Poll: When does life begin?
Before conception
At conception
After a woman can have an abortion
[Show Results]
 
When does life begin?
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
01-10-2014, 02:27 PM
RE: When does life begin?
None of these options are anything I would choose.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like ohio_drg's post
01-10-2014, 03:19 PM
RE: When does life begin?
(01-10-2014 02:27 PM)ohio_drg Wrote:  None of these options are anything I would choose.

I agree.

"You're very clever, young man, very clever, but it's turtles all the way down!"
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
01-10-2014, 05:26 PM
RE: When does life begin?
Human life began somewhere between 2.3 million years ago and 50000 years ago, depending on what you are prepared to call human. Since then there has been a continuous chain of life from generation to generation with no points along the way where a living being arose from dead matter or from non-human matter.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like Hafnof's post
01-10-2014, 05:36 PM
RE: When does life begin?
(01-10-2014 10:32 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(01-10-2014 10:08 AM)dimaniac Wrote:  Sorry for my English
Hello everyone, creationist here. Please answer this question. When does life begin?
1 Before conception.
2 At conception.
3 After it is legal for a woman to have an abortion.

Btw this question has nothing to do with abortion debate in US. I'm having a discussion at a local forum with an atheist and he says that life begins before conception which sounds strange to me Blink

How can life begin before conception? Huh

The sperm and egg are living organisms in and of themselves, and before the two meet and greet. So, my answer to the OP poll is none of the above.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
01-10-2014, 05:44 PM
RE: When does life begin?
(01-10-2014 05:26 PM)Hafnof Wrote:  Human life began somewhere between 2.3 million years ago and 50000 years ago, depending on what you are prepared to call human. Since then there has been a continuous chain of life from generation to generation with no points along the way where a living being arose from dead matter or from non-human matter.

Except for the tiny detail that we are all composed of non-living matter. Consider

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
[Image: flagstiny%206.gif]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
01-10-2014, 05:56 PM
RE: When does life begin?
BTW DNA, the very same DNA which is accepted in law courts as incontestable evidence for many things, is proof that the human species evolved. Unless a creationist is willing to accept that the creation event happened many millions if not billions of years ago, their ignorance of science is astounding and profound. (It certainly did not happen, and could not have happened, as recounted in either of the Genesis myths from either the E source or the J source, which were assembled by the Judean priests, heavily influenced by Babylonian myths during the Babylonian Exile).

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like Bucky Ball's post
01-10-2014, 06:01 PM
RE: When does life begin?
(01-10-2014 05:44 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(01-10-2014 05:26 PM)Hafnof Wrote:  Human life began somewhere between 2.3 million years ago and 50000 years ago, depending on what you are prepared to call human. Since then there has been a continuous chain of life from generation to generation with no points along the way where a living being arose from dead matter or from non-human matter.

Except for the tiny detail that we are all composed of non-living matter. Consider

Yes, we are all composed of molecules, and atoms if you break it down further. Sub-atomic particles if you go EVEN further.

I think though that we would both agree that-without splitting hairs-each of us "arose" from the mixing of sperm and egg, each of which is, presumably, human. No? Tongue

"You're very clever, young man, very clever, but it's turtles all the way down!"
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
01-10-2014, 06:07 PM
RE: When does life begin?
(01-10-2014 06:01 PM)Hoops Wrote:  
(01-10-2014 05:44 PM)Chas Wrote:  Except for the tiny detail that we are all composed of non-living matter. Consider

Yes, we are all composed of molecules, and atoms if you break it down further. Sub-atomic particles if you go EVEN further.

I think though that we would both agree that-without splitting hairs-each of us "arose" from the mixing of sperm and egg, each of which is, presumably, human. No? Tongue

Well, most of us. Dodgy

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
[Image: flagstiny%206.gif]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Chas's post
01-10-2014, 06:08 PM
RE: When does life begin?
(01-10-2014 06:07 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(01-10-2014 06:01 PM)Hoops Wrote:  Yes, we are all composed of molecules, and atoms if you break it down further. Sub-atomic particles if you go EVEN further.

