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Author Topic: Origin of Life  (Read 3596 times) Average Rating: 0
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vamrat
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« on: July 20, 2012, 02:25:13 PM »

I will withhold my own opinion on the matter because I'd be interested in what you have to say without my own opinion being called into question without knowing what page you are on first.

In light these words, I can't help but recall Bill Hicks' (RIP) famous remark about the subject (paraphrased):

Quote
You're not a person till your name turns up in the phone book.

I used to rip the guy off all the time when I was seriously playing with Tollhouse 23. People would be dismayed by my smoking in bars (this is a feat given how much I was drinking that their concern would turn toward my smoking).

They would always ask: how many do you smoke a day?

I would answer: I am up to a two lighter a day habit.

Maybe I get to your question in earnest later. Maybe suggest another one. After all, one of the interesting traditional dichotomies which fell away some time ago from a strictly empirical basis is the difference between that which is alive and that which isn't.

The advent of the literature undead and all its fictional imaginings and its steady increase has more than a little to say on the matter.

In short, I could give you many answers. I just don't know if this is the proper question upon the question of abortion hangs much less the use of oral contraception.

In a strictly existential sense, I could use the old quip to the question is there life after death?

I am still waiting to see if there is life before.



No other factors being considered, supposing two people screw and do all the steps necessary that would under any circumstance result in pregnancy, at which point would you consider the resulting mass of cells to be a human life?

Start in a new thread non-religious topics for a couple of reasons:

So that the unsubstantiated remarks by Kerdy, Gebre, and company linking oral contraception to abortion and thus murder do not get buried.

Those having views non-religious can add to the discussion.

And those having manifold views including the religious can answer without the restrictions placed on them without too much of the piety police conflating such views with views regarding abortion.

It would allow a more concentrated debate, if that is possible.

 
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2012, 03:33:43 PM »

I thought someone was going to prove the instant life begins.  I am interested in seeing the empirical, irrefutable evidence.
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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2012, 03:39:48 PM »

I thought someone was going to prove the instant life begins.  I am interested in seeing the empirical, irrefutable evidence.

Then your grasp of the science of "life" ended somewhere before middle school. There are different sorts of inquiry appropriate to different questions. Sometimes multiple forms of inquiry each with answers differing in their content but just as rigorous and truth to their method exist.

This thread is to allow such a mixture of methods to occur.



 
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2012, 03:44:40 PM »

I thought someone was going to prove the instant life begins.  I am interested in seeing the empirical, irrefutable evidence.
I am still enthusiatically waiting.
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2012, 03:50:03 PM »

I thought someone was going to prove the instant life begins.  I am interested in seeing the empirical, irrefutable evidence.
I am still enthusiatically waiting.

Enjoy, cause you will be waiting for quite a while. The possibility of falsification is consider rather important within modern (I mean this in the strict sense) mathematical-physical sciences.
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2012, 04:00:12 PM »

I thought someone was going to prove the instant life begins.  I am interested in seeing the empirical, irrefutable evidence.
I am still enthusiatically waiting.

It appears no one can.  This is puzzling because so many people argue against others views when they are unable to clarify their own.  Interesting.
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2012, 05:30:30 PM »

I thought someone was going to prove the instant life begins.  I am interested in seeing the empirical, irrefutable evidence.

Then your grasp of the science of "life" ended somewhere before middle school. There are different sorts of inquiry appropriate to different questions. Sometimes multiple forms of inquiry each with answers differing in their content but just as rigorous and truth to their method exist.

This thread is to allow such a mixture of methods to occur.



 

So, how should I frame my inquiry to ascertain at which point you would consider human life to begin?
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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2012, 05:43:06 PM »

I thought someone was going to prove the instant life begins.  I am interested in seeing the empirical, irrefutable evidence.

Then your grasp of the science of "life" ended somewhere before middle school. There are different sorts of inquiry appropriate to different questions. Sometimes multiple forms of inquiry each with answers differing in their content but just as rigorous and truth to their method exist.

This thread is to allow such a mixture of methods to occur.



 

So, how should I frame my inquiry to ascertain at which point you would consider human life to begin?

If you are talking to me, you don't need to. I'll get to it. But to think that science has some sorta "irrefutable claims" is silly, since many folks would argue that for any claim to be considered within the realm of science it must necessarily be capable of being refuted. I am trying to help Kerdy as much as I can.

And I doubt that something like science is going to offer a meaningful answer. The fact the people flock to science or some "point" along the way to understand life is completely bassackwards.

And all my posts are answers. I fear before this is over, people will accuse me for being more cryptic than ever.

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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2012, 09:02:39 PM »

I thought someone was going to prove the instant life begins.  I am interested in seeing the empirical, irrefutable evidence.
I am still enthusiatically waiting.

It appears no one can.  This is puzzling because so many people argue against others views when they are unable to clarify their own.  Interesting.

So how would you define life? I assume you agree that human life begins at conception, but what of life generally? What does it mean to say that someone is alive? And what does it mean to say that someone is human? Is consciousness required? A working heart or nervous system? I don't think you can just say "it begins at conception" because things can go wrong after conception such that a human doesn't form. You could argue in this case whether God ensouled the conceived, but I'm just asking about how we know if it's life, human life, or not.
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« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2012, 09:23:45 PM »

We had a discussion on this elsewhere.  In the end I stand in the "I don't know" camp because indeed science does not definitively answer this question, and if people use science, they might be at odds or ambivalent with their own beliefs.  To say that science conclusively proves that "life" begins at conception is disingenuous.

I encourage people to read the addendum in Dr Francis Collin's book "The Language of God" where he discusses the issue with all honesty, opening up more questions rather than answering it for you.
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« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2012, 09:33:32 PM »

I thought someone was going to prove the instant life begins.  I am interested in seeing the empirical, irrefutable evidence.
I am still enthusiatically waiting.

It appears no one can.  This is puzzling because so many people argue against others views when they are unable to clarify their own.  Interesting.

So how would you define life? I assume you agree that human life begins at conception, but what of life generally? What does it mean to say that someone is alive? And what does it mean to say that someone is human? Is consciousness required? A working heart or nervous system? I don't think you can just say "it begins at conception" because things can go wrong after conception such that a human doesn't form. You could argue in this case whether God ensouled the conceived, but I'm just asking about how we know if it's life, human life, or not.

I am always willing to have my mind changed, so I am more interested in hearing from those who claim to (or exude the appearance of) have better answers than the rest of us, especially when those same people demand empirical evidence from the ones they disagree (or present such a narrow allowance for evidence it’s ridiculous), but apparently have none to offer (most likely realizing there is someone one the sidelines waiting to punch little holes into their theories).  

You see, it seems as if certain personality types enjoy the argument for the sake of the argument, not for learning, teaching or expanding our minds and souls.  To attack and tear down is great, but there must be something to build in its place which will be longer standing.  In my mind, it’s no different than having comedians in the Senate.  Sure, they are interesting, but what do they really accomplish?

So, I sit here, waiting, eager, for the great minds of squabble to present their awe inspiring proof of what they claim, even though most times they really do not claim much of anything, rather present circular argument after circular argument, which leads to my above mentioned belief of personality traits.  In any event, they have the floor and have done nothing to quiet the restless souls squirming in their seats to be educated beyond belief.  This is not my opportunity, but theirs.
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« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2012, 09:37:46 PM »

We had a discussion on this elsewhere.  In the end I stand in the "I don't know" camp because indeed science does not definitively answer this question, and if people use science, they might be at odds or ambivalent with their own beliefs.  To say that science conclusively proves that "life" begins at conception is disingenuous.

I encourage people to read the addendum in Dr Francis Collin's book "The Language of God" where he discusses the issue with all honesty, opening up more questions rather than answering it for you.

This is the point I would like to make in regards to these issues.  We simply do not know, so why take the risk of being horribly wrong?  Wait for definitive confirmation prior to action, especially when an innocent life may be the price.
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« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2012, 09:46:46 PM »

We had a discussion on this elsewhere.  In the end I stand in the "I don't know" camp because indeed science does not definitively answer this question, and if people use science, they might be at odds or ambivalent with their own beliefs.  To say that science conclusively proves that "life" begins at conception is disingenuous.

I encourage people to read the addendum in Dr Francis Collin's book "The Language of God" where he discusses the issue with all honesty, opening up more questions rather than answering it for you.

This is the point I would like to make in regards to these issues.  We simply do not know, so why take the risk of being horribly wrong?  Wait for definitive confirmation prior to action, especially when an innocent life may be the price.
Well we already know that a significant amount of fertilized cells are aborted at least.  About 50% of fertilized eggs fail to implant.  Already we see here that if we say that life begins at conception, then at least 50% of the population has been killed. That doesn't include miscarriage and partial birth abortions.  That personally bothers me.  Usually, a small percentage would be plausible. No?
« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 09:47:19 PM by minasoliman » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2012, 09:54:38 PM »

We had a discussion on this elsewhere.  In the end I stand in the "I don't know" camp because indeed science does not definitively answer this question, and if people use science, they might be at odds or ambivalent with their own beliefs.  To say that science conclusively proves that "life" begins at conception is disingenuous.

I encourage people to read the addendum in Dr Francis Collin's book "The Language of God" where he discusses the issue with all honesty, opening up more questions rather than answering it for you.

This is the point I would like to make in regards to these issues.  We simply do not know, so why take the risk of being horribly wrong?  Wait for definitive confirmation prior to action, especially when an innocent life may be the price.
Well we already know that a significant amount of fertilized cells are aborted at least.  About 50% of fertilized eggs fail to implant.  Already we see here that if we say that life begins at conception, then at least 50% of the population has been killed. That doesn't include miscarriage and partial birth abortions.  That personally bothers me.  Usually, a small percentage would be plausible. No?

Are you speaking in terms of the natural course of things?
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« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2012, 10:07:28 PM »

We had a discussion on this elsewhere.  In the end I stand in the "I don't know" camp because indeed science does not definitively answer this question, and if people use science, they might be at odds or ambivalent with their own beliefs.  To say that science conclusively proves that "life" begins at conception is disingenuous.

I encourage people to read the addendum in Dr Francis Collin's book "The Language of God" where he discusses the issue with all honesty, opening up more questions rather than answering it for you.

This is the point I would like to make in regards to these issues.  We simply do not know, so why take the risk of being horribly wrong?  Wait for definitive confirmation prior to action, especially when an innocent life may be the price.
Well we already know that a significant amount of fertilized cells are aborted at least.  About 50% of fertilized eggs fail to implant.  Already we see here that if we say that life begins at conception, then at least 50% of the population has been killed. That doesn't include miscarriage and partial birth abortions.  That personally bothers me.  Usually, a small percentage would be plausible. No?

Are you speaking in terms of the natural course of things?
...natural and necessary courses of action for the preservation of the life of the mother
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Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

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« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2012, 10:15:32 PM »

We had a discussion on this elsewhere.  In the end I stand in the "I don't know" camp because indeed science does not definitively answer this question, and if people use science, they might be at odds or ambivalent with their own beliefs.  To say that science conclusively proves that "life" begins at conception is disingenuous.

I encourage people to read the addendum in Dr Francis Collin's book "The Language of God" where he discusses the issue with all honesty, opening up more questions rather than answering it for you.

This is the point I would like to make in regards to these issues.  We simply do not know, so why take the risk of being horribly wrong?  Wait for definitive confirmation prior to action, especially when an innocent life may be the price.
Well we already know that a significant amount of fertilized cells are aborted at least.  About 50% of fertilized eggs fail to implant.  Already we see here that if we say that life begins at conception, then at least 50% of the population has been killed. That doesn't include miscarriage and partial birth abortions.  That personally bothers me.  Usually, a small percentage would be plausible. No?

Are you speaking in terms of the natural course of things?
...natural and necessary courses of action for the preservation of the life of the mother
I am not sure I follow you here.  I understand the human body naturally not allowing continued growth of a fetus beyond the control of the parents even if they knew nothing about it in the first place, but the preservation of the mother’s life I need more explanation.  

Going from what I understand you to say (and correct me if I am wrong), you propose about half of all pregnancies end without our interference through means such as abortion.  If this is the case, I would only respond with these things happen at the behest of God, not man.  We have no control over the actions of God or what He allows to take place, only what we do and our actions.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 10:18:45 PM by Kerdy » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2012, 10:31:41 PM »

We had a discussion on this elsewhere.  In the end I stand in the "I don't know" camp because indeed science does not definitively answer this question, and if people use science, they might be at odds or ambivalent with their own beliefs.  To say that science conclusively proves that "life" begins at conception is disingenuous.

