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In response to:

Defining Life

I mistrust litmus tests like 'rationality' for determining when an organism is a “Human Being” and when it is not. If it is available and measurable I prefer to fall back on an examination of the general consensus; How do we treat the developing embryo in general? That clearly varies with the developmental state of the embryo. In the early stages after conception, we don't even bother wondering if it is present, and if a woman's next period is normal (or heavy) we say it “didn't take” and try again or breathe a sigh of relief according to circumstance. It matters not a whit to us that we've likely flushed an unimplanted embryo down the toilet. If a woman miscarries after being perceptibly pregnant our reactions vary FROM somwhat sad, very upset, all the way to mourning almost as if for a dead child. That varies widely, and pretty much we have the good grace to MYOB if someone else deals with it differently than we would. At the end of the process, in the days before birth, everybody knows there is a baby in the Mother's womb, even pro-Choice extremists. No one calls for an Abortion during labor. This “general consensus” tool proves nothing, but I think it does give us some guidelines on what beliefs we are justified in imposing on one another with the force of law. In particular I don't see how you can justify outlawing “morning-after” pills and early-term Abortion, when no-one else treats the embryo like a Human Being when it would be inconvenient or troublesome to do so. And the farther along the pregnancy, the more we treat it like a Human Being. This roughly where we are at with Roe vs. wade today. I think it is about right.
In response to:

Defining Life

Me (7/23 14:48): “I do NOT think it is a Human Being at conception. “ annfan_777 (02:00): “Are you really this ignorant? 7th grade biology tells you that life begins at conception,..” You're kind of late to the party for this column, annfan_777. We've had some discussion of the idea that “life” and “human life” and “human being” are NOT interchangeable terms. I agree that the embryo is alive (and human) at conception, but I do not believe that it is a Human Being. BTW, is the 'ann' of which you are a fan Ayn Rand? She was extremely pro-Choice. In 1968 she said: 'Abortion is a moral right--which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved ….An embryo has no rights. Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being,' Tacitus X (7/23 23:48): “Rational life is the key to what it means to be human, not whether there is a heartbeat...” annfan_777 (01:54): “Life is life, whether "rational" in your bizarre world or not.” Tacitus X (10:52): “Under your formulation, a mosquito = a human since both are alive.” annfan_777 (11:56): “That is an utterly ridiculous conclusion. A mosquito is not a human because a mosquito naturally possesses the genome of a mosquito,” You see the problem here, annfan_777? Do not say “life” when you mean “human being”. Say “human being” when you mean “human being:. Don't say “life” and then leave it to the rest of us to guess what you really mean but are too lazy and/or sloppy to write. In this particular case it is fairly evident that you mean “human being” but the distinction is not always so clear. Even in this case I don't blame Tacitus X for taking you at your word; people write far stupider things hereabouts.
In response to:

Defining Life

Cardinal5671: "... until you can define when it becomes a human being after conception, you can't conclusively say it isn't a human being at conception and worthy of protection" You are right, I cannot say such a thing with certainty. Neither can anyone else, including all of SCOTUS.
In response to:

Defining Life

Well, at least your post shows the distance between the sides. You lose me at (1). No, it is NOT a Human Being at all points of pregnancy. I think it is a Human Being at birth and for at least some time before birth. I do NOT think it is a Human Being at conception. If I did then Abortion would be murder and I would be against Abortion.
In response to:

Defining Life

Demosthenes: "Spare me. No one wants to end the natural “Menses” process." ??? I don't want to 'end Menses' either, I don't even know what that means. I just want those who claim that the embryo is a Human Being from conception onwards to put their money where their mouths are before they tell a woman she cannot have an Abortion.
In response to:

Defining Life

KrankyMike and StuartHurlburt, It is true that Mike Adams is playing pretty fast, loose and sloppy with terms like 'life' and 'law'. But in his defense, I have to admit that for all his dishonesty and sloppiness he comes a lot closer to examining the fundamental questions that need to be examined than do most pro-life columnists here at townhall. Mostly it's just "women who want an Abortion are sluts" and "liberals are all going to hell".
In response to:

Defining Life

I do not seek to confuse. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think all that I am doing is recognizing how difficult the questions and issues are, as opposed to pretending that some simple, foolish wrong answer is the truth.
In response to:

Defining Life

I try to avoid the confusions that you accurately describe above by using the noun, 'life', the adjective 'human', and the noun 'person' or 'human being'. As the separate concepts that they are. And I recognize that I cannot define what a 'human being' is, but I believe it includes the presence of a soul. Thank you for recognizing, and explaining authoritatively, the limits of our science in these areas.
In response to:

Defining Life

It is already the case that we can raise a mammal embryo from fertilization to birth in a laboratory. I think that, if/when we value newly-conceived human embryos to the point where we parse the menses of all sexually active women and rescue all the unimplanted embryos and do our level best to bring them to term (what mother or father would do less for the Human Beings that are their own children?), THEN maybe we can tell a woman that she is not allowed to Abort the particular one in her womb.
In response to:

Defining Life

"If women choose to have sex..." I cannot respect the argument that women who want abortions are sluts, and therefore the embryo is a human being from conception onwards.
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