Eric Rudolph's Closing Statement

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Now that abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolph has received two life sentences for killing an off-duty cop in a 1989 blast, the betting can begin on how long he'll last in prison.

Rudolph was spared the death penalty as part of plea agreement, but nothing tamped down the emotions at his sentencing. From an AOL News account:

"The full responsibility for this would have been the death sentence," Emily Lyons, the nurse maimed by his bomb, said Monday in court.

And Felicia Sanderson, whose husband died in the explosion, said, "I want to tell you there is no punishment in my opinion great enough for Eric Rudolph. When Eric Rudolph leaves this earth and has to face final judgment, I'm going to leave the final judgment in God's hand."

Then Rudolph, who was allowed to speak, lashed out at abortion and the women's clinic that performs them.

"What they did was participate in the murder of 50 children a week," he said. "Abortion is murder and because it is murder I believe deadly force is needed to stop it."

Whole AP version here. Rudolph still faces sentencing related to other bombing deaths, including one at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Violence against abortion clinics has trended downward for a while and it seems unlikely that Rudolph's sentencing will trigger a new cycle of violence. At the same time, the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation hearing will definitely put abortion back in public debate in a big way.

Back in 2003, I looked at the abortion status quo on the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade here.

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  1. AOL News? Dude! 🙂

    The clinic’s director, Diane Derzis, told Rudolph, “It gives me great delight to know you are going to spend the rest of your life sitting in an 8-by-12 box.”

    My thoughts exactly.

  2. While I personally don’t agree with his position, if Rudolph truly thinks that abortion is murder, then his actions were justified.

    I wouldn’t have wanted to be on the Jury…

  3. “Abortion is murder and because it is murder I believe deadly force is needed to stop it.”

    I’ve got five bucks that says, with statements like that (and even that statement alone), this dude’s not getting out (with the possible exception of escape or the election of Roy Moore to the presidency, and I’ve got another five bucks that says Roy Moore won’t be president).

  4. When the state takes a life deliberately, it has repercussions far in excess of the deeds of any monster like Rudolph. Not that I’d miss Rudolph. Not even that I would doubt justice would have been done by executing him. But it’s not up to me. We can at best only execute a small proportion of the monsters out there. Who decides?

  5. Geeze. If only his mother had possessed the foresight to abort this idiot before he’d had the chance to grow up and start killing people.

  6. John Brown’s terrorism is far, far easier to rationalize.

  7. While I personally don’t agree with his position, if Rudolph truly thinks that abortion is murder, then his actions were justified.

    Um, not really. The second half does not follow from the first; are illegal actions that I take suddenly justified if I can convince you that I hold an internally consistent belief system that requires them?

  8. mediageek,

    Under the right circumstances, Mr. Rudolph’s actions could have saved your life. What basis do you have for calling him an idiot?

  9. When someone does something that is both terrifying and in accord with basic principles of ethical reasoning, I prefer to engage in self-reflection rather than spleen-venting.

  10. MP,

    I’m curious, what justifies his attacks against a gay bar? Or in murdering a woman (and injuring dozens more) in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing?

  11. Under the right circumstances, Mr. Rudolph’s actions could have saved your life. What basis do you have for calling him an idiot?

    Gee, I don’t know. Maybe it has something to do with his being a murderous loser.

  12. While I personally don’t agree with his position, if Rudolph truly thinks that abortion is murder, then his actions were justified.

    I’d have to disagree, and my thinkings are influenced by theories of just war by St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine of Hippo. (Sorry, Catholic geek outbreak! Usually not my thing.)

    Some of the many things you have to consider before your justly resort to violence are 1) Will this succeed in changing anything for the better? and 2) Is this my last resort?

    Even if one accepts that Rudolph had a just cause in trying to stop abortions, I doubt his actions did more than delay any specific abortions from taking place, and it was certainly destructive to any broader goal of getting the law on abortions changed. Not to mention the risk to bystanders.

  13. How would Rudolph’s actions possibly have saved a life? They might have forced a pregnant woman to find an alternative site for an abortion, in very narrow circumstances they might have forced a woman to forgo an abortion, but that’s far different from “saving a life.”

  14. So much for that commandment about not repaying violence with violence. I’m glad God’s not alive to see this.

  15. Serafina,
    In his logic, if a woman had to forgo an abortion, the fetus, thus “a life” would be saved.

  16. I’m curious, what justifies his attacks against a gay bar? Or in murdering a woman (and injuring dozens more) in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing?

    Probably nothing. And I’m not intimately familiar with his case. I’m just arguing against the knee-jerk reaction that pre-mediated murder, used to achieve ones goals of stopping what one may consider a greater evil (i.e. the unchecked pre-meditated murders of other entities), is necessarily irrational or immoral. Stevo makes some good points about some of the questions one must ask before determining that a homicide is justifiable. But his points do not rule out the possible justifiable nature of homicide.

    I remember the Bullshit episode about PETA. They liked to call Bullshit on PETA because (paraphrasing) “they’re just animals”. Well, that makes for a nice soundbite, but it lacks a solid philosophical foundation. Drawing the line between sentient beings with enforcable rights and non-rights holder is never a cut and dried task if one honestly approaches the topic.

  17. I’m pro-choice, but I can fully understand the motivation of Rudolph in regards to the abortion-clinic bombing. If I seriously thought somebody was murdering babies, I’d feel almost a moral obligation to stop them by any means necessary; had I lived in Nazi Germany I hope I’d’ve had the courage to kill any Gestapo members I could, or bomb the train tracks to Auschwitz.

    I think all people, pro-choice and anti-choice, think it’s wrong to kill a baby; we just disagree on when “babyhood” status is achieved.

  18. >>>I’m pro-choice, but I can fully understand the motivation of Rudolph in regards to the abortion-clinic bombing. If I seriously thought somebody was murdering babies, I’d feel almost a moral obligation to stop them by any means necessary; had I lived in Nazi Germany I hope I’d’ve had the courage to kill any Gestapo members I could, or bomb the train tracks to Auschwitz.