I encourage people to read the addendum in Dr Francis Collin's book "The Language of God" where he discusses the issue with all honesty, opening up more questions rather than answering it for you.

This is the point I would like to make in regards to these issues.  We simply do not know, so why take the risk of being horribly wrong?  Wait for definitive confirmation prior to action, especially when an innocent life may be the price.
Well we already know that a significant amount of fertilized cells are aborted at least.  About 50% of fertilized eggs fail to implant.  Already we see here that if we say that life begins at conception, then at least 50% of the population has been killed. That doesn't include miscarriage and partial birth abortions.  That personally bothers me.  Usually, a small percentage would be plausible. No?

Are you speaking in terms of the natural course of things?
...natural and necessary courses of action for the preservation of the life of the mother
I am not sure I follow you here.  I understand the human body naturally not allowing continued growth of a fetus beyond the control of the parents even if they knew nothing about it in the first place, but the preservation of the mother’s life I need more explanation.  

Going from what I understand you to say (and correct me if I am wrong), you propose about half of all pregnancies end without our interference through means such as abortion.  If this is the case, I would only respond with these things happen at the behest of God, not man.  We have no control over the actions of God or what He allows to take place, only what we do and our actions.

Not including those abortions that are performed for necessary reasons.

Yes I agree that there are things at the behest of God that is done.  But usually these natural occurrences that are beyond our control are a relatively small percentage.  This isn't a small percentage.  There's nothing to prevent it, except perhaps to never try to conceive.
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Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

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« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2012, 10:39:24 PM »

I thought someone was going to prove the instant life begins.  I am interested in seeing the empirical, irrefutable evidence.
I am still enthusiatically waiting.

It appears no one can.  This is puzzling because so many people argue against others views when they are unable to clarify their own.  Interesting.

So how would you define life? I assume you agree that human life begins at conception, but what of life generally? What does it mean to say that someone is alive? And what does it mean to say that someone is human? Is consciousness required? A working heart or nervous system? I don't think you can just say "it begins at conception" because things can go wrong after conception such that a human doesn't form. You could argue in this case whether God ensouled the conceived, but I'm just asking about how we know if it's life, human life, or not.

I am always willing to have my mind changed, so I am more interested in hearing from those who claim to (or exude the appearance of) have better answers than the rest of us, especially when those same people demand empirical evidence from the ones they disagree (or present such a narrow allowance for evidence it’s ridiculous), but apparently have none to offer (most likely realizing there is someone one the sidelines waiting to punch little holes into their theories).

You really have a hard time understanding the basics of domains of truth and discussion? You make a claim which can be determined by scientific inquiry and offer nothing but rumor.

Discussing the validity of a stance on a piece of literature for example would be open to another sort of method.

Just cause you were shown to have no leg to stand on in one argument in which science plays the determining role doesn't mean that every discussion is decided by recourse to science.
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« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2012, 11:14:50 PM »

We had a discussion on this elsewhere.  In the end I stand in the "I don't know" camp because indeed science does not definitively answer this question, and if people use science, they might be at odds or ambivalent with their own beliefs.  To say that science conclusively proves that "life" begins at conception is disingenuous.

I encourage people to read the addendum in Dr Francis Collin's book "The Language of God" where he discusses the issue with all honesty, opening up more questions rather than answering it for you.

This is the point I would like to make in regards to these issues.  We simply do not know, so why take the risk of being horribly wrong?  Wait for definitive confirmation prior to action, especially when an innocent life may be the price.
Well we already know that a significant amount of fertilized cells are aborted at least.  About 50% of fertilized eggs fail to implant.  Already we see here that if we say that life begins at conception, then at least 50% of the population has been killed. That doesn't include miscarriage and partial birth abortions.  That personally bothers me.  Usually, a small percentage would be plausible. No?

Are you speaking in terms of the natural course of things?
...natural and necessary courses of action for the preservation of the life of the mother
I am not sure I follow you here.  I understand the human body naturally not allowing continued growth of a fetus beyond the control of the parents even if they knew nothing about it in the first place, but the preservation of the mother’s life I need more explanation.  

Going from what I understand you to say (and correct me if I am wrong), you propose about half of all pregnancies end without our interference through means such as abortion.  If this is the case, I would only respond with these things happen at the behest of God, not man.  We have no control over the actions of God or what He allows to take place, only what we do and our actions.

Not including those abortions that are performed for necessary reasons.

Yes I agree that there are things at the behest of God that is done.  But usually these natural occurrences that are beyond our control are a relatively small percentage.  This isn't a small percentage.  There's nothing to prevent it, except perhaps to never try to conceive.
I apologize if I misunderstand what you are saying, but if you are saying these things occur as a result of our action in the majority, then we have the ability not to allow them to happen.  What type or actions are you specifically addressing which are not preventable but fill up the percentages you spoke of?  Birth control?
« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 11:17:07 PM by Kerdy » Logged
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« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2012, 11:19:36 PM »

We had a discussion on this elsewhere.  In the end I stand in the "I don't know" camp because indeed science does not definitively answer this question, and if people use science, they might be at odds or ambivalent with their own beliefs.  To say that science conclusively proves that "life" begins at conception is disingenuous.

I encourage people to read the addendum in Dr Francis Collin's book "The Language of God" where he discusses the issue with all honesty, opening up more questions rather than answering it for you.

This is the point I would like to make in regards to these issues.  We simply do not know, so why take the risk of being horribly wrong?  Wait for definitive confirmation prior to action, especially when an innocent life may be the price.
Well we already know that a significant amount of fertilized cells are aborted at least.  About 50% of fertilized eggs fail to implant.  Already we see here that if we say that life begins at conception, then at least 50% of the population has been killed. That doesn't include miscarriage and partial birth abortions.  That personally bothers me.  Usually, a small percentage would be plausible. No?

Are you speaking in terms of the natural course of things?
...natural and necessary courses of action for the preservation of the life of the mother
I am not sure I follow you here.  I understand the human body naturally not allowing continued growth of a fetus beyond the control of the parents even if they knew nothing about it in the first place, but the preservation of the mother’s life I need more explanation. 

Going from what I understand you to say (and correct me if I am wrong), you propose about half of all pregnancies end without our interference through means such as abortion.  If this is the case, I would only respond with these things happen at the behest of God, not man.  We have no control over the actions of God or what He allows to take place, only what we do and our actions.

Not including those abortions that are performed for necessary reasons.

Yes I agree that there are things at the behest of God that is done.  But usually these natural occurrences that are beyond our control are a relatively small percentage.  This isn't a small percentage.  There's nothing to prevent it, except perhaps to never try to conceive.
I apologize if I misunderstand what you are saying, but if you are saying these things occur as a result of our action in the majority, then we have the ability not to allow them to happen.  What type or actions are you specifically addressing which are not preventable but fill up the percentages you spoke of?  Birth control?
The rate of fertilized eggs' inability to implant on a uterus, thus leading to rejection and eventual "death" of a potential human being.  The rate is 50%.  This is unavoidable.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 11:20:21 PM by minasoliman » Logged

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« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2012, 11:21:49 PM »

We had a discussion on this elsewhere.  In the end I stand in the "I don't know" camp because indeed science does not definitively answer this question, and if people use science, they might be at odds or ambivalent with their own beliefs.  To say that science conclusively proves that "life" begins at conception is disingenuous.

I encourage people to read the addendum in Dr Francis Collin's book "The Language of God" where he discusses the issue with all honesty, opening up more questions rather than answering it for you.

This is the point I would like to make in regards to these issues.  We simply do not know, so why take the risk of being horribly wrong?  Wait for definitive confirmation prior to action, especially when an innocent life may be the price.
Well we already know that a significant amount of fertilized cells are aborted at least.  About 50% of fertilized eggs fail to implant.  Already we see here that if we say that life begins at conception, then at least 50% of the population has been killed. That doesn't include miscarriage and partial birth abortions.  That personally bothers me.  Usually, a small percentage would be plausible. No?

Are you speaking in terms of the natural course of things?
...natural and necessary courses of action for the preservation of the life of the mother
I am not sure I follow you here.  I understand the human body naturally not allowing continued growth of a fetus beyond the control of the parents even if they knew nothing about it in the first place, but the preservation of the mother’s life I need more explanation.  

Going from what I understand you to say (and correct me if I am wrong), you propose about half of all pregnancies end without our interference through means such as abortion.  If this is the case, I would only respond with these things happen at the behest of God, not man.  We have no control over the actions of God or what He allows to take place, only what we do and our actions.

Not including those abortions that are performed for necessary reasons.

Yes I agree that there are things at the behest of God that is done.  But usually these natural occurrences that are beyond our control are a relatively small percentage.  This isn't a small percentage.  There's nothing to prevent it, except perhaps to never try to conceive.
I apologize if I misunderstand what you are saying, but if you are saying these things occur as a result of our action in the majority, then we have the ability not to allow them to happen.  What type or actions are you specifically addressing which are not preventable but fill up the percentages you spoke of?  Birth control?
The rate of fertilized eggs' inability to implant on a uterus, thus leading to rejection and eventual "death" of a potential human being.  The rate is 50%.  This is unavoidable.
Then this would fall into Gods territory, right?

Edit:  I believe I see where you are going with this.

Do we agree the deeper we go, the more questions arise?
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« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2012, 12:44:11 AM »

We had a discussion on this elsewhere.  In the end I stand in the "I don't know" camp because indeed science does not definitively answer this question, and if people use science, they might be at odds or ambivalent with their own beliefs.  To say that science conclusively proves that "life" begins at conception is disingenuous.

I encourage people to read the addendum in Dr Francis Collin's book "The Language of God" where he discusses the issue with all honesty, opening up more questions rather than answering it for you.

This is the point I would like to make in regards to these issues.  We simply do not know, so why take the risk of being horribly wrong?  Wait for definitive confirmation prior to action, especially when an innocent life may be the price.
Well we already know that a significant amount of fertilized cells are aborted at least.  About 50% of fertilized eggs fail to implant.  Already we see here that if we say that life begins at conception, then at least 50% of the population has been killed. That doesn't include miscarriage and partial birth abortions.  That personally bothers me.  Usually, a small percentage would be plausible. No?

Are you speaking in terms of the natural course of things?
...natural and necessary courses of action for the preservation of the life of the mother
I am not sure I follow you here.  I understand the human body naturally not allowing continued growth of a fetus beyond the control of the parents even if they knew nothing about it in the first place, but the preservation of the mother’s life I need more explanation. 

Going from what I understand you to say (and correct me if I am wrong), you propose about half of all pregnancies end without our interference through means such as abortion.  If this is the case, I would only respond with these things happen at the behest of God, not man.  We have no control over the actions of God or what He allows to take place, only what we do and our actions.

Not including those abortions that are performed for necessary reasons.

Yes I agree that there are things at the behest of God that is done.  But usually these natural occurrences that are beyond our control are a relatively small percentage.  This isn't a small percentage.  There's nothing to prevent it, except perhaps to never try to conceive.
I apologize if I misunderstand what you are saying, but if you are saying these things occur as a result of our action in the majority, then we have the ability not to allow them to happen.  What type or actions are you specifically addressing which are not preventable but fill up the percentages you spoke of?  Birth control?
The rate of fertilized eggs' inability to implant on a uterus, thus leading to rejection and eventual "death" of a potential human being.  The rate is 50%.  This is unavoidable.
Then this would fall into Gods territory, right?

Edit:  I believe I see where you are going with this.

Do we agree the deeper we go, the more questions arise?
Well, there are more things in science that helps make the conception question become even more questionable.  But I just wanted to make the point that compared to other natural things that can be avoided, this one is at an unusually high rate (50%!!!).  That's my point.  If we were to define this within God's territory, well then, for one thing, it's quite a considerably significant problem that God's territory allows for such a high number in nature to die off.

It's not like disease or natural disasters, where a small population in the world is affected.  Imagine that for every one child that is born today, AT LEAST "one other human soul" was killed by the natural cause of inability to implant in a uterus.  Compare this with the total death rate of the worst country, South Africa (including preventable deaths), which is 1.723%.  Compare this to the worst country in the world in terms of death rate of children under 5, Romania, which is 2%.  Compare that also to perinatal death rates, which measure death rates of fetuses and neonates no greater than 1 month old.  In the worst countries, you could probably reach something along the lines of 5%.  And if we go to miscarriage rates ("spontaneous abortions"), there's a 15-20% chance on average, and that's usually it reaches high numbers due to increasing maternal age.

