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Great TED Talks vid: Human life from conception to birth

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135 Responses to Great TED Talks vid: Human life from conception to birth

  1. This video is simply amazing, and is certainly a breath of fresh air from the bad design, ‘junk DNA-vestigial organ’ arguments constantly proffered on us by neo-Darwinists;

    Well contrary to how poorly Darwinists view human life:

    MercyMe – Beautiful
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vh7-RSPuAA

    Notes:

    How many different cells are there in complex organisms?
    Humans have an estimated 10^14 cells, mostly positioned in precise ways and with precise organization, shape and function, in skeletal architecture, musculature and organ type, many of which (such as the nose) show inherited idiosyncrasies. Even if the actual number of cells with distinct identities is discounted by a factor of 100 (on the basis that 99% of the cells are simply clonal expansions of a particular cell type in a particular location or under particular conditions (for example, fat, muscle or immune cells)), there are still 10^12 (1 trillion) positionally different cell types.
    http://ai.stanford.edu/~serafi.....RG2004.pdf

    Fearfully and Wonderfully Made – Glimpses At Human Development In The Womb – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4249713

    The Human Body is simply amazing:

    Human Anatomy – Impressive Transparent Visualization – Fearfully and Wonderfully Made – video
    http://vimeo.com/26011909

    The ‘Fourth Dimension’ Of Living Systems
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1Gs_qvlM8-7bFwl9rZUB9vS6SZgLH17eOZdT4UbPoy0Y

    Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff – video (notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/29895068

    Jeremiah 1:5
    Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;,,

    Music:

    Chris Tomlin – The Way I Was Made
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF5SZWox_JE

    further notes:

    Epistemology – Why Should The Human Mind Even Be Able To Comprehend Reality? – Stephen Meyer video – (Notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/32145998

    Extreme Fine Tuning of Light for Life and Scientific Discovery – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/7715887
    http://vimeo.com/32145998

  2. This video is simply amazing, and is certainly a breath of fresh air from the bad design, ‘junk DNA-vestigial organ’ arguments constantly proffered on us by neo-Darwinists;

    Well contrary to how poorly Darwinists view human life:

    MercyMe – Beautiful
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vh7-RSPuAA

    Notes:

    How many different cells are there in complex organisms?
    Humans have an estimated 10^14 cells, mostly positioned in precise ways and with precise organization, shape and function, in skeletal architecture, musculature and organ type, many of which (such as the nose) show inherited idiosyncrasies. Even if the actual number of cells with distinct identities is discounted by a factor of 100 (on the basis that 99% of the cells are simply clonal expansions of a particular cell type in a particular location or under particular conditions (for example, fat, muscle or immune cells)), there are still 10^12 (1 trillion) positionally different cell types.
    http://ai.stanford.edu/~serafi.....RG2004.pdf

    Fearfully and Wonderfully Made – Glimpses At Human Development In The Womb – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4249713

    The Human Body is simply amazing:

    Human Anatomy – Impressive Transparent Visualization – Fearfully and Wonderfully Made – video
    http://vimeo.com/26011909

    The ‘Fourth Dimension’ Of Living Systems
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1Gs_qvlM8-7bFwl9rZUB9vS6SZgLH17eOZdT4UbPoy0Y

    Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff – video (notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/29895068

    Jeremiah 1:5
    Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;,,

    Music:

    Chris Tomlin – The Way I Was Made
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF5SZWox_JE

    further notes:

    Epistemology – Why Should The Human Mind Even Be Able To Comprehend Reality? – Stephen Meyer video – (Notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/32145998

    Extreme Fine Tuning of Light for Life and Scientific Discovery – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/7715887

  3. Comment #1: The title of the TED talk was, “From Conception to Birth”, NOT “Human Life from Conception to Birth”. Once again, a contributor to this site takes as established fact his or her quite arbitrary opinion that a fertilized egg is a human being. This cavalier lack of respect for the views of those of us who do not share that opinion is a source of considerable annoyance for me, and the main reason, by the way, that I do not support this site or DI monetarily.

    Comment #2: Michael Behe’s notion of irreducible complexity is mostly discussed in the context of biological structures at the level of the cell, in part, I think, because Behe is a cell biochemist and that is the level of biology with which he works, so that is the source from which he drew his examples. But I think that multicellular organisms are often at least as complex as the cells from which they are made, and that irreducible complexity in all likelihood applies to many of the larger structures found in them. I think that in general, the notion of irreducible complexity is a reflection of the fact that as a general rule it is impossible to make any major change to a complex system one small step at a time. Impossible, that is, if one makes the requirement that each small step must result in a system that works at least as well as the previous version, which of course Darwinian evolution does. And as we all know, large multicellular organisms are the most complex systems we know of, far more complex than anything yet designed by human beings.

  4. “But Tantalus, are you saying there are individuals who have more humanity than others?!”

    Excerpt: I didn’t ask a linguistic question, or a rhetorical question, or a logical question. I merely asked a biological question. If I were to show Tantalus a human embryo, and ask him “what is this”, meaning in a biological taxonomy sense, the only correct answer is that it is a human being- a homo sapien. There is no debate about this. It is analogous to showing Tantalus my dog, and asking him what this is, in a biological-taxonomy sense. There is only one answer: Canis lupus familiaris. A domestic dog. That’s it. It’s not a cat or a tree. There’s no debate. There are no opinions, only correct answers and incorrect answers. Failure to answer correctly is evidence of ignorance or dishonesty.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....43311.html

    Music:

    U2 – Magnificent
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=7K6DDLNX

  5. Well Tantalus, for all his certainty, is incorrect. A human embryo is human, yes, but then so is the hair that my barber cuts off my head and leaves on the floor, so is the appendix that my doctor removed and disposed of, and so too is the egg BEFORE it is fertilized. Whether the embryo is in addition a human BEING is the sum and substance of the entire abortion issue, and to say that there is no debate about this, no valid difference of opinion, is simply blindness.

  6. Bruce David,

    I don’t know if you’re reading too much into the title. The video was, after all, talking specifically about human life, not some other form of life. I think your point is taken, though, about being cautious to not include personal views as those of the community. Just out of curiosity, where would you view human life as beginning? Is there some other stage that is a more reasonable cutoff?

    But I think that multicellular organisms are often at least as complex as the cells from which they are made, and that irreducible complexity in all likelihood applies to many of the larger structures found in them.

    Absolutely agree. Each level of organization has its own irreducible complexity. The construction process itself in many cases is also an example of irreducible complexity.

  7. Bruce you state:

    A human embryo is human, yes, but then so is the hair that my barber cuts off my head and leaves on the floor, so is the appendix that my doctor removed and disposed of, and so too is the egg BEFORE it is fertilized

    Sorry, purely biologically speaking, which Dr. Egnor was, those (hair, appendix) are not ‘biologically’ human, but are merely part of a human.

    i.e. There is no debate about this. There is only one answer: Failure to answer correctly is evidence of ignorance or dishonesty.

  8. Hi Eric,

    To your question, “Just out of curiosity, where would you view human life as beginning?”, my view is that the fetus becomes a human being at the point at which the soul takes up residence in the developing body, and this happens some time during the third trimester when the brain is sufficiently developed for the soul to merge its intelligence with it. My basis for this understanding is primarily the remarkable books, “Journey of Souls” and “Destiny of Souls” by Michael Newton.

    Regarding irreducible complexity, the actual situation is that the irreducible complexity of some subsystem of the organism INCLUDES the complexity of cells as well. The liver, for example, cannot be understood without understanding what happens within and between the individual liver cells.

  9. Hi Eric,

    Once again, I clicked the wrong button a a couple of times and my response to you ended up in the wrong place. See 4.1.1.1 below.

  10. News: Are you going to let Bornagain77 get away with calling me ignorant or dishonest?

    Bornagain: As usual, you confuse your opinion with the truth. Whether cells contain human DNA or not is a question that biology can answer. Whether a group of cells will develop into a human body if left in utero is a question that biology can answer, at least in principle. Whether a particular group of cells constitutes a human BEING or not is NOT question that biology can answer. It is a question for philosophy or even simply a matter of definition.

    And there is plenty of debate about what exactly a human being is. You and I are debating it right now, for example, and there are many, many different opinions on that question, which are debated many, many times in many different contexts. You can deny it all you want, use as much boldface type as you feel like, but it won’t change the fact one iota.

  11. Bruce you are the one trying to impose your philosophical preference for abortion onto the purely biological fact that the human embryo IS A HUMAN. Abortionists continually try to mislead people into thinking that they are not really dealing with a actual human yet the plain biological, and thus scientific, fact is that there is no point, in biological development, at which the human embryo is considered anything other than a human!!!. ,,, Because this scientific fact disagrees so strongly with your philosophical bias for abortion you tried to say (misdirect) that the ‘hair, appendix, and unfertilized egg’ also qualify as fully human so as to deny the clear biological fact that the human embryo is in fact a human. But clearly this is not true for hair, appendix and unfertilized egg, that’s what makes you dishonest or ignorant!!!. ,,, Don’t be upset at me, I’m merely ‘defending the science’ which you so quickly mangled to support your philosophy,,, If you want to ‘debate the philosophy’ over your pro-abortion views, I will not do it for I find your philosophical views completely incoherent, I will merely defend the purely biological fact that a human embryo IS A HUMAN!!! But for ‘philosophy, Dr. Egnor has excellent pro-life articles in that ‘philosophical’ area as well,,,, if you are interested:

    NCSE’s Joshua Rosenau on Abortion and Murder – Michael Egnor
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....42101.html

    I Answer Tantalus Prime’s Queries About Abortion – Michael Egnor
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....41981.html

    “But Tantalus, are you saying there are individuals who have more humanity than others?!”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....43311.html

  12. Bornagain,

    Your saying that an embryo is “a human” (meaning a human being) is equivalent to the statement that an acorn is an oak tree. I’ll wager that you will not find a statement anywhere in any biology text to the effect that an acorn is an oak tree. Under the proper conditions, it will BECOME an oak tree, but if something will BECOME something else, then necessarily it isn’t that thing at present (a thing cannot, after all, become something it already is). And an embryo isn’t a human being unless you define it as such, and such a definition is not a statement of biology, it is a statement of religion or philosophy.

  13. Bruce:

    Science can answer the question in part and philosophy can close the loop. According to science, life doesn’t begin. It is a force already in existence that is transmitted from generation to generation. Life flows. There are no discrete intervals or points at which life starts, stops, and starts again, nor are there any discrete intervals or points at which humanity starts, stops, and starts again. Once the parents’ human life gives way to another life, that life is, and must be, human. It also means that the individual life that does begin, begins at conception because there is no place else that it can begin.

  14. Why would a scientifically literate person deny the obvious biological fact that human embryos are human beings? For ideological reasons, of course. Recognition of the humanity of unborn children is anathema to supporters of abortion. Dehumanization of children in the womb makes abortion easier to accept morally. – Michael Egnor

  15. StephenB:

    You said, “It also means that the individual life that does begin, begins at conception because there is no place else that it can begin.”

    The question is not when does the individual life begin, the question at issues is when does the HUMAN BEING begin, and I can think of two other perfectly defensible answers:

    My own answer: a human being begins when the incoming soul merges with the body and brain of the fetus, some time during the third trimester when the brain is sufficiently developed for this to occur.

