When does life begin?

Secondary oocyte during in vitro fertilization Credit: Spike Walker. Wellcome Images 2002 Published: - Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons by-nc-nd 2.0 UK

At the risk of disagreeing with FF UP Diliman Senior Faculty Adviser Dr. Sylvia Estrada-Claudio, I do think that the issue of when life begins is not only answerable by science, it has already been answered.

Microbe-like fossil records show that the oldest organisms appeared on earth about 3.5 billion years ago1. One of the most compelling theories on the origin of life is that the first things that could be called “lifeforms” were RNA molecules2. They are like DNA, except that they are single stranded and that their molecular constituents are slightly different. These RNA molecules were composed of sequences of the letters A, U, C, and G in chemical alphabet. These patterns of letters could make copies of themselves and the pattern that was most able to produce “offspring” dominated the primordial soup.

Throughout the eons, there has been an uninterrupted passing of genetic code from our microscopic antecedents to our piscine forebears to our simian ancestors. Each step of this chain of life from microbial cell to ape embryo involved something alive and this fact implicates the sperms and the eggs, which must also be alive in order to be viable for fertilization.

The claim that life begins at fertilization is not only provably false, it cheapens the breathtaking reality of nature. Without exception, we are all from lineages of winners—entirely composed of successful parents, none of whom died young. They all were able to copulate and produce offspring who themselves became successful parents. Whatever the first replicating unit was, we know that 3.5 billion years ago was the beginning of life… and life hasn’t stopped since.

I must admit at this point that I wasn’t really disagreeing with Dr. Claudio. But what I really wanted to show was that this whole debate about when life begins is a shameless distraction set up by social conservatives to derail any real productive argument about policies.

So, are embryos alive? Yes. But so are sperm cells and egg cells. Are we going to prosecute masturbators for genocide now? The point is, this distinction of life/non-life is useless. What the anti-choice advocates seem to mean when they say that “life begins at fertilization” is that our moral duty to them also begins there. But what they try to sweep under the rug is that moral concern is not based on “life” but on the capacity of brains for consciousness and cognition (which, incidentally, concerns also non-human animals). Even the Church itself allows for the harvesting of the organs of brain dead people3. If the Church really cared about being consistent with its moral prescriptions, they should either reserve their concerns for organisms that possess functioning brains that are able to suffer or deny that consciousness and brains have any factor in the moral calculus of actions.

This “life begins at fertilization” argument is arbitrary and based on no science whatsoever. There’s not even a single moment of fertilization. From the chemical transformation of the egg coat upon sperm contact to the fusion of chromosomal payloads, fertilization is a complex interplay of molecules that involves a series of chemical interactions4, none of which can simply be declared as the beginning of life or personhood. Neither does the possession of 46 chromosomes mean that one is a person since human genetic diseases such as Down and Turner syndromes involve additional or missing chromosomes. And even if fertilization were instantaneous, what about chimeras, which are two (or more) fertilized embryos that have fused? Was there a loss of life? Or, once the chimeric child is born, is he actually two individual living beings in one body? The fact of the matter is, personhood, organismal development, and molecular biology, are complex bodies of knowledge that have never been improved by dogma or religion.

Conservative Catholics need a cut and dry beginning of personhood because they have to insert the soul at some convenient and poetic point (the Church has changed its position on this throughout history, see: Ensoulment), preferably one that prevents others from enjoying themselves. Lacking the facts to back their claims up, they are left with nothing but to resort to claims about spirits, gods, and the speciesist superiority of human beings, and they do, as they invariably fall back to their dubious “moral” arguments.

Bibliography

1 Schopf, J. W., Kudryavtsev, A. B., Agresti, D. G., Wdowiak, T. J. & Czaja, A. D. Laser–Raman imagery of Earth’s earliest fossils. Nature 416, 73-76 (2002).

