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November 25, 2006

Comments

Curiously, you can use the SLED test to aruge that the unfertilized ovum is a person too.

Tony, the _critical_ part of the argument that justifies the SLED test is that the unborn human differs ONLY in those four ways from the born human. This does not hold true for the unfertilized ovum -- it differs in other ways. The SLED argument cannot therefore be used for it; if you wanted to argue that the unfertilized egg was a living human being you'd have to find another test.

William,

>> "the _critical_ part of the argument that justifies the SLED test is that the unborn human differs ONLY in those four ways from the born human."

no there's lots of differences not mentioned in the four

Size
Level of Development
Environment
Degree of Dependency

those are the four.

but how about age, weight, average travel speed, synapse count, presense of umbilical cord...

but aside from that, how might you convince your opponent that a fertilized ovum is a person but an unfertilized one is not.

Using the SLED test to argue that an unfertilized ovum is a person as well as a zygote is looking over an aspect of person hood. To be a person you must b alive. An unfertilized ovum is about as alive as a zygote.

"Simplify the abortion issue by focusing on only one question"

I found the above line on the "Making Abortion Unthinkable" page. Now I understand the concept of "staying on message" but I also understand that the purpose of that approach is to subvert true debate and discussion.

That tactic has not produced a better politics in our Nation and there is no reason to believe that using it in dealing with the abortion issue with be any different.

However one feels about abortion, the role of the state eventually will arise in how we deal with it. The assumption implicit in the STR approach seems to be that the role of the state follows clearly and directly from an adoption of its position on the topic and therefore need not be part of the discussion That, however, may not be clear to the rest of us.

In fact, the role of that approach in the Schaivo incident has given pause to many of us. It is entirely reasonable for one to doubt that the proper role of the state has been well thought through on the anti-abortion side and mechanically staying on message will do nothing to alleviate those concerns.

The SLED test is applied to developing human beings. The unfertilized ovum is not a developing human being; it is a germ cell whose material parts contribute to the existence of a developing human being when it unites and dynamically interacts with the male germ spell that results in a new human being.

Remember that the most sophisticated prochoice arguments admit the unborn's humanity from conception but offer a decisive moment at which it moves from mere human to human-person. So, that's to what the SLED test is applied.

The healthy ovum of a fertile female human succeeds in fulfilling its intrinsic purpose as part of a human being. It completes its purpose when it ceases to be after uniting with a male sperm, which also ceases to be.

So, to answer Tony: SLED can be applied to an ovum, but all you get is an ovum, not a human being, since a small, underdeveloped, and dependent ovum is still an ovum that will remain so when it reaches its perfection. The perfection of the embryo's nature is to become a mature human being.


>> “The unfertilized ovum is not a developing human being; it is a germ cell whose material parts contribute to the existence of a developing human being when it unites and dynamically interacts with the male germ spell that results in a new human being.”

This is just like arguing: The unfertilized ovum is not a developing human being because there are some other parts (which I consider important) that it doesn’t have yet.

Tell us, who told you which parts are important and which are not?


The ovum does not acquire new parts. It ceases to be, though its material constitution contributes to the new human organism. Here is what I write about it in my forthcoming book, Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice (Cambridge University Press, 2007) (Footnotes have been removed; also, because this is a pre-published, no one has permission to reproduce this without my explicit written consent):

Pregnancy begins at conception, the successful result of the process of fertilization at which the male sperm and the female ovum unite. That is, fertilization is a process, taking between twenty-four to thirty-six hours, that culminates in conception. And what results is an entity called a zygote. It is a misnomer to refer to this entity as a "fertilized ovum." For both ovum and sperm, which are genetically parts of their owners (mother and father, respectively), cease to exist at least at the moment of conception and perhaps earlier in the fertilization process.

