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  1. #1
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    Terms in the abortion debate

    When it comes to debates regarding abortion, there often seems to be a disagreement on what term to use when referring to the unborn.

    Pro-choicers tend to call it a "fetus" and pro-lifers often use the term "baby" or "child". And I've seen arguments flowing both ways of accusing the other of intentionally using the term which will help their viewpoint instead of using the most objectively correct term.

    And I think a pretty simple way to determine whether one is accurately using the term in regards to the debate is to look how they use the term outside of the abortion debate.

    So let's say someone is throwing a party and one of the guests says "I'm brining my baby along". What is clearly being communicated in this instance is that the person is bringing an infant, not a fetus. If the guest was pregnant and brining the fetus that resides in her womb with her, she would not say she is bringing her baby along and if she did say that, the host would be expecting her to bring along an infant as opposed to just being pregnant.

    So it seems pretty clear that the pro-lifers are altering the definition of the word "baby' when the use the term to communicate a fetus in the abortion debate and therefore are not using the term for accurate communication but to equivocate the fetus and a born child.

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    Re: Terms in the abortion debate

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    So let's say someone is throwing a party and one of the guests says "I'm brining my baby along". What is clearly being communicated in this instance is that the person is bringing an infant, not a fetus. If the guest was pregnant and brining the fetus that resides in her womb with her, she would not say she is bringing her baby along and if she did say that, the host would be expecting her to bring along an infant as opposed to just being pregnant.
    If a young child at the party pointed to your pregnant wife and asked, "what's in there?" 99% of expectant mothers would say "my baby" not "my fetus." Thus the example works both ways. In fact, if you confront the broad range of social situations, the massive paucity of the use of the word "fetus" in every day life probably indicates that if we are measuring by your standard the opposite is likely true.
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    Re: Terms in the abortion debate

    Beyond just the rhetoric, how about judging by how it is treated? Namely, like a person and equivalent to a 2year old.
    Such as; careful protection, speaking directly in the hopes of communicating and teaching, looking for personal preferences(recognized as such) and catering to them.


    Spelled out, because...
    Careful protection- Injuries to the woman are carefully monitored, with the fear of "hurting the baby". (Reference to that speech thing). This indicating that there is a significant actual change, not simply a potential one. This action is a change from concern about self organs(which they always had) and now the active concern for their child, and offspring (which is the reason for the change in attitude and action).

    Directed speech- Many, if not all mothers will sing to their unborn, or speak directly to it. This they do in the hopes of establishing a relationship such as familiarity, to comfort, and to educate so as to increase cognitive development. All of these are consistent with actions towards a 2 year old, and are inconsistent with any action concerning a mere organ. (ever sing to your foot, or pancreas?)

    Looking for personal preferences- Mothers become aware of the preferences of the child in the womb, spicy foods will be avoided if it causes agitation and is perceived as a personal preference of the child. Also craving are attributed to what the child "wants" or desires.


    Now, it may or may not be the case that these things are actually true. It is however how people act, and their actions are consistent with a 2 year old not an organ or tissue equivalent.
    So on the matter of consistence be it speech(here exampled some) or actions (the point) the Pro-life crowd are the only consistent ones, as the pro-abortion crowd will regularly do the same (above) and not recognize the inconsistency.

    Quote Originally Posted by SQUATCH
    If a young child at the party pointed to your pregnant wife and asked, "what's in there?" 99% of expectant mothers would say "my baby" not "my fetus." Thus the example works both ways. In fact, if you confront the broad range of social situations, the massive paucity of the use of the word "fetus" in every day life probably indicates that if we are measuring by your standard the opposite is likely true.
    Also, Dr's and Pregnant mothers will speak of the well being of the "baby". Such as "how is my baby doing?"and "your baby is growing fine".

    I would challenge anyone to find an instance where a pregnant woman is injured and she senses that her pregnancy is in danger and she shouts "My fetus! My Fetus!"
    Point is, our deep emotional and instinctive awareness screams it is a baby.
    I apologize to anyone waiting on a response from me. I am experiencing a time warp, suddenly their are not enough hours in a day. As soon as I find a replacement part to my flux capacitor regulator, time should resume it's normal flow.

