I Am the 10%

This kid has a message we need to hear. I’m John Stonestreet, and this is The Point.

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When Andy Reigstad snapped a picture of his six-year old son holding a hand-written sign, he never imagined it would become an internet sensation. The photo, which Andy shot after watching the new pro-life film 180, shows his son Boaz holding a sign that parodies Occupy Wall Street:

“I may not be perfect but I’m happy,” says the sign. “I am God’s handiwork and I bear His image. I am blessed. I am the 10 percent of children born with Down syndrome who survived Roe v. Wade.”

More than 90% of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome in this country are aborted. Yet 99% of adults with the disorder say they’re “happy with their lives!”

The systematic identification and killing of unborn handicapped children is happening, and as the film 180 shows, it’s the same philosophy which led to the worst genocides of the 20th Century.

Come to ThePointRadio.org, and I’ll show you the photo and tell you how to watch the film that inspired it. For the Point, I’m John Stonestreet.

Latest Broadcast on YouTube

Further Reading

Toddler's Abortion Survival Photo, Inspired by '180 Movie,' Goes Viral on Facebook
Gina E. Ryder | The Christian Post | October 28, 2011

I am the 10%
Manhattan Declaration Blog | October 31, 2011

Watch 180 Film Online


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Again, cult leaders would envy such loyalty and devotion. But how to get these people to address the actual criticisms?
Brian, you will of course have noticed that the entry for December 30, 2011 has this note at the bottom: "This commentary originally aired on June 17, 2011."

So you're not able to comment probably because John's on (an extremely well-deserved) vacation. Patience is a virtue worth cultivating; perhaps you can wait until Tuesday? If not, you can dig up the original June entry and comment *there*.

And Kostya and Josh are dismissed as trolls because they're behaving like trolls. If their behavior changes, they will no longer be dismissed. The ball's in their court.

Finally, is it honest to post "inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages [...] with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion"?

I won't hold my breath for an answer to that last question. But I will note that Gina has often discovered troublemakers at the Breakpoint Blog who will use multiple sockpuppet nicknames to give the appearance that more than one person is in support of discussing an issue. Is that the case here? I don't know. I only know I've seen it before. It's hard to police because you can always open another gmail or hotmail address and register it. But longtime members of a community can notice similarity of writing style, and obsession with a particular topic. Sooner or later the offender gets ignored, and the game's over.

In terms of the original posting here, do you agree with John that genocide of Down's persons and genocide of Jews is rooted in the same ideology? I won't hold my breath for that one either, "Brian".
Unable to comment on the latest entry, I've read the dialogue here. At issue is the willingness to answer to criticism. The criticisms raised by JOSH Yo an Kostya have not actually been addressed. Instead, the commenters themselves get dismissed as trolls. That's not honest.

Why not open up comments on the latest entry? The topic seems relevant.
John, anyone who hires Gina even momentarily wohld do themselves a great service thereby. I heartily recommend it!

But if anyone deserves thanks, it is not I but you, sir, for your courage in taking on these controversies and engaging with all comers. I salute you.

Perhaps we could hire Gina a few hours a week to help us stay on point. Your take on JoshYo and Kostya are clearly correct. In particular, JoshYo's last comment continues to ignore clear statements I have made about the points he continues to use as bait.

Thanks for helping us stay on track.

There's still evidence
of the Christmas presents bomb all over our living room and I'm just now checking back in here. Thanks, Lee, for your thorough response! Now can you come over and help me decorate the birthday cake for Jesus that I finally baked last night? Christmas just goes on and on and on - as it should! God created Life, who are we to interrupt it?
Ah, Ellen, you delight me; really, you do...

"DNFTT" abbreviates "Do Not Feed The Trolls". Wikipedia says this:
In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion. The noun troll may refer to the provocative message itself, as in: "That was an excellent troll you posted".

As you know, Ellen, at the Breakpoint Blog we have seen Gina work very hard to create an environment which is congenial even when we have grave disagreements. Over the years we have seen people attempt to pollute that environment, making it toxic for the kind of fellowship we enjoy. This collection of people has included radical homosexual activists (one of whom was the reason Rolley now identifies me with squirrels), militant atheists, and even strident fundamentalist Protestants who attack the Catholics who comment on social issues. Gina has carefully and graciously wielded her administrative authority (which I sometimes lampoon as her "Yardstick Of Doom"; she detests thinking of herself as a "schoolmarm" keeping us unruly children in line) to maintain civility of discourse, and in spite of my razzing, I greatly applaud her for the incredible job she has done.

