War in the womb

I’ve never met an IDer or creationist who could explain this, and it should give pause to theistic evolutionists as well.

An article in Aeon:

War in the womb

A ferocious biological struggle between mother and baby belies any sentimental ideas we might have about pregnancy

Suzanne Sadedin is an evolutionary biologist who has worked at Monash University, University of Tennessee, Harvard University, and KU Leuven.

92 thoughts on “War in the womb”

  1. vjtorley

    OMagain,

    Planned Parenthood is not a good funding choice:

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/speaker-of-the-house-paul-ryan-explains-why-planned-parenthood-shouldnt-get

    Excerpt:

    Planned Parenthood commits an average of 897 abortions each day. Ninety-four percent of its pregnancy-related services are abortion. Its executives have been caught haggling over baby body parts. Investigators have also caught Planned Parenthood aiding child sex traffickers and covering up sexual abuse.

    See also this article: 7 Reasons Why Planned Parenthood Should Not Get Government Money by Abby Attia.

    Ironically, the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, hated abortion:

    What Did Margaret Sanger Think About Abortion?

  2. GlenDavidson

    vjtorley: Here’s my question: what exactly would you have God do, in order to prevent the life-threatening complications that kill some women during pregnancy? How would you improve on the male and female reproductive systems? If you can’t point to something God could have done better (without resorting to miracles), then your criticism amounts to hand-waving. Perhaps this is about the best that God can do, in a world with our laws of Nature.

    Suppose that there were none of the genetic conflicts between the mother’s genes and father’s genes? Wouldn’t that be one of your “it’s too good not to be designed” confirmation-bias ID talking points?

    But since it does happen, well, how do we know? Apparently we don’t know if “design” looks very doubtful (even to you), while we do know if it’s exquisitely optimized (at least locally). You don’t see a problem with that? It’s ID’s bias through and through, and it’s all that ID really has, a kind of theological view that only sees clearly when “God’s design” seems oh-so-right, and throws everything else into the “how can we know?” pile.

    How might we improve things? Well, how about cutting out the evolved conflicts? Is that really so hard to figure out? Do you really suppose that God can’t do anything but make things having the tell-tale complexities and problems of evolution? The liger is a massive cat, because lion fathers have genes that push babies to be huge, while tiger fathers don’t–nor do tiger mothers have genes to keep babies smaller as a counter. God couldn’t make lions more like tigers in that way?

    Glen Davidson

  3. PatrickPatrick

    vjtorley:
    Planned Parenthood commits an average of 897 abortions each day.

    Roughly correct. It’s a legal medical procedure that is clearly in demand.

    Ninety-four percent of its pregnancy-related services are abortion.

    That does not appear to be the case. From a CNN article:

    Abortion
    Planned Parenthood says 3% of the services it provides are abortions.
    323,999 abortions were performed in 2014, according to the organization.
    Sexual education
    Planned Parenthood says it provides sex education to 1.5 million young people and adults each year.
    Pregnancy prevention and birth control
    Planned Parenthood says it prevents an estimated 579,000 unintended pregnancies per year.
    Contraception accounted for 34% of the services it provided, according to the 2015 GAO report.
    In 2014, Planned Parenthood saw:
    2 milion reversible contraception patients
    941,589 emergency contraception kits
    3,445 vasectomies
    718 female sterilization procedures
    Pregnancy tests: 1.1 million tests done in 2014
    Prenatal care: provided to 17,419 people in 2014
    Sexually transmitted disease screening and treatment
    Planned Parenthood says this accounts for 42% of the services provided. (The GAO calculates 41% in 2012 by affiliates.)
    4.2 million tests and treatments provided in 2014
    This represents the largest proportion of medical services provided.
    Pap smears (cervical cancer screening): 270,000 per year
    Breast exams: 360,000 per year
    Research: Planned Parenthood said in its 2013-14 annual report that it participated in more than 70 research projects.

    Its executives have been caught haggling over baby body parts.

    That video was egregiously edited to be misleading, according to Snopes.

    Investigators have also caught Planned Parenthood aiding child sex traffickers and covering up sexual abuse.

    Got a cite to a credible, unbiased source?