Now, I bet a lot of research is trying to decrease the miscarriage rate more so than non-implantation rate.  The astounding 50% implantation rate would pretty much make someone like me cringe if I was to define life beginning at conception.  I'm not sure where we can draw the line on mortality rates of certain living ages, but at the very least 50% is un-excusable, and a very hard number to ignore.  It causes many atheists to ridicule God as the biggest abortionist ever.  The "I don't know" for me means that we are willing to be open to possibly new definition of when life begins, unless certain conditions and advances in humanity is willing to change that rate to a completely lower number that it should be.

Sources:
http://www.mindfully.org/Health/2007/US-Death-Rate1may07.htm
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2066rank.html
http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2006/9241563206_eng.pdf
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001488.htm
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« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2012, 12:26:59 PM »

I appreciate the dialogue, but as you accurately pointed out, there are more questions than answers.  I would have expected after a full day there would have been more people engaged in this thread presenting all sorts of factual evidence.  It appears I was mistaken.  Perhaps at some point in the distant future.  Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with me.  I enjoyed hearing them. Smiley
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« Reply #23 on: July 21, 2012, 01:01:49 PM »

I thought someone was going to prove the instant life begins.

You inherit "life" from your parents, the cells carrying your genetic makeup are already "alive" when they are formed from your parents cells. You become an individual human being when all of the genetic material that physically makes you "you" combines togther at conception. Scientifically speaking anyway.

From a Christian POV, when exactly during Mary's pregnancy did the Word become flesh?

Just a couple of thoughts.
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« Reply #24 on: July 21, 2012, 01:09:21 PM »

I thought someone was going to prove the instant life begins.

You inherit "life" from your parents, the cells carrying your genetic makeup are already "alive" when they are formed from your parents cells. You become an individual human being when all of the genetic material that physically makes you "you" combines togther at conception. Scientifically speaking anyway.

From a Christian POV, when exactly during Mary's pregnancy did the Word become flesh?

Just a couple of thoughts.
From a scientific pov, when you die, the genetic material is still there and yet you're in a coffin.  So fro. A scientific pov, that holds no water.
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« Reply #25 on: July 21, 2012, 01:25:30 PM »

From a scientific pov, when you die, the genetic material is still there and yet you're in a coffin.  So fro. A scientific pov, that holds no water.

?

I didn't say that the presence of genetic material means "alive", only that it means physically belonging to an individual. Cloning would be a better argument against my post. I'm not sure how that would relate to personal individuality.
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« Reply #26 on: July 21, 2012, 01:42:54 PM »

From a Christian POV, when exactly during Mary's pregnancy did the Word become flesh?

For the RCC, it is the moment of conception.
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« Reply #27 on: July 21, 2012, 02:09:13 PM »

From a scientific pov, when you die, the genetic material is still there and yet you're in a coffin.  So fro. A scientific pov, that holds no water.

?

I didn't say that the presence of genetic material means "alive", only that it means physically belonging to an individual. Cloning would be a better argument against my post. I'm not sure how that would relate to personal individuality.
this is what you said:

"You become an individual human being when all of the genetic material that physically makes you "you" combines togther at conception.".

So this sentence holds no water.  Maybe you need to rephrase.  Because logically life has to end when genetic material "separate" which is what the sentence implies.  Either that or you never really cease to be an individual human being as a corpse.

And yes, cloning is a better argument.  In fact there was another thread a while back on this same issue where I pretty much talked about how cloning may force us to change the "life begins at conception" theory.
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« Reply #28 on: July 21, 2012, 03:21:30 PM »

Well we already know that a significant amount of fertilized cells are aborted at least.  About 50% of fertilized eggs fail to implant.  Already we see here that if we say that life begins at conception, then at least 50% of the population has been killed. That doesn't include miscarriage and partial birth abortions.  That personally bothers me.  Usually, a small percentage would be plausible. No?

Thanks. I did not know about this. I did a quick search and I came up with this from the President's Council on Bioethics:
Early Embryonic Development: An Up-to-Date Account (Opitz, 1-16-2003)
http://bioethics.georgetown.edu/pcbe/transcripts/jan03/session1.html

Quote:
PROF. SANDEL: So if we take the 7-day stage, it's 60 percent. The 80 percent is if you go back to the moment of fertilization. But if you take just starting at the 7 days, there's 60 percent rate of natural loss. And of those 60 percent that are lost from the 7-day stage, what percentage of those have abnormalities or defects such that they wouldn't otherwise be able to be born?

DR. OPITZ: I would say somewhere around 50 to 60 percent and mind you, many of these are empty sacs, tiny, tiny stunted little embryos, but when you culture the sacs you find a chromosome abnormality, even though the embryo has vanished already.

PROF. SANDEL: So of the 60 percent that are lost at the 7-day stage, 40 to 50 percent did not contain defects or abnormalities, could have been born?

DR. OPITZ: Right.

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« Reply #29 on: July 21, 2012, 05:35:46 PM »

So this sentence holds no water.  Maybe you need to rephrase.  Because logically life has to end when genetic material "separate" which is what the sentence implies. 

Genetic information, whether from living or dead tissue or fluids, is what is scientifically used to identify who it belongs to. I didn't link genetic material to being the source of life, but to physical identity.

Quote
Either that or you never really cease to be an individual human being as a corpse.

Your body doesn't cease to be human or belonging to you, it just ceases to be alive.
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« Reply #30 on: July 21, 2012, 05:42:11 PM »

In fact there was another thread a while back on this same issue where I pretty much talked about how cloning may force us to change the "life begins at conception" theory.

I guess the question would be "when does the old tissue receive a new personal identity". Seeing how, last I heard, cloning required the genetic information to be inserted into a new egg to be developed, it could be argued that it becomes a new person at that point. If we get to a place where complex organisms can be cloned by regeneration from just a piece of tissue belonging to the original subject, things might get a little more complicated.
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« Reply #31 on: July 22, 2012, 07:45:32 AM »


And I doubt that something like science is going to offer a meaningful answer. The fact the people flock to science or some "point" along the way to understand life is completely bassackwards.

An unfortunate number of "religious" people are really empiricists/ positivists before anything else.
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« Reply #32 on: July 22, 2012, 07:56:32 AM »

I appreciate the dialogue, but as you accurately pointed out, there are more questions than answers.  I would have expected after a full day there would have been more people engaged in this thread presenting all sorts of factual evidence.  It appears I was mistaken.  Perhaps at some point in the distant future.  Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with me.  I enjoyed hearing them. Smiley

Kerdy, let me help you out here and try to make the points orthonorm was making as concisely as possible.

You made a claim (birth control pills are abortifacients) which would in fact be demonstrable or refutable by the methods of modern empirical science.  You have yet to provide any such support for your claim.

You then approach an entirely different question (when does life begin) as if it can be answered with equal falsifiability according to the same methods.

You are confusing a very broad, thorny philosophical/ theological question with a straightforward modern scientific one. The approach you are taking speaks of a mindset often labeled as "scientism," which assumes that the scientific method can be used to answer practically any philosophical question. As a Christian, that should bother you.
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« Reply #33 on: July 22, 2012, 10:47:04 AM »

I appreciate the dialogue, but as you accurately pointed out, there are more questions than answers.  I would have expected after a full day there would have been more people engaged in this thread presenting all sorts of factual evidence.  It appears I was mistaken.  Perhaps at some point in the distant future.  Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with me.  I enjoyed hearing them. Smiley

Kerdy, let me help you out here and try to make the points orthonorm was making as concisely as possible.

You made a claim (birth control pills are abortifacients) which would in fact be demonstrable or refutable by the methods of modern empirical science.  You have yet to provide any such support for your claim.

You then approach an entirely different question (when does life begin) as if it can be answered with equal falsifiability according to the same methods.

You are confusing a very broad, thorny philosophical/ theological question with a straightforward modern scientific one. The approach you are taking speaks of a mindset often labeled as "scientism," which assumes that the scientific method can be used to answer practically any philosophical question. As a Christian, that should bother you.

Allow me to attempt to clarify for your understanding. Either we have answers or we don't.  If we don't, we guess, which usually is shown to be incorrect, then incorrect again.  It's a cycle of wrong guesses.  So, if we are guessing when life is in the balance, preventable death I should add, that should bother you.

Let's not forget the inability to read my entire posts instead of focusing on just the parts which you (generic sense) don't like.  What I find most confusing is your (generic sense) lack of ability to provide the very thing demanded of others.  When someone, anyone, claims superior intellect and knowledge, they should be prepared to prove they are right, not just prove others are wrong.  You don't get to be right just because you say you are.

The questions I ask should be the main focus, at least I think so. 

BTW, if he doesn't accept information from the very people who designed and created something because he doesn't like the answer, would you consider that at all scientific or academic?  Me either. 

So, let's stop feebly attempting to show how inept others are and start proving how we should believe everything you (generic sense) tell us.

Until we can clearly define when life begins, all other arguments are futile.
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« Reply #34 on: July 22, 2012, 11:40:12 AM »

Until we can clearly define when life begins, all other arguments are futile.

Isn't this the real question? I am also not sure what other arguments are at issue here.
Until we can clearly define when life begins, all other arguments are futile.

Biologists generally have a definition for this. It allows them to make statements that viruses and mitochondria aren't living organisms.
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« Reply #35 on: July 22, 2012, 12:10:45 PM »

BTW, if he doesn't accept information from the very people who designed and created something because he doesn't like the answer, would you consider that at all scientific or academic?  Me either. 

So you posted those studies? Can you link me to the post? Thanks. If your he refers to me.
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« Reply #36 on: July 22, 2012, 12:17:42 PM »

Kerdy, have faith. I'll be posting here. My weekends get in the way my posting here sometime. Work, health, and life outside the board calls.
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« Reply #37 on: July 22, 2012, 01:07:33 PM »

I'm any event, I have little doubt whatever is presented will not fulfill its empty promise.  So, I will focus my attention in other threads.  It should have been an easy endeavor.
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« Reply #38 on: July 22, 2012, 02:19:35 PM »

In fact there was another thread a while back on this same issue where I pretty much talked about how cloning may force us to change the "life begins at conception" theory.

I guess the question would be "when does the old tissue receive a new personal identity". Seeing how, last I heard, cloning required the genetic information to be inserted into a new egg to be developed, it could be argued that it becomes a new person at that point. If we get to a place where complex organisms can be cloned by regeneration from just a piece of tissue belonging to the original subject, things might get a little more complicated.

I think you'll enjoy this discussion  Smiley

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20098.0.html
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« Reply #39 on: July 22, 2012, 03:05:55 PM »

I'm any event, I have little doubt whatever is presented will not fulfill its empty promise.  So, I will focus my attention in other threads.  It should have been an easy endeavor.

Please quote the promise.

It's not fun having to back up claims, is it?

