God is the Greatest Abortionist

April 27, 2011

If there is a God, does this God choose life?

Not really. For example, God is the world’s greatest abortionist, and God evidently hates babies. 

How many embryos and fetuses never make it to birth?  How many babies die in natural childbirth?  How many infants die before reaching age five?  The statistics are not good.  The most hazardous journey of life is the first few months. According to the calculations of Gregory Paul (see his published articles here), who used the best figures from embryology and neonatal doctors, as few as one-quarter of all conceptions avoid reabsorption or miscarriage, and of those fetuses that do make it to full-term, another large percentage die during natural childbirth.  It’s obvious that embryos are not well-designed for making it to infancy.

The female body was not well-designed for childbirth, either, since the ratio of fetal skull size to female hip size doesn’t make for great odds for the mother.  Every year, more than half a million women die in pregnancy or childbirth.  Natural evolution, not religion, explains the tough compromises forced on the human body, and why few embryos make it to infancy and so many mothers die in the process. 

Although the odds of a fertilized egg making it to a live birth are less than 1 in 5, another hazardous journey through infancy lies ahead.  Before modern medicine, around 20% of children in England and the United States died before the age of five, and that number was much higher in pre-industrial societies.  For most of the existence of our human species, over the past one hundred thousand years or so, probably only around half of all born babies reached the age of five.

All these poor odds add up to the fact that for most of human existence there had to be 10 pregnancies or more to guarantee the life of a single five year old child. But that’s because humanity came into existence through natural evolution. And for those who think that God used natural evolution to create us, they need to wake up to the way that God could not be anything like the loving person who believers want to worship.

And worship and prayer does nothing to help these terrible odds against life.  Only in modern industrialized countries using secular scientific medicine do we see infant mortality rates dramatically reduced.  However, it remains generally true that countries with higher rates of religious faith have higher rates of infant mortality.  Is that part of God’s plan too?

 

Comments:

#1 Dan (Guest) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 at 12:20pm

“All these poor odds add up to the fact that for most of human existence there had to be 10 pregnancies or more to guarantee the life of a single five year old child. But that’s because humanity came into existence through natural evolution. And for those who think that God used natural evolution to create us, they need to wake up to the way that God could not be anything like the loving person who believers want to worship.”

I have no problem with your statistics. But your argument lacks any semblance of logic, and your conclusions are complete bollocks.

Your first conclusion, that “humanity came into existence through natural evolution” is probably correct, but doesn’t follow from your statistics. You presume that a god would have designed us such that the odds are better than 1 in 10. But evolution should of course select for a high percentage of survival per pregnancy, as well. The fact that that percentage is low isn’t prima facie support for evolution over god. Much more evidence is needed to make that judgement.

Your second conclusion, that God cannot be loving in the face of such poor odds, is similarly flawed. Your argument seems to be something like:

1. If a loving God exists, the percentage of human pregnancies that survive past age 5 would be high.
2. The percentage of human pregnancies that survive past age 5 is only about 10%.
3.Therefore, a loving God does not exist.

The problem, of course, is the first premise. How is the failure of an embryo to implant in the uterus inconsistent with a loving God? How is the death of an infant in child birth inconsistent with a loving God? It’s a tragedy, certainly. But so is the death of a 50 year old man with teen age children due to a sudden heart attack. Is the death of an infant less consistent with a loving God that the death of an adult? Why? Or is any death inconsistent with the existence of a loving God? The promise is not obviously true and you haven’t provided any support to think it is true.

At best your argument reduces to a statement that evil exists in the world. But the problem of evil is an ancient argument and has been argued for by atheists and refuted by theologians for centuries. And the existence of evil is a given anyway; the debate centers around whether a god would have sufficient reason for allowing such evil. You haven’t added anything new here.

I can only assume that, as a Research Associate in Philosophy and co-editor of philosophy journals, I’m not saying anything you don’t already know. So why post such garbage?

#2 Hello from Indonesia (Guest) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 at 6:07pm

Oh Dan, you just can’t accept that there is no God can you?

Low survival rate means evolution in progress. It’s nature selecting people with high survival chance.

oh come on… this is not garbage.. I think yours are..

#3 SocraticGadfly (Guest) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 at 10:51pm

Nonsense on all counts, Dan.

First, evolution has no “foresight.” As long as an adaptation does no worse than the previous condition,it will survive. If it conveys ANY advantage (like growth in human brain size that makes human pregnancy problematic) it will thrive.

Second, the problem of evil has NOT been refuted. If you actually have *learned* any philosophy, you’d know that.

Finally, care to tell us WHAT philosophy journals?