Periodically someone like Kostya or JOSH Yo appears either at the Breakpoint Blog or here, and attempts to disrupt our associations. I'm sensitive to this, since as I've said, I see the Breakpoint Blog in particular as a place I can meet with friends in spite of my heavy travel schedule. (I'm still trying to fit in a visit to Ketchum.) My first reaction is to try to interact graciously with such people, since this has worked with others who wanted to disrupt. Failing that, I call them out, and failing *that*, I resign myself to letting Gina wield her YOD.

You'll note that both Kostya and Josh employ a taunting style of writing, which is characteristic of someone trying to provoke others into an emotional response rather than a rational dialogue. I'm encouraged that John appears to now be able to discuss Peter Singer's utilitarianism with Josh, but I note also that the topic is entirely peripheral to the point of the post. (Gina has carefully trained me and others to hew closely to the main issue; Rolley in particular delights to razz her - and me - with excursions that violate this rule, while more than making up for them with his other contributions.) I am in no way asserting that utilitarianism is unimportant; I'm simply saying that it's a separate issue. I think if Josh were to agree that indeed, the culling of German "undesirables" and the culling of genetic "undesirables" has the same foundation, then at that point we could have a fruitful discussion of the differences between that philosophy and the philosophy of Peter Singer. But as you can see, even when I deliberately provoked him, Josh refused to engage. I'm familiar with Viscount Morley's saying that you have not compromised a man because you have silenced him, but Josh has shown no reticence to respond on other issues, so I conclude that he doesn't want to publicly assent to this point. And that's fine; I'll let him save face if he feels it necessary. But another form of socially unacceptable Internet behavior is to "hijack" a post to talk about an only peripherally related subject. I leave John to pursue this topic with Josh as he sees fit.

And I must confess that my use of an uncommon Internet abbreviation, "DNFTT", was my own "trolling" (in the sense of fishing) to see if you were reading here. I'm very glad you're feeling better; may your progress continue speedily.
John, if this is a valid criticism of utilitarianism, then it is a valid criticism of any moral system--including any that you might endorse. To get an idea of how silly this criticism is, imagine an elementary school student making it towards systems of mathematics: "arithmetic inevitably degenerates into the judgments of the 'elite' who decide what 'works'".

You also seem to unaware of the fact that utilitarians have used their theory for the explicit purpose of challenging the culturally dominate views, including the views of the elite. This is especially true in Peter Singer's case. (If you think that Singer's ethical views do not challenge elite views in contemporary moral philosophy, you simply don't know contemporary moral philosophy.)
Josh Yo,

Thanks for replying with actual arguments. This certainly makes the discussion more helpful. For example, I appreciated this good comment: "The idea that the values of 'societal elites' should be given a privileged place in the assessment of value is an idea that these philosophers explicitly repudiate."

I should have clarified, any utilitarian system degenerates into preference by the social elites for someone has to decide what "works." Somebody's (or some group's) voice becomes the dominant one. This is what C.S. Lewis argued (and predicted) in Abolition of Man - that a group of "controllers (was that the term he used?) would eventually control other members of the human race in the name of science and improvement.

Singer attempts to avoid this, but I can't see how it can be avoided in reality nor when any application of utilitarianism has ever avoided it.

Merry Christmas all. I suspect this will be my last comment until after the holiday.

Lee, your work here isn't done...
What does DNFTT mean?

I know, I know, kids these days...
Ever observe a cult member suddenly proclaiming a groundless conclusion in order to retreat to the certainty of his own convictions? It's not dissimilar.
So we've established that as John originally said, abortion of Downs children and the killings in the Holocaust have the same philosophical basis in eugenics. Excellent; my work's done here.
Do you really think that Stonestreet's own colleagues will correct him for misrepresenting Peter Singer's views in this way? You bring to mind the Mormon who earnestly believes that the Church of LDS would readily acknowledge any reasonable criticism of Joseph Smith. So this faithful Mormon just "waits patiently".

Again, in the standard sense of the term, the innocent do not deserve punishment. You seem to want to make this issue murkier than it really is.
Hmmm - whenever I set out to build bridges, I should always bear in mind that they not only are useful to those who cross divides, but also to those who would hide in the spaces under them... DNFTT.

