The Real Silent Minority

There is a minority group in America that is a bigger percentage of the country than blacks or Hispanics. But they are often ignored or derided in public. Almost no politician would ever admit to being one. And they are given no voice in the public arena.

They are the non-religious. A new comprehensive study by The Program on Public Values at Trinity College shows that this group is now a whopping 15% of the country. Mormons by comparison are a puny 1.4% of the population, and people can’t shut up about the Mormons. The Senate Majority Leader is a Mormon, one of the top Republican presidential candidates was Mormon and even HBO has a whole show devoted to them.

Even though the non-religious are more than ten times larger, other than Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), not one member of Congress would even admit to being in the dreaded minority of non-believers. They are almost never accounted for in any political discussion of religion in the country. The devout view them as amoral at best and destined for eternal damnation at worst. Yet, this kind of abuse and scorn is widely accepted and expected.

And, if God forbid, they should ever fight back and forcefully present their opinions, they are often considered rude and offensive.

I’ve always been amused at the idea that a religious person can say that an atheist will burn in hell as a result of their beliefs, and that is not considered offensive; but if an atheist says that believing in God makes no sense, that is considered deeply offensive. One person is charging the other with faulty logic; the other is charging them with a base immorality that warrants eternal torture. How is the former even vaguely more insulting than the latter?

I have a confession – I am in that 15%! Gasp, shriek. I, too, am in the unspeakable minority. The minority that is not silent by choice but by decision of the people in power. They say we don’t merit a seat at the table. That our views are offensive to the majority, so they cannot be countenanced in polite company, or more importantly, on the Sunday morning talk shows.

But we shall be silent no more! Rise up, my non-religious brothers and sisters. Agnostics, atheists, deists and the religiously indifferent can all join hands, stand up and be counted. Time for the silent minority to roar!

Or in lieu of that, can someone please just recognize that we exist, that we are a legitimate force in American discourse and politics? And for the love of God, stop ignoring us.

Growing up, I heard Nixon call forth the “silent Minority” of folks in small towns, the real America, those with values, to vote…for him, of course. I didn’t know that nearly 40 years later, that silent minority would become the outspoken, obnoxious majority.
Huffington Post
The Young Turks

 The Real Silent Minority

47 thoughts on “The Real Silent Minority

  1. Actually, Nixon called for the silent majority to vote for him.

    His line was that the people who were being extremely vocal in support of his opponent, who in fact outnumbered the extremely vocal people in support of himself, did not represent the wants and needs of the true majority of Americans, the Silent Majority.

  2. @Denmarkian: Oh hell. I need to stop typing tonight. Unfortunately this is not first screwed up comment…or post this evening. You’re right of course. I guess I meant that I didn’t know that the silent majority would become the outspoken extremely obnoxious fuck everyone else anything but silent majority.

  3. are you serious with this post, nyokki?

    “non-religious people have no voice in the public arena”? WTF?

    we have a mormon leading the senate and one ran for president? so fucking what? there were a couple of dozen NON-mormons running, too. AND ZOMG, TEHY (yes, i meant to spell it like that) MADE A MOVIE ABOUT MORMONZ!!! I AM OPPRESSED!!!

    the non-religious “are almost never accounted for in any political discussion of religion in the country”?
    gimme a fucking break. ever heard of the internets?

    “this kind of abuse and scorn is widely accepted and expected.”

    “I’ve always been amused at the idea that a religious person can say that an atheist will burn in hell as a result of their beliefs, and that is not considered offensive; but if an atheist says that believing in God makes no sense, that is considered deeply offensive.” this whole paragraph is a whiney-fest with no basis in reality.

    “Or in lieu of that, can someone please just recognize that we exist, that we are a legitimate force in American discourse and politics? And for the love of God, stop ignoring us.”

    OH.
    MY.
    GOD.

    EPIC FACEPALM TIEM

  4. @natedog: Yes and no. I don’t really feel the way that the original poster feels, but I’ve had the same frustrations. In NYC, I didn’t really think twice about being an atheist, it was no big deal. Here in WV however, I’ve run into some problems. The assumption of Christianity here is over the top and insulting. I just stopped telling people I’m an atheist (A question that almost never even came up in NY), because it will be followed by a tirade of evangelical lunacy. I don’t really care whether someone is or is not religious and I’d like the same respect back. When one is deliberately having a discussion of religion/atheism, that’s fine, otherwise…leave me alone. If one is not a member of a church around here, here’s nothing to do…well, there are all the titty bars. I like you, but have trouble having discussions about religion w/ you. We apparently are coming from two totally different experiences. I don’t know how to explain things well enough to have you really understand where I’m coming from and it’s very frustrating at times. I’ve never been anything other than an atheist. Have you always been a Christian/deist/believer?

    I hope this all came out right, ’cause I’m not gonna proofread it.

