Monday, August 27, 2012

Parts and Wholes Confusion in the NYTimes [Jay Watts]

In his opinion piece at The New York Times titled Men, Who Needs Them?, Boise State University professor of biology and criminal justice Greg Hampikian makes an egregious confusion of parts versus wholes in describing "your" biological history.  From his article:

Think about your own history. Your life as an egg actually started in your mother’s developing ovary, before she was born; you were wrapped in your mother’s fetal body as it developed within your grandmother.
After the two of you left Grandma’s womb, you enjoyed the protection of your mother’s prepubescent ovary. Then, sometime between 12 and 50 years after the two of you left your grandmother, you burst forth and were sucked by her fimbriae into the fallopian tube. You glided along the oviduct, surviving happily on the stored nutrients and genetic messages that Mom packed for you.
Then, at some point, your father spent a few minutes close by, but then left. A little while later, you encountered some very odd tiny cells that he had shed. They did not merge with you, or give you any cell membranes or nutrients — just an infinitesimally small packet of DNA, less than one-millionth of your mass.
So Dr. Hampikian is trying to stress how little the father is involved in the biological history of any given child in comparison to the mother.  The father's contribution is miniscule and to the extent that it is necessary it is only marginally so.  But in drawing out his narrative he is either intentionally or accidentally being very confusing.
You are not your mother's egg.  You did not begin to exist when her eggs were formed.  Her egg is a part of her body with a very specific reproductive purpose.  From Robert George and Christopher Tollefsen's Embryo:
Is either the sperm or oocyte... identical to Smith, the adult whose origins we wish to specify?  
The answer to all these questions is negative.  Sperm and egg cells are parts of the human organism... a part of a biological organism in the sense that concerns us here is some living subset of the cells that comprise the totality of the organism , the life of which subset is integrated into the life of the whole, and which performs some unified functional role within the life of the organism.
They point out that both the sperm and egg after being released to serve their reproductive function will quickly cease to exist if fertilization fails to occur.  Our ability to use scientific advancement to artificially preserve the life of the parts does not change their nature.  They are meant for a specific purpose within the organism they help comprise and once they serve that purpose or fail to serve that purpose they quickly cease to exist.
The zygote on the other hand is entirely different.  Quoting Keith L.Moore and T.V.N Persaud in The Developing Human, "Human development begins at fertilization when a male gamete or sperm (spermatozoan) unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to produce a single cell - a zygote.  This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual."
It is easy when telling the narrative of our worldview to hedge the story a bit to make our position seem more obviously true.  In Dr. Hampikian's desire to highlight an obvious truth, that women are more biologically invested in the reproductive process than men, he sails past telling the story into redefining the nature of our life.  We were never an egg that met up with some sperm after having sustained existence for years upon years.  Without both the sperm and the egg our story never begins at all.  I understand that this fact somewhat undermines the overall point Dr. Hampikian is trying to make, but it is a biological fact whether convenient or not.  
I will leave it others to address the idea that men are not necessary after conception.  It is not a tall hill to climb as you have the support of mountains of evidence that intact traditional families contribute to the well being of children in numerous and often surprising ways.  It is enough that in order to minimize the impact of men in sexual reproduction he felt it necessary to reduce us all to components of our mother's reproductive system and - in doing that - blurred the lines between parts of human beings and the whole distinct living human beings we all are.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Responding to the Rape Exception Question [Megan]

The "exception in cases of rape" question to the abortion issue is one that has put many pro-life candidates running for public office on the hot seat. Of all of the questions we at LTI answer in classrooms, it is among the toughest. It shoots straight for the intersection between knowing what's true, and the gut reaction to what's right in front of you — the intellectual and the emotional.

You have to answer both. And it helps to assume that the person you're speaking with — or others in the room — have had a brush with this issue either directly or indirectly. It is very likely the case.

To give only an intellectual response is to seemingly ignore the very real emotions surrounding something as hideous and tragic as rape — a reality that can only be truly understood by someone who has experienced it. It is true that I have not. My heart bleeds for any who have.

But even in grief, the deepest grief, we can know what is right. Though this is among the toughest issues psychologically — which should not be ignored — it is morally simple.

