Francis Collins, Christianity, and Embryonic Stem Cell Research


Dr. Al Mohler has put up a brilliant article talking about Francis Collins’ position as the head of the National Institutes of Health. Collins, though a Christian, has backed down on embryonic stem cell research and said that while we shouldn’t create embryos for the purpose of farming them for research, we should use the ones that are going to “go to waste” anyway. Mohler does an excellent job of pointing out that two wrongs don’t make a right; just because these embryos will likely go to waste doesn’t give us the right to perform experiments on them.

But more importantly, Mohler points out that Collins – despite his strong advocacy for theistic evolution and borderline naturalistic thinking – is still looked at as a “clown” by many of his peers, simply for being a Christian. In other words, no matter how many compromises Collins makes, whether it be in his view of creation or in his view of humanity, so long as he holds the title “Believing Christian” he will have no respect from his peers.

Is it any wonder why Paul warned the Colossians not to give into the false philosophies of the world? Notice what Paul writes in Colossians 2:6-15:

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7; Colossians 2:8-15 ESV) See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

While many people are familiar with verse 8 (not to fall into idle philosophies) we often ignore the passage. Paul is not being cranky or trying to control the populace, but rather he is pointing out that Christ has conquered such philosophies, hence their vanity. They contradict Christ, who does not point to truth, but is the Truth (c.f. John 14:6). To adhere to a false philosophy or practice in the world is to go against Christ, because if the truth is not in these philosophies then Christ is not in these philosophies, making them automatically against contra Christus. Paul’s warning is for our own holiness, for if we wish to be like Christ then we should seek Christ and not adhere to beliefs that do not represent Christ. Continue reading

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Charlie Crist may want to rethink that statement…


Charlie Crist, the current governor of Florida vetoed a bill that would require women seeking an abortion in their first trimester to have an ultrasound prior to the abortion. The quote of interest to me is where Crist says,

Individuals hold strong personal views on the issue of life, as do I,” Crist wrote. “However, personal views should not result in laws that unwisely expand the role of government and coerce people to obtain medical tests or procedures that are not medically necessary.

The problem with Crist’s view is that it contradicts all laws on murder. Crist says that our personal views of [human] life should not influence how the government protects human life.

What Crist is trying to say is that even though he and others might personally view human life as beginning at conception, it’s not our duty to create laws that enforce those views upon others. Based on one of my previous entries (A Logical Look at Legalized Abortions), Crist is faced with a few problems. Namely, he must explain first whether or not the government has the duty to protect any and all innocent human life within its jurisdiction. If the government lacks that ability, then we must ask him to begin submitting laws to reflect that belief. If the government does have a duty to protect innocent human life within its jurisdiction, then we must ask him what he views a fetus to be.

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A Logical Look at Legalized Abortions


Recently, Alaska has been in the news for putting a parental notification law on the ballot. Of course, multiple people have jumped up to say that such a law somehow violates women’s rights. How the law violates women’s rights when these same “women” (under-aged girls) have to get parental consent for medical treatment, not just notification. This means Planned Parenthood argues that when it comes to killing a fetus, a 15 year old has a right to her body, but when it comes to consenting to a field trip or the like, the 15 year old no longer has a right over her body. This is a contradiction, but I digress.

I’ve been thinking more and more about people who are against abortion, but then qualify their statement to say, “But I would never make it illegal for others.” This forces the question, “Why not?” The only proper reason to be against abortions is that one believes the fetus to be a human person. If one believes the fetus to be a human person, then it should follow that one believes the fetus has rights.

One way to look at it is by the possible logical scenarios for abortion:

(1) All fetuses are persons; all persons are entitled to the basic right to life; therefore, all fetuses have the basic right to life (abortion is always wrong, with certain medical exceptions)

(2) Some fetuses are persons; all persons are entitled to the basic right to life; therefore, some fetuses have the basic right to life (abortion is sometimes wrong)

(3) At least some fetuses are not persons; all persons are entitled to the basic right to life; therefore, at least some fetsuses do not have the basic right to life (at least some abortions are not wrong)

(4) No fetuses are persons; all persons are entitled to the basic right to life; therefore, no fetuses have a basic right to life (no abortion is wrong)

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More on the Oklahoma Abortion Law


ABC put forth possibly one of the most biased reports I’ve seen in quite some time. Starting with an emotional appeal, the article reveals its bias in a most blatant manner, “But under a new law in Oklahoma, women like Casteix, who have been sexually assaulted, will be forced to undergo a second trauma. The law requires them to undergo a sonogram, and depending on the state of pregnancy, it could be a transvaginal one, which involves insertion of a wand.” The article goes on to bury the other side of the story, placing it on the third page, a page that most readers wouldn’t get to.

Journalistic integrity (or the lack thereof) aside, it is true that the law doesn’t allow for exceptions in abortion or incest. Considering that 93% of abortions occur for social reasons (with only about 1% occurring for rape or incest), there’s little reason to include a caveat in the law concerning rape and incest. Regardless, such a caveat is, logically speaking, unnecessary.

When abortion proponents bring up rape and incest as exceptions, they are often using fallacious reasoning. They are making an emotional appeal in order to support the act of abortion. Not to sound completely callous, I do have sympathy for someone who has been raped and then been left with a pregnancy as a result of that rape. Such an event is tragic and if the family or private organizations cannot help such a woman, I believe the government has a moral obligation to help her. Whether that be through paying for her counseling, paying for her healthcare during and after the pregnancy, or providing adequate and safe housing, the government should take care of her if her family or private organizations fall short.

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Evaluating the Pro-Choice Arguments (Part I)


Cross posted at Virtus et Vita.

