A Philosopher's Blog

Mourdock, God & Rape

Posted in Ethics, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on October 26, 2012
Getup Get God

Getup Get God (Photo credit: prettywar-stl)

In a recent debate, Republican Richard Mourdock was addressing the subject of abortion. After noting that he believes that abortion is acceptable only to save the life of the mother, he went on to say: “Life is that gift from God. I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.”

As might be imagined, Mourdock has come under attack for his remarks. These attacks have primarily focused on what his claim indicates about his view of women and the sort of legislation he is likely to support.

Rather than address these matters, I will instead focus on his claim that if a woman gets pregnant from rape, then God intended it to happen. While this matter deals specifically with rape, it is part of the general problem of evil. This is, of course, the problem of reconciling a certain conception of God (all good, all powerful and all knowing) with the existence of evil (in this case rape). It also falls under the general subject of God’s causal relation to the world.

While he might not be aware of it, Mourdock is presenting a view of God that has been argued for by theologians and philosophers. To be specific, this is the view that God is the cause of all that occurs and that nothing occurs contrary to God’s intention.  For example, Hume in his essay on the immortality of the soul, writes  “as every effect implies a cause, and that another, till we reach the first cause of all, which is the Deity; every thing that happens is ordained by him…”

As far as things happening against God’s intention, this would seem impossible given the usual conception of God. After all, things could only go against His intention if He lacked the power to do otherwise or the event in question took place without His knowledge. On the assumption that He is all knowing and all powerful, then events happening contrary to His intention could not occur. Thus, if someone becomes pregnant from rape, then God (if He exists) intended that to happen-just as Mourdock claimed.

One reply to this is that God allows things to happen contrary to His intention, such as pregnancy arising from rape. The obvious reply is, of course, that if allows it and could prevent it, then He does intend for it to occur. If He cannot prevent it, then this would entail that God is rather different than the stock conception of a perfect deity.

It might be replied that God allows things to happen contrary to His intention because of free will. While this might get Him off the hook in regards to allowing rape, it does not do so in the case of pregnancy. After all, God could allow rapists the freedom to rape and still prevent rape from causing pregnancy. He could, for example, give women that pregnancy shut down system that Akin infamously mentioned. Or, even better, he could allow people the free will to chose to rape but prevent them from ever acting on that choice. As such, it would seem that if God exists and matches the stock description, then God does intent for the pregnancies that arise from rape.

There is, of course, still the question of whether not women should be legally compelled to endure such God intended  pregnancies. It could be argued that since God intended the woman to get pregnant from rape, then abortions should not be allowed since God’s intent should not be violated.  The easy and obvious reply to this is that the same logic would entail that we should do nothing in response to anything other than to accept it rather than go against God’s intent.

It can also be argued that we can determine  God’s intent by allowing abortion in such cases. After all, if God intends for the pregnancy to go through, then God can make that happen. If the abortion succeeds, then either God intended for it to succeed (and thus the abortion should have been conducted) or God is lacking in some manner (or does not exist).

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  1. T. J. Babson said, on October 26, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Does anyone care to make the argument that the life of a baby whose father is a rapist is less valuable than the life of a baby whose father does not happen to be a rapist?

    • WTP said, on October 26, 2012 at 9:50 am

      Only if you want to make the argument that a woman who conceives as the result of a rape should either give her child up for adoption or suffer the pain every day of staring into the face of a child whose features will, to some degree, remind her of the horrible beast who so savagely violated her all those years before. Not to mention the feelings of a child who may not understand those moments when its mother reacts strangely to behaviors or looks that to the child (and most people for that matter) are completely innocent.

      We could of course, also argue that if a fetus is a full human, what do we do about the horrible medical conditions that kill 20% or more of the child population, most of those being males?

    • T. J. Babson said, on October 26, 2012 at 9:57 am

      Let’s remember, too, that a fair number of feminists regard all men as rapists.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 26, 2012 at 11:01 am

        That seems to be a red herring. Why, exactly, should we remember this?

        Also, while there are some feminists (typically called “radical feminists”) who regard all men as potential rapists, this seems to be a rather small percentage of women. This would be somewhat like saying “let’s remember, too, that a fair number of conservatives regard women as fundamentally inferior to men.”

        • T. J. Babson said, on October 26, 2012 at 11:21 am

          “let’s remember, too, that a fair number of conservatives regard women as fundamentally inferior to men.”

          Where did that come from? Have you forgotten that Republicans led the way on Civil Rights?


          The Civil Rights Act — which is best known for barring discrimination in public accommodations — passed the House on Feb. 10, 1964 by a margin of 290-130. When broken down by party, 61 percent of Democratic lawmakers voted for the bill (152 yeas and 96 nays), and a full 80 percent of the Republican caucus supported it (138 yeas and 34 nays).

          When the Senate passed the measure on June 19, 1964, — nine days after supporters mustered enough votes to end the longest filibuster in Senate history — the margin was 73-27. Better than two-thirds of Senate Democrats supported the measure on final passage (46 yeas, 21 nays), but an even stronger 82 percent of Republicans supported it (27 yeas, 6 nays).

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 26, 2012 at 11:33 am

            Republican does not equal conservative.

