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Old 03-09-2006, 12:58 PM   #81
rccar328
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'When recieving counseling'. There it is. What about the ones that bypass that? Is counseling required, or is it simply an option before an abortion? If it isn't required, it should be.
I think it's also important to note that one of the biggest suppliers of conseling relating to pregnancy & abortion is Planned Parenthood...who also happens to be one of (if not the) biggest activist groups in favor of abortion-on-demand.


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Old 03-09-2006, 04:12 PM   #82
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just hopped in for a sec...

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Originally Posted by StarWarsPhreak
Little tidbit, human babies are born "early." We are completely helpless and dependent on our parental units for a long time, whereas in nature, a lot of younglings are practically walking the same day they're born. [/random tidbit]
A good point, and even human babies can be born a few months "premature" (with many more risks, but many more survive and grow up healthy, thanks to modern technology).

I've noticed a few people are using various terms interchangably and even getting confused about them, so it might help that each person think about what each of these words mean: "human," "person," "life form/alive," "fetus" (or foetus), "embryo," and the most generic "baby" and "child." And yes, more than one of these can apply to a single entity, I'm just saying.


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Old 03-09-2006, 04:17 PM   #83
Samuel Dravis
 
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Sorry about being late, but I had midterms this week and needed to study (and get some much needed sleep ). All over now.

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Originally Posted by edlib
So if anything I choose to post here is ever really taken seriously, and succeeds in altering anyone's views on ANYTHING I would be truly, truly surprised.
Something can be a serious discussion without converting anyone.

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There are many stances that if you ask a thousand people about their position, you will get pretty much the same answer a thousand times. The murder of a fully formed and aware human being is one of those subjects. Everybody will most likely give you the same position on it, in that they feel it is always wrong. Your mugging scenario will most likely garner the same response. These are things that have been ingrained in us since the very earliest days of civilization, and seem to be a universal ethical code that is practiced around the world, despite drastic differences in culture and religion.
Alright.

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But there are obviously some topics that there will cause debate over. The one we currently are having shows that not every human, even those born and raised in the nearly identical cultures and moral/ religious/ ethical backgrounds will share the same point of view on what equates to a moral judgment over it. The Terri Schiavo case is another potential case for review. So is assisted suicide. No two people you ask will have precisely the same position on any these subjects.
Yes.

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I was also taught from a very young age to never judge the actions of another person since I can never see into their heart. Just because something I see someone doing seems wrong to me, how can I ever truly be sure of their motivations for doing it. The hypothetical situations I propose later in this post may give you some idea of the way I believe that 2 people can see the same situation from completely different perspectives. (By the way: If you believe my grey-scale philosophy on life is dishonest... well, all I can say is that it will take probably some 30-odd years of convincing me to turn that perspective around. Good luck with that )
Your grey scale philosophy is honest, but limited.

There's two different kinds of moral relativity. The first, which I proved rediculous through a simple use of logic, says that no one can judge another person's actions and that all are equally correct (individual relativism). That leads to an absurd conconclusion; namely, that society cannot enforce any laws on anyone for any action they take. Somehow I doubt you think this, and even if you did, there's no way I could convince you you're wrong about anything, because you'd always be right - to yourself. You've rejected this type by concluding you would interfere with the mugger, and rightly so.

The second type is majority rule relativism, the idea that moral absolutes come from majority opinion. You could take these from the society in which you live, such as the majority of the people in the US, or you could take it from the majority of people living in the world.

The first, the single society-based relativity, is not useful because you could not extend judgement to people living in other societies besides your own. I asked you if you would be able to condemn the genocide in africa. You would not be able to if you subscribed to this idea (incidentally, I hope you do condemn them).

The second, obtaining your moral 'absolutes' from the moral opinions whole of the human population. Sure, it works great - at the moment. Sixty years ago and more, most people believed that abortion was a serious wrong, and you'd have to base your own ideas off of that; indeed, you'd have to accept their opinion as a moral absolute for yourself, because if something is acceptable/not acceptable to the majority, their collective opinion is correct and you cannot stop others from doing/preventing the action. If people in general believed that, they'd not have the ability to legally filibuster and the like, because it'd be morally wrong to obstruct the majority. I don't believe that "might makes right." If you do, I disagree. I even find that any society wholly based on this moral scheme could not change its opinion - there must be people who either 1) logically contradict themselves in their moral scheme (and thus their ideas cannot be used as a way of obtaining moral absolutes), or 2) have an objective opinion that does not sway to the majority. If you think that Martin Luther King was wrong to object to discrimination in his time, that's your prerogative, but it does not make you right, nor will I accept that you are right based solely on some plea for tolerance.

Yes, I do accept relativism. For example, I'm not going to condemn gays or even interefere with them in any way, though I may find their actions wrong. I'd be doing more harm to them by interefering with their personal choices, and thus I cannot do so morally. I even condemn actions such as taken by Westboro Baptist because of this. They're wrong to do it because the impact of their discrimination does not come close to balancing out with the damage they do. What I don't accept about relativism, however, is that you can base every opinion off of it. Eventually you'll need to go against the majority to do the 'right' thing, and that's not possible within its framework.

In the instance of abortion, you proposed that, while you are personally against it, allowing the killing is acceptable because others have differing opinions and they'd see it differently (implied here is that all opinions are equally correct). This is the first, (rediculous) case of relativism, and I simply deny you're correct to have your argument disappear in a puff of smoke.

Should you say it's because that society says it's good so therefore it must be good for other people, you cannot judge outside of your society and that's rediculous.

Should you say that humanity as a whole says it's good, so therefore it must be good for other people, you can only justify that at the moment, because opinion is fickle thing. If you're willing to give up free will to the majority, and that majority makes the rules, then you are governed by majority, with no way to escape. Should they decide something that you deeply, personally believe is wrong - such as nuking a country of innocents off the map - you cannot condemn them. You can disagree with them in your mind, but cannot morally interfere.

That's why I say that relativism is useless for making value judgements that affect others. There's simply how it is by it's very nature, and if you find yourself basing your whole opinion off of it, you'll eventually run up against something that it cannot decide in a manner that you'll agree with.

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Does someone who commits what I call evil always do so with truly evil intentions? Or do some commit evil believing they do good? Did Saul (later the Apostle Paul,) of the New Testament believe he was committing greats acts of evil by slaughtering the early Christians? Did the average Nazi foot soldier really think he was bringing horrific evil on the world? Did the 9/11 terrorists believe what they were doing was a truly evil act?
No, and intention should factor in to their crimes. The fact that perhaps they didn't think they were crimes, however, does not eliminate their responsibility for committing them.

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Or did their backgrounds. upbringings, and/ or conditioning lead them to believe that what they were doing was for the greater good? Could we be causing evil to others right now, believing we are doing what's best for the people of the world? How about in the past? How do the Japanese view our decisions to use the A-Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Could that be a case where we believe we were truly doing good where those on the receiving end see the act as evil?
You're trying to relate the differing societies' views as if they could be related. I showed you they couldn't meaningfully be contrasted, and the only relative measure that could be actually used in these situations by you is the entire humanity type of majority rule relativism. Yes, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were extreme wrongs. Would it have been better, though, to allow the complete destruction of Japan, people and country, that an invasion would have incurred?

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So... I personally feel abortion is wrong. If I ever found myself in a position that the subject of abortion came up as something that seriously needed to be considered in my life, I would do everything in my power in lobbying against it. BUT THAT'S JUST ME. I cannot force you to think differently if you don't, and I would never try. If the female I found myself in this situation with determined that abortion was the better choice for her at that point in her life, and she didn't carry the same moral objection that I have about it with her, how do you propose that I force her to see it my way? It's her body and future as well. She would have to face far more circumstances out of the situation than I would ever have to go through.
Just the fact that you cannot know what you'd do in the situation due to extreme stress might tip you off to the idea that she might not being thinking all that straight.

As for your relative rights theory, I already answered that.

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But then: If all morality was truly absolute, she could see it no other way... right? Obviously there would be no discussion. But that's clearly not the case in real life. She might have been raised differently from me. Just because she disagrees, is her point of view always totally invalid? I cannot see how it is... even if the law of the land states otherwise. I am not her, and I can never see the world from exactly her viewpoint. I could never understand fully the motivations that might drive her to that painful and difficult decision. Could I? Could you?
I hardly said that all morality can or should be used in an absolute manner. I said that relativism cannot be used as you are trying to use it. I use relative judgements myself, but I won't use a judgement relative to what the majority thinks on something so important as individual human life. The majority is not to be trusted in everything, especially on controversial subjects.

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Outlawing abortion is from my point of view, trying to use the government to legislate personal morality. If not everybody sees it the same way as I do, can I pass a law to force them into compliance? Does that really change their mind on the matter, or does it just force them to be more cautious about expressing their opinions, and taking their outlawed behavior underground? Can a law passed by the state ever truly change hearts and minds?
Using sci fi scenarios, sure. They just wipe the mind and put what they want there. According to ET an Co., that would change the person into another person, but oh well.