2 Dawkins, R. The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.  (Free Press, 2009).

3 Wojtyła, K. J. Address of the Holy Father John Paul II to the 18th International Congress of the Transplantation Society, <http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/2000/jul-sep/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_20000829_transplants_en.html> (2000).

4 Gilbert, S. F. Developmental Biology.  (Sinauer Associates, 2000).

59 comments

  1. Human embryology is the only field that can correctly say that a sexually reproduced human being is created at the beginning of fertilization.

    Philosophers and theologians are the ones who may argue the personhood of an individual of any particular stage.

  2. Origin of the universe = nothing exploded and here we are.

    Origin of life= warm soup made out of the explosion of nothing + couple billion years.

    Two questions

    1. What in the hell exploded

    2. If dna/rna supply the necessary information to create and maintain life, then where did that information come from.

    Now jump out yo skin and listen to yourself. Do you believe that dumb shit you sayin to explain yourself. Me neither

  3. We can argue this way. If we are to trace the beginning of HUMAN life, then we should know the being where human life starts. Also, if a certain being is the starting point of human life, then in itself it has potential to become a human being later on. Now, does an algae or bacteria 3.5 billion years ago has in itself potential to become a human being, meaning, later on in its life span, will it become a human being? Of course not. That creature will die not becoming a human being since it is not a human being in itself. Now, does a sperm cell have a potential to become a human being in itself? Also not. Yes, it may have a components of living being, but if you leave it alone, it cannot be a human being later on unless it will change its identity by fertilization with an egg cell. Now, does a fertilized egg have potential to become a human being? Yes. By giving it nutrients that it needs, it will become a human being. Sperm cell and egg cell alone, even if you give it nutrients to sustain it, will not become a human being, but at the moment of conception, the fertilized egg will. By this, I may conclude that progression of human life starts with conception.

    Besides, life should come from life.

  4. Instead of being scientific, perhaps it would be better to focus on the quality of the life-form to determine whether it's acceptable to abort it or not? If an embryo has been found to suffer from something abnormal, wouldn't it be more humane to cut its life (if you can really call it a life) short and save it from emotional distress of being handicapped if given the chance to be born and live in a world filled with majority of able people? Or if the embryo was unwanted, isn't it also more humane to save it from a loveless upbringing (maybe even starvation) once born? We are not dogs (sorry, just way too many street dogs and puppies where I am right now) that do not have the capacity to control birth. Let's be more humane and lessen the no. of starving street children who grow up to be dysfunctional unhappy individuals.

    • To answer your question. It is never humane to take life, to destroy. Noones belief should should be cause enough to destroy anything that is not a threat to themselves. It is that very small head of yours that create people like hitler( thinking for whatever reason something doesnt deserv to live). Let me breath in this world even if my first breath would be my last for it is mine to take.

  5. You said "This “life begins at fertilization” argument is arbitrary and based on NO SCIENCE whatsoever." (emphasis mine)

    AMAZING! For someone who clings to science & reason, your statement showcases that it's just your presumptions that calls the shots to provide such conclusion. NO SCIENCE? Where is your scientific basis on that? On the contrary, EMBRYOLOGISTS and MEDICAL SOCIETIES the world over has pronounced that Life begins at Fertilization:

    A. Human Embryology & Teratology:

    "Fertilization is an important landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby FORMED… Fertilization is the procession of events that begins when a spermatozoon makes contact with a secondary oocyte or its investments… The zygote … is a unicellular embryo… "The ill-defined and inaccurate term pre-embryo, which includes the embryonic disc, is said either to end with the appearance of the primitive streak or … to include neurulation. The term is not used in this book." (p. 55)." – O'Rahilly, R. and F. Muller. 1996. Human Embryology & Teratology, Wiley-Liss, New York, pp. 5-55.

    B. Other Embryology textbooks: http://www.princeton.edu/~prolife/articles/embryo

    C. American Bioethics Advisory Commission: http://www.all.org/abac/cwk004.htm

    D. The Philippine Medical Association: https://www.philippinemedicalassociation.org/news

    E. American College of Pediatricians: http://www.acpeds.org/When-Human-Life-Begins.html

    So what is your justification, apart from your mental slant, that would back up your “life begins at fertilization argument is arbitrary and based on no science whatsoever" assertion?