    The US Supreme Court’s answer: a human being begins when the fetus is capable of surviving on its own, outside of the womb, again some time during the third trimester.

  16. Regarding “the obvious biological fact that human embryos are human beings”, I’ve already answered this three times. Your response seems to be simply to keep repeating what I’ve already refuted.

    For the record, I do not support abortion. Rather, I am against the attempt to deny each individual woman the right to make that decision for herself, on the basis of religious views which in many cases she does not share. I find it quite frankly abhorrent and a contradiction of the religious freedom upon which this country was founded.

  17. Bruce David,

    My own answer: a human being begins when the incoming soul merges with the body and brain of the fetus, some time during the third trimester when the brain is sufficiently developed for this to occur.

    Why don’t we remember that incoming part, anything before it, or anything before a certain age?

    A related question – why does a soul need a body?

    It sounds like two unrelated questions, but I suspect that they are connected.

  18. Your analysis is incorrect:

    An Acorn is an oak that is not yet a tree.

    An Embryo is a human that is not yet an adult

    An Acorn develops AS an oak, not INTO an oak

    An Embryo develops AS a human, not INTO a human

    A fully-grown oak is a oak tree.

    A fully-grown human is an human adult.

  19. Scott:

    Many people do remember these events quite well, although usually only under hypnosis. I refer you again to “Journey of Souls” and “Destiny of Souls” by Michael Newton. Some people remember them on their own without hypnosis however, as Yogananda reports in “Autobiography of a Yogi”.

    To answer your other question, a soul needs a body in order to participate in earthly existence. Otherwise they don’t need (and indeed don’t have) a human body at all.

  20. –Bruce: “The question is not when does the individual life begin, the question at issues is when does the HUMAN BEING begin, and I can think of two other perfectly defensible answers”

    The Human being’s life begins when the already Human parents transmit their humanity at the moment of conception. They are not simply transmitting life, they are transmitting human life.

    —”My own answer: a human being begins when the incoming soul merges with the body and brain of the fetus, some time during the third trimester when the brain is sufficiently developed for this to occur.”

    Your answer is pure speculation. Life and death matters should not be decided on that basis. There is, however, no speculation about the humanity of the human embryo. It is a scientific fact.

    —”The US Supreme Court’s answer: a human being begins when the fetus is capable of surviving on its own, outside of the womb, again some time during the third trimester.”

    The US Supreme Court is not qualified to comment on the matter.

  21. StephenBL

    Nice try. It won’t cut it though. You are deliberately attempting to blur the clear distinctions I have made.

    No one would hold an acorn in their hand and say, “This is an oak tree,” or even, “This is an oak.”

    And very many people, myself included, would not look at a fertilized human ovum and say, “This is a human being,” or even, “This is a human.” They might say, “This will become a human being,” but that very statement implies that it is NOT a human being in its present state, as I pointed out above.

    I get it that you, Bornagain, and many others would, but that makes it your opinion, not fact. My only point is that it is a matter of individual belief and individual conscience, and neither you nor Bornagain have said anything to refute that.

  22. [obvious fact of the humanity of the embryo]

    —Bruce: “I’ve already answered this three times. Your response seems to be simply to keep repeating what I’ve already refuted.”

    But your attempted refutation was based on an erroneous analysis: An acorn does not develop into an oak, it develops AS an oak, INTO a tree, just as an embryo does not develop into a human, it develops AS a human INTO an adult.

  23. All you are doing, Stephen, is giving me your opinion. I got it that you regard a fertilized egg as a human being. You are entitled to your opinion. Nothing you have said in any way imposes that belief on anyone who doesn’t already share it, however.

  24. See 5.2.1 above.

  25. –Bruce: “No one would hold an acorn in their hand and say, “This is an oak tree,” or even, “This is an oak.”

    It doesn’t matter what they would say. The fact is that an acorn IS a member of the oak family. But it doesn’t matter, because an Oak or an acorn, or an oak tree, for that matter, does not have the intrinsic value of a human. Only someone who promotes abortion would even try to make such an analogy. Chopping down an oak tree is not like murdering a human being, and destroying an acorn is not like aborting a baby.

  26. –”All you are doing, Stephen, is giving me your opinion. I got it that you regard a fertilized egg as a human being. You are entitled to your opinion. Nothing you have said in any way imposes that belief on anyone who doesn’t already share it, however.

    It is not simply my opinion. It is a scientific fact.

  27. Yeah, well, a whole lot of people, including many, many biologists, regard the neo-Darwinian synthesis as a fact also. That doesn’t make it so.

  28. Bruce you have not refuted anything except in your own imagination!!! All you have really done, once again, is severely twist a simple scientific truth so as to arrive at your pre-desired philosophical conclusion, i.e. pro-abortion/pro-choice!! ,,, Does it not bother you in the least that this blatant ‘dehumanization’ tactic, i.e. propoganda, that you are using, in saying that human life in the womb is not really a human life, is the same type of deceptive tactic that NAZI’s used to achieve their desired end to murder Jews??? i.e. the NAZI’s portrayed Jews as sub-human, as inferior human beings, just so as to justify passing laws denying them basic human rights, so as to eventually ‘legally’ exterminate them. The parallel of abortion to that NAZI ‘culture of death’ is striking, chilling, and sobering. This following award winning documentary clearly illustrates the ‘culture of death’ parallel:

    “180″ Movie – Hitler, Holocaust, Abortion – Award winning documentary
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y2KsU_dhwI

    further notes

    Born Alive – Abortion Survivor Gianna Jessen
    http://www.faithandfacts.com/a.....na-jessen/

    fn: the body count for abortion is now over 50 million in America since it was legalized, by judicial fiat not by public decree, in 1973:

    of related interest:

    The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) scores for students showed a steady decline, for seventeen years from the top spot or near the top spot in the world, after the removal of prayer from the public classroom by the Supreme Court (not by public decree) in 1963. Whereas the SAT scores for private Christian schools have consistently remained at the top, or near the top, spot in the world:

    The Real Reason American Education Has Slipped – David Barton – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4318930

    You can see that dramatic difference, of the SAT scores for private Christian schools compared to public schools, at this following site;

    Aliso Viejo Christian School – SAT 10 Comparison Report
    http://www.alisoviejochristian.....at_10.html

    further note:

    How Darwin’s Theory Changed the World
    Rejection of Judeo-Christian values
    Excerpt: Weikart explains how accepting Darwinist dogma shifted society’s thinking on human life: “Before Darwinism burst onto the scene in the mid-nineteenth century, the idea of the sanctity of human life was dominant in European thought and law (though, as with all ethical principles, not always followed in practice). Judeo-Christian ethics proscribed the killing of innocent human life, and the Christian churches explicitly forbade murder, infanticide, abortion, and even suicide.
    “The sanctity of human life became enshrined in classical liberal human rights ideology as ‘the right to life,’ which according to John Locke and the United States Declaration of Independence, was one of the supreme rights of every individual” (p. 75).
    Only in the late nineteenth and especially the early twentieth century did significant debate erupt over issues relating to the sanctity of human life, especially infanticide, euthanasia, abortion, and suicide. It was no mere coincidence that these contentious issues emerged at the same time that Darwinism was gaining in influence. Darwinism played an important role in this debate, for it altered many people’s conceptions of the importance and value of human life, as well as the significance of death” (ibid.).
    http://www.gnmagazine.org/issu.....-world.htm

    It is also very interesting to point out that the materialistic/atheistic philosophy, which undergirds neo-Darwinism, has an extremely difficult time assigning any proper value to humans in the first place, i.e. Just how do you derive value for a person from a philosophy that maintains transcendent values are illusory?:

    How much is my body worth?
    Excerpt: The U.S. Bureau of Chemistry and Soils invested many a hard-earned tax dollar in calculating the chemical and mineral composition of the human body,,,,Together, all of the above (chemicals and minerals) amounts to less than one dollar!
    http://www.coolquiz.com/trivia...../worth.asp

    Whereas Theism, particularly Christianity, has no trouble whatsoever figuring out how much humans are worth, since infinite almighty God has proved we are infinitely valuable to Him by dying on the cross for us so that we might be reunited with Him:

    John 3:16
    “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    Music:

    Creed – Bullet
    http://www.youtube.com/v/KtCHF.....autoplay=1

    Kingdom Of God Vs. Kingdom Of Darkness
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4060606

    Flyleaf – Chasm (Living Water)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-BvOuE7wfw

  29. You don’t seem to be aware of the history of this debate. Decades ago, abortion supporters justified their grisly act on the grounds that they didn’t know if the embryo’s were really alive. Having been refuted by science, and after being dragged in kicking and screaming by the evidence, they immediately moved the goalposts and said,”well, it may be alive, but is it human?” A decade later, new DNA evidence forced them to say, “well, OK, it is clearly alive and human, but is it a person?” Following that, they made another shift, asking if it was a “quality person.”

    You seem to have missed all the action. The fact of the fetus’”humanity” has long been settled. In fact, we can look inside a mother’s womb via magnetic resource imaging and see the human unborn baby sucking it’s thumb. As far as I know, no one has even participated in this exercise and went away thinking that they had just witnessed an underdeveloped giraffe mimicking the behavior of a human.

    With the same technology, by the way, we can also witness that same human baby fighting for its life against almost impossible odds. When you are only two or three inches long and weigh only a couple of pounds, it isn’t easy to defend yourself against a 175 pound abortionist armed with knives and chemicals. As you might imagine, the action is brutal with all the writing, twisting, and silent screaming, but the little guy doesn’t give up easily, fighting long, hard, and heroically. You can almost sense him saying, “just give me a few more years and a few more pounds and I will take you on.” But, alas, that will not happen in this life.

  30. The history of the pro-choice movement, even were your characterization accurate, which I doubt, is irrelevant. Nothing in my argument depends in any way on the history.

    Your description of the fetus trying to avoid being killed, while definitely emotion stirring, doesn’t prove that the fetus is a human being. Any animal will fight to stay alive. That doesn’t make it human.

  31. Oh goodie, Bruce David gets to arbitrarily, by his own personal preference, decide when human life begins and when it doesn’t begin. It would be funny save for the fact that you actually think you are being rational.,,, By the StephenB, that was a excellent post!

  32. By the way StephenB, that was a excellent post!

  33. BA, thanks for the kind words.

  34. —Bruce: “For the record, I do not support abortion. Rather, I am against the attempt to deny each individual woman the right to make that decision for herself, on the basis of religious views which in many cases she does not share. I find it quite frankly abhorrent and a contradiction of the religious freedom upon which this country was founded.”

    I get it. You don’t support abortion unless somebody wants one. LOL

  35. —Bruce: “Your description of the fetus trying to avoid being killed, while definitely emotion stirring, doesn’t prove that the fetus is a human being. Any animal will fight to stay alive. That doesn’t make it human.”

