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Adolescent Arguments in the Abortion Debate
Association for Interdisciplinary Research in Values and Social Change Vol. 17, No. 3 ^ | July/August 2002 | Wanda Franz, Ph.D.

Posted on 08/10/2003 11:36:00 PM PDT by miltonim

Adolescent Arguments in the Abortion Debate

Presented are ten strategies of argumentation that are characterized by their manipulative approach to debate. The purpose is to win the debate, not clarify the issues. The arguments must be won at any cost, even if it means switching the terms of the debate and engaging in inconsistent and incompatible arguments. These arguments can be very irrational and it is very irritating to debate with someone who doesn't mind being irrational. That is why such debates often deteriorate into emotional conflicts. This is, of course, counter productive to educating people about the abortion issue.

Dr Franz is a developmental psychologist and a professor in Family and Consumer Sciences at West Virginia University. She is president of the National Right to Life Committee and also president of the Association for Interdisciplinary Research in Values and Social Change. This paper was presented at the Annual Meeting and Paper Session of the Association in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 26, 2002.
Dr. Franz has frequently debated the issue of abortion. It has been her experience that debating with pro-abortion advocates often involves dealing with adolescent thinking.

It has long been known that adolescence is the time when mature cognitive and intellectual abilities are being acquired. This period of time is experienced by the adolescent as one of confusion and frustration as new abilities are made available but are not fully utilized or understood by the adolescent. This is a time when there is an awakening to the internal feelings, needs, emotional drives and intellectual skills which, up until adolescence, function primarily at an unconscious level. What happens to adolescents is that they suddenly become conscious of the functioning of these internal events.

In addition, new capabilities for intellectual activity are made available to the adolescent. Piaget (Piaget & Inhelder, 1958) refers to these new skills as Formal Operational abilities. In Piaget's theory, operations are internal strategies or constructs of knowledge that allow adolescents to engage in such mental activities as manipulating mental ideas, organizing concepts into hierarchies, creating complex associations of multiple variables, and using hypothetico-deductive reasoning. These operations are called "formal" because they are abstract, organized entities that can be manipulated using abstract reasoning. While these complex, mature abilities are available to the adolescent, it is clear from research into adolescent functioning that they are not used on a regular basis (Elkind, 1978; Franz, 1994; Quadrel, Fischoff & David, 1993).

There are a number of reasons why adolescents fail to make full use of these new intellectual skills. Elkind (1967) described a condition he called Adolescent Egocentrism, in which adolescents use these new abilities from their own limited perspective. For example, adolescents are powerfully aware of their own emotions, so they assume everyone else understands exactly what they are feeling, an example of what Elkind called "imaginary audience." In addition, they feel extraordinarily special so they have a sense of themselves as being above the usual problems that other people have. These things just won't happen to them, a condition Elkind called "personal fable."

Given these distortions in thinking, it is possible to understand why adolescents may fail to use their new intellectual abilities in the most rational way. For example, they may be capable of reasoning that drinking and then driving is dangerous; however, in any specific incident the adolescent may take the risk and drive, reasoning that an accident just "won't happen to me."

Recent research on brain functioning in adolescence has demonstrated that adolescents, unlike adults, frequently don't use the rational part of the brain in solving problems. The amygdala is the part of the brain that manages emotions. This part of the brain goes through a major maturation during early adolescence (Dahl, 2001). It appears that adolescents are prone to over-use this new ability in situations when the use of rational components of the frontal lobe would be more appropriate. In one study, Baird and colleagues (Baird, et al., 1999) found that, when given a problem-solving task, adolescents primarily used the amygdala to solve it, while adults primarily used the frontal lobe.

Another explanation for adolescent failure to use mature reasoning skills has been suggested by Mitchell (1998) in his analysis of Developmental Narcissism in adolescents. Narcissism in the adolescent is the tendency for excessive self-love that takes the form of a compulsive need to protect the self from outside assaults. The environmental assaults that concern the adolescent are those that threaten the newly developing emotional and psychological self identity. This form of narcissism includes tendencies to selfishness and extreme sensitivity to any correction along with an extraordinary need for acceptance.

Even very rational adults may revert to narcissistic patterns in making arguments favoring abortion.

Mitchell argues that there are five features of the Narcissistic Style, as it appears in adolescence. These are: an expectation of entitlements. deadness to the feelings of others, a reduced capacity to give love, a reduced moral circumference and reduced intellectual objectivity. It is the last feature that concerns us here: the tendency to allow the needs of the self to control rational functioning. Mitchell provides a list of some of the problems adolescents have in making rational arguments. It is clear from analyzing these strategies that the adolescent is using them to avoid the real argument in favor of protecting the vulnerable self.

