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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Debate on Vaccination Vanishes from Anti-Vaccination Website

Posted by jlwile on December 18, 2010

On Monday, December 13th, I debated Dr. Boyd Haley on the question “Do Vaccines Cause Autism?” I took the scientific position, which is no. It was sponsored by the International Medical Council on Vaccination, which produces all sorts of anti-vaccine misinformation. Prior to December 13th, they publicized the debate heavily, and their website indicated that a recording of the debate would be posted after the debate was finished.

Interestingly enough, the recording was never posted on their website. Now something even more interesting has happened. Currently, there is absolutely no mention of the debate on their website at all. If you Google the word “debate” and restrict the domain to the International Medical Council on Vaccination’s website, you find several addresses where it was once mentioned:

www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2010/12/04/debate-on-vaccination/
www.vaccinationcouncil.org/tag/debate/
www.vaccinationcouncil.org/page/4/
www.vaccinationcouncil.org/page/2/

However, if you go to those addresses now, you get either an error message or a list of other articles. If you search for “debate” using the search box on the International Medical Council on Vaccination’s website, you find nothing related to the debate.

Does this surprise me? Not really. Does it disappoint you? If so, don’t worry. You can watch the debate here. (Thanks to Matt Fig for converting it to Youtube format.) Once you watch it, perhaps you will understand why such a heavily-promoted event has been wiped off the website of the group that hosted it!

NOTE: In addition to uploading the debate to Youtube, Matt Fig found the International Medical Council on Vaccination’s original post publicizing the debate:

https://web.archive.org/web/20101210075650/http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2010/12/04/debate-on-vaccination/

Comments

31 Responses to “Debate on Vaccination Vanishes from Anti-Vaccination Website”
  1. josiah says:

    They were really that confident then? WOW. I guess they hoped you’d flop when you found that your background in nuclear chemistry wouldn’t help you for a Biology debate.

    At least they aren’t so bad as to lie (or misrepresent the truth, which amounts to the same thing) about the debate. Like “Dr. Wile based his argument on studies by convicted criminals, and tried to argue that increasing the dosage of a known neurotoxin reduces the risk of autism”

  2. josiah says:

    You can still (at the time of writing, knowing that this can change) find those pages on the google cache. But when you click to see the present content you get nothing.

    https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:1ZL0nkZPYoMJ:www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2010/12/04/debate-on-vaccination/+debate+site:www.vaccinationcouncil.org&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk&client=firefox-a

  3. Ben Gardner says:

    Thanks for keeping a copy for us!

  4. jlwile says:

    Thanks for the link to the Google cache, Josiah!

  5. jlwile says:

    Glad to do it, Ben.

  6. Pyrodin says:

    Wow, thats pretty suspicious…I did see this, too

    http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/info:doi/10.1289/ehp.1002835

    A little closer to finding the cause/causes anyhow…

    Peace

  7. Keith Josephs says:

    Dr. Wile,

    I came across your site today and am very happy that you fully endorse and explain why vaccinations are paramount to keeping people (especially) children safe from deadly disease. As I have recently (a year and a half ago) de-converted from Christianity many of my friends who are opposed to vaccination unfortunately dismiss out of hand anything I have to say on a subject. I am under no delusion that my de-conversion will come as a disappointment to believers (including yourself) but the continued rejection of any opinion (even those backed by evidence) does tend to hurt. I have directed my un-vaccinating Christian friends to your site in the hopes their minds will be changed on this issue.

    In addition, I would like to know your opinion on the recent various studies on intercessory prayer. These studies are part of the reason for my de-conversion. The main studies to which I refer are the following:

    1. STEP from American Heart Journal (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16569567)
    2. MANTRA from Lancet (http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2805%2967719-7/fulltext#)
    3. Mayo Clinic Coronary Care Unit Trials from Mayo Clinic Proceedings (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11761499)

    It seems as these studies (like those who find no serious vaccine problems)are legitimately conducted, while those who find positive results (like those finding serious vaccination problems)have serious methodological problems.

    I understand that prayer studies are slightly more complicated than a mere causal relationship between a dependent and independent variable as there is an intentional agent with a mind (God) involved. God could have decided to not answer intercessory prayers if those prayers were undergoing a scientific study. However, does this not seem to call into question God’s character if He chooses not to answer the prayers merely because it is under study? Does this come under the phrase “Do not test the Lord your God”?

