Apropos, a new cartoon from Pliny the in Between at Pictoral Theology. Nice title, too.
A hard choice
October 3, 2015 • 1:30 pm
Why Evolution is True is a blog written by Jerry Coyne, centered on evolution and biology but also dealing with diverse topics like politics, culture, and cats.
Apropos, a new cartoon from Pliny the in Between at Pictoral Theology. Nice title, too.
79 thoughts on “A hard choice”
That’s a tough one for the GOP. However, if it was between a gun and a born baby they would go for the gun for sure.
Exactly. Pro-life my ass, they’re all pro-birth.
“Pro-birth” is perhaps a bit on the gentle side.
“Anti-woman” is more like it. With an helping serving of “anti-sexual-freedom” on the side.
Right there in Genesis, painful (even deadly) childbirth is the divine punishment for enjoying sex. Sluts who get pregnant damned well better suffer the consequences of whoring around, and there’ll be hell to pay if they try to avoid their just deserts.
As such, it’s not the fetus they care about. They just want to make sure the woman is forced to give birth.
Well, take it to the next step – if the woman is forced to give birth, she’ll need the father, and then the man owns her. That’s how the thinking really goes. It’s ownership, pure and simple. And if someone’s going to take what’s yours? Shoot him.
Kinda all ties together. Some very insecure thinking out there.
you know, we’re not that far, medically, from making it a routine thing to implant a foetus (and placenta) into a man’s abdomen, so he can carry the foetus to term.
Anybody got a tool for measuring the length of the queue of “pro-life” male politicians signed up to put their rhetoric into practical effect? Oh look, here’s one that is unlikely to be excessively large.
“Exactly. Pro-life my ass, they’re all pro-birth.”
I would say they are pro-punishing women for getting pregnant. Particularly those who would make exception in cases of rape. What they are really saying is “I’m pro-life when it’s your fault you got pregnant”
Indeed. If fetal life has inherent value, then there should be absolutely no rape exception. We don’t claim that people have an *inalienable* right to life and then turn around and say that that right can be revoked based on the actions of third parties.
So when they argue that the fetus has an ‘inalienable’ right to life only because the woman had sex, what they are saying is that pregnancy is punishment for her actions – ie, having unauthorized sex. And since having sex while female isn’t a criminally negligent act, you can’t legally or fairly deprive women of their bodily autonomy for having sex.
Tort law does not apply here.
Indeed. Being pro-life and pro-gun doesn’t make a lot of sense.
It does if the only reason to be pro-life is to produce more gun owners.
Easy: They’d grab the gun, shoot the falling fetus, and then blame Obama.
THAT has to be the answer of the thread.
Me, I’d PAY to see a reporter actually ask that question.
Hmmm, “cash for questions” … now there’s a business opportunity.
How very Republican of you. 😉
Well done. 😀
You changed your color.
Well, the gun of course. With the gun, while you tragically lose the fetus, you now have the ability to protect any future fetuses from a “bad guy with a gun” that may discover a fetus teetering on the cliff. And shoot it.
If you save the fetus, though, it might grow up to be a Democrat.
With that answer you catapulted into second place among potential GOP candidates.
Superb cartoon; superb comments!
I’d make a spit with the gun, and then slow-roast the fetus with the spit. Mmmm…barbecued baby! Who wants some?
A modest proposal…
You have a swift wit.
Be sure to unload the gun before placing it over the fire.
Awww…what’d be the fun in that?
I prefer mine swiftly fricassee’d.
This is the most asinine cartoon I’ve ever seen. As a conservative, I would absolutely save the human being. And you would be hard-pressed to find a conservative who would say otherwise.
In contrast, this cartoon may actually create a problem for liberals. Guns should be illegal, they think, so we can’t save that. Fetuses are no better because they don’t have a right to life and can therefore be killed. And if fetuses are just tissue masses, this question would be akin to asking, “If a gun and a liver were teetering on the edge of a cliff and you could only save one….” In this case, it would actually be better to save the gun. At least in that case you could recycle the metal. Whereas with the tissue mass, it couldn’t even be donated. It would have to be incinerated.