    • Where in your citation does it say that "life begins at fertilization"?

      It says "a new genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed." This in no way implies that this "genetically distinct human organism" was not composed of living material before (which is the topic of this piece). And even then, what is before what? Fertilization is a series of several steps. It is not instantaneous. There is no distinct moment of fertilization. Even your citation agrees that "fertilization is the procession of events."

      To completely belabor the point, even "genetically distinct human organism" does not connote personhood. Two persons could be genetically indistinct (twins) and still be separate people. One person could be the amalgam of "genetically distinct" material (chimera) and still be one person.

      My piece argues that "Whatever the first replicating unit was, we know that 3.5 billion years ago was the beginning of life… and life hasn’t stopped since." That's when life began.

      If you want to argue instead that moral significance begins at fertilization, then be my guest. But, don't pretend that it's a scientific argument.

  6. Flashback several years ago, you were a tiny zygote containing all the genetic material which defines you. So it’s not at all morally offensive to tinker with it or destroy it, knowing that it has an inherent capacity for full human development since it has all the necessary instructions/genetic code for this?

  7. Yung isang commenter dyan with a foreign sounding name na nagsabi "this subject should be emotional". Nakakainis eh. Sabi mo "science is for everybody", eh bakit isisingit nya emotional? "good insight" ba yun sa tingin mo?

      • I apologize to our foreigner friends if that statement of mine came across as a sweeping statement. It was not intended so. Probably, what I should have said rather was that our foreigner friends would most likely have a different value system and legalities that only applies to their context. We respect them for that. The Filipinos likewise has a distinct value system and legalities that applies to the Philippine context. They must respect that too. Their system should not be imposed on our system, we Filipinos can determine
        by ourselves what is good for us. We have a system in place and we are working on it. They must understand our culture first otherwise it's offensive.

        Now if any foreigner again comments here that it is "acceptable to kill something alive..that doesn't annoy us"..or suggests that "abortion at the 1st 7 weeks do not annoy", justifies it based on emotion (and calls himself smart!) and attempts to weigh-in on the debate on the RH bill, then I would tell that person off in no uncertain terms. Heck, you should too.

        • See,

          You are one of the sickness here and of the world in general. Once you see that someone is "foreigner", you feel invaded, settled. Hey bro ! You didn't even know the time of Americans or Spanish. This kind of attitude against me just regarding my origin is racist.
          I don't want to enter in this kind of debate… I am anti-nationalist and this attitude revolts me. Nobody here had intention to be a new dictator for the country.

          If you live abroad, especially in a country like France, Sweden, or Netherlands, you would see that people EXPECT from you to criticize their country and to FEEL French, Swedish, or Dutch. They would not consider you as a foreigner or a temporary worker, but they would consider you as their brother (except a 5%-15% of racist people who are the sickness of humanity).
          About Philippines, I guess you are manipulated by your ignorance, or tagalog-imperialist, it depends… But Philippines is -for your information- a country regrouping many DIFFERENT identities. So making this kind of conclusions about the country is simply a non-sense. I am sure that you don't know that battle against spanish were made with a mix of tagalog-nationalists happy to eat others provinces than their country of TONDO, and freemansons who have almost exclusively hold the post of president. And who controls all the major parties here.

          Going back to the topic, I answered you above : all what you argue is based on things I didn't say. It is misrespectful and NOT SMART (contrary to what you think to be).
          Come on man, I am sure you are able to argue correctly without using this kind of manipulations. Let's be legit to each other ;).

          How can you deny that the democratic aspect of a law depend ALSO of what people feel ? It is taboo here ? So many taboos….

