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August 26, 2009

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Your second point is dead on! I always have to laugh at some of the examples that people try to use to say, "See macro-evolution IS true." The one you mention is the biggest one, but the second biggest is examples such "of course there is evolution, look at the evolution of the Corvette." This again, is really only intelligent design... but it is used often.

>> Humans are valuable in virtue of the kinds of beings they are, not the way they came to exist.

well ok but the whole point is venter is tweaking the genome.

So if you start with a human genome, and then you tweak, there exists a point at which, you no longer have a "child of god", you have something else.

e.g. what if the resulting genome was 10% differenat that what you started with.

so since there is no definition of human, the christians should really pick a number of genome deviation (from Adam and Eve's genome i guess) for which creatures on the planet are children of God, and which are "monkey men".

This is useful, because then we could, for example, create creatures that were, say, strong as a gorilla, but not as smart as george bush, and faster than a cheetah. Then use these creatures as, say, soldiers or miners.

e.g. we didn't really protest much when monkeys were used to clear land mines in iraq. Monkeys are not children of god. So if we make something inbetween monkeys and you, then we could make a whole slave labor class.

Tony,

What in the world are you talking about dude. This sounds like the Will Smith movie, "I Robot". I think you are wondering way off track here. Ease up on the Sci-Fi channel.

You're right, monkeys are not children of God. Humans are. There's no genome relationship between Adam and Coco. There may be some simalarities in DNA studies or what not but there is a WORLD of differences in the two. Stop grasping for straws.

My understanding that the term man made bacterium is not a bacterium made from non living material but rather a bacterium altered in a certain way. This is not "creating life" it is modifying an existing life form and doing so by design and so it seems to have no relationship to supposed evolutionary mechanisms. Actually it is exactly opposite a ramdom naturally selected life form.

Prince,
k so how much can we tweak the human genome before it's no longer a children of god

What do you mean by tweak? Are you talking about cloneing?

I'm talking about changing the letters

Damian,
venter uses DNA synthesizers and his lab holds the record for making the longest sequence.

However, they do not make the cell body.

So it's half creating life and half using existing i guess


ToNy

"Prince,
k so how much can we tweak the human genome before it's no longer a children of god"

I think that we must ask a more important question: "Does the physical determine if someone is one?" Isn't it that the physical simply makes it easier for us to identify with a certain level of confidence that we are talking about a human being? While the nonphysical is what nails it down. Just a thought for you to consider.

Tweaking the letters will not make a soul created in God's image... Does that answer your question?

Prince,
well every child of god has different letters. So god has a tolerance for assigning "human" souls.

So, what is gods tolerance level?

I don't understand your question Tony. What do you mean by "So god has a tolerance for assigning "human" souls".

A soul is in a completely different catagory then DNA, letters, genomes and things of that nature. Where are you trying to take this discussion?

If the letters that make chimps do not produce children of god, and the letters that produce you do produce children of god, then how much can I change your genome, such that the resultant is not a "human"

ToNy

"If the letters that make chimps do not produce children of god, and the letters that produce you do produce children of god, then how much can I change your genome, such that the resultant is not a "human""

The letters don't make a chimp's soul. The DNA is only involved in making the physical. Same with humans. Folks with genetic disorders or birth defects are just as human even if their DNA has some problem.
Isn't it that you are trying to pinpoint OUR difficulty in determining humanity rather than the actual problem in someone _being_ a human being?

Louis Kuhelj, exactly! Good point.

You can alter it all you want. You, being the creator in the expirement. Just as there was a Creator from the beginning that made children of God and monkeys seperate! It's very simple Tony...

Prince,

If the physical doesn't matter, if the DNA is only involved in making the physical, if the letters don't make the soul, then why does matter whether or not we share a common ancestor with chimps and/or monkeys?


Louis, Prince,

>> The letters don't make a chimp's soul.

Well as per traducianism, upon the creation of a chimp_totipitent_1 God instantiated a soul of type ‘chimp’ and bound it with the construct. So the modus operandi that god has created to unify souls and matter, is indeed entirely dependent on the material makeup of totipotent_1.

As JP Moreland (and greg) have noted, humans and chimps are taken to have “different kinds of souls”.

