En Tequila Es Verdad/progressive conservatism/post/2009/03/09/1612

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March 9, 2009 4:12 PM - Woozle

Woozle said...

A ghostly elephant stigma has begun slowly appearing on my forehead, so it's probably time I finished this response... the deadline-project isn't "done", exactly, but the finish-or-drop-dead part seems to be.

===Abortion thread===

Woozle: "Since you've changed the subject, I'm assuming you've abandoned the claim that "Abortion clinic violence is almost non-existent these days."
Mike: "I wasn’t trying to change the subject. To repeat my original statement, abortion violence IS almost non-existent when we look at it as a ratio to the number of abortion seekers, as a ratio to the size of our overall population, as a ratio to crime in general or types of crimes specifically."

Whether or not you meant to, this is in fact a different subject. We were talking about your claim that "Abortion clinic violence is almost non-existent these days."; you're now saying that the ratio of [abortion clinic incidents] to [abortion seekers] is very low -- which is another claim altogether.

Also, you compared the number of incidents to the number of abortions; given that each clinic performs many abortions, this probably means a rather high number of incidents for each clinic -- which is relevant to considering the difficulty of keeping a clinic open and meeting operating expenses. (Yes, I inadvertantly overlooked this factor earlier.)

Mike: "Having reviewed the statistics for this discussion I actually see it as even less of an issue than I did before, and given that abortion rates dropped as violence also declined, it’s hard to really even draw any kind of corollaries between the two numbers."

Brief recap:
* I had suggested grounds for a possible truce between "pro-lifers" and "pro-choicers", and mentioned working against abortion clinic violence as something that pro-lifers could bring to the table
* you claimed that abortion clinic violence was "almost nonexistent nowadays"
* I gave you a graph which refuted that claim
* you claimed I was cherrypicking indicators to prove my point
* I suggested that you give me a list of indicators you would consider relevant to the question.
* You attempted to downplay the significance of abortion clinic violence as an issue

I'm thinking that this particular sub-discussion has become rather a waste of time. If you don't want to negotiate on that point, then don't. But it's still an issue for those who are pro-choice: we don't believe that violence, or threats of same, should be an issue for abortion-seekers or abortion clinics -- any more than it should be for other kinds of patients at other medical facilities.

We may disagree about whether abortion is killing (or "should be considered murder", if you prefer), but violence and threats against women who are doing nothing illegal is wrong -- and we should be able to agree on that.

Protesting outside a clinic is fine, but protest signs shouldn't make threats and should at least have some kind of factual basis for their claims. All abortion protesters generally have to offer is Biblical quotes, faked abortion photos, and fear-based emotional rhetoric.

The uglier the protest signs get, the less sympathetic I am. I have yet to see a fact-based anti-abortion sign.

---

Mike: "In my opinion though, what the statistics prove is that regardless of how we graph the numbers the ratio of clinic violence to abortions is something like 1 act of violence for every 10,000 abortions. Given the view that many pro-lifers hold, which is that abortion = murder, I’d say we’re doing pretty good."
Woozle: "So... the end justifies the means, and they started it, and it's okay to commit violence on people because you believe it's the right thing to do, even if society doesn't agree with you?"
Mike: "I apologize if you mistook my comment as saying I’m okay with violence. I was trying to say that as a society we are doing pretty good giving the fact that abortion violence is so low."

That was actually my bad; you had made a point of stating specifically that you weren't condoning violence.

I kept arriving back at that assumption, however, because I couldn't figure out what you meant by "doing pretty good". The only other interpretation I can think of is that you're doing well compared to those who commit violence for reasons other than protesting abortion -- but I can only think that you set higher standards for yourself than that, so that can't be right either.

Compared to what, then?

Fact check: in 2005, 1.21 million abortions vs. 761 incidents of violence and 14,034 incidents of harassment - ratios of ~1590 abortions/incident and ~86 abortions/incident.

For comparison, the US crime rate in 2005, when the population of 296,507,061, was 11,565,499 crimes (one crime for every ~25 people) including 1,390,745 violent crimes (one incident per 213 people), so yeah, you're doing better than common criminals at least.

---

Woozle: "A teen who attends an abstinence-only class will continue to feel compelled (by hormones and sexual wiring) to have sex..."
Mike: "I still find it extremely hard to swallow the notion that teens will attend the class and only take away half the message (contraception is wrong) while ignoring the other half (premarital sex is wrong)."

Try teaching a room full of alcoholics about the moral hazards of drunkenness. Then teach them that if they are going to get drunk, there's no point in getting a designated driver because even designated drivers can have wrecks. Now ask yourself: Do you think both lessons will be equally effective? How effectively do you think a student in this class will be able to avoid getting in a drunk driving accident?

Mike: "It sounds to me like you’re trying to have your cake and eat it too, which is to suggest that the class can change behaviors, but only the ones that reinforce your notion that the class actually does harm versus no class at all."

I'm only telling you what the data show to be happening. Show me where my interpretation is wrong.

Mike: "As I stated earlier, I accept the notion that the classes are not effective, but I refuse to accept the idea that they are more harmful than no class at all, a fact you conceded earlier and now seem to be changing your position on."

I'm not arguing that point, as the evidence for it is sketchy, but I am saying that it wouldn't surprise me at all.

---

And now... this is the third time I have lost part or all of my post, and I've used up most of my (short stretches of) free time for today getting this far, so I am going to post this and call it a day -- but I will answer the rest of your comments.

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