  5. I dunno what I am. At times I am an atheist and at others I am a I dunno. I like the ideas of Native American/Polynesian/Buddhist/Pagan religions. Never really been a religious person. I find my religion in nature itself. Perhaps this is from being in and around the ocean all my life. I find freedom, meditation and bliss out there. I suppose these are the same symptoms religious people feel. I tried Christianity as a little kid/teenager and it did nothing for me. Even went to a Christian Private JR High School, but after leaving I saw it for what it was: a restrictive place to brainwash youth into Christian beliefs. Neo Cons and movies like Jesus Camp certainly does not help the case either. I also have no problem with someone being the complete opposite in beliefs. As long as they don’t force their beliefs on me in govt, school etc. Whatever floats ones boat.

    At times I make fun of religious people. I only do this because they take it too serious and their religion continues to effect many lives in very negative ways as well as positive. Seems like very little has been learned from the past from a religious perspective. So I can only make fun of the hypocrisy. Okay rant over with.

  6. well of course there are a bunch of religious fucktards out there.

    i understand where you are coming from, and your explanations are not hard to understand, i just disagree on a lot of stuff.

    my point in my rant is that Atheists and non-religious people have every opportunity to share their religious beliefs in this country. a quick look at the television or internets or other media shows this to be true.

    believers and non-believers alike have their share of persecution, and it is not because of religion.

    it’s because people are selfish faggots who can’t let other people make up their own minds.

    i may not come across as such, but my belief is that other people can think what they want. i try not to force my beliefs around which is totally different than voicing an opinion. I’m not afraid to tell people my take on god and shit, but believe what you want, monkeys.

    a perfect example of this is my abortion stance. i think abortion is cruel, selfish, and murder in most cases. HOWEVER, i am Pro-choice. i dont think it is my place to decide something like that for other people. i think that the man should have some choice in the matter when it involves his unborn child.

    but yes, religious people can be insecure, murderous, unholy fanatic when it comes to their beliefs. but so can non-believers.

    the problem here is not religion. it is people in general.

    as far as how long i have believed in a Creator, i can’t put my finger on any one event. i think my time on the planet has convinced me that the universe is not just some physical realm that made itself and is all there is to reality.

    for me, it’s just too obvious that the world was created. some quick reasons: the jump from non-life to life is just too much to overcome; the immense fine-tuning and balance the universe needs in order to support life; beauty and consciousness and mind; MATHEMATICS and the laws the universe obeys, the existence of information….

    i can’t bring myself to believe it all just made itself out of nothing

  7. I’m not sure that atheists are being oppressed, but I do feel that we are being shushed, or at least drowned out by the Christian majority. Besides being told (repeatedly) that I am going to burn in hell because I don’t believe, I’ve also been visited by more Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons than I would care to count. When’s the last time someone knocked on your door to spread the word that god doesn’t exist? Atheism does not lend itself to converting others. I personally could care less what anyone else believes as long as they keep it to themselves.

    Oh, and, @natedog: YOUR god. Exactly.

  8. @natedog: I think that, in person, we would like each other very much. The pseudo-anonymity of the internet allows us to speak in extremes. I can’t give you the lemmas and corollaries that you seem to need.

    I literally can’t bring myself to believe. I tried once, really hard, when my dad died and his family of withes and druids showed up on my doorstep, to have me claim my inheritance. Unfortunately it wasn’t money. It was my duty. We were both shocked. They were shocked that my dad had literally told me nothing about my ‘pet’ name (at least that’s what I thought it was) and I was shocked to discover I had a gazzilion cousins that obeyed the “Old Gods”. Who? Oh yeah. Anyways, I was 16 and thought it was the coolest thing ever, so I went for it. It still is kinda cool and I like that I know things I didn’t before…but I can’t make myself believe it’s true. I just can’t. BTW, only Christians, perhaps deists, believe something from nothing. God created the world ex nihilo. Just a tidbit. 😉

    I do question one thing though about your statements. If you believe abortion is cruel, selfish, and murder (emphasis mine), how can you countenance choice at all? I really don’t understand that. I’ve always felt that those who killed and attacked abortion doctors and clients were actually more honest about where their beliefs led. If abortion is murder than one is right to put a stop to it, because if we’re talking mass murder here, then Stalin, Hitler and Hussein have nothing on us.

    @Annarchy: I’ve given up on the door knockers. I just tell them I Jewish and that pretty much stops them right there. I’m not sure why but it does seem to work. Interesting note: People tend to assume I’m Jewish (again no one ever suspects that one is an atheist, they always assume some kind of religion), maybe it’s the nose and the very heavy and distinct NYC accent.

  9. @nyokki: how can i make another person’s choice for them? it is not my place to tell anyone that they can have an abortion or not.

    i’m pro choice, but i think the right choice is NOT to abort in most cases.

    i dont have to agree with a choice to let someone make it.

    and yes, we’ve killed more innocents than any empire in history

  10. @natedog: It just seems like you’re standing by watching Germans murdering Jews and say

    how can i make another person’s choice for them? it is not my place to tell anyone that they can have an abortion or not.

    and replace have an abortion w/ gas Jews to death. I really don’t understand the distinction you’re making in your mind to justify it. Is an unborn fetus a person…or not? Is there a middle ground?

