A common thing that I see is people trying to wall off arguments they don’t like by stating a slogan, like “you shouldn’t push your moral rules on other people” or “that’s true for you, but not for me”. Those slogans are meant to get the person out of having to be reasonable about respecting moral obligations, or having to consider how the world really works when choosing what to do.
A self-defeating (or self-refuting) statement is one that fails to meet its own standard. In other words, it is a statement that cannot live up to its own criteria. Imagine if I were to say,
I cannot speak a word in English.
You intuitively see a problem here. I told you in English that I cannot speak a word in English. This statement is self-refuting. It does not meet its own standard or criteria. It self-destructs.
The important thing to remember with self-defeating statements is that they are necessarily false. In other words, there is no possible way for them to be true. This is because they violate a very fundamental law of logic, the law of non-contradiction. This law states that A and non-A cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense. For example, it is not possible for God to exist and not exist at the same time and in the same sense. This would violate the law of non-contradiction. So if I were to say, “God told me He doesn’t exist” you would see intuitively the obvious self-refuting nature of this statement.
Aaron goes on to explain how to deal with self-refuting statements in the article.
Have you ever heard any of those? It’s amazing how often I hear statements like that when discussing interesting things like moral issues and politics with young people. The trick to being prepared to answer these is to learn lots of them. Then you recognize them when you hear them.
I’ve blogged about a half-dozen studies from different countries on the link between abortion and breast cancer. It’s always interesting to keep up with the research, so we know what to tell young people about the likely consequences of their choices with sex and abortion. The survey was reported by Life News.
In 2018, the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute funded and published “Induced Abortion as an Independent Risk Factor for Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Studies on South Asian Women” in Issues in Law and Medicine. (A meta-analysis looks at separate but similar studies in order to use the pooled data for statistical significance. It is regarded by scientists as very strong evidence.)
Of the 20 studies analyzed, 16 were done on Indian women. The meta-analysis found a 151% increased risk of breast cancer after an induced abortion.
In 2014, “Breast Cancer and Induced Abortion,” an analysis also published in Issues in Law and Medicine, revealed that the incidence of breast cancers increased 10-14 years after an abortion. This analysis was consistent with the known biology of breast cancer. There was no statistically significant increase in breast cancer risk before 10 years and after 14 years of an abortion.
Induced abortion in India, referred to as “Medical Termination of Pregnancy,” was legalized in 1971. Sons are most highly prized and sex selection abortions, although illegal, are not uncommon.
A study published in the Lancet 2006 and based on conservative assumptions, reported that the practice of sex-selection accounts for about a half million missing female births yearly. Over the past two decades this translates into the abortion of some 10 million female fetuses.
Abortion is especially a problem for Indian women, because – as in China – India is very pro-abortion. Both India and China have a very pro-abortion culture, and sex-selection abortion is seen as normal.
Here are a couple of studies that focused on China and Chinese women who choose abortion.
Based on the expression of estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and HER2/neu (HER2), breast cancer is classified into several subtypes: luminal A (ER+ and/or PR+, HER2-), luminal B (ER+ and/or PR+, HER2+), HER2-overexpressing (ER-, PR-, and HER2+) and triple-negative (ER-, PR-, and HER2-). The aim of this case-control study is to determine reproductive factors associated with breast cancer subtypes in Chinese women. A total of 1,417 patients diagnosed with breast cancer in the First Affiliated Hospital, China Medical University, Shenyang, China between 2001 and 2009 and 1,587 matched controls without a prior breast cancer were enrolled.
[…]Postmenopause and spontaneous abortion were inversely associated with the risk of luminal tumors. By contrast, multiparity, family history of breast cancer and induced abortion increased the risk of breast cancer.
OBJECTIVE: To explore the risk factors of breast cancer for better control and prevention of the malignancy.
METHODS: The clinical data of 232 patients with pathologically established breast cancer were investigated in this 1:1 case-control study to identify the risk factors of breast cancer.
RESULTS: The history of benign breast diseases, family history of carcinoma andmultiple abortions were the statistically significant risk factors of breast cancer, while breast feeding was the protective factor.
CONCLUSION: A history of benign breast diseases, family history of carcinoma and multiple abortions are all risk factors of breast cancer.
Those are both about abortion and breast cancer in China.
