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Subject: Percy-L: Literary, Religious, Scientific, and Philosophical Discussion on Walker Percy

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  • From: janet cantor <janetcantor37 AT>
  • To: "Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion" <percy-l AT>
  • Subject: Re: [percy-l] A Walker Percy piece written for the NY Times 30 years ago
  • Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2011 12:26:58 -0800 (PST)

I think the point of the Percy Lists is to discuss Percy, not argue the Scopes trial.
Percy had a point of view based on his experience and observations. My reason for giving such a long response is to try stick to analyzing  Percy's idea.
Often an author has ideas or characters that are unappealing to me, but in a book discussion, it is not my place to judge him, but to analyze him and what he is trying to say. I may dislike Iago, but Shakespeare still wants me to find him interesting and to try to find reasons to identify with him.
Janet Cantor

From: Charles Lowry <lowry.charles AT>
To: Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion <percy-l AT>
Sent: Tue, February 8, 2011 11:43:03 AM
Subject: Re: [percy-l] A Walker Percy piece written for the NY Times 30 years ago

Wade has, perhaps inadvertently, drawn into focus what is the heart of the matter:  "Disliking, even denouncing, abortion may be appealing for Christians, but drawing on the law to prohibit it during an ambiguous period of human development is impractical."  The point that many pro-life advocates argue, and it is a point that has noticeable impact on the ideological equilibrium of pro-choice advocates, is that every scientific advance in embryology takes us further and further from regarding life in the womb as "an ambiguous period of human development."  I wonder if the increasing queasiness of larger and larger numbers of Americans about the moral and legal status of abortion is connected not to false science, but to the advance of science and the more precise knowledge we have of the stages of fetal development.
There is near universal revulsion over the practices of the Philadelphia doctor who concluded many of his "abortions" by using scissors to sever the spinal cord of living infants.  But is it just a matter of timing?  What we are also finding, I submit, is that more and more of our neighbors slogging their way through what the ancient hymn calls this vale of tears are reluctant to engage what we may refer to as the backwards clock, to come to the conclusion at a definite point, "yes, not human today, okay to fix the 'problem,' but probably human tomorrow."  It is ironic for both sides in this debate that the advance of science has not liberated us, but has offered us knowledge of the stages of human fetal development that, on the contrary, constrict us.
Chuck Lowry
Brooklyn, NY

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