Protecting other's inherent rights is hardly what I'd consider legislating morality. Was MLK wrong to defend his rights? Was Lincoln wrong to defend slave's rights? They also had a large portion of people that felt that they were not human enough to be protected by the law. It's the same situation here. I doubt I will be able to convince you, but being unconvinced is not equal to being right.

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There are a great many issues that I feel very strongly about, that I would love to see disappear of the face of the earth forever. However, I am either far too much of a realist or have far too strong a libertarian streak in me to believe that legislating these things out of existence in our country will ever make people change their behavior. All it will is cause many otherwise law abiding folks to suddenly be forced to go underground. And I personally don't believe these would be useful or productive things for our government and law enforcement to be spending their time and resources on. For example:
It'll never stop, so don't try. Good one.

If an action is immoral and illegal, and people still do it, that's a social problem, not a moral one. Why are the people still doing it? Why should we as a society accept that they must feel that they have to do it? It's better to prevent what evil you can with laws, and then try to fix whatever the underlying problem is at the same time. Doing just one or the other is ineffective in righting the wrong. Just laws do not fix the problem, and just trying to fix the problem allows the wrong to continue unchecked while we attempt to control it.

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I despise guns. I personally will never own one. I would love to see them all go away forever. But I am totally against over-restrictive gun control laws. I honestly don't think they work. The old NRA saying about "only outlaws having guns..." is trite, but for the most part accurate. There is a huge culture in this country that will fight any attempt to take their guns away from them, or even attempt to limit their access to them from this point on. My dad happens to be an avid gun collector... and I don't think he's a bad person for it. But I know enough about him that he would not take it kindly if a bunch of government agents show up at his door demanding he hand over all the guns in his collection that were outlawed in a recent ban. Even if all the guns were outlawed from conscientious, lawful folks... the bad guys will still manage to get them. And if even they couldn't, then they'd just have to find other ways to kill each other. OJ 'allegedly' did what he did with a knife... and that was pretty effective.
So, we're dealing with the right to own a gun. People have a right to own a gun, I think, but do not have the right to shoot others with said gun. Seems to me we've got that covered in murder and, in cases of carelessness, negligence laws.

Saying that the only 'bad guys' would get them if they were outlawed is true, but why are we concerned about the bad guys do if they're already bad guys? Aren't we supposed to crack down on those anyway, with or without guns? They'd be doing the same thing with knives, wouldn't they?

You shouldn't punish people for using something for their personal entertainment/edification simply because the 'bad guys' can use too. The 'bad guys' are humans and can do anything that any other human can do, given enough opportunity. Obviously, we should outlaw living, so that the 'bad guys' never live.


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Last edited by Samuel Dravis; 03-09-2006 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 03-09-2006, 04:18 PM   #84
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So there's an example of something I'm morally opposed to, that I don't think the government should get into the business of regulating out of all existence.
I agree with you on that one.

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Also: I don't smoke. I think it's a filthy habit. Does that mean that I want to see the law make it illegal? Nope. Just because I don't like it, does that mean that nobody else should have the option of choosing that for themselves? I would hope that education would steer them away from making that choice... but if they really want to kill themselves slowly by inhaling poisons everyday... then that should be up to them.
The issue with smoking is that it affects other people. If it only affected you, sure, do what you want. Public smoking does not affect you. It's not my personal choice to sit next to someone who's smoking up a cloud - I'll only do it if I have to. That hurts me, my health. What if the smoker smokes in their own home, with children in it? That hurts them, and they can't even give informed consent. The government has every right to intervene - and does - in situations which another person will be harmed.

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I don't drink. My family has a serious history of alcoholism, and addictive personalities. Both of my parents, 3 of my grandparents, I don't know how many of my great grandparents, and 2 of my 3 siblings have, or have had serious problems with alcohol. Several of my relatives have dies as a direct cause of alcohol (drinking themselves to death,) and many more have died as a result of indirect causes (accidents, diseases caused by the drinking.) I know that many people don't have a problem with it, but personally, if you ask me, alcohol is one of the biggest evils on the planet. I would love to see the day when it wasn't made anymore. But I'm too much a realist to know that will never happen. It's been tried, with predictable results: The law-abiding folks that didn't have a drinking problem were punished; the folks that really wanted to drink had no problems obtaining it; a whole seedy underclass of violent folks got very, very wealthy on providing it; and many folks who might never wish to use it when it was legal and available, were drawn to it by the very 'forbidden' aspect about it. (Same thing goes for marijuana. Everybody who really wants it, can already get it.) Just because I hate it, does that mean that nobody else should ever have access to it... even if they end up killing themselves, or other while using it?
That simply means that people should be expected to use alchohol responsibly. If they don't, then they deserve to be punished to the extent that it harms others. If I picked up a broom and started poking people's eyes out, that's not exactly using the broom responsibly, now is it? Yes, people are responsible for their own actions, and don't try to pretend it isn't so.

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You mentioned several times murder as something that we can all agree is bad. How exactly do you define murder? How about 'the deliberate killing another human being in any circumstance other than self defense'?
Basically the same, but slightly different: "the deliberate killing of innocents." 'Innocence' meaning they haven't done anything to you that you didn't allow in the first place.

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That's pretty much how I define it. So, if an American soldier in Iraq kills an innocent civilian in the course of following orders, someone who never had any violent intentions towards America, or even the soldiers over there, is that murder? Well, since the soldier is following orders,
I don't care if the soldier is following orders or not. He's still responsible for his own actions; he pulled the trigger.

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we don't normally consider that murder, except under special circumstances. But it is the killing of someone who never meant the soldier, or any of us any harm. So if the soldier isn't guilty of murder, who is? The ones who gave the order? The government that put them over there in the first place? The American public, who in who's name the killing is taking place? Me? Am I guilty of the sin of murder? Are you? Or is it possible that some killings are NOT murder? We have made that exception in war from the very beginning of recorded history. Is that a moral black or white?
The soldier must make a judgement. "Is the person exhibiting qualities which make them appear to be an enemy threat?" If they are an enemy threat, then they have accepted that they might be killed. If they aren't, and the soldier has absolutely no way of knowing, he can be justified by the fact that he's in a warzone and he really didn't know. If I knew, however, and failed to tell him when I knew what was going to happen, that would be incredibly immoral of me.

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I don't know how I would react in that situation. I've thankfully never been placed in that situation. I like to think I'd be the hero, and try to defend the woman. Do I think that's a violation of my relativistic stance? No, not really. Standing idly by while someone is injured really has nothing to do with whether I believe the mugger might have valid motives that I can see. Even if he believes he has perfectly valid motives himself (I'll get to those possibly be in a moment...) I couldn't defend his actions. There's no reason for violence in most circumstances. I also cannot know his personal motivations in that moment: whether they are simple greed or laziness, or feeding an addiction; or if he has been forced down another road that he never intended to take, and this is the only way he sees to make it. More than 999 times out 1000 it's probably a bad motivation driving him, and that's something I'm sure I couldn't be brought to defend.
So, you say that because (based on your opinion alone, of course) it's more likely he's bad than good you can force your opinion on him? What? If you start interfering with him, then therefore prove yourself more bad than good to him. He can therefore do whatever he likes to you, because he knows you're bad - relatively. Would it be wrong for him to shoot you in such a case?

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There's also the possibility that I will react in fear for myself. A selfish reaction, perhaps, but one that's perfectly in keeping with the ancient ingrained survival instinct. It's not something that I would be particularly proud of, but if he was particularly aggressive, or was brandishing a deadly weapon in an aggressive manner... Or maybe the thought would cross my mind: Would I find it to be better to take off and try to find appropriate help, or better to be brave but foolish and take him on and wind up seriously injured or dead for my efforts... with the woman still harmed and mugged anyway? I simply don't know. I cannot answer that in the comfortable circumstances I currently find myself in. From an outside view though, my motives for running could be brought into question. Everything ALWAYS depends on the circumstances of the situation.
So your above statement, that murder is 'the deliberate killing another human being in any circumstance other than self defense' is wrong under certain circumstances? Nice. Whether you feel like being brave or not, you've decided both that your personal morality can be projected onto the mugger, and that you know (well enough for you) what's going on in his head.

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Let's say this time YOU are the mugger.

Somehow, for whatever reason, you have fallen afoul of a gangster. You owe him money. He wants it by this afternoon. You don't have it. If you don't produce it, he will kill your wife and child that he has in his custody. He will kill them immediately if you dare to go to the authorities. You are thinking things over and seeing no way to get the money you need to save them when an obviously wealthy woman walks by alone. You could probably mug her quickly, and get away without being seen, and get the money to the gangster, and start your life over again. You don't wish to break the law, but your loved ones will die if you don't. What do you do? Is committing a violent crime justified by getting out of the circumstances you find yourself in?
It's not all that justified. If you asked her, I wonder if she'd give you a loan. In fact, if you gave close to anyone sufficient proof that you were under these circumstances, I shouldn't wonder they'd help you.

