like to point out that "Pro" is arguing "pro-abortion" in light of the Sixth Commandment, and as "Con" I will be arguing "anti-abortion" in light of the Sixth Commandment.
Pro's links were actually broken, so I couldn't read the sources he gave. This is usually an unfortunate side effect of debate.org that seriously needs to be attended to, as this has happened to me many times in the past.
Now, the best translation of the Sixth Commandment is "thou shalt not murder." This is killing in cold blood. Obviously sometimes in the Old Testament, killing was mandated by God, but it was always for a justifiable reason (e.g. divine judgement). Not murdering, as it is intended in Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17, is not killing in cold blood. In other words, you shall not take innocent human life, of which the unborn certainly qualify.
From the spirit of the verses alone, it is obvious that this should be taken literally. Even if we are made up of mostly bacteria (which is dubious, to say the least), we know what humans are. Humans are living organisms. They grow, their cells work together for the good of the whole organism, they have DNA which marks them as human, etc. Even if we are made up of "mostly bacteria," I can still look at my friend and recognize him as human. There is no question what living entities I am not allowed to kill. I am not allowed to kill a human, someone made in God's own image (Genesis 1:26).
Everything necessary for us to thrive (food and environment) is all that's necessary for the unborn to thrive. The unborn, like us, are living human organisms and therefore should be protected, just like we are.
Who Should We Not Kill?
Pro brings up dolphins, which are one of the most intelligent species on Earth (and a species that we should listen to when the Vogons come to demolish Earth to make way for a hyperspace bypass!). This is actually a species that Peter Singer, noted pro-choice philosopher, would consider to be a person while the unborn and infants are not. One can assign a right to live to dolphins without considering them "persons" in the same way that humans are.
I am opposed to killing dolphins, but for different reasons than I am opposed to killing humans. What makes humans valuable is their inherent capacity as rational, moral agents. This includes the unborn because while they do not possess the current capacity for it, they do possess the inherenty capacity for it. Given the natural course of development without have their lives prematurely cut short, they will develop the present capacity as rational, moral agents. This is why all humans deserve a right to life, because all humans have this inherent capacity. In order to kill any human requires a morally justifiable reason, this includes the unborn.
But being human is a sufficient requirement, not a necessary one. This is why we would also grant an intelligent alien race a right to life. If the alien race also has an inherent capacity as rational, moral agents then it would be wrong to kill them. It would be wrong to abort an unborn Vulcan child just like it would be wrong to kill an unborn human child.
Pro asserts that intelligence is what makes someone valuable, but as I have shown this proves too much. So what makes intelligence the deciding factor? Pro has yet to prove why this should be the qualification for us to assign value and the right to life.
Contrary to what Pro says, this is entirely relevant to the postborn as well. Pro says that humans don't qualify for several months. So if intelligence is the deciding factor, then Pro must either admit that it is morally justifiable to kill a infants and toddlers due to their lack of intelligence, or reject intelligence as the deciding factor. This would also mean that more intelligent people could kill less intelligent people, since the more intelligent you are, the more valuable you are. This would allow the less intelligent to be killed or enslaved by the more intelligent.
It seems altogether evident that under the Sixth Commandment, we should not kill any humans for a morally impermissible reason. Pro has not given sufficient reason to allow their death, even under the Sixth Commandment. I look forward to Pro's rebuttal.
Next, regarding the bad links, it is possible that I erred. For one thing, I didn't check to see that they worked, after finding them on Google. Regarding "mostly bacterial", try replacing the first dots in this string, after copying it to the address bar of a blank browser page: ht......ww.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080603085914.htm
Regarding dolphins, try replacing dots in this: ht..../news.discovery.com/animals/dolphins-name-themselves.html
Regarding defining "murder" as "killing in cold blood", I must strongly disagree. I've swatted many a mosquito and many a fly in cold blood, after all, even with witnesses, and none of those witnesses ever called any such killing "murder".
Another thing wrong with that definition of "murder", especially with respect to abortion, is simply this: I can imagine constructing a brain-wave detection/analysis machine hooked up to an "auto-doc" (future fully automated medical system, see the "Known Space" stories of Larry Niven), such that when a pregnant woman puts on a helmet and becomes angry enough, the auto-doc will then --and only then-- perform an abortion. Such a "hot-blooded" abortion would obviously not violate your preferred version of the Sixth Commandment!
Next, unborn humans *don't* actually qualify as "innocent". But that is *another* thing I want to Debate separately. In this Debate I will simply consider your statement to be an "unproved claim" (the same as you can consider my counter-statement here to be), and ignore it.