For that reason, it may not even be correct to refer to the sperm and egg as "uniting," for, as philosopher Robert Joyce points out, "that suggests that they remain and form a larger whole." But that is not accurate, for they are not like machine parts cobbled together to form something larger though remaining identifiable parts. Rather, "the nuclei of the sperm and ovum dynamically interact," and "in so doing, they both cease to be. One might say they die together.""

There is a dispute among human embryologists concerning the point in the fertilization process at which a new human being comes to be. Many maintain that this occurs before syngamy, the time at which the maternal and paternal chromosomes cross-over and form a diploid set. Some, for example, argue that a human being comes to be when the sperm penetrates the ovum, while others argue that this occurs when the pronuclei of the maternal and paternal chromosomes blend in the oocyte. It seems to me that the penetration criterion is flawed because the sperm and ovum still seem to be two distinct entities and thus no new individual human human being exists. The pre-syngamy pronuclei standard is less problematic since sperm and ovum have ceased to exist as distinct entities and the oocyte, though not possessing the diploid set of chromosomes of the zygote and embryo, seems to behave like an individual living organism with an intrinsically-directed nature.

Nevertheless, even though a new human being may have come to be prior to syngamy (and there is good reason to hold this view), it seems indisputable that at syngamy a new human being, an individual human being, exists and is in the process of development and is not identical to either the sperm or the ovum from whose uniting it arose.

David Boonin argues that the dispute about the precise moment at which a new human organism comes into existence counts against the claim that a human being begins at conception. Although he brings up many of the same points I have briefly summarized above, Boonin’s raising of this important epistemological question (When do we know X is an individual organism and its germ cell progenitors cease to be?) does not detract from the claim that a complete and living zygote is a whole human organism. It may be that one cannot, with confidence, pick out the precise point at which a new being comes into existence between the time at which the sperm initially penetrates the ovum and a complete and living zygote is present. But how does it follow from that acknowledgment of agnosticism that one cannot say that zygote X is a human being? It seems to me that Boonin commits the fallacy of the beard: just because I cannot tell you when stubble ends and a beard begins, does not mean that I cannot distinguish bearded faces from clean shaven ones. After all, abortion-choice supporters typically pick out what they consider value-making properties—e.g., rationality, having a self-concept, sentience, or organized cortical brain activity (as in the case of Boonin)—that they maintain justify one in concluding that a being lacking one or all of them does not have a right to life. (These arguments will be critically assessed in chapter 6). But it is nearly impossible to pick out at what precise point in a being’s existence it acquires the correct trait, e.g., when it becomes rational enough or has a sufficient amount of organized cortical brain activity, to warrant a right to life. But it’s doubtful whether the abortion-choice advocate would abandon her position on those grounds.

Resulting from the dynamic interaction, and organic merger, of the female ovum (which contains 23 chromosomes) and the male sperm (which contains 23 chromosomes), the conceptus is a new, although tiny, individual with a human genetic code with its own genomic sequence (with forty-six chromosomes), which is neither her mother's nor her father's. From this point until death no new genetic information is needed to make the unborn entity an individual human being. Her genetic make-up is established at conception, determining to a great extent her own individual physical characteristics--gender, eye color, bone structure, hair color, skin color, susceptibility to certain diseases, etc. That is to say, at conception, the "genotype"--the inherited characteristics of an individual human being--is in place and it plays the same role in the human organism as it does in all living organisms: it is highly-complex information that instructs the unfolding of the organism's intrinsic potential. The conceptus, from the very beginning, is a whole organism, with certain capacities, powers, and properties, whose parts work in concert to bring the whole to maturity.

The organism’s genotype will remain with it as long as it exists. The only thing necessary for its growth and development, as with the rest of us, is oxygen, food, water, and healthy interaction with its natural environment, since this organism, like the newborn, the infant, and the adolescent, needs only to develop in accordance with her given nature that is present at conception. This is why French geneticist Jerome L. LeJeune, while testifying before a Senate Subcommittee, asserted: "To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion. The human nature of the human being from conception to old age is not a metaphysical contention, it is plain experimental evidence."

