Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Share Your Thoughts: Memorializing the Unborn

As I posted last week, I just began reading Grand Central Questions by Abdu Murray. Murray opens the first chapter by describing a trip that he and his wife took to New York City where they visited the 9/11 Memorial. He writes that one of the unique features of the memorial, which I was unaware of, is that next to the names of the women who were pregant that perished in the attack are listed the words “and her unborn child.”

Is our society being inconsistent by memorializing the unborn that perished in that attack yet not memorializing the 60 million unborn that perished through abortion? Are the unborn that perished in the 9/11 attack significantly different in some way that makes them worthy of being remembered?

Provide your thoughts in the comments below.

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

30 comments:

Andrew Ryan said...

Between 50%-70% of conceptions end through spontaneous abortion. In other words, the embryo or fetus is expelled by the body. This far outweighs the number of induced abortions – ie those caused by humans.

Would you suggest a memorial for all the embryos/fetuses lost through spontaneous abortion? I've not seen any pro-lifers campaigning of such a thing. You can say it's different because it's naturally caused, but we have memorials to lives lost through other natural disasters.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is truly inconsistent. But the "pro-choice" faction must be inconsistent; otherwise, they could not suppress the truth.

Chase said...

Hello Andrew,

I am more than happy to address your question, but first, if it is alright with you, I would like to know your answers to the two questions asked in the post.

Andrew Ryan said...

When you kill a woman and the baby she intended to bring up, you've removed her life and her right to bring up that child. In the same way, if you forced a vasectomy on me, you've removed my right to have children. We can indeed think it's terrible that those intended children won't now get to live.

But if I choose to have a vasectomy – and I'm having one next month – that's my choice. No-one need mourn the extra children I'm now not going to have. In the same way, if a woman chooses to have an abortion, that's her choice too.

Chase said...

Hello again Andrew,

It seems to me that you are saying that our society is not being inconsistent by memorializing the unborn that perished in the 9/11 attack but not the unborn that perished through abortion. You think there is no inconsistency because the mothers that perished along with their unborn children in the 9/11 attack intended to raise the children whereas the mothers that decided upon aborting their unborn children did not intend on raising the children. Since you did not directly answer the questions my understanding of your statement may be inaccurate so please clarify if I am not stating your response correctly. If I am stating it correctly please just affirm that I am.

Also, I am having difficulty seeing the similarity between a vasectomy and an abortion. A vasectomy does not end the life of an unborn child already in existence an abortion does. If you can further explain the similarity for me that would be appreciated.

Andrew Ryan said...

Chase, are you going to address my point? Do you think anti-abortionists are being inconsistent by not memorialising the hundreds of millions of foetuses that are spontaneously aborted, ie naturally aborted without human intervention?

And yes, you correctly summarise my position in your first paragraph.

A vasectomy prevents future children being born, same as an abortion does. I do not see a four-week old blastocyst as being an 'unborn child'. You may disagree with that position (obviously you do), but I see no inconsistency in it.

Andrew Ryan said...

Interesting contrast - a mass grave if 800 babies and young kids discovered, on the site if a Catholic hospital, and yet it's a struggle to raise the cash to build any kind of memorial there. This seems to be a very similar inconsistency to the one you think you see above, but reversed. Here's a group who claim to see abortion as murder, yet post-birth kids deserve no memorial at all.

I'm still interested in your response to my first post.

Chase said...

So, since a mother who decides upon aborting her unborn child has the right to do so because she does not intend to raise the child, a mother who decides upon killing her newborn has the right to do so if she does not intend to raise the child?

A vasectomy prevents future children being born, same as an abortion does.

Correct, but an abortion prevents future children being born by ending their lives does it not? In what way does a vasectomy end a life?

I do not see a four-week old blastocyst as being an 'unborn child'.

What kind of a blastocyst is it; a chicken blastocyst, a pig blastocyst, a human blastocyst? Were you ever a blastocyst?

Do you think anti-abortionists are being inconsistent by not memorialising the hundreds of millions of foetuses that are spontaneously aborted, ie naturally aborted without human intervention?

Andrew, I stated that I would address this question when I knew your answers to the two questions asked in the post. Now that I fully understand those answers I will.

