Sunday, 17 May 2009

Response to Reinier's letter re U of C wasting money

Dear Reinier,

Whether we are talking about abortion or free speech, the essential premises of the pro-life group are based on the following aphorisms:
1. human life begins with conception
2. there is a human being from the moment there is human life.

Syllogism 1 (Abortion).
Human beings have a right to life.
This foetus is a human being,
Therefore this foetus has a right to life.

Syllogism 2 (Free speech)
Human beings have a right to be heard.
All those foetuses (fetuses,foeti) about to be aborted are human beings,
Therefore all those foetuses have a right to be heard.

Obviously my presentation of the pro-life premise is heavily flavoured by my faith as a Roman Catholic but I believe that this, purely and simply, is the crux of the great divide. If pro-choicers are basing their conclusions on premises contradictory to these then all discussion on the conclusions will sound like a discussion with the Mad Hatter.

It seems to me that people are spending too much time debating, arguing, fighting, whatever, over conclusions to syllogisms based on different or contradictory premises instead of discussing the differences between the critical premise. (For readers who don't know, a syllogism is a conclusion based on two propositions called premises, e.g.: all dogs are mammals; Lassie is a dog; therefore Lassie is a mammal.)

Before going on further down this road I would like to get your response to the above. Also, I have presented you with what I believe to be, at least the Catholic cohort's version of, the essential premise of the pro-life movement. I would be curious to know how you would state the essential axioms and premise(s) of pro-choicers.

Best regards

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