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If You Support Acting to Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change, You Won't Support Abortion

[This week, my blog is dedicated to those out marching for the lives of the most vulnerable]

Imagine you are placed into a time travel capsule and sent 100 years into the future. Before you are jetted off, you are allowed to make some changes to the activities of human beings in the present that may make your life better or more tolerable 100 years from now. You have been studying climate science and it seems to you that there is a 50% probability that some of our activities in the present will have bad consequences 100 years from now. So, you make some changes to human activities that will perhaps mitigate the harmful effects of those activities. Then you are sent into the future.

If what I have said sounds reasonable it is because there are people who are going to live in 100 years time and, if predictions turn out correctly, they will wish people living 100 years ago would have made changes to their lives in order to mitigate the effects of those activities on those living in the …
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If I Am Glad I Exist, I Cannot Be Okay With Abortion

I am glad that I exist. I hope you are too. To be glad about one's existence is to prefer it to be the case that one exits rather than one does not. If I am glad that I exist, then I don't want the history of the world up until my existence to be significantly altered. This is because my existence is contingent upon an incredibly complex history leading to the joining of a particular sperm with a particular egg. Any other pairing would have produced someone else and thus I would not exist.

If I am glad that I exist now, then I don't want the history of the world after I began to exist to include any event that would entail that I do not exist now. If so, then I ought to think abortion is not morally permissible. 
If I am glad that I exist now, then I also don't want the history of the world after I began to exist to include any event that would entail that I do not exist now. One significant alteration to the past would be my mother having an abortion when I was in th…

Some More Refutations of Pro-Abort Arguments

In honor of all those marching in the cold, this week my blog is devoted to polemical refutation of pro-abortion arguments.

Jennifer Wright argues that pro-lifers ignore facts. Six of them. Well I don't want to ignore facts. So, what are they? Are they true? Are they relevant to the moral status of abortion?

First fact: fetuses are distinguishable from babies: 
They can pretend fetuses are indistinguishable from babies, despite the fact that medical evidence tells us fetuses cannot live unsupported, even with a respirator before 21 weeks. 
In other words, a fetus is a baby only if it can live unsupported. But if this was a condition for babyhood, it would be morally permissible to kill many babies who are already born. Many babies are born premature or with health conditions and are supported by things like respirators. We wouldn't say it is morally justifiable to kill them. Thus, just because a fetus requires the support of the mother to live, it does not follow that it is not …

Life at Conception: A Reply to Jean Kazez

According to Jean Kazez, it is implausible that life begins at conception. She suggests that an entity with life-status must be an entity that has continuity and can be individuated. To have continuity an entity must have identity conditions at t1 and t2. To be individuated an entity must have some set of conditions that set it apart from another entity. Kazez argues that the entity in the womb has neither until it is 14 days old. Thus, life cannot begin at conception. Her argument is as follows:

(1) If it is a life, then it is a unified, continuous individual.
(2) An embryo is not a unified, continuous individual.
(3) Therefore, an embryo is not a life.

Kazez assumes the truth of (1) and provides a couple of reasons to accept (2). First, in the first few days of development the conceptus can split and develop into two or more individuals. At best, the collection of cells that compose the entity at this stage are like a "flock of birds" - there may be some form of life, but …

Discipline Defense

Perhaps the best defense of the utility of philosophy for Christian ministry is found in Moreland and Craig's Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (16-19). The following is my summary of six benefits:

Apologetics – when an objection is made against Christianity it is almost always a philosophical objection or involves a philosophical assumption. Just consider the following objections: (i) there is no evidence for the existence of God (ii) miracles are impossible (iii) the presence of evil in the world entails that God does not exist (iv) How do we know that the bible is true? (v) How can Christianity be the only way to God? (vi) That might be true for you but not for me (vii) How do you know that Jesus was raised from the dead? All of these objections require philosophical replies.

Polemics – the church is called upon to criticize and refute false views. One important way to refute erroneous views is by philosophical argument. Refuting people in political debate requi…

Life as a Determinist Ain't that Bad

Apparently, a determinist can believe anything he wants, but he cannot live any way he wants:

"A determinist cannot live consistently as though everything he thinks and does is causally determined—especially his choice to believe that determinism is true! Thinking that you’re determined to believe that everything you believe is determined produces a kind of vertigo. Nobody can live as though all that he thinks and does is determined by causes outside himself. Even determinists recognize that we have to act “as if” we had free will and so weigh our options and decide on what course of action to take, even though at the end of the day we are determined to take the choices we do. Determinism is thus an unliveable view."

The main point is found in the first sentence: "A determinist cannot live consistently as though everything he thinks and does is causally determined—especially his choice to believe that determinism is true!" The argument goes something like this:
Deter…