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Old 12-05-2013, 01:32 PM   #721
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No, it's not my definition. Please don't put words in my mouth.
Sorry to sound lawyerly on you, but did you not post these words below?

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Human vs. non-human is obviously an easy answer as it is based on DNA but then that would mean that "human" is a fertilized egg, which is immediately following conception.
Are you now claiming this egg has no biological "life"? Are you actually stating that biologist would look at fertilized egg and conclude it was "not alive" in any sense?
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:34 PM   #722
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Yes, I wrote those words.

You will note that I was stating "human" not "human life".

VERY significant distinction.
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:42 PM   #723
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Yes, I wrote those words.

You will note that I was stating "human" not "human life".

VERY significant distinction.
So, you're stating the recently fertilized egg in not alive? That it's dead? If we were in a courtroom, and placed a recently fertilized egg under microscope, and asked 1000 scientists and doctors to look at the thing with all those cells moving and dividing like nuts - how many do you think would claim it was dead?

If a fertilized egg is human (you've already agreed to this) - and the egg is alive (which certainly seems to be the case) - then it follows that this is human life.
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:46 PM   #724
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Life is not simply a biological construct.

A scientist would tell you that a fertilized egg is a blastocyst and would be able to identify whether and how many of its cells appear to be alive.

A scientist worth anything would not say "this is definitively human life."

I should know, it used to be my career.

In any event, this discussion is pointless because you wish to reduce the definition of human life to only a biological construct which is in my view impossible. So there really is not a lot for us to go on discussing.
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:47 PM   #725
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So, you're stating the recently fertilized egg in not alive? That it's dead? If we were in a courtroom, and placed a recently fertilized egg under microscope, and asked 1000 scientists and doctors to look at the thing with all those cells moving and dividing like nuts - how many do you think would claim it was dead? If a fertilized egg is human (you've already agreed to this) - and the egg is alive (which certainly seems to be the case) - then it follows that this is human life.
Forgive me for butting in, but I highly doubt anitram - or anyone - thinks a fertilized egg is dead. I'd say it has the potential for life, but not exactly alive because it can't live outside the womb.

This debate shows just how complex it is to define life which adds to the complexity of the abortion issue.
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:48 PM   #726
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If a fertilized egg is human (you've already agreed to this) - and the egg is alive (which certainly seems to be the case) - then it follows that this is human life.
No, that's called an association fallacy, in scientific and mathematical terms.
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:49 PM   #727
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This is a very interesting conversation- hope no one minds if I butt in...

I take issue with human life beginning at conception, when sperm meets egg. Ask anyone who has endured a failed IVF treatment, or even general infertility. The embryo(s) fail to attach to the uterus because they weren't viable. Something was wrong with the embryo or the environment, and the embryo failed to develop. Also, human embryos can be cryogenically frozen within 5-6 days of conception and successfully thawed later. That process isn't possible for any other phase of human development with current technology.

I can buy into human life starting when the embryo attaches to the uterus, but that is a really important step that embryos are basically useless without. Embryos have the potential for life, it's an important first step, but I can't say that's when life starts.
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:53 PM   #728
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No, that's called an association fallacy, in scientific and mathematical terms.
Not exactly. Here's the association fallacy construct:

Premise A is a B
Premise A is also a C
Conclusion - Therefore, all Bs are Cs


In order for the argument to be guilty of this fallacy, it would need to be built like this:

A functioning Fertilized Egg that contains human DNA (Premise A) is a human (Premise B)
A functioning Fertilized Egg that contains human DNA (Premise A) is also alive (Premise C)

Therefore All humans (Premise B's) are alive (Premise C's).

That is not my argument.

Here is my argument:


Premise A is a B
Premise A is also a C
Conclusion - Therefore, A is BOTH a B and a C


A functioning Fertilized Egg that contains human DNA (Premise A) is a human (Premise B)
A functioning Fertilized Egg that contains human DNA (Premise A) is also alive (Premise C)

Therefore all functioning Fertilized Eggs that contains human DNA (Premise A) are BOTH human (Premise B) and alive (Premise C).

Please note - I am using your statements for both Premise A and Premise B.
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:02 PM   #729
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This is a very interesting conversation- hope no one minds if I butt in...

I take issue with human life beginning at conception, when sperm meets egg. Ask anyone who has endured a failed IVF treatment, or even general infertility. The embryo(s) fail to attach to the uterus because they weren't viable. Something was wrong with the embryo or the environment, and the embryo failed to develop. Also, human embryos can be cryogenically frozen within 5-6 days of conception and successfully thawed later. That process isn't possible for any other phase of human development with current technology.