Yes, the education of Kerdy is as much the point of this as anything.
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« Reply #40 on: July 22, 2012, 10:22:03 PM »

In fact there was another thread a while back on this same issue where I pretty much talked about how cloning may force us to change the "life begins at conception" theory.
I guess the question would be "when does the old tissue receive a new personal identity". Seeing how, last I heard, cloning required the genetic information to be inserted into a new egg to be developed, it could be argued that it becomes a new person at that point. If we get to a place where complex organisms can be cloned by regeneration from just a piece of tissue belonging to the original subject, things might get a little more complicated.
I think you'll enjoy this discussion  Smiley

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20098.0.html

Some interesting points in there to think about concerning genetic material and what makes a person physically unique and identifiable. We still have the questions from the religious POV, "Do we believe the Word became flesh?" and "At what point during Mary's pregnancy?".
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« Reply #41 on: July 22, 2012, 10:59:31 PM »

Does the point at which a fertilized egg has a right to life (even if such point is the point of birth) really matter in any fundamental way?  Shouldn't we, instead of lobbying to outlaw abortion - something that is usually not going to succeed, and will only serve to make more abstractions out of more people, and cause more people to hate those abstractions, and the people they associate with them - perhaps focus on real efforts to minimize the number of people who choose to abort babies?  Perhaps, instead of debating when abortion becomes a killing or a murder or whatever term you wish to use, we should be discussing how to promote birth control, such as condoms, and teaching people to properly use them, and discussing how to provide - as a society - for unwed (and otherwise poor) mothers and their children, and work to make adoptions easier, and encourage more Americans to stop going to godawful countries like China and Haiti and adopting all their infants, when they could instead be meeting with poor pregnant women, including unwed teen soon-to-be-mothers, and arranging the adoption of those children, so that they are not aborted?  Wouldn't this be a more useful expenditure of time and energy?
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« Reply #42 on: July 22, 2012, 11:09:08 PM »

Does the point at which a fertilized egg has a right to life (even if such point is the point of birth) really matter in any fundamental way?  Shouldn't we, instead of lobbying to outlaw abortion - something that is usually not going to succeed, and will only serve to make more abstractions out of more people, and cause more people to hate those abstractions, and the people they associate with them - perhaps focus on real efforts to minimize the number of people who choose to abort babies?  Perhaps, instead of debating when abortion becomes a killing or a murder or whatever term you wish to use, we should be discussing how to promote birth control, such as condoms, and teaching people to properly use them, and discussing how to provide - as a society - for unwed (and otherwise poor) mothers and their children, and work to make adoptions easier, and encourage more Americans to stop going to godawful countries like China and Haiti and adopting all their infants, when they could instead be meeting with poor pregnant women, including unwed teen soon-to-be-mothers, and arranging the adoption of those children, so that they are not aborted?  Wouldn't this be a more useful expenditure of time and energy?
But we do educate and promote contraceptive use. The problem is that it's just not enough. Plus we should have the freedom to have contraceptives or not. Now I do agree that those who willingly not use contraceptives and the female is pregnant is ultimately responsible for its birth. But when they don't want the birth it's either abortion or adoption. So I think there should still be a focus on outlawing abortion then we will see a change in sexual ideology.
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« Reply #43 on: July 23, 2012, 03:25:08 AM »

In fact there was another thread a while back on this same issue where I pretty much talked about how cloning may force us to change the "life begins at conception" theory.
I guess the question would be "when does the old tissue receive a new personal identity". Seeing how, last I heard, cloning required the genetic information to be inserted into a new egg to be developed, it could be argued that it becomes a new person at that point. If we get to a place where complex organisms can be cloned by regeneration from just a piece of tissue belonging to the original subject, things might get a little more complicated.
I think you'll enjoy this discussion  Smiley

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20098.0.html

Some interesting points in there to think about concerning genetic material and what makes a person physically unique and identifiable. We still have the questions from the religious POV, "Do we believe the Word became flesh?" and "At what point during Mary's pregnancy?".
That was also talked about in the thread.  And I believe ozgeorge made a good point that you can't compare the Incarnation to man's conception.  For man, our question is when does personhood begin in the embryo.  In Christ, the person is the Word of God, pre-existent.  Second of all, and this is my own argument, there was no fusion of sperm and egg.  This was a full-blown virgin miracle.  We don't know at what point or how Christ was made man out of woman's seed alone, but somehow it happened.  So at this particular issue, you cannot compare as well.  Either way, personhood and the way the incarnation was done, the point you make seems invalid.
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« Reply #44 on: July 23, 2012, 11:02:39 AM »

Does the point at which a fertilized egg has a right to life (even if such point is the point of birth) really matter in any fundamental way?  Shouldn't we, instead of lobbying to outlaw abortion - something that is usually not going to succeed, and will only serve to make more abstractions out of more people, and cause more people to hate those abstractions, and the people they associate with them - perhaps focus on real efforts to minimize the number of people who choose to abort babies?  Perhaps, instead of debating when abortion becomes a killing or a murder or whatever term you wish to use, we should be discussing how to promote birth control, such as condoms, and teaching people to properly use them, and discussing how to provide - as a society - for unwed (and otherwise poor) mothers and their children, and work to make adoptions easier, and encourage more Americans to stop going to godawful countries like China and Haiti and adopting all their infants, when they could instead be meeting with poor pregnant women, including unwed teen soon-to-be-mothers, and arranging the adoption of those children, so that they are not aborted?  Wouldn't this be a more useful expenditure of time and energy?

"Wouldn't this be a more useful expenditure of time and energy?"

Yes, I very much believe that it would be.  But then, here is the problem:

"...and work to make adoptions easier..."

Anything the .govs get their fingers in is going to be difficult.  I think the main thing is that there would have to be a "no strings attached" policy.  I'm not exactly sure how adoptions work in the US, as is, but I think that it would be easier to get people to adopt if there were something in place where the natural mother of the child has no right to ever try and get back into the life of the child without explicit consent from the adopted parents.  I can see that being a sticky issue.  At least when the natural mother is some peasant in China with no means of contact the parents know that they will be able to raise the child without interference.

This may not actually be an issue, once again, I know almost nothing about the adoption laws and process.

One thing I do know is that adoptions can be very expensive.  I think that it would be in society's best interest to make it cheap for someone who has the desire to adopt since they are doing a service to society, rather than adoption being a service rendered to the potential parents.
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« Reply #45 on: July 23, 2012, 11:07:54 AM »

I thought someone was going to prove the instant life begins.  I am interested in seeing the empirical, irrefutable evidence.

Then your grasp of the science of "life" ended somewhere before middle school. There are different sorts of inquiry appropriate to different questions. Sometimes multiple forms of inquiry each with answers differing in their content but just as rigorous and truth to their method exist.

This thread is to allow such a mixture of methods to occur.



 

So, how should I frame my inquiry to ascertain at which point you would consider human life to begin?

If you are talking to me, you don't need to. I'll get to it. But to think that science has some sorta "irrefutable claims" is silly, since many folks would argue that for any claim to be considered within the realm of science it must necessarily be capable of being refuted. I am trying to help Kerdy as much as I can.

And I doubt that something like science is going to offer a meaningful answer. The fact the people flock to science or some "point" along the way to understand life is completely bassackwards.

And all my posts are answers. I fear before this is over, people will accuse me for being more cryptic than ever.



FWIW, I don't give a hoot damn for how science would answer this problems.  In fact, I really don't care if you give any backing to your claim at all, I would just be interested to know when you consider a human child to be considered a human child.

In all honesty, despite the grandiose title of this thread, I am much more interested in whether or not you can give give a straight answer to a question without excess sophistry, than I am with the actual question.  It's a subjective question, though all I am interested in is a raw, gut, answer.  Full of opinion and short on rationalization.
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« Reply #46 on: July 23, 2012, 02:38:47 PM »

Until we can clearly define when life begins, all other arguments are futile.

Isn't this the real question? I am also not sure what other arguments are at issue here.
Until we can clearly define when life begins, all other arguments are futile.

Biologists generally have a definition for this. It allows them to make statements that viruses and mitochondria aren't living organisms.

This is the real question, and one I don't think we'll ever have a definitive answer to. In the other thread I brought up ensoulment- this is a supernatural occurrence. There is no test we can run, no empirical evidence to give us any answers as to when this occurs.

There is no "until we can define". IMO, we'll never be able to define it. Which isn't to say I don't think it's worth talking about, but there are real issues with real life implications and no possibility of concrete answers, unless God has an 800 number I'm unaware of.
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« Reply #47 on: July 26, 2012, 09:46:39 PM »

I thought someone was going to prove the instant life begins.  I am interested in seeing the empirical, irrefutable evidence.

Then your grasp of the science of "life" ended somewhere before middle school. There are different sorts of inquiry appropriate to different questions. Sometimes multiple forms of inquiry each with answers differing in their content but just as rigorous and truth to their method exist.

This thread is to allow such a mixture of methods to occur.



 

So, how should I frame my inquiry to ascertain at which point you would consider human life to begin?

If you are talking to me, you don't need to. I'll get to it. But to think that science has some sorta "irrefutable claims" is silly, since many folks would argue that for any claim to be considered within the realm of science it must necessarily be capable of being refuted. I am trying to help Kerdy as much as I can.

And I doubt that something like science is going to offer a meaningful answer. The fact the people flock to science or some "point" along the way to understand life is completely bassackwards.

And all my posts are answers. I fear before this is over, people will accuse me for being more cryptic than ever.



FWIW, I don't give a hoot damn for how science would answer this problems.  In fact, I really don't care if you give any backing to your claim at all, I would just be interested to know when you consider a human child to be considered a human child.

In all honesty, despite the grandiose title of this thread, I am much more interested in whether or not you can give give a straight answer to a question without excess sophistry, than I am with the actual question.  It's a subjective question, though all I am interested in is a raw, gut, answer.  Full of opinion and short on rationalization.

I never engage in sophistry or hardly ever.

In fact I would suggest that presupposing there is something like a "gut answer" to anything worth discussing is sophistry (rhetoric in service of ideology) at its most powerful.

To be honest, and I have tried to honestly figure out if I have a "gut reaction" to your question, I don't have one.

In fact, I rarely have "gut reactions" to such things as I have usually taken some time throughout my life to think about such matters in some depth.

Seriously, I've been overrun with work and my mysterious just like last year and when I am at the liturgy all the time sleeping sickness has begun to emerge again, so my time is very limited and even then I spend it poorly.

But to answer this question emphatically. I have no "gut reaction" to your question.

In fact, your question may not be the best one to pose, but we will see.

So if that is all you wanted to know, then the answer is no. In fact, it is situations like these where I wonder how anyone with a meager degree of critical thinking and a little exposure to something approaching an analytical manner of thought could possibly answer "yes".

I am taking a break from work and being worn down. So I will post some stuff here for a bit.

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« Reply #48 on: July 26, 2012, 09:50:13 PM »

Until we can clearly define when life begins, all other arguments are futile.

Isn't this the real question? I am also not sure what other arguments are at issue here.
Until we can clearly define when life begins, all other arguments are futile.

Biologists generally have a definition for this. It allows them to make statements that viruses and mitochondria aren't living organisms.

Opus, I am sure you know this controversial. I wish my ex-best friend were still around as this was a question she was keenly interested in and would have been able to give me resources for me to steer you toward.

Before she decided to practice medicine, she dealt did research in this area. Not only is it questionable whether viruses might be alive but what about prions? Of course life has been extended to language and ideas, hence the idea of a meme.

The work on autopoiesis is quite interesting here as a definition of what is alive and what isn't, and here of course I a referring the popular work Maturana and Varela. I stumbled across this when doing work on Niklas Luhmnann's System Theory.

In short, however, I am not sure any biological account in the empirical sense is ever going to be satisfying as it already rest on certain assumptions biologists themselves are rarely required to make clear. I think biologists haven't had their fundamental crises within their discipline like some of the other sciences that have required them to turn fully to examine the ontological approach their manner of research has taken. Although it does seem as though they are approaching such an advent of radical examination in light questions raised in biotech and cognitive science.

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« Reply #49 on: July 26, 2012, 09:52:11 PM »

In other words, most people don't really believe that a recently fertilized egg is the same thing as a baby you can see swimming around in an ultrasound.
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« Reply #50 on: July 26, 2012, 09:52:47 PM »

I always begin any discussion on abortion by trying to have the interlocutor agree that late-term abortion is entirely horrific and clearly repugnant -- then I argue backwards from there to try to say there is no clear point at which you can say the child is not a child but simply a mass of cells. Is this kinda what you have in mind?
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« Reply #51 on: July 26, 2012, 09:54:11 PM »

In case a mod think I am up to something weird, I am posting posts from the thread that spawned this one, I would like to reply to or use to work off of and have them stand on their own for others to do so, if they wish.
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« Reply #52 on: July 26, 2012, 09:55:38 PM »

I feel it important, prior to discussing what is or is not wrong, a clear explanation of exactly when life begins should be established.  Without that, all views are subjective and nothing more than opinion. 

We'd have to define life first, and then human life... wouldn't we?
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« Reply #53 on: July 26, 2012, 09:56:16 PM »

I feel it important, prior to discussing what is or is not wrong, a clear explanation of exactly when life begins should be established.  Without that, all views are subjective and nothing more than opinion. 

We'd have to define life first, and then human life... wouldn't we?