>> The ovum does not acquire new parts. It ceases to be, though its material constitution contributes to the new human organism.

You could say that about any hunk of matter on the body. Why don’t you just say: “The arm_(on_day_512) does not acquire new parts. It ceases to be and through its material constitution contributes to the new human organism – as the arm_(on_day_513) of course.”

By whose authority do you KNOW when a construct of carbon nitrogen oxygen and hydrogen “CEASES TO BE” one thing and becomes another? Does the C N O H that make up the zygote have some discoverable observable property of “zygoteness” that can be unearthed via the scientific method? Or, is it just a name we give to atoms that are forming a shape that kinda looks like other shapes we’ve seen – and have created a class for.

If Frank Beckwith says that Pluto is a planet, and Tony says that Pluto is a rock, how might one devise a schema to ascertain which one of our claims is TRUE? Sure we could jot down some criteria and see if it fits. But where did these criteria come from? Where did the criteria for HUMANESS come from?

Or, as in this picture: http://www.gregiswrong.com/world2.htm

if Frank Beckwith says the Panda is the C N O H in the blue circle, and Tony says the Panda is the C N O H in the blue and red circles, how might one devise a schema to ascertain which one of our claims is TRUE?

* * *

As Robert Morison said:

"What we observe are some unusual sets of objects separated from the rest of the world by certain peculiar ways of handling energy. These objects we elect to call 'living things'."

As Richard Dawkins said:

"Words are only tools for our use, and the mere presence in the dictionary of a word like 'living' does not mean it necessarily has to refer to something definite in the real world"

As Ernst Mayr said:

“Attempts have been made again and again to define "life." These endeavors are rather futile since it is now quite clear that there is no special substance, object, or force that can be identified with life.”

The mock analogy given above, of the arm (on day 512) etc... is not analogous to the explanation given by Francis relating to the ovum.
Do you still have an arm on day 512?

There is a popular saying where I live in Australia, made famous by Rove McManus.

"What the..?"

STR and others do not use the SLED test to argue that the unborn baby is a human/person. They use it to demonstrate that the SLED reasons cannot be used to dismiss humanness or personhood.

People give the SLED reasons to discredit the humanness of the unborn baby. For example they will say, "It is not a human because it is too small, or because it is not fully developed yet, etc." Yet, this argument is flawed.

It does not follow that because something is "too small" then it must not be a human/person. In fact, size has nothing to do with being a human or person at all.

Instead, there are biological reasons to argue that human beings who have full personhood are created at conception. This is why no one has to consider an unfertilized ovum for personhood. You said it yourself - it is unfertilized.

The purpose of the SLED test is not to “prove” personhood, but rather to show which arguments cannot be used when defining human life. In other words, if you want to convince someone that the unborn baby is not a human, do not use the SLED reasons. Think of a better argument.

I suppose you could use the SLED test with the unfertilized ovum, but the argument would be the same: It does not follow that because the ovum is small, it is not human. No one is discrediting the humanness of the ovum based on Size, Level of Development, Environment or Degree of Dependency. We have other reasons to believe that the ovum is not human.

Size, Level of Development, Environment and Degree of Dependency all have nothing to do with humanness or personhood. Conception does. And I believe that is the entire point.

Tony,

Did you read Beckwith's argument? He says the new being has

"its own genomic sequence (with forty-six chromosomes), which is neither her mother's nor her father's. From this point until death no new genetic information is needed to make the unborn entity an individual human being."

You have a growing being with a genomic sequence that does not belong to the mother or father, and no new genetic information is needed throughout its entire life.

That sounds like it ceased being one thing and became something else, doesn't it?

Once it was a sperm/ovum and now it is a human being. Seems pretty clear to me.

How is that hard to understand? Beckwith is not basing this change on his authority. He's using biological information to study and observe this change.

Please better explain the problem you have with this.

