Saturday, May 21, 2022

Defending Unborn Humans with Scripture and Science

A Syllogism - The paper that follows provides arguments that are valid for defending the right of the unborn children to life. I start out with a syllogism that concludes that it is wrong to kill the unborn.

Scripture that Speaks to Abortion - That is followed by an appeal to the religious among us that are confused about what the Bible has to say about killing children. It seems that clarity among the church is needed to provide a scriptural response to abortion.

Quotes from Embryologist - Since some readers of this post may not find religious arguments convincing, I follow the religious arguments up with what science has to say about the subject. Many professors, scientists and doctors are quoted giving sound scientific reasoning against abortion. Included in this section is the testimony given in support of the unborn. This section is thanks to the hard work my friend Scott Klusendorf which is found on his organizations website:

The 1981 Senate Hearing on the Start of Life - Following that are quotes from additional professionals during the 1981 (April 23-24) Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearings on the question of when human life begins.

The above quotes by professionals in the field of Embryology show that abortion is an issue of science. Although the Bible also provides authoritative direction with regards to abortion don't let anyone shut you out by claiming it is a religious issue. It is a scientific issue in which virtually all embryologist agree, life begins at conception.

Scott Klusendorf Debate w/ Malcom Potts (UC Berkeley) - Scott reveals enlightening answers to pro-choice arguments in this analysis of his debate.

Christians Who Are Anti-Abortion and Yet Pro-Choice - The scientific arguments are followed up with yet another philosophical appeal to the religious who say they are anti-abortion but that they are also pro-choice. The answer for this comes from Marc Newman, author of "Contenders - A Church-Wide Strategy to Unmask Abortion, Defeat its Advocates, Empower Christians, and Change the World".

A Syllogism

  1. It is wrong to kill another human being.

  2. The unborn are unique individual human beings.

  3. Therefore it is wrong to kill the unborn.

God's Mercy and Grace

This study must be preceded with encouragement for those who have previously supported the killing of unborn children. They are forgiven the moment they have a change of heart and ask God for forgiveness.

1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

When we turn in our mind from sin, God forgives us, we are purified from unrighteousness. We are no longer condemned because of that past sin. All that is required of us at this point is to sin any longer.

Joh 8:3-11 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group (4) and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. (5) In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" (6) They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. (7) When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." (8) Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. (9) At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. (10) Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" (11) "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

Scripture that Speaks to Abortion

God clearly sees the unborn as children.

God knew Jeremiah before he was born, and indeed appointed this unborn child a prophet to the nations. Indeed, God has a plan for each human ever conceived.

Jer 1:4-5 The word of the LORD came to me, saying, (5) "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

Isaiah echoes the understanding from God that Jeremiah had.

Isa 49:1 Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the LORD called me; from my mother's womb he has spoken my name.

Isaiah was also records the calling of the Lord before birth.

Isa 49:5 And now the LORD says-- he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength--

David also records the same understanding that Isaiah and Jeremiah had.

Psa 139:13-16 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. (14) I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (15) My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. (16) Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

John the Baptist, while still in Elizabeth's womb, recognized the Holy Spirit in Jesus.

Luk 1:41, Luk 1:44 When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. (44) As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

Scripture Shows God's Contempt For Those that would Kill Their Children

There is zero doubt that unborn children are innocent, and there is ample proof that abortion is a bloody mess. It should be sobering to anyone that read this that God is not pleased with the shedding of innocent blood.

Pro 6:16-17 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: (17) haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,

Sacrificing children to the gods in the Old Testament is no different from what abortion does today. Children are offered up in the interest of a better life for those who engage in such activity.

Deu 12:31 You must not worship the LORD your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the LORD hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.

Psa 106:37-38 They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to false gods. (38) They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood.

Eze 16:20-21 "'And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols. Was your prostitution not enough? (21) You slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols.

Jer 32:32-35 The people of Israel and Judah have provoked me by all the evil they have done--they, their kings and officials, their priests and prophets, the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem. (33) They turned their backs to me and not their faces; though I taught them again and again, they would not listen or respond to discipline. (34) They set up their vile images in the house that bears my Name and defiled it. (35) They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molek, though I never commanded--nor did it enter my mind--that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin.

