# Abortion vs Your Religious Beliefs

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Quite. Have you figured out how many people in a fertilized egg yet? Or is it just some perhaps non-zero number of people?

There is a 0.4% chance one fertilized egg becoming identical twins. Identical triplets occur in 0.00012% of all prgnancies... identical quads occur in 0.0000014% of egg fertilizations and identical quints occur in 0.000000018% of all pregnancies.

So you can assign whatever adjective to those chances as you see fit.

I'm by no means equating the two. I'm using an analogy. I note that you also consider bugs to be zero people, regardless of how they may die or not.

Bugs are zero people because bugs are bugs and can never be people.

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In addition to Mooey's post, I would like to point out that this is in no way an argument based on logic, but a huge assumption on your part mixed with a seemingly limited knowledge of how pregnancy w

I'm not sure what you mean by "soul," but if you're talking about a supernatural entity, then what does that have to do with anything? Would not a soul also be a product of what it is "to begin with,"

I don't think anyone would argue that a raped woman should not be allowed to have an abortion. It seems clear to me that the emotional trauma is damaging enough to be worth the loss of the feotus. Of

There is a 0.4% chance one fertilized egg becoming identical twins. Identical triplets occur in 0.00012% of all prgnancies... identical quads occur in 0.0000014% of egg fertilizations and identical quints occur in 0.000000018% of all pregnancies.

So you can assign whatever adjective to those chances as you see fit.

So then you don't know in advance which egg is how many people? When I things that fit my definition of people, I can tell you how many there are.

Oh, and you're leaving out chimeras, which start life as two fertilized eggs and end up as one person. By my definition anyways.

Bugs are zero people because bugs are bugs and can never be people.

Fetuses are zero people because fetuses are fetuses, but later they will probably become people?

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So then you don't know in advance which egg is how many people? When I things that fit my definition of people, I can tell you how many there are.

Oh, and you're leaving out chimeras, which start life as two fertilized eggs and end up as one person. By my definition anyways.

This continues to be a bizarre diversionary argument. Is embezzlement morally ambiguous because you can't tell how many people will be affected? Is it less less problematic to kill one person than 2 or 3 or 4?

Fetuses are zero people because fetuses are fetuses, but later they will probably become people?

This is semantic nonsense. By your argument an infant is zero people because infants are infants. That does not make it right to suck their brains out.

So, in other words, you have to define what a person is other than "not a fetus" and explain how that definition should be an acceptable line to draw in the continuum of human life from conception to adulthood.

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This continues to be a bizarre diversionary argument. Is embezzlement morally ambiguous because you can't tell how many people will be affected? Is it less less problematic to kill one person than 2 or 3 or 4?

Embezzlement is indeed totally ambiguous if you cannot tell how many dollars were stolen, or if any were stolen at all. The unit of embezzlement is dollars, not people affected -- there's a big difference between stealing 1 dollar from 1000 people or 1,000,000 from 10 people.

Incidentally, if we're considering abortion to be murder, it does become relevant how many people were murdered. You don't see people going to jail for "killing 1/4 to 4 people, but we don't know who nor how many".

And then there's the case of chimeras, where two or more fertilized eggs develop into a single individual. This, like identical twins, can occur naturally or artificially.

This is semantic nonsense. By your argument an infant is zero people because infants are infants. That does not make it right to suck their brains out.

So, in other words, you have to define what a person is other than "not a fetus" and explain how that definition should be an acceptable line to draw in the continuum of human life from conception to adulthood.

It is, however, your own semantic nonsense. I just replaced "bugs" with "fetuses" while leaving your reasoning intact.

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Embezzlement is indeed totally ambiguous if you cannot tell how many dollars were stolen, or if any were stolen at all. The unit of embezzlement is dollars, not people affected -- there's a big difference between stealing 1 dollar from 1000 people or 1,000,000 from 10 people.

