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02/16/2006 09:37 AM ID: 52890 Permalink   

Pilot Study Says Home Abortions Are Safe

 

According to the head of a British government-backed pilot project, women who are less than nine weeks pregnant can safely have chemically induced abortion at home.

Project manager of one pilot test, Shirley Butler, told reporters “we haven't had any significant problems apart from one woman who had a slightly heavy bleed. In my opinion medical abortions outside of acute hospitals seem to be safe."

The British Department of Health said the scheme has not fully been evaluated stating "No changes to the way abortions are carried out will be approved unless we are content that there is no risk to the women's safety."

 
  Source: www.guardian.co.uk  
    WebReporter: Hugo Chavez Show Calling Card      
  Recommendation:  
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
   
  152 Comments
  
  Great article Hugo  
 
It doesn't seem any worse than the morning after pill.

I'll bet when it gets to america though there will be armies of militant "right to life" types picketing pharmacies.
 
  by: CrisW   02/16/2006 11:29 AM     
  Down under...follow up  
 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/...

Australia ends abortion drug 'ban'

 
  by: Hugo Chavez     02/16/2006 11:41 AM     
  Don't get me wrong  
 
I am 100% pro choice, any one who says otherwise, mind your own business.

This however... seems a bit much.
 
  by: koultunami     02/16/2006 03:06 PM     
  well tunami  
 
With the threat of Roe. Vs Wade to be taken out, ppl are going to go underground with abortions, it won't end if its overturned.
 
  by: richjournalist     02/16/2006 04:30 PM     
  Sick twisted evil freaks  
 
"No changes to the way abortions are carried out will be approved unless we are content that there is no risk to the women's safety."

Yes, the poor woman. Who would want to harm her? Never mind her BABY that she is MURDERING.

God I can't believe they're telling women they can now safely murder their children in the comfort of their own home. I'm speechless. What is this sh*tty world coming to?

WHY are people condoning the murder of babies? They may be inside the womb still but they are human beings nomatter what they look like. FFS.

I wish I lived in another world.
 
  by: SweetSixteen   02/16/2006 04:55 PM     
  @SweetSixteen  
 
Technically they're only featus' they're not human beings until they are born.
 
  by: koultunami     02/16/2006 05:01 PM     
  @ koultunami  
 
So going by that logic, if I decide to rename hamsters baseballs, it's ok to hit them with a baseball bat?

NO! And why not? Because they're still hamsters nomatter what we name them. Like babies are still babies, nomatter what name scientists give them just so people won't feel so guilty about "only killing a fetus".

 
  by: SweetSixteen   02/16/2006 05:10 PM     
  not human being?  
 
when does personhood/ human being-hood start? is it determined by environment.. hey koul? so we can kill all in restricive environements that do not allow full functioning of a person..
 
  by: wayfarer     02/16/2006 05:34 PM     
  woah woah woah  
 
Hold it right there kids, these are not my OWN views here, I am telling you the law ok?

A foetus, is called a foetus until it is given birth to, then it is refered to as a baby. I.e. If i killed a pregant woman and the foetus died as well it would not be a double murder, just the murder of the woman.

If I attack a pregnant woman in such a way she loses the baby I would only be done for ... perhaps attempted murder / serious assault.

Can you see? A foetus is not considered a person until it has been born in the eyes of the law. Stop giving me extreme examples and acting i decide such things, it's very childish.
 
  by: koultunami     02/16/2006 05:57 PM     
  @SweetSixteen  
 
When you get down to it, a fetus is a parasite. Much like a tapeworm.

If you're going to complain about people killing fetuses, you should start complaining about people killing tapeworms.

Let's face it, at 9 weeks old, the parasite is still just a bunch of non-specialized cells.

Beyond all that, what gives you the right to judge them and say that they are horrible? You have as much right to judge them, or force your will on them, as much as they can do it to you. How would you like it if you got pregnant, and someone told you that you couldn't have this baby, and forced you to have an abortion?

And really, what is the difference between you forcing your opinion on them, and them forcing it on you.

It is their body, their parasite, and their life, they have every right to do as they please, up to the point that the child is born.
 
  by: tellgar     02/16/2006 06:04 PM     
  Abortion and Birth Control  
 
Why are all the right-to-life zealots also so against birth control as well? It would seem that if you are so dead set against people aborting pregnancies, you would do everything you could to help people NOT get pregnant in the first place. No pregnancy, no abortion. It's really rather simple. But the same people who picket planned parenthood will scream and shout if someone proposes having free comdoms in school offices. You can't have it both ways. People, including kids, are going to have sex. Sorry, you can't pray it away. So either help people to not get pregnant, let them have abortions, or adopt all the unwanted children yourself.
 
  by: justaperson     02/16/2006 07:11 PM     
  GO Tellgar! And about the issue.  
 
You already said pretty much what I'd intended to say. I would normally comment on the abrasiveness of the argument, but after years of having my rational arguments countered by people yelling, "BUT ITS A BABY!!!!1!" I've thrown tact aside. One may as well play on the pro-lifers' emotional playground from time to time, and the parasite example is quite appropriate.

It is best not to talk about what is human or not human, but rather how we treat humans - that is to say, humanely. If a person has no brain functions, they can be removed from life support in a way that does not cause conscious pain. A fetus, too, has no brain function, and thusly removing it from the life-support of the mother does no harm.

If you wish to talk about where life begins, I believe it starts with the first stirrings of sentience. The ability to feel pain, I think precludes that, and makes a good cutoff point for non-life-threatening abortions. The vast majority of abortions occur before this point anyway.

And before anyone drags a Biblical argument into it, God's law does not regard a fetus as a person, either.
 
  by: MomentOfClarity     02/16/2006 07:38 PM     
  momentofclarity  
 
you speak like the common people ta the market!
a foetus has no brain function? .. essentially in human beings a foetus is an embryo from its eight week of development.. this implies that weeks prior to birth its still a foetus so please in a moment of clarity clarify what is your opinion and what is fact.
 
  by: wayfarer     02/16/2006 08:20 PM     
  @everyone  
 
you could say a fetus is a parasite since it relies on it's mother. so when does a baby stop being a parasite? surely it's still just as dependent on it's mother for survival years after it is born. that argument isn't very rational since all children could be classified as parasites, making abortion legal until the kid turns 18.

for some reason i have trouble trusting the law in determining what a human being is. this definition is always changing with political climate and has nothing to do with science. remember, it wasn't too long ago the united states legally defined black people as being only partially human.

so scientifically, is the fetus human or not? claims could be made on both sides. the organism has 46 chromosomes, making it human. on the other hand, it may not be anatomically definable as one. science has no answer because we have no solid definition of what a human being is.

the debate is a philosophical one. i personally am pro-life and believe abortion is murder. to categorize someone as being irrational for being pro-life is absurd. the argument on both sides for or against abortion has no basis in science as the evolution debate does. both sides argue on the basis of politics or philosophy. That being said, i don't believe abortion should be made illegal. Pandora’s box is already open and there's no turning back. if my fellow pro-lifers want to stop abortion they should focus more on sex ed and programs which provide alternative solutions. simply voting for pro-life candidates changes nothing. teaching kids self-respect will prevent them from being promiscuous more than abstinence programs will, teaching them safe sex will keep them from getting pregnant, and teaching them respect for people other than themselves may help them decide for adoption over abortion.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/16/2006 08:44 PM     
  @wayfarer  
 
"you speak like the common people ta the market!"

And you speak like a 12 year old AOL chatter - your first comment was almost completely incoherent, your second hardly any better. Now, would you like to continue calling the kettle black or shall we discuss the issue?

"a foetus has no brain function? .. essentially in human beings a foetus is an embryo from its eight week of development.. this implies that weeks prior to birth its still a foetus so please in a moment of clarity clarify what is your opinion and what is fact."

What the hell are you talking about? You've not even contradicted a point I've made, you've just stated that a fetus is a fetus! While I am glad that we agree on that point, perhaps you'll prove that a fetus has higher brain functions. I think that is what you were trying to say, but did not realize that it is, well, untrue. A fetus is not sentient, and in the case of the vast majority of abortions, it does not yet even have the capacity to register pain, much less awareness.
 
  by: MomentOfClarity     02/16/2006 09:13 PM     
  Link  
 
Anyone concerned would do well to look here for more information:

http://www.shortnews.com/...
 
  by: MomentOfClarity     02/16/2006 09:15 PM     
  @manilaryce  
 
I meant the real definition of a parasite. Not the slang definition that is more akin to a mooch.

A Parasite is any organism which lives on or in the body of another organism. A baby does not meet this definition because it no longer lives on or in the body of another organism.
 
  by: tellgar     02/16/2006 09:34 PM     
  Here's the difference in my opinion...  
 
Pro-Lifers want to tell every woman in america what to do with their bodies. Pro-Choicers just want women to have control over their OWN bodies.
Should i not be allowed to smoke in the privacy of my own home because it is hazardous to me?
Should it be illegal to use an old microwave because it might cook my nads rendering me sterile thus "murdering" any babies i might conceive in the future?
 
  by: etown411   02/16/2006 09:35 PM     
  here we go  
 
@tellgar
parasites are generally defined as a species separate from their host. and actually a mooch is the second definition of a parasite, not just slang. here's the first though, "An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host". babies are parasites until they can get their own food. they are still reliant on their mother for survival for many years.

@etown411
the reason pro-lifers think it's immoral is because they see the woman and the baby as two different people. an abortion is not simply doing what you want with your own body, it's making the decision of life or death for another person, the baby. abortion and capital punishment are very close in this regard. it's also funny you should mention smoking. smoking is banned in public because it does harm to others. you can do what you like with your own body, but once it affects others negatively it’s a public issue. the same is true of abortion since it affects another life. whether that life is human or not is the real debate. unfortunately, there will never be a definite answer.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/16/2006 10:01 PM     
  mr clarity  
 
so i made spelling errors...

if you are interested in some research, there is evidence that pain receptors form on parts of a foetus as early as seven weeks' gestation. the receptors are however not connected to the brain until 20 weeks of gestation. whether you call the embryo a fetus, unborn child or parasite, the pain and brain argument is insane
http://www.fortwayne.com/...
 
  by: wayfarer     02/16/2006 11:02 PM     
  One thing your wrong about manilaryce  
 
A baby once born can rely on any human. Not just its mother. I personally think thats the difference in the argument that is being made. Until you have seen a 15 year old girl raped, and them people trying to force her to keep the baby, dont comment on the extremities of this issue. You think its murder? how about 9+ months of torture of the poor girl having to have a rapists baby inside her? Would you prefer she just killed herself? What then, charge her postumusly for murder too?
 
  by: ssxxxssssss   02/16/2006 11:25 PM     
  @wayfarer  
 
Yes, you made "some" spelling errors...so try keeping your mouth shut about the "common" words of others. Thanks.

You know, if you're going to call an argument "insane," you'd do well to disprove it beyond a shadow of a doubt. Else, all you're saying is, "I do not even have the capacity to consider this argument, so I'm just going to slap a label on it and hope it goes away." Unconnected pain receptors mean nothing to the debate - we're talking about a nervous system developed to the point of feeling pain. The best evidence you've produced so far is not "research," but a brief report on a hearing in which unnamed doctors referenced unnamed work. This is absolutely meaningless. I could say that there are studies out there showing that black people are completely inferior to white people - that does not mean I've evidenced the point, or that the claim is a fact. When I gave you is a report on a specific study - read it, it contradicts your vague mention of 20 weeks being the point of development.

And I'll remind you, you're the one trying to play with the name of the thing - whether you call it a baby, a fetus, or a watermelon is totally irrelevant to my argument. It stands independent of your weighted terms.
 
  by: MomentOfClarity     02/16/2006 11:34 PM     
  easier to just quote myself...  
 
from the other thread.. If someone wants to have an intelligent discussion, please, be my guest.

Quote: Me

"I think the first fundamental question that needs answering is: “when does life begin?”

Some would argue that conception is the beginning of life. They would cite that the fertilized egg represents a genetically unique individual organism. They further insist that this entity be given the benefit-of-the-doubt, so to speak, of (in the case of humans) humanity because of its potential to develop into a human life.

I would disagree with this assessment for I find it lacking on a number of levels.

First, I would argue that the entity is not fundamentally unique life at conception. Sure, the DNA combination of the egg and sperm makes for a new and unique pattern, but I would point out that any cancer cell has a “unique” genetic profile and is capable of developing and growing parasitically, much as an unwanted embryo would if you looked at the situation in the starkest of lights.

Second, I would have to point out that if I were to wait for this fertilized egg to divide, I could then separate those two cells and generate 2 human lives. I could wait for them to divide again, separate those, and create 4 human lives, and so on and so forth. I could even wait for the cells to reach 32, 64, 128 cells, etc, divide them apart as I wish, and create that many unique human lives.

This makes the fertilized cell not a unique, individual organism. It makes the early embryo a loose conglomerate of individual life forms that is eventually guided along a path to form a unique organism.

Third, I would say that even late-stage embryos can be manipulated with clumps of cells added or removed with no appreciable effect on the overall development of the organism. Again, not something that could be done to any other entity that we consider an individual organism.

Forth, I would have to ask those that believe that life begins at conception if they consider the dominate cells of an embryo a murderer? The embryo destroys parts of itself at several stages of development. These cells, if they had separated from the main of the embryo, could have perhaps gone to form other unique individuals. But instead they are killed off because they no longer serve a useful purpose to the embryo. Is this then murder? If not, then how do you rationalize the discrepancy?

Fifth, I would ask pro-lifers to take note that not every act of conception results in a healthy, developed infant human. No small number of conceptions self-terminate before the woman is even aware that she was pregnant. DNA disassembly and recombination is a tricky business at best. Mother Nature viciously culls the unviable quickly and ruthlessly in-womb. If you maintain that human life begins at conception, then you would have to consider these sub-creatures as human as well. Would you like me to link images? I would challenge even the staunchest pro-lifer to consider these... things... to be human.

So the answer to the first question, “When does life begin?” must then be the point at which any manipulation of the embryo will cause certain and irreparable damage to the developing organism and/or the point at which new life can no longer be generated by splitting parts of the embryo apart. Obviously if I remove the arm of a late stage fetus, it shall not regenerate a new one. The same cannot be said if I were to remove early-stage precursor arm cells from the embryo.

The point at which this change in organismal cohesiveness occurs is the point at which I could be comfortable in considering an embryo a unique organism.

However, the next question: “When does human life begin?” is a trickier question to answer scientifically. To answer this, one must answer: “What makes a human a human?” "
 
  by: Dedolito     02/17/2006 12:04 AM     
  @Dedilito  
 
But won't someone please thing of the children?!?!?! This whole pro-life argument reminds me of the Monty Python song, "Every sperm is sacred".

On a serioius note, I think the flaw in your argument isn't about when does life begin, because we take life to live all the time. I'm killing millions of living organisms as I type this response. The question is more along the lines "when are we a human-being?".
 
  by: jendres     02/17/2006 01:16 AM     
  @Dedilito oops  
 
Sorry, i didn't read the last paragraph. That is the most critical question. I apologise.
 
  by: jendres     02/17/2006 01:17 AM     
  @ssxxxssssss  
 
"A baby once born can rely on any human. Not just its mother. I personally think thats the difference in the argument that is being made."

there was no mention of whether the host needs to be the mother or not in the original argument so i did not address it. likewise, the biological mother does not need to carry the embryo nowadays or even gestate it to full term. the argument was about one organism being completely dependent on another. born or pre-born does not affect dependency all that much, thus it's a poor basis for a pro-choice argument.

"...dont comment on the extremities of this issue. You think its murder? how about 9+ months of torture of the poor girl having to have a rapists baby inside her?"

was i commenting on the extremities of the issue? no, i was speaking about the issue in general terms. i even said abortion should remain legal. how am I an extremist? you're the one starting off with extremities by giving this specific example and playing to our emotions rather than our rationality.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/17/2006 02:58 AM     
  @manilaryce  
 
I will apologise as yes i did run a bit of emotions rather than rationality. I actually didnt mean you in specific in regards to going to extremities, rather others. Like 'you' in the general address sense. For not making that clearer I am sorry.

My argument for when a foetus becomes a 'baby' (in a more rational mannor) is when it can survive without the mother. Yes that means about half way through the pregnancy due to modern science? Thats why I dont believe in late term abortions. In Australia the limit is 12 weeks max. Late term abortions are only an option if the baby will be born either dead, or there is a extreamly strong probability that they will both die due to the pregnancy.
 
  by: ssxxxssssss   02/17/2006 03:27 AM     
  All women  
 
should the right to an abortion. Those pro-lifers seem to forget about the poor women who are raped and are forced to have the child or the women who could die if they chose to give to birth.

It's not as though it's used as a common contraceptive, most women see a councellor and think hard about the choices they make.
I don't care for children anyway and I know that at a foetus is just a heap of undeveloped cells, it can't feel or hear or think and the womens' rights should always come first.