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Same situation, except that your wife and/or child (or for the ultimate in pathos: your pregnant wife) is very ill. There's a good chance she/ they might not make it through the night if you don't get them the medicine needed. You are far too poor to afford it, and you have tried every legal avenue that you could think of to obtain it. In desperation do you decide to wait for them to die, seeing as that must be God's will? Or perhaps you could mug someone for the money to buy it? Or do you just rob the pharmacist directly to get the medicine? What if the pharmacist or muggee puts up a fight? Do you resort to violence to overpower them to save your loved ones? What if you are forced into a situation where you would need to kill to get away to get the meds back to your family? Would you just then give up and allow yourself to be sent to jail, (with the knowledge that your family will be dead before you can get out) or do you resort to murder of a stranger to save those you love? Knowing that witnesses have seen you, and that there is little chance that you won't go to jail at this point, what would you do to get back to your family in the brief time you have before you get caught? Is it more moral to fail in your duty as a husband/ father and let your family die by your inaction if you have the ability to save them... or is it more moral to break the law, and even your own personal moral code in an attempt to do anything you can to give them more life?
It's more moral to do everything in your power to save them, except kill the innocent. You can justify killing someone if they give up their right to live, such as if someone points a gun at you with malice and you did nothing to deserve that action, but should you kill someone to save someone, that's wrong.

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Here's another one: Would you commit one cold-blooded murder to save millions of people from the same fate? Say you have a friend who invents the first machine that can send you anywhere in the world, back in time. The time window is only open for a few minutes at a time, and where and when it sends you is largely unpredictable. You volunteer to go through, but your friend, always the cautious one, hands you a gun as a weapon, just in case you find yourself in a hostile situation. Your first trip through you find yourself in the Germany of the late 20's, early 30's. You are facing a man who is clearly Adolf Hitler, just before his rise to power. You are alone with him. Nobody could see the 2 of you. You could, in this one moment, stop all the horrors of World War 2 in one fell swoop. (Please don't bring up all the time paradoxes/ changing the future stuff... this is a morality question, not a physics one.) You don't have time or the means to talk to him to try to change his path... or the means to start a non-violent movement to defeat Nazism before it starts. The only realistic choice you have is to kill him to stop him and save the lives of millions in the future. Would you do it? Could you do it? What if instead of an adult Hitler, you are faced with an adolescent? An infant? His mother, currently pregnant with him?
This is the same situation as the previous, albeit with greater stakes. No, I don't think you should kill him; he hasn't done anything wrong. If he was guilty of murder or genocide at that time, then so am I (assuming I murder/commit genocide sometime in the future, of course); so are you. You don't know what you're going to do in the future; heck, it might even be something really wrong! Therefore you should die? No.

You should do everything in your power to prevent the progression of history as you believe it will occur (your appearance in that period is enough for you to know that you can change the future anyway), but simply killing the man does not kill the ideology, nor does it mean he deserves it at that time in his life. Killing a political leader been tried before and it's proven not to work. In the cases where Adolf was younger, why not makes friends with him? Why not influence him, encourage his painting, be nice to him? Pretending that there are only two viable options to this is a fallacy.

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How do you feel about torture? Like most people do, I suspect. Take the situation that has bantered about quite a lot lately: Could you torture someone guilty of planting a nuke and planning on destroying a city in the next couple of hours for information if you thought it could save several millions? How about one million? One hundred?
If they're as guilty as you say, then yes. They've given up their rights by attempting to take away those of others, and we know they tried. I am aware, however, that torture is not exactly known to be the best method of obtaining accurate information, and any other ways should be tried first.

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What if it were only one person (your pregnant wife again? Being held under threat of execution in the next couple of hours.) What if the person that you had in your custody wasn't one who was guilty... but a relative of the one who abducted and currently holding your wife who refuses to talk out of fear of reprisal. Someone who knows where she is, but won't talk. Could you torture someone in that situation if you believed you had a good chance of finding your loved one(s) before it was too late?
Refusing to talk out of fear of reprisal from whom? The person holding my wife? They'd hardly be in a position to exact revenge if they are behind bars, or dead (should they decide to defend themselves). If it's someone else, then you should protect the person and give them proof that you can do so (i.e., get the police and put them in a safehouse, along with whomever they think is going to be harmed along with them. If there's no fear of reprisal, then there's no reason they shouldn't talk.

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I could do morality hypotheticals all day. But since none of us will ever face exactly those situations, can we ever really come up with meaningful answers?
Not from your position in all cases.

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The discussion of "Absolute Morality" truly disturbs me. I don't think any 2 humans can ever decide of what is "Absolute." If they do, it tends to degenerate into extremist thought patterns. The Sharia Law practicing Islamic regimes of the mid-east tend to frame things in absolutes. I fear the using the powers of our government to enforce what you, or anyone, consider "Absolute" morality could lead us down paths no American would ever wish to travel. And how could their morality be so "Absolute" when it disagrees with ours so,.. well... absolutely?
You're assuming that I do not use relativism for anything, and that's not true. I just recognize the limitations of it and don't apply it to everything. Absolute morality of any kind would disagree with you, even if it supported every one of your points; the reason being that you claim you cannot know, and absolute morality says you can. Indeed, an opinion that you 'cannot know' contradicts itself; it's equal to saying, "I know I cannot know." You must be able to know something.

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Do you truly believe that you are incapable of committing acts such as these under the right circumstances? I am not so certain that I am. That potential clearly exists in each and every one of us, and this is proven every day by even the most casual perusal of the paper and TV news.
I hardly believe I'm incapable. I just said that I am in control. There's a difference.

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If you can convince me that you are totally in control of all of your emotional reactions all the time, then I will admit that you are truly a far more advanced and evolved human than I.
I am not totally in control of my emotions, but emotions are hardly actions. I am in control of my actions, and will continue to be. Actions affect other people, emotions only affect you.

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I have much, much more to say on these subjects, but I'm out of time for tonight. Like I said: I'll have to break it up and cover all the things I wish to talk about in more than one post.
Thanks for sharing, I enjoy talking to you.

edit: LOL, it's too long for a single post!


"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein

Last edited by Samuel Dravis; 03-09-2006 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 03-09-2006, 05:06 PM   #85
edlib
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I chose all my examples (guns, smoking, alcohol) as things that can cause harm and/or kill to the self or others, even when used correctly, yet are still legal in this country at the moment.
I'm not sure that "self-control" can be applied to an alcoholic... alcoholism is an addiction, and can it be said that addicts deliberately choosing to live that life? Or are chemical dependencies forcing them into repetitive, destructive behavior? Unless you can become addicted to poking people's eyes with a broomstick, I'm not entirely sure if that's a valid comparison.
(For the record: I personally don't believe anyone ever sets out to ruin their lives with an addiction.)

For the soldier example, I was thinking of the pilot ordered to drop a bomb or missile on a wedding party filled with non-hostiles, on the intel-based off-chance that an al-Qaeda (or the enemy du jour) operative might also be there. It has happened several times in the last couple of years. This is a situation where it's known that many innocents will be killed by the actions of our military, but it's justified somehow by the possible taking out of one high-value target. If the soldier or pilot in that situation, being the one pulling the trigger, knows in advance that his actions will kill many innocents, should he disobey a direct order?

Unfortunately, this is all I have time for right now... got to get to work.

i think perhaps we should split this particular thread of conversation off to a new and different thread, however. While it has some bearing on the topic of my attitude towards abortion, I think we have gotten far enough removed that it could be said we are off-topic.

What do you think?


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Old 03-09-2006, 06:17 PM   #86
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I chose all my examples (guns, smoking, alcohol) as things that can cause harm and/or kill to the self or others, even when used correctly, yet are still legal in this country at the moment.
Guns can be used legally - correctly - without causing harm to others, which is why they should be legal. Using them incorrectly - illegally - results in punishment.

Smoking can legally - correctly - be used without causing harm to others, though it's harder to do than guns, because the effects are caused by simply being around the smoker. If the person only smokes while in company that accepts the risks of secondhand smoke, then I really don't care whether he does it or not.

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I'm not sure that "self-control" can be applied to an alcoholic... alcoholism is an addiction, and can it be said that addicts deliberately choosing to live that life? Or are chemical dependencies forcing them into repetitive, destructive behavior? Unless you can become addicted to poking people's eyes with a broomstick, I'm not entirely sure if that's a valid comparison.
(For the record: I personally don't believe anyone ever sets out to ruin their lives with an addiction.)
An alchoholic can choose to quit if he decides to. The addiction makes it harder - much harder, I admit - but they ability to choose is still there. Do you think that the alcoholics don't know what they are putting other people through is wrong? That abuse and other crimes stemming from alchoholism are not punishable offenses? That no one can stop being an alcoholic? Probably not.

