Cells and Sales

It was once claimed in science texts that the cell was the smallest unit of all living organisms.  I have no idea what the school books say now, but it seems as if the old definition is continually ignored in favor of what’s ironically touted as “women’s health.”  The death of a cell or a few cells in exchange for the life of an actual person is what we’re to believe is the moral case for abortion.  Well, as a scientist, I have a few questions about this rather interesting argument.  Regarding an endangered species, the black rhino for example, if scientists had the last living zygote or embryo in a lab and there were no more actual rhinos alive; would the species be considered extinct?  Or, if we threw out that last living black rhino embryo would they then be extinct?  If a deadly disease caused by a bacteria was nearly eradicated except for one cell of the death-dealing bacterial species; what if that cell were introduced into a human host?  The power of one cell can be the difference between life and death.  Scientists know this.  Though, it seems the validity of empirical knowledge is selective based on one’s world view.  I know we Christians are accused of this (sometimes justifiably) all the time.  The destruction of a human embryo is the destruction of a human being.  There is absolutely no scientific or logical argument against this statement.   Some even admit this is true and still say there is a ‘justification’ for abortion.

“Here’s the complicated reality in which we live: All life is not equal. That’s a difficult thing for liberals like me to talk about, lest we wind up looking like death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your-precious-baby storm troopers. Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always.”

–Mary Elizabeth Williams

Let’s talk about the virtues of slavery, shall we?  An institution in which one human owns another.  It’s despicable.  Right?  But a mother is always the boss of the human being inside of her merely by virtue of… well, what exactly??  Autonomy?  You people realize that the question of free will is still philosophically and scientifically unconfirmed, right?  Just throwing that out there.

Racism is an ever present cause of tension, but it always seems to float under the radar that Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was a racist and eugenicist.

The Negro Project was initiated in 1939 by Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. It was a collaborative effort between the American Birth Control League and Sanger’s Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau.1For a eugenist, it wasn’t controversial, it was integral to the implementation of eugenics to eliminate the ‘unfit’. Eugenics is “a science that deals with the improvement (as by control of human mating) of hereditary qualities of a race or breed”.2 Negative eugenics focused on preventing the birth of those it considered inferior or unfit. This was the foundation of Sanger’s Birth Control Policy and advocated throughout her writings, speeches, and her periodicals including “Pivot of Civilization”, “Plan for Peace” and countless Birth Control Review articles.

http://www.toomanyaborted.com/thenegroproject/

We desperately want to purge all historical symbols of racism and slavery while upholding them in abortion.

“In 1963 when Martin Luther King Jr. shared his dream with the nation, he never envisioned an America where ”reproductive justice” would end 56 million innocent human lives.  His dream never pictured a nation where black boys and black girls would never be able to join hands with white boys and white girls, as sisters and brothers, because “freedom of choice” determined some humans are simply not equal.  …in NYC, more black babies are aborted than are born alive! The NY State Department of Health reports that in 2011 (latest year for available NYC stats) for every 1,000 black babies born alive, 1,223 are aborted. Compare that to 265 abortions for every 1,000 live births among whites and 614 live births for every 1,000 Hispanic live births.”

http://www.toomanyaborted.com/newyork/

Even more disconcerting is the fact that in the wake of the release of damning video evidence that Planned Parenthood is selling aborted “products of conception” the media refuses to recognize it as a legitimate news story, and the DOJ is planning on investigating the group who released the undercover video. Meanwhile, these “products of conception” are called livers, extremities, hearts, and lungs.  But those names must just be codenames for clumps of cells in the shape of the referenced body part.  What kind of nonsensical, upside down cloud cuckoo land are we living in?