Very often, these are the kinds of arguments that are being made by adults. especially in situations of self-protective need. We might expect to find such arguments in the abortion debate, where people are trying to justify a position in order to protect their own self-concept. No one wants to admit that they have been supporting the brutal killing of innocent children. Thus, even very rational adults may revert to using some of these narcissistic patterns of making arguments when the debate concerns abortion.

I have taken ten of the most important examples given by Mitchell (1998) and put them into the pro-life context. It is my assumption that arguing with pro-abortion advocates often involves dealing with adolescent thinking. It is always helpful to understand the strategies being used against pro-life efforts, in order to be able to respond more effectively.

These ten strategies of argumentation are characterized by their manipulative approach to debate. The purpose is to win the debate, not clarify the issues. The arguments must be won at any cost, even if it means switching the terms of the debate and engaging in inconsistent and incompatible arguments. These arguments can be very irrational and it is very irritating to debate with someone who doesn't mind being irrational. That is why such debates often deteriorate into emotional conflicts. This is, of course, counter productive to educating people about the abortion issue. Following are ten of the strategies, characterized by adolescent limitations.

One. Opposing a proposition by misrepresenting it.

This approach allows the argument to be cut to fit the purposes of the arguer. Forms of misrepresentation include disagreeing with something that doesn't exist, disagreeing with a small portion of an issue, and disagreeing with a highly simplified version of the issue. This approach is very common in the abortion debate. Our opponents began their campaign for deregulation with lies about the reality of abort.ion. For example, they claimed "Tens of thousands of women have back-alley abortions and die every year, so we have to legalize abortion so women won't have to go into back alleys to get them." This argument is full of misrepresentations, particularly the issue of the huge numbers of women who died from abortion before legalization. All of these numbers were inflated in order to create the appropriate shock value, which made people feel good about their pro-abortion position.

Another common misrepresentation is the one that says, "Pro-life people hate women." This argument allows the pro-abortion lobby to dislike pro-lifers for a position that they don't hold. Our opponents can easily go from there to disliking all of the other positions that pro-life people hold, both accurate and inaccurate.

Arguments, such as these, are best handled with short, direct statements that undermine the basic premises. For example, "If pro-life people dislike women so much, why are they the ones running the 3,000 crisis pregnancy centers around the country to help women with crisis pregnancies?"

Two. Use of prestige words.

In the abortion debate, the needs of the self may control rational functioning.

The assumption of this approach is that the prestige words are more powerful than ordinary words. Showmanship like this is intended to gain points for style and winning the argument is essentially the same as creating the most theatrical presentation. This is very common in the pro-abortion arguments. The term "fetus" is intended to divert attention from the fact that we are talking about a "child." The term "reproductive health care providers" is intended to mask the fact that we are talking about abortionists, because everyone understands that abortionists kill babies. In arguments of this sort, it is important to avoid being drawn into using the prestige words in order to get style points. It is important to immediately deflate pompous statements, for example, "We are talking about living, growing babies."

Three. Diverting to a side issue.

This tactic is, in reality, a desperate effort to direct the argument away from a debate that is being lost. It allows the arguer to put the debate into an arena that is safer. It generally opens up issues that are much too big to debate without directing the discussion away from the rational analysis of an issue. It is most effective when it also arouses emotional reactions in the other party, thus completely undermining the original debate. An effective diversion often used by our opponents is to accuse the pro-lifer of trying to "impose your religion on everyone." This can arouse an emotional discussion about religion and take the debate completely off the abortion issue.

It is important to avoid being drawn off-topic by this strategy. A quick shot to the heart of the issue can sometimes cause an opponent to change his mind about getting into the diversion because it isn't keeping the discussion off-topic. For example, "I'm the one talking about scientific, biological facts of conception and fetal development. You are the one who doesn't seem to know when life begins."

Four. Enhancing a position by claiming compromise.

This approach is intended to give the impression of fair play, which isn't fair at all. This has been a very effective tactic of our opponents and it has worked well because the media have picked it up and used it as a tactic, as well. This began with the false compromise proposed at the time of Roe vs. Wade and used ever since that, "Roe vs. Wade represents the compromise (or middle-ground) position." This allowed our opponents to argue, ever after that, from a centrist position, when, in fact, Roe vs. Wade was the most extreme possible position. However, the pro-life position was then put into the stance of being extremist. We have been fighting an up-hill battle ever since. This is because in our country being extreme is, in and of itself, a negative thing. It is very hard to move public opinion when you are arguing from what appears to be the extreme side of the debate.