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    Re: Terms in the abortion debate

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Beyond just the rhetoric, how about judging by how it is treated? Namely, like a person and equivalent to a 2year old.
    Such as; careful protection, speaking directly in the hopes of communicating and teaching, looking for personal preferences(recognized as such) and catering to them.
    But you are referring SPECIFICALLY to the woman and her own unborn and not to people and the unborn in general.

    Yes, I fully concede that when it comes to a woman and the unborn inside of her, the term "baby" will be consistently used, not only by her but by those who are dealing with the unborn (like the doctor) and those who are close to her (husband, family, friends).

    But remove that specific context as well as the context of the abortion debate, people consistently save the term "baby" for those that are born.

    As I said, if one hears that woman that they don't know is "bringing her baby", they will envision a lady carrying a born baby. If the newspaper says that a woman and a baby were killed in a car accident, people will envision a born baby perishing as opposed to a pregnant woman being killed. The only people who might think of an unborn was killed instead of a born baby are those who knew the woman personally and are personally upset that the unborn died as well.



    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    So on the matter of consistence be it speech(here exampled some) or actions (the point) the Pro-life crowd are the only consistent ones, as the pro-abortion crowd will regularly do the same (above) and not recognize the inconsistency.
    But again, if a pro-lifer hears that someone is bringing their baby without the context of knowing that that particular person is pregnant and has no born baby, the pro-lifer will almost certainly think that a born baby will be brought.



    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    I would challenge anyone to find an instance where a pregnant woman is injured and she senses that her pregnancy is in danger and she shouts "My fetus! My Fetus!"
    Point is, our deep emotional and instinctive awareness screams it is a baby.
    No, not "ours" - "hers".

    SHE has a deep attachment to HER unborn which is why she calls it a "baby".

    Again, remove the context of the abortion debate and personal attachment to a SPECIFIC unborn, and one reserves the term "baby" only for born babies.

    -----------------------------------

    Now, I should note that Squatch (and you) did forward something that was not covered in the OP but I don't think it really hurts my overall point. The issue is whether using the word "baby" (or not using it) to refer to the fetus in the abortion debate is equivocation. And I think my point still stands and the issue of a woman (and those around her) consistently and sincerely referring to HER unborn as a "baby" isn't really a defeater for the abortion debate does not center around that specific unborn but ALL unborn including the vast majority that no one has any specific emotional attachment to.

    Again, if one hears about a stranger and her baby (in other words a baby that you have no emotional attachment to) everyone, pro-choice and pro-life alike, will envision a born baby and not a pregnant woman. So the exception that you note (a woman and HER pregnancy) is just an exception and doesn't really effect the overall point.

    So short of the exception of an unborn that one has a personal attachment to, pro-lifers do not refer to the unborn as "babies" except when trying to argue that they are "babies" in the abortion debate. So to redefine the word specifically when using it in a debate appears to be an attempt to equivocate.

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    Re: Terms in the abortion debate

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    As I said, if one hears that woman that they don't know is "bringing her baby", they will envision a lady carrying a born baby. If the newspaper says that a woman and a baby were killed in a car accident, people will envision a born baby perishing as opposed to a pregnant woman being killed. The only people who might think of an unborn was killed instead of a born baby are those who knew the woman personally and are personally upset that the unborn died as well.
    That is not an inconsistancy.
    For example, if a man tells you that he is bringing his spouce to dinner. So you set flowers out for his wife, then he shows up with another man.
    Does your expectation mean that you don't consider them married? It could, as that is my position, but for you I suspect not.

    Same can be the case here. People have children that are called babies for a lot longer outside the womb than those that do.
    And if they said they are bringing their baby and you knew that they were pregant, you would laugh because it is clearly a joke.
    A pregnant woman is simply naver required to say they are bringing their baby.. when she is still pregant with it.

