Howard Nathan was reading his hologram news “paper” at breakfast (funny how archaisms survive, he thought— there hadn’t been paper newspapers for well over 50 years). It was December 2099, and the pundits had begun to pontificate about the new century. The headline “Worried Environmentalists” caught his eye; it was an article about the impending manmade Ice Age and the disappearance of the world’s deserts.
What did you really see and hear? Don’t be so sure you know the answer.
Garth Spruiell has spent the last thirty years working as a professional video editor, most recently creating promotional content for The Weather Channel and before that tweaking everything from ads to religion to porn for an independent editing shop in Los Angeles. He knows the tricks of the trade: how to grab your attention, heighten emotion, create seamless transitions, or even weave a compelling story from a whole lot of nothing.
If recent right-wing insanity has driven you over the edge and you’ve decided to tell the world that you think Planned Parenthood is a good place or abortion care is a good thing (or even decided to share a personal story), you will need to get prepared for the muck that’s likely to get slung your way. Fortunately, once you move beyond your inner circle of people who matter, much of what flies through the air will be ignorant comments and insults from people who don’t. As someone who is public about why I am pro-abortion, and about my own story, here are eleven lame shaming themes I’ve encountered, along with my responses.
Fortyyears after Roe v. Wade, the anti-abortion movement is a radical failure by the very metrics that Pro-life leaders cite to inspire their base. What would an effective anti-abortion movement look like?
U.S. women have obtained nearly 53 million legal abortions since 1973. At least in part, that is because self-described abortion foes ignore or oppose the most powerful strategies for making abortion obsolete. The anti-abortion movement is dominated by religious fundamentalists whose determination to control sex—who has it, with whom, for what purpose—takes priority over their desire to reduce abortions. This focus has seriously interfered with eliminating the supply and demand for abortion services.
Will our daughters, sons and young neighbors have the same reproductive rights we have? Only if advocates of chosen childbearing tap the deep moral roots and emotions beneath abortion care.
Picture a future in which children come into the world by design rather than by default. In this future, young women and men pursue their dreams and form the families of their choosing without the ever-present risk of a surprise pregnancy that plagues young lives today. Contraceptives almost never fail, and most pregnancies are healthy thanks to “preconception care” and prenatal care.
Transhumanists often disregard overpopulation as a serious problem; perhaps many just accept the relaxed viewpoint Max More expressed in his essay “Superlongevity Without Overpopulation” published in 2005. I am guilty of that mimicry — in 2009 I supported More’s analysis in my hplusmagazine.com essay “To Breed or Not To Breed?”
Imagine that someone hated you (or your company) and wanted to make you look bad. So, he pretended to be a friend or colleague, went to your events, repeatedly asked you to meetings or lunch, gained your trust, and then spent two years recording private conversations. Could he find stuff that would make you sound like a heartless monster? If you’re like me, the answer is a resounding yes. In fact, there’s no way it would take years.
What do conservative politicians want even more than balanced budgets or an end to abortion?
When Republicans in Colorado pulled the plug on America’s most successful teen pregnancy prevention program, they told the world something about themselves and their political kin: Conservatives may talk about ending abortion or balancing state budgets, but there’s something they want more. This point has been underscored by the latest spliced-video smear campaign against Planned Parenthood that, if successful, will defund every service Planned Parenthood provides except abortion.
Now that the U.S., and other countries, have legalized gay marriage, we asked “Should polygamy, polyandry and plural marriage also be legalized?” The Right has long used the argument that the logic for permitting gay marriage would apply equally to plural marriage, and some of us in favor of gay marriage have long agreed. Of the 129 respondents to the IEET poll, the IEET audience favored legalizing plural marriage by an almost 3-to-1 majority.
Fewer pregnant teens, fewer abortions, fewer unwed mothers, fewer single-parent families on welfare, more balanced state budgets. Sounds like a set of goals that should be common ground for anyone who cares about America’s future, right?
As right wing news outlets have it, untrained government workers in Washington State are doing secret gynecological procedures on 11 year old school girls, implanting dangerous and unhealthy birth control without consent from doting parents who have no idea they are losing their daughters! Liberal priorities are so messed up that it’s easier for an 11 year old to get an IUD than a Coca-Cola at a Washington school.
At some point technology will allow us to live forever. With billionaires spending millions on research  and huge corporations such as Google getting in on the act, very soon we are likely to see rapid advances in life expectancy – with the ultimate aim of radical life extension. All diseases will be cured, and the cellular aging that leads to the deterioration in body and mind will be slowed and eventually reversed so that everybody can choose how long they want to live for.
Birth control options for men and women are a century apart. Men deserve better.
The best birth control options for women today have qualities our grandmothers could only have dreamed of. They toggle the fertility switch to off until a woman wants it on, making pregnancy “opt in” rather than “opt out.” They are easily reversed when a woman wants a baby and have bonus health benefits like lighter periods and protection against some cancers. They last from three to twelve years, depending on the method and can simply be forgotten once in place, yet have an annual failure rate below 1 in 500.
