Abortion Debate – Texas Freethought Convention – Matt Dillahunty vs. Kristine Kruszelnicki

Now here is an interesting debate that recently took place. First some brief facts …

  • It’s a debate between two atheists: Matt Dillahunty and Kristine Kruszelnicki and was Titled “Secularists Should Not Support the Right To Abortion”.
  • It starts off with an Introduction by Paul Cooper. He is the President Texas Freethought Convention (that is where this took place)
  • It Moderated by Nick Lee … (he did a good job, basically he kept out-of-the-way and let them get on with it)
  • Matt Dillahunty is the pro-choice party
  • Kristine Kruszelnicki is the pro-life party supporting the motion.

Some additional notes

  • Initially the audio is crap … but after about 1 minute, they have that sorted
  • Video also has a few issues, takes them until about 6 mins-42 secs to sort that

OK, so what makes this interesting is that you have two atheists taking very different sides on a very contentious issue – abortion. Here we get to have a proper rational debate without the religious mumbo-jumbo being tossed in to muddy the waters. Tha’ts fine, because atheism is by itself simply a conclusion on just one topic, the god question, it says nothing at all about anything else, so it is to be expected that there will be a diversity of rather different views on other topics.

Best Question asked …

  • At about 0:53 …to Kristine,  “.. an abortion by your definition would be murder, so does that mean the 70% of pregnancies that end in a miscarriage, is that involuntary manslaughter?”

Best Comment from Audience

  • PZ Myers leaps in at the end of the Q & A session at 1:07:00 … “I’ve heard Kristine assert several times that the embryo is fully human at fertilization. I’m in this field, and I haven’t gotten the memo …. have you talked to any modern developmental biologists? because I guarantee you that they will all say that your argument is full of shit“.

Ah yes, almost forgot, here it all is … 1 hour 14 mins long, but if it is a topic of interest, one that you have an open mind about, it is worth watching …

So having watched it all, I can say that I loved the debate. Kristine did a good job but in the end I come down on the side of Matt’s pro-choice as the one with the best arguments.

7 thoughts on “Abortion Debate – Texas Freethought Convention – Matt Dillahunty vs. Kristine Kruszelnicki”

  1. I watched the debate as well and I was impressed with Kristine’s presentation. She came well prepared and had an answer for all questions directed her way. Matt’s ultimate defense was that it is the woman’s body and no one get to choose what happens to it. It came out as very self centered and self serving. Kristine on the other hand offered a standard by which to judge what is life and applied it consistently throughout the debate. She even cornered Matt by asking him when he believed a fetus became a person, a question he refused to answer adequately. Matt tried to get Kristine to admit that the fetus was a person imposing themselves on others illegally but Kristine properly pointed out that the uterus was not there for the woman but for the baby and that the baby ended up in the uterus because of someone else’s actions and not their own. I believe that Kristine made her point clearly and consistently and won this debate.

  2. “Best Question asked …

    At about 0:53 …to Kristine, ”.. an abortion by your definition would be murder, so does that mean the 70% of pregnancies that end in a miscarriage, is that involuntary manslaughter?””

    …to which I would simply reply: “Only if caused by an intelligent agent.” So yes, if I hit a pregnant woman in the stomach, and that ends the pregnancy, I should be punished harder than otherwise.

  3. I actually think she won this debate, I believe people ignore any of her rational arguments. Also I think its pretty sad that the “professor” at the end was unable to offer up any white papers or scientific text books to refute what she was asserting. In fact this debate changed my mind entirely on this topic, I was a support of the right to choose, but being an atheist I think its important to note we all have ONE CHANCE in this world, she is right the uterus is the natural habitat of the baby. I think if its a human life then the debate is lost. A lot of people said that her video was unnecessary, how so? It opened my eyes what a baby looks like at most stages that abortion is performed, she wasn’t treated very nicely by these “free thinkers” it was very telling.

    I do think Matt made compelling arguments, but stating that her argument is a straw man without offering up any rebuttal to her arguments was pretty telling too. Either way, I don’t know if government intervention is the key, but if babies are being aborted at the stage released in that video its immoral, not even on a religious level, its just immoral.

    Also, this isn’t a health issue, abortion has its own consequences, and having an abortion is not “taking responsibly” but shirking responsibility especially when babies are such sought after “commodities” for adoption.

    Further this Kirsten is extremely brave, she knew she was going into the lions den, it seemed however that this Matt fellow was among friends and people that think exactly like him. Not really a fair environment for a fair debate none the less they both did very well, both had compelling arguments. But I think we all know deep down inside, be it natures call that he is absolutely wrong

    • I utterly abhor the ‘because we feel it’ argument at the end Paul’s reply. Abortion is unpleasant, I don’t care. This is a social and not a moral issue. Women always have and always will choose to end pregnancies. I don’t think it’s a wonderful thing. I don’t think anyone does. If we make abortion illegal, we won’t make it go away. All we’ll do is give the rich back a privilege that they think only they should have, and make terminating a pregnancy costly, dangerous, and quite easily fatal for anyone who isn’t rich.

      The way to prevent abortions, which is an objective I support, is to make it free and safe for ALL women everywhere, and to make preventative measures and education available to ALL women at all income levels, so that people can more freely choose what to do with their bodies. Illegalizing abortion only serves to put yet another privilege back in the hands of the elite. They have enough.


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