Morally, it's Case for Life 101:  What is the unborn? Science tells us the unborn are living, distinct, and whole human beings from the very beginning. Philosophy tells us their value lies in the human nature they share with the rest of us. And in a civil society, we cannot kill others because they remind us of something traumatic.

"I don't like that answer," I tell students. Because when confronted with a victim of rape, my unchecked gut reaction is overwhelming sympathy for the person I see in front of me.

But my dislike doesn't make the truth untrue. Just as my dislike it doesn't make the world unbroken. Rape is horrible and once committed, cannot be undone. What comes next? If the unborn are human beings, the answer cannot be to kill the unborn.

I stand with the truth.

Though it is a parallel issue, I think it is important to address a community's duty to come alongside the victim of such a travesty, as well as the victim's family, and walk with them through the difficult months and years ahead. Rallying around those in need is the most human response. To "bear one another's burdens," as Paul writes in Galatians.

I include my thoughts on this in anticipation of the remark :  "You care nothing for the woman! Only for the unborn." In the past, I have been caught off guard by this heated accusation. I was discussing the humanity and value of the unborn (thoughts and ideas) — my accusers had no knowledge of my feelings on that or any other matter! Had they asked, I would have gladly shared them, from which point they could not have accused me of not caring.

In fact, I care enough to keep talking about it, even when it's hard. If Christianity is true, and I believe it is, then the only real healing anyone can find from the worst pain inflicted by a broken world is in Jesus.

Staying on point [Megan]

In the firestorm following comments made by Rep. Todd Akin, Republican nominee for the Missouri Senate, the blast has been directed at Akin's character in light of a blundered interview more than at his ideas. As a result, the pro-life view he stands for is under fire as well. While I know little about Akin's character — which is important to consider given his position — I can address what he said.

Akin, when asked about exceptions to his pro-life stance in cases of rape, claimed that in cases of "legitimate rape," a woman's physiological reactions work to prevent fertilization from taking place — a kind of shut-down mechanism — and that cases of pregnancies resulting from rape are rare. (Scan an article and see a video clip of the interview here.)

His off-the-cuff remarks were unsubstantiated, and unwise. Even if he believed them to be true, they weren't necessary to make his case (He later claimed that he "misspoke" during the interview.). There are many things — good things — that can be said to bolster the case for life, but the issue of rape is hard-hitting and the answerer must zero in on the central question:  "What is the unborn?"

Akin's remarks that followed were more on point — he said that while punishment was needed as a consequence to rape, that punishment should fall on the rapist and not on the innocent child (paraphrased) — and had he just gone with those thoughts minus the other, he might still be under fire, but it would be for consistency in his pro-life stance. Earlier in the same interview, he actually answered the issue of ectopic pregnancies fairly well.

We live in a culture in which stereotyping is knee-jerk. The pro-choice crowd has, at least in the media, used this mishap to make Akin a poster-child for pro-lifers. The name-calling has extended from Akin to those who share his beliefs on the abortion issue. This is unfortunate, and is just as much a failure to stay on point as Akin's unhelpful aside was.

While labels have their place and can be helpful in dialogue, to paint with such a broad brush reveals a serious lack of careful thinking.

What we say, with or without thinking, matters. I challenge those on both sides of the debate to be more diplomatic, especially with what's at stake.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Comes Down to a Man: Part 3 of "Why Worldview?" [Jay Watts]

Comes down to a man dying on a cross saving the world; Rising from the dead, doing what He said He would do.” Clay Cross – Saving the World

The first two posts - Why Worldview? and Challenge is Unavoidable – are here and here. Now we move on to arguing part two of my general thesis. Christians ought to study worldview because our faith is rationally defensible.

Our house has massive bookshelves full of beautiful books (as well as Kindles with a growing library) many of which address the Christian worldview in some form or another and all focusing on different important components of our belief. Even the books casting a broader net establish a different launching point and every author has good reasons for why they picked their beginning subject. So where do we begin?

I made the decision to personalize the issue. When I abandoned atheism it was not for Christianity but for agnosticism. I didn't begin to believe in anything in particular but decided that some supernatural aspect of the universe was worth - at minimum - considering based on the broad testimony of supernatural events throughout human history. I probably assumed my agnosticism would be permanent, but it is hard to remember the details of those beliefs now and would hate to project convenient ideas back into the past. After a brief and unsatisfying flirtation with eastern philosophies I turned my attention to established religions and how they began. And as the quote from the Clay Cross song above so ably conveys, it comes down to a man.