Your examples show that some things, if used in a manner which does not affect others without their consent, do not hurt people - a fairly obvious conclusion. Moreover, I question any implication that the legality of an act is equal to its morality - that's the very problem I have with relativism, that the majority's morality is somehow equal to true morality. If you're willing to accept that in the future, should the majority of the humanity decide that, for example, your race makes you somehow less equally human than they, that you are in some way truly less human than they are, then you are being consistent in your relativism. If you wouldn't accept that, however, then clearly you do not believe it applies to every situation and are exercising some sort of 'real' absolute value judgment in the place of relativism.

Quote:
For the soldier example, I was thinking of the pilot ordered to drop a bomb or missile on a wedding party filled with non-hostiles, on the intel-based off-chance that an al-Qaeda (or the enemy du jour) operative might also be there. It has happened several times in the last couple of years. This is a situation where it's known that many innocents will be killed by the actions of our military, but it's justified somehow by the possible taking out of one high-value target. If the soldier or pilot in that situation, being the one pulling the trigger, knows in advance that his actions will kill many innocents, should he disobey a direct order?
Yes, he should. Killing known innocents when this might or might not be justified is wrong. Why the decision is left to the pilot I have no idea, because it should not have come down the chain of command in the first place.

If the pilot is only told that the man may be there, however, he does not have enough information to make a realistic moral judgement decision. Thus, the responsibility for their deaths goes to the one that knew, but did not tell him the whole truth.

I intend to tell what I know to the best of my ability. I hope I've been clear enough in what I wrote for you to see the reason for my rejection of your position.

Quote:
i think perhaps we should split this particular thread of conversation off to a new and different thread, however. While it has some bearing on the topic of my attitude towards abortion, I think we have gotten far enough removed that it could be said we are off-topic.
If you really think it's necessary. It is, as you say, directly related to your idea of whether or not abortion should be legal (in fact my objection to it was the reason for this particular discussion). It's as good a subject as any for this thread.


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Old 03-10-2006, 11:02 AM   #87
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Originally Posted by ET Warrior
There isn't an exact TIME-table because development occurs at varying speeds. However, as I said in my last post, you CAN test for neurological activity, and that is the basis.
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Absolutely, I'm very against killing people.
Would you, then, agree that a couple of things are in order, based solely on your opinion:

1. That Roe vs. Wade must be overturned, because as it is now it allows murder without consequence (see "The Silent Scream" if you need proof it does; I won't link to it though),
2. That new federal laws must be put in place to stop the killing of persons after they develop neurological activity (this has been shown to begin at about 5 weeks[1]) say, a total ban of any abortions after about 6, or at the very most 7/8 weeks of age; we can't put much else into law without allowing murder [2]),
3. That mandantory testing for said activity should be enforced for all women seeking an abortion before the 6/7 week limit (because of the variation in growth rates, we have to check),
4. That there should be no rape exception after the testing proves conclusively that it is a person? That'd be the same as a robber setting a mentally incapable person to wander around your house, then you telling that person to get out. While they're trying to unlock the door, however, you shoot them because they didn't get out fast enough... Yes, he would be in your house against your will, but he's trying to escape as fast as he can. Would even the law as it exists currently absolve you from murder in that situation? The incompetent person's right to life trumps your right to kill him without actual justification. "He could have turned around and accidentally fallen on me, potentially breaking my neck, while he was trying to get out the door, so I had to shoot him!" is not an excuse that would fly, I think.

If you object to any of these points, I would ask why.



About the relative safety of legalized abortion to illegal, I will admit that my posted figures were not enough to go on, and I retract them. However, I have found something interesting browsing EBSCOhost:

The Numbers Game


As the ACLU's Due Process Committee developed an abortion policy for consideration by the group's national board, it used working papers collected by ACLU staff. The paper written by William Kopit and Harriet Pilpel contained two serious errors which misled the ACLU at a critical time and have been widely circulated since then, thus misleading many other people as well.[11]

Writing in 1965, Kopit and Pilpel suggested that there were between 1 million and 1.5 million illegal abortions in the United States each year; and over 8,000 maternal deaths from those abortions each year. While no one knows precisely how many illegal abortions there were before Roe v. Wade, there are various indications that Kopit and Pilpel's numbers are seriously inflated. In the first place, legal abortions have ranged between 1 million and 1.6 million per year since 1975.[12] Common sense suggests that there would have been far fewer abortions before removal of criminal sanctions, establishment of abortion clinics all over the country, heavy advertising, and public funding of abortion in many states. In 1981 three researchers estimated a range from "a low of 39,000 (1950) to a high of 210,000 (1961) and a mean of 98,000 per year."[13]

The number of maternal deaths actually reported by the U.S. government was far lower than the number given by Kopit and Pilpel. According to researcher Cynthia McKnight, government figures showed 1,313 maternal deaths from illegal abortions in 1940, trending down to 197 in 1965 (when Kopit and Pilpel were writing that there were over 8,000 such deaths each year). McKnight attributes the mortality decline to improvements in antibiotics, blood transfusions, and surgical techniques.

McKnight also cites two major abortion advocates, contemporaries of Kopit and Pilpel, who made far lower estimates than they did. One apparently accepted government figures; the other suggested about 500 deaths per year.[14] Dr. Bernard Nathanson, an abortion doctor and advocate for abortion who later turned against it, wrote of his colleagues in the National Association for Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL):

... we generally emphasized the drama of the individual
case, not the mass statistics, but when we spoke of the
latter it was always "5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year." I
confess that I knew the figures were totally false, and I
suppose the others did too if they stopped to think of it.
But in the "morality" of our revolution, it was a useful
figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct
it with honest statistics?[[15]]

The highly-inflated figures on illegal abortions and maternal deaths are still in circulation and still influence the abortion debate. They lead many people to believe that legalizing abortion saved thousands of women's lives each year, without greatly increasing the number of fetal deaths. Many Americans support legal abortion largely because of the numbers. False numbers.


Sources:
[11] "The office," memo to Due Process Committee, 9 Dec. 1966; and "The office," memo to Due Process Committee, 7 Dec. 1966, incorporating William Kopit and Harriet F. Pilpel, "Abortion and the New York Penal Laws" [1965], ACLU Archives, box 1145, folder 2. The Kopit-Pilpel paper made five statistical assertions--including the one about numbers of illegal abortions per year--for which the only citations given were outlines prepared by Pilpel herself but apparently not published. This was peculiar citation practice, to say the least.

[12] U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1999 (Washington, 1999), 91, Table 123.

[13] Barbara J. Syska and others, "An Objective Model for Estimating Criminal Abortions and Its Implications for Public Policy," in Thomas W. Hilgers and others, eds., New Perspectives on Human Abortion (Frederick, Md., 1981), 164-181, 178.

[14] Cynthia McKnight, Life Without Roe: Making Predictions About Illegal Abortions (Washington, 1992), 10-15. McKnight's study was published by the Horatio R. Storer Foundation, an affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee. The study is thoroughly documented.

[15] Bernard N. Nathanson, Aborting America (Garden City, N.Y., 1979), 193. (NARAL is now called the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League.) Nathanson added that: "Statistics on abortion deaths were fairly reliable, since bodies are difficult to hide, but not all these deaths were reported as such if the attending doctor wanted to protect a family by listing another cause of death."
[3]


In the same article, it makes some good points about personhood:

Answering the scientific question of when each human being begins to exist does not settle the philosophical question of personhood. But those who assert that one can be a human being without also being a person have a very heavy burden of proof to meet. They are like the hunter who sees movement in the brush but does not know whether it is caused by a deer or another hunter. He must not "shoot first and ask questions later." He has an obligation to find out whether a person is there; if so, or if he cannot find out, he has no right to shoot.

The ACLU and other abortion supporters have failed to show that unborn humans lack personhood; indeed, many have not even tried to show this. They seem to believe it is all right to shoot first and ask no questions at all.

Perhaps they are influenced by the tiny size of the early embryo and the fact that--let's assume we are speaking of a female embryo she "does not look like us." Yet she looks as she should look at that stage of her development. So did we all look at one time.

Our vision and experience are sharply limited in some ways. To our vision, it seems that the sun moves around the earth rather than vice-versa. We still speak of sunrise and sunset. Yet intellectually we know that it is the earth, not the sun, that rotates daily. We also know intellectually that the embryo is living, is a member of the human species, and has in her genes all the information needed to complete her development: she is, as one writer notes, "a self-assembler."[54]

Because a human being at the embryonic stage cannot yet express her potential to think and speak, to use reason and will, many ACLU activists believe that she is not yet a person--or at least not a "complete" person. Yet this goes against the concept of equality that the ACLU champions elsewhere. Philosopher Germain Grisez once imagined a case in which an embryo could speak in his own defense. The embryo, he said,

might contend that the life of an adult is of less worth
than his. After all, the adult has less time left to
live ... Most of what he could have been has been sacrificed
in his becoming what he is, and much that he has been can
never be recaptured.

