April 2006

Christianity Today wrote a piece on 04-25-06 entitled “The Other ID Opponents.” The article focuses on the squabble some Biblical creationists have with the Intelligent Design (ID) movement. The article spent an inordinate amount of time discussing Ken Ham’s ministry, Answers in Genesis (a young earth creationist organization), and his beef with ID. I read a lot of things that get my blood boiling, but it’s not too often I will write the author to express my concerns. This time, however, I did just that. I was quite astonished that CT would write such a one-sided story that misrepresented ID and did not let ID proponents speak for themselves. They labeled as “enemy” a genuine friend of Christianity: ID. Read the article at the link above and then the following response I sent to CT:

I am a Pentecostal Christian who has studied both creationism and ID. I was quite shocked at the presentation of the issue in this article. In my opinion it was incredibly one-sided (Ken Ham was referenced or quoted 11 times without a single quote from an ID advocate in response), and I would argue it misconstrued the nature of ID and its relationship to creationism (mainly through the words of Ham).

The theory of ID is not facing off with creationism or Genesis as if the two are at odds. Creationism simply picks up where ID leaves off. ID uses scientific means to identify hallmarks of intelligence in the physical and biological worlds, demonstrating that certain aspects of the world could not have been formed by unintelligent processes such as those put forth by neo-Darwinism. But because of the constraints of science the nature/identity of this designing intelligence (natural or supernatural) cannot be identified, nor can the designer’s methods of design/creation be detailed. That’s where philosophy and religion come in; that’s where Biblical creationism comes in. Biblical creation puts a face on the designer “discovered” through the scientific disciple of design detection.

While some Christians may wish ID spoke to more, it is constrained by the empirical and epistemological limits of the scientific method. It only seeks to demonstrate that undirected material causes alone are not sufficient to explain the specified complexity found in our world. A designing intelligence is needed, and ID has identified positive empirical evidence for the existence of such a designer.

Just because ID is not a do-it-all package that takes one from materialism to theism does not mean ID is not an ally to Biblical creationism. Ken Ham and others seem to argue that since ID doesn’t tackle everything creationists think should be tackled that it is a danger to creationism. That’s like arguing a cancer institute is dangerous to health improvement because it doesn’t tackle AIDS, Leukemia, and the like. While creationism may be the home run of Christian truth, ID is a base hit. We should not try to eject them from the game simply because they don’t slam the ball out of the park. We’re on the same team, and we’re all playing against the Darwinists and their mascot of materialism. We are both united in our opposition to Darwinism’s insistence on blind, undirected natural causes as an explanation for the present state of the cosmos. We are both united in our affirmation that an intelligent designer was responsible for creating. As Nancy Pearcey wrote, “Thus the heart of the battle is whether the universe is the result of Intelligent Agency or of blind, noncognitive forces—and that’s where we must direct our energies.” (Total Truth, 174)

I hope you will write another piece that looks at the issue a little more objectively and allows ID to speak for, and defend itself.

NASB (New American Standard Bible)

Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, 3:9 but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 3:10 These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach. 3:11 Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. 3:12 Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households. 3:13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. (I Timothy 3:8-13)

NET Bible

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not two-faced, not given to excessive drinking, not greedy for gain, 3:9 holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 3:10 And these also must be tested first and then let them serve as deacons if they are found blameless. 3:11 Likewise also their wives must be dignified, not slanderous, temperate, faithful in every respect. 3:12 Deacons must be husbands of one wife and good managers of their children and their own households. 3:13 For those who have served well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. (I Timothy 3:8-13)

Notice the difference in the two translations (the bold-faced words in particular)? The underlying Greek word behind these two different renderings is gunaikas. The word can be translated as “women” or “wives” depending on the context. There is considerable scholarly debate over which choice is the proper translation in this particular context. Most translations translate it as does the NET Bible: wives. Some, however, translate it as “women.” Many translations note that it could be translated either way.

Why does this matter? It is important to the doctrine of ecclesiology. If gunaikas refers to “women” in general this is positive proof that the office of deacon can be held by women as well as men. If “wives” is the correct translation, however, it is not.

New Testament scholar Andreas Kostenberger argues that the proper translation is “women” and thus Paul is referring to women deaconesses. You can read his arguments here.

