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Author Topic: When is it human?  (Read 3990 times)

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Offline Iniquitous

Re: When is it human?
« Reply #50 on: March 18, 2012, 09:42:30 PM »
Ok, I dislike the term Ďhumaní for the reasons that were already stated. However, Chris - day three after fertilization it is nothing more than a morula - which looks like thisÖ.



Day 3 or 4 after fertilization is when the morula enters the uterus though it does not implant for another three days.


Now - as stated above, my problem is asking when is it human. Itís obviously human because it comes from two human cells (the ovum and the sperm) with human DNA. If you are looking for when it looks human, well thenÖ here is an ultrasound 9 weeks after fertilization.



Offline Merah

Re: When is it human?
« Reply #51 on: March 18, 2012, 10:15:05 PM »
Yeah, Day 3 doesn't appear much like a person. Certainly, it's as human as a fingernail clipping, but a person?

Offline Serephino

Re: When is it human?
« Reply #52 on: March 18, 2012, 11:23:25 PM »
Just having human DNA doesn't do it for me.  After all, every cell in our bodies contains our DNA, and something like billions of those cells die every day and are replaced by new ones.  If you count skin cells alone... hell, we're all mass murderers then.

http://3dpregnancy.parentsconnect.com/calendar/1-week-pregnant.html

This is what I've been going by.  Ivillage had a nice week by week calendar with pictures, but they changed everything.   

Offline RubySlippers

Re: When is it human?
« Reply #53 on: March 19, 2012, 12:14:07 AM »
Would you grant legal protection to the human zygote?

I would treat the zygote on par with the mother in its right to exist, barring the mothers life being in mortal danger and the child cannot be removed and given any chance at life using the best medical technology, regardless of how the child was made. An incest or rape victim can give the child up at birth for adoption and should get all the care needed to recover short of killing the child. For other cases where the woman is inconvenienced I have no sympathy there are plenty of ways to avoid an unwanted pregnancy useable by either the man or woman. I make the one exception for the mothers life since its getting rarer since neonatal care is advancing the bar is getting higher not lower.

Again unless you can show me confirmed cases of two humans joining and making something other than human from the coupling the bunch of cells will be a human, just because it looks undeveloped is not a good marker. Its simple my way you don't need to guess or come up with some markers the woman has a fertilized egg in her treat is as a human person with rights to exist.

My view is not based on religion just common sense unless we can be sure its best in my view to use the most basic level the fertilized egg at the moment of conception.

Offline Serephino

Re: When is it human?
« Reply #54 on: March 19, 2012, 01:29:44 AM »
Yeah, but then there's that whole slippery-slope thing.  If a woman has a spontaneous miscarriage (which happens in something like 30% of all pregnancies I think, not counting the fertilized eggs that for some reason don't implant) is it manslaughter?

Offline vtboy

Re: When is it human?
« Reply #55 on: March 19, 2012, 06:32:01 AM »
Yeah, but then there's that whole slippery-slope thing.  If a woman has a spontaneous miscarriage (which happens in something like 30% of all pregnancies I think, not counting the fertilized eggs that for some reason don't implant) is it manslaughter?


Manslaughter requires: (i) death result from a volitional act or a failure to act where one is under a legal duty to act; and (ii) some sort of culpable state of mind on the part of the actor, usually either the intention to inflict physical harm on another or reckless disregard of the likelihood that another might die from one's action or (in limited cases) inaction. Assuming embryos were defined to be persons entitled to the protection of homicide laws, spontaneous miscarriage still would not qualify for prosecution as manslaughter, since it: (i) is not the result of a volitional act or failure to perform some legal duty; and (ii) occurs without regard to the host's mental state.

Ignoring constitutional considerations for a moment, it is, however, conceivable that laws could be enacted which would permit women who suffer miscarriages to be prosecuted for manslaughter when the miscarriages result from some reckless behavior during pregnancy, such as drug taking or even a failure to obtain appropriate prenatal care. I would think, though, that such laws are too barbaric to be contemplated by any but those who actually hear god's voice through their tinfoil helmets -- another reason to find some harmless sinecure for St. Santorum away from government.   