That is a pointless dodge as I can simply reword my question in a fashion to cancle your response:

Is embezzeling $50,000 ambiguous if you don't know how many people the money was stolen from? Incidentally, if we're considering abortion to be murder, it does become relevant how many people were murdered. You don't see people going to jail for "killing 1/4 to 4 people, but we don't know who nor how many". But you can't give birth to 1/4 of a person either. Pregnancy results in whole numbers, not fractions. Abortion likewise ends 1 or 2 of 3 or 4 lives. But it can not end 1/4 of a life. And then there's the case of chimeras, where two or more fertilized eggs develop into a single individual. This, like identical twins, can occur naturally or artificially. Sure, and what is your point here? Pro-Life, or religion based pro-life at least, has no moral objection to natural biological occurances. They have a problem with artificial occurances. It is, however, your own semantic nonsense. I just replaced "bugs" with "fetuses" while leaving your reasoning intact. Thereby equating a bug with a fetus when it has nothing in common while it has everything in common with a human being. But let's take a step back for a minute and go the non-human route. Let's say that biologists find a pond in the brazillian rain forest full of frog eggs and a group of dead, thought to be extinct, bull frogs in the vicinity.. victims of a fungus that has not effected the eggs. A quick test of the eggs finds that they are a genetically diverse, fertilized and viable sampling of that frog species eggs... complete with little squirming fetuses. By your argument there is no compelling reason to protect the eggs because the frog species is already extinct. ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites That is a pointless dodge as I can simply reword my question in a fashion to cancle your response: Is embezzeling$50,000 ambiguous if you don't know how many people the money was stolen from?

No more than killing becomes ambiguous depending on how much money the person had.

But you can't give birth to 1/4 of a person either. Pregnancy results in whole numbers, not fractions. Abortion likewise ends 1 or 2 of 3 or 4 lives. But it can not end 1/4 of a life.

So then they may become people at a later date, but they are not people now. I'm glad we agree.

Sure, and what is your point here? Pro-Life, or religion based pro-life at least, has no moral objection to natural biological occurances. They have a problem with artificial occurances.

The point is that you can't even call an egg at least one life, even without abortions or miscarriages. It's not one potential person, it could become zero to many people at a later date.

Thereby equating a bug with a fetus when it has nothing in common while it has everything in common with a human being.

But let's take a step back for a minute and go the non-human route. Let's say that biologists find a pond in the brazillian rain forest full of frog eggs and a group of dead, thought to be extinct, bull frogs in the vicinity.. victims of a fungus that has not effected the eggs. A quick test of the eggs finds that they are a genetically diverse, fertilized and viable sampling of that frog species eggs... complete with little squirming fetuses.

By your argument there is no compelling reason to protect the eggs because the frog species is already extinct.

Indeed, but we can revive the species. Also note that the component of species is the gene pool, not individuals, and the gene pool is still there. If you lose the gene pool you lose the species. That's why we do preserve sperm and egg samples of certain vulnerable species, to preserve the species even if the individuals die out.

If we desperately needed to increase the population, then abortions would be terrible in that respect as well. Likewise, when we eventually go to colonize space we will likely take large sperm and egg banks, and anyone damaging these is going to get in serious serious trouble (note that this is without fertilization). Not for murder, but for some sort of felony.

The difference, of course, is that now we would rather decrease than increase population, so potential persons might be a negative rather than a positive.

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No more than killing becomes ambiguous depending on how much money the person had.

You are mixing analogies.

So then they may become people at a later date, but they are not people now. I'm glad we agree.

No, they are people now as I define personhood at the only clear line that can be drawn, at conception.

The point is that you can't even call an egg at least one life, even without abortions or miscarriages. It's not one potential person, it could become zero to many people at a later date.

Indeed, but we can revive the species. Also note that the component of species is the gene pool, not individuals, and the gene pool is still there. If you lose the gene pool you lose the species. That's why we do preserve sperm and egg samples of certain vulnerable species, to preserve the species even if the individuals die out.

No WE can't. You have inserted a blinder in this example, too. So bland is this blind spot that you have a frog species spontaneously springing to life from nothing rather than accept that the species didn't actually die in the first place.

