Saturday, June 4, 2011

Golden Extra & Fetal Emotions

I thought I'd combine more things that don't belong together for this post (keeping with the tradition of the last post). Today it's pipe tobacco and the abortion controversy. These things go together because a pipe smoking man should be a thinking man. Pipe smoking by its nature gives us time to think, almost requires it. This means that a pipe smoking Christian should be a thinking Christian, one who takes seriously the Lord's injunction to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and MIND. Matthew 22:37

Since a fine tobacco is conducive to strong Christian thinking, we continue our search for the perfect tobaccos for godly rumination. Today, I'd like to review two: Mac Baren's "Golden Extra" and Savenelli's "English Mixture."

Golden Extra - This is another very highly rated and praised tobacco. It is a Burley tobacco, which is grown mainly in Kentucky, is air cured, and most commonly used for cigarettes. I have to say that I was a little disappointed in this blend, which is often described as "sweet."

Pros - The blend lights easily and burns well. I didn't have a problem keeping it lit. It didn't bite my tongue or start to taste bitter as I worked down through the bowl. The nicotine was about medium level, about the same as Irish Oak. It reminded me of a cigar, and not a cheap one.

Cons - It tasted like a cigar. I think the "room note," how it smells to others, was unpleasant. That being said, I didn't have the cigar taste in my mouth the next morning. I give this one 3/5 stars.

English Mixture - This is an English Blend, a type of tobacco which has no additives. This doesn't mean that it doesn't have flavor, but flavoring is achieved by adding smoky latakia and/or spicy oriental tobaccos. Many pipe smokers move from aromatic tobaccos (cherry, vanilla, bourbon, etc.) to English blends.

Pros - Nice taste, definitely has a strong dose of latakia. The nicotine content is not too strong and the tongue bite is not bad. A fair tasting tobacco. The room note seems pleasant enough.

Cons - There is a little bit of bitterness which seems to creep in as I worked through the bowl. Doesn't burn as well as some - more relighting. It's not Old Dublin. I give this one 4/5 stars.

I was responding to a fellow today who commented on a FB page by asking if science had proven that fetuses were "sentient" as a way of supporting abortion "rights." I'm not sure how we was defining the term "sentient," but a common way to use the term is in distinction to "thinking/reasoning." Humans are reasoning and sentient, animals are (mostly) non-reasoning and sentient. As the (current) writer for the Wikipedia article states, sentience is part of the argument for animal rights - we shouldn't torture things which can feel.

Abortion advocates wish to deny that unborn children have the capacity to feel that animals have. The great problem with such a position is that the age of fetal viability keeps getting pushed back further and further. Babies can survive before 23 weeks of gestation, a time at which many are aborted. If a baby can be born and survive, do we really wish to argue that the baby is less than an animal until it passes some point months later?

Well, there's always someone willing to make an argument for evil, and some doctors and researchers have done just that. Stuart Derbyshire, a senior lecturer in psychology has written a much cited paper claiming that fetuses cannot feel pain for several reasons. 1) The fetus cannot report pain, therefore we cannot assume that the fetus feels pain. 2) The fetus cannot talk, therefore it doetsn't have the ability to process pain cognitively. 3) A fetus cannot have experienced the data needed to develop the framework for objective thought to process pain.

I am summarizing his arguments and he couches it in all sorts of technical language. The basic argument is that since pre-born babies can't feel pain by definition, they can't feel pain. Since they can't tell us that they don't feel pain, they don't feel pain. Does this work for you? This kind of reasoning would give scientists the ethical permission to use a severely retarded person in unlimited medical experiments. Not that anyone has ever done that - oh no, wait...they have.

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