    So your example is really culturally weak.

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    But again, if a pro-lifer hears that someone is bringing their baby without the context of knowing that that particular person is pregnant and has no born baby, the pro-lifer will almost certainly think that a born baby will be brought.
    See above, your just abusing common culture and understanding.

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    No, not "ours" - "hers".

    SHE has a deep attachment to HER unborn which is why she calls it a "baby".

    Again, remove the context of the abortion debate and personal attachment to a SPECIFIC unborn, and one reserves the term "baby" only for born babies.
    No.. you understand what she is saying. At worst it is vague, but it isn't inconsistant or untrue.
    Furhter, why doesn't her use count? Why take the most common usages and discard them? Cherry picking examples is what I say.

    Also, again see above for stretched context referance. Pregant women simply do not have to tell anyone they are bringing their child.

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    Again, if one hears about a stranger and her baby (in other words a baby that you have no emotional attachment to) everyone, pro-choice and pro-life alike, will envision a born baby and not a pregnant woman. So the exception that you note (a woman and HER pregnancy) is just an exception and doesn't really effect the overall point.
    Then I appeal to exclude all use of born to 3 year olds from the discussion as well.
    I mean if we are arbitarily discounting phases of life and how they are commonly refered to AND UNDERSTOOD by people.

    You can't simply discount a woman referancing her pregnancy because it doesn't fit your story. The FACT that people understand what she is saying
    proves that it is not simply limited to HER own personal use. It is common use.


    Take also men, they will say "she is having my baby" or "carrying my child". Which is a referance to her current state not some hypothetical future event.

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    So short of the exception of an unborn that one has a personal attachment to, pro-lifers do not refer to the unborn as "babies" except when trying to argue that they are "babies" in the abortion debate. So to redefine the word specifically when using it in a debate appears to be an attempt to equivocate.
    Simply untrue.

    Men say "carrying my child" (which implies baby)
    Men say "Having my baby" a variation of the above.
    People ask "what's the babies name going to be"..and everone knows what they mean. There is never a qualifier of "when it is a baby" it is implied and understood as current condition.
    If for some reason it was not inherent that a pregnant woman was bringing her baby, they would let you know that they are bringing their baby with them. (your appeal to that is bizarre thinking).
    etc.. etc.. etc.
    I bet I could come up with 10 more common use examples not by just the mom.

    YO umay as well say that because buffets don't charge a child rate for the pregnant, therefore it is not understood as a child.
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    Re: Terms in the abortion debate

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    That is not an inconsistancy.
    For example, if a man tells you that he is bringing his spouce to dinner. So you set flowers out for his wife, then he shows up with another man.
    Does your expectation mean that you don't consider them married? It could, as that is my position, but for you I suspect not.

    Same can be the case here. People have children that are called babies for a lot longer outside the womb than those that do.
    And if they said they are bringing their baby and you knew that they were pregant, you would laugh because it is clearly a joke.
    A pregnant woman is simply naver required to say they are bringing their baby.. when she is still pregant with it.

    So your example is really culturally weak.
    I'm sorry but I don't see how this rebuts my point so I will repeat it.

    If someone says they are bringing their baby and you don't have any other information regarding the person, you would obviously expect that person to bring a baby.


    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    See above, your just abusing common culture and understanding.
    I am not abusing it. I'm pointing it out. That IS the common understanding.



    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    No.. you understand what she is saying. At worst it is vague, but it isn't inconsistant or untrue.
    It is not consistent with how people refer to the unborn that they do not personally know or know of.




    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Then I appeal to exclude all use of born to 3 year olds from the discussion as well.
    I mean if we are arbitarily discounting phases of life and how they are commonly refered to AND UNDERSTOOD by people.
    There is nothing arbitrary. I'm observing what is.


    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    You can't simply discount a woman referancing her pregnancy because it doesn't fit your story. The FACT that people understand what she is saying
    proves that it is not simply limited to HER own personal use. It is common use.
    But they won't know what she is saying when she says "I'm bringing my baby to your house" unless they have prior knowledge that she bringing something other than an infant.



    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Simply untrue.

    Men say "carrying my child" (which implies baby)
    Men say "Having my baby" a variation of the above.
    People ask "what's the babies name going to be"..and everone knows what they mean. There is never a qualifier of "when it is a baby" it is implied and understood as current condition.
    This doesn't rebut my argument so I will repeat it (and also explain why your rebuttal fails).

    So short of the exception of an unborn that one has a personal attachment to, pro-lifers do not refer to the unborn as "babies" except when trying to argue that they are "babies" in the abortion debate. So to redefine the word specifically when using it in a debate appears to be an attempt to equivocate.

    Note the underlined "that one has a personal attachment to". So every example you forwarded qualifies as a "personal attachment" (and I use the term loosely - basically it covers anyone who is concerned with the specific fetus inside the woman so if one asks for the name, they are showing concern) so your examples are all included in the exceptions referred to in my argument.

    And you may (or did) ask why am I referring to this exceptions? Why exclude these people? It's because the issue is the abortion debate in general so we aren't talking about specific fetuses that those in your example are referring to (the one the man is referring to when he says she's having his baby). For example, if you and I had an abortion debate we would not be discussing a specific fetus that one or both of us might have a personal attachment to (such as one being carried by someone we know) but referring to fetuses that we don't know (the concept of the fetus as opposed to a specific known fetus).

    And this goes back to my party analogy. If the host does not know of the specific "baby" that is being brought, they will uses the general term "baby" to visualize what will be brought to the party and they will certainly think that it will be a born baby.
    Last edited by mican333; April 2nd, 2017 at 07:49 PM.

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    Re: Terms in the abortion debate

    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    Again, if one hears about a stranger and her baby (in other words a baby that you have no emotional attachment to) everyone, pro-choice and pro-life alike, will envision a born baby and not a pregnant woman.
    This doesn't really prove your point however.

    What you are arguing is that the specific archetype you envision when you hear a word absent any context is the only real valid concept you are covering by using that word.

    So when I say "computer," the fact that virtually everyone envisions this:




    Does that mean I'm being disingenuous when I call this a computer?




    Of course not.


    And let's return to my original analogy. Let's say the little girl has no idea who that woman is. And let's say she asked her father, who has no idea who that woman is. What is he going to answer? A "baby." Again, the fact that fetus is essentially never used in common speech, regardless of emotional attachment, relationship, or anything else, is an argument against your hypothesis.


    We can see this if we look at the literature about smoking and pregnancy. The CDC, which is hardly a pro-life group, even uses the term baby when discussing the affects of smoking in the abstract. Note, this isn't them talking to mothers, this isn't about "your baby" it is about "babies" in general. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_in...ancy/index.htm



    I'd even go far as to wager that if we were to poll a general poll of pro-choice people and asked, "what is in here?"



    The large plurality of them would say, "baby" not "fetus."

    What seems to be the distinguishing factor, imo, is whether or not an abortion is the context. That makes me think that it would be the pro-choice side, if any, that is using a linguistic distinction for the purpose of the argument, right?
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    Re: Terms in the abortion debate

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    If the host does not know of the specific "baby" that is being brought, they will uses the general term "baby" to visualize what will be brought to the party and they will certainly think that it will be a born baby.
    I'm not really sure this example serves your argument at all.
    There is more going on here, language-wise, than just the difference between the words "baby" or "fetus", specifically with the usage of the word "bring". We wouldn't consider a pregnant woman walking around with her fetus inside her to be a possible/correct usage of the word "bring".
    When people say they're bringing something, it (almost) always is an object which could also be not brought, which completely excludes it from usage by a pregnant woman walking around with a fetus.

