Friday, November 18, 2011

Helpful Links [Scott]

Josh Brahm writes on blatant moral relativism found in Modern Warfare 3.

Alan Shlemon at STR has a good post on the Left's endorsement of graphic images--for cigarettes, but not abortion.

Are you a discouraged pro-lifer? Feeling beat-up? If you're a Christian, this post from Amy Hall will help you make sense of things.

Christopher Kaczor writes on the ethics of ectopic pregnancy. He makes a number of points:

1. The fact that a medical procedure brings about fetal death with certainty does not mean it’s intentional or direct abortion.
2. Removing the embryo from its pathological location is not intrinsically evil, but only circumstantially so.
3. Acting directly upon someone’s body does not, in itself, mean that all the effects which follow from acting are intended.
4. Regarding appeals to Church authority, Directives #45 and #36 are best understood to address uterine pregnancy, not removal of the embryo from its pathological location.
5. The fact that MXT acts directly upon the trophoblast and not for the benefit of the trophoblast does not indicate that it is intentional mutilation.
6. Given there is no consensus among Catholic philosophers on MXT (for example, William May has changed his position and now accepts both Sapingostomy and MXT), probabilism may be the best guide.


  1. I have a thought experiment for abortion if the life of the mother is threatened. Let us imagine that terrorists have chained a father and his daughter together at the neck with a very strong titanium-alloy chain. To the daughter, terrorists have also chained small bombs to her arms, limbs, and neck. The bombs will be going off in 10 minutes. The police arrive on the scene, and they have nothing to cut the chain, and no way to stop the bombs. Without further action, the bombs will go off, and will likely kill both the man and his daughter, or at least cause them both grievous bodily injury. However, there is an alternative. While the police man's knife can't cut the titanium chain, it could cut the daughter's bones and flesh, so he could at least get the daughter and her attached bombs away from the father so that he will live. So the only way for the father to live is to have his daughter dismembered and killed. Since both of them are probably going to die anyway, is this ethical?

  2. Some people argue that you can't intentionally kill an innocent person to save your own life. Pro-lifers often distinguish between directly and intentionally killing a person and providing medical care that happens to have the foreseeable yet unavoidable side-effect of killing a person. It's the principle of double-effect.

    i happen to think that you may intentionally kill someone to save your own life but that you must use the minimal amount of force necessary. In other words, you don't have a right to kill when there's some other reasonable way out. Call it the principle of self-defense.

  3. “i happen to think that you may intentionally kill someone to save your own life. Call it the principle of self-defense.”

    But in self-defense, it's presumed that the other person is intentionally trying to kill you. For example, someone pulls a gun on you and threatens to shoot you. This is not the case in the above thought experiment. Secondly, it's not just some random person off the street. The man would be killing his own daughter.

    Since you answered the thought-experiment question, it's only fair I do the same. If I were the man, I would tell the police officer that his suggestion is vile. My fate would be no different than my daughter's. Parents have a duty to their children, and I would rightfully live in profound shame and regret if I ever choose to have my daughter killed to save myself. People would rightfully revile me.

    Lastly, if you think it's okay for the man to have his daughter killed in the thought experiment, let's modify the thought experiment a bit. Let us imagine that instead of being certain the bombs will go off, there is only a 50% chance. Or, let's imagine that instead of killing the man, the bombs are very small and low powered, so they might only cause a great deal of bodily harm, but not kill him. Would killing the daughter still be justified in that case?


All comments are moderated. We reject all comments containing obscenity. We reserve the right to reject any and all comments that are considered inappropriate or off-topic without explanation.