So based on the chimps letters, God’s soul creation mechanism determines what kind of soul to instantiate and bind with the cell.

I suppose you could argue that it is possible for some given totipotent_1 to have the same material makeup of a chimp genome, yet contain a HUMAN soul. This seems somewhat possible, given that, in Matthew 8, Jesus instigated a soul dismount and rebinding procedure - in which the souls of a few demons were de-unified from men, and re-unified to swine.

But recall Melindas statement above:

“Humans are valuable in virtue of the kinds of beings they are, not the way they came to exist.”

Here I take it that she is talking about “Natural Kinds”.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_kind

Thereby, Melinda believes that the material construct is valuable because it contains carbon nitrogen oxygen and hydrogen that is in a certain shape.

Moreover, she things that carbon nitrogen oxygen and hydrogen that is in the shape of, say, a monkey, is not as valuable.

So soon we’ll have the ability to, well, make any kind of creature we want. Hence, how much can our creatures genome differ from Melinda, before Melinda says that it is no longer a creature of type “Human”?

p.s. chimps are 5% different


Tony, good points to think about.
I think you may have misinterpreted melinda's statement, though;

"Thereby, Melinda believes that the material construct is valuable because it contains carbon nitrogen oxygen and hydrogen that is in a certain shape."

I really dont think this is what she ment when she said that (where that assessment came from). But rather than speak for her, I would have to wait on her for clairifcation, as im sure it is not a simple one.

Tony:

I noticed your discussion before about the "no set definition of a human being" based on the genetic variation between us and our supposed closest evolutionary ancestor, the chimpanzee. At that time it was in reference to the topic of abortion. If I read your argument correctly, you were forwarding the idea that we really can't be sure WHAT it is we are killing in the womb, since nobody has defined genetically when a human stops and when a non-human (monkey-man, non "child of God", whatever you want to call it) starts. I later thought of this scenario:

Scene: A courtroom somewhere in the USA. A defendant is on trial for the murder of a human being.

Judge: You stand accused of capital murder in the first degree. The evidence against you is overwhelming and there were 10 reliable eye witnesses who all concur that it was you who pulled the trigger. How do you plead?

Defendant: Not guilty your Honor.

Judge: Not guilty?! On what grounds?

Defendant: The creature I shot and killed was not fully human your Honor.

Judge: That "creature" was Mr. Joe Snodgrass of 2338 Oak Drive. He was a human as you and I!

Defendant: No your Honor, I do not agree. Since nobody has ever officially defined what constitutes a human being genetically, there stands a reasonable doubt that the creature I killed was not fully human.

Judge: Bailiff, put this man in a straightjacket and get him down to psychiatric evaluation immediately. He is a danger to himself and others!

Serious questions though Tony: do you actually think such an argument would hold up in a court of law? I suppose you could say that Science is a different realm from Law. Is it a good thing that materialistic science, which apparently can only hope to define creation in terms of particles, can’t even properly define a human being? Do you go through day to day life interacting with the people around you as if you don’t know which ones are fully human and which ones are “something else”? Just curious.

PS: Spiritually, chimps are about 90% different from humans. And I say only 90% because I do believe the phrase in Psalms "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!" may allow that they (and all other sentient creatures) have some capacity to acknowlede their Creator. That's my humble and totally non-expert opinion anyway.

noblewar,

Actually your above described scenario was one of the reasons why Stuart Newman filed for a legal patent for the humanzee in 1997.

He hoped to bring attention the the looming legal and ethical problems that future biotechnology discoveries would bring.

you can read about him here
newman

And your defendant's argument, "The creature I shot and killed was not fully human" is of course a valid point.

No one has as of yet pushed for a formal definition of life, death, or personhood. I would fully support an effort to do so, for indeed, it would eliminate so many aspects of the issues we face: like Terri Schiavo or the abortion debate.

The US should indeed scribe a formal definition of human, just as the IAU did when they decided once and for all if pluto was a planet or not.

of course, the problem is, determining what a human is, is entirely subjective. Just like determining what is porn, art, planets, success, and freedom.

ToNy

"And your defendant's argument, "The creature I shot and killed was not fully human" is of course a valid point."