Next, humans are certainly living organisms. But so are individual bacterial cells. And so are all the "white blood cells" in any human's circulatory system. Those cells also have a full complement of human DNA, and they can grow and reproduce, too. But when some human experiences a shaving cut and bleeds a little, hundreds of fully alive and fully human white blood cells leak out and die --and *none* of those deaths are mourned. Logically, therefore, it takes something more than mere human DNA, in an organism that can grow and reproduce, to qualify as something that shouldn't be killed.
I see that Con expressed the common "made in God's image" claim, which is fundamentally flawed. I also saw Con's comment about how Catholics, at least, ignore the Commandment about graven images. So, consider the logic: God is claimed to be able to exist in a non-physical way (even for Catholics, God must have done so before Jesus was born, and *certainly* must have done so before creating the physical universe). That means that God can't have *had* the sort of physical form or "image" which might be reproduced, *either* as "graven" *or* as a biological organism such as a human.
Now, what God most certainly *can* have had, even all those ages ago, is the equivalent of a "mind's eye", in which God can *imagine* various images. Humans could then be claimed to have been created in terms of *that* type of image. And so could dolphins and any other non-human intelligent beings in the Universe... --*all* of them could, with exactly equal validity, claim to have been created in that type of "God's image".
However, *now* the problem comes up regarding the claim that God created everything. Every life-form on Earth would be exactly as much "created in God's image" as humans. Which means arbitrarily killing any of them would be exactly as murderous as arbitrarily killing a human (if "murder" is defined as killing an entity made in God's image), and again our immune systems disobey.
Next, Con states, "...protected, just like we are." It is ludicrously false, since humans often die by the hundreds --even by hundreds of thousands-- in floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, etc. The whole species could be wiped out by a giant-meteor impact. So, humans in general are *not* "protected".
I'm aware Con was probably actually talking about human Laws, created to protect themselves from each other, independent from natural events. However, Laws generally don't work when they are not understood. For example, you can pass a Law prohibiting a wild tiger from eating a human, but that doesn't mean the tiger will obey. Truly effective Laws need all parties affected to understand them! Well, unborn humans don't understand any Laws whatsoever, and since they actually do fail to qualify as "innocent", there is no Objective reason why they should be protected by a Law from those who do understand Laws. (Again, to be detailed in a different Debate.)
The subject of "morals" is another that deserves to be Debated separately. Because they are arbitrary, not Universal. Ethics, however, has a decent chance of being Universally applicable. The arbitrariness of "morals" means they actually can't be a valid excuse to prohibit abortion. (And ethics doesn't lead to any such excuse.)
Next, I see that Con also brings up the "capacity" or "potential" argument, to equate unborn humans with the average walking human. However, just because some sort of potential exists, that doesn't mean it *must* be fulfilled. After all, if about 1/6 of pregnancies naturally miscarry, then that is *exemplary* of potential-not-getting-fulfilled! Regardless of what humans might want, or call "moral". Also, consider the fact that any walking human has the potential to fall down a stairway and die of a broken neck. *Who* *decides* what sort of "human potential" should or should not be fulfilled???
(There is another aspect of "potential" that deserves a separate Debate, to expose the flaw of that anti-abortion argument in more detail. Later.)
If any taint of "prejudice" enters that decision-making process, then the decision is not being made either morally or ethically. (I'll have more to say about that in a Debate about "potential.)
In partial answer to my "Who decides" question, I say, "Individuals should generally not decide things for others who are able to decide things for themselves." This even applies to animals, after a fashion: "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." Nevertheless, *all* miscarriages and abortions happen to organisms that are totally *unable* to decide things. Unborn humans are DNA-controlled stimulus/response biological mechanisms/organisms under construction, nothing more (except in the prejudiced imaginations of abortion opponents). So, the two types of event (miscarriage and abortion) are therefore ethically equivalent.
We can generally avoid killing Vulcans for the simple reason that they are portrayed as being at least as able as us to understand Laws. Which means a mutual anti-murder Law could be workable. But that doesn't make the unborn of either species any more able to understand such a Law, than before it gets passed....
Con stated, "Pro asserts that intelligence is what makes someone valuable", and, actually, I did not specify any such thing. I talked about "intelligent beings" without actually defining the phrase, and relied on the notion to be understood, thanks to the degree to which various science-fiction concepts have spread through our modern culture. (Con's casual references to Vogons and Vulcans indicates that that reliance was not misplaced.) I was, however, expecting to get into the details of "intelligent beings" in the separate Debate about personhood.
