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Thread: Christianity Today Op Ed

  1. #1411
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
    Again, likening a brain dead person to a developing fetus is absurd because there are significantly more dissimilarities than similarities between the two. You're basically promoting the classic "It's just a lump of tissue" argument favored by pro-abortionists. But you say you're not in favor of abortion, so what would you say to someone who defends abortion by quoting your own argument back to you?
    I'm not arguing for abortion on demand. I'm discussing onset of a human being in a developing fetus, ensoulment in religious terms - more or less.

    The only element I am comparing here is presence or absence of consciousness. And in that element the two cases are symmetric. In the dying person, the brain and consciousness are collapsing. In the fetus, they are building and forming. At some point in the brain dead person we went from functioning, conscious brain to a deteriorating body without a consciousness. In a fetus we go from a developing body without a consciousness to having consciousness.

    That is the symmetry that is being discussed and compared.
    Last edited by oxmixmudd; 01-23-2020 at 11:01 AM.
    He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me."

    "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets"

  2. #1412
    tWebber Mountain Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oxmixmudd View Post
    I'm not arguing for abortion on demand.
    I didn't say you were. I asked how you would respond to someone who defended abortion on demand by quoting your argument back to you.
    Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
    But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
    Than a fool in the eyes of God


    From "Fools Gold" by Petra

  3. #1413
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    again wrong. A zygote IS a human being. I was one once, and so were you. A zygote is a distinct stage of a human being's life cycle. Just like "infant," "teenager," and "adult"

    A zygote has a full distinct DNA, different from the mother or father. It is a separate organism. It is alive and growing. A gamete isn't. It might be a "potential" human being (very bad odds of that) but a zygote is an actual human being.
    As Jim notes, you're conflating terminology here. The question is whether (or when) an embryo or fetus -- an organism -- becomes a being, a person. If a zygote is a being (person) then 1) all potential-person organisms are "beings" or persons which 2) leads to logical absurdities.

    Stem cells would have to be considered "beings" since, under the right conditions, they can be developed into full-fledged organisms, containing within themselves "a full distinct DNA". Likewise, Jim's example is apt: if a zygote is a "being" or person then identical twins are a single person?

    No, the categorical distinction must lie elsewhere.

    --Sam
    "I wonder about the trees. / Why do we wish to bear / Forever the noise of these / More than another noise / So close to our dwelling place?" — Robert Frost, "The Sound of Trees"


  4. #1414
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oxmixmudd View Post
    I dont think that is a viable definition Sparko. Remember twins? The zygote can be the first step in creating more than on person, and so it is not correct to say it is a human being. There are many subsequent factors that will determine which human being(s) the zygote becomes. The zygote is the recipe for at least one human being. But it is not yet a human being or beings.
    It is a human being. If it splits then it is two human beings, or 3, etc. A human being begins with a zygote. This is first year biology.

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    It is a human being. If it splits then it is two human beings, or 3, etc. A human being begins with a zygote. This is first year biology.
    Having taken first year biology, I can state confidently that this is false. You're conflating the word "being" with "organism" and the two are necessarily distinct.

    --Sam
    "I wonder about the trees. / Why do we wish to bear / Forever the noise of these / More than another noise / So close to our dwelling place?" — Robert Frost, "The Sound of Trees"


  6. #1416
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    As Jim notes, you're conflating terminology here. The question is whether (or when) an embryo or fetus -- an organism -- becomes a being, a person. If a zygote is a being (person) then 1) all potential-person organisms are "beings" or persons which 2) leads to logical absurdities.

    Stem cells would have to be considered "beings" since, under the right conditions, they can be developed into full-fledged organisms, containing within themselves "a full distinct DNA". Likewise, Jim's example is apt: if a zygote is a "being" or person then identical twins are a single person?

    No, the categorical distinction must lie elsewhere.

    --Sam
    You are deliberately trying to confuse the issue. A human zygote is a specialized cell that will grow into an infant, naturally. A stem cell is not. And again, "person" is a legal term. Being is synonymous with "organism" here. Legally, in Germany during WW2, Jews were not "people" - they were human beings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    You are deliberately trying to confuse the issue. A human zygote is a specialized cell that will grow into an infant, naturally. A stem cell is not. And again, "person" is a legal term. Being is synonymous with "organism" here. Legally, in Germany during WW2, Jews were not "people" - they were human beings.
    I'm deliberately trying to explain the nuance required for the discussion. The stem cell and the zygote are the same in their particulars: it is external forces that make the difference. Case in point: gametes that are fused in a petri dish 1) become a zygote and 2) will not develop into an infant naturally. Is the zygote in utero a person and the zygote in a dish not, based on their natural trajectories? Such are the absurdities that come from lack of precision.

    A "being" is not synonymous with "organism" -- worms are organisms but are not "beings". Dogs are not "beings", as much as we love them. Chimpanzees, elephants, and dolphins may well be "beings". "Organism" and "being" are necessarily distinct terms that carry wildly different implications.

