“Foyle’s War” is one of the very best British TV dramas. A period detective show set during and shortly after WWII, often in the city of Hastings, it was created by screenwriter and author Anthony Horowitz and commissioned by ITV, then ran from 2002 to 2015. “It “Foyle’s War” starred the excellent British actor Michael Kitchens playing Christopher Foyle, a sharp, understated, rye and blunt police detective solving cases often based on historical incidents.
In an especially excellent episode in the second season called “Among the Few,” Foyle, already investigating a petrol-stealing scheme, must solve the murder of a young pregnant woman found dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs. All of the suspects are RAF pilots. Foyle interviews the doctor who told the young woman she was four months pregnant (she had no idea) shortly before she died. Learning of her death, the elderly physician expresses sorrow that a young life had ended so prematurely.
“Two,” Foyle says curtly, correcting the doctor.
29 thoughts on “Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle Rebuts The “Pro Choice” Argument With A Single Word”
Simple and effective.
And irrefutable. I’d like to hear every pro-abortion fanatic to have to explain why Foyle is wrong.
“Glob of tissue?”
Yes, actually, that’s how many people might see it. I’m not familiar enough with the timeline of fetal development to have an informed opinion, nor to speak for anyone else regarding four months of development. However, for, say, a few weeks after conception, I think most people not committed to the fallacy of “human life = person” would agree with treating a glob of tissue as just that.
Jack, asserting a belief that not everyone subscribes to is not a “rebuttal”. It’s not any kind of argument. It’s just an assertion. There’s nothing to refute. It’s the equivalent of saying, “Nuh-uh!”
“the timeline of fetal development”
My goodness, that’s not to scale, is it?
Extradimensional Cephalopod wrote, “My goodness, that’s not to scale, is it?”
Why on Earth would you ask that question?
Because the inclusion of the cervix in this drawing makes it appear that the stages are all meant to be similar sizes. I suppose it wouldn’t be practical to depict them to scale, but they could include some indicator of size for each drawing.
Since the scale is basically irrelevant to the point of the graphic, your inquiry and justification for that inquiry sound a lot like a deflection. I’m not biting.
It’s an assertion of apparent fact, and the burden of proof is on anyone who asserts otherwise. All the desperate foundering we have seen from the pro-choice side has been an attempt t meet that proof: “if it isn’t self-aware, it isn’t a life” …”only the mother gets to decide that it’s a life”…”it’s not a life until it looks like a human being”…”it’s not a life because its inconvenient to acknowledge that it’s a life.” The pro-choice activists do not even discuss the existance of a life, but there is, in fact, no denying it. It’s alive, it is growing into a unique human being—it’s a life. Foyle made a statement of fact that has no rebuttal. To be taken seriously, any pro-abortion postion must deal with the reality that an abortion ends a life. Prematurely.
You’re still focusing on the wrong question. Yes, a developing human organism is a living human organism. The question is whether it is a person, and therefore possesses the rights of a person. I’m asserting that a “person” is defined by whether an entity has a mind, not by whether it is a living human organism.
I’m still waiting for someone to tell me how many votes a human organism is entitled to if the organism is conjoined twins, and why.
Conjoined like Cheng and Eng Bunker or like Krista and Tatiana Hogan?
Heck, what about foetus in foetu?
Either of those first two examples works for my question.
Fetus in fetu is not what I had in mind, but it’s a good question for abortion opponents. How should we deal with such cases?
Extradimensional Cephalopod wrote, “However, for, say, a few weeks after conception, I think most people not committed to the fallacy of “human life = person” would agree with treating a glob of tissue as just that.”
Calling it a glob of tissue isn’t much different than saying it’s a parasite, it’s very intentionally ignoring the fact that it’s actually a human being.
Calling a glob of tissue a human being is very intentionally ignoring the fact that it doesn’t have a mind.
Extradimensional Cephalopod wrote, “Calling a glob of tissue a human being is very intentionally ignoring the fact that it doesn’t have a mind.”
It’s not ignoring anything.
Side Point: In my opinion Kamala Harris and AOC don’t have minds either. 😉
In my opinion personhood arguments are all bull shit these arguments need to surround when a human being becomes a human being, is the fetus considered alive?
I’ve been saying for many, many years that real scientists in the medical profession need to define when a human being becomes a human being thus officially defining the moment in fetus development that it gains basic inalienable human rights which right now are being completely ignored by abortion activists.
Another very valid argument is that that “glob of tissue” has life, please present any arguments that you can that there is not life there.
So why do you ascribe personhood rights to humans but not to other animals like, say, elephants? What’s so special about “human beings” compared to “elephant beings” that you deserve more rights than they do? What makes a human a person?
Extradimensional Cephalopod wrote, “So why do you ascribe personhood rights to humans but not to other animals like, say, elephants? What’s so special about “human beings” compared to “elephant beings” that you deserve more rights than they do? What makes a human a person?
