slyjinks: (Akroma)
Abortion has always been a hotly debated topic, and it would appear to have taken on new life in the last year and a half, with a sudden surge in anti-abortion legislation being proposed and implemented across the country. Among the most extreme of these measures have been the various “Personhood” laws and amendments, and three of the four remaining Republican Presidential candidates have signed Personhood USA's pledge stating, “If elected President, I will work to advance state and federal laws and amendments that recognize the unalienable right to life of all human beings as persons at every stage of development.” All of this begs the question of, “What is the basis for declaring a fertilized egg a Person?”

Brain death is frequently used as the legal indicator of death, but the zygote does not yet have brain life. While fertilization is a very early stage in the development of the human life cycle, at this point the cell does not yet have even the basic requirements for what we normally associate with humanity. That it “will be some day,” is a weak argument, because there are a lot of things that “will be some day,” and are not now. Beyond this, let's face it: the primary justifications for claiming Personhood at conception are based on religious faith. The short form is, the soul enters the egg at the moment it is fertilized, and that's why it's a person. But why make this claim?

While many claim that this argument is based in scripture, the only times the Bible makes mention of when the soul enters a body comes in reference to the “breath of life.” “Then the Lord God Formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” (Genesis 2:7) Here, the Bible is quite specific that Adam is not a living creature until he breathes, and variations of the phrasing “breath of life” as a euphemism for the soul are a recurring theme.

Many point to the first chapter of Jeremiah as evidence instead, where Jeremiah, quoting God, says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you.” (Jeremiah 1:5) However, it can also be argued that this is merely a confirmation of God's all-seeing nature, the idea that he sees all, future and past, and has known each of us from the beginning of time. Further, an examination of the context shows that God is asserting Jeremiah's authority as a prophet despite his youth rather than having a discussion of fetal life. Never mind that the “before” in “before I formed you,” is problematic because it suggests we need to start looking out for the Constitutional rights not only of zygotes but of humans not yet even conceived, a proposal that starts sounding more and more like a Monty Python song.

So that verse is certainly up for interpretation, but is there any reason it can't also mean that a zygote has a soul? That is, is there any Biblical basis for treating an unborn fetus by different rules than an infant or living human? As it turns out, there is. In Genesis 38:24, Leviticus 21:9, and Deuteronomy 22:20-21, the Bible prescribes the penalty of death for a woman who has committed adultery. No exceptions are made if the woman is pregnant at the time, nor recommendations made that the sentence be delayed until the fetus has been carried to term. Thus, these verses do not treat the fetus as a separate being, independent of the mother and with a right to life of its own. The laws given by God to Moses in Exodus 21 state the penalty for murder is death, but they demand only a fine for causing a miscarriage. While causing a miscarriage is still treated a crime, the considerably lesser punishment suggests that the fetus itself is less than a person. It is not yet human.

Even if scriptural support can be found to justify assuming a zygote has a soul, the fact that there is contradicting evidence from the scriptures makes such support uncertain at best. Thus, the religious support for assuming Personhood at conception falls to Tradition and personal conscience. Tradition is unreliable, because it is not uncommon for something that is viewed as acceptable in one generation to be considered a moral wrong in later generations, and vice versa, but more than that, even Church thought on the matter has changed over time. Early Catholic thinkers generally condemned abortion because it interfered with the “purpose” of sex (to such thinkers, any sex for any reason but procreation was a sin, including for pleasure with one's wedded partner), but stated clearly and repeatedly that abortion was not homicide. It was not until 1869 that Pope Pius IX declared that abortion is homicide, implying, for the first time, a Church stance that life begins at conception. Thus, the modern Christian belief in ensoulment at fertilization essentially goes back to, “Because Pope Pius IX said so,” and this despite previous Popes' statements to the contrary.

Without Tradition and scripture, we are left with personal conscience. Unfortunately, each person's conscience is different, and makes a poor basis for legislation (if, in fact, Tradition and scripture are even a good basis themselves). While some people have critically examined their consciences and the information available and decided they still believe that a zygote is a person, others who have done similar examination have come to a different conclusion. For myself, I cannot accept the idea that an egg has a soul from the moment of fertilization because I find the implications of this far too horrific.

To accept Personhood at conception is to accept that God is a monster.

It's been estimated that at least 22% of conceptions fail to implant. Out of those that do implant, 31% miscarry on their own, about half of them before the woman even realizes she's pregnant. 31% of the 78% that implant amounts to about 40% of the original whole. Adding that to the 22% that aren't implanting results in 62% of all conceptions never carrying to term. This is before abortion is even added into the equation. This is just a biological fact of our nature. If you are Christian, you believe that God designed us, whether directly, or indirectly through such means as evolution, so 62% of all conceptions fail by design. Now, Christian faiths that subscribe to the idea of original sin believe that a person is damned until they've been saved, either through baptism, accepting Christ, or both. This line of thought suggests that God sends souls to Earth intending that more than half of them should be damned before they've even drawn breath.