If we desperately needed to increase the population, then abortions would be terrible in that respect as well. Likewise, when we eventually go to colonize space we will likely take large sperm and egg banks, and anyone damaging these is going to get in serious serious trouble (note that this is without fertilization). Not for murder, but for some sort of felony.

If the eggs and sperms are separated then of course there is no murder.

The difference, of course, is that now we would rather decrease than increase population, so potential persons might be a negative rather than a positive.

Well, if we want socialized anything we have to at least maintain the population... socialized anything doesn't work with a shrinking population (ask Greece)... but that is probably more a thread for politics.

Also, if you want to be cold and calculating, it is far healthier for the species to keep an influx of new genetics rather than prolong the lives beyond breeding years.

I'd personally like to protect both vulnerable ends of the life cycle.

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No, they are people now as I define personhood at the only clear line that can be drawn, at conception.

I see, but your line is not as clear as one might like if you look closely, and your definition arbitrary. For example, fertilization is not instantaneous. Which microsecond makes the difference between a largely worthless egg and a person? What of cloned people, who don't quite have fertilization (although something similar does occur)? What of chimeras, who have two fertilization events? Are you saying that a scientist can create a human life in the lab with a simple ultrasound machine? What if fertilization occurs with a sperm that does not have 23 chromosomes?

This is by no means a clear line, and if that is your basis for the definition then it fails.

The point is that you can't even call an egg at least one life, even without abortions or miscarriages. It's not one potential person, it could become zero to many people at a later date.

This is my quote; did you mean to reply to it?

No WE can't. You have inserted a blinder in this example, too. So bland is this blind spot that you have a frog species spontaneously springing to life from nothing rather than accept that the species didn't actually die in the first place.

If you read what I said, I said the species was the gene pool, so you are claiming I said the opposite of what I said.

If the eggs and sperms are separated then of course there is no murder.

But that's entirely arbitrary as well; they are all potential people.

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And of course we're kind of beating around the bush a bit too. We can't actually start picking a defining line until anyone adamantly opposed to abortion can agree to meet us in the middle.

For some reason, there's this large group of people who think they're rather impressive and important, and should be kosher to make up decisions for thousands of people they'll never meet and are most likely too high on themselves to care.

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If a woman is impregnated during a rape, the human life within her came about without an act of will on her part. If the woman chose to bring that human life to full gestation and birth, that would certainly be a heroic gesture. I don’t think people can be required to be heroic. Even if it could be proven that the human life within the woman was a person, I think one could sill argue that terminating that life is justifiable. It is still however tragic.

You keep making this argument about killing bacteria by washing with soap. Who cares about bacteria? I kill fully developed animals and eat them. I do it on purpose. I see no moral dilemma with doing this because I need to eat, and I find it to be enjoyable recreation. Now a Hindu would have a moral objection to hunting. But a Hindu thinks that dear is a person.

I think I now understand your position better. I still disagree with you, but at least we reached a place where we can understand where we are coming from (I hope you understand my points, at least, as I understand yours). I think that we differ mostly on when a fertilized pack of cells is considered a person. It seems to me that you define it from the moment of fertilization.

I don't. I define it from the moment it can be called sentient (new argument can start here,but it's definitely not in the first trimester).

Whatever morality that follows stems out of that disagreement, which explains why you're against abortion in the first trimester, and I'm not.

~moo

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.... I define it from the moment it can be called sentient (new argument can start here,but it's definitely not in the first trimester).

I tend to agree with sentience as a factor in this discussion. Legally, the woman's right to her body overrides the concern for the baby and the father, IMO. But morally, as the sentience of the baby increases and the emotional investment of the participants increases(including the mother), the harm done by this action also increases.

So, in general I would say it is immoral to abort on a whim in the third trimester, but it should still be legal. I actually have a much greater problem with bringing a life to term while taking harmful drugs or possessing the knowledge that the baby will have severe deformities.

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Doesn't morality have to have a rational transition into society through laws? Without going completely into the political spectrum, I've never understood how "life begins at conception" proponents expect this morality to be enforced. The police would have to investigate every miscarriage as a possible murder. The resulting litigation would reduce the personal freedom of pregnant women horribly. Slip and fall potentially becomes criminally negligent manslaughter.

