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Old 12-21-2018, 11:47 PM
 
Location: Podunk, IA
2,949 posts, read 1,364,655 times
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The fetal carbon unit is not an entity until the female carbon unit spawns it.
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Old 12-22-2018, 02:06 AM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
3,298 posts, read 1,865,284 times
Reputation: 3129
Personhood: Unfortunately, there's no easy boundary. At one extreme is Peter Singer, who aparently claim that certain infanticides are legitimate to "Life Begins at Conception", or even that birth control as commonly thought of is illegitimate because it denies sperm and egg a chance to live. Neither one of them I can support, for I can carry both further.

A) If infanticide against the disabled is legitimate, then why not against people at any age? (something the Nazis actually carried out)


B) If human DNA without capacity to self-replicate on their own (found in the egg and sperm) qualifies as human life, then why not go back further and say the amino acids and other elements of a DNA molecule also qualify as a human being? (it seems to follow from this that mere skin cells and blood cells would also qualify as human life as well).


For these reasons, I have to say that a human being is an organism that has the capacity to feel suffering (here, I define it as pain itself plus its negative emotional content), even if the human lacks ability to remember the pain later on. That requires the presence of a nervous system with both a nervous system outside the brain proper and an ability to experience emotional states (particularly negative emotional ones). That's my take on the matter.
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Old 12-22-2018, 05:30 AM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
2,102 posts, read 753,900 times
Reputation: 4353
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Joshua View Post
My belief of when a life begins is exactly when you said, when the cell has the chromosomes of both parents. It is the beginning of a human life. It’s where we all as individuals began. What bothers me is all the arbitrary milestones people choose as their answer.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?


ALL the opinion so far have been arbitrary. We can't even define "life" absolutely. Are viruses "alive?"-- they can't metabolize on their own.... while certain inorganic chemical reactions are cyclic and self- sustaining. A smear of oil on water can "grow" by accretion and "reproduce" when a wave in the water breaks it in two.....What's your definition of "living?" I guarantee it will be arbitrary and really an "operational definition"-- one with boundaries set usefully & specifically for the discussion at hand at the time.


While all the opinions expressed so far are thoughtful with some sort of logic behind them, they all still have some weak point that prevents any of them from being universally acceptable (even if we ignore religious beliefs, which are not subject to convincing argument)


We can't clearly define "death" either. Prior to hi tech, it was defined as when the heart stopped beating. More recently it changed to when the cerebral cortex stopped functioning, but even after that event, the cells keep metabolizing for quite awhile (rigor mortis, anyone?) And now we are allowed to terminate lives (ie- "pull the plug") when the set of intimately involved people (family & doctors) agree that further efforts will be fruitless.


Perhaps we just need to come up with some agreeable operational definition for legal purposes (like the legality of pulling the plug) because it doesn't seem that science can clearly define it.


We are not discussing here "when life starts", but "when does the new life become a person" and rate legal protection independent of the mother's rights.
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Old 12-22-2018, 07:51 AM
 
Location: Maryland
1,114 posts, read 331,507 times
Reputation: 2498
Quote:
Originally Posted by sixlets82 View Post
Yes, I already addressed this. The bigger question, is it not a dangerous concept to link personhood to levels of functionality?? If this were the case could we then declare handicapped people, children and the elderly as non-persons because of lower levels of functionality??


"What is crucial morally is the being of a person, not his or her functioning. A human person does not come into existence when human function arises, but rather, a human person is an entity who has the natural inherent capacity to give rise to human functions, whether or not those functions are ever attained. ÖA human person who lacks the ability to think rationally (either because she is too young or she suffers from a disability) is still a human person because of her nature. Consequently, it makes sense to speak of a human beingís lack if and only if she is an actual person." -American Philosopher Francis J. Beckwith
Without going back and reading a lot of this again, I donít think I suggested that functionality defines personhood. I believe that is commonly done however as a legal expediency, e.g. beating heart = personhood, certain types of brain activity = personhood. I have no iron in the fire about this for the most part, the line has to be drawn somewhere if we want legal protection of the life of human beings. I just donít think this will ever have a definitive answer. It will shift depending on the values of the time. It does pay to be sure weíre all on the same page when discussing things in terms of definitions of life, human life, human being, personhood, etc.
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Old 12-22-2018, 07:53 AM
 
Location: Maryland
1,114 posts, read 331,507 times
Reputation: 2498
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Joshua View Post
Sorry Les, boy you really are lucid, itís not a common trait on this board so I misunderstood your tone. My belief of when a life begins is exactly when you said, when the cell has the chromosomes of both parents. It is the beginning of a human life. Itís where we all as individuals began. What bothers me is all the arbitrary milestones people choose as their answer.
No problem. Thanks for the clarification.