    Well, let’s see, your response to rational arguments on behalf of the humanity of the fetus is this:

    you reject common sense,
    you reject the DNA evidence,

    you reject the fact that like produces like,

    you reject the vision of a baby sucking its thumb,

    you reject the history of the pro-choice moment,

    you reject the testimony of geneticsts,

    you reject the testimony of fetologists,

    You reject the testimony of biologists,

    You reject the testimony of doctors,

    and your only argument against all this overwhelming evidence is — you think than an acorn grows into an oak, which, as I pointed out, is false. An acorn grows AS an oak INTO an oak tree.

    By the way, just for fun, what arguments or evidence for the humanity of the baby would you accept?

  36. “magnetic resource imaging”

    That is “magnetic resonance imaging.” At least you’re consistant in your lack of scientific or medical knowledge. Also, the images you’re thinking of are ultrasounds or direct imaging.

    MRIs are less cute looking to use in propaganda, as the result is a 2D slice of tissue.

    One point not made here is that a fertilized egg has a CHANCE of becoming a human. That is, if it implants, doesn’t spontaneously abort, and develops normally.

    Anyone want to google the odds of those things happening? Or maybe do a google image search for hydroenchepaly, etc?

  37. StephenB and Bornagain:

    Well, I think we have reached the point where further discussion will be fruitless. I have made my points, and you two just keep repeating your objections, which I find less than convincing. I now rest my case. I will leave it to the readers of this thread to each decide for him or herself who has made more sense.

  38. So DrREC, from a purely biological, scientific, point of view, when does a human life begin???

  39. Bruce as you have left the readers with a decision to decide what is more rational; pro-abortion or pro-life, God has also left us each with a decision:

    Deuteronomy 30:19-20
    ,,,I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you,
    that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days.”

    music:

    George Strait – I Saw God Today -
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q06AvQF5NOw

  40. Bruce David:

    Rather, I am against the attempt to deny each individual woman the right to make that decision for herself, on the basis of religious views which in many cases she does not share.

    So men don’t have any reproductive rights, is that your position?

    Or is your vision too narrow to grasp that?

  41. Bruse David:

    Any animal will fight to stay alive.

    Watch out for all of those fighting cows!!!!

  42. Bornagain:

    I have explained to you more than once that I do not regard Christian scripture as an authority, so please don’t go quoting scripture to me like it should mean anything.

    Secondly, your quote is a perfect example of one of the reasons I regard scripture in that light. It is SO open to interpretation. You can interpret that passage in many ways. A vegetarian, for example could use it to support her position that we cannot kill animals. You could also interpret it to mean an affirmation to support all life, meaning be an environmentalist above all else. There is nothing in it that explicitly states that a fertilized human egg is included in “life”. YOU make that interpretation.

  43. Next time you meet a woman who doesn’t want to go through the massive inconvenience of carrying a child and the agony of labor, tell her that you think the man who impregnated her has the right to tell her she must do so. See how far you get.

  44. Bruce I was not quoting scripture for you. And yes you have on numerous times shown me that Bruce is a dogmatist, who ultimately turns out to be a god unto himself who could care less what the actual evidence, or anyone else, says!

  45. Yes, and BD obviously missed the point that when we witness something that is fighting to live, even an animal, we can discern WHAT it is that is doing the fighting.

  46. Bornagain, do you honestly believe that refusing to address what I wrote and instead simply hurling insults actually forwards the conversation in any useful way? Do you think there is any chance such a response will change MY mind? Do you think it will have any useful effect on anyone reading this post who isn’t already firmly in your camp?

    What is your purpose for writing such invective?

  47. —”That is “magnetic resonance imaging.” At least you’re consistant in your lack of scientific or medical knowledge. Also, the images you’re thinking of are ultrasounds or direct imaging. Also, the images you’re thinking of are ultrasounds or direct imaging.”

    Fetology involves the use of both MRI’s and ultrasounds. Everything turns on the purpose for doing the scanning. Resonance is the more common word, but “resource” is used occasionally. There is a difference between medical practice and medical research and there is a difference between looking a static picture and watching activity in real time. The ultrasound is better for the latter but it doesn’t reveal as much detail.

    —”One point not made here is that a fertilized egg has a CHANCE of becoming a human. That is, if it implants, doesn’t spontaneously abort, and develops normally.”

    That isn’t a “point,” it is an opinion, and a false one at that. I have explained WHY human life begins at conception. Now it is time for you to answer those points and try explain WHY you think a human being is not present at conception. You need to tell us how the “it” can develop as a human if it is not already a human. That will require some thinking. Are you up to it.

  48. So the 1/2 of all fertilized embryos that fail to implant are human beings?

    If so, this is the single largest cause of mortality ever. Perhaps we should screen our toilets, and have a mass donor program.

    No one, not even you, treats every fertilized egg as fully human, nor are you prepared for the consequences of doing so.

  49. Thanks, Bruce David. I think you’ve laid out some interesting thoughts and I appreciate you giving your opinion — definitely worth thinking about. I’m not familiar with Newton’s books, but perhaps will check them out if I get time.

    I think you’ve made a decent case that the position that human life begins at the moment of conception is not iron clad. That said, I think there are definitely some good reasons for choosing that timeframe as opposed to others. Ultimately, however, I agree that it is a difficult issue worthy of serious discussion, rather than name-calling and accusations of dishonesty. I hope you’ll continue to share your thoughts, and that this thread won’t sour you on the whole experience.

  50. Nice use of ridicule. Taking a page from the Darwinist book of debate tactics, I see.

  51. Oh, really? So you’re saying that you can distinguish between, say a human embryo and a chimp embryo just by looking. Remarkable!

  52. Bruce, I call em as I see em!! Moreover, I gave up on ‘changing your mind’ months ago!!!,,, For instance, I see that you have, many times before, denied the existence of evil and hell, (clearly because of the extreme unpleasantness the thought of them invoke in you (as they do all of us)), and have custom tailored your very own ‘personal’ religion to accord with that denialist belief. Your religion is some sort of pantheistic hybrid that continually morphs into new forms of personal beliefs, depending on which debate you currently find yourself to be in, or on which set of facts of reality you happen to get nailed with by a theist. That is a brute fact as to how I see your ever plastic beliefs in these debates!!! And while I can sympathize with your extreme distaste for evil and hell, I cannot broker your twisting of all ‘inconvenient’ facts that may come along to accord with that ‘preferred’ imaginary belief that you have chosen to believe in,, no matter what the facts may say to the contrary. Denialism at all costs, of the reality of evil and hell, is not a recognized religion in my book!!!

    notes (for others);

    Since the reality of evil is overwhelmingly self evident to the vast majority of reasonable people, I will instead focus on the fact that the reality we witness, from our own perspective in the grand scheme of things, conforms to what we would expect to see if hell after death were indeed a real possibility:

    ,,,Time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the speed of light. To grasp the whole ‘time coming to a complete stop at the speed of light’ concept a little more easily, imagine moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light. Would not the hands on the clock stay stationary as you moved away from the face of the clock at the speed of light? Moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light happens to be the same ‘thought experiment’ that gave Einstein his breakthrough insight into e=mc2.

    Albert Einstein – Special Relativity – Insight Into Eternity – ‘thought experiment’ video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6545941/

    “I’ve just developed a new theory of eternity.”
    Albert Einstein – The Einstein Factor – Reader’s Digest

    “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.”
    Richard Swenson – More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 12

    Yet we have two very different qualities of ‘eternality of time’ revealed by our time dilation experiments;

    Time dilation
    Excerpt: Time dilation: special vs. general theories of relativity:
    In Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity, time dilation in these two circumstances can be summarized:
    1. –In special relativity (or, hypothetically far from all gravitational mass), clocks that are moving with respect to an inertial system of observation are measured to be running slower. (i.e. For any observer accelerating, hypothetically, to the speed of light, time, as we understand it, will come to a complete stop).
    2.–In general relativity, clocks at lower potentials in a gravitational field—such as in closer proximity to a planet—are found to be running slower.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation

    i.e. As with any observer accelerating to the speed of light, it is found that for any observer falling into the event horizon of a black hole, that time, as we understand it, will come to a complete stop for them. — But of particular interest to the ‘eternal framework’ found for General Relativity at black holes;… It is interesting to note that entropic decay (Randomness), which is the primary reason why things grow old and eventually die in this universe, is found to be greatest at black holes. Thus the ‘eternality of time’ at black holes can rightly, and ‘scientifically’, be called ‘eternalities of decay’ and/or ‘eternalities of destruction’.

    Entropy of the Universe – Hugh Ross – May 2010
    Excerpt: Egan and Lineweaver found that supermassive black holes are the largest contributor to the observable universe’s entropy. They showed that these supermassive black holes contribute about 30 times more entropy than what the previous research teams estimated.

    Roger Penrose – How Special Was The Big Bang?
    “But why was the big bang so precisely organized, whereas the big crunch (or the singularities in black holes) would be expected to be totally chaotic? It would appear that this question can be phrased in terms of the behaviour of the WEYL part of the space-time curvature at space-time singularities. What we appear to find is that there is a constraint WEYL = 0 (or something very like this) at initial space-time singularities-but not at final singularities-and this seems to be what confines the Creator’s choice to this very tiny region of phase space.”

    As well we have two different curvatures of space time. One curvature occurs as one approaches the speed of light; i.e. we find that along with time ‘folding in on itself’, to become a higher dimensional ‘eternal now’ framework of time, we find that space also, dramatically, folds in on itself as a observer approaches the speed of light. The 3:22 minute mark of the following video shows the 3-Dimensional world ‘folding and collapsing’ into a tunnel shape, (much like a sheet of paper folding and collapsing into a tunnel shape), around the direction of travel, as a ‘hypothetical’ observer moves towards the higher dimension of the speed of light, (Of note: This following video was made by two Australian University Physics Professors with a supercomputer.)

    Traveling At The Speed Of Light – Optical Effects – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5733303/

    Here is the interactive website, with link to the relativistic math at the bottom of the page, related to the preceding video;

    Seeing Relativity
    http://www.anu.edu.au/Physics/Searle/

    As well we have a ‘tunnel curvature’ to a eternal ‘event horizon’ at black holes;

    Space-Time of a Black hole
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0VOn9r4dq8

    i.e. To reiterate, Black Holes are found to be ‘timeless/eternal’ singularities of destruction and disorder rather than singularities of creation and order, such as the extreme creation and order we see at the creation event of the Big Bang. Needless to say, the implications of this ‘eternality of destruction’ should be fairly disturbing for those of us who are of a ‘spiritually minded’ persuasion!

