Culture, News & Events

If You’re Going to Appeal to Science on Climate Change, Be Consistent

I believe climate change is real. Those who argue for the reality of climate change often – and rightly – appeal to the vast body of scientific evidence that shows human activity is at the very least a hugely significant causative factor in climate change.

I believe we should follow this scientific evidence where it leads us. We have a responsibility to our children and future generations to act in light of it, whether that be by reducing carbon emissions, pursuing renewable energy, or whatever else.

Science background

But if you’re going to appeal to science on climate change, be consistent – don’t just follow it on climate change, but in every area. You can’t pick and choose which parts of scientific evidence fit your agenda and ignore the rest.

I find it startling that so many people who argue for the reality of climate change – and appeal to science in doing so – completely ignore, deny, and evade the science when it comes to a different issue: namely, abortion.

Going Where the Science Leads Us

Let’s cut to the chase: the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly clear that a baby is a human being long before she is born. And we’re not talking about halfway through a pregnancy.

Her brainwaves can be detected 42 days  (6 weeks) after conception.

Her heart is beating and pumping blood at just 24 days.

She has a unique human DNA from conception.

These are just a few snapshots. The scientific evidence is abundant and undeniable – babies in the womb are human beings. They don’t become human beings when they become viable outside the womb. They don’t become human beings when they pass through the birth canal, or some other arbitrary marker.

The science is clear: babies in the womb are human beings.

The Fundamental Question

So often in the abortion debate, the scientific evidence is evaded by shifting the focus to talk almost exclusively about ‘rights’. After all, it’s a woman’s right to choose, isn’t it?

Now don’t get me wrong, I am pro-choice.

I believe that women should have the right to do what they want with their own bodies and their own reproductive organs.

But where do our rights and free choices end? Are we free to make any choices we want, even at the expense of others? Almost everyone agrees that my right to do what I want ends at the point that my choices bring harm to another person.

You can choose to get as drunk as you want. That’s your choice. But by law you cannot get behind a wheel and drive a car while drunk. Why not? Because drunk driving endangers the lives of others.

You have the freedom to make your own choices, but your choices are limited – and rightly so.

You don’t have the right to endanger, harm or kill other people.

I am pro-choice, but our right to choose ends when it comes to harming the life of another human being. Women should have the right to do what they want with their own bodies, but they do not have the right to destroy someone else’s.

And that is why the fundamental question in the discussion around abortion is this: is the baby a human being? If the answer is no, then it really is a discussion about what a woman can do with her own body. But if the answer is yes, then abortion is killing an innocent human being, something that no-one has the right to do.

If the science is clear that a baby in the womb is a human being – and it is – then supporting abortion (especially by appealing simply to ‘rights’) is ignoring science. It’s evasive, and amounts to burying our heads in the sand.

Burying Our Heads in the Sand

Between 1650 and 1900, more than 10 million Africans were enslaved and forcefully taken to Europe and the Americas, with many others killed in the process.

When major opposition to the slave trade began in earnest, one of the primary justifications to defend the slave trade was that Africans weren’t human beings. Because they were sub-human, people convinced themselves that the atrocities they were committing weren’t atrocious at all.

Today, we look back on that and wonder: how could people have let that happen?

But one day, people are going to look back on us.

They are going to look at how we allowed millions and millions of human beings (about 40 million every year according to the World Health Organisation), at the most vulnerable stage of their lives – in their mothers’ wombs – to be slaughtered.

And how we justified it by convincing ourselves that these aren’t human beings.

But the scientific evidence is clear. We have no excuse. If we’re going to appeal to science on some things – like climate change – we have to be willing to follow where the science leads us in all areas, not just the ones that fit our particular agenda.

If you’re going to appeal to science, be consistent. We owe it to our children and future generations to do no less.

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