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Thread: Christianity Today Op Ed

  1. #1421
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
    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.
    I would say that just because aborting the fetus prior to it having conscious awareness does not make it right or good. This forming child will be a human person, of infinite worth and value, and stopping that process for trivial reasons is wrong.

    You may find that 'weak', but a lie is never a strong defense. And telling the person this 1 month old fetus without a brain or any level of conscious thought is the same as a 6 month gestation fetus with a brain and some rudimentary level of conscious thought and perception of its world is simply a lie.
    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. #1422
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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.
    That is just poor logic. Saying the zygote is a (1) human being when it may well become two or three DIFFERENT human beings is simply incorrect. At that point it is not yet a human being. And in fact, it is not fully determined what human being it will become - physically or mentally. The 'mind' and the personality is not just the physical mass of neurons in the brain, but rather both how they interconnect and how they interact and respond to their environment. (note that in the case of twins or triplets they are DIFFERENT human beings not because of any significant difference in their DNA but because the way the brain forms and how the neural nets develop - which is not controlled solely by the DNA but rather - and by design - in significant part a response to the environment)
    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"

  3. Amen Sam amen'd this post.
  4. #1423
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    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.
    Neither point is responsive:

    The first is an acknowledgement that, whatever happened prior, the brain-dead patient does not have the capacity for or the right of consent.

    The second is simply acknowledging that the fetus in question does not yet possess the capacity necessary to make such arrangements. This is, notably, not the same as arguing that the capacity to consent is a key or necessary issue.

    What we're trying to suss out here is when and how the capacity for personhood arises and trying to identify stages where it does not exist. This philosophical question has legal and moral implications, even if those implications diverge at some point.

    --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"


  5. #1424
    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    I'm deliberately trying to explain the nuance required for my position.
    Fixed that for you, no charge. Abortion, at whatever stage, is the deliberate termination of what would, absent intervention, grow into an adult human being. Finis.
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  6. #1425
    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    Neither point is responsive:
    Of course. Silly, silly me.
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

  7. #1426
    Troll Magnet Sparko'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. 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".
    aaaaand we are back to talking about legal terms.

    The brain dead "patient" is still a human being. And his unplugging does require someone with the legal power of attorney to disconnect him. If he were just an object at that point, no permission would be required. They could just chop him up for parts without permission. And again, a brain dead person is someone who can't recover. So not like an embryo.



    Stem cells can, in fact, grow into a human organism -- we've already done so with mice.
    Only by taking the DNA from the stem cell and placing it into an emptied ovum. At which point it becomes a clone zygote and again, a distinct organism that can grow into adulthood.

    It has the same "potential toward personhood" as does a zygote.
    No it doesn't. It take intervention and a lot of twiddling to do so. But once it does become a zygote, then it is no longer potential, it IS an organism of whatever species it came from. Just like a sperm or an ovum. Once fertilized as a zygote, it becomes a distinct individual. Nothing potential about it. It might be a potential adult, but then so is an infant.

    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.
    again, no it doesn't. The inherent quality that makes it a person or being is that it is a distinct and full member of the human race.

    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
    No, it is just a debate strategy with some abortionists like yourself who want to muddy the waters with various detached terms, so you don't have to admit that you are killing a human being.

  8. #1427
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oxmixmudd View Post
    I would say that just because aborting the fetus prior to it having conscious awareness does not make it right or good. This forming child will be a human person, of infinite worth and value, and stopping that process for trivial reasons is wrong.

    You may find that 'weak', but a lie is never a strong defense. And telling the person this 1 month old fetus without a brain or any level of conscious thought is the same as a 6 month gestation fetus with a brain and some rudimentary level of conscious thought and perception of its world is simply a lie.
    As would be saying an infant has the same level of conscious thought and perception as an adult. Doesn't mean it is not just as valuable a member of the human race.

  9. #1428
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oxmixmudd View Post
    That is just poor logic. Saying the zygote is a (1) human being when it may well become two or three DIFFERENT human beings is simply incorrect. At that point it is not yet a human being. And in fact, it is not fully determined what human being it will become - physically or mentally. The 'mind' and the personality is not just the physical mass of neurons in the brain, but rather both how they interconnect and how they interact and respond to their environment. (note that in the case of twins or triplets they are DIFFERENT human beings not because of any significant difference in their DNA but because the way the brain forms and how the neural nets develop - which is not controlled solely by the DNA but rather - and by design - in significant part a response to the environment)
    Jim, if I had a transporter like on star trek and it malfunctioned when you went in and duplicated you, you would become two people. Identical at first but as time went on, more and more individualistic. You would be two different human beings. Twins. That doesn't mean that before the malfunction you were not a human being.

    One human being becoming two doesn't negate the fact that it is still one human being before the split.

  10. #1429
    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)
    Sparko - this is not a simple discussion and you can't reduce it to simple terms beyond a certain point. Sam is doing a good job of defining the necessary distinctions. A human person is more than just a few human cells. A zygote becomes a human person.

    Consider if the brain never forms in the developing zygote->fetus. A fetus without a brain is not a person legally or any other way. Yet you define it a person before it has that which is necessary for personhood! Would you then confer 'provisional personhood' on it, then take it away because of what never was? That is convoluted and irrational. Logically, the zygote can't be what it is not yet. And without a brain, it is not a person. No human body sans a brain is a human person. Take my brain out and you've killed me. My body is no longer a person. OTOH, given some future technology if you clone my body with everthing except the brain and then put my brain in there, now that new body is me! The person is in the brain for as long as the brain lives. No living brain in a body, no person.
    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"

  11. #1430
    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    aaaaand we are back to talking about legal terms.

    The brain dead "patient" is still a human being. And his unplugging does require someone with the legal power of attorney to disconnect him. If he were just an object at that point, no permission would be required. They could just chop him up for parts without permission. And again, a brain dead person is someone who can't recover. So not like an embryo....
    Meh, even HuffPo cautions us about accepting "brain death" as a final and authoritative declaration of "it's over".

    Even Evolution News carries this story, and suggests further research is needed.

    Jahi McMath suffered catastrophic complications from throat surgery in December of 2013 — three and a half years ago.

    She was soon declared to be brain dead, and Oakland Children’s Hospital informed her mother, Nailah Winkfield, that life support would be terminated.

    Winkfield sued, but after an independent medical examination, the judge ruled that Jahi was deceased and allowed a death certificate to be issued. He also played Solomon, and worked out a settlement whereby Children’s Hospital transferred Jahi to her relatives while still on life support. She was moved to New Jersey, where she remains today.

    At the time, I believed Jahi was dead, and so wrote.

    But I also wrote that if she did not deteriorate, as almost all people with properly determined brain death do, my eyebrows would raise. Since then, Jahi has not deteriorated, but apparently, her body’s condition has improved. My eyebrows are above my hairline.
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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