  8. You can read the book : "Tibetan Book of the Dead". It gives you a good view about : conception, life and death…it is older than the Jewish Bible…

    • and that book is more authoritative than our constitution on the meaning of conception? more authoritative than modern embryology? Suppose this matter about conception reaches our courts of law. Would your lawyer say to the presiding judge : but, but your honor. according to the Tibetan Book of the Dead…sheesh

  9. Hay naku. If you guys really want to make sense, then argue against the Constitution. Hayan. Wala nang religion-religion dyan ha. Huwag guluhin ang usapan, please. Mga Pilipino lang pwede sumagot, pwede ba? Walang pakialamerong dayuhan. Your opinions don't count, stay out of this.

    The question: WHEN DOES HUMAN LIFE BEGIN? How was it answered by our Constitution? Aber?
    Warning: If you do not uphold the Constitution and openly defy it, you, your group and this site as well as each and every one of you here – might be labeled as anarchists or rebels. This is not a threat, it is a fact. Check it out for your on good. Pakisagot lang please.

    • and does the Philippine Constitution speak for the rest of the world?
      does this definition apply to all nations, governments, and legal rulings elsewhere as well?

      if HUMAN LIFE ONLY EXISTED IN THE PHILIPPINES then your inane ramblings would make sense, otherwise you're just over-generalizing. try to see beyond your own nearsightedness please.

      • Who said the Philippine Constitution speaks for the rest of the world? I didn't unless you are imagining things. RH bill is Philippine legislation, Philippine Constitution will apply. What, you want other constitutions of the world to apply to the RH bill? You want other countries to dictate to us?

        C'mon folks. Do not evade the question. What does the Philippine Constitution say about 'when life begins' and as to when it shall be protected? If you can't answer this honestly then you are just wasting electricity.

        • the article did not limit itself to the Philippine setting. it was YOU that raised the Philippine constitution to "contradict" the points being raised by the writer. There was even no mention of the RH Bill in the original article itself.

          Did you even read it before going off on your rant?

          • Oh? The article did NOT refer to the Philippine setting? The article starts of with "At the risk of disagreeing with FF UP Diliman Senior Faculty Adviser Dr. Sylvia Estrada-Claudio, I do think that the issue of when life begins is not only answerable by science, it has already been answered.". So this article is a response to Dr Claudio's linked article, which if you bothered to read, specifically tackles the start of life with respect to the RH bill. Furthermore, unless my eyes betray me, look at the tags of this article: biology, contraception, Morality, origin of life, RH Bill, Roman Catholic Church, soul.

            O sino ngayun hindi marunong magbasa? Ok, back to the question, please.

          • my goodness, Mr. Willyj, if the Philippine constitution is your only basis, then you should have phrased your question instead to: "when does FILIPINO life begin?" instead of HUMAN life… because last I heard, there are actually other people living outside the Philippines (just in case you didnt know that) who use science and rationality instead of religious dogma when formulating their policies.

    • [The question: WHEN DOES HUMAN LIFE BEGIN? How was it answered by our Constitution? ]
      http://www.chanrobles.com/article2.htm
      "Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government."

      However, I'd also like to add that Joaquin Bernas has cited that the life of the unborn will not be placed on equal level as life of the mother, in worst case scenarios; the life of the unborn can be sacrificed if it means saving the life of the mother.

      • Thank you Twin-Skies. May I also add that contrary to the claims of the pro-RH legislators, the word 'conception' in that provision means fertilization, and the Constitutional Commission's records attest to that fact. The pro-RH legislators are being dishonest for pushing for a statute that runs counter to the constitution, don't you all agree. If they are really serious and honest, they should push for a constitutional amendment instead.

        Regarding your second paragraph, I would want to qualify further. Abortion is definitely disallowed by the Penal Code. However when the mother is treated for a medical urgency and the unborn's life is put in grave danger even to the point of being fatal, it is permissible because there is no purposeful and direct intention to abort. The unintended abortion may be an acceptable consequence in the legitimate attempt to save the mother's life.

