Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Sex is Not Just for Babies

The semester load is lightening and so I am finding myself following some threads and personalities elsewhere. I took a look over at Argument Clinic today, since Robert is a regular poster at Feministe.

I stumbled across his entry: No Babies, No Sex. Now, I tend to be a bit lazy at my blog. I wait for these red herring arguments to come to me before I start arguing back. But, I guess I am feeling a bit randy today and so, I will start fisking (a word I learned at Robert's site.)

Robert begins his entry, by defining one of the "almost" universal assertions of the Pro-Choice side:

Whenever an abortion discussion comes up, there is almost universally an assertion made by the pro-choice side: it isn't fair that people who are just trying to have sex, and using contraception, should have to bear a child.

Already, I am nodding my head. Look, don't call your blog Argument Clinic, if your true purpose is to engage in Sophistry. Strawman arguments are boring and frankly tend to tip off a reader that you aren't really interested in having a thoughtful debate on an issue. If you structure your own argument based on a ridiculous mischaracterization of the "pro-choice" side, aren't you really just telling us that you don't know how to argue?

Why not take on some of the more sophisticated and nuanced positions that pro-choicers hold? How about acknowledging that those who support the legalization of abortion do not have a monolithic position justifying either their moral or legal stance. Hell, there are lots of folks morally opposed to abortion, who still uphold the right to get a safe and legal abortion. There are others who find abortion moral in some circumstances--i.e. when the mother's life is in danger or the child has a fatal genetic disorder--but don't find abortion acceptable in cases of failed contraception use.

To which my reaction is:
Don’t want kids? Don’t have intercourse. Fair has nothing to do with it.

Goodness, gracious, me oh my (as my Oma would say). Isn't this just plain unfair? You are denying the pleasures of sex to heterosexual people who don't want children. Why come the gay people or bestiality folks get to have all the fun? The only group you select out to be unfair too are the straight people. Why, oh why?

But, seriously, the most flawed aspect of this argument is that you beg the question: what is the purpose of sex? You conclude that the purpose of sex is procreation. What happens if the person reading your argument simply does not share this assumption? What is your response? Why should all heterosexual sex be fundamentally geared toward children? Isn't this why we have technology?

After all, would you say that the fundamental goal of the meningitis is to kill us? Aren't you committing the naturalistic fallacy here?: this is the way the world is and therefore this is the way the world ought to be. I don't follow your reasoning.

Perhaps your goal is not really to persuade others, who have a variety of views on this issue, but rather to give "props" and "shout outs" to your own peeps.