#4 Dan (Guest) on Thursday April 28, 2011 at 8:08am

Hello from Indonesia and SocraticGadfly: Neither of you actually address my objections. I destroyed the OP by showing that his logical is faulty. All you offer is calling my post nonsense, without even attempting to refute my claims.

And, SocraticGadfly, I was referring to the OP, who claims to be a Research Associate in Philosophy and the editor of philosophy journals, not me.

#5 Diego (Guest) on Thursday April 28, 2011 at 12:27pm

Hello Dan,

Firstly, although you first counter argument is correct, I don’t think the author was trying to prove evolution but rather explain why that situation happens with it.

Secondly, the problem of evil has been argued AND refuted sorely, which by no means is equal to say that the problem has been solved. I suppose your critique to the implicit premise of “A loving God wouldn’t allow miscarriages” is based on our ignorance, something like “how do we know this ‘evil’ isn’t working for a higher good which we don’t understand”. My answer consists in this: if god is omnipotent, couldn’t he just go without this evil? and , if only God can appreciate this ‘higher good’ isn’t that a bit egomaniac?

#6 SocraticGadfly (Guest) on Thursday April 28, 2011 at 11:12pm

Dan:

First, as Diego also notes, apologetic defenses of an omnipotent God HAVE been refuted.

If you’re well-read in philosophy at all, at least in moral philosophy and or atheism-vs-theism, you’ve read such refutations.

And, you either accept them as refutations, or else you believe in claims of theodicy.

I’m not going to hunt down a list of book titles and Google links. If you are that well-read, as I note, you know all this.

Second, , sorry I misunderstood on the editor part of your comments. That said, your calling Shook’s post “garbage” indicates you are familiar with this issue.

And, to be blunt, folks like Alvin Plantinga haven’t come close, or even close to close, to refuting the problem of evil.

Period.

#7 John (Guest) on Friday April 29, 2011 at 3:25am

If there is a god, it is not a loving one, certainly (as Dan attracted our attentions: God lets all kinds of tragedies happen). Not even a very talented one as far as I saw it until now (he is omnipotent, come on!). But it is out of any significance anyway, we live by his rules and there is no known way to get out.
I don’t want to get out, I’m quite happy this way.

#8 Craig Gosling (Guest) on Sunday May 01, 2011 at 11:14am

Dear Dan,

Firstly: You claimed that evolution should have selected a higher percentage of survivors. Huh? You can’t support that claim. Evolution is not interested in more survivors. Evolution is not interested in anything, it’s neutral, it does not choose favorites, it is a process that causes some life to survive and some not to. It does not have an opinion and you can’t claim it (evolution) SHOULD HAVE done something other than what happened. The fact that the percentage is low, but was just high enough to preserve humans is typical of the evolutionary process. Shit happens whether you think it should or not. Evolution is a non-thinking process. On the other hand, god is supposed to be a thinking and caring super-being. If he exists, he is to blame for the low survival rate and suffering. If he does not exist, the low survival rate is exactly in line with evolutionary theory.

Secondly: The fact is that evil exists and those who believe in god believe he sanctions it, sponsors it, and teaches it, is enough evidence for any thoughtful person to reject a belief in such a god-monster. Only a non-caring, powerless, or intentionally evil god could tolerate such mayhem. The argument goes: If there were no evil there would be no good; no death then no life. But, just remember, evolution is not interested in good or evil or death or life. Evolution is not interested in anything.

I admit, nothing I have said is new, and for that matter nothing you have said is new either, or makes sense.

Dan, you have some misconceived ideas and incorrect assumptions about evolution.

#9 gray1 on Tuesday May 03, 2011 at 12:01pm

“it remains generally true that countries with higher rates of religious faith have higher rates of infant mortality.”  I’d appreciate a reference or some basis for that statement.  Does it consider what kind of religious faith we are talking about?  Basically anyone not professing atheism has a cultural basis for some kind of religion.  Atheism is the new kid on the block and I’d be surprised if any statistics are available for infant mortality rates of atheists.

And remember, according to the good book it was God himself who doomed the (innocent) newborn child of David and Bathsheba. “Bathsheba’s child by David was struck with a severe illness and died at a few days after birth, which the king accepted as his punishment.” (Wiki)  I believe it actually says that “God struck the child” but then again since death apparently delivers all such souls directly to God, can we call this an evil act except as viewed from our own perspective? 

I suspect the consensus is that if a fetus self aborts it is because it was in some way not viable to continue whether any problems were in and of itself or due to some unfavorable environmental factor. Of course all such things can also be blamed on God if one wishes.  At least that seems better than blaming oneself.

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