        So there. People may hold philosophies and ideologies on the question of the beginning of life. But in the Philippine context, those personal positions remain inconsequential because we have the Fundamental law that must be upheld when statutes are crafted. Statutes flow from the Constitution and not vice-versa. When the Constitution says the unborn must be equally protected from conception, the unborn is accorded primordial rights that does not have to be equated to the full bill of rights. What the constitutional principle means is that the unborn is accorded a provisional personhood that guarantees its protection from the moment of fertilization.

        • [The pro-RH legislators are being dishonest for pushing for a statute that runs counter to the constitution, don't you all agree. If they are really serious and honest, they should push for a constitutional amendment instead. ]

          Specify how they are being dishonest. The RH Bill as it stands is explicit in stating that abortions will remain illegal, though it will provide services for women suffering from abortion complications.

          [What the constitutional principle means is that the unborn is accorded a provisional personhood that guarantees its protection from the moment of fertilization. ]

          Are conception and fertilization the same thing?

          • Specify how they are being dishonest. The RH Bill as it stands is explicit in stating that abortions will remain illegal, though it will provide services for women suffering from abortion complications.

            The pro-RH legislators are on record in claiming that conception is equal to implantation. They have the temerity to be adamant on this stand, when a little research into the constitutional records can unequivocally affirm that conception means fertilization.
            If that is not dishonesty then that is rank amateur stupidity – something which I do not accuse them of. They are being dishonest also because they would like us to forget and ignore that the spirit of the law prevails over the letter of the law. Conception = Fertilization, period.

            Yeah, they say the bill is against abortions alright. Notice however that they redefine the start of life so as to justify the "full range" of contraceptives. Now all chemical contraceptives contain some combination of estrogen and progestin, a formulation that has the secondary effects of constricting the fallopian tubes and thinning the uterine wall. Now chemical contraceptives are not 100% effective in preventing ovulation.The contraceptive manufacturers themselves admit those. Ergo, the human zygote is inhibited from implantation. Connect the dots and you realize why they are so insistent that life starts at implantation – to circumvent the constitutional principle in Article 2 Section 12 in their desire to promote contraceptives nationwide, using public money. Isn't that dishonesty?
            Again I repeat. If these pro-Rh bill legislators are really honest and serious they should move for a constitutional amendment first.

        • Constitutions are made to be improved or changed. I don't know why it is so important to you. You are venerating it as if it is your religion…

          What you are saying is dangerous, you are telling that Filipino are not able to find their own ideologies if it is not respecting the constitution…

          The fact remains that a raped woman who have a baby, or a minor teen who got one, don't have to pay (financially) all her life because of it. You are visibly pro-life "because the sacred constitution told you", but you don't find anything for this kind of women.
          Before to consider as criminal these women, correct these defaults. Because here, the criminal is the constitution who let children in our street (yes our, this land is as mine as yours, and vis versa with my native one, as long as I am human).

          • Nothing is preventing anyone in having ideologies. The fundamental law of the land however, must be abided by regardless of ideologies. Of course you are always free to think, but to act upon your ideology is another matter. Try stepping into our shores, publicly flaunt and act upon your on abortion ideology as you please, and let's see what happens. We have our own definition of crime and its not the same as yours.

  10. "Human life has no real beginning and that is exactly what I mean here"

    Hanye? Then it follows life has no real end too.

  11. This is a useless thread where personal ideologies are confounding what is supposed to be based on science alone. If human life does not start at fertilization then when does it start, aber? The article for all its blah-blah never proposed anything. At any rate, the Philippine Constitution already affirmed that life starts at conception which is fertilization. The discussions which settled the matter are all there. Look up the Constitutional Commission Records which support this, don't be lazy. Still, if you guys are sad with that then petition for favorite legislators TO MOVE FOR A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. FIRST. Enough. You are just wasting electricity.