The NET Bible offers the following footnote that summarizes some of the same arguments presented by Kostenberger et al, but argues for the superiority of translating gunaikas as “wives”:

Or “also deaconesses.” The Greek word here is γυνακας (gunaikas) which literally means “women” or “wives.” It is possible that this refers to women who serve as deacons, “deaconesses.” The evidence is as follows: (1) The immediate context refers to deacons; (2) the author mentions nothing about wives in his section on elder qualifications (1 Tim 3:1-7); (3) it would seem strange to have requirements placed on deacons’ wives without corresponding requirements placed on elders’ wives; and (4) elsewhere in the NT, there seems to be room for seeing women in this role (cf. Rom 16:1 and the comments there).

The translation “wives” – referring to the wives of the deacons – is probably to be preferred, though, for the following reasons: (1) It would be strange for the author to discuss women deacons right in the middle of the qualifications for male deacons; more naturally they would be addressed by themselves. (2) The author seems to indicate clearly in the next verse that women are not deacons: “Deacons must be husbands of one wife.” (3) Most of the qualifications given for deacons elsewhere do not appear here. Either the author has truncated the requirements for women deacons, or he is not actually referring to women deacons; the latter seems to be the more natural understanding. (4) The principle given in 1 Tim 2:12 appears to be an overarching principle for church life which seems implicitly to limit the role of deacon to men. Nevertheless, a decision in this matter is difficult, and our conclusions must be regarded as tentative.

While this is only an introduction to the debate, I think these two sources present some of the most compelling arguments in behalf of each view. You be the judge as to which is correct.

Jonah Goldberg over at National Review Online wrote the following concerning the proposed bill in Spain:

Lord how [I] hate it when people do those DNA comparisons. I’m all for being nice to monkeys and gorillas, but please. We share a lot of the same DNA with dogs and, if memory serves, a big chunk of our DNA matches up nicely with some fruits and vegetables. What, exactly, should that tell us? We share 100% of our DNA with fetuses — as Ramesh would likely note — and yet that never seems to argue much in their favor among the crowd that wants animals to have rights.

This is a powerful argument to make when dealing with PETA people who are typically pro-animal rights and pro abortion rights.

I would add to Goldberg’s list that mice are said to 97.5% genetically similar to humans.Will the Socialist Party in Spain include them in the bill?Of course not.Clearly it’s not all in the DNA.

Turning to the evolutionary aspect of this discussion, the amount of genetic similarity between man and chimps is not surprising given the amount of morphological similarity between chimps and man (By the way, the article claims the two are 98.4% similar.Actually, it’s more like 95.2%).It’s important to understand that the genetic similarity does not mean the genes function in the same way.It is similar to the way in which authors use most of the same words and yet write radically different stories. As William Dembski wrote:

It’s like going through the works of William Shakespeare and John Milton, and finding that almost all the words and short phrases they used are identical. Such a similarity would not be surprising since what separates Shakespeare from Milton is not so much their vocabulary but how they used their vocabulary to express their thoughts. Different authors might use nearly identical sets of words. The crucial difference is in how those words are utilized in their respective contexts. The overall meaning only emerges from the way the words are put together. Likewise, two organisms might have nearly identical sets of genes, and even situate those genes in roughly the same order; and yet they can utilize those genes so differently as to produce markedly different organisms.

While the genetic alphabet of man and chimp may be the same, the way in which those letters are put together create vast differences.Consider the following to sentences:

Charles Darwin was a scientific god.

Charles Darwin was a scientific dog.

Both sentences contain the same number of letters, and in almost identical order.The slight difference, however, makes their meaning very different.The same goes for living things.The gene sequence diversion between humans and chimpanzees has been “found to have significant effects both on the amino-acid sequences of proteins and on the ways those proteins are regulated.”[1]About 20% of proteins are different between the two species.An examination of chimp and human brain cells reveals that humans have accumulated 5.5 times the changes as chimps over the same period of time.The human brains produce 31% more proteins than chimps.

Evolutionists tend to overemphasize the similarities between chimps and humans and underemphasize the differences, but the challenge of evolutionists is to explain their differences.

Physical Differences between Humans and Chimpanzees[2]

(1) The feet of chimpanzees are prehensile, in other words, their feet can grab anything their hands can. Not so for humans.

(2) Humans have a chin, apes do not.

(3) Human females experience menopause; no other primates do (the only known mammal besides humans to experience menopause is the pilot whale).

(4) Humans have a fatty inner layer of skin as do aquatic mammals like whales and hippopotamuses; apes do not.

(5) Humans are the only primate whose breasts are apparent when not nursing.