The origins of religions pretty much come down to the testimony of people in history, and that is exactly what the first question is.  It is a question of history. Something happened in the past and we are going to try to determine to the best of our ability what that something was. It is difficult to do, but the people that say things like “history is impossible to know” or “history can't be trusted because it is written by the winners” are applying an unworkable and corrosive skepticism that will eventually eat up almost everything that we accept as human knowledge of the past for the sake of avoiding a moments reflection on subjects they would rather avoid. Certainly our personal biases effect how we understand history and how we assess the evidence but as Mike Licona points out in The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach:

Historians cannot obtain absolute certainty for many of the reasons that absolute certainty always eludes us in most areas. The wise person is rarely hindered by her inability to possess absolute certainty; instead she acts on probabilities. This is the way we live our lives, and we have found that this principle appears to work rather well in leading us to correct assessments. Thus when historians claim that something occurred, they are saying, “Given the available data, the best explanation indicates that we are warranted in having a reasonable degree of certainty that x occurred and that it appears more certain at the moment than competing hypothesis.”

With that in mind, let's look at some of the events in history that were foundational to competing religious claims.

Sidhartha Guatama [403-483 BCE] - a wealthy young man - becomes consumed with suffering and need for meaning. He leaves his wife – Yasodhara – on the night of the birth of their son, whom he names Rahula (shackles or fetters) and wanders for six years pursuing ascetic Brahmanism. Through intense self sacrifice he almost starves himself to death. Then sitting under a Bo tree in deep and prolonged meditation he became “awake.”

Mohammed [570 – 632 CE] took sojourns into the mountains because of his depression at the idolatrous and wicked ways of Mecca. At about the age of 40 in a cave on Mt. Hira he met whom he believed to be an angel who told him he was “the messenger of God.” His first convert was his loyal and devoted wife Khadeja.

Joseph Smith [1805 – 1844] at 15 in 1820 had his first vision in the woods after growing weary of the denominational arguments that accompanied a revival in Manchester, New York. God and Christ encouraged him that all the Christian denominations were wrong and he would establish the one true faith. He was later given the location of the gold plates of Mormon by the angel Moroni (Mormon's son). Nineteen people claim to have seen the book, eight of them declaring by affidavit to have touched the book. The book was written in a language called reformed Egyptian and could only be read with special glasses provided by the angel to Joseph Smith. The book told of a story of a lost tribe of Israel that came to America and who was later visited by the resurrected Christ. When the original translation was lost because the wife of one of Smith's early followers destroyed it out of anger at her husband, Joseph Smith recreated it through the use of seeing stones and a hat and published The Book of Mormon in 1830.

Jesus of Nazareth - after reportedly predicting his death and promising to deliver a sign of his authentic nature as the only begotten Son of God - was crucified by the Romans at the request of the Temple Priests. Days later his tomb is found empty and his followers – more than 500 of them - claim to see him alive in a resurrected body. This event confirms the truth of Jesus' claims for his followers and begins the gospel accounts of Jesus' ability to forgive sins and secure eternal salvation and a future resurrection for all who believe.

[For reasons I don't care to fully go into at this point I choose not to enter into a discussion about Moses as the central historical figure of Judaism, the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, and the receiving of the 10 Commandments. Mostly because so many different faith traditions accept the story of Moses.]

There ought to be something immediately obvious to us all. One of these events is not like the others. The foundational events of the Muslim, Mormon, and Buddhist belief systems are different than the foundational event of Christianity. The former three hinge on the personal enlightenment and vision of an individual while the latter focuses on a public event that according to Paul in chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians can be testified to by more than 500 people. This proves little, but it does change how we approach the stories and what we can hope to know from our vantage point.

I looked at all of these testimonies and asked a few questions about them. It isn't productive to presume dishonesty in any of them at the outset as that would only lead me back to the Humean skepticism that previously dominated my life. So lets say for the sake of argument we grant that Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, and Joseph Smith all absolutely believed what they claimed. Are there plausible explanations for the events in question other than deception?