    I think all people, pro-choice and anti-choice, think it’s wrong to kill a baby; we just disagree on when “babyhood” status is achieved.

  19. Sera:

    And, what’s more, if you don’t believe that an undeveloped fetus is a rights-bearing human being, then, he wouldn’t have saved anything but a lump of developing cells.

    What truly amazes me about the abortion debate is how rediculously concrete and extreme people are about it. The whole debate, to me, is about boundaries and definitions. Government has the duty to protect the rights (including “life”) of that which is defined as a human being. We can all agree on that. The problem with abortion is that there is no consensus definition of when a lump of cells becomes a rights-bearing human. Yet, the debate is defined by these groups who are, in reality, not that far apart, yet, they are portrayed as being at the two extremes. Most of the time, they create these definitions for themselves, or for the other side.

    For example, I saw a bumper sticker that said “you can’t be catholic AND for abortion”, but, um, what do you define as “abortion”? Surely, most people would agree that an 8-month old fetus is a human being, but, where is the real line drawn? What if 2 catholics differ on the precise point when the lump of cells becomes a person? Then what? What if one catholic said that wanking it in the shower is murder, because it kills all those poor sperm cells? Would that be “abortion” too?

    It just seems to me that this debate gets blown way out of proportion, and that allows people to make assinine statements like, “he might have saved your life!” or “if he believed it, then he’s justified!” The debate is, at its heart, all about defining the line at which a lump of cells becomes a human being with rights…and since there is no consensus on that point, it just turns into a hyperbolic shit-flinging affair.

  20. In his logic, if a woman had to forgo an abortion, the fetus, thus “a life” would be saved.

    True, and what he leaves out is that when he kills somebody with a bomb, another life is also taken.

    He also leaves out: that’s the same logic that Muslim fundamentalist nutbags use when they fly planes into buildings. It’s not a “logic” that is acceptable.

  21. The thing I wondered was, why wasn’t Rudolph charged as a terrorist?

    If this shit were done in the name of some other religion, wouldn’t it be considered terrorism, plain and simple? Please don’t tell me it’s because he’s white.

  22. Jennifer: that’s why abortion is difficult to reconcile in libertarian dogma. Libertarianism depends wholly on the concept of clear-cut “human beings” possessing “rights”, so, this debate is at the hinge of things. Once it gets sorted out, you have a platform to stand on, and you can get your footing, but sorting it out isn’t all that easy.

  23. Indy worm,
    I would guess that Rudolph doesn’t believe abortion doctors (or, from his other crimes, gay people or any host of others) are really people, and it doesn’t matter if they die. Unacceptable and twisted, but sadly not beyond the pale.

    Somewhat unrelated, but about thinking peoples’ lives aren’t worth living – maybe people like Rudolph think abortionists or whatever are like that part in Inferno where Dante talks to his gardner who is still alive but has a demon living in his earthly body because he sucked at life so much.

  24. Indy worm–
    I’m sure in Rudolph’s mind, it’s no different than taking the life of SS guards to save the lives of concentration-camp Jews.

  25. Evan Williams,
    Here’s how I sort it out.
    I love babies, born and unborn, as much as the next guy, but the “atom” of society is not a human being but a family.
    And I family is however it defines itself.

  26. trainwreck,

    I’m not sure, but I think Rudolph’s crimes occured before most of the federal anti-terror legislation was passed.

  27. Evan Williams,

    You’re a human being once you are outside the womb.

  28. You’re a human being once you are outside the womb.

    Thus proclaimith the Lord.

  29. You’re a human being once you are outside the womb.

    Well, that settles that.

  30. Haklyut,
    So if you’ve got a mom with premature triplets being removed by c-section, and 2 have been pulled out, would it be in poor form to bludgeon the third which remains in the womb?
    🙂
    (I really don’t want to start an argument, just pointing out that nothing is cut and dry, as it were)

  31. I love babies, born and unborn, as much as the next guy, but the “atom” of society is not a human being but a family.

    Ruthless, I’m probably misunderstanding you, but I’m surprised to hear you say that. You are not an “individualist” but a “familialist”?

    That sounds more like traditional Chinese than libertarian.

    Does this mean:

    1) When the interests of one individual within a family conflict with the interests of other members of a family, do the interests of the family always trump those of the individual?

    2) Does a lone individual without other family have rights within society? Or is a lone individual to be defined as a family unto himself?

  32. Jennifer —

    I applaud your eminently sane formulation. I tend pro-choice myself, but even so I have some major skepticism about this simple explanation of pro-choice belief, the idea that most of us simply don’t believe babyhood (hence personhood) status has been reached by a fetus. The proof’s in the pudding, and my big problem arises from the behavior of many pro-choice friends and acquaintances surrounding a wanted pregnancy. I don’t believe I’ve encountered a single woman who treated her wanted fetus as only a potential person, e.g. saying things like, “Oh, how great it is that this part of my body is going to be my son in two months.” I find it hard even to imagine someone expressing such thoughts, either as a happily pregnant woman or to one.

    So, I myself don’t shy away from consequentialist arguments for allowing some abortions. But I wonder what personhood/rights theorists have to say about my intuition above?

  33. You’re a human being once you are outside the womb.

    Haklyut, thanks for your support.

  34. Stevo Darkly,
    Yep, I’m a familialist, and, as an anarchist, family would be the highest order of organization that gets my seal of approval.
    And loners have no family?
    That doesn’t happen even here, does it?
    Whether is loner is merely a loner or a family depends on how he or she cares to define it.

  35. I’d feel almost a moral obligation to stop them by any means necessary; had I lived in Nazi Germany I hope I’d’ve had the courage to kill any Gestapo members I could, or bomb the train tracks to Auschwitz.

    “Yo’ ass wouldn’ta said SHIT to no Nazi!”

    — Richard Pryor

  36. Ruthless,
    Orphans still exist you know.

    trainwreck,
    Oh don’t you know, the new line is that Rudolph isn’t a Christian, but a modern relativist. Or so sayeth Maggie Gallagher.