No, I do not think it is inconsistent for the following reasons:

1. This is not a valid comparison. Abortion is other humans directly ending the lives of the unborn. Miscarriage, or spontaneous abortion, is the unborn dying due to natural physical complications. You even note this difference in the question itself. So, this is like asking if I think pro-lifers are being inconsistent by not memorializing the hundreds of millions of individuals who have died naturally.

2. You are assuming that pro-lifers are not remembering the unborn that died due to miscarriage. I am sure that pro-life parents who are aware that a miscarriage occurred have personally memorialized the life of the child in some way. There are organizations that help them do this. I am sure that the pro-life family and friends of those parents grieved with them and remember the loss as well. So, in both cases the pro-lifer affirms that the unborn are human individuals. A public memorial does not have to be in place as proof of their consistency. On the other hand, the 9/11 memorial is in place and it seems to be proof of our society’s inconsistency. Determining whether or not this is the case is the point of the post.

Lastly, your comment about the apparent inconsistency within the Catholic Church is irrelevant. I am not Catholic.

Respectfully.

Andrew Ryan said...

"Were you ever a blastocyst?"
Obviously, and obviously yes a human one. What's your point?

As I said, a vasectomy prevents future life, as does abortion.

"I am not Catholic"
How do we know what respective religions the people memorialising the dead of 9/11 and all the people having abortions are? Why assume it's the same people?

" You are assuming that pro-lifers are not remembering the unborn that died due to miscarriage"
Are you assuming the same is not true of unborn lost to abortion?

"You even note this difference in the question itself."
Yes, I noted it in order to head it OFF as an objection, pointing out that we memorialise people killed off by natural causes all the time. That point stands.

"So, this is like asking if I think pro-lifers are being inconsistent by not memorializing the hundreds of millions of individuals who have died naturally. "

No it isn't because we DO memorialise people who die naturally. There's a service, an event, a gravestone. That was my very point.

Andrew Ryan said...

" a mother who decides upon killing her newborn has the right to do so if she does not intend to raise the child?"

When did I say anything about rights? We were discussing differing attitudes to aborted unborn vs unborn killed by others. I thought was what you wanted opinions on. I already said that I don't see, say, a four-week old (human) blastocyst as being the same as a 'post-birth' child, so obviously I'm not going to see 'right to abort blastocyst' as being the same as 'right to kill newborn'. Again, you may disagree with my stance, but you were trying to argue it was inconsistent, which is a separate issue.

Chase said...

Andrew,

When did I say anything about rights? We were discussing differing attitudes to aborted unborn vs unborn killed by others. I thought was what you wanted opinions on.

You stated that, “if a woman chooses to have an abortion, that's her choice.” Additionally you confirmed that there is no inconsistency because the mothers that perished along with their unborn children in the 9/11 attack intended to raise the children whereas the mothers that decided upon aborting their unborn children did not intend on raising the children. So, when you were talking about the intent and choices of the mother you were not talking about her rights?

I already said that I don't see, say, a four-week old (human) blastocyst as being the same as a 'post-birth' child, so obviously I'm not going to see 'right to abort blastocyst' as being the same as 'right to kill newborn'. Again, you may disagree with my stance, but you were trying to argue it was inconsistent, which is a separate issue.

Again, you claimed that there is no inconsistency because the mothers that perished along with their unborn children in the 9/11 attack intended to raise the children whereas the mothers that decided upon aborting their unborn children did not intend on raising the children. In no way have I argued that this is inconsistent. I pointed out that this claim seems inconsistent by asking, “So, since a mother who decides upon aborting her unborn child has the right to do so because she does not intend to raise the child, a mother who decides upon killing her newborn has the right to do so if she does not intend to raise the child?” You answered by stating that a blastocyst is different than a newborn. So, in what way is a blastocyst different from a newborn that does not make it illegal for other humans to end the life of the blastocyst?

Obviously, and obviously yes a human one. What's your point?

Since you were a human when you were a blastocyst, why was it legal for other humans to end your life then but it is illegal for other humans to end your life now as an adult human?

As I said, a vasectomy prevents future life, as does abortion.

Actually you said, “A vasectomy prevents future children being born, same as an abortion does.” And you did not answer my questions. In what way does a vasectomy prevent future children being born? In what way does an abortion prevent future children being born?

No it isn't because we DO memorialise people who die naturally. There's a service, an event, a gravestone. That was my very point.