That is only if you can prove that a creature can be partially a human being. I don't hold to this view. A human being is an irreducible kind of thing. The creature we look at is either a human being or is not. You can't make me less or more human by manipulating my DNA.
If a definition needs to be finalized on a human being, this fact should be taken into account.

However, I think that linking such a definition to purely physical attributes fails to fully define what a human being is. If you are interested in an accurate definition, as you claim to be, you would not want such a thing.

Louis

>> "The creature we look at is either a human being or is not."

So lets assume our opponent agrees with this statement - that there exists a taxon for human instantiated by god, and placed in the platonic realm.

If, as you say, "linking such a definition to purely physical attributes fails to fully define what a human being is" how might the judge (in the above scenario) go about determining if a murder was committed?

Joe, I think you're trying to make a different point then everybody else in this discussion. I didn't say we didn't share the same DNA strands of other animals. I said that Monkeys are not children of God but humans are. Big diffrence. I didn't think you could go to long without having to throw your two cents in on this topic ;-)

Prince,

I'm not so sure that my point is all that different from some of the other points in the discussion.

You said "a soul is in a completely different catagory then DNA, letters, genomes and things of that nature", and you agreed when Louis said something similar.

But you also keep emphasizing "separate creations" for chimps, monkeys and humans. If souls are different from DNA, who cares where our DNA came from? Why are you so insistent that we don't share a common ancestor with apes? If a soul can be granted to whatever combination of nucleotides God chooses to favor, why insist on "no common ancestor"?

I did say there were similar traits and DNA strains between monkeys and humans but labeling them both children of God is absurd. So I'm not "so insistant" that we don't share a common ancestor trait. We're still humans and they're still monkeys though... Different morals.

>> "of course, the problem is, determining what a human is, is entirely subjective. Just like determining what is porn, art, planets, success, and freedom."


The problem is in an effort to explain the subtle difficulties in defining some of these terms, you've essentially 'thrown the baby out with the bathwater' (as much as I resent that phraze). Their may be nuances in some of the things you list here, I will grant, but it would appear that your answer is that 'its definately whatever you say it is'. And then I suggest, respectfully, you really havent said anything. It either is something and isint something else, or it isint anything. But it cannot be something, and something else, and something else, and something else, and something, and still be a coherent.

Surely I must have misunderstood you, because it doesnt seem to me like you would make an error of this magnitude. So in that regard, I will wait.

Prince,

"We're still humans and they're still monkeys though... Different morals."

Ya but where's the line that divides?

Prince,

How might Prince decide which of these are "humans" and which are not?

Homo habilis
Homo rudolfensis
Homo ergaster
Homo georgicus
Homo erectus
Homo cepranensis
Homo antecessor
Homo heidelbergensis
Homo rhodesiensis
Homo neanderthalensis
Homo sapiens
Homo sapiens idaltu
Homo floresiensis

>> "The creature we look at is either a human being or is not."

So lets assume our opponent agrees with this statement - that there exists a taxon for human instantiated by god, and placed in the platonic realm.

If, as you say, "linking such a definition to purely physical attributes fails to fully define what a human being is" how might the judge (in the above scenario) go about determining if a murder was committed?"

Constellation of evidence that has sufficient weight to make it more likely than not that the person killed was a human being. If he wrote letters to his friends and family...one can clearly see the expression of his thoughts as tokenized by the words on the page of that letter. That you could discern what he was thinking by reading them, is fairly compelling evidence for his humanity. It is only another human being that can understand the kinds of thoughts expressed on those pages.

Tony, I take it your logic is something to the effect of, 'if we evolved from monkeys, when did we cease to be them?'

Is that a correct assumption?

Hironimous Rex,

"it would appear that your answer is that 'its definately whatever you say it is'. And then I suggest, respectfully, you really havent said anything."

no. my answer is that the practice of taxonomy is by its very nature, a subjective undertaking.