    You're going to have to cite me the Nazi terminology of Jewish people: the Nuremberg race laws don't define them outside the scope of personhood. Certainly, we've come to understand that Nazis (and Americans and others) deemed some people as "subhuman" ... but never were they talking about the categorical distinctions at issue here. Black slaves, Jewish Germans, and other oppressed groups were understood to have minds, to process complex sensations, etc. -- it was not argued that they weren't "persons" in the sense we're talking about here but that they were inferior persons.

    The Nazi analogy, therefore, continues to be an example of poisoning the well to avoid the complexity the discussion demands.

    --Sam
    "I wonder about the trees. / Why do we wish to bear / Forever the noise of these / More than another noise / So close to our dwelling place?" — Robert Frost, "The Sound of Trees"


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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    I'm deliberately trying to explain the nuance required for the discussion. The stem cell and the zygote are the same in their particulars: it is external forces that make the difference. Case in point: gametes that are fused in a petri dish 1) become a zygote and 2) will not develop into an infant naturally. Is the zygote in utero a person and the zygote in a dish not, based on their natural trajectories? Such are the absurdities that come from lack of precision.

    A "being" is not synonymous with "organism" -- worms are organisms but are not "beings". Dogs are not "beings", as much as we love them. Chimpanzees, elephants, and dolphins may well be "beings". "Organism" and "being" are necessarily distinct terms that carry wildly different implications.

    You're going to have to cite me the Nazi terminology of Jewish people: the Nuremberg race laws don't define them outside the scope of personhood. Certainly, we've come to understand that Nazis (and Americans and others) deemed some people as "subhuman" ... but never were they talking about the categorical distinctions at issue here. Black slaves, Jewish Germans, and other oppressed groups were understood to have minds, to process complex sensations, etc. -- it was not argued that they weren't "persons" in the sense we're talking about here but that they were inferior persons.

    The Nazi analogy, therefore, continues to be an example of poisoning the well to avoid the complexity the discussion demands.

    --Sam
    I am not going to nitpick terminology with you Sam. We both know what we are talking about, despite your desperate hand waving. We are talking about an individual HUMAN LIFE. Humans are "beings" are they not? Even a brain dead one is still a human being. Even a corpse is still a human being, albeit a dead one.

    A new human organism begins with fertilization. And yes it is still a human being in a petri dish. It is not in it's natural habitat, a womb, so while it can still grow for a bit, it will eventually die if not implanted. That doesn't mean it isn't a human. A stem cell can't grow into a human organism. At best it could be made to grow into some tissue or an organ (they are still working on that)

  9. #1419
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    I am not going to nitpick terminology with you Sam. We both know what we are talking about, despite your desperate hand waving. We are talking about an individual HUMAN LIFE. Humans are "beings" are they not? Even a brain dead one is still a human being. Even a corpse is still a human being, albeit a dead one.

    A new human organism begins with fertilization. And yes it is still a human being in a petri dish. It is not in it's natural habitat, a womb, so while it can still grow for a bit, it will eventually die if not implanted. That doesn't mean it isn't a human. A stem cell can't grow into a human organism. At best it could be made to grow into some tissue or an organ (they are still working on that)
    Thank you -- this is why "nit-picking" terminology is important.

    You say a brain-dead patient is "still a human being". However, we do not require the consent of a brain-dead patient to terminate life support. We do this because we recognize that brain-dead patients no longer possess the qualities that confer the rights which demand a person's consent. So there must, by necessity, be some other factor that confers personhood and rights than the property "is a human organism".

    Stem cells can, in fact, grow into a human organism -- we've already done so with mice. It has the same "potential toward personhood" as does a zygote. If your distinction is "natural environment" then you concede that some external factor, not an inherent property, separates the potential between a zygote in utero from a zygote in a dish or, indeed, a stem cell. And, that being the case, means that the quality of personhood (or "being") is not found inherently in a zygote.

    This is all complicated stuff and it's going to necessarily involve getting "nit-picky" with precise concepts and terms if one wants to have a good, rational argument. It's also why very few people bother with getting that far into the real debate.

    --Sam
    "I wonder about the trees. / Why do we wish to bear / Forever the noise of these / More than another noise / So close to our dwelling place?" — Robert Frost, "The Sound of Trees"


  10. #1420
    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    Thank you -- this is why "nit-picking" terminology is important.

    You say a brain-dead patient is "still a human being". However, we do not require the consent of a brain-dead patient to terminate life support....
    In MANY cases, the "brain-dead patient" has a living will or directive authorizing somebody to act in their best interests, or spelling out their preferences.
    Sometimes, that's just "good planning", and sometimes it's something that happens prior to a medical procedure or something else which may reasonably result in the patient being incapacitated.

    An unborn human being NEVER has the opportunity to designate somebody else to act in their best interest.
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

  11. Amen Sparko amen'd this post.

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