Also how would you feel if you were born to a mother who never wanted you and couldn't afford to care for you and perhaps even hated you because you reminded her of the rapist??!! What an awful life for a child!

Every women should have the right!!!
How dare anyone say any different, especially the church (f*ck I hate the church)
 
  by: biohazard   02/17/2006 03:32 AM     
  @biohazard  
 
nice rant. i think you just made pro-lifers look better.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/17/2006 04:28 AM     
  I refuse to  
 
believe that an unborn baby has more rights than the mother who carries it. I don't care what pro-lifers say. It's only a foetus.
 
  by: biohazard   02/17/2006 04:55 AM     
  @biohazard  
 
no, what you refuse to do is respect the opinions of the opposing side. this is the problem with the issue. neither side has respect for the other, and nothing gets solved. you don't believe a fetus is a human. fine, that's your opinion. i do, that's my opinion. neither one of our opinions can be proven true or false. you're acting as though you have undeniable evidence and anyone who believes otherwise is a moron. that's simply not the case, and you’re making yourself look foolish by ranting about it. your argument is just as close-minded and irrational as someone with the extreme opposite point of view.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/17/2006 05:06 AM     
  also  
 
“How dare anyone say any different, especially the church (f*ck I hate the church)"

this is a really stupid thing to say. the issue with abortion is a moral one, not scientific or political. if anything, the church is the only establishment which has the knowledge to talk about the morality of it. who is a politician or scientist to talk about philosophy? politics must stay out of the affairs of religion if it expects the same in return. your hatred for the church is simply a hatred for those who have different beliefs than you.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/17/2006 05:27 AM     
  @manilla  
 
" if anything, the church is the only establishment which has the knowledge to talk about the morality of it" Unfurtunately not, that is the most absurd argument i've heard.

"politics must stay out of the affairs of religion if it expects the same in return" Unfortunately religion isn't staying out of this. If it was, then it would be much simplier. If a religion wants to ban all abortions that is fine, as long as they don't force others to follow suit. It isn't religion when you start forcing other people to follow your beliefs, it is politics.

 
  by: jendres     02/17/2006 05:57 AM     
  NO!!!!! I DISAGREE!  
 
ONCE ITS CREATED IT'S A HUMAN BEING! IT'S BREATHING AND IT'S HEART IS BEATING! AMERICA SHOULD TURN BACK TO GOD BECAUSE THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF AMERICA'S DESTRUCTION!
 
  by: :-x   02/17/2006 06:18 AM     
  @jendres  
 
my point was that the church is a philosophical institution, giving it the credibility to talk on matters of morality. abortion is one such matter which has been politicized by both sides of the political system. a secular institution has no credibility to say whether a religion is right or wrong, as biohazard was doing.

"It isn't religion when you start forcing other people to follow your beliefs, it is politics."

i am not stating that a certain religion should force people to follow its beliefs. how is the church forcing its beliefs on anyone but its own followers? it surely does not endorse pro-life candidates over pro-choice ones or get involved into the law making process in any way.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/17/2006 06:24 AM     
  @manila  
 
The idea of a church as a moral authority is not correct. It is a religious authority. Many people might call on it for moral guidance, but that doesn't make it an authority on morals.

And it definately isn't a philosophical authority either. Philosophy is different from religion.

"a secular institution has no credibility to say whether a religion is right or wrong," Absolutely it does! eg. a religion that demands virgin sacrifices to the sun god. Should such practices be permitted in a secular society?

"how is the church forcing its beliefs on anyone but its own followers?" Easy answer there. By changing the laws to meet there requirements.
 
  by: jendres     02/17/2006 07:16 AM     
  bah...  
 
"how is the church forcing its beliefs on anyone but its own followers?" Easy answer there. By changing the laws to meet their requirements thereby forcing all in the society to follow their belief structure or face criminal prosecution. And to claim that they aren't getting involved in the law making process is absurd! Look at the debate regarding RU486 in australia!
 
  by: jendres     02/17/2006 07:19 AM     
  My thoughts  
 
touchy subject eh? well, i think it could very well promote reckless sex. but if you think about it, people die all the time, as i type this, some little boy is dieing perhaps. i'm not evil, that's how the world works, however, that's not to say it's still ok for somebody to just take a drug everytime they have unprotected sex and get pregnant. I think it should only be approved by a counsellor and a physician. A counsellor so they don't do it again and a physician to make sure there won't be anything that goes wrong.
 
  by: Dudex   02/17/2006 08:39 AM     
  Capital Abortion  
 
When does life begin?
Why is one sin capital and one is not?

Anyone saying life begins the moment 2 cells meet and would stick to that moment as a basis for controlling people around them is an unrealistic extremist. Also anyone saying a baby is not alive until the moment it is out is also an extremist. There is a time in the middle of the pregnancy when all sides have to agree. That time will be more or less specific pending some vital signs showing up or not yet.


Now on the issue of capital sin. A sin is capital when it entails more sins and causes more sorrow then the average sin. That view is shared by many catholic priests. So IMO a murder is particularly bad because it disrupts the social networks of too many people, often entire countries (ie:when all the women fear leaving home after dark because of a single murder). It instills and often lead to fear & revenge & more sin. So murder is a capital sin. Aborting a foetus does not disrupt our social networks to the extent that a murder does. A foetus does not have friends yet.

Now I believe abortion does disrupt my social network when my culture and my existing market does not grow as fast as it can. It also disrupt me when my society establishes a force capable of telling me what to do with my body and then move to tell me who to vote for and what to buy etc..

So IMO it is a capital sin to enforce on someone what to do with their body. I am also prepared to stand on a middle ground and agree that at a certain time in the womb, the foetus is abortable if it does not show certain vital signs, but after the signs show up, abortion should not be automatically legal.

That is my view as a christian.
 
  by: kmazzawi     02/17/2006 08:55 AM     
  @jendres  
 
"The idea of a church as a moral authority is not correct. It is a religious authority. Many people might call on it for moral guidance, but that doesn't make it an authority on morals."

you obviously don't understand catholicism so don't try and argue it's dogma with me. i could go on about why the church is itself an authority established by God, but do you really care? it's not what you believe and i'm not trying to convert you. in short, religion establishes a set of morals for many people, making it their moral authority through which God speaks. for catholics this is very real. for you it is not. i am not suggesting it is the only moral authority which exists. simply that it is one for a certain group of people.

"And it definately isn't a philosophical authority either. Philosophy is different from religion."

philosophy literally means love of wisdom. religion can be classified under philosophy. once again, you seem to lack knowledge of the church. philosophical and scientific disciplines owe their growth to the church's pursuits. philosophy has been closely tied with religion since the greeks, and has only recently branched into secular disciplines. need i refer you to the many catholic philosophers throughout the ages?

"...Absolutely it does! eg. a religion that demands virgin sacrifices to the sun god. Should such practices be permitted in a secular society?"

please read what i said. my argument is not whether all religious practices should be permitted in society. my argument is that judgment should not be placed on religious institutions by secular ones. it is not the role of the government or politicians within it to say islam is wrong or wiccan is wrong, etc.

"Easy answer there. By changing the laws to meet there requirements."

the church has always had a clear stance on abortion, and thusly so will it's followers. australia is a democracy if i'm not mistaken. australian catholics are entitled to vote however they want, as are their opponents. democracy is in charge, not religion. australia is not a theocracy, even if catholics were to become the majority.

on a side note, you need to take a look at who controls the world. catholics are prevalent in the third world. it's white protestants that own the wealth and governments which make laws for everyone else to follow, not the vatican. all this phobia about the church taking over the world is propaganda left over from hundreds of years ago. if anything, we are the ones who should be fearful. protestants outnumber catholics easily.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/17/2006 09:18 AM     
  @kmazzawi  
 
while there are differences between you and i in the definition of what constitutes a mortal sin (which i assume is the same thing as your "capital sin"), i will step around that religious argument and address your statement about where life begins.

"Anyone saying life begins the moment 2 cells meet and would stick to that moment as a basis for controlling people around them is an unrealistic extremist. Also anyone saying a baby is not alive until the moment it is out is also an extremist."

there is no question that life exists at conception. the real question is whether or not that life is human. i'm assuming that's what you meant, but i had to clarify it.

as far as the beginnings of HUMAN life, it is not right to bash anyone for their beliefs on when it starts. any opinion on the matter is just that, an opinion. there is no scientific way to determine when an organism starts to actually be human. you can bash someone who believes it starts at conception, but their belief is just as valid as yours. pro-choice, pro-life, and everyone in the middle of the issue rely on opinions for their arguments.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/17/2006 10:36 AM     
  I'm seeing...  
 
...some erally great arguments here from both sides. Good to see that for the most part it doesn't turn into an immature slanging match like so many other discussions. What we have to remember is that with cases like this, whatever our opinions are, they remain just opinions. You therefore have to respect someone's opposing opinion as much as you respect your own. However, what I really hate in these arguments is the abundance of overly emotive analogies in an attempt to make an opinion more valid. For example, "You've can't imagine what it's like for a 15 year old girl to carry around a rapist's baby" really does nothing to the actual discussion, it simple relies on tugging on the heart-strings without offering any actual intelectual opinion. In the discussion of abortion in this case, who the baby belongs to is really of no mater. We are simply discussing whether the fetus can be classed as a human being, and whether abortion in respect to this, can be thought of as murder. For example, in the case of your aptly aged 15 year old, would the abortion be taking away the life of another human being, and if so would this then be wrong? This fetus (if of course it is a human at all) did not choose to be conceived by a rapist, and so is destroying it before birth wrong?

The same goes for the hamster and baseball theory that was posted towards the top of the discussion. It really adds nothing to the actual discussion through this absurd analogy, and simply relies once again, on it's emotive context for credence
 
  by: jameswaring2000   02/17/2006 11:58 AM     
  @manila  
 
"there is no scientific way to determine when an organism starts to actually be human"

I disagree entirely. There is a point in time in which a zygote is a loose conglomerate of individual and independent cells, each capable of going forward to create its own unique adult individual. There is a time when those same cells are merely pieces of a greater whole and are incapable of surviving without the whole.

Pin-pointing the developmental stage at which this change occurs defines when organismal life begins. This can be determined "scientifically" should we desire to put our minds to it, but such research has significant moral considerations.

I would still not consider such an entity human, as the human fetus goes through a number of developmental steps, each successive step resembling an "evolutionary step" culminating in the primate fetus at about 8 weeks.

My own opinion on when human life begins is when the fetus shows the first lumbering steps towards the hallmark ability that sets humans apart from the “lesser” animals – the ability to think and reason.

Of course a fetus isn’t going to be doing any critical thinking while it’s in development, but the physiological basis for critical thinking is a functional brain. A functional brain contains neural cells in a particular arrangement that are capable of firing in response to stimulus. Therefore the physical presence of a properly developing brain that has shown itself capable of functioning in a way that will eventually lead to true thought is the defining moment in development to me.

Organized neural firing begins to manifest itself between 12 and 16 weeks, so this is the stage at which I would consider a fetus a “proto-human” – an entity that contains the presumptive ability to eventually develop into a full-fledged thinking and reasoning entity, developmental disorders excluded (as a yardstick, true coherent neural firing does not really occur until week 28, but that’s why I say “presumptive ability” rather than ability).

That’s more of an opinion than anything else, but it is at least couched in a scientifically reasoned argument, rather than the emotional or spiritual argument that the “other side” so frequently proports.
 
  by: Dedolito     02/17/2006 12:54 PM     
  @tellgar  
 
A PARASITE?? YOU SICKO.

Whatever it looks like, however small and insignificant you think it is, it's a >>~~**HUMAN LIFE**~~<<.

I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
  by: SweetSixteen   02/17/2006 01:40 PM     
  @sweet  
 
Answer this, If a human foetus meets all the critera of the defintion of the word parasite... why cannot it be called thus?

Yes the foetus will be born a human being, but until that point, it is, as others have pointed out, a parasite. Not to take anything away from said foetus of course.

(and please dont use capslock, it doesnt make your arguement any more valid)
 
  by: koultunami     02/17/2006 02:06 PM     
  @Sweet Sixteen  
 
While you may object to the connotations of the word parasite, the usage of the word is correct.
 
  by: Heresy   02/17/2006 02:15 PM     
  .  
 
I go back to my original arguement...just became you give it a name other than a human, doesn't take away the fact that it's a human life.

Life has to start somewhere.

What, you think that at the split second of conception, a fully grown baby could just appear from nowhere? Of course not, it has to start out tiny and grow. I don't care if it looks like a toaster, it's a human life.
 
  by: SweetSixteen   02/17/2006 02:19 PM     
  @sweetsixteen  
 
While I understand that you have very strong feelings about this issue, no one is saying that you have to have an abortion. You are feel to carry any human life growing inside you to term.

Unfortunatly for you, these drugs may become legal and will dramaticly reduce overheads for the NHS. Which, lets face it, has little enough money as it is. But you don't have to take them if you don't want to! No one is forcing anyone to have an abortion.

Even though in your opinion it is wrong, abortion will still happen.
 
  by: CrisW   02/17/2006 02:26 PM     
  @Sweet Sixteen  
 
You've just kinda proved the point for pro-choice there.

'What, you think that at the split second of conception, a fully grown baby could just appear from nowhere? Of course not, it has to start out tiny and grow.'

When the sperm and egg meet, it doesn't instantly become a living, breathing, intelligent entity, it's still a cluster of cells. Only when it has grown enough can it be classed as a possible human and it becomes illegal to abort.
 
  by: Heresy   02/17/2006 02:26 PM     
  .  
 
"When the sperm and egg meet, it doesn't instantly become a living, breathing, intelligent entity, it's still a cluster of cells. Only when it has grown enough can it be classed as a possible human and it becomes illegal to abort."

From the moment conception occurs, a human life is created. You may not, and other people may not class it as a human, but it's a human life.
 
  by: SweetSixteen   02/17/2006 02:30 PM     
  @sweet  
 
All I can really say is that i'm glad that the UK government sees the shades of gray in the debate, and not just the black and white as you seem to.
 
  by: Heresy   02/17/2006 02:33 PM     
  @sweet  
 
All I can really say is that i'm glad that the UK government sees the shades of gray in the debate, and not just the black and white as you seem to.
 
  by: Heresy   02/17/2006 02:38 PM     
  cluster of cells..hmm  
 
human beings are the way they are because they possess an internal essence that defines and orders their properties. thus their properties are deeply unified and related internally as part of the essential nature of "human being-ness"
my question is therefore... this cluster of cells within a pregnant woman, will it grow into anything else save for a human being? .. hey strange things happen it may turn up a dog.
 
  by: wayfarer     02/17/2006 02:58 PM     
  re: cluster of cells  
 
What defines how those cells will develop is stored inside their DNA.

As far as I am aware, there have been no experiments of trying to cross dogs with humans (except for certain 'specialist' films) and i'm fairly sure our DNA is incompatible so would bond correctly.
 
  by: Heresy   02/17/2006 03:16 PM     
  BACK TO THE ARTICLE, PLEASE...  
 
I believe that medically-induced home abortions are safer for the mother prior to nine weeks of pregnancy than surgically-induced abortions; better yet, safer than the rash of back-alley abortions we would have if abortion wasn't legal in the first place.
 
  by: vanillaskye   02/17/2006 03:17 PM     
  Comments  
 
What exactly IS a human? What defines humanity, and how do we measure it, quantify it, demark it?

These are very powerful philosophical questions that have never been satisfactorialy answered. The reason for this is there are no satisfactory answers, there is no ideal 'human' model.

Biologically, aren't humans just a conglomeration of specialised cells, working in harmony? Are those cells not formed by proteins and amino acids? And those proteins formed from hydrocarbon chains... To define humanity by biological construction would be a fools errand, as every animal shares those same qualities. Do we define humanity by a particular sequence of DNA or RNA, or sequences? An embryo has the same DNA and RNA as a fully grown adult human.

I know I'm being overly obvious, but the point is when any person starts making a statement that something is or isn't human, it by necessity comes down to whatever minimum model of humanity they employ, and hence, to opinion and person al belief. Dedolitio sees humanity beginning at the point where alternate development is impossible. MomentOfClarity sees it at the point where it can be conceivably aware of its existence in some crude sense. There is no hard and fast rule of what is and isn't humanity.

I think this is important for both sides to keep in mind - that neither is right or wrong.

Another point to keep in mind is that science still does not know what life is, in a quantifiable, reproducable sense. Science knows and understands the manifestation of life, but not that great secret. Science cannot create life, it can only take existing life and split it off to make new. Likewise, the science of neurology does not know what a thought is. We understand the areas of the brain related to various functionality, the firing of dendrites and the purpose of the electrolytic junctions at the synapses. The science of neurology however has not advanded to the point where the origin of thoughts, and method they are formed, evaluated and tested, is.

