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September 30, 2010

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Cool chart.

Which 'scientific case that the unborn is human' do you use though?

i've read a couple.

Suppose Alan said a human is a construct with the property of organismal life, and a genome that is no more than 3% different than his.

And tony said the construct's genome can be 3.2% different. Devise a 'scientific argument' by which you would prove tony wrong.

I do believe there is a fourth defense for abortion. That is the health of the mother is actually and certainly at risk. I'm not saying this is an argument for across the board abortions, but those cases do exist even if rare. It makes the flow chart seem fallacious and over-simplified.

Although, I suppose with a topic as complicated as abortion, any chart will seem to be an oversimplification.

Tony--
I'm not sure I understand the point of the genome question. Can humans can give birth to non-humans? It seems to me that if someone had human parents he or she is a human, no need to look at the genome. Do you disagree?

Hi Mr. Hyde,

I politely disagree with your statement that the chart is fallacious and over-simplified. Let's give Alan the benefit of the doubt (I think with all the careful and studied work he's done to educate Christians and save unborn lives he deserves it) and assume the chart is for refuting elective abortion. Knowing Alan, I can assume this is what he meant.

It would seem to me that it is becoming clearer that the you is the same you that you have always been.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100804151456.htm

And in a recent Time magazine article, it has stated quite clearly that physical maladies can be traced back to your nine month gestation period. So, it seems that the same you is being effected by the same you that you were while you were developing inside your mother. If you weren't then you would not have the medical problems you are now experiencing as a result of that early development. It would seem to me that there is plenty of psychological and medical evidence that in abortion, it would be the same YOU that would be killed that you are right now.

Very helpful, Alan.

Helpful, thanks.

What's STR's position on medical situations that threaten the life of the mother and/or unborn child?

I'm struggling to think of where that situation fits in the chart.

Thanks in advance.

Mike

ToNy's contention has been for some time now that we come up with some number, percentage wise, of genome diversity at which one is no longer a human being. I think that this assumes a couple of things. First, that the genome is a determinant factor in establishing humanity. Second, that this is the only thing that is.

However, I contend that if one can be effected negatively by an external agent during the gestation period in such a way as to cause you some permanent harm during the rest of your life, then it is quite clear that it is the same you that is being effected throughout every stage of development of your life. That means that we can find a common medical thread that goes all the way back to when you were at a fetal stage of development or perhaps even earlier. This thread should establish once and for all what is being killed. The same organism that you are now would be killed. That is clear enough from medical evidence. Therefore, there is, at least in my mind, no question that since I am this human being now, I was the same one back then as I am now effected by something that was caused back then.

brgulker

"What's STR's position on medical situations that threaten the life of the mother and/or unborn child? "

I think that this is a bit of a sticky-wicket. The chart is, I think, meant to depict a more general approach and not deal with specifics. The thing you address falls in a somewhat more detailed and refined area. As you state, there can be many different situations and some are legitimately threatening to both and in some cases women are told they are, but actually they aren't. So, it gets messy. If there is a legitimate threat of the mother actually dying and there is a very high degree of certainty that this is the case, then it is appropriate for the mother to decide in favor of an abortion in order to save her life. However, I think that these kinds of situations are very rare.

>>I do believe there is a fourth defense for abortion. That is the health of the mother is actually and certainly at risk.

Mr. Hyde, in order for a person to argue that a child ought to be killed to protect the health of the mother, he or she would need to argue one of those three things Alan listed as justification. The third one would be likely in this case, but any of them could be used.

In other words, the chart is about justifications, not about the situations that give rise to the use of those justifications. There are many situations (like health) that might cause people to use any one of those justifications to defend their choice to kill the unborn child. But I'm not aware of any other justification used beyond these three for any situation.

Amy,

I disagree. The third option in the chart, "bodily autonomy" does not accurately describe the situation in which the life of the mother and/or unborn child is at risk.

It's not about autonomy in this case; it's about survival.

Autonomy suggests, at least to me, that the mother should have the right to do as she please whenever she please for whatever reason she pleases, eg., career, economics, etc.

