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August 25, 2010

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>> "There is no difference between an embryo and any other human life other than stage of development."

could say the same about the ovum

I've always found the Kantian argument against stem cell research pretty interesting:

1. Human embryos are members of a rational species.
2. If human embryos are members of a rational species, then human embryos ought to be treated always as an end and never merely as a means (from Kant’s Formula of Humanity).
3. Therefore, human embryos ought to be treated always as an end and never merely as a means (from 1, 2).
4. If human embryos ought to be treated always as an end and never merely as a means, then human embryos ought not to be used merely as a means to advance the interests of others.
5. Therefore, human embryos ought not to be used merely as a means to advance the interests of others (from 3, 4).
6. If human embryos ought not to be used merely as a means to advance the interests of others, then human embryos ought not to be killed in order to harvest their stem-cells for medical purposes.
7. Therefore, human embryos ought not to be killed in order to harvest their stem-cells for medical purposes (from 5, 6).

According to Kant, a sufficient condition for having dignity is belonging to a natural kind whose healthy, mature members have dignity. That's why infants, the mentally handicapped, etc. have dignity, as well as fetuses.

Tony: No, you couldn't. Well, you could, but you'd be wrong. There's a big difference between an ovum and an embryo: the ovum is not a growing human being. It's a cell that has the potential to be a growing human being, but the fact that it hasn't actually become one yet is a very important distinction.

the ovum needs things to grow

the zygote needs things to grow

why is your list of things better than mine?

Let the ovum and the zygote live in their natural environment. The ovum stays an ovum, until it dies. Three years from now, the zygote is singing you the ABC's.

ToNy, the Ovum isn't the same as a zygote. The Ovum is just the egg, the zygote is the result of a fertilized egg. The Ovum only has half of the genetic material to make a human, it needs to be fertilized to have all the genetic material it needs for human development. So the zygote is a stage of human development and an ovum is not. Malebranche's above post takes it the rest of the way as to why ESCR is morally wrong.

Also: dogs need things to grow. Mushrooms need things to grow. Viruses need things to grow. Humans emit heat. Stars emit heat. Re-entering spacecraft emit heat. They're all the same, right?

There's such a thing as relevant distinctions.

Dennis,

Actually, statistically speaking, once an ovum reaches the zygote stage, that is actually the first step on its path to death.

Statistically, most of them usually only live a couple more weeks after that.

Dennis,

>> There's such a thing as relevant distinctions.

Really?

How come you're distinctions are 'more relevant' than mine?

I think mine are better.

Ask yourself, who holds the master list that deliniates organisms?

Xaulted,

>> The Ovum only has half of the genetic material to make a human

yes indeed we do all have varying amounts and sizes.

I think the ovum's got enough to be called human

what scientific property of the universe might you cite to disagree with me.

or, are you just offering your OPINION of when you think life begins, like I am.

ToNy, if you don't know how to handle basic logic in a discussion then don't make yourself look silly...this is pretty bad.

"indeed we do all have varying amounts and sizes"

What does that even mean? We all have ALL of the genetic material we need to make a human, as we are all human. Your response doesn't even try to address the comment you're responding to.

If adult humans had the same amount of genetic material as an ovum, then you would have something like an actual point.

Isaac,

>> "We all have ALL of the genetic material we need to make a human"

er...

no we don't

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monosomy

Really? You like those distinctions? I'll be sure to replace your kid with a mushroom. What's the difference? They both need things to grow.

Who holds the master list? God. Where's that Staples button?

But I kid. Of course, I know where you're going with this, you ran this one before. You really do need to learn to make an argument someday, Tony. This way, all you do is frustrate people. I know Jesus used that technique, but He had people sitting and listening, waiting to learn from him. You're ostensibly trying to convince me of something. We're not exactly sitting at your feet.

The taxonomic "problem" is much of a muchness. I think there's two options with it. Number one, God exists, and we now have an objective standard for distinctions that are "real". Now, do we necessarily know exactly which is which? Not in all cases, but if you ascribe to any one of the vast majority of religions, 'human' vs. 'non-human' is an important one, and it's made along intuitive grounds.

Second, there is no God. In that case, the question becomes meaningless. In the absence of an intelligence, what is a 'distinction'? That's really just the activity of an intelligence. Unless you posit, strangely, the real existence of Platonic ideals. In that case, how would ever find out what those ideals were? How would you even know they existed? So the exercise, while interesting, is pointless.

Philosophy is a lot like mathematics. It's full of interesting ideas and questions, but it's only tied to reality through logic. There's absolutely no tether to relevancy. I know that at least among mathematicians, there's sometimes even an aversion to relevancy, when there's a perception that it ruins the purity of the work.

In short, the idea is interesting, but rather silly. And I think that even those philosophers who address the question would agree that it's a misuse of their work to attempt to guide public policy with it. Shall we start to design our health care system around solipsism?

Dennis,

>> "1, God exists, and we now have an objective standard for distinctions."

>> "2. There is no God. In that case, the question becomes meaningless. In the absence of an intelligence, what is a 'distinction'?"

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

my god in 5 years here, I can't remember a single Christian (except Gravis), who understood the implications of the Philosophy of Biology.

This made my day. Bless you Dennis!

Unfortunately Dennis, no one here agrees with us.

They think they can appeal to words like "organism" "life" and "species" as if, without a God, these words actually stood as referents to natural kinds.