I’m pretty sure where you’re going with this line of questioning so stop sealioning and state your point.
I resent the use of the word “sealioning” to describe myself, since that word implies bad faith argument.
Since you ask, my point is to get people to consider why they believe living human organisms are ascribed rights in the first place, so that we can look at why people believe that there are circumstances where living human organisms would not have those same rights. I keep seeing people describe what is empirically true, but not why we ought to do something as a result. If you let go of the assumption that the correctness of your beliefs is obvious, you’ll be much more persuasive about getting people you think are wrong to rethink their own beliefs.
I know why I believe humans are ascribed rights; it’s because they have sapient minds. They are capable of language and abstract reasoning, and can negotiate and abide by agreements. Humans don’t extend the same rights to other animals because other animals don’t talk (usually), reason, or make deals. If there were an animal species other than humans that did those things, then human society would be very different and human moral codes would (eventually, after the abolishment of slavery) describe those animals as possessing inherent rights on par with those of humans. It’s very difficult to have a constructive society without some form of ethics, because people need to trust each other enough to cooperate and negotiate for what they want without fear that someone will take it by force.
We also ascribe rights to humans who are too young to speak, reason, or make deals, because they have minds that have begun the process of learning how to do those things. There are various reasons we extend rights to children who are still developing into people: we don’t want to interrupt the learning process, we dislike the world that would result if children did not have such rights, et cetera.
The question we disagree on is whether to ascribe rights to human organisms that have not yet developed the physical capability to begin the learning process.
I think part of the problem is that you seem to be basing your ethics on the dogma that humans are a special species and therefore have specifically enumerated rights, and we somehow just know what rights humans do and don’t have. By contrast, I use existentialist ethics, which bids us ask questions like how we figured out those rights in the first place, and how might our priorities for those rights change if humans or their environment were different? (For instance, if humans were an r-selection species that produced many offspring with minimal care, instead of being a K-selection species which produces few offspring and attends closely to them.)
My ethics of applied existentialism are based on figuring out how to build a society which empowers everyone as much as possible. I subscribe to precedent utilitarianism, which values human rights because they maintain the trust that society will not sacrifice people for the greater good, and to John Rawls’s Veil of Ignorance, which holds that we should design a society without knowing what roles we will end up occupying in it. Under the Rawlsian Veil of Ignorance, I do not consider a fetus to have a mind that I could occupy, so I do not feel the need to build a world that protects it at that point in its development.
What do you think?
Extradimensional Cephalopod wrote, “I resent the use of the word “sealioning” to describe myself, since that word implies bad faith argument.”
You’re welcome to resent the use of that word if you like; however, based on the comment that I replied to which appeared to be an obvious fishing expedition of questions trying to catch me in some kind of gotcha, I think it was reasonable label whether you like it or not.
Moving on to a moral rabbit hole.
Extradimensional Cephalopod wrote, “I think part of the problem is that you seem to be basing your ethics on the dogma that humans are a special species and therefore have specifically enumerated rights, and we somehow just know what rights humans do and don’t have.”
Enumerated rights, Really? You’re kidding, right?
No EC, human beings have an unenumerated inalienable human right to life, period. You can write an entire book trying to contradict that unenumerated inalienable human right if you like but I firmly believe that this point is self-evident; therefore, I am completely closed minded on that point.
Furthermore; you wrote about “the dogma that humans are a special species” as if humans are not a special species after you earlier wrote that you “believe humans are ascribed rights… because they have sapient minds”; that sounds to me a bit like you’re talking out of both sides of your mouth. Either human beings are a unique special species on planet Earth because of their sapient minds, or the potential thereof, or they’re not. Make up your mind.
Your opinion all comes down to this, “[you] do not consider a fetus to have a mind that [you] could occupy, so [you] do not feel the need to build a world that protects it at that point in its development.” It seems to me that that statement is signature significant and pigeon holes you as rhetorically, ethically and morally outright rejecting the full capacity of a growing human beings life because you don’t think it currently measures up to your standards knowing full well that it will measure up to your standards at a later date; with all due respect to your opinion, I think that way of thinking is amoral.
“I’ve been saying for many, many years that real scientists in the medical profession need to define when a human being becomes a human being thus officially defining the moment in fetus development that it gains basic inalienable human rights which right now are being completely ignored by abortion activists. “
They have though.
24 weeks development. As there is some uncertainty about date of conception, and because humans differ, it would be safe to say definitely not before 22 weeks.
Before then the foetus is brain dead.
zoebrain wrote, “They have though.”
Please support your claim with actual evidence.
Provide evidence that “real scientists in the medical profession” have come to a genuine scientific consensus and have actually defined the point when a “human being becomes a human being thus officially defining the moment in fetus development that it gains basic inalienable human rights”.
I don’t think there is evidence to support your claim but I’m willing to read what you provide.
I do think there is clear evidence to support the fact that basic inalienable human rights are intentionally being ignored by abortion providers and abortion activists; think about abortion beyond 24 weeks, late term and partial birth abortions as absolute proof that abortion activists don’t think unborn human beings have any basic inalienable human rights.