The vast majority of Christians i've seen argue these issues, would probably be classified as "ideal morphologists"

"...in germany, the concept of an "ideal morphology" was very popular. Morphological concepts were seen as a "thought" of nature. Speemann defined the concept of an ideal morphology (to which he did not subscribe) in this way: "The type was...an idea...a blueprint which in nature is used in the creation of organisms, and an image of a thought which makes the knowing spirit, retroactively, follow the way of nature...These kinds of disputes may sound strange to present-day scientists. A "romantic philsophy of nature" no longer exists."

- Erwin Bunning

erwin bunning was wrong about the last bit.

A "romantic philosophy of nature" still exists HARD CORE in american fundamentalist pro-life christians.

Louis,

>> If he wrote letters to his friends and family...

Ah.

Well, zygotes can't write.

Got anything else?

You're still trying to tie everything together by everything BUT the soul that was giving by your Lord our God.

I guess I'll believe you when Coco the monkey starts working and renting an apartment and sends his kids to private schools. Characterristics between humans and other animals are amazing and cool, I'll give you that but to say they are children of God and our 200th cousin on our dad's side is getting a little rediculous...

Prince,

i'm not a christian anymore. I dont know who is a child of god, and who is not.

But you claim to know.

So, how do you know?

Prince,

"So I'm not "so insistant" that we don't share a common ancestor trait."

I'm not sure that I understand. What do you mean by "common ancestor trait"? (It's the word "trait" that confuses me.) I thought that you felt pretty strongly that humans and apes did not and could not share a common ancestor. Perhaps I misunderstood.

ToNy

>> If he wrote letters to his friends and family...

Ah.

Well, zygotes can't write.

Got anything else?"


Before I respond to this new line, I take it then that you do agree with my assessment as to a proper determination of a human being in my example? Is that right ToNy? Did I give you one form of evidence that is compelling to you?

"no. my answer is that the practice of taxonomy is by its very nature, a subjective undertaking."

Be that as it may, is it subjective to the degree where its fruitless? Im just trying to understand the emphasis you are placing on this 'species problem'.

Hironimous Rex,

>> Be that as it may, is it subjective to the degree where its fruitless?

Fruitless?
absolutely not.

The Linnaean taxonomy has been quite fruitful for centuries in many domains. Take for example, well, fruit production. It's very useful to have a categorization system of this sort if you work in the farming industry.

But does the Linnaean taxonomy stand as a referent for natural kinds?

Nope.

most people dont understand this point.

Louis,


>> Is that right ToNy? Did I give you one form of evidence that is compelling to you?

So if a construct "wrote letters to his friends and family" then he's human.

Well given that the vast majority of humans that have ever lived were not able to do this, I don't think its a good scale.

Tony,

If you used to be a Christian then you are very fimilar with who is a child of God...

Joe,

Similarities... But monkeys are not humans.

http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2/4369gc8-25-2000.asp

ToNy

"
>> Is that right ToNy? Did I give you one form of evidence that is compelling to you?

So if a construct "wrote letters to his friends and family" then he's human.

Well given that the vast majority of humans that have ever lived were not able to do this, I don't think its a good scale."

Are you saying that it is not a good scale in the instances where such evidence exists? That is what I have been addressing. Of course I agree that if you don't have a piece of evidence, you cannot draw any conclusions from nonexistent evidence.
I also did not say that this is the only measure by which to assess humanity.
The individual does not have to write...he can speak and if you are able to apprehend the thoughts that are tokenized in the sounds the creature is making, you have another piece of evidence of their humanity. It is not hard to line up his friends and ask them if such evidence existed while the individual was alive.
So, is this a good piece of evidence for humanity or not? Will I be hearing a response from you that mutes are not capable of vocalizing their thoughts next?

prince,

"Tony,

If you used to be a Christian then you are very fimilar with who is a child of God..."

Of course none of us know ToNy personally and perhaps I am out of line for saying this, but it seems to me that we are fully justified, based on his postings on this website, to doubt his being a Christian at some point in his past. Could I be wrong? Sure, but at this point I think I am justified in not thinking so.

I am sure that ToNy will deny my assertion on this. If he does, I would like to know just what he means by "I was a Christian".

Louis,

>> "we are fully justified...to doubt his being a Christian at some point in his past"

well i guess i can email you pictures of me in my uniform at santa margarita high school

hah!