Tony,

You said, "Where did the criteria for HUMANESS come from?"

It comes from the differences between humans and everything else.

This seems to be the usual way criteria is set.

Alan :"Now I understand the concept of "staying on message" but I also understand that the purpose of that approach is to subvert true debate and discussion."

Alan, you have nearly insurmountable issues discerning emprical data, how can you possibly hope to assign motive to anyone?

God help you, you are a merciless person.

Hi Patrick, let me know where I have empirically let you down and I'll do my best to fill in the gaps.

Also, how does staying on message facilitate forming the common ground that is necessary for policy formation in a democracy?

I'm just tired of turning on the TV or radio and hearing people reciting the same mindless talking points because that's the message for the day. So yes, no mercy for those folks who stay relentlessly on message.

Oh, and you might check out how anti-abortion laws are enforced in Central America and then perhaps you will understand why, from the POV of our deepest values, SLED and much of the above discussion is only a small part of the issue and, for that matter, not all that central.

Tony said:

"no there's lots of differences not mentioned in the four

Size
Level of Development
Environment
Degree of Dependency

those are the four.

but how about age, weight, average travel speed, synapse count, presense of umbilical cord..."

Did anyone else catch that? Was Tony trying to point out OTHER differences not covered in SLED? This is very sloppy, Tony, and should be obvious to anyone - "Age and synapse count" are congruous to Level of Development, "weight" is congruous to Size, "presence of umbilical cord" is congruous to Degree of Dependency, and I'm really not sure what you mean by "average travel speed" but it seems to me this would also fall under Level of Development.

One more question for Tony: if you knew that you would suffer no punitive consequenses (say the laws changed, or you had a crystal ball, or something), would you kill the next person who inconveniences you, or stands between you and a goal? After all, if they are merely a collection of molecules arbitrarily designated as a "living person", as you claim to be the case for embryos, why not? If you can push this argument backward towards ova, then I can push it forward towards adults.

"You could say that about any hunk of matter on the body. Why don’t you just say: “The arm_(on_day_512) does not acquire new parts. It ceases to be and through its material constitution contributes to the new human organism – as the arm_(on_day_513) of course.”"

I could say that, but it would be wrong. So, I won't. The arm, when functioning properly, is part of a fully integrated organism. If you cut one of your arms off and it is eaten by a cannibal, then the arm's material constitution contributes to the nutrition of the cannibal. But between amputation and meal, the arm is no longer an arm per se, since it is not part of a fully-integrated organism. Once it becomes a meal, its material constitution is converted by the cannibal's body and is assimilated into its whole. Some of it, of course, becomes poop, which may be devoured by flies. Again, I reproduce a portion of my forthcoming book in which I deal with an argument by Baruch Brody. Conceptually, this may help (Again, as before, this may not be republished without my written permission. Footnotes were taken out as well):

In reply to this criticism, Brody offers the following fictional scenario:

"[I]magine that medical technology has reached the stage at which, when brain death occurs, the brain is removed, "liquified," and "recast" into a new functioning brain. The new brain bears no relation to the old one (it has none of its memory traces, and so on). If the new brain were put into the old body, would the same human being exist or a new human being who made use of the body of the old one? I am inclined to suppose the latter. But consider the entity whose brain has died. Is he not like the fetus? Both have the potential for developing into an entity with a functioning brain (we shall call this a weak potential) but it seems to me, that an entity can go out of existence even if it retains a weak potential for having a functioning brain, and that, analogously, the fetus is not a human being just because it has this weak potential. What is essential for being human is the possession of the potential for human activities that comes with having the structures required for a functioning brain. It is this potential that the fetus acquires at (or perhaps slightly before) the time that its brain starts functioning, and it is this potential that the newly conceived fetus does not have."