I can buy into human life starting when the embryo attaches to the uterus, but that is a really important step that embryos are basically useless without. Embryos have the potential for life, it's an important first step, but I can't say that's when life starts.
Thanks for butting in. I think you make a good point (especially the cryogenically frozen point).

So let me ask you (or anyone else that wants to add) - if most scientist finally agree and declare in public that human life indeed starts the moment the embryo attaches to the uterus, then is it plausible that abortion after this point is morally wrong? Especially if we accept the notion that ending an innocent (as in, not guilty of a crime) human life prematurely is morally wrong...?
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:10 PM   #730
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OK, Aeon - nice and thorough.

Premise C is entirely your premise and is based solely on the idea that life is a biological construct and that being "alive" consists of having one cell which is biologically functioning.

As long as you hold this view, we cannot find middle ground.

I see human life as complex - not just biological cells which are undergoing cellular processes, but individuals which have awareness, a conscience, ability to respond or at least sense stimuli, varying degrees of understanding their environment, with the ability to form bonds, relationships and what have you. I haven't covered everything, obviously, just a few things that popped into my mind. I.E. Life requires not just a pack of cells, but all these other, intangible things for something to be alive.
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:19 PM   #731
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Life is not simply a biological construct.
Are you getting Deepak on us?

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A scientist would tell you that a fertilized egg is a blastocyst and would be able to identify whether and how many of its cells appear to be alive.
Good.

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A scientist worth anything would not say "this is definitively human life."
That's not the question that was asked of them. They were simply asked if the fertilized egg was alive or dead.

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I should know, it used to be my career.
We live in an age of nearly unlimited access to information. There is very little "secret" information that you have in your possession that can't be accessed, researched, and discussed by anyone with an Internet connection. Please do not be so condescending. If you have a secret book of knowledge - please be so kind to share with the rest of us fools. Furthermore - this tangent of the discussion is based on the information you've provided. If that information is incorrect, please make the necessary modifications.

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In any event, this discussion is pointless because you wish to reduce the definition of human life to only a biological construct -
No, I'm trying to arrive at a bare minimum definition.

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which is in my view impossible.
Are you a nihilist or something? Do you not think that science, and in particular biology, can determine whether something is life vs non-life? Were my textbooks from grade school wrong when they claimed that something like a rock was "non-life" and something like a cell was "life"? When did this get so complicated?
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:30 PM   #732
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So let me ask you (or anyone else that wants to add) - if most scientist finally agree and declare in public that human life indeed starts the moment the embryo attaches to the uterus, then is it plausible that abortion after this point is morally wrong? Especially if we accept the notion that ending an innocent (as in, not guilty of a crime) human life prematurely is morally wrong...?
I personally would have a little easier time getting behind that concept scientifically, but morally it is such a gray area for me.

It is true that a woman could not even necessarily know she was pregnant for several weeks, even a couple of months after the moment of implantation. Is it fair to her that it's too late to make that decision to end the pregnancy once she learns of it? On the flip side, is it fair to the fetus? Who wins that struggle?

I guess morally that's up to each woman and her own personal spirituality. Do I feel comfortable with anyone waiting until 24 weeks viability to abort a pregnancy? No, not really, in general. But some situations warrant it. Each circumstance is different. I think that's overall my biggest issue with the abortion debate. Some abortions are completely justified in my mind, and some are not.
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:35 PM   #733
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I personally would have a little easier time getting behind that concept scientifically, but morally it is such a gray area for me.

It is true that a woman could not even necessarily know she was pregnant for several weeks, even a couple of months after the moment of implantation. Is it fair to her that it's too late to make that decision to end the pregnancy once she learns of it? On the flip side, is it fair to the fetus? Who wins that struggle?

I guess morally that's up to each woman and her own personal spirituality. Do I feel comfortable with anyone waiting until 24 weeks viability to abort a pregnancy? No, not really, in general. But some situations warrant it. Each circumstance is different. I think that's overall my biggest issue with the abortion debate. Some abortions are completely justified in my mind, and some are not.
Thanks for sharing your experience and your take, LadySpinHead. It's good to hear a different angle on this.

Because this issue is so complex and most abortions are done in the first trimester after careful thinking, I really don't think there should be any strict laws or other people telling others what to do. The gray area is too vast.
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:36 PM   #734
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AEON, is consisting of living cells the same thing as being alive, in the sense of being a living human? If so, then science will tell you that fetuses are alive, in the sense of being a living human. But scientific inquiry isn't going to make these definitions.
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:40 PM   #735
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AEON, is consisting of living cells the same thing as being alive, in the sense of being a living human? If so, then science will tell you that fetuses are alive, in the sense of being a living human. But scientific inquiry isn't going to make these definitions.
Same thing I've been saying all along.
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