In recent years, a new version of this approach has been introduced into the abortion debate. This claim to compromise was Clinton's brilliant statement that abortion should be "rare." This implied to people that he was compromising, that is arguing for controls over abortion, while at the same time allowing it for "difficult" cases. In fact, his actual position was for unfettered abortion on demand, which is the most extreme case. If people believe that Clinton took a position that was "moderate" then to oppose his position was to automatically make the pro-lifer an extremist.

When life begins is not a matter of belief, it is a statement of fact that modern science understands quite well.

Five. Arguing by forced analogy.

An analogy is drawing a link between things that are otherwise not similar. A forced analogy occurs when the inference is then made that, if two things are alike in some respects, they will be alike in others. There are a number of these kinds of false arguments that have come from pro-abortion positions. For example, "The egg and sperm (like the embryo) are also human life and they die by the millions, so why are you so concerned about the death of the embryo?" It is true that the egg and sperm, like the embryo, are living human tissue, but they are different in kind because the embryo is a unique, living human person. That is what makes this particular analogy false.

Another common forced analogy heard in pro-abortion arguments is, "The fetus is just a part of the woman's body." The analogy here is that the fetus is in the woman's body so it is a part of it, like her liver and kidneys. This argument completely misunderstands the amazing biological event of pregnancy and the fact that a completely separate human person can live temporarily in the body of the mother. These arguments are more diffficult to deflect because it is generally necessary to provide a great deal of education about human biology in order to prove the analogy false.

Six. Arguing by using a straw man

This is a tactic that can be very effective because the arguer sets up a false issue that can be easily knocked down in order to get an easy victory. Oftentimes these straw men have emotional or anxiety-provoking aspects that diffuse a logical approach to the argument. They are very useful in propaganda because they often appear to be logical when they are not. In the abortion debate, such arguments take the following form, "Unwanted children will be abused, so we have to have abortion available." "Women have to be able to pursue their careers, so they have to be able to get abortions." The straw men in these arguments are the false notions that unwanted children are abused and women can't pursue their careers if they are mothers. There is no evidence for either of these false arguments

It is difficult to deal with this type of deception because the average person doesn't have enough information about the issue to recognize a false straw man. It requires patient educational efforts to explain why these are not reasons for legalized abortion.

Seven. Using proof by selected incidences

In this approach, the arguer uses selective cases that are easier to justify than the true situation. For example, "Poor women get pregnant and it ruins their lives." The assumption here, of course, is that having an abortion would improve their lives. Since the appeal is to try to draw the argument into sympathetic consideration of poor people, it can sometimes help to appeal to this sympathy by attacking the assumption. For example, "There is no evidence that having abortions improves the condition of poor women. It doesn't make them rich. What kind of a choice is it if a woman who is poor feels like abortion is her only solution?"

Another version of this type of argument is to point to individuals as examples. For example, "I know someone who had an abortion and she's fine." This is a tricky argument to handle because the argument could end up revolving around the circumstances of a particular person. This, of course, can distract the arguer from the real point, which is abortion as a legal option. On the other hand, it can help to personalize the argument if it is handled well. For example, "No one knows what is inside a person. It isn't possible to know if she is fine. Post abortion trauma usually doesn't show up in a person's life until months or years after the abortion.

Eight. Making statements in which "all" is implied but "some" is true.

This is a common approach to making arguments because it puts out the position the arguer wants to make and forces the opponent to refute it. This is particularly difficult because the statements are generally proposed as assumptions that should not be questioned.

A common statement heard by pro-life people is the one: "Americans are pro-choice." Because it is presented as an assumption, this statement must be refuted with facts. That, of course, requires knowing the latest polling data. Of course, some Americans are pro-choice, but we need to correct this error every time we hear it.

Nine. Statements that imply that no other position is plausible.

These arguments are, of course, the most difficult because they come from a mind-set that has accepted abortion as a necessity. The person making such statements has probably never made any attempt to understand the reasons supporting the position that is held. The position is accepted unconditionally without giving it any real thought. A common example of such a position encountered by pro-life individuals is the notion that, "Everyone has the right to choose. It's American."

Pro-abortion opponents may manipulate the discussion, knowing full well that the positions taken are dangerous.

A statement like this is based on so many misconceptions that it is difficult to know where to start to refute it. It is clear that a great deal of education is prohably needed when this type of statement is made. The usual way to respond initially is to draw attention to the fact that "The baby doesn't get a choice" or "In America we usually don't give people the choice to kill other people." Responses like these can create a great deal of antagonism. The danger is that the person will be so annoyed that the emotions generated by the responses will cause the pro-life debater to lose the ability to continue a meaningfull dialogue.

Ten. Simply restating without defending the merit of the position.

As a dehating tactic, this is a very effective technique. It doesn't give the pro-life debater anything to refute. It eliminates opportunities to educate by responding to new comments made by the pro-abortion side. It puts the debater in the position of repeating the same argument in different ways to try to get the opponent to respond to the essence of the debate. This situation then eliminates the need for the pro-abortion opponent to have to respond to a number of different points.

