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Author Topic: Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act
noel c.
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http://www.obgyn.net/Frontiers_In_Reproductive_Medicine/images/2PN.jpg

"... but some of the less important details would be different."...

Yes, you were not shaving yet I'll bet.

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
As 1) I cannot find any brighter line than conception
This is what I find baffling. Why not, say, a heartbeat? Or non-random brain activity? A "fetus" at the moment of conception is in no way recognizable as a "person;" it is only because you are unwilling to draw the line later that you have pushed it back that far.
This is probably true for a lot of people, it doesn't happen to be true with me. I don't have a preconception that I'm justifying. I didn't believe abortion after 2 weeks or a month was immoral, and then I ran into this line of reasoning, and I came to be convinced that it is.

It's not an unwillingness of mine to draw the line later. I'm willing to, if someone would just show me a better place. I recognize that it's sort of awkward to refer to a zygote as a person; it's just the least awkward thing I can see. Everywhere else we draw the line looks even more awkward. Every line I draw I ask myself "but what about a second before that moment?" and I can't think of a compelling reason why that moment is special.

When I draw the line at conception, and then I ask that question, I don't get that sense that I'm fudging the boundaries. I see a clean line. I don't feel right destroying a fertalized egg, but I don't feel wrong stopping the sperm from fertilizing the egg.

I thought Adam's ideas in the other thread (I think you were involved in that one too) were compelling, but I just don't see any way to use them that doesn't lead to absurd conclusions, so I had to decide that they were the worse argument. I was kind of hoping someone would make that argument in a more compelling way here, but no one has picked it up yet.

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TomDavidson
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What, to you, are the defining attributes of a "person" that a zygote might share?
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PSRT
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quote:
Every line I draw I ask myself "but what about a second before that moment?" and I can't think of a compelling reason why that moment is special.
Birth. Before that event, the fetus is completely tied into the mother's life systems. Its own body is operating solely because the mother's body is functioning and providing life functions for it. After that event, its a distinct living entity.

A zygote is not a person. The only unique attribute it has that a person has is the same DNA makeup, but even at that, other mammals have basically the same DNA makeup that we do, so I'm not sure I'd call that a unique characteristic of a person.

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noel c.
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Tom,

- "What, to you, are the defining attributes of a 'person' that a zygote might share? "...

Embodied genetic identity.

PSRT,

- "Its own body is operating solely because the mother's body is functioning and providing life functions for it. After that event, its a distinct living entity. "...

How long would the infant body function "independently" if left unfed, or exposed? For that matter, how long would the mother survive "independently" without supporting social infrastructure? This argument is spurious in its entirety.

- "A zygote is not a person. "...

What were you during the first four days of your existence if not a "person"?

- "... other mammals have basically the same DNA makeup that we do... "...

This may be simply a conceptual problem. You might want to refine your understanding of genetics.

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simplybiological
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I do love a thread where I get accused of not reading it, not "tracking the conversation" AND taking arguments out of context all in one post.

By the way, Noel...
quote:
... SB is valuating life on a sliding scale of terminal convenience. This would reduce his argument to one of justifying control over the lives of others.
I'm a woman. Your default assumption that posters are male speaks volumes.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Embodied genetic identity.
So, um, personhood happens some time after a zygote splits into identical twins? Meaning that it happens about two days after fertilization?
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JoshuaD
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SB: You certainly misunderstood my quote. You also certainly said that an argument wasn't being addressed even though I addressed it.

I don't mind too much that that happened, its a long thread and it grew quickly. But I also don't think you should get indignant with me for pointing it out.

I'd much rather continue to try to understand how we both think about this question. Wouldn't you?

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noel c.
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SB,

- "Your default assumption that posters are male speaks volumes. "...

I do tend to see females as more prone to sacrifice in behalf of progeny, which is probably an unjustified extension of my immediate experience.

Tom,

- "So, um, personhood happens some time after a zygote splits into identical twins? "...

If your DNA could be duplicated into a genetically identical entity, would you feel it necessary to restart the clock on your own existence, backdate the existence of the clone, or recognize independent time-lines? Individual identity includes organism history, which in turn uniquely modifies identity.

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JoshuaD
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Tom: my belief that a zygote is a person doesn't rest on similarities. It rests on the reasoning I outlined on the previous page. I admit that there are very few similarities between a zygote and a fully developed person.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Individual identity includes organism history...
So, again: at the moment you have a fertilized zygote, noel, that will two days later split into two identical twins, is that zygote one person or two people?