            In any case, this is just fattening the red herring.

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 26, 2012 at 12:17 pm

              If all men are rapists, it means that the distinction between pregnancies due to rape and not due to rape disappears. That is the only point I was trying to make.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 26, 2012 at 4:56 pm

              Interesting. What implications would this have?

        • T. J. Babson said, on October 26, 2012 at 11:27 am

          Looks pretty mainstream among feminist thinkers.

          “… the concept of rape culture is a generally accepted theory in feminist academia…”

          According to the 2004 Encyclopedia of Rape, “The term ‘rape culture’ originated in the 1970s during the 2nd wave feminist movement and is often used by feminists to describe contemporary American culture as a whole.


          • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 26, 2012 at 11:31 am

            Well, Wikipedia is never wrong. 🙂

            To get academic myself, we need to distinguish between accepting a concept as a concept and actually believing in it. I accept the concept of materialism, but I am actually a dualist. Believing in a rape culture is also different from believing that all men are rapists.

            Also, there is the fact that academic feminists are a tiny fraction of feminists. So, even if every “academic feminist” believed that men are rapists, this would only entail that a minute number of feminists believe this.

            Also, why does this even matter? I still call red herring on you.

      • biomass2 said, on October 26, 2012 at 11:07 am

        Now that may be true, depending on the meaning of the phrase “fair number of” and your definition of the word “feminist”. The little chart that follows says a lot.

        How many of the 62% of US women–those who feel women should have equal rights– have or would actually advocate for the cause? And how many of those advocates actually feel “all” men are rapists?

        You’ve watched enough political sludge during this campaign that you’ve mastered a skill. On a fact-check basis, we can’t disprove your statement, because there’s not much there to disprove.
        Concerning your initial question, I’ll side with WTP,, assuming I’m interpreting his position correctly. In considering this question, the ‘pro’-life side ignores, ironically, the human life of the mother—you know, the one who has been raped, the one who has to serve the 9-month sentence. The one who has to take on the responsibility of raising the product of the violence. The 14 or 34 years the victim has lived, become at the moment of the rape, irrelevant. All focus, for them, turns to the ‘potential human life’ inside the victim. Their view is somewhat Taliban-like.

        My view is more agnostic; it’s not based on any religious issue. As I’ve stated before, I value the woman’s life, and the quality of the women’s life. The potential human life is just that—potential. I’ll opt for the bird in the hand.

        • T. J. Babson said, on October 26, 2012 at 12:52 pm

          bio, I’m willing to argue that women now have greater freedom and rights than men, and that we are living in a thinly disguised matriarchy.

          • biomass2 said, on October 26, 2012 at 5:14 pm

            Go ahead, T.

        • FRE said, on October 27, 2012 at 5:11 pm

          Actually, although I know that rape happens, it is a crime that I do not understand. I do not understand how a man could be interested in having sex with someone who obviously does not want it, although I realize that some men don’t care whether a sex partner wants it or not and may in fact be excited by resistance. I would see that as a total turn-off. Moreover, I do not believe that I am the only man who feels that way in which case the obsolete radical feminist idea that all men are rapists is total nonsense.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 26, 2012 at 11:05 am

      If you mean an actual baby (as opposed to, for example, a zygote), then the argument is not one I would make. Anymore than I would argue that the son/daughter of a murderer is less valuable than the son/daughter of an upstanding citizen solely on the grounds of parentage.

      While this is an interesting approach, it does fail to take into account the key distinction between a pregnancy that has been caused by rape and one that is the result of consent. That is, of course, the rape part.

      • T. J. Babson said, on October 26, 2012 at 11:13 am

        The term “rape” covers a lot of ground and doesn’t always mean forcible rape. It could mean, for example, statutory rape between two people who love each other. And, of course, a woman can always withdraw her consent post coitus and re-frame a bad decision into rape. It happens. A lot of date rape falls into this category.

      • T. J. Babson said, on October 26, 2012 at 11:15 am

        For concreteness, let’s talk about a 3rd semester baby that could be viable in a neo-natal unit. This way you can’t get away so easily with the dehumanizing term “zygote.”

        • WTP said, on October 26, 2012 at 11:23 am

          I think you mean 3rd trimester. I would be interested in hearing an argument as to why anything past the first trimester that does not involve the physical health of the mother would be legitimate. Certainly in the case of rape, there is plenty of time to consider and make a decision such as this.

          • magus71 said, on October 28, 2012 at 12:18 am

            The father of the child has no choice as to if the baby will live or die. Just as he has no say in if he will pay child support. It’s a lose-lose situation. Essentially, under the law, the man is merely a provider of sperm and a money machine.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 28, 2012 at 6:11 am

              Since men don’t actually have to carry the child, some disparity would seem justified. But it is worth considering if the laws are fair.

            • WTP said, on October 28, 2012 at 9:16 am

              Well, we’re off the subject of rape now, and not sure how this addresses my point specifically, but in the interest of the general discussion of abortion…

              I agree that the father is in a lose-lose situation here. Ideally the man would also have the choice to abandon child support if the woman chooses not to have an abortion. Of course that leads to a significant burden on society for those women who cannot, or more likely will not, support themselves and their child. Over a longer term this would lead to fewer unwanted pregnancies, but the overall cost might not be worth correcting the injustice done to the father by forcing him to support a child he does not want. However, this is presenting the man as a victim in this scenario. He had a choice in what woman he would have sex with. If he should know the woman well enough (preferably enough to be married to her) to not be in this situation in the first place.