Once a few conceptual distinctions are made, it is easy to see why this response does not succeed. The unborn’s potential is intrinsic to its nature, something for which its parts act in concert to actualize. The unborn that acquires consciousness is the same substance that once did not have consciousness. On the other hand, the corpse and its brain are not parts of a fully-integrated organism. Rather they are dis-integrated parts that may be employed as material causes—e.g., the pre-recast brain—that may contribute to the existence of a new organism as in Brody’s fictional scenario.

Consequently, the use of the term “weak potential” is misleading. The unborn does not have a “weak potential” for consciousness; it has a basic capacity for consciousness by nature that it is intrinsically-directed to acquire and will come to fruition given adequate health, nutrition, and shelter. In contrast, the “weak potential” of the dead brain is not an active, intrinsicially-directed, potential it has by nature, but is the sort of passive potential that all things have: a passive potential to be acted upon, shaped, and altered by extrinsic causes including agents. For example, the apple tree in my neighbor’s yard has the basic capacity (or active potential) by nature to spawn apples; it has the weak potential (or passive potential) to become my desk, though it really can not become my desk. Rather, its material parts may be employed by a carpenter to build my desk. It is the carpenter’s agency, plan, and tools acting in concert upon the dead wood of the tree that results in my desk. The tree ceases to exist as an organism when it is killed. The “recasting” of the resulting lumber is not, strictly speaking, a potential the tree has by nature. It is merely one of the many ways it may be acted upon by extrinsic agents that may destroy it and use its material parts for any number of projects from desks to tooth picks.

Hi Alan

If you were going to make the laws regarding abortion what would that look like?

sincerely,
Todd

Franciss Beckwith,

>> “The arm, when functioning properly, is part of a fully integrated organism.”

Ask yourself this, why are the Panda and the Lake not an “integrated organism?”

http://www.gregiswrong.com/world2.htm

How might we ascertain the rules of “integration”?

Ask yourself this, based on Frank Beckwith’s rules of “integration”, is the Red Clover an integrated organism with the bee?

As Samuel Butler said:

“Surely if a machine is able to reproduce another machine systematically, we may say that it has a reproductive system. What is a reproductive system, if it be not a system for reproduction? And how few of the machines are there which have not been produced systematically by other machines? But it is man that makes them do so. Yes; but is it not insects that make many of the plants reproductive, and would not whole families of plants die out if their fertilization was not effected by a class of agents utterly foreign to themselves? Does any one say that the red clover has no reproductive system because the humble bee (and the humble bee only) must aid and abet it before it can reproduce? No one. The humble bee is a part of the reproductive system of the clover.”

“Surely if a machine is able to reproduce another machine systematically, we may say that it has a reproductive system. What is a reproductive system, if it be not a system for reproduction? And how few of the machines are there which have not been produced systematically by other machines? But it is man that makes them do so. Yes; but is it not insects that make many of the plants reproductive, and would not whole families of plants die out if their fertilization was not effected by a class of agents utterly foreign to themselves? Does any one say that the red clover has no reproductive system because the humble bee (and the humble bee only) must aid and abet it before it can reproduce? No one. The humble bee is a part of the reproductive system of the clover.”

Tony, you are confusing the system with the process. You might as well say that the needle is part of the human reproductive when invitro occurs.

Todd, I'd look at policy before passing laws. As long as abortion is legal anywhere most of us are a plane ticket away from abortion access - http://www.pregnantpause.org/lex/world02.htm.

Raise the minimum wage, do national health care, get rid of anti-union laws, etc. for a start.

Effective anti-abortion enforcement would be too tinged with a police state aura for our traditions.


Robert Casteline,

>>”…you are confusing the system with the process. You might as well say that the needle is part of the human reproductive when invitro occurs.”

Of course. What is a reproductive system, if it be not a system for reproduction?

So the bee is or is not part of the reproductive system of the clover?


Hi Alan

So you don't believe there should be any restriction on abortion?

sincerely,
Todd

"So the bee is or is not part of the reproductive system of the clover?"