(6) Apes have a bone in their penis called a baculum (10 millimeters in chimpanzees); humans do not.

(7) Humans have a protruding nose.

(8) Humans sweat; apes do not.

(9) Humans can consciously hold their breath; apes cannot.

(10) Humans are the only primates that weep.

For humans to have come from chimps (actually it is said to be a hominid ancestor common to both man and chimps) we have to explain how 600 million base pairs in the DNA sequence were changed over a period of only 6 million years.There are only about 600,000 generations during this expanse of time, and given mutation rates we end up with a mere .6% change in DNA (and this assumes that every mutation is inheritable).This is 7x short the 4.8% genetic difference we find between man and chimps.The math simply does not add up even in optimal circumstances.

[1]William Dembski, “Reflections on Human Origins”; available from http://www.iscid.org/papers/Dembski_HumanOrigins_062204.pdf; Internet; accessed 11 January 2005.

[2]Taken from Geoffrey Simmons, What Darwin Didn’t Know (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House, 2004), 274-278, as found in William Dembski, “Reflections on Human Origins”; available from http://www.iscid.org/papers/Dembski_HumanOrigins_062204.pdf; Internet; accessed 11 January 2005.

One day in Spain a Spaniard might be able to sue a gorilla, or better yet, be sued by a gorilla. The Socialist Party in Spain will introduce a bill to the Congress of Deputies to give simians (chimpanzees, gorillas, and apes) the same moral and legal protections given to human beings. Why? Because our DNA is so similar! This is where evolutionary, reductionistic thinking leads: the obliteration of the doctrine of human exceptionalism (the idea that humans are qualitatively different from all other animals. These people reason that if humans are valuable, and simians are genetically comparable to humans, simians must be just as valuable as humans. They fail to realize that our value is not rooted in our DNA, but in the One who created us. We are valuable because we are created in the image of God. But what else should we expect from materialists? In a materialistic worldview DNA and functionality are the only contenders for value-defining properties. There can be no such thing as transcendent value beyond the material realm. Check out the news release for yourself.

In Stand to Reason’s February newsletter, Moments of Truth, Greg Koukl addressed the issue of unbelievers who dismiss the Bible as “only written by men.” How do we respond to this? As an apologetics organization you would expect the newsletter to detail the many reasons we can be confident that the Scriptures are divinely inspired, and encourage believers to whip out those evidences for an unbeliever when the first opportunity arises. Greg took another route. He talked about how it is that he—and most other Christians—come to believe the Bible is the Word of God. Interestingly, it did not begin with evidentiary lines of argumentation. I will quote Greg at length:

For years I have taught six of these reasons in a talk called, “The Bible: Has God Spoken?” If you’ve heard the talk and are able to recall the points and explain them, you may get someone thinking. It’s a way of putting a stone in their shoe, so to speak. But this approach is much more effective after something else has happened first. Before I tell you what that is, I have a confession to make. Though I give this talk often, these are not really the reasons I believe the Bible is God’s Word. They are sound evidences and they have their place…, but they are not how I came to believe in the Bible’s authority in the first place. I suspect they’re not the reasons you believe, either, even if you’ve heard the talk and thought it compelling.

I came to believe the Bible was God’s Word the same way the Thessalonians did, the same way you probably did. They encountered the truth firsthand and were moved by it. Without really being able to explain why, they knew they were hearing the words of God and not just the words of a man named Paul. I think I understand better now what happened then. Now I know there is a powerful role the Spirit plays that is very hard for us to describe. This is not something we’re able to explain very well to others.

For one, it is personal, subjective. Two, it’s non-rational. In a sense, we were not persuaded, as such. We were wooed and won over, and that’s very different from weighing reasons and coming to conclusions. Note, I didn’t say it was ir-rational, but non-rational. God used a different avenue to change our minds about the Bible.

Even so, the reasons I give in the talk are still vital. Here’s why: The objective reasons are important to show that our subjective confidence has not been misplaced, that what we’ve believed with our hearts can be confirmed with our minds. The ancients called this, “Faith seeking understanding.” … When you start giving people reasons to change their minds—to believe in the Bible, for instance—their first instinct is to resist, to keep on believing what they’ve always believed. It’s human nature. Don’t get me wrong. I think offering good reasons is a fine approach. I do it all the time. In this case, though, they’ll find reasons for the Bible more compelling if something else happens first. First they must listen.