              I actually agree to some point with Mike here. The woman is biologically tied to the pregnancy. But getting back to my point, there is no reason for choice-based abortion beyond the 2nd month, let alone the 1st trimester.

            • magus71 said, on October 28, 2012 at 10:01 am

              My point is that, although I am not for power without responsibility, I am not for responsibility without power either. I believe there are women who are predatory in their actions within the relationship/baby/cash matrix. By forming a relationship, a woman can fulfill her biological imperative of motherhood, and financial security via child support and state aid. You are right, men choose whom they have sex with.

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 28, 2012 at 10:17 am

              I think the idea of single motherhood has a romantic appeal to a lot of women. Many are tempted to push the fathers out of the nest while still keeping him on the hook financially, of course. This situation is enabled by the courts who almost always award custody of children to mothers.

              Why shouldn’t fathers be awarded custody of the children about 50% of the time?

            • biomass2 said, on October 28, 2012 at 10:25 am

              “I think the idea of single motherhood has a romantic appeal to a lot of women. ”
              I’m sure there are some whacko politicians, preachers, insurance salesmen out there who believe women go out looking for a rapist to fulfill their romantic dreams. 🙂
              Just a theory. . .

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 28, 2012 at 10:32 am

              Nice context removal, biomass! Have you thought about going into politics?

            • biomass2 said, on October 28, 2012 at 2:39 pm

              Thanks, TJ. I was so struck by your first sentence that I never bothered to read further.

              The single woman could simply go to a sperm bank. Mama gets to fulfill her “romantic” goal. No need to bring the father “into the nest”. No legal entanglements. No financial responsibilities. Except for the mother, of course. And no arguments about custody! Which is, indeed, sad, because , as we all know, primary custody “has a romantic appeal to “a lot of” men. . .

              Especially those emotionally needy rapists. The sperm bank relieves the woman of the need to seek a sad potential rapist at the local bar. Or to involve herself in the ‘minor’ (shall we say ‘romantic’) physical and emotional destruction that a rape involves.

            • WTP said, on October 28, 2012 at 3:03 pm

              re magus: I believe there are women who are predatory in their actions within the relationship/baby/cash matrix.

              Oh, I agree completely. They can be as deceptive and devious as the cads they often fall for.

  2. laurent said, on October 26, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Simply put, the utter uselessness and cruelty of the “standard” god makes it so repulsive that we are better off without such a being. That is what theodicy tries to tiptoe around without success.
    Also, for a secular person, rage and contempt are the only appropriate feelings toward those that would shackle them with their perverted ideas.
    Maybe the tone is harsh, but sometimes I feel like you are so dispassionate in your exposition that it hurts to read (even though it is correct).

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 26, 2012 at 11:10 am

      There is, of course, a downside to being dispassionate. As you note, it can have an impact on the reader. However, an objective and fair assessment does require reigning in the emotions and that is part of engaging in philosophical discussion. But, of course, there is the risk of going so far as to become a bit bloodless.

    • WTP said, on October 26, 2012 at 11:21 am

      for a secular person, rage and contempt are the only appropriate feelings toward those that would shackle them with their perverted ideas.

      Please explain why rage and contempt are appropriate feelings toward those expressing ideas? Ideas cannot “shackle” you without your consent.

      • laurent said, on October 26, 2012 at 2:05 pm

        Simply put, that Mourdock fellow viewpoint is that it is perfectly ok to use the power of the state (via the law) to coerce women and reduce their choices concerning the disposition of their own bodies, i.e. making abortion illegal no matter what dire circumstances arise. It is cowardly, abusive and plainly wrong. Now, shackling accomplished by the state does not require consent, it becomes irrelevant. In fact, I am glad that guy expressed his ideas, caveat emptor.

        • WTP said, on October 26, 2012 at 2:16 pm

          So you’re ok with rage and contempt toward those whose viewpoint it is that it is perfectly ok to use the power of the state to force the rest of us to pay for their birth control and even subsidizing those who pay for their abortions?

          • laurent said, on October 26, 2012 at 2:55 pm

            Short answer: No. Because the two types of action are not equivalent. Many things are mandated by law, a great many of those are beneficial from an utilitarian standpoint, including birth control and abortions. Also, If I contribute to someone else’s birth control (which is actually true), I dont mind because it is a net benefit, later on I may very well benefit from someone else’s contribution. There is a great difference between requiring a small contribution from someone for a collective good and imposing restrictions on a personal choice by force.
            I know that the point has been made better by someone else, so I wont go further but you can find a rationale for that on economics web sites.
            However, where does the rage and contempt really come in, I might simply have expressed disagreement.
            The rage is from the thought that an ignorant, fanatical, would be high official would consider it ok to take an important choice away from half of the population.
            The contempt comes from the fact that for a person with his resources (education, money, privilege) did not bother to develop a more enlightened attitude. You expect that from a Taliban but from a privileged person in a rich society ?