And so, in a rather stupid attempt to attack conservatives, the cartoonist actually creates a problem for liberals.
I think you miss the point. The point is not what a “conservative” would do. It’s what the Republican politician being asked the question would do.
And if you think that there aren’t MANY voters out there who would opt to save the gun, think again.
Liberals favor existing life over developing life. That doesn’t mean they’d choose inanimate matter over developing life. This is very easy for a liberal to answer.
“As a conservative, I would absolutely save the human being. And you would be hard-pressed to find a conservative who would say otherwise. ”
The question is actually an example of irony. The hypocrisy that’s highlighted is the claim of valuing human life while at the same time sanctifying an object whose sole purpose is to destroy human life.
That’s an interesting aspect that I missed. However, I think many conservatives would disagree that the
“sole purpose” of guns is to destroy human life. In fact, how do we even objectively find out the sole purpose of a gun? The purpose given to an object, like a gun or a knife or a blunt object, is subjective. For instance, some people think the sole purpose of baseball bats is to hit baseballs. Others think that bats are designed to bash brains out.
I, along with most conservatives, tend to view the sole purposes of guns as hunting and the defense of self and nation. In this view, there is no contradiction between thinking a fetus should be saved and that gun rights should be preserved. Yes, guns have been used to kill people, and so have blunt objects and knives and even pillows. Even though pillows have been used to suffocate many people, no one claims that the sole purpose of pillows is to kill people, and say that be wanting to keep pillows legal, conservatives are being philosophically inconsistent.
No it’s not. The purpose of an object is what it’s designer intended it to do. If I design a stone tool to scrape the fat off an animal hide, then I have a scraper. If I design a tool to scrape fat off an animal hide AND be sharp enough to cut the hide for (whatever I want to cut the hide for), then I have a scraper-blade.
However, if you do not have direct access to the designer (or, for evolved organisms, and many evolved designs, there is no unique designer), you run into genuinely difficult problems of interpretation – which can be very subjective.
My daily crust is earned by trying to interpret incomplete and sometimes contradictory evidence I see in rock cuttings and physical measurements of drilling rate, torque, and gamma ray scintillation counts per minute, to try to work out what is occurring some kilometres below my feet. My difficulty over interpreting the evidence doesn’t change the reality of the rocks down the hole, even if the soggy cuttings wouldn’t be a terribly impactful argument if loaded into a sock.
I have a Masai war club which is really is designed to bash brains out (more precisely, to cause disabling and possibly lethal blunt-force trauma and depressed fracture of the skull ; as a side effect, it’s pretty good at breaking or dislocating joints, leaving the victim available for interrogation (important to the security guard who gave it to me). The Masai are not subtle.) Anyone who thinks that a baseball bat is designed to bash brains out, knows damned little about design, vertebrate anatomy, forces and inertia.
I think the sole purpose of a gun’s design is to propel a projectile of certain characteristics out of the barrel at a range of speeds, and optionally, to prepare the gun for firing again. It is up to the user, not the designer whether the gun is used to hold up the spread of barbarism (Go, Canada! And Mexico!) or to hold up the corner shop. Guns, as has been said before, don’t kill people (except in very rare truck crashes involving crates of the things), but people kill people, and the fundamental problem is that people aren’t very nice to other people. Which is a social problem, not an engineering problem.
And one of the recurring themes on this webbb…site is that praying to invisible sky fairies isn’t a very effective solution to social problems.
Hunting and keeping our country safe. The hunting part doesn’t bother me too much, but I always wonder about from whom all of these guns are supposed to make us safe.
I learned to shoot from a WWII veteran. He taught his kids the rigid discipline of “handling a weapon”. That the weapon in question was a sporting shotgun didn’t seem to create any confusion in his mind to its purpose. The history of firearms is not of a hunting implement adapted to warefare but the exact opposite. Firearms were invented for war. Yes, they have gone on to other purposes (I enjoy sporting clays for example) but all of the damn things are weapons.