    It seems to me that if positive Christian prayer is to be considered valid without double blind test verification, that prayer under other religions (in which which positive answered prayer also seem to be answered without the verification of a study) could likewise be considered valid. What other method then might be used to distinguish between the positive prayer claims of conflicting religions?

    A respectful disbeliever,
    Keith D. Josephs

  8. jlwile says:

    It’s not at all suspicious, Pyrodin. It is expected. Anti-vaccination groups only exist because they are effective at misinformation. The debate showed Boyd’s misinformation for what it is, so they had to eliminate all evidence of it.

    The study you linked is very interesting, but it is a bit limited. They had 304 autistic children, which is good, but the sample that lived near highways contained only 30 children. Thus, the sample size in which they saw the effect was very small. The statistical error alone is 18%. This is why the authors are very tentative:

    We recognize that the moderate relative risks associated with freeway proximity in our study may have been due to chance or bias. The study is currently limited by sample size and potential exposure misclassification.

    Nevertheless, the results are very intriguing, and they certainly indicate that another, larger study should be done to see if the correlation can be reproduced with a larger sample size.

  9. jlwile says:

    Thanks for your comment, Keith. I agree that it is very frustrating when people dismiss opinions that are based on evidence just because they disagree with the opinions. However, I don’t think it’s my job to change people’s minds. My job is simply to attempt to educate them. If they refuse to be educated, it ends up being their problem, not mine.

    I also strongly agree with you that the studies which show no effect of intercessory prayer are well-designed (for what they are trying to show) and well-executed, while those that show a positive effect are, in a word, shoddy. However, I do not see how the conclusions of these studies could be a factor in your deconversion. You say that studying prayer is SLIGHTLY more difficult than studying vaccines because “there is an intentional agent with a mind (God) involved.” I disagree. I say that it is INCREDIBLY more difficult. However, it is not difficult for the reason that you give. God doesn’t decide to not answer prayers because He is being tested. I am not sure where you got such an idea, but I doubt it was from any serious Christian. I would think that any serious Christian has a better understanding of God’s character than that!

    The reason such studies are INCREDIBLY difficult is because it is hard for us to determine what a positive outcome is. In a vaccine study, it is easy to define a positive outcome. After all, the purpose of a vaccine is to prevent disease. Thus, if the percentage of vaccinated children who get the disease is significantly lower than the percentage of unvaccinated children, then you have a positive outcome.

    Trying to determine a positive outcome for prayer is nearly impossible. It is very naive to say that if a person gets better, the prayer has been effective. Ask Joni Eareckson Tada, for example. She was paralyzed in a diving accident, and she says that her terrible condition is a gift from God. For her, God gave her a marvelous gift by NOT healing her. Indeed, it isn’t even Biblical to believe that God will answer prayers the way we want Him to answer them. Paul talks about his “thorn in the flesh” in II Corinthians 12. In verses 8-10 he says:

    Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

    You see, unlike us, God sees the “big picture.” Sometimes it is best for us when we are not healed. This was the case with Paul, it is the case with Joni Eareckson Tada, and it is/was/will be the case for a huge number of Christians around the world. God will ANSWER your prayers, but like a caring father, the answer will sometimes be, “no.” Consider, for example, the small child who constantly asks his father for candy. Sometimes the father will give him candy, and sometimes the father will not. The child would define a positive outcome as always getting candy. Thus, if he did a “study” of his father’s behavior, he would see no effect. To him, whether or not his father gives him candy is random. However, the father must think of the child’s total happiness, which includes the child’s health. Thus, he gives the child candy when it will not “spoil his dinner,” negatively affect his behavior, or cause a host of other problems. The child cannot see a pattern to this, because the child cannot see the big picture. Thus, the child’s study would determine that there is no real effect when it comes to asking his father for candy.

    When we try to study the effectiveness of prayer, we are much like this child. We don’t see the big picture, so what appears to be no effect is merely a result of our lack of understanding.

  10. Keith Josephs says:

    Dr. Wile,

    Thank you very much for your prompt reply. I understand that we cannot know God’s mind or “ultimate” intentions. It seems to me that a common Christian response that does not show God in a positive light (OT atrocities, evil, non-positive response to prayer) is to revert to skeptical theism (essentially not knowing God’s mind). The following Bible verses essentially claim that the positive outcome of prayer will be the result: Matthew 7:7, Matthew 18:19, Matthew 21:22, Mark 11:24, Luke 11:13, John 14:13-14, John 16:23, Romans 10:12, Ephesians 2:18, Hebrews 4:16, Hebrews 10:19, 1 John 5:14-15. Many add the condition that the prayers must be conducted in certain manners. Is it possible that the prayers in the studies were not conducted in the “correct” way? Sorry, I do not mean to make your blog into a theological debate. I have many more thoughts on this topic, and I have discussed them in other forums. I just wondered what your take on the issue was, as I am interested, especially by seemingly intelligent Christians like yourself, have to say on things.

