Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Reason to be Thankful [SK] not only that God provides for our needs, but that He adopts those he justifies into his own family.

CJ Mahaney explains this amazing truth in this presentation. It's well-worth the 75 minute investment.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Free Exchange of Ideas? Not in Canada [SK]

From Jo Jo Ruba of the Canadian Center for Bioethical Reform:

November 24, 2008: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
University of Calgary Pro Life club members assert their right to freedom of speech

The University of Calgary is threatening arrest, fines, expulsion and suspension of its own students if they express their views on abortion through a controversial display on campus.

Although these students have exhibited signs from the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) five times on campus without incident, the university is now demanding them to face their signs inwards so no passers-by can see the signs, effectively censoring the students.

“Rather than fulfilling its mission of being a forum where all views can be expressed and debated, the university is censoring a minority opinion on the basis of anonymous complaints,” points out Alanna Campbell, of Campus Pro life (CPL), the student club which sponsors the display.

Dr. Harvey Weingarten, president of the U of C, has stated, "The role of universities is to promote, permit and enable the free exchange of ideas, debate and civil discourse. If universities do not support these values, which societal institutions will?” (Academic Freedom Needs to Come First: Canadians Universities React to Proposed Academic Boycott, Sara Hanson, The Gauntlet, July 19, 2007). The president’s comment reflects the university’s own policy laid out in its Academic Calendar showing that the University aims “to promote free inquiry and debate”.

The university justifies the censorship because of some anonymous complaints about the display, and claims that the display could cause others to be violent if faced outward, even though this has not happened the previous five occasions.

“Banning an event because of the possibility of someone else being violent towards it, is like telling women they are not allowed to walk on campus at night because of the possibility they may be sexually assaulted,” stated Leah Halllman, president of CPL. “The right solution to that potential crime is to provide lighting and security to deter the person who might commit such a crime, not to ban the women.” Hallman adds that her group requires all of its GAP display participants to agree to a code of conduct, which includes a commitment of non-violence.

GAP is a peaceful, educational display which utilizes 4x8-foot signs to show the reality of abortion to the public, drawing comparisons between it and other genocides. Hallman states that the students just want to exercise their legal right to peacefully express their views without the fear of censorship because views like theirs should be debated at a university.

“We do not want to be arrested, but the university’s attempt to bully us is wrong. If the university can silence our viewpoint on campus just because it’s unpopular in some quarters, then they can censor other views as well,” says first-year student and vice president of CPL, Cameron Wilson. "Being told to turn signs inward is like being told that you can express your views as long as nobody can hear you.”

The students plan to defy the university’s censorship demand and exercise their free-speech rights on campus on Wednesday November 26 and Thursday November 27.

For more information please contact:
Leah Hallman, CPL President (403-808-3412)
Cameron Wilson, CPL Vice President (403-465-9164).
More detailed information can be found at:

Monday, November 24, 2008

No Money for Pro-Life Work? [SK]

To stay alive politically and eventually advance our cause culturally, pro-lifers must raise vast amounts of money from those most likely to support our cause--churchgoers.

Apparently that won't be easy.

Justin Taylor posts this sobering statistic:

In fact, fewer than 5 percent of churchgoers actually tithe 10 percent of their income; the average, according to numbers from Empty Tomb, a Christian research group that puts out annual reports on church giving, is now 3.4 percent, or 21 percent less than what dust-bowler counterparts gave during the worst of the Great Depression. Figures show that churchgoer contributions have been cascading downward since the 1960s. Religious conservatives do give more. Problem is, they only give nominally more and other groups give next to nothing.
I'm reminded of Gregg Cunningham's famous quote:

There are more people working full-time to kill babies than there are working full-time to save them. That’s because killing babies is very profitable while saving them is very costly. So costly, that large numbers of Americans who say the oppose abortion are not lifting a finger to stop it. And those that do lift a finger to stop it do just enough to salve the conscience but not enough to stop the killing.

HT: Justin Taylor

Thankful for Godly Mentors [SK]

This Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for two men who mentored my early development as a pro-life apologist. Each has made a huge contribution to the defense of the unborn.

Gregg Cunningham, Executive Director of The Center for Bioethical Reform, made the first investment, though I doubt he knew it the first time we met.