In one of the most powerful articles written after the release of these videos Rosaria Butterfield writes:

“In 1818 Shelley, the 17-year-old child wife of poet Percy Shelley and the classically educated daughter of natural philosopher William Godwin and first feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, wrote a novel on a dare. Deeply influenced by natural philosopher and English physician Erasmus Darwin (grandfather of Charles),Frankenstein is about a bachelor who learns how to create life in a laboratory. The protagonist scientist, Victor Frankenstein, is raised by a progressive family, one that protects him from the foolish superstitions of organized Christian religion and affords him the best education in the natural sciences. He’s therefore unafraid to collect body parts from a church graveyard by dismembering bodies. The novel records how night after night he returns to the graveyard and hacks away until he has the bloody parts he needs. It’s base and gruesome work done in the name of higher-minded science. Frankenstein works hard to extract intact internal organs. He skimps on the skin, though, creating a creature whose skin doesn’t stretch to cover all his internal organs. Frankenstein’s “monster,” in spite of having natural science as its mother and receiving the very best Rousseauian education, is literally falling apart at the seams, his internal organs spilling out for the whole world to behold and ridicule.

 

Like Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services for Planned Parenthood, Dr. Victor Frankenstein understood the need for intact hearts. 

 

Like Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Dr. Victor Frankenstein believed there’s no higher calling on the human body than the donation of tissue for scientific research…

 

…Before committing suicide, Victor Frankenstein’s “monster” diagnoses his problem. He laments, “I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on.”

 

Frankenstein is an abortion novel. The “monster” declares he is an abortion—a present-tense, walking-and-talking, breathing-and-reading embodiment of a culture that values intact hearts but not the children who need them, and that values the all-cleaned-up Proverbs 31 woman but not the Mary Magdalene who precedes her.”

In the name of human health we abrade our own humanity.  In the name of women’s rights we upend and demolish the meaning of womanhood.

The care of women and definition of womanhood should be of great importance to all who are anti-abortion.

A friend and pastor in Richmond, VA writes:

“The conditions that make abortion seem like a good idea are also heartbreaking: extreme poverty, bum husbands, absentee fathers, organizations cloaked in lies and misinformation, crooked politicians, and our culture’s collective worship of convenience. These factors must be addressed—they have to be—or else we’re carbon copies of the Pharisees who place heavy burdens on others without lifting a finger to help them (Matt. 23:4).

But as a friend of mine said the other day: whatever needs to happen to help poor women, overworked women, underpaid women, single moms, and mothers in abusive relationships, we must find a way to do so without helping them kill their children. Two wrongs will never make a right.”

Doug Ponder

This other side of the argument that often gets overlooked is imperative.  If, and this is a big if, Planned Parenthood were defunded we would undoubtedly celebrate.  There are, however, numerous women who would feel left alone as if no one cared about them, kicked aside in favor of fetuses who have never breathed air.  We, the church, cannot, cannot, CANNOT leave these women just to fend for themselves.  We hate government mandates for healthcare, but we need to realize that the church (local churches) need to love these women.  I’m not talking about praying for them.  I’m not talking about writing a check and then forgetting about them.  I’m talking about being there for them.   It’s tough.  I have three small children, I know.  I struggle to muster the motivation just to leave the house.   But we cannot sit behind our keyboards posting links and writing blogs knowing that a lot of women go to Planned Parenthood because they feel they have nowhere else to go.  Feeling cornered is never a good feeling.  If we proclaim the freedom of Christ, then we need to tell of it and display it.  I write this to myself most of all.   There is a great quote of William Wilberforce that others and myself have posted:

“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never again say you did not know.”

–William Wilberforce (speaking about slavery)

This could very well apply to the anti-abortion lot ignoring the plight of women.  But only if we let it.

