Anti-abortion memes, fallacies and uncharitable arguments

Folks, this is my Friday pulpit time. Those of you who want pictures of the cats might want to click through.
There can be no better exemplification of the Fallacy of false dichotomy than the fallout from another report about an anti-abortion speech by pastor Matt Chandler.
The fans of the speech appear to start their analysis from the viewpoint that anybody who disagrees with them is “pro-abortion”. This therefore means (in their world) that their opponents are one or more of: monsters, immoral, murderers, Nazis, eugenicists….
This is lazy, intellectually risible claptrap.
I know of nobody that I have met in 60 years who has ever said to me “you know, I am in favour of abortion because I think it is a jolly good thing”. The idea that the world is full of evil people promoting abortion is a fabulist, dystopian invention.
What we are witnessing here is the end result of what George Lakoff terms Framing. The people and the organizations who oppose the use of abortion realized a long time ago that by describing themselves as “pro-life”, they could then claim that anybody arguing against them on any front or using any form of objection is “anti-life” and therefore their arguments, by inference, are unworthy. Ditto “anti-abortion” as a framing phrase.
Anybody who argues in favour of any abortions is therefore a person with unworthy arguments. Actually, it’s far worse than that. Not only are the arguments of opponents unworthy, the opponents are entirely unworthy as people. Hence the rapid or immediate jump to the use of emotive words like “monster” and “Nazi”.
I am pro-life and I am also (in some limited circumstances) pro-abortion. I reject the framing of the opponents of abortion, and I also reject their arguments, particularly their juvenile, intellectually risible attempts at ad hominem smears. I mostly refuse to engage with people who have that mindset. Their arguments are, in most cases, ridiculous, devoid of logical or intellectual depth, and therefore worthy of dismissal or ridicule.
As John Scalzi said, if you want me to respect your arguments, have a good one. Starting from a logical fallacy, then moving via framing to establish strawman caricatures of opponents in order to be able to insult them, doesn’t even begin to make those people into serious opponents or debaters. As far as I am concerned, until they start to show a good deal more maturity and pragmatism, they can go pound sand, and I will work to make sure that their censorious, crypto-fascist ideas do not prevail.


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