When soldiers were sent to arrest Jesus, they returned empty handed. Why had they disobeyed orders? They had listened. “Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks,” they said (John 7:46). Jesus didn’t start with reasons why they should believe His words. Instead, he let the words do the work themselves. And this they did because they were the very words of God.

If you want people to believe in the Bible, the best way to succeed is not simply by giving them reasons. First, try to get them to listen to the Word. … Talk about the biblical view of the world. Encourage him to simply listen to Jesus for a while, then draw his own conclusions. Most people respect Jesus. They’ve just never listened closely to what He’s said. They’ve never allowed the words to have their impact.

Don’t get into a tug-o-war with skeptics about inspiration. Instead, invite others to engage the ideas first, then let God do the heavy lifting for you. The truth you’re defending has a life of it’s [sic] own because the Spirit is in the words. Once your friend has listened a bit, any further reasons you give for biblical authority will have the soil they need to take root in. (emphasis mine)

I find this important for three reasons. First, it demonstrates how powerful the Word of God is. If we let it speak for itself it will speak volumes. Secondly, it emphasizes the importance of presenting information in the right order: first the Word of God, then the evidence. Thirdly, it explains why evidentiary apologetics is so important for those who already believe the Bible is the Word of God. It demonstrates to the believer that what he believes is intellectually credible, and rationally justified. It increases his confidence in what he believes. Christianity is not something we believe just because, but rather because.

In its bare essence faith is simple trust. We trust in God rather than in ourselves, or something else. But more specifically faith is a persuasion based on reasonable evidence. Those who initially come to faith in Christ have reasons for placing their trust in Him, even if the reasons for such trust are minimal, not well thought out, or rationally justified. But where faith is really seen to be “a persuasion based on reasonable evidence” the most is in the growth of the believer. While they already possess some level of justification for their decision to trust Christ, they grow in that trust as they discover more and more reasons that their trust is properly grounded in reality; i.e. based on reasonable evidence. Evidence is a vital component of faith. The author of Hebrews made this clear when he said faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and that this assurance comes from the evidence of things unseen. A mature faith is trust based on evidence—trusting in things you have reason to believe are true. As we grow in knowledge we will also grow in faith.

Blaise Pascal is most famous for his “Wager.” He wrote, “If there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible, since, having, neither parts nor limits, He has no affinity to us. We are then incapable of knowing either what He is or if He is. [So] you must wager. Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager then without hesitation that he is.”

Many Christians—including myself—have found Pascal’s Wager helpful when talking with unbelievers. But Pascal’s Wager is not without its critics. A while back Steve Ares sent me a list of quotes by, or about atheists that included two criticisms of Pascal’s wager. For example, Alan Dershowitz wrote, “I have always considered ‘Pascal’s Wager’ a questionable bet to place. Any God worth ‘believing in’ would surely prefer an honest agnostic to a calculating hypocrite.” Dershowitz’s complaint implicitly critiques Pascal’s assumptions about God’s identity. Pascal’s Wager assumes the identity of God to be that of the Christian God; a God who is concerned that people believe in and follow Him. If the God who exists is not the Christian God, however, then He or They may prefer an honest agnostic like Dershowitz said. Of course Dershowitz himself is betting on that, and I don’t think it’s a very safe bet! He hopes God doesn’t care simply because he doesn’t care.

In Pascal’s defense his Wager is found in his Pensees, which was aimed at the happy agnostic who did not consider the question of God’s existence worth considering, and was not convinced by traditional proofs for God’s existence. It was a pragmatic argument for belief in God. Pascal argued that belief in God is pragmatically justified because we have everything to gain and nothing to lose for holding such a belief. He reasoned that if we believe God exists and He does, then we will experience infinite gain minus finite loss. If we believe God exists and He does not, we will experience finite loss. If, on the other hand, we do not believe God exists and yet He does, we will experience finite gain minus infinite loss. If we believe God does not exist and He in fact does not exist we will experience finite gain.

Dave Matson is the bearer of Pascal’s second criticism. He wrote, “ ‘Belief’ is not something you can turn on and off like a spigot. No person can truly ‘believe in God’ unless the evidence convinces his or her mind. If you don’t believe me, try believing that the stars are holes punched into a heavenly dome, with the light of heaven shining through. Pascal’s recommendation is inherently impractical.”

