Response to Pro-Choice Blogger: You’re Begging the Question
by Josh Brahm
Somebody emailed me this blog post by someone who goes by the name “uncloseyourmind.” I want to offer a brief response to get him or her thinking more about the issue.
Uncloseyourmind asserts that a person can be identified by asking these four questions:
1. Can the entity act in the world and respond to its environment?
2. Is the entity aware of its own existence?
3. Does the entity possess rights and duties?
4. If it can claim the right to live, does it live independently?
Obviously an unborn child, at least in the first trimester, doesn’t qualify under those standards as a person, except for arguably the first question. An embryo responds to its environment from fertilization.
The third question is actually a perfect example of circular reasoning, as the question at play is whether the unborn has rights. In other words, the implicit argument goes like this: “Does the unborn have rights? That depends on 4 questions, one of which is whether the unborn has rights.” Circular reasoning.
The problem here is that I have no reason to believe that the other qualities, (responding to the world, self-awareness and independence/viability) are morally relevant to determining a human being’s value. Maybe they are morally relevant, but there is no argument made that these are the relevant questions to be asking. They’re merely asserted, and then the blogger argues why the unborn don’t qualify under those asserted qualifications. That’s skipping a step, and it undermines the entire article. It undermines the entire article because every main point the blogger makes during the rest of the article assumes the unborn aren’t “persons,” and because that was never argued for, it’s classic begging the question.
Read the rest of this article at Live Action’s blog.