I think though that we would both agree that-without splitting hairs-each of us "arose" from the mixing of sperm and egg, each of which is, presumably, human. No? Tongue

Well, most of us. Dodgy

Fair enough. Tongue

"You're very clever, young man, very clever, but it's turtles all the way down!"
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
02-10-2014, 02:18 PM (This post was last modified: 02-10-2014 02:24 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: When does life begin?
It's pretty clear, from context, that you're not actually asking about life processes, such as cellular metabolism and so on. You're not asking about when life begins in a legal sense, or in terms of social convention. You're asking about it in some moral or philosophical sense.

In other words, you are asking a question for which there is no objective standard for determining truth. Nothing can be proved on this topic, by any imaginable method. This will come down to nothing more than a comparing of opinions, all of which will be equally unsupported. There is nothing that could begin to count as evidence. It will be a popularity contest, nothing more.

So what you're really asking is, when should we grant, as a legal convention or as a matter of social consensus, the protections normally associated with being a person? When should we as a society grant or acknowledge personhood regarding a developing fertilized egg/zygote/fetus/whatever?

Asking questions like this requires a deep understanding of why we grant personhood in the first place. While there is a general consensus for people we walk around with and talk to everyday, this consensus breaks down at boundary conditions, and does so in a gray manner. You are pointing to one example, the start of life. Another example of a gray boundary where consensus breaks down is the end of life. Is a person dead when they stop breathing? When their heart stops beating? What if their brain stops working, but their lungs and heart are kept operating on life support? There is no clear consensus here. Part of the problem is that while there is a consensus for everyday people that we interact with, the individual philosophies that converge into this consensus are actually quite diverse, and differ greatly in these boundary conditions. I'll list three examples. There will be more.

Example 1: Religious authoritarianism. In this form of reasoning, we behave well towards each other because we are instructed to by a religious figure, not out of genuine, self-generated desire. We do not murder because we are told not to murder. We do not steal because we are told not to steal. We treat each other decently because we are instructed to, and told that there will be a reward for it... entirely selfish impulses, not motivated by genuine compassion at all. I would hazard to guess, given your previous thread, your tunnel-vision focus on the subject of abortion, and the fact that you're posting this in a forum for atheism and theism rather than the forum on politics, or the forum on medicine and health, that this is the philosophy from which you derive your own opinions on the subject.

The religions vary greatly on the topic. I'll focus on Christianity, though I have no idea if this is your own source. A literal reading of the Bible seems to support abortion as valid in some cases, though obviously the procedures back when the Bible was written were extremely primitive.

The prohibition against murder doesn't necessarily apply here... this isn't a question about whether it's all right to kill a person, but whether something COUNTS as a person. "Pro-life" Christians (a term I count contemptible, given the disregard for the mother's life that this group often evinces) often point to a passage where God expresses to a prophet.... don't remember which one... that he knew the prophet "in the womb", as evidence that there was a person to know in the womb. But this is an extremely weak basis. Not only is the point of time in the womb unspecified -- third trimester, maybe ten minutes before labor began? -- but the nature of that knowledge is also unclear. Perhaps it's less a sign of the personhood of the unborn, and more of God's prescience? After all, if the passage said that God knew the prophet at the beginning of time, it would be a clear expression of prescience. Contrast this, on the other hand, with the instructions from.... Leviticus or Deutoronomy, I forget which... in which a pregnant woman accused of adultery is to be brought before a priest and made to drink an abortificant, which somehow will work only if she is an adulteress. This is a clear endorsement of abortion under certain circumstances, lacking any of the vagueness of the other passage.