Next, in my original posting I specifically mentioned the fact that just-born humans don't qualify as intelligent beings for several months after birth, *and* I specifically stated that that fact is *irrelevant* to any abortion Debate. Because abortion is explicitly about killing *before* birth, not after birth. Meanwhile, consider the concept of "pets", which are valued despite having low intelligence --and partly protected by Law, too. If Con wants to take an argument that *succeeds* in winning an Abortion Debate, and then apply it to some other Debate, fine. But not here, in this Debate.
That concludes this response.
Once again I wish to thank Pro for issuing this challenge, and I likewise look forward to debating personhood of the unborn with him in the future.
I would like to point something out, that Pro is trying to make it impossible for me to win this debate. He says that the innocence of the unborn should not be debated here, but then uses their alleged lack of innocence to show that killing them is acceptable. Either Pro should allow me to make my case or drop his case for abortion until it's time to debate their personhood.
I have already shown why the commandment to not kill only applies to humans. We are forbidden from killing humans in cold blood. We are not forbidden from killing mosquitos or flies, especially since they are not intrinsically valuable (or made in God's image) like we are. Humans are unique among God's creation and as such, the only creatures we are forbidden from killing are humans due to our being made in God's image.
I must confess I'm confused by Pro's analogy of the "auto-doc" and how it pertains to our argument at hand. If a woman puts on a helmet to have an abortion willingly, then she is still taking part in killing the unborn child. I fail to see why she would put on a helmet that would kill an unborn child if she intends to keep the unborn child. Additionally, if she did have that helmet on and the unborn child died unintentionally, at worst she would be guilty of manslaughter, which is different from murder. I fail to see the relevance of Pro's analogy.
I should point out that when I say "innocent," I mean innocent of committing a crime (especially one deserving of being killed for it).
I explained what makes humans unique in round one. Yes, individual human cells contain DNA. But Pro, here, is confusing parts with wholes. An individual human cell is not a human being, and it is not a tragedy when we lose a cell. However, a human being has many parts, cells that work together for the good of the whole organism, an organism that is developing itself from within. It is simply a non sequitur to claim that since shaving is not immoral, then killing an unborn human is also not immoral. The unborn human is a separate, living, whole, human organism.
My claim about being made in God's image is not flawed. Remember that we are discussing the Christian Scriptures! Why did God give us the commandment, "you shall not murder"? It's because we are made in God's image, so we are forbidden from killing anyone. In fact, I provided the verse that says humans are created in God's image last round. Pro's assertion that everything God created is in His image is false. I urge him to read the verse I provided himself (if he doesn't have a Bible, he can look it up on-line). 
It is true that God is not a physical being. When God said "let Us make man in Our image," He most likely did not mean physically, for as Pro noted God is immaterial. God meant that He has given us capacities to be like Him.
As CARM mentions, "[being made in God's image] means that we are made in his likeness in that we have some of the same attributes that God has. For example, God is rational (Isaiah 1:18) and so are we. God can love (John 3:16) and so can we. God can hate (Psalm 5:5; 11:5) and so can we. Because we are made in God's image we are able to have compassion, mercy, grace, fellowship, friendship, etc. However, as God is all knowing, we are not. God is ever present, but we are not. So, the image of God in us means that we are like him in some, not all, of his attributes." 
So as you can see, it is not true that everything was made in God's image. Only humans, which is also stated in the verse I provided. So no, killing animals is not the same as killing humans, since only humans have been created in God's image.
Mentioning floods and other natural disasters is a red herring. When I say that we should be protected, I mean that our lives should be protected from being killed. In the same way there are laws against murder, there should be laws against abortion, laws protecting the most vulnerable members of humanity.
Pro's point about the unborn not understanding the laws is pretty stretched. For one thing, infants and toddlers don't understand the law. Following Pro's logic, it should be legal to kill infants and toddlers because they can't understand the laws that protect them.
As I stated earlier, Pro cannot mention the unborn's alleged lack of innocence if I cannot mention their state of innocence. They qualify as innocent in the legal sense of the term.
Pro also mentions the arbitrariness of "morals." However, if we can make murder illegal, there is no reason why we can't also make abortion illegal. So whether or not morals are arbitrary is irrelevant.
Pro mentions miscarriage, but this argument doesn't follow. Miscarriage is a natural abortion. Miscarriage no more justifies abortion than people dying of natural causes justifies murder. Additionally, Pro's analogy of the person falling down a set of stairs actually proves too much. That would justify murder, if miscarriage would also justify abortion.
