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Thread: Christianity Today Op Ed

  1. #1371
    God, family, chicken! Bill the Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    ... However, so do gametes. So, too, do potential gametes. ...
    No they don't. Not unless another external gamete from the opposite sex gets involved.


    Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals --- Manya the Holy Szin --- The Quintara Marathon ---

    I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common --- Stephen R. Donaldson ---

  2. #1372
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill the Cat View Post
    Actually, it is quite relevant. I've stated pretty clearly that brain development is merely one in series of complex interrelated cells that have specified functions. 5% of a "normal functioning" brain was sufficient for that chap to live without intervention.



    Not independent of the rest. Again, artificially keeping a part of the organism able to respond to stimuli isn't "keeping it alive" in the sense that an embryo/fetus/infant is alive. Self-directed and uninterrupted growth and development is what it means to be alive. Not specification of function.



    Actually, yes. If anyone is kept artificially alive in ANY state, they lose the right to self-determination and are at the discretion of the doctor and next-of-kin. A brain can not communicate its desires or decisions.



    Not really. Again, an organ is only a PART of a self-contained and self-directed human organism. Embryologists and Biologists get that. This isn't rocket science. And when outlandish scenarios are introduced, you know their argument is nonsense.

    We dispensed with it because no one is arguing for the "fully functioning" claim. It's a red herring that has been dispensed with.

    So your argument here is that, assuming we have the technology to decapitate a human head while keeping the person's brain alive and fully-functioning, that head/brain has no legal rights of personhood? Even if they're fully able to communicate with you (e.g., a Futurama-style "head in a jar")?

    You're saying that such an entity -- that retains not only the ability to suffer but the memory and higher-brain function of its pre-decapitated state -- has less of a claim to personhood than a blastocyst?

    --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"


  3. #1373
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    Person is a philosophical term. Biology tells us absolutely nothing on its own about rights or morality. So we dispense with that distinction. Regardless, if we're talking about whether abortion is to be legal, we're talking about legal terms.

    What you describe for brain-dead patients is that they no longer have the potential for neurological capacity. That's correct. Embryos and fetuses do have such potential. However, so do gametes. So, too, do potential gametes. Do we confer rights on potentials? We do not -- otherwise vasectomies and contraception would be similarly in violation of rights.

    So: for someone who argues that a fetus has legal rights because it has potential to acquire the basic properties of personhood, the question is whether they can identify anything else in law that confers rights to a potential entity.

    --Sam
    No, gametes if left alone won't develop into a human being, they are only haploid. Only when they fuse together to form a diploid zygote does it become a new organism.

    And you say "person" is a philisophical term and then go straight into arguing for legal rights of "personhood"

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  5. #1374
    God, family, chicken! Bill the Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    We dispensed with it because no one is arguing for the "fully functioning" claim. It's a red herring that has been dispensed with.
    Jim was. He distinguished between a preborn that HAD and DID NOT HAVE a functioning brain.

    So your argument here is that, assuming we have the technology to decapitate a human head while keeping the person's brain alive and fully-functioning, that head/brain has no legal rights of personhood? Even if they're fully able to communicate with you (e.g., a Futurama-style "head in a jar")?
    Sure. Let's go far fetched... If we decapitate someone, and can biologically alter their heart to keep itself beating without the medulla, and hook them up to a computer that can simulate communication, we can say they are a person without a brain. Want to go further? Let's say we figure out how to transplant brains, and I hire someone to kidnap Brad Pitt and transplant my brain into his body, since my brain is me, then he would have no subsequent right to the body, and I would have committed no crime because the body is mine.

    You're saying that such an entity -- that retains not only the ability to suffer but the memory and higher-brain function of its pre-decapitated state -- has less of a claim to personhood than a blastocyst?
    Yes. The blastocyst is a self-contained and self-directed member of our species. The brain is only an organ that is being kept alive artificially. If the power goes out, the brain tissue dies. The blastocyst doesn't.


    Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals --- Manya the Holy Szin --- The Quintara Marathon ---

    I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common --- Stephen R. Donaldson ---

  6. #1375
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    No, gametes if left alone won't develop into a human being, they are only haploid. Only when they fuse together to form a diploid zygote does it become a new organism.

    And you say "person" is a philisophical term and then go straight into arguing for legal rights of "personhood"
    Both have the potential to develop into a "human being" and neither are actual "human beings". Your distinction is not one that has a meaningful difference when it comes to potentiality.

    Yes, law is a subset of philosophy -- law depends entirely on philosophical foundations. What we call "human rights" are legal protection that by definition rely on philosophical understanding of what constitutes "human" and what we mean when we use the word.

    --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"


  7. #1376
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill the Cat View Post
    Jim was. He distinguished between a preborn that HAD and DID NOT HAVE a functioning brain.



    Sure. Let's go far fetched... If we decapitate someone, and can biologically alter their heart to keep itself beating without the medulla, and hook them up to a computer that can simulate communication, we can say they are a person without a brain. Want to go further? Let's say we figure out how to transplant brains, and I hire someone to kidnap Brad Pitt and transplant my brain into his body, since my brain is me, then he would have no subsequent right to the body, and I would have committed no crime because the body is mine.



    Yes. The blastocyst is a self-contained and self-directed member of our species. The brain is only an organ that is being kept alive artificially. If the power goes out, the brain tissue dies. The blastocyst doesn't.
    As explained before, we're not talking about a "functioning brain". You're saying "fully-functioning", which is not an argument being made by Jim or anyone else. What we're discussing here is the capacity for higher-level functionality. Or "sufficiently-functional".

    You're simply mischaracterizing what Jim and others are saying.

    You're arguing that a human body, artificially animated, is a person? You're arguing that you could do a "Face-Off" head swap with someone and your possession of their body makes you their person?

    That's self-evidently absurd. You understand, like everyone else, that personhood is exhibited through consciousness, which resides in the brain. Animating a decapitated corpse doesn't confer the rights of personhood on that corpse and a "head in a jar", fully able to process sensation, execute higher-level brain function, and communicate to others could not be said to be less than a person. You're advocating situations that would lead to absurdities in practice.

    --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"


  8. #1377
    tWebber
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    And I'll add that a blastocyst is "self contained" in the same way that a stem cell is "self contained". One is being argued as being a "person" while the other is not. Therefore, the operative factor in determining personhood cannot be it's self-containment.

    And, yes, if the "power goes out", the blastocyst does indeed die.

    --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"


  9. #1378
    tWebber Mountain Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    This is the argument that Sparko made and see above for my explanation concerning potentiality vs. actuality.

    --Sam
    Assuming a normal pregnancy, a developing fetus does not merely have the potential to develop brain function, it inevitably will. But this has nothing to do with why we should protect it. A fetus is not inherently valuable because of what it could be but because of what it is.
    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

  10. #1379
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
    Assuming a normal pregnancy, a developing fetus does not merely have the potential to develop brain function, it inevitably will. But this has nothing to do with why we should protect it. A fetus is not inherently valuable because of what it could be but because of what it is.
    Your first sentence describes what the word "potential" means.

    The second sentence may or may not be true (I agree that is) but is immaterial to the question of what rights that valuable entity has. Specifically, value itself confers no rights and cannot supersede a person's rights. One might, for example, argue that fertility -- and by extension, sexual organs -- are valuable to society. That societal value, however, does not supersede a person's right to a vasectomy or hysterectomy.

    The question of abortion is obviously more fraught than that but is bound by the same logical rules. If abortion is to be illegal, and not merely immoral, it will not be so by virtue of value.

    --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"


  11. #1380
    tWebber Mountain Man's Avatar
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    I said nothing about whether or not a fetus is of value to society. I said that it is inherently valuable in and of itself.
    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

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