This is particularly true of the class of rifle described in this cartoon. Assault rifles were invented by the Germans in WWII and developed in subsequent decades for war. Better sustained rates of fire, less recoil, lighter weight allowing the soldier to carry more ammunition, etc. Not to bag rabbits and squirrels but men. Comparing assault rifles to pillows is a poor argument. Any weapon that can lethally target anyone within a couple hundred yards with a practical rate of fire around 90/min is no pillow. And it’s no sporting rifle either.
Having cared for trauma victims for the better part of 25 years I’m in a unique position to understand how bad of an argument comparing pillows to guns really is. I’ve treated wounds inflicted by everything from a 22 to a 58 cal muzzle loader. The youngest victim was 7. It does happen on occasion but none of the victims I ever treated was wounded as a result of someone defending his or her home. Rocks, bats, knives, yes even a pillow can serve as a weapon of convenience. But no knife can cut a swath of destruction like that of a supersonic shock wave from a 223 or 30 cal round. The gun is the ultimate weapon of design.
You want to hunt – not my cup of tea having seen too much death in my job, but ok. You want to shoot skeet – fine by me, you might even see me on the range. But you want to stockpile military grade weapons and ammo, join the military.
Lastly I would ask people who use the argument that somehow everyone packing would make us safe, to consider one counter. Trained soldiers with weapons at the ready, aren’t safe from attack from an unexpected quarter. Why do American civilians think they would fare better?
It’s time to get military equipment off of our streets like every other enlightened nation.
As evidence, I’d point to the not one, but two fatal mass shootings by lone gunmen at Ft. Hood in Texas. Both of the gunmen were armed only with handguns.
Who the hell are these yahoos with pistols who think they’d be more effective than actual soldiers at an actual military base?
Also…I’ve known a couple combat veterans, including one in particular who was a serious hard-core special operations soldier whose day job in Iraq was clearing buildings of insurgents. They would of course use whatever means they had at hand to neutralize an active shooter…but, if they were preparing to face an active shooter, I’m sure not a one of them would pick an handgun as the weapon of choice for such defense. They’d go for their own personal favorite assault rifle. A shotgun would be on the short list, and they’d easily pick an M16 over an handgun. The handgun is the sidearm, the small backup of last desperation in combat…but still far more than enough to soak the ground with the blood of your victims if you’re the shooter on a rampage.
So…were we to take these yahoos at face value in their claims that they want their handguns for protection in the case of a mass shooting…then why are they arguing for handguns, and not for assault rifles, shotguns, and M16s?
Perhaps because he knew that soldiers don’t go about armed while on base.
Huh. Fancy that.
The people whose entire profession revolves around using guns to kill dangerous people armed with guns have figured out that it’s not such a good idea to carry a gun when you’re not actually planning on using it.
I wonder what it could possibly be that these actual professional killers know that “actual handgun owners” have yet to figure out.
That the fantasy of an armed society being a safe society is just that. A fantasy.
Give everybody guns. What could possibly go wrong? I think the military knows, n’est-ce pas?
“along with most conservatives, tend to view the sole purposes of guns as hunting and the defense of self and nation”
The gun in the cartoon is an assault rifle, which, as far as I know, isn’t a hunting weapon.
And the idea that a gun’s purpose is to defend the self and the nation is perfectly compatible with the idea that the gun is designed to destroy human life.
The gun lobby’s defense of gun rights far exceeds whatever rational defense of gun ownership one could provide. You really can’t reach the idea that you need a dozen military grade weapons in your house from the idea that you need to defend your family from burglars.
“I would absolutely save the human being”.
You are doubling down ion the irony, I see. What evidence do you have that a fetus is a “human being” as opposed to the liver tissue you refer to?
“Fetuses are no better because they don’t have a right to life and can therefore be killed.”
You can’t kill what is already brain dead (no developed brain). But fetuses _are_ better because they are valued by the mothers that house the parasitic tissue. (More irony; perhaps you have tripled down on it.)
Oops. I am assuming that the description of fetuses having no mature brain stem – no coupling between pain receptors and the brain, for example – is much the same as having it dead. (Brain death.)
I may be mistaken.