So if we cannot define life, humanity, or thought - except as our own beliefs of what they are and how they were, then we really cannot say whether a given entity possesses any of the above, except as a function of our own beliefs.

For me, every embryo, whether defined as human or not, has a right to existence. It may just be a grouping of cells, yet it is a grouping of cells with a potential to life, and my opinion is that it has a right to fullfill that potential for good or bad.

Further, pick any historical personage you like, that you think made a huge contribution to the quality of life for humanity - any personage at all. Now, consider how it would be, if that person's mother had an abortion instead.

Point? We do not know the future, we are not prescient. That embryo might be the person to bring peace to the middle east for a hundred years. Might by the next great humanitarian figure, etc, or they may not. Does a mother have the right to choose whether that potential, born in the conception of life, will be given the opportunity to fullfill itself?

Secondly, the appeal to the emotionality surround rape is off base for this reason. You assume the girl would be traumatised, but you cannot know this. It may be that through the baby she comes to see how even bad things can bring good - she might raise the child with love and pride, and that child go on to champion the cause of abused women, become a judge that makes a landmark decision etc. Or she might not. The point is, suggestion that the baby will be a constant reminded of her rape and for that reason should be terminated, is flawed and emotionally charged.

Finally, there was a special on SBS not too long ago, regarding abortion clinics (legal ones) who had counselors for the mothers. The admission made was that these counselors would do and say pretty much anything to convince the mothers to have the abortion.

Is it the mother's own body? I don't agree - when a life is joined , it is THEIR body, and any decision needs ot be made for the greater welfare of both. Parasite or not, even the most humble phetus should be given the opportunity to fullfill its potential in becomming a human life.

Of course, like the opinions before, and the opinions after - this is just an opinion.
 
  by: lauriesman     02/17/2006 04:12 PM     
  @dedolito  
 
"My own opinion on when human life begins is when the fetus shows the first lumbering steps towards the hallmark ability that sets humans apart from the “lesser” animals – the ability to think and reason."

this is an interesting idea, though it makes me question why the ability to think and reason would be the only determining factor which makes you human. there are all levels of intelligence amongst humans, ranging from severe mental retardation to genius. once you say that a human is a being who has the ability to reason you link the two and, in my opinion, start to grade humanity with intelligence- from subhuman to superhuman. surely there are humans who since birth or due to an accident have no ability to reason. are they still human? the same counter-argument could be made for using anatomical differences to recognize humanity. if a person is born without being fully developed are they human?

"That’s more of an opinion than anything else, but it is at least couched in a scientifically reasoned argument, rather than the emotional or spiritual argument that the “other side” so frequently proports."

i personally think it's wrong to say one side is rational and the other relies solely on religion, though i know that's not exactly what you were saying. in my experience pro-choicers are just as susceptible to irrationally emotional arguments as pro-lifers. the "rapist pregnancy" or "you hate women’s rights if you're pro-life" arguments are among the most common i've encountered.

in my opinion a human is human when all necessary chromosomes are there, setting in motion the development of anatomy which continues all the way through puberty. i see no real difference in hormones affecting the growth of tissue and physical structure whether inside or outside the womb. humans are constantly developing, and there is no static stage to pinpoint as being the peek of humanity in the life of a person. though my 46 chromosome theory could also be debunked since it implies people with down syndrome are not human (which of course i believe they are). this is the problem we run into when using logic alone. thus, it's fine to use science as a base for your opinions, but ultimately you have to rely on philosophy to carry you to your conclusion. i hope i've shown that a pro-life point of view can be arrived at using science and rational thought.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/17/2006 04:21 PM     
  Why shouldnt the woman have the right to decide?  
 
All that happens when a woman takes this drug is that it makes her body inhospitable to a growing foetus. She's not murdering a human being, she's just making her womb a place where a baby wont grow to term.

That being said, I'm glad its a choice I'll never have to make. And I wont tell anyone what that choice should be.
 
  by: CrisW   02/17/2006 04:24 PM     
  a little ranting here  
 
Thank you to lauriesman and manilaryce for taking the time to put together an argument that makes sense and isn't, at least from my take on it, based purely on hatred for another person's opinion. That's what upsets me most about these conversations. Surely more of us could learn to disagree with that kind of tact.

Personally, I don't believe we should make a procedure like this so easy. Regardless, whether you think its a fetus or baby, it will "become" a person. At least take time to seriously consider what that would mean.

I would consider myself pro-life. Of course, people will ask, "What gives me the right to make someone else's decision?" Well, as a pastor, when someone comes to my office wanting to know what to do with a situation like this, what would you do? My faith tells me there will always be hope. A one night stand, a mistake, a miss or a rape all can end with the same result (pregnancy). Determing whether its our fault or not is only a fraction of the decision making process. Obviously, we cannot live in the past or the future. That said, the past is gone and our decisions today will only dictate the future for us. Of course, I say that realizing that a lot of us don't see faith and hope that way. Then where would the last, but greatest of these, be (love)? Well, look at some of the remarks posted here, the picket signs, the clinics bombed and make your assesment. Sorry for straying, but hey that's what I do.

Some of our questions about the nature of our thoughts and overall development, I pray, will be answered over the years. When we look back some of us will realize we were wrong. If I am to look back and realize I was wrong, abortions don't kill babies or don't carry negative repercussions..then fine. My integrity will not be blemished; if I'm going to be in the error at least I errored for life, not just someone's "right."
 
  by: revjfletcher   02/17/2006 05:48 PM     
  @Sweet16, wayfarer  
 
Sweet16: "From the moment conception occurs, a human life is created. You may not, and other people may not class it as a human, but it's a human life."

Yes, we understand that this is your opinion. Frankly, it is one of many, and you'd do well to present some supporting arguments for it because the simple repetition of it is not going to convince anyone. Your passion is noted, but unwavering adherence to the belief is no substitution for rational thought on the matter.

Wayfarer: "my question is therefore... this cluster of cells within a pregnant woman, will it grow into anything else save for a human being? .. hey strange things happen it may turn up a dog."

It will, undeniably, become a human if it survives. However, the POTENTIAL to be something does not mean that it IS. When I became a freshman in college, I was not handed a diploma because I had the potential to become a graduate. I could not go around demanding the priviledges and opportunities of a bachelor's degree simply because I was on the path to getting one. I was already an academic, just as a fetus is already a human, but I had to develop into a graduate just as a fetus must develop into a person.
 
  by: MomentOfClarity     02/17/2006 06:25 PM     
  The truth...  
 
...of the matter is, that if a person decides that they are definitely going to have an abortion, then doing this at home, on their own time with cheaply manufactured drugs cuts government costs and frees up a lot of much needed time on the NHS. I realise how callious and inhumane this sounds, but that is simply the fact of the matter. I think what a lot of people have a problem with is the fact that drug induced home abortions seem so incredibly detached and blasé. No longer have you the incredibly emotional trip to the abortion clinic, the waiting for the operation, and the hospitalised aftermath. Instead it's replaced by a simple induction of mediation. What we have to ensure, is that this is not thought of as simply a carefree and easily available method of abortion that requires not of the thought and deliberation of the previous methods. The same meeting with specialists, explanation of the process and consideration of the procedure still needs to exist, rather than the drugs appearing as a throw-away 'drive-thru' method of extermination.
 
  by: jameswaring2000   02/17/2006 06:57 PM     
  I agree with your point jameswaring2000  
 
"What we have to ensure, is that this is not thought of as simply a carefree and easily available method of abortion that requires not of the thought and deliberation of the previous methods."

This medication should be used carefully, and just like the morning after pill, should not be considered contraception.

It is possible to do everything right and take every precaution and still get pregnant. It could happen to you SweetSixteen.
 
  by: CrisW   02/17/2006 11:19 PM     
  agree with justaperson and CrisW  
 
I don't think pro-lifers are stupid but they should stop telling women what they should or shouldn't do. They always seem to avoid the whole story like if the women has been raped or she is sick ect.

If people feel that abortion is murder than that's fine but they should stay out of other people's lives and stop judging them.

The pro-lifers seem to think I'm such an arsehole but aren't I also entiltled to my opinion even if it offends others.
I know how I feel about the issue and I'll stick to it despite what you all think.
And I believe the problem could be helped if pregnancy could be avoided in the beginning and teenagers especially should have more education about safe sex, even the church communities should talk to people about safe sex and promote contraception because praying aint' going to make that baby go away.

manilaryce said earlier that I was ranting when I tried to speak about how a child would feel if it was born into a loveless family; born to a mother who wanted to have an abortion and is too poor to care for a child. Aren't pro-lifers meant to think about the quality of life for chidren as well as the foetus???
 
  by: biohazard   02/20/2006 12:55 AM     
  @manila, lauriseman  
 
@manila

“this is an interesting idea, though it makes me question why the ability to think and reason would be the only determining factor which makes you human.”

Mostly because prior up to about 23 weeks, the fetus has the mental capacity of a brain dead person. We let brain dead people pass away, either from mercy or because we believe that there is nothing human left of them. Of course you have to agree with mercy euthanasia to agree with either of these stances, but that’s another topic I suppose; suffice to say I do.

23 weeks cuts it a little too close to me tho as the terminator. Rationally I know that the human brain is not functional and capable of completing independent development into a mature brain until the 23rd week (which is why the current abortion limit is at this time point). But by this age the fetus is experiencing glimmers of feeling – not awareness, but like the starter trying to turn over the engine. Neural firings are no longer entirely random and are instead starting to cascade.

So if you are going to have an abortion, I would personally prefer that you do it well before this starts to happen, say absolutely no later than the 20th week, and only then if the mother's own health is at risk. For other reasons, no later than the 16th week.

“if a person is born without being fully developed are they human?”

If they are born without a functional brain, they are not human, they are just empty shells of flesh. If you remove the brain from an otherwise normal human but keep the body going on life support, it’s just a hollow shell. Likewise for a “baby” born without a brain.

Take the opposite tho – if I were to remove your brain, but keep it alive and healthy (like a bad sci-fi), would you still believe yourself to be human? A severely physically handicapped human sure, but you would still be subject to all the same thoughts, emotions, and drives as any other person. Until the sensory depravation insanity sets in at least, but why quibble? =P

Would you, separated from your body, consider your thinking brain to be what defines you as a human, or your empty body on life support next to your brain jar?

@lauriseman

“To define humanity by biological construction would be a fools errand, as every animal shares those same qualities”

The might share the fact that they utilize DNA as their coding language, but they don’t share the specific DNA that makes humans human.

And while the embryo contains the same DNA, that DNA is being expressed differently. The activated DNA in an embryo is not something you’d want activated as an adult. The opposite is true as well.

If you compare embryologically active DNA to adult, you would find very little overlap Active sequences in common would be less than between an adult human and a distant relative on the evolutionary tree.

“Science cannot create life, it can only take existing life and split it off to make new.”

Not true. We have already created artificial viruses, and we aren’t far from artificial bacteria.

“Further, pick any historical personage you like, that you think made a huge contribution to the quality of life for humanity - any personage at all. Now, consider how it would be, if that person's mother had an abortion instead. “

Dahmner. McVeah. Bin Laden. Hitler. Mussolini. Mao. Attila. Pol Pot. Kim Jong. Hussain.

The knife cuts both ways. Given the ratio of geniuses that have improved humanity vs the twisted #^%$-ups that have gone out of their way to reign havoc down upon their fellow man, I don’t think “future potential” is a viable argument for a pro-life stance.

“You assume the girl would be traumatised, but you cannot know this. “

You don’t know that your alternative will be true either. Hence CHOICE. Hers.

“The admission made was that these counselors would do and say pretty much anything to convince the mothers to have the abortion. “

I cannot believe that this is the rule rather than the exception. Anyone behaving in such a manner needs to be fired.
 
  by: Dedolito     02/20/2006 05:14 AM     
  @manila  
 
why do i bother?
You say: " if anything, the church is the only establishment which has the knowledge to talk about the morality of it"

Then you say: "i am not suggesting it is the only moral authority which exists"

This kind of hypocracy is why I am inclined to completely dismiss your comments.

Mate, get your position straight before you start arguing with me.
 
  by: jendres     02/20/2006 06:00 AM     
  @Dedolito  
 
The subsequent paragraph - which you ignored complete - gives clarification:

Point? We do not know the future, we are not prescient. That embryo might be the person to bring peace to the middle east for a hundred years. Might by the next great humanitarian figure, etc, OR THEY MAY NOT. Does a mother have the right to choose whether that potential, born in the conception of life, will be given the opportunity to fullfill itself?

The point is not that they WILL be the next great thing, but they might. All human life, even in its most elemental stages should be given the opportunity to realise its potential. That was my point.

No, we have no created artifical life from scratch - viruses are created by injecting modified sequences into a living culture or living cells. Science cannot take the base compounds, even in perfect arrangement, and make it live. If you're interested in an excellent work of fiction about it, check out 'The Procedure'.

WRT Abortion counsellors, the problem occured because they were employed by the hospitals and surgeries directly, and provided as a service to customers. They were given an unspoken vetted interest to convince applicants that an abortion would be in their best interest.

 
  by: lauriesman     02/20/2006 08:21 AM     
  @lauriesman  
 
“The subsequent paragraph - which you ignored complete - gives clarification:”

I didn’t ignore the next paragraph. You merely went on to say that while we don’t know what will happen, they *might* be some great person. You use a blatantly emotional argument to attempt to convince the reader that the unborn should be allowed to achieve its potential by alluding to the chance that they might one day be “great”.

The opposite is also entirely true, which you conveniently do not point out, I presume because it doesn’t sounds as good. So I did it for you.

'If you let little Jonny there grow in your tummy, he might become the next Hitler!' doesn't have quite the same ring as 'If Sammy gets a chance, she might cure cancer!' does it? Both are about equally likely, which would you put on the pro-life poster?

“No, we have no created artifical life from scratch - viruses are created by injecting modified sequences into a living culture or living cells.”

Incorrect. The virus sequence is artificially assembled. It is put into cells to reproduce, to prove its viability. That’s what viruses DO. Are you not a human unless you are having sex? I think not.

“Science cannot take the base compounds, even in perfect arrangement, and make it live.”

0 for 2. We can synthesize nucleotides. We can artificially arrange them any way we please. Viruses range from 3.2 kb to 1200 kb. You can buy a bench top machine that creates 15kb sequences from scratch. Reagents will cost you about 10 cents per base pair. Bigger machines can go for 100’s of kb, even mbs. Or you can simply create a large library of smaller fragments, then assemble them inside a YAC or BAC or even mini-chromosomes.

DNA is just DNA. Add the proper enzymes (which can also be artificially synthesized) and the DNA will start to behave as it should. Like any other chemical reaction. For a virus it’s not too complicated.

”WRT Abortion counsellors, the problem occured because they were employed by the hospitals and surgeries directly, and provided as a service to customers. They were given an unspoken vetted interest to convince applicants that an abortion would be in their best interest.”

That’s a systematic failure at these facilities then. From personal attitude to training to management. My 2 HMO’s certainly do not advocate abortion over all else, so I remain unconvinced that your example displays a systemic failure in abortion counseling.
 
  by: Dedolito     02/20/2006 10:01 AM     
  @Dedolito  
 
Yes, it's an emotional appeal and unashamedly so. Very few 'evil' people in history were born that way, btw - most were a result of their environment, social engineering etc.

However, the my belief is that regardless of the childs possible path, human life - from the moment of conception - has a right to, and deserves, the full opportunity to develop and realise its potential, whatever that potential may be.

I'll still contest with you on the basis of synthesised viruses - in that they are not truly alive. A virus has no metabolic nor reproductive capacity of its own, instead relying on host cells. A virus is no more alive than a program on my computer can be termed alive. Science recognises this fact by placing viruses in the gray area between living and non-living.

I stand by my original statement - science has yet to create life from scratch.

 
  by: lauriesman     02/20/2006 11:14 AM     
  @jendres and dedolito  
 
@jendres
my two comments do not contradict if you actually read them. my first statement says the church is the only ESTABLISHMENT with moral authority to talk about these things. meaning, governments do not have this authority. my second statement says the church is not the only moral authority which exists. your conscience, a higher being, a mentor, are all moral authorities but not establishments. next time, instead of insulting me, ask me to explain something if you don’t understand it within its context.

@dedolito
"Mostly because prior up to about 23 weeks, the fetus has the mental capacity of a brain dead person. We let brain dead people pass away, either from mercy or because we believe that there is nothing human left of them."

using your model, correlating a fetus with a brain dead patient, we should also note that this brain dead person will make a full recovery if they are allowed to live. in brain dead cases the plug is only pulled when we've lost all hope. we don't just kill someone who is expected to regain full brain function. that would be considered murder in any court. then why kill a fetus who is expected to develop a fully functional brain? the flaw in your brain dead scenario is that the fetus has potential. it is becoming more human, not less human.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/20/2006 01:07 PM     
  let's compromise  
 
abortions for all!

