Daniel Pugh

Can any hypothetical be fallacious?

In a debate a pro-choice advocate presents the pro-life opponent with this scenario. This is premised with the pro-life stance is that the woman should be ultimately able to abort for any reason she sees fit.

"If it were possible to determine, in utero, that the fetus would be Lesbian, Gay, Bi, or Trans and the woman is a religious fundamentalist who would abort if any were confirmed pre-birth...would the PC stance of 'any time for whatever reason' still be claimed?

What strikes me is that the scenario is dishonest in two ways. First: The PL doesn't believe that a person is genetically programmed to be Gay and so on. Second: No technology exists that can determine or predict sexual or gender orientation.

Since most, if not all, PC's would think that having an abortion based on homophobia would indeed be a tragic choice, the PC debater found herself in a bit of a pickle. But should she have?

Isn't it significant that the hypothetical's premises were an appeal to a non-existent technology and a biological stance not believed by the PC (a Baptist Christian apologist)?

asked on Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 08:51:07 AM by Daniel Pugh

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Bo Bennett, PhD

This appears to me as a weak analogy . The arguer is clearly implying that the two situations are analogous. The hypothetical is not the problem; it is the fact that the hypothetical situation is more different then the situation discussed than similar, and assuming they are the same would lead to a poor conclusion.

*** EDIT ***

Sorry, I misread the intro. The assumption is that the pro-choice stance being argued is that the woman can abort the fetus for any reason she sees fit. In this case, this appears to be a strong analogy, because a "gay gene", etc. would be a reason. The hypothetical is cleverly worded to put the pro-choice person in a "pickle," so it is up to the pro-choice person to answer honestly and revise their view if necessary, or stick with it an admit the consequences could be problematic.

"Yes. If such a technology were discovered that could determine if a person would be gay, or even more likely to be gay, and the mother did not want a gay child, the mother would have the right to abort the fetus. I wouldn't personally agree with this decision, but I would agree that the mother should have the right to make it, despite the consequences being problematic to me."


"I see your point. Perhaps there should be some limits on why a woman can have an abortion. Those limits could be argued on an individual basis. As of now, that technology doesn't exist, so it is not worth arguing."

answered on Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 08:55:25 AM by Bo Bennett, PhD

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Daniel Pugh writes:

Thanks, Professor. Might you expound a bit on the differences and what would be a poor conclusion?

posted on Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 09:32:10 AM
Bo Bennett, PhD writes:
[To Daniel Pugh]

My bad... I misread the post. I updated my answer.

[ login to reply ] posted on Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 11:03:53 AM
Daniel Pugh writes:

Thank you, Bo. Those are very helpful!

posted on Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021 11:38:56 AM