I know this sounds like a slippery slope argument, but we are talking about the legal system and lawyers, after all. It's bound to come up.

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But that's entirely arbitrary as well; they are all potential people.

This is a statement based soley on your definition of people.

If you believe, for example, that there is no soul and that a "person" soley the product of nature and nurture then it is only logical to conclude that that fertilized egg has already has already completed the nature portion of it's person and begun it's nurture development... that second stage in person never stops from conception to death.

So by logical conclusion, at fertilization the zygote is a individual and unique person.

Also, to work on definiton of words, let's look at the definition of "person" (Merriam-Websters):

1 : human, individual —sometimes used in combination especially by those who prefer to avoid man in compounds applicable to both sexes <chairperson> <spokesperson>

2 : a character or part in or as if in a play : guise

3 a : one of the three modes of being in the Trinitarian Godhead as understood by Christians b : the unitary personality of Christ that unites the divine and human natures

4 a archaic : bodily appearance b : the body of a human being; also : the body and clothing <unlawful search of the person>

5 : the personality of a human being : self

6 : one (as a human being, a partnership, or a corporation) that is recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties

7 : reference of a segment of discourse to the speaker, to one spoken to, or to one spoken of as indicated by means of certain pronouns or in many languages by verb inflection

I have highlighted the two definitions that I believe play a part in the abortion debate.

In this case I assert that conception meets the criteria for #1, and #6 would be where a pro-choice person would hang their hat. #6 is troubling to me, and to other pro-life advocates, specifically because it puts the choice of who is and is not a person into the hands of the government. It is also a rather distressing definition to base a moral certitude on because it is precisely this kind of definition that allowed for slaves to be considered non-persons. If you have no rights then you are not a person... that's not a great way for a democracy to protect individual freedom.

Edited by jryan
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Doesn't morality have to have a rational transition into society through laws?

Not necessarily. I may think it is immoral to eat meat, but no need to make it illegal.

Without going completely into the political spectrum, I've never understood how "life begins at conception" proponents expect this morality to be enforced. The police would have to investigate every miscarriage as a possible murder. The resulting litigation would reduce the personal freedom of pregnant women horribly. Slip and fall potentially becomes criminally negligent manslaughter.

If you want to make it a crime, yes it can get complicated. But, one could consider it immoral and simply not want it to be encouraged by the government or with their tax dollars.

It is somewhat of a language game. Life does begin at conception, but it is different than life at birth or life of an elderly person. To equate them is to almost render them meaningless. Another example is love. I love my neighbor, I love my enemy, I love my brother, I love sinners, I love my wife. These are very different emotions, yet language treats them the same.

If used too often in this way, love becomes meaningless, IMO. In the same way, if we say fertilized eggs in a dish is the same as a bus load of kids then we "dumb down" the importance of those kids, IMO.

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Doesn't morality have to have a rational transition into society through laws? Without going completely into the political spectrum, I've never understood how "life begins at conception" proponents expect this morality to be enforced. The police would have to investigate every miscarriage as a possible murder. The resulting litigation would reduce the personal freedom of pregnant women horribly. Slip and fall potentially becomes criminally negligent manslaughter.

I know this sounds like a slippery slope argument, but we are talking about the legal system and lawyers, after all. It's bound to come up.

Pro-choice is a relatively new law and before it there was not a murder investigation for every miscarriage. Unless there is reason to suspect foul play there isn't default murder investigation for adults who die either.

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This is a statement based soley on your definition of people.

If you believe, for example, that there is no soul and that a "person" soley the product of nature and nurture

I'm not sure what you mean by "soul," but if you're talking about a supernatural entity, then what does that have to do with anything? Would not a soul also be a product of what it is "to begin with," and the sum of its experiences?

then it is only logical to conclude that that fertilized egg has already has already completed the nature portion of it's person

I suppose you could say that, if "nature portion" refers solely to a particular string of A's, G's, C's, and T's and not what that string will come to represent.

never stops from conception to death.

