Nov 062006
 
Authors: TREVOR SIDES

It’s comforting to know students are still willing to express their opinions in this postmodern world. Of course, billboard-sized pictures of mutilated fetuses are not-so-subtle catalysts to invoke bellows of beliefs from the masses.

But I was disappointed in the banter surrounding Justice For All’s (JFA) anti-abortion exhibit. We heard the same ol’ spiels from both sides of the issue: “My body, my choice” and “Life begins at conception.”

Hearing these arguments is like watching TV Land: It’s one continuous re-run.

The problem with these arguments is that they fall well short of abortion’s beginning, only reaching back 33 years instead of 300 years.

Abortion is linked with the Enlightenment and Ren/ Descartes. The most lasting product of the Enlightenment was the deep rift it created between mind and matter. In Descartes’ philosophy, the mind is limited to spirit, thought, emotion and will. On the other side, matter – including the human body – is a liberated, mechanical, naturalistic machine.

As a result, science became absolute truth. Everything that couldn’t be scientifically explained took a back seat in the realm of private beliefs.

In this framework, the body is a glorified machine that uses the mind like a tool in whatever way the individual desires. Sound familiar? The catchphrase “My body, my choice” is the Cliff Notes version of Descartes’ Enlightenment philosophy.

Pro-abortionists concede that life begins at conception, but what really counts is personhood. Life isn’t under any moral protection until autonomy or choice is achieved.

But how is “personhood” scientifically determined? Is a one-week-old baby, who has no power of choice and who is just as dependent on the mother for survival as when the baby was in utero, a person? Am I a person while taking a nap, even though I have no awareness or ability to choose? Am I a person if I’m in a coma?

Not so long ago the pro-lifers were discredited because of their faith-based, unscientific stance that life began at conception. But we now know that as a proven biological fact. “Human embryos and human fetuses are human beings, each with their own unique genetic DNA,” asserts Brown University’s Associate Professor of Molecular Pharmacology Ralph P. Miech. But now the pro-abortionists stand on the faith-based, unscientific argument of “personhood.” It’s a philosophy lacking scientific and empirical support.

Funny, but isn’t that the modern picture of religion – something subject to the individual’s personal needs and wants, void of any scientific and empirical merit?

It is hypocritical to label pro-lifers as “religious” when their opponents are just as religious. And it is equally hypocritical to say pro-lifers shouldn’t impose their religious views on society when their opponents are just as eager to establish their own religious beliefs.

This, however, opens the religious can of worms. Abortion’s foundation began with Descartes’ mind-matter dualism. But its implications – matter is everything – weren’t fully realized until Charles Darwin appeared.

Darwinian evolution solidified Descartes’ view of a naturalistic, material world. As biologist Richard Dawkins pointed out: “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”

Obviously, not all pro-abortionists are evolutionists or atheists. But the religion of evolution has left a bloody legacy. Hitler’s extermination of the Jews and the eugenics movement in the early 1900s were practical applications of evolutionary theory (read Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and Dr. Richard Weikart’s “From Darwin to Hitler” to understand how committed Hitler was to evolution).

Margaret Sanger’s Planned Parenthood was a tool for racial purity during the eugenics craze. Her goal for birth control and abortion was to create a “race of thoroughbreds” and she pleaded for “more children from the fit, less from the unfit.” In 1932, Sanger advocated an option to “give certain dysgenic groups in our population their choice of segregation [concentration camps] or sterilization.” Sanger labeled blacks and other “impure” peoples as “human weeds.” As Nancy Pearcey notes, Sanger was a “committed Darwinist.”

One could say Sanger’s religion was Darwinism. The misconception is that “religious persons” are those who attend church, pray and read scripture. But that’s a simplistic view. Evolutionist and philosopher of science Michael Ruse praised evolution as “more than mere science. Evolution came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity. . This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.”

Evolution’s scowl on human life isn’t surprising. After all, we’re only animals struggling to survive. The religion of evolution preaches a bleak, cynical view of life, and 40 million unborn children have been sacrificed on its altar.

Trevor Sides is a junior speech communication major. His column appears occasionally in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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