Tyler Cowen makes a good point:
There is a presumption that liberal, tolerant people should have certain views on abortion, stem cell research, and other matters and I am happy to see Douthat breaking the mold. I view the current alignment of stances on social policy as more of a sociological regularity ("look at how rotten are the people on the other side") then an intellectual necessity.
Let's say that the mainstream modern liberal understanding of when life begins is correct with p = 0.92. That's a pretty high p on a matter where so many intelligent people disagree so vehemently. Does such a "p" provide enough reason to follow through with modern liberal policy conclusions? That's far from obvious. In this debate you'll find lots of fury and very little willingness to apply stochastic reasoning to ethics. There are far too many smart people who offer lip service to the toughness of these questions and then simply go ahead and take sides.
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