    However, this isn't to say that I disagree with you in principle. I believe that whenever people refer to an unborn fetus as a "child" or "baby", it's an implicit expression of optimism, expectations, and anticipation for what's to come, and not an expression what it actually is.
    For example, if someone bought a factory-new BMW and did the whole vacation factory tour thing to see it being built, they'd be taken to the production line and showed a bare frame in the process of being constructed.
    The factory worker running the tour could very well say, "There's your car, right there, sir/ma'am!"
    The customer then proceeds to take selfies with their "baby" as it's being worked on. It's still just the frame of a car, though, and not an actual car or an actual baby.

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  13. #9
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    Re: Terms in the abortion debate

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    This doesn't really prove your point however.

    What you are arguing is that the specific archetype you envision when you hear a word absent any context is the only real valid concept you are covering by using that word.

    So when I say "computer," the fact that virtually everyone envisions this:


    Does that mean I'm being disingenuous when I call this a computer?
    Since they both fit what I would envision when I hear the word "computer" without context leading me to envision something else, I would say "no".

    But a brain qualifies as a computer and if you said "computer" and then showed me a brain, I would say that you are misleading me if you don't provide context that indicates that you mean brain.

    Likewise if you say that right now you are sitting at home with your wife and your baby, I would envision you with a lady and an infant and it would be misleading if you were home with a pregnant woman.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    And let's return to my original analogy. Let's say the little girl has no idea who that woman is. And let's say she asked her father, who has no idea who that woman is. What is he going to answer? A "baby." Again, the fact that fetus is essentially never used in common speech, regardless of emotional attachment, relationship, or anything else, is an argument against your hypothesis.
    As I said, it used when referring to a SPECIFIC fetus, such as the one in your analogy. And the man and child do have some concern for the fetus in question. If the woman suddenly started having some kind of labor problems, they would be worried about the fetus.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    We can see this if we look at the literature about smoking and pregnancy. The CDC, which is hardly a pro-life group, even uses the term baby when discussing the affects of smoking in the abstract.
    Right. Because they are talking about babies (as in already born). The literature is about BIRTH defects which only applies to those that are born (defects that are present at BIRTH).




    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I'd even go far as to wager that if we were to poll a general poll of pro-choice people and asked, "what is in here?"



    The large plurality of them would say, "baby" not "fetus."
    I would call that a wild guess on your part.

    And I should ask, if the picture was of a fetus instead of a pregnant woman's belly, would you make the same prediction?
    Last edited by mican333; April 3rd, 2017 at 09:10 AM.

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    Re: Terms in the abortion debate

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    When it comes to debates regarding abortion, there often seems to be a disagreement on what term to use when referring to the unborn.

    Pro-choicers tend to call it a "fetus" and pro-lifers often use the term "baby" or "child". And I've seen arguments flowing both ways of accusing the other of intentionally using the term which will help their viewpoint instead of using the most objectively correct term.

    And I think a pretty simple way to determine whether one is accurately using the term in regards to the debate is to look how they use the term outside of the abortion debate.

    So let's say someone is throwing a party and one of the guests says "I'm brining my baby along". What is clearly being communicated in this instance is that the person is bringing an infant, not a fetus. If the guest was pregnant and brining the fetus that resides in her womb with her, she would not say she is bringing her baby along and if she did say that, the host would be expecting her to bring along an infant as opposed to just being pregnant.

    So it seems pretty clear that the pro-lifers are altering the definition of the word "baby' when the use the term to communicate a fetus in the abortion debate and therefore are not using the term for accurate communication but to equivocate the fetus and a born child.
    This seems pretty flawed. It is like saying, hey, I'm bringing my leg with me. It does not really make sense unless my leg is detachable. If my leg is attached, it would merely be assumed. Were I to state the obvious, people would think I'm losing my marbles. Same with your example. If a woman is pregnant, she wouldn't state she's bringing her baby with her because it is assumed, just like she is bringing her legs, her arms, and an appetite for two. It'd be a ridiculous declaration for her to outwardly state she was bringing anything along with her. Now, if the hosts didn't know she was pregnant, she'd probably just mention she was pregnant. However, it is not uncommon for a pregnant women to use phrases such as, "eating for two," which certainly implies an additional person is involved when a woman is pregnant. I'd even argue that the use of such phrases lends one to believe that there is more than a mere expectation of a baby, as has been suggested in this thread. It suggests that most pregnant women believe there is a human being inside. Consider other common behaviors of pregnant women: Reading aloud, talking/conversing, touching their bellies. These are all acts of compassion and love for something that suggests more than a mere fetus. It suggests the acceptance that there is human life there.