No, of course not. Show me one botany book that lists as the reproductive organs a bee. The pieces that are reproductive belong to the being itself. The bee is a process of transfering pollen to stamen (or whatever it is. It's late and I'm not going to wikipedia). But the wind could do that as well. Or one clover leaning into another. The bee simply happens to be the best and most common method of transfering pollen. Butler is wrong.

Robert,

And who among us holds the master criteria that delaminates the universe? When does a reproductive system start and end?

Does Robert Casteline have access to these rules. Would you offer, for example:

A Reproductive System must be surrounded by an epidermal layer.

But who told you this rule?

You're right Tony, we can just make the rules up as we go.

I was thinking just the other day, why should my person cease at my epidermal layers? How restrictive science is to tell me that my body does not extend beyond my outer layers of flesh and stubble.

Also, applying this new wisdom you speak of, I came upon the revelation that the womb that bore my three children is actually part of my reproductive system, and not my wife's as I had originally thought.

You've really opened my eyes, thanks.

Tony,

Duane is exactly correct. Some things are just common sense. Your radical agnosticism is intellectually dishonest. By your standard, I could kill you and claim that I was simply clipping my toenails, because who is to say where my matter begins or ends? And who is to say that you are infact not my toenail? Sure, you may assert that, vehemently in fact, but you can't be certain afterall.

Remind me to never let you walk my child across a busy street.

-Robert

Hi Todd, It's not where I would start. First trimester abortions s/b unrestricted, past that to viability, I don't know, from viability on it would depend on how the law is written. It would help if anti-abortion folks weren't seemingly set on being so anti.

Todd, just found this at Balkin's blog:
http://balkin.blogspot.com/2006/11/two-rights-to-abortion.html

Robert, Duane,

Au contraire mon ami. I think my argument (that the bounds we set between particles do not have platonic referents) is actually quite obvious.

Yes Duane, your wife’s womb is indeed part of a grand reproductive system. This system also includes things that produce the matter she ate. Like the man, who built the road, that was used by the grocery store driver, to deliver the cake, that was bought by your mom, that was given to your wife, that floated down her tummy, that went in to participate in the building of, your kid.

Note how this is just as important as fallopian tubes, which housed the sperm, that merged with the ovum, that traveled down that fallopian tubes, that led to the womb, where the embryo developed into, your kid

Both scenarios involve the culmination of ingredients into a sauce that we consider important i.e. children. Note further that the child would not grow if either scenario is eliminated – i.e. food intake and sperm intake.

It’s not enough to claim “common sense” as your retort to my inquiry about the rules of matter classification. You have to do a little better.

The world of philosophy never promised harmonious coexistent with human perception. In fact in my experience, quite often the opposite is true.

Tony,

What you have proposed is not philosophy, neat or otherwise. It's sophistry.

-Robert

"Is Pluto a rock or a planet?"
------
Yes.

Is Pluto a person?

Hi Alan

It sounds like you think abortion should be limited in some sense. I guess my question would be why should abortion be limited?

sincerely,
Todd

ah man no one even tried to wage a counter argument.

bummer.

oh well i'll assume my work here is done then.

"Ask yourself this, based on Frank Beckwith’s rules of “integration”, is the Red Clover an integrated organism with the bee?"

Your ability to distinguish bee from clover shows that you in fact have the power to distinguish fully integrated organisms that interact with each other.

This power is fundamental to our nature as persons, and thus seems perfectly adequate for the task at hand: making distinctions between things. If you doubt the mind's ability to employ this power for the acquisition of knowledge about the nature of beings, then you may as well stop making metaphysical judgments about bees, clovers, and embryos.

Frank Beckwith,

>> “Your ability to distinguish bee from clover shows that you in fact have the power to distinguish fully integrated organisms that interact with each other.”

“Bee” and “Clover” in the above quote by Butler merely stand as tokens to represent a previously classified material construct - that is already known in the mind of Butler’s audience.

