06 February 2010

Zygotic Inquiry V

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


Thank you for writing back so promptly. I understand if such a timely response will not be forthcoming.

I will contact the researchers regarding my morula question. I'll let you know what I find out (after all the holidays).

You mention that you do not have "a checklist" for rendering an answer for the moral worth of a human, ie a person.

However, at the end of your last response you assert, "[I]t is impossible for us to reconcile or differences on this issue once we move beyond the black and white of what is observable and testable."

What observable and testable criteria are to be shown? What is the purpose of these observable and testable criteria? ("Brain activity"? What specific activity(ies)?)

I assert that these observable and testable criteria of which you speak, whatever they (it) are (is), will by necessity require you to make a moral or metaphysical determination of whether a human has moral worth, ie, s/he is not to be killed.

My criteria is the capacity for sentient cognition, not the actual realization, if ever, of these capacities, but the capacity itself. I'm glad you brought up the example of "adults with severe mental handicaps [that] may have cognitive abilities below those of a healthy infant." I have a nephew who probably won't mentally reach beyond 9 mo. However, since he is the son of my sister and brother-in-law who are human persons with the same capacity, he is a person with moral worth who should not be killed for any reason.

Without your specific definition of a person with moral worth (who should not be killed for any reason, save self defense in clear and present danger), I cannot go forward with that part of our mind opening dialog (I thank you for being so civil).

Good day,

[Extra email]
Hello [ThiZ],

A while back, you wrote:

"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."

I looked up some references for further information before I contact scientists directly. Are the following references relevent towards the procedure of which you write above regarding obtaining ESC from morulas? Which articles are not relevant (and why)?

Thank you for your time,

I'm sorry for not getting back to you sooner, and I apologize for this profuesly, but I will not be able to continue to communicate with you on this subject. I am not qualified to give your questions the treatment they deserve. I am a science fan, and a student, and while I have my own opinions, I am not an activist for either side. I'm having a difficult time restarting this blog after a few incidents last semester, and I cannot afford the time or energy to play devils advocate for subjects for which I am not entirely devoted.
I would, however, like to thank you for your courtesy in our conversations, despite our differing opinions, I am truly grateful for that.


[[My last email:]

Hello [ThiZ],

Well, I'm sorry to read that you're not going forward on this fruitful dialog (I like to read your point of view). I hope you all the best in your studies and in all that you do. If you feel like starting this conversation up again, by all means do so.

Thank you and God bless you,

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