Archive for science

Meat Is Murder, but Abortion Isn’t?

By | September 20, 2018 | 2 Comments

Human beings are fallible. It is difficult to be certain that we are right. But it is possible to be certain that we are wrong − contradict ourselves. That way we are sure to be wrong at least part of the time, and if we work at it, we can be wrong all the time. This principle is so simple that it should be self-evident. But for many people, it seems obscure and mysterious.

Meat is murder, but abortion isn’t.

Vegetarians and pro-choice advocates are not necessarily the same people. But the activists in both groups tend to be liberals. And if you asked a random sample of liberals their opinions on both subjects, they would be likely to express strong support for a woman’s “right to choose” − that is, to choose to abort her unborn child, even if it is viable, and even though married couples are lined up waiting to adopt newborns, healthy or not.

At the same time, even if they are not vegetarians or vegans, these liberals would be likely to express serious moral reservations about slaughtering and eating animals. Their compassion encompasses cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens, and fish − but not unborn human beings.

This contradiction is exemplified by PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA went so far as to equate barbecuing chickens with incinerating Jews in the Holocaust. The head of PETA, Ingrid Newkirk, expressed concern over the treatment of cockroaches, but has “no position” on abortion. (I heard her say it on the radio.) That is, a chicken, or even an insect, deserves humane treatment, but a human fetus does not.

When animal-rights activists equate humans and animals, they intend to increase respect for animal life. But the net effect is to decrease respect for human life.

Circumcising male infants is horrible, but dismembering the unborn isn’t.

San Francisco actually proposed an ordinance that would punish with a year in jail anyone who circumcises a male under the age of 18 years. No exceptions are allowed for Jews or Muslims. Another liberal bastion, Santa Monica, considered a similar law. But the campaign had overt anti-Semitic features. Note the blond hero stopping the subhuman, blood-stained Jew from attacking the blond baby. This cartoon could have come from the Hitler era.

Opponents of circumcision argue that it is terribly painful and causes permanent sexual dysfunction. Both of these arguments are baseless.

Anyone who has witnessed a circumcision knows that the baby will cry for a minute or two, about the same as for an immunization injection. As far as sexual problems are concerned, why do Orthodox Jews and observant Muslims tend to have more children than non-religious people?

But here the dichotomy − both moral and logical − is just as striking as with the abortion-vegetarian issue. We are asked to believe that a few seconds of minor surgery on an eight-day-old baby is terribly painful, but dismembering an eight-month-old fetus is nothing to concern us. This is delusional.

Scientific evidence is clear that circumcision helps to prevent sexually transmitted diseases − including AIDS − in males and their female partners. If you doubt this, go to Google Scholar and check out the 34,500 results for “circumcision+HIV” and the 11,100 results for “circumcision+STD.” The studies from Africa are particularly impressive.

Ironically, just at this time, anti-circumcision activists are clamoring more loudly than ever. Why? And what about tattooing and body piercing? The activists see no problem with inserting metal objects into eyebrows, tongues, noses, lips, nipples, navels, and even labia and penises. Circumcision “disfigures” the human body, but all this doesn’t? Really?

Some go so far as to equate male circumcision of infants − which involves removing a few millimeters of foreskin − with female genital mutilation − which involves holding down unanesthetized, older girls; then cutting away the clitoris and the labia; and finally sewing up the entrance to the vagina until it barely permits menstrual blood to exit. To call this “female circumcision” betrays either gross ignorance or gross dishonesty.

Religion is irrational, but science teaches us how to live.

We reject belief in God as irrational and unscientific. Then we expect science − for example, evolution − to teach us how to live. But this is impossible. We get our knowledge of the physical universe from science, but we get our knowledge of the moral universe from religion.

  • Religion teaches me that God created the universe. But science teaches me that the planets move in ellipses around the center of mass of the solar system − which is true, but no help in living my life.
  • Religion teaches me to treat others with kindness. But evolution teaches me survival of the fittest − which is a tautology devoid of moral content, and is often used by criminals and tyrants to justify their cruelty.
  • Religion teaches me that murder is wrong. But science teaches me the trajectory of bullets − which is of more help to an assassin than to a bodyguard.

A biblical literalist tries to get scientific truths from the Bible. But equally inappropriately, a scientific literalist tries to get moral truths from science. Both are looking in the wrong places. The difference is that the mainstream media marginalize and ridicule biblical literalists, while scientific literalists are held up as role models of clear thinking.

The editor of the New York Times noted, “In my house growing up, the Times substituted for religion. If the Times said it, it was absolute truth.” Absolute truth? From the media? Those who rely on the Bible for their values are called religious fanatics. Those who rely on the mainstream media and science for their values are never called secular fanatics − but they are.

Science is a tool. How we use it depends on us. During World War II, British scientists developed penicillin, while Nazi scientists developed gas chambers and crematoria. But both were skilled scientists.

Logic is also a tool. Those who stood by and watched Jews and dissidents being led away to death camps were acting logically − they were protecting their own lives. But those who saved Jews were acting illogically − they were endangering the lives of themselves and their families in order to act morally.

Most rescuers of Jews were devout Christians. But to join the SS, which ran the death camps, one had to deny being a Christian. In fact, the SS had their own pagan marriage and baptism ceremonies, and they replaced Christmas carols with Nazi songs. Do these facts tell us something? When science is substituted for a moral code as a guide for living our lives, we are in serious trouble.

Wherever we seek for truth, at least let us seek it. Let us not become so bogged down in political correctness that we hold beliefs that are opposed to traditional morality − and in addition are mutually contradictory. A society which believes that meat is murder, but abortion isn’t, will not survive − and doesn’t deserve to.

Contact: dstol@prodigy.net. You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.

www.stolinsky.com

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