Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Advanced Pro-Life Apologetics Course--Watch for Free! [Scott]

The complete lecture notes for my sessions are here and the links to the videos are below. (Dr. Scott Rae taught the other half of the course. His sessions, dealing with reproductive technologies and end of life issues, are found here.)

Content Overview: Successful pro-life apologists pursue four essential tasks. First, they clarify the debate by focusing public attention on one key question: What is the unborn? Second, they establish a foundation for the debate, demonstrating to critics that metaphysical neutrality is impossible. Third, they answer objections persuasively. Fourth, they teach and equip.


Session #1: What is the Issue--The Nature of Moral Reasoning (52 Min.)

Session #2: What is the Unborn? (1:08)

Session #3: What Makes Humans Valuable? Part 1: The Substance View of Human Persons (52 min.)

Session #4: What Makes Humans Valuable? Part 2: The Religion Objection (15 Min.)

Session #5: Who Makes the Rules? Abortion: Law, Metaphysics, and Alleged Moral Neutrality (38 Min.)

Session #6: What is my Duty? The Bodily Autonomy Arguments of Thomson, Boonin, and McDonaugh (54 Min.)

Session #7: Catholic Social Justice Teaching and Other Objections (46 Min.)

Session #8: Equipping Yourself to Engage at Your Church (46 Min.)


1. Gilbert Meilaender, Bioethics: A Primmer for Christians (Eerdmans, 2005)

2. Agnetta Sutton, Christian Bioethics: A Guide for the Perplexed (T&T Clark, 2008)

3. Scott Rae, Moral Choices: An Introduction to Ethics (Zondervan, 2009)


  1. I took this class at Biola and it was absolutely spectacular! I would highly encourage you to watch the classes.

  2. Here's the correct link to my article, "Dignity Never Been Photographed." The link in the post is no longer functional.


  3. Minor point of correction. You write this in the notes (page 23):

    To make sure the point is not lost, Beckwith provides a final example. Suppose one of these indoctrinated slaves is pregnant. Because you agree with Boonin that having desires grounds a right to life, you hire a physician to alter the brain development of the slave’s fetus so that it never develops organized cortical activity and thus never desires life or freedom.

    If I understand right, Beckwith's version of the indoctrinated slave problem is that the fetus is altered in such a way that it actually does eventually attain organized cortical activity, but is rendered incapable of desiring the right to life. In his critique of Boonin, he writes the following:

    Imagine that you own one of these indoctrinated slaves and she is pregnant with a fetus that has not reached the point of organized cortical brain activity. Because you have become convinced that Boonin’s view of desires is correct, and thus you are starting to have doubts about the morality of indoctrinating people with already organized cortical brain activity to become slaves, you hire a scientist who is able to alter the fetus’s brain development in such a way that its organized cortical brain activity prevents the fetus from ever having desires for liberty or a right to life. That is, the organized cortical brain activity arises in this being in such a way that its basic capacities to desire liberty and a right to life, that it pos- sessed from the moment it came into being, can never come to maturity.

    (see http://www.uffl.org/vol16/beckwith06.pdf)

  4. Sweet! I can't wait to take this all in. Thanks for posting and sharing!


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