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January 22, 2014

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>> “all human beings have a personal nature, even when they are not presently exercising the powers that flow from that nature’s essential properties. These essential properties include capacities for personal expression, rational thought, and moral agency. The maturation of these capacities is the perfection of a human being’s nature.”

In light of recent evidence of “humans interbreeding with Neanderthals” one wonders who among us has the ability to actually live up to Frank Beckwith’s ideal—i.e. the “perfection of a human being’s nature.”

For if this research is valid, then one wonders which “nature” us organisms are striving to manifest…?

That of the “human?”

Or that of the “Neanderthal?”

Or, some combination of the two…?

>> “Imagine that an abortion-choice scientist wants to harvest human organs without harming human beings that are persons. In order to accomplish this, he first brings several embryos into being through in vitro fertilization. He then implants them in artificial wombs, and while they develop, he obstructs their neural tubes so that they may never acquire higher brain functions, and thus they cannot become what the typical prochoice advocate considers “persons.””

One wonders, what exactly is Frank Beckwith’s definition of “obstructing the neural tubes.”

For example, if we modify Craig Venter’s genome  such that it can never produce any “neural tubes” at all, are we then “obstructing the neural tubes?” Is Frank Beckwith ok with digital modification of the genome, and then, non-IVF substantiation of desirable constructs (e.g. a liver) into a petri dish?

What are Frank Beckwith’s rules for how one might go about the organ-generation process?

And more importantly, why the hell should anyone listen to Frank Beckwith’s “organ-generation” ruleset, as opposed to any other ruleset on the table?

And more importantly, why the hell should anyone listen to Frank Beckwith’s “organ-generation” ruleset, as opposed to any other ruleset on the table?

People should listen to the person that makes the most sense and gives the best reasons. Generally speaking, of course.

For example, if someone wants to talk about how the definition of a human being is up in the air, therefore, you should just throw out all your perceived notions of everything surrounding what we understand has a human being (especially what constitutes justifiably killing one) – a person should make the assessment of whether or not that person has any idea what they’re talking about.

Just as one quick example.

Tony, the cross-bred entity could be a new thing--like a Beefalo is neither Cattle nor Bison--or a Neandrethal, because they are able to mate with humans, is in fact human. If it's a new thing, then it has its own nature, with certain ends or perfections particular to that nature. If it's the same thing, the same applies. Regardless, your point misses the point. (Read Etinne Gilson's work on Darwin and Aristotle for clarification).

"Obstructing the neural tubes" is what happens naturally in anenphelaic children. What Beckwith is asking is whether it's okay to do this on purpose.

Purposely creating deformed human beings, whether brainless, deaf, or what have you, would seem to wrong those beings. If done at the outset or later should not matter. Reproducing parts is a different matters, since whole human beings are not being exploited, if the new parts do not require the killing of an innocent embryo or fetus.

Modifying the genome in IVF is either right or wrong depending on whether the child is being restored to health or merely modified to fit the parents' aesthetic wishes. The former case is just, since healing a person is an act of love that affects its restoration. In the latter case, the child would be treated like a commodity, and is thus dehumanizing. Choosing children like one chooses toasters and cars places the chooser and chosen is a subject-object relationship.

A being's "perfections" is a term of art in philosophy of nature, and should not be confused with "perfection" in a moral sense. So, for example, a human being's parts are ordered by its nature to acquire the powers of thought, sight, speech, etc. If those powers do not arise, due to illness or immaturity, that does not change the thing that it is. In fact, if due to illness the being loses one of these powers, the reality of that loss as an actual loss presupposes a nature by which we can judge that loss. Hence, the blind man suffers a loss; while the rock that cannot see suffers nothing.

KWM

>> "People should listen to the person that makes the most sense and gives the best reasons."

That would be me then.

Tommy

>> Neandrethal, because they are able to mate with humans, is in fact human.

so neanderthals were human too?
what about Lucy?

>> Reproducing parts is a different matters, since whole human beings are not being exploited, if the new parts do not require the killing of an innocent embryo or fetus.

indeed reproducing body parts entails OBSTRUCTING the production of other body parts -- that would have been formed had we not manipulated the genome or environment of the particular body part we're producing.

So really, it all depends on whos definition of 'obstructing' we're gonna use.

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