Indoctrination of Hypocrisy

in·doc·tri·nate

verb \in-ˈdäk-trə-ˌnāt\

transitive verb
1: to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments : teach
2: to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle
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It’s been in the news recently that a group of atheists put the following image on a billboard in Minnesota.
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 It’s become particularly prevalent on Google+ lately which prompted me to respond.  Aside from the generally amateurish look of the billboard (comic sans?  really?) there are other problems with this to address.  First, I have to say using billboards to advertise your religion or lack thereof just seems pointless to me.  The bible doesn’t say “by these billboards they will know that you are my disciples.”  Re-check John 13 and Matthew 7.  F0r those that would argue that the atheists aren’t advertising check this quote from the article: “The purpose of the billboard is to advertise our organization, encourage local atheists to join, and offer a pithy, cogent argument that most atheists can support.”  You could replace the word ‘atheists’ with ‘christians’ here and it could be referring to a totally different billboard.
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Another aspect that vexes me is the argument presented which seems to be two fold; 1)parents who teach their children what they believe are indoctrinating them in the sense of definition #2 listed above.  2)parents to teach their children their beliefs are also discouraging their children from thinking for themselves (at least regarding religion or God).  It’s worth pointing out that I’m specifically referring to the relationship between parents and children.  I’m not talking about children that go to private schools that teach a specific religion because I feel like that’s an entirely different can of worms.  No, I’m talking about what parents teach their young kids.  I’ve never quite understood the ‘indoctrination’ argument because in this context everybody indoctrinates their kids.  No exception.  Even if you teach kids nothing about specific religions or about God you are still teaching them something about religion/God.  The child will learn that it’s not big deal what you believe about God or they will be taught that there is no God. The claim that atheist parents are teaching their kids to ‘choose for themselves’ is laughably ridiculous.   I envision a converstation going something like this:
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Child: What’s god?
Dad: Well, some people believe there is a god (or gods) who is a power being that made everything and he is in control of everything.  And if you disobey or displease this god then god will make bad things happen to you, but if you do good and obey god then good things happen.
Child:  What do you believe, dad?
Dad: It’s not important what I believe.  It’s important that you seek out the truth and find what you believe to be true.
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You’ve just taught (i.e. indoctrinated) your child with your own idea of who or what god is.  You’ve also taught the belief that truth is subjective and that it doesn’t really matter what you or he believes regarding god.  Granted, this is a very small example and I’m sure as some atheist or agnostic parents read this they are thinking “I don’t say those things.  I’m a lot better at teaching my child how to think and choose for him/herself.”  I’m sure you do your best, but it doesn’t matter.  A parents beliefs will always be conveyed and communicated to their children whether it’s verbal or they see how you act.  You believe that something is true.  You believe that there is no god or you believe that there is no way for you to know if there is a god or whatever else you believe.  What you believe affects everything you say and do.  And children are sponges that soak up not only what you say, but your mannerisms when a topic is brought up and discussions that you don’t think they can hear or understand and how you relate to people, etc.  While there are certainly ways to avoid actively teaching kids things, there is no way to teach a kid nothing.  They will always learn something from what you say and do.
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I’ve heard many atheist and humanist arguments.  Some are compelling and thought-provoking… this is not.

Zeitgeist: Addendum + Commentary

It is so easy to get sucked into believing lies…especially when the lies are mixed with truth and then packaged in an artsy, very well directed film such as Zeitgeist: Addendum.  I’m going to point out something that I believe is truth, and then (hopefully) apply it later on.
Rape is a horrendous crime.  It is something that is horrible to society and punishable by society’s laws.  It is not, however, caused by one’s environment or by the offering of pornography.  Although these things are catalysts in the culmination of the crime, they are not the cause.  The cause is lust.  And lust is not punishable by law.  It is not a crime.   But it is a sin.  And as long as humans are sinful beings, then no amount of structure or interconnectivity or technology can being about a peaceful world.  This is a small example of why I think the latter half of this video is, as Harry G. Frankfurt would put it, bull$#!+.
Watch the film, and then check out the commentary below.