    ~Keith

  11. jlwile says:

    Keith, I think you misunderstand both my point and the nature of God. Just as there are no Old Testament atrocities, there are no non-positive responses to proper Christian prayer. The Bible verses you quote definitely promise positive outcomes to prayer, but as I said in my original post, it is difficult for US to determine what a positive outcome is. Since we know very little (compared to God), we can’t see the big picture. Like the child asking for candy, what we think is a positive outcome is often NOT a positive outcome. God sees that, and He produces a positive outcome when we pray, even if it is not what we want or expect.

    Please note that while you mentioned a lot of Bible passages that discuss prayer, you didn’t mention the most important one. After all, when Jesus Himself says “this is how you should pray,” we should sit up and take notice. In Matthew 6:9–13 he says to pray in this order: worship God, ask for His Kingdom to come, ask for His will to be done, and THEN start asking for your needs to be met. God’s will is to be paramount in the PROPER Christian prayer. This means that when we pray, God’s will trumps our desires. If He knows that our desires are bad for us, like a good father, He will not grant them to us. As a side note, this is where most people who don’t understand the Bible make their mistakes. Rather that trying to understand what the Bible is saying about a particular issue, they quote individual passages and take them out of context. The Bible never portrays prayer as something that allows you to get WHATEVER you ask. Only those who don’t take the time to study the Bible seriously think about prayer that way.

    Certainly the studies you mention don’t ensure that the prayers offered for the subjects of the study are done in a Biblical manner. However, even if a study were conducted that ensured all prayers were done Biblically, I still would not expect the study to come up with any strong result. Once again, a study needs to be able to determine what a positive outcome is. We simply cannot do that when it comes to prayer, as what a positive outcome is changes from person to person, and we are not knowledgeable enough to understand what that is for each individual. As a result, it is simply not possible to design a reasonable study.

    I typically like to have the comments focused on the topic of the post, but since you seemed honestly interested (which is rare), I am happy to help.

  12. Keith Josephs says:

    Dr. Wile,

    Thanks for your answer. Of course, I think it avoids the issue. For one, I shouldn’t have used the word “positive” outcome, but rather those verses very explicitly address that the prayer will be fulfilled in the affirmative (I do appreciate Jesus’ admonition on “how to pray”). I guess what I draw from the experiments is the fact that the result turns out the SAME whether or not a prayer is offered. This seems to cheapen prayer to whether you just want to converse with God and make yourself feel better, whatever the outcome.

    In addition, each time I tell my children they can or cannot have candy, or something else, etc. I make every attempt to explain “why”. It does not seem that God does this. Although one could make the argument that we aren’t listening to his “why” etc. In my opinion, this would turn out to be confirmation bias when a prayer request is granted. Humans may be able to find the “why”, again whatever the outcome, because we really have no choice but to “make the best of life” no matter what it throws at us.

    Anyway, I have taken plenty of your time and I thank you for your sincere response.

    ~Keith

  13. josiah says:

    I acknowledge that God need not necessarily heal somebody or give them a job or grant whatever else they prayed for and this interferes with a statistical study. It strikes me however that we shouldn’t have to deal with subtle statistical advantages–this is one area where anecdotal evidence is conclusive. If somebody’s amputated leg grows back, somebody’s cancer disappears, or something else that defies natural law and sends Scientists crazy as a result of being prayed for, that is pretty strong!

  14. jlwile says:

    My answer doesn’t avoid the issue, Keith. It properly analyzes the question. Part of being a good scientist is understanding what an experiment can and cannot tell you. In this case, there are simply too many variables to pin down. As a result, a case-controlled experiment simply has no scientific merit in analyzing prayer. In the same way, part of being a good Christian is understanding what the Bible actually says about prayer. Sure, you can pull some quotes out of context to make it look like prayer is a magical grab bag that entitles you to anything you want, but no serious student of Scripture thinks that. When one studies the Bible and applies proper hermeneutics, it becomes clear that prayer is about asking God to take care of you (or the person you are praying for). Oftentimes, that means NOT getting what you ask for.