Begging the question. Pre-defines person as existing from conception (to death, but that's not pertinent). But in fact what anything is is determined by its nature and what happens to it, even inanimate objects. And further, events that occured long before my parents were born still have an effect on who I am.

So by logical conclusion, at fertilization the zygote is a individual and unique person.

Really? How so? I don't accept your premises, but if I did, the logic would seem to conclude that it isn't a person, just one of the components of a person (while the other develops over time).

Also, to work on definiton of words, let's look at the definition of "person" (Merriam-Websters):

1 : human, individual —sometimes used in combination especially by those who prefer to avoid man in compounds applicable to both sexes <chairperson> <spokesperson>

2 : a character or part in or as if in a play : guise

3 a : one of the three modes of being in the Trinitarian Godhead as understood by Christians b : the unitary personality of Christ that unites the divine and human natures

4 a archaic : bodily appearance b : the body of a human being; also : the body and clothing <unlawful search of the person>

5 : the personality of a human being : self

6 : one (as a human being, a partnership, or a corporation) that is recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties

7 : reference of a segment of discourse to the speaker, to one spoken to, or to one spoken of as indicated by means of certain pronouns or in many languages by verb inflection

I have highlighted the two definitions that I believe play a part in the abortion debate.

I disagree. The abortion debate is not based on the Merriam-Webster dictionary, and I don't consider it to be a moral, legal, or scientific authority.

In this case I assert that conception meets the criteria for #1,

Yes, you assert it.

and #6 would be where a pro-choice person would hang their hat.

Rather a strawman. Pro-choicers are not pro-choice because of legal precedent. If we have to play this game (and we don't), then I guess definition 5 most closely represents the issue. But it does so poorly.

#6 is troubling to me, and to other pro-life advocates, specifically because it puts the choice of who is and is not a person into the hands of the government.

Actually, you have that exactly backwards. That's precisely what pro-life advocates want: the government defining a specific point when a person begins. Pro-choice, by definition, puts the moral decision in individual hands. (Up to a point, obviously, but the difference is one of limited individual discretion vs. no individual discretion.)

It is also a rather distressing definition to base a moral certitude

I agree. The attempts by pro-lifers to legally enforce their moral certitude is distressing.

on because it is precisely this kind of definition that allowed for slaves to be considered non-persons.

And dogs, and trees, and medical waste. Why not throw a Godwin in there, while you're at it?

If you have no rights then you are not a person...

Vice versa, actually.

that's not a great way for a democracy to protect individual freedom.

And more begging the question. Whether it's an "individual" in the sense of a human being deserving of rights is the issue. What does democracy have to do with it?

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I'm not sure what you mean by "soul," but if you're talking about a supernatural entity, then what does that have to do with anything? Would not a soul also be a product of what it is "to begin with," and the sum of its experiences?

Well, no, a "soul" would exist without a mortal bond, so the death of the body doesn't effect the existence of the soul. The fate of that soul differs from religion to religion from an after-life to reincarnation. As such, a religious belief in a soul would lesson the blow of a loss of a body.

Absent a soul, however, each unique person created is lost forever. For some reason that is supposed to make the waste of such persons more acceptable. Unfortunately, that rationale tends to be grossly dehumanizing in it's rationale to both the born and the unborn.

I suppose you could say that, if "nature portion" refers solely to a particular string of A's, G's, C's, and T's and not what that string will come to represent.

Biologically, "what that string will come to represent" is present at conception. The "nature" is fulfilled at that point. The rest of that person is developed over the ensuing years, and never ceases until death.

Begging the question. Pre-defines person as existing from conception (to death, but that's not pertinent). But in fact what anything is is determined by its nature and what happens to it, even inanimate objects. And further, events that occured long before my parents were born still have an effect on who I am.

I never said it didn't. Though everything after conception would be considered "nurture" as your genetic baseline if established at that point. Genetic damage or change through smoking or drinking are organ or tissue specific.. I don't know of anything that can change a persons genome as present in all of their cells... though genetic change in germline cells would be "inheritable" but not in the true definition of the word.