I find it ironic that Pro mentions prejudice, since the pro-life position is not prejudiced at all. The pro-life position is that every human is valuable and deserving of a right to life. The pro-choice position is prejudiced, in that the unborn are discriminated against due to some arbitrary reason.
Pro seems to misunderstand the nature of the unborn. They are not constructed, like a car. They develop from within, like a Polaroid picture. And their development doesn't stop once they are born. Their lower level of development does not justify killing them. Otherwise it would be morally justifiable to kill an infant, which is much less developed than an adult.
I already explained why we couldn't kill Vulcans in the previous round, which Pro has not rebutted. I have already shown why being able to understand a law is irrelevant in determining who should be protected by law. Pro's case has fallen apart.
Pro did, indeed, mention intelligence as the defining characteristic on what makes someone valuable. However, if he feels he needs to define it further, then let him do so, so that I can respond to it. Otherwise, I have shown why my definition of human/alien value should be accepted and why, under my view, it would be just as wrong to abort a child from an intelligent alien race as it would be to abort a child from our race.
Pro stated that intelligence is irrelevant to born people, but that doesn't make it so. If Pro is going to use intelligence, then he must use intelligence all around. To say that we can kill the unborn because they lack intelligence, but we can't kill toddlers even though they lack intelligence is special pleading, and ad hoc reasoning. The unborn are living, human organisms from fertilization. Any reason to support abortion cannot also apply to someone outside the womb, unless you're prepared to say that it should be morally justified to kill those people outside the womb for that very same reason.
And I should point out that I have won many debates on abortion using these criteria and pointing out the flaws in pro-choice thinking. Additionally, Pro can't dictate what arguments I can or can't use in this debate, especially if those arguments are relevant to the point at hand. Pro is simply trying to make it impossible for his opposition to win the argument.
I look forward to our final round.
Here I'll begin by edit/quoting something I wrote, that didn't need to mention "innocent": "unborn humans don't understand any Laws whatsoever, [so] there is no Objective reason why they should be protected by a Law from those who do understand Laws." That is, with respect to understanding Laws, the unborn are equivalent to animals. We have a variety of Laws regarding humans and animals. Cattle rustling is illegal. Don't arbitrarily shoot your neighbor's pets. Deer can only be killed "in season". Wild Burmese pythons in Florida may be killed on sight (if you can). And so on.
We have *pragmatic* reasons for protecting certain animals (chickens) more than others (foxes), but there is no Inherently Objective reason why either should be preferred over the other. Since unborn humans are insignificantly different from ordinary animals --per actual measurable fact, not ethereal things like "potential"-- we can be as pragmatic as we wish about them, also.
Which means that by calling them "vulnerable members of humanity", Con was exhibiting prejudice, not objectivity. The U.S. Constitution currently grants humans "personhood" after being born, so it doesn't matter how little intelligence they have, or to what degree they understand Law. That's why talking about intelligence after birth is totally irrelevant to any abortion Debate. The Debate about unborn personhood will cover reasons why/why-not to extend Constitutional protection prior to birth.
Next, Con did *not* previously show why the Sixth Commandment only applies to humans, because his "made in God's image" argument is fundamentally flawed --it is *logically* *impossible* for something physical to exist in the "image" of something non-physical, about which the word "image" simply cannot apply!
Also, regarding various aspects of God, such as being rational, able to love or hate or have compassion, mercy, grace, fellowship, friendship, etc --*none* of those things are possible for an unborn human. So, logically, they are *not* as similar to God as the average walking human is claimed to be.
Perhaps Con wishes to talk about "souls"? By definition of being "immortal", souls must be as non-physical as God, and logically can made *very* similar to God's equally-nonphysical "image". (Another Debate: "Do unborn humans have souls?") Note that non-human intelligent beings could also have souls, claimed to be made in God's image, and they could be exactly as correct about it as humans.
So long as no intelligent species confuses the physical with the non-physical, with respect to interpreting that "made in God's image" phrase, we might all be able to get along with each other just fine.
Regarding the "brain-scanner and auto-doc", Con apparently missed the part where I specified the pregnant woman entering that system must become very angry (or "hot blooded") in order to activate an abortion procedure. (It could also be the only reason for entering this particular type of auto-doc.) Since the killing is then not "cold blooded", it can't qualify as "murder" per Con's definition (defective, it is!).