    • We don't care of Philippines constitution, or any political constitution.
      We are here talking between PHILOSOPHIES, not only science. So it is very general.
      If you just can understand science arguments, then ignore other kind of arguments.

      We have the right to talk, whatever if you or your favorite political party dislikes.

      And that is the point you don't get.

  12. This debate should not be scientific.
    Also not philosophically, because life begins in bacterias…

    This subject should be emotional, to compromize what is the size of species (include human) to say they are alive. My answer is simple and personnal : when we see them with our eyes.

    The other question related to this topic is "which size is acceptable to kill something alive who doesn't annoy us ?". For me it is 2 centimeters.

    Conclusion : Abortion in the 7th first weeks doesn't annoy me. While I am shocked when it occurs after 7 weeks.

    People here should have a poll about this last question, to allow abortion for a size tolerated by +50% of people.

    Humans are animals, it's the same, we are just more smart. It is really the question to compromize.

    • Thank you for admitting that the issue be decided upon by emotions. Your emotions, I presume .As for other emotions, I presume the most emotional should prevail. Sure let us have a vote of emotions then, after all we are supposed to think with our emotions. I guess this site should then be called "free emoters" rather than "free thinkers". If the entire issues of the world are decided by emotions, then our whole planet will be one huge chaotic telenovela – bad plot, bad acting, and a bad ending.

      You have a curious parameter to determine acceptable life: size and age. I suppose by your standards, a 3-year old, 3-feet child is less human than a 25-year old, 7-footer basketball player. Also, I take it from you that one of the justifications for killing is if "it annoys". I sure hope that no one gets annoyed with you. I am puzzled where you got your standards. Oh- your emotions, sorry.

      • You did not understand the scope of my remark, but don't worry, I will help you.

        Two aspects : Democratic aspect and scientific aspect.

        Scientific aspect :

        Do you consider humans differents from animals because of our intelligence or because you love to feel you are a superior creature… a kind of God ? (funny to say that to a convinced believer). I guess it is for the first reason.

        In this instance, when does science says that humans are intelligent ? Which age ?
        And which degree of intelligence do people need to not feel shocked by an abortion (who is the end of a life, whatever what kind) ?
        At my knowledge, there is no scientific proofs and unanimity to solve these questions.

        Democratic aspect :
        Society make choices together. No one have the right, even a conservative RCC, to force people to life in a way, or to not. Even if it is scientifically good. That is the garranty to avoid the tyranny of a group on another group, the garranty of freedom.
        So yes, there is an emotionnal aspect in addition to the scientific aspect. All is not scientific. I don't know in what kind of world you live but you should wake up and read some philosophic books…

        Here I was talking about abortion, so allowing to stop a life (whatever what kind of life is that). And there is an emotional part about it. Even if you reassure people that there is no more life in the phoetus than a larva, it is still them who would VOTE.
        But you, you are denying the democracy, you are just such a nationalist, a fascist (= a beast), nothing else.

        Did I say the entire issues of the the world are emotional ? When ? You are making me say what I don't say, maybe you should learn how to read first ?

        My "parameters" are proper to my emotions. I don't feel problems to kill a bee, but I would feel to kill bigger. It is my own problem, it is emotional, and I don't need scientific argues to VOTE for it.

        But did I say a 3yo child is less human/alive than a 25yo human ? No, never.
        So your argument is ONCE AGAIN based on something I didn't say.

        By respect for people here, do not make them say what they do not say.

        THANK YOU.

        • Geoffrey,
          Hey man,let's both cool down. I admit I started the hostilities, but I have to admit too that my emotions were provoked by your emotions. Sorry…

          Anyway, you meant 'guarantee' don't you when you said 'garranty', twice. Yes of course we
          are guaranteed freedom, but that freedom must be restricted when its exercise impinges on the freedom of others. For one thing, I 'feel' for the right to life of an unborn human less than 7 weeks old, contrary to your own feelings. It is not about democracy or philosophy. It is about the genuine, inherent, natural right to life. You were once less than 7 weeks old too at one time. Imagine if the world voted you out then, as the unborn can't vote, can they.