BOO!

okay... abortions for none!

BOO!

hmmm... abortions for some, tiny american flags for others!

YAAY!!!
 
  by: manilaryce     02/20/2006 01:58 PM     
  @lauriseman  
 
"Yes, it's an emotional appeal and unashamedly so."

Then it's not very fair of you for ignoring the flip side of the coin, is it? I'd say it completely invalidates the argument to anyone willing to think past the tactic. Makes a good bumper sticker though.

“Very few 'evil' people in history were born that way, btw - most were a result of their environment, social engineering etc."

Your opinion, I disagree. Of course environment plays a roll, but so does genetics, or have you never read up on XYY syndrome and prisons?

“I'll still contest with you on the basis of synthesised viruses - in that they are not truly alive.”

Alright, let’s play.

“A virus has no metabolic [capacity]”

True, but then it doesn’t need it. I’d call that efficiency.

“nor reproductive capacity of its own”

I disagree. The virus directs it’s own reproduction once it inside a host cell. It just uses machinery present to help replicate itself, the virus sequence contains the replicative code.

“instead relying on host cells.”

So do any number of infectious and parasitic organisms.

“A virus is no more alive than a program on my computer can be termed alive.”

You’d be correct if viruses were simply short strands of free-floating DNA or RNA. But they aren’t.

In fact, if I were to make the argument that viruses are alive, I would start by saying that you are probably looking at the situation from the wrong angle: the free-floating virus molecules are not the living organism, rather they are the protected seed of the organism. Are sporulated bacteria alive? They aren’t undergoing any metabolic processes, they can’t reproduce. They cannot react to stimulus. They are simply waiting to be introduced to the proper environment before they ‘wake up’.

The same could be said of viruses, only their proper environment is a particular host cell. Inside that environment they grow, replicate, exchange genetic material, and hence evolve.

“Science recognises this fact by placing viruses in the gray area between living and non-living.”

‘Science’ doesn’t place viruses in either category, it’s simply an ongoing debate. Some text books state it one way, others state it another. Some say ‘we don’t know’ and leave it at that.

“I stand by my original statement - science has yet to create life from scratch.”

And in 5 to 10 years when the first artificial bacteria is made? What are you going to say then? “Science has yet to create eukaryotic life”? And after that? “Science has yet to make complex life forms from scratch”? It’s a losing battle.

@manila

True enough, however there are two things – the fetus isn’t “recovering” anything, it hasn’t achieved it yet. Chicken and the egg question I suppose.

Second, if the recovery of a brain dead human were based on the incubation of the afflicted in a living human host, I would hope that it was at the host’s discretion that they allow the incubation to occur.

“the flaw in your brain dead scenario is that the fetus has potential. it is becoming more human, not less human.”

Perhaps, but perhaps not. Timing is critical in this scenario. A 20-week fetus has a much better chance at becoming more human as it has already proven that the DNA is viable enough that it has developed thus far. That doesn’t mean that no rare un-selfterminated fetus has developed, but it’s got a pretty good benefit-of-the-doubt argument going for itself by this time. A zygote at the 1 cell to 12 week stage does not.
 
  by: Dedolito     02/20/2006 04:49 PM     
  Its just pure morale  
 
That same question about where the line divides fetus from human being is why no one can resolve this matter. It’s a matter of personal belief and morale. The pro lifers are always going to say from the moment of conception, there is a baby present. Whereas, on the flip side, pro choicers will say that it’s a fetus and not a true living being that could survive on its own, hence the parasite analogy among others. But since this topic does touch into personal morale, there are those (on both sides of this debate) that feel the need to push their beliefs on others. Either way, there is no method to please everyone on Life vs. Choice.
 
  by: dirshma   02/20/2006 08:36 PM     
  @manila  
 
You are so funny, trying to rationalise this. Ah well, you are free to your opinion and your morals. Just don't try badgering other people into following them.

---
On another issue, why is that adoption is so frowned upon nowadays? It should be encouraged more, it solves the problem of infertile couples seeking children and unwanted children of others at a lot less cost.
 
  by: jendres     02/21/2006 03:51 AM     
  @jendres  
 
can i help it if you're incapable of grasping simple concepts? that’s your problem, not mine. no one else has misunderstood my comments.

"you are free to your opinion and your morals. Just don't try badgering other people into following them."

well thanks dad. but you should also notice that i haven't forced my beliefs on anyone. in fact i've acted as a bit of a moderator, encouraging understanding on both sides. once again, i encourage you to read.

"On another issue, why is that adoption is so frowned upon nowadays? It should be encouraged more, it solves the problem of infertile couples seeking children and unwanted children of others at a lot less cost."

for once, we agree.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/21/2006 08:03 AM     
  They call it choice for a reason...  
 
Quite a while back I found a pro-lifer web site containing pictures of aborted fetuses. In all fairness I feel there should have been pictures posted of babies and small children who have been abused and/or murdered because they were unwanted in the first place.

I would much rather hear of a woman aborting a fetus, human, parasite, hamster or whatever term one wishes to use to refer to the unborn than to see that child a few months or even years later with cigar burns over 90% of their body, beaten with a board, slammed up against a wall, thrown from a moving vehicle or whatever means someone wished to use to terminate a life. I have been in the medical field for a long time and yes, I have seen ALL of the aforementioned. Believe me, the abortion pics were no where near as horrific as the sight of a battered and/or murdered child.

There is much controversy over whether or not a fetus can feel pain during an abortion but there is no doubt of the Hell a battered child is put through before he or she is allowed to finally rest in peace.

The next time some bleeding heart pro-lifer wishes to shove their beliefs down someone’s throat, perhaps they should take a tour of the morgue!

Now, back to the topic… If a woman wishes to terminate a pregnancy she should have the right to a safe procedure. If this option is taken away by the government it will not stop a woman’s decision to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, but only bring back the “back alley” abortionists. Chemically induced abortions are not new and the discomfort is the same as that of a miscarriage. As for the one woman who experienced heavy bleeding this can happen even in a normal miscarriage whether it be at home or in the hospital.

There was no mention of cost but I can only assume that it would be much less than that of a surgical procedure not to mention the reduced risk of infection or injury to the woman. Also no mention was made as to the availability of counseling for these women. I would hope that that has been taken into consideration and is available if necessary.
 
  by: Ginger Heart   02/21/2006 07:35 PM     
  @manila  
 
"using your model, correlating a fetus with a brain dead patient, we should also note that this brain dead person will make a full recovery if they are allowed to live. in brain dead cases the plug is only pulled when we've lost all hope. we don't just kill someone who is expected to regain full brain function. that would be considered murder in any court. then why kill a fetus who is expected to develop a fully functional brain? the flaw in your brain dead scenario is that the fetus has potential. it is becoming more human, not less human."

Actually, the brain dead person is protected because they once WERE a person. They were born and lived a life, both of which attest to the fact that they were human. That is the beauty of the comparison that you overlooked - we have more reason to save the brain dead person, because we know there is something inside that shell (whether or not it will ever come out of dormancy is the key factor). The fetus is just a blank slate, and nothing but potential is lost in terminating it, so it is actually a step BEHIND a brain dead person. Consider a can of sardines - the fetus is the unfilled can at the factory, and the brain dead person is the can whose pull-tab has been broken off. Only in the case of the latter can are you losing anything in throwing it away.
 
  by: MomentOfClarity     02/21/2006 08:18 PM     
  @Dedolito, MOC  
 
Actually, when science gets around to creating a fully functional single cell organism, from nothing but raw materials, using no host life form , or other life form along the way, I will duly acknowledge that fact.

Actually, I think your analogy is a bit skewed... the embryo represents a tin of sardines in the process of being filled. The brain dead person is more like an opened can of sardines, depending on the degree of brain damage is whether there is any sardines left inside.
 
  by: lauriesman     02/21/2006 10:29 PM     
  Not quite  
 
"Actually, I think your analogy is a bit skewed... the embryo represents a tin of sardines in the process of being filled. The brain dead person is more like an opened can of sardines, depending on the degree of brain damage is whether there is any sardines left inside."

I am admittedly assuming the best case scenario in the case of the brain damaged person, but why not? That is the case which should be most objectionable along the same lines as the debate here. It makes the point that even if everything about the person that makes them human as far as life goes is intact, we still pull the plug if they have no hope of regaining consciousness. I contend that trying to shift the analogy from focusing on such people to those who are more brain damaged is the real attempt at skewing it. The same goes for trying to characterize the fetus as a can being filled. Nothing is being imprinted on the psyche of the organism at the point we're discussing, so such an argument is just another attempt at equating what could be with what is. It may be waiting on the conveyor belt, but it is not BEING filled.
 
  by: MomentOfClarity     02/21/2006 10:50 PM     
  @lauriesman  
 
Ah, what wonderful caveats you leave yourself. You’ll never admit to anything if you hold on to those irrelevant criteria.

“nothing but raw materials” – what do you want to call “raw materials”? Do the scientists have to take a supercollider and manufacture carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, etc from hydrogen? Or do they have to create the hydrogen too?

“using no host life form” – why is that? Are parasitic or infectious life forms not valid test subjects or something?

“or other life form” – so that means growth media has to be artificially created too?

Nice dodge on the entire virus issue as well. Can’t help but notice that you specifically tailored your definition to exclude viruses without addressing any of the points I made above.
 
  by: Dedolito     02/21/2006 11:00 PM     
  seems like a bad idea  
 
to have more kids that grow up and never have anyone care about them letting them grow up in the boys homes and foster care really aint too much better then endin um early growing up knowing no-one cares if your alive or dead does bad things to your head
 
  by: mopboy   02/21/2006 11:02 PM     
  @moment and dedolito  
 
we’re thrown back into philosophy with this thread. you've both suggested that a person on life support with the same mental capacity of a fetus is of higher value than the fetus since they were once fully human. it is true that they are further along, but in my view a persons value is not determined by how far along they are in their life. is a healthy teenager more valuable than a healthy 2 year old since the teenager has lived more and has more to lose? some would say yes. i say all human life is equal. an american life is no more important than an iraqi life, just as an abused child is no less valuable than one from a loving home. Ginger Heart suggests we terminate these lives before they are abused. i don't think we have the authority to pick and chose who is deserving to live. this is why i am against abortion and the death penalty. in both cases it is a flawed human being making the choice to kill another human being. most often these choices are made for emotionally selfish reasons. you can't believe all human life is equal (at least in potential) if you support either one. likewise, i could make a counter-argument that the fetus is more valuable than the brain dead person because they have more life to live, while the person on life support has probably used up more than half of theirs already. that being said, i don’t think of it in terms of value because there are an infinite number of reasons why one is more valuable than the other. no two lives are identical enough to compare, leaving the appraisal of a human life completely up to subjectivity.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/21/2006 11:54 PM     
  @manila  
 
The death penalty is completely different. Introducing sentient human beings into the mix is comparing apples to oranges. We are talking about people who ARE not - whether they WERE or WILL BE is irrelevant to the present. The person on life support I mentioned is only of marginally greater "value" because a human life has been imprinted on their grey matter. Were you to wave a wand and make them aware, they would be a person again. Do this for a fetus and there is nothing, and whether there could be or not means nothing at the moment. I did not propose initially that either one had a greater "value," however...that was something you introduced in trying to make the fetus worth more. I proposed that they were, in fact, equal; both on the edge of what we call "life," where it has been established that we DO make the decisions.

Frankly, I cannot take seriously those who argue for potential life equalling real life until I see those people take up the cry to have eggs harvested from women in order to stop the brutal ongoing mass-murder that is the menstrual cycle. Conception is as artificial a line as birth, so if you're too squeamish to think critically about the gray areas, you had better take the argument for "potential" to its conclusion.
 
  by: MomentOfClarity     02/22/2006 01:11 AM     
  @moment  
 
"Introducing sentient human beings into the mix is comparing apples to oranges."

only by your definition of what a human is. my definition encompasses more than just the brain.

"The person on life support I mentioned is only of marginally greater "value" because a human life has been imprinted on their grey matter. Were you to wave a wand and make them aware, they would be a person again. Do this for a fetus and there is nothing"

again, your description of human life being "imprinted" relies on your definition of what human is. also, since there is no magic wand readily available to brain dead patients the "potential" for a patient is often taken into account. it is not simply a matter of waking them up. a process must be undertaken. for a brain dead patient, "what has been", or what is imprinted on their grey matter is of little concern. "what will be" is of much concern.

"Conception is as artificial a line as birth, so if you're too squeamish to think critically about the gray areas, you had better take the argument for "potential" to its conclusion."

even scientifically speaking that is wrong. conception is not an artificial line at all. the two sex cells are no longer separate entities. they combine to form an organism with double the chromosomes of either of the original pair. there is no change as dramatic as that in the birthing process, or afterwards for that matter.

i have taken into account all the grey areas established in this thread between conception and birth. frankly, none of them are as solid as conception or birth. meaning, they vary slightly amongst individual fetuses and those drawing the line within the grey area. even dedolito seems unsure whether the line should be at the 20th week or 16th week. this kind of uncertainty is fine on the individual level, and certainly i'm not 100 percent sure human life starts at conception. however, the uncertainty in these grey areas makes abortion itself uncertain on a legal level. have we made murder legal? no one can say “yes” or “no” with absolute certainty.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/22/2006 02:19 AM     
  @Dedolito  
 
Not really - in order to CREATE life, science has to do so without any other living aid. That will be CREATED life. Otherwise, as I said it my original post, it is splitting new life from existing life - which is not CREATING it.

For reference, you might remember this from highschool physics:

'Energy is neither created nor destroyed, it is merely converted from one form to another'

I don't know if that is still true, but im not arguing its validity. The point is to create something is to bring it into existence, where it did not exist before. Science cannot at this point create life, it can only convert it from one form to another. I'm being extra explicit here so that you don't confuse what I am saying.

In order to create life science would have to:

Take the raw materials

(components which are not alive, be they protein strands, silicon molecules, or other organic compounds)

using no host life form

(Since that is not creating life but converting it, or splitting it off the host life form)

or any other life form

(living cultures do not count as creating life since the life originates from the culture)

When science has achieved that, it will have CREATED life - and I will duly acknowledge it.

 
  by: lauriesman     02/22/2006 02:46 AM     
  @moc  
 
Hmm, being a bit pedantic, but 'waiting on the conveyor belt' has a static, stagnant connotation, something that an embryo is not. It is in the process of being filled, that is, given potential (sardines).

 
  by: lauriesman     02/22/2006 02:49 AM     
  @Lauriesman, Manila  
 
Lauriesman: Until the fetus begins taking in meaningful neurological input, it is pretty static. That is my sole criterion, because from my perspective, the area of neurological development is what encompasses all the qualities which make us human (in the hallowed sense). You may call it a soul, I call it a brain. Let's see what Manila calls it.

Manila: "my definition encompasses more than just the brain."

So, what is it? Unless you believe in a soul or spirit (and perhaps you do, but I've not seen that stated here), opposing abortion on the basis of something with a categorization of human seems to be merely an emotional position.

"also, since there is no magic wand readily available to brain dead patients... 'what has been,' or what is imprinted on their grey matter is of little concern. 'what will be' is of much concern."

Not what I'm arguing at all - of course there is no wand. We pull the plug when there is no hope of CONTINUED life - that is, the life which was. A fetus does not have this, and no amount of potential changes that. As far as DNA is concerned, it's unique. As far as personhood, it's as unique as the next empty can on the belt behind it.

"...conception is not an artificial line at all. the two sex cells are no longer separate entities....there is no change as dramatic as that in the birthing process, or afterwards for that matter."

Why draw the line there? Each of those sperm and egg cells has the potential to join and become a human! Why aren't we harvesting them all and dumping them into one big vat, then nursing the embryos? You can talk all you want of the magical nature of a unique organism coming into being, but the fact remains that this is purely an emotional view. Each of those sperm and egg cells has the potential to be a unique organism, right? It's just a bit too easy to play with such sentimental terms and arbitrarily glorify one step of the process over another.

"i have taken into account all the grey areas established in this thread between conception and birth. frankly, none of them are as solid as conception or birth..."

If by solid you mean easy, I have to agree. There is little thought involved in determining that a basic zygote is not equivalent to a person while a screaming baby is pretty close. But, why should a proper decision be easy? There will always be individual variations, but all those fetuses have one thing in common - they are not aware, they have not lived. What is lost in terminating them in these earlier stages of development? Certainly no memories, no personality, no self can be lost, because they are mere "potential." When these things are lost, we terminate the brain dead within the confines of the law. Birth is the line for murder because it is an unquestionable point. Medical necessity is the rule well before that point, so I would say life is pretty safely protected.
 
  by: momentofclarity     02/22/2006 04:16 AM     
  @moment  
 
“Unless you believe in a soul or spirit (and perhaps you do, but I've not seen that stated here), opposing abortion on the basis of something with a categorization of human seems to be merely an emotional position.”

