Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Debating The Killing Of Unborns At Grand Valley State University

Scott Klusendorf of Life Training Institute, debated the killing of unborns last week with Nadine Strossen, President of the ACLU at Grand Valley State University [Michigan].

Examining this debate is a productive means of self-education for the pro-lifer who wants to impact society with an engaging argument.

Scott’s short and excellent summary of his approach in debating Nadine was posted here on the LTI blog, while JivinJehoshaphat gives an interesting and detailed outsider’s point of view.

JivinJehoshaphat explained the structure of the debate:
The debate format was set up so each speaker was given 15 minutes to make their presentation and then 5 minutes for rebuttals. Participants from the opposing students groups then asked 4 questions each and Klusendorf and Strossen were each given a chance to rebut what the other said in their answers. The general audience was then allowed to ask questions. I'd estimate the audience asked somewhere between 10 and 15 questions (including one by yours truly) and each speaker was given the opportunity if they desired to address the question. The debate concluded with each presenter giving a 3 minute closing statement.
Although JivinJehoshaphat notes that the debate was respectful and pleasant, he points to the failure of the “pro-choice” debater to address the all important question:
Strossen's true downfall, however, was her decision to completely avoid making an kind of argument regarding what the unborn are. Klusendorf begins the debate by framing it around what the unborn are and stating he will concede the debate if Strossen can prove the unborn aren't human beings. Strossen didn't even try. She couldn't even muster a "alright they may be human beings but they aren't persons" kind of argument. All she could do was continually assert the unborn were "potential life" without ever once making an argument trying to differentiate between "potential life" (which she also said included sperm and egg cells) and actual life. She also asserted that when life begins is a moral question and was unable to come up with a single scientific source to back up her opinion that "there is no scientific consensus" on whether the unborn are alive or not when asked by Klusendorf.
If you haven't already, be sure to look at Scott’s article--referred to in his post--which lays out a scientific and philosophic defense of the pro-life view.

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