    Matthew 10:28
    “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

    Moreover we have ‘eye witness’ testimony of tunnel experiences for both the transition to heaven,,,

    Near Death Experience – The Tunnel, The Light, The Life Review – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4200200/

    and to hell. The man at the beginning of this video gives testimony of a ‘tunnel’ in the transition stage from this world to hell:

    Hell – A Warning! – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4131476/

    This man also speaks of a tunnel in his transition to hell:

    Bill Wiese on Sid Roth – video
    http://vimeo.com/21230371

    further note:

    The NDE and the Tunnel – Kevin Williams’ research conclusions
    Excerpt: I started to move toward the light. The way I moved, the physics, was completely different than it is here on Earth. It was something I had never felt before and never felt since. It was a whole different sensation of motion. I obviously wasn’t walking or skipping or crawling. I was not floating. I was flowing. I was flowing toward the light. I was accelerating and I knew I was accelerating, but then again, I didn’t really feel the acceleration. I just knew I was accelerating toward the light. Again, the physics was different – the physics of motion of time, space, travel. It was completely different in that tunnel, than it is here on Earth. I came out into the light and when I came out into the light, I realized that I was in heaven.(Barbara Springer)

    ‘In the ‘spirit world,,, instantly, there was no sense of time. See, everything on earth is related to time. You got up this morning, you are going to go to bed tonight. Something is new, it will get old. Something is born, it’s going to die. Everything on the physical plane is relative to time, but everything in the spiritual plane is relative to eternity. Instantly I was in total consciousness and awareness of eternity, and you and I as we live in this earth cannot even comprehend it, because everything that we have here is filled within the veil of the temporal life. In the spirit life that is more real than anything else and it is awesome. Eternity as a concept is awesome. There is no such thing as time. I knew that whatever happened was going to go on and on.’
    Mickey Robinson – Near Death Experience testimony

    Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff – video (notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/29895068

  53. StephenB: Here’s another response.

    You obviously believe that when you look at an embryo “fighting for its life”, you know what you are looking at: a human being, and that this is “scientific fact”, as you have stated earlier. Let’s examine that proposition a little.

    Very little in science rises to the level of “fact”. When something does, say the proposition that the planets circle the sun, virtually every scientist accepts it as fact. Therefore, if the proposition that a human EMBRYO is a human BEING is a scientific fact, as you claim, then every scientist, or at least every biologist, will affirm it as such. It therefore follows that if the proposition were fact, then virtually every biologist would be pro-life, since they would all clearly recognize that abortion is murder.

    Given that there are plenty of pro-choice biologists, your assertion is clearly false. Q.E.D.

  54. Joseph,

    If you have a pregnant woman who wants to abort a fetus and man who wants to stop her, that’s a problem beyond wisdom or legislation. Unless they can come to an agreement, there are only two solutions. 1) The man loses, 2) you force the woman to carry the child. And then she demands parental rights anyway. And then in ten years when they’re fighting over custody the father fights dirty and shows the kid paperwork explaining how his mother had to be legally prevented from aborting him. Then the child is scarred for life (but at least alive.)

    The only real solution is for people to want to do what’s right. But you can only legislate what people do. Laws don’t make better people any more than guardrails make better drivers. And if you can’t make better people then you’re always going to have problems without solutions.

  55. —Bruce: “Very little in science rises to the level of “fact”.

    It is a fact that technology can discern the fetus’ sex prior to implantation, which means that its humanity is already confirmed.

    —”Therefore, if the proposition that a human EMBRYO is a human BEING is a scientific fact, as you claim, then every scientist, or at least every biologist, will affirm it as such. It therefore follows that if the proposition were fact, then virtually every biologist would be pro-life, since they would all clearly recognize that abortion is murder.”

    Your logic here is flawed in two ways: First, not everyone is willing to recognize a fact as a fact, as your testimony makes clear. Second, some pro-choice organizations acknowledge that a fetus is biologically human and are quite happy to kill it anyway. Do you want examples?

    —”Given that there are plenty of pro-choice biologists, your assertion is clearly false. Q.E.D.”

    That does not follow at all. As indicated, one can be aware that a fetus is a human being and still be pro-choice.

  56. Yes, really. If I am looking inside a woman’s womb via technology and I see a baby sucking its thumb, or, for that matter, fighting for its life, I would know without a doubt that it is not a chimp. Would you be inclined to suspect otherwise?

  57. By the way, Bruce, my question persists: What arguments or evidence for the humanity of the baby would you accept?

  58. That is quite a bunch twisted into a few sentences. Seems you are reservedly agreeing with the scientific fact that human life begins at conception, but then you seem to be advancing a ‘bad design’ argument in order to justify the morality (or lack thereof) of taking of that human life by abortionists?!? (Each of those points alone is worthy of a book),, You then go on to make a sweeping claim as to the supposedly ‘horrid consequences’ of accepting the scientific fact that human life begins at conception. But I have to ask on the other hand, in your atheistic zeal to protect the ‘right’ to take human life through abortion, have you ever once even considered the consequences of 50 million aborted babies in America?

    Consequences of Abortion

    Economic Consequences of Abortion

    • Less than zero population growth: Not enough skilled workers to support the elderly on Social Security — partly as a result of abortion in America.[6]

    Physical Consequences of Abortion

    • Tremendous increase in the level of promiscuity and sexually transmitted diseases.[6]

    • Fifth leading cause of maternal death in the United States.[6]

    • An increased risk of breast, cervical, ovarian and liver cancer.[6]

    • Complications, such as uterine perforation, cervical laceration, and placenta previa can not only cause very severe problems, but they can also lead to problems in future pregnancies, such as miscarriages, premature births, fetal deaths and children born with handicaps, because any problem or change with a woman’s reproductive organs may affect the development of her children.[6]

    • Infection, including pelvic inflammatory disease, occur in 30% of abortions; if not stopped soon enough, they can leave a woman barren.[6]

    • Ectopic pregnancies-pregnancies developing in the tube-are increasing because sometimes the uterus is scarred and the fertilized egg, the zygote, cannot get down the tube into the uterus and implant. There’s scar tissue there from scraping during previous abortions.[6]

    • Up to 127% risk for premature births in subsequent pregnancies; the rate is higher with multiple abortions.

    • 2% of women who have abortions suffer life threatening complications, such as bleeding, fever, infections, etc.,[6]

    • After reviewing thousands of cases, Life Dynamics, Inc., found that injuries and deaths at the hands of abortionists “are not accidents.” They are “the result of a persistent callous disregard for human life” — the baby’s and the mother’s.[30]

    • A growing body of research that shows a definite link between abortion and breast cancer. The risk increases when a hormonally normal pregnancy is terminated before 32 weeks. Although abortion advocates picture themselves as being primarily concerned with women’s health, they have covered up this information.[12]

    Click here to view two case histories

    Psychological Consequences of Abortion

    • Diminished respect for human life.[6]

    • Denial: A sense of relief followed by repressed guilt, sadness, and grieving at the death of the aborted baby that would be a woman’s natural, feminine feelings and emotions.[6]

    • More than 100 different psychological reactions including alcoholism, smoking, drug abuse, eating disorders, sexual addictions, and self-destructive behavior.[15]

    • Post abortion syndrome — a series of psychological effects experienced by 19% to 60% of women, ranging from mild depression to suicide or attempted suicide.[6]

    • Overwhelming feelings of regret or guilt during later pregnancies.[6]

    • Flashbacks and nightmares.[6]

    • Destruction of trust between men and women.

    • Increased rates of divorce, domestic violence and child abuse.[6]

    • Feelings of guilt or regret among fathers of aborted children.
    “… fathers experience the same negative post-abortion reactions that women do: anger, depression, guilt, and broken relationships. … No matter how you look at it, a male who pushes a female into an abortion knows he’s taking the coward’s way out. And a female who goes along with the decision will grieve over it for the rest of her life.” — Men and Abortion by Wayne Brauning, leader of Men’s Abortion Recovery Ministries[25]

    All About the Aftermath of Abortion

    Click here for the Elliott Institute: After Abortion Review web site

    • [The knowledge] that abortion kills a child, was discovered too late for millions of women. They are now speaking out, describing the pain and life-long regret of their abortions and the damage that this choice visited on them and their families. Their testimonies speak louder than the seven male justices’ opinions in Roe that treated abortion as something good and necessary for women.[44]
    http://www.straight-talk.net/a.....nces.shtml

  59. StephenB,

    Given, then, that you reject the testimony of scientists themselves regarding what is and is not scientific fact, what I’m left with is that you want me to accept what is and is not scientific fact entirely on your say so.

    Forgive me if I decline that invitation.

  60. I’ve already answered that a couple of times. See 4.1.1.1 for details. The short answer is, a human being is a human body conjoined with a soul. The body by itself, absent the soul, to me is not a human being.

  61. OK so your position is men do not have any reproductive rights.

    And perhaps men and women should think of what you said BEFORE having sex. But I guess that is too much to ask.

  62. And yet:

    If I were to show Tantalus Bruce David a human embryo, and ask him “what is this”, meaning in a biological taxonomy sense, the only correct answer is that it is a human being- a homo sapien. There is no debate about this. It is analogous to showing Tantalus my dog, and asking him what this is, in a biological-taxonomy sense. There is only one answer: Canis lupus familiaris. A domestic dog. That’s it. It’s not a cat or a tree. There’s no debate. There are no opinions, only correct answers and incorrect answers. Failure to answer correctly is evidence of ignorance or dishonesty. – Michael Egnor, professor of neurosurgery at SUNY, Stony Brook

  63. DrREC: “So the 1/2 of all fertilized embryos that fail to implant are human beings.”

    It’s more like 20-30%, I think, although that number might also include unnatural deaths due to chemicals, but yes, they are biologically human. Inasmuch as their sex is determined prior to implantation, it should be obvious that their humanity has already been confirmed, unless, of course, you think it is possible for a living thing to be a male or a female nothing. In any case, their survival rate, whatever it is, have to do with the fact of their biological status as human beings?

  64. I understand. No amount of evidence or no kind of argument could ever convince you that you are wrong because you have conveniently defined a human being by standards that cannot be measured or ascertained, which means that you are impervious to all evidence and all arguments.

  65. That should read, “their survival rate, whatever it is, has nothing to do with their biological status as human beings.”

  66. Of related interest:

    Follow the Stem Cell Money – November 2011
    Excerpt: “At long last after 10 years of unremitting hype, reality has caught up with embryonic stem cell claims,” Josephine Quintavalle from Comment on Reproductive Ethics said. “If Geron is abandoning this project it is because it is simply not working, despite the millions of dollars and hot air that has been invested in the promotion of this research.”,,, Adult stem cells race ahead: Meanwhile, Azellon Cell Therapeutics got a funding windfall for its clinical trials on a “Stem Cell Bandage” therapy, which uses a patient’s own stem cells from bone marrow to repair torn knees and other injuries. Investors seem keen on putting their money where the real hope is.
    http://crev.info/content/11111.....cell_money

  67. You already dredged up this quote, and I already answered it. See 4.1 and following.

  68. Convenience is not and never has been a test of truth.

  69. No you have not. see 11

  70. The point is that you did not provide an honest answer to an honest question. I asked you what arguments or what kind of evidence would convince you that you are wrong. You simply told me what you believe to be true. That doesn’t speak to my question at all. Why couldn’t you just be honest enough to say, “No amount of evidence or no kind of argument could ever persuade me that I am wrong.”

  71. StephenB:

    Not every belief is subject to evidence. Some beliefs are held as a priori convictions. And certainly it is disingenuous to ask what argument would persuade me that I am wrong. Obviously, if I have thought it through carefully (which I have), there isn’t any of which I am aware. So, my statement that a human being is a soul conjoined with a body is a priori, not subject to evidence, and there is no argument of which I am aware that would cause me to change my mind about that. (Although I don’t on principle rule out the possibility that someone could advance such an argument. I just can’t tell you what it would be.)

