06 February 2010

Zygotic Inquiry II

This is second in a series (started here) of an email conversation about beginning of life issues.


Thank you for your response.

I did hear about the prenatal short-term memory from a site I visit daily:

Re. ESCR, you seem to indicate that you are only for adult stem cell research ("just" stem cells) and against embryonic SCR. Correct?

Re. abortion, you are against it unless external factors (not related to the preborn human's self-perpetuating development) should potentially suppress the preborn human's "brilliant" future. Correct?

Do you believe that a human starts as a non-person and then turns into a person at some point? (person=human with value/worth: to be protected by laws) If so, what are criteria(n) for personhood (when is a human a person)?

Thank you for answering my questions in advance.

Good day,

No, I'm actually ok with embryonic stem cells too. There are methods of removing cells from a morula in a way which then allows the main body of cells to continue development. The morula then becomes a blastula, ready for implantation and fetal development, and the cells which have been removed can be grown as a culture composed entirely of undifferentiated, pulripotent cells. It's a win-win if you ask me, but most people who support one side or the other just hear the term "embryonic stem cells" and stop paying attention when anyone tries to explain further.
What a waste.

As for your other topic, I am not of the mind that it matters what one believes about "personhood." Personally, I think that all things are transitional, but that means nothing to the legislative process. We, as a species, like to draw lines and put boxes around things, but nature doesn't work like that. There is no magical instant when something is transformed into something else, so trying to define what is a person and what is not is patently ridiculous. Even if abortion was illegal, people would still do it, and what then? Would you propose a woman who illegally purchases a morning-after pill, or has an abortion before organogenisis be punished in the same manner as a mother who killed her toddler?

What about other organisms besides humans, is there something, in your opinion, that makes a fertilized egg "better" or more deserving of life, than an animal without the sense of self-awereness?

I don't mean to be dramatic, but it truely is diffcult for me to understand those who see this, who see life itself, as a binary system, and I apologize for that handicap.


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