A better tactic for the pro-life debater responding to this type of approach is to ignore the restatements and press on with pro-life education. This way the opponent is exposed to the various arguments that are being avoided by keeping the debate stuck on one topic.

These ten points are helpful because they provide a plan for dealing with opponents, whether the situation is an informal conversation or a formal debate format with an audience. When there is an audience, it is important to remember that education is occurring whether or not the opponent is being moved by the arguments. The audience must always be considered in such situations. Pro-abortion opponents, in such situations, may simply manipulate the discussion, knowing full well that the positions that are being taken are disingenuous.

I once had the experience of doing a radio interview for a program that had the format of using a "liberal" and a "conservative" interviewer. In this case, the conservative was pro-life and was very, helpful in supporting my point of view. The liberal was a very aggressive pro-abortion advocate. In the end, my debate was only with him. I had responded to all of his attempts to "back me into a corner." Finally he just said, "I don't believe that life begins at conception." The purpose of this statement, is, of course, to step out of the argument. He is essentially getting out of the way of the debate, side-stepping it.

He is saying that it is all a matter of belief and he just doesn't believe it. We are generally respectful of the beliefs of people and we generally realize that beliefs are basic assumptions that can't really be refuted by facts. I certainly think that there are many issues that are a matter of belief but when life begins is not one of them. It is a biological fact that modern science understands quite well. He obviously had had good success silencing his opponents with this technique in the past. Being a developmental psychologist, I decided to end that particular maneuver in the following way. I said, "I'm not surprised that you don't know when life begins. There is developmental research on this topic and many people don't know when life begins. For example, children don't know." I was going to explain the stages of development associated with a full understanding of when life begins, but he hung up on me before I could finish my sentence.

References



TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: abortion; nrlc; prolife
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1 posted on 08/10/2003 11:36:00 PM PDT by miltonim
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To: miltonim
Very interesting! Thanks, Miltonim.
2 posted on 08/11/2003 12:23:12 AM PDT by Humidston (Do not remove this tag under penalty of law)
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To: miltonim
BUMP
3 posted on 08/11/2003 12:27:11 AM PDT by nickcarraway (a a)
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To: Canticle_of_Deborah; Desdemona; MHGinTN; cpforlife.org; Mr. Silverback; SpookBrat; Brad's Gramma; ..
ping
4 posted on 08/11/2003 12:28:55 AM PDT by nickcarraway (a a)
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To: miltonim
bump for later read
5 posted on 08/11/2003 12:29:21 AM PDT by ChocChipCookie (Beware: the Chip is pissed.)
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To: miltonim
"It has long been known that adolescence is the time when mature cognitive and intellectual abilities are being acquired. This period of time is experienced by the adolescent as one of confusion and frustration as new abilities are made available but are not fully utilized or understood by the adolescent. This is a time when there is an awakening to the internal feelings, needs, emotional drives and intellectual skills which, up until adolescence, function primarily at an unconscious level. What happens to adolescents is that they suddenly become conscious of the functioning of these internal events."

Well....perhaps. But not every teenager is a crazy person. I wasn't when I was one.

Quite frankly, I never went through that "struggling with my identity" crap. I knew who I was even before being a teen.



6 posted on 08/11/2003 1:04:46 AM PDT by rwfromkansas (http://www.collegemedianews.com *some interesting radio news reports here; check it out*)
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To: miltonim
BTW, thanks for posting the article.

While I made a side comment, the application of the material to abortion is ingenious.

7 posted on 08/11/2003 1:08:02 AM PDT by rwfromkansas (http://www.collegemedianews.com *some interesting radio news reports here; check it out*)
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To: miltonim
I'll need to study this for my next abortion debate.
8 posted on 08/11/2003 1:19:32 AM PDT by Got a right to Life? . . Huh?
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To: miltonim
thx, nice post
9 posted on 08/11/2003 2:32:14 AM PDT by Johnbalaya
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To: miltonim
Liberals really do act like children. Clinton is a 14 year old in a mans body.
When liberals don't get their way, they throw temper tantrums in the streets with all their little play mates. When that doesn't work, they start breaking things.
Liberals do have the minds of children, and should be delt with as such. Parents need to speak up and tell their children "no!" when they're wrong or putting others in danger.
The grown ups in Washington need to protect this nation, and spoiling the missbehaved and unlearned minds is not the way to do it. It just makes them worse. They demand even more candy. They're never full.
10 posted on 08/11/2003 5:30:13 AM PDT by concerned about politics ("He who controls communications rules the world." - Adolf Hitler)
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To: Got a right to Life? . . Huh?
I'll need to study this for my next abortion debate.