    Really, there is a timeline where a woman goes from thinking she may be pregnant and where use of the term fetus seems appropriate to a point where the woman has accepted that she is pregnant and where the use of the term baby replaces fetus as the proper designation. So, for any woman, at the point where she feels comfortable calling the fetus a baby is the point where she has personally accepted that there is human inside of her. For some women, this could be the day of conception. For other women, it could be days after giving birth. However, as a society, I think we try to find some sort of compromise on the issue and no definition will really make this an easy or simple call.
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    Re: Terms in the abortion debate

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Since they both fit what I would envision when I hear the word "computer" without context leading me to envision something else, I would say "no".
    That is a bit of a shift from your earlier position. Both pictures below fit what I would envision when I hear the word "baby" and as described above, "baby" is the word most often used when referring to either picture (especially given the fact that no one really uses the word "fetus" outside of the abortion discussion).






    But your earlier argument was about what would initially come to mind if someone used the phrase "baby," not what are all the available things I could envision when you use that term, right?


    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    As I said, it used when referring to a SPECIFIC fetus, such as the one in your analogy. And the man and child do have some concern for the fetus in question. If the woman suddenly started having some kind of labor problems, they would be worried about the fetus.

    So you envision, that in the analogy the father would look at his daughter and answer, "fetus?"

    That strains credibility a bit. If she were having labor problems, he wouldn't run up and say "we need to get an ambulance for the mother and fetus." In fact, outside of specific medical terminology, the only time I can find the term fetus used is in reference to the abortion debate.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    Right. Because they are talking about babies (as in already born). The literature is about BIRTH defects which only applies to those that are born (defects that are present at BIRTH).
    I don't think you looked at the link. The third bullet at the top is:

    Tobacco smoke harms babies before and after they are born.

    Further,

    •Smoking during pregnancy can cause tissue damage in the unborn baby, particularly in the lung and brain, and some studies suggests a link between maternal smoking and cleft lip.

    Carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke can keep the developing baby from getting enough oxygen. Tobacco smoke also contains other chemicals that can harm unborn babies.


    They clearly are referring to both born and unborn when using the term baby, right?


    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    I would call that a wild guess on your part.

    And I should ask, if the picture was of a fetus instead of a pregnant woman's belly, would you make the same prediction?
    No more a wild guess than your OP however. I feel pretty confident in this guess given how infrequently the term is used in common parlance. Alice just had a baby, so I've been relatively hyper exposed to both doctors and research over the last year. I can count on one hand how many times I've heard the word fetus used outside of specific terminology (fetal growth hormone for example), including listening to doctors talk to the other doctors.

    If you really want us to think that people are going to go around and use a word like fetus in every day parlance, I'd at least need to see some kind of non-intuitive support.
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    Re: Terms in the abortion debate

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    I'm sorry but I don't see how this rebuts my point so I will repeat it.

    If someone says they are bringing their baby and you don't have any other information regarding the person, you would obviously expect that person to bring a baby.
    I don't see how the rebuttal is not obvious. I don't see your failure to see as a problem on my side of the argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    And this goes back to my party analogy. If the host does not know of the specific "baby" that is being brought, they will uses the general term "baby" to visualize what will be brought to the party and they will certainly think that it will be a born baby.
    This is still a horribly flawed example, and it has been explained. That you do not see it is not a failure of those explaining, but a failure of yours to understand the flaw you are simply "repeating".
    I apologize to anyone waiting on a response from me. I am experiencing a time warp, suddenly their are not enough hours in a day. As soon as I find a replacement part to my flux capacitor regulator, time should resume it's normal flow.

 

 

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