Wednesday, February 11, 2009

LTI Podcast Episode 3 [Serge]

Episode three is now ready for download. You can listen to it via the player in the right margin, or go directly to the download page here. You can also subscribe via Itunes at the address

Serge reports on some exciting news, and Scott, Jay, and Serge have a roundtable discussion regarding the bodily autonomy argument for abortion rights. Additional information can be found in my post here and my article in CRJ here. You'll have to wait a few months, but Scott's forthcoming book has a a great chapter on this argument (preorder here).

I also take on the outrageous claim from the Guttmacher institute that the abortion rate in Mexico is significantly higher than that of the United States. Wait until you see where they came up with their "estimate".

We would love feedback either here in the comments or email us at


  1. Congratulations Serge!

    I think you say "November 9" in the podcast though. You did mean February, right?

  2. He meant Feb. His self-awareness (personhood) has dropped in recent days due to fatigue but I suspect it will go back up soon, thus reestablishing his right to life.

  3. Scratch Scott's personhood argument - I claim that my remarks are a form of my personal autonomy. I consented to recording my voice but did not consent to making an error. Therefore, the error was made completely without my expressed consent and therefore it's presence is an affront to my autonomy. I hereby reclaim my autonomy and reject the presence of the error.

    It's hard to even write this stuff :-).

  4. That is an amazing pro-life podcast. Although I want to read more about this general topic, I like the analogy about the person who is stranded in winter, but has their baby with them. In addition, J.P. Moreland writes, “A person’s plausibility structure is the set of ideas the person either is or is not willing to entertain as possibly true…If a culture reaches the point where Christian claims are not even part of its plausibility structure, fewer and fewer people will be able to entertain the possibility that they might be true.” It seems that the newer versions of the violinist type arguments are relevant to the plausibility structure. For example, if pro-lifers can powerfully refute the more sophisticated violinist type arguments, it seems that pro-lifers will be contributing to their culture in a way that makes (with the assistance of the Spirit) people able to “entertain the possibility that” the pro-life view might be true. If a person doesn’t have a strong foundation, how can that person build a tall building? That is an amazing pro-life podcast!!!

  5. Great stuff, you guys! Keep up the good work!

  6. There is another thing I want to add. Although I don’t know the source, somebody said that it can be good to refute objections (during a, for example, conversation) even if the person your talking with hasn’t brought up those objections yet. It is kind of like saying that you understand a variety of different aspects of the topic. For example, a person might refute a version of the violist argument (during a discussion) even if the abortion-choice advocate has not brought up that particular aspect. That might be a way to be tactical in some conversations.

  7. Here's a great pro life video that aired on EWTN last night from Priests For Life entitled: "Raise Your Hand"

  8. Great work, very informative. After listening to you guys, I realize I could really refine a lot of the arguments I've made in the past. Thank you.

    I have a thought regarding the bodily autonomy argument. If they are granting the personhood of the fetus, doesn't that mean that the fetus also has the right to bodily autonomy?

    Since we are DISMEMBERING the fetus, as compared to (for the sake of argument) forcing the mother through pregnancy, wouldn't that mean that the fetus' right to bodily autonomy is violated more severely when aborted compared to the mother carrying the child to term?

    Or, even if you grant that the severity of the act doesn't matter, how about the other rights? The way I see it, you would have to argue that both the mother and fetus' right to bodily autonomy is being denied, so that right cannot decide what course of action is just. The pregnancy certainly infringes on the mother's liberty, temporarily, but abortion denies the fetus it's right to life, and therefore every other right, permanently.

    Are there any problems with this approach?

  9. Thanks for the comments Paul. The advocate of the bodily rights argument would not deny that the fetus also has a right to bodily autonomy, but that the fetus has no right to use the mother's body for their survival. This is why they believe the violinist analogy is effective. No one would deny that the violinist has a right to bodily autonomy, but that his need for the woman's body is not a right he can assert.

    The fact that abortion does not merely "unattach" a fetus from their mother but actively dismembers them is a good point.

    Thanks again Paul.

  10. Your podcasts are just fantastic. Thanks you so much for them. Not only do you give sound, philosophically mature arguments, but Serge's review of a paper at the end of each podcast are just gems. It is extremely helpful for us to have a medical expert dissect scholarly papers for us. I will try and get your podcast some publicity on I know a lot of readers there will be very interested in it.

    Real quick question; on this episode (3), I believe it was Scott who mentioned Patrick Lee's response to Boonin using a water boat example where the offending driver of the water boat would be responsible for the fact that the children where in the water but not that they couldn't swim. Is this argument by Lee found in one of his? Thanks again. God love you.

  11. Thanks so much for your kind words Bobby. I'll try to find the source of the Lee quote - or ask Scott to do it!

    Jill is a tireless advocate and a great representative for this movement. In fact, I'd like to interview her for an upcoming podcast!

  12. Serge Said:
    "No one would deny that the violinist has a right to bodily autonomy, but that his need for the woman's body is not a right he can assert."

    Say we grant this point to them for the sake of argument. Isn't the destruction of the child as a direct result of the abortion a violation of the child's bodily autonomy, and by their own reasoning a right the mother cannot assert?

    Again, great work on the podcast and congratulations on your little one.


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