    That said, I will restate the evidence which leads me to believe that the soul doesn’t join the body until the brain is sufficiently developed to receive it. The evidence is primarily from the books “Journey of Souls” and “Destiny of Souls”, by Michael Newton, in which several people under hypnosis relate the process of having been born into their current incarnation, and this is what they report. Also, it makes sense to me that an incoming soul would not merge with the body until there is a developed brain with which to merge. To do so would have them trapped in a body with basically nothing to do for several months. Why would they do that?

    So, if the evidence from those books were different, I would have a different idea of the process. But it isn’t, so I don’t.

  72. Correction to 19.1.1.1.2:

    I should have said that I take it as true a priori that a human being is a soul conjoined with a HUMAN body.

  73. So Bruce, you will not accept evidence against your a priori convictions (paragraph 1), but you will accept evidence for them (paragraph 2)??? How conveniently dogmatic of you! Oh wait, according to you that is what me and StephenB are suppose to be; :) and I guess that is not up for countermanding evidence either :)

  74. The difference, Bornagain, is that I only claim that my beliefs are true for me. You two insist that yours are true absolutely.

    My basic point in beginning this thread was that different people can have legitimate differences of opinion regarding what constitutes a human being, and thus whether abortion is murder or not.

    In this whole discussion, you have both been attempting to prove that you are right and I am wrong, whereas I have simply been defending my stance that I and others have equally valid opinions as you two do.

    This is a common pattern in all our debates. You and StephenB fight tooth and nail to prove that you are right, and I simply defend the proposition that my beliefs constitute a legitimate and valid intellectual/spiritual/philosophical position.

    This, by the way, is why you always lose. You assume the burden of proving that which is unprovable.

  75. Oh the ole ‘its true for you but not for me gambit?’ :)

    Absolute Truth – Frank Turek – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaGNRP6Q-6Q

    and to which this bear repeating:

    If I were to show Tantalus Bruce David a human embryo, and ask him “what is this”, meaning in a biological taxonomy sense, the only correct answer is that it is a human being- a homo sapien. There is no debate about this. It is analogous to showing Tantalus my dog, and asking him what this is, in a biological-taxonomy sense. There is only one answer: Canis lupus familiaris. A domestic dog. That’s it. It’s not a cat or a tree. There’s no debate. There are no opinions, only correct answers and incorrect answers. Failure to answer correctly is evidence of ignorance or dishonesty. – Michael Egnor, professor of neurosurgery at SUNY, Stony Brook

    relevant quote:

    Truth is the first casualty of war:
    Excerpt: Every war proceeds along this path. Those who stand to be killed, dismembered, and dispossessed, are demonized (i.e. dehumanized),,,, Only later are the stories revealed to be gross exaggerations, often outright fabrications.
    http://www.mediamonitors.net/gowans13.html

    Poem:

    All Things Bright And Beautiful – Canon In D – Pachebel
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4082996/

  76. Ok, Bornagain, I watched the annoying video by Frank Turek, so let me clarify:

    I agree that some beliefs, like whether there is a God, are either true or not. If God exists, it makes no difference whether you believe it or not, it’s still true. Other beliefs, however, are personal. They are true only for those who hold them. The definition of what constitutes a human being is one of those. So for me, but not for you, a human being, is a human body conjoined with a soul. For you, but not for me, a human being is a fertilized human egg and whatever it develops into. These definitions are personal and relative, not absolute.

    But I have another meaning in mind when I say “true for me, but not for you”, and that is that while I believe that my view of the nature of reality is true, I do not demand that you agree with me. I am willing to allow you to hold whatever beliefs about the nature of reality you come to as a result of your own search for truth. I honor that you have done the best you can to ascertain truth for yourself and that the search for truth is, for us all, an ongoing process. You and StephenB, on the other hand, seem bent on forcing me, by dint of your “superior” reasoning ability, to accept your version of reality. That, it should be apparent by now, is a fool’s errand.

  77. –Bruce: “You and StephenB, on the other hand, seem bent on forcing me, by dint of your “superior” reasoning ability, to accept your version of reality. That, it should be apparent by now, is a fool’s errand.”

    On the contrary. I am not trying to force anyone to do anything. My objective is to simply make reasoned statements and allow onlookers to observe your irrational responses.

    It wasn’t I who said that a person can be human and yet not be a “being,” it was you;

    it wasn’t I who finally confessed that you cannot be persuaded by evidence or reasoned arguments, it was you;

    it wasn’t I who suggested that a being can have sexual identity without being a member of a species, it was you;

    it wasn’t I who didn’t think that a baby sucking its thumb is human, it was you;

    it wasnt I who said that he doesn’t support abortion and then defended it without qualification, it was you.

    I am not trying to rescue you from your own folly because, alas, I fear it may be too late for you. On the other hand, there may be some out there who are tempted to flirt with new-age mysticism and may not be aware of its adverse effects on reasoning capacity.

  78. You really aren’t helping your cause, you know, Stephen. The only possible conclusion anyone who isn’t already in your camp can draw upon reading my actual words and then comparing them to your list of straw men above is that either you haven’t understood anything I have said or that you have deliberately distorted my meaning.

    You two really are like the worst of the Darwinists. When you realize that you have no real counter to my reasoning, you resort to the same underhanded rhetorical tactics that they do–straw man attacks, ad hominem attacks, ridicule, and appeals to authority. You have both resorted to one or more of these techniques at various points in this thread, as you have in the other debates we have had. You know, the people you want to convince who might be reading this thread aren’t stupid. They CAN see through your nonsense.

    “We have met the enemy and he is us.” — Pogo

  79. I’ll give you one example of what I mean when I say your list is composed of straw men. The first item on your list is, “It wasn’t I who said that a person can be human and yet not be a ‘being,’ it was you;”

    I never said that. In fact, I never used the word “person” at all. What I did say was that although a FERTILIZED EGG is clearly human, it is not, in my philosophy, a human BEING, and I gave my reasons. That is an entirely different statement. The only way you could get your characterization from my words is by begging the question and assuming that a fertilized egg is a person. But even then, my assertion could not be characterized as saying that a person could be human and not be a “being”, unless you make the further (clearly false) assumption that denying that an entity is a human being is equivalent to denying that it is a being.

    There are only two possible explanations for why you would assert that I would make such an absurd statement. Either you have completely misunderstood my meaning, or you have deliberately misstated my position in order to be able to claim that my words are “irrational responses”. So, on the evidence of the above statement which you attribute to me, there are two possibilities: either you are extraordinarily careless in your thinking, or you are intellectually dishonest. Take your pick. In either case, however, you have by your own words quite destroyed your claim that you “simply make reasoned statements”.

    You conclude with, “On the other hand, there may be some out there who are tempted to flirt with new-age mysticism and may not be aware of its adverse effects on reasoning capacity.” If you think they are going to be convinced of this by what you have written in #21, all you have accomplished is to insult their intelligence.

  80. If a fetus’ sexual identity has been identified, it’s humanity has been confirmed. Everybody gets that but you. It is not possible to be a male or female without being a member of a species, in this case human. There is no such thing as a male or female nothing. Your ideology prevents you from grasping that, which means that your reason has been compromised.

  81. —”I never said that. In fact, I never used the word “person” at all. What I did say was that although a FERTILIZED EGG is clearly human, it is not, in my philosophy, a human BEING, and I gave my reasons.”

    Yes, you did say that, and it was clearly an irrational response. To be (or to have being) is to exist. One cannot be human and not exist at the same time. I want readers to get a good grasp of this nonsense so that they will avoid it.

  82. —”The only possible conclusion anyone who isn’t already in your camp can draw upon reading my actual words and then comparing them to your list of straw men above is that either you haven’t understood anything I have said or that you have deliberately distorted my meaning.”

    I said that, through technology, we can look inside a woman’s womb and see her baby sucking its thumb, or, in some cases, fighting for its life. You said that I cannot, from a scientific perspective, be sure that we are witnessing the activities of a human at all, as if, perhaps we were looking at, what, a giraffe? No one is distorting your meaning.

    No one is distorting your meaning.

  83. In #21, you claim I said, “a person can be human and yet not be a ‘being,’.” Find me the quote anywhere in this thread or admit you are lying.

    In this comment, you appear to be saying that in denying that an entity is a human being I have denied that it has being at all. I assumed until now that you were deliberately distorting my words. Now I’m inclined to think you’re simply not very smart.

  84. Every single cell in my body has as much sexual identity as a fertilized human egg, namely either a pair of X chromosomes or an X and Y chromosome. By your reasoning, every cell in every human body is a human being. And you call ME irrational!

  85. YOU are distorting my meaning.

    Look carefully at the sequence 16.1, 16.1.1, and 16.1.1.1. In the first, you say simply that you can tell what something is by looking at it, to which I respond in 16.1.1 with the question, “Oh, really? So you’re saying that you can distinguish between, say a human embryo and a chimp embryo just by looking. Remarkable!” Then in 16.1.1.1, AFTER I have made that comment, you add the context that you meant you were speaking of looking inside a woman’s womb at a “baby” (NOT an embryo) via “modern technology” (as opposed to, say, looking at a couple of embryos on a slide under a microscope).

    So your statement above, “I [StephenB] said that, through technology, we can look inside a woman’s womb and see her baby sucking its thumb, or, in some cases, fighting for its life. You [Bruce] said that I cannot, from a scientific perspective, be sure that we are witnessing the activities of a human at all, as if, perhaps we were looking at, what, a giraffe?” is false. In fact, I made no response at all to your 16.1.1.1.

    Your comment 21 is nothing more than a list of straw man distortions of my words with the intent of making me look “irrational”. The onlookers you hope to convince of my irrationality are smarter than to be taken in by such shabby rhetorical tactics.

  86. StephenB:

    Here’s how I actually see you, Stephen. I think you are so committed to your belief that you can arrive at truth through reason, and that that truth is the Christian religion (as you understand it to be, of course), that when you run into someone like me who is relatively smart, educated in philosophical and mathematical reasoning, and thoughtful, but who has arrived at a different philosophical and spiritual stance, this intellectual commitment, this need to be right about the power of “reason” causes you to stop thinking clearly and/or compromise your integrity. So you end up with the kind of foolishness in which you have caught yourself up from #21 forward.

    Your own words are a clear demonstration of the fact, which I have attempted to point out to you several times in the past, that reason BY ITSELF is powerless to arrive at truth.

  87. Also, if you have been paying any attention at all to what I have written, you will be aware that for me a human body is not a human being unless there is a soul conjoined to it. Thus, in my philosophical system a human fetus which has developed sexual organs but which has not yet merged with a soul could be characterized as a human body, but it would not a human being. There is nothing irrational or contradictory about this position.

    Your use of the word “humanity” in the clause, “it’s humanity has been confirmed” is in my view a deliberate attempt to obscure the clear distinction I have made between a human body and a human being. This is typical of your debate tactics.

  88. Typo: insert the word, “be” between “not” and “a” at the end of my second sentence in the first paragraph.

  89. More madness. Science has determined the sexual identity of the fetus prior to implantation, which means that, prior to implantation, it is a human fetus. It does not, as you would have it, BECOME a human, it already is a human. This is a fact that you choose to avoid, obviously at all costs.