It has been over a year since I put up my post, “If you end abortion, then…” dealing with common objections to ending abortion, mostly focused on the consequences of such an action.

In that year’s time, I have come across more objections to and arguments against the pro-life movement. On this post, I want to take the time to look at these arguments. Some are more complicated than others and will require a deeper response. Though lengthy, I believe reading the entire thing can help both the open-minded choice advocate and the pro-life advocate.

I am separating this into two different posts as well. The first one will deal with what I call “popular objections,” that is, objections that are commonly heard in the media. These are easy to swat down as there isn’t much substance. The second part will deal with the more scientific objections and deeper philosophical objections (e.g. what about when a fertilized egg splits and later comes back together?, are humans truly ever innocent?, a human has a right to kill whatever is dependent upon that human, etc). The first part will be more useful as these are the common objections. The second part, however, will be more enlightening for the rare occasion you run into a good argument for pro-choice.

1)   The only reason someone would support pro-life is that that person is against a woman having a right over her own body.

A common argument is that those who are against abortion are only against abortion because of their belief that women hold little to no rights over their own bodies. It is true that there are some pro-life advocates who also hold the belief that women are lesser than men (such as extreme Islamists or extreme fundamentalist Christians), but ultimately such views are unrelated to abortion. One can believe a women holds the full rights to her own body, but still believe that abortion is wrong.

Some pro-life advocates are against contraceptive use, but this goes both ways. Just as they are against it for women, they are likewise against it for men as well. Thus, those who are against contraceptive use seemingly have a different view over the liberties a human can take with his or her body. Regardless, the standard applied to women under such a view is likewise applied to men.

Finally, if pro-life advocates were against what women did with their bodies, why aren’t they out protesting women who get piercings, women who paint their toenails, women who get tattoos, and so on? It would seem that the one issue the pro-life crowd concerns itself when it comes to a woman’s body is what she does with her womb when there is a child inside of her.

This indicates that the issue isn’t about the right a woman holds over her body. It is more about if what is inside of her is human. The issue of  “women’s rights” is truly secondary to the issue of intrinsic value in humanity. Is what is in the womb human? If so, is that human life intrinsically valuable? Those two issues must be looked thoroughly. In fact, the only way we can move on to the issue of women’s rights, specifically a woman’s right over her own body, is if we can prove that either of the previous two questions can be answered in the negative. Then and only then does the abortion debate become an issue of women’s rights.

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My Thoughts on George Tiller’s Death


What happened to George Tiller is tragic and is murder. It is only in the most extreme of cases that a citizen is ever allowed to take the law into their own hands; this was not one of those cases. In America there are still legal means to stop abortion. Abortion is not forced on women. Abortion is not mandatory. Abortion is legal. Abortion is a tragedy, it is state-sanctioned murder, but this doesn’t give individual citizens or groups the right to exact justice on abortionists.

Now, make no mistake, Tiller was a murderer, and to quote from the movie A Few Good Men, “His death, while tragic, saves lives.” When you take an innocent human life (innocent in a legal sense), then it is murder. Tiller was innocent in a legal sense (certainly not in a moral sense) and subsequently the killing of Tiller qualifies as murder. Thus, the murderer was murdered.

What concerns me as well is that people are showing “moral outrage” over the murdering of Tiller. Again, it is tragic, but he’s not a hero. He’s not a hero for women’s rights as abortion does nothing for women’s right. He’s not a hero for some cause because abortion is simply unjust. He didn’t save “thousands of women from having to go to back alley abortions – and even if he did, this doesn’t make what he did the right thing. Tiller was a coward. Tiller was evil. His death, in many ways, was warranted and just. His death was just, the means to achieve that justice, however, were unjust. That is to say, justice was served in his death, but the way that justice was served was completely unjust, immoral, evil, and wrong.

With that said, I don’t understand the outrage. What is the difference between vigilante justice (which is an unjust means of achieving an end) and state-sanctioned murder (which is unjust in its end)? Four abortionists have been killed in the United States since Roe v. Wade, just four. Fifty-one million babies have been killed in the United States alone. Let’s put that in perspective: it is about the same number of total casualties in WWII. That means about 36% of all conceptions since 1973 have been aborted. Think about that for a second.

If, due to some tragedy today, 36% of the United States population were reduced, that would be a total loss of about one hundred nine million people, or about a third of the United States. One third of pregnancies since 1973 have been terminated in the United States alone.

So pardon me if I have a hard time expressing more outrage over the murder of Tiller than I do over the murder of a single human being in the womb. Life is life, regardless of the stage of development, which means murder is murder. Just as Tiller shouldn’t have been murdered, his victims in the womb should have been equally spared. 

Yes, the murder of Tiller was wrong. His family will miss him. His death reminds us that we live in a fallen world. It would have been far more preferable for someone to simply sit down with him and convince him via a rational discussion that he was wrong, rather than murder him. Changing one’s mind without the threat, show, or use of violence is the best way to approach any issue. At the same time, where’s the outrage over the millions of humans killed because of abortion?

Obama’s “Fair-Minded” Plea


Recently, President Obama called for a “fair-minded” discussion on abortion. My question is quite simple; does he actually understand the severity of this issue? If a fetus is a human being, then abortion is murder. If a fetus is not a human being, then pro-life advocates are advocating the restriction of women’s rights. The consequences on both sides are drastic, so it’s hard to find a “middle ground” on this issue. 

Thus, I offer up the following arguments against abortion. With great apologies to Peter Kreeft, I have followed a similar thought pattern that he presented in his book The Unaborted Socrates. The thought pattern comes from chapter one of his book as do some of the arguments (however, once can go back to some of my previous articles, specifically the “Christianity and Abortion Series” to see that many of these arguments are ones I’ve used for a while).

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