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 26, 2012 at 3:06 pm

              laurent, how would a thinker like Gandhi –a believer in ahimsa–view abortion?

              Or is Gandhi not sufficiently enlightened for your taste?

            • WTP said, on October 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm

              So when “mandated by law” it’s OK? As for a utilitarian standpoint, this could be argued from the pro-life position. Human beings are very useful and have tremendous potential.

              Notice that when it is a Leftist position, it is a “small contribution”. It’s not a “contribution” if it is not voluntary. If YOU want to contribute to someone’s birth control, you go right ahead. No one is stopping you. You might take some time to consider someone else’s view point. While I disagree with the pro-life position, I do not believe that they, as citizens, should be required to finance such individually targeted and morally suspect actions. We’re not talking about roads, police, or military from which the whole country benifits. This is a person’s individual choice.

            • laurent said, on October 26, 2012 at 3:36 pm

              Cant reply anymore so I will have to post an addendum:
              To Babson:

              About Gandhi, two quotes:

              “It seems to me as clear as daylight that abortion would be a crime.”

              “In the ideal State, therefore, there is no political power because there is no State. But the ideal is never fully realized in life. Hence the classical statement of Thoreau that Government is
              best which governs the least”

              So it seems to me that his personal views would not have been a sufficient motive for him to hire the state as an enforcer.

              The “best” part of Gandhi’s enlightenment in my opinion was his perceptive, practical and devastating understanding of the weaknesses of the colonial powers, former lawyer, British trained (the irony !).

              To WTP:

              The state does a great, big, large number of things that are morally suspect. Denying birth control funding is a bit like denying health care to smokers, a bad calculation in both cases. We cannot pick and choose state funding in a great level of detail, to me it is a reason to elect politicians who have a modicum of judgment to reduce the number of objectionable things.

              I will not reply further because I do not want to abuse Mr. Labossiere’s blog which I like a lot.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 26, 2012 at 5:01 pm

              Replying to people is no abuse. Replying to WTP is, in fact, a public service.

            • WTP said, on October 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm

              Don’t cop out on that excuse. Mr. Labossiere can let us know when we’re “abusing the blog”.

              Just because the state does a great, big, large number of things that are morally suspect, this is not a reason to accept that it do such things. This is a significant factor in the reasoning of keeping the state as small as necessary. Denying free birth control is nothing at all like denying health care to smokers. And where in the US has health care been denied to smokers? Birth control is widely available and relatively cheap. No one is denying anyone access to either of these things.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 26, 2012 at 4:58 pm

          True- it is good to what people actually think.

          • laurent said, on October 29, 2012 at 11:59 am

            To WTP:
            The common point between denying health care services to smokers and denying birth control services is the following: both denials are made on the grounds that no one should pay for someone else s unfortunate consequences to a personal decision (smoke, or have sex). Of course both denials are short sighted and harmful, I am just making the similarity clear, not endorsing that.
            Now, lets consider the question of public policy regarding health. The sad truth is that people (myself included) are heavily influenced by the situation they live in and often do not make rational choices regarding their own health, some self reflection will make this evident to most people. Because of those limitations of rational behavior, it helps to set up a better situation by lowering barriers to sensible behavior, such as pricing and availability of health services. Denial does not have to be obvious to be effective, just push to make the services rare, difficult to access or bothersome and your work is done.
            In the case of reproductive health care, the current trend in the US is towards a catastrophic regression
            as evidenced by the fact that a sizable group of politicos (Akin etc) are going from harmful neglect (underfunding planned parenthood) to state enforced hardship.
            P.S. You may find interesting entries at: http://thesituationist.wordpress.com/.

            • WTP said, on October 29, 2012 at 4:11 pm

              Again, you state this as if people are being denied access. Access is available, the only question is who pays for it. If you choose to purchase the kind of insurance that covers these items, you are covered. Smokers have access to coverage, they simply must pay more for it. If the government were the only provider of health care, you won’t even have an option.

              As for birth control, it is relatively cheap. If you can’t afford $10/month or so for BC, you are not responsible enough for yourself to be trusted even to use it. And you probably shouldn’t be having sex in the first place. What is short sighted is taking away people’s sense of being responsible for themselves and their behaviors. You don’t have to smoke and you can even engage in numerous sex acts that do not require birth control.

              If a population is so heavily influenced by the situation they live in and often do not make rational choices regarding their own health, then we must change the situations they live in. One situation that needs to change is a sense of personal responsibility.

              Because of those limitations of rational behavior, it helps to set up a better situation by lowering barriers to sensible behavior, such as pricing and availability of health services. I’m not even sure what “lowering barriers to sensible behavior” would be. There are barriers to common sense? What you have generally presented here is an obfuscation of responsibility and who is to pay for the irresponsibility of others. “it helps to set up a better situation”…”it” helps. Who is “it” that is going to “set up” this situation and where will they get the resources from? What you really mean is “government should take money from those according to their abilities to support those according to their needs”.

  3. FRE said, on October 26, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Assuming that God is in total control, if He did not approve of induced abortions, then induced abortions would be impossible. Thus, since induced abortions do occur, that must be because God wills them to occur.

