Biography

RWP was born in Manchester, in the north of England, in the late 1950s, so he is very old. He really liked the north of England, which by 1965 was hip and had three TV channels, and where he went to a coed school. His parents, for reasons best known to themselves, then yanked him away, to Belfast and then Dublin, which had one TV channel that started up at 6 pm with the Angelus (Catholic call to prayer). He also had to go to an all boys school, where he realized he really missed girls. This probably let him focus on schoolwork, though, and at age 19, after he had finished college, he set off for America, where he still resides. He has a bachelors degree in biochemistry and a Ph.D. from Harvard in biophysics, and has lived also in Mainz, Germany, Setauket NY, and Richland WA. He currently divides his time between Nebraska, Rosslyn VA, and Florida.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Not if it has a face...

I try to avoid arguing issues I don't care about, with people who care a great deal. But I recently let myself get dragged into a Twitter flame-war with catholics/fundamentalists (one of them posted on my timeline that science shows human life begins at conception, which is a load of ballocks; when life begins is a philosopical question, not a scientific one.)

So here's my position. I'm pro-choice, but in a limited way. I think first trimester abortions should be entirely legal, but later should be restricted to cases of incest or rape or major fetal abnormality.

Why? That question was answered by my younger daughter. She's a vegetarian, but wasn't at one point a strict vegetarian. I asked he how she decided she can eat something. She said "if it doesn't have a face".

That may seem a very superficial criterion. But it's not. If you spend any time in the preemie ward, you see lots of kids born long before 9 months. A child born at 22 weeks is (barely) viable, but more importantly for my point, looks like a baby. Meanwhile, at the other end a cell or a fertilized zygote doesn't look in the least like a child. What leads on to protect one and not the other is that we innately recognize preemies as human; and humans are recognized by their faces. We're trying to avoid killing babies that we recognize as unambiguously human beings.

Of course, this position satisfies neither of the polarized extremes. That's probably in its favor.

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