To say my belief on the subject is an emotional position is admittance to a poor understanding of my argument. I’ve stated that the chromosomal change is the factor I base my decision on. this change is based on the scientific proof that humans have a certain number of chromosomes. How exactly is that an emotional position if it’s based on a scientific mark just as your own position is?

My problem with your starting point, rational thought, is that it excludes those who are born mentally handicap or have become that way. Then the argument of human potential factors in and the lines get muddy between what is and is not a human. This is why we can not choose just one factor to decide what a human is. Surely there are always exceptions of people we would consider human but didn’t fulfill our requisite. My own determining factor would exclude people with down syndrome. This is why multiple factors must exist which allow for a person to be human if they fulfill the majority of the requirements. I do not pretend to know what these factors are, merely that you can not choose one alone, such as rational thought, to decide.

“Why draw the line there? Each of those sperm and egg cells has the potential to join and become a human! Why aren't we harvesting them all and dumping them into one big vat, then nursing the embryos? You can talk all you want of the magical nature of a unique organism coming into being, but the fact remains that this is purely an emotional view. Each of those sperm and egg cells has the potential to be a unique organism, right? It's just a bit too easy to play with such sentimental terms and arbitrarily glorify one step of the process over another.”

sarcasm? How clever (see kids, I one upped him by using sarcasm AND irony).
Anyway, the potential to become human between an embryo and sperm cell are very different. You know that, and I can only assume this response was to mock rather than engage in a respectable debate. Perhaps you can show me where I’ve favored sentimentality over the truth. Surely you must think my argument is emotional if it doesn’t match with yours. I think your readiness to call my views emotional is a bit of an emotional response on your part.

“There will always be individual variations, but all those fetuses have one thing in common - they are not aware, they have not lived. What is lost in terminating them in these earlier stages of development? Certainly no memories, no personality, no self can be lost, because they are mere "potential." When these things are lost, we terminate the brain dead within the confines of the law.”

Actually, when a person has “no memories, no personality, no self” it’s called amnesia. We tend not to kill those people even though “they are mere potential” and we’d have nothing to lose in doing so. If nothing else, perhaps because of what that would say about us.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/22/2006 12:18 PM     
  @Manila  
 
Do try to reign yourself in - there was no sarcasm in my last response. You're certainly doing nothing to further your claim that your position is anything but emotional - quite the opposite, as you're clearly growing more and more agitated as I challenge it.

I understand your argument just fine, I simply see no basis for it. I see your position as the arbitrary choice of a point in fetal development which has little to do with the innate qualities of humanity that we revere. True, you have chosen a scientific mark, but that mark has little bearing on the life in question. Pardon my rational thought (THAT was sarcasm), but I choose to consider those things that separate us from animals that we can legally put down in a mericful fashion at ANY point in their lives. Simply wanting to protect an entity because it is human at a chromosomal level seems simply sentimental - yes, a fetus has the building blocks of human, and maybe a fetus even looks like a human, but if we can pull the plug on fully grown humans with even greater faculties, then you've stil not established why we ought not to do the same for a fetus.

As far as the mentally handicapped go, you would have to cite rare cases for them to slip through my criteria. This is why I continually cite the brain dead or severely damaged - these are the only people with impairments significant enough to not meet my criteria. I freely admit, in those very rare cases, they also benefit from a certain level of sentimentality or respect for birth. But, people consider the factors with rational thought and make the decisions on how best to care for them or let them go, further making my point. Those with amnesia do not even figure into it, because the moment they awaken, they begin building new selves, even if they do not reclaim their old selves, and continue to function in a capacity which we see as human.

I suggest you actually consider my defense of the egg and sperm as life, because I really do not see any difference between that and your position. The life in your position is dependent upon a functional mother to survive. The life in my hypothetical position is dependent on fertilization, then a functional mother. If you are going to base your argument on mere physical development, then I'd like to know why one step constitutes life over another. Why is human DNA with the potential for birth somehow better than sex cells with the potential to form human DNA with the potential for birth? I call your response emotional because this seems an arbitrary choice of a step in the process to honor.
 
  by: MomentOfClarity     02/22/2006 06:40 PM     
  To clarify  
 
I subscribe to the theory that there are two basic kinds of thought - emotional (or belief-based) and rational (or logic-based). I try to use the former as little as possible. Obviously both have their uses and overlap in many situations, but I prefer an approach based in detached objectivity and am of the opinion that it should hold sway on this issue. There are very real, measurable factors here, and I think our emotional attachment to the designation of "human" only leads us astray, such as to the more basic elements of ourselves (like DNA) to which it may be attached.
 
  by: MomentOfClarity     02/22/2006 07:36 PM     
  @moment  
 
“I choose to consider those things that separate us from animals that we can legally put down in a mericful fashion at ANY point in their lives.”

I must say that your position seems more “emotional” than mine since rationality separates us from the animals far less than our chromosomes. It’s very easy to say it’s our rationality which makes us human, and base your argument solely on the brain. so what differentiates our rational brain from the rational brain of a dolphin or chimp? The actual structure or DNA in that brain seems to be the only measurable differences between that of a young human child and a rational animal. Great apes have the ability to reason and reflect. Most mammals have this ability to think. Meanwhile your criteria of HUMAN rationality are almost immeasurable. To also think it is uniquely human is an outdated notion. So if we’re using rationality as our yardstick do we bring these animals up to our human level or humans down to their level? if you “legally” put it down “in a merciful fashion” that rational thought constitutes human life it would be a great victory for PETA.

“As far as the mentally handicapped go, you would have to cite rare cases for them to slip through my criteria. This is why I continually cite the brain dead or severely damaged - these are the only people with impairments significant enough to not meet my criteria. I freely admit, in those very rare cases, they also benefit from a certain level of sentimentality or respect for birth.”

However “rare” these cases are you’re still admitting that humans will be murdered under your “rational” criteria. You can downplay the number all you want, but the truth is that this number must be an acceptable one when using your rationality argument. To counteract this, you yourself apply sentimentality. By your own admission you agree it is not completely based in logic since it relies on sentimentality for the exceptions who fail to meet your criteria.

“Those with amnesia do not even figure into it, because the moment they awaken, they begin building new selves, even if they do not reclaim their old selves, and continue to function in a capacity which we see as human.”

Don’t people with amnesia meet your description of a person with “no memories, no personality, no self”? if a fetus is not human because it has none of these things then neither is a person with amnesia who also lacks them. all they have is potential until they start to build a new self.

“If you are going to base your argument on mere physical development, then I'd like to know why one step constitutes life over another.”

The difference between a sperm cell and an embryo is the difference between a flower and a seed. If left to nature, billions of sperm die. the numbers for embryos dying in the same environment is about one in four. In the case of sperm and eggs, they will both die unless they contact each other. in the case of the embryo, it relies only on itself. The difference is that the sperm has the potential to pair with an egg cell to become human. The potential is not within itself, but only with becoming something other than itself. By itself it has no potential. However, the embryo is the completed form of everything needed to be human. Its potential is self-sustained and it only needs to grow from the information it has inside itself. If you think the line between sex cells and an embryo is an arbitrary one, then I suggest that the line between a dependent fetus and a dependent infant is also arbitrary.

All in all, the burden of proof is in your court. You’ve linked rationality with humanity, but that is a belief based thought rather than a scientific one. You can not prove that someone is human anymore than you can prove they’re not. However, that is what you must do to justify abortion. You must prove that human life is not being taken and so far you’ve failed to do that without doubt.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/23/2006 03:23 AM     
  @manila  
 
I've not heard of too many embryos that, removed from the mother at the point of the standard abortion, will grow into a human on their own. I agree that sex cells will not form embryos on their own, either. Both certainly have the potential to develop given one thing or another. Yet, some people disregard the potential of one simply because it requires one more thing, and would let nature kill them off mercilessly. Well, nature would kill of those mentally handicapped people too, yet you would not allow that, would you?

The point is, I know that argument is silly, I just do not see why it differs from yours. What is one more step, one more dependency, one more condition to be met?

You can keep finding exceptions to my arguments as much as you like - frankly, it does not make your position any stronger in my mind. I accept that my criteria are fluid. Are there SOME animals that fit SOME criteria that we value as human? Yes. Are there SOME mantally handicapped people that would be on the edge of my definition of human? Yes. Am I proposing killing them? No, so quit trying to paint that picture. I merely have no problem with their lives being humanely ended. You use a legal term like murder with no legal basis whatsoever. We DO allow mercykilling of these FEW persons, to which I liken fetuses, and as it is legal it is not murder. My criteria are not rigid, they are measures for review of whether or not an entitity is a person. An amnesia victim lacks some, not all. The same applies to MOST of the mentally handicapped. SOME high functioning animals may meet some, but that is another story. The fetus lacks all, but since it's of the substance of a human, we disagree. Your criterion seems a mere categorization to me. Unless you can grasp that mine are not, we have little more to say on the matter.
 
  by: momentofclarity     02/23/2006 08:36 AM     
  @moment  
 
"The fetus lacks all, but since it's of the substance of a human, we disagree."

the fetus lacks all in your opinion, which is hardly a scientific one since it relies on as much sentiment as you claim mine to. I’ve argued against your rationality-based criteria, yet you've not countered with a logical response as to why a uniquely human separation exists, which is not based on anatomical differences. my guess is because it would agree with what i’ve been saying all along: that "multiple factors must exist which allow for a person to be human"

"Your criterion seems a mere categorization to me. Unless you can grasp that mine are not, we have little more to say on the matter."

categorization is exactly what we've been trying to do this entire thread. we've been trying to define a human so we could create that legal category apart from non-humans. i've been saying it's impossible from the beginning, but i was having too much fun to stop. for this reason, i am comfortable with us disagreeing. however, i am not comfortable in being told i'm wrong because my idea of a human is an "emotional" one when i've applied just as much logic and science as you have with your own critieria. i think it a bit hypocritical to say my reasons are emotional while yours are logic-based, then turn around and say your criteria allow for exceptions based on sentimentality. all my criteria are scientifically measurable. in comparison, your immeasurable criteria is the real belief-based argument. as long as you acknowledge that i'm fine with our difference in opinion.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/24/2006 12:00 AM     
  @manila  
 
I think the source of our miscommunication and subsequent disagreement may be what each of us attach to our definitions. Since I forget what we were even arguing about initially at this point, I could be wrong about this assessment. You seem to attach to your definition that it is wrong to kill a human, so where the line is when something becomes a human truely matters. I am not arguing that when an entity can be called a human, or when it can be called a person, it becomes wrong to kill it. I agree that a fetus in even the earliest stages is technically a human, but I do not hold the belief that it is wrong to kill a human, merely wrong to kill one inhumanely without justification. I've been arguing at which point in development I think certain justifications no longer apply, pertinent to when we perform certain kinds of abortions. Likewise, my examples have not so much been of things that are not humans, but rather things that are humans that we can, and do, kill - with justification and humanity.
 
  by: MomentOfClarity     02/24/2006 01:01 AM     
  @moment  
 
i agree there must be some confusion.

"You seem to attach to your definition that it is wrong to kill a human, so where the line is when something becomes a human truely matters. "

to some extent this is correct. i think it is wrong to kill a human with the potential to be at full mental capacity. i think it's okay to humanely kill a vegetable with no hope.

"I agree that a fetus in even the earliest stages is technically a human, but I do not hold the belief that it is wrong to kill a human, merely wrong to kill one inhumanely without justification."

this is where i'm confused with your argument. you say a fetus is technically a human, and also agree it has the potential to be at full mental capacity. therefor, i do not understand the logical justification in killing it. the only justification i've found in your position between keeping a brain dead person with potential alive, and killing a fetus with potential is for sentimental reasons. perhaps i am misunderstanding your position on this.

"Likewise, my examples have not so much been of things that are not humans, but rather things that are humans that we can, and do, kill - with justification and humanity."

assuming they are justified, we could go on for just as long about whether the actual procedures for an abortion are humane. i think we'll do well to stear clear of that topic.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/24/2006 01:54 AM     
  @manila  
 
"to some extent this is correct. i think it is wrong to kill a human with the potential to be at full mental capacity. i think it's okay to humanely kill a vegetable with no hope."

And I think potential is worth nothing when what we are discussing is a moment that effectively negates that potential. The fetus to be aborted has no potential, but the fetus the mother brings to term later will. Since I see each as no more than genetically unique, I do not care if one, or any, are terminated.

"this is where i'm confused with your argument. you say a fetus is technically a human, and also agree it has the potential to be at full mental capacity. therefor, i do not understand the logical justification in killing it. the only justification i've found in your position between keeping a brain dead person with potential alive, and killing a fetus with potential is for sentimental reasons. perhaps i am misunderstanding your position on this."

Perhaps it would be a good time for me to state that I do not value life as inherently precious, but what is lived. I do not think that life is something to be protected in-and-of itself. A fetus is alive, yes, but it is a blank slate (whether or not it has the potential to be written upon). As I think potential is meaningless at the moment and I do not see being alive as enough of a reason to not kill, I have no problem with abortion. A brain dead person is much the same as a fetus to me, in that no writing is being done on the slate, but there is writing already there. While this writing can no longer be read and no more can be written, this is still more tanglible, and valuable, to me that hypothetical potential.

And when I refer to sentimentality factoring into my reasoning, I mean that already encoded in law. I respect that as a good buffer to my own views.

"assuming they are justified, we could go on for just as long about whether the actual procedures for an abortion are humane. i think we'll do well to stear clear of that topic."

I've been dealing with it, and maybe the confusion is that my argument has been twofold, arguing justification and humanity of the procedure. My justification is noted above - I see nothing to protect during the majority of fetal deveopment. Whether it is humane is my only reason for factoring in development until the latest stages, because whether or not there can be pain determines if it is not humane to abort.
 
  by: MomentOfClarity     02/24/2006 07:04 PM     
  @Ginger  
 
Well said.
 
  by: StarShadow     02/24/2006 07:56 PM     
  @moment  
 
"The fetus to be aborted has no potential, but the fetus the mother brings to term later will."

now we're getting into nature vs. nurture. you think potential is only developed. i believe it is there from the beginning, in our genetic code. your position is not scientific. i’ll explain why later.

"I do not think that life is something to be protected in-and-of itself."

another point where we disagree. if we do not respect all forms of life, we encourage the destruction of them. this is one major difference between the native americans and european immigrants. i like to think we can grow past our cultural tendency to destroy things for the sake of convenience.

"A fetus is alive, yes, but it is a blank slate (whether or not it has the potential to be written upon)... A brain dead person is much the same as a fetus to me, in that no writing is being done on the slate, but there is writing already there."

you're denying human nature by implying humans are made, not born. your blank slate notion is outdated. many things about a person can be determined by their environment. they may play a role in determining who they are, but not what they are. it's been well accepted over the last couple decades that our genetic code plays just as significant a role as our environment does. your blank slate idea denies the existence of human nature. therefore, i must deny your rationale for determining the difference between a fetus and brain dead person. your position is hypothetical at best.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/24/2006 09:49 PM     
  @manila  
 
… you are really something, you know that?

You bandy around claims that your argument is logical and rational and scientifically provable and that your opposition is clearly uses flawed logic and emotional claims, yet your arguments are so “scientifically” flawed and emotionally charged that it boggles the mind.

“I’ve stated that the chromosomal change is the factor I base my decision on. this change is based on the scientific proof that humans have a certain number of chromosomes.”

What? What magical chromosomal change are you referring to exactly?

Certain number of chromosomes? How is a chromosome count indicative of humanity in any way, shape, or form?

“Anyway, the potential to become human between an embryo and sperm cell are very different.”

They are not. The criteria are 99.99999999% identical.

“Actually, when a person has “no memories, no personality, no self” it’s called amnesia. We tend not to kill those people even though “they are mere potential” and we’d have nothing to lose in doing so. If nothing else, perhaps because of what that would say about us.”

Really, really bad example. They may not have complete memories, but they have personality, and they have a functioning brain. There are entirely capable human beings, they just don’t have access to long-term memories.

“I must say that your position seems more “emotional” than mine since rationality separates us from the animals far less than our chromosomes.”

Again, WTF? What do chromosomes have to do with humanity? And what animals have a rational mind? Any animal with a brain has some rudimentary ability to think, but none have a mind that comes anywhere close to the ability of the human mind. Dolphins, monkeys, apes, all incredibly bright – for animals.

“So if we’re using rationality as our yardstick do we bring these animals up to our human level or humans down to their level? if you “legally” put it down “in a merciful fashion” that rational thought constitutes human life it would be a great victory for PETA.”

Oh? How about “neither”? No animal has a fully rational brain. Not all humans have one either for that matter. Some animals have extremely high levels of mentation, for an animal, and as such are accorded protections under our laws to that effect. Or are you unfamiliar with IACUC, USDA, ALAC, and NIH regulations?