  11. @natedog:
    @nyokki:
    I had this same discussion with an OB/GYN… She told me that when delivering, they considered their patient the mother, not the child, and if, during a risky birth, it came down to a choice, she would save the mother over the child. We argued over this because this made no sense to me. The child is as much a human being as the mother. Why *automatically* choose to sacrifice the child? Does it not have the same rights as the mother?

    In my mind there is no question as to whether an unborn fetus is a person or not. It most certainly is. *Every, single, human being* walking around on this planet was, at one point, an unborn fetus. Therefore, to act as if they are somehow not human beings just because they are not born yet is ludicrous. If there ever was a “silent minority”, aborted fetuses are it.

    So to me, the real questions are these: When does a mother have the right to terminate her childs life? How many people, especially women, would be infuriated to see a mother kill her own child?

    It is interesting how many women who could easily answer that question, suddenly become conflicted when it comes to their own unborn children. A mother, any mother, who really loved their child, would gladly sacrifice themselves in order for the child to live, and yet we live in a world where many OB/GYNS are trained to save the mother instead of the child.

    Now that is not to say that there are no scenarios where it would be an act of mercy to terminate a pregnancy. Children who might live life in pain, or will have serious lifetimes problems, etc. sometimes they may be better off not having been born. However many children born like this have lead full productive lives, so I do not believe this is something that should be at the whim of the parents.

    If you make a mistake and opt to kill your kid in order to avoid paying the price, you are no better than a mobster. The whole “Nobody should be able to tell me what to do with my body.” line is nonsense. If it were just the mothers body I wouldn’t argue. But it’s not just your body any more. You are now sharing it with another life, and that means that you are subject to the same laws regarding human life as anyone else.

    So, imho, I don’t believe abortion should be outright illegal, however I certainly do believe it should be treated as a last ditch option for medical purposes instead of the get out of jail free pass that people seem to think it is…

  12. @Phyreblade: @natedog: I seriously considered an abortion when I discovered I was pregnant. I’m a type 1 diabetic and pregnancy is very dangerous for me and the baby. I decided against it and had my son…and I’ve been physically/medically been paying the price ever since. I love my son and would change nothing, but if the same choice were to have happened again, I’d have the abortion.

    My thoughts:
    As long as I’m what’s keeping the fetus alive, it’s not separate from me and therefor my choice as to what to do w/ it. I certainly think it’s ridiculous to choose abortion because you “whoopsied” again. I know women that have had the legal total amount of 3 abortions. I want to scream at them: “That’s what the pill, condoms, IUDs and diaphragms are for!” I’m not sure if that’s a real contradiction or not. I think we can do a lot in this country if we could much much more about preventing pregnancy, thus allowing us some breathing room on the abortion issue. Right now we’ve got so many that even people, like me, that are pro-choice have trouble justifying the sheer number of abortions yearly in this country. It’s insane.

  13. @nyokki:
    I mostly understand where you are coming from on this, though I still disagree with you in one specific area. Specifically the idea that the fact that you are keeping it alive means you can do whatever you want with it. Neither an unborn fetus, nor a newborn baby can survive on their own.

    From my perspective, the *only* difference between them is that before birth, you are feeding it directly via umbilical cord, and after birth via breast milk. Take either away, and it will die. Why is it acceptable to kill it before, but unacceptable to do it after? Whether or not is is physically attached to you or not at the time seems almost trivial.

    It may have developed within a womans womb, and the mother may be physically keeping it alive until it is born, but it is *still* a separate, living human being. It is not a part of the mother, you are not born with it, you do not require it for survival, it is not one of the mothers internal organ, or an arm or a leg. It is it’s own entity.

    A separate human being. A human being that is no less dependent on the mother for survival after it is born than it is before. So to to cite the mother keeping it alive as justification for being able to do whatever she wants with it simply doesn’t make any sense to me. I think many people choose to think that way, simply because it makes it easier for them to justify abortions.

    Even when it is justified, anyone who is really being honest about it will still feel the emotional burden of having ended a life. And for that reason, I am sometimes loathe to even argue the point. However I also think that nowadays because it has become so easy to dehumanize a foetus, it is done much too lightly, and I feel that it is necessary to challenge the perceived reality of what is being done, so as to perhaps provoke a little more feeling and thought on the issue.

    That said however, there are cases, like yours, where termination may make sense. If there is great medical risk, or if the birth can create health problems, for either mother or child, then I think, termination must ultimately be a choice that the mother should be able to make. There will invariably always be many valid medical, environmental and cultural reasons for a pregnancy to be terminated, and therefore both parents and doctors must be allowed the legal recourse to perform abortions.

    And I fully agree with you wrt it simply being out of control. A “whoopsie” is an irresponsible reason to perform an abortion. There are so many ways to avoid unwanted pregnancies these days that there is really no excuse for it.

