Someone Finds Me Humorous!

Filed in Science, Social IssuesTags: Cloning, Sanctity of Life, Stem Cells

Apparently, the Primacy of Awesome (who can't seem to follow blog-linking protocol well enough to trackback to my original post), considers me to have made a humorous attempt at reasoning.

To set the stage, from this post at Mary Meets Dolly, I had quoted this article (link appears not to be working at the moment), as follows:

In fact, to attribute rights to embryos is to call for the violation of actual rights. Since the purpose of rights is to enable individuals to secure their well-being, a crucial right, inherent in the right to liberty and property, is the right to do scientific research in pursuit of new medical treatments. To deprive scientists of the freedom to use clusters of cells to do such research is to violate their rights–as well as the rights of all who would contribute to, invest in, or benefit from this research.

I then made the following comparison:

The last person to try such reasoning did so in order to implement said scientific research on another group of humans deemed unworthy of the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The end result: the death of millions of Jews in the Holocaust.

Somehow, the apparently reading-comprehension impaired Primacy of Awesome then came to the following conclusion:

That’s right! Pro-stem cell research equals genocide. And for some reason Ayn Rand is rolling in her grave because… Objectivists are now pro-holocaust? You really gotta see this one to believe it.

First, let me point out that Primacy of Awesome fails to distinguish between embryonic and adult stem cell research; therefore, the first statement of his conclusion is specious. On the matter of embryonic stem cell (ESC) research, that conclusion isn't nearly as hyperbolic as the author would lead you to believe. Considering that the authors of the original article failed in their attempt to redefine the definition of a "human being", the fact that ESC research will require the destruction of countless human embryos may lead some to consider the line of research analogous to genocide.

Second, Primacy of Awesome apparently missed the point of the comparison completely. The original authors tried to use a rationalization that to oppose ESC research in order to defend the sanctity of all human life no matter what age or stage of development equates to denial of the right of other humans to perform scientific research on human embryos for the securement of well-being of other humans. Let me quote again my response to this reasoning:

The last person to try such reasoning did so in order to implement said scientific research on another group of humans deemed unworthy of the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The end result: the death of millions of Jews in the Holocaust.

In that comparison, I did not in any way address the purpose of using such a reasoning, but rather the reasoning itself. Primacy of Awesome missed this point entirely. The similarity lies in the use of the same form of reasoning in order to obtain a desired end.

The Nazis rationalized that Jews were inferior as humans, and thus reasoned that their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were subservient to the Nazis' right to perform scientific experiments on them. The authors rationalized that human embryos are not human beings, and thus reasoned that their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were in violation to the rights of scientists to use them for research for the securement of the well-being of other humans.

The comparison is especially germane, since in both cases, the preliminary rationalization is clearly and demonstrably false. The Jewish victims of the Holocaust were every bit intrinsically valuable has human beings as were the Germans who carried out the Holocaust; likewise, human embryos are every bit intrinsically valuable as human beings as are those who wish to use them for scientific research.

To be quite clear (since, apparently, Primacy of Awesome requires the carification): to compare the use of faulty reasoning in two circumstances makes no inherent value judgement concerning the relative evil of one end versus the other.

I reserve that judgement for abortion.

Update: Primacy of Awesome added a trackback to the original post. Thanks, Mike!

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2 Responses to “Someone Finds Me Humorous!”
  1. Mike says:

    I think I fixed the trackback thing. If not let me know and I’ll try again.

  2. cb says:

    Ah, there it is!

    And, I’m not sure what happened to the original op-ed… it was working yesterday?