It appears the challenge is keeping them on topic. Liberals have a short attention span. They start to call you names when they get confused by facts. "You're bad. I hate you. Shut up. I'm telling! You're a poo-poo" (or whatever nasty liberal-speak they can come up with at the time).

11 posted on 08/11/2003 5:43:13 AM PDT by concerned about politics ("He who controls communications rules the world." - Adolf Hitler)
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To: nickcarraway
Thanks for the heads up!
12 posted on 08/11/2003 6:03:59 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: miltonim
bump
13 posted on 08/11/2003 6:33:31 AM PDT by Tribune7
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To: miltonim
"Rational parts of the brain?" Pray tell, which parts are these?
14 posted on 08/11/2003 7:52:26 AM PDT by RobbyS
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To: RobbyS

The Amazing Case of Phineas Gage

Phineas Gage was a young railroad construction supervisor in the Rutland and Burland Railroad site, in Vermont. In September 1848, while preparing a powder charge for blasting a rock, he inadvertently tamped a steel rod into the hole. The ensuing explosion projected the tamping rod, with 2.5 cm of diameter and more than one meter of lenght against his skull, at a high speed. The rod entered his head trhough his left cheek, destroyed his eye, traversed the frontal part of the brain, and left the top of the skull at the other side. Gage lost consciousness immediately and started to have convulsions. However, he recovered conscience moments later, and was taken to a local doctor, Jonh Harlow, who took care of him. Amazingly, he was talking and could walk. He lost a lot of blood, but after a bout with infection, he not only survived to the ghastly lesion, but recovered well, too.

Months later, however, Gage began to have startling changes in personality in mood. He became extravagant and anti-social, a fullmouth and a liar with bad manners, and could no longer hold a job or plan his future.  "Gage was no longer Gage", said his friends of him. He died in 1861, thirtheen years after the accident, penniless and epileptic, and no autopsy was performed on his brain. His former physician, John Harlow, interviewed his friends and relatives, and wrote two, reporting Gage's reconstructed medical history, one in 1948, entitled "Passage of an Iron Rod Through the Head", and another in 1868, titled "Recovery from the Passage of an Iron Rod Through the Head".

Phineas Gage became a classical case in the textbooks of neurology. The part of the brain which he had lost, was forever associated to the mental and emotional functions which he had lost. Harlow believed that, as he wrote that "The equilibrium between his intellectual faculties and animal propensities seems to have been destroyed.

His skull was recovered however, and preserved in the Warren Medical Museum of Harvard University. Much later, two Portuguese neurobiologists, Hanna and Antonio Damasio of the University of Iowa, used computer graphics and neural imaging techniques to plot the trajectory of the steel rod as it coursed through Gage's brain, and published the results in Science, in 1994. They discovered that most of the damage was done to the ventromedial region of the frontal lobes on both sides. The part of the frontal lobes responsible for speech and motor functions was apparently spared, so they concluded that the changes in social behavior observed in Phineas Gage were probably due to this lesion, because the Damasios have observed the same sort of change in other patients with similar lesions, causing a defect in rational decision making and the processing of emotion.

15 posted on 08/11/2003 8:57:14 AM PDT by miltonim
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To: miltonim
Excellent. Bookmarked. Thanks for posting.
16 posted on 08/11/2003 9:13:36 AM PDT by Skooz (Tagline removed by moderator)
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To: Skooz
Bump
17 posted on 08/11/2003 9:17:29 AM PDT by jwalsh07
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To: miltonim
Months later, however, Gage began to have startling changes in personality in mood. He became extravagant and anti-social, a fullmouth and a liar with bad manners, and could no longer hold a job or plan his future. "Gage was no longer Gage", said his friends of him. He died in 1861, thirtheen years after the accident, penniless

Ohhh noooo. He became a Democrat.

18 posted on 08/11/2003 9:44:39 AM PDT by concerned about politics ("He who controls communications rules the world." - Adolf Hitler)
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To: miltonim
Bump for later.
19 posted on 08/11/2003 10:13:55 AM PDT by Question_Assumptions
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To: nickcarraway
Thank you very much for the ping. I'm printing the 'corrected' version of the article for my stepdaughter and wife to read. Great article, BTW, miltonim.
20 posted on 08/11/2003 10:28:36 AM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: XBob; pram; Cathryn Crawford; cpforlife.org
Ping to an important read
21 posted on 08/11/2003 10:30:39 AM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: miltonim
Great article. Thanks for posting.
22 posted on 08/11/2003 10:49:02 AM PDT by cpforlife.org (Abortion is the Choice of Satan, a LIAR and MURDERER from the beginning.)
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To: MHGinTN; Coleus; nickcarraway; Mr. Silverback; Canticle_of_Deborah; TenthAmendmentChampion; ...