  14. LOLLOLLOLLOL! you guys are funny. Sorry guys, but the majority is non-religious. Just because you go to chruch doesn’t mean that you believe. Second, to all you that think mormons and jehovah’s witness are the same thing as christians, you’ve got another thing coming. Just because they are the most abnoxious group of “religous people” in America doesn’t mean that they are Christian. Come on, Mormons don’t even go out giving you a Bible, they give you the Book of Mormom, which isn’t in the Bible… They also believe is some radical and Sci-fi stuff (do your research). Its funny to see how you all get so worked up when you don’t even know the first thing about Christianity and what it means to be a Christian.

  15. @Phyreblade:

    From my perspective, the *only* difference between them is that before birth, you are feeding it directly via umbilical cord, and after birth via breast milk. Take either away, and it will die. Why is it acceptable to kill it before, but unacceptable to do it after? Whether or not is is physically attached to you or not at the time seems almost trivial.

    It may have developed within a womans womb, and the mother may be physically keeping it alive until it is born, but it is *still* a separate, living human being. It is not a part of the mother, you are not born with it, you do not require it for survival, it is not one of the mothers internal organ, or an arm or a leg. It is it’s own entity.

    The fetus is literally attached via the umbilical cord. Kill the mother = kill the fetus. Kill the mother =/= kill the baby. Any other person could maintain a child’s life, not so for a fetus. There is absolutely nothing trivial about having a fetus directly attached to you. The fetus is literally part of the mother. Until that fetus is born it’s not a separate entity. A woman is born w/ it, at least half of it. Is an egg an entity? A sperm? Do we have to wait for it to be fertilized? All of this comes down to: Where’s the line? At what stage or point does the non-entity become entity?

    So to to cite the mother keeping it alive as justification for being able to do whatever she wants with it simply doesn’t make any sense to me. I think many people choose to think that way, simply because it makes it easier for them to justify abortions.

    There’s nothing simple about justifying abortions. People justify because it’s what they believe, same as you.

    Even when it is justified, anyone who is really being honest about it will still feel the emotional burden of having ended a life.

    One could just as easily say that that they feel the emotional burden of what could have been. I’m not going think that I know what they feel and why.

    That said however, there are cases, like yours, where termination may make sense. If there is great medical risk, or if the birth can create health problems, for either mother or child, then I think, termination must ultimately be a choice that the mother should be able to make. There will invariably always be many valid medical, environmental and cultural reasons for a pregnancy to be terminated, and therefore both parents and doctors must be allowed the legal recourse to perform abortions.

    If the fetus is an entity separate from the mother, why does the health of the mother affect the ok-ness of murder? Self defense? If the fetus is an entity, who has the right to determine the worth of its health? What if the pregnancy is the result of rape? That’s certainly not the fault of the mother or the fetus.

  16. @nyokki: i have a few things to say.

    First off what i would like to say before you read this next paragraph is that i am a member/subscriber to the “old world creationism” theory. Any christian that fully embraces science is most likely an old world creationist Basically what we know about the origins of the earth have proven ( as far as we know) to be scientifically plausible and because of the possibility of being the absolute truth we must assume that god had to follow these rules in order to work. We also believe that it is possible -though not 100% provable by any known experiments in science- that god could have created the science that allowed the planet/universe to come into being. Think of it like this: If i want a computer to make a movie like Toy Story i would have to program it to create 3d animations(like a 3d program such as Maya3d or 3dsmax would).Also, let’s say i want to replicate protein folding mathematics, i need hardware to do it such as a multicore processor that can execute parallel mathematical operations and yield results. The material to do all of those things is now here in the universe, I.E. the math( which would be the programming language/science) and hardware(which would be the matter/computer processors) it just needs to be applied, Which would mean that a programmer and an engineer would be needed. That programmer and engineer is either god, or it could be a random chain of events that appears to execute in an intelligent manner. Since we do not see matter acting of its’ own free will we can safely assume that after a seemingly infinite string of reductio ad absurdum that it is plausible that god created the universe. We understand that in order for god to work he needs science and that science itself may be above god. Now having that said i will move on to why i replied to you in the first place.

    Basically the idea that the world was created Ex Nihilo in Christianity/Judaism is more of a speculation that an actual accepted fact. In direct Hebrew translations the world is described as being “void” and the word for void also meant “destroyed”. It is true that in most translations it is also described that god created ” the heavens” and “the earth” it is never directly stated how or when it was created, it is never clearly defined what the “heavens” are, it could easily refer to the air surrounding the planet or the whole universe, so for the most part old world creationists find that description to be too vague to say with certainty that god did indeed create the solar system/known universe. It is generally accepted that it would be safer to assume that god is PART of the universe as opposed to being above it.Although it should be noted with the advent of quantum mechanics and multiple dimensions/universes we do not leave out the possibility of god being above the universe. Therfore it is more likely that the earth existed prior to divine intervention. In addition to that when it is said that the earth was created in 6 Days, it is highly likely that they are refering to six “ages.” The hebrew word for “day” didn’t always specifically refer to a full 24 hours. The word was also used to describe large periods of time as well.