“if a fetus is not human because it has none of these things then neither is a person with amnesia who also lacks them. all they have is potential until they start to build a new self.”

Nice try, but no. A person with amnesia has inherent ability. A fetus does not.

“By itself [sperm/egg] has no potential.”

Neither has an embryo. It requires conditions outside of its control to develop.

“All in all, the burden of proof is in your court.”

I beg to differ. Roe vs Wade put the ball in YOUR court.

“You’ve linked rationality with humanity, but that is a belief based thought rather than a scientific one.”

So is yours.

“You can not prove that someone is human anymore than you can prove they’re not.”

Neither can you.

“You must prove that human life is not being taken and so far you’ve failed to do that without doubt.”

Mr. Pot, Mr. Kettle on the white courtesy phone.

“all my criteria are scientifically measurable”

And flawed in foundation to boot. All the science I’ve seen from your end is some sort of unexplained magic chromosome number that makes a human, human.
 
  by: Dedolito     02/24/2006 10:58 PM     
  @lauriesman  
 
“using no host life form

(Since that is not creating life but converting it, or splitting it off the host life form)”

I think that you do not understand what a host life form is. A host life form is nothing more than an organism that creates an environment in which another life form develops. A sheltered and protected environment. There is no conversion or splitting of the host in a host-parasite /infection relationship.

If I create a hypothetical artificial life form, but must let it first develop inside a host bacteria, how does that not make the artificial life form artificial life?

”Science cannot at this point create life, it can only convert it from one form to another.”

What then are artificial viruses?
 
  by: Dedolito     02/24/2006 11:05 PM     
  @dedolito  
 
It might make it artifical life, but it does not make it created.

The point is that science cannot yet create a living thing, without resorting to the aid of something that is already living.

Science does not understand, yet, the fundemental basis of all life.

I'm not contesting the science can raise life from host organisms, cells or cultures that are already living. Only that they cannot create life from scratch.
 
  by: lauriesman     02/25/2006 12:38 AM     
  @lauriesman  
 
I hate to say this, but you really aren’t making any sense to me Lauriesman. Even if I don’t typically agree with your viewpoints at least I understand them. Here, I just don’t understand what you are trying to say. And I suspect it is due to a deference of terminology definitions.

Let us start simply then – if I create a completely artificial bacteria, every bit engineered from scratch, yet part of its life cycle requires that it spend time inside or in conjunction with a host organism, would you or would you not consider this the creation of artificial life?

If not, why not?
 
  by: Dedolito     02/25/2006 12:57 AM     
  @Manila, Dedolito  
 
I have to say that I concur with much of what Dedolito says above. Simply because you've chosen a biological point does not mean your position is scientific, merely that your choice makes use of science. My position is not scientific and outdated? I beg to differ - you're the one arguing nature VS nurture when modern science holds that life is a combination of both. People have predispositions towards certain things, this is true. That is only the foundation for the devlopment of a self, though. A lifetime of experiences builds upon this, and that process itself has been found to modify these biological settings. Dedolito expands on the fallacies of your arguments quite well above (so well that I am about ready to pass the torch). You insist upon the truth of your own arguments to the point where you will not even consider any others, and warp the issue around them. Example 1 - nurture has not been retired or subjugated to nature, and science does not hold that there is some kind of self inherent in every human fetus, merely that there are some basic differences that may influence later development. Human nature is nothing more than a skeleton - I do not deny its existence, I take it for granted. It is a part of every one of those foeti, and thusly barring minor variations, it is unique to none.

"therefore, i must deny your rationale for determining the difference between a fetus and brain dead person. your position is hypothetical at best."

This is really the topper of this argument - let me just ask you, where do you get off arguing as if you've somehow found some kind of Truth? Not to pigeonhole you, but this is the typical pro-life mentality - "I'm defending life, so I have a reduced burden of proof (if any at all) and my position is superior." Like I said before, you had better reign yourself in, because you're the only one arguing your speculations as fact, and are being extremely hypocritical. I cannot imagine, given your certainty on an uncertain issue here, that you are even assimilating information properly to form a truly informed opinion. I've ignored a lot of your scientific spin because the science around this issue is murky, but at least I am not the one arguing that some kind of soul is encoded in our genetics. To say this is scientific is untrue, and you're doing nothing more than using shreds of science to masquerade your philosophical and/or spiritual beliefs, playing the compassionate culture card when that fails. To imply that all life is not equal is not to encourage its destruction - this is just an alarmist exaggeration. My own position proves this assertion false. I have admitted I do not value all life equally, but my position on abortion is that it is fine up to a certain point of neural development, and then it should be for medical necessity. Note that there is nothing there about compulsory abortions, euthanasia, or marching the metally disabled off to death camps.
 
  by: MomentOfClarity     02/25/2006 01:22 AM     
  @Dedolito  
 
I suspect you're right.

Brass tacks then... I honestly don't consider viruses as living per se. I think the dividing line there is now whether the organism parasites, but whether it has its own metabolic and reproductive systems inherent. A single cell bacteria qualifies, a virus does not. A virus is an unusal class of its own - it is neither living, nor inert. It's more of an automaton - an organic machine.
 
  by: lauriesman     02/25/2006 02:20 AM     
  @dedolito 2  
 
Sorry, that didn't really address your question.

If the bacteria was complete, before placing it inside the host organism or culture, then it would have been created. In such a case, the organism/culture provides environment and food. If you used a host organism/culture in the process of crafting the bacteria, then it would come down to whether the bacteria was alive at the end of the part of the process that involved it.

For example, you could use a culture and set of bacteria to craft particular protein sequences that you will use to create your target bacteria. That would not constitute 'splitting' life.

If however the bacteria was 'grown' in the culture, then that dividing line is not so clear.

 
  by: lauriesman     02/25/2006 02:25 AM     
  ah better  
 
now I think I understand what you are trying to say.

Ok, how about this then --

(pardon the quick genetics lecture, it's required of the question)

Bacteria typically have a circular chromosome (unlike more advnaced organisms, which use linear chromosomes).

This makes geentic manipulation of bacterial chromosomes much, much easier to do.

Say I take a completely artifically created sequence of DNA and put that into a bacterial chromosome.

We use the inherent machinery of the cell to cause a cell division to occur, except that in dividing all of the bacteria's original DNA goes into one daughter cell, and all of the inserted DNA goes into the other daughter cell.

Now you have 2 cells, one that is essentially indistinguishable from the original, and the other that has an entirely artifical genome. Future dvisions of this artifical genome cell will be at the behest of the artifical DNA's encoded instructions and no further interaction with other bacteria are required.

Is this created artifical life or do you term this "splitting of life"?
 
  by: Dedolito     02/25/2006 02:46 AM     
  @dedolito  
 
welcome back, i've missed you so much. if it weren't for you i wouldn't have the joy of repeating myself over and over again until you understand my arguments. thank you for that.

"What? What magical chromosomal change are you referring to exactly?"

this "magical" change occurs when two sex cells (with 23 chromosomes each) combine. there are 46 chromosomes inside each human cell, with the exception of sex cells. is this wrong mr. wizard?

"They are not. The criteria are 99.99999999% identical."

really? i never knew sperm could develop into people by themselves. thanks for the science lesson.

"Any animal with a brain has some rudimentary ability to think, but none have a mind that comes anywhere close to the ability of the human mind. Dolphins, monkeys, apes, all incredibly bright – for animals."

first off, i never claimed animals have minds capable of being equal to the average human. that's your strawman. what i did claim is that certain animals- dolphins, apes, muppets- have the ability to reason at the same level as young or mentally handicap humans. this means there's an overlap between humans and animals at the lower stages of rationality. by using rationality as your measurement of humanity you either include certain animals or exclude certain humans. i hate repeating myself.

"Oh? How about “neither”? No animal has a fully rational brain. Not all humans have one either for that matter. Some animals have extremely high levels of mentation, for an animal, and as such are accorded protections under our laws to that effect. Or are you unfamiliar with IACUC, USDA, ALAC, and NIH regulations?"

again, not my argument. my argument is that rationality can not be the sole factor in determining humanity. there must be other factors taken into consideration if you're going to separate a human and chimp with the same level of rationality. you disagree?

"A person with amnesia has inherent ability. A fetus does not."

taken a bit out of context don't you think? the amnesia argument was about memories and a sense of self defining a human. if you want to talk about ability we can go back to the brain dead example.

"Neither has an embryo. It requires conditions outside of its control to develop."

and? so does an infant. so do children. no one is ever really self-sufficient in that regard. my point is that an embryo has everything it needs to allow for that development, unlike sperm.

"I beg to differ. Roe vs Wade put the ball in YOUR court."

legally, yes. but this thread hasn't been about whether or not abortions are legal. it's been about whether they're moral. is the supreme court a moral institution now?

"Mr. Pot, Mr. Kettle on the white courtesy phone."

so do you actually want to provide some proof that embryos are not human? so far you've only said that i am unable to prove they are. and? i've admitted to that several times in this thread. have you read any of it? your argument seems to be "well if you can't prove they're human then they must not be!". the most damming thing you’ve done to my argument is to show how similar it is to your own.

"All the science I’ve seen from your end is some sort of unexplained magic chromosome number that makes a human, human."

And the only science i've seen from you is... well, nothing. all you've done is tried to bash my argument with rhetoric since you can’t do it scientifically. if you could scientifically prove embryos aren’t human then maybe i’d allow you the audacity to say my arguments are based in magic. as it stands, i’ll have to accuse you of the same sin.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/25/2006 02:57 AM     
  .  
 
It's amazing how we (humans) can keep arguing about exactly the same thing for decades/centuries (especially when most of the arguments are of a philosophical nature >_> )
 
  by: rajah   02/25/2006 03:32 AM     
  @rajah  
 
thank you. i stated the same thing in my first post here, and got sidetracked by the attacks.

"the debate is a philosophical one. i personally am pro-life and believe abortion is murder. to categorize someone as being irrational for being pro-life is absurd. the argument on both sides for or against abortion has no basis in science as the evolution debate does. both sides argue on the basis of politics or philosophy"
 
  by: manilaryce     02/25/2006 03:58 AM     
  @moment  
 
"I beg to differ - you're the one arguing nature VS nurture when modern science holds that life is a combination of both"

when did i argue it is strictly one or the other? let's look at what i actually did say: 'many things about a person can be determined by their environment. they may play a role in determining who they are, but not what they are'. where in there did i deny natures role?

"You insist upon the truth of your own arguments to the point where you will not even consider any others"

another presumption. when there were actually other people on this thread i was encouraging both sides to respect each other. all i've done in my debate with you is pointed out contradictions in your argument, and asked for a measurable criteria on which to base it. you've held on to rationality as the deciding factor to distinguish human from non-human, yet you admit it is less than perfect. then why do you still hang on to it unchanged instead of adjusting your criteria or adding other deciding factors as i've suggested?

furthermore, it is you who has claimed my argument is nothing more than belief-based, while yours is rational. you're the one giving the "my argument is the only logical one, while yours is inferior" argument. trying to turn that arrogance around to claim it is mine seems cowardly, and to be honest, quite surprising coming from you.

"I've ignored a lot of your scientific spin because the science around this issue is murky,"

is that also why you've attacked me rather than my argument?

"but at least I am not the one arguing that some kind of soul is encoded in our genetics."

another wild presumption. i should start a huge thread called ‘this is not my argument!’ for you and dedolito. congrats. please quote anywhere in my argument where i even use the word "soul", or refer to it in that sense. in fact, i’ll save you the time. i haven't used it once, while you've used it 3 times.

"you're doing nothing more than using shreds of science to masquerade your philosophical and/or spiritual beliefs..."

once again, i've not used religion at any point to justify my position, but you have used it plenty times to discredit it. would you be doing the same if i were an atheist? i doubt it. putting words in my mouth to pretend i have some sort of religious agenda is pretty low. your assumptions about what i do and don't believe are based in prejudice.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/25/2006 01:59 PM     
  @manila  
 
Oh, FFS, come down off the cross already. You've hardly been attacked here, though your position is under fire for good reason. The reason you were more the focus of my last comment than the issue is because I've simply grown weary of yelling up the ivory tower. What I learn from this thread is it is perfectly okay for you to misrepsresent the arguments of others, picking and choosing caveats and interpretations that best suit your argument, but God help anyone who does not get not only your meaning from your words but also your certainty. This reaction is surprising from me? Maybe you ought to take that into consideration, considering that this is not even a hot-button issue for me. If the issue is not provoking me, what could it be...? I may be patient, but I am still human. The latest distortions and self-martyrdom are simply the last straw:

"(Nature vs Nurture) when did i argue it is strictly one or the other?"

You used nature as the end-all, be-all to your argument, which is a pretty good sign that you disregard the other. And why do I not adjust my criteria? BECAUSE IT IS MEANT TO BE FLEXIBLE! Do you comprehend yet that I think a position of "It's alive, it must be protected!" is either lazy, irrational, or extremist thought? I've claimed your argument is belief based simply because while you've latched onto a bilogical marker, there is no science to support your conclusions, so they are merely your beliefs. Meanwhile, when I say that a fetus feels nothing before a certain point so the procedure is humane, I've already backed it up with a previously reported story - no evidence, my *ss...

Finally, I said nothing about you bringing RELIGIOUS beliefs into the topic, but "philosphical and/or spiritual" beliefs. You're the one who brought up Native American spiritualism in contrast with the beliefs of European settlers. You're also the one arguing for a sort of self encoded by nature into the fetus (though there is no scientific support for this, so again, these are your BELIEFS). That sounds like a soul to me, however you may have secularized the concept. Oh, and please show me where I've attacked you on the basis of religion. You will not find it, and maybe you ought to start taking into account all these things you are wrong about, rather than thinking about how to cover for them in your next comment.

Since I am out of patience and have gotten my point across at least 5 times over, I'm going to leave you to Dedolito, whose extensive background in genetics you already seem to be shouting down. Enjoy.
 
  by: momentofclarity     02/25/2006 03:03 PM     
  @SweetSixteen  
 
I don't want to become embroiled in this one. To do so would probably simply be reiterating some well made points.

However, we do have one point of agreement. I also wish you, and people like you, would go live on another planet.

It's so sad to see such a misguided young woman arguing to remove the rights of other women. But before you go around shouting about evil baby murders, just consider that some of these women could be very young and the victim of a brutal rape. You really want to condone forcing a young rape victim being forced to carry to term the bastard child of a rapist? Please.

This planet is already over-populated. We cannot even sustain those who live here with food, water and medicine. For every unwanted fetus that is terminated, life is just a fraction better for the babies that have actually been carried to term and born.
 
  by: ZCT     02/25/2006 03:22 PM     
  @moment  
 
Self-martyrdom indeed. Your entire last comment is about how patient and laboring you've been in the face of hard-headed idiocy. I’m sure you'll get the usual sympathy from dedolito for your hardships.

The truth is that you still attack me, not my argument. As I’ve said way back, I’m fine with us disagreeing on this subject, but not with you treating me like a moron. I’ve consistently asked you what is wrong with my position, hoping you'd tell me. If there is something utterly illogical in my argument then simply say what it is. I’m fine with us disagreeing on the matter. So why am I still considered belief-based while you're logic-based if neither argument is provable? My position isn't based in science? Why? You’ve still failed to tell me. Science doesn’t say when a human is a human, so any conclusion to that end must be made philosophically. Agree? So again, why is my position, based in science, wrong while your position, based in science, is right? That sounds like a disagreement of beliefs to me, not logic.

"You're also the one arguing for a sort of self encoded by nature into the fetus (though there is no scientific support for this, so again, these are your BELIEFS)."

And once again, you're flat out wrong. Where have I made this incredibly stupid argument? Please show it to me so I can see how belief-based I am.

"maybe you ought to start taking into account all these things you are wrong about"

Please tell me what they are. If you were to actually do that for once then we could reach a civil end to this. You’ve been on the defensive, offering your positions of rationality and blank slate (and yes, blank slate is an outdated idea) while never attacking my argument. All you’ve attacked is misconstructions of it. If I’m so certain of my position it's because you haven't attacked it. Please do so to knock me off my cross, or ivory tower, or any other symbol you claim I’m on.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/26/2006 12:11 AM     
  .....  
 
"You really want to condone forcing a young rape victim being forced to carry to term the bastard child of a rapist? Please."