Next, Con needs to study some "stem cell research", and some "regeneration research". We are fast approaching the point where we can take *any* human cell that has the full complement of DNA, and "activate" it such that it becomes "totipotent", able to grow into a complete human body. Or any part of a human body. Here (replace some dots):
What that means, per Con's argument about "potential", is that white blood cells are exactly as equivalent to unborn humans, as unborn humans are equivalent to average walking humans. So imagine someone saying, "Because you place such value on human *potential*, let's dissect you into individual cells, so that all possessing complete human DNA can fulfill their potential to grow into hundreds of billions of separate persons."
The preceding is absurd, of course. And so is it absurd to use "potential" to oppose abortion.
The entire notion of "right to life" is an *artificial* *construct*. We use it --and anti-murder laws-- to get along with each other better. However, "getting along" always requires at least two cooperating participants. No unborn human is mentally capable of participating! Just like many ordinary wild animals. Which is why they all can be legitimately denied a "right to life", and why there is no reason to illegalize abortion.
Next, Con is failing to understand that humans are part of nature, and that since both nature and humans kill, miscarriages are indeed ethically equivalent to abortions. Also, the fall-down-stairs analogy was presented to point out a "who decides" Question about "potential", which Con ignored.
Next, quoting Con: "the commandment to not kill only applies to humans" and Con also claims to be non-prejudiced. Yet that first quote is *exactly* why, in my original post, I showed how abortion opponents can be prejudiced against, say, Klingons, just because they are *not* human. Con used a completely different argument to *pretend* to have no prejudice against Vulcans (who are described as being so human-like they can interbreed with us). Sorry, Con, but there is no reason to think that God would prefer any of the three species over the others (assuming all actually existed). And since I have no interest in killing Vulcans, why would I want to refute any rationale you might provide, for not killing Vulcans?
Con apparently doesn't understand molecular biology, which is almost as much *mechanical* as it is chemical. It can be very accurate to describe many biological events in terms of "machinery". So, an unborn human is indeed a "body under construction". DNA specifies that various cells become specialized tools to accomplish certain things (such as, "become a placenta and obtain a supply of construction materials"). Other cells use those materials to *make* *more* *cells*, and to build bones and fluid conduits (such as for blood) and communication pathways (nerves). The construction process is not doing *anything* outside of its DNA programming. And, per "biomimicry", we've dreamed up equivalent electronic/mechanical material-acquiring self-reproducing "cells" to accomplish larger tasks: ht..../en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Von_Neumann_machine
Con has told an outright lie. The word "valuable" doesn't appear in this Debate until Con used it, yet Con has now twice claimed I specified "intelligence as the defining characteristic on what makes someone valuable". *That* is the lie. What I originally *proposed* is the notion that the Sixth Commandment might be interpreted as "Thou shalt not kill intelligent beings". The notion of "value" does not apply; the notions of "getting along with each other", and "avoiding interspecies genocide", totally apply. It merely becomes a *logical* *consequence* of that interpretation, that abortions would be acceptable, since no intelligent beings would be killed.
And so far Con has not proposed any wording for the Sixth Commandment which would apply to born humans *and* to various equivalent nonhuman beings, who should not be killed, while *also* distinguishing unborn humans from mere nonhuman animals, such that *only* the latter can be freely killed.
In closing, this is my first Debate here, and it is possible that I didn't pick the best first topic, since Con wants to introduce other factors, each of which deserves its own space. I only wanted to exclude them because I fully expect to *invalidate* each of those factors in its own space (e.g., see absurdity of "potential", above; there's more!) --therefore they *wouldn't* belong here. There just isn't enough space here to do all those invalidations in this Debate!
Once again I thank Pro for issuing this challenge, and as abortion and the Bible can be hot topics, I would ask that voters vote on this debate based on the strength of the arguments provided and not on personal bias toward or against the abortion issue or the Bible.
I have already shown why the unborn's inability to understand laws doesn't mean they shouldn't be protected, which Pro has not refuted. Infants and toddlers don't understand laws, so following Pro's logic infanticide is as morally justifiable as abortion.
We have pragmatic reasons for protecting the unborn, as creating more unborn humans ensures that our species will continue. However, whether or not abortion is good or bad for society is irrelevant as to whether it is moral or immoral. For example, why not protect the unborn and just kill the homeless, which are considered to be drains on society? I suspect that the reason we can't just kill the homeless is because they are human. The unborn should be protected for the same reason.
