Monday, June 26, 2023

Some quotes from the Dobbs abortion opinion.

“The legislature then found that at 5 or 6 weeks’ gestational age an “unborn human being’s heart begins beating”; at 8 weeks the “unborn human being begins to move about in the womb”; at 9 weeks “all basic physiological functions are present”; at 10 weeks “vital organs begin to function,” and “[h]air, fingernails, and toenails . . . begin to form”; at 11 weeks “an unborn human being’s diaphragm is developing,” and he or she may “move about freely in the womb”; and at 12 weeks the “unborn human being” has “taken on ‘the human form’ in all relevant respects.” §2(b)(i) (quoting Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U. S. 124, 160 (2007)). It found that most abortions after 15 weeks employ “dilation and evacuation procedures which involve the use of surgical instruments to crush and tear the unborn child,” and it concluded that the “intentional commitment of such acts for nontherapeutic or elective reasons is a barbaric practice, dangerous for the maternal patient, and demeaning to the medical profession.”

“Until the latter part of the 20th century, there was no support in American law for a constitutional right to obtain an abortion. No state constitutional provision had recognized such a right. Until a few years before Roe was handed down, no federal or state court had recognized such a right. Nor had any scholarly treatise of which we are aware. And although law review articles are not reticent about advocating new rights, the earliest article proposing a constitutional right to abortion that has come to our attention was published only a few years before Roe.

Not only was there no support for such a constitutional right until shortly before Roe, but abortion had long been a crime in every single State. At common law, abortion was criminal in at least some stages of pregnancy and was regarded as unlawful and could have very serious consequences at all stages. American law followed the common law until a wave of statutory restrictions in the 1800s expanded criminal liability for abortions. By the time of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, three-quarters of the States had made abortion a crime at any stage of pregnancy, and the remaining States would soon follow. Roe either ignored or misstated this history, and Casey declined to reconsider Roe’s faulty historical analysis. It is therefore important to set the record straight.”

“Roe was on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided, Casey perpetuated its errors, and those errors do not concern some arcane corner of the law of little importance to the American people. Rather, wielding nothing but “raw judicial power,” Roe, 410 U. S., at 222 (White, J., dissenting), the Court usurped the power to address a question of profound moral and social importance that the Constitution unequivocally leaves for the people. Casey described itself as calling both sides of the national controversy to resolve their debate, but in doing so, Casey necessarily declared a winning side. Those on the losing side—those who sought to advance the State’s interest in fetal life—could no longer seek to persuade their elected representatives to adopt policies consistent with their views. The Court short-circuited the democratic process by closing it to the large number of Americans who dissented in any respect from Roe. “Roe fanned into life an issue that has inflamed our national politics in general, and has obscured with its smoke the selection of Justices to this Court in particular, ever since.” Casey, 505 U. S., at 995–996 (opinion of Scalia, J.). Together, Roe and Casey represent an error that cannot be allowed to stand.”

“Roe found that the Constitution implicitly conferred a right to obtain an abortion, but it failed to ground its decision in text, history, or precedent. It relied on an erroneous historical narrative; it devoted great attention to and presumably relied on matters that have no bearing on the meaning of the Constitution; it disregarded the fundamental difference between the precedents on which it relied and the question before the Court; it concocted an elaborate set of rules, with different restrictions for each trimester of pregnancy, but it did not explain how this veritable code could be teased out of anything in the Constitution, the history of abortion laws, prior precedent, or any other cited source; and its most important rule (that States cannot protect fetal life prior to “viability”) was never raised by any party and has never been plausibly explained. Roe’s reasoning quickly drew scathing scholarly criticism, even from supporters of broad access to abortion.”

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Remember by Lisa Genova

I recently read a Blinkist summary of this book and was fascinated by the following section:

“If you’re of a certain age you might remember January 28, 1986, when a space shuttle careened high in the blue sky over Florida and burst into a ball of flames. The explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger left no survivors and was witnessed by millions on live television.

Twenty-four hours later, a pair of psychology professors at Emory University asked their students to jot down an account of what they were doing when they either witnessed or learned of the explosion. Two and a half years later, the professors followed up with the students and again asked for a personal account of that fateful January day. For almost every student, the memory had changed.

When the professors revealed to the students the discrepancies between their accounts of the day the Challenger exploded, some of the students insisted that their current version was correct and that the version they jotted down within 24 hours of the fiery launch was flat wrong. Surprised? Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal.

Our episodic memory may be powerful and vivid, but it’s probably wrong.

First, while our attention can capture an incredible amount of sensory information, it can’t catch everything. We’re limited by our perspective and guided by our interests and expectations. Then, as we translate the sensory data into neural activity, our beliefs and biases again play a strong hand. Finally, in order to distill that neural activity into a stable, retrievable pattern, we edit creatively. We omit some details and add others under the influence of our imagination, assumptions, and the suggestions of others.

After this point, the memory goes into storage. If left untouched, the neural connections that make up the memory physically recede. Gaps appear. We forget.

Retrieving the memory doesn’t preserve its accuracy either. We recall the neural pattern and fill in the gaps with invented information. What’s more, we reinterpret the remembered moment in the context of our present circumstances. We create a narrative to jibe with our current opinions and mood, effectively reshaping yesterday for today.

Each time we remember, we rewrite and save the amended version, and the previous version is gone. Our latest version of memory feels real to us because it’s the only version we have.”

This helped me understand the frustrating experience when talking with someone and realizing that the story they are telling today is different from what happened or what they said previously. As the above material points out, the story we tell ourselves can change over time. If we are angry with someone, the story may get worse over time. We will be fully convinced of “facts” that never happened.

If you have ever kept a journal and then read it many years later, you will find that what you remember now may be different from what you wrote down.

My big take away is to realize that memory is not always reliable. It may be just an invention.

Monday, February 6, 2023

My Second Salvation

I became a Christian on October 14, 1973. Salvation came and I was saved. Without knowing all that it would mean, I decided to follow Jesus. Massive changes happened in my life.

If you want to read that story, click here.

My second salvation happened sometime toward the end of July, 2010. It was on that day that something just as miraculous happened. In the same mysterious way as the first time, an awakening came and with it, grace for change. Of course, I had known for years that I was dangerously overweight but I felt powerless to change. I liked food too much and my previous efforts to lose weight had failed to produce any lasting change. But on that day something happened. For the whole story, click here.

As I have thought back now, twelve years later, I see that my second salvation brought so much more than weight loss. It became a springboard to changes in so many other areas. It was like I was enabled to see the other areas in my life, family, and business that not only needed change but there was encouragement that they could change. A book would come my way and that book would lead to another and on and on. As I put things into practice, so many areas of my life began to improve.

God didn’t do all of it and I didn’t either. It is still mysterious to me where his power and my cooperation meet together. One thing I do know is that when his grace showed up on those days, if I had ignored it or put it off, my life would be dramatically worse. I also see that on a smaller scale, the same thing happens many times every day.

Say yes and take the hand when it is offered to you. Walk the path that is placed before you.

If you are overweight like most Americans, my story can help you. Is today your day?

Get it here.