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Thread: O’Rourke: Churches Should Lose Tax-exempt Status

  1. #631
    radical strawberry
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tassman View Post
    Throughout most of Judeo/Christian history abortion has NOT been regarded as a “sin” at all. This is a recent phenomenon.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tassman View Post
    I have never argued that Jewish culture, throughout the centuries, held that abortion was ["not" inserted by Leonhard] wrong.
    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    Tassman, you're doing a 180 degree about face. Earlier you made a specific claim, now you're denying it. I'd like to argue a position, but until you state which of these two quotes represent your view, and which one is wrong, we can't proceed.
    You claimed a contradiction based on a "[not]" you inserted yourself.

    Damn, that's bold.

  2. #632
    tWebber Leonhard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juvenal View Post
    You claimed a contradiction based on a "[not]" you inserted yourself.

    Damn, that's bold.
    I did indeed insert [not], with square brackets [], which is the standard way of inserting a word, to indicate how you read the sentence. This is normal, considering people often leave out words.

    If Tassman litterally said

    "I have never argued that Jewish culture, throughout the centuries, held that abortion was wrong."

    Then that would be trivially true, and pointless to state. But he's clearly been arguing the opposite, namely that throughout the centuries abortion has not been considered a sin at all, which is factually wrong. It was considered a sin up until around late 18th century with the appearance of the Reform movement.

    So either he's contradicting himself, or he's stating something trivially true that is not in dispute.

  3. Amen Teallaura amen'd this post.
  4. #633
    radical strawberry
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    But that is exactly what it has. Throughout most of Judeo/Christian history, feticide is in fact considered murder by the Jews and Christians were also united against it whenever they wrote on the subject, though they spent more effort on infanticide which was a bigger problem at that time.

    I have demonstrated and shown that to you. Others have as well. Yet you keep bringing myjewishlearning, both in this thread and in others, while seemingly ignoring both the content of the article you link to, or the fact that it only document very recent moral developments in the jewish community.
    Given a modern comprehension of embryology, I suspect most early adherents to Abrahamic religions would have extended their repugnance to abortion to an earlier stage of the pregnancy. But we can't know that. We can and do know, however, that it's not valid to impute our understanding of the process into their writings.

    We also know that they differentiated between early stage pregnancies and pregnancies after fetal movement could be detected, that they didn't judge causing a miscarriage as murder, and that two-thirds of modern abortions occur during a stage of pregnancy modern embryology describes as more reptilian than human.

    During my tartiest foruming days, I posted with the estimable "THHuxley" for years on a wide variety of Islamic sites, debunking topics from creationist arguments imported from YE Christianity to common scientific misconceptions current at the time of Muhammad that found their way into the Qur'an, often elaborated in the Hadith.

    "THHuxley" showed that as late as the 7th century CE, Muhammad, in communication with the two preceding Abrahamic traditions, preserved the contemporary embryology that informed Abrahamists' theological treatment of abortion. This treatment was posted on numerous forums, and can still be (barely) found on Mukto Mona.

    Islamic embryology, T H Huxley

    I've completed an analysis of the errors in Islamic embryology for Mukto-mona readers.

    “Islamic embryology” is derived from both the Qu’ran and the hadith, and is quite consistent across all the contributing sources. The core of the story can be found in the Qu’ran, 022.005:

    YUSUFALI: “O mankind! if ye have a doubt about the Resurrection, (consider) that We created you out of dust, then out of sperm, then out of a leech-like clot, then out of a morsel of flesh, partly formed and partly unformed, in order that We may manifest (our power) to you; and We cause whom We will to rest in the wombs for an appointed term, then do We bring you out as babes…”
    PICKTHAL: “O mankind! if ye are in doubt concerning the Resurrection, then lo! We have created you from dust, then from a drop of seed, then from a clot, then from a little lump of flesh shapely and shapeless, that We may make (it) clear for you. And We cause what We will to remain in the wombs for an appointed time, and afterward We bring you forth as infants…”
    SHAKIR: “O people! if you are in doubt about the raising, then surely We created you from dust, then from a small seed, then from a clot, then from a lump of flesh, complete in make and incomplete, that We may make clear to you; and We cause what We please to stay in the wombs till an appointed time, then We bring you forth as babies…”

    Here we find the three primary stages of embryonic development as defined by the Qu’ran. There is a “seed,” “drop” or “semen” phase (in Arabic, “nutfah”), followed by a “clot” or “leach-like clot” phase (in Arabic, “Alaqah”), followed finally by a “morsel of flesh” or “chewed lump” phase (in Arabic, “Mudghah”).