    You are certainly incorrect in your interpretation of the experiments. They definitely do not indicate that the results are the same whether or not you pray. They indicate that there are simply too many variables to make a case-controlled study on prayer meaningful.

    You are certainly correct that if praying were simply a means of conversing with God to make you feel better, then prayer would, indeed, be cheap. However, that is not a Biblical view of prayer. A Biblical view of prayer tells us that praying is asking your heavenly father to take care of you – in the way that He knows is best. Like a good earthly father, He will often give you what you ask for. However, like a good earthly father, He will often NOT give you what you ask for, because He knows it would not be good for you.

    God most certainly does tell us why He answers prayers in the way He chooses. Indeed, in the Scripture I quoted before, He told Paul exactly why He did not take away the “thorn in the flesh.” In the same way, He told Joni Eareckson Tada why He did not take away her injuries. The big question is whether or not we listen. Some children, when told why they don’t get candy, will eventually learn. They are the children who listen to their father and try to understand their father’s true nature. However, some children simply don’t want to listen or learn their father’s true nature. They throw temper tantrums because they don’t get their candy rather than listening to their father’s reasons.

    Unfortunately, there are those who do the same thing with God. They don’t bother to listen to Him as He patiently explains why He has chosen to answer a prayer in a specific way. This is not a matter of “making the best of life.” It is a matter of listening and learning. Some people are good at listening to God. Some people are not. I truly hope that you eventually become one of the former!

  15. jlwile says:

    While I appreciate what you are saying, Josiah, such anecdotal evidence only goes so far. Rather than being a demonstration of the power of prayer, it is simply a demonstration of the fact that many things happen which are beyond our understanding. There are many stories of medical miracles, and while many of them involve prayer, many of them do not. Also, some of the prayer-related ones involve prayers to false gods. Thus, such stories should convince us that there is a limit to our understanding. That in and of itself is a good lesson, and it is one many (including Keith, I am afraid) have not learned. However, I think that is the end of the lesson.

  16. josiah says:

    “Also, some of the prayer-related ones involve prayers to false gods”

    I’m not sure that is necessarily a problem, or even counter-scriptural. Pharoah’s magicians Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses “by the power of Ra…” as the Prince of Egypt puts it quite catchily, and they too managed to create snakes out of sticks. It appears that Satan brought about the plagues on Job. There are cases of the demon possessed prophesying correctly, and so on. We The only thing that the Bible is very clear on is that God is greater than any of these powers.

    So while it is certainly a serious problem for the belief system of a materialist atheist if miracles are performed in the name of Vishnu or something, it is much less of a problem for the Christian. Miracles without a god are harder to explain however.

    Not even the chief angel Michael did this. In his quarrel with the Devil, when they argued about who would have the body of Moses, Michael did not dare condemn the Devil with insulting words, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”–Jud 1:9 CEV

  17. Keith Josephs says:

    Thank you Dr. Wile. Your explanation is certainly inspiring if anything. I must say that I haven’t completely given up searching for truth (and I may even find it within Christianity). I hope that God, whomever He might be (for you are correct that He certainly is a mystery beyond our complete comprehension if He exists), knows that I do respect Him, even though I doubt His existence. Thank you once again.

  18. jlwile says:

    Josiah, I agree with you that it is not a problem for Christianity, and it is a huge problem for the atheist view. However, I still contend that it is a problem for confirming the validity of Christian prayers. Certainly Christians can point to answered prayers, but so can the followers of virtually every religion. Thus, as I said before, such anecdotes confirm that there is something beyond our understanding, but I do not think it sets Christianity off as unique.

  19. jlwile says:

    Keith, a very interesting philosopher named Miguel de Unamuno once wrote, “Faith which does not doubt is dead faith.” In addition, the very thoughtful theologian Paul Tillich wrote, “Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.”

    Continue to seek the truth with an open mind, and you will find it.

  20. Pyrodin says:

    Hey, Dr. Wile

    What do you think about Christian texts that are noncanonical or gnostic, like the The Apocryphon of John, the Nag Hammadi texts? I was never aware of them until recently, I figured they are a lot like the non-peer reviewed vaccine info, or do they have some merit and are just left out because of differing opinion,controversy, and being ambiguous? I admit the idea of an imperfect creator does answer alot of the questions I have had, like why “God” has what I consider flaws(needing a son to forgive the world, trying to wipe us out with a flood, being cruel/jealous/angry), for a perfect being anyhow. If we are created in gods image then aren’t all the bad and the good traits we have inside of us also in God, did that come with the forbiden fruit? I am not intending to anger anybody or be blasphemous, but I am not sure what is actually “holy” and what is not, it just seems like a matter of opinion to me, but I would like to hear what you think about it.