Your idea needs re-working.
You can’t kill bacteria? Viruses? Prions? Ideas? Ribosomes in lipid sacs of dirty water?
Are you coming from Singer’s point of view – that what matters to produce moral culpability is the ability to experience suffering in the affected organisms?
Ok, “re-presenting”, rather than “re-working”, perhaps.
Fetuses are no better because they don’t have a right to life and can therefore be killed.
There is no ‘right to life’ if it involves exploiting the body of another to sustain that life.
And the only reason that non-viable embryos and fetuses die is because they are disconnected from the woman’s circulatory system. You cannot force someone to eat, breathe, or process wastes for you – which is what a woman’s body does during pregnancy, which is what keeps the non-viable embryo alive.
A need does not create an entitlement. Not even for your very life.
It’s not supposed to be precisely realistic. It’s a mild caricature; the “features” of the described situation are meant to be exaggerated in order to highlight the unhealthy obsession many right-wingers have with guns.
Yeah–I don’t understand why some apparently don’t get the point of the cartoon, which is exactly what you said.
I have a theory 😉
No, it’s a problem for the GOP. As others have noted they hold both the right to life and the right to kill as sacred.
For liberals it’s not a problem. The fetus would have to be inside a women. That’s where you can find them, not out hiking around being all independent. Most of the time you might not even know that a fetus was there.
I would try to help the women, fetus or not.
A republican would ask if she was harboring a fetus and probably demand that the women get back up on solid ground and give birth and if she fell they would be at the bottom trying to arrest her for killing or endangering her child.
It’s a fetus. Not a human being.
I wouldn’t bother to save either.
I mean, either the gun or the fetus.
I would save a human being. Or a cat or a rat.
(Amazingly easy to be ambiguous with a one-line comment, isn’t it?)
(Unless the assault rifle was a genuine original AK-47. That might be worth a few bucks to a collector…)
But the cat or the rat would still take priority.
Neither, god will save both… next question!
Whichever they think would get them the most votes.
Pliny the in Between is actually very funny.
I’m curious as to how the cartoon is constructed….is this just clip art from some tool?
Thank you kind sir,
Not clip art but hand drawn image libraries supplemented with new art as needed. My cartoons are created as layered drawings using Keynote as the graphics program (can’t afford Adobe creative suite). The various characters are drawn in layers and saved. Backgrounds are usually meat space images altered as needed to create the ‘cell’ effect that I like. Each main character is supported by a growing library of variations that serve most of my needs. To create most of the panels I just mix and match elements from my libraries into something that I like. If I need a new pose or point of view, I create one during the next bout of insomnia. Sometimes other images are captured and used for props.
More than you wanted to know probably 😉
You might be interested in Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer, both from Serif:
I haven’t done much with Designer, which is intended to be an Illustrator replacement. But Photo is an actual Photoshop killer — it does everything Photoshop does, and a little bit more, and mostly better and never worse, and a lot faster.
Thanks Ben, I will check out these programs. For years I did all my complex drawing in Photoshop until I finally grokked how Illustrator worked. At that time Photoshop didn’t have a true vectored graphics component so you had to be very careful with resizing. Had a brief and unsatisfying affair with GIMP but alas it was even too geeky for my tastes.
I keep hoping for the GIMP to mature to the point that it can be taken seriously. It’s closer today than it ever was, but I despair that it’s never actually going to catch up in a meaningful way.
Depends what you want to use it for. It’s 100% better than the overpriced ‘photoshop elements’ that my firm provided me with. As soon as I could find a standalone version of Gimp (from PortableApps.com) that didn’t need to install a DLL and therefore didn’t need the approval of our IT nazis, I stuck it on my work PC and never touched Photoslop again.
(My beef with Photoslop Elements? – it kept trying to ‘organize’ my images into ‘projects’ or somesuch, and I did NOT need a library of cutesy graphics to superimpose on photos. And it wouldn’t draw a dashed line.)
That’s a good point…for Photoshop Elements, there’s all sorts of alternatives, including the GIMP, and there has been for ages.