    This misunderstanding still informs Islamic opinion on abortion, bracketing prohibitions on abortion to the period following the Mudghah phase. In much the same sense, misunderstandings about the origin of the human species informs much of evangelical Christianity, today, in their efforts to push biological evolution out of public schools.

    I could get clever here, tracking the curve back into the topic of withholding tax exemptions from churches, but that's not a position I care to defend considering my personal interest in supporting the nascent GBY Pilgrim SBC of the Everglades.

  5. #634
    tWebber Leonhard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juvenal View Post
    Given a modern comprehension of embryology, I suspect most early adherents to Abrahamic religions would have extended their repugnance to abortion to an earlier stage of the pregnancy. But we can't know that. We can and do know, however, that it's not valid to impute our understanding of the process into their writings.
    At no point was anyone, that I know of, in this thread, imputing our modern embryology onto the Church Fathers. I was citing one of the most respected Jewish rabbis from the 1st and 2nd Century. Rogue06 put up a wall of citations from all the Church Fathers had written on the subjects. We're not imputing anything here, those were their actual views.

    Rogue06, I think we do need that sticky thread.

  6. Amen Teallaura, Adrift amen'd this post.
  7. #635
    radical strawberry
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    I did indeed insert [not], with square brackets [], which is the standard way of inserting a word, to indicate how you read the sentence. This is normal, considering people often leave out words.

    If Tassman litterally said

    "I have never argued that Jewish culture, throughout the centuries, held that abortion was wrong."

    Then that would be trivially true, and pointless to state.
    He did, literally, say that. And you replaced something you acknowledge was trivially true with something that was blatantly contradictory.

    Oh, baby, [don't] tell me more.

    But he's clearly been arguing the opposite, namely that throughout the centuries abortion has not been considered a sin at all, which is factually wrong. It was considered a sin up until around late 18th century with the appearance of the Reform movement.

    So either he's contradicting himself, or he's stating something trivially true that is not in dispute.
    I'd argue abortion after viability has always been considered a sin, making a contrary blanket assertion false, but that would not be a generous reading (except perhaps by comparison to deliberately inserting a contradiction). There's no evidence I'm aware of that most abortion, that is, abortion before eight weeks, has until recently been recognized as involving a human person.

    What's been known of embryology "throughout the centuries" was straight up wrong. It's generally a poor idea to argue from a false premise.

    You should see what folks back when thought about cosmology.

  8. Amen Tassman amen'd this post.
  9. #636
    radical strawberry
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    At no point was anyone, that I know of, in this thread, imputing our modern embryology onto the Church Fathers.
    Other than continuously.

  10. #637
    tWebber Leonhard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juvenal
    He did, literally, say that.
    If he states, that he indeed did mean to say that, I gotta admit I'm surprised, but I'll admit I got him wrong.

    There's no evidence I'm aware of that most abortion, that is, abortion before eight weeks, has until recently been recognized as involving a human person.
    Whether or not it has, the question as Tassman was putting it, is whether it was considered morally wrong. You can read his own quotes, the your own post, for yourself.

    It is a combination of special pleading, and moving the goal post, to specifically limit the discussion to fetuses beneat the age of eight weeks and whether or not they counted as person. That is not what I was contesting with Tassman, nor is it what Tassman was claiming.

    Quote Originally Posted by Juvenal View Post
    Other than continuously.
    Can you give an example. We pretty much only quoted them directly, and we have specifically limited ourself to defending that those Church Fathers who commented on it.