The embryo could say that

"my life is far better than yours, for my life is a process
of development and ever increasing vitality, while yours is
a process of deterioration and waning vitality as you
decline toward death."

Grisez did not agree with this approach, but said that it "would be no more fallacious than ours, if we measure his worth by his degree of development."[55]

In arguing that personhood starts at fertilization, writer Doris Gordon says:

No sperm or ovum can grow up and debate abortion; they are
not "programmed" to do so. What sets the person aside from
the non-person is the root capacity for reason and choice.
If this capacity is not in a being' s nature, the being
cannot develop it. We had this capacity on Day One, because
it came with our human nature.

To be persons, she says, "human beings need do nothing but be alive. We were all very much alive at conception." She finds that: "Given personhood, a human fetus has the same right as every innocent person not to be attacked and killed."[56]

Sources:
53. Keith L. Moore and T. V. N. Persaud, Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology and Birth Defects (Philadelphia, 5th ed., 1998), 36, 39, 147-149; Keith L. Moore and others, Color Atlas of Clinical Embryology (Philadelphia, 1994), 1-2, 101,104; T. W. Sadler, Langman's Medical Embryology (Baltimore, 7th ed., 1995), 3; Ronan O'Rahilly and Fabiola Muller, Human Embryology & Teratology (New York, 2nd ed., 1996), 7-8 & 81-82. See, also, U.S. Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Separation of Powers, Hearings on The Human Life Bill, 97th Cong., 1st Sess., April-June 1981, vol. 1, 7-23; Dianne Nutwell Irving, "Philosophical and Scientific Analysis of the Nature of the Early Human Embryo" (Ph.D. diss., Georgetown University, 1991); and Dianne N. Irving, "When Do Human Beings Begin? `Scientific' Myths and Scientific Facts," in Doris Gordon and John Walker, eds., Abortion and Rights, an issue of the International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 19, nos. 3/4 (1999), 22-47 (available at www.L4L.org on the Internet).

54. Walker, John. "Abortion and the Question of the Person," in Gordon & Walker, op. cit. (n. 53), 52. 58. Gordon, op. cit. (n. 56), 111-112.

55. Grisez, Germain. "Abortion: The Myths, the Realities, and the Arguments." (New York, 1970), 305.

56. Doris Gordon, "Abortion and Rights: Applying Libertarian Principles Correctly," in Gordon & Walker, op. cit. (n. 53), 111 & 99.



My sources:

[1] H. Hamlin, "Life or Death by EEG," JAMA, Oct. 12, 1964, p. 120 -
"Brain waves have been recorded at 40 days on the [EEG]"

[2] J. Goldenring, "Development of the Fetal Brain," New England Jour. of Med., Aug. 26, 1982, p. 564 -
"Brain function, as measured on the [EEG], "appears to be reliably present in the fetus at about eight weeks gestation," or six weeks after conception."

[3] Meehan, Mary. "ACLU v. Unborn Children." Human Life Review, 00979783, Spring2001, Vol. 27, Issue 2. Academic Search Premier, March 10th, 2006.


"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein

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Old 03-10-2006, 01:25 PM   #88
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Yeah, I've read quite a bit here & there about how the numbers put out by pro-abortion organizations were inflated to make abortion seem absolutely essential to the continuation of the existence of women...(I may be being just a bit sarcastic there, but there is lots of evidence that numbers have been inflated).


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Old 03-10-2006, 03:25 PM   #89
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Originally Posted by Insane Sith
It seems you've never even once attended the clinics.

You get far more information on non-abortion options than information on (for) abortions.

...

Abortion is always treated as a last resort when recieving counseling. Does this mean every woman pays attention? No, but it's the best you can do.
I'd say it's always the official last option. Looks nice on the paperwork, dontcha think.

"Eric: I would say she got counseling, but compassion – no.

Brad: What kind of counseling did she get? It’s my impression there hasn’t been much.

Eric: In my facilities, I always gave option counseling. Of course you make the abortion the most appealing. I told them about adoption and about foster care and about (when there was welfare) assistance. The typical way it would go is, "Well, you know you can place your baby out for adoption." But then, in the second breath you would say, "That’s an option available to you, but you also have to realize that there’s going to be a baby of yours out here somewhere in the world you will never see again.. At least with abortion you know what’s happening. You can go on with your life."

Brad: So were the options more for your benefit to ease your conscience than for the women?

Eric: I would say that it was more for my conscience because, to be honest with you, I really didn’t care.

Dr. W: And the longer you were in it, the less you cared?

Eric: Yes, exactly, Dr. Willke. The longer I was in it, the less I cared, so I really didn’t really care what my conscience said. My conscience was totally numb anyway. But what it did do was public relations-wise. You were able, when a reporter or TV crew came, to pull out a packet of information for the patients to read and they received it. So what can anybody say? Publicly it looked good – in reality it was another tool that was used to force a woman into abortion. It’s typical – I would give them an option and then shoot it down. The only option you didn’t shoot down, obviously, was abortion.

Eric: And then, again, Dr. Willke and Brad, if they came in for an abortion – if they were scared, hey, inject them with some Fentanyl. It costs you two bucks. Knock ‘em out. You guarantee them they’ll never feel a thing. They’d come in and say, "Oh, I’m scared to death…. I don’t want to have this memory for the rest of my life." I’d say, "Sweetheart, there won’t be any memories. We can give you an anesthetic that will knock you out. It costs me two bucks, but I’m going to charge you a hundred bucks extra for it."
[1]

[1] Life Issues Connector, July 1998.
http://www.abortionfacts.com/dr_will...or_july_98.asp


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Old 03-10-2006, 03:31 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by jmac7142
Actually, biologists classify something as a living thing when the fulfill the following conditions:

1. Cellular Organization: All living things are made of one or more cells.
2. Metabolism: The sum of all chemical reactions that an organism carries out. All living things use energy to grow, to move, and to process information.
3. Homeostasis: The process whereby all living things maintain relatively stable internal conditions. (For example, your body maintains a temperature of about 37∞C (98∞C) no matter how cold or warm the weather is.)
4. Reproduction: The ability to reproduce from one generation to the next is characteristic of all species of living things.
5. Heredity: A process whereby living things pass on genes during reproduction. All living things have DNA molecules inside their cells that encode information to direct growth and development – a set of blueprints, called genes.


Therefore sperm are not living beings, and fetuses are not living beings.
Try telling an eunuch he is not alive. Will you take away his human rights because he does not have a way to reproduce? Are you trying to say it's ethical to kill someone based solely on their ability to reproduce? What?

I agree, sperm and eggs are not human beings. They have potential if they're in the right place at the right time, but they are destroyed when they create the zygote:

To begin with, scientifically something very radical occurs between the processes of gametogenesis and fertilization — the change from a simple part of one human being (i.e., a sperm) and a simple part of another human being (i.e., an oocyte — usually referred to as an "ovum" or "egg"), which simply possess "human life", to a new, genetically unique, newly existing, individual, whole living human being (an embryonic single-cell human zygote). That is, upon fertilization, parts of human beings have actually been transformed into something very different from what they were before; they have been changed into a single, whole human being. During the process of fertilization, the sperm and the oocyte cease to exist as such, and a new human being is produced.

To understand this, it should be remembered that each kind of living organism has a specific number and quality of chromosomes that are characteristic for each member of a species. (The number can vary only slightly if the organism is to survive.) For example, the characteristic number of chromosomes for a member of the human species is 46 (plus or minus, e.g., in human beings with Down's or Turner's syndromes). Every somatic (or, body) cell in a human being has this characteristic number of chromosomes. Even the early germ cells contain 46 chromosomes; it is only their most mature forms — the sex gametes, or sperms and oocytes — which will later contain only 23 chromosomes.1 Sperms and oocytes are derived from primitive germ cells in the developing fetus by means of the process known as "gametogenesis." Because each germ cell normally has 46 chromosomes, the process of "fertilization" can not take place until the total number of chromosomes in each germ are cut in half. This is necessary so that after their fusion at fertilization the characteristic number of chromosomes in a single individual member of the human species (46) can be maintained — otherwise we would end up with a monster of some sort.

To accurately see why a sperm or an oocyte are considered as only possessing human life, and not as living human beings themselves, one needs to look at the basic scientific facts involved in the processes of gametogenesis and of fertilization. It may help to keep in mind that the products of gametogenesis and fertilization are very different. The products of gametogenesis are mature sex gametes with only 23 instead of 46 chromosomes. The product of fertilization is a living human being with 46 chromosomes. Gametogenesis refers to the maturation of germ cells resulting in gametes. Fertilization refers to the initiation of a new human being.