    See also this article:7 Reasons Why Planned Parenthood Should Not Get Government Money by Abby Attia.

    That’s unconvincing. I support women’s reproductive rights, including making charitable donations. You don’t. The case for not funding Planned Parenthood can be made on the basis that it is immoral to initiate force (which is all that government is) against someone who is not threatening the life or property of another, particularly when the goal is to take money to fund an activity that the coerced person considers deeply immoral.

  4. newton

    vjtorley: Planned Parenthood commits an average of 897 abortions each day. Ninety-four percent of its pregnancy-related services are abortion. Its executives have been caught haggling over baby body parts. Investigators have also caught Planned Parenthood aiding child sex traffickers and covering up sexual abuse.

    The percentage is based on only two other services PP provides, for instance pregnancy testing is not included.

    As for covering sex abuse and aiding child sex trafficking the same could be said of the Catholic Church

  5. CharlieMCharlieM

    OMagain: Then that is at odds with humans taking responsibility for their own actions, don’t you think?

    Why would I think that? Just because I communicate with my son does not mean he is not free to do whatever he chooses.

    The classic cop out. Should I be wearing mixed fibres or not?

    How should I know?

    And you are full of cop outs. Come be my slave for the rest of your life, and you will be just as fulfilled as you are now because you are free mentally. I’ll even pay your plane fare. It’ll be a one way ticket, obviously.

    And will you also meet my commitments to my wife, son, daughter, grandkids, friends and employer?

    Tell me who do you think had the most genuine freedom, Nelson Mandela when he was locked up on Robben Island or Robert Maxwell on board his luxury yacht just before his death? Robert Maxwell was enslaved by his greed. Nelson Mandela was a free spirit.

  6. GlenDavidson

    walto: Poor guy.

    If he hadn’t been enjoying his shell of a life, he’d have been depressed by it all.

    Dreadful to get what you want, if you’re not informed by Steiner. How can you be free doing what you want, if what you want hasn’t been approved by the right people?

    Glen Davidson

  7. J-MacJ-Mac

    I’m just curious as to how good you are at explaining your beliefs… Can you defend any of them and back them up with real scientific evidence? I’ ll tell you what..that would be the day That day would never happen…never…I can guarantee you because the premise is f…ed… It has always been that way but some ‘important” people made it more than important…

  8. Fair WitnessFair Witness

    CharlieM: Human language is not the only means of communication

    That really sounds like a chickenshit non-answer to a serious question, but let’s go with it for a moment…

    Has any deity ever “communicated” anything to you that could not possibly have simply been a thought that originated in your subconscious mind? And how would you tell the difference?

  9. keithskeiths Post author

    Mung:

    The problem with the OP, and indeed with all “arguments from evolution” is that if there’s an evolutionary benefit to something, then it follows that it’s for the good.

    Antibiotic resistance evolves, and it’s of benefit to the microbes that possess it. Therefore antibiotic resistance is for the good, by Mung’s dimwitted reasoning.

  10. keithskeiths Post author

    swamidass:

    Let us start with “waste”. I instead see this as extravagance that declares God’s transcendent glory.

    Really? How about this example of waste, from Sadedin’s article? Note the sentence in bold:

    The second major consequence of the foetus’s direct access to maternal nutrients is that the foetus can also release its own hormones into the mother’s bloodstream, and thus manipulate her. And so it does. The mother counters with manipulations of her own, of course. But there is a strong imbalance: while the foetus freely injects its products into the mother’s blood, the mother is granted no such access to foetal circulation. She is walled out by placental membranes, and so her responses are limited to defensively regulating hormones within her own body.

    As the pregnancy continues, the foetus escalates its hormone production, sending signals designed to increase the mother’s blood sugar and blood pressure and thus its own resource supply. In particular, the foetus increases its production of a hormone that prompts the mother’s brain to release cortisol, the primary stress hormone. Cortisol suppresses her immune system, stopping it from attacking the foetus. More importantly, it increases her blood pressure, so that more blood pumps past the placenta and consequently more nutrients are available to the foetus.