The setting was a Saturday breakfast for pastors in November of 1990. At the time I was an associate pastor in Southern California and organizers from the local crisis pregnancy center and right-to-life affiliate invited me and 100 others to hear a pro-life message aimed at equipping church leaders to think strategically about abortion.

Five of us showed up.

Undeterred by the dismal attendance, Gregg, with his background in law and politics (he served two terms in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives where he wrote the bill ending tax-financed abortions in that state) launched into the most articulate case for the lives of the unborn I’d ever heard. That was impressive enough.

But then he showed the pictures. Horrible pictures that made you cry.

In the course of one seven-minute video depicting abortion, my career aspirations were forever altered, though it took a few months to realize it. Greg asked us to think of the two religious leaders in the parable of the Good Samaritan who, although they most likely felt pity for the beating victim, did not act like they felt pity. Only the Good Samaritan took pity, thus proving he, and he alone, truly loved his neighbor.

For the next several months, I followed Gregg to many of his Southern California speaking events. I memorized huge portions of his talks and devoured his writings. Six months later, I left my job as an associate pastor (with the blessing of the church) and hounded Gregg even more until he put me on staff as his understudy—a position I was privileged to hold for six years. Watching him dismantle abortion-choice arguments in front of hostile audiences, I lost my fear of opposition. Watching him sacrifice the comforts of this life so he could save unborn humans, I lost my desire for an easy job. Both losses have served me well.

Gregg’s signature quote haunts me to this day: Most people who say they oppose abortion do just enough to salve the conscience but not enough to stop the killing. That’s a staggering truth. Every time I tempted to quit, I remember it.

While Gregg Cunningham taught me courage, Greg Koukl taught me to be a gracious ambassador for the Christian worldview. Koukl is not only a top-notch apologist, he’s also one of the most winsome guys you’ll ever meet. His mission is to equip Christians to graciously and incisively defend truth. That’s refreshing, as too many Christians lack the diplomacy skills needed to effectively engage listeners.

I first heard Greg on the radio back in 1989. I thought, “Wow, this guy is really smart!” By 1993, his Sunday afternoon show was my personal clinic in clear thinking. In 1996, we met for the first time at a pro-life conference in Pasadena, where we were both presenters. In 1997, we met again, this time for lunch. Later that same year, I joined his staff at Stand to Reason.

Shortly thereafter, Greg taught me a valuable lesson that continues to payoff each time I write or speak. The setting was the University of Illinois (Champaign), where I was scheduled to debate author and political science professor, Eileen McDonagh. Campus abortion-choice advocates did not want the debate to transpire and tried numerous ploys to stop it. First, they claimed that debates only serve to legitimize the “anti-choice” position. If you won’t debate slavery-advocates, why on earth debate pro-lifers? When that didn’t fly, they went after me personally with a series of editorials in the school newspaper. Everyone of those stories falsely claimed I was associated with groups advocating violence against abortion doctors, while some even claimed that I hated gays.

In response, I typed out a heated reply that shot down each of those lies and sent it off to Greg for a quick review before faxing it to the school paper.

That was a smart move. Greg graciously suggested that I tone things down a bit, or, a lot. Instead of anger, I should communicate sadness that a fine university committed to the free exchange of ideas would even think of censoring a debate over a legitimate public policy question. His advice saved the day. I revised the letter and instead of looking like angry victims, the pro-lifers on campus now appeared reasonable and willing to debate while the abortion-choicers looked like cowards out to suppress academic freedom. The school paper even hinted as much in a subsequent write-up after the debate was canceled. (I showed up anyway and after making a defense for the pro-life view, took questions from critics—which made abortion-choicers look even more unreasonable.) The comic drawing along side the story suggested those censoring the event were “pansies.”

From that day forward, I had a Koukl filter. Even if I’m hundreds of miles away, I hear Greg asking if the piece I’ve just written or the talk I’ve just given communicates in a winsome and attractive manner. When the answer is no, guess where I go?

Back to his radio show. Back to the commentaries on the Stand to Reason website. It’s there I recover my ambassador skills.

I thank God for both of these men. They are responsible for saving countless lives and equipping many others for effective Christian service. I am but one they’ve impacted for eternity.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Why Embryos Don't Seem Human, Part 2 [SK]

A category mistake arises when the arguer cites evidence or facts as belonging to one category when in fact they belong to another.