However, the woman who is faced with her own life ending as the result of a pregnancy is in quite a different scenario. I'm not choosing between my career and having a baby, e.g., I'm choosing between living and dying. The word "autonomy" doesn't being to address the severity of this situation or decision, IMHO.


Would you agree?

>>What's STR's position on medical situations that threaten the life of the mother and/or unborn child?

Ethically, in a case where it is life vs. life, the claims from both sides (mother and child) would be equal (unlike other situations where it's life vs. money, or life vs. suffering, or life vs. inconvenience, or whatever other situation is involved).

This doesn't mean the mother is required to have an abortion. Many mothers choose to give their life for their children after they're born, and so some mothers may choose to die so their unborn children can live (if that's possible). But I would not say she is ethically required to give her life for someone else's life. When it's life vs. life, sometimes secondary considerations come into play, such as, she has other people (perhaps other children) who are depending on her.

But in a situation where the mother's life is threatened and the mother chooses not to die for the child, it's always best, if it's possible, for the doctors to do what they can to save her and let the baby die as a byproduct of the saving rather than for the doctors to kill the child directly.

Greg had a question about this on the radio show on September 12, so you might be interested in listening to that call.

brgulker, sorry--I was responding to you while you were writing your second comment. The second one is directed toward you, and the first was directed toward Mr. Hyde.

Thanks, Amy. That makes good sense.

Amy,

I agree with your position in your response to Mr. Hyde regarding the health of the mother being in jeopardy as opposed to a life and death situation. If we were to set a precedent of taking a life on the basis of someone causing a health issue, then I may as well be granted the right to kill someone who sneezes on me and gives me a cold. In principle, the situations are identical.

Tony,
I think Wiki has some info on your question - the species problem.

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

SteveK

ToNy is well educated in these matters. Aren't you ToNy? ;)

Mike,

>> "I'm not sure I understand the point of the genome question. Can humans can give birth to non-humans?"

If evolution is true?

Of Course.


Louis,

>> "I contend that if one can be effected negatively by an external agent during the gestation period in such a way as to cause you some permanent harm during the rest of your life, then it is quite clear that it is the same you that is being effected..."

Why stop at the "gestation period"?

Why can't i say:

"Of course my life started when I was an ovum, afer all, I have this abnormality that results from a quirk in it."

ToNy my friend....

"Why stop at the "gestation period"?

Why can't i say:

"Of course my life started when I was an ovum, afer all, I have this abnormality that results from a quirk in it.""

because there was never an ovum with my unique DNA fingerprint on it that identifies me as uniquely me. That being the case, you cannot bring it back that far. However, I am, on those grounds, justified to do so from conception on. Furthermore, life requires metabolic function, cell division...growth. Since an ovum does not exhibit these things, we can say with a high degree of certainty that my life did not begin there.

So Louis's list of criteria for 'unique human organismal life' is:

has DNA
metabolic function
cell division
growth

ok

Suppose that I said that my list for 'unique human organismal life' just contained the property:

has half the DNA

Devise an argument by which you could prove that tony's criteria for life is wrong, and Louis's criteria is objectively right.

Also, can you please tell me how far the DNA is allowed to differ from Louis's DNA, before Louis deems said genome to be "not a human."

thanks!

ToNy,

I would like to see this half DNA organism construct. Where is it?

It's called an ovum.

Would a being have to be human as in sharing enough of our genome, for his or her life to still be sacred? Wouldn't the criterion instead be if that being has a soul like ours? If a species has potential for our degree of intelligence and communication, I'd say that would be a pretty clear cutoff.

(I say "species has the potential" because individual members with disabilities, and unborn members of that species, absolutely cannot be left out.)

>> "Wouldn't the criterion instead be if that being has a soul like ours?"

yes

that's what the pro-lifers are really talking about.

not biology

biology is just a red herring for the real issue.

As Louis says in the previous thread:

"[God] is the undisputed expert on what a human being is...[God] revealed to us what it is to be human."

THIS is the only proper way to argue the abortion issue.

You must convince your pro-choice opponent that your god is the right one, and, additionally, that your god told you which constructs in the universe to value.