Several months ago, the UK approved a groundbreaking reproductive technique in which babies are created from the genetic material of three people. The US is now considering the procedure, but Congress’s new spending bill will require religious experts to review a forthcoming report.
“You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”
So said white supremacist Dylann Roof to black members of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston as he systematically executed nine, leaving one woman and a five-year-old child to bear witness to the slaughter.
When I hear that the conversation is about an ethical problem I anticipate that right now the people are going to put everything upside down and end with common sense. Appealing to ethics has always been the weapon of conservatism, the last resort of imbecility.
Four years ago I wrote a trio of essays that generated a barrage of hate mail. The feedback I received wasn’t 100% venomous, but it was more than 50% negative, with one essay getting a thumbs-down 80% of the time.
Religious leaders to Obama: Clarify or repeal the Helms Amendment–It’s a matter of compassion!
During violent unrest that followed Kenya’s 2007 election, Jaqueline Mutere, a widowed community organizer and mother of four, was raped.
For women caught in conflict zones or societal breakdown sexual violence can lurk around every corner and behind every gun. A United Nations report lists a dozen countries in which sexual violation is being used as a weapon today. Aggressors may sexually assault either males or females, but girls and women face the additional horrors of sex trafficking, forced marriage, and unwanted pregnancy.
Sex throughout history has been fraught with psychological baggage, due to its role in procreation - but this provided sex with its initial evolutionary value: “I have more sex, thus higher chance of procreation; therefore I’m more evolutionarily valuable.“
This evolutionary value has impelled cultures to stigmatize and control sex, leading to sexist concepts. Virginity, for example, is a concept that’s been seen as more “valued” because there is no procreative competition.
Consent is moral magic. It transforms an impermissible act into a permissible one. But deciding when and whether to respect a particular token or signal of consent is an ethically fraught business. Can children consent to medical treatment? Can adults with early stage dementia consent to give away all their earthly possessions? Is a smile or a nod sufficient for consent? Is it possible to consent to something by doing or saying nothing? Can you consent to have something done to you while you are asleep, if you provided the consent in writing in advance? Questions of this nature abound.
“We focus on abortion as if that were the conversation, but we have been bamboozled into putting our focus there.”
When you think about abortion, what comes to mind? A woman’s right? The Religious Right? Feminists, or fetal photography, or fundamentalists? Do you see the color pink—as in Planned Parenthood—or the color red—as in anger and blood? If you worked in abortion care, the answer probably would be none of the above.
In the wake of news that scientists in China modified the DNA of human embryos, a number of scientists and bioethicists have called for a global moratorium on experiments that could alter the human germline. The White House has come out in support of such a ban — for now.
Isn’t it weird that no one is really talking about the incest on Game of Thrones? I mean, yes, among the fellow inhabitants of Westeros, sure, there are the insinuations and the snickers, the threats from the faithful, and the apparent manifestation of its awfulness in Joffrey. And sure, incest has been mentioned in articles about the show and it’s a core driver of several plot points and emotional arcs for our protagonists. It’s not completely glossed over.
But incest is supposed to be awful. Like as bad as rape. Even most anti-abortionists make two exceptions beyond sparing the mother’s life: rape and incest.
Recently, the Daily Kos published an article titled, I Am Pro-Choice, Not Pro-Abortion. “Has anyone ever truly been pro-abortion?” one commenter asked.
Uh. Yes. Me. That would be me.
I am pro-abortion like I’m pro-knee-replacement and pro-chemotherapy and pro-cataract surgery. As the last protection against ill-conceived childbearing when all else fails, abortion is part of a set of tools that help women and men to form the families of their choosing. I believe that abortion care is a positive social good. And I suspect that a lot of other people secretly believe the same thing. And I think it’s time we said so.
Michael Tooley’s article “Moral Status of Cloning Humans” defends human cloning. I am in complete agreement with it. Cloning, despite the viceral reaction it raises, is a tool in the arsenal of the transhumanist once it is understood.
Here is a brief outline of the article with a bit of commentary identified by parenthesis.
Any reader of this blog knows that I am a transhumanist; I believe in using technology to overcome all human limitations. What follows is a summary of an article by Paul Lauritzen, a Professor Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic, Jesuit John Carroll University near Cleveland Ohio. I believe his argument worthless, and contrary to everything I believe in, but I will summarize it as best I can. As I proceed I will provide a few parenthetical comments, as well as a few critical remarks at the end.
This fascinating (if long) essay - Engineering the Perfect Baby (from Technology Review) - explores the scientific and moral ramifications of “germ cell genetic engineering” or the changing of genomes in ways that can be inherited and passed-down, parent to naturally conceived child.
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