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July 28, 2006

Comments

Tom Tyler

As far as we know an embryo lacks the hardware to have any such inner life

-Ah, but I'm not even saying that it is the hardware that gives it such, in the first place. For example, I have a friend who has a severely mentally handicapped sister, she has the mental age of a four year old and I have no idea of her level of awareness. But I still regard her as just as human as myself.

True about many embryos dying before birth. I am my mother's first child and she had 3 miscarriages before I was born. (I often wonder about how fearful she must have been when she was carrying me). But I know that she regarded her unsuccessful pregnancies as human beings and she mourned deeply for her lost ones.

"Why not act like everything is a person"? Again, we reach the real heart of the matter. I admit that religious faith plays a huge role in forming my beliefs. My beliefs are not pure science, they are faith-beliefs. Sure. I don't think that science alone can answer the questions about what it means to be human. BUT, as far as I can see, the belief that an embryo is not a human being until a certain point, is not scientific either. It is a faith statement, every bit as much as my statements.

This goes right to the centre of the debate, and it applies in the same way to other issues such as evolution v creationism. Us religious folk freely admit that science can only supply the answers up to a point, the rest is faith. But evolutionists/pro-choice people like to say that their views are based on science alone. I really do think that that is not the case. I think that this is what our debate really boils down to. It's not "faith versus science", but a difference of faith-based beliefs. Because there is no way that biology by itself can define what it means to be human. We're more than just a clump of cells. Whether one belives that an embryo is a human or not, that belief is a statement of faith, not a statement of science alone. In my opinion.

Tom Tyler

Frank, it's time for me to have a cup of hot cocoa (who am I kidding? I mean another vodka & tonic) and retire to bed. It's been good. Might continue this tomorrow. G'night.

Colm

Well I wonder if either of you had eggs for Breakfast :)

That Damnable O'Dwyer!

Tom,

For example, I have a friend who has a severely mentally handicapped sister, she has the mental age of a four year old and I have no idea of her level of awareness. But I still regard her as just as human as myself.

Of course. But maybe you see now why twaddle about souls and inner life is pretty much useless. Your friend's sister is human, alive, born. That's nice and simple, easy to prove, and hard to refute. It's also pretty much the legal standard for personhood.

Because there is no way that biology by itself can define what it means to be human.

Of course not. It's just that some views about personhood don't mesh with reality - in other words they contradict known facts.

If you say that a zygote is *a* person, then twinning is a problematic *fact*, so is the (ignored) attrition rate of zygotes, so are human chimeras. If sentience is part of what you think it means to be human, then lack of any possibility of it should be a problem. So for that matter is the 'burning fertility clinic' scenario, so is the fact that we don't bury tampons in hallowed ground even though we do bury some pets!

So while I totally agree that personhood is not 'scientific' - it's not even a scientific question until you define personhood - nonetheless it's not a matter of faith. Not all views are equally reasonable. Some views contradict facts, or themselves, or they lead to silly conclusions.

That Damnable O'Dwyer!

Colm,

Well I wonder if either of you had eggs for Breakfast

You should ask MR - he was the one handwringing about eggs.

Why, at one point he even said that a roast dinner was a person! Even put it in italics for emphasis!

:-)

Colm

Frank


At one point Over on the Vlog 13 thread MR said he was off to make himself an omelette !

That Damnable O'Dwyer!

Colm, I know. Today it will be medical experiments on stray children. It all starts with omelettes. It's "only" an omelette - that's what they tell themselves!

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