For example, a man who says "science proves the doctrine of the trinity" commits a category mistake. Science can do no such thing because science only measures material things, while God is an immaterial being. To get proof for the trinity, we'll need philosophy and theology.

Virginia Postrel, the former editor of Reason Magazine, makes a common category mistake when arguing for embryonic stem cell research. In a December 2001 Wall Street Journal op-ed piece she takes aim at pro-lifers who treat

microscopic cells with no past or present consciousness, no organs or tissues, as people. A vocal minority of Americans, of course, do find compelling the argument that a fertilized egg is someone who deserves protection from harm. That view animates the anti-abortion movement and exercises considerable influence in Republican politics. But most Americans don't believe we should sacrifice the lives and well being of actual people to save cells. Human identity must rest on something more compelling than the right string of proteins in a petri dish, detectable only with high-tech equipment. We will never get a moral consensus that a single cell, or a clump of 100 cells, is a human being. That definition defies moral sense, rational argument, and several major religious traditions.
As stated earlier this week, the construction analogy used by Postrel here is deeply flawed because embryos aren’t constructed piece by piece from the outside; they develop themselves from within. Her bigger problem, though, is her misuse of categories.

Can you spot her category error? Consider her claim above:
We will never get a moral consensus that a single cell, or a clump of 100 cells, is a human being. That definition defies moral sense, rational argument, and several major religious traditions.
Here's the problem: She answers what is an essentially scientific question--"What kind of thing is the embryo?"--with morality, theology, and an appeal to public opinion, none of which provide the proof we need. True, science can't tell us how to value the embryo (anymore than it can tell us how to value 16 year-olds), but it can and does tell us what kind of thing the embryo is. On that point, there is little debate: From the earliest stages of development, the embryos in question are distinct, living and whole human organisms.

In short, Postrel poses a scientific question and then answers it within non-scientific categories--a clear error.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

War Worse than Abortion? [SK]

A few weeks before the elections, a nun at a Catholic high school thanked me for speaking to 400 of her students on the theme, “The Case for Life.” In fact, she couldn’t say enough good things about my talk. “I agree with everything you said. It was exactly what our kids needed to hear."

However, a moment later it was clear we didn’t agree when it came to applying pro-life principles.

“If only our students were pro-life on all issues,” she lamented.

I didn't have to guess what was coming next. I made a quick mental review of the excellent points made by J. Budziszewski in his 2004 Boundless article and prepared to engage her. (Conversation is reconstructed based on memory and I've added additional explanation to a few of my points.)

She continued:

"I am consistently for life, and that’s why I’m voting for Obama.”


“That’s right. Most people focus too much on abortion. I’m pro-life and care about all life. So does Obama.”

“What do you mean people focus too much on abortion?”

“I mean Bush with the war in Iraq has killed so many people there is no way I could vote for him. John McCain will do the same thing. How can any person who cares about life vote for someone who supports war?”

“Are you suggesting the President unjustly killed innocent people? If so, how?”

“Yes I am! Think of all those innocent women and children killed in Iraq—over a million of them since we invaded the place six years ago.”

“Did you say over a million? How did you come up with that number?”

“I heard it someplace. Besides, war is a pro-life issue like abortion and right now it’s even worse than abortion.”

“To be worse than abortion, how bad would an unjust war have to be?”

“It’s all bad. Abortion, war, poverty—I oppose all of it."

“But you said the war in Iraq was worse, so much so that you are willing to overlook Obama’s stated promise to keep abortion legal at all costs.”

“I just know war is worse right now.”

“To be worse than abortion, wouldn’t an unjust war have to kill more innocent people than abortion does each year?”

“Yes, that’s true.”

“For the record, I don’t think you are right about a million deaths in Iraq over the last six years, but suppose it’s true. Do you know how many unborn humans are killed by elective abortion each year?”

“A lot, I know.”

“Try 1.2 million—each year. So even if you are right about a million unjustified killings in Iraq in the last six years, the evil of abortion is measurably worse. Yet if I understand you correctly, you think pro-lifers should support a guy who is going to use the entire resources of the federal government perpetrate an even greater injustice on the unborn. ”

“He won’t do that.”

“But he said the first thing he’d do as president—the very first thing—is sign into law The Freedom of Choice Act, which would sweep away all state and federal laws limiting abortion—including parental consent laws, partial-birth abortion bans, and laws forbidding the use of federal tax dollars for elective abortions. There’s no denying Obama is deeply committed to the legalized killing of unborn human beings. Doesn’t that trouble you?”