I was not exhibiting prejudice when I called the unborn vulnerable members of humanity. I provided evidence to justify my statement and Pro has not refuted it. The Constitution is a man-made document. Ireland currently respects the unborn and doesn't allow abortion. So what makes our Constitution more moral than Ireland's? Additionally, all the Constitution says is that the unborn are not "citizens" of the United States. Where you are born determines what land you're a citizen of. But illegal aliens are protected in our country. We can't just kill them. Being a citizen is irrelevant to whether or not you have a right to life. As illegal aliens are protected from harm, so the unborn should be.
My made in God's image argument is not flawed at all. I offered Biblical support for that (and we are, after all, discussing the Bible!), and logical support for it. "I do not like your argument" does not equal a fundamental flaw.
Pro misunderstands my argument. The unborn may not exhibit any of those traits yet, but they have the inherent capacity for it. They just have to develop it first. Pro has not offered any compelling reasons to reject my criteria for personhood.
I am not talking about souls, and this is a red herring (though I believe they do possess souls, but that is not within the scope of this debate). So I don't feel a need to respond to this argument as my argument is that the unborn are living human organisms and as such should be protected from harm and death.
I really think that Pro's analogy falls apart. There is no reason why a woman would be wearing such a helmet. Additionally, "cold-blooded killing" is a metaphor, but Pro tries to refute it literally. Humans are not cold-blooded. So obviously killing someone in cold blood is not to be taken literally.
I have studied stem cell research and regeneration research. In fact, I have intensively studied the abortion issue for ten years now. Pro's assertion that I don't understand these things, or that I don't understand biology are clearly unfounded and an attempt to undermine my argument. Yes, we can take a human cell and clone it. However, these are only "potential" humans, not "actual" humans. Potential humans do not have rights, and we don't have an obligation to turn a potential human into an actual human, especially if it would result in the original human's death (as in the analogy of dissecting someone into individual cells). The unborn are actual humans, and therefore should be protected.
I'm not sure Pro fully understands my argument, as my argument does not rely on potentiality but actuality. The unborn are actual humans, therefore they deserve protection we afford any human.
The notion of right to life is not an artificial construct. It is also not within the scope of this debate to argue morality (which could take several separate debates in and of itself). The crux of the matter is that if we can say you can't murder a born human, you can also say you can't "murder" (kill without just cause) an unborn human.
Pro's assertion about nature is fallacious. In fact, he's making an appeal to nature fallacy. Just because something occurs in nature does not mean it is moral for humans to do. As I mentioned, Pro's analogy of the staircase proves too much. Someone can fall off a staircase and break his neck, but this doesn't justify murder. Nor does the possibility of miscarriage justify abortion.
Now Pro is simply taking my words out of context. I didn't mean that "only humans" are protected by the Sixth Commandment, so it would be okay to kill other members of intelligent species. I was saying "only humans" as opposed to animals. The Sixth Commandment does not forbid us for killing animals for food or clothing. It would apply to other intelligent species like Klingons, Vulcans, or Romulans (and since there is a God who created us, these other intelligent species would have even been created in God's image, just like we were).
I do, in fact, understand biology. It is simply incorrect to state that humans in the womb are constructed like a car. There is no maching in a woman's womb that creates a body, then attaches two arms, then attaches two legs, attaches a neck and a head, etc. The zygote begins as a single cell (a totipotent cell), that divides into two and directs its development from within until it is ready to survive outside the womb. It develops itself from within, like a Polaroid camera. In fact, it is more correct to say that the zygote's DNA code is "read" like a computer, not constructed like a machine, as Pro asserts.
Pro asserts that I told a lie, but in fact he merely misunderstands what I mean. When I say the unborn have "value," that simply means that they are considered valuable enough to have a right to life. Pro said that we should protect other intelligent species, so it seemed that Pro's definition of value is their level of intelligence. And Pro has thus far refused to define what his qualification for human life is. Pro has also not explained why he believes that not getting along with each other, or why interspecies genocide is wrong, in light of the fact that he believes we weren't created in the image of God. I have provided justification for my position.
I did not propose a word change to the Sixth Commandment because none is needed. I have made my case in spades.
I can appreciate Pro's first debate being on something as controversial as abortion. I believe that was what my first debate was on, as well. But the problem is Pro was expecting a debate that was so narrow that 1) he was trying to make it impossible for me to win, and 2) it couldn't be argued against without introducing other topics. The humanity of the unborn is the most fundamental question to answer in the abortion debate. If the unborn are not human, then it is justifiable to kill them for any reason. If they are human, then a morally justifiable reason is necessary.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Microsuck 4 years ago
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