Personally I would consider that cruel or unusual punishment, because every time she looks at her child, she's going to remember and re-live being raped. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.
 
  by: StarShadow     02/26/2006 12:45 AM     
  @StarShadow  
 
I actually know someone who this happened to. She is often scared that her now 15 year old child will turn out like the father. You're right, it's not a good situation. But to some people 'morality' is more important than humanity.
 
  by: ZCT     02/26/2006 12:47 AM     
  @manila  
 
No, I am very much done with this argument. I treat you like a moron because you're behaving like a moron. You keep asking for various things to be pointed out, someone points them out and you change the subject, and then you ask for them again later. You concede a point, then come back to it after a while. You ask to be told how you're being irrational, then you whine about how you're being attacked when someone tells you. You're not reading, not listening, and not thinking about anything but how to spin the discussion to make you right, and I've grown very tired of it. If you want to know these things, go back and read, and think about why exactly someone who is very dispassionate about this issue has left an argument with you so annoyed he would as soon punch you as type another word. Good day.
 
  by: momentofclarity     02/26/2006 01:00 AM     
  @moment  
 
ah yes, a truly rational argument indeed. thank you for that "moment of clarity".
 
  by: manilaryce     02/26/2006 01:10 AM     
  @ZCT  
 
The overwhelming majority of abortions are neither health related nor the result of rape. While both those issues deserve close scrutiny, and consideration, that does not imply or require all abortions to be sanctioned.

It is also incorrect to state that every rape victim is going to tortured to look at her child - case in point, my sister vanessa's first child was the result of rape, and I can tell you that the love and affection she lavishes on him is equal to all her boys.

If anything, a rape victim should be counselled without prejudice or suggestion. A tricky task, but doable. The entire problem is noone - not even the victim - can know how they will feel either way. She may be exceptionally traumatised to keep the child, she may be grief stricken and ridden with guilt should she choose to terminate it. The argument can be made either way.

An identical pro/con situtation exists for a mother contemplating abortion for health concerns - does she abort, terminating the life growing with-in her to save her own, or does she sacrifice her own life, so that the new one might live? Either decision carries the weight of responsibility and the psychological risks associated with it.

I concur, in this regard, thought it is against my beliefs personally, to the right to abort in special circumstances only. I do not support the wholesale right to abort, just because you want to. In any case however, there needs to be exceptional support and counselling, before any approval is given - except where such counselling would make the final decision moot.
 
  by: lauriesman     02/26/2006 01:12 AM     
  @lauriesman  
 
“The overwhelming majority of abortions are neither health related nor the result of rape. While both those issues deserve close scrutiny, and consideration, that does not imply or require all abortions to be sanctioned.”

- Well actually the law requires that all abortions within a certain time period be sanctioned. In England, where this study took place, the overwhelming majority of people believe in a woman’s right to choose. It’s her body and if she does not wish to carry to term then that is her choice. Pregnancy and child birth are not pleasant activities, there can be a lot of pain and suffering, and long term damage to the woman’s body. As the owner of that body and as the person that has to live with the consequences of carrying to term, she has the absolute right to decide. In England that right is protected under the law, and apart from some tiny fringe groups, no one is demanding that the law be changed.

”It is also incorrect to state that every rape victim is going to tortured to look at her child - case in point, my sister vanessa's first child was the result of rape, and I can tell you that the love and affection she lavishes on him is equal to all her boys.”

- Well let us hope then that those who argue environment over genetics are correct. But even with this unusual example, I don’t see that as justification to have revoked her rights to abortion. She made her choice, and according to you is happy with it. But at least she had a choice to make.

”If anything, a rape victim should be counselled without prejudice or suggestion…The argument can be made either way.”

- As long as the counseling is truly without prejudice of suggestion. But I believe that is an almost impossible task. Around Bible Belt where I live, there are organizations that do this, but they have a hidden religious agenda.

”An identical pro/con situtation exists for a mother contemplating abortion for health concerns - does she abort, terminating the life growing with-in her to save her own, or does she sacrifice her own life, so that the new one might live? Either decision carries the weight of responsibility and the psychological risks associated with it.”

- Well again, it is a decision that should be available to any woman.

”I concur, in this regard, thought it is against my beliefs personally, to the right to abort in special circumstances only. I do not support the wholesale right to abort, just because you want to…”

- You see, here’s the problem with your argument. Let’s imagine for a moment that your country bans abortion except in ‘special circumstances.’ All that achieves is ensures that rich people become the only ones that have access to it. The poor will have to suffer and have the unwanted child (or get a back street abortion risking their health), the rich will fly to a country where it is legal and get it done anyway. So while I see your point as a strict Christian, the problem is that we don’t live in a perfect Christian world. No legislation is going to fix the moral compass in the way you want it to point.

From an entirely different perspective let’s talk about my wife, who is a therapist working with children. In almost every case the severe mental health issues she deals with are caused in part or whole by being unwanted in some way shape or form. You are advocating bringing more and more unwanted children into the world. We already cannot feed and medicate our global population as it is. Unwanted children have a higher susceptibility to crime and psychological problems.

My biggest problem with people who believe as you do is that at the core you are talking about taking away the rights of women, something that has been going on for centuries.
 
  by: ZCT     02/26/2006 04:16 PM     
  Amusement again (@manila)  
 
I said: "You're not reading, not listening, and not thinking about anything but how to spin the discussion to make you right..."

Then you said: "ah yes, a truly rational argument indeed. thank you for that 'moment of clarity'."

Now I say with a snicker: Well at least, if nothing else, you're being consistent. Like irony or sarcasm, a moment of clarity is only helpful if the subject has the capacity to grasp it. ;)

 
  by: momentofclarity     02/27/2006 01:32 AM     
  @ZCT  
 
The disagreement with your position that I have is that you are absolving the mother of the responsibility for that life that she is terminating.

To put it more plainly, if you are sexually active you should be prepared to accept the responsibilities and consequences of that. We both know that no form of contraception is 100% so anyone having sexual intercourse should be aware that it could lead to pregnancy. If they aren't prepared to accept that, then quite bluntly, they shouldnt be having sex in the first place. Wholesale abortion rights just encourage sexual irresponsibility. (Note, that I am not including here the cases where the female in question has a legitimate concern as discussed before.)
 
  by: lauriesman     02/27/2006 01:39 AM     
  @moc  
 
Grin.

Although, conceptually at least, in order for there to actually be a moment of clarity, the subject implicitly MUST understand the information presented.

Clarity is in the eye of the beholder ;)
 
  by: lauriesman     02/27/2006 01:44 AM     
  @lauriesman  
 
Again you are just ignoring the real world. People will have sex, people will have abortions. Nothing you say about it will make any difference. Even if a few states or even countries ban abortion, it will not go away. Sorry.
 
  by: ZCT     02/27/2006 02:56 AM     
  @ZCT  
 
Yep, and the world will continue to cater to people wanting to abdicate personal responsibility.

I refuse however to just accept it and surrender my beliefs and principles to whatever the world thinks is right.
 
  by: lauriesman     02/27/2006 03:28 AM     
  @lauriesman  
 
No you stick to those misogynist ideals and continue your quest to subjugate women. It started in Genesis and people like you just love to carry it on. You and your brethren offend me with your holier than thou attitude and your blatant disregard for the rights of women. Your attitudes are so warped you would place a cluster of cells over the rights of a living breathing human being. It is comforting to know that people like you are significantly in the minority which is why in every civilized country women are entitled to decide what happens to their bodies without interference from those who seek to control them as you have been conditioned to do.
 
  by: ZCT     02/27/2006 05:03 AM     
  @lauriesman  
 
I think that pretty much sums up the difference. It is YOUR belief. Your entitled to your belief, most people disagree with your belief and fortunately most people don't try forcing their beliefs on others.

These might be your beliefs, and they make up the moral framework in which you live your life. It might work for you, but not for the majority of people.
 
  by: jendres     02/27/2006 06:30 AM     
  @MOC  
 
well, i did point out a clear case of hypocracy (or at best weaselling) from manila but no-one else seemed to notice.

Just some preacher claiming that manila and laruiesman are being evenhanded and rational because they agreed with him. (It seems manila actually believed him.)
 
  by: jendres     02/27/2006 06:47 AM     
  @moment  
 
actually my comment was regarding your last line where you break down to the emotional level of a pre-teen and bring up violence.

and i thought your last post on this subject was several comments ago? i must say, you're being consistent with the contradictions.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/27/2006 09:57 AM     
  @moment  
 
Next time, I would suggest arguing in the actual debate, rather than trying to start your own about whether or not abortion is humane. Your frustration is the result of me refusing to argue your separate argument.

“I agree that a fetus in even the earliest stages is technically a human… Likewise, my examples have not so much been of things that are not humans, but rather things that are humans that we can, and do, kill”

You agreed with my position. The debate should’ve stopped there, as I’ve tried to prove no more or less on the subject. Instead you carried on about humane killing. You make your ignorance of the situation known when you claimed Dedolito, with his “extensive background in genetics”, will trump me in this debate. Um, we’re debating philosophy, not science. If you’d stuck to the original philosophical debate you’d see my comments were appropriate for the subject. I assume this is not your strong suit, so you fell back on things you could prove like nerve receptors and legal definitions.

Like I told you before, though I doubt you comprehended, once the argument narrowed down I started to have a bit more fun, and went along for the ride. Your arguments are usually very rational in and of themselves, yet you allow your emotions to govern your actions. I think I’ve proven that quite well with your comment about punching me rather than continue. Your boast of living on the sole basis of logic is a bit shortsighted if you track the correlation between your comments and emotional fluctuation throughout this thread. Hubris is a powerful emotional response, isn’t it?
 
  by: manilaryce     02/27/2006 10:21 AM     
  @zct and jendres  
 
in america pro-lifers are slightly less numerous than pro-choicers. based on gender (since you brought up misogyny), men are more likely to be pro-choice than women.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/27/2006 10:30 AM     
  @manila  
 
“Um, we’re debating philosophy, not science.”

Hello?

What have you used to legitimatize your point of view throughout this entire conversation?

Let’s point out a few, shall we?

By manilaryce:

“your position is not scientific”

“i've applied just as much logic and science as you have”

“all my criteria are scientifically measurable”


How have you characterized all counter-arguments?

“that is a belief based thought rather than a scientific one”

“I’ve argued against your rationality-based criteria, yet you've not countered with a logical response”

“your immeasurable criteria is the real belief-based argument”

“your position is not scientific. i’ll explain why later.”

You’ve been repeating your claims to scientific superiority thorough this thread. May I ask what your credentials are for such professed aptitude in developmental biology? Oh, I’m sorry, you’ll probably construe that as an attack against you instead of your argument. Perhaps, though, if you would stop trying to claim superior scientific knowledge on this matter we could let this whole issue slide, hmm?

“this "magical" change occurs when two sex cells (with 23 chromosomes each) combine. there are 46 chromosomes inside each human cell, with the exception of sex cells. is this wrong mr. wizard? “

Very good. At least you paid attention to some basic biology.

However, according to what you have argued here and above, your claim is that humanity occurs when the zygote receives a total of 46 chromosomes. You exact words were:

“this change is based on the scientific proof that humans have a certain number of chromosomes.”

What then are twins? Clones? They are not the products of a sex cell union. Are they then not human?

You go on further to say that “My own determining factor would exclude people with down syndrome.”

I will take a leap of faith and hope your are obliquely referring to Trisomy disorders and are trying to cover the wide swath of chromosomal genetic disorders with this statement and that there is no hard and fast rules that 46 chromosomes define a human.

I am therefore puzzled with your insistence to adhere to the chromosomal count as a basis of your argument.

It would seem to me that rather than chromosome count you would be better off arguing from a sex cell perspective, but you elected to take the “science” route based on a somewhat arbitrary numeric basis.

I’m also puzzled by your overall stance, given that you yourself recognize the very high rate of self-termination that developing embryos undergo. As high as 25%. Is it your contention then that the products of all these untold billions of sex cell unions are humans?

If not, then your “criteria” seems seriously flawed to me, to the tune of being more than 25% wrong.

You also speak of the cognitive abilities of animals, citing that because some animals have superior mental capacity over some humans that this somehow voids basing rationality as a litmus test for humanity.

I disagree (you asked). Just because the overall mental capacity of some humans is quite low, what mental capacity they have is still human thought. There are still homo sapiens and they can still think, ergo they have human thought. That gives them humanity. An animal, though perhaps thinking in some relatively rudimentary way, is not homo sapiens. Their thoughts would be utterly alien to the human experience, even if those thoughts are more advanced in some aspects than the most severely retarded of our own kind.

Specifically, you stated: “So if we’re using rationality as our yardstick do we bring these animals up to our human level or humans down to their level? if you “legally” put it down “in a merciful fashion” that rational thought constitutes human life it would be a great victory for PETA.”

You gave it a binary choice, as if either thinking animals are human under the eyes of the law, or un- or mal-thinking humans are animals under the eyes of the law.

The reason I brought up the various regulatory entities is to point out that the law need not be absolutely divided into your two choices and that it is indeed not. Thinking animals are afforded greater and greater protections under the law in direct proportion to their mental ability. You claim that this topic is “not [your] argument” but you are the one that brought it up.

No, I don’t think my amnesia statement was at all out of context. You were trying to make the purposefully and admittedly asinine argument that the opposing viewpoint should then consider sufferers of amnesia as sub-human. I quoted you directly and extensively. I would assume you did this to attempt to invalidate that opposing viewpoint, I merely pointed out the inaccuracies of your criteria.

As for the biological development from sex cell to infant, what is the sole biological difference between a sex cell that eventually comes to term and a fertilized cell that makes it to term?
 
  by: Dedolito     02/27/2006 12:27 PM     
  @manila part 2  
 
As for the biological development from sex cell to infant, what is the sole biological difference between a sex cell that eventually comes to term and a fertilized cell that makes it to term? That the sex cell met another and opposite sex cell. A single step out of hundreds of millions of equally essential developmental steps, no more and no less critical than any of the others. That is why I said that the criteria that you so starkly divide are 99.99999999% similar.

As for what I would consider a solid scientific argument against the humanity of embryos, I suggest you refer to the very first post I made in this thread, followed by the second.

You claim not to hold all of the answers, but feel quite firmly that your own criteria is an important one, perhaps the most important one, if I follow your vehemence properly. The only science I have seen you include in your argument is that sex cells join to create a new cell at fertilization. You have not demonstrated why you believe that this is the most important and defining moment in the development of the embryo, merely that it is so because you say so.
 
  by: Dedolito     02/27/2006 12:28 PM     
  @dedolito  
 
“What have you used to legitimatize your point of view throughout this entire conversation? Let’s point out a few, shall we?”

Then you point out cases where I’ve said that my argument is scientific. I was wondering when you’d get to that. As I’ve said, I’m using science as a base for my philosophical argument. I made this clear so as to not have my position understood as being from a religious point of view. My position is scientific, not theological, aesthetic, metaphysical, political, or done to gain popularity contests.

You could’ve also included some other quotes from me:
“we’re thrown back into philosophy with this thread”
“the debate is a philosophical one”
“who is a politician or scientist to talk about philosophy?”
“thus, it's fine to use science as a base for your opinions, but ultimately you have to rely on philosophy to carry you to your conclusion”

Then you go on to provide examples of how condescending I’ve been to other arguments. Let’s look at all reporters if we’re to be fair here. If you want to site examples I’ve got plenty of ammo too. You and Moment were the first to be snippy, and any unpleasant remark made by me is in direct reply to one of those flames.

“Perhaps, though, if you would stop trying to claim superior scientific knowledge on this matter we could let this whole issue slide, hmm?”

I never claimed I had superior scientific knowledge. I claimed I had a superior scientific mark for my argument. Why superior? Well because it is uniquely human. I am saying the variable of intelligence to determine humanity is a wide and immeasurable spectrum which gets murky at the low ends. There is no huge spectrum to debate about when it comes to chromosomal differences between species. This is why I say my criteria is superior. It is much simpler a determining factor in comparison. You obviously disagree, yet no one has told me why this is “emotion-based”.

“What then are twins? Clones? They are not the products of a sex cell union. Are they then not human?”

A presumption. My argument doesn’t rely on sex cell union. My argument relies on the organism having a certain amount of chromosomes to determine the species.

“I will take a leap of faith and hope your are obliquely referring to Trisomy disorders and are trying to cover the wide swath of chromosomal genetic disorders with this statement and that there is no hard and fast rules that 46 chromosomes define a human.”

A good presumption this time. Yes, I was using Downs as an example. Any chromosome disorder in which you may have a triploid in a usual diploid set does not fit nicely into my criteria. My admittance to this flaw in my own rule casts a bit of doubt over the perception that I claim scientific superiority over this debate with certainty doesn’t it? At this point, when an exception is found, then there are other factors which would come into play to determine the species of the organism. Rationality would of course be one of these.

“I’m also puzzled by your overall stance, given that you yourself recognize the very high rate of self-termination that developing embryos undergo. As high as 25%. Is it your contention then that the products of all these untold billions of sex cell unions are humans?”

technically, yes.

“Just because the overall mental capacity of some humans is quite low, what mental capacity they have is still human thought. There are still homo sapiens and they can still think, ergo they have human thought. That gives them humanity. An animal, though perhaps thinking in some relatively rudimentary way, is not homo sapiens. Their thoughts would be utterly alien to the human experience, even if those thoughts are more advanced in some aspects than the most severely retarded of our own kind.”

