Finding a definition of Human (was Re: Fetal tissue)

Arjen Kamphuis (
Wed, 4 Mar 1998 13:49:09 +0100 (CET)

At 16:48 3-03-98 -0500, you wrote:
>Max More wrote 3/3/98: <I should know better than to get involved in an
>abortion discussion.>
>I, too, should know better.

Maybe we all should but I'm curious as to the logic behind this viewpoint
(and mutual understanding often prevent further conflict).

>No, I'm reasonable, it's non-consensual for the woman and illicitly rewards
>the rapist within the gene pool. I don't think that jurisdictions who
>allow this will slip into the culture of death. A child forced on a woman
>is tragic and so is that child's legalized murder.

So then _practically_ any woman who want an abortion just says she was
raped. Who can check? If allowing abortions in the case of rape is
acceptable then _in practice_ abortion is legal because when a woman claims
she's been raped the doctors will have to take her word for it (the fact
that she did not go to the police or something doesn't prove anything, a
situation could arise where she not willing to press charges).

>I just won't
>grant that anything purely digital could ever be conscious, consciousness
>must access the entire universe, not just 50% of it.

This I find a most amazing viewpoint. Please explain 'cause I'm lost.

><In this case, you are doing damage to the person who will exist. In the
>case of abortion, you are preventing a person from coming into existence.>
>As I said above, these discussions rapidly get to an obstinate stand on
>definitions. "Preventing a person from coming into existence" is a
>definitional stance unconnected with reality.

Now you are forcing your definition of what a human being is on us. Since
we did not agree a fertilized egg is a human we haven't agreed on what
'reality' is.

>The reality is the person in
>question has been in existence since conception and that what you call
>"prevention" is actually murder.

Again, hold it! that's your reality. A 2 week old fetus is not a person in
my book, it has the potential of becoming a person. Just like a highschool
student has the potential of becoming a scientist.

What's so special anyway about the moment of conception that a 'person'
begins to exist there? I'll grant that is't a convienently clear and
_measurable_ event in a long sequence but it still just an event in a
series of events.

I don't claim to know what the definition of a human is but I'm pretty sure
you and I are human. I'm pretty sure a 1 year-old baby is a human. I'm also
pretty sure that a 4 week old fetus is not yet a human. I fully realize
this is a mess from a philosophical standpoint, but then, so is real life.
It seems to be broadly accepted (in Europe anyway) and makes for a
_workable_ rule.

If definitions cannot be implemented in practical, real-world rules or laws
they're not worth the bits they're written with (IMHO).

Arjen Kamphuis

Arjen Kamphuis | Learn as if you will live forever. | Live as though you will die tomorrow.

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