Offline Iniquitous

Re: When is it human?
« Reply #56 on: March 19, 2012, 08:02:48 AM »
I would treat the zygote on par with the mother in its right to exist, barring the mothers life being in mortal danger and the child cannot be removed and given any chance at life using the best medical technology, regardless of how the child was made. An incest or rape victim can give the child up at birth for adoption and should get all the care needed to recover short of killing the child. For other cases where the woman is inconvenienced I have no sympathy there are plenty of ways to avoid an unwanted pregnancy useable by either the man or woman. I make the one exception for the mothers life since its getting rarer since neonatal care is advancing the bar is getting higher not lower.

Again unless you can show me confirmed cases of two humans joining and making something other than human from the coupling the bunch of cells will be a human, just because it looks undeveloped is not a good marker. Its simple my way you don't need to guess or come up with some markers the woman has a fertilized egg in her treat is as a human person with rights to exist.

My view is not based on religion just common sense unless we can be sure its best in my view to use the most basic level the fertilized egg at the moment of conception.

I am going to respond to this in a way that is most likely going to offend someone at this point.

Until a fetus is born, it is a parasite within the motherís body. It is not capable of surviving outside of the motherís body until around 20 weeks after fertilization - and even then survival is not guaranteed and requires a mass amount of help from medical professionals.

Now, looking at it that way, would you keep a tapeworm inside of you and give it rights because it is a living thing? Of course not

And Ruby you are treading much too close to Sanctimonious Santorumís stance that women impregnated from rape should accept the horribly created gift and make the best of a bad situation.

Manslaughter requires: (i) death result from a volitional act or a failure to act where one is under a legal duty to act; and (ii) some sort of culpable state of mind on the part of the actor, usually either the intention to inflict physical harm on another or reckless disregard of the likelihood that another might die from one's action or (in limited cases) inaction. Assuming embryos were defined to be persons entitled to the protection of homicide laws, spontaneous miscarriage still would not qualify for prosecution as manslaughter, since it: (i) is not the result of a volitional act or failure to perform some legal duty; and (ii) occurs without regard to the host's mental state.

Ignoring constitutional considerations for a moment, it is, however, conceivable that laws could be enacted which would permit women who suffer miscarriages to be prosecuted for manslaughter when the miscarriages result from some reckless behavior during pregnancy, such as drug taking or even a failure to obtain appropriate prenatal care. I would think, though, that such laws are too barbaric to be contemplated by any but those who actually hear god's voice through their tinfoil helmets -- another reason to find some harmless sinecure for St. Santorum away from government.   


The problem with giving embryos/fetuses rights is it opens the door to have the police investigating every miscarriage to see if it was spontaneous or if there were extenuating circumstances that caused the miscarriage. Miscarriage is already a traumatic experience, why in the hell would anyone want to add more stress and trauma to the experience??

A very simple way of handling this, and has been said many, many times is - it isnít any of our business what a woman does with her body. Even I, as a mother, do not possess the right to butt into my daughterís reproductive decisions. I can give her my opinion if she asks for it, but I certainly do not have the right to tell her what she can and cannot do if she becomes pregnant and does not want it. Nor does anyone else. Period.

With so many other problems with this country, I really think it is stupid that we get hung up on the uteri and itís contents of every woman.

Offline vtboy

Re: When is it human?
« Reply #57 on: March 19, 2012, 09:04:23 AM »
Opheliac, I hope you understood that I was not advocating turning miscarriage, under any circumstance, into a crime. My own views on reproductive decisions are very much in line with yours.

However, understanding that opposition to abortion rights most frequently springs from very deeply held moral convictions and strongly felt emotions, I try to refrain from characterizing that side of the debate as "stupid." Ultimately, it is not reason that shapes either view on the issue, but the weight one accords to the competing values of protecting potential persons and respecting the autonomy of existing ones. The reasons why a person comes down on one side rather than the other spring, I think, from something more fundamental than the exercise of intelligence.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: When is it human?
« Reply #58 on: March 21, 2012, 10:57:30 PM »
We could go by nature's rules, where it's perfectly acceptable to rape and murder another of one's species or of any other species.  Certainly there are a number of people who attempt to defy the natural order of how people are clearly omnivores and choose to live as herbivores.  However, I would rather leave nature's laws for anything that only fits with nature, and develop a set of laws for humans dealing with humans.  I don't want to try to stop carnivores from eating herbivores; it opens up a door of pure madness.

Oh, and the DNA was already addressed and refuted.  I was hoping that the person who refuted it would offer their own possible criteria and help keep the ball rolling, but that was back when I thought this would be a simpler task than it is.