    It doesn’t matter whether or not you feel that a human is also a human “being” because the humanity pf the fetus is an objective fact while your definition of “being” is subjective. “Being is just a word that you arbitrarily add on in order to separate humans into those who you feel deserve to live and those you feel do not deserve to live.

  90. —”Your use of the word “humanity” in the clause, “it’s humanity has been confirmed” is in my view a deliberate attempt to obscure the clear distinction I have made between a human body and a human being.”

    No, I am trying to get you to understand that the “humanity” of the fetus is an objective fact and is the only thing that matters in terms of its inherent right to life. The term “human being” is meaningless and arbitrary in that context because it can mean anything you or anyone else wants it to mean. In your judgment, only a human “being,”–meaning, only a human who has reached a stage in its developmental process that satisfies your subjective criteria for worthiness–is entitled to protection.

    The natural right to live is based on objective facts, not your subjective feelings. That is what Bornagain 77 meant when he pointed out that subjective criteria for determining who deserves to live is precisely the same standard the Hitler used. TO HIM, Jews did not deserve to live because, BY HIS SUBJECTIVE STANDARDS, they were not sufficiently human. Objectively, they were humans, and, on that bases, they are entitled to live.

  91. You said that, in the context of observing an infant fighting for its life, we cannot know if we are looking at a human or a chimp. You did NOT say, I agree, that we cannot discern its humanity when we observe it sucking its thumb, though the point of both examples was obviously the same. I gather that you ignored the first example for strategic reasons. Still, in the spirit of fair play, I will give you a chance to show that I didn’t give you a fair hearing. So go ahead and acknowledge that we can know that a fetus sucking its thumb is really a human and could not be a chimp. Of course, you will not and you are just playing games.

  92. Your contention has been from the start that “a human” begins at the moment of conception. That is a fertilized egg, a single cell, not a fetus. It’s sexual identity resides in its chromosomes, period. You claim that his makes it “a human”. I point out the reductio ad absurdum of your argument, and you ignore it, resorting only to restating your claim that something being “human” ipso facto makes it “a human”, or a human being.

    You use the word “humanity”, which is ambiguous and clouds the issue. I agree that a fertilized human egg is “human”. I disagree that a fertilized egg is “a human” if by that you mean a human being.

    And yes, whether or not something is a human being IS subjective. That’s my whole point. Each of us must make that determination for ourselves, based on our own philosophical, spiritual, and religious understanding.

  93. In order to be well educated, a person must know the differnece between objective facts and subjective preferences. Equally important, one must apply the rules of reason to differentiate between truth and error. Since you accept no rational standard for making that differentiation, you can hardly say that someone else is in error. You can only say that they see the world differently than you do.

    You don’t really believe what you are saying anyway, because you just arrived at the conclusion that my world view is false. To be consistent, you should have said that your philosophy is true for you, that my philosophy is true for me, and that there are really no rational standards for determining the validity of my position, just as, for you, there are no rational standards for determining who deserves to live and who does not.

  94. that should read, you can only say that [he] sees the world differently than you do.

  95. StephenB: “No, I am trying to get you to understand that the ‘humanity’ of the fetus is an objective fact.”

    The truth of this statement depends entirely on what you mean by the term, “humanity”. That is why I say that it is ambiguous and your use of it obscures the distinctions. If by “humanity” you mean “having human characteristics (such as human DNA) or having been derived from a human being or human body (such as a human heart or a human blood cell)”, then the better term to use is simply “human”. I agree that a fetus is human in that sense. On the other hand, if by “humanity” you mean “having the quality of being a human being”, then no, you are wrong. The “human beingness” of a fetus is not a matter of fact, it is a matter of definition.

    “The term ‘human being’ is meaningless and arbitrary in that context because it can mean anything you or anyone else wants it to mean.”

    No, the term “human being” is a common noun phrase, understood by everyone. I have not changed its meaning one iota. I have merely raised the question, “To what precisely, does the term apply?” You have your answer; I have mine; someone else will have another. But the meaning of the term remains the same.

  96. Thank you for acknowledging that I am right in this case. However, this is just one example of the carelessness with which you mis-characterize my arguments and which is absolutely rampant throughout this discussion. If you want onlookers to take you seriously, then I highly recommend that you address what I actually say, not some made up parody of my words.

    Now, as for your question, of course there will come a point in the development of a human fetus when it is recognizable as a human body and not the body some other animal. What’s your point? Because it looks human, it is therefore a human being? We’ve been through this same territory many times already: according to my philosophy, it will be a human being if and only if at that point in time the brain is sufficiently developed and a soul has merged with it. There are many, many phenomena whose essential nature cannot be determined solely from their visual appearance.

    If you actually understood my position, you should have been able to predict my answer. It follows easily from what I have already said. The fact that you even asked the question is more evidence that you are unable (or unwilling) to grasp my meaning.

  97. “…one must apply the rules of reason to differentiate between truth and error.”

    This is your mistake. The “rules of reason” will only tell you whether a given proposition or set of propositions is internally consistent, or whether a proposition follows from one or more other propositions.

    Other methods of differentiating between truth and error are 1) comparing a belief to actual experience for consistency. For example, if one has a belief that the sun rises in the west, one day’s experience will demonstrate the error. 2) comparing it to one’s natural knowing. For example, natural knowing reveals that there is only the eternal Now; the past and future do not exist in actuality. This is not a result of reasoning. It is a kind of knowing that transcends reason altogether.

  98. “you just arrived at the conclusion that my world view is false.”

    No, I concluded that one part of your epistemology is false, not your entire world view. This is based partly on reason and partly on the experience of studying philosophy and mathematics in college and after. Be careful–notice that I say reason BY ITSELF is incapable of arriving at truth. Reason actually is an indispensable component of the tools one needs to arrive at truth. However, without experience and natural knowing it is impotent.

  99. __Bruce: ”Thank you for acknowledging that I am right in this case. However, this is just one example of the carelessness with which you mis-characterize my arguments and which is absolutely rampant throughout this discussion.”

    Well, no, I have not mischaracterized your position. You stated that one cannot distinguish a fetus from a chimp in the early stages of development. You are, in fact, wrong about that. At six weeks, the fetus is about one and a half inches long and its features can be clearly seen. At the end of the second month, arms, legs, feet, and fingers are fully developed. Fingernails are present and facial features can be discerned. Yet you argued that a fetus that could be seen fighting for its life, something that often occurs much later in the process, could not be distinguished from a chimp. Are you going to be honest enough to admit that you were wrong about that?

    —According to my philosophy, “it will be a human being if and only if at that point in time the brain is sufficiently developed and a soul has merged with it. There are many, many phenomena whose essential nature cannot be determined solely from their visual appearance.”

    Again, this is pure speculation and guesswork. You have no idea at which point the soul merges with the body. You have no idea about whether a developed brain is required for a soul. However, there is no speculating about the scientific fact that after five months the fetus (let’s call it a baby, that’s what it is) can see and has vocal chords sufficient that it could scream if it were out in the open. That’s objective reality, and yes, it is a scientific fact based on observation and data, but according to your subjective reality, the fetus that has reached that stage is not yet a “human being.”

    This brings us to the most important part of the discussion, which you continue to avoid. The natural right to live is based on objective facts, not your subjective feelings. That is what Bornagain 77 meant when he pointed out that subjective criteria for determining who deserves to live is precisely the same standard the Hitler used. TO HIM, Jews did not deserve to live because, BY HIS SUBJECTIVE STANDARDS, they were not sufficiently human to merit consideration. Objectively, they were humans, but subjectively he decided that they just did not meet his criteria. Your standards are similar. By your subjective standards, anyone who doesn’t meet your definition of a “human being,” has no moral right to live.

  100. —”Now, as for your question, of course there will come a point in the development of a human fetus when it is recognizable as a human body and not the body some other animal.”

    So, you now acknowledge that one can distinguish a human fetus from that of a chimp?

    —”What’s your point?”

    Are you kidding. Here is your earlier quote:

    “Oh, really? So you’re saying that you can distinguish between, say a human embryo and a chimp embryo just by looking. Remarkable!”

  101. 2nd paragraph: My one and only utterance on the subject of whether or not one could distinguish a human embryo from a chimp embryo was three sentences that formed a question: “Oh, really? So you’re saying that you can distinguish between, say a human embryo and a chimp embryo just by looking. Remarkable!” That’s it. That’s all I said. I did not indicate what point in the development I was referring to, but I used the term “embryo” and NOT the term, “fetus”, and I certainly never said that a fetus that was fighting for its life could not be distinguished from a chimp. You have made that all up. So I repeat, you consistently misrepresent my statements. For someone who wants to be regarded by others as a person who “make[s] reasoned statements”, you are remarkably careless with the facts.

    4th paragraph: So, a five month old fetus has eyes and vocal chords. So what? It doesn’t follow by any rule of logic or inference that therefore the fetus is a human being. That, I repeat (and repeat, and repeat…) is a matter of DEFINITION. You DEFINE a human being as a fertilized human egg. I DEFINE a human being as a human body conjoined with a soul. Another person would DEFINE a human being as a human body that is capable of surviving outside of the womb. Your definition is just as arbitrary as any of the others.

    5th paragraph: The “objective facts” are that a fertilized human egg is a single cell with the full complement of human DNA, which if allowed to remain in the womb and all goes well in nine months be born as a human infant. These facts are in the realm of science. “Natural right” on the other hand, is a concept from the realm of ethics. Anyone who has studied philosophy knows that you cannot derive ethical principles from empirical fact. If you disagree with that assertion, show me the derivation.

    As for Bornagain’s Hitler analogy, EVERY decision that it is ok to terminate a life, human or otherwise, is a subjective decision. The decision to execute a convicted murderer is a subjective decision, as is the decision to go to war, as is the decision to kill an animal for food, as is the decision to assist a terminally ill person’s suicide. Each of us will agree or disagree with each of these decisions on the basis of his or her own ethical principles. Obviously, I don’t agree with Hitler’s decision regarding the Jews. That disagreement, however, is irrelevant to whether or not a human zygote is a human being.

  102. Once again, you distort my meaning. This time by substituting the word “fetus” for my word, “embryo”. “Embryo” is used to connote the first 8 weeks of development; “fetus” is used for the period of gestation after that. My question merely reflected my conviction that during the first 8 weeks of gestation, no one untrained in primate embryology would be able to differentiate between a human embryo and a chimp embryo by physical appearance alone.

    I’m getting really, really tired of your misrepresentations of my thinking. Your tactics are underhanded and sleazy, Stephen, and most assuredly NOT the way someone who prides himself in making reasoned statements ought to be comporting himself.

  103. –”I’m getting really, really tired of your misrepresentations of my thinking. Your tactics are underhanded and sleazy, Stephen, and most assuredly NOT the way someone who prides himself in making reasoned statements ought to be comporting himself.”

    It is hard to tell whether you are being disingenuous are whether you are simply clueless about how this whole mess got started. My original statement was expressed in exactly these words:

    “You seem to have missed all the action. The fact of the fetus’”humanity” has long been settled. In fact, we can look inside a mother’s womb via magnetic resource imaging and see the human unborn baby sucking it’s thumb. As far as I know, no one has even participated in this exercise and went away thinking that they had just witnessed an underdeveloped giraffe mimicking the behavior of a human.