    My Buddist ex had a unique view on abortion. She believed that life began at conception, but was pro-choice. Her feeling was that if a child was so unwanted that the mother was willing to kill it, then it is better off for the child to have never been born. I disagree with her view on it, but I found it interesting.

  37. joe I guess that makes sense. But then wouldn’t that would actual terrorists could just be charged with existing laws, and that new anti-terror laws are basically unnecessary? I think I just answered my own question.

  38. Yet, the debate is defined by these groups who are, in reality, not that far apart, yet, they are portrayed as being at the two extremes.

    Once you see that the abortion debate is really a proxy war between two groups that do have fundamental differences on issues right across the spectrum, this becomes much less apparent.

    Because the abortion issue was decided by judicial fiat, rather than being worked out in the gradual compromise of the messy politics of the legislature, it became a flashpoint where the two sides dug in immediately. There is a lesson there for gay marriage advocates, if they would only heed it.

  39. Mo,
    Orphans without families wouldn’t exist if government obstacles to adoption were removed.
    We used to call our adopted daughter, Little Orphan Amy.

  40. But then wouldn’t that would actual terrorists could just be charged with existing laws, and that new anti-terror laws are basically unnecessary?

    I was really surprised after 9/11 that Congress didn’t create a brand new law specifically outlawing the intentinal flying of an airplane into a building for purposes of killing people.

    You know, just in case hijacking and murder weren’t already illegal.

  41. familialist + anarchist = tribalism

  42. trainwreck,
    Is tribalism bad?
    I’m part Cherokee.

  43. You’re a person when you can huff at your first crack pipe.

  44. No woman I know would think that a fetus is part of her body, J. Goard. The “my body, my choice” school of thought has to do with not being forced to give up bodily integrity for the benefit of a potential child rather than seeing a fetus as part of oneself.

    For that matter, I’ve never seen a funeral for a miscarried fetus.

  45. “The thing I wondered was, why wasn’t Rudolph charged as a terrorist?

    If this shit were done in the name of some other religion, wouldn’t it be considered terrorism, plain and simple? Please don’t tell me it’s because he’s white.”

    Terrorism is done with little or no regard to the lifestyles and actions of the victims, and is also meant to be a scare tactic/warning to some other third party… i.e. we ALL basically have an equal small chance of getting snubbed out by an act of terrorism.

    Rudolph selected a victim based *specifically* on the victim’s lifestyle and actions. That’s not terrorism because I, for example, have zero chance of being targeted by an abortion clinic bomber (I’m not defending what he did here, of course, but I’m just sayin’…)

  46. I’m sure in Rudolph’s mind, it’s no different than taking the life of SS guards to save the lives of concentration-camp Jews.

    PeTA has done exactly this, with their attempts to compare pig and chicken farms to concentration camps. Surely just because some PeTA members think this doesn’t make it so, nor does it excuse them from being punished when they undertake actions like burning down science labs and “freeing” the animals from their cages.

    Personally, when it comes to abortion, I’ve simply decided to stake out the most offensive stance that I can think of, because ain’t nobody gonna budge on this one.

  47. D Allen, that might be true of the abortion clinic bombing (never mind that he succeed in killing an anti-abortion police officer rather than any abortion providers or consumers), but in the Atlanta bombing, Rudolph hid a device in a knapsack that he then left among the crowds in the Olympic park.

  48. > “I think all people, pro-choice and anti-choice, think it’s wrong to kill a baby; we just disagree on when “babyhood” status is achieved.”

    I’ll respectfully play Devil’s Advocate here:

    Since everyone has a different opinion on when ‘life’ enters the fetus/baby, wouldn’t it seem more people would err on the side of life?

    For example, let’s say one is informed that a house began burning, and the house would completely collapse to the ground in 10 minutes. Someone then informs you that there may, or may not, be a child in one of the rooms. Do you choose to check the house for the kid “just to make sure”?

    Personally, I don’t think a life officially begins until (1) the fetus’ heart begins beating, (2) brainwave activity begins, and (3) the nervous system fires up. This all happens by the ninth week, I think. But that’s just an opinion, of course. I don’t really know when life begins either.

  49. Good point, Serafina.

  50. Ruthless,

    In my experience, tribalism is not bad, so long as you are born in to the right family. It’s almost like a caste sytem, wherin privledges to to those who are priviledged. I don’t find it very compatible with modern society, but it works good for the hunter/gather set.

  51. For that matter, I’ve never seen a funeral for a miscarried fetus.

    That is something that some families choose to do. Santorum’s family did that when his wife lost a baby, and I think that episode strongly influenced how vocal he has become when it comes to abortion.

  52. MediaGeek,

    So you believe that all abortion should be illegal in all cases, but murder should be decriminalized for the first 72 hours of life too?

    Trabis Bickle

  53. I agree that the potential life should not take precedence over the actual life (and choices) of the mother. But, the fetus stops being a potential life and becomes viable when it could feasibly live outside the mother and continue on to maturity. This time period is constantly being pushed back by medical advances, but for now ruling out abortions after a certain point (begining of 3rd trimester? middle of second?), except to save the mother or when the child has no chance of developing, seems reasonable. This however would be based on science and not on fairy dust or ineffable spirits.

  54. Mediageek-

    I wasn’t saying that I AGREE with the concentration-camp analogy; I’m just saying that’s probably how Rudolph views it.

  55. Jennifer- Yeah, I noticed that you had prefaced your first post with “I’m pro-choice.”

    I s’pose I was just airing some extra vitriol* at people that I generally consider to be contemptible.

    *I get the stuff at Sam’s.

    TB-
    Generally when anyone asks my position, I tell them that odds are they would have grown up to be a statist anyway, so it’s no big loss.

  56. ABORTIONS FOR ALL!

  57. What someone there should’ve responded to Rudolph’s comment with:

    “Isn’t someone who bombs an abortion clinic technically threatening the lives of the unborn anyway? Because obviously you couldn’t warn the pregnant women to leave….”