----------

quote:
I admit that there are very few similarities between a zygote and a fully developed person.
What similarities are there?
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noel c.
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- "... is that zygote one person or two people? "...

You are identifying three separate histories, one of which did not survive beyond two days.

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simplybiological
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Taking something out of context is different than misunderstanding. Taking out of context implies a willful intentionality. Please, show me where there was context here that I took it out of:

quote:

SB: I'm also wondering how we're quantifying the "rights of the mother" at this point- it seems like arguments made thus far are weighing only the physical impact, and only for the term of the pregnancy. The impact is far greater- here's a short list:
- Long-term physical damage and/or physical change that occurs due to pregnancy and childbirth
- The emotional consequences of being forced to carry and birth a child against your will
- The financial impact to women who lose their jobs due to pregnancy (it's illegal, but it happens- especially in hourly wage jobs) and/or have to take time off work for medical reasons (bed rest, etc).
- The cost of pre-natal medical care and childbirth.
- Social stigma (along with accordant emotional and financial stress that may cause)
- etc, etc.

Let's say a woman becomes financially destitute and emotionally and physically traumatized (which, yes, is a little hyperbolic, but stay with me) due to being required by law to carry her child to term. At what point has her quality of life, and indeed her right to pursue happiness, been impacted to a degree that it overcomes the rights that you are handing to a fetus? Ever?

JOSHUAD: I don't think so, no. If someone told me I could be pregnant and suffer all of the consequences, or that he would shoot me, I would absolutely choose the pregnancy. I think almost everyone would choose the same way.

You're now saying 'misunderstood,' which is an entirely different thing. If I misunderstood, fine. I don't know what there was to misunderstand, but whatever.

I don't consider unsubstantiated throwaway claims like, "Closing down abortion clinics will stop that from happening in a large number of cases," to really *answer* a question. That's why I asked it again.

Your tone is what makes me indignant; comments like, "please track the conversation," are unnecessarily condescending, and that's why I'm gonna call it quits on this one.


noel-
quote:
I do tend to see females as more prone to sacrifice in behalf of progeny, which is probably an unjustified extension of my immediate experience.
I'm truly sorry to hear that you've had a personal loss like that, if you're implying what I think you are.

Even outside this specific situation, in my experience men are likely to assume that they are always conversing with other men. It's a bias worth being aware of, I think.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
You are identifying three separate histories, one of which did not survive beyond two days.
So the original person died, splitting into two separate people who were "born" at that moment?

Hm. So should we be trying to prevent the highly common scenario -- around 30%, I'm given to understand -- in which one twin is reabsorbed by the other, since that is at best a scenario in which one is unintentionally killing the other?

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JoshuaD
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quote:
joshuad:I admit that there are very few similarities between a zygote and a fully developed person.
tom: What similarities are there? [/QB][/QUOTE]

Genetic make up. I don't understand this line of questioning at all. For the sake of argument, I would be glad to concede that there are absolutely no similarities. It wouldn't change the conclusion i came to because my reasoning never employs the concept that the two are similar.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
my reasoning never employs the concept that the two are similar
Let me explore your reasoning, from my perspective:

1) At point 1, item A is completely unlike items of category Z.
2) At point 100, item A falls within category Z.
3) I don't know exactly when item A qualifies for category Z.
4) Therefore, item A should be considered to fall within category Z at point 1.

Is that correct?

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noel c.
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- "So the original person died, splitting into two separate people who were "born" at that moment? "...

Yes, this is the human exception to sexual reproduction, just as sexual reproduction occasionally occurs among protozoans.

- "So should we be trying to prevent the highly common scenario -- around 30%, I'm given to understand -- in which one twin is reabsorbed by the other... "...

I think you are a little confused. "Reabsorbtion" is the consequence of a twin-death, not an amoeba-like attack, but your ability to intercede is irrelevant in any case to definition of the individual.

Speaking of amoeba, is there one, or many?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
"Reabsorbtion" is the consequence of a twin-death, not an amoeba-like attack...
Not always, no.

quote:
your ability to intercede is irrelevant in any case to definition of the individual
I'd word it the other way around: whether we should want to intercede or not depends entirely on our definition of the individual, and not on our ability to do so. In other words: if a person is being killed, should we not wish to prevent this?

quote:
Speaking of amoeba, is there one, or many?
I don't think it's a relevant question. Genetic individuality is, as far as I'm concerned, absolutely irrelevant to the question of personhood; sentience is the issue.
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noel c.
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- "... if a person is being killed, should we not wish to prevent this? "...