Others try to get around this for infants (and, presumably, earlier) by creating Limbo (or something like it) as an alternative for innocent souls, but these souls are still denied Heaven, by design. Finally, there are those who believe that such innocents get an automatic pass into Heaven, but this is hardly an argument against abortion. After all, this puts one's options at a guarantee of Heaven if aborted or miscarried versus a risk of damnation. If a mother wants to damn herself to guarantee her child salvation, why should we stop her? And, of course, both of these “work arounds” rely on the idea of assuming there is a fundamental difference between an unborn fetus and a living human being. We must allow religion to treat them differently, and yet are demanding they receive the same treatment by law.

Workaround or not, assuming ensoulment at conception means assuming that God fully intends that well over half his children shall never live. It bespeaks a cruelty and callousness that is at odds with Jesus' teachings, and to accept that is to accept the idea that “salvation” means spending an eternity in the presence of indifferent, unloving, yet all-powerful being.

If such is Heaven, then let me be damned.

Sources:
http://www.personhoodusa.com/blog/personhood-republican-presidential-candidate-pledge

http://www.catholicsforchoice.org/pubs/cfc_archive/articles/TheHistoryofAbortion.asp

http://miscarriage.about.com/od/riskfactors/a/miscarriage-statistics.htm

The Elements of Moral Philosphy by James Rachels

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
slyjinks: (Default)
I did this last time I was on 2k5 during an Olympics, and I enjoyed it, and folks seemed to enjoy it, even the non-2k5ers, so I'll do again this year.

Anyway, every year, 2k5 has an Olympics where both sides call a truce and particpate in a bunch of games, plus have a combat tournament in 2-3 different weight classes (this year we've got four!). There are two types of tournaments: Gladatorial, which is melee only, and Full, which is, well, everything. This year we're also trying two vs. two team 'bouts as well.

This year, I am kind of hampered in that there are a lot of active OCs that I really haven't seen very often in combat. Also, this is the first year of a new combat system, one where knowing how to use it makes a big difference in outcome, thus there are times when the fight will not necessarily go to the most powerful but to the player who can play the system the best. On top of that, a couple of the heavy hitters just got a nerf, so it's hard to really guess how they'll fare, but I'll do my best.

Humans, by the way, have exo-suits.

Anyway, below cut is the line-ups and my picks.

Read more... )
slyjinks: (Default)
Strong week this week, though I was kind of expecting it, and now I have a Wii! I am also only 0.2 pounds away from the 75 pound mark. Woot!

Read more... )
slyjinks: (Default)
Too damn sleepy to add commentary, but to make up for that, this time I have progress pics, plus a pic of my new haircut (sadly, the lighting does a poor job of showing off the coloring). I am trying to focus less on, 'Oh, gee, an enormous blob, and a slightly less enormous blob' and more on, 'Eeee! I can actually /see/ the difference!' The old pics were from the 26th of April. The new ones were taken on Friday.

Numbers and pics. )
slyjinks: (Default)
Widescreen edition of Master and Commander, the Simpsons Movie. I'll pay for shipping, and no, you don't have to take them both. First replies get it - I'll grab mail addy from whoever claims them later.
slyjinks: (Default)
It is incredibly lame to have the outcome of an extremely lengthy, hard-fought battle where one side manages, after many hours, to force the retreat of the other side completely reversed at the last minute because Retreating Side has a West Coast heavy-hitter log on, and all the East Coast heavy-hitters are already exhausted and have to go to bed.

Just saying.

Hotwire

Mar. 15th, 2009 01:46 pm
slyjinks: (Default)
Some people may remember my reviews on the Radical Comics Caliber and Hercules, both titles which I enjoyed mightily. Well, now I've decided to give another of their titles a try. "Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead." The art is fantastic, which appears to be the norm for Radical, and I think its possible that some of you may recognize the author's name. Warren something-or-another, I dunno.

Not really all that spoilerish, but cut anyway. )

So in summary, I like it, I'll definitely be buying issue #2, and with 28 pages of beautifully colored art and only four pages of ads (five if you count the inside back cover) for $2.99, I recommend it to anyone with an interest in unusual setting cop stories or the Cyberpunk/dark near-future genre in general.

Mix-Mash

Jan. 21st, 2009 08:21 am
slyjinks: (Batman: Squirt)
Okay. So apparently reading Final Crisis #6 right before going to bed leads to a crazy mix-mash of dreams/nightmares. Considering Final Crisis #6 reads like a crazy mix-mash of dreams/nightmares, this shouldn't be shocking.

(Seriously. When one of the moments used to slow the pace of a book involves the three Flashes, something's gone weird.)

This brings to mind a comment made by one of the guys who works the counter at my comic store a few weeks back, when he realized that Morrison was behind both Batman RIP and Final Crisis: "What, did DiDio just hand the keys to the DC Universe over to a crazy Scottsman and say, 'Here, have fun, and don't worry about scuffing it up'?" My answer (after a Google session confirmed that Morrison is, indeed, from Scottland and not England) was, "That's about what it looks like."