  21. jlwile says:

    Pyrodin, the New Testament noncanonical books are noncanonical because they could not be authenticated as having been written, dictated, or endorsed by an apostle. This is important, because the apostles were the ones who had first-hand experience with Christ. The Apocryphon of John, for example, claims to be a collection of “secret teachings” that Christ gave to John. However, very early Christian writers, such as Irenaeus, referred to it as not being from John.

    So rather than thinking of them as non-peer-reviewed vaccination studies, I would think of them more as studies with falsified data. Thus, from the standpoint of learning about the nature of God, they are pretty much useless. They have other value (for example, they allow us to understand various beliefs of the time), but they have no value in helping us understand who God is.

    I think you are correct in saying, “what I consider flaws.” What you list as a collection of God’s supposed flaws is really a collection of misunderstandings that many have about the nature of God. Many people’s interpretations of Him are flawed, but God is certainly not flawed. To learn about the nature of God, you might consider these works:

    Why was the ancient God so “cruel”?

    Is God Cruel?

    Is God Cruel? (Another author)

    Gutripper

    We were, indeed, created in His image, but the flaws in us come from the consequences of free will and the Fall. Had God not given us free will, our lives would be meaningless. Unfortunately, however, free will brings with it the possibility for all sorts of bad things.

  22. Pyrodin says:

    Thanks for your response Dr. Wile, I need some time to read the rest of those links but, the first link you posted is a little disturbing

    “In many cases, innocent people do inevitably suffer when justice is being wrought.”

    I know that link was talking about the old testament but it is the same logic that allows people to do horrible things in the name of God, killing entire villages of people, stuff like that.

    Seems the more I read, the more I do not know, lol. Will read the rest of the links you provided, thanks again for your response!

    Peace

  23. jlwile says:

    I do hope you read them, as your cursory examination is not very good. You are clearly misunderstanding what the quote says. It is not, in any way, a means by which people can do horrible things in the name of God. It is simply a statement of fact. When a father is put in jail for murder, for example, his children suffer. They are innocent, but they suffer in order for justice to be served. Are you suggesting that the father not go to jail for murder so that his children don’t suffer, since they are innocent? The quote simply states a fact of life and has nothing to do with using God to justify evil acts.

    You also seem to really misunderstand the nature of God if you think that the Old Testament is somehow different from the New Testament when it comes to its description of God. It is not. The entire Bible (Old and New Testaments) describe the same perfect God.

  24. Josiah says:

    What strange cultural trend has brought about the idea that in order to be perfect God has to be cuddly? It has almost reached the stage where justice becomes a dirty word. It isn’t quite there yet but I think punishment just about is. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if you did find someone willing to argue that the children’s lives of your example are more important than extracting “justice” over some dead guy.

    I don’t think that first link was particularly good; you don’t realize where it’s coming from unless you know the answer already. But the critical point remains that Justice and Mercy are paradoxically compliments of each other in perfection, and it is important to consider God’s boundless patience and mercy alongside his wrath and judgement to get a full picture.

  25. jlwile says:

    You are 100% correct, Josiah. In this culture, “good” is synonymous with “cuddly,” which shows just how depraved our culture is today.

  26. Pyrodin says:

    Killing babies is not good, even if they are future hitlers, do they not deserve the chance to choose to be good or evil? Think you guys have been watching too much 24, no I dont think “that the father {should} not go to jail for murder so that his children do not suffer” but the children ought not to be killed because of the fathers acts, sorry if thats to cuddly for you Josiah, lol.

    And how is “it is not, in any way, a means by which people can do horrible things in the name of God”

    Do suicide bombers not believe they are doing gods will?

    I do understand the article, I think it clearly says “do not bite the hand that feeds, do not question authority”

    “In many cases, innocent people do inevitably suffer when justice is being wrought. But aside from that, when the Righteous Judge of the universe is sitting on the bench, any means that He may choose to use is self-justified. After all, He is the very creator and sustainer of human life.”

