As I’ve been quite busy and I’m spending more time writing my series on Virtue Capitalism, I was thinking today, which is dangerous. I was looking at how sometimes we can hold highly inconsistent views, or at least a hierarchy of views. Two very hot-button cultural issues tend to be homosexuality and abortion; nothing provides a strong line between what constitutes a liberal and what constitutes a conservative than these two issues. So I want to compose a very simple thought-experiment that will hopefully show how we are inconsistent with our views. Keep in mind that thought-experiments test our ethics in situations that most likely will not happen. So debating on the specifics or saying, “Well that could never happen!” doesn’t get one out of a thought experiment.
Imagine that later this year, scientists discover a gene or biological function that causes homosexuality. They find that this development occurs in utero and can through tests can be discovered in utero. Thus, we discover absolute evidence that our biological composition dictates who we’re attracted to.
With this in mind, a semi-religious family discovers their unborn child will grow up as a homosexual. Not wanting to deal with a gay child they decide it’s best to just abort the child. A judge intervenes and attempts to stop the abortion, saying that what the parents are doing is akin to genocide. Would you still support the parent’s right to abort their child even if the sole reason for the abortion is they just don’t want to raise a homosexual?
Alternatively, to those who lean more pro-choice, but believe homosexuality is a sin, would you still side with the judge, arguing that all humans have a right to life? Would you still be pro-life and defend the life of this unborn child even though you knew he would grow up to be a homosexual?
My hope is that this will force some people to face their beliefs head-on. If we can kill a fetus because we don’t like who that fetus will become, then the only moral boundary between killing that fetus and a child of the same disposition is a womb; as many pro-choice philosophers have argued, such a line is arbitrary. Likewise, if we would defend the life of this child even if we believe his homosexuality will be sinful, then why do we hold homosexuals in such contempt today? Why do we ignore the persecution and violence they undergo? If we value their lives in the womb, why would we disdain their lives outside of the womb?
As I said, this is a thought experiment for people to wrestle with, so I offer no grand narrative on how we should react. My only hope is that you’re truly challenged by it and forced to rethink some positions.