    With the same technology, by the way, we can also witness that same human baby fighting for its life against almost impossible odds. When you are only two or three inches long and weigh only a couple of pounds, it isn’t easy to defend yourself against a 175 pound abortionist armed with knives and chemicals. As you might imagine, the action is brutal with all the writing, twisting, and silent screaming, but the little guy doesn’t give up easily, fighting long, hard, and heroically. You can almost sense him saying, “just give me a few more years and a few more pounds and I will take you on.” But, alas, that will not happen in this life.”

    That was the statement you were responding to–the same one which prompted you to say, “Oh really?”, even as you quietly injected your own word “embyo” into the discussion as if I had used it, avoiding my clear use of the words “fetus” and “baby” and, one gathers, purposely creating confusion, changing the subject, and hoping that no one would notice.

    Moving ahead:

    —”As for Bornagain’s Hitler analogy, EVERY decision that it is ok to terminate a life, human or otherwise, is a subjective decision. The decision to execute a convicted murderer is a subjective decision, as is the decision to go to war, as is the decision to kill an animal for food, as is the decision to assist a terminally ill person’s suicide. Each of us will agree or disagree with each of these decisions on the basis of his or her own ethical principles. Obviously, I don’t agree with Hitler’s decision regarding the Jews. That disagreement, however, is irrelevant to whether or not a human zygote is a human being.”

    More nonsense. The issue is not whether a “decision” is subjective but rather whether the criteria used for making that decision are objective or subjective. The natural moral law constitutes an objective standard and so does the scientific evidence that a fetus is human. Dismissing all that, you obviously don’t care to grant the fetus a right to live, so you downgrade its relative status by introducing the word “human being” as if a mere human doesn’t deserve to live–as if your definition of a human being could be meaningful to anyone but you.

    It’s all smoke and mirrors anyway, though, since you don’t even think that “human beings” have an inherent right to live.

    For that reason, it is not at all “obvious” that you would disagree with Hitler’s decision regarding the Jews because his standard for sayihng that they have no inherent right to live is exactly the same as your standard for saying that a fetus has no inherent right to live.

    If you do disagree with Hitler’s decision, it certainly cannot be because you challenge his decision-making standard, which is also your decision-making standard of personal preferences. In both cases, those humans that are “perceived” to be first class humans are spared while those who are perceived to be second class humans are killed.

  104. First 5 paragraphs: The paragraphs you say I was responding to were in 10.1. The paragraph I was actually responding to was 16.1 (“Yes, and BD obviously missed the point that when we witness something that is fighting to live, even an animal, we can discern WHAT it is that is doing the fighting.”). In between the two were several thousand words of text, including one of Bornagain’s interminable posts. I can see now that your 16.1 was referring back to 10.1, but I did not realize that at the time, and there is no mention of the word “fetus” in 16.1.

    But that is really irrelevant. I used the word “embryo”, not the word “fetus”. The word has a very specific scientific meaning, and I meant precisely to challenge you regarding whether you really thought you could distinguish between a human EMBRYO “fighting for its life” and a chimp EMBRYO “fighting for its life” merely by looking at the two of them. Your substituting the word “fetus” for my word “embryo” drastically changes my question to your benefit, and is unjustified regardless of what you thought I was responding to. An honest answer on your part would have been to point out that my question was non-responsive, since you were talking about a fetus and I used the term “embryo”.

    “The natural moral law constitutes an objective standard”

    In 26.1, in response to your “The natural right to live is based on objective facts” (in 26) I wrote the following: “Anyone who has studied philosophy knows that you cannot derive ethical principles from empirical fact. If you disagree with that assertion, show me the derivation.” You have ignored that challenge and instead changed your assertion from “based on objective fact” to “is an objective standard”. An objective standard? Really? An ethical principle is an OBJECTIVE standard? Please show me your warrant for such a remarkable assertion.

  105. “It’s all smoke and mirrors anyway, though, since you don’t even think that “human beings” have an inherent right to live.”

    Show me one statement anywhere in this post from which that conclusion could reasonably be drawn. My whole point is that whether or not abortion is murder turns on whether or not what one kills in the process is regarded as a human being. The clear implication is that killing a human being is murder and thus unjustified.

  106. But killing a ‘human’ is ok???

  107. Bruce, your ongoing attempt to separate the definition of a “human” with that of a “human being” is just a convoluted way of introducing classes of beings. Not only is that argument illogical, it ignores the facts of science. You should burn the books that you are reading and start studying the book “Embryo,” by Dr. Robert George.

    “That is, in human reproduction, when sperm joins ovum, these two individual cells cease to be, and their union generates a new and distinct organism. This organism is a whole, though in the beginning developmentally immature, member of the human species. Readers need not take our word for this: They can consult any of the standard human-embryology texts, such as Moore and Persaud’s The Developing Human, Larsen’s Human Embryology, Carlson’s Human Embryology & Developmental Biology, and O’Rahilly and Mueller’s Human Embryology & Teratology.”

    “Human embryos, whether they are formed by fertilization (natural or in vitro) or by successful somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT — i.e., cloning), do have the internal resources and active disposition to develop themselves to the mature stage of a human organism, requiring only a suitable environment and nutrition. In fact, scientists distinguish embryos from other cells or clusters of cells precisely by their self-directed, integral functioning — their organismal behavior. Thus, human embryos are what the embryology textbooks say they are, namely, human organisms —living individuals of the human species — at the earliest developmental stage.”

    It is a scientific fact that, at whatever stage the embryo or fetus may be in the developmental process, it is, unless interfered with, destined to reach biological maturity. Because fetus’s (even embryos) are WHOLE members of the human species, they are human beings. This is the rational, science-based definition of a human being, not some arbitrary standard based on subjective feelings, personal preferences, and wild guesses about when the soul enters the body, a fact that cannot be determined through scientific investigation.

  108. “It’s all smoke and mirrors anyway, though, since you don’t even think that “human beings” have an inherent right to live.”

    —Bruce: “Show me one statement anywhere in this post from which that conclusion could reasonably be drawn. My whole point is that whether or not abortion is murder turns on whether or not what one kills in the process is regarded as a human being. The clear implication is that killing a human being is murder and thus unjustified.”

    The key word in that passage is “inherent.” I don’t doubt for a moment that you think that killing someone that meets your personal definition of a human being is murder, however, that is not an argument for the “inherent” or natural right to live which, by definition, must be objective and cannot be based on personal preferences. You don’t believe in inherent rights or natural rights.

  109. What is a ‘human’ if it is not a human being? The distinction you cannot seem to grasp is the difference between something that is “human” and something that is “a human” or a human being. Examples of things that are human but not human beings are human hair, human skin cells, human DNA, a human appendix, etc., and, in my philosophy (and many, many other people’s), a fertilized human egg.

    God, you’re thick.

  110. You still haven’t given me a warrant for your assertion that a fertilized human egg’s natural right to life is objective. I can only assume you have no justification other that you want it to be true.

  111. Nothing, absolutely nothing, in these paragraphs demonstrates that my definition of a human being (a soul conjoined with a human body) is self contradictory or contradicts scientific fact. Dr. George makes the same mistake that you do–he takes is as given and “scientific fact” that a human body is equivalent to a human being. That is the assertion I deny, and neither you nor Bornagain nor anyone you have quoted has demonstrated its truth.

  112. Correction: other than you want it to be true

  113. The natural right to live is objective because it is conferred on humans by their Creator.

  114. Well, if all the knowledgeable sciencts say that an embryo is a human being and you say that it isn’t, then that would contradict your definition wouldn’t it? Also, their definition of a human being is based on factual data that was compelling enough that they felt justified in using that word.

    However, if you are all that hung up on the definition of a “human being,” which you introduced as an arbitrary tactic to separate unworthy humans (those who do not meet your definition) from worthy humans (those who do) then just use the word human, the definition of which is clear. The embryo and the fetus are humans–period. Then the only question to ask is–do all humans qualify for the right to life.

  115. Well, I accept that you believe that this is true, but your personal belief does not amount to a warrant. Have you got anything else?

  116. I think you are confusing two questions.

    Your first question focused on the issue of how we know that the right to life is objective (existing independent of our thoughts or personal designs). If God conferred it, then obviously it is objective and not subjective (something we make up as we go along).

    Your second question appears to focus on the epistemological problem of how we can know that this is true. Through reason, we can apprehend the natural moral law, which means that no religious faith is necessary. If the natural moral law doesn’t exist, or if we cannot apprehend it, then obviously there is no warrant for asserting that a fetus, or anyone for that matter, has an inherent right to live.

  117. From the U.S. Declaration of Independence:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

  118. “Well, if all the knowledgeable sciencts say that an embryo is a human being and you say that it isn’t, then that would contradict your definition wouldn’t it?”

    If you understood my position you would know that the answer is obviously “No”, because whether an embryo is a human being is not a question that can be answered by science, period. As I have said over and over, it is a matter of definition in the realm of philosophy, and as we well know from watching Dawkins make a fool of himself when he ventures into the realm of philosophy, scientists are no more qualified to do philosophy than I am. Most probably less so, since I have studied the subject formally, and most scientists probably have not.

    But in any case, the question is moot, since I seriously doubt that all or even the majority of biologists would say that it is scientific fact that a human embryo is a human being.

    “However, if you are all that hung up on the definition of a ‘human being,’ which you introduced as an arbitrary tactic to separate unworthy humans (those who do not meet your definition) from worthy humans (those who do)…”

    Oh, so now you’re a mind reader are you? Your comment is insulting, as it implies that my stated views are dishonest. Once again, you resort to shabby, underhanded debate tactics of the sort employed by Darwinists. You have no basis on which to make that statement other than your own imagination and your desire to somehow defeat me at any cost, even to your own integrity.

    I’ll have you know, sir, that my definition of a human being follows naturally from my understanding of the true nature of reality and the process by which souls get born into human bodies. My definition of what constitutes a human being comes first; my views on whether abortion is murder follow from it, not the other way around.

    You really can’t see, can you, that the way you consistently manipulate truth in the service of truth is an internal contradiction, and doomed to fail. It renders your arguments petty and impotent.

  119. You say, “Through reason, we can apprehend the natural moral law, which means that no religious faith is necessary.”

    Ok, show me how we can do that. Show me how you use reason to apprehend natural moral law. Kant attempted it (and Kant was no dummy), but his analysis was faulty. Many others have tried, but someone else always finds holes in their reasoning. What have you got that elevates your use of “reason” above all the others who have tried and failed, that makes your “apprehension” anything other than your personal opinion?

  120. Ok, leaving aside the question of whether Jefferson and his colleagues qualify as authorities on philosophical truth, the only ones mentioned in that statement are men. Women and children are left out, not to mention the unborn.

    But let’s grant for the sake of argument that the word “men” really meant “human beings”. If you advance this as an argument for the truth of your position, you are begging the question, which is “What constitutes a human being?” That question is simply not addressed by the quote.

    And anyway, what is said is that “we hold these truths to be self-evident”. That hardly proves they are true. Someone else (King George, for example) might respond, “Well they aren’t self-evident to ME.”