Does your local humane society protect dogs?
Does it protect grasshoppers?
Dust mites?
Water bears?

RonH

I love flow charts, and I plan to use this one in our Sunday School Class.

Kenneth

[link removed by moderator for being off-topic]

Tony,


Say one of your loved ones was murdered. How would you make the case that your loved one was human being and the murderer ought to be punished as if they murdered a human being and not something else?

KWM,

ultimately, the same way we decide what's a planet, and whats a rock.

some committee decides.

man is not the measure of all things.

but man is the measure of all matter.

http://www.iau.org/public/pluto/

But what about an answer to my question?

ToNy

"It's called an ovum."

Ok, now that I know what you are talking about. There was never an ovum with my specific DNA signature on it. It had my mother's DNA signature on it. Your mention of half DNA is kind of like equating it to half of an executable file downloaded from the internet and the connection being severed in the middle of the download. What you have, is not an executable file. It will not half execute and fail, it will simply fail to execute. It is not an executable with half the bits downloaded. And it is not a human being with half its bits there.

I should say that this is a fine day indeed as we do see eye to eye on a very important point. From a Christian perspective the most convincing or effective way to prove the humanity of the unborn is to show the validity of the classical Christian theology. But I will concede that this is not necessarily the only way. Were that the case, there would never be atheists that also hold to abortion being butchery that should be stopped. It is what it is.

Louis,

>> "It had my mother's DNA signature on it."

nah.

It had half of yours not hers.

>> And it is not a human being with half its bits there.

well suppose I said it was.

devise an argument by which you would prove that the property of "having half the bits" was a disqualification of life.


Tony,

So? How would you convince the state your loved one was a human being?

I vote that we use my personal DNA as the benchmark.

And that any construct with a genome that varies from my benchmark within 4%, be subject to "human status".

This would cover all my "loved ones".

Now, is there any "science" here.

Nope.

Despite Alan's chart, this is not a question science can answer.

"devise an argument by which you would prove that the property of "having half the bits" was a disqualification of life."

It might go something like this: Leave it alone and let nature take its course. There will be no positive action taken against it in the same way we are arguing for the 100% dna / bits to be left alone.

In either case, no moral wrong has been done--for the case of the 50% dna, the 100% dna that fails naturally, or the 100% dna survivor of the womb.

1]A justifiable reason to regard a cluster of human dna as "life worthy of protection" is if it's unfettered natural maturation process will normally result in a viable human person.

2] A 100% dna product of conception left to unfettered natural maturation may result in a viable human person.

3] A 50% dna *potential* product of conception will never result in a viable human person unless and until it becomes the case #2.

4] A 50% dna potential product of conception has no warrant for protection.

But i think the ovum is already "viable"

Can I use my definition of viable life, or do I have to use yours?

Tony,
"Despite Alan's chart, this is not a question science can answer."

Alan is being tactical. I agree that science cannot empirically demonstrate "humanness" or "personhood".

The irony is that science tries to do that, and it claims to be able to do that - just look at the published papers that discuss these terms in strict biological/physical terms.

The traditional approach has been to argue the spiritual side first and foremost. It's a perfectly valid approach that has considerable force, if only the person you are talking to will listen.

However, in today's "science has all the answers" culture, many of the unconvinced want nothing to do with this approach because they've been brainwashed to believe that science CAN demonstrate humanness or personhood. They want to argue the "facts of science" as they perceive them before moving forward.

That's what Alan is doing, I think. Arguing the facts that the unconvinced is willing to accept, and then follow up with the spiritual arguments. In today's misinformed and improperly educated culture, I think that is a good approach.

steve

i agree with you but STR doesn't

they think science can indeed reveal "humanness"

Tony,
There is a valid role for science to play in this debate because humanness does have a physical component to it. You know this because your 5 senses inform your mind that a lion is not a human.

If there is some doubt about what it is, science can help your mind sort it out by supplying it with data so it can reason to a conclusion. Science can't "see" a lion in the physical data any more than it can see meaning in the physical ink blots on a page. Your mind reasons to a conclusion from the data.

So again, whether a person relies heavily on science or not at all - this is where tactics come into play.