And I addressed this by stating that I see no reason to think that pro-life parents who are aware that a miscarriage occurred do not personally memorialized the life of the child in some way. Nor to think that the pro-life family and friends of those parents do not grieve with them and remember the loss as well. Do you have some reason to think that they do not?

Are you assuming the same is not true of unborn lost to abortion?

I am not clear on what you are asking here so please clarify.

How do we know what respective religions the people memorialising the dead of 9/11 and all the people having abortions are? Why assume it's the same people?

I am not assuming anything of the sort. I am assuming that overall our society is alright with the 9/11 memorial being in place. I see no one campaigning to tear it down or alter it because it is affirming the unborn as persons. Yet overall our society is alright with legal abortion being in place. This looks like an inconsistency and you have not been very helpful in explaining to me why it is not.

Respectfully.

Andrew Ryan said...

"Since you were a human when you were a blastocyst..."

You're equivocating. You can say "what species of hair do you have - gorilla? Rat?". If I say human, it doesn't mean my hair is a human being.

"You stated that, “if a woman chooses to have an abortion, that's her choice.” "

I think you're making a knee-jerk response that if someone uses the word choice they're making a pro-choice argument. Rather, I was drawing a distinction between an abortion chosen by the woman and a pregnancy ended by her murder.

I'll address your other points when I have time.

Andrew Ryan said...

"I see no reason to think that pro-life parents who are aware that a miscarriage occurred do not personally memorialized the life of the child in some way."

Perhaps, but you started off saying: "Is our society being inconsistent by memorializing the unborn that perished in that attack yet not memorializing the 60 million unborn that perished through abortion?"

So are you talking about a big 'official' memorial? If so, then my point stands about the same question standing for spontaneous abortions - in fact more so given that the latter is by far the biggest number.

If you're not talking about an official memorial, just the private memorials that individuals might have, then the same might apply to abortions for all you know.

Andrew Ryan said...

We can give examples of the difference choice makes in a situation that have nothing to do with either 'pro-choice' or questions of 'right actions' vs 'wrong actions', which is why it's a red herring for you to bring either of those issues in to respond to my point.

My attitude when I quit a job is going to be vastly different to being fired from the same job. That is the case regardless of whether I have the right to quit or my boss has the right to fire me. Likewise the difference between deciding to end a relationship and being dumped.

Similarly, it's pretty likely that a man is going to feel differently about deciding with their partner to terminate a pregnancy, and losing an unborn child because his wife has been murdered, a child he and his wife had planned to bring up together. In fact, more than pretty likely, to me this seems pretty obvious.

Again, this has nothing to do with whether abortion or even murder is right or wrong, and it's entirely separate from what people mean when they defend being 'pro-choice' - it's entirely an explanation for differing attitudes, explaining what you see as an inconsistency.

I hope this answers all your questions - I think I've explained my position pretty clearly, so shouldn't need to elaborate further.

Chase said...

Hi Andrew,

Respond when you can. You are a father and husband. That is more important.

You're equivocating.

I see, you understand a blastocyst to be human tissue. Blastocyst formation begins after conception. I am curious, what reading of embryology has led you to this understanding? When I look at embryology literature it supports the development of a human being beginning at conception:

“To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion. The human nature of the human being from conception to old age isn’t a metaphysical contention, it is plain experimental evidence.” French geneticist Jerome L. LeJeune testifying before a Senate Subcommittee in 1981 as quoted by Francis J. Beckwith in Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice.

The report from that Subcommittee cited many other authorities supporting LeJeune’s assessment. Here are a couple:

“I think we can now also say that the question of the beginning of life – when life begins – is no longer a question for theological or philosophical dispute. It is an established scientific fact. Theologians and philosophers may go on to debate the meaning of life or purpose of life, but it is an established fact that all life, including human life, begins at the moment of conception.” Dr. Hymie Gordon of the Mayo Clinic.

“So, therefore, it is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception, when egg and sperm join to form the zygote, and this developing human always is a member of our species in all stages of its life.” Dr. Micheline Matthews-Roth of Harvard Medical School.

Some statements from embryology texts as well:

“A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo).” Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition.

“Human embryos begin development following the fusion of definitive male [sperm] and female gametes [egg] during fertilization...This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic dvelopment.” William J. Larsen, Essentials of Human Embryology.

