Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

He That Despises Reason

It is a standard claim of secular thinking that the problem with religious people is that they are all sentimental old sops who cling irrationally to ideas in direct contradiction to reason. Mark Twain, famously skeptical in his attitude towards religion, quipped that "Faith is believing what you know ain't so."

And yet when it comes to Ramesh Ponnuru's new book on the abortion debate in America, Party of Death, both Peter Berkowitz in the Wall Street Journal and John Derbishire in The New English Review take a reverse approach, feeling (and I use the word consciously in place of 'arguing') that the problem with the pro-life position is that it is too logically rigorous. Who cares if it is true that a unique human being (in the most objective, physically verifiable sense) exists from the moment of conception until natural death. Surely, if people do not naturally feel that humans at all stages of life deserve equal dignity, then it would be wrong to give it to them.

I wish I could say that this falling back on the forces of emotion and eschewing of reason suggested that the pro-choice movement is collapsing. But the sad fact is, most people are idiots most of the time. (Or in Scott Adams slightly more charitable phrase: everyone is an idiot about something.) Most positions are not taken for rational reasons. Most lives are unexamined -- though in the pro-life view (if not in the Derb's), such lives are nonetheless worth living.

Ramesh responded to his critics (mainly Derbishire) in National Review.

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