    Phew that was a mouthful. I hope it came out Coherent enough and i hope it made sense on a scientific level.

    Anyways i had a long written out response to you on abortion but Phyreblade and Natedog nailed every point i was going to make.

    @Annarchy:

    I am afraid i must disagree. Atheists are just as guilty as Christians are of pushing their beliefs. They take out billboard adds on buses, and hightways insisting that they stop believing in god. And then they just want people to think for themselves by questioning god…even though they mock his followers and deliberately blaspheme their gods and encourage others to do the same, and then start up websites that have membership numbers in the thousands that revolve around talking about how stupid people are for not believing what they believe. And they do this in countries that are predominantly religious telling them that they are wrong in and flood every religious thread on mainstream websites with insults and destructive criticism. They do this in a world where the 5+ billion people of the 6+ billion population is religious in some form. They then claim to be oppressed when there is no serious active worldwide effort to make legislation against them or to keep them from being heard. They then insist that the rest of the world stops talking about their religion because they find it “offensive” to suggest that they may be wrong. Meanwhile groups of Theists such as myself take no real offense at their beliefs and we do not really care if they believe us. The second one small group of us comes out and says something against atheism or science, all of a sudden every christian is a science hating oppressor. They then go further to request that legislation be made to keep religion from being taught in a country that is predominantly occupied and ran by religious people, completely disregarding that if you were to walk into almost any science class in the nation EVEN AT THE RELIGION BASED SCHOOLS you will hear them speak of Evolution and Quantum mechanics.

    You are kidding yourself if you think atheists are at all innocent from “pushing their beliefs””. They are just as guilty as any christian who wants to push legislation against the teaching of the “Big Bang theory.” Yeah you are right, they don’t go knocking on peoples doors, but they have done damn near everything else religion has done to make people believe them.

  17. @loltimz: The majority is non religious? How in the hell do you figure this? Yeah, there are hundreds of thousands possibly (and probably) millions of people who pretend to be religious because it is expected or because they think that is what god wants. But how in the hell do you measure something that multi-faceted in practice and theory?

  18. @nyokki:

    A woman is born w/ it, at least half of it. Is an egg an entity? A sperm? Do we have to wait for it to be fertilized? All of this comes down to: Where’s the line? At what stage or point does the non-entity become entity?

    Well, in my mind at least, the line is easy to define. The moment one of your eggs becomes fertilized by sperm, there lies the line. At that point, it is not longer something purely of you. Your eggs, our sperm, yes, these are things that we are born with, and are things that we create and discard frequently, like hair, or skin cells.

    Fertilized eggs, on the other hand, no. Those are not things that either a man or a woman can create on their own, and while it may share some of our genetic markers, it is not genetically identical to us. In almost every way, it is a different person. A person who happens to be attached to the mother by an umbilical, but still a different person. That, to me, is what makes them special. That is why the umbilical doesn’t seem to me to mean that a mother has the automatic right of life or death over their foetus.

    There’s nothing simple about justifying abortions. People justify because it’s what they believe, same as you.

    Well, I don’t know what everyone else believes. However I do know too many women and men who treat abortions as though it was a simple as cutting their nails, and that doesn’t seem right to me. So far as what the specific emotional burden of an abortion is, I do recognize it will be different for everyone. However, don’t you think it should be involved than making a dentists appointment to have a tooth pulled?

    If the fetus is an entity separate from the mother, why does the health of the mother affect the ok-ness of murder? Self defense? If the fetus is an entity, who has the right to determine the worth of its health? What if the pregnancy is the result of rape? That’s certainly not the fault of the mother or the fetus.

    For that, there are no easy answers. Life isn’t fair. Murder is *never* ok. However death is a fact of life. And sometimes, you have to sacrifice one person to save another. There is no simple generic answer for that question. For some, a persons quality of life is more important than simply being alive. For others, being alive is a gift in and of itself.

    This is why I also cede that there are many valid emotional and socio-cultural reasons, in addition to health reasons, that an abortion might be valid. I think rape is one of them. So far as being healthy vs being alive, once there has been a medical determination by the doctor that there will be significant medical repercussions for the birth, then it should clearly be the parents decision whether to continue or not.

    Please don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating that women not be allowed to make decisions about their own bodies. Sperm and eggs will never, by themselves, ever become an adult human being. Those are ours to do with as we will. However a foetus, barring any unforeseen complications, will. So whether it is killed in the womb or out of the womb, you are still killing something that would have eventually become a human being. My objection is to the presumption that the mother is *inherently* more valuable than that human being she carries. I simply do not believe it to be that simple.

    Much like the numerous “equality” debates we have been having recently, I think there is a difference between the mothers rights and the babys rights, and womens rights should not trump babys rights. The goal is equality, not power. I think a baby has just as much right to be alive as the mother, and I do not believe that the fact that a baby gestates in the mother negates that right.