“You are being too harsh. Obama personally opposes abortion—I’ve heard him say so myself. He wants to reduce it. But unlike Bush, he’ll actually do something about it by funding social programs that get to the root of why women abort in the first place. He’ll make health care more affordable for poor people. That will help reduce abortion. Everyone knows abortion rates went up under Bush after going down under Clinton.”

“That’s not quite accurate. True, reported abortion rates dropped from 1992 to 2000, but Clinton can’t take credit for that. Truth is, pro-life Republicans dominated state legislatures during these years and they were able to pass modest legislation (like public-funding restrictions and informed-consent laws) that effectively reduced state abortion rates. Clinton had nothing to do with it. As for rates going up under Bush, that’s simply false. They continued to decline. But even so, laws which allow the killing of unborn human beings are unjust even if no one has abortions. Imagine a candidate who said he was personally opposed to rape while he had a 100% voting record in favor of men having a right to assault women. Suppose he told the public the underlying cause of rape is psychological, so instead of making it illegal for men to attack women, the solution was to provide federally funded counseling for men. The public wouldn't buy it, even if he favored social programs to treat the underlying causes of rape.”

“But abortion isn’t the only issue. We shouldn’t be single issue voters.”

“Of course abortion isn’t the only issue—anymore than the treatment of slaves wasn’t the only issue in the 1850’s or the treatment of Jews the only issue in the 1940s. But both were the dominant issues of their day. Thoughtful Christians attribute different importance to different issues, and give greater weight to fundamental moral questions. For example, if a man running for president told us men had a right to beat their wives, most people would see that as reason enough to reject him, despite his foreign policy or economic reforms. The foundational principle of our republic is that all humans are equal in their fundamental dignity. Your candidate for office rejects that principle. What issue could be more important than that?”

“Well, I just can’t support a candidate who’s for war.”

Note: Catholics who say we can set aside the abortion issue as long as a candidate is good on other issues (like the war) do not understand church teaching. I like how Fr. Thomas Williams corrects that faulty thinking in his interview with National Reveiw:

First of all, you can’t simply leave abortion aside. You must compare the evil of abortion with the evil of war.

--There is the question of magnitude. It is not too difficult to compare the millions killed each year through abortion with the thousands killed in Iraq. Though all of these deaths are terrible, the proportion is radically lopsided and far greater weight must be given to the millions.

--There is the question of moral absolutes versus prudential judgment. The deliberate killing of innocent human beings is always gravely evil, and a law permitting it is scandalous and shameful. The decision to wage war is not intrinsically evil the way abortion is, but still must be carefully pondered, and a number of criteria must be taken into account. War must be morally justified. In this process there can be a legitimate diversity of opinions, while no such diversity is possible in the case of absolute moral principles like that prohibiting the slaying of the innocent.

--The decision to wage war in Iraq is now a moot point, since America has already been engaged there for some time. The question now is how much longer to maintain a military presence there, and how best to establish stable Iraqi self-government. This is a question of far less gravity than the question of waging war in the first place, and one which is even harder to evaluate morally. No clear judgment exists that can claim the absolute moral high ground here, and some have gone so far as to say that withdrawal of troops at this time would be immoral. Consequently the candidates’ diversity of judgment on this question matters far less than their positions on abortion.

--In the present election, the candidates stand as polar opposites on the question of abortion. One favors it and has consistently voted to uphold and extend abortion rights. The other opposes it and has consistently voted to restrict and lessen it. I see no way that their present positions regarding continued U.S. involvement in Iraq could possibly outweigh the abortion question from a moral perspective.
Update 12/28--Seems "Tim," member of the 'Christian' band Underoath, has confused himself with exactly the kind of thinking I'm critiquing in this post. He writes:

So many times Christians naturally move toward to the conservative candidate due to pro-life issues with abortion, while they ignore the utter disregard for life already being lived out on earth. Is standing up for unborn children enough to negate the disregard for human life already in motion pertaining to the acts of war and sacrifice?
Tim--As stated above, to be worse than abortion, wouldn’t an unjust war have to kill more innocent people than abortion does each year? Run the numbers, my friend. It's not even close.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Atheists Need Better Ads [SK]

...than this poorly thought-out sales pitch:

"Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake."

Why the heck should I?

