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Sand
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02 Jul 2010, 7:57 pm

JetLag wrote:
Yes, I believe it does. It's at conception that a person's unique physical characteristics; such as gender, eye color, bone structure, proclivity for certain diseases, etc., are established. And since the fertilized human egg is the obvious product of human DNA, the preborn child's nature and essence are undeniably human. Therefore, life begins at conception.


The components of an individual are alive before the individual is formed. Life merely continues in a different form. Life does not begin at conception or birth. It merely varies.



Awesomelyglorious
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02 Jul 2010, 8:17 pm

JetLag wrote:
Yes, I believe it does. It's at conception that a person's unique physical characteristics; such as gender, eye color, bone structure, proclivity for certain diseases, etc., are established. And since the fertilized human egg is the obvious product of human DNA, the preborn child's nature and essence are undeniably human. Therefore, life begins at conception.

I've already pretty much debunked a simple view like this with this particular argument right here:
"2) Fertilized eggs don't hold to a rule 1 egg = 1 person, a rule that seems implicit with saying that life begins at conception. But rather, eggs can end up resulting in multiple people as noted with identical twins, or two eggs can end up becoming one person, such as with chimeras, which do occur in rare circumstances with humans. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimera_(genetics) Either of these variations ultimately bring question to the basic rule, as we have one human being split, which human beings cannot do, or we have two human beings becoming one human being, which is also similarly impossible for humans. Both circumstances bring into heavy question the basic rule used in the idea that life begins at conception. "

Twins don't have unique physical characteristics, and chimeras are multiple fertilized eggs turning into a single person. Either one brings up massive philosophical problems for your system. Either you have one person somehow becoming two people and you have to ask which one was the egg? How could a person turn into two people if normal people don't do this? Or you have two people somehow becoming one, and you have to ask do both people exist if both unique physical characteristics exist? Did one person die?

Either way, we find absurdity.

This isn't even getting into the fact that a few genetic facts really aren't how people think of persons in the first place, as noted with aliens in science fiction. And this also isn't getting into the fact that most people who say that life begins at conception aren't taking the act of trying to conceive a person with the seriousness it demands if their actions involve the highly probable death of a human being. After all, if I was told with some assurance that if I took a particular action, that someone had to die, I would imagine that I would feel tremendous guilt for this, or perhaps avoid even taking the action entirely.



Sand
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02 Jul 2010, 9:01 pm

This concern over a couple of developing cells is in marked contrast to the ease with which governments (which are merely decision makers for people) blithely send soldiers to die for most questionable purposes or the decision not to feed the thousands of people who die every day for lack of food or medical attention. The whole mass of thought (or thoughtlessness) is so totally stupid and hypocritical that it is one of the major causes for total disgust and disdain for humanity.



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02 Jul 2010, 10:25 pm

the cleavage of undifferentiated zygotic cells doesn't really alter the biological or medical question about the start of life.

A zygote at a moment in time is no less alive because of the fact that several moments later it cleaves into two separate zygotes. There is nothing in the determination of life that requires a 1:1 correspondence between gametes and viable organisms.


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02 Jul 2010, 10:51 pm

visagrunt wrote:
the cleavage of undifferentiated zygotic cells doesn't really alter the biological or medical question about the start of life.

A zygote at a moment in time is no less alive because of the fact that several moments later it cleaves into two separate zygotes. There is nothing in the determination of life that requires a 1:1 correspondence between gametes and viable organisms.

visagrunt, nobody paid attention to your post as it wasn't relevant to the question very much. Most people have from their context some knowledge about the debate. The debate is a philosophical debate, not a biological or medical debate as personhood is not a biological or medical question. This is not a legal question as everybody already knows that laws can be ad hoc, and because the "legal question" is really a political question, and this thread is clearly not about politics.

The issue of 1:1 correspondence is really in response to a particular notion of personhood, that is that philosophical personhood begins at conception, which if true is a problematic position given that there are variations. (Obviously life at conception means personhood, otherwise notions that abortion and plan B are murder would be ludicrous) Frankly, I started the thread more because I had thought out a rebuttal to "life at conception".



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02 Jul 2010, 11:14 pm

visagrunt wrote:
the cleavage of undifferentiated zygotic cells doesn't really alter the biological or medical question about the start of life.

A zygote at a moment in time is no less alive because of the fact that several moments later it cleaves into two separate zygotes. There is nothing in the determination of life that requires a 1:1 correspondence between gametes and viable organisms.

The way I see the issue of the "1 egg = 1 [person]" that AG pointed out, seems an indication that life starting at conception, is likely not the case, and well, perhaps even in combination of biology with philosophy, and perhaps the term 'identity' should do it more than 'personhood' in this case.

First I'll change the word "person" for "being", for the sake of this argument.
At which point can it be said that a being starts to exist? Does the being has to necessarily exist in order to say it is alive? or to put the question better, Does the life of the being predate its existence?

This is the case of multiple births, such as twins. Before the egg splits into two or three or whatever, these several beings didn't exist at conception, as initially we only have one sperm cell and one egg cell and the egg splits at a later time. And the issue is about the lack of existence of these several beings at the exact time at conception.


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Last edited by greenblue on 03 Jul 2010, 1:26 am, edited 4 times in total.

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03 Jul 2010, 12:41 am

Sand wrote:
Awesomelyglorious wrote:
SaNcheNuSS wrote:
wow and he is still an atheist? He must have a young soul.

Right, because atheism is proof that one is intellectually immature. *sigh* Grow up.