    Certainly, the baby shouldn’t have any more right to live than the mother, however it is clear nowadays that many people believe the mothers rights are inviolate, and still many more others don’t even think about it at all, which is something that I really think ought to change…

  19. @thelotuseater725:
    I will say about these atheists what I say about any organization: they have some good ideas but they do not speak for me. I haven’t seen these billboards you speak of. And, as I said before, I don’t feel persecuted or downtrodden by the man just because I don’t believe in the Christian god. It’s all about the behavior of individuals. One person coming to my door to talk about god is one too many, in my opinion, just as one billboard asking you to question your god is one too many in your opinion. I personally have never mocked anyone for their beliefs or lack thereof. I would just like to be allowed the same basic rights that those who do believe want for themselves. Live and let live.

    Speaking about evolution and quantum mechanics isn’t bad in any school. They are theories and teaching kids more is always better than teaching them less, I think.

    The fetus conversation I will not touch with a ten-foot pole. I am not nearly smart enough to figure out when life begins.

    @loltimz:
    Has anyone here said that Mormons and Christians are the same thing? Can you read? Try it and get back to me.

    @nyokki:
    The door knockers don’t come around anymore since my neighbor opened his door with his wang hanging out. HA!

  20. @nyokki:
    So I was thinking about what you were saying that people believe what they believe, like I do, and I guess the other problem I ran into is that I cannot come up with any logical way to validate the idea that a foetus is not a human being until it leaves the womb.

    Certainly it is not a fully developed human being, and the birth is a very significant milestone for both the mother and the baby, but biologically, that isn’t the first. From where I’m sitting it always seems as though the actual life cycle of the baby is ignored with respect to it’s effects upon the mother.

    If you think about it from the baby’s perspective, it cannot become a foetus until the egg is fertilized. So biologically, that is the point at which an egg and sperm cease to be separate entities, and become a baby. I can’t really think of any better marker for it.

    @Annarchy: Well I don’t think you necessarily have to be smart. I’m not particularly smart, I just expend way to much time thinking and reading about things.

    To be honest, wrt pregnancy, I don’t think the question is really that of when life begins. I think that being pregnant automatically implies that, barring unfortunate happenstances, a new life has begun. I guess I still don’t understand why some folks don’t think it’s relevant. They seem to get caught up in things like when the heart starts beating and all that, which to me, seem like more important milestones, but certainly not where it all begins…

  21. @Phyreblade: As a woman, I have thought about the abortion issue most of my adult life. Simply put: I use the contraceptives available to me, but if there was an oops, I don’t want a child. I would have to consider adoption vs. abortion seriously, and I don’t take either one lightly. Abortion is not a form of birth control to me. That being said, I don’t see that it’s anyone’s business what a woman chooses to do. She will have to live with the consequences of her actions. I don’t think in terms of when life begins or which party will support my decision or if there is a soul involved.

  22. @Annarchy:
    Well I certainly agree with you for the most part. But if you consider a baby a human being, then when you are talking about abortion, you aren’t really just talking about what a woman chooses to do. You are now talking about what a woman chooses to do with a baby, another human being. My question is, why is the argument always truncated into what a woman wants to do, instead of what should the mother do with/about her child?

    Your comment about deciding on adoption vs abortion, clearly indicates you are thinking about both, however most of these discussions usually end with women saying “It’s nobody’s business what a women should be able to do with their bodies” and it stops there. From my perspective, statements like that make the life of the baby seem insignificant. And the other thing is, for many who consider abortion a form of birth control, it’s sole purpose is to allow them to *avoid* living with the consequences, at the cost of their babies life.

    In the same way that one human being killing another is not inherently wrong, but is morally reprehensible under specific circumstances, it should be the same with abortion. I’m not saying it should not be made illegal or anything, however I think that unless people are held accountable for their actions, in the same way that any human is held accountable for killing any other human, it will be human nature to abuse that freedom.

  23. @Phyreblade: Your double negative indicates that you think it should be illegal: “’m not saying it should not be made illegal or anything…” LOL.

    I think the real answer is to educate young people, male and female, about sex, its consequences and how to avoid them if you don’t want them. Unfortunately, adoption is not always an option. If carrying a child to term would cost the mother’s life, isn’t it her choice whether or not to have the baby? And who would hold her accountable for choosing her own life? I do not believe that everything can or should be legislated. Personal moral choices are just that and laws cannot make people behave. You present a compelling argument against abortion from a moral standpoint, but it doesn’t take into account the fact that most people just don’t think before they pull their underwear off and unwanted pregnancy is usually something that young, stupid, uneducated, irresponsible women have to face on their own. Ruin both the life of the mother and any possible chance the child could have of becoming a productive member of society just to teach the mother a lesson?

  24. @Annarchy: LOL Double negative Phail… DOH!! lol, No, for the record I must categorically state that I do not agree that making abortion illegal is a viable solution.