          Did "you say a 3yo child is less human/alive than a 25yo human?". Yes you did.
          You said less than 2 centimeters, less than 7 weeks is acceptable to kill or abort.
          Or maybe I can't read.

          • hi, i have come across with this thread just recently… i’m gathering materials for my article. your views picqued my interest, i am not saying i totally agree with you but i consider your line of argument as logical sound and valid.

            should you be interested in sharing your views concerning RH bill (and may I also asked for other topics?), ill be more than happy to hear from you, in fact i’ll be thrilled..

            here’s my email (in case of trouble contacting me here in this forum) :

            ian_mendez15@yahoo.com.ph

            thanks…

    • Thanks, Jong! I purposefully avoided the word "conception" even though it's a mainstay in Catholic dogma precisely because of the point you raised. Conservatives like to throw around words like that as if they had an ace up their sleeve when all that they had was a joke.

      I've yet to hear "soul" in conjunction with "conception" during these debates but it is necessary for their argument to hold water. Once they admit to this, they will have to concede that their position is not scientific but inherently religious (but I'm not holding my breath).

  13. On that note, PMA doctors should have used the term "PREGNANCY" and shouldn't have bandied the term "Life." Only human, despite their abilities to properly tinker with our organs.

    • The term "life" was hijacked in order to paint pro-choice advocates as "anti-life" when nothing could be further from the truth. It is the concern of pro-choice advocates for life and the quality by which it is led that confounds me how conservatives can honestly wave the "pro-life" banner.

      • The Pro-Life movement in the US have also been known to firebomb clinics and murder family planning doctors in cold blood. And when one of these said doctor's family's dies on a plane crash, they don't mourn their loss. They claim God's retribution:
        http://www.jillstanek.com/archives/2009/03/aborti

        Pro-Life? Who the fuck are they kidding? They're fucking hypocrites of the highest order. Fuck them.

        On second thought, maybe not.

        • the violence you're mentioning here is really just a strawman. It doesn't say the least about the vast majority of pro-life advocates who oppose this sort of cowardly violence.

  14. Points to ponder on:
    [note that i used conception interchangeably with fertilization because that is what THEIR side believes]

    if life begins at conception, shouldn't every miscarriage be investigated for possible murder?

    if life begins at conception, WE HAVE A HIGHER MORTALITY RATE than we thought. haha

    if life begins at conception, zygotes "die" immediately when they fail to implant – which happen 70% of the time [note that zygotes only have 33% chances of successful implantation]

    if life begins at conception, shouldn't these zygotes be given birth/conception certificates? and if these zygotes do "die," shouldn't they be given death certificates and be awarded proper burials?

    oh, and by the way, 70% of zygotes go to hell when they fail to get implanted (due to natural processes) because they weren't baptized.
    http://everybodyhasone.blogspot.com/2007/12/does-… <a href="http://discovermagazine.com/2004/may/cover/?searchterm=embryo+viability&quot; rel="nofollow"&gt <a href="http://;http://discovermagazine.com/2004/may/cover/?searc…” target=”_blank”>;http://discovermagazine.com/2004/may/cover/?searc

  15. lol, if ensoulment occurs during fertilization, does that mean identical twins have to settle with sharing half a soul each when their zygote decides to split?

    • I addressed this personhood/life equivocation when I explained the moral duty conservatives seem to require for fertilized embryos. But even in the case of personhood, fertilization is an intellectually bankrupt anchor point.

      Human life has no real beginning and that is exactly what I mean here. Sperm is human life. And going back through evolutionary history, there is no distinct point when embryos are suddenly "human" with its parents "non-human." Personhood on the basis of gametic fusion has no basis in scientific fact.