Perhaps, but this is where science begins to fail miserably and the only place to obtain the answers being sought is within what God has already provided.  I was going to add no one has ever been able to supply the answer outside conception (which modernists abhor), but I thought someone would actually try.
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« Reply #54 on: July 26, 2012, 09:58:40 PM »

As far as why a fetus is a person, it is really very simple to answer. I think people get stuck in the fact that the fetus is a very early stage of human development. But, the true and full understanding is that no matter what stage a person is in, we are also talking about a soul; we believe that since the moment of conception a new soul joins the universe. Otherwise it's plain to see that the very purpose of conception is to bring new life into the world. What, when one wants children the fetus is good, and when one doesn't want children the fetus is bad? How subjective is that? And then, if you let a fetus grow it will most certainly become an adult, unless external factors come in (such as abortion or illness).  How many of us have not been a fetus at one point? Obviously, all of as have, so we could at least consider the fetus as potential life, if we do not believe the fetus is actually the soul of one who is the image and to become the likeness of God.
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« Reply #55 on: July 26, 2012, 09:59:45 PM »

Orthonorm, at which point do you think life begins?  I ask as a matter of interest not as one of debate.

I will withhold my own opinion on the matter because I'd be interested in what you have to say without my own opinion being called into question without knowing what page you are on first.


ZZ, I'd be interested in knowing yours as well.  Once again, as a matter of interest.

I think life begins at conception- I don't think there's any denying that at that point the embryo has genetic information making it unique from its parents. A separate, unique, human life.

I think a more interesting question is when does ensoulment occur? I don't know. I think of the spontaneous abortions that occur before a woman even knows she's pregnant and wonder if God is allowing these souls to pass or how that works. I just don't know. It's above my pay grade. I stick with conception.

I agree with you on all points.

I would guess that ensoulment occurs at conception as well.  "In sins did my mother conceive me", etc.
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« Reply #56 on: July 26, 2012, 10:06:08 PM »

I quoted the above posts because I think they hold some interesting insights or problems about area in which the OP lies.

Now to the drawing board.
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« Reply #57 on: July 26, 2012, 10:33:37 PM »

As far as why a fetus is a person, it is really very simple to answer. I think people get stuck in the fact that the fetus is a very early stage of human development. But, the true and full understanding is that no matter what stage a person is in, we are also talking about a soul; we believe that since the moment of conception a new soul joins the universe. Otherwise it's plain to see that the very purpose of conception is to bring new life into the world. What, when one wants children the fetus is good, and when one doesn't want children the fetus is bad? How subjective is that? And then, if you let a fetus grow it will most certainly become an adult, unless external factors come in (such as abortion or illness).  How many of us have not been a fetus at one point? Obviously, all of as have, so we could at least consider the fetus as potential life, if we do not believe the fetus is actually the soul of one who is the image and to become the likeness of God.

I was glad to see someone introduce the notion of the person rather than just human life as such. If we are going to take something resembling a Christian perspective on this, I think asking when human life begins is not the most felicitous of ways to construct the question.

As I've mentioned in other places, the importance placed on persons is what is important within Christianity, not on life as such and not even human life. After all we can see earlier in the thread people able to begin to cut up something like human life so finely that no person we could recognize would remain.

Christians, especially those professing to be Orthodox, claim to believe in a personal God first and foremost. A God who became a human person (note the that personhood not necessarily being tied to being a human) within our time. A God of relations among three persons (please excuse the use of the lowercase as I try to not orthographically introduce a difference not yet made clear). Only one of which is human and divine.

The Orthodox celebrate and pride themselves, if I may dare to use that word here, in emphasizing this radically personal and ontologically relational God and rightfully so. It does seem to be one of the most distinctive characteristics of Orthodoxy, at least to me as I have encountered various Christianities, so to speak.

I would suggest then when and how do we become persons be the operative questions.

In other words, most people don't really believe that a recently fertilized egg is the same thing as a baby you can see swimming around in an ultrasound.

All due to respect to what Cognomen was trying to get at here, but I what I see goes to personhood and that somehow persons are born not of mere genetic coupling and genetic development but out of relation to other persons.

Again without getting too sophisticated (not sophistic), each member of the Trinity are persons in virtue of their relation to another member of the Trinity. The most apt relationship being between the Father and the Son. As much as the Son is eternally begotten by the Father, the Father becomes the Father only in virtue of the Son.

We believe in One God, the Father . . .

Before we even profess the Son, He is there allowing God to be what we first call Him, Father.

So if we can admit there is something radically personal about the Christian understanding of God and that personal nature rises somehow out of relations among persons, then we will find our answers I believe in a similar manner for persons as we usually use the word, ourselves.
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« Reply #58 on: July 26, 2012, 11:04:26 PM »

interesting, subscribing.
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« Reply #59 on: July 26, 2012, 11:52:50 PM »

To question of "ensoulment" already raised by more than a few as a matter of fact in this discussion:

As far as why a fetus is a person, it is really very simple to answer. I think people get stuck in the fact that the fetus is a very early stage of human development. But, the true and full understanding is that no matter what stage a person is in, we are also talking about a soul; we believe that since the moment of conception a new soul joins the universe. Otherwise it's plain to see that the very purpose of conception is to bring new life into the world. What, when one wants children the fetus is good, and when one doesn't want children the fetus is bad? How subjective is that? And then, if you let a fetus grow it will most certainly become an adult, unless external factors come in (such as abortion or illness).  How many of us have not been a fetus at one point? Obviously, all of as have, so we could at least consider the fetus as potential life, if we do not believe the fetus is actually the soul of one who is the image and to become the likeness of God.

Orthonorm, at which point do you think life begins?  I ask as a matter of interest not as one of debate.

I will withhold my own opinion on the matter because I'd be interested in what you have to say without my own opinion being called into question without knowing what page you are on first.


ZZ, I'd be interested in knowing yours as well.  Once again, as a matter of interest.

I think life begins at conception- I don't think there's any denying that at that point the embryo has genetic information making it unique from its parents. A separate, unique, human life.

I think a more interesting question is when does ensoulment occur? I don't know. I think of the spontaneous abortions that occur before a woman even knows she's pregnant and wonder if God is allowing these souls to pass or how that works. I just don't know. It's above my pay grade. I stick with conception.

I agree with you on all points.

I would guess that ensoulment occurs at conception as well.  "In sins did my mother conceive me", etc.

I must insist on this point, all life has a soul. All animals, plants, etc. There is more speculative commentary about what is typically considered "non-living" entities having souls as well (which would take us no where, but I am just mentioning it in passing).

To be sure from a traditional Orthodox perspective, the notion of having a soul I am not sure is a great way to frame the problem.

All life is ensouled.

I might post another post to make clear my method before I call it a night and what I am going to try to avoid to stay somewhat on topic and risk the chance of producing maybe something of a help to the discussion.

But again:

Even if human life had the specific character of being the only sorta life which were ensouled we are back to the same problems raised by the method of attempting to locate some origin of life via genetic identity and genetic sophistication.
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« Reply #60 on: July 27, 2012, 12:05:47 AM »

To my method:

If I had to describe it, it would be something like a lay Orthodox Christian phenomenological approach.

I hope not to bring any assumptions to the table that aren't obvious to most folks who would participate in an internet forum about Orthodoxy. In fact, some of the points I make might just seem pedantically obvious. But it is more in thinking about the problem within our day to day encounter with persons in light of the "simple" truths of Orthodoxy which might be helpful.

I don't know.

I don't want to get into points which would take us into Scriptural or Patristic lengthy debates.

I don't want to use language or rely on my own expertise which might unfamiliar to the typical poster here.

I don't want to preclude any other discussions or approaches, as mina's wonderful points earlier in the thread raised some questions for those unfamiliar with research he was discussing. (Great stuff mina!)

I see no reason why varying approaches cannot be discussed simultaneously. I hope they are, it was one of my reasons to have this thread taken out of the religious section to begin with.

I have thought through these issues at some length and have found multiple methods which arrive at different conclusions, for the time being, I am going to primarily maintained the method outlined above, with the occasional post or two addressing the other methods being discussed,  as I think it would be the most accessible and productive for most who might want to discuss the issue here.

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« Reply #61 on: July 27, 2012, 12:09:47 AM »

Since orthonorm is contributing to this thread, I may add something of worth tonight or tomorrow.
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« Reply #62 on: July 27, 2012, 12:23:55 AM »

A quick amendment to my "method", my phenomenological approach won't limited just to Orthodox Christian as such insights, but encounters in our day to day world I think most people participating in such a forum can agree to without much argument.

Something like: I know those better who I spend a greater degree of my time with than someone I have never met nor know exists.

Nothing too crazy.

Also, I can't say I will be populating the thread as frequently as I wish I could. Work, health, home, social life, and all that.

And for anyone who doesn't know, I do have trouble at times with dropping words when typing, using homophones, etc. I'll try to avoid it, but I can't guarantee it. So bear with me. And I have my idiosyncratic at times manner of speaking which I tend to write in around here. Deal.
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« Reply #63 on: July 27, 2012, 02:16:39 PM »

I must insist on this point, all life has a soul. All animals, plants, etc.

I would be interested to know the definition of "soul." Also, in your view, does the soul continue to exist after the death of the organism.
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« Reply #64 on: July 27, 2012, 02:33:58 PM »

I must insist on this point, all life has a soul. All animals, plants, etc.

I would be interested to know the definition of "soul." Also, in your view, does the soul continue to exist after the death of the organism.

This will get us sidetracked; however, others and I have discussed the matter of life meaning ensouled here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=33568.0

To latter part of your question, that would certainly seem to be more speculative from what I understand. (Is all of creation throughout time redeemed? If so, what does that mean? Will everything that has ever existed somehow be recreated?) And it would definitely take away from the main point of thread for me at least.

That is best I can do for you. Others I am sure have more infos.
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« Reply #65 on: July 27, 2012, 04:03:21 PM »

Interesting, re: all life having a soul.

When I use the term, I suppose I'm referring to that part of us which is eternal.

Certainly more to think about.
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« Reply #66 on: July 27, 2012, 04:09:22 PM »

Interesting, re: all life having a soul.

When I use the term, I suppose I'm referring to that part of us which is eternal.

Certainly more to think about.

To quibble a bit but not to get side tracked. Orthodoxy would hold that the soul isn't eternal. That is to say in the sense that your soul existed from all time. Again, I don't want to get side tracked with a discussion about augments for the existence of souls from eternity as objects of the mind of God or the like.

Your soul is from your parents in a strict genetic sense to put in a pedestrian manner. I might end up back here in more detail as my ramble continues, but I just wanted to throw that out there.

EDIT: To be ribald. It ain't like your soul is hanging out somewhere and then gets planted or zapped into your body at sometime.

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« Reply #67 on: July 27, 2012, 04:54:11 PM »

Interesting, re: all life having a soul.

When I use the term, I suppose I'm referring to that part of us which is eternal.

Certainly more to think about.

To quibble a bit but not to get side tracked. Orthodoxy would hold that the soul isn't eternal. That is to say in the sense that your soul existed from all time. Again, I don't want to get side tracked with a discussion about augments for the existence of souls from eternity as objects of the mind of God or the like.

Your soul is from your parents in a strict genetic sense to put in a pedestrian manner. I might end up back here in more detail as my ramble continues, but I just wanted to throw that out there.

EDIT: To be ribald. It ain't like your soul is hanging out somewhere and then gets planted or zapped into your body at sometime.


Not eternal in the sense of backward in time eternally. I agree with that.
But I was thinking of the life of a soul being eternal with a beginning in time, but with no end in time. Do souls have this property according to your philosophy?
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« Reply #68 on: July 27, 2012, 05:02:36 PM »

If the stages of child development are part of what we consider, phenomenologically, to be part of what makes a baby, then we cannot rightly ignore those implications.  Each step in the process is part of, basically, what we rightly consider to be child.  To break down those steps, and isolate them from the outcome is disingenuous.  Human development is part of the human experience, and our knowledge of that transcends time or independent sequences of time

In the end, it hardly matters when the fetus is viable or living.  These arbitrary determinants about when abortion is correct and incorrect distract from the our fundamental knowledge about child development. It's as though two farmers were arguing about whether or not it was right to harvest their crops before those crops had fully matured. No farmer plants a seed wondering whether or not it will grow into corn, or squash, or what have you.  Likewise, no one becomes pregnant and wonders what the final implication is.  Viability is part of our understanding of child-birth, and that factors into our considerations even before the child is technically viable.
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« Reply #69 on: July 27, 2012, 05:37:50 PM »

EDIT: To be ribald. It ain't like your soul is hanging out somewhere and then gets planted or zapped into your body at sometime.