[...]

I would absolutely adore if you can get a health care professional, a scientist, or anything of that nature to provide a definitive answer.  That was actually the point of the thread, trying to determine this.

As a scientist and a health care professional I find the idea of separating 'human' and 'nature' a misguided notion stemming from poor philosophy and religion. On what ground do you propose driving a wedge between humanity and nature? We matter to each other because we are humans and we have empathy within our category because we are concerned with our own state of being. Though, I am more concerned with your attempts to divorce morality and logic. There are perfectly logical and moral reasons not to murder your fellows that stem from, well...reason. How does our modern age manage to forget an entire branch of reason-based philosophy?
« Last Edit: March 21, 2012, 11:00:19 PM by DarklingAlice »

Offline Serephino

Re: When is it human?
« Reply #59 on: March 22, 2012, 02:06:30 AM »
Empathy is critical to the survival of the species, and it isn't just found in humans.  Back when I had rats one of them got sick, and the other two took care of him.  We didn't know he was sick because he was hiding, but we realized we hadn't seen him in a few days and went looking for him.  We found him wrapped up in newspaper with a pile of food beside him.  Then Balty went crazy and killed the baby.  That was the last of the rats.

Offline Hemingway

Re: When is it human?
« Reply #60 on: March 22, 2012, 08:32:30 PM »
With regard to abortion, I agree at least partly with Peter Singer. I'd encourage anyone who's interested in issues surrounding abortion and euthanasia who hasn't looked him up already to do so. His views are quite controversial, but even so I respect them for actually being consistent, unlike so many others involved in these debates. I went to look him up again, to refresh my memory so I wouldn't post anything factually wrong here, and I saw this quote:

Quote from: Peter Singer
[The argument that a fetus is not alive] is a resort to a convenient fiction that turns an evidently living being into one that legally is not alive. Instead of accepting such fictions, we should recognise that the fact that a being is human, and alive, does not in itself tell us whether it is wrong to take that being's life.

I tend to agree with this. I'll focus on the first part here. Basically, as far as I can tell, any attempt to define or delimit what it means to be human ( or if you prefer, a human being, or a person ), fails in one way or another. It's either too broad or it's too narrow. The lines are blurry, the limits often arbitrary. Conception isn't some sort of sharp, instant divide. I also don't think you're any more or any less human at, say, day 23, to pick a number, than at day 22 and 23 hours. In short, I think using more detailed terms is healthy. If you want to get anywhere in a discussion like this, you need to be specific, because otherwise you're going to end up saying either more, or less, than you intended. I mean, if you say a human embryo is a person, you've got a whole range of legal implications. It's like trying to navigate a minefield.

I'm not sure I'm saying anything that hasn't already been covered, so I'll just leave it at that for now. And, again - Peter Singer.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: When is it human?
« Reply #61 on: March 23, 2012, 05:09:26 PM »
Actually, I've remember a little more of the science article, although I'm having no luck finding it, and it doesn't say anything about 'Day 3' being human, but that it is alive in the same sense that we are.  So when you are having an abortion (Which may or may not be necessary for the mother's health) you are killing a living being.

(As always, I contend that Abortion should be used if the mother's health is in danger, as in seriously so.  It should not be used to get rid of a 'mistake'.  Rape is a touchier subject, but again, I'd rather that child be sent up for adoption rather than have it flushed out of the body.  But that's a tricky situation no matter which way you look at it.)

Offline Hemingway

Re: When is it human?
« Reply #62 on: March 23, 2012, 08:21:44 PM »
Actually, I've remember a little more of the science article, although I'm having no luck finding it, and it doesn't say anything about 'Day 3' being human, but that it is alive in the same sense that we are.  So when you are having an abortion (Which may or may not be necessary for the mother's health) you are killing a living being.

I'd like to bring up Peter Singer here as well, at least indirectly, because "it's a living being" or "you're killing a living being" is not a sufficient description. In relation to abortion, saying you're against it on grounds that it's "taking an innocent life" would have an extremely wide range of implications. You'd have to be a vegetarian, and, well, even plants are living beings. I recognize the absurdity of suggesting that we shouldn't eat, so I'm saying it to underline the fact that there's a more complex underlying description that's really only being implied. I would suggest that these need to be made explicit for the larger life and abortion debate to make any sense at all, because all of these underlying assumptions have implications, too.