    The mother doesn’t take this foetal manipulation lying down. In fact, she pre-emptively reduces her blood sugar levels. She also releases a protein that binds to the foetal hormone, rendering it ineffective. So then the foetus further increases its production. By eight months, the foetus spends an estimated 25 per cent of its daily protein intake on manufacturing these hormonal messages to its mother. And how does the mother reply? She increases her own hormonal production, countering the embryo’s hormones with her own that decrease her blood pressure and sugar. Through all this manipulation and mutual reprisal, most of the time the foetus ultimately gets about the right amount of blood, and about the right amount of sugar, allowing it to grow fat and healthy in time for birth. This is the living instantiation of Haig’s tug-of-war between maternal and paternal genomes. As long as each side holds its end up, nobody gets hurt.

    [emphasis added]

    Does that example of waste “declare God’s transcendent glory” to you, particularly when things go awry and someone dies?

  11. MungMung

    keiths: Antibiotic resistance evolves, and it’s of benefit to the microbes that possess it. Therefore antibiotic resistance is for the good, by Mung’s dimwitted reasoning.

    It makes perfect sense, and there’s nothing dim-witted about it. It’s not my fault that you are too dim-witted to see it.

    Anti-biotics are deadly. Duh. Without them there would be no life. So yeah, resistance to those things that would wipe out life is good. Without it, nothing would evolve. Dimwit.

  12. keithskeiths Post author

    swamidass:

    About “death”, this is among the strangest objections of all. If we took this objection to its logical extreme, we would sterilize the whole earth with 1,000 nuclear bombs. This would end all future suffering and death (good, right?), because no one would remain alive. Of course that is absurd, because it would also end the possibility of life, with all the good that brings. This “so much death” objection is so one sided because it ignores the value of life, The way I tell the story: God values good of life so much that He has been extravagant in creating and enabling it to grow and persist for hundreds of millions of years.

    That’s terrible reasoning. Death is not a logical prerequisite for life.

    If God values life so much, why doesn’t he make every creature immortal? And why not skip earthly life altogether and go straight to eternal life in heaven?

  13. keithskeiths Post author

    swamidass,

    The “suffering” objection has similar problems as the death one. If we are to take it seriously, we should obliterate ourselves and all other life so that there is no more of it.

    As with death, suffering is not a logical prerequisite of life.

    (1) injustice is a gift because it reminds us that this world is not what we were made for, it is fallen.

    Tell that to this poor man. Do you suppose he was grateful for the “gift” of injustice?

    Praise be to your generous and loving God for bestowing such wonderful gifts on his creatures.

  14. MungMung

    keiths: You are one confused dude.

    You’re the one who wrote that evolution causes death. I doubt it’s possible to be any more confused than that.

  15. keithskeiths Post author

    Vincent,

    As I was the author of that thread, I hope you don’t mind if I quote the last paragraph:

    Of course not. I was disappointed when you left the thread so early.

    To sum up: the Christian view of history is capable of being cogently defended, provided Christians are willing to remove the theological barnacles that have attached themselves to its system of belief, and abandon the “three omnis,” in favor of a more intimate but less extravagant notion of God.

    As I commented in the thread, giving up the “omnis” is a positive step, but it isn’t enough to solve the problem of evil. The defense you presented there — what I’ve dubbed the “promise defense” — requires more than merely jettisoning the omnis.

    keiths:

    Is he [God] such a klutz that he can’t protect women from “reproductive exploitation” except by killing a whole bunch of them?

    Vincent:

    Here’s my question: what exactly would you have God do, in order to prevent the life-threatening complications that kill some women during pregnancy?

    As Glen noted, the question isn’t very difficult:

    How might we improve things? Well, how about cutting out the evolved conflicts? Is that really so hard to figure out? Do you really suppose that God can’t do anything but make things having the tell-tale complexities and problems of evolution?

    Vincent:

    If you can’t point to something God could have done better (without resorting to miracles), then your criticism amounts to hand-waving.

    What’s wrong with miracles? Are you saying that Jesus screwed up by resurrecting Lazarus?

    Finally, you might want to argue that Christians are committed to believing that there’s no death and suffering in Heaven; hence, they must agree that God could make a world in which women never suffer. While it’s true that there’s no suffering in Heaven, it’s also true that there’s no reproduction there, either.

    So? Who needs reproduction? If God wants more creatures, he can create them.