You are being too general. Is this a snare for competing interests?

- "... sentience is the issue. "...

Is a coma patient sentient, or are you when under general anesthetic?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
You are being too general. Is this a snare for competing interests?
I don't think I'm being general at all. So let me restate: by your definition of "person," a person is being killed by another person. The latter person's life is not contingent upon the other's death, and we may be able to save the first with only some risk to the other. Should we not try to do this in every case?

quote:
Is a coma patient sentient, or are you when under general anesthetic?
That's an excellent question. Certainly we can say, however, that a coma patient or someone unconscious have been sentient individuals, and may soon be sapient and sentient again. The same cannot be said of zygotes.
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simplybiological
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Had to go back and address this:
quote:

" the morning after pill is NOT an abortion and absolutely should not be included in any legislation about abortion. It acts to either a) delay ovulation, b) interfere with fertilization, or c) prevent implantation. "

Prevention of implantation *is* an abortion of pregnancy, in the same way that a "day after" D&C is an abortive procedure.

It's not an abortion, because prior to implantation it's not a pregnancy. A woman is not pregnant until a fertilized egg has implanted in the uterus.

Regardless, the primary function of the pill is delay of ovulation (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/health/research/morning-after-pills-dont-block-implantation-science-suggests.html?pagewanted=all), which is decidedly not synonymous to abortion.

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noel c.
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- "Should we not try to do this in every case? "...

Give your example Tom.

- "The same cannot be said of zygotes. "...

I do not concede that single celled organisms are non-sentient, but that is not a measure of individuality in any case. A corpse "(has) been (a) sentient individual", but has a future of nothing more than ground-fill nonetheless.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I do not concede that single celled organisms are non-sentient...
Unless you can come up with a mechanism that might suggest otherwise, will you concede that the only reason to believe anything else is base superstition?

quote:
A corpse "(has) been (a) sentient individual", but has a future of nothing more than ground-fill nonetheless.
Indeed. And I think we'll all agree that once something sentient is dead without any possibility of future revivification, we should not waste time trying to preserve its life. But that's not exactly a rejoinder; it's a non sequitur.
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noel c.
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- "... will you concede that the only reason to believe anything else is base superstition? "...

No, not in the least. Sentience, i.e. : "responsive to or conscious of sense impressions." is the means by which the life functions of protozoans are maintained.

- "... once something sentient is dead without any possibility of future revivification, we should not waste time trying to preserve its life. "...

You do see the internal contradiction of your reasoning?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
You do see the internal contradiction of your reasoning?
No, not at all.

If you'd prefer to discuss sapience rather than sentience, in a manner that would at the very least allow us to distinguish between "responsive to sense impressions" from "conscious of sense impressions," please substitute the one word for the other where it's relevant. [Smile]

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noel c.
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Sapience: "The property of possessing or being able to possess wisdom. "

No Tom, I am not confusing the terms. You set up the "sentience" measure for individuality, and while it does apply to protozoans as well as more complex organizations of individuality, it is not a necessary condition in any given instant of an organism's history.

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TomDavidson
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I was using "sentience" here to refer to "consciousness." If you're going to extend sentience to bacteria because they respond to stimuli, I'm happy to use the word "sapience" instead if you'll find it less confusing for the purposes of this conversation.

And no, I don't think consciousness is a necessary condition of an organism's history. I think it is a necessary condition of personhood, however. If you have never been sapient, you have never been a person.

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noel c.
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- "The property of being sapient, the property of possessing or being able to possess wisdom. "...

Developmentally, do you know the average age at which a human becomes self-aware?

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TomDavidson
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Sure do, depending on how you're defining self-awareness. But there's a reason I originally went with "sentience" rather than "sapience," which is that there's a point between "being able to react to stimuli" and "has developed a sense of self." [Smile] Again, feel free to play with whichever word you'd like; it's not important to the conversation.
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D.W.
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quote:
Developmentally, do you know the average age at which a human becomes self-aware?
I don't. Was this a bit of trivia or being posed as an unknowable?
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TomDavidson
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Again, it depends on what noel considers "self-awareness," but the way it's usually defined -- as an ability to differentiate between one's self and the existence of other, distinct selves with their own purposes -- it's generally seen to happen around 10-12 months.
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D.W.
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Ahh so I was only off by a little. Guess that's just my dislike for changing diapers showing. [Razz]
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noel c.
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- "Again, feel free to play with whichever word you'd like; it's not important to the conversation. "...