IA is significantly associated with an increased risk of breast cancer among Chinese females, and the risk of breast cancer increases as the number of IA increases. If IA were to be confirmed as a risk factor for breast cancer, high rates of IA in China may contribute to increasing breast cancer rates.
The effect seems to be most observable for women who have induced abortions before ever completing a pregnancy.
Even though the United States has massively focused on breast cancer screening and treatment, (in contrast to other cancers, such as prostate cancer), the rate of breast cancer has not declined:
We have so much attention on breast cancer in the West. Many charities raising money for it. Policy changes to promote early testing. Taxpayer money being spent to stop it. And yet the rate has not gone down. It started going up right around the time abortion became legal.
So, what about legislative solutions to this problem? I noticed that the new Senator from Tennessee Marsha Blackburn has already introduced a new piece of legislation designed to stop taxpayer-funding of abortion.
Newly elected Sen. Marsha Blackburn announced Thursday that she has introduced her first bill in the Senate, one that would end federal funding to all abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood.
“Tennesseans and the American people do not want their tax dollars funding abortions,” Blackburn, R-Tenn., said in a statement posted on her Twitter page Friday.
Blackburn, 66, was elected to the Senate on Nov. 6, beating Democrat Phil Bredesen, a former governor. She had previously represented Tennessee in the U.S. House since 2003, and before that, served in the state Senate.
Republicans have introduced similar bills in the House and Senate, but they usually get defeated by Democrats, who are in favor of taxpayer-funding for abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.
If you say that the Christian view is bad because it is exclusive, then you are also at that exact moment doing the very thing that you are saying is bad. You have to be exclusive to say that something is bad, since you exclude it from being good by calling it bad.
There is a difference, a clear difference between tolerance and truth. They are often confused. We should hold to what we believe with integrity but also support the rights of others to disagree with our viewpoint.
Sincerely believing something doesn’t make it true. You can be sincere, but sincerely wrong. If I get onto a plane and sincerely believe that it won’t crash then it does, then my sincerity is quite hopeless. It won’t change the facts. Our beliefs, regardless of how deeply they are held, have no effect on reality.
If my belief is only true for me, then why isn’t your belief only true for you? Aren’t you saying you want me to believe the same thing you do?
You say that no belief is true for everyone, but you want everyone to believe what you do.
You’re making universal claims that relativism is true and absolutism is false. You can’t in the same breath say, ‘Nothing is universally true’ and ‘My view is universally true.’ Relativism falsifies itself. It claims there is one position that is true – relativism!
Now, you may think that the view that the unborn deserve protection during pregnancy is something that you either take on faith or not. But I want to explain how you can make a case for the right to life of the unborn, just by using reason and evidence.
To defend the pro-life position, I think you need to sustain 3 arguments:
The unborn is a living being with human DNA, and is therefore human.
There is no morally-relevant difference between an unborn baby, and one already born.
None of the justifications given for terminating an unborn baby are morally adequate.
Now, the pro-abortion debater may object to point 1, perhaps by claiming that the unborn baby is either not living, or not human, or not distinct from the mother.
Defending point 1: Well, it is pretty obvious that the unborn child is not inanimate matter. It is definitely living and growing through all 9 months of pregnancy. (Click here for a video that shows what a baby looks like through all 9 months of pregnancy). Since it has human DNA, that makes it a human. And its DNA is different from either its mother or father, so it clearly not just a tissue growth of the father or the mother. More on this point at Christian Cadre, here. An unborn child cannot be the woman’s own body, because then the woman would have four arms, four legs, two heads, four eyes and two different DNA signatures. When you have two different human DNA signatures, you have two different humans.
Secondly, the pro-abortion debater may try to identify a characteristic of the unborn that is not yet present or developed while it is still in the womb, and then argue that because the unborn does not have that characteristic, it does not deserve the protection of the law.
Defending point 2: You need to show that the unborn are not different from the already-born in any meaningful way. The main differences between them are: size, level of development, environment and degree of dependence. Once these characteristics are identified, you can explain that none of these differences provide moral justification for terminating a life. For example, babies inside and outside the womb have the same value, because location does not change a human’s intrinsic value.
Additionally, the pro-abortion debater may try to identify a characteristic of the already-born that is not yet present or developed in the unborn, and then argue that because the unborn does not have that characteristic, that it does not deserve protection, (e.g. – sentience). Most of the these objections that you may encounter are refuted in this essay by Francis Beckwith. Usually these objections fall apart because they assume the thing they are trying to prove, namely, that the unborn deserves less protection than the already born.