    Actually, I think that people who profess to know the will of God at all times are very mistaken and actually dangerous.

    • biomass2 said, on October 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      Thank you. End of discussion.

  4. T. J. Babson said, on October 26, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    What bothers me about the current abortion debate is the lack of acknowledgment from those on the left that abortion is not, in fact, a positive thing and that something alive–be it a zygote, a fetus, or a baby–is being destroyed. Destroying life, although sometimes necessary, is never a good thing. Even killing insects is morally troubling.

    • biomass2 said, on October 26, 2012 at 6:04 pm

      Smash an ant, and your sense of morality is troubled.
      Possibly ruin a woman’s life because she was raped or was indiscreet once or twice, and your moral scale barely quivers.
      Equating a zygote (or whatever) to a mature or even immature female isn’t as morally troubling to you as smashing a fly.

      • T. J. Babson said, on October 26, 2012 at 9:09 pm

        I understand that abortions are sometimes needed, biomass, but I find abortions troubling for a number of reasons.

        In any case, the ruling matriarchy will ensure that unrestricted abortion will remain the law of the land so no need to worry.

        • biomass2 said, on October 26, 2012 at 9:37 pm

          From today— look back at your 12:52pm and my 5:14pm above, Teej. You brought the “ruling matriarchy” into the discussion, but you never defended your claim.
          Better do so before you claim that “the ruling matriarchy will ensure that unrestricted abortion will remain the law of the land so no need to worry”—^especially^ since the current law does not allow “unrestricted abortion” , so “ensur[ing] that it would “remain” “unrestricted” would be rather difficult.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 27, 2012 at 6:41 am

          The US is not a matriarchy. Also, abortion is not unrestricted.

          • T. J. Babson said, on October 27, 2012 at 8:42 am

            On a continuum from patriarchy to matriarchy, the U.S. is closer to being a matriarchy than a patriarchy.

            And what significant restrictions are there to abortion?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 27, 2012 at 9:47 am

              Can you give any support for that claim?

              Unrestricted abortion would mean just that-no restrictions at all. There are restrictions set by law. Surely you are familiar with these laws.

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm

              Of course. Women are freer, live longer, and have more opportunities and rights than men.

              One example. 40% of domestic violence victims are men. Does anybody care? No.

              About two in five of all victims of domestic violence are men, contradicting the widespread impression that it is almost always women who are left battered and bruised, a new report claims.

              Men assaulted by their partners are often ignored by police, see their attacker go free and have far fewer refuges to flee to than women, says a study by the men’s rights campaign group Parity.

              The charity’s analysis of statistics on domestic violence shows the number of men attacked by wives or girlfriends is much higher than thought. Its report, Domestic Violence: The Male Perspective, states: “Domestic violence is often seen as a female victim/male perpetrator problem, but the evidence demonstrates that this is a false picture.”


            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm

              Assuming that domestic violence is split between men and women, that means women make up 60% of the victims. Also, people do care. A trial I was called for was an assault case against a man by a woman. We were asked if a woman could domestically abuse a man and no one disagreed. While there is a cultural stigma about men admitting they are victims, this hardly proves a matriarchy.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 27, 2012 at 4:20 pm

              Women do live longer, on average, but how does that show there is a matriarchy?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm

              I do agree that there are unfair advantages possessed by women (especially in education). However, this also hardly shows we have a matriarchy. After all congress is over. 80% men and leadership positions in most fields are generally held by men.

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 27, 2012 at 3:49 pm

              Here is a link to abortion laws: http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_OAL.pdf

              It is true that in many states abortions must be performed by licensed physicians, so I guess that qualifies for a “restriction” in Mike’s view.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 27, 2012 at 4:14 pm

              Your linked PDF lists several categories of restrictions.

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm

              “After all congress is over. 80% men and leadership positions in most fields are generally held by men.”

              So what? I am talking about averages and you point to a couple of people at the top. Proves nothing.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 27, 2012 at 4:50 pm

              So, are you claiming that women dominate and control society, just not the top positions? What sort of matriarchy are you talking about ?

            • FRE said, on October 27, 2012 at 5:35 pm

              It’s interesting that although it is not uncommon for men to be anally raped, that fact is generally unknown and even those who are aware of it do all in their power to hush it up. Male victims of rape are often ridiculed as if it were their fault for being raped.

              In ancient times, male rape was more likely to be recognized. The OT passages in the Bible which are often quoted to proscribe same-sex relationships were probably written to condemn male rape.

              A google search will show that in some parts of the world, raping males is used as a weapon of war just as raping females is. Yet, we almost never hear about it except in the context of prison rape. Try a google search on “male rape” and “male rape africa.” Also, check out the following links:




          • T. J. Babson said, on October 27, 2012 at 8:03 pm

            I will concede the point on “unrestricted” abortion. This was hyperbole.

            In terms of the U.S. being a matriarchy, I can think of a number of societal advantages that accrue to women, but not one that favors men.

            Do you know of any societal advantages that men have?

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 27, 2012 at 8:04 pm

              Why do only men have to register for the draft, for example?