  27. jlwile says:

    Pyrodin, you are way off base on this. You say, “Killing babies is not good, even if they are future hitlers, do they not deserve the chance to choose to be good or evil?” Ask some of the innocent people who suffered under Hitler. Ask the families of the people who were slaughtered by him. I think most would agree that it would have been better for the entire world if Hitler had been killed as a baby.

    You most certainly do not understand the article. The article does not say “do not question authority.” It says that since God knows a LOT more than we do, we need to understand that judging God is nonsensical. It is like a little boy judging his father for not giving him everything he wants. The father knows more about what will make the boy happy in the long run, so for the little boy to judge the father is just a display of the boy’s ignorance. In the same way, for a limited human to judge God simply displays that human’s ignorance.

    In fact, this is where suicide bombers also make their mistakes, at least the religious ones. As The Irrational Atheist makes clear, most atrocities committed on earth are done for nonreligious reasons. However, the ones done for religious reasons are the result of limited humans trying to put themselves in God’s place.

    I think this is the root of your severe misunderstanding of the nature of God. You seem to think you know more than He does. That’s a rather dangerous position to take!

  28. Pyrodin says:

    I sorry but I do not see it that way…And I would not kill the antichrist if he were just a innocent baby…

    “like a little boy judging his father for not giving him everything he wants”

    what if the father is hitler, shouln’t the kid judge his father then.

    “since God knows a LOT more than we do, we need to understand that judging God is nonsensical”

    in other words don’t try to judge(question) God(authority)?

    yeah….

  29. jlwile says:

    God wouldn’t kill the antiChrist, either, Pyrodin, and that’s the whole point! The antiChrist will cause a lot of evil, but in the end, God knows that the antiChrist has a vital role to play. Since you don’t know as much as God, you shouldn’t kill anyone. However, God knows enough to know who should be killed and who shouldn’t. You should respect that kind of knowledge.

    The child should definitely NOT try to judge the father, even if he is Hitler. Remember, the child doesn’t know enough to judge, period. What the child thinks is evil could, in fact, just be his lack of understanding. In the same way, it’s not because of His AUTHORITY that we shouldn’t judge God. It’s because of His KNOWLEDGE. Thus, the message of the article is NOT, “Don’t question authority.” Instead, it is, “Accept the limits of your knowledge.” What you think is God doing evil is really just you not knowing enough. If you are willing to accept the limits of your knowledge, you will end up learning a lot more!

  30. Josiah says:

    The classic “potential for good” anti-abortion argument goes something like this: start by listing a bunch of criteria by which someone (typically Beethoven; I don’t know why) should have been aborted. Putting the decision to your opponent. Finishing with “Congratulations, you have now killed Beethoven”

    Of course this is illogical. Yes an unborn baby has immense potential to bring great joy to the world. But the baby could as easily (or some would argue far more easily) be a Hitler. We don’t know what they will become. The criteria for determining the sanctity of human life therefore cannot depend upon the potential for good or evil. I assert that it would be just as wrong for a doctor to abort a potential Hitler as it would be to abort a potential Gandhi–each foetus is both at once.

    I further argue that had Hitler been killed in WW1 or otherwise met his death the world would not necessarily have been better. World War II would not necessarily have been averted. The social tenancy in Germany at the time was restless and authoritarian, another dictator would have emerged. Also Antisemitism was not unique to Adolf Hitler but was endemic throughout Europe. Pius IX’s “we are Semites spiritually” was a very novel idea. The Holocaust could also have been wrought.

    Had world war been averted (in the short run) the planet would not necessarily have been better. We might not have seen the rise of many of the national independences, civil rights movements and general humanitarian improvements. When war arose later it would have been far worse. We cannot know how things might have gone without such a world-changing man.

    Now God didn’t decide to bump off Hitler, but unlike us he knows how things work out. Perhaps this is because overall not having Hitler would have been many times worse for Earth and humanity.

  31. jlwile says:

    I agree with you, Josiah. It is quite possible that God didn’t kill baby Hitler because in the end, the world would not have been better off without him. I expect most who experienced suffering because of Hitler would disagree, but then again, that’s why we shouldn’t be killing anyone. We don’t know as much as God does, so we should not take it on ourselves to decide who lives or dies.

    In the same way, we should not assume that God is doing something wrong when He does kill a child. Since He knows a lot more than we do, we should expect that there is a very good reason for the death.

    I also agree that the pro-life argument you began with is nonsense. It is emotional, not rational.

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