Finally, the pro-abortion debater may conceded your points 1 and 2, and admit that the unborn is fully human. But they may then try to provide a moral justification for terminating the life of the unborn, regardless.
Defending point 3: I fully grant that it is sometimes justifiable to terminate an innocent human life, if there is a moral justification. Is there such a justification for abortion? One of the best known attempts to justify abortion is Judith Jarvis Thomson’s “violinist” argument. This argument is summarized by Paul Manata, one of the experts over at Triablogue:
Briefly, this argument goes like this: Say a world-famous violinist developed a fatal kidney ailment and the Society of Music Lovers found that only you had the right blood-type to help. So, they therefore have you kidnapped and then attach you to the violinist’s circulatory system so that your kidneys can be used to extract the poison from his. To unplug yourself from the violinist would be to kill him; therefore, pro-lifers would say a person has to stay attached against her will to the violinist for 9 months. Thompson says that it would be morally virtuous to stay plugged-in. But she asks, “Do you have to?” She appeals to our intuitions and answers, “No.”
Manata then goes on to defeat Thomson’s proposal here, with a short, memorable illustration, which I highly recommend that you check out. More info on how to respond to similar arguments is here.
First, a news story – and then we’ll see how the accelerating universe relates to the existence of God.
Three astrophysicists who discovered that the universe’s expansion is accelerating rather than decelerating, as had been expected, win the Nobel Prize in physics.
Adam Riess was sure he’d spotted a blatant error in his results. It was 1997, and the young post-doc’s measurements of distant, exploding stars implied that the universe was expanding at a faster and faster rate, instead of slowing down, as he had expected.
It wasn’t an error at all. Instead, what was at fault were some basic assumptions about the workings of the universe.
On Tuesday, the Johns Hopkins University astrophysicist received the Nobel Prize in physics for the revolutionary discovery and its implications, along with team leader Brian Schmidt of Australian National University and astrophysicist Saul Perlmutter of UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who had reached the same conclusion independently.
At the time of their work, astrophysicists believed that the rate of expansion of the universe — set in motion by the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago — would be slowing down as matter was pulled together by gravity. The goal at the time was to figure out how rapid the deceleration was.
What the two teams found instead was that the expansion of the universe was accelerating — an observation that could best be explained by the existence of a mysterious “dark energy” that pushes matter farther and farther apart.
Many scientists had thought that, just as the universe started with the Big Bang, it would end with a Big Crunch — with gravity pulling all the matter in the universe inward.
Does anyone remember that week that I wrote those posts about “Why I am not a… <insert some religion here>”? I explained why I was not all kinds of different religions and denominations, including Roman Catholicism, Calvinism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, etc. Everyone was offended and we fought about it. Ah, I remember it well.
Now let’s apply science to the Hindu religion and see if they go together, especially this new discovery about the expansion of the universe.
Why I am not a Hindu
Hindu cosmology teaches that the universe cycles between creation and destruction, through infinite time.
The closest cosmological model conforming to Hindu Scriptures is the eternally “oscillating” model of the universe.
The “oscillating” model requires that the universe exist eternally into the past.
So that’s one reason why I am not a Hindu. And now we have more scientific confirmation that there is no cycle of universes coming into being and going out of being.
The absolute origin of the universe out of nothing is also incompatible with Buddhism and Mormonism and maybe other religions. They also require an eternally existing universe.
And modern cosmology disagrees with atheism, too
I think it’s important for all of you to be familiar with the scientific evidence for the Big Bang. It will help you with your cosmological argument, and it will help you to refute many, many other religions that require eternal universes, including atheism.
According to the Secular Humanist Manifesto, atheism is committed to an eternally existing universe, (See the first item: “Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.”). If something non-material brought all existing matter into being, that would be a supernatural cause, and atheists deny that anything supernatural exists. The standard Big Bang theory requires that all the matter in the universe come into being out of nothing. The Big Bang has been confirmed by experimental evidence such as redshift measurements, light element abundances and the cosmic microwave background radiation. This falsifies eternal models of the universe, which are required by atheist Scriptures.
The experimental evidence that confirms the Big Bang creation out of nothing falsifies many worldviews. Those who care about evidence will have to choose some other religion that is compatible with what we know from science today.