  16. OMagain

    CharlieM: Why would I think that? Just because I communicate with my son does not mean he is not free to do whatever he chooses.

    Your son is not the deity that created you and does not know everything that you will do in advance of you doing it.

    It’s pointless to talk to you.

  17. OMagain

    CharlieM: And will you also meet my commitments to my wife, son, daughter, grandkids, friends and employer?

    As that’s what happens when slaves are stolen, the slavers pick up the slaves responsibilities. Right?

    Would it impact your “real freedom” to know your family are suffering due to your lack?

    You and FMM are just apologists for slavery.

  18. keithskeiths Post author

    swamidass:

    Well, as for me, I do not think we can trust any human’s understanding of God (including myself) with enough confidence to logically reason from our understanding to conclude He does not exist.

    If so, then you certainly can’t trust your human understanding enough to conclude he does exist. Are you renouncing your Christianity, then?

  19. keithskeiths Post author

    swamidass:

    (2) Much more personally, we find that God Himself enters into the suffering of this world. He does not remove Himself from it, but enters into it willingly. This challenges our values regarding suffering, and demonstrates He values avoiding suffering differently than us.

    Your God appears to love suffering. He has built a world full of it, including of the most grotesque and gratuitous kinds. And instead of simply granting forgiveness and a blissful eternal life to everyone, the way a gracious God would, he demands pain and suffering as the price. There must be blood, and if he can’t find someone else whose suffering is delicious enough, he’ll torture himself to death in order to achieve it.

    He needs therapy, not worship.

  20. CharlieMCharlieM

    Fair Witness: That really sounds like a chickenshit non-answer to a serious question,but let’s go with it for a moment…

    Has any deity ever “communicated” anything to you that could not possibly have simply been a thought that originated in your subconscious mind? And how would you tell the difference?

    Call it a cop out if you wish, but I’m sorry I’m not going to answer that except to say that I believe we all receive communications from the spiritual realm regardless of our awareness of said communications.

  21. CharlieMCharlieM

    keiths:
    to swamidass:

    Really?How about this example of waste, from Sadedin’s article?Note the sentence in bold:

    Does that example of waste “declare God’s transcendent glory” to you, particularly when things go awry and someone dies?

    What does it mean to die for those who believe in the spiritual world?

    More from the wisdom of Heraclitus:
    “Mortals are immortals and immortals are mortals, the one living the others’ death and dying the others’ life”

    And you are looking at the idea of waste from the point of view of a human economist who has to balance the books. In nature nothing is wasted.

  22. CharlieMCharlieM

    keiths:
    to swamidass:

    That’s terrible reasoning.Death is not a logical prerequisite for life.

    Do you realise how many cells have to die in order for your bodily health to be maintained? Without death your body cannot live.

    If God values life so much, why doesn’t he make every creature immortal?

    How do you know that in essence every creature is not immortal?

    And why not skip earthly life altogether and go straight to eternal life in heaven?

    IMO because earthly life provides something which cannot be experienced in the spiritual realm. Experiencing isolation and separation is a necessity for a being to attain freedom.

  23. CharlieMCharlieM

    OMagain: Please define “genuine freedom”.

    For a being to be free there must be no inner or outer compulsion to act. The action must be carried out for the love of the deed with no thought of reward or self gain.

    Freedom is a state we evolve towards. By following dictates such as the Ten Commandments we are obeying external rules and thus do not act in freedom. This is a necessary stage that has to be gone through. When we act out of love as Christ advises us to do then this is a step closer to freedom. A person cannot be commanded to love, it must come from their inner being.

  24. CharlieMCharlieM

    OMagain: You and FMM are just apologists for slavery.

    Yet it is you who has suggested that you would be willing to become a slave owner.

  25. OMagain

    CharlieM: Yet it is you who has suggested that you would be willing to become a slave owner.

    I’m willing to believe you when you say you’d retain the most important freedom of all, that’s all.

  26. newton

    CharlieM: For a being to be free there must be no inner or outer compulsion to act. The action must be carried out for the love of the deed with no thought of reward or self gain.