It’s really hard for abortion activists to have any kind of moral high ground when they use arguments that justify the extermination of a living human being.
From a legal standpoint, it is the lives of persons that are protected by the Constitution (5th and 14th Amendments). So, who or what are persons? 1 USC 8 defines them thusly: … the words “person”, “human being”, “child”, and “individual”, shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development. The law goes on to define what is meant by born alive, including complete expulsion from the womb and drawing of at least one breath.
From a non-religious moral standpoint, the Declaration of Independence must be considered. It does not have quite the force of law, but it does set out fundamental guidelines for our government. Life is one of the enumerated unalienable rights in the Declaration, but again, definitions are needed. “All men” in the usage of the time seems to refer to persons (or human beings) and seems to include women. But, the ‘created’ part of “created equal is less clear. When is that person created? Some would have considered ‘quickening’, or the feeling of movement in the womb, to be the point of creation. Others, but based in religion, would have considered conception to be that point.
So, on to consideration from an ethics perspective, or what is right and what is wrong. And, this is where the most difficult sticking point exists. There is no question from a scientific point that a zygote is human life. But, considering a zygote immediately after conception to be a person or human being requires an assertion. That assertion may be based on the potential, and I have heard (and believe) that each human zygote represents the potential of the entire human race.
But, our Constitution and our Declaration also speak to liberty, and our ethics must as well. If there is a right to abortion, it has to be based in that right to liberty – liberty as applied to the pregnant woman, and balanced against the right to life.
Our ethics also must address the question of who has the right to end a human life and under what circumstances, and, who has the right and under what circumstances to kill a person/human being. Is it only the government that may kill a person, and if so, why? Are non-government actors only allowed to kill a person in self-defense, and, if so, then why? Why not for purposes of liberty? Is it the responsibility of all persons to do what they can to protect the life of persons, or even all human life?
It is the difficulty of answering these questions and the fundamental disagreement on the underlying ethics that causes proponents to resort to assertions. And, it seems the disagreement is so complete that the resolution must come from compromise enforced by government, and that will leave neither side satisfied.
The 1 USC 8 definition deals with “… determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the relationship between any ‘person’ and the United States government.” For context, Section C of this same statute states, “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being “born alive” as defined in this section.” I find it reasonable to conclude that an unborn child might have no expectation of a federally guaranteed right to bear arms, but I find it utterly unreasonable to conclude that this statute would diminish the right to life.
Of course, under actual Constitutional government the interaction between individuals (born or unborn) and the national government would be negligible compared to what we now experience as we slouch toward totalitarianism.
In their minds, the Science decreed that an unborn life is a glob of tissue and is not a human life at all and that there has been no additional knowledge or understanding of fetal development since that time.
In other words, anything decided by Old White Men today is illegitimate because they are Old White Men though what Old White Men decided in 1973 is sacred and inviolable. Further, we must trust the Science unless the Science tells us that what we knew for a fact in 1973 is wrong.
Is there any doubt as to why traditionally respected authorities are losing ground in the credibility department? The messages that have been sent of late must be incredibly confusing.
Way back in the dark ages of the 1960s when I was studying human fetal development the professor issued this statement; “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” This means that what we see at various stages of fetal development are the stages of the development of humanity. Yes, sometimes the fetus may appear like a clump of tissues or a tadpole but its ontogeny, its ultimate end, is to be a human person. That is the argument I use with abortion activists when they propose the lump of tissue argument. I do, however, have to define the big words for them, since their vocabulary is so limited.
I think you mean “its telos, its ultimate end, is to be a human person.” Ontogeny just means the process of development towards that end.
Of course, the actual ultimate end of most humans, historically, has been to disintegrate back into raw materials. That said, I can understand why humans who feel the need to see biology in terms of goals would want to focus on what happens long before a human dies.
Speaking as an existentialist, though, it makes more sense to dispense with the telos altogether when talking about natural phenomena. Nature does not get care if a biological process is interrupted. Organisms die all the time, literally. There is always an organism dying, prematurely and otherwise. That’s part of nature. The onus is on sapient beings to create a world that’s better than the one nature built, and it starts with improving the experience of living for entities with minds, because only entities with minds actually care about such things.
This ultimate end of a human, once it has ‘disintegrated back into raw materials’, still deserves a measure of respect. There are laws on mutilation of a corpse. Human remains, even something as innocuous as baby teeth, can’t be posted in the USPS mail. NPR has in their current rotation a story about Native American remains found in a university archive and their return to their respective tribes.
If the raw materials are recognizable as human remains, they’re not as disintegrated as I was picturing. That does raise an interesting question, though. Why do humans care what happens to human remains, if they can’t be brought back to life? It’s not always for the forensic knowledge they carry. Protecting the privacy of the deceased? Sentimental value? Simple cognitive dissonance?