“It needs to be emphasized that life is continuous, as is also human life, so that the question ‘When does (human) life begin?’ is meaningless in terms of ontogeny. Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed.” O’ Rahilly and Muller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 2nd edition.

So, since you are saying the development of your being did not begin at conception or even at the formation of the blastocyst, when did it begin and why do you think it began at this point?

We can give examples of the difference choice…

Correct, there are plenty of examples in which the difference choice makes in a situation has nothing to do with right or wrong action. Like what toothpaste I decide to use or how I decide to style my hair. However, this does not negate that there are examples in which the difference choice makes in a situation has everything to do with right or wrong action. Determining whether or not questions of right or wrong play into our choices depends on what we are choosing. So we need to ask what a person is choosing when choosing abortion. And to do that we need to determine what the unborn are. Hence my questions to you about what a blastocyst is and when your development began.

These questions were unanswered: In what way does a vasectomy prevent future children being born? In what way does an abortion prevent future children being born?

Ronald Reagan designated October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Seems like a public memorial to me established by a pro-life president.

Regarding memorializing the unborn lost through abortion, see here and here.

Andrew Ryan said...

"And to do that we need to determine what the unborn are. Hence my questions to you about what a blastocyst is and when your development began. "

If you want to set up a separate thread on those questions I may well give my opinions, but I'm trying to stay on topic here. Specifically you started by discussing what you suggested was an inconsistency between the mentioning of unborn children killed in the 9/11 attacks in a memorial, and the fact that there is not a similar memorial for aborted children.

I have addressed this by pointing out there is similarly no official memorial for children spontaneously aborted, but mainly to point out that attitudes differ wildly in other situations when comparing something caused by your own choice vs the same thing caused against your will be someone else. I also pointed out that this applies regardless of questions of whether you or them has the 'right' to do it.

The latter is quite enough alone to explain what you see as an inconsistency. One doesn't even need to weigh up or contrast whether the other person had the right to do it, or even if you did. The difference in attitude still applies either way. We don't wonder why we have a different attitude to quitting a job to being fired. We don't see a massive inconsistency between our attitude to the end of a relationship when we're dumped vs us dumping the other person. We don't scratch our heads and see the difference as requiring massive explanation.

Again, that alone is enough to explain it. Even if you dismiss my vasectomy analogy, and also disagree with me about what a blastocyst is, the above alone is still enough to explain the apparent 'inconsistency'.

"These questions were unanswered: In what way does a vasectomy prevent future children being born?.

It's not unanswered: I said above that the vas deferens is tied to prevent the flow of sperm, thus preventing conception.

The rest of your post discusses when life begins. Again, if you want to start a different thread on that question, I may well take part in it. On this thread I am focussing on the question you raised above, which I believe I have now answered several times. If you want to address my specific argument I will respond again.

Andrew Ryan said...

"Ronald Reagan designated October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Seems like a public memorial to me established by a pro-life president."

Not quite sure what this is supposed to prove beyond the opinions of Reagan himself. Since then it's been reduced to a single day that includes all sorts of things. At any rate, designating an 'awareness month' is pretty weak gravy - it hardly compares to the huge number of monuments we have to the holocaust.

Andrew Ryan said...

"Correct, there are plenty of examples in which the difference choice makes in a situation has nothing to do with right or wrong action. Like what toothpaste I decide to use or how I decide to style my hair."

Re-reading this makes it clear again that you read as far as seeing the word 'choice' in the sentence and completely ignored what I was actually saying. You say "Correct" and then provide two examples that have nothing to do with 'X being forced on you' vs 'Choosing x for your yourself'.

I gave the examples of choosing to leave a job vs being fired from a job, and choosing to end a relationship vs the other person forcing it to end.

That you reply with the examples of choosing toothpaste or a hair style – where someone else choosing for you would make little comparative difference – shows you didn't take on board my meaning in any way. You appear to have ignored the entire argument. Again, it seems you read as far as the word 'choice', figured I was making an argument about 'pro-choice' and so decided you could give a standard reply to that rather than engage with what I was actually saying.

Chase said...

Our society is not being inconsistent because it recognizes that the pregnant woman who perished in the 9/11 attack intended on raising the child (although I would question our ability to know she was not contemplating abortion, but I will grant this) and thus mourns the loss of the unborn, but also recognizes the pregnant woman who chose abortion did not intend on raising the child and thus does not question that choice. I understand what you are saying Andrew.