    Acting out of love of deed sounds like a compulsion to act of of love of the deed

  27. keithskeiths Post author

    swamidass:

    Without pregnancy, we might not know the meaning of love, or even have need for complex language.

    keiths:

    Is God too weak to instill those capabilities in us by any means other than evolution?

    swamidass:

    What a strange claim. God can do whatever He wants.

    If he exists and if he is sufficiently powerful. Those aren’t givens, though you are treating them that way.

    I think He chose to use evolution. But unless He tells me, how could I know for sure why?

    Why assume that he exists in the first place? The evidence makes much more sense if he doesn’t.

    Looking at the grandeur of evolution, and the expanse of the universe, it is hard to see it is a failure of power that made Him use evolution.

    And if it wasn’t a failure of power, then it appears to be a failure of benevolence.

  28. keithskeiths Post author

    keiths, to swamidass:

    Does that example of waste “declare God’s transcendent glory” to you, particularly when things go awry and someone dies?

    CharlieM:

    What does it mean to die for those who believe in the spiritual world?

    Therefore, no problem when women (and their gestating infants) die in pregnancy, leaving behind a bunch of orphans.

    Charlie, please remove your head from Rudolf Steiner’s ass and look around. At least occasionally.

  29. keithskeiths Post author

    I feel sorry for J-Mac, who’s being ignored by everyone as usual:

    I’m just curious as to how good you are at explaining your beliefs… Can you defend any of them and back them up with real scientific evidence? I’ ll tell you what..that would be the day That day would never happen…never…I can guarantee you because the premise is f…ed… It has always been that way but some ‘important” people made it more than important…

    Hi, J-Mac! What’s up? Did you figure out that rage/homosexual tendencies thing you were babbling about the other day?

  30. CharlieMCharlieM

    keiths:

    CharlieM:What does it mean to die for those who believe in the spiritual world?

    Therefore, no problem when women (and their gestating infants) die in pregnancy, leaving behind a bunch of orphans.

    Why would that be no problem? Why would the reality of a spiritual world make the suffering on the physical plane less real? We should recognise suffering and do as much as we can to alleviate it in others

    And indeed it is my opinion that following death we go through a transition that can involve far more suffering than we have hitherto experienced. For example if you have an addiction to drugs, sex, food or whatever, after death these cravings remain but the individual no longer has the physical organs with which to satisfy these cravings.

    Also, IMO, whatever pain we inflict on others during life is reflected back and we must in turn experience that pain ourselves as part of the process of purification. Hence the Biblical saying, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”.

    Charlie, please remove your head from Rudolf Steiner’s ass and look around.At least occasionally.

    My awareness of Steiner came about, not from a narrow outlook, but precisely because of my scepticism of the various brands of Christianity which I had experienced. I was looking around for a world outlook that appeared to me to have less contradictions. I found it in Steiner and other like minded thinkers.

  31. keithskeiths Post author

    CharlieM:

    For example if you have an addiction to drugs, sex, food or whatever, after death these cravings remain but the individual no longer has the physical organs with which to satisfy these cravings.

    The double standard here is mind-boggling.

    God watches passively as a dog eats a living baby’s head, and Charlie asks, “Who are we to judge?” Next thing you know he’s pontificating confidently on the sexual frustrations of the dead.

    Get a grip, dude.

  32. keithskeiths Post author

    swamidass:

    Of course, in this I am talking about the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus. I think the value of suffering is that it points to Him as the resolution.

    So God sets the fire, or at the very least watches as someone or something else sets it. He sits back, doing nothing, as the fire grows and engulfs the house. Some people die as God watches. Others, who haven’t succumbed yet, say, “The value of this fire is it that it points to Jesus, who will someday rescue us from this fire that he is responsible for, because he wants to show us what a hero he is.”

    And this makes sense to you? Why doesn’t God put out the fire in the first place, or prevent it from getting started? If he’s such a powerful hero, why is the fire still claiming victims?

  33. CharlieMCharlieM

    keiths:

    The double standard here is mind-boggling.

    God watches passively as a dog eats a living baby’s head, and Charlie asks, “Who are we to judge?”Next thing you know he’s pontificating confidently on the sexual frustrations of the dead.

    Get a grip, dude.