(this commentary is kind of rough, so I might edit it in the future)
Ok, so there’s a problem.  We’re basically being enslaved by those in power.  Not those in the government, but those who are really in power, the ones that control the money. I think this first part of the film is true.  Just look around and observe the world around you.  These things are obviously true in my opinion.  We’re being controlled.  So, what is the proposed solution?  I was definitely surprised to learn that technology and human ingenuity are our saviors.
We need to work in order to make money.  We need money in order to buy the things we need to survive; food, shelter, water, and clothing (and entertainment of course).  It is proposed that if the monetary system currently in place is usurped by a single global resource/technology based economy, then we will no longer need to burden ourselves with the slavery that is work.  Technology is to a place where it can take the place of human labor.   We don’t need industrial fuels for energy.  We can use wind, solar, wave, tidal, and geothermal energy to power the entire world infinitely.  We can use electric cars for short-distance travelling and Maglev trains for long-distance travelling. Sounds kind of good, huh?
The lie that is perpetuated in the film is the lie that humans are basically good.  That it is possible, if we choose to be intelligent about these issues, then we can be totally free and live in peace.  It is touted that the prison population is so high because of environmental conditioning; because we are conditioned to need money and material things.  The lie is that there is no human nature, there is only human behavior.  The lie is that we can all be free if we work together with technology.
The ideas put forth in the latter part of Zeitgeist: Addendum are extremely humanist.  We are the solution to our problems.  We can free ourselves.  Intelligence and utilization of the intellect is what gives us value now.  Another idea posited is that we are all one.  God is connectivity to one another and love is extensionality.  We are all everything, and we are all the same.  You are the teacher and you are the pupil.  You are everything.   We are one.  And our divinity is in our power to create.  And the solution to our slavery to work and to money and to authority is that we must embrace ourselves we must depend on ourselves.  We must embrace our creativity and our connectivity.  We must take care of the whole community, including plants and animals.  That is what will bring us joy.  We must be open to all ideas and information even if it challenges our ideologies and beliefs, and hence out being.  Being proven wrong should not be seen as failure but celebrated because information and awareness are increased.   Our divinity is in our power to create.  Our divinity is in our intellect and the technology it spawns.
“…Our loyalties are to the species and to the planet.  Our obligation to survive and flourish is owed not just to ourselves but also to that cosmos ancient and vast from which we spring.”
–Carl Sagan(quoted in the film)
Are you kidding me?  You must be joking.  It is a sad sad joke isn’t it?  What alternate existence do you live in?  You act as if before the central bank(the Federal Reserve) and before the monetary system and before the Roman empire, we were all a-ok.   Greed, money, and religion have destroyed us all?  We were never, we have never been ok.  We have never lived in peace.  We are eternally flawed and history shows it.  Greed, monetary systems, and people controlling others using religion are symptoms of the greater disease!  It is ridiculous that the flaws of the past are brushed off as a lacking in intellect & technology.   Are you nuts?  Wake up!  Stop smoking whatever it is you’re smoking.  It is stated that everything, if left to itself, undergoes fluid perpetual change.  Humans have not changed.  We have continuously been a greedy, lustful, murderous, self-centered, lying, and cheating entity.
Haven’t you watched ‘Demolition Man?’  You can’t please everyone.  All people do not think the same way.  So, sooner or later in this proposed humanist-Utopian world you are either going to have to suppress certain people or kill them off.
Something else worth pointing out.  In the film, they say that this type of global society has never been tried before, and that it probably isn’t perfect, and that we can never achieve perfection.  Why?  Why can’t we achieve perfection??  If it is inherent in that we cannot achieve perfection, then isn’t it worth saying that this inability is part of a universal human nature, and that that nature is flawed?  Maybe the filmmaker would respond that we don’t need perfection or that perfection isn’t natural.  As long as a system or product or technology functions then it’s good for us.  Well, if there was a product, system, technology or ideology that worked/functioned better than the first one, wouldn’t you want the one that worked better?  Of course.  Why?  What is the ultimate conclusion to the pursuit of systems or products that work better than the predecessors?  The ultimate conclusion is perfection.  The perfect product or system, one that functions flawlessly.   The admission that perfection cannot be reached is the admission that there are flaws. It is the admission that we are flawed, and if we are flawed then we, our own intellect, cannot be the solution to our grand problems.
If the ultimate problem is that man is sinful and has the propensity to lust after that which he does not have and lust after power over it, then it is impossible to blame man’s circumstance for his actions.  You must blame man.   And if man cannot be his own solution, then what is?