But for full-blown Photoshop…the multi-layered high-bit color-managed non-desctructive digital image editing tool…until very recently, nothing has come close. Things that people take for granted in Photoshop simply don’t exist in anything else. Until now.
…but the number of people who actually use those things in Photoshop…is not all that big. And if all you use is Photoshop Elements, you’re not one of those people.
I lost several days some years ago trying to recover Dad’s early forays into digital photography from some of those PhotoTurd Excrements libraries, as he was preparing to move to a new computer. I already knew the horrors of non-standard formats, but Dad needed to learn. Which is why I let him dig himself into that hole, so he could have the educational experience of digging himself out.
Now I shall return to the horrors of posting dozens of images gathered into Powerpoint presentations to the client’s storage site, because that’s what they want to see. But I’ll load the JPEGs with metadata too. Sunday morning, quiet-ish network.
P.S. And it depends what you mean by ‘catch up’. I suspect Photoshop has now gone well over the top for most uses – don’t know for sure ‘cos I never used it. But in the same way as MSWord, which had every feature that a normal user could ever want about ten years ago, and ever since has been getting more feature-ridden, more gimmicky and more complicated and is now a pain in the ass to use. ‘Tracking’ – pah!
Word has long since been a complete catastrophe. It’s a truly miserable word processor, and it’s the absolute worse desktop publishing application ever created. None of the MS Office tools have ever been anything other than kludges. Overgrown toys, the lot of ’em.
“But in the same way as MSWord, which had every feature that a normal user could ever want…”
In 1991 I used a program call Paint Shop Pro. it easily fit on a floppy disc (was considerably less than 1mb in size), had all the features I’ve ever used in a photoshop type program, ran perfectly well on my 486 with 4mb ram, and was easy to use.
Now you need 2gb space (minimum), 2gb ram (minimum), and a preferably a degree in rocket science.
The things people do today with Photoshop are quite different from the things people did with Paint Shop Pro. Yes, some similarities remain…but there’re similar similarities between the Wright Flyer and a jumbo jet or between a telegraph and YouTube.
“but there’re similar similarities between the Wright Flyer and a jumbo jet or between a telegraph and YouTube”
I think your comparison is a bit extreme. I think a better one would be if I want to go to the corner store a bicycle is about a million times better choice than a jumbo jet. Sure the jet can do some things better, but I would argue that most people don’t need more than what a bicycle, or a even a car offers.
Well, all analogies are imperfect.
The fact of the matter is that most people who use Photoshop instead of something like Paint spend most of their time doing things that Photoshop is capable of that Paint isn’t capable of. Or, in the rare instance where Paint is theoretically capable of a mathematical equivalent operation, it’d take days of intense labor in Paint to do but only takes a couple seconds with Photoshop.
But, of course, Photoshop can also do everything that Paint can do.
However you want to analogize that, have at it….
One of the most amazing things about Photoshop in my opinion is how easy and readily available advance options are for the relative novice. Illustrator for example is a better vectored graphics application but the learning curve is much higher than Photoshop. One of the most satisfy projects involved taking my grandparents heavily damaged hand tinted wedding picture, scanning in at ultra high res and restoring it literally pixel by pixel and printing it out as a Christmas present for my Dad and his sibs. When I started I had only a handful of hours with the tool.
The crucial thing (with Gimp and I expect with Photoshop etc) is to grasp the concept of layers. Do all additions / corrections on a different layer above the original and if you make a mistake you just turn that layer off. All else follows from that.
Layers are essential, but there’re lots of other things also essential, or nearly so. Layer masks, smart filters, layer blend modes for a start. 16-bit support, color management, Lab, CMYK, spot color, channel extraction…and I’m barely scratching the surface….
Oh yes, but once you’ve grasped the concept of layers, you can experiment with all those other things in safety on separate layers without risking wrecking the work you’ve done so far.
“More than you wanted to know probably”
No, I appreciate the detail. I’m gratified to see that you’re multi-talented and that your cartoons take a lot of work.
Good one, PtiB!
I think I know the answer: He’d save the gun, because republican politicians only pretend to care about unborn infants/fetuses.