Good point, well-taken. I certainly don't believe in any sort of soul "Pre-existence" vis-à-vis Mormon theology. What stanley123 described is more what I had in mind- definite beginning, no end. When that beginning occurs being the subject at hand.
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« Reply #70 on: July 27, 2012, 05:39:40 PM »

I think what orthonorm was saying at the end was something along the lines of Origenism.
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« Reply #71 on: July 28, 2012, 12:15:16 AM »

If the stages of child development are part of what we consider, phenomenologically, to be part of what makes a baby, then we cannot rightly ignore those implications.  Each step in the process is part of, basically, what we rightly consider to be child.  To break down those steps, and isolate them from the outcome is disingenuous.  Human development is part of the human experience, and our knowledge of that transcends time or independent sequences of time

In the end, it hardly matters when the fetus is viable or living.  These arbitrary determinants about when abortion is correct and incorrect distract from the our fundamental knowledge about child development. It's as though two farmers were arguing about whether or not it was right to harvest their crops before those crops had fully matured. No farmer plants a seed wondering whether or not it will grow into corn, or squash, or what have you.  Likewise, no one becomes pregnant and wonders what the final implication is.  Viability is part of our understanding of child-birth, and that factors into our considerations even before the child is technically viable.
I think what you're saying is sound and valid.  However, if one let's say takes a skin cell from me body and can turn into another "me," then, to be blunt, I'm inclined to say that a fertilized cell might not be so different from the thousands of cells we kill and shed in our body every day.
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« Reply #72 on: July 28, 2012, 11:33:58 PM »

If the stages of child development are part of what we consider, phenomenologically, to be part of what makes a baby, then we cannot rightly ignore those implications.  Each step in the process is part of, basically, what we rightly consider to be child.  To break down those steps, and isolate them from the outcome is disingenuous.  Human development is part of the human experience, and our knowledge of that transcends time or independent sequences of time

In the end, it hardly matters when the fetus is viable or living.  These arbitrary determinants about when abortion is correct and incorrect distract from the our fundamental knowledge about child development. It's as though two farmers were arguing about whether or not it was right to harvest their crops before those crops had fully matured. No farmer plants a seed wondering whether or not it will grow into corn, or squash, or what have you.  Likewise, no one becomes pregnant and wonders what the final implication is.  Viability is part of our understanding of child-birth, and that factors into our considerations even before the child is technically viable.
I think what you're saying is sound and valid.  However, if one let's say takes a skin cell from me body and can turn into another "me," then, to be blunt, I'm inclined to say that a fertilized cell might not be so different from the thousands of cells we kill and shed in our body every day.
And that qualifer seperates the pebble from the boulder.
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« Reply #73 on: July 28, 2012, 11:39:38 PM »

To be sure from a traditional Orthodox perspective, the notion of having a soul I am not sure is a great way to frame the problem.

All life is ensouled.

I might post another post to make clear my method before I call it a night and what I am going to try to avoid to stay somewhat on topic and risk the chance of producing maybe something of a help to the discussion.

But again:

Even if human life had the specific character of being the only sorta life which were ensouled we are back to the same problems raised by the method of attempting to locate some origin of life via genetic identity and genetic sophistication.

Answer me this question please:

Are dogs and cats self-aware?
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« Reply #74 on: July 28, 2012, 11:44:55 PM »

To be sure from a traditional Orthodox perspective, the notion of having a soul I am not sure is a great way to frame the problem.

All life is ensouled.

I might post another post to make clear my method before I call it a night and what I am going to try to avoid to stay somewhat on topic and risk the chance of producing maybe something of a help to the discussion.

But again:

Even if human life had the specific character of being the only sorta life which were ensouled we are back to the same problems raised by the method of attempting to locate some origin of life via genetic identity and genetic sophistication.

Answer me this question please:

Are dogs and cats self-aware?

No, I won't answer the question. I have my method and I am sticking to it and wonder where it will go.

Feel free to continue as you wish.

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« Reply #75 on: July 29, 2012, 12:02:41 AM »

You're no fun not taking the bait.
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« Reply #76 on: July 29, 2012, 02:20:12 AM »

EDIT: To be ribald. It ain't like your soul is hanging out somewhere and then gets planted or zapped into your body at sometime.

Good point, well-taken. I certainly don't believe in any sort of soul "Pre-existence" vis-à-vis Mormon theology. What stanley123 described is more what I had in mind- definite beginning, no end. When that beginning occurs being the subject at hand.

Except that, in an Orthodox understanding the human 'soul' (however defined) is not truly eternal even in the the more limited 'going forward' sense. Our existence is *always* contingent. That is, the soul exists, and will continue to exist, only because God chooses that it do so, not because of any quality inherent to it--that is, God did not make our souls eternal, He simply made them and then continues to support their existence (and could, if He were the capricious type, remove that support at any time resulting in our complete and final extinction). And this is true not only of our 'souls' but of our bodies--remember, that, per St. Paul, at the Ressurection our 'souls' will be joined again to our (reconstituted) bodies which will be 'transformed' to be 'as Christ is'. There is nothing inherently eternal about us--but when we experience eternity it will be as bodies *and* souls--as Christ Himself retains the Human nature He assumed at the Incarnation.
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« Reply #77 on: July 29, 2012, 12:58:31 PM »

EDIT: To be ribald. It ain't like your soul is hanging out somewhere and then gets planted or zapped into your body at sometime.

Good point, well-taken. I certainly don't believe in any sort of soul "Pre-existence" vis-à-vis Mormon theology. What stanley123 described is more what I had in mind- definite beginning, no end. When that beginning occurs being the subject at hand.

Except that, in an Orthodox understanding the human 'soul' (however defined) is not truly eternal even in the the more limited 'going forward' sense. Our existence is *always* contingent. That is, the soul exists, and will continue to exist, only because God chooses that it do so, not because of any quality inherent to it--that is, God did not make our souls eternal, He simply made them and then continues to support their existence (and could, if He were the capricious type, remove that support at any time resulting in our complete and final extinction). And this is true not only of our 'souls' but of our bodies--remember, that, per St. Paul, at the Ressurection our 'souls' will be joined again to our (reconstituted) bodies which will be 'transformed' to be 'as Christ is'. There is nothing inherently eternal about us--but when we experience eternity it will be as bodies *and* souls--as Christ Himself retains the Human nature He assumed at the Incarnation.

I understand what you're saying, but I'm not sure I think it substantively changes the issue of ensoulment. We may not be inherently eternal, but we know that God is not capricious and our faith teaches us that we will have an eternity. The soul exists, as you say, eternal due to God's largesse- when do we get it?

Then, orthonorm contends that all life is ensouled. I don't think that's germane to the issue, either, and would only lead us to a redefinition of terms. I read the thread you linked, orthonorm, and it is definitely interesting, but I'm not sure how it relates to humans who are unique from trees and cats in the eternal landscape. Unless you're arguing that they aren't?

Good discussion, all.
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« Reply #78 on: July 29, 2012, 05:43:58 PM »

Answer me this question please:

Are dogs and cats self-aware?
I think that to a limited extent they have a certain intelligence and awareness in knowing who is taking care of them.
But I am not sure on what you mean by *self* aware. They know how to lick their paws which I guess they recognise as theirs and not some other cat's or dog's.  However, they are unable to write down a historical report of how they were treated.
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« Reply #79 on: July 29, 2012, 06:33:26 PM »

Eric Kandel, the famous neuropsychiatrist and 2000 Nobel prize winner in Physiology/Medicine, said in one of his lectures something along the lines of this:

We can't actually compare the intelligence of a human with a dolphin or a bird. Sure, we are able to do things that fit the way we live and we do them very well. But the same works for animals. A bird needs to fly and does so very well. Can a human do that? No.
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« Reply #80 on: July 29, 2012, 06:46:44 PM »

Answer me this question please:

Are dogs and cats self-aware?
I think that to a limited extent they have a certain intelligence and awareness in knowing who is taking care of them.
But I am not sure on what you mean by *self* aware. They know how to lick their paws which I guess they recognise as theirs and not some other cat's or dog's.  However, they are unable to write down a historical report of how they were treated.
To be self-aware, you have to have A. a sense of identity, and B. the ability to reflect upon your actions and thoughts. Both dogs and cats lack this ability. A dog does not know why, fundementally, it wags it's tail, and a cat could not tell you why it plays with a ball of string.

For years, Gorillas have had the ability to communicate to us through sign language. And what did they have to say? Nothing. Just gibberish. Animals do not posses higher brain functions like abstract thinking, or a sense of identity. An animal may interpret something as AINP, but they lack the cognitive ability to interpret it abstractly as PAIN. This isn't conjecture in the least either btw.
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« Reply #81 on: July 29, 2012, 08:08:35 PM »

A dog does not know why, fundementally, it wags it's tail, and a cat could not tell you why it plays with a ball of string.
True, they would not know why. But they would be self-aware of their tails, which is seen if you step on it. Of course, humans don't know why for many of their activities. For example,
 would a human know why, fundamentally, it goes inside a movie theater and kills innocent children and adults? Do humans know why, fundamentally, there were 37 million casualties during WWI? Could a human tell you why, fundamentally, this war was worth it? And would a human know why, fundamentally, there are 1 billion Moslems who say that Christianity is wrong? And if charity is the main virtue of Christianity, would a human know why, fundamentally, Christians cannot agree and have been split up into warring camps. If charity and peacemaking are major Christian virtues, can anyone tell you why Christian monks have gone around punching each other at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre?
BTW, I am not sure about monkeys and elementary sign language. I thought that they were able to give a few basic, extremely elementary signs after extensive training.
Anyway, it is going to depend on your definition of soul, as to whether or not some animals have a soul. Obviously, they are way below the level of a human, but they have some intelligence when it comes to recognising their masters and knowing where in or around the house to look for food and knowing that it is bad to excrete in the house, knowing how to find their way around the neighborhood, etc.
Some people here say animals have "souls" others say no. My guess is that it is going to depend on how you define the soul concept.
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« Reply #82 on: August 04, 2012, 07:39:05 PM »

As far as why a fetus is a person, it is really very simple to answer. I think people get stuck in the fact that the fetus is a very early stage of human development. But, the true and full understanding is that no matter what stage a person is in, we are also talking about a soul; we believe that since the moment of conception a new soul joins the universe. Otherwise it's plain to see that the very purpose of conception is to bring new life into the world. What, when one wants children the fetus is good, and when one doesn't want children the fetus is bad? How subjective is that? And then, if you let a fetus grow it will most certainly become an adult, unless external factors come in (such as abortion or illness).  How many of us have not been a fetus at one point? Obviously, all of as have, so we could at least consider the fetus as potential life, if we do not believe the fetus is actually the soul of one who is the image and to become the likeness of God.

I was glad to see someone introduce the notion of the person rather than just human life as such. If we are going to take something resembling a Christian perspective on this, I think asking when human life begins is not the most felicitous of ways to construct the question.

As I've mentioned in other places, the importance placed on persons is what is important within Christianity, not on life as such and not even human life. After all we can see earlier in the thread people able to begin to cut up something like human life so finely that no person we could recognize would remain.

Christians, especially those professing to be Orthodox, claim to believe in a personal God first and foremost. A God who became a human person (note the that personhood not necessarily being tied to being a human) within our time. A God of relations among three persons (please excuse the use of the lowercase as I try to not orthographically introduce a difference not yet made clear). Only one of which is human and divine.

The Orthodox celebrate and pride themselves, if I may dare to use that word here, in emphasizing this radically personal and ontologically relational God and rightfully so. It does seem to be one of the most distinctive characteristics of Orthodoxy, at least to me as I have encountered various Christianities, so to speak.

I would suggest then when and how do we become persons be the operative questions.

In other words, most people don't really believe that a recently fertilized egg is the same thing as a baby you can see swimming around in an ultrasound.

All due to respect to what Cognomen was trying to get at here, but I what I see goes to personhood and that somehow persons are born not of mere genetic coupling and genetic development but out of relation to other persons.

Again without getting too sophisticated (not sophistic), each member of the Trinity are persons in virtue of their relation to another member of the Trinity. The most apt relationship being between the Father and the Son. As much as the Son is eternally begotten by the Father, the Father becomes the Father only in virtue of the Son.

We believe in One God, the Father . . .

Before we even profess the Son, He is there allowing God to be what we first call Him, Father.

So if we can admit there is something radically personal about the Christian understanding of God and that personal nature rises somehow out of relations among persons, then we will find our answers I believe in a similar manner for persons as we usually use the word, ourselves.