Then why did you say: "If you have never been sapient, you have never been a person. " ?...

"Personhood" is at the core of this discussion, so it seems that defining sapience is very "important to the conversation" from your perspective (not mine [Wink] ).

As an aside; self-awareness, the necessary precursor to sapience, arises at approximately 27 months from conception in humans. The typical 1 1/2 year-old is less a "person" by your standard than adult apes, and many other matured non-primates.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by simplybiological:
[QB] Had to go back and address this:
quote:

" the morning after pill is NOT an abortion and absolutely should not be included in any legislation about abortion. It acts to either a) delay ovulation, b) interfere with fertilization, or c) prevent implantation. "

Prevention of implantation *is* an abortion of pregnancy, in the same way that a "day after" D&C is an abortive procedure.

It's not an abortion, because prior to implantation it's not a pregnancy. A woman is not pregnant until a fertilized egg has implanted in the uterus.


I love bringing SB into these arguments because unlike the "pro-life" and "pro-choice" groupies, SB never prostitutes or compromises science for the sake of politics. And both the prolife and prochoice brigades are playing us for fools with false equivocations that play on words like "conception," "abortion," etc.


Time to stop the brainwashing, and get some terminology straight, so that every word that drops from lip doesn't make the listening ear stupider:

To those that didn't hear it the first time: You've heard it from SB and from me:

1. Abortion is termination of a PREGNANCY.

2. Failure to implant is therefore not an "abortion."


Point II: CONCEPTION. as the word "conceived" was always used until it became mangled in abortion-wars equivocations, the word was always used like this: The woman conceives, i.e. gets pregnant. The child "is conceived," passive voice. Therefore it's political brainwashing and newspeak to use the word conception to refer to fertilization. If the word ever referred to any specific pseudoscientific event, it should be to implantation or perhaps to "quickening."

Point III: when does "LIFE" begin?

[DOH] Hell's bells. Are SB and I the only ones who stayed awake in biology class? Life began billions of years ago. A sperm and egg are alive. The issue of when "life begins" has bloody nothing to do with when a forming homo sapiens should be entitled to the protections of the law.

Please let's all try to think harder and not say things that should be embarassing to anyone who has had 6th grade biology education.

I ask that the monitor add the phrase "life begins at conception" to the list of terms to be *****************ed out. It's not obscene, but it's stupid, inarticulate, gibberish. You could derive more meaning out of the phrase "Jazz begins at strawberries," or "flatulence begins at enlightenment." whether stated in the affirmative "life begins at conception" or in the negative "life does not begin at conception," the phrase does nothing but render those that contempate it either more stupid, or more angry.

Anyway, thank you SB, and rant mode off.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshuaD:
Pete suggests it is brainwaves, which occur around the 6 week mark. At that point, it has already developed a spine, a nervous system, eyes, legs, hands, a mouth, lips, fingernails, a liver, a kidney, intestines, and a heart with a unique heartbeat (and potentially unique blood type).

Even if I were to agree with Pete's line (I actually once did, and wish that it was the truth: it's a much more convenient belief), I don't know how to use it. How do we determine the exact moment brain waves arise?

Brainwaves can be read, Joshua. And I'm not saying protect it from the moment that there are any brain wave reading, but rather that I'd consider it human from the moment that it's brainwaves demonstrate a human brainwave pattern, which is about 3-4 months, IIRC. But these things can actually be detected scientifically.

quote:
If it's a person the moment after brain waves arise, can we really say it's not a person the very second before the waves are there?
We can say that we have evidence that it's become a person when brainwaves arise. As opposed to Michaelangelo's David, which has eyes, lips, beautifully formed hands and feet, but is not a person.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Bud Martin:
So what about using pain for a test of humanity - would a fetus be human if it feels pain or happiness and could you test that?