    The look on his face after that one would’ve been interesting to see.

  58. As I recall the story, Santorum’s baby was born prematurely at something like five months gestation and died. He lived for a few hours after delivery. I’ve known many families who’ve had miscarriages, which largely occur before ten weeks, but none of them have had funerals. It’s exceedingly uncommon.

  59. Since everyone has a different opinion on when ‘life’ enters the fetus/baby, wouldn’t it seem more people would err on the side of life? For example, let’s say one is informed that a house began burning. . . . Do you choose to check the house for the kid “just to make sure”?

    I have two rebuttals to this argument.

    First of all, the question isn’t really “Do you check the house for the kid,” but “do you require somebody, by law, to check the house for the kid, even if that somebody doesn’t want to or has reason to fear doing so?”

    Secondly, why can’t “err on the side of life” be just as easily interpreted to err for the life we already know, without debate, is here–the mother’s? MAYBE that single fertilized cell inside of her is an independent life, but there is DEFINITELY an independent female life right here. Certainly you, personally, could keep the fetus if you somehow ever found yourself pregnant, just as you should be free to run into the (non-living) burning house to check for the kid. But can you require some woman to do it against her will?

    That’s how I view it. And I would definitely draw the line at infanticide, or nine-month abortions unless it were somehow necessary to keep the mother from dying. I don’t know where exactly I’d draw the line in regards to this, but it’s definitely within the three-month window allowed by law.

  60. I mean, the three-month window allowed by law is definitely within the line.

  61. There is a lesson there for gay marriage advocates, if they would only heed it.

    Yes, and that lesson is apparently, “Sit down, shut up, and wait for the Sainted Majority to be nice enough to give you your rights, rather than you just claiming them.” Nothing like a defense of majortarianism on a libertarian site.

    Rudolph selected a victim based *specifically* on the victim’s lifestyle and actions. That’s not terrorism . . .

    So, when the ELF targets housing developments and SUV dealerships and blows them up, that isn’t terrorism? Somebody better tell the FBI.

  62. MG,

    No offense, but I think my position is more offensive, at least when it comes to getting both sides worked up. You should hear my foolproof plan for peace in the mid-east…

  63. as to when one becomes a human, I rather like the definition used by the Bene Gesserit school in “Dune”. basically, not all “people” are “human”. by default, non-human people are animals. one is recognized as a human by the Bene Gesserit by being tested. the test subject puts his hand in a box and a poisoned needle is held at the side of his neck. he is told that to remove his hand from the box will bring instant death. the box induces excruciating pain in the test subjects hand. the premise is that a human can use his brain to override the instinct to remove his hand from the pain stimulus. an animal can only act on instinct.

    maybe we could come up with a test like this to justify post-parturition abortions

  64. TB- See, I thought you were just joshin’.

    Biologist- I’ve often wondered about administering a sapience test that would involve making a person perform some of the basic skills our first homo-sapien ancestors would have used. For instance, the ability to make fire with just a few natural implements.

  65. I wonder why men still can’t abort an unwanted fetus. A man should be able to pay the fee for the abortion and sign some papers that free him forever more of the joys and the responsibilities of fatherhood.

    Being forced to be a father will cost a man plenty and he has no way out. It seems to me that if she gets to make a second choice about being a parent he should get one as well.

    This only works if he doesn’t want it and she does. If he wants it and she doesn’t I’m not sure what recourse he has.

  66. I wonder why men still can’t abort an unwanted fetus.

    Because they don’t have vaginas, uteruses or ovaries and cannot bear children. However, when they develop the ability to do so, I will fully support their decisions to have all the abortions they want.

    Being forced to be a father will cost a man plenty and he has no way out.

    Forced? Are these men being raped, or . . . ? I mean, I’m 35, and I’ve been married for 14 years, and had a few sexual partners before my marriage, and I’ve somehow managed to never become a father. So what’s this “forced” crap?

    This only works if he doesn’t want it and she does. If he wants it and she doesn’t I’m not sure what recourse he has.

    Adopt.

  67. No woman I know would think that a fetus is part of her body

    On the ground, Sarafina, you’re probably right, although I’ve certainly read expressions akin to “expelling part of her body” from pro-choice organizations. But does this really counter my point? Do any of the happily pregnant women you know ever not address and describe the fetus in terms connoting personhood, and tacitly expect the same from others? Again, I’m not an antiabortion crusader, just a hard consequentialist who’s afraid that lots of people are embarrassed about acknowledging consequentialist ethical reasoning. Doesn’t it seem to you that the personhood-at-delivery boundary appears only when abortion is being considered, and that otherwise almost everyone tacitly accepts some earlier onset of personhood?

    For that matter, I’ve never seen a funeral for a miscarried fetus.

    Neither have I, and I’ve only heard about them as grotesque right-wing grandstanding. OTOH, a funeral is a public event, expected by community members outside of the family to recognize the passing of someone to whom they’ve been introduced. Plus, it can be damn expensive. I think a more germane fact is the grief often experienced at late-term miscarriages; what would be most germane to my point, however, is the question of whether miscarrying women who are politically “pro-choice” tend to grieve less than those who are “pro-life”. I haven’t done a study, of course, but I just find that implausible.

  68. Phil,

    Because they don’t have vaginas, uteruses or ovaries and cannot bear children. However, when they develop the ability to do so, I will fully support their decisions to have all the abortions they want.

    I thought I explained my definition of ‘abortion’ in this case was simply a legal term for not being finacially or socially considered the father. As far as the male sperm donor is concerned, the fetus is aborted no matter what the mother/egg donor decides to do.

    Forced? Are these men being raped, or . . . ? I mean, I’m 35, and I’ve been married for 14 years, and had a few sexual partners before my marriage, and I’ve somehow managed to never become a father. So what’s this “forced” crap?

    Was the woman who is having the abortion raped? Probably not. If she chooses to have sex with the guy and ends up pregnant she has a way out of parenthood. He does not. She gets a second ‘choice’ about being a parent that he does not. That is all I was trying to say about being ‘forced’ to be a dad.