It seemed obvious to me that people spending a lot of time alone in emotional upheaval in possibly harsh elements or conditions (caves, starving under a tree, wandering in the woods of New York) could easily have had visions that are explainable in ways beyond assuming that it was actual supernatural intervention or divine enlightenment. The golden manuscript introduces a new element since others claimed to have seen it, so we are now forced to ask the unpleasant question. Is it reasonable to believe that Joseph Smith intentionally manufactured a “golden book” of some sort to strengthen his story? Is it possible that he deceived people? Is it more probable that he did so than it is that an angel gave him a book that only he could read? Unfortunately his past behavior opens him up to reasonable questions concerning his willingness and ability to deceive people on issues of supernatural knowledge.

But what about the resurrection of Jesus? How do we assess it? It isn't like the other claims. The skeptic may plead that Jesus wandered in the wilderness starving for 40 days where he claims he was tempted by the devil and came to understand who he was. How is that different from the other guys? Here we must be clear that the foundational event of Christianity is the resurrection. It is not the virgin birth or the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. Paul writes about the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 as the central event of our faith without which we are fools to be pitied. However charismatic and earnest Jesus may have seemed, he did not convince his followers of his identity based on the testimony of his temptation or the circumstances of his conception. They testified in their own words in historically accepted documents that they rallied around and preached the resurrection event to the world as the confirmation that God's grace was delivered through the only begotten Son of the Father, Jesus of Nazareth.

Christianity begins at the resurrection and so does our recognition of the rational foundation of our faith. We can counter the argument that all religious claims are the same at the very first consideration of our beliefs. The reported resurrection of Jesus offers us the opportunity to examine the central event of the Christian faith in a manner not open to other foundational events. Because of this difference, scholars like William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, Mike Licona, and N.T. Wright (among others) have been able to contribute to a tradition of resurrection literature that challenges the competing hypotheses through investigating broadly accepted historical facts as opposed to defending the personal enlightenment of a historical figure in their most private moments.

A brief examination - or as brief as I am capable - of some of those historical resurrection arguments will be the subject of the next post.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Challenge is Unavoidable: Part 2 of "Why Worldview?" [Jay Watts]

My friend found me on campus after his first political science class. He told me his professor began the first day saying, “There is nothing in the world I hate more than young, white, Republican, Christian men. If you are one of those you are going to have a tough time this quarter.” My friend was all of those.

Earlier in my college career I sat in a world history class where the professor cooly explained that any Christians in the room would learn over the course of our studies that what they have been taught is history is in fact a lie. At the time I was an atheist and couldn't care less if our subject matter bothered Christians, but I remember looking over the syllabus and not seeing anything in our class outline directly related to Christian history or even tangentially relevant. Why was this professor talking about that?

In a performance art class we took an instruction period to watch a supremely intellectual show like Ricky Lake or Phil Donahue – which talk show it was escapes me now – where the format pitted homosexuals against ministers from black churches that identified homosexual behavior as sin. After a particularly bad exchange between the two parties our professor stopped the tape and asked the class, “What do you all think about that?” You can imagine that a performance class instructed by an openly gay professor had some rather harsh criticism for the Christians on the show, but they saved their most intense attacks for the two Christian students in the class who attempted to defend the ministers. In short time, only one was left defending the ministers as the other crumbled under the pressure.

Those are just three stories demonstrating the challenges that await Christians on college campuses. Notice that you had three different subject matters with professors all intentionally bringing their class focus to a direct criticism of Christian beliefs. Whether it was in theater classes, journalism classes, business and professional speaking, or world lit every class offered challenges to the foundational beliefs that Christians bring into the university with them. Obviously some of the professors – like that political science teacher – were more direct than others, but the consistent thread of college life was challenge. This may surprise you, but I think that is to be expected.

This is not some dire warning about evil universities. I went into college an atheist and came out a Christian. My friends that most enjoyed the class with the previously mentioned political science professor were the objects of his initial rant. When push came to shove, they enjoyed an environment that demanded they learn to defend their views. The professor most influential on me was as politically liberal as anyone I met on campus. He was also a good man who cared about his students. One very politically liberal professor I met after my conversion helped me to reevaluate the importance of entertainment that builds community rather than tearing it down even as she recognized that we both had different ideas about what we would like to build towards. If you are prepared, the challenge of college life can give you the chance to reach out to more people than you can imagine.