A genetic disorder introduced to sperm and eggs would be "passed" to an offspring, but the actual disorder would not be present in the parent per se... so it isn't a direct inheritance.

Really? How so? I don't accept your premises, but if I did, the logic would seem to conclude that it isn't a person, just one of the components of a person (while the other develops over time).

At what point do you start counting the nurture? Children can learn in-utero, and diet of the implanted egg and environmental conditions even at conception effect the development of the person. They are developing from conception to death, there is no end point to development. Drawing a line anywhere along that path of development is strictly arbitrary.

I disagree. The abortion debate is not based on the Merriam-Webster dictionary, and I don't consider it to be a moral, legal, or scientific authority.

Who would you have define the terms? And how do they define them?

Yes, you assert it.

Sure I do, and I find it to be self evident, but feel free to explain why you see it differently than me.

Rather a strawman. Pro-choicers are not pro-choice because of legal precedent. If we have to play this game (and we don't), then I guess definition 5 most closely represents the issue. But it does so poorly.

No, 5 is an aspect of what is lost in an abortion, but it is not a legal grounds for outlawing abortion.

Actually, you have that exactly backwards. That's precisely what pro-life advocates want: the government defining a specific point when a person begins. Pro-choice, by definition, puts the moral decision in individual hands. (Up to a point, obviously, but the difference is one of limited individual discretion vs. no individual discretion.)

That is an illogical assertion on your part as the pro-lifers want to draw the definition from conception, which encapsulates 100% of the life cycle. At no point do they promote death. They draw the line right at the bginning of life, which is not arbitrary.

The rest later.

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Also, to work on definiton of words, let's look at the definition of "person" (Merriam-Websters):

1 : human, individual ...

I'd just like to point out that this is the reason that everyone was making a fuss about how many lives a fertilized egg (or more ambiguously, a blastula) represents. A person is not only a human, but also an individual. If the human is not individual, they are not a person. At the point of fertilization, the egg has the potential to grow into any indeterminate amount of human beings and cannot, therefore, by your own semantic argument, be a person.

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Also, to work on definiton of words, let's look at the definition of "person" (Merriam-Websters):

1 : human, individual —sometimes used in combination especially by those who prefer to avoid man in compounds applicable to both sexes <chairperson> <spokesperson>

6 : one (as a human being, a partnership, or a corporation) that is recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties

In this case I assert that conception meets the criteria for #1, and #6 would be where a pro-choice person would hang their hat. #6 is troubling to me,

Indeed, and now you perhaps can see why I keep asking how many persons a fertilized egg is supposed to be. An individual is exactly 1, no more and no less. Is an egg exactly 1 person, or not? If not, then it by your definition cannot be a person, since it is not an individual. As for #6, that is not so much a definition as deferring to the legal system instead, and could be completely arbitrary (eg a corporation).

Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged
If you believe, for example, that there is no soul and that a "person" soley the product of nature and nurture then it is only logical to conclude that that fertilized egg has already has already completed the nature portion of it's person and begun it's nurture development... that second stage in person never stops from conception to death.

So by logical conclusion, at fertilization the zygote is a individual and unique person.

But, each of my cells also have the "nature" portion completed, and just need the "nurture" component. Yet I don't consider my cells to each be individual persons, whereas you seem to think they would.

Edited by Mr Skeptic
Consecutive posts merged.
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I think I now understand your position better. I still disagree with you, but at least we reached a place where we can understand where we are coming from (I hope you understand my points, at least, as I understand yours). I think that we differ mostly on when a fertilized pack of cells is considered a person. It seems to me that you define it from the moment of fertilization.

I don't. I define it from the moment it can be called sentient (new argument can start here,but it's definitely not in the first trimester).

Whatever morality that follows stems out of that disagreement, which explains why you're against abortion in the first trimester, and I'm not.

~moo

I do understand your position and feel it is well considered.

I have no idea when fertilized pack of cells becomes a person. Since I don’t know when the cells become a person, and since I believe terminating an innocent person to be a very bad thing, I think abortion should be strongly avoided. I do know however that the cells will very likely become a person. I think their eventual personhood by itself makes them special and they should be given special moral consideration. I’m glad my cells were given that consideration and were protected.