    Adopt

    I guess so, but I was trying to get to the dilemma when a woman gets pregnant and the father wants it. He has no say in her choice to carry the fetus or not. I am not saying he should have a say that she has to carry it. Just that to have it or not to have it is all up to her. An ‘abortion’ for men would at least give him half a say.

  69. In my experience, tribalism is not bad, so long as you are born in to the right family. It’s almost like a caste sytem, wherin privledges to to those who are priviledged. I don’t find it very compatible with modern society, but it works good for the hunter/gather set.

    trainwreck,
    Prepare thyself for the enlightened tribe. Anarchy,complexity, and the evolution of memes will it.
    Peace (Kowabunga)

  70. I’ve often wondered about administering a sapience test that would involve making a person perform some of the basic skills our first homo-sapien ancestors would have used. For instance, the ability to make fire with just a few natural implements.

    This would certainly challenge a lot of people’s definitions of “viability.” An infant child left alone in the woods certainly won’t be able to feed itself, and has only as much chance of survival as whatever the statistical measure of not-zero is.

    Many adults aren’t “viable” in the sense they could survive “in the wild” for a year.

    So a fetus needs the help of another person to survive; a baby needs the help of others to survive, and lo and behold, so do most adults. Hmmmmm….

  71. If she chooses to have sex with the guy and ends up pregnant she has a way out of parenthood. He does not.

    You know, I mean, take it up with Mother Nature. Them’s the breaks. That’s how species with two genders work. I don’t know what to tell you. The right kinds of contraception, used regularly and correctly, fail at a statistically insignificant rate. Use those all the time, get a vasectomy, keep your dick in your pants (or your hand, or someone’s mouth or ass), or suck it up and accept the consequences. Those are the male equivalent of the female’s ability to get an abortion. (I chose the second option.)

    I guess so, but I was trying to get to the dilemma when a woman gets pregnant and the father wants it. He has no say in her choice to carry the fetus or not.

    I guess that’s a good signal to only put your sperm into people whose life goals you tend to share or who you trust to be able to come to a decision together. Otherwise, ultimately, yes, the decision is hers. Again, take it up with Mother Nature. It’s her fault, that scheming bitch.

    Just that to have it or not to have it is all up to her. An ‘abortion’ for men would at least give him half a say.

    I generally am suspicious of the motives and character of men who appear to want to deposit sperm willy-nilly with so desperate a desire to want to be freed of the potential consequences of parenthood. There are probably plenty of sterile women you could look up that would leave you off the hook, you know. Shit, start an “Irresponsible Men/Sterile Women” dating group. I bet you’d make a million dollars.

  72. I’ve never heard such an expression as “expelling part of her body” from pro-choice groups. The message I get is that women should have the choice whether or not to harbor an invader within their bodies. For most women, the invasion of pregnancy is welcome or tolerated. For some, pregnancy is like having an unwanted parasite. Harbor it too long, and it’s your responsibility. But I have no problem with women who want to maintain their personal bodily integrity.

    And as far as the miscarriage issue goes, why should it matter whether it’s late-term or early-term in terms of a woman’s feeling of loss? If she intends to have the child, it’s a huge loss no matter when it happens.

  73. “You know, I mean, take it up with Mother Nature. Them’s the breaks.”

    holy shit, that’s an amazing defense for rape too.

  74. And as far as the miscarriage issue goes, why should it matter whether it’s late-term or early-term in terms of a woman’s feeling of loss? If she intends to have the child, it’s a huge loss no matter when it happens.

    I didn’t make any point about late-term versus early-term. My point was that if pro-choice individuals authentically believe that personhood begins at birth, and that a fetus is only a potential rights-bearing entity, then it would seem reasonable to expect that they would mourn a miscarraige in a substantially lesser way than do anti-abortion individuals who believe that an existing person (and family member) has died. To the extent that this is not the case, serious doubt is cast on alleged pro-choice beliefs about the onset of personhood. I’m suggesting that the real driving force behind the pro-choice movement is sensitivity to the overwhelming societal costs of unwanted pregnancies, which leads to acceptance of a tradeoff against the lives of fetuses. But because naked consequentialism is so ideologically unpalatable to so many, pro-choicers typically claim to believe that fetuses are not persons. On the basis of damn-near-exceptionless observations about treatment of [I]wanted[/I] fetuses in some very pro-choice towns, I suspect this claim to be disingenuous. That’s all.

  75. MP, Stevo, etc.,

    My comment was in jest. I forgot the obligatory 🙂 however.

    R.C. Dean,

    Thanks for repeating another historical myth. Both sides on the abortion matter were dug in long before Roe. Roe (despite whatever myth-making Scalia tries to conjure up on the matter) did not create the controversy; all throughout the 1960s an ideological war was fought over the issue, indeed so much so that creating the Model Penal Code became a political nightmare because it was relatively lenient on those who got or performed abortions. Both sides were entrenched far before Roe came along.

    As to gay marraige, gay people should and will continue to clamor for what they want. Advocating that they just shut up or remain second-class citizens isn’t the proper libertarian response. And attempting to argue that the effort is strictly through the courts is simply ignoring the reality of the situation; most states which recognize some sort of partnership rights have done so exclusively through legislation: see New Jersey, Conneticut, California, New York, etc. Indeed, even in the case of Massachusetts and Vermont, efforts to overturn court decisions via constitutional amendment have failed; and the electorate doesn’t seem interested in overturning those decisions because they have booted out anti-gay rights legislators (that’s especially true in Massachusetts). In all honesty, it doesn’t matter how the decision is come by, anti-freedom Christians are going to be pissed about gay marriage.

    D.C. Allen,

    Terrorism is done with little or no regard to the lifestyles and actions of the victims…

    That’s clearly erroneous. Lots of terrorist groups target specific types of victims; I mean, you didn’t see the IRA or the Loyalist terrorists striking out against Russians, did you? No. Terrorism need not be indiscriminate. And more to the point, even if we accepted your erroneous definition, how was his attack at the Atlanta Olympics anything but indiscriminate.