You could test it, but wouldn't that mean that rabbits and newts are human, since they too feel pain?

quote:
Originally posted by Bud Martin:
Pete,

quote:
" I don't think that Afterbirth is a person, and as for individual beings, shall we wait until the typical 27 year old America kid moves out of his mom's garage before we call it a person?"
That was a good one Pete...ROFL! I felt guilty for laughing at it though I don't know why? For some reason it brings to mind the scene in the movie "Dune", where a Reverend Mother makes Paul Atreides stick his hand into a box and threatens him with death if he removes his hand. Then his hand feels like its beings burnt by acid, yet he keeps his hand in the box. The Reverend Mother then tells him to remove his hand and calls him "Human".
Yes, that's an excellent example of the murder-think that I was talking about. If you want to kill a lot of human, without troubling your conscience, the classic way to do this is to simply re-define "person" or "human." In 1984, the term "unpersons" conveniently strips personhood from the enemies of the state. Another example from fiction is the way the folks in the Matrix use knowledge of the Matrix to define their circle of persons whose killing would be murder. Unpersons in the Matrix are called "coppertops." IIRC, that's the very word found in the journals of the Columbine killers. Coppertops.

In the Roman empire, one category of Unpersons was the fillius nullus, the son of nobody, i.e. an illegitimate child. If your mommy wasn't married, then you had no patriarchal protector, therefore killing you wasn't murder. It's essentially the same argument that I see the Court and some on this board using to say that fetuses aren't persons. No matter what inherent qualities a fetus might have, a fetus can't be a person because it's not born yet, hasn't formed a connection to society.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Then why did you say: "If you have never been sapient, you have never been a person. " ?...

"Personhood" is at the core of this discussion, so it seems that defining sapience is very "important to the conversation" from your perspective (not mine ).

As I've said, I don't care what word you use instead of "sapience" there. Or instead of "sentience." If you're going to call "sapience" "a state that requires self-awareness" and "sentience" "the ability to respond reflexively to stimuli," perhaps you'd prefer to use the word "consciousness." I really don't care what word you'd prefer.
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noel c.
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Pete,

- "1. Abortion is termination of a PREGNANCY.

2. Failure to implant is therefore not an 'abortion.' "...

If a pilot cuts power half-way down a runway (for whatever reason), has he "aborted" takeoff, or does he have to lift the wheels from the pavement to do that?

- "Therefore it's political brainwashing and newspeak to use the word conception to refer to fertilization. "...

Says who?

con·cep·tion (kn-spshn)
n.
1. The act of forming a general idea or notion.
2. The formation of a viable zygote by the union of a spermatozoon and an ovum; fertilization.
3. See concept.

http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/conception

- "A sperm and egg are alive. "...

... But do not meet these conditions:

1) Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, electrolyte concentration or sweating to reduce temperature.
2) Organization: Being structurally composed of one or more cells — the basic units of life.
3) Metabolism: Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.
4) Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.
5) Adaptation: The ability to change over time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism's heredity, diet, and external factors.
6) Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of multicellular organisms. A response is often expressed by motion; for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun (phototropism), and chemotaxis.
7) The ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism, or sexually from two parent organisms.

Yes, some of us did pay attention during 6th grade biology. [Smile]

You can scrape living cells from the inside of your cheeks, and you have *not* isolated an organism. [Wink]

[ March 11, 2013, 11:57 AM: Message edited by: noel c. ]

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noel c.
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Tom,

- "I really don't care what word you'd prefer. "...

Then I really don't know how you have furthered a discussion pertaining to "personhood".

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Pete at Home
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"The formation of a viable zygote by the union of a spermatozoon and an ovum; fertilization."

Look it up in a pre-1960 dictionary, formed before the abortion wars, otherwise you've supported my point about brainwashing. There are similarly definitions of "Christianity" that were formed after 1820 specifically in order to exclude the LDS, although there's no pre-1820 definition of Christianity that could reasonably exclude the LDS. Brainwashing.

quote:
- "A sperm and egg are alive. "...

... But do not meet these conditions:

1) Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, electrolyte concentration or sweating to reduce temperature.
2) Organization: Being structurally composed of one or more cells — the basic units of life.
Metabolism: Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.
4) Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.
5) Adaptation: The ability to change over time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism's heredity, diet, and external factors.
6) Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of multicellular organisms. A response is often expressed by motion; for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun (phototropism), and chemotaxis.
7) The ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism, or sexually from two parent organisms.

How in hades do you suppose that contradicts my point that when LIFE begins is not relevant to whether our society should protect it? If you think those other categories are relevant, and support your point, then use them, rather than "life."

Incidentally, a sperm and egg do meet every one of those criteria except for growth. And a rabbit meets every one of those criteria, and yet is not IMO a person.

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