That's precisely the question atheists struggle to answer. Sure, atheists can recognize moral truths and act according to them. In short, they can be good without God.

But as Melinda Penner points out, the question isn't about being good; it's about explaining good, and evil:

It's about an explanation for how these categories of universal, immaterial properties fit in a natural, physical universe if God doesn't exist.

The fact that atheists can be good isn't challenged by theists. And it actually makes sense in a Biblical worldview since all human are moral creatures and capable of great good and great evil. The problem is that atheists can't explain the existence of these categories.

We can be good for goodness sake. Even theists believe there is an intrinsic value in being good, and goodness just motivated by fear of God. Virtue is a love of the good. God loves the good, I believe, and we should love what God loves.

The ad confuses the grounding question once again. It's easy to assert goodness. It's harder to explain it without God.
Note: For an extended treatment of the grounding problem for atheists, see Paul Copan Can Michael Martin be a Moral Realist?

Imperfect Candidates: Formal vs. Material Cooperation with Evil [SK]

Can pro-life advocates morally defend voting for candidates that are less than perfect? It’s a question we’d better consider before the 2010 mid-term elections, and J. Budziszewski weighs-in with his thoughts on the matter.

Here’s the upshot. There’s a difference between formal and material cooperation with evil. In the first case, you intend to enable the evil doer. In the second, you intend no such thing, only to limit him from doing an even greater evil act—thus, you do not share in his guilt.

Budziszewski illustrates the distinction between formal and material cooperation with the following imaginary dialogue between a professor and two of his students, Don and Thersea (edited slightly for space and clarity):

Professor Theophilus (PT): Let's say that candidate X and candidate Y both hold certain immoral positions, but candidate X is worse. If you vote for candidate Y because of his immoral positions, then you're intentionally cooperating with evil. That's called 'formal' cooperation. Formal cooperation is always wrong… But suppose you vote for candidate Y for a different reason. You don't do it to enable him to do bad things, but to prevent candidate X from taking office and doing even worse things. In that case you're not formally cooperating with evil.

Don: But you're sort of cooperating.

PT: It's true that the effect of your action is to make it more likely for candidate Y to take office, where he can do wrong. That's called 'material' cooperation. But in material cooperation, enabling him to do wrong isn't your intention. Your intention is to keep the candidate X from taking office where he can commit even graver wrong.

Don: I don't see why material cooperation isn't wrong too.

PT: Try an easier example. Suppose you're a teller in a bank. A robber grabs a customer, holds a gun to the customer's head, and says 'Unless you give me all the money in your drawer, I'll blow his brains out.' What should you do?

Theresa: Give him all the money in my drawer.

Don: I agree.

PT: So do I, but think about it. That's material cooperation too, isn't it? Giving the thief the cash has the effect of enabling him to commit theft, but that's not your intention. You're not trying to help him do wrong, either as a goal or as a means to some other goal. Your intention is merely to keep him from committing the even graver wrong of murder."

Theresa: I get it. You don't share in the guilt of stealing by giving him the money, because you're not trying to help him steal. And you ought to give it to him, because otherwise something even worse would happen."

PT: Right, and it's just like that when you vote for candidate Y. You don't share in the guilt of the wrong things he wants to do when you vote for him —

Don: Because you're not trying to help him to do them. And you ought to vote for him because if the other guy wins, he'd try to do something worse.

PT: Right

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

With Friends Like These [SK]

The Washington Post now likes pro-lifers.

Well, not really.

It likes liberals with pro-life sentiments, but who campaign vigorously for candidates sworn to advance laws promoting the killing of unborn human beings. These self-described pro-lifers, echoing Democrat talking points, tell us abortion is a tragic choice, but laws regulating abortion don’t work. What’s needed are social programs aimed at reducing the underlying causes that lead women to abort in the first place. Obama took this same approach, insisting that his own political party—the one that’s sworn to promote the killing of unborn humans through abortion, ESCR, and cloning at taxpayer expense—will best advance the pro-life agenda.

As I said during my interview with Justin Taylor, this is complete and utter nonsense.

First, if abortion does not unjustly kill an innocent human being, why is Obama or any other Democrat worried about reducing it? But if it does unjustly kill a human being, isn’t that good reason to legislate against it?