Coming back to this after more than a week. A long one frankly. Not sure how far I will get tonight as I feel pretty demolished. So I might just make one further expansion on the above.

Most of the comments so far have been tangential. And I am not writing anything systematic. I am writing on the fly. So I apologize if this gets a bit confused.

I hope so far, I am clear in my position.

Whether he enjoys it or not, I will return to Cognomen's comments:

In other words, most people don't really believe that a recently fertilized egg is the same thing as a baby you can see swimming around in an ultrasound.

This insight I think is incredibly important in determining personhood. (There will be a bit of a punchline perhaps to this quote, but I don't want to tip what it is yet.)

In short, Cognomen is pointing the obvious fact of our lives, some human life is more personable (in the typical sense and the dumb, strict sense I mean by my emphasis here) to us than others.

We don't need to take a fertilized egg versus a sonogram.

We can say that many human lives for us are simply not quite as personable as others.

My friend Richard is close to me. He is a person.

I open a phonebook (kids google "phonebook" and learn what one is) and look at the names on the page.

In some sense, I believe these names are human lives, but I would be hard pressed to say they are close to me or that they bear much in my life.

I see people often everyday without them being much more than familiar faces occasioned by half remembered names.

I don't know them.
I really don't care about them.

I care a lot about Richard.

I don't think the experience is solely my own. Some humans we know are more personable. They are to a greater extent persons in our lives and not just human lives.

Human beings in a country I have never heard die today in a natural catastrophe. I might wince, frown, say a quick prayer, or sigh tired of hearing such bad news.

The earth shakes where I care for others and my reaction is quite different.

This is all probably seems too obvious and something which does not bear pointing out. Perhaps. I am trying not to be "cryptic".

In short, I think we can all agree some human life is more personable to us. That is to say we encounter those human lives to greater degree as persons.

So personhood is not merely some binary phenomenon. It lies on a continuum with some humans in our world not existing within it for some of us.

(Remember how I pointed out that in virtue of the Persons of the Trinity, personhood is not tied to human being, well human being is neither tied to it.)

No one would argue, at least without sophistry, that human beings I interact with on a daily basis have more or less "human life" in them. But I think it is easy to agree I relate to the many human beings I have contact with in all variety of forms to varying degrees as persons.

It might seem I've just substituted one word for another here and have the same problem.

When does human life begin?

Becomes:

When does personhood begin?

Perhaps it is just a mere nominal change.

 

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« Reply #83 on: August 04, 2012, 07:41:30 PM »

Obvious less than tangential criticisms can be raised at this point. Some might get answered along the way, others not.

Let's be honest, I am not writing a systematic Orthodox Anthropology here.

So bear with me, if you care to.
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« Reply #84 on: August 04, 2012, 07:52:21 PM »

Let me be honest.

I am a amateur systematizer. Ethics I find to be boring usually as it asserts way too much and is often not very productive.

Ethics rarely attempts very seriously to account for some of the more odd situational ethical problems which can be invariably raised. Often that is what ethical arguments end up boiling down to, the most absurd yet imaginable situations raised to show the weakness of the ethical system.

Where this goes, might not make the ethicists among us happy, but I think my tact could be very productive in a number of ways. Explaining more than a few of the less than obvious and reasonable beliefs and practices of the Church, while accounting for some of the behavior we often find quite puzzling in children, our own relationships, etc. when it comes to relationships with persons.

In the end, I doubt I will say much that anyone here will disagree with. In fact, many will probably laugh at me and sum everything up in a sentence or two and pat me on my head and send me on my way.

But I have found this general tact I am taking to be productive in terms of opening discourse with many of varying stances along the issues wrapped up in how we relate to persons.
 
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« Reply #85 on: August 09, 2012, 08:39:47 PM »

Keep going...
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« Reply #86 on: August 09, 2012, 08:50:51 PM »

Keep going...
But no answers were provided.
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« Reply #87 on: August 09, 2012, 09:01:57 PM »

Despite orthonorm's words about much of this being obvious, I have found it helpful, and feel like there is more to learn here from further conversation...
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« Reply #88 on: August 09, 2012, 09:07:40 PM »

Keep going...
But no answers were provided.

Kerdy, when you are asking the wrong questions, whatever answers you come up with are irrelevant.



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« Reply #89 on: August 09, 2012, 09:08:21 PM »

Despite orthonorm's words about much of this being obvious, I have found it helpful, and feel like there is more to learn here from further conversation...

Might be a while before I continue. I dunno more than a week or so. Depends on more than a few things.
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« Reply #90 on: August 09, 2012, 09:29:30 PM »

Ok, just wanted to let you know that I was getting something out of the thread, even though I wasn't contributing Smiley
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« Reply #91 on: August 09, 2012, 10:49:18 PM »

I thought someone was going to prove the instant life begins.  I am interested in seeing the empirical, irrefutable evidence.
When I looked at the title of this thread, I thought that the discussion was going to be as to whether or not it is possible to create life in a test tube. In other words, for a scientist to take some non-living substances and to mix them up in such a way that you now have something living, even though it may be something extremely elementary. But people here seem to want to talk about other questions such as whether or not a plant has a soul. On such a philosophical question, it is possible to argue in either direction because the definition of soul has not been clarified. And suppose you did clarify the question as to whether or not a plant has a soul, or whether or not a fish has a soul, I don't see how this would  answer the question as to the origin of life, unless you are claiming that all life depends on God implanting a soul in the object. But would this apply to viruses also? 
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« Reply #92 on: August 10, 2012, 10:15:52 AM »

I thought someone was going to prove the instant life begins.  I am interested in seeing the empirical, irrefutable evidence.
When I looked at the title of this thread, I thought that the discussion was going to be as to whether or not it is possible to create life in a test tube. In other words, for a scientist to take some non-living substances and to mix them up in such a way that you now have something living, even though it may be something extremely elementary. But people here seem to want to talk about other questions such as whether or not a plant has a soul. On such a philosophical question, it is possible to argue in either direction because the definition of soul has not been clarified. And suppose you did clarify the question as to whether or not a plant has a soul, or whether or not a fish has a soul, I don't see how this would  answer the question as to the origin of life, unless you are claiming that all life depends on God implanting a soul in the object. But would this apply to viruses also? 
As I stated, no one has provided an answer, which is no surprise.  People do a fabulous job of attacking others and calling names, but when provided an opportunity to prove their ideas are accurate, failure is always the result.  Nothing more than personal conjecture.  What his thread reveals is a normal and predictable tactic.  Alter the focus of the discussion ever so slightly and then babble about something not related.  One person talks about plants, unrelated, while another talks about fetal survival rates in a laboratory and controlled environment, also unrelated.  This is the very reason I dislike having these discussions.  They begin by telling people how they lack intelligence and end without providing any substance to back up their original claims, which coincidentally is exactly what they demand from others.  It reminds me of a movie which receives all kinds of hype, but when you leave the theater your are thinking, "That's it?". In addition, abiogenesis has been proven false several times.  No one can ever breath life from nothing on their own.
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« Reply #93 on: August 10, 2012, 11:56:58 AM »

As I stated, no one has provided an answer, which is no surprise.  People do a fabulous job of attacking others and calling names, but when provided an opportunity to prove their ideas are accurate, failure is always the result.  Nothing more than personal conjecture.  What his thread reveals is a normal and predictable tactic.  Alter the focus of the discussion ever so slightly and then babble about something not related.  One person talks about plants, unrelated, while another talks about fetal survival rates in a laboratory and controlled environment, also unrelated.  This is the very reason I dislike having these discussions.  They begin by telling people how they lack intelligence and end without providing any substance to back up their original claims, which coincidentally is exactly what they demand from others.  It reminds me of a movie which receives all kinds of hype, but when you leave the theater your are thinking, "That's it?". In addition, abiogenesis has been proven false several times.  No one can ever breath life from nothing on their own.
Good job...welcome to the babble club
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« Reply #94 on: August 10, 2012, 01:33:58 PM »

I thought someone was going to prove the instant life begins.  I am interested in seeing the empirical, irrefutable evidence.
When I looked at the title of this thread, I thought that the discussion was going to be as to whether or not it is possible to create life in a test tube. In other words, for a scientist to take some non-living substances and to mix them up in such a way that you now have something living, even though it may be something extremely elementary. But people here seem to want to talk about other questions such as whether or not a plant has a soul. On such a philosophical question, it is possible to argue in either direction because the definition of soul has not been clarified. And suppose you did clarify the question as to whether or not a plant has a soul, or whether or not a fish has a soul, I don't see how this would  answer the question as to the origin of life, unless you are claiming that all life depends on God implanting a soul in the object. But would this apply to viruses also? 
As I stated, no one has provided an answer, which is no surprise.  People do a fabulous job of attacking others and calling names, but when provided an opportunity to prove their ideas are accurate, failure is always the result.  Nothing more than personal conjecture.  What his thread reveals is a normal and predictable tactic.  Alter the focus of the discussion ever so slightly and then babble about something not related.  One person talks about plants, unrelated, while another talks about fetal survival rates in a laboratory and controlled environment, also unrelated.  This is the very reason I dislike having these discussions.  They begin by telling people how they lack intelligence and end without providing any substance to back up their original claims, which coincidentally is exactly what they demand from others.  It reminds me of a movie which receives all kinds of hype, but when you leave the theater your are thinking, "That's it?". In addition, abiogenesis has been proven false several times.  No one can ever breath life from nothing on their own.
No doubt you have seen the wikipedia article on abiogenesis:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis
They list several current models, many of which are some variation of the primordial soup theory, but have not been proven because they would demand conditions on earth which are not present today. I am not sure why you say that they have been proven false.
Also, there is the extraterrestrial theory, which of course, doesn't answer how life began in the extraterrestrial realm.
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« Reply #95 on: August 10, 2012, 06:04:48 PM »

I thought someone was going to prove the instant life begins.  I am interested in seeing the empirical, irrefutable evidence.
When I looked at the title of this thread, I thought that the discussion was going to be as to whether or not it is possible to create life in a test tube. In other words, for a scientist to take some non-living substances and to mix them up in such a way that you now have something living, even though it may be something extremely elementary. But people here seem to want to talk about other questions such as whether or not a plant has a soul. On such a philosophical question, it is possible to argue in either direction because the definition of soul has not been clarified. And suppose you did clarify the question as to whether or not a plant has a soul, or whether or not a fish has a soul, I don't see how this would  answer the question as to the origin of life, unless you are claiming that all life depends on God implanting a soul in the object. But would this apply to viruses also?  
As I stated, no one has provided an answer, which is no surprise.  People do a fabulous job of attacking others and calling names, but when provided an opportunity to prove their ideas are accurate, failure is always the result.  Nothing more than personal conjecture.  What his thread reveals is a normal and predictable tactic.  Alter the focus of the discussion ever so slightly and then babble about something not related.  One person talks about plants, unrelated, while another talks about fetal survival rates in a laboratory and controlled environment, also unrelated.  This is the very reason I dislike having these discussions.  They begin by telling people how they lack intelligence and end without providing any substance to back up their original claims, which coincidentally is exactly what they demand from others.  It reminds me of a movie which receives all kinds of hype, but when you leave the theater your are thinking, "That's it?". In addition, abiogenesis has been proven false several times.  No one can ever breath life from nothing on their own.
No doubt you have seen the wikipedia article on abiogenesis:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis
They list several current models, many of which are some variation of the primordial soup theory, but have not been proven because they would demand conditions on earth which are not present today. I am not sure why you say that they have been proven false.
Also, there is the extraterrestrial theory, which of course, doesn't answer how life began in the extraterrestrial realm.

Start with Louis Pasteur, 1859, spontaneous generation and biogenetic theory.  There are others, but this is usually the best place to begin.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 06:09:15 PM by Kerdy » Logged
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« Reply #96 on: August 10, 2012, 06:05:58 PM »

As I stated, no one has provided an answer, which is no surprise.  People do a fabulous job of attacking others and calling names, but when provided an opportunity to prove their ideas are accurate, failure is always the result.  Nothing more than personal conjecture.  What his thread reveals is a normal and predictable tactic.  Alter the focus of the discussion ever so slightly and then babble about something not related.  One person talks about plants, unrelated, while another talks about fetal survival rates in a laboratory and controlled environment, also unrelated.  This is the very reason I dislike having these discussions.  They begin by telling people how they lack intelligence and end without providing any substance to back up their original claims, which coincidentally is exactly what they demand from others.  It reminds me of a movie which receives all kinds of hype, but when you leave the theater your are thinking, "That's it?". In addition, abiogenesis has been proven false several times.  No one can ever breath life from nothing on their own.
Good job...welcome to the babble club

Not really.  Read the post to which I replied.
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« Reply #97 on: August 10, 2012, 06:10:01 PM »

Did someone mention spontaneous generation?