Louis,

>> if you are able to apprehend the thoughts that are tokenized in the sounds the creature is making, you have another piece of evidence of their humanity

Ah.

Well given that the vast majority of humans that have ever lived, never made a sound, I don't think this is a good indicator.

“Studies reveal that anywhere from 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Estimations of chemical pregnancies or unrecognized pregnancies that are lost can be as high as 50-75%, but many of these are unknown since they often happen before a woman has missed a period or is aware she is pregnant.”
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

prince,

>> "If you used to be a Christian then you are very fimilar with who is a child of God..."

Yes prince is arguing this issue correctly.

The abortion issue / end of life issues, have nothing to do with biology. One cannot appeal to "biological evidence" at all.

Ultimately, the christian must argue that god has placed knowledge of the bounds that compose the taxon 'human', and that if the infidel were to access this schematic, then he would know that, for example, what to do about terri schiavo, and that one celled zygotes are fully human.

I just can't get most prolifers to see that :(

ToNy

"
>> "we are fully justified...to doubt his being a Christian at some point in his past"

well i guess i can email you pictures of me in my uniform at santa margarita high school

hah!
"
I suppose I could do the same with Our Lady of Perpetual Help school photos. But I assure you that when those were taken, I was no Christian. I appreciate why you might consider this ample evidence, but I find it uncompelling. Just because I am in a garage with a uniform of a mechanic on, does not make me an employee of the establishment, nor does it make me a mechanic. This is why, ToNy, I find your photographic evidence uncompelling. I am open to being proven wrong, given compelling evidence.

ToNy

"

Louis,

>> if you are able to apprehend the thoughts that are tokenized in the sounds the creature is making, you have another piece of evidence of their humanity

Ah.

Well given that the vast majority of humans that have ever lived, never made a sound, I don't think this is a good indicator."


I didn't say that it was a catchall piece of evidence. To think that one could provide something like that is, I think, not reasonable. Since we are speaking about human beings at various stages of development, there are various levels of ability that are at play.
If you wish to go to pre-birth stages of human development, then I would say that we can identify the parents of the young one and determine their humanity and extrapolate from there. There is this issue of genetic inheritance that is at play at that level. Genetic inheritance is a powerful piece of evidence to point you to the correct answer. If we can see a direct link between parents and child within the genetic code, it would seem to me that this is a pretty good test for the humanity of the young one and should provide a high degree of certainty that we are talking about a human being. Now, we don't need absolute certainty to establish the fact of this matter.

Louis,

I don't care if you think i wasn't a christian. You can assume i've been working for satan for the last 33 years of my life. Wouldnt change the logic of my arguments.

>> "Genetic inheritance is a powerful piece of evidence to point you to the correct answer"

which brings me to the first sentence i wrote on this blog:

well ok but the whole point is venter is tweaking the genome. So if you start with a human genome, and then you tweak, there exists a point at which, you no longer have a "child of god", you have something else.

so, when do i have something else?

give me a number

"
I don't care if you think i wasn't a christian. You can assume i've been working for satan for the last 33 years of my life. Wouldnt change the logic of my arguments."

Come now ToNy...I don't think ill of you. I think you are making a valuable contribution in keeping us all on our toes in this blog. Even if you didn't, you are a valuable and valued member of our human family.


>> "Genetic inheritance is a powerful piece of evidence to point you to the correct answer"

which brings me to the first sentence i wrote on this blog:"

Ok, but notice that I didn't say that it is a definitive piece...it is the link that it establishes to the parents that matters here, not the DNA itself. I am not arguing humanity on the basis of DNA of the unborn. It is a fine distinction, but one non-the-less. I think you can appreciate that.


"well ok but the whole point is venter is tweaking the genome. So if you start with a human genome, and then you tweak, there exists a point at which, you no longer have a "child of god", you have something else.

so, when do i have something else?

give me a number""


You just don't. I could refer to a chicken soup analogy, but the language is not appropriate for this venue or my sensibilities to propriety. You just can't make chicken soup from some things.
I'll put it plainly...what you propose is not possible. I am convinced that if you attempt the number of changes required, you would end up with something dead. Something dead is a corpse, not a human being.

I meant to add to that last sentence "or any other creature."

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