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Old 12-22-2018, 09:12 AM
 
Location: Long Island, NYUSA, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way.
7,044 posts, read 2,093,554 times
Reputation: 1852
Quote:
Originally Posted by LesLucid View Post
I disagree with one part of this. Life isnít created de novo when an egg and sperm unite. There has to have been life before that; the sperm is alive, the egg is alive. Not only that, it is human life, carrying the unique genome of a single individual. If one of them is not alive, you get nothing on their union. Life is a continuum, it doesnít just abruptly appear at fertilization. I only mention this because this seems to be a common refrain that ďlife begins.....Ē at some particular point. It began only once, as far as we know, millennia ago.
Very interesting take, thanks & respect, appreciate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LesLucid View Post
Without going back and reading a lot of this again, I donít think I suggested that functionality defines personhood. I believe that is commonly done however as a legal expediency, e.g. beating heart = personhood, certain types of brain activity = personhood. I have no iron in the fire about this for the most part, the line has to be drawn somewhere if we want legal protection of the life of human beings. I just donít think this will ever have a definitive answer. It will shift depending on the values of the time. It does pay to be sure weíre all on the same page when discussing things in terms of definitions of life, human life, human being, personhood, etc.
This also. How, when, where, what to do with this info, et cetera likely always has depended on the values of the time & will likely continue to shift for the same. Fr'instance, when the lifestyle was mainly a 'hunting & gathering, mainly nomadic' lifestyle as opposed to what came later ... . Mothers carried their newly born up to the age where they could walk on their own. Mothers nursed their babies typically up until the time they could walk. Nursing tends to act as a 'natural birth control' even up to the present day (correct me if mistaken as you are a retired biologist). Even so, it was not a 100% effective method, & multiple births also occurred. These scenarios presented challenges to the community/society; on the 1 hand - children sustained the community, on the other - how to manage when there is more than 1 child to carry? The spiritual beliefs of the folks/community came into play as well. It is thought infanticide occurred in some circumstances. The people believed the spirit of the child would demonstrate itself in the next child born.
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Old 12-22-2018, 11:41 AM
Status: "New home" (set 12 days ago)
 
Location: You call this living?
3,382 posts, read 1,357,479 times
Reputation: 8721
I think there is more to being a human being than just being alive.
For me, humanity involves interacting with other people in a positive way.

So I don't see infants as human beings. A brain dead person is no longer a human being. A psychopath is not a human being.

But despite the OP's strictures, this thread is clearly about abortion, which doesn't apply to any of those. Though I knew someone who used to threaten his teenager with "post-natal birth control."
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Old 12-22-2018, 03:16 PM
 
Location: A place that's too cold
4,216 posts, read 4,177,154 times
Reputation: 10408
Quote:
Originally Posted by steiconi View Post
I think there is more to being a human being than just being alive.
For me, humanity involves interacting with other people in a positive way.

So I don't see infants as human beings. A brain dead person is no longer a human being. A psychopath is not a human being.

But despite the OP's strictures, this thread is clearly about abortion, which doesn't apply to any of those. Though I knew someone who used to threaten his teenager with "post-natal birth control."
Is it? I don't take it that way. I think it's just an interesting philosophical topic.
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Old 12-22-2018, 06:20 PM
 
13,531 posts, read 14,211,042 times
Reputation: 11169
Quote:
Originally Posted by guidoLaMoto View Post
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?


ALL the opinion so far have been arbitrary. We can't even define "life" absolutely. Are viruses "alive?"-- they can't metabolize on their own.... while certain inorganic chemical reactions are cyclic and self- sustaining. A smear of oil on water can "grow" by accretion and "reproduce" when a wave in the water breaks it in two.....What's your definition of "living?" I guarantee it will be arbitrary and really an "operational definition"-- one with boundaries set usefully & specifically for the discussion at hand at the time.


While all the opinions expressed so far are thoughtful with some sort of logic behind them, they all still have some weak point that prevents any of them from being universally acceptable (even if we ignore religious beliefs, which are not subject to convincing argument)


We can't clearly define "death" either. Prior to hi tech, it was defined as when the heart stopped beating. More recently it changed to when the cerebral cortex stopped functioning, but even after that event, the cells keep metabolizing for quite awhile (rigor mortis, anyone?) And now we are allowed to terminate lives (ie- "pull the plug") when the set of intimately involved people (family & doctors) agree that further efforts will be fruitless.


Perhaps we just need to come up with some agreeable operational definition for legal purposes (like the legality of pulling the plug) because it doesn't seem that science can clearly define it.


We are not discussing here "when life starts", but "when does the new life become a person" and rate legal protection independent of the mother's rights.
When does new life become a person and rate legal protection independent of the motherís rights, you ask.

The answer is simple, at birth.
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Old 12-22-2018, 08:32 PM
 
Location: White House, TN
5,384 posts, read 3,719,052 times
Reputation: 3331
At the moment of conception, it's a human being. The fetus is just the first stage of human development, the infant is the second stage, so on and so on. The law has nothing to do with it. It's science.

The law could say that a human being is not a "person" until 20 weeks gestation or birth or 34 years and 116 days after birth. It means nothing.
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