We are merely questioning the classical material bounds and asking where they came from and how are they derived. Your answer seems to be:

“This power is fundamental to our nature as persons…”

which is a highly ambiguous statement. Are you perhaps arguing that God created human perception and that, in doing so, he bestowed the knowledge into the human mind of how to divide the world into clovers and bees, and into babies and bread baskets, etc?

p.s. if you take this route, you’ve left the realm of science and biology.

Someone once said:
"Don't try and argue with a fool. They'll just bring you down to their level and beat you with experience."

Someone once said:
"And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other"

No way?

Someone actually said that?
You jest
:)

Todd, I find Jack's full paper interesting. http://balkin.blogspot.com/2006/12/off-to-schmooze.html

Follow the links.

Trying to follow Tony and Frank's points has only further convinced me that abortion is a second tier issue that unscrupulous pols and naive religious leaders have used to hijack our politics to our nation's detriment. Roe, no doubt, short-circuited the political process but enough becomes too much.

When a discussion goes that far into the tall grass, something is very, very wrong. This drops off soon, so more, probably, above.

Hi Alan

I hope you notice how you didn't answer my question.

I was attempting to show you that if your going to discuss abortion you *have to* know what is being aborted.

That is why it is important to focus on one question first.

Perhaps the STR "mommy can I kill this" demonstration will help clarify this:
It goes something like this:

If your child asked you if he or she could kill something what would you need to ask?

You would need to know what it was.

If it was a flea, go for it.
But if it is the neighbor down the street, well that's another story.

What this shows is that in order to know whether it is o.k. to kill something you have to know what that something is.

That is why the one question: what is the unborn? is so important.

If the unborn are human beings,
then abortion kills an innocent human being and abortion is wrong.

You may disagree with the value and nature of the unborn, but I would hope that you could see that this is the real question here. The question that you, as a supporter of abortion, have to deal with.

sincerely,
Todd

P.S. If we are being manipulated then all you have to do is start limiting abortion and you too can manipulate us.

Todd,

Don’t get discouraged. I asked Mr. Aronson the same question when I wrote (http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2006/08/escr_fraud.html#comment-21681387):

“Mr. Aronson, if you want to engage in honest discussions stemming from accurate information, then let us start today - right here, right now. STR has provided this resource for us to discuss the real issues and reason together freely with good information. The discussion must start with one coherent idea that corresponds to the world as we discover it to be and should probably be reinforced by a reliable authority. So let us muse together… Is the living human embryo an unborn (“pre-birth”) human person?”

Even though he replied to my post, he never answered my question, either.

In fact, you’ll find that if you read through Mr. Aronson’s many posts, he seems to have a recurring central issue, which is that “single issue politics” are designed to distract and manipulate the conversation. This, of course, is a self-refuting claim since it is a single central issue driving Mr. Aronson’s politics. Further, Mr. Aronson regularly attributes abortion-on-demand, human embryonic stem cell research, and gay marriage as the driving issues of the “single issue” folks, which, of course, by definition, is not one single issue. Perhaps one day we will be able to get Mr. Aronson to see that it is impossible to solve all of the world’s problems without starting at one problem and working to the next. For as long as mankind has occupied the earth, we have known that we must start somewhere in order to solve a problem. And, if the world’s problem is that human life is not valued (be it not valued in the issues of “security for Israel, justice for the Palestinians, stability in the rest of the Middle East, a non-nuclear Iran and North Korea,” or any other non-single issue Mr. Aronson wishes to solve), what better issue to start at than the 4000 human lives that are murdered each day in America by way of abortion?

You have to start somewhere, Mr. Aronson. So let us start here: If human life is so valuable that it ought to be protected, then when does human life begin? Is the human unborn a human person? If not, when does it become a human person? When are we justified to take the life of a human person whose only crime is that he or she exists?

“Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough and I will move the world.” -- Archimedes (220 B.C.)

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