Abortion is a complex moral issue. I would personally like to live in a society that always gives deference to human life, from its beginnings to its natural end. Abortion also however involves competing rights. In particular the rights of women. As I stated in my last post, I do think there are times when the rights of a pregnant woman trump those of the life within her. I can’t imagine many women who win that contest who still don’t think their abortions are tragic. I do however feel that most abortions that are currently performed are immoral. As bad as murder very early in the pregnancy? Likely not. But show me a person that is always moral.

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I do understand your position and feel it is well considered.

I have no idea when fertilized pack of cells becomes a person. Since I don’t know when the cells become a person, and since I believe terminating an innocent person to be a very bad thing, I think abortion should be strongly avoided.

Notice the terminology, by the way. I share the belief that abortion should be strongly avoided.

However, I think it's the right of the woman to decide over her own body as long as the cells are not yet sentient, which is the case for at least the first trimester.

That is, while I believe abortion should be avoided and education for safe sex is extremely important, I also think abortion should be legal. And safe.

And while I understand your point, I don't see abortion as tragic, I see it as a painful, often degrading process, which should be avoided by practicing safe sex and having a well rounded understanding of health issues that are involved.

Since I don't see the fertilized pack of cells as living person, nor do I see them as a "potential person" any more than I see discarded sperm "potential person", I don't see abortion in the first trimester as a moral issue at all. I do think that it should be avoided from the standpoint of the woman and from society in general, as in to have better sex education, but I don't see this as a loss of life. I see it as a loss of cells. Hence, no moral issue here for me.

~moo

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Indeed, and now you perhaps can see why I keep asking how many persons a fertilized egg is supposed to be. An individual is exactly 1, no more and no less. Is an egg exactly 1 person, or not? If not, then it by your definition cannot be a person, since it is not an individual. As for #6, that is not so much a definition as deferring to the legal system instead, and could be completely arbitrary (eg a corporation).

No, I don't see, because nowhere else can you show me that an act that will kill one person but MAY kill more than one is legal simply because we just don't know how many will be killed.

But, each of my cells also have the "nature" portion completed, and just need the "nurture" component. Yet I don't consider my cells to each be individual persons, whereas you seem to think they would.

The reason for this rests in the biological definition of Life. Your individual cells, once differentiated, no longer meet the definition of Life individually.

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I'd just like to point out that this is the reason that everyone was making a fuss about how many lives a fertilized egg (or more ambiguously, a blastula) represents. A person is not only a human, but also an individual. If the human is not individual, they are not a person. At the point of fertilization, the egg has the potential to grow into any indeterminate amount of human beings and cannot, therefore, by your own semantic argument, be a person.

No, we can be certain it is at least one person, so the potential for being more than one is inconsequential. The simple fact that that one celled human continues to remain and individual 99.6% of the time is also worth considering when you try to make the "not an individual" argument.

And beside that point, groups of people do not have less rights than an individual, so regardless of the minuscule potential of that individual becoming a pair of individuals, or even smaller chance three or four does not effect the rights that should be granted to the one that is known.

On that same topic: By the "don't know how many" argument provided, would those that ascribe to that argument then consider adult lives forfeit in the advent of cloning? With cloning now being possible every individual is potentially more than one person... so does that mean they aren't a person anymore as the term "individual" no longer applies?

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No, I don't see, because nowhere else can you show me that an act that will kill one person but MAY kill more than one is legal simply because we just don't know how many will be killed.

Again, what person? I never said killing more people is better than killing one, I said that it is not a person because it is not an individual. Kind of like 2.0001 is not an even number because close as it may be to 2 it is not divisible by 2 and so does not fit the definition. An individual is no more, no less than 1, not something that may or may not be any positive number of individuals.

The reason for this rests in the biological definition of Life. Your individual cells, once differentiated, no longer meet the definition of Life individually.