I proved that in my Miller High Life experiment I've mentioned here before.

Whoa . . . in a similar thread to the one which generated this one:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,39967.msg648566.html#msg648566
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 06:10:49 PM by orthonorm » Logged

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« Reply #98 on: August 10, 2012, 06:12:41 PM »

I thought someone was going to prove the instant life begins.  I am interested in seeing the empirical, irrefutable evidence.
When I looked at the title of this thread, I thought that the discussion was going to be as to whether or not it is possible to create life in a test tube. In other words, for a scientist to take some non-living substances and to mix them up in such a way that you now have something living, even though it may be something extremely elementary. But people here seem to want to talk about other questions such as whether or not a plant has a soul. On such a philosophical question, it is possible to argue in either direction because the definition of soul has not been clarified. And suppose you did clarify the question as to whether or not a plant has a soul, or whether or not a fish has a soul, I don't see how this would  answer the question as to the origin of life, unless you are claiming that all life depends on God implanting a soul in the object. But would this apply to viruses also?  
As I stated, no one has provided an answer, which is no surprise.  People do a fabulous job of attacking others and calling names, but when provided an opportunity to prove their ideas are accurate, failure is always the result.  Nothing more than personal conjecture.  What his thread reveals is a normal and predictable tactic.  Alter the focus of the discussion ever so slightly and then babble about something not related.  One person talks about plants, unrelated, while another talks about fetal survival rates in a laboratory and controlled environment, also unrelated.  This is the very reason I dislike having these discussions.  They begin by telling people how they lack intelligence and end without providing any substance to back up their original claims, which coincidentally is exactly what they demand from others.  It reminds me of a movie which receives all kinds of hype, but when you leave the theater your are thinking, "That's it?". In addition, abiogenesis has been proven false several times.  No one can ever breath life from nothing on their own.
No doubt you have seen the wikipedia article on abiogenesis:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis
They list several current models, many of which are some variation of the primordial soup theory, but have not been proven because they would demand conditions on earth which are not present today. I am not sure why you say that they have been proven false.
Also, there is the extraterrestrial theory, which of course, doesn't answer how life began in the extraterrestrial realm.

Start with Louis Pasteur, 1859, spontaneous generation and biogenetic theory.  There are others, but this is usually the best place to begin.

By the way, I am keenly aware of the revisionist definition of abiogenesis as a result.  This sort of thing often happens, especially in the world of evolution.
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« Reply #99 on: August 10, 2012, 06:24:06 PM »

As I stated, no one has provided an answer, which is no surprise.  People do a fabulous job of attacking others and calling names, but when provided an opportunity to prove their ideas are accurate, failure is always the result.  Nothing more than personal conjecture.  What his thread reveals is a normal and predictable tactic.  Alter the focus of the discussion ever so slightly and then babble about something not related.  One person talks about plants, unrelated, while another talks about fetal survival rates in a laboratory and controlled environment, also unrelated.  This is the very reason I dislike having these discussions.  They begin by telling people how they lack intelligence and end without providing any substance to back up their original claims, which coincidentally is exactly what they demand from others.  It reminds me of a movie which receives all kinds of hype, but when you leave the theater your are thinking, "That's it?". In addition, abiogenesis has been proven false several times.  No one can ever breath life from nothing on their own.
Good job...welcome to the babble club

Not really.  Read the post to which I replied.
I did...it wasn't that much of a babble.  I give credence to his post because the title of this thread is misleading.  But you continued to perpetuate into a babble about abiogenesis, which is what this thread isn't about.  But good job, you continue to babble about abiogenesis anyway despite your allegations of other people "babbling" about issues pertaining to when "life begins in an embryo."

You don't have to agree with the arguments made by others to show that the union of sperm and egg does not necessarily prove personhood begins then.  And I don't recall ridiculing you in any of the previous posts I made to your points in this thread.  But you called my posts babbling.  I'm not sure why you complain about being ridiculed then when you make the ridiculing.
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« Reply #100 on: August 10, 2012, 09:26:23 PM »

As I stated, no one has provided an answer, which is no surprise.  People do a fabulous job of attacking others and calling names, but when provided an opportunity to prove their ideas are accurate, failure is always the result.  Nothing more than personal conjecture.  What his thread reveals is a normal and predictable tactic.  Alter the focus of the discussion ever so slightly and then babble about something not related.  One person talks about plants, unrelated, while another talks about fetal survival rates in a laboratory and controlled environment, also unrelated.  This is the very reason I dislike having these discussions.  They begin by telling people how they lack intelligence and end without providing any substance to back up their original claims, which coincidentally is exactly what they demand from others.  It reminds me of a movie which receives all kinds of hype, but when you leave the theater your are thinking, "That's it?". In addition, abiogenesis has been proven false several times.  No one can ever breath life from nothing on their own.
Good job...welcome to the babble club

Not really.  Read the post to which I replied.
I did...it wasn't that much of a babble.  I give credence to his post because the title of this thread is misleading.  But you continued to perpetuate into a babble about abiogenesis, which is what this thread isn't about.  But good job, you continue to babble about abiogenesis anyway despite your allegations of other people "babbling" about issues pertaining to when "life begins in an embryo."

You don't have to agree with the arguments made by others to show that the union of sperm and egg does not necessarily prove personhood begins then.  And I don't recall ridiculing you in any of the previous posts I made to your points in this thread.  But you called my posts babbling.  I'm not sure why you complain about being ridiculed then when you make the ridiculing.
You make a legitimate point for which I can only accept and offer my apologies.  I was unaware I had done this and it was indeed babbling.  I appreciate your correction and will make every attempt to ensure I do not make this mistake again.  I had not meant my post to be as critical of you as it read.  That was not my intent and I did enjoy our dialogue on the matter.  Please feel free to keep me within my own standards in the future in the event I make any additional slips.
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« Reply #101 on: August 11, 2012, 03:49:50 AM »

I thought someone was going to prove the instant life begins.  I am interested in seeing the empirical, irrefutable evidence.
When I looked at the title of this thread, I thought that the discussion was going to be as to whether or not it is possible to create life in a test tube. In other words, for a scientist to take some non-living substances and to mix them up in such a way that you now have something living, even though it may be something extremely elementary. But people here seem to want to talk about other questions such as whether or not a plant has a soul. On such a philosophical question, it is possible to argue in either direction because the definition of soul has not been clarified. And suppose you did clarify the question as to whether or not a plant has a soul, or whether or not a fish has a soul, I don't see how this would  answer the question as to the origin of life, unless you are claiming that all life depends on God implanting a soul in the object. But would this apply to viruses also?  
As I stated, no one has provided an answer, which is no surprise.  People do a fabulous job of attacking others and calling names, but when provided an opportunity to prove their ideas are accurate, failure is always the result.  Nothing more than personal conjecture.  What his thread reveals is a normal and predictable tactic.  Alter the focus of the discussion ever so slightly and then babble about something not related.  One person talks about plants, unrelated, while another talks about fetal survival rates in a laboratory and controlled environment, also unrelated.  This is the very reason I dislike having these discussions.  They begin by telling people how they lack intelligence and end without providing any substance to back up their original claims, which coincidentally is exactly what they demand from others.  It reminds me of a movie which receives all kinds of hype, but when you leave the theater your are thinking, "That's it?". In addition, abiogenesis has been proven false several times.  No one can ever breath life from nothing on their own.
No doubt you have seen the wikipedia article on abiogenesis:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis
They list several current models, many of which are some variation of the primordial soup theory, but have not been proven because they would demand conditions on earth which are not present today. I am not sure why you say that they have been proven false.
Also, there is the extraterrestrial theory, which of course, doesn't answer how life began in the extraterrestrial realm.

Start with Louis Pasteur, 1859, spontaneous generation and biogenetic theory.  There are others, but this is usually the best place to begin.

By the way, I am keenly aware of the revisionist definition of abiogenesis as a result.  This sort of thing often happens, especially in the world of evolution.
Could you elaborate on what you mean by the revisionist definition of abiogenesis for those of us who are only amateurs and  not professional biologists? For example, I thought that abiogenesis was supposed to be an explanation of how biological life could arise from inorganic matter through natural processes. Of course, many theories have been discredited, but are you saying that all such theories have been conclusively proven to be false?
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« Reply #102 on: August 11, 2012, 12:20:32 PM »

I thought someone was going to prove the instant life begins.  I am interested in seeing the empirical, irrefutable evidence.
When I looked at the title of this thread, I thought that the discussion was going to be as to whether or not it is possible to create life in a test tube. In other words, for a scientist to take some non-living substances and to mix them up in such a way that you now have something living, even though it may be something extremely elementary. But people here seem to want to talk about other questions such as whether or not a plant has a soul. On such a philosophical question, it is possible to argue in either direction because the definition of soul has not been clarified. And suppose you did clarify the question as to whether or not a plant has a soul, or whether or not a fish has a soul, I don't see how this would  answer the question as to the origin of life, unless you are claiming that all life depends on God implanting a soul in the object. But would this apply to viruses also?  
As I stated, no one has provided an answer, which is no surprise.  People do a fabulous job of attacking others and calling names, but when provided an opportunity to prove their ideas are accurate, failure is always the result.  Nothing more than personal conjecture.  What his thread reveals is a normal and predictable tactic.  Alter the focus of the discussion ever so slightly and then babble about something not related.  One person talks about plants, unrelated, while another talks about fetal survival rates in a laboratory and controlled environment, also unrelated.  This is the very reason I dislike having these discussions.  They begin by telling people how they lack intelligence and end without providing any substance to back up their original claims, which coincidentally is exactly what they demand from others.  It reminds me of a movie which receives all kinds of hype, but when you leave the theater your are thinking, "That's it?". In addition, abiogenesis has been proven false several times.  No one can ever breath life from nothing on their own.
No doubt you have seen the wikipedia article on abiogenesis:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis
They list several current models, many of which are some variation of the primordial soup theory, but have not been proven because they would demand conditions on earth which are not present today. I am not sure why you say that they have been proven false.
Also, there is the extraterrestrial theory, which of course, doesn't answer how life began in the extraterrestrial realm.

Start with Louis Pasteur, 1859, spontaneous generation and biogenetic theory.  There are others, but this is usually the best place to begin.

By the way, I am keenly aware of the revisionist definition of abiogenesis as a result.  This sort of thing often happens, especially in the world of evolution.
Could you elaborate on what you mean by the revisionist definition of abiogenesis for those of us who are only amateurs and  not professional biologists? For example, I thought that abiogenesis was supposed to be an explanation of how biological life could arise from inorganic matter through natural processes. Of course, many theories have been discredited, but are you saying that all such theories have been conclusively proven to be false?
I got an idea!  Let's post a new thread about abiogenesis.
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« Reply #103 on: August 11, 2012, 03:44:52 PM »

I give credence to his post because the title of this thread is misleading.  But you continued to perpetuate into a babble about abiogenesis, which is what this thread isn't about. 
What is a thread entitled "Origin of Life" supposed to be talking about, except for theories on the origin of life?
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« Reply #104 on: August 11, 2012, 06:41:27 PM »

I give credence to his post because the title of this thread is misleading.  But you continued to perpetuate into a babble about abiogenesis, which is what this thread isn't about. 
What is a thread entitled "Origin of Life" supposed to be talking about, except for theories on the origin of life?
I thought you might have picked up on the fact that it's a misleading title.  This thread is about an embryo's personhood, not about abiogenesis.
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« Reply #105 on: August 11, 2012, 08:32:11 PM »

I give credence to his post because the title of this thread is misleading.  But you continued to perpetuate into a babble about abiogenesis, which is what this thread isn't about. 
What is a thread entitled "Origin of Life" supposed to be talking about, except for theories on the origin of life?
I thought you might have picked up on the fact that it's a misleading title.  This thread is about an embryo's personhood, not about abiogenesis.
OK. I get it now. This thread which is entitled "Origin of Life" is not about origin of life.
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