Monday, March 12, 2007

Who Needs Facts?

On Monday's show, Bob (once again) railed against stem-cell research.

Bob major argument against stem-cell research is that embryonic cells are "human."

Note that Bob never develops this idea. He never gives reasons that demonstrate the proposition that the 100-150 cells that make up an embryo are human. Bob just assumes it. So this is just another fine example of Bob's slip-shod reasoning skills. (I guess being on the radio means you don't have to prove anything. All you need is to claim to love Jesus and hate liberals.)

But Bob's lack of argument about what is or isn't "human" isn't what I want to address here.

I want to talk about Bob's assertion that embryonic stem cell research is something that "John and Mary Lunch-bucket" shouldn't have to pay for. Bob wants the "Hollywood Liberals" to pony up the dough.

You see, Bob wants to exorcise the government and prevent it from spending money on programs he disagrees with.

Sounds nice in theory. The problem?

Taxpayers have no standing to protest how the government disburses funds. You and I, as taxpayers, cannot sue the government to prevent it from exercising its spending powers unless the spending directly violates the Constitution. The Court's reasoning for this decision is simple: With such a variety of opinion in the United States, people will be constantly suing the Government to support their pet causes. And because the courts aren't equipped to deal with the possible flood of suits, it's best if the Federal Government is immune from these lawsuits.

There is an exception, however. The Supreme Court has found Taxpayer Standing in cases where the Government is spending money in violation of Separation of Church and State. In Flast v. Cohen, the The Secretary of Health authorized an allocation to a religious school. A taxpayer sued to prevent it. The court found that such disbursements are beyond the enumerated powers of the Government, and to prevent the harm, a taxpayer should have standing to prevent it.

So Bob is content only when the Government supports his slip-shod, inarticulate views.

Not that Bob knows any of this. So once again, he is arguing from ignorance. It's always easy to gripe when you're unencumbered by facts.

But since sauce for the goose is good for the gander, I'll make my own suggestion about how the Government should spend money: I don't want the Government spending money on Faith-Based Initiatives. The televangelist millionaire elite should sell off their jets, mansions, and real estate holdings to support these initiatives. Because I think it's immoral for people to make millions of dollars from the redemption found in Christ.

How about it, Bob? Wanna fight over this one? Because I've got better legal and philosophical arguments than you do.

(Note: I fully expect the Supreme Court to butcher the holding of Flast.)


djtyg said...

Imagine being able to sue the Government to tell them to stop funding for the war:). That would be nice.

For Bob's argument on life, he may be talking about the creation of the soul. In most Christian faiths, the belief is that the soul is developed at conception. But there is no way to prove this, hence there is no legal basis for it. So as long as Republican Jesus isn't the state religion, Bob doesn't have a leg to stand on.

djtyg said...

Felt like making a comment too small to justify a blog post, but still relevant to this conversation.

If indeed life beings at conception, and Bob wants embryos to be treated as such, would that make their citizenship status illegal aliens? Because a fetus has no social security number or visa to live here until they are born. If the fetuses were considered to be illegal aliens, they wouldn't have any legal rights in the Constitution (only the mother would). So would we need to lessen our restrictions on illegal immigration so that abortions could be made illegal?

Being a liberal Christian who likes to keep my faith separate from law, these thoughts go through my head at least once a day:).

Irl Hudnutt said...

You're right, Bob can't support his anti-choice argument on the basis of a soul because existence of something called a "soul" is unprovable.

I've heard Bob argue that it's human because it has the DNA of a completly separate human being.

But so what? A reductionistic argument that states a human being is equivalent to their DNA would permit abortion where the DNA is damaged. Such as a fetus with down syndrome.

And Bob doesn't want that either.

You ask too much when you ask for consistency from Bob Dutko.