    For the sake of argument you are assuming that God exists. So for consistency you should likewise assume for the sake of argument that as well as a material existence there is a spiritual existence. Tragic as it is, the death of the baby means destuction of the material body but it does not mean the loss of the spirit. The physical loss involves pain but the suffering is temporary. The spirit on the other hand is permanent and enduring.

    You state that God watches passively as a dog eats a living baby’s head. Now this cannot be meant in a physical sense as no one has reported the presence of a physical being identified as God watching any of the proceedings. So you must be assuming that, because God does not seem to be stepping in to prevent the material tragedy from happening, He is passively standing by. But as you do not have access to the spiritual realm you cannot say that He is passive here.

    If you are assuming a spiritual realm which is the realm of God then you have also to assume that this is a higher reality than the physical. Because you have not accessed this realm in a conscious way then you are not in a position to judge on the activities of any spiritual beings in the spiritual realm, including the being whose existence was expressed in the baby.

    You cannot assume the realm of God for the purpose of criticising God, but then disregard that realm when making your criticism.

  34. keithskeiths Post author

    CharlieM,

    For the sake of argument you are assuming that God exists. So for consistency you should likewise assume for the sake of argument that as well as a material existence there is a spiritual existence. Tragic as it is, the death of the baby means destuction of the material body but it does not mean the loss of the spirit.

    If you had been there, would you have refrained from intervening on account of your spiritual “knowledge”? Would you have done nothing as the dog chewed that poor baby’s head off?

  35. keithskeiths Post author

    CharlieM:

    If you are assuming a spiritual realm which is the realm of God then you have also to assume that this is a higher reality than the physical. Because you have not accessed this realm in a conscious way then you are not in a position to judge on the activities of any spiritual beings in the spiritual realm, including the being whose existence was expressed in the baby.

    Let me get this straight. Earlier you were saying that you were in no position to judge. Now you’re saying that you are in a position to judge, and that it’s your “conscious access” to the spiritual realm — the same “access” through which you you make your confident pronouncements regarding the sexual frustrations of the dead — that entitles you to do so.

    In that case, O Wise One, tell us why God allows dogs to eat the heads of living babies. And please confirm, since you are in possession of this esoteric knowledge, that you would not intervene to protect a baby from a dog, since you know that God wouldn’t allow the head-eating if it weren’t for the best.

  36. CharlieMCharlieM

    keiths:
    CharlieM,

    If you had been there, would you have refrained from intervening on account of your spiritual “knowledge”?Would you have done nothing as the dog chewed that poor baby’s head off?

    I hope I would have done what any normal person would do. I would have done all I could to prevent the dog from doing any more damage. I do not possess any spiritual “knowledge” which would have given me any information about the destiny of the spirit of which the baby is but one expression. How my actions affect the overall destiny is not, and should not be my concern, all I can do is act out of compassion for the baby. Destiny will take care of itself. God acts out of compassion for the spirit. If that seems harsh from our limited physical perspective then so be it.

    You or i are in no position to know how much suffering that baby experienced unless we were to actually experience what the baby experienced.

  37. CharlieMCharlieM

    keiths:
    CharlieM:

    Let me get this straight.Earlier you were saying that you were in no position to judge.Now you’re saying that you are in a position to judge, and that it’s your “conscious access” to the spiritual realm — the same “access” through which you you make your confident pronouncements regarding the sexual frustrations of the dead — that entitles you to do so.

    Saying that you are not in a position to judge is not the same as saying that I am in such a position. That does not follow. And it would take more than having a glimmer of the reality of the spiritual to be able to have a comprehensive knowledge of the spiritual being of which the baby was but a very brief snapshot.

    What I said about sexual frustrations and such like I arrive at through logic. If someone no longer have a penis then they cannot play with it in order to satify any sexual urges that they may still have.

    In that case, O Wise One, tell us why God allows dogs to eat the heads of living babies.And please confirm, since you are in possession of this esoteric knowledge, that you would not intervene to protect a baby from a dog, since you know that God wouldn’t allow the head-eating if it weren’t for the best.

    But I have said that I would intervene. That moment would not be the time to ponder whether I am actually fulfilling destiny by intervening or whether I am interfering with destiny and so it will have to be met in some other way. These things are far from simple.

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