      • it is important to distinguish between human life, human being, and human person in order to have a better perspective on things and the points that you are trying to expound on.

        considering the title of your article shouldnt we expect it to be about the beginning human life, and not as you end it with your opinion of the Catholic Faith?

        the development of a human being begins with fertilization. it is a known fact. the moment of conception is the moment a new being exists. simply put, a human being at any point of its developmental stage such as the mitotic generation of somatic cells is a being of human kind. <a href="http://(http://www.princeton.edu/~prolife/articles/embryoquotes2.html)” target=”_blank”>(http://www.princeton.edu/~prolife/articles/embryoquotes2.html)

        • The development of an individual human being begins at sperm and egg production. To debate this is just an argument in semantics with no real implications. I've already pointed out to you that development can also be considered as to have begun from the first living organism on Earth, continuously reproducing until it got to our generation of humans.

          There is nothing particularly special about fertilization. Your setting apart of this stage is arbitrary. The differences between human life, human being, and human, while important, have nothing to do with fertilization. It has everything to do with brains and the capacity for thought, cognition, and experience. If I make a copy of an adult person through the construction of his atoms, he is a human being and he didn't have to go through fertilization.

          The Church's obsession about fertilization, while allowed to you by freedom of thought, has no grounding in what we know about human experience. Besides, which point in fertilization are you referring to? Which chromosome's fusion are you considering the point where the soul enters? Is it required that the nuclear envelope first closes? Must genetic transcription begin before an embryo is sufficiently a person?

          While your quotations may be hosted on the Princeton servers, those are just from a subdirectory of a pro-life group and reflect nothing about current scientific consensus. So, no, I'm not going to fall for your appeal to authority.

          I challenge you to answer this. Knowing what we know about human evolution and the lack of clear species boundaries, at what point did the first human person arrive? Were its parents non-human? Were its parents so catastrophically different so as to allow different moral status?

          • the fertilization is that of the sperm and the egg. if you really reject the Princeton study then I question which one of us here is really out there to seek the truth, because I don't really see any references to God or Christianity in it. It cites several academic sources – and it's not as if all of them are pro-life conservative Christians. Human personhood inevitably begins at the fertilization and creation of a zygote. Your reply didn't challenge that at all and just said that there is no implication.

            From what I read, you seem to say that the complexity fertilization and its steps invalidates the possibility of its transformative elements. In terms of the evolutionary perspective, this changes nothing about the ethical implications of killing a fellow human being. Sure, all that time ago it may have been Australopithecus killing Australopithecus, but that doesn't make it right. Human's don't need to naturally kill each other the way they do to other animals as a means of survival. Are you going to tell me whether it was the chicken or the egg which came first? In addition is very dangerous territory you are going into, utilitarianism. When you start mixing utilitarianism with life ethics, things get very ugly, as you put a numerical or measurable value on a human being, which essentially opens the door to unspeakable crimes as we have seen history show us (human trafficking, eugenics, ethnic cleansing, etc).

          • "Princeton study"

            I'm sorry, kind guest. It was not a study. It was a student organization's site hosted on Princeton servers.

            I argued nowhere that killing ancestral primates is ethical. Nor did I say anything else that you wrote against. Then you go on to call utilitarianism dangerous by lumping it with eugenics and genocide without a single argument. I'm sorry I wasted my time reading your pointless diatribe. I think humanity is now numerically and measurably less valuable because of your comment.

            By the way, the egg came first.

        • using that definition, then every bit of stem cell is a human being. Anybody who flushes human DNA down the drain would be guilty of murder. Moreso when genetic cloning technology advances

    • The topic is – I think – larger than only one aspect.
      But all depends where we want to go with this kind of topics ? Without goals, it is useless.

      Me, I talked about the democratic aspect that is the feeling of citizen about phoetus, because I felt that this topic was to talk about family planing and abortion.
      And I talked about the place of humans in life on earth.

      But some people here are not enough smart to have a substantive debate ^^.

      • can dog sperm and human egg be fertilized? if so, i do believe in science..if not..then why not focus in your country’s problem..not ours…Philippines…

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