1) Gametogenesis

As the human embryologist Larsen2 states it, gametogenesis is the process that converts primordial germ cells (primitive sex cells) into mature sex gametes — in the male (spermatozoa, or sperms), and in the female (definitive oocytes). The timing of gametogenesis is different in males and in females. The later stages of spermatogenesis in males occur at puberty, and continue throughout adult life. The process involves the production of spermatogonia from the primitive germ cells, which in turn become primary spermatocytes, and finally spermatids — or mature spermatozoa (sperms). These mature sperms will have only half of the number of their original chromosomes — i.e., the number of chromosomes has been cut from 46 to 23, and therefore they are ready to take part in fertilization.3

Oogenesis begins in the female during fetal life. The total number of primary oocytes — about 7 million — is produced in the female fetus' ovaries by 5 months of gestation in the mother's uterus. By birth, only about 700,000 - 2 million remain. By puberty, only about 400,000 remain. The process includes several stages of maturation — the production of oogonia from primitive germ cells, which in turn become primary oocytes, which become definitive oocytes only at puberty. This definitive oocyte is what is released each month during the female's menstrual period, but it still has 46 chromosomes. In fact, it does not reduce its number of chromosomes until and unless it is fertilized by the sperm, during which process the definitive oocyte becomes a secondary oocyte with only 23 chromosomes.4

This halving of the number of chromosomes in the oocytes takes place by the process known as meiosis. Many people confuse meiosis with a different process known as mitosis, but there is an important difference. Mitosis refers to the normal division of a somatic, or germ cell in order to increase the number of those cells during growth and development. The resulting cells contain the same number of chromosomes as the previous cells — in human beings, 46. Meiosis refers to the halving of the number of chromosomes that are normally present in a germ cell — the precursors of a sperm or a definitive oocyte — in order for fertilization to take place. The resulting cells have only half of the number of chromosomes as the previous cells — in human beings, 23.

One of the best and most technically accurate explanations for this critical process of gametogenesis is by Ronan O'Rahilly,5 the human embryologist who developed the classic Carnegie stages of human embryological development. He also sits on the international board of Nomina Embryologica (which determines the correct terminology to be used in human embryology textbooks internationally):

"Gametogenesis is the production of [gametes], i.e., spermatozoa and oocytes. These cells are produced in the gonads, i.e., the testes and ovaries respectively. ... During the differentiation of gametes, diploid cells (those with a double set of chromosomes, as found in somatic cells [46 chromosomes]) are termed primary, and haploid cells (those with a single set of chromosomes [23 chromosomes]) are called secondary. The reduction of chromosomal number ... from 46 (the diploid number or 2n) to 23 (the haploid number or n) is accomplished by a cellular division termed meiosis. ... Spermatogenesis, the production of spermatozoa, continues from immediately after puberty until old age. It takes place in the testis, which is also an endocrine gland, the interstitial cells of which secrete testosterone. Previous to puberty, spermatogonia in the simiferous tubules of the testis remain relatively inactive. After puberty, under stimulation from the interstitial cells, spermatogonia proliferate ... and some become primary spermatocytes. When these undergo their first maturation division (meiosis 1), they become secondary spermatocytes. The second maturation division (meiosis 2) results in spermatids, which become converted into spermatozoa."6

"Oogenesis is the production and maturation of oocytes, i.e., the female gametes derived from oogonia. Oogonia (derived from primordial germ cells) multiply by mitosis and become primary oocytes. The number of oogonia increases to nearly seven million by the middle of prenatal life, after which it diminishes to about two million at birth. From these, several thousand oocytes are derived, several hundred of which mature and are liberated (ovulated) during a reproductive period of some thirty years. Prophase of meiosis 1 begins during fetal life but ceases at the diplotene state, which persists during childhood. ... After puberty, meiosis 1 is resumed and a secondary oocyte ... is formed, together with polar body 1, which can be regarded as an oocyte having a reduced share of cytoplasm. The secondary oocyte is a female gamete in which the first meiotic division is completed and the second has begun. From oogonium to secondary oocyte takes from about 12 to 50 years to be completed. Meiosis 2 is terminated after rupture of the follicle (ovulation) but only if a spermatozoon penetrates. ... The term 'ovum' implies that polar body 2 has been given off, which event is usually delayed until the oocyte has been penetrated by a spermatozoon (i.e., has been fertilized). Hence a human ovum does not [really] exist. Moreover the term has been used for such disparate structures as an oocyte and a three-week embryo, and therefore should be discarded, as a fortiori should 'egg'."7 (Emphasis added.)

Thus, for fertilization to be accomplished, a mature sperm and a mature human oocyte are needed. Before fertilization,8 each has only 23 chromosomes. They each possess "human life," since they are parts of a living human being; but they are not each whole living human beings themselves. They each have only 23 chromosomes, not 46 chromosomes — the number of chromosomes necessary and characteristic for a single individual member of the human species. Furthermore, a sperm can produce only "sperm" proteins and enzymes; an oocyte can produce only "oocyte" proteins and enzymes; neither alone is or can produce a human being with 46 chromosomes.

Also, note O'Rahilly's statement that the use of terms such as "ovum" and "egg" — which would include the term "fertilized egg" — is scientifically incorrect, has no objective correlate in reality, and is therefore very misleading — especially in these present discussions. Thus these terms themselves would qualify as "scientific" myths. The commonly used term, "fertilized egg," is especially very misleading, since there is really no longer an egg (or oocyte) once fertilization has begun. What is being called a "fertilized egg" is not an egg of any sort; it is a human being.

2) Fertilization

Now that we have looked at the formation of the mature haploid sex gametes, the next important process to consider is fertilization. O'Rahilly defines fertilization as:

"... the procession of events that begins when a spermatozoon makes contact with a secondary oocyte or its investments, and ends with the intermingling of maternal and paternal chromosomes at metaphase of the first mitotic division of the zygote. The zygote is characteristic of the last phase of fertilization and is identified by the first cleavage spindle. It is a unicellular embryo."9"... the procession of events that begins when a spermatozoon makes contact with a secondary oocyte or its investments, and ends with the intermingling of maternal and paternal chromosomes at metaphase of the first mitotic division of the zygote. The zygote is characteristic of the last phase of fertilization and is identified by the first cleavage spindle. It is a unicellular embryo."9 (Emphasis added.)

The fusion of the sperm (with 23 chromosomes) and the oocyte (with 23 chromosomes) at fertilization results in a live human being, a single-cell human zygote, with 46 chromosomes — the number of chromosomes characteristic of an individual member of the human species. Quoting Moore:

"Zygote: This cell results from the union of an oocyte and a sperm. A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo). The expression fertilized ovum refers to a secondary oocyte that is impregnated by a sperm; when fertilization is complete, the oocyte becomes a zygote."10 (Emphasis added.)

This new single-cell human being immediately produces specifically human proteins and enzymes11 (not carrot or frog enzymes and proteins), and genetically directs his/her own growth and development. (In fact, this genetic growth and development has been proven not to be directed by the mother.)12 Finally, this new human being — the single-cell human zygote — is biologically an individual, a living organism — an individual member of the human species. Quoting Larsen:

"... [W]e begin our description of the developing human with the formation and differentiation of the male and female sex cells or gametes, which will unite at fertilization to initiate the embryonic development of a new individual."13 (Emphasis added.)

In sum, a human sperm and a human oocyte are products of gametogenesis — each has only 23 chromosomes. They each have only half of the required number of chromosomes for a human being. They cannot singly develop further into human beings. They produce only "gamete" proteins and enzymes. They do not direct their own growth and development. And they are not individuals, i.e., members of the human species. They are only parts — each one a part of a human being. On the other hand, a human being is the immediate product of fertilization. As such he/she is a single-cell embryonic zygote, an organism with 46 chromosomes, the number required of a member of the human species. This human being immediately produces specifically human proteins and enzymes, directs his/her own further growth and development as human, and is a new, genetically unique, newly existing, live human individual.