  11. #638
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    If he states, that he indeed did mean to say that, I gotta admit I'm surprised, but I'll admit I got him wrong.
    He so states.

    They are both the same statement.

    Not that I'm interested in playing Tassman apologist. I was bemused by the spectre of your berating an imposed contradiction. It appealed to my love of irony.

    Of course, if you choose not to own it, I'll have to withdraw my mad props.

    Whether or not it has, the question as Tassman was putting it, is whether it was considered morally wrong. You can read his own quotes, the your own post, for yourself.
    I do not credit Tassman with the study necessary to speak cogently of the differences between abortion as understood today and abortion as understood in the 6th century BCE or the 1st century CE or the 7th century CE. It's mere happenstance that I have any familiarity with the differences myself.

    It started with this post about Islamic embryology ...

    It is a combination of special pleading, and moving the goal post, to specifically limit the discussion to fetuses beneat the age of eight weeks and whether or not they counted as person. That is not what I was contesting with Tassman, nor is it what Tassman was claiming.
    If most abortions are to be dismissed as special pleading or moving the goal posts, special pleading and goal post adjustment are unjustly maligned.

    I am suggesting that Tassman and those responding to Tassman are speaking of abortion in its modern usage, making references to opinions on abortion from church fathers as relevant as their condemnations of mathematicians.

    Not that I'm the kind of guy who [doesn't] hold a grudge.

    Can you give an example. We pretty much only quoted them directly, and we have specifically limited ourself to defending that those Church Fathers who commented on it.
    It's inconceivable, put down that rock, sir, that the church fathers were weighing in on the first trimester abortions which account for better than 90 percent of abortions in the U.S. today.

    In 2016, almost two-thirds (65.5%) of abortions were performed at ≤8 weeks’ gestation, and nearly all (91.0%) were performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation. Fewer abortions were performed between 14 and 20 weeks’ gestation (7.7%) or at ≥21 weeks’ gestation (1.2%). During 2007–2016, the percentage of abortions performed at >13 weeks’ gestation remained consistently low (8.2%–9.0%). Among abortions performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation, the percentage distributions of abortions by gestational age were highest among those performed at ≤6 weeks’ gestation (35.0%–38.4%).

    Early Israelite sensibilities are treated in Isser, 1990, cited earlier, arguing for two traditions based respectively on the MT and the LXX, that the harm of Exodus 21:22-23 could be seen as visited upon either the woman, or the fetus. In the MT tradition, the harm is judged only against the woman, with the harm against the fetus judged as a civil wrong, accountable by fines, corresponding to the rabbinic position, tracing back to the Assyrians.

    The rabbis held that the fetus is part of the woman’s body (eg., b. Yebam. 78a; b. Nazir 51a). It does not become a separate person with rights until the process of birth. If a woman is in difficult labor, the child may be cut up in the womb and brought out limb by limb in order to save the mothers life; only if the greater part of its body is already out of the womb is it forbidden to cut it up, for now it is a person and the mothers’s life does not take priority (m. Ohol. 7:6). If a pregnant woman is condemned to death, she is executed before giving birth unless she is already sitting on the birth stool; then she is killed after giving birth (m. Arak. 1:4). No stages in fetal development before the actual event of birth change the status of the unborn child with regard to its being considered a human being. Neither these passages nor the ones concerning the forty-one day period help us in establishing the value of an aborted fetus.

    Isser tracks the two MT and LXX traditions respectively to Hammurabi with its Mesopotamian heirs and antecedents; and to the Hittite laws, also from the Bronze age.