Lest there is any doubt, God enshrined the value He placed on life in the Ten Commandments.

Exo 20:13 "You shall not murder.

Quotes from Embryologist

From Scott's Website -

The science dealing with the issues surrounding abortion is Embryology. Embryologist have established a set of facts about developing humans.

People who support abortion are either ignorant of this scientifically presented fact, or are willing to put this fact out of their mind in order to attempt justification of the frame of mind that says, "I am going to do what I want, when I want, and if something goes wrong, I am going to make another human being suffer the consequences of my wrong doing."

The secular science of embryology has conclusively determined that the unborn are unique human beings from the point the zygote appears at conception. It is wrong to kill other human beings. Abortion kills another human being. Therefore, abortion is wrong.

Robert P. George. “Human embryos are not creatures different in kind from human beings (like rocks, or potatoes, or alligators), they are, rather, human beings—distinct living members of the species Homo sapiens—at the earliest stage of their natural development. They differ from human beings at later developmental stages not in virtue of the kind of entity they are, but rather by degree of development.”

The following is a string of additional quotes by scientists, Embryologist, who all confirm that a zygote is a unique and distinct human being. This human being is not constructed by it's mother, but rather is fed by it's mother and develops on it's own.

Keith Moore and T. V. N. Persaud, in The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, a widely used embryology text - "A zygote [fertilized egg] is the beginning of a new human being. Human development begins at fertilization when a male gamete or sperm (spermatozoon) unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell—a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”

In Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology (7th edition, Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2008, p. 2): "[The zygote], formed by the union of an oocyte and a sperm, is the beginning of a new human being."

From Human Embryology & Teratology (Ronan R. O’Rahilly, Fabiola Muller [New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996], 5-55): "Fertilization is an important landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed[.]"

T. W. Sadler’s Langman’s Embryology, states, “The development of a human begins with fertilization, a process by which the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote.”

Dr. Watson A. Bowes of the University of Colorado Medical School stated, “The beginning of a single human life is from a biological point of view a simple and straightforward matter—the beginning is conception.”

The subcommittee report concludes, “Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being—a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings.”

Gregory Koukl - “Living things do not become entirely different creatures in the process of changing their form,” writes Gregory Koukl. “Rather, they develop according to a certain physical pattern precisely because of the kind of being they already are.”

And in another source (Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola Miller, Human Embryology and Teratology [3rd edition, New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001, p. 8]): "Although life is a continuous process, fertilization … is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte."

In yet another textbook (William J. Larsen, Essentials of Human Embryology [New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1998, pp. 1, 14]), we read the following: "Human embryos begin development following the fusion of definitive male and female gametes during fertilization[.] … This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development."

The word “embryo” is defined as such (Considine, Douglas [ed.], Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia, 5th edition, New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1976, p. 943): "Embryo: The developing individual between the union of the germ cells and the completion of the organs which characterize its body when it becomes a separate organism. … At the moment the sperm cell of the human male meets the ovum of the female and the union results in a fertilized ovum (zygote), a new life has begun[.]"

And yet another textbook (Carlson, Bruce M. Patten’s Foundations of Embryology, 6th edition, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996, p. 3) states: "Almost all higher animals start their lives from a single cell, the fertilized ovum (zygote)[.] … The time of fertilization represents the starting point in the life history, or ontogeny, of the individual."

National Geographic put together a television program (“In the Womb,” 2005) documenting the development of the baby throughout pregnancy. In the introduction of their program, they sum up the scientific knowledge of the beginning of life in the following way: "The two cells gradually and gracefully become one. This is the moment of conception [fertilization], when an individual’s unique set of DNA is created, a human signature that never existed before and will never be repeated."

The 1981 Senate Hearing on the Start of Life

In 1981 (April 23-24), a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee held hearings on the question of when human life begins. Appearing to speak on behalf of the scientific community was a group of internationally known geneticists and biologists who had the same story to tell – namely, that human life begins at conception (fertilization) – and they told their story with a complete absence of opposing testimony (Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, Report, 97th Congress, 1st Session, 1981).

