Yesterday, PZ Myers received another one of those deranged emails he loves to share, this time from an anti-abortionist kook who tried (unsuccessfully, as PZ promptly deleted the link) to resort to the usual anti-choice tactic of flooding their opponent with graphic imagery of aborted fetuses in the hopes of spawning a visceral reaction of disgust. (As if that was in any way a rational, logical or at all convincing argument against anything.) PZ informed the hapless crank that as a biologist who’s dealt with far more blood and gore in his line of work than most others ever do, he’s left utterly unimpressed by such a cheap tactic, if not irritated at the idea that it would even work in the first place.
So, naturally, cue our favorite point-missing anti-atheist, Vox Day:
It's probably a good thing he is an atheist without any moral standards, otherwise he might demonstrate at least a modicum of conscience for the bloody acts in which he appears to take such pride. And if he happened to take any sexual gratification from them as well, who can say it is wrong from his perspective, given his total lack of any moral or ethical code. If he feels no revulsion at looking at the pictures of butchered babies, then he likely feels no revulsion and sees only meat when looking at pictures of dead Jews and murdered Ukrainians as well. The awful thing is not that the pictures do not frighten him; they do not frighten me either. The awful thing is that he does not find them revolting like any normal human being with even a minimal amount of empathy would.
Shorter Vox: “PZ’s not disgusted at something that I think is disgusting, so he’s eeevil!”
Seriously, could Vox have missed the point any more entirely? Here’s a tip: If PZ says he’s so unperturbed at graphic imagery of dead fetuses, it’s because that he, unlike ignorant reactionaries such as Vox Day and pretty much all anti-choicers, knows and accepts that the fetuses don’t, and can’t, feel pain of any kind as their pre-born lives are terminated. A fetus is not a baby; a baby implies a fully-developed infant whose brain and nervous system are properly functioning, thus allowing the transmission of various physical stimuli such as pain. A fetus doesn’t have such capabilities during the timespan where the vast majority of elective abortions are carried out. In other words, there’s nothing amoral about not feeling moral revulsion or horror at the idea of killing something that would never even know the difference.
Furthermore, Vox is conflating disgust at graphic imagery with moral reactions to actual events. According to this line of thinking, anyone who could successfully navigate through Encyclopedia Dramatica’s notorious ‘Offended’ page [EXTREMELY NSFW] without leaving half of their stomach contents bubbling on their keyboards – such as I* – would therefore be prone to crushing kittens to death and burning people alive. I’m sure that anyone who’s been desensitized to graphic imagery thanks to the Internet could clearly and patiently explain to him just how wrong and illogical such thinking is. Being used to graphic imagery and failing to express a visceral reaction to it is no indication of someone’s morality, or potential lack thereof. All it says is that they’ve seen lots of this sort of thing before and that the effect has worn off. It is quite simply irrelevant.
But then, it’s only too rich to hear accusations of heartlessness coming from someone who thinks it logical for citizens to open fire on politicians for being part of a tyrannical government, who believes that marriage is essentially signing the wife’s rights to her body over to her
master husband to rape at will, who says that men should beat any woman who tries to teach him about understanding women, and (particularly ironically) asserts, with a presumably straight face, that he would have absolutely no qualms about slaughtering every infant on Earth should he believe it was God’s will … to list just a few examples.
But, again – atheists are the immoral ones, got it?