    Eric Rudoplh is a Christian terrorist.

  76. Ruthless-

    Explain the “familiast” concept. What if the family is abusive? Controlling? Dishonest? It seems strange that someone concerned about the possibility of government tyranny would be OK with the possibility of familial tyranny. Substituting millions of petty tyrannies for one centralized one doesn’t seem like an improvement.

  77. “You know, I mean, take it up with Mother Nature. Them’s the breaks.”

    holy shit, that’s an amazing defense for rape too.

    Um, not really, no. The biological fact that, in gendered species, one bears the offpsring and the other does not, has nothing to do with rape or other violations of another person’s individual autonomy and will.

  78. Eric Rudoplh is a Christian terrorist.

    Yup. And Tim McVeigh was an agnostic terrorist.

    And the ELF are atheist terrorists.

    It takes all types, I guess.

  79. Well, I am not absolutely sure about the ELF.

    However, in the world of Hakluyt logic, the absence of evidence means atheism.

  80. “Substituting millions of petty tyrannies for one centralized one doesn’t seem like an improvement.”

    CAT Violations,
    Oh yes it does.

  81. Dave W.,

    Do you have a problem admitting that Rudolph is a Christian terrorist?

    ELF isn’t made up of atheists. As to McVeigh, his views on religion changed so much as to make any definitive statement on them problematic

    The absence of evidence denotes a reason not to believe in a particular claim. You claim that there is a God – I ask you for some evidence of this creature’s existance, and you respond that you don’t have any. To wit I respond there is no reason to believe in God. Just as I have no reason to believe in say Feng Shui, and plenty of reasons not to believe in Feng Shui.

  82. Dave W.,

    BTW, despite what you imply in your example, the absence of evidence means more than your simple individual ignorance of a subject. That’s an example of Dave W. logic I guess.

  83. Regardless of Rudolph’s religion or lack thereof, killing civilians in an attempt to score political points sure sounds like terrorism to me. Even if you can justify bombing an abortion clinic as “preventing the killing of babies,” there’s no such excuse for bombing the Olympics and a gay nightclub.

  84. Jennifer,

    You have to remember the mind-set of some Christians (e.g., Christianity Indentity, etc.); its open season on homosexuals as far as they are concerned.

  85. H,

    RES IPSA: You have no evidence that ELF members believe in God. Therefore, under your logic, they are atheists. After all, how can we assume there is any religious faith there in the absence of evidence of the existence of this faith. Following the “rational” approach of your previous posts, the reasoning runs thus: no religious faith exists on the part of the ELF, unless and until Hakluyt sees some evidence of the existence of this putative religious faith. Or does your res ipsa logic only work to serve the cause of atheism, but never to undercut it?

    RANDOLPH: Do I have a problem admitting that Randolph was a Christian terrorist? Asked and answered. To refresh your recollection, I said “yup” he is a Christian terrorist. However, it is important to understand this fact in the larger context that every group has its terrorists.

    MC VEIGH: Tim McVeigh self-identified as an “agnostic.” You say he vacillated over time, but vacillation itself just seems to bolster McVeigh’s self-id, not undercut it.

  86. Good point, Hakluyt. Well, look on the bright side–as much as I deplore the inhumane state of US prisons, at least Rudolph should be getting some up-close and personal reasons to hate homosexuality. Nothing quite like a big asshole winding up with a big asshole, huh?

  87. Dave W.,

    Again, you confuse individual ignorance with lack of evidence. Sorry, I’m not a solipsist. Anyway, thankyou for mischaracterizing my statements.

    Sociologists have done a lot of work on animal rights activists, radical environmentalists, etc. and in the main they believe in some sort of God entity.

    As to the Rudolph question, I’ve only asked you once, so I don’t see how you could have answered me before. There some sort of localized temporal shifts happening in your area?

  88. H: Eric Rudoplh is a Christian terrorist.

    D: Yup.

    H: Do you have a problem admitting that Rudolph is a Christian terrorist?

    D: Asked and answered. To refresh your recollection, I said “yup” he is a Christian terrorist.

    H: As to the Rudolph question, I’ve only asked you once, so I don’t see how you could have answered me before. There some sort of localized temporal shifts happening in your area?

    D: Objection. Badgering the witness.

    As far as the difference between ignorance and lack of evidence, I am clear. There is no real, denotative difference. Perhaps a difference in connotational gloss, but that’s it.

  89. the italics should run thru area.

    why does this glitch keep happening?

  90. Dave W.,

    The point is that I never asked you originally. My comment was directed to an entirely different person and no query was involved. So there is no way you could have done what have claimed that you have done. 🙂 Still seeing giant pink invisible elephants, eh?

    There is no real, denotative difference.

    Of course there is. Individual ignorance is a localized issue; lack of evidence is universal. And there is no evidence for God.

  91. Doesn’t life begin when it is wanted?

  92. Dave W.,

    But here, instead of acting the solipsist, why don’t you present me with some arguments for God?

  93. Have you looked under the surface of Uranus?

    Didn’t think so.

    Because there is someplace we haven’t looked, we have a lack of evidence. Because there is someplace we haven’t looked, there is ignorance. What’s the diff again?

  94. “there is no evidence for God.”

    Mon Cher Hakluyt:

    we went over that. absence of evidence contra proves that it exists. I had always thought it proved the existance of “Fronc, the efeminate decorator” as the supreme being. apparently, it was the wrong absence.

    but i’ve always liked the switch-the-subject defense. “is this guy a scumbag religious fucking freak killer who kills due to the voices from his imaginary friends?”
    “well, look over there” [takes garderbelt off the table] “there’s a killer there. see.”

    sigh.