Not only do I know John Stonestreet because he makes his opinions public on a daily basis and then defends them here, I also know those with whom he is affiliated. No additional accountability is necessary; PFM will supply it. So I'll wait patiently to see if Mr. Stonestreet finds anything to retract. I'm doubtful he will. Meanwhile, I still await an acknowledgement that indeed, abortion of Downs children and extermination of many in the Holocaust are cut from the same cloth. I'll take continued silence as assent.

And for which sense of the term "innocent" am I being called to task - the legal standard, or the theological standard? "Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart."

As for tracking all the issues I addressed that seem to have conveniently fallen by the wayside, well, I'll... *spare* everyone that tedium.
I'm impressed by the unquestioning faith that LQ has in Mr. Stonestreet. Such would be the envy of any cult.

If a fetus deserves eternal punishment in hell, then that fetus is not innocent in the standard sense of that term. Stop being evasive.
1st response: If Mr. Stonestreet has misrepresented Peter Singer, I'm confident Mr. Stonestreet will say so. No additional accountability is necessary. But this rather desperate focus on the side issue of Peter Singer's views would appear to concede that Mr. Stonestreet's major point is correct: abortion of Down's children and the Holocaust stem from the same eugenic philosophy.

2nd response: Evangelicals believe that after the resurrection of Jesus the only locales for the dead are Heaven and Hell. It is rather straightforward to determine that "spares people the horror of hell" means "sends them to Heaven". What else could "spares" mean? In Catholic theology it might mean Purgatory, but that merely defers the issue of their final fate, rather than establishing that it spares them.

3rd response: To equate innocence as determined by God and innocence as determined by human government is to commit the fallacy of equivocation. Aborted babies are innocent in the sense that the laws of the state (i.e., the government of the United States, or of individual States within the Union) should protect them from murder. They are not innocent of the judgment of God, who in His sovereignty may consign them to Heaven or Hell as He wills. The very fact that theologians differ on the fate of the unborn should be sufficient to cause governments to err on the side of caution, extending to the unborn the same protection (and to their murderers, the same punishment) as to the newly born. Two women are pregnant for the same length of time; one has a late-term abortion, while the other gives birth prematurely and with the help of her boyfriend discards the infant in a dumpster. The latter is charged with murder and her boyfriend is an accomplice, while the former and her doctor are lauded for their courage. This is clearly a hypocritical viewpoint.
1st point: Evangelicals need to stop misrepresenting the views of others. If you haven't actually studied Peter Singer's views, they shouldn't be dismissing them with nonsense caricatures. Mr. Stonestreet needs some accountability here.

2nd point: I don't see any argument that requires all aborted babies to go to heaven. I thought the issue is that abortion "spares people the horror of hell". Am I wrong?

3rd point: If Christians believe that all except Jesus deserve to be tormented in hell, then unborn children and kids with down syndrome deserve to be eternally tormented. If this is what you really believe, you ought to reject all this talk about how abortion involves the killing of the innocent human life.
Ellen and Jerry, you may notice that Kostya assumes all aborted children go to Heaven. John Calvin and his followers claimed this was heresy, because only one person was ever born without sin. Kostya appears to be unfamiliar with Psalm 51:5.

John, I have a question: Let's suppose for the sake of argument that you're 100% wrong about Peter Singer's philosophy. Does that have any effect whatsoever on your assertion that eugenics undergirds both the Holocaust and abortion?

I'd say it has no effect.

You're doing excellent work, John. Keep it up; many of us support you.
Mr. Stonestreet, your comment here is no more an argument than mine. I have made observations, and they are observations which any serious reader of Singer would accept.

Peter Singer's ethical system is a form of preference utilitarianism. His primary influences seem to be Henry Sidgwick and R.M. Hare. Try as you may, you would not be able to substantiate your claim than any of these philosophers endorses the view that "lives...acquire value based on certain traits societal elites determine matter the most." The idea that the values of "societal elites" should be given a privileged place in the assessment of value is an idea that these philosophers explicitly repudiate. Your claim therefore demonstrates a remarkable degree of unfamiliarity with Singer's views. For that you should be embarrassed, and your readers should be warned.

Feel free to point out how I misrepresented Singer. It is important to make arguments, not just assertions. I noticed on each of the comments you made on each of the other commentaries, you settled for assertions (some snide and sarcastic, others completely missing the point of the commentary) and failed to make a single argument.

It's difficult to have a discussion that way.
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