  121. Well, clearly the notion of two different definitions for humans is an arbitrary rationale calculated to justify the abortion of a fetus. Do you think that you are the first pro-choice person to come up with it? To judge one part of the human population as inferior to another is the classic means for rationalizing murder. Whether or not that little gambit is an honest extension of your world view I will leave to you.

  122. “Well, clearly the notion of two different definitions for humans is an arbitrary rationale calculated to justify the abortion of a fetus.”

    I have only one definition of a human being, which I have repeated over and over and over. Your assertion that I have two, once again, begs the question, because it assumes that I accept that a human zygote is a human being, but an inferior one. Yet AGAIN, you distort my meaning for the sake of winning the argument. And again I ask you, do you really think that an onlooker whom you wish to save from the evil clutches of new age thinking is going to be persuaded by THAT?

  123. The issue we are discussing at the moment isn’t very complicated. Either the natural moral law exists, can be apprehended, and is binding, in which case abortion is an immoral act; or else the moral law doesn’t exist, cannot be apprehended, and is not binding, in which case there are no immoral acts, including abortion. What matters is not whetehr Jefferson and Co were good philosophers but rather if the philosophy that they embraced was true.

  124. 124

    That an embryo is in a sense human has a great deal of logical support. I happen to believe that it is a human life.

    But it’s not self-evident. Most women who abort a fetus would never a murder a child. They call it ‘getting rid of it.’ Whether they realize what they are doing or are in denial or really don’t believe it’s a human is personal.

    It’s a belief. To me it’s a very well-founded belief. But if someone wants to go the cold, logical route then I can’t see convincing them short of persuading them to recognize the same authority that I do.

    Don’t get me wrong – I think there’s a very strong logical case to be made that an embryo is human being. If it isn’t, then outside of personal speculations, when does it become one? If you can pinpoint any moment when it is human, was it not human the moment before? It regresses back to conception.

    There are logical arguments going the other way. I don’t agree with them, but the point is that it isn’t self-evident. It is foremost a part of our belief system. Mine is quite well supported, but ultimately I can’t boil it down to nuts and bolts of logic.

  125. 125

    For that matter, a great deal of morality isn’t self-evident. If two grown men want to have sex, many people don’t see a problem with it.
    Much of what we call morality is really obedience. We recognize an authority and obey. When we think about it we can usually see why a certain law is beneficial and disobedience to it detrimental. But sometimes we can’t. Or some people just don’t. We follow certain rules out of obedience.

    That rubs some people the wrong way, just to obey because you think that someone else knows more than they do or because they owe it to them. But if you have a strong reason for recognizing an authority and a basis for trust, then such obedience is wisdom.

    A child can demonstrate a degree of wisdom by obeying his parents, whether or not he understands or agrees. Understanding is nice, and we’re granted some to the extent of our capacity for it. But trust and obedience are foundational. If they are missing, reason and understanding are not enough to compensate.

  126. You’re avoiding my question Stephen. You claim that reason can apprehend the “natural right to live” of a fertilized human egg. I ask you for the demonstration. If you can’t give a demonstration that can be evaluated by another rational mind, then it’s simply your own personal opinion.

    This whole discussion turns on this question, Stephen. If you can’t demonstrate this natural right that you claim is inherent in a zygote, you’ve got nothing.

    Don’t get me wrong. You’re entitled to your opinion. Just don’t lay it on me, and certainly don’t force it on a woman who desperately wants to end her pregnancy.

  127. Thank you for your contribution, Scott. I wondered if anyone but me and Stephen were listening at this point.

    I don’t know how closely you have been following our debate, but in case you haven’t been, my point is that whether you regard a human zygote as a human being is going to be very much dependent on one’s philosophy, one’s view of the nature of reality, God, our own nature, etc.

    My own view is that who each of us truly is is pure spirit, made in the image and likeness of God, eternal, immortal, completely safe from harm. We take residence (incarnate) in human bodies periodically for the purpose of the forgetting and then having the exquisite experience of remembering Who We Really Are. (This is a VERY brief summary of a much more complex topic.)

    Given that view, the most natural way to regard a human being is that it is a human body conjoined with a soul, and if the soul, the animating force, that which has intelligence, creativity, compassion, and love, is missing, then what remains, the body, really isn’t a human being at all.

    Now add to this my belief, based primarily on information presented in the two books, “Journey of Souls” and “Destiny of Souls” by Michael Newton, that the process of incarnation is such that a soul does not join a body until that body has a well developed brain, and I arrive at the conclusion that a fetus becomes a human being at some point during the third trimester, when the incoming soul merges with it.

    I do not say all this to convince you of the truth of my beliefs, only to present the case that it is possible, based on one’s world view, to legitimately have a different opinion than that a human being comes into being at the moment of conception.

    Thank you for listening.

  128. I never avoid questions Bruce. We apprehend the natural moral law through our God-given concsience, which is innate. It is the same conscience that tells us that murder is wrong–the same concience that tells YOU murder is wrong. However, one may not know that kllling a fetus is wrong unless someone else has the kindness to provide the scientific evidence which shows that the fetus is more than a mere blob of tissue–that it is, in fact, whole and is just as much a part of the human family as anyone at any stage of development. I realize that you have no respect for that fact, and that your world view prompts you to reject all countervailing evidence, but none of that changes reality.

    —”Don’t get me wrong. You’re entitled to your opinion. Just don’t lay it on me, and certainly don’t force it on a woman who desperately wants to end her pregnancy.”

    LOL

    You think I am entitled to my opinion as long as I don’t express it. I know that this will be a big surprise to you, but most women do not know the scientific facts about abortion. However, unlike you, they are, for the most part, open to it. Typically, when someone shows them the baby in their womb, they are grateful and do not kill it. Very few people dismiss hard evidence the way you do. Indeed, many women, who are not given that information and have an abortion, go into a deep state of depression when they learn that they have been lied to.

    Ignorance of reality and death are always go together. Do you think women are entitled to the scientific facts about abortion and the status of the fetus, or do you think that providing that information is “forcing” an opinion on them?

  129. I agree that a great deal of morality is not self evident. On the other hand, some moral precepts are obvious, the exhortation against murder being one of them. With respect to the current subject, the relevant question then, is this: Is the fetus one of us? If the answer is no, then one could make a rational case for abortion. If the answer is yes, then abortion is clearly immoral. Since science has, indeed, confirmed that the fetus is a member of the human family, I don’t know how one can provide rational justification for an abortion, defined as the “direct” killing of a fetus, not the “indirect killing,” that may be the incidental result of a medical procedure to protect the life of the mother.

  130. That should read, “ignorance of reality and death always go together.”

  131. Not to trivialize it, but abortion is like putting a dent in someone’s car door and then driving away. Everyone knows the right thing to do, but it’s so inconvenient, and as far as they can tell they are getting away with it.

  132. Good observation.

  133. In 29.1.2.1.1, you state, “Through reason, we can apprehend the natural moral law, which means that no religious faith is necessary.” So I challenged you to provide the demonstration of how reason “apprehends” that a fertilized human egg has an inherent natural right to live.

    You finally gave me an answer, above, which consists of two parts, the first of which is that we “apprehend the natural moral law through our God-given conscience”, and conscience tells us that murder is wrong. So it isn’t reason that apprehends natural moral law, it is our conscience (unless you claim that reason and conscience are the same thing). So my first question is, which is it, reason or conscience?

    My second question is, how can you claim that there is an objective moral law when different people’s consciences, which you claim are God-given, come up with different morals? One’s person conscience will tell him that sex between two unmarried adults is immoral, another’s will not. One person’s conscience will tell them that lying to avoid hurting the feelings of another is moral, another’s will tell her that it is immoral lie under any circumstances. Even the question of murder is ambiguous when you examine it closely. Is it immoral to kill someone to protect one’s property? Some would say yes, some no. Is executing a convicted murderer also murder? Some would say yes, some no. Is the nurse who turns off the life support for a terminal patient in excruciating pain and who has asked to die committing murder? Some would say yes, some no. How about starting a war, like the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Innocent people are killed in wars. Starting one means that you will be responsible for their deaths. Is this murder? Some people’s consciences will tell them, “Yes”, some “No”. So how can you say that conscience can give us objective moral law?

    The second part of your answer is that reason’s apprehension of the immorality of abortion is a function of a person knowing that “scientific evidence…shows that the fetus is…whole and is just as much a part of the human family as anyone at any stage of development.” In the first place, I keep asking how you know that a fertilized human egg has “an inherent natural right to live”, and you keep redirecting my question to a “fetus”. Since some fetuses would qualify as human beings by my definition, I’m going to talk about a human zygote, which I think I can safely assume is included in your use of the term “fetus” in the above quote.

    The scientific evidence includes facts such as that a zygote is a single cell formed by the union of a human sperm and egg, that it contains the full complement of human DNA, that if left in utero and all goes well, it will in nine months be born as a human infant. That it “is just as much a part of the human family as anyone at any stage of development” simply does not follow from the scientific facts by any logical sequence or rules of inference. There is no way to derive that proposition from scientific facts. For one thing, the term “human family” is not a scientific term, and whether something belongs to the “human family” depends entirely on how you define it. The fact is that your statement is a conclusion that YOU draw from the scientific facts, not because if follows logically (that is, by reason), but just because it seems true to you.

    To sum up, you believe that abortion is murder because you do, period. You like to believe that you arrive at this conclusion through reason, but you are fooling yourself (and only yourself…well maybe Bornagain77 also).

    Regarding the last two paragraphs, by the clause, “just don’t lay it on me” I did not mean to say, don’t express your opinion. I would never say that. I was trying to express something along the lines of “don’t try to ram your opinion down my throat”, but to avoid getting into a discussion of what THAT means and whether you have been doing that, I think I’ll just withdraw the comment.

    Regarding your questions and comments relative to women, I said above and I stand by it, I’m for a woman being free to make her own decision. This would include having access to all the information and advice she cares to access or listen to. If after hearing the arguments, she decides to have the baby, I have absolutely no problem with that. If you think you can convince her of the rectitude of your position, go for it. If you succeed, I have no problem with that either.

    What I do have a problem with (adamantly opposed to is a better phrase) is forcing her by law to carry a pregnancy to term when if free she would choose to end it.

  134. Furthermore, you have NOT demonstrated that anything has an inherent natural right to life. To say that murder is wrong is not the same as saying that a person has a natural right to life, nor does it imply that. In other words, in general, the immorality of an action does not imply that the the recipient of the action has a natural right to consequences of refraining from the action. To see this, consider keeping one’s word. Your conscience may tell you that it is immoral to break your word. This may be (and probably is) because breaking a promise is a violation of your own integrity. It’s about you; it’s about what it’s ok for you to do, and not about the person to whom you have given your word or their rights at all. If I give you my word that I will teach you how to play tennis, I have not created an inherent natural right in you to learn tennis, even if I do believe that breaking that promise is immoral.

  135. “Since science has, indeed, confirmed that the fetus is a member of the human family…”

    Science has done nothing of he sort. “The human family” is not a scientific term, and the truth of the proposition, “The fetus is a member of the human family” depends entirely on how you define it. I would define “the human family” as the set of all beings consisting of a human body joined with a soul. If you define it in such a way as to include a human zygote, I guarantee you that using that definition to prove that abortion is murder will be begging the question.

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