What do we make of this? In Pascal’s favor I think the logic of his Wager is unassailable. Belief in the existence of God is clearly the safer of the two bets. In favor of his detractor, however, an unbeliever who is persuaded by this logic will be little better for it. He may be persuaded that placing his bet on the existence of God is the safer of the two bets, but he will be unable to do anything about it. As Matson pointed out, beliefs are not something we have power to change at will. While one may be persuaded by Pascal’s argument, belief in God will not follow. I can no more give up my belief in God than I can my belief that the person I call my mother actually gave birth to me. Likewise, an atheist who sees no reason to believe in God cannot generate that belief just because he is convinced that it is the safer thing to believe. In Pascal’s defense, however, his Wager was not an argument for the existence of God, but for belief in God. The reasons for which one should believe in God are a separate question.

Contra Matson I would argue that the knowledge of God is evident to all on some level, even in the absence of any rational evidence. This is what Paul was talking about in Romans 1 and 2. He argued that all men know God exists through the witness of creation and conscience (general revelation), and even have some basic knowledge about what this God is like. While this knowledge is available to all men, and known by all men to one degree or another, we purposely suppress it, or we are fooled into believing it is false. This leads me to my next point.

While the universal experience of the witness of creation, conscience, and/or the Holy Spirit is often rejected because one’s will is simply bent toward rebellion against God, sometimes it is rejected because an individual has been given intellectual defeaters to those witnesses, and those defeaters stand in the way so that the witnesses are not taken seriously, preventing the individual from being open to the working of the Spirit in their lives. If we can remove those defeaters an individual may be willing to accept the message of those witnesses. This is what apologetics do: remove those defeaters by overcoming the intellectual objections with truth, thereby facilitating the path towards faith. Apologetics do not cause belief in God, but merely remove the barriers that have been erected in the face of that knowledge. As J. Budziszewski wrote, “The knowledge of God belongs to us already; these arguments are not its source, but only responses to objections.” Indeed, one does not need to hear rational arguments in order to know there is a God—that knowledge belongs to them already. But rational arguments may help clear the smoke of deception, showing how the reasons they have been given (or have given themselves) for denying the existence of God are faulty and ill-founded.

The famed Christian philosopher, Alvin Plantinga, makes the case that belief in God is justified apart from any rational justification. He writes:

It is less plausible, however, to suggest that I would or could be going contrary to my intellectual duties in believing, without evidence, that there is such a person as God. For first, my beliefs are not, for the most part, within my control. If, for example, you offer me $1,000,000 to cease believing that Mars is smaller than Venus, there is no way I can collect. But the same holds for my belief in God: even if I wanted to, I couldn’t-short of heroic measures like coma inducing drugs-just divest myself of it. … Clearly I am not under an obligation to have evidence for everything I believe; that would not be possible. But why, then, suppose that I have an obligation to accept belief in God only if I accept other propositions which serve as evidence for it?[1]

And again:

As I say, he [Daniel Dennett] seems to think one could be a sensible believer in God only on the basis of some argument, something like one of the traditional theistic arguments. But why think a thing like that? Why think you need an argument to be rational in believing in God? There are plenty of other things we rationally accept without argument–that there has been a past, for example, or that there are other people, or an external world, or that our cognitive faculties are reasonably reliable. Moreover, one lesson to be learned from the history of modern philosophy from Descartes to Hume and Reid is that there probably aren’t any good arguments for these things–but we are still perfectly rational in accepting them. Couldn’t the same be true for belief in God?

Here Dennett seems to assume that if you can’t show by reason that a given proposed source of truth is in fact reliable, then it is improper to accept the deliverances of that source. This assumption goes back to the Lockean, Enlightenment claim that, while there could indeed be such a thing as divine revelation, it would be irrational to accept any belief as divinely revealed unless we could give a good argument from reason that it was. But again, why think a thing like that? Take other sources of knowledge: rational intuition, memory, and perception, for example. Can we show by the first two that the third is in fact reliable–that is, without relying in anyway on the deliverances of the third? No, we can’t; nor can we show by the first and third that memory is reliable, nor (of course) by perception and memory that rational intuition is. Nor can we give a decent, non-question-begging rational argument that reason itself is indeed reliable. Does it follow that there is something irrational in trusting these alleged sources, in accepting their deliverances? Certainly not. So why insist that it is irrational to accept, say, the Internal Testimony of the Holy Spirit unless we can give a rationally conclusive argument for the conclusion that there is indeed such a thing, and that what it delivers is the truth? Why treat these alleged sources differently? Is there anything but arbitrariness in insisting that any alleged source of truth must justify itself at the bar of rational intuition, perception and memory? Perhaps God has given us several different sources of knowledge about the world, and none of them can be shown to be reliable using only the resources of the others.[2]