After fertilization the single-cell human embryo doesn't become another kind of thing. It simply divides and grows bigger and bigger, developing through several stages as an embryo over an 8-week period. Several of these developmental stages of the growing embryo are given special names, e.g., a morula (about 4 days), a blastocyst (5-7 days), a bilaminar (two layer) embryo (during the second week), and a trilaminar (3-layer) embryo (during the third week).14


Sources:
[1] B. Lewin, Genes III (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1983), pp. 9-13; A. Emery, Elements of Medical Genetics (New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1983), pp. 19, 93.
[2] William J. Larsen, Human Embryology (New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1997), pp. 4, 8, 11.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ronan O'Rahilly and Fabiola Müller, Human Embryology & Teratology (New York: Wiley-Liss, 1994). See also, Bruce M. Carlson, Human Embryology and Developmental Biology (St. Louis, MO: Mosby, 1994), and Keith L. Moore and T.V.N. Persaud, The Developing Human (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1998).
[6] O'Rahilly and Müller 1994, pp. 13-14.
[7] Ibid., p. 16. See also, Larsen, op. cit., pp. 3-11; Moore and Persaud, op. cit., pp. 18-34; Carlson, op. cit., pp. 3-21.
[8] Note: The number of chromosomes in the definitive oocyte are not halved unless and until it is penetrated by a sperm, which really does not take place before fertilization but is in fact concurrent with and the beginning of the process of fertilization. However, for simplicity's sake, many writers (myself among them) will sometimes assume the reader clearly understands this timing, and simply say, "before fertilization the sperm and the oocyte each contain 23 chromosomes."
[9] O'Rahilly and Müller, p. 19.
[10] Moore and Persaud, p. 2.
[11] E.g., as determined in extensive numbers of transgenic mice experiments as in Kollias et al., "The human beta-globulin gene contains a downstream developmental specific enhancer," Nucleic Acids Research 15(14) (July, 1987), 5739-47; also similar work by, e.g., R.K. Humphries, A. Schnieke.
[12] Holtzer et al., "Induction-dependent and lineage-dependent models for cell-diversification are mutually exclusive," Progress in Clinical Biological Research 175:3-11 (1985); also similar work by, e.g., F. Mavilio, C. Hart.
[13] Larsen, p. 1; also O'Rahilly and Müller, p. 20.
[14] Larsen, p. 19, 33, 49.
[1]

My sources:
[1] Irving, Dianne N. "When do human beings begin?"
http://www.vanderbilt.edu/SFL/dnirvi...ing.htm#Embryo

If anyone is tempted to take exception that the facts I use are found on anti-abortion pages, well, try taking facts for your use off of pro-life pages; then we can talk about it.


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Old 03-10-2006, 03:45 PM   #91
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There's clearly a distinction between a eunich and a sperm cell. You don't consider a trait that was gained after development based on some environmental factor (Knife to the testes for example) to be pertinant in the classification of an organism. There's no classification distinction between a person with both arms and amputee recipients.

You should probably stop just jumping to conclusions and making accusations when it seems clear that you're just misunderstanding and misinterpreting our comments and arguments.



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Old 03-10-2006, 03:48 PM   #92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ET Warrior
There's clearly a distinction between a eunich and a sperm cell. You don't consider a trait that was gained after development based on some environmental factor (Knife to the testes for example) to be pertinant in the classification of an organism. There's no classification distinction between a person with both arms and amputee recipients.
The quote doesn't specify a distinction of any kind. It says specifically, as a requirement for being alive, than an organism must have the ability to "reproduce from one generation to the next". I'm going to take what is said as what is meant, obviously. I have no way of knowing what's going inside any of your heads.

As well, the requirement for homeostasis is kind of a strange way to define life. Does that mean that 'cold-blooded' creatures are not alive?

BTW ET, I'm interested in your response to my reply.


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Old 03-10-2006, 04:05 PM   #93
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Quote:
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The quote doesn't specify a distinction of any kind.
Because it's counting on the fact that the person reading said list isn't a moron that can't infer more than what is being said.

Not to be inflammatory, but you're being kind of a smartass.

Also, your response to what I said doesn't make sense. What exactly does what an abortion clinic operator say have to do with independent health clinics? What I speak of are generally clinics in which one attends a session after seeing ones Ob/Gyn.

Usually you recieve the first bits of information upon your visit and receiving news of or confirmation of your pregnancy. Usually you either have you mind made up as to if you're going to keep the baby or not, if you state in a "not" or an uncertain answer you're given some information and a list of places where you can go to talk about options. The doctor will generally also list several of these options as well.

So I guess a woman isn't to trust her gynecologist? (S)He's obviously a murderous liberal out to get your unborn children.


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Old 03-10-2006, 04:08 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by Insane Sith
Because it's counting on the fact that the person reading said list isn't a moron that can't infer more than what is being said.

Not to be inflammatory, but you're being kind of a smartass.
Revise the quote if it's not applying to your position. I expect you to take me at my word, and I will take you at yours. The quote was used as a definition of life, and it obviously fails at defining all life.


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Old 03-10-2006, 04:18 PM   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis
Revise the quote if it's not applying to your position. I expect you to take me at my word, and I will take you at yours. The quote was used as a definition of life, and it obviously fails at defining all life.
You're still being a smartass. Anyone with any small amount of skill at the language can understand what it means without having every single scenario explained in detail. The entire point of summarization into bullet is that you don't have to.

A eunuch isn't born incapable of reproducing, it's an after-birth effect.


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Old 03-10-2006, 05:08 PM   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Insane Sith
You're still being a smartass. Anyone with any small amount of skill at the language can understand what it means without having every single scenario explained in detail. The entire point of summarization into bullet is that you don't have to.

A eunuch isn't born incapable of reproducing, it's an after-birth effect.
A fetus is not born incapable of reproducing, it's a before-maturation effect.

What about people who are unable genetically? Are they not human?

I think that this is exactly the problem. You decide you know something and you simply talk past me because I don't hold your opinion to be the truth. jmac's definition of life is not my definition, and I pointed out some problems with his ideas about what life is. Are they not problems? Can you tell me that a being who is genetically incapable of reproducing is not a human person?


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Old 03-10-2006, 05:10 PM   #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Insane Sith
You're still being a smartass. Anyone with any small amount of skill at the language can understand what it means without having every single scenario explained in detail. The entire point of summarization into bullet is that you don't have to.

A eunuch isn't born incapable of reproducing, it's an after-birth effect.
Ah, but aren't there plenty of people born incapable of reproducing naturally? A good point raised. Of course if you take it as merely a general capability of the species, then it would equally apply to unborn members of the human species since they will typically develop the ability to reproduce eventually. It wouldn't apply to sperm and eggs individually, but what are they if not "alive"? You can "kill" sperm and eggs. How can you "kill" a biological entity that's not "alive"?

Edit: Whoops, too fast for me. I need to butt out, I'm just not at the pace of this discussion!


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Old 03-10-2006, 05:16 PM   #98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis
A fetus is not born incapable of reproducing, it's a before-maturation effect.

What about people who are unable genetically? Are they not human?
They're human, they're simply the exception to the rule.


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Old 03-10-2006, 05:17 PM   #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Insane Sith
You're still being a smartass. Anyone with any small amount of skill at the language can understand what it means without having every single scenario explained in detail. The entire point of summarization into bullet is that you don't have to.

A eunuch isn't born incapable of reproducing, it's an after-birth effect.
That's not only idiotic argumentatively, it just makes no sense. People have been nit-picking for days now over the definition of life...because you're trying to justify killing unborn children. I don't know how many times I've assumed people would read something into my argument that I didn't write out explicitly, and had people jump down my throat for it.

If you're going to argue something, don't assume. If someone jumps through the hole in your argument, fix the hole. Attacking the jumper has no value.

And besides that, SamuelDravis raises some very good points. What about people who at one time can reproduce, but then later on, due to biological reasons, can no longer reproduce? Are they no longer alive? Like Kurgan brought up, what about people who are unable to reproduce from birth? Are they not alive? If you're going to define life, the definition has to be inclusive enough to contain all situations. If you can't handle that, then tough.


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Old 03-10-2006, 05:21 PM   #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Insane Sith
They're human, they're simply the exception to the rule.
Why are they an exception, and why cannot others 'be an exception'? How exactly, are people who are too young to be able to reproduce (i.e., kids, babies, fetuses) not exceptions as well?

Quote:
Edit: Whoops, too fast for me. I need to butt out, I'm just not at the pace of this discussion!
I like hearing when you say something, Kurgan, so you go ahead. I've never had any formal training in philosophy, so I'm always interested in listening to your perspective.


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Old 03-10-2006, 05:27 PM   #101
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I don't have to defend this because you learn it in Biology class, and it's not my argument.

Though I was under the impression something only required meeting 4 of the 5 bits listed.

Either way, all this is covered in a biology class.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis
Why are they an exception, and why cannot others 'be an exception'? How exactly, are people who are too young to be able to reproduce (i.e., kids, babies) not exceptions as well?
I didn't say they weren't.

Besides, kids and babies have everything there once they're born, it's just not tapped.


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Old 03-10-2006, 05:38 PM   #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Insane Sith
I don't have to defend this because you learn it in Biology class, and it's not my argument.
"I don't have to defend it because someone told me it in biology class." Eh?

Quote:
I didn't say they weren't.

Besides, kids and babies have everything there once they're born, it's just not tapped.
So they can reproduce as soon as they're born? How exactly do children produce babies when they have no sperm or eggs to do so with?


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Old 03-10-2006, 05:41 PM   #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis
"I don't have to defend it because someone told me it in biology class." Eh?
Exactly, because it's not my argument, I don't care, you've already learned it and thus know the details of it.