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 27, 2012 at 8:12 pm

              From Wikipedia:

              People with prostate cancer generally encounter significant disparities in awareness, funding, media coverage, and research—and therefore, inferior treatment and poorer outcomes—compared to other cancers of equal prevalence.[152] In 2001, The Guardian noted that Britain had 3,000 nurses specializing in breast cancer, compared to only one for prostate cancer. It also discovered that the waiting time between referral and diagnosis was two weeks for breast cancer but three months for prostate cancer.[153] A 2007 report by the U.S.-based National Prostate Cancer Coalition stated that for every prostate cancer drug on the market, there were seven used to treat breast cancer. The Times also noted an “anti-male bias in cancer funding” with a four to one discrepancy in the United Kingdom by both the government and by cancer charities such as Cancer Research UK.[152][154] Equality campaigners such as author Warren Farrell cite such stark spending inequalities as a clear example of governments unfairly favouring women’s health over men’s health.[155]

              Disparities also extend into areas such as detection, with governments failing to fund or mandate prostate cancer screening while fully supporting breast cancer programs. For example, a 2007 report found 49 U.S. states mandate insurance coverage for routine breast cancer screening, compared to 28 for prostate cancer.[152][156] Prostate cancer also experiences significantly less media coverage than other, equally prevalent cancers, with a study by Prostate Coalition showing 2.6 breast cancer stories for each one covering cancer of the prostate.[152]

              Prostate Cancer Awareness Month takes place in September in a number of countries. A light blue ribbon is used to promote the cause.[157][158]


            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 28, 2012 at 6:04 am

              Part of the disparity could be attributed to the differences between the cancers-prostate cancer is often such a slow killer that men die of old age before it has a chance to kill them.

              Also, breast cancer has had considerable pr-so the cause need not be matriarchy but a matter of promotion.

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm

              More broadly, men die 5.3 years younger than women, and spend their last decade in worse health. There are more than four widows for every widower.

              Yet when I searched PubMed, which indexes 3,000 medical journals over the past 58 years, I found 22,304 articles with the keywords “women’s health,” but only 586
              with “men’s health.” That’s 39 articles related to women’s health for every one on men’s. A review of Charity Navigator, the leading database of nonprofits, finds that nearly all the gender-specific health-related nonprofits are on behalf of women.

              If women suffer a deficit, for example, the “underrepresentation” of women in engineering, we typically see significant efforts at redress. Yet, when men have the deficit—even the ultimate deficit: they die younger—not only is there not redress, but the opposite occurs: disproportionate amounts of research and outreach are directed at women’s health.


            • T. J. Babson said, on October 27, 2012 at 8:36 pm

              For example, when few women are in a lucrative profession, for instance, computer science or engineering, most universities and large employers install reverse discrimination policies to avoid organizations such as NOW tarring them with the dreaded epithet, “sexist!” Yet, where is NOW’s and the media’s outrage when women are overrepresented in a desirable career such as pharmacist? Where’s the outrage over the fact that only men must register for the draft, the obligation to risk getting one’s head blown off?

              Another example of the New Double Standard: Leading women’s advocates have, with little substantiation, made statements about men that never would be tolerated if said about women:

              “As far as I’m concerned, men are the product of a damaged gene.” (Germaine Greer, in in an invited address at the Alert! Conference.)

              “All men are rapists and that’s all they are.” (Marilyn French, author of the feminist classic, The Women’s Room, in a People magazine interview.)

              “I believe that women have a capacity for understanding and compassion which a man structurally does not have, does not have it because he cannot have it. He’s just incapable of it.” (Former congresswoman Barbara Jordan)

              None of those leaders suffered significant reprisals. In contrast, consider what happened when Harvard president, Lawrence Summers, in an internal brainstorming meeting, in response to a request to be provocative, merely hypothesized, with multiple qualifications, that innate differences might partly explain why more men are in science. That statement, especially when opined in a private meeting, is not only less devastating to women than the above statements are to men, substantial research supports Summers’ hypothesis. Yet, a national firestorm led by NOW ensued demanding Summers’ firing, and Harvard’s 762-member Faculty of Arts and Sciences issued an unprecedented and career-devastating vote of lack of confidence in Summers.

              This establishes a new double standard: you can, without reprisal, viciously denigrate men without substantiation but dare you make a milder statement about women, your career is eviscerated. That double standard will make academics, leaders, and the media think 10 times before saying something negative about a woman, but not about a man. That will immeasurably hurt how men are treated today, and in future generations.


            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 28, 2012 at 6:09 am

              I would not say “double standard” but would rather say that there is a moral inconsistency.

              I do agree that there has been a general silence when it comes to certain matters. For example, in my 2008 book I have an essay on disparity in education and note that the people who were so loud when women were a minority are now silent or attribute the difference to what seems to be claims of male inferiority.

            • WTP said, on October 28, 2012 at 9:00 am

              Also, breast cancer has had considerable pr-so the cause need not be matriarchy but a matter of promotion.

              As if the PR is just some part of the environment with no discernible source. Take the point and neutralize it with circle logic. I hope Mike has some sort of philosopher’s malpractice insurance. Who knows what results may come from future studies of the potential damage caused by excessive eye rolling.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 26, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      Abortion is not a positive thing. I would prefer that every pregnancy was a wanted one and that every child would be loved and grow up in a just world.