    That’s what happens when I write a line one way, then reword it… and have a brain fart… lol

    In fact, I agree with you that if the pregnancy would cost the mother her life, she has the right to make the decision whether or not to have the baby. That is not where I think there needs to be accountability. It is the frivolous use of abortion for birth control that needs to be curtailed. Not it’s responsible use.

    I also do not believe that everything can be legislated. Morals least of all. However, ending another life is one of those things that should. I can understand that some folks don’t think, are lost in the moment, and make mistakes, but I do not think it is the baby who should have to pay for that mistake. The mother and father are the ones who made the mistake, and they are the ones who should have to pay for it. The only person who would have possibly ruined their lives will be themselves. I think it’s only fair.

    Dissuading people from resorting to abortion is not about teaching anyone a lesson. Sure, there may be a lesson to be learned from it, but to me, that is not the point. It is about valuing and saving life. It is all about being responsible, thinking, and carrying the consequences of ones actions, as opposed to resorting to abortions in order to avoid them.

    Ultimately, I do agree that more education, less pointless prohibition and censorship, and more open and honest dialog about these things would help a great deal. But people being who they are, in the end, sometimes it is only the knowledge that they will actually be held responsible for their actions that makes people think before they act. And even then, only sometimes…

  25. @Phyreblade: I’m thinking we need to go back to public shaming, really. It used to be a bad thing when you were not married, jobless, still in high school and pregnant. Teens did everything they shouldn’t have but very few (relatively speaking) got in that kind of trouble because they would have been shunned. Now, of course, we have schools that exclusively serve pregnant teens. WTF? And, once again, the parents of these young moms and dads are where? We rely way too much on schools to teach our children morals and ethics, which is the role of the parents.

  26. @Annarchy:
    “I’m thinking we need to go back to public shaming, really.”
    That’s a false golden age fallacy. There never was a magical time when teenagers didn’t get pregnant. What happened was:
    1) Extremely high drop-out rates.High school education wasn’t important especially for women. Today that would be unthinkable.
    2) A lot of shot-gun weddings
    3) A lot of babies that were literally abandoned. Dumpster babies are nothing new.
    4) Pretending that the baby’s grandmother was actually its mother. This was still pretty common in the 1930s (eg Jack Nicholson, Ted Bundy).
    Supporting pregnant teens is a much better plan that any of the alternatives. Remember, we don’t provide welfare to help the parent who made bad decisions, we do it so the children don’t have to suffer for those bad decisions.

  27. @reboot: I wasn’t being completely serious. Just a little serious. Yes, the welfare is provided so the kid gets food, etc., but this system is not working either. It seems we have more rather than less teenage pregnancies, which won’t be solved with either abstinence-only education or by condoning the behavior. Like I said, the parents should be more involved in their kids’ lives. Also, if you really don’t want to raise a child, consider the options before you condemn that child to a lifetime with you.

  28. @thelotuseater725:
    I respect you and your thoughts as I do anyone who went through a lot of thought to get to their opinions and can formulate reasonable answers to important (philosophically) questions. While I may kid and joke w/ you a bit on it, I never want to insult you, natedog or Phreyblade, amongst the many in the M[c]S world. You have all been tolerant of my views; I feel the same for all of yours’. I believe IRL, we would get along wonderfully and enjoy each others’ company (Which reminds me I have to make a comment in your beer thread).

    I think everyone feels a bit put down upon, now and then, because of their various affiliations. In America we get to feel slighted for the slightest differences. Where else is this true? We’re so well off, we get to feel unfairly treated for things that most of the rest of the rest of the world would give everything, including their life, to have what we have. Most of the time, I don’t take this sort of thing that seriously.

    I’m fairly certain I got your point and it’s a pretty good one. I know that the Bibles I’ve read are translations of translations and I consider everything in it w/ that in mind. My dad had it in Latin and could read it. I did get some Latin and Greek while in school in France, so I see some of the more obvious translation difficulties. Also, one has to take into account what peoples of the time thought. What was the norm for them? How would they see this or that part of the Bible? It changes things significantly.

    @Phyreblade:
    OK, I can go w/ most of what you said. Unfortunately the issue of abortion has become entangled w/ women’s rights and it’s a messy affair to untangle it. I don’t feel so strongly about a woman’s right to choose (under any and all conditions) that I need to clarify my position as opposed to yours any further. For the most part we agree about the “whys” a woman should be able to choose. We both abhor those that treat it like simple birth control. We differ some in the middle ground, but I respect your thoughts on it and have considered my own at various times in my life.

    It would a much more pleasant world if more people could do what we few do here daily.

    My eyes only allow me to read so much in a given amount of time, so I’m gonna have to cut this a bit short. I fervently hope that more science and technology that the issue of abortion will be a moot one.

    Quick question: What about the “day after pill”?

