July 13, 2008

Morgentaler Poll Shows Me A Couple Of Things

Two thirds of Canadians think that abortion doctor Henry Morgentaler has the right to receive the Order of Canada.

The poll results put to rest two myths. One is that Canada is a conservative Christian nation. The other one has to do with morality.

According to Stats Can (2001), almost 73% of Canadians considered themselves to be Christian. Recently a poll estimated that now 21% of Canadians are atheists, so there is no doubt that the 73% number has dropped in the last five years. Lets say it dropped by 5%. OK, now we have 68% of Canadians considering themselves to be Christian.

65% of Canadians were for Morgentaler getting the Order. That means that at least 1/2 of the Christian population of Canada were for Morgentaler getting the Order.

It isn't a far stretch to state that at least one half of Christians are OK with women having the right to choose.

Yet many Canadian (mainly bible thumping Christians) call Morgentaler and murderer and consider abortion to be against the will of God, in other words; immoral.

Here is the thing. This proves that morality is completely subjective. Though many bible thumpers will say that it is 100% objective. The reality is that at least half of those who accept Jesus as their savior, do not believe that abortion is immoral.
In other words, what the bible says is in the eye of the beholder as far as interpretations go.

As an aside, the Morgentaler decision is another great step towards a totally secular Canada. Amen.


  1. Hi BEAJ.

    Interested by your comment on morality being non-objective.

    I've put this to christians, because I stumbled on a powerful argument about it.

    Christians believe morality comes from god, right, so they really should believe the bible is inerrant ie they should take it literally, as "the word of god".

    However, because it's obviously silly (and vile) to take the bible literally, many christians don't.

    However, when Christians decide which parts of the bible to discount and which parts to take as metaphor - they clearly MUST be using morality to decide which parts to reject (killing homosexuals for example) and which parts to accept even metaphorically.

    How can non-literal christians morally assess the supposed source of their morality (the bible/god) if they don't have a pre-existing morality derived from elsewhere?

    They can't.

    So really it's an admission that morality has nothing to do with what's in the bible. Christians who believe the bible is inerrant are different of course - they are at least coherent in asserting inerrancy as they claim morality is derived from the bible/god.

    So where does morality come from? That always bothered me, but no longer: biology through evolution has provided evidence that altruism is functional as a survival strategy.

    One example being human speech - which is impossible without a development of the larynx which has the detriment of making breathing and swallowing simultaneously impossible. Choking is a considerable threat. Newborn humans possess this ability - but of course they can't talk. As they develop, their larynx changes, and whilst they acquire speech, they lose the significant ability of swallowing and breathing at the same time.

    For such a powerful selection of speech (with its concomitant threat of choking) there must be very good reasons - and people surely didn't learn to speak so that they could better be selfish? Speech is an inherently social characteristic.

    There are lots of other examples of altruism in animal world too. Prairie dogs rearing of pups: individuals don't always mate, but will actively look after other family members' offspring, thereby perpetuating the family line. Dawkins said "selfish gene" could just as easily have been called "altruistic gene". He doesn't like the title - gives wrong impression.

    For me that has settled the issue over morality - it's a product of evolution through natural selection.

    But try telling the christians that!? (I know you do :) )

  2. TLNL, I did a post a little bit ago about Jesus saying a lot of things he didn't really mean.
    Yep, most literalists do cherry pick what is to be taken literal and what isn't. That is another reason why Christianity has so many different sub cults, each with varying interpretations on what God supposedly meant and said, which of course means that each has a different set of moral codes, though there is a lot of overlap.

    "Morality" is really just the laws of the region which is rooted to varying degrees of common sense that allows social animals (in our case, man) to be able to best survive to the next generation.

    Did you ever see mother crocs take their babies in their mouth from water to land and visa versa. How does the mother croc know not to eat the babies? It is total altruistic behaviour that is innate. Because if crocs did chow down on the babies, there wouldn't be any crocs alive today.

    I think I recently stumped a theist when the theist said that without God you can't give life a purpose.
    I came back with a purpose. Our purpose, like every animal on this planet is to ensure that our individual species makes it to the next generation.
    I also asked, so what is the purpose of life if God exists? What is the purpose of living forever at God's toes?

  3. Even crocs are altruistic! Well, to their own baby crocs, at least.....

    Yeah - I've made that point to religious types, too. "Why don't animals eat their young?" Clearly altruism has its roots there, or else complex life would never have got anywhere. Why is that so hard to understand for some? (Because they're infected with a mind-virus.) :)

    As for a life sat at god's feet, Chistopher Hitchens makes a powerful comparison with North Korea, where at least you're allowed to die. I like Hitchens, though I deeply disagree with his views on aggression in Iraq+. As a leftie I'm disappointed to now be his opponent in so many ways, though I also deeply admire his forthrightness and his conviction.

    On that point, I'm surprised to read your support for McCain. But probably that's an argument best left for another day.

  4. "This proves that morality is completely subjective."

    A poll of Canadians on whether a doctor should be honored proves that morality is subjective? What hat did you pull that out of?

    That's in the same category with "Scientists disagree on details of evolution; that proves that evolution is completely imaginary."

  5. Gary, this is a logical conclusion based on the fact that Morgentaler represents freedom of choice when it comes to abortion.
    I already showed the math in the post. There is another poll I saw where Canadians were asked whether abortion was immoral, and those who thought so were around 33% of the total group asked. Again, it means that some Christians believe abortion to be immoral, and some who think it is moral. It isn't a stretch to say that morality is subjective.