Thursday, May 05, 2022

A safe and consensual discussion of abortion rights arguments I encountered online.

In recent days (for some reason) I have seen an increased interest in moral arguments on social media about abortion policy in America. I have seen a couple of arguments repeated in many places both on Twitter and Facebook. I would like to respond to those arguments, but I also understand that some people just want to get something off their chest. It may be a deeply personal and emotional topic for them or a loved one, and they aren't necessarily interested in engaging in a serious philosophical debate with me on the merits of the argument.

That's fine. However, if you are interested in my thoughts on the topic, or want to share yours without unintentionally traumatizing a rape victim by jumping on their thread with your essay about why their feelings are wrong, you are welcome to share a link to this blog post in order to respectfully engage with these topics in the comments of your post among your social media contacts.  I am disabling comments on the blog post itself.

Note: this was originally posted to Facebook.  I want to keep that discussion between people who know me, but I also want a public version so that others can discuss in their own circles.  This is the public version, but it is not the public forum.
Here are two screenshots that are either the literal arguments put forth, or are the basis of such arguments repeated elsewhere, along with my responses:

Regarding “If it was about babies”:
I agree that the political right in America is inconsistent in its values. It is important to keep in mind that political party platforms are not people: they are coalitions built on common goals and compromise (and often corrupted by monied interests), and do not represent a coherent set of values. Hypocrisy of an institution does not make every position that institution espouses morally worthless. 
It may, and should, influence how you vote. If you are a party-line voter for either major party in America, and ignore the primaries, you are contributing to the problem.
I personally am in favor of more taxpayer funded access to free or low-cost health care (and help with those costs for those who need it), and safety net programs. I don't think the "everything is free" socialist utopia from the screenshot is the best balance here, but the idea that human societies at large are responsible to care for their most vulnerable members because they exist as human beings in their care (whether or not they are "desirable") is morally correct for EXACTLY the same reason that parents (and families at large) should provide for the needs of their own children.

Regarding “It doesn’t matter”:
The best numbers I could find say that less than 2% of abortions are because of rape. In the case of rape there is a logical pathway to applying the reasoning of "bodily autonomy", since the sex was not consensual. 
In the other 98%, a couple willingly engaged in acts that placed sperm into a vagina, which (according to the laws of physics and biology) constitutes affirmative consent to the possible consequences.
So, over 98% of abortions are:
  • Oops, our birth control failed.
  • Oops, I wasn't thinking about the consequences of my actions and didn't use birth control measures.
  • I want a baby, but not this one; it's disabled.
  • I want a baby, but not this gender.
  • Etc.
The "bodily autonomy" argument claims that a MOTHER has no obligation to nurture her own child. This is legally and ethically false.
If I discover mid-drive that someone has crawled into my car and is taking a nap in the back seat, my moral and legal right to kick them out of my car to the side of the road is inversely proportional to how much they depend on me for survival. Usually that would be fine for an adult in a city, but if I abandoned someone in the middle of a remote desert area, or a blizzard, I might be charged with manslaughter or murder EVEN THOUGH they were trespassing in my car. If it were a child, I would probably need to contact the police or another authority (if I couldn't find a parent) and transfer them safely into their care. For an infant mistakenly placed down for a nap in the wrong car, I would need to do even more to ensure their safety while in my care, even though I did not consent to the role, and have NO RELATION to the child other than common humanity.
Our society rightly places responsibility on men who impregnate women to financially care for their offspring through child support, even if they did not want the child. The same is true for mothers: parents have an obligation to provide for and nurture their children, regardless of whether they meant to enter that relationship.
Again, in the case of rape, a bodily autonomy argument can be made, and most laws prohibiting abortion do carve out specific provision for cases of rape or incest (incest is usually rape or statutory rape) because of the possibility that mothers will see the pregnancy as a continuation of the violation of their bodies.
No right that you have is absolute. When the exercise of the rights of two people conflict, one of them must give way. I have a right to do what I want with my own property, but if what I claim as my own property is another human being? Suddenly I don't.
Human beings have a right to life. It is not absolute, but a prenatal human has a right to her own mother's womb. Is that right absolute? Also no. Some pregnancies are too dangerous for the mother and violate her right to life. But in general, attempting to construe normal human reproduction as a violation of the mother's rights is morally bankrupt.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The Narnia Nook and Eustace the Dragon

Not all of my artistic endeavors are video game related.  

When we first toured the house we now live in, I noticed a space that seemed perfect for a through-the-wardrobe Narnia nook.  At the time, it was only a few bricks knocked out of a wall, apparently in order to direct a refrigerator water line through the space behind it.  It took me a while to widen the small opening in the brick wall into a child-sized door, then chisel off the excess mortar from the back side of the brick wall, and off of the floor where it had dripped and dried.  I painted the whole space with layers of primer to fill in the uneven gaps, and then I started painting.

Here is my original rough concept, painted on a piece of cardboard that folds into four walls and a ceiling.

Lantern Waste, Caer Paravel, The Dawn Treader, and Aslan's Country

It's a tiny space, so it's a bit difficult to photograph, especially with a phone camera.

Very rough brick with lots of gaps

I used my phone's panorama to capture this in a tight space.

Rainbow above the Dawn Treader

The Dawn Treader

The Lion and the Lamb

I might go back and redo this castle; it's pretty basic


Birds of Paradise

Another bird of paradise in Aslan's Country

And flying above the Dawn Treader, Eustace the Dragon, made out of clay with a wire skeleton

The lantern and sky

I used glow paint on the galaxy on the ceiling, and other elements such as the waves and snowy trees and hills.  It's difficult to see in pictures, but the effect is pretty cool when you turn out the light.

A great place to sit and read a book

Clay Figures With Family

 I took some clay over to my brother's house, and me and the kids (and my sister-in-law) made some clay figures, some Nintendo themed, some not.

Clay figures, ready to be fired

Abi's Poochy Pup

Shoshana's Ghost


Eric's Mario

My Okami didn't turn out how I'd hoped

Becky's flower, butterfly, and ice skater

My Yoshi, also not up to par

Lucy got into the action later on with home made play dough

As did Shoshana

Abi sculpting

Shoshana's owl

Abi's Owl

Some sort of creature made of modeling clay by one of my daughters

The girls made a bunch of animals out of modeling clay

The creature from Fe

Figures made by Abi

Figures made by Shoshana

By Shoshana: Charmander, the salamander spirit from Frozen 2, and (on the left) also from Frozen 2: the nose of a troll, leaves representing wind, water, and the spark of the fire spirit.

Lucy from The Lego Moi

Clay amiibo Figures with Lessons Learned: Okami, Ittle Dew, Gris, Child of Light Aurora, Dixie Kong, Arlo v.2


Aurora from Child of Light.  The first time I tried using wires for support.


Before I figured out how to use wire in my figures (and other useful tricks), I had a few, shall we say, learning experiences, where figures didn't turn out as well as I had hoped.

Ittle Dew, made without wires, with some compromises

Okami.  This was my impetus to start using wires.  The legs buckled during firing.

Dixie Kong, using wires

My second try at Arlo with Pikmin, using wires for support

Here's a video where I discuss the making of these figures, and experimenting with wire framing.

Poochy and Poochy Pups Clay amiibo Figure

The Yarn Yoshi amiibo figures are wonderful and cute, but if you have a mind to complete the set, good luck finding a Poochy amiibo for a decent price. They regularly go for over $100 on eBay.

Thankfully, I have another way of obtaining a Poochy amiibo: making it myself.  I'm not a knitter, but I do work with clay.