  29. @nyokki: Yes, it does seem that abortion and womens rights have become deeply entangled. And sadly, I also think the flawed thinking that has morphed the desire for female equality into that for women power has spilled over into this arena as well. Perhaps that is what makes it all seem so messy. However I do get your point. About science. And technology. And societal mores. And stuff… 😉

    RE: The Morning/Day after pill: I think that, if we define an implanted fertilized egg as where a new life begins, then it would follow that anything that is done to terminate said implanted fertilized egg could be considered verboten.

    As I understand it, the morning after pill works by interfering with the female menstrual cycle, and generally has no effect if you are already pregnant, so it could be considered a morally responsible means of reducing the risk of pregnancy after a whoopsie, as it does not actually act directly on the fertilized egg. It acts only on the womans body, which we have already established you all have the right to do with as you please… 🙂

  30. @Phyreblade: Pretty much what I was thinking. If I understand correctly the result is to make the uterine wall unable to allow the fertilized egg to embed in it. That’s a really awkward sentence, but it’s the best I can do today apparently.

  31. @nyokki: Well, I’m not entirely sure about the preventing implantation part. I could remember anecdotal conversations that indicated how it works, but had a heck of a time finding any hard data to verify what I thought I remembered. After a little digging I realized it’s because it seems like nobody is actually 100% sure exactly how the morning after pill works.

    We know from clinical studies that for sure, they retard the female menstrual cycle, so that you do not ovulate. Other sources indicate that they may prevent the embedding of a fertilized embryo, but I was unable to find any hard evidence of that.

    There are a couple of other things it could be doing, like spermicide, or somehow preventing the fertilization of an egg, but the data for most of these other possibilities were the result of lab mice studies, not human trials, so there’s no guarantee the results will apply in the same way to humans…

    PS. Here, hand me some o dem drugs ju gat, I’ll pass em around, then we can all practice putting together funky sentence structures… Come on… it’ll be fun!

  32. I’ll take me some of dem drugs! LOL.

    Yeah, the literature I’ve found on the morning after pill is kind of vague.

    What are your thoughts on uterine cauterization?

  33. @Phyreblade: Hahah! I was exhausted and in a fair amount of pain last night. The weather here sucks right now and PT was pure torture. When it gets bad I end up taking a fair amount of pain meds and can’t sleep. The combo is not good for even simple sentence structure. I lose words too. I know exactly what I want to say, it’s on the tip of my tongue, yet can’t quite get it. Very frustrating.

  34. @Annarchy: As I understand it, Endometrial Ablations/Tubal Ligations/Vasectomies could all be considered responsible means of birth control. Though not generally recommended if there is a chance the patient may ever want a baby. to many complications can result from reversal, especially for women.

    @nyokki: LOL No sweat, I, and I’m sure most everyone else, don’t have any problems understanding what you are saying, even when you’re hopped up on peyote/tree frog poison/cyanoacrylate or whatever groovy psychedelic stuff they are giving you that you seem loathe to share…

  35. @Phyreblade:
    It’s a tricky one, though. Because the egg could be fertilized and not have a place to embed, which is technically abortion, no?

    And, yeah, nyokki! Quit teasing us with descriptions of how wonderfully your drugs fuck you up if you aren’t going to share. It makes me all jealous and slobbery.

  36. @Annarchy: Yes, it is tricky… I actually found this a problematic issue when trying to determine how best to define where life actually begins. Endometrial Ablation *could* conceivably be considered an abortion, since it prevents a viable fertilized ovum from implanting.

    However the reality of preproduction is that, even under the best of conditions, not all fertilized ovum actually implant. In fact, a large percentage simply do not. This is evidenced by the amount of time it takes for the average healthy couple, who are actively trying to have kids, to become pregnant.

    On average, I think 50% become pregnant within the first 3 or 4 months, and around 90% are pregnant within a year. So even in the best case scenario, during those 3 or four months of regular sex, there has to have been a lot of fertilized eggs that just didn’t take.

    For this reason, it makes no sense to say that there is any viable life *before* implantation occurs, even if implantation fails because of something the woman did to herself. And we therefore cannot consider the loss of a fertilized egg due to non-implantation an abortion.

    That, to me, seemed to be the most logical way to define it. This is also why my initial definition of where life starts specifies that the fertilized egg *must* be implanted in order to be considered the start of a new life.

    P.S. BTW, Nyokki was kind enough to offer us some of her psychedelic treats earlier… She’s a decent lass that Nyokki… 🙂

  37. @Phyreblade: I think we’ve reached a workable agreement. Now, if we only ran things like despots. Damn – free this, free that. I wanna be in charge.

    @RSIxidor: I can’t have elective surgeries, so a tubal ligation was out of the question. Hubby got a vasectomy…no more possible kiddies in which I would be forced to make such a terrible choice.

    @Annarchy: Anytime you’re in WV, drop by, I got the good stuff.

  38. @Phyreblade:
    Interesting take on it. I look forward to some really heavily funded lab somewhere coming up with a definitive “beginning of life” definition.

    @RSIxidor:
    I don’t think I could ever trust a man to actually take the pill, honestly.

    @nyokki:
    You are a very decent lass! Thank you.

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