    Aptowitzer focused on Exod 21:22 in a comparison of the Alexandrian and Palestinian positions on the status of the unborn fetus. The LXX, followed by Philo and the Didache, takes the strict position that killing of a fully formed fetus is murder. The view of Josephus, the Vg, and the rabbis is milder: the killing of a fetus of any age incurs only civil damages. According to Aptowitzer, Josephus and the rabbis represent the ‘correct” tradition, i.e., the older or original legal tradition that stipulates only damages for the fetus, continuing the primitive Semitic tradition that goes back to Hammurabi’s code. The LXX’s and Philo’s understanding of the text shows Greek influence, though not the influence of the more popular Greek philosophical and medical attitude that the fetus is a part of the mother and not a person, and so killing is not murder. The latter opinion, common among the Stoics, is also found in Roman law …

    Following Philo and the LXX, there is room to see abortion as murder, but again, not at all stages of development, and excluding either most (fully formed at 40 days) or nearly all (fully formed at 80 days) of modern day abortions. I'm not aware of any positions more generous to the pro-life camp than these, and they remain minority positions.

  12. Amen Tassman amen'd this post.
  13. #639
    tWebber Tassman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    Since I didn't do that, its not a an argument from ignorance. We know that most of our features aren't selected for by natural selection. Many are left to freely change over the years due to neutral genetic drift.
    Well you did inasmuch as you said “Most traits we have, cannot be accounted for by natural selection”. In fact, ALL human traits are, at bottom, accounted for by Natural Selection.

    “Positive natural selection, or the tendency of beneficial traits to increase in prevalence (frequency) in a population, is the driving force behind adaptive evolution. For a trait to undergo positive selection, it must have two characteristics. First, the trait must be beneficial; in other words, it must increase the organism's probability of surviving and reproducing. Second, the trait must be heritable so that it can be passed to an organism's offspring. Beneficial traits are extremely varied and may include anything from protective coloration, to the ability to utilize a new food source, to a change in size or shape that might be useful in a particular environment. If a trait results in more offspring who share the trait, then that trait is more likely to become common in the population than a trait that arises randomly. At the molecular level, selection occurs when a particular DNA variant becomes more common because of its effect on the organisms that carry it.

    Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace (1858) famously proposed that positive selection could explain the many marvelous adaptations that suit organisms to their environments and lifestyles, and this simple process remains the central explanation for all evolutionary adaptation yet today.

    https://www.nature.com/scitable/topi...lineage-12397/

    See, what I'm trying to get at here, is that you're using philosophy, whether you like it or not. And you need to do that, even to answer basic questions, such as questions about what science is and what science is actually doing. Science, ironically, can't answer those questions
    Yes, we need philosophy (as I’ve previously acknowledged), to ensure scientific self-consistency, and guard against errors of false inference. But philosophy in and of itself cannot generate new truths about nature. It can only restate expose and reformulate the existing knowledge already contained in our models, theories and laws.

    I will, once you start to show that you have intellectual integrity,
    Stop evading Leonhard and answer the question which you yourself raised. “What DOES matter in an ethical picture, Leonhard, and why does it matter”? It seems to be your assertion that there is more to ethics than my contention that morals and ethics are merely a product of the evolution of the necessary social behavior of humanity to survive as cooperative intelligent social animals.

    So, what more is there? Morals are simply how humans behaved under specific circumstances at specific periods throughout history. Morals and ethics evolve and vary to a degree from culture to culture over time.
    “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

  14. #640
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    If he states, that he indeed did mean to say that, I gotta admit I'm surprised, but I'll admit I got him wrong.



    Whether or not it has, the question as Tassman was putting it, is whether it was considered morally wrong. You can read his own quotes, the your own post, for yourself.

    It is a combination of special pleading, and moving the goal post, to specifically limit the discussion to fetuses beneat the age of eight weeks and whether or not they counted as person. That is not what I was contesting with Tassman, nor is it what Tassman was claiming.



    Can you give an example. We pretty much only quoted them directly, and we have specifically limited ourself to defending that those Church Fathers who commented on it.
    In case you're interested, I've covered ancient Jewish thought on abortion on TWeb a little bit, with some of the more in-depth study coming from Michael Gorman's "Abortion and the Early Church: Christian, Jewish and Pagan Attitudes in the Greco-Roman World." You can find some snippets here (though I've discussed other portions of it throughout TWeb over the years): http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/sh...l=1#post506802

    Great volume if you're interested in the subject.

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