Dr. Micheline M. Mathews-Roth, Harvard Medical School, gave confirming testimony, supported by references from over 20 embryology and other medical textbooks that human life began at fertilization. "It is incorrect to say that biological data cannot be decisive…It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception."

Father of Modern Genetics” Dr. Jerome Lejeune told the lawmakers: "To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion … it is plain experimental evidence. Each individual has a very neat beginning, at conception."

Dr. McCarthy de Mere, medical doctor and law professor, University of Tennessee, testified: "The exact moment of the beginning of person-hood and of the human body is at the moment of conception."

Dr. Alfred Bongiovanni, professor of pediatrics and obstetrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, concluded: "I am no more prepared to say that these early stages represent an incomplete human being than I would be to say that the child prior to the dramatic effects of puberty … is not a human being. … I have learned from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time of conception."

Dr. Richard V. Jaynes: "To say that the beginning of human life cannot be determined scientifically is utterly ridiculous."

Dr. Landrum Shettles, sometimes called the “Father of In Vitro Fertilization,” notes: "Conception confers life and makes that life one of a kind." And on the Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade, "To deny a truth [about when life begins] should not be made a basis for legalizing abortion."

Professor Eugene Diamond stated: "… either the justices were fed a backwoods biology or they were pretending ignorance about a scientific certainty."

Gordon, Hymie, M.D., FRCP, chairman of medical genetics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester: "By all criteria of modern molecular biology,life is present from the moment of conception. … Science has a very simple conception of man; as soon as he has been conceived, a man is a man."

C. Christopher Hook, M.D. Oncologist, Mayo Clinic, Director of Ethics Education, Mayo Graduate School of Medicine: "When fertilization is complete, a unique genetic human entity exists."

The official Senate report reached this conclusion: "Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being – a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings."

Scott Klusendorf Debate w/ Malcom Potts (UC Berkeley)

Outline of Scott's Rebuttal re: Science of Embryology

"One reason Potts completely melted down in front of 600 of his students was that I hit him very hard in his own area of expertise—embryology—demonstrating that he either did not know his science or was deliberately misleading. I was not sarcastic or disrespectful. But I continually pounded away on this question: “Why are all the other embryologists in the world wrong? Don’t you need to explain why they are wrong? You could be right, and I’m open to hearing that. But simply pulling rank on me won’t work. Give me a good argument why you are correct, and I will concede this debate.”

Of course, he never did.

Below is an outline of his claims, and my responses to them. I began my rebuttal by quickly reviewing my opening case:

I. Review My Thesis: The unborn are distinct, living, whole humans. They are not constructed externally like a car, but develop themselves from within. Various embryology textbooks, like those cited in my opening speech, confirm this.

II. Dr. Potts’s response to my scientific case is not persuasive. He simply tried to pull rank on me. Here's what he said:

"No absolutes in embryology, only judgment calls."

Including that one? Self-defeating (like saying, “my brother is an only child”).

If we don’t know if the unborn are human, we shouldn’t kill them.

But Potts does know. In our previous debate (last November), he pointed to a picture of an early embryo and said, “This is what you and I looked like after conception.” Thus, he just conceded my case!

"Absence of consensus—people disagree on embryo’s humanity."

So? How does it follow that because people disagree, nobody is right?

If disagreement means that nobody is right, Dr. Potts’s own position is refuted. After all, many prominent embryologists disagree with him!

Most important, we have a consensus: Embryology textbooks uniformly state each of us began as an embryo. Even thinkers who share Dr. Potts’s support for abortion agree (Alan Guttmacher, Ronald Dworkin, David Boonin, Peter Singer).

It’s not enough for Dr. Potts to pull rank on me: he needs to explain why my scientific case is flawed.

"No embryo is a living human until primitive streak emerges at 18 days"

Odd claim: Dr. Potts just told us we can’t know anything about embryology (no absolutes, only judgment calls) but now he says that we can’t be individual human beings before 18 days.
For a guy who says we can’t know anything about embryology he sure claims to know a lot!

Miscarriages—“Nature is the biggest abortionist.”

Potts commits the Is/Ought Fallacy: How does it follow that because nature spontaneously aborts high numbers of embryos that a) they are not living human beings, or b) I may deliberately kill them through elective abortion?

