Daily Archives: January 23, 2009

How to Answer a Logic-chopper

Doug Geivett posted on a “hawt” one the other day: Daniel Florien on “How to Stump an Anti-Abortionist with one Question.”

Geivett, in response, writes:

You’re kidding, right? No, I suppose not. But you should know better than to engage in such hasty generalization. (I believe I know you do know better.) Thoughtful pro-lifers have thought about this and won’t be stumped if you ask them.

Here’s one for you: Suppose abortion IS the murder of an innocent and defenseless human person; what do YOU think should be done about it? It’s silly to say that because nothing should be done about it, it isn’t murder. You’ve got the reductio ad absurdum turned inside out.

Florien, in the comments section of Geivett’s response, writes:

“Thanks for your link & comment. My point was really that some are stumped, not all — though the title is a bit misleading. But you have to admit, it was good copywriting! :) Of course if it really is murder, then a person should have the punishment for murder. That was my point. That is a logically consistent position. But whether it is murder or not is a different issue, one that I may tackle in the future.”

Hmmm, I don’t know about that. Here’s a crucial part of Daniel’s post:

“They believe abortion to be murder. Murder deserves severe punishment. Thus, women who have illegal abortions should receive severe punishment — like life in prison or the death penalty. That’s the logical conclusion. But they can’t accept this conclusion. They know it’s absurd and unfair — which means they know abortion is not really murder.” (emphasis in the original)

It sounds like he is making the argument that abortion is not murder (or, at least, that “anti-abortionists” don’t really think its murder.). At any rate, he should be more careful in his rhetoric and not make such sweeping claims if his response to Geivett is genuine. He should perhaps also update his original post and clarify.

At worst, the pro-lifer just doesn’t know the best policy to go about enforcing a law…but it is a non sequitur to infer from that that his argument about the morality of abortion is therefore in error.

I mean, there are tons of things we think are wrong and should be illegal, but yet we don’t know the best way to go about prosecuting them. Just because the details on how to prosecute someone for a behavior are unclear doesn’t mean the behavior shouldn’t be criminalized.

There have been many substantive answers to this question. Justin Taylor summarizes an excellent response by Frank Beckwith here.

Check out the following related posts:

Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, Belated


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