Pro-Choice Author’s Shoddy Thought Experiment Gets Shredded in Epic Online Battle

Pro-Choice Author’s Shoddy Thought Experiment Gets Shredded in Epic Online Battle

Pro-Choice Author’s Shoddy Thought Experiment Gets Shredded in Epic Online Battle

This past Monday, sci-fi author and pro-choicer, Patrick S. Tomlinson, tweeted a thought experiment involving a hypothetical situation wherein someone is asked to choose between saving either 1,000 viable embryos or a five year old from a burning fertility clinic. Tomlinson laid the thought experiment out over several tweets. He implied that, because most people would save the five year old child instead of the embryos, pro-life arguments that assume life begins at conception are invalid.

The problem: his argument just wasn’t thought out well.

And so, it became a giant target on Twitter for those who understand logic and ethics.

Regardless, Tomlinson defended his argument vociferously and reflexively, with the frequent use of expletives. He refused to consider dissenting arguments. He also blocked certain people on Twitter who challenged him a little too well (though, he claimed to have a different reason for blocking said people):

Have a look at his original post which conveys the thought experiment (I’ve collected his tweets here):

“Whenever abortion comes up, I have a question I’ve been asking for ten years now of the “Life begins at Conception” crowd. In ten years, no one has EVER answered it honestly. It’s a simple scenario with two outcomes. No one ever wants to pick one, because the correct answer destroys their argument. And there IS a correct answer, which is why the pro-life crowd hates the question. Here it is. You’re in a fertility clinic. Why isn’t important. The fire alarm goes off. You run for the exit. As you run down this hallway, you hear a child screaming from behind a door. You throw open the door and find a five-year-old child crying for help. They’re in one corner of the room. In the other corner, you spot a frozen container labeled “1000 Viable Human Embryos.” The smoke is rising. You start to choke. You know you can grab one or the other, but not both before you succumb to smoke inhalation and die, saving no one. Do you A) save the child, or B) save the thousand embryos? There is no “C.” “C” means you all die. In a decade of arguing with anti-abortion people about the definition of human life, I have never gotten a single straight A or B answer to this question. And I never will. They will never answer honestly, because we all instinctively understand the right answer is “A.” A human child is worth more than a thousand embryos. Or ten thousand. Or a million. Because they are not the same, not morally, not ethically, not biologically. This question absolutely evicerates their arguments, and their refusal to answer confirms that they know it to be true. No one, anywhere, actually believes an embryo is equivalent to a child. That person does not exist. They are lying to you. They are lying to you to try and evoke an emotional response, a paternal response, using false-equivalency. No one believes life begins at conception. No one believes embryos are babies, or children. Those who cliam to are trying to manipulate you so they can control women. Don’t let them. Use this question to call them out. Reveal them for what they are. Demand they answer your question, and when they don’t, slap that big ol’ Scarlet P of the Patriarchy on them. The end.”

This post is a great thing for the pro-life cause. It’s easily refutable. It’s so blindly disrespectful and harsh toward its pro-life opponents that its tone would be breathtaking if that sort of thing wasn’t already so commonplace in pro-choice rhetoric. Tomlinson’s post really only makes pushers of the pro-choice agenda look angry and irrational.

On Tuesday, pundits like Ben Shapiro (who was one of the people Tomlinson blocked), Matt Walsh, and Berny Belvedere swept into the discussion Tomlinson started and slammed his argument so publicly and thoroughly that tweets like this started popping up in Tomlinson’s original Twitter thread:

There was also a sizable number of standalone tweets from everyday people who, in response to Tomlinson, beautifully pointed out the flaws and fallacies in his logic:

I’ve found solid argument after solid argument from pro-lifers (and even pro-choicers) refuting Tomlinson’s idea.

Meanwhile, Tomlinson leapt upon the opportunity to advertise his fiction to new followers he gained due to the controversy:

Gif Credit: Giphy

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8 Comments
  • GWB says:

    “Survivor” scenarios are ALWAYS bogus.