I do not agree with everything Plantinga says here[3], but he has elucidated a point that all those involved in the defense of the Gospel must keep in mind: most people come to believe in God apart from any rational justification for those beliefs (more will be said about this in a later post). Contra Matson, then, rational people can believe in God in the absence of rational evidence. This does not make evidentiary apologetics unnecessary; rather it explains their proper role in bringing unbelievers to faith. Apologetics do not generate belief in God, but they can facilitate it.

I think Dershowitz and Matson are being a little hard on Pascal, because Pascal did not leave people to contemplate his Wager without offering any reasons to believe in God. He was persuaded that belief in God was rational, and even offered arguments in favor of faith. But this should serve as a lesson for us. Reciting Pascal’s wager without his evidentiary support will do little to help some unbelievers. We need for them to see both the wisdom of the God-bet as well as the evidentiary basis for making the decision to place their bet on God.

[1]Alvin Plantinga, “Theism, Atheism, and Rationality”; available from http://www.leaderu.com/truth/3truth02.html; Internet; accessed 29 March 2005.

[2]Alvin Plantinga, “Darwin, Mind, and Meaning”; available from http://id-www.ucsb.edu/fscf/library/plantinga/dennett.html; Internet; accessed 23 March 2005.

[3]Particularly, Plantinga seems to argue that belief in the existence of the past, and belief in the external world are epistemologically equivalent to belief in the existence of God. I disagree. While the knowledge of God’s existence is self-evident, it is not self-evident in the same way that belief in the past is self-evident. We have no good reason to doubt the existence of the past and a world external to our minds, but there are formidable reasons for doubting the existence of God. While belief in God is self-evident, arguably belief in the past and the external world are properly basic.

On Tuesday April 18th Senators Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid co-wrote a piece for the Times Union regarding abortion and contraception. Here is an excerpt:

We believe that it is necessary for all Americans to join together and embrace policies that will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, decrease abortions and improve access to women’s health care.

There is no question that the rate of unintended pregnancy is too high in the United States. Half of the 6 million pregnancies each year in this country are unintended, and nearly half of these unplanned pregnancies end in abortion. It doesn’t have to be this way. Most of these unintended pregnancies — and the resulting abortions — can be prevented if we eliminate the barriers that prevent women from having access to affordable and effective contraception.

Only senators could say so much wrong in so little space!

First, I find it schizophrenic that abortion-choice advocates like Clinton will champion abortion rights on the one hand, and yet want to reduce the number of abortions on the other. If abortion does not take the life of an innocent human being we should no more want to reduce the number of abortions than we want to reduce the number of tooth extractions. The reason some abortion-choicers want to reduce the number of abortions is because deep down they know abortion is morally wrong. At the end of the day the only sure way to reduce the number of abortions is by making it illegal.

Can you think of any other Constitutional right where even advocates of the right want to reduce the number of times it is exercised? As Jivin Jehoshaphat once wrote, “It obviously doesn’t work for many of the rights we consider foundational. Imagine someone being a champion for the right to free speech yet saying that we should work to reduce the number of nonviolent protests. Or a champion of voting rights working to reduce the number of votes that are cast in a given election. Both situations are absurd.”

Secondly, what barriers to receiving affordable and effective contraception are Clinton and Reid talking about? How hard is it to buy a condom from the local drug store or Wal-Mart? Getting the Pill is as easy as walking in to a Planned Parenthood clinic. People choose not to use contraception.

Thirdly, both senators are perpetrating the myth that there is a tandem between increased access to contraception and a decrease in abortion. It sounds logical, but is not necessarily supported by statistical data.

The Alan Guttmacher Institute recently released a report on contraception in America. They ranked each state according to its efforts to help women obtain and properly use contraception. The three categories against which each state was measured were service availability, public funding, and laws/policies. California was ranked first in the nation for their superior contraceptive services, and New York was ranked fifth. What’s so ironic about this is that these two states also have among the highest percentages of abortion per pregnancy in the nation (NY = 2nd highest with 31%; CA = 6th highest with 26%). If greater access to contraceptives is the key to significantly reducing the number of abortions, why is it that the states with the greatest access to contraception are also the nation’s greatest abortion mills?

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