Second, laws which allow—indeed, promote—the killing of unborn human beings are unjust even if no one has abortions. Imagine a candidate who said he was personally opposed to spousal abuse while he had a 100% voting record in favor of men having a right to beat their wives. Suppose he told the public the underlying cause of spousal abuse is psychological, so instead of making it illegal for husbands to beat their wives, the solution is to provide federally funded counseling for men. It’s no stretch to say the voting public would see right through his smokescreen, even if he favored social programs to treat the underlying causes that allegedly contribute to abuse.

After all, there are underlying causes for rape, murder, theft, and so on, but that in no way makes it misguided to have laws banning such actions.

HT: Melinda Penner

Why Embryos Don't Seem Human [SK]

Amidst all the political propaganda coming out of big bio-tech, it's easy to lose sight of the core reason destructive embryo research seems plausible to many Americans. The reason, as philosopher Richard Stith points out, is simply this: Most people think an embryo is constructed piece by piece rather than something that develops from within.

Consider a car, for example. When does the car come to be? Some might say it’s when the body is welded to the frame, giving the appearance of a vehicle. Others insist there can be no car until the engine and transmission are installed, thus enabling the car to move. Others still point to the addition of wheels, without which a vehicle cannot make functional contact with the road.

But no one argues the car is there from the very beginning, as, for example, when the first two metal plates are welded together. After all, those same metal plates can be used to construct some other object like a boat or plane. Only gradually does the assemblage of random parts result in the construction of a car.

According to a 2005 New York Times op-ed piece cited by Stith, most Americans see the fetus exactly the same way—as something that’s constructed part by part. It’s precisely this understanding, writes Stith, that renders pro-life arguments absurd to so many people. As they see it, embryos are no more human beings in early stages of their construction than metal plates are cars in the early stages of theirs.

Journalist Michael Kinsley is a case in point. He writes that pro-life arguments for the humanity of the embryo are “absurd” and can only be defended with an appeal to faith. “A goldfish resembles a human being more than an embryo does. An embryo feels nothing, thinks nothing, cannot suffer, is not aware of its own existence.” For Kinsley, we each start out as something less than human and only gradually become so.

But as Stith points out, the construction analogy is deeply flawed. Embryos aren’t constructed piece by piece from the outside; they develop themselves from within. That is to say, they do something no constructed thing could ever do: They direct their own internal growth and maturation—and this entails continuity of being. Unlike cars, developing embryos have no outside builder. They’re all there just as soon as growth begins from within. In short, living organisms define and form themselves. An oak tree is the same entity that was once a shoot in the ground, years before it had branches and leaves.

Stith illustrates the difference between constructing and developing this way:

Suppose that we are back in the pre-digital photo days and you have a Polaroid camera and you have taken a picture that you think is unique and valuable – let’s say a picture of a jaguar darting out from a Mexican jungle. The jaguar has now disappeared, and so you are never going to get that picture again in your life, and you really care about it. (I am trying to make this example parallel to a human being, for we say that every human being is uniquely valuable.) You pull the tab out and as you are waiting for it to develop, I grab it away from you and rip it open, thus destroying it. When you get really angry at me, I just say blithely, “You’re crazy. That was just a brown smudge. I cannot fathom why anyone would care about brown smudges.” Wouldn’t you think that I were the insane one? Your photo was already there. We just couldn’t see it yet.
Likewise, whenever critics of the pro-life view describe the embryo solely in terms of its appearance, they fall into a constructionism. It’s an easy error to make. Our intuitions are not immediately impressed by the image of an eight-celled embryo with its dynamic self-directed development obscured.

However, our initial intuitions about the embryo can change dramatically upon reflection, as Stith explains:

When we look backwards in time or otherwise have in mind a living entity’s final concrete form, development becomes intuitively compelling. Knowing that the developing Polaroid picture would have been of a jaguar helped us to see that calling it a “brown smudge” was inadequate. If we somehow had an old photo taken of our friend Jim just after he had been conceived, and was thus just a little ball, we'd have no trouble saying, "Look, Jim. That's you!" Thus the most arresting way to put the developmental case against embryo-destructive research would be something like this: “Each of your friends was once an embryo. Each embryo destroyed could one day have been your friend.
To sum up, human beings develop. To say they are constructed is simply false. Nevertheless, the construction view remains intuitively plausible to large numbers of Americans eager to support destructive embryo research.

In other words, pro-lifers have their apologetics work cut out for them.