February 29, 2012

Rape Baby Morality

Rick Santorum is quite the news maker and I love and hate the guy. It would be hard for me to find anyone I disagreed with more than Rick, but he talks honestly, forgoing the usual political speech that clouds what someones true view are. He even backs up what he believes with why he believes it rather than say something vague. I think he at least deserves credit for that. 

Yet, pretty much everything he says makes me shake my head, and if I had the chance to talk to him I don't think we could really have a conversation. There is a fundamental disconnect about such basic beliefs that we would end up talking past each other. This can be shown in two stances we take on what should happen in the awful situation when a woman is raped and becomes pregnant. 

Rick's view is that even a mother who is raped should have to carry their birth to term because every baby is a gift from God, or as he says himself, "The right approach is to accept this horribly created - in the sense of rape - but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you." I think it would also be fair to attach the co-belief that God is infallible

There is really a blend of two arguments being put forth. The first one has the logic that (main argument) every birth is a gift from god, (unstated support) god doesn't make mistakes, so (conclusion) a person must accept what god gives them.

The second argument only makes a brief appearance when he talks about the gift being a human life. It first states that at the moment of inception a human life is created and it goes unstated that a human life should be kept alive. 

From one short quote two arguments are presented, although they are both only presented in a semi-complete fashion 

Now I'd argue that birth is a biological process with no special meaning, that natural processes are separate from moral ones, so a persons decision to continue with a pregnancy is their moral choice and independent of any consideration of nature/god. 

Looking at the two views you can see how even two reasonable people could come to talk with the best intentions of working something out and just run into road blocks. Santorum's belief that each birth has a divine hand is incommensurable with the understanding of birth as only a biological process.  

I think Ricks second view does leave some room for talking thought because the question remains whether all murder is wrong, so perhaps if the unborn fetus itself raped it's mother than it could be capitally punished.  There may be no clear solution, but there is room to talking and maybe even having some progress. 

The point is to recognize what people are really saying in their arguments and not all the time are even reasonable people going to get anywhere when they talk. It also shows how one belief can affect numerous other beliefs you hold, but maybe I'll post about that later.

Thanks for reading,
-the moral skeptic


  1. I don't, actually, know where you live. But, in this weird an wacky internet world - does anyone actually CARE?

    Have sneaking suspicion that you live in Canada. Ah, yes. Self lives and has been 'brought up' in Australia. Yes it (we?) have our own perspectives (as, i guess, have the aboriginals - and, oddly enough, those perspectives are part of the "Australian" ethos .. whether we recognise it or not. Long story and very subtle).

    Dunno about this "British Empire" bit - but methinks they gave us a good grounding.

    (am not, at this point, prepared to discuss the "USA", and intrinsic attitudes)

    Cheers, davo.

  2. I don`t know if anyone cares, but I think it`s interesting to break up what someone says and see how their arguments work. That way instead of banging your head against a wall you can talk about the root problem or difference.

    I do live in the Great not so White North.

  3. Funny you should mention that. I just wrote this about the same thing, sans Santorum:

    The Thinker

    and less recently, but far more pointedly, I stuck to this exat topic with this:

    Speaking in Tongues

    Almost no arguments we make in debate has anything to do with the subject of the debate, per se. Our position is almost always a logical, reasonable flow from the axioms we hold, the things that are assumed true without discussion. It is the axioms themselves that cause intelligent people to fundamentally disagree. Yet it is the specific issues that these rest on these axioms that we debate incessantly, questioning each others intelligence every step of the way.

  4. It was very useful for me. Keep sharing such ideas in the future as well. This was actually what I was looking for, and I am glad to came here! Thanks for sharing the such information with us.

  5. Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your weblog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing on your feed and I am hoping you write again very soon!