    You know you can grab one or the other, but not both before you succumb to smoke inhalation and die, saving no one…. There is no “C.” “C” means you all die.

    The very premise is bull hockey. Period. I can and will do my best to save both.
    (Note, the premise is always without enough information to actually make an informed decision: how big is the container? are there any carts if it’s big? a 5yo can walk, can’t he? I have mitigation techniques for smoke, since I’m trained and not a gibbering fool in emergencies. Etc.)

    No one believes life begins at conception. No one believes embryos are babies, or children. Those who cliam [sic] to are trying to manipulate you so they can control women.

    Bull crap. As to the “control women” claim, you’re a fu[CENSORED!]. As a matter of fact, given the dishonesty of the false choice scenario, the only person trying to manipulate folks through their emotions is … YOU!

    I … yell at the alt-right on social media.

    No, you don’t. The people you’re yelling at are not “alt-right”. They’re normal Joes. But you’ve placed everyone who is not of your prog ilk into that group, believing all of them must be NAZIs, so you can justify your irrational hatred. To be honest, that statement should be “I … yell to express my hatred and lack of neighborliness on social media.”

    gay space marines

    Oy vey. What are the odds this idiot was part of the crew the Sad Puppies obliterated?

    • GWB says:

      And, I was right. He’s part of the “diversity in SF is so important” crowd. From an op-ed (2015) in The Hill:

      The 2015 show was the scene of a fight started by a small but noisy cabal of alt-right malcontents referring to themselves as the Rabid Puppies, who used an army of Facebook trolls and Twitter eggs conjured from the cesspools of 4chan and Reddit to flood our little community of science fiction book geeks like a rampaging horde.

      The Rabid Puppies attacked the Hugo Awards for encouraging diversity and inclusiveness in the kind of literature sci-fi geeks consume, enjoy, and recognize.

      (The op-ed also is full of typos. Bad look for an “author”.)

      In actuality, the Sad Puppies were against diversity-for-diversity’s-sake-alone and a lot of the idiotic intersectionality PC victimhood bullcrap that most of SF fandom doesn’t really want to read. Because it sucks.

    • GWB says:

      As I guessed, he’s one of the prog bullies who had pushed for PC bullcrap in the Hugo Awards. From an op-ed he wrote in The Hill:

      The 2015 [Hugo Awards] show was the scene of a fight started by a small but noisy cabal of alt-right malcontents referring to themselves as the Rabid Puppies, who used an army of Facebook trolls and Twitter eggs conjured from the cesspools of 4chan and Reddit to flood our little community of science fiction book geeks like a rampaging horde.

      The Rabid Puppies attacked the Hugo Awards for encouraging diversity and inclusiveness in the kind of literature sci-fi geeks consume, enjoy, and recognize.

      (The op-ed is full of typos, too. Not a good look for an author.)

      For those not in the know, the Sad (deemed “Rabid” after they embraced the “Sad” epithet) Puppies were a group of disparate authors who banded together to try and show (and disrupt a bit) how the Hugo Awards had become a prog-positive, PC mummer show that didn’t reflect actual fandom at all. They aren’t against diversity (check out Sarah Hoyt* if you don’t believe that), but they are against diversity-for-diversity’s-sake-alone and the intersectionalty PC baloney running rampant through a lot of industries. Mostly because SF readers think it sucks for writing.

      (* Sarah also links Victory Girls over on Instapundit! Yes, she writes there, as well as her own blog and lots of books and stories.)

  • Johnny says:

    Good article, one suggestion.
    Don’t let these people control the narrative.
    He is not “Pro-Choice” he’s “Pro-Abortion”.
    No doublespeak allowed!

  • Cameron says:

    Maybe if he worked out more, he’d be able to lift the container and use his voice to command the five year old to move. But that also implies he has a commanding voice.

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