But really, if we don't know which God is the right one, and which taxonomy he instantiated, then the abortion/stem cell/euthanasia debate is just so...silly.

Er... sort of. Did you miss the part where I said worrying about natural kinds was silly?

Especially in this area, the whole thing disappears if humans disappear. Literally, since it's based on what we do with humans. So you don't need to worry about whether or not a distinction exists without people. It's public policy- what does it matter? It would be like engineerings quibbling over whether division by zero is infinity or undefined- it's not relevant. Infinity is close enough for all practical purposes.

People make these distinctions intuitively and universally. We can rely on them for public policy, because public policy needn't be philosophically rigorous, in much the same way that the design of your car is not mathematically rigorous.

And even if we are going for philosophical rigor, the vast majority of people subscribe to religions wherein the human/non-human distinction's existence is made clear, and the differences are shown to be along intuitive grounds. With this debate, the distinction is non-intuitive, as shown multiple times where all the criteria for differentiation are shown to be arbitrary. At the very least, the prudent thing is to play it safe and not kill things that might qualify as human, in the same way we presume innocence in a trial. Of course, in reality the case is much stronger than that. But I don't think your taxonomic argument can find any traction.

Well the thing is, the majority of prolifers indeed DO have the belief that words like:

linnaean taxonomy
life
organism
death
species

are philosophically grounded without the presence of a god.

And they argue as such WITHOUT invoking him.

This is not so much an issue now. Primarily because the masses are vastly ignorant of the Philosophy of Biology. And BioTech is new. Just look at Greg's absolutely ridiculous statements about it here http://tiny.cc/s5jci

But now with emerging technologies (like Venter's work with DNA synthesizers) we're going to start seeing an emergence of all sorts of new life forms and DNA tweaks.

So in the next couple years, Christians are going to have to sit down and draw out some parameters about how far a genome is allowed to vary from a 'benchmark genome' (whatever the hell that is - i vote they use mine) such that God considers said genome to be worthy of heaven or hell.

But make no mistake about it. Without a divine communique from God, any metric they choose will indeed be totally subjective.

ToNy,

I said>>>> The Ovum only has half of the genetic material to make a human

>>yes indeed we do all have varying amounts and sizes.

I'm not sure what you mean by this, We have varing amounts and sizes of the necessary genetic material to develop into a human?
How would anyone know this unless they developed into a human?

>>I think the ovum's got enough to be called human

Well, think what you will, but
I was merely stating the fact that the Ovum isn't a human, but just an egg and only contains 23 chromosomes which is half of what it takes for a human being to be.
I'd like to point out here that naming anomalous defects, such as Monosomy, doesn't make your case at all because these by definition are called 'genetic disorders' and are detrimental to the life of the person. But to even have those in the first place you must have fertilization, so it misses the point anyway.

>>what scientific property of the universe might you cite to disagree with me.
or, are you just offering your OPINION of when you think life begins, like I am.

I'm not offering my opinion, I was simply stating what we know scientifically. It's not my opinion that the Ovum is an egg that contains 23 chromosomes. The other half is in the sperm of the male. It's not my opinion that human development does NOT occur until fertilization which is the union of the ovum with the sperm, and when that happens, it's now a zygote which develops into an embryo. This is the beginning stages of human life. I was there, you were there. Even before 'science', people knew that when the caveman hooked up with the cavewoman, it makes babies.

I'm not sure why all the push back while I'm merely stating facts, not my opinions. I suppose your free to ignore the facts, but then I'm afraid there's no useful dialog remaining to converse about on this subject.

xaulted,

>> it's not my opinion that human development does NOT occur until fertilization which is the union of the ovum with the sperm, and when that happens

sure it is

lots of things have to happen to move atoms into the shape of, say, you.

and of those trillions and trillions of chemical reactions that happened to get you to where you are today, you chose "fertilization" as the starting line.

ask yourself, why and how you know this to be the case.

hint: saying "i read it in a book" is not enough. Ask yourself how the writer knows.

ToNy, I guess I'm just missing your point. It seems to me your saying that an Ovum IS a human. Not sure where you get your information from, but your the only person I've ever heard say that. If this is the case then when DOES a human develop? Females are born with hundreds of ovum. Are you saying that every female is actually the life of hundreds of humans? So if a female gets murdered, you can prosecute the murderer hundreds of times over?
This makes no sense at all.
And it's even worse for men, since the equal counter of a female ovum is the male sperm. Well Men continually make sperm throughout their life after puberty, we're talking millions of sperm. Does this mean millions of humans too?

You said lots of things have to happen to move atoms into the shape of 'you'. Well yeah, but that hardly makes any significant point. Atoms are always moving constantly in all matter, both living and non-living. So what's your point?

You also said "trillions and trillions of chemical reactions that happened to get you to where you are today, you chose "fertilization" as the starting line."
I didn't chose that, that IS what fertilization is. Please google Human Fertilization. Someone in the scientific field picked that term to describe a particular event that happens when the ovum is united with the sperm. Yes, I will say I read it in a book, and it was from Health class in Middle school.

You keep wanting to argue terms and what they mean and then you claim it's my opinion when it's not. I could care less what terms you want to use, the point is a human being needs certain things to become a human. Yes it takes chemical reactions and what not, but we know for the most part what these chemical reactions entail and what exactly needs to happen for a woman to get pregnant.
You've given no reason or explanation for your view or why anyone should hold it.

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