Of course, the book is not the religion. The traditions that have grown up following the book are evolving things, do not agree on all the details, change over time, and in many ways have deviated far from the book itself. In some traditions, Jesus's warning about a camel through the eye of a needle are dismissed, and the focus is entirely on bringing material wealth to the worshipers and, of course, the church. In others, there is emphasis on holy war against Islam, rather than Jesus's call to love one's neighbors, and treat all the world as one's neighbors. So things have gone quite afar from the source material. Traditionally, the moment of ensoulment was marked as "quickening", meaning, the moment the fetus began moving independently within the womb. At one point, the Catholic church favored abortion... the better to deal with the fussy problem of women parishioners got pregnant by priests. They were for it before they were against it. Then... things changed. Religion evolved. Now, more through political alliances and stubborn social conservatism and a half-awareness of the scientific understanding of the reproductive process than anything resembling the original faith, most Christian organizations are opposed to abortion or, at least, squeamish about it. The TRADITION changed. The book didn't, but what got preached from the pulpit did. So, a lot of modern religious tradition says that the fetus, even the fertilized egg, even the egg that hasn't been fertilized but will be because some sperm just got deposited and will eventually make its way to it... that counts as a person.

Moving through these examples more quickly...

Example 2: Humanism. In humanism, the goal is to lessen the suffering of the human race at large, expand its freedoms, and generally make things better for humanity. This is why humanists think it's wrong to murder, steal, etc. They're a very independent bunch, and what one humanist thinks might not be what another one thinks. But one humanist might look at the development of a zygote and ask, is this thing, human or not, capable of suffering? Science tells us, not for a while. Before any pain can be experienced, there must both be a brain, and the nervous connections to carry the sensation of pain to the brain. This humanist might therefore conclude that before these things develop, granting the protections reserved to people -- that is, personhood -- to the fetus is unwarranted, as the critical difference is that a fetus cannot feel pain and cannot suffer.

Example 3: Social stability. Some people want a reasonably stable society, the members of which are not abused by the government or each other. (Actually, I'd say that most of us do.) They will therefore enact laws and, more subtly, social conventions as they think will help promote such affairs. The grey area here is moved to, "who is a member of our society?" A fetus likely is not, because one does not socialize with a fetus. It cannot hold a conversation with us, cannot perform labor, cannot cast a vote... cannot do anything, which we think of as being part of a society.

My point is not that any one of these examples is a correct or incorrect view. My point is that the consensus which exists regarding who is and isn't a person in everyday affairs, does not exist regarding a developing human embryo/fetus/whatever stage in utero. This is because the various beliefs which converge on a consensus in the everyday, do not converge in such edge cases.

But all of that, all of that, is a red herring.

The question is personhood. The question is, is a fetus granted the SAME protections as someone who is alive, walking around, and talking. Consider the violinist argument:

A woman wakes up to discover that she has been hooked up to an unconscious man in the middle of life, by an unethical doctor. The doctor informs her that this is a world-class concert violinist who has suffered severe liver failure, but can now live thanks to a wonderful new treatment that the doctor has developed. The violinist at no point agreed to this treatment, but is kept unconscious and cannot object. In this treatment, the woman's liver is used for several months to keep the violinist alive, while a new liver is grown for the violinist. If the woman disconnects herself from the machine, the violinist will surely die. However, if she remains connected for a few months, both will most likely live... though there is a small but noticible chance that the woman will die, and she will most likely have her life expectancy shortened. Is it within the woman's legal, and moral, rights to say, no, I didn't agree to this and you can't just hijack my body for this, and yank out the tubes?

People who are alive, walking around, and talking, are not granted the same protections that the "pro-life" movement wishes to grant to a fetus. They are not granted privileged access to another person's organs, over the objections of that person. No one is being mandated to donate a kidney, or a lung, or skin grafts, to save or sustain the life of another. Not even if they can only beg minor inconvenience as an excuse. Not even if they have no excuse. Not even if they are dead, but declined to specify that they wished to donate their organs. Yet "pro-life" people will demand that women everywhere be mandated to give up use of their wombs -- at considerable impact to their health and life expectancy -- to an edge case. This far, far exceeds the protections we would extend even to people that we agree are people.

In any event, this has NOTHING to do with theism or atheism. I recommend that you post future topics of this nature in either the Politics or the Health and Psychology forums, or maybe Philosophy.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Reltzik's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: