Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Were we who we are now at the time we were gestating in our mother's womb?

Behold the tragedy that is Philippine society. People wonder how a relatively educated country (by Third World standards) with a high literacy rate (by most standards!) can be, at the same time, such a wretchedly backward society.

It comes down to how our society allows undebatable dogmatic concepts to infest the secular debate. What use is modern education (that best serves a modern secular discourse) when conversation-enders coming from primitivist dogmatic concepts are allowed to foul up the elegance of enlightened discussion?

Based on what I have so far seen, I have identified two basic kernels in the "arguments" of the "anti-choice" mob:

Soul

You make the "debate" on abortion all about the "soul" or any nebulous construct that defers to religion or the supernatural and you guarantee the entry of the noise of organised religion and the jibberish of wankers from every sect and cult in the land. That is what imprisons primitive societies like the Philippines in a vicious but SMALL circle of useless chatter over such things.

The "anti-choice" crowd have hinged their entire abortion argument on the nebulous concept of a "soul" when the debate is best left to its clear debatable aspects, namely ethics and economics. That's pretty much how real debates in secular societies get resolved.

The future identity of a foetus

The following is a typical moronism of the anti-choice folk (excerpt from a comment posted on AntiPinoy.com):
The world is filled with people who’ve accomplished greater things that you have, Mr. Benigno, even though their parents didn’t want them. [Ludwig von] Beethoven had a positively wretched childhood, Charles Dickens lived in indescribable poverty. Would you have wanted to abort them?

Quite simply, all roads lead back to the same question of whether a foetus is a person. In this case it is even more specific and comes down to this question:

Was Beethoven already the Beethoven we now know when he was but a foetus?

The key fallacy that undermines the argument of the "anti-choice" people at its core is around how a foetus that in hindsight we now know will have gone on to become Beethoven is regarded as being Beethoven at the time it was a foetus. Use as a frame of reference the nine-month period before this child is born and we will find -- within that frame -- that the concept of whatever person it may turn out to be (such as its potential to become a Ludwig von Beethoven) simply does not exist.

Bottom line is that one cannot use, as an argument in a debate, a construct which does not exist within the context of the frame of reference surrounding the key stakeholders of said debate, the key stakeholders in this case being (1) the "unborn child" and (2) its mother. In hindsight we know Beethoven existed. But take away that hindsight -- as we must within the frame of reference of the time when he was still a foetus -- and he, the construct known as Beethoven, ceases to exist.

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