Many 3rd World countries have high infant mortality rates; does it follow that those infants who die sooner have less of a right to life than those who die later? Admittedly, these miscarriages are tragic. But as liberal journalist Andrew Sullivan points out, just because earthquakes happen doesn’t mean mass murder is justified.

Hydatidiform Moles—“All acts of fertilization do not result in human organism.”

Confuses necessary and sufficient conditions: I’m not arguing that everything that results from sperm/egg union is human, only that all humans conceived without the aid of reproductive technologies came about that way.

Hydatidiform Moles do not start of as embryos and morph into tumors. Rather, they result from flawed or deficient conceptions and are intrinsically tumors from the beginning.

Ignorance—“Biological life is continuous, and any divisions between life and non-life are arbitrary judgement calls.”

This is demonstrably false. Just because life is continuous between generations does not mean we can’t tell when an individual human begins to exist. Dr. Potts still hasn't refuted the huge numbers of embryologists who disagree with him.

Abortionists know what they are killing—Warren Hern: “We have reached a point in this particular technology (D&E) where there is no possibility of denials of an act of destruction by the operator. It is before one’s eyes. The sensations of dismemberment flow through the current like an electric current.”

Planned Parenthood Brochure (1961—“Plan Your Children for Health and Happiness”): “An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun.”

California Medicine (1970): "Since the old ethic has not yet been fully displaced it has been necessary to separate the idea of abortion from the idea of killing, which continues to be socially abhorrent. The result has been a curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone really knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous whether intra- or extra-uterine until death. The very considerable semantic gymnastics which are required to rationalize abortion as anything but taking a human life would be ludicrous if they were not often put forth under socially impeccable auspices. It is suggested that this schizophrenic sort of subterfuge is necessary because while a new ethic is being accepted the old one has not yet been rejected."

Soul confusion—“Embryologist can’t say when life begins anymore than an astronomer can say what happens to the soul after death.”

True, science can’t tell us if embryos (or anyone else) has souls—that’s a philosophical question—but the science of embryology can tell us when each of us began (conception).
As I said earlier, many of Pott’s colleagues disagree with him on the empirical question of when life begins.

We don’t need decide if embryos have souls before deciding to protect them. The law doesn’t take a position on whether 35-year olds have souls, but it still forbids intentionally killing them.

Ectopic pregnancy proves unborn are not human, as every doctor in the world will kill that embryo to save the mother.”

From the fact a doctor saves a woman’s life by treating ectopic pregnancy, with the unintended result the embryo dies, we are to conclude what—that the embryo wasn’t human and intentionally killing him is okay?

Treating ectopic pregnancy and elective abortion are not parallel. In the first case, the death of the developing human is foreseen but not intended. In the second, the death of the developing human being is both foreseen and intended.

Christians Who Are Anti-Abortion and Yet Pro-Choice

Thank you to Marc Newman for the answer to this question some time back. Marc is the author of a book titled, "Contenders; A Church-Wide Strategy to Unmask Abortion, Defeat its Advocates, Empower Christians, and Change the World".

Question: Does the Contenders book help address the issue of Christians who say they are against abortion, but also say they are pro-choice? I've been running into more and more of them.

Answer: When Christians say they personally oppose abortion, but don't want to legislate for others, they demonstrate ignorance on the nature of moral reasoning. Moral claims are not about likes and dislikes. Rather, they are about what is right or wrong regardless of one's preferences. Imagine if I said, "Stan, I personally oppose spousal abuse, but what you do with your wife is none of my business. I am pro-choice on wife beating." You would instantly recognize that I was morally untutored. You don't oppose spousal abuse because you dislike it. You oppose it because it's objectively wrong even if someone else likes it. So, the next time a Christian tells you that he personally opposes abortion, but wants it to remain legal, ask "Why do you personally oppose abortion?" When he replies that it intentionally kills an innocent human being (the only reason for opposing it that makes sense), reply: "Let me see if I understand what you are saying. You personally oppose abortion because it intentionally kills innocent human beings, but you think it should be legal to intentionally kill innocent human beings?" Let the question just hang there..

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