Please let me know if you want on or off my Pro-Life Ping List.

23 posted on 08/11/2003 10:51:39 AM PDT by cpforlife.org (Abortion is the Choice of Satan, a LIAR and MURDERER from the beginning.)
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To: miltonim
"The rational part of the brain" implies that the whole organ is not involved in the process. Do you think that the Greeks, who had a very different view of the function of the brain, did not know that such an injury would have this effect? I am sure that many Greeks got clubbed.
24 posted on 08/11/2003 11:01:55 AM PDT by RobbyS
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To: RobbyS
See point #3 in the above essay ... you are pulling that adolescent trick. Nice try though
25 posted on 08/11/2003 11:39:26 AM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: MHGinTN
Side issue? No, it has to do the reductionism of modern neurology. They think of the brain as a machine and the reasoning process/mind as simply a "product " of that machine. They get hung up on the matter of self-consciousness. See the story line involving" Star Trek's" "Data" character to see how many questions they beg.
26 posted on 08/11/2003 7:04:29 PM PDT by RobbyS
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To: MHGinTN
Thanks for the ping. It's very true. I have had those techniques used by pro-lifers many times, and it is interesting how many of the techniques she uses in her own article, and I bet youall didn't even notice.

Look at just a few of the definitions she twists, or disregards, and uses false logic to develop and/or ignore.

let's just start with a few, like first using the argument of the beard, then using inflamitory words, and mis-identifying things (like baby):

"One. Opposing a proposition by misrepresenting it."

"This approach allows the argument to be cut to fit the purposes of the arguer. Forms of misrepresentation include disagreeing with something that doesn't exist, disagreeing with a small portion of an issue, and disagreeing with a highly simplified version of the issue. This approach is very common in the abortion debate. Our opponents began their campaign for deregulation with lies about the reality of abort.ion. For example, they claimed "Tens of thousands of women have back-alley abortions and die every year, so we have to legalize abortion so women won't have to go into back alleys to get them." This argument is full of misrepresentations, particularly the issue of the huge numbers of women who died from abortion before legalization. All of these numbers were inflated in order to create the appropriate shock value, which made people feel good about their pro-abortion position."

---

Logical falacy #1 - Using 'argument of the beard' to counter an argument. How many hairs does it take to make a beard?

How many women need to die from back alley abortions to make it a serious problem?

===

Main Entry: 1ba·by
Pronunciation: 'bA-bE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural babies
Etymology: Middle English, from babe
Date: 14th century
1 a (1) : an extremely young child; especially : INFANT

http://www.britannica.com/search?ref=B04319&query=infant&submit=Find
infancy among humans, the period of life between birth and the acquisition of language approximately one to two years later.

===

Main Entry: fe·tus
Pronunciation: 'fE-t&s
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin, act of bearing

young, offspring; akin to Latin fetus newly
delivered, fruitful -- more at FEMININE Date: 14th century : an unborn or unhatched vertebrate especially after attaining the basic structural plan of its kind; specifically : a developing human from usually three months after conception to birth
===
Main Entry: em·bryo
Pronunciation: 'em-brE-"O
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural em·bry·os
1 : archaeic
2 : the young sporophyte of a seed plant
3 a : something as yet undeveloped b : a beginning or undeveloped state of something

27 posted on 08/11/2003 8:50:23 PM PDT by XBob
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To: MHGinTN
calling an embryo and a fetus a baby is just not correct, and further it is twisting logic to make accusations that are wrong - such as 'baby killers'.

At least it is not so bad as the 'NAZI' or 'Mengele' I have been called so many times by 'devout Christians'.
28 posted on 08/11/2003 8:58:17 PM PDT by XBob
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To: miltonim
SPOTREP - Critical thinking
29 posted on 08/11/2003 10:06:56 PM PDT by LiteKeeper
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To: XBob
Alas, I had hoped you would find some measure of maturity by comprehending the article. I was wrong. Fog becomes you
30 posted on 08/11/2003 10:34:12 PM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: miltonim; TigersEye
Wanda Franz, Ph.D., has great clarity of mind. This article displays wisdom.

Bookmarked.

31 posted on 08/12/2003 3:27:05 AM PDT by .30Carbine
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To: miltonim
Six. Arguing by using a straw man

Interesting section, the author appears to provide strawmen of his own: child abuse? careers? I don't see those used by the pro-choice side on this forum.

Here is my pro-choice argument, I think it is a combination of side issue, strawman, and selected cases: "if you can't see it, you can't protect it". I mean that both in the physical and metaphysical senses, it is physically impossible to see a fertilized egg without some sort of equipment. More importantly, a fertilized egg does not trigger much empathy since it has no recognizable human form and no ability to feel pain (no neurons, no pain).