      Abortion is a morally significant action, but can be morally justified. I do respect the moral view that all killing is wrong.

    • FRE said, on October 26, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      I agree, although I still would not want abortion to be illegal, at least during the early stages of pregnancy.

      People cheered when Asama Bin Laden (spelling?) was killed; I didn’t. Probably, considering the evil he did, he did deserve to die, but even so, death is nothing to cheer about.

      • magus71 said, on October 27, 2012 at 10:37 am

        Fre is now comparing abortions to killing bin Laden. Is that really a good comparison? This is what modern philosophy has brought us. Wringing hands about killing arch terrorists and calling killing babies a woman’s choice.

        • WTP said, on October 27, 2012 at 10:53 am

          It’s one of those comments to which my father used to say, “You can tell he was never fired at in anger”.

          • magus71 said, on October 27, 2012 at 11:12 am

            Yup. It’s why when I’m choosing people for my team at work, I first consider those who played a sport at some point in their life. It’s not perfect, but it at least gives me somewhere to start in knowing if a person can actually deal with the real world, a world that pushes back and usually doesn’t hand out participation trophies.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 27, 2012 at 12:42 pm

              I agree.

            • biomass2 said, on October 27, 2012 at 4:10 pm

              Glad you feel this measuring stick is “not perfect”. Else the fact that I competed in track for three years (discus) and gave football a shot* for a few months, and fell only a bit short of a black belt in Taekwondo could move me a bit higher on your demanding scale. . . ? Or is this criteria as much in question as your moonbat scale?

              * After practice one day three friends and I stole some sodas out of the refrigerator in the principal’s office. Would you have been the one who went to the principal and confessed? Or among thosewho stuck by his buddies? 🙂

            • magus71 said, on October 28, 2012 at 4:39 pm

              Actually, biomass2, I respect you more knowing that you threw discus.

            • biomass2 said, on October 28, 2012 at 7:08 pm

              Nothing personal, magus, but I don’t respect you more knowing that you respect me more for throwing the discus. 🙂

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm

          Yes, that is exactly what modern philosophy is all about. In some possible world, but not this one.

        • biomass2 said, on October 27, 2012 at 3:57 pm

          I may need a refresher course here. What is a baby? Does an abortion occur before or after birth? Did Roe legalize killing babies? Perhaps you could resist the phrase “killing babies” until the House or the Supreme Court manage to legislate a rewriting of our dictionaries. 🙂

          • magus71 said, on October 28, 2012 at 4:55 pm

            That is the question, isn’t it? Which is why the people who harp on those who want to take a woman’s “choice” away, completely miss the point. The question is not about choice, but when life begins. I happen to think that when a fetus has measurable heart beats or brain waves, that it is killing a human being if we destroy the fetus. When I look at my daughter and consider that a surgical procedure procedure could have disrupted the process that would lead to what she is now, I consider that process murder.

            And let’s not consider what abortion is really all about: Money. At 400-1000 dollars an abortion, and some clinics performing 200-800 abortions per month, well, you do the math. The doctors make cash for a 15 minute procedure. It is in my opinion, the greatest industrialized slaughter in the history of mankind. We’ll pay the price eventually, whether you believe in God or not. No people can survive the moral disintegration that it takes to enable this activity.

            • biomass2 said, on October 28, 2012 at 7:55 pm

              That’s not really the question. The specific issue I raised was the bumper-stickering of the issue and the slaughter of the language. In no respectable source can I find the term “baby” defined as anything other than a babe, a kid, or a very young child.

              We can discuss when life begins. But If we’re speaking in English , a living, useful language , we will not be discussing ‘babies’. Unless and until, of course, the existing dictionaries are changed.

              In fact, I believe we’ve had this discussion about the beginning of life on here before.
              If I understand your definition, you believe that life begins with heart beat or brain waves. That would put it somewhere around the end of month 1 and the end of month 2. A one month range in a 9 month span, but at least it’s a point at which to start a reasonable discussion. But, of course, all this ignores the debate about when ‘human’ life begins (see Jerome below).

              Those on the other side of both you and me wouldn’t even allow that much leeway. They want abortions banned at all times in all cases. Even in cases of incest, abortion, and the health of the mother. Some even believe life begins at conception. Then there’s this: ” Among the condemnations is one by Jerome which refers to an apparent oral form of contraception: ‘Some go so far as to take potions, that they may insure barrenness, and thus murder human beings almost before their conception.'” Wikipedia, “Christian Views on Contraception” If Jerome were alive today, only God knows if he would he condemn a woman who has her uterus removed.

              In the end, for me to even begin the discussion, I’d have to agree with the reckless bumper sticker use of the term ‘baby’. I don’t.

            • biomass2 said, on October 29, 2012 at 7:32 am

              “Even in cases of incest, abortion, and the health of the mother. . .”
              Change that to “Even in cases of incest, rape, and the health of the mother . . .”