In other news. That Batman: Battle for the Cowl ad at the end. Well, you guys know what portion of it has this little fangirl excited. The thing is, in those style ads, supposedly just about everything is a clue, from where the characters are standing to what each character is looking at to everything else, and the fact that his raised hand covers the good part of his face is a bad omen. I can not even guess what most of the other stuff means, although I'm pretty sure the Batman-with-guns is Deadshot, especially when you consider that he once tried to set himself up as a Batman-replacement.

The actual ad-image behinc cut. )

Edit: Poking around the interwebs, it looks like just about everyone but me seems to htink Batman-with-guns is Jason Todd (except for the ones who think he was the Demon Bat). The two more generic looking Batmen are probably Tim Drake and Dick Grayson.
slyjinks: (Default)
Righto. Because I don't have enough random things eating my time, this weekend, on an impulse buy, I picked up a computer game called "Fashion Solitaire." Because, of course, I know sooooooo much about fashion. You have these dolls that you have to dress, and a deck of various clothing items. Like with most solitaire games, you can only access certain items, and the rest are covered up until you uncover them. Meanwhile, the fashion models themselves has various desires concerning what they want to wear. The object is to dress the gals with stuff from your deck while matching as many of their desires (colors, items, etc) as you can. Of course, since you only have a few open cards from a shuffled deck, you can't always match things up quite as well as you might want, a fact which tends to lead me to doing things like giving models very, very clashing accessories in order to hit their 'want' colors. After each round, you pick a favorite outfit, and then after you've picked six favorites, you have a clothing line completed. Yay!

A nerfed version of the game can played on the web for free, but it's missing a lot of features: http://www.mylifetime.com/fun-games/games/dress/fashion-solitaire

So. Anyway. I would show you the godawful stuff I've been coming up with, except that I can't get into my photobucket account. Ohwell!
slyjinks: (Default)
One of the things I've come to love about the DC comics universe is its generational aspect. That is, the way hero names and legacies get picked up and carried on from one generation to the next, a fact that doesn't always require the death of the previous name holder (see: multiple active Flashes, Wildcats, etc), although it usually calls for the incapactiation of a previous nameholder, temporary or permanent. After awhile, though, you can't help but notice the way DC seems to use this method to slowly introduce more ethnic and gender diversity in what is largely a white male hero population. Pretty clever, that! I'm not here to defend or condemn the practice, but just to look at as many examples of it as I can dig up. Some people can't stand replacements - me, I tend to have my favorites in each group, and sometimes they're the new guys, and sometimes they're the old guys. Often, I like one better than the others but still like them all enough that I'd want to see everyone active, even if I realize that's not always likely.

I'm going to be using a list of JSA members and JLA members, and probably at least look over the Titans members, mostly because in the DCU, just about everyone ends up in the JLA, the JSA, or some team with 'Titans' in the name at some time or the other, and bring up a list of characters who were replaced with "more diverse" versions. In some cases, the replacements were, themselves, replaced, but still, I'll include them. This isn't really an exhaustive list or study... just me poking around Wikipedia for awhile, and giving my thoughts on some of the characters.

The fact that I'm putting this up on MLK day is complete and utter coincidence.

The list behind cut! )

Okay. I missed lots. I know I did, mostly because I got tired of making the list. Anyone else have any to add on?
slyjinks: (Default)
Grabbed from [livejournal.com profile] invisiblemoose

1. OPEN PAINT
2. CLOSE YOUR EYES
3. DRAW A CAT

slyjinks: (Default)
First sentence of each post from each month. I'm only going with public posts for this.

Jan: It's 2008.
Feb: So I went to Sheetz to grab me some breakfast this morning, and came out with a knock off.
March: The earliest Discworld novels were based off of Prattchet's RPG experiences.
April: The Hypothetical AU Meme: Take any one of the fandoms you know I write in, and give me a type of AU (space opera AU, pirate AU, superhero AU, Ancient Rome, etc).*
May: "Not including the animals PETA spayed and neutered, the group had possession of 1,997 dogs, cats, and other “companion animals” in 2007.
June: No public posts were made this month! D:
July: The (mostly) spoilerless verict: Pretty good.
Aug: ... but for some strange reason, I find this page to be one of the creepier comic book pages I've seen in awhile.
Sept: With honorable mention to Superman Beyond 3-D, which is getting delayed for the same reason as Last Will and Testament.
Oct: Clearly, there is something villainous about combining the colors of green and purple, and no good can come of it.
Nov: After having irritated myself all to heck by reading Rodimus Prime's wiki entry, I am badly in need of recommendations for good Rodimus Prime fic, possibly AU or post-series fic or something, where in he gains/regains command and stays in charge.**
Dec: Rather than starting out on the Enterprise or with the Enterprise crew, like most episodes, The Devil in the Dark starts with a team of unfamiliar miners during a watch change-over.

* Also, I suck, because I never responded to ANY of these.
** Never did get my fic-rec. :( I did, however, get a comic drawn in MS Paint by [livejournal.com profile] invisiblemoose

February 2012

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