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  1. #1
    Senior Member sriv's Avatar
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    Default At what point does a fetus become a human being?

    This appears to be the crux of the abortion debate.
    Reyson: ...If you were to change your ways, I'm sure we could rebuild the relationship the two of us once shared.

    Naesala: Oh no, that I could never do. You see, humans are essential to the fulfillment of my ambitions.

    Reyson: You've changed, Naesala. If this is the path you've chosen, I've nothing left to say.

  2. #2
    Oberon
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    The question is a legal and/or philosophical one.

    From a biological point of view, it's a non-starter.

  3. #3
    Senior Member sriv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    The question is a legal and/or philosophical one.

    From a biological point of view, it's a non-starter.
    I want to focus on the philosophical part.
    Reyson: ...If you were to change your ways, I'm sure we could rebuild the relationship the two of us once shared.

    Naesala: Oh no, that I could never do. You see, humans are essential to the fulfillment of my ambitions.

    Reyson: You've changed, Naesala. If this is the path you've chosen, I've nothing left to say.

  4. #4
    Oberon
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    Well, here's the perspective I shared on another thread:

    With regard to abortion, it is quite reasonable to take an ethical stance against abortion without bringing religion into the conversation. To wit: If we can designate human organisms as non-persons based on the age or physical stage of development of the individual organism, we set the precedent that a human organism is or is not a person based on empirical criteria. It is by no means established, however, that age or physical stage of development are the only criteria by which personhood can be granted or denied. Therefore, nothing prevents us from designating other unwanted human organisms as non-persons...the same line of reasoning that justified Dachau.

    It is reasonable, therefore, to grant blanket personhood to all human organisms as an ethical postulate; to say, in other words, that all human organisms are human beings. It would help to keep our society out of a deep and dangerous ethical quagmire.
    It answers the question with "If it's a human organism, it's a human being." That keeps us from trying to figure out which kinds of human organisms are people and which kinds are not.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Do you think this question is kind of pointless? There is no absolute definition of "human being." Like all words, it gains meaning by agreement. In the end, though, all these definitions are arbitrary and useless.

    The better question, in my opinion, is what issues we should be concerned with in abortion, how to balance those interests, whether we can even conceive of making a blanket rule, and then, finally, what that rule might look like and what kind of exceptions it should carry.

  6. #6
    Senior Member sriv's Avatar
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    The only point of classifying something under "human being" is that a human being has rights.

    Some say that a fetus is a bunch of cells that cannot be considered "alive" whereas a human being is alive.

    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    Well, here's the perspective I shared on another thread:

    It answers the question with "If it's a human organism, it's a human being." That keeps us from trying to figure out which kinds of human organisms are people and which kinds are not.
    That does avoid a lot of conflict.
    Reyson: ...If you were to change your ways, I'm sure we could rebuild the relationship the two of us once shared.

    Naesala: Oh no, that I could never do. You see, humans are essential to the fulfillment of my ambitions.

    Reyson: You've changed, Naesala. If this is the path you've chosen, I've nothing left to say.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sriv View Post
    The only point of classifying something under "human being" is that a human being has rights.

    Some say that a fetus is a bunch of cells that cannot be considered "alive" whereas a human being is alive.
    I get the point, I just think it's pointless.

  8. #8
    Senior Member sriv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    I get the point, I just think it's pointless.
    Pointless that we give certain rights to certain objects based on that object's definition?
    Reyson: ...If you were to change your ways, I'm sure we could rebuild the relationship the two of us once shared.

    Naesala: Oh no, that I could never do. You see, humans are essential to the fulfillment of my ambitions.

    Reyson: You've changed, Naesala. If this is the path you've chosen, I've nothing left to say.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sriv View Post
    Pointless that we give certain rights to certain objects based on that object's definition?
    Pointless that we debate whose definition is more correct.

  10. #10
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Oberon's is a point I've made before myself in abortion debates. If we don't know, isn't it best to err on the side of caution?

    The problem with the caution approach taken all the way back to fertilization (as opposed to implantation) is that it then means that the only acceptable forms of contraception are barriers and fertility awareness. Illegalize the pill, IUD, and other forms of birth control that prevent implantation but may allow ovulation and thus fertilization, and IMO we've got a social crisis on our hands.
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