Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Let's see you argue with this

Sometimes an argument occurs to you that's just so ridiculous you have to share. But that's not today. Today I have a very serious point to make, on the very serious subject of abortion.

Now, many pro-lifers claim that life begins at conception, and that the child is a legitimate human at that point. What is it that makes them human? Well, if they stay out of religion, they'll argue about continuity of being, presence of human cells, and so on (if you have another argument, feel free to share that).

So, hypothetical question for any pro-lifers around here: Zombies. Okay, I should probably give you an actual question, I guess. Do zombies qualify as living humans? Now, while there's debate on whether zombies are human, they're by definition dead. If they weren't dead, they wouldn't be zombies. So, zombies are not overall living humans.

But what makes a fetus so different from a zombie? Zombies are connected to humans through a continuity of being, they're made of human cells, and even have higher intelligence and a more human form than a fetus. If zombies are dead, what is it about fetuses that makes them more alive than zombies?


Techskeptic said...

uuuhh.. hmmm... could it be that perhaps....the difference is that fetuses (feti?) are in fact real?

cute though...

p.s. not pro-life, but I try very understand to understand things from their point of view. Otherwise progress will never be made.

Infophile said...

Not hypothetical fetuses, and we're just comparing hypothetical fetuses to hypothetical zombies here.

VWXYNot? said...

Zombies Schmombies, what about identical twins? If the moment of conception is the moment an embryo becomes a person and acquires a soul, then when an embryo splits after conception each identical twin must only be a half person. With half a soul.

Yikes! Kill 'em all.

Tom Foss said...

Or cancerous tumors. Continuity of being, human cells, they even have a unique genetic makeup--not as unique as a fertilized egg, perhaps, but unique nonetheless.

No one seems to have a problem with killing tumors though.

Personally, I think the best arguments for abortion are the ones which consider how we define human life (we don't wait to consider someone "dead" until after their cells have stopped dividing, why would we consider them "alive" just becuase they've started?) or the ones which recognize that there's no functional difference between the fertilized sperm-and-egg combo and the same sperm and egg the millisecond before fertilization. From then, it's easy to show that menstruation is murder, and masturbation is essentially genocide.

Infophile said...

Yeah, but all of those are good arguments. I figured it was time to give a pro-abortion argument on the same level as religious anti-abortion arguments. Unfortunately, I still think this one is a little better, as it isn't simply an appeal to faith. Ah well...

Nochte Elphi said...

First of all, I think it prudent to say that I do not know with which buzz-word I should use to describe my position. Instead, I will describe my position the old fashioned way. I do not necessarily think the government should have a law restricting the actions of a sane and morally competent mother. However, if I were confronted one on one with an individual who has conceived and is having second thoughts I would probably do what I could to try and convince her to keep it.

I consider life to be the most mysterious and beautiful thing I have ever had the fortunate opportunity to witness. I used to and still do avidly study the science of the very big and the very small. I have found the science of one's own body and mind to be, for me, much more engaging. I do not mean to sound superfluous. I am attempting to identify that I achieve such a fondness for life from what science has shown me and not what religious fanatics have told me to believe.

As was mentioned, the problem may seem to be in the definition of what is human. If one were to concede that a fetus were human, then I say these hypothetical zombies should be considered human, with some alterations respectively. However, the nightmares I have which cause me to awaken in a sweaty state are not concerned with armies of fetuses wanting to eat me.

I am surprised no one has mentioned the specific cancer called teratocarcinoma.

Aside from all of that, I maintain that I have a distaste for abortion not primarily from a sense of continuity of being, but from a sense that I consider the fetus to be alive. At what point do I consider it to be alive? Always. It may not always have a central nervous system, or the cells may not always be dividing, but it is always composed of living cells.

I am not saying that the killing of any living cell is murder. I certainly do not feel bad when I use soap to wash my hands of the millions of bacterium on them. What I am saying is that one should be careful when dealing with abortion and to refrain from using buzz-words as their purpose is to confine an issue and create imaginary boundaries so that the issue will become politically manageable.

A little side note: I was once discussing political issues with an individual who asked me if I believed in global warming. He did not. I realized that questions like these are made to create political enemies and to know "where someone stands". My reply is that it didn't matter whether I or anyone 'believed' in global warming. The real issue is much larger and it is that we invariably have an effect on our world. Once that is noticed, we can make sure it is an effect which is favorable to us.

I bring this up because it feels like a similiar situation. This 'thing' is alive at conception and will remain alive barring an abortion. It may be true that at that point a dog is closer to being human than it is, but with every passing hour it gets closer.

I concede that there are situations where it may be best for the mother to have an abortion. I just want to point out that one should realize that a fetus is and always has been alive and aborting it will result in a death. I do not think one should say they can have an abortion because it is 'just a fetus'. One should not make the decision of aborting a fetus easier in this manner.

The decision of whether or not to abort a fetus has very large social implications. Again, there are cases where an abortion may be necessary. Being an optimist, I believe this society to be too sophisticated to use abortion merely for its convenience. This is all merely a call toward a deep respect for life in general, and to consider abortion as the exception not the norm.