  95. H,
    I tried to set up your legit choices on the other thread:

    1. Believe in God and admit you have made an extra-rational leap of faith; or

    2. Affirmatively disbelieve in God and admit you have made an extra-rational leap of faith; or

    3. Make no extra-rational assumptions and be agnostic.

    Why would I shill for God. I am more about individual choice (and consequences!!!) than that. You must have me confused with the bad Christians that live in your head.

  96. Dave W.,

    Yes, I have seen the surface of Uranus through the instruments which humans have sent to observe that planet.

    Again, you confuse individual ignorance (why you keep on lopping off the individual part I can’t say) and lack of evidence.

  97. Dave W.,

    Disbelieving in God requires no extra-rational leap of faith. You seem to be confusing (again) strong and weak atheism.

  98. I said *under* the surface of Uranus. How deep? Uhh, just past where the instruments can see right now. That deep. That’s the unexplored part. That is the place we have a lack of evidence about. That is the place we are ignorant about. That is the place that keeps your res-ipsa-for-atheism argument from working.

  99. Dave W.,

    Simply put, there is no convicing proof of the existance of God(s); it takes no extra-rational leap of faith to come to this conclusion.

  100. I don’t believe in “weak atheism.” “Agnosticism” is the correct descriptor for this.

    You seem to think that “agnosticism” implies equipoise. It doesn’t.

  101. Simply put, there is no convicing proof of the non-existance of God(s); it takes no extra-rational leap of faith to come to this conclusion.

  102. Dave W.,

    That is just, well, stupid. Of course we have explored under the surface; just as we explore under the surface of the Earth will all manner of instruments from satellites. Furthermore, we are not ignorant of there being a sub-surface to the planet even if we hadn’t probed it. Your analogy simply doesn’t work.

    BTW, I really wish you would learn to use the term res ipsa correctly. 🙂

  103. Dave W.,

    Well, whether you believe in it or not, its a commonly and properly used.

    Simply put, there is no convicing proof of the non-existance of God(s); it takes no extra-rational leap of faith to come to this conclusion.

    Now that is an irrational statement.

  104. So how do you know that God doesn’t live under the dirt (or whatever) on Uranus? How did our probing reveal this to us?

  105. Dave W.,

    As I have stated repeatedly, there really is no difference between your belief in God and someone else’s belief in Feng Shui. There is a difference between a belief in God and non-belief in such a made up entity.

  106. H,

    why make up a new phrase like weak atheism, when a pre-establish single word does the trick?

    http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&lr=&safe=off&edition=ca&oi=defmore&q=define:AGNOSTIC

  107. Dave W.,

    The theist will always cling to the idea that somewhere, out there, God might me sitting in a lawn chair floating above some star, planet, nebula, etc. A weak atheist doesn’t have to worry about such things; a weak atheist simply states that there is no reason to believe in a God for X, Y & Z and leaves it at that.

  108. Dave–
    Why are you so obsessed over semantics?

  109. Dave W.,

    I didn’t make up the phrase. Because the term agnostic does not properly describe a weak atheist.

    A weak atheist such as myself disbelieves in Gods from the standpoint of a skeptic; I don’t make absolute knowledge claims. An agnostic states either that the question is unknowable or that we simply don’t have enough facts at this time.

    Consult a proper dictionary.

  110. And of course a strong atheist does make absolute knowledge claims; though they may only be about specific religions.

  111. One would think that if a God interacts with our universe we could detect that interaction. Yet if we cannot detect it, that likely means that no interaction occurs; which means from a practical standpoint that the presence of a God is meaningless and it brings into question the rationale for believing in its existance.

  112. It’s interesting the way this thread went. Eric Rudolph did not bomb things because he believed they were wrong. He bombed things because he wanted to hurt people.

    When he bombed the Gay bar, he specifically left a second bomb (I believe in a dumpster), set to go off shortly after the first, to target the “responders”. You know, cops, fire, and ambulance.

    When you add that, plus the fragment bomb he left at the olympics, The only real question is why the government didn’t charge him as a terrorist.

    And the only answer I can find to that is that if you are a white christian…well, then you are just a criminal, if you are islamic and do that kind of stuff you are a terrorist.

    Difference?

    I vote that ER was just a garden variety batshit. A kind of batshit that is far too common these days. I assert understanding the Eric Rudolph case (including how folks in the back country of the US helped) will help us understand radical Islam. ‘Cause in the end, there is little practical difference between him (and his supporters) and your standard islamofacist.

    Think Munich ’72.

  113. phil –

    “Um, not really, no. The biological fact that, in gendered species, one bears the offpsring and the other does not, has nothing to do with rape or other violations of another person’s individual autonomy and will.”

    except that’s what you’re talking about, even if you believe fathers love their children less than mothers do. or that such an idea is measurable in the first place. but you were saying that becuase the mother bears the children, she gets first dibs, which means the father loses out if he wants the child and she does not.

    rape is a very common technique in mother nature’s toolkit. dems also the breaks. it doesn’t mean squat, however, and it’s a very gross and useless way to try and bear down on this particular argument, where everything cuts both ways.

    protip: mother nature is a fucking bitch, and should not be invoked lightly.

  114. Okay. Now that I understand weak atheism better, it sets what I would call a rebuttable presumption that there is no God. I guess the distinction is that agnosticism sets no presumption one way or the other.

    The rational approach is to have no presumption until the evidence comes in. What is the weak atheist’s scientific evidentiary basis for setting the no-God presumption?

    I am a weak Christian in the sense that I haven’t seen evidence of God, but I have a rebuttable presumption that She exists. I make the same leap of faith as a weak atheist, just in the opposite direction. On the other hand, if weak atheists are to be considered as scientific and rational, then so is the weak Christian and for the same reasons.

  115. Jennifer,

    Actually, I have the opposite reaction — why are putative “atheists” so worried about being labelled as “agnostics?”

    Calling somebody an “agnostic” is not the same as calling them a nasty name.

    Also, as H explained what a “weak atheist” is, they seem like they really have a lot more in common with agnostics than with strong atheists. Why have atheists expended the effort to define the categories in the gerrymandered way that they have here?

    There is clearly a political game being played with the nomenclature here.