Well, I was a well established atheist back in 1930 arguing with the other kids my age about how ridiculous the whole concept of God and heaven and angels and such is and waiting anxiously to become adult enough to discover that good sense prevailed in a mature world. That never happened. I painfully watched my mother and father die after being horribly tortured by cancer and my quadriplegic son die after thirty years on a respirator and this last February my wife died after brain cancer ate her mind silly. If some total jerk tried to comfort me with some crap about God's will and the glories of an afterlife I would respond forcefully with a right punch to the nose but no one had the bad sense to do that. Growing up merely bestowed me with disappointment at having bin born into humanity before evolution had the time to refine intellect to a useful degree.


So you are,like most atheists, an atheist because you don't believe that a loving God could let people suffer and die like that. I kind of want to agree with you. The really bad people in this world seem to get away with evil and go unpunished. While the "good" and kind people suffer. N In between.



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03 Jul 2010, 1:13 am

visagrunt wrote:
A zygote at a moment in time is no less alive because of the fact that several moments later it cleaves into two separate zygotes.

The issue is that each of the separate zygotes didn't exist earlier, so I believe the question still stands in relation with identity.

Let's say that A splitted into two, so let's call the resulting zygotes B and C.

We no longer have A, rather B and C.
And B and C appeared several moments later from the time of conception, so B and C didn't exist at that point yet.

Given that, the idea that those twins, B and C, both, started their existence at conception becomes something to actually wonder about, because B and C are two different identities, instead of just one that was at the beginning and that could have been.


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Sand
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03 Jul 2010, 3:47 am

SaNcheNuSS wrote:
Sand wrote:
Awesomelyglorious wrote:
SaNcheNuSS wrote:
wow and he is still an atheist? He must have a young soul.

Right, because atheism is proof that one is intellectually immature. *sigh* Grow up.


Well, I was a well established atheist back in 1930 arguing with the other kids my age about how ridiculous the whole concept of God and heaven and angels and such is and waiting anxiously to become adult enough to discover that good sense prevailed in a mature world. That never happened. I painfully watched my mother and father die after being horribly tortured by cancer and my quadriplegic son die after thirty years on a respirator and this last February my wife died after brain cancer ate her mind silly. If some total jerk tried to comfort me with some crap about God's will and the glories of an afterlife I would respond forcefully with a right punch to the nose but no one had the bad sense to do that. Growing up merely bestowed me with disappointment at having bin born into humanity before evolution had the time to refine intellect to a useful degree.


So you are,like most atheists, an atheist because you don't believe that a loving God could let people suffer and die like that. I kind of want to agree with you. The really bad people in this world seem to get away with evil and go unpunished. While the "good" and kind people suffer. N In between.


No. I am an atheist because the basic concept of a god, loving or otherwise, is the most infantile idiotic unobservant interpretation of the nature of existence. It's just plain stupid and it has seemed so to me from about the age of 4. I have looked again at the concept throughout my life and found it consistently an insult to intelligence.



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03 Jul 2010, 5:51 am

Orwell wrote:
That was purely sarcasm, I hope you realize.

Anyways, I think that either hard-liner view is pretty hard to justify (life begins at conception vs life begins when the baby starts crying). The problem then becomes where you draw an arbitrary line somewhere during pregnancy. I think most people would probably feel uncomfortable with abortions after the fetus is viable (except when obviously medically necessary) and I also think most people really don't think an abortion is as big a deal two weeks into the pregnancy.


As I understand it is not until a few weeks into the second trimester that all the systems necessary for life are in place and essentially all that happens from this point in time is development . Pain and complex neural developement is not thought to be present until the late stages of the 2nd trimester. So to my mind (and yes Orwell I have studied this at uni) the cut off point for non essential abortion should be 12 weeks


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Sand
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03 Jul 2010, 6:53 am

One implication of the claim that life begins at conception is that creationists (who are most likely to be anti-abortion) say that only God can create life and therefore this is a process reserved for God. But if a couple of haploid cells have no difficulty duplicating God's basic powers then the justification for the original creation of life by God becomes somewhat undermined.



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03 Jul 2010, 10:20 am

i have heard many times that "life begins at 40".
so i do not see any moral dilemma in a termination before that age.



Sand
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03 Jul 2010, 11:00 am

b9 wrote:
i have heard many times that "life begins at 40".
so i do not see any moral dilemma in a termination before that age.


I am 84 and anticipating a full life as soon as it starts.I have no indication as to when that might be but local conditions are obvious it's not here.



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03 Jul 2010, 1:20 pm

Sand wrote:
b9 wrote:
i have heard many times that "life begins at 40".
so i do not see any moral dilemma in a termination before that age.


I am 84 and anticipating a full life as soon as it starts.I have no indication as to when that might be but local conditions are obvious it's not here.



Were you an atheist at the age of 4?

ruveyn



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03 Jul 2010, 2:19 pm

Yes, I do believe that. Those are living human cells, forming, in that little cluster.


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Sand
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03 Jul 2010, 6:54 pm

ruveyn wrote:
Sand wrote:
b9 wrote:
i have heard many times that "life begins at 40".
so i do not see any moral dilemma in a termination before that age.


I am 84 and anticipating a full life as soon as it starts.I have no indication as to when that might be but local conditions are obvious it's not here.



Were you an atheist at the age of 4?

ruveyn


Not only an atheist, but argued with the Catholic kids in the neighborhood and they had the same silly religious arguments that go on incessantly that I find here.