Scott and I recently worked with the leadership of Students for Life of America. We trained and talked to some of the brightest and most committed young people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. The purpose of their meeting was to equip their leadership to not only withstand the challenge of university life but to challenge right back as it pertains to the sanctity of human life. They know that intelligent and committed students can make a difference on college campuses and rather than shying away they are preparing to engage.

We only have two options. Withdraw or engage. Well if you have seen Battle: Los Angeles or are familiar with the motto of the 2nd Battalion 5th Marines then you can guess how I feel about retreating. To quote – and look away if salty language bothers you - “Retreat? Hell we just got here!” That quote is attributed to Marine Captain Lloyd W. Williams when a French officer advised his battalion to pull back at the Battle of Belleau Wood in June of 1918 in World War I. He did not survive the battle but “Retreat Hell” permanently became the motto of 2/5. When I meet the passionate and engaging students on college campuses organizing events and encouraging dialogue or when I talk to skeptical students willing to listen to reasoned argument and reconsider their views I am inspired. We don't need to pull back we need to train more people to engage effectively.

Besides complete retreat doesn't work. I once heard J. P. Moreland give a presentation about when evangelical and fundamentalist Christians pulled out of universities to open Christian schools in response to the rapid secularization of the major university environment. Ronald Numbers - an agnostic - similarly discusses a retreat in his book The Creationists where he relays that after failing to defeat Darwinism and the perceived attack it represented on traditional Christian beliefs in the academic world:

“rather than surrendering, they turned their energies toward developing a separate institutional base from which to evangelize the world... despairing of ever converting the scientific community to their way of thinking, they set about to create their own societies and journals.” (Chapter 6)

What was the result? Well we left the campuses entirely to those we most radically disagree with and in the absence of challenge a worldview developed unchecked that we are only now seeing fully expressed in our society. That is not to say that there is not a legitimate place for Bible institutes, Christian universities, and Christian academic journals but their must also be a concerted effort to prepare the young men and women that are going to public and secular universities to think critically and understand their own worldview. Circling the wagons and disengaging not only hurts the campuses that need well prepared Christians within their communities but it also allows ideas that need to be shed - that would not survive critical inspection - to be exposed. We all need that or else we never grow.

Challenge is unavoidable. Parents tell me their middle schoolers already have little outspoken atheist friends. In my church, I have had more than one occasion when lay teachers were saying something that they were completely unaware is contrary to traditional Christian doctrine. In one class at church I had the bizarre experience of defending evolutionary theory from straw man attacks. As the class grew ever more frustrated with me, I insisted that nothing good could come from their preparing to engage a view of evolutionary theory that doesn't exist or in convincing themselves that people that believe in Darwinian evolution are stupid. They would be sorely disappointed and embarrassed when they met an actual defender of actual evolutionary arguments and they realized they were not ready for this conversation. At work - both in secular business and in ministry – my beliefs were and are routinely challenged by coworkers. And this doesn't even get into the daily challenge my kids put to our beliefs. Why? Why? Why? Why? It never ends.

Since challenge cannot be skirted then the proper response is to be ready for challenge. We must instill in ourselves and our children the value of studying our beliefs and being prepared to articulate those beliefs to those who question us. As the oft quoted 1 Peter 3:15 commands: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” To be certain, we may have to watch a little less TV. It may require we sacrifice some of what we call “free time” or “me time” or “down time.” It most certainly will require that we read and interact with literature that forces us out of our comfort zone and may put at risk cherished personal beliefs that cannot withstand scrutiny.

I tell every group that I work with that no one – not one single person – ever left Christianity because it was proven false. They either left for emotional reasons as opposed to intellectual reasons or – as Bill Craig says- because some belief within Christianity was strongly challenged and though it wasn't foundational to our faith it held an unnecessary level of importance in their personal understanding of Christianity. I have found that a proper and basic understanding of the foundations of Christianity and the evidences and basis for those beliefs establishes a faith that is strengthened by challenge.

In my next post I will start to talk about some of those foundational beliefs.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Why Christian Worldview Training? [Jay Watts]

Scott taught me to ask a diagnostic question early in my conversations on campus. A student engages me in a conversation about the pro-life argument and I say, “Do you think it would be wrong for someone to kill you? Do you think unjustly taking your life would be objectively wrong and it would be right to punish the person who did so?”