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Old 03-10-2006, 05:51 PM   #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis
I think that this is exactly the problem. You decide you know something and you simply talk past me because I don't hold your opinion to be the truth. jmac's definition of life is not my definition, and I pointed out some problems with his ideas about what life is. Are they not problems? Can you tell me that a being who is genetically incapable of reproducing is not a human person?
We're talking about fetuses though, and they are not developed enough to fulfill all of the requirements of life. Also, even if "my" definition is not how you define life, it is how the scientific community defines it, which is a community that bases their views on fact, not belief.



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Old 03-10-2006, 06:03 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by jmac7142
We're talking about fetuses though, and they are not developed enough to fulfill all of the requirements of life. Also, even if "my" definition is not how you define life, it is how the scientific community defines it, which is a community that bases their views on fact, not belief.
Why is the case of someone unborn different from the case of the child that can't reproduce because (s)he is too young? That definition is generally accepted, but obviously has exceptions. Worker ants are usually classified as 'life' by scientists, though they have no way of reproducing ever. People who never have the ability to reproduce are classified as being alive. That definition does not allow children to be alive; we know they are (hopefully you do), therefore it must be inaccurate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
It is important to note that life is a definition that applies at the level of species, so even though many individuals of any given species do not reproduce, possibly because they belong to specialised sterile castes (such as ant workers), these are still considered forms of life.


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Old 03-10-2006, 06:18 PM   #106
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# Metabolism - Metabolism produces energy by converting nonliving material into cellular components (synthesis) and decomposing organic matter (catalysis). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.

This to me seems a more likely support for early stage abortion. During most of the residency inside the mothers womb, all the process work is done by the mother, not the "child".


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Old 03-10-2006, 06:18 PM   #107
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Children eventually grow into adults. A fetus, in any stage, cannot reproduce, because by the time it can it is no longer a fetus, it is an adult. Those who cannot reproduce, ever, should, theoretically, be able to reproduce, it's the result of an outside influence or defect that they can't.

Also, for clarification, when I refer to fetuses in this thread, I'm refering to an those that can still be legally aborted.



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Old 03-10-2006, 06:20 PM   #108
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You say fetuses are not alive because they don't apply to the above "rules" of life. But somehow fully grown humans are an exception. And this is just stated with no reason why other then if it wasn't denied the argument about fetuses being alive would collapse on itself.
I agree with having to make sense of your arguments. Just because someone points out the obvious does not make them a smartass.

Quote:
5. Heredity: A process whereby living things pass on genes during reproduction. All living things have DNA molecules inside their cells that encode information to direct growth and development ? a set of blueprints, called genes.
I think it was already stated that embryos have genes that make them into the people they are. Please correct me if I am wrong


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Old 03-10-2006, 06:23 PM   #109
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Embryos don't pass on their genes to their offspring, seeing as they have no offspring.


***Edit***
I'm going to bottomline this. Science says that fetuses are not living, thus no murder has been commited, thus there is no basis for outlawing abortion other than the beliefs of some, and the beliefs of some do not override fact and should not dictate the laws of this (or any other) country.



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Old 03-10-2006, 06:27 PM   #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmac7142
Children eventually grow into adults. A fetus, in any stage, cannot reproduce, because by the time it can it is no longer a fetus, it is an adult. Those who cannot reproduce, ever, should, theoretically, be able to reproduce, it's the result of an outside influence or defect that they can't.
A child, at any stage before puberty, absolutely cannot reproduce ever. You're not going into 'oh, look what it's going to do it the future', are you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Puberty refers to the process of physical changes by which a child's body becomes an adult body capable of reproduction.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Insane Sith
# Metabolism - Metabolism produces energy by converting nonliving material into cellular components (synthesis) and decomposing organic matter (catalysis). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.

This to me seems a more likely support for early stage abortion. During most of the residency inside the mothers womb, all the process work is done by the mother, not the "child".
It has an independent circulatory system and processes food itself, by necessity. It is an independent organism from the mother; obviously her tissues would reject direct contact.

"The mother's circulatory system is not continuous with the fetus's. Blood does not normally flow from the mother to the fetus and back; only materials carried in the blood are exchanged. Therefore, maternal blood cells such as B lymphocytes are not normally transferred to the fetus, although the antibodies produced by B lymphocytes do cross the placenta.

This separation of circulatory systems is very important for immunological reasons. Half the fetus's genes come from the mother and half from the father. The father's genes are "foreign" to the mother. The difference is potentially enough to trigger an immune response. The separation of the mother's and fetus's tissues and blood reduces the likelihood that the maternal immune cells will encounter fetal cells and launch an attack against the fetus. What about the placenta itself? Although white blood cells such as T lymphocytes and natural killer cells are plentiful in the endometrium, they do not react against the villi of the fetal chorion. The reason for this is not completely known, but it appears that proteins on the surface of the villi keep them safe."



[1] Chang, Dennis. "At what stage, if any, do a mother and fetus share a circulatory system? In particular, can a mother's B lymphocytes be transferred to the fetus?"
http://www.hhmi.org/cgi-bin/askascie...2Fans_004.html


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Old 03-10-2006, 06:27 PM   #111
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But they are living things. Because they have those genes that their parents pass onto them.


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Old 03-10-2006, 06:31 PM   #112
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They have to fulfill all of the requirements. Also, you just brought up another requirement that fetuses do not meet.



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Old 03-10-2006, 06:34 PM   #113
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No. I pointed out that they come under the text...

"...All living things have DNA molecules inside their cells that encode information to direct growth and development ? a set of blueprints, called genes..."

I don't want to have to point out every little thing and me too get called a smartass


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Old 03-10-2006, 06:38 PM   #114
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I'm going to pop back in here to just point something out:

I think we all need to agree that a fetus is technically alive. It is a form of life.

But of course that doesn't mean a damn thing when it comes to the morality behind killing it. Cows are alive and yet we kill them. Murderers are alive and yet we kill them. Bacteria is alive and yet we kill it.
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Old 03-10-2006, 06:44 PM   #115
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Science doesn't recognize them as life, reguardless of what you believe.



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Old 03-10-2006, 06:50 PM   #116
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All I'm saying is that if a fetus is really alive or not has no impact on the debate. We kill all sorts of living things and consider it to be moral.
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Old 03-10-2006, 06:50 PM   #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmac7142
Science doesn't recognize them as life, reguardless of what you believe.
I haven't seen you post many biologist's definitions of life in this particular case. You posted about something that is generally accepted (with qualifications!), then said that all five of the points are the only way to define life and then start denying the qualifications (made by the biologists you curiously leave out of your arguments!). You're not sounding terribly scientific yourself.


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Old 03-10-2006, 06:51 PM   #118
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I don't have time to argue this point to the depth that it needs to be. But you are only repeating what you read or are told. It only took a logical eye to see flaws in those 5 laws of life that you posted.


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Old 03-10-2006, 06:53 PM   #119
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Here's how wikipedia defines life:

1. Organization - Living things are comprised of one or more cells, which are the basic units of life.
2. Metabolism - Metabolism produces energy by converting nonliving material into cellular components (synthesis) and decomposing organic matter (catalysis). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.
3. Growth - Growth results from a higher rate of synthesis than catalysis. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.
4. Adaptation - Adaptation is the accommodation of a living organism to its environment. It is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the individual's heredity.
5. Response to stimuli - A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism when touched to complex reactions involving all the senses of higher animals. Plants also respond to stimuli, but usually in ways very different from animals. A response is often expressed by motion: the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun or an animal chasing its prey.
6. Reproduction - The division of one cell to form two new cells is reproduction. Usually the term is applied to the production of a new individual (either asexually, from a single parent organism, or sexually, from two differing parent organisms), although strictly speaking it also describes the production of new cells in the process of growth.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life
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Old 03-10-2006, 06:54 PM   #120
Samuel Dravis
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TK-8252
Here's how wikipedia defines life:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life
I'm interested in knowing exactly why you left out the qualifications. Surely, those are part of the definition? In particular, these points:

Quote:
Although there is no universal agreement on the definition of life, the generally accepted biological manifestations are that life exhibits the following phenomena:
Quote:
Exceptions to the conventional definition

It is important to note that life is a definition that applies at the level of species, so even though many individuals of any given species do not reproduce, possibly because they belong to specialised sterile castes (such as ant workers), these are still considered forms of life. One could say that the property of life is inherited; hence, sterile hybrid species such as the mule are considered life although not themselves capable of reproduction. It is also worth noting that non-reproducing individuals may still help the spread of their genes through such mechanisms as kin selection.

For similar reasons, viruses and aberrant prion proteins are often considered replicators rather than forms of life: they cannot reproduce without very specialised substrates such as host cells or proteins, respectively. However, most forms of life rely on foods produced by other species, or at least the specific chemistry of Earth's environment.

Viruses reproduce, flames grow, some software programs mutate and evolve, future software programs will probably evince (even high-order) behavior, machines move, and some form of proto-life consisting of metabolizing cells without the ability to reproduce presumably existed. Still, some would not call these entities alive. Generally, all six characteristics are required for a population to be considered a life form.


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