Well in Alan's slide, the left most box attempts to convince an opponent to "use science" to tell if, for any given X, X = human being.

This is mistaken, for there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY that science can reveal taxonomic ranking.

You can use observation and science to determine, say, "x has fur", or the DNA of X is 6.324893% different than the DNA in Y.

But as to what is the proper way to classify matter, that is PURELY, COMPLETELY, and UTTERLY subjective.

A strange response, Tony. Your idea destroys properly reasoned conclusions that stem from physical information.

Say goodbye to Darwin's theory. According to you, there are no objective species in extra-mental reality, just the subjective reality of species in our mind.

According to you, the fact that a being has a 99.9% DNA match, tells us nothing about how to classify the being standing in front of us. This being could be a rock, a bacterium, a dog, a tree -- or it could be a human. We can't objectively know because species is a PURELY, COMPLETELY and UTTERLY subjective concept.

I don't think that you actually believe what you wrote, Tony. You do believe that a 94.4% match tells us something objective about the being in question. From this, you know it isn't a rock. Contrary to your statement above, it would be objectively IMPROPER to classify that being in the same category as a rock.

>> "Say goodbye to Darwin's theory. According to you, there are no objective species in extra-mental reality,"

well of course. If Darwinian evolution is true, then indeed, for any given instance of an organism, the current material configuration of that organism, merely represents a single point on a very broad spectrum of change.

e.g. for example assume we keep taking pictures of Steve's mom, and then steve's mom's mom, and then steve's mom's mom's mom etc.. for 2 billion years.

Then, according to darwin, we would of course have a very large stack of pictures -- the top picture being steve's mom in 2010, and the bottom picture being a picture of mud.

Now if Steve wants to go to picture number 223,522,643 and say that HERE is where the division between "objective species in extra-mental reality" starts, and Tony goes to picture number 223,522,698 and says that the line is actually here, devise an argument by which you would prove Tony wrong.

Tony,
Not knowing the exact moment when something crosses the line from one kind of thing to another kind of thing does not prevent you from knowing that they are different things in a meaningful sense.

According to your picture-taking-thesis, there is no way to know if the mom you had yesterday is the same person today, given all the physical changes that have occurred over the past 24 hours.

You can't prove me wrong in the scientific sense that she is not some thing or someone else.

However, reason allows us to sort through the information and correctly conclude, contrary to your silly thesis, that there really is a proper response.

Devise an argument by which ToNy is convinced to step outside his solipsistic paradigm of questioning every premise of every argument he is presented with, which makes it impossible to demonstrate anything to him. In addition, there must be a wikipedia article for it AND the author of the argument must refer to himself in the third person.

Stevek,

>> "...there is no way to know if the mom you had yesterday is the same person today, given all the physical changes that have occurred over the past 24 hours."

absolutely I agree

And there's no way of knowing if pluto is a planet or a rock.

so, all we're left with is, like I said, convention.

In fact, as is often the case, when 24 hour changes are dramatic enough, people do often make the argument that "Gage just is not Gage anymore"

http://bit.ly/8Xxn3D

>> "reason allows us to sort through the information..."

yup

and if you just think about it for a bit, you'll realize that via reason, i'm right. And that circles around atoms are subjective.

else, give a reason why i'm wrong...?

thanks.

Ryan,

You are not smart enough to participate. Please go away.

Tony,

else, give a reason why i'm wrong...?

You haven't convinced anyone that you are correct so we have to get over that hurdle first.

The burden is on those who would argue for an ideal morphology.

you'd have to give me a reason as to why you think that when molecules C N O H make a certain shape, this shape somehow exists in, to use your word, "extra-mental reality".

Tony,

The burden is on those who would argue for an ideal morphology.

If the truth of the matter is entirely subjective, then there is no such argument available. Truth is determined by the subject, and that's as far as it goes. That's what I meant when I said you haven't convinced anyone.

I don't think truth is subjective.

Just circles we draw around atoms.

Like embryo, ipod, steve, and pluto.

I get it.

"I love the smell of blogs in the morning... The smell, you know that gasoline smell... Smells like, victory."

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