I think you'll find that my cells, excluding skin and hair cells, are both living and human, just like a fertilized egg. If you think my cells don't meet the definition of life it is because you got the definition wrong. Feel free to drink a poison that presumably kills cells if you think that your cells aren't alive (so can't be killed). But tell me, what criterion do my cells not meet? They are self-contained, maintain homeostasis, metabolize, catabolize, reproduce, grow, respond to their environment. So how do you figure they are not alive?

Please, stop inventing private definitions that no one else uses. Use actual definitions, or at least share your own.

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No, we can be certain it is at least one person, so the potential for being more than one is inconsequential. The simple fact that that one celled human continues to remain and individual 99.6% of the time is also worth considering when you try to make the "not an individual" argument.

No, that is patently untrue as I have demonstrated. Even discounting that some fertilized eggs may die before reaching sentience or some other hallmark of personhood, there is still the issue of chimeras. A chimera, in case you didn't notice, is when two or more different fertilized eggs merge to form what we later after it grows up regard as a single person. Cells descended from both the eggs make up this single person; it's not like one died out. Or perhaps you consider a chimera to be two people?

Each of my cells is also one celled and human, so there is also that.

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Abortion is a complex moral issue. I would personally like to live in a society that always gives deference to human life, from its beginnings to its natural end. Abortion also however involves competing rights. In particular the rights of women. As I stated in my last post, I do think there are times when the rights of a pregnant woman trump those of the life within her. I can’t imagine many women who win that contest who still don’t think their abortions are tragic. I do however feel that most abortions that are currently performed are immoral. As bad as murder very early in the pregnancy? Likely not. But show me a person that is always moral.

What you feel is irrelevent to the fact that you're taking rights from those who don't know you and who may believe things that you yourself do are immoral, and doing all this without even caring to learn their stories and reasonings

Nobody I've ever met who was pro-choice ever advocated getting abortions, and several I know personally volunteer to teach safe sex as well as much better alternatives to abortion - personally I know someone very closely who believes strongly in abortion who became pregnant with a child she didn't want, knew she couldn't take care of and never wanted to see the father of the child again. Contrary to knee-jerk reactions, she spent months trying to find any gay/lesbian couples, couples who can't have children, etc. who would want to have a son they may not otherwise have (this child ended up going to close friends of the family who wanted a baby but were unable to produce)

It's always been the pro-life crowd conjuring images of teens getting abortions every weekend and the like, in reality, the decision is almost always much more difficult, and has quite a few negative health impacts on the woman usually

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Again, what person? I never said killing more people is better than killing one, I said that it is not a person because it is not an individual. Kind of like 2.0001 is not an even number because close as it may be to 2 it is not divisible by 2 and so does not fit the definition. An individual is no more, no less than 1, not something that may or may not be any positive number of individuals.

No, it IS and individual up until the rare point that it is not... at which point it is two or more. Isn't that the standard method of developing knowledge in science? We KNOW that that egg is an individual until it demonstrates itself to be otherwise. Is there any other situation you can think of where you determine something to be undefinable because the standard definition only has only has a 99.6% chance of being true?

I think you'll find that my cells, excluding skin and hair cells, are both living and human, just like a fertilized egg. If you think my cells don't meet the definition of life it is because you got the definition wrong. Feel free to drink a poison that presumably kills cells if you think that your cells aren't alive (so can't be killed). But tell me, what criterion do my cells not meet? They are self-contained, maintain homeostasis, metabolize, catabolize, reproduce, grow, respond to their environment. So how do you figure they are not alive?

No, none of your cells perform all functions necessary to be considered a life. They only appear to on a cursory glance and by dredefining the structure of an organism by defining the actual organism separate from it;s internal environment.

They are not seperable, however... cells and internal environment are part of a larger organism that biology organizes this way:

There is a differentiation between organisms because at the basic level all cells in your body share the same genetic code while all facing the same external environment. In the case of the identical twins their differentiation is reversed... they share the same genetic code and exist in different external environments.

Please, stop inventing private definitions that no one else uses. Use actual definitions, or at least share your own.

I'm not using a private definition, I have linked you to the sources of my definition. You can feel free to post your hypothesis that a skin cell is a life in the biology forum and see what biologists say.

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