32 posted on 08/12/2003 3:47:17 AM PDT by palmer (paid for by the "Lazamataz for Supreme Ruler" campaign.)
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To: palmer
the author appears to provide strawmen of his own:

With the name Wanda, I assumed the author was a woman.

33 posted on 08/12/2003 4:44:29 AM PDT by NutCrackerBoy
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To: NutCrackerBoy
Ok, straw-woman.
34 posted on 08/12/2003 4:54:38 AM PDT by palmer (paid for by the "Lazamataz for Supreme Ruler" campaign.)
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To: .30Carbine
Excellent article. The analysis of debate manipulation and adolescent ego-centrism are useful to study for every subject of debate. Thanks to gooberment education and Big Media those tactics pass for critical thinking more than ever. See? I just did it myself. I think I used #2 and a bit of #9. ;^)
35 posted on 08/12/2003 8:59:49 AM PDT by TigersEye (If you haven't read Coulter you don't know Joe!)
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To: XBob
Main Entry: em·bryo ... 3 a : something as yet undeveloped b : a beginning or undeveloped state of something.
ie: (as applied to human embryos) the yet undeveloped, beginning state of human life.

To be quite precise; abortionists are selective human life killers. The selective criteria being; unborn humans.

36 posted on 08/12/2003 9:08:13 AM PDT by TigersEye (If you haven't read Coulter you don't know Joe!)
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To: XBob
How many women need to die from back alley abortions for abortion to be legalized? The same argument can be applied to banning alchohol, or to be even sillier, to banning skateboards. How many people die after tripping do we need to see to ban tripping once and for all time? You see, numbers, in a gross sense, do matter. Also, legalizing abortion has not made it safe. Then there's the nemesis argument. If women themselves are killed, in an attempt to destroy their child's life, is it not just that they themselves are destroyed in the attempt? Society is willing to live with a certain number of deaths provided those who die foolishly bring it upon themselves. That is, after all, why paint and why aerosols have not been banned despite the number of kids who "huff" them every year.
37 posted on 08/12/2003 10:21:15 AM PDT by =Intervention= (White devils for Sharpton Central Florida chapter)
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To: MHGinTN
30 - "Alas, I had hoped you would find some measure of maturity by comprehending the article. I was wrong. Fog becomes you"

typical - you disregard my arguments without even analyzing them, or responding to them.

Who is being a 'teenage analyst'?

How about responding to my points, and her use of the very things she accuses others of?
38 posted on 08/12/2003 9:57:10 PM PDT by XBob
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To: palmer
32 - "Interesting section, the author appears to provide strawmen of his own"

the article is full of use of the very falacies she cites.
39 posted on 08/12/2003 10:00:08 PM PDT by XBob
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To: TigersEye
36 - "To be quite precise; abortionists are selective human life killers. The selective criteria being; unborn humans."

If you are going to use this argument, then so is God or Mother Nature, as 40% of all embryos fail to develop into human beings.

So abortionists are merely emulating nature/God.
40 posted on 08/12/2003 10:04:29 PM PDT by XBob
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To: =Intervention=
37 - "Also, legalizing abortion has not made it safe. "

You make some interesting, yet invalid observations, comparing banning of dangerous things to allowing a less dangerous thing.

I am old enough to remember when abortion was illegal in many places, and when it was quite dangerous. It is far far safer now that it is legal. In fact, it is safer than bringing a fetus to term and delivering it as a baby.

So, you are in favor of banning a relatively safe procedure to be replaced by an even less safe procedure? If you will check the problems with delivering babies and the price of mal-practice insurance, obstetric/gynocology doctors are leaving the profession in droves. In fact, my Mother mentioned in passing, that about 2 months ago, a cousin of ours in Pennsylvania just went to Canada to deliver a baby because she couldn't find a doctor in her area in Pennsylvania.

Strange logic, indeed.
41 posted on 08/12/2003 10:19:49 PM PDT by XBob
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If you are going to use this argument, then so is God or Mother Nature, as 40% of all embryos fail to develop into human beings. Xbob You assume that which you seek to prove ... 'embryonic individual lives are not human beings, yet' and expect folks to give any credance to your babble?

So abortionists are merely emulating nature/God. Xbob Your juvenile syllogisms are astonishing for their nihilistic simplicity, but I ought not be astonished by your mutagenic thinking after all the threads I've endured of your ignorant offerings.