The overwhelming majority of people answer yes. This means they believe (1) in objective moral values, duties, and accountability and (2) that it is wrong to unjustly kill human beings. They reject the idea that it is perfectly acceptable to kill human beings like them. They simply fail to see or understand how unborn human life – fetal or embryonic – can be considered like them in morally important ways. Our argument then focuses on making a scientific and philosophical case that fetal and embryonic human beings are valuable human lives in the same way the rest of us are.

But what if they say, “No, I don't think it is objectively wrong to kill me.” What then? Do we just wring our hands and move on to an easier and less weird objector? We can't start making the case for life using science and philosophy just yet because they appear to reject certain important facets of that argument. What we have encountered is an entirely different worldview and that requires a step back.

I once was a pro-choice atheist that rejected the existence of objective morality. What changed my views? I tell every group that I work with that I was won over by good arguments from good arguers. Both of those elements are crucial to success. There was no shortage of judgmental and harsh Christians willing to condemn me, but thoughtful caring arguers were scarce. I was not pleasant by any stretch of the imagination - such was my distaste for the religious folks I knew - but they claimed to represent some all powerful benevolent force that loved all. I just thought we were all autonomous jerks in our own right.

How many Christians were able to get past the nasty assault and draw me into an actual conversation? One. That precious and disciplined young lady made it possible for me to change by making room for me in a discussion that was respectful and cordial even while centered on profound disagreements. She didn't change my mind while we talked, but she certainly put what Greg Koukl calls a stone in my shoe. It was nearly a year later and she was nowhere in sight when the full weight of her work and arguments came to bear on me. She was not present for the change, but she helped make it happen.

Lately I am giving more and more presentations on the Christian worldview. I passionately believe that in order to engage objectors it is vital that we understand what we believe first and how our worldview comes to bear on the topic at hand. When we appropriately grasp our own beliefs we will more clearly see the areas of disagreement and help our detractors better see them as well.

My initial worldview presentation is not an exhaustive discussion of what everyone who disagrees with us believes. Such a talk would be a monstrosity of overkill anyway. It is too much to take on effectively and – more importantly – most audiences I talk to aren't truly convinced worldview study matters to them. So I focus on a few foundational beliefs of the Christian worldview while touching on how those beliefs differ from others.

How does the resurrection differ from the experiences of Joseph Smith, Mohammed, and Buddha while answering the claims that Christianity is based on a myth? How does Trinitarian Monotheism impact the argument that we all worship the same God so what difference does it make? How does an all powerful eternal being reveal himself to us and how does that answer the claim the bible is just a book like any other? What do we mean when we say that we are God's image bearers and how does that impact our understanding of consciousness, objective morality, and our place in the animal world?

These are the very basics of our belief, but the better we grasp these basics the better equipped we are to engage people who misunderstand us.  Christians ought to study their worldview because they will be challenged on it, it is rationally defensible, and there are people that need good arguers with good arguments in order to reach them with the grace of Jesus Christ.

My next three posts will draw out those last three points.

A "LTI-Training-in-Action" moment [Megan]

It never ceases to amaze me just when, where, and with whom our pro-life training makes an impact. And as unlikely as some of the instances I get to hear about are, I really wonder about all of those we never get wind of!

Adam, a professional outdoorsman — the kind who takes groups on hunting and fishing expeditions and teaches them all sorts of fun things — heard the Case for Life nearly two years ago. In July, he changed the mind of a coworker over lunch at the local Waffle House. All Adam had to do was listen, think about what was being said, run it through the lens of the training he'd received one time months and months earlier, and ask the right questions. In doing so, he revealed a flaw in the other man's thinking about abortion.

When Adam's friend stumbled over — then tried to avoid altogether — the word "kill" in relation to unborn human beings, he lashed out at Adam, "I know what you're trying to get me to say, and I'm not going to say it!"

Without missing a beat, Adam calmly asked, "Why don't you want to say it?"

He brought the conversation back to the question, "What is the unborn?", because the answer to that question is the reason his friend tried to think of a way to describe abortion that sounded nicer than "kill," and couldn't. The truth was undeniable.

From there, if needed, Adam could have appealed to SLED to show that the only real differences between the unborn and his friend do not justify abortion.