Sunday, January 28, 2007

Is this the right room for an argument?

For reasons that are obscure to me, I've been spending a lot of time sniping on the blog of Wesley Smith, a bioconservative and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute. Partly I just like to argue, for reasons no more noble than those of someone who picks fights in bars.

On the other hand, the underlying issues (what defines personhood) are of genuine intellectual interest to me. I also feel like I've discovered yet another hidden agenda of the Discovery Institute, that somewhat meshes with what it is chiefly known for. That is, most of what they do is putting a thin veneer of supposedly respectable science on top of creationism. In Wesley's case, it's putting a veneer of concern for human exceptionalism over an anti-abortion, anti-choice agenda. Whereas the ID debate rages on in numerous blogs and other places, nobody else seems to have taken up this part of the battle yet. In the course of these debates I found that the Discovery Institute is funded by some extremely scary Dominionists, which I didn't know before.

Arguing over there has also led me to take a closer look at some transhumanist sites, since that seems to be the polar opposite of bioconservatism, and is a lot more interesting.

Anyway, my collected jibes can be seen here.

2 comments:

goatchowder said...

They are neither anti-abortion nor anti-choice.

They are anti-sex.

That's all it is about. The whole "preserving the purity of essence of our precious blastocysts" bullshit is a cover, a ruse.

They're Puritans. They can't stand the idea of sex. It terrifies them. They can only tolerate it-- barely and through gritted teeth-- as a prerequisite for procreation. It doesn't take much pushing to find that out. Usually all it takes is some mention of birth control.

mtraven said...

Well, that's part of it, but not all of it. If they were really just anti-sex they would be pushing for more IVF, which lets reproduction happen without sex, but instead they are against it.

What they really are for is normalcy and ignoring diversity. They want everything to match their simplified, one-size-fits-all world model. Marriage is for one man one woman, reproduction is done the old-fashioned way as god intended, etc. Sex is OK as long as it is within a regulated institution and completely vanilla.

So I think they are against freedom more fundamentally than they are against sex. Sex of course is a big threat since it is inherently anarchic and threatens to liberate a lot of repressed energies.