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-   -   D.Sklansky: Why is an embryo a person? (http://archives2.twoplustwo.com/showthread.php?t=394859)

12-09-2005 11:18 AM

D.Sklansky: Why is an embryo a person?
 
David Sklansky:

In this thread, you maintain that abortion is murder, since the embryo is a person. You are the second intelligent atheist I've seen make this claim, yet when questioned as to how you came to this conclusion, there are hardly any replies, and the ones that are given seem to skirt the question.

I would like to know why you think an embryo is a person? What characteristics/criteria denote personhood (and, presumeably, how does an embryo have those)? Lastly, what criteria do you think medical science should use to denote when personhood ends (ie: death), and what objections would you have in using that same criteria to denote when personhood beings? (That last question is most important.)

We have discussed this in some depth in this thread, and I introduced some definitions that I'd like to use in order that we might not misunderstand each other:

hu·man
n.
A member of the genus H0mo and especially of the species H. sapiens.

adj.
Of, relating to, or characteristic of humans

life | a·live
n. / adj.
The property or quality that distinguishes living organisms from dead organisms and inanimate matter, manifested in functions such as metabolism, growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli or adaptation to the environment originating from within the organism.

per·son
n.
1. A living human.
2. The composite of characteristics that make up an individual personality; the self.
3. A human or organization with legal rights and duties.

So, to summarize:

Anything with human DNA is "human" (by the 2nd definition). Any living cell is "alive". A zygote, therefore, is a living human cell. A person is a living human with the right to life.

imported_luckyme 12-10-2005 02:23 PM

Re: D.Sklansky: Why is an embryo a person?
 
Kip, while you're waiting for DS. Don't you think the commonest flaw in how this discussion is framed is confusing 'human' with 'person'? Other obvious factors aside.

gumpzilla 12-10-2005 02:40 PM

Re: D.Sklansky: Why is an embryo a person?
 
[ QUOTE ]
Don't you think the commonest flaw in how this discussion is framed is confusing 'human' with 'person'?

[/ QUOTE ]

This skirts the issue hardcore. So let's say we can come up with legitimate reasons to distinguish between 'humans' and 'people'. Now, do laws prohibiting murder protect all 'humans', or just 'people'? And which should they do? Coming up with these distinctions doesn't solve anything, in my opinion, it just rephrases the question.

imported_luckyme 12-10-2005 04:58 PM

Re: D.Sklansky: Why is an embryo a person?
 
[ QUOTE ]
So let's say we can come up with legitimate reasons to distinguish between 'humans' and 'people'.

[/ QUOTE ]

Societies have and use them all the time,and quite consistantly, as I suspect you actually do. It's a very important distinction to make.

Building collapses - "Did any of the people survive?" By your claim that they are equivalent terms, then I have to answer, "yes", because there are human bodies in there. But I've always assumed the questioner wanted to know if the Person(s) survived and I'd answer "No" if all there was left was human arms, human legs, or whole humans but now without the person still using the body.

I'd love to hear DS use clearly defined terms in a restatement of his argument. DS will use them however he wants in making his case, but if he uses them, as you are suggesting, in a sense that there are no "legitimate reasons to distinguish" then I will stick to just reading his poker comments.

12-11-2005 04:09 AM

Re: D.Sklansky: Why is an embryo a person?
 
An embryo will become a person if you let it. That's why I think that it is wrong to kill it. You are preventing a life from continuing its development to the point where it can be born.

I guess that makes me the third intelligent atheist to hold that view. In case you doubt my intelligence, I will let you know that I am an honours engineering/mathematics student.

hmkpoker 12-11-2005 04:32 AM

Re: D.Sklansky: Why is an embryo a person?
 
[ QUOTE ]
An embryo will become a person if you let it. That's why I think that it is wrong to kill it. You are preventing a life from continuing its development to the point where it can be born.

I guess that makes me the third intelligent atheist to hold that view. In case you doubt my intelligence, I will let you know that I am an honours engineering/mathematics student.

[/ QUOTE ]

A sperm will become a person if you let it. Therefore, it is wrong to spill seed.

imported_luckyme 12-11-2005 04:34 AM

Re: D.Sklansky: Why is an embryo a person?
 
[ QUOTE ]
An embryo will become a person if you let it. That's why I think that it is wrong to kill it. You are preventing a life from continuing its development to the point where it can be born.

I guess that makes me the third intelligent atheist to hold that view. In case you doubt my intelligence, I will let you know that I am an honours engineering/mathematics student.

[/ QUOTE ]

Any doubts to your intelligence would arise from your belief that your position is the same as the first two IA's, or that your view is contrary to the question as posed, not from your academic credentials :-)

baumer 12-11-2005 06:41 AM

Re: D.Sklansky: Why is an embryo a person?
 
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
An embryo will become a person if you let it. That's why I think that it is wrong to kill it. You are preventing a life from continuing its development to the point where it can be born.

I guess that makes me the third intelligent atheist to hold that view. In case you doubt my intelligence, I will let you know that I am an honours engineering/mathematics student.

[/ QUOTE ]

A sperm will become a person if you let it. Therefore, it is wrong to spill seed.

[/ QUOTE ]

A sperm by itself cannot become a person simply by letting it grow, you also need an egg.

Since an embryo is a fertilized egg, if you leave it be, it will eventually grow into a human being. The same cannot be said for either a single sperm or ovum.

daryn 12-11-2005 07:10 AM

Re: D.Sklansky: Why is an embryo a person?
 
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
An embryo will become a person if you let it. That's why I think that it is wrong to kill it. You are preventing a life from continuing its development to the point where it can be born.

I guess that makes me the third intelligent atheist to hold that view. In case you doubt my intelligence, I will let you know that I am an honours engineering/mathematics student.

[/ QUOTE ]

A sperm will become a person if you let it. Therefore, it is wrong to spill seed.

[/ QUOTE ]

A sperm by itself cannot become a person simply by letting it grow, you also need an egg.

Since an embryo is a fertilized egg, if you leave it be, it will eventually grow into a human being. The same cannot be said for either a single sperm or ovum.

[/ QUOTE ]


welp, that's a wrap folks!

hmkpoker 12-11-2005 11:50 AM

Re: D.Sklansky: Why is an embryo a person?
 
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
An embryo will become a person if you let it. That's why I think that it is wrong to kill it. You are preventing a life from continuing its development to the point where it can be born.

I guess that makes me the third intelligent atheist to hold that view. In case you doubt my intelligence, I will let you know that I am an honours engineering/mathematics student.

[/ QUOTE ]

A sperm will become a person if you let it. Therefore, it is wrong to spill seed.

[/ QUOTE ]

A sperm by itself cannot become a person simply by letting it grow, you also need an egg.

Since an embryo is a fertilized egg, if you leave it be, it will eventually grow into a human being. The same cannot be said for either a single sperm or ovum.

[/ QUOTE ]

No, it is a matter of degree, not a qualitative difference. The sperm is an object that requires certain influences to become a human. The zygote is an object that requires certain influences to become a person, it just happens that the influences in the latter case require much less effort. Or, from another perspective, it could be viewed that people take certain actions to prevent the development of a person in both cases, it's just greater in the case of a zygote.

Putting on a condom, for example, is an action one would take to prevent the existence of a person. It is an active interference of a natural course of action, and often done with the specific intent of preventing the existence of a person. Your statement must also argue against birth control if it is to be consistent.


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