  5. Logarchism » The Problem of Evil said, on October 28, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    […] Mour­dock, God & Rape […]

  6. […] Mourdock, God & Rape (aphilosopher.wordpress.com) […]

  7. magus71 said, on October 30, 2012 at 6:04 am


    Many of the arguments for government funded birth control prove to me that the slippery slope argument is valid. It is not a philosophic imperative, it is human psychology. People can find many things that the government does fund, and thus, in order to maintain consistency, discover an ever growing list of services that the government should supply. It’s like parents of have 8 kids, and after buying one kid a car, must buy the other 7 a car, too, even though their bank account can’t handle it.

    • T. J. Babson said, on October 30, 2012 at 7:31 am

      And as every parent learns, it is best to get each child exactly the same item–down to the color–otherwise “grass is greener” syndrome sets in.

      • biomass2 said, on October 30, 2012 at 10:03 am

        Not to worry, TJ. Any patriarch worth his salt will step in and make sure the family unit is safe from the “grass is greener” syndrome.

        • T. J. Babson said, on October 30, 2012 at 10:23 am

          Patriarchs are extinct, biomass. You may as well be talking about the woolly mammoth.

          • biomass2 said, on October 30, 2012 at 11:00 am

            Matriarchs are extinct, TJ. The Catholic church knows it . The Mormon Church is holding up its end in this regard. Many Fundamentalist church teachings guarantee such an outcome. Keep the women fat and pregnant and home to raise the kids. Men rule the roost—the little roost (home) and the big roost (everything else). The mother may rule the family unit (until Dad intervenes) but she’s too busy popping out kids and washing floors to go far beyond that. That’s the world those churches promote. Exceptions (Mitt Romney’s wife doesn’t have to clean house. She just gets hubby to buy a new one. 🙂 ) But very few patriarchs become part of the Patriarchy.

            Women never had a chance.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 30, 2012 at 11:27 am

        This assumes that we are all and always children.

    • biomass2 said, on October 30, 2012 at 9:15 am

      If the “slope” is valid, we must remember that the slope runs both directions from the top.

      On the side you’re supporting, the nasty ol’ slope slips inevitably from government providing reasonable necessary services to the government providing all services. From the opposing pov the slope runs from government providing reasonable services to government providing no services whatsoever.

      On the side you’re supporting, the evil slope slides from government enforcing necessary regulations straight, like a shot, with nothing to stop it, to the government regulating everything. On the other side the slope slides from government enforcing necessary regulations to government regulating absolutely nothing.

      But we both know the slope isn’t”valid”. It may operate as you describe on rare occasions, but such occasions aren’t predictable. Meanwhile, the whole slippery slope surrounds us with fear. But not with reason.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 30, 2012 at 11:26 am

      For the “slippery slope” arguments to avoid becoming slippery slope fallacies what is needed is evidence (premises) that link the funding of birth control to the dire consequences you envision. While you do use the car analogy, if that analogy holds then it would seem to apply to everything the state provides. That is, if the state funds X (anything), then the dire consequences attributed to state funding of birth control would thus follow.

      So, given your line of reasoning, if the state funds the rescue efforts during and after Sandy, then this would lead to the same dire consequences. That seems absurd.

      Presumably (as Biomass indicated) the only way to check the slide is have the government fund nothing. That would also be absurd.

      Interestingly, the funding of birth control is a good investment in that it is a money saver for the state.

      • magus71 said, on October 30, 2012 at 1:48 pm


        Again, this is about human tendancies and psychology, not philosophy. I am not argIt actually applies to you, because you on several occasions have argued for certain government expenditures while defending those expenditures with current or past similar programs. Certainly, if you can argue for free birth control, you can argue for free housing, food and water for everyone. Why don’t you make that arguement?

        “That is, if the state funds X (anything), then the dire consequences attributed to state funding of birth control would thus follow.”

        No. This is about a thousand needles breaking a camel’s back. At some point, it is right to say no to a request for government support, even if prior expenditures were similar. Past programs do not require future programs merely for the sake of consistancy. Just because I give my daughter a piece of candy today, does not require that I give her candy tomorrow. Is it faulty reasoning to argue that if I give her candy three days in a row, I will strengthen an expectation for candy on the 4th day? And when my daughter has a job, she can buy her own candy. And women can buy their own birth control.

        Your arguments, Mike, are in fact proof that the slippery slope indeed occurs. When people get something for free from the government, they are always able to argue for other things they should get for free.

        • WTP said, on October 30, 2012 at 2:07 pm

          Which is the problem with slippery slope arguments. If you let one to stand, before you know it people want to apply them everywhere.

        • biomass2 said, on October 30, 2012 at 3:37 pm

          WTP: Are you referring to a situation where the top of the slope is located at the point where an individual identifies and attacks a muddy slippery slope argument?
          Before you know it, someone may characterize the attack on the slippery slope argument as just another slippery slope argument . That would result, inevitably (I assume) in “people want[ing] to apply attacks on [slippery slope arguments?] everywhere”—even, I presume, in the latrine of a restaurant in the countryside of India .
          I haven’t seen your claim (or my facetious continuation of it) come true. Of course, I haven’t been everywhere. But you have, I imagine. Everywhere is a big, big place.
          It’s almost Halloween! Beware the slippery slope!

  8. […] Mourdock, God & Rape (aphilosopher.wordpress.com) […]

  9. […] Mourdock, God & Rape (aphilosopher.wordpress.com) […]

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