You make some interesting, yet invalid observations, comparing banning of dangerous things to allowing a less dangerous thing. Xbob Partial birth abortions (to cite but one killing methodology) are designed to kill an alive, individual human being who has not yet been born but who is scientifically, verifiably alive and sentient, even dreaming when asleep and able to learn! Assaulting the baby in the womb with an aim to kill her is very dangerous to the baby (deadly in fact and you champion that) and effects the woman in whose body the baby is/was receiving life support, as testified to by the women who've had their children killed in utero and lived to regret it. Your chosen omission of this reality is quite telling, X.

I am old enough to remember when abortion was illegal in many places, and when it was quite dangerous. Lying to win points? Abortion has always been a legal option for the physician treating the life of the woman, electable if the pregnancy is an imminent threat to her life. Nice try though; you represent your father well ... It is far far safer now that it is legal. No, it is far more deadly ... fewer babies survive the assault and tens-of-millions have been exterminated on your altar of choice, X. In fact, it is safer than bringing a fetus to term and delivering it as a baby. Well, let's see, one out of two who enter an abortionists 'sanctum sanctorum of death' leaves as a dead human being. Hardly what you have tried to characterize, X.

If you will check the problems with delivering babies and the price of mal-practice insurance, obstetric/gynocology doctors are leaving the profession in droves. 'Ahh, but you have the enlightened solution, don't you ghoul, just kill the little ones before they become a nuisance! Yes, you will feel right at home in your final destination, X. (That's what's known as an opinion, pseudo-satre.) In fact, my Mother mentioned in passing and you ought to thank her that she didn't have your attitudes when you were in the embryo age or fetal age, 'cause you're a defender of serial killing. Enough of you. You have a certain stench to you

42 posted on 08/12/2003 10:47:39 PM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: XBob
If you are going to use this argument, then so is God or Mother Nature, as 40% of all embryos fail to develop into human beings.

So abortionists are merely emulating nature/God.

Abortionists intentionally kill humans. So you are saying that nature/God purposely kills humans? Are you also saying that abortionists are the same as nature/God?

43 posted on 08/13/2003 5:36:29 AM PDT by TigersEye (If you haven't read Coulter you don't know Joe!)
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To: TigersEye
43 - "Abortionists intentionally kill humans. So you are saying that nature/God purposely kills humans? Are you also saying that abortionists are the same as nature/God?"

Well, they emulate natural processes. So, they are emulating nature or God is pretty clumsey or inept if 40% of 'his' work, in this area doesn't work. When I went to school, 60% was a FAILING grade in school.

Would you get on a plane which only has a 60% chance of arriving safely?

Or could it be, you are defining 'people' with a different criteria than 'God' is using?

You can't have it both ways.

(Note for helping to understand my position - I am an agnostic).
44 posted on 08/13/2003 12:54:26 PM PDT by XBob
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To: palmer
"More importantly, a fertilized egg does not trigger much empathy since it has no recognizable human form and no ability to feel pain (no neurons, no pain)."

Not to a liberal. A liberal will go ballistic to "save the life of" a fertilized egg of an owl, for example, and will shove through legislation that will do just that. However, that same liberal will try and argue that the fertilized egg of a himan is not life at all, and thus is not worthy of any compassion, and thus the liberal is opposed to any legislation protecting it. With a liberal, it depends on what's fertilized: a spotted owl or a human. The former has all the protections a liberal can create; the latter is to be flushed down the toilet without a second thought.
45 posted on 08/13/2003 1:05:19 PM PDT by ought-six
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To: ought-six; palmer
not all liberals believe in abortion and not all conservatives don't believe in abortion, and citing liberal 'logic' or 'non-logic' as it were, is not a good way to defend non-abortion.
46 posted on 08/13/2003 4:33:39 PM PDT by XBob
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To: XBob
Well, they emulate natural processes.

What natural process grabs a baby by its head, punctures its skull and sucks its brains out? What natural process cuts a human fetus into pieces in the womb and then sucks everything out?

Or could it be, you are defining 'people' with a different criteria than 'God' is using?
(Note for helping to understand my position - I am an agnostic).

You brought God, nature/God and Mother Nature into this. You tell me what criteria they use to define 'people'. You're the first polytheistic agnostic I've met so I don't know what all you ascribe to those three gods.

47 posted on 08/13/2003 4:43:22 PM PDT by TigersEye (Joe McCarthy was right ... so was PT Barnum!)
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To: XBob
Well, they emulate natural processes.

This sort of behavior is only natural to demons.

48 posted on 08/14/2003 1:22:00 AM PDT by .30Carbine
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To: XBob
Well, they emulate natural processes.

This sort of behavior is only natural to demons.

49 posted on 08/14/2003 1:22:21 AM PDT by .30Carbine
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To: Admin Moderator
I didn't mean to post that twice.
50 posted on 08/14/2003 1:24:30 AM PDT by .30Carbine
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