But what is HUMAN thought? What separates it from animal thought is that it is coming from a human. And so you have to first determine what a human is to determine what human thought is. As far as animal thought being completely different from our own, there is no way we can know this. Though I tend to agree with you for certain species like dolphins, I disagree on chimps. I believe our closest relatives thoughts may be very similar to our own since we share an evolutionary past which developed both minds. once again, who the hell can say? It’s speculation.

The rest I’ll get to when I have more time.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/27/2006 01:40 PM     
  @manilaryce  
 
Instead of making those vague statements why not provide some actual statistics for us to look at?
 
  by: ZCT     02/27/2006 02:01 PM     
  @manila  
 
...it sure does take a lot of words to spin a wholedebate, doesn't it? I give you an A for effort, anyway.

"Next time, I would suggest arguing in the actual debate, rather than trying to start your own about..."

Oh, I love when someone has nothing more to say and resorts to "Well, you were off topic!" This is a discussion FORUM, which means we all talk and topics change fluidly. My tactic for solving problems is to hit it from as many angles as possible, rather than latch onto a Truth and bend the argument around it. You engaged my points several times, as Dedolito notes above, so they became a part of the actual discussion. Trying to recast your evasive and inappropriate responses to my arguments as some kind of choice is really absurd.

“You agreed with my position. The debate should’ve stopped there, as I’ve tried to prove no more or less
on the subject."

But you did debate my points, so it did not stop there. Again, this is a forum, not Manilachat (though it does seem now to be "Saving Face with Manilaryce"). I'll just skip a bunch of this other revisionism you've posted...but first, I'll note that it was you who derailed the topic into philosophy, so pardon us all for continuing the science debate. Heaven forbid this remain a multifaceted issue once you've made your opinion known.

"Like I told you before, though I doubt you comprehended, once the argument narrowed down I started to have a bit more fun, and went along for the ride."

Wow. Next time I utterly fail to make an argument, I'll have to remember to say that I was not really arguing, I was just going "along for the ride" and having "a bit more fun." I'm sorry, but my budget for tripe is low this week.

"Your arguments are usually very rational in and of themselves, yet you allow your emotions to govern your
actions. I think I’ve proven that quite well with your comment about punching me rather than continue."

Look, up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane - no, it's the point of the comment! Look, squint, you might be able to see it sailing majestically over your head. Let me bring it down for you: I hold no strong position on this topic, so it's unlikely that I am
going to hold a strong opinion on your position. It's you I don't like, after what this debate has shown me, and simply because I came down to a personal level to note just how much does not make any of my previous points any less valid. I think the Sysiphean ordeal which precluded that comment justifies it quite well, in fact.

"Your boast of living on the sole basis of logic is a bit shortsighted if you track the correlation between
your comments and emotional fluctuation throughout this thread. Hubris is a powerful emotional response, isn’t it?"

You'd certainly know a lot about that, so I'll take your word for it. I only have a few words on frustration in the face of obstinacy. Any sage words
on hypocrisy, while I have your counsel?

"Emotional fluctuations?" Now to which of those times where you began getting insulting because you perceived sarcasm and hostility in my remarks, after which I had to tell you to calm down, would you be referring? Outside of your persecutorial delusions, my only excess until the very end here as been the number of different ways I have tried to present my rationale to you. At this point, I am more than confident in letting those words speak for themselves rather than wasting time defending them from you after the fact. I would hope you feel the same, since “Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.”
 
  by: MomentOfClarity     02/27/2006 07:40 PM     
  @Moment  
 
One thing I will give you credit for is unpredictability. You really do surprise me.

“I'll note that it was you who derailed the topic into philosophy, so pardon us all for continuing the science debate. Heaven forbid this remain a multifaceted issue once you've made your opinion known.”

Nice, but actually your first comments towards me were about philosophy. You went on about brain dead potential, blank slate, and sardines. We later got derailed when you were arguing against an invisible debate. I do recall you even came to that realization of detour by yourself.

“I think the source of our miscommunication and subsequent disagreement may be what each of us attach to our definitions. Since I forget what we were even arguing about initially at this point, I could be wrong about this assessment. “

So it was me who derailed us when you don’t even know what we’re arguing about?

“I'll have to remember to say that I was not really arguing, I was just going "along for the ride" and having "a bit more fun.”

Wait, did Moment misunderstand something I said? No way! This has never happened before! Hold on, I need to gather my composure before I continue.

I never said I wasn’t arguing. Anyone can see that I was and for several days. Why would I deny that? What I do confess to is having a bit of fun in the process to push your buttons and prove a point. This quote from you is what started it all:

“I subscribe to the theory that there are two basic kinds of thought - emotional (or belief-based) and rational (or logic-based). I try to use the former as little as possible. Obviously both have their uses and overlap in many situations, but I prefer an approach based in detached objectivity… I think our emotional attachment to the designation of "human" only leads us astray…”

And now the moment of clarity’s other side has been exposed. So after you flipped your lid I was surprised this irrationality continued to happen not just once, but for every post afterwards! Now you engage in nothing but emotion based behavior. thanks

“It's you I don't like, after what this debate has shown me, and simply because I came down to a personal level to note just how much does not make any of my previous points any less valid”

No, you’re right. Your distaste for me does not make blank slate theory any less valid. Though you have to admit it’s fascinating how irate people get when someone that doesn’t even exist insults you from a point of view you’re not even sure they have. How many hours, if not days have you spent in grief over something which isn’t personally a hot-button issue in this allegorical cave?

“Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.”

That’s a very nice quote in a post where you take the time to blast me. Moment, when I’ve said “thank you” I really have meant it (unfortunately the same is not true for “sorry”).
 
  by: manilaryce     02/27/2006 10:33 PM     
  @manila  
 
“My argument relies on the organism having a certain amount of chromosomes to determine the species.”

*dumbfounded*

Um, you do realize that there are millions upon millions of different species on this planet, right?

We don’t all have different numbers of chromosomes. Hell, maize-Tripsacum mybrids have 46 chromosomes too. Are we then corn? Is corn human?

Chickens, dogs, ducks all have 78 chromosomes, are they all the same species?

Chimps and tobacco both have 48.

Hose flies and tomatoes have 12.

Total number of chromosomes means exactly zilch when it comes to speciation.
 
  by: Dedolito     02/27/2006 10:36 PM     
  for your amusement...  
 
A cursory google search turned up these organisms that also have 46 chromosomes as well:

Muntiacus reevesi (a south east asian deer)
Oligoryzomys sp. (south American rodent)
Corynocarpus cribbianus (karakara nut trees)
Corynocarpus dissimilis
Corynocarpus laevigatus
Corynocarpus similis

 
  by: Dedolito     02/27/2006 10:57 PM     
  @dedolito  
 
"We don’t all have different numbers of chromosomes. Hell, maize-Tripsacum mybrids have 46 chromosomes too. Are we then corn? Is corn human?"

Thank you for posing a valid argument. Hares also have 46 chromosomes. Obviously corn and hares are not human. In a debate about the difference between sex cells and a zygote I note the chromosomal count, as species do not change that count during their life span. As far as I know, once a species has been created (46 chromosomes in this case) it does not gain or lose chromosomes. In an earlier post I said:

“the organism has 46 chromosomes, making it human. on the other hand, it may not be anatomically definable as one”

In an inter-species debate (beyond the “when does life begin” debate) you can't depend on chromosomes alone. I’d say this is where you’d rely on other factors such as anatomy. Rationality should also be considered, though none of these should be the only factor one considers, rather a culmination of all three.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/27/2006 11:16 PM     
  @ZCT  
 
"No you stick to those misogynist ideals and continue your quest to subjugate women."

Actually, it has very little to do with the fact that women are involved. It's a general set of principles. It would be the same if men bore children instead of women - if you do something, you have to accept the consequences. If you aren't prepared for those consequences, then don't do it. It goes for everything, from driving a car, to having sex. It's called personal responsibility.

"It started in Genesis and people like you just love to carry it on."

I have no idea what you are blathering about.

"You and your brethren offend me with your holier than thou attitude and your blatant disregard for the rights of women."

You and your kind offend me with your "i'm right, you're a sick bastard" attitude and disregard for personal responsibility, destroying society from within.

"Your attitudes are so warped you would place a cluster of cells over the rights of a living breathing human being."

Not just any cluster of cells, the very beginnings of a human life.

"It is comforting to know that people like you are significantly in the minority which is why in every civilized country women are entitled to decide what happens to their bodies without interference from those who seek to control them as you have been conditioned to do."

I haven't been conditioned to anything, this is how I think, and feel. My own principles arrived at by my own path. I'm pro-women's rights, however, I don't believe that those cells are part of the woman's body - she does not have the exclusive right to decide what happens to them. Her body ends at the womb. Those cells belong to the new life growing within her. If she doesn't want a new life growing in her, she shouldn't be having sex. Ditto for the man. Why is it, that a man is considered responsible for that life - in terms of child support and such - should the woman decide to carry it to term, but the woman is not considered responsible for it and in your opinion should be able to terminate it unilaterally?
 
  by: lauriesman     02/27/2006 11:34 PM     
  @dedolito  
 
“As for the biological development from sex cell to infant, what is the sole biological difference between a sex cell that eventually comes to term and a fertilized cell that makes it to term?”

this is the question to my chromosomal answer.

“You claim not to hold all of the answers, but feel quite firmly that your own criteria is an important one, perhaps the most important one…You have not demonstrated why you believe that this is the most important and defining moment in the development of the embryo, merely that it is so because you say so.”

Both my criteria and Moments criteria have loopholes for people we’d consider human. This is why I’ve stated in just about every post that no argument is perfect, and there must be other criteria included to deal with these loopholes. The reason I believe my chromosomal criteria to be superior over the rationality criteria is because it is a constant. Rationality is constantly changing throughout the course of a human life. It is also immeasurable and determining its level is subjective since you can’t observe rationality, only the cells which may allow it to occur.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/28/2006 12:43 AM     
  @manila  
 
I think your argument is not coming through clearly because you are using the wrong terminology. You said quite clearly that the number of chromosomes determines the species. This is in fact the verbatim lesson in early-level biology books. Humans have 46, chimps have 48, dogs 78, etc.

I think what you are trying to obliquely refer to is the haploid/diploid state of cells during the life cycle of an organism.

I would make the clarification that it is the individual cells that have chromosomes, not an organism on the whole. For example, human red blood cells lack chromosomes entirely, sex cells have the haploid number, a certain percentage of your body cells have undergone chromosome addition or deletion events that have changed the number of chromosomes in local cells from 46 to another number (more detail below)

Second, “As far as I know, once a species has been created (46 chromosomes in this case) it does not gain or lose chromosomes” is not a rule in nature. Look up “haploid dominance” or “alteration of generations” sometime. Some “odd” species exchange genetic material during both phases.

In higher life forms you can have haploid and diploid and even triploid adult individuals, commonly observed in bees. In these organisms, unfertilized eggs will still develop into adult creatures.

Or if you want real brain twisters, look up heterothallic, homothallic, pseudohomothallic life cycles of fungi.

As for non-mutational chromosome events, look up chromatin diminution, polytene chromosomes, even chromosome elimination events that change the composition and/or number of chromosomes present in the tissues organisms (unrelated to sex cells).
 
  by: Dedolito     02/28/2006 12:55 AM     
  @zct  
 
http://www.washtimes.com/...

"Fifty-one percent of women surveyed by the Center for the Advancement of Women said the government should prohibit abortion or limit it to extreme cases, such as rape, incest, or life-threatening complications.
The findings, with a 3 percent margin of error for the 1,000 women surveyed, tips the scale from the last sampling in 2001, when 45 percent of women sided against making abortion readily available or imposing only mild restrictions. Only 30 percent support making it generally available, down from 34 percent in 2001, the survey found.
The New York-based center that sponsored the survey is a nonpartisan advocacy group for pro-choice women's rights. The center's president, Faye Wattleton, headed the Planned Parenthood Federation of America for 14 years.
"While we do have a certain point of view on women's issues, we don't believe we should suppress information," Mrs. Wattleton said in an interview yesterday with The Washington Times. "You don't want to create false or artificial data."
The results, announced with a series of women's responses to issues such as domestic violence and affirmative action, found that fewer women — 41 percent — consider protecting abortion a top priority, an 8 percent drop from 2001. Of the 12 top priorities, keeping abortion legal was second to last, beating only the percentage of women who want to increase the number of girls participating in organized sports."

if you have conflicting data please present it. the numbers are so close the majority gets switched between sides every couple years.
 
  by: manilaryce     02/28/2006 12:57 AM     
  @manila  
 
"The reason I believe my chromosomal criteria to be superior over the rationality criteria is because it is a constant."

But it is not constant at all. It is not constant in the case of twins, clones, or the theoretical possibility of female human parthogenisis. Neither is it consistnat with chromosomal aberations in botht he fertilized embryo nor in cells that compose the body of an adult being.



 
  by: Dedolito     02/28/2006 01:03 AM     
  @manilaryce  
 
http://www.msmagazine.com/...

"A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 56 percent of respondents nationwide favored keeping abortion legal in all or most cases. The survey of 1,082 adults, conducted in April 2005, showed that only 14 percent of those surveyed wanted to keep abortion illegal in all cases, with another 27 percent wanting most cases to be illegal."

I will concede that the results were closer than I expected. I suspect that the heavily religious pockets of this country cause figures like this to happen.
 
  by: ZCT     02/28/2006 01:20 AM     
  @manilaryce  
 
http://uk.news.yahoo.com/...

In the UK, where this story started, only 10% of women want to see abortion outlawed.
 
  by: ZCT     02/28/2006 01:31 AM     
  @manila  
 
just give it up already. You are inconsistent and just throwing up barriers to prevent yourself from reassessing your position.

You are talking like a religioius extremist, but claiming to be neutral, rational, scientific and philosphoical. You jump all over the place and when pressed say things like "I was just playing around before".

I think most of the respected commentators here would consider you a fool. I can't see why MoC and Dedillito are wasting their time on a fanatic like you.
 
  by: jendres     02/28/2006 02:53 AM     
  guess who  
 
sorry, i've been away on jury.

@ZCT
both our articles are a bit old, but since yours is more recent i suspect the majority in the US is still pro-choice. my point was that the perception that most pro-lifers are oppressive men is inaccurate since the stats say otherwise.

@jendres
what have you contributed here other than to ride dedolitos coattails? if i am to concede it will be to the evidence dedolito has presented, not to your taunts.

@dedolito
"a certain percentage of your body cells have undergone chromosome addition or deletion events that have changed the number of chromosomes in local cells from 46 to another number"

Yes, but like meiosis they start with 46 and change from there into other cells.

"It is not constant in the case of twins, clones, or the theoretical possibility of female human parthogenisis."

I still fail to see why twins and clones would be excluded by my criteria. Nonetheless, bringing up haploid dominance, alteration of generations, and parthogenisis in non-human organisms is an interesting take on my position. I suppose we could then consider sperm and egg to be human just as we'd classify both haploid and diploid forms of a moss to be the same species. Though I think the flaw in that reasoning is that we are a diplontic species. You wouldn't consider a bear’s sperm to be a bear, but you would consider a haploid form of algae to be algae. In the latter case, it is the diploid that is used to reproduce, while the main life cycle is haplontic. Theoretically, you could use my chromosome criteria for haplontic species if you switch it around and consider the actual species to be haploid, and the diploid form to be merely potential to create it.

You obviously have a better understanding of my argument than Moment. Because of this, I am willing to let go of a chromosomal determination of what makes a human if you have a better biological determinant. From your knowledge, is there another factor which presents itself as uniquely human? I think the rationality argument which was previously presented is more of a general belief. Certainly it’s true that we’re the most intelligent species on this planet, but does it really “separate” us from the animals as they say? Surely there must be something ALL humans have which truly does make this separation. The quest for this factor is what originally lead me to my chromosomal criteria.
 
  by: manilaryce     03/01/2006 01:12 PM     
  the universal analogy  
 
wooly willy
 
  by: manilaryce     03/03/2006 06:07 AM     
  @manila  
 
wooly willy sucks

"And yes I got a plan I'm a carry out it
Yes I'm pro-choice I'm a scream and shout it"

-Now Get Busy, Beastie Boys
 
  by: manilaryce     03/06/2006 01:35 AM     
  @manilaryce  
 
wooly willy does not suck. the beastie boys suck.


"we are the ones that want to choose, always want to play but you never want to lose."

-Aerials, System of a Down
 
  by: manilaryce     03/06/2006 01:38 AM     
  @manila  
 
that's such a vague lyric. at least the beastie boys are clear about what they're trying to get across.
 
  by: manilaryce     03/06/2006 01:42 AM     
  @manilaryce  
 
system could kick the beastie boys asses any day. and just because a song has a clear message doesn't mean it's a good song.
 
  by: manilaryce     03/06/2006 01:44 AM     
 
 
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