  116. The question is, is an invading piece of unwanted pregnancy tissue alive if it is not wanted?

  117. Why have atheists expended the effort to define the categories in the gerrymandered way that they have here?

    Maybe because certain folks keep insisting that doubting the existence of God requires just as much faith as affirming the existence in God? And doubting the existence of the giant turtle supporting the earth requires just as much faith as affirming the existence of the giant turtle?

  118. Has anyone noticed that being familiast avoids arguing about religion?

  119. You’re still making a strawperson of the pro-choice argument, J. Goard. The majority of pro-choice people do not believe that personhood begins at birth. They hold a vast multitude of positions on when human life begins. There’s huge variability on how women mourn a miscarriage, both among pro-choice and anti-abortion women. The traditional religious view has been that a miscarriage (less than 20 weeks gestation) doesn’t get the same level of recognition of loss that a stillborn child (longer than 20 weeks gestation) or a child who dies after birth does. Religion has traditionally treated a young fetus as less than fully human in that sense, less deserving somehow of the community’s recognition as a death. Miscarried fetuses don’t get a death certificate either and haven’t been traditionally recorded in church records.

    The pochoice women I know typically believe that they have the right to choose whether or not their body will nourish another being. Some may say that a fetus has no rights, however most whom I know would say that human fetuses have rights, but their rights are trumped by the woman’s right to bodily integrity. How a woman feels about her pregnancy, then, will of course play a strong role in her feelings at its loss or in bringing it to fruition.

  120. The question is, is an invading piece of unwanted pregnancy tissue alive if it is not wanted?

    Oh, I don’t think should abort the mothers, even if they are unwanted. That is just going too far.

  121. Maybe because certain folks keep insisting that doubting the existence of God requires just as much faith as affirming the existence in God? And doubting the existence of the giant turtle supporting the earth requires just as much faith as affirming the existence of the giant turtle?

    Prior to Magellan / DelCano, your analogy is fine. After 1522 (including now) it is a misplavced analogy because technology was finally able to explore the place where the giant turtle was supposed to be. We got a long way to go before we can make a similarly confident statment vis-a-vis God.

  122. Oh, I don’t think should abort the mothers, even if they are unwanted. That is just going too far.

    It isn’t alive if it isn’t born yet is it? Or if alive it isn’t a person.

  123. It isn’t alive if it isn’t born yet is it?

    Excellent ***question.***

  124. It isn’t alive if it isn’t born yet is it? Or if alive it isn’t a person.

    Of course it is

  125. The prochoice women I know typically believe that they have the right to choose whether or not their body will nourish another being. Some may say that a fetus has no rights, however most whom I know would say that human fetuses have rights, but their rights are trumped by the woman’s right to bodily integrity. How a woman feels about her pregnancy, then, will of course play a strong role in her feelings at its loss or in bringing it to fruition.
    Hmmm… Maybe Roe v Wade justification could be used to end agricultural subsidies and the war on drugs. And taxation in general! I don’t want to use my body to nourish anyone else’s body (w/ tax revenue), and Goddammit I have the right to a choice!

  126. I wonder how many people name their kid ‘Choice’? Is it a girls name or a boys name?

    “Look! There’s Anne with her new born baby”

    “That’s not a baby, that’s a Choice!”

  127. biologist and mediageek —

    The problem with any kind of “ability to think” test to determine whether one is human or not is, of course, who gets to administer and decide upon the nature of the test?

    I’m reminded of the original Planet of the Apes. At one point, Charleton Heston is basically on trial to determine whether he is a reasoning being or a mere animal. In the ape society, orangutans are the defenders of both science and religion, the twin fonts of truth — they appear to see little separation between the two. So, in the cross examination of Heston’s character — George Taylor, a.k.a. “Bright Eyes” — the questions are all based on ape scripture:

    DR. HONORIUS: He can reason? With the Tribunal’s permission, let me expose this hoax by direct examination.

    PRESIDENT: Proceed. But don’t turn this hearing into a farce.

    HONORIUS: Tell the court, Bright Eyes — what is the second Article of Faith?

    TAYLOR: I know nothing of your culture, I admit that…

    HONORIUS: Of course he doesn’t know our culture — because he cannot think. (to Taylor) Tell us why all apes are created equal.

    TAYLOR: Some apes, it seems, are more equal than others.

    HONORIUS: Ridiculous. That answer is a contradiction in terms. Tell us, Bright Eyes, why do men have no souls? What is the proof that a divine spark exists in the simian brain?

    Etc., etc.

    Depends on who controls the testing process, crucial questions might be any of the following:

    TRUE OR FALSE: God exists.
    [Remember, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ It’s in the Bible!]

    TRUE OE FALSE: There is no god but God, and Muhammed is His prophet.

    TRUE OR FALSE: Men and women are equal in every way, aside from differences imposed by a patriarchal culture.

    TRUE OR FALSE: Human activities are causing a disastrous rise in global temperature.

    TRUE OR FALSE: You’re going to give me a blowjob, because you want to pass this test.

    Etc., etc.

  128. Bobster:

    Once I was reading a book of English literature when a small child came up to me. At least I thought it was a child, until it opened it’s mouth and said:

    “The great fall of the offwall entailed at such short notice the pftjschute of Finnegan, erse solid man, that the humptyhillhead of humself prumptly sends an unquiring one well to the west in quest of his tumptytumtoes: and their upturnpikepointandplace is at the knock out in the park where oranges have been laid to rust upon the green since devlinsfirst loved livvy.”

    So I said, “It’s not a child! It’s a Joyce!”

  129. “Substituting millions of petty tyrannies for one centralized one doesn’t seem like an improvement.”

    CAT Violations,
    Oh yes it does.

    How, seeing as how the millions of petty tyrannies will be more intrusive than the centralized one? It’s like 1984, only it can get much more wacky because of the large variety of megalomaniacs.

    What’s wrong with no tyranny at all?

  130. Stevo,

    Good one! I gotta use that in a conversation somehow.

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