Since you claim the consistency has to do with the intent of the mother I then asked: So, since a mother who decides upon aborting her unborn child has the right to do so because she does not intend to raise the child, a mother who decides upon killing her newborn has the right to do so if she does not intend to raise the child?

Let me ask it differently since you are averse to the word “rights”: So, since a mother who decides upon aborting her unborn child because she does not intend to raise the child is unquestioned by society, a mother who decides upon killing her newborn because she does not intend to raise the child should be unquestioned by society?

This is essentially the same question and reasonable to ask since you claim the intent of the mother is the driving factor in society’s response or non-response. So once again we are led back to the question, in what way is the unborn/blastocyst different from the newborn that results in our society remaining silent when the intention of someone to end its life is carried out?

I have provided embryology literature supporting that there is no difference between a blastocyst and a newborn; that they are both human beings. Additionally, you have affirmed that you were once a blastocyst. You have merely asserted that there is a difference by clarifying that you were human tissue when you were a blastocyst. Finally, you did not state when you think the development of your being began and why you think it began at this point in response to my question.

It's not unanswered: I said above…

Nowhere prior to this point in the thread did you answer the question, “In what way does a vasectomy prevent future children being born?”

Thank you for your answer, however you still have one more to answer; in what way does an abortion prevent future children being born?

designating an 'awareness month' is pretty weak gravy

How is the designation of a President or a Congress “weak gravy”? Is the designation of Sexual Assault Awareness Month “weak gravy”? The Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust were established long before the Holocaust museum was built. Would you argue that they were “weak gravy” when designated by Congress?

Respectfully.

Andrew Ryan said...

"Would you argue that they were “weak gravy” when designated by Congress?"

Compared to all the monuments to the holocaust, yes. If an alien came to earth and was trying to work out what we value, they'd see gravestones for virtually every dead person. They'd see monuments to the holocaust. They'd see one or two references to 'along with her unborn child' on memorials. And they'd see comparatively little attention paid to spontaneous abortions.

I don't think they would see inconsistency between this and legal abortion, which is the argument you seemed to be making above.

"Actually you said, “A vasectomy prevents future children being born, same as an abortion does.”

Apologies – I definitely submitted another post that referenced the vas deferens (I remember checking the spelling), but I can now see above that it never posted.

"a mother who decides upon killing her newborn because she does not intend to raise the child should be unquestioned by society?"

That comes down to when you believe personhood begins. People who see a blastocyst as being equivalent to a newborn would presumably question both (if they were consistent). People who don't see the two as being equivalent would see one as permissible and the other not. I'm in the latter camp. I don't get the inconsistency in the latter group. In fact I would say that this is a fairly dominant and consistent attitude in our society.

I know a couple who lost an 18-year-old daughter. They've set up charities in her name, toast her birthday, talk of her often. The mother also had a miscarriage a few weeks into a pregnancy. Perhaps she still thinks of the child that might have been, but to all appearances it is nowhere near on a similar level to the aforementioned daughter.

Andrew Ryan said...

"Finally, you did not state when you think the development of your being began"

No single point. You might as well ask when I became an adult and stopped being a child. Saying on my 18th birthday invites the response "How different were you the day before your 18th birthday?".

However, this doesn't mean it logically follows that there is no difference between a child and an adult. This is the 'fallacy of the beard' – because there is no point when stubble becomes beard, we therefore can't say there's a difference between a clean-shaven man and a bearded one.

But a week before due date I'd call an abortion murder unless it was to save the life of the mother. And a week after conception I'd not have the same reaction at all if the mother took some kind of 'morning after' pill.

"I have provided embryology literature supporting that there is no difference between a blastocyst and a newborn"

No you didn't. The quotes said such things as fertilisation is the beginning of a genetically distinct human organism, or 'the beginning or zero time point of embryonic dvelopment' (sic).

That's not at all the same as saying there's 'no difference' between the two. There are many huge and obvious differences, from brain activity, possession of a central nervous system, ability to feel pain etc.

One of the most famous pro-choice advocates in the US is PZ Myers. I disagree with much of what he says, but he is an embryologist, and he simply doesn't agree with you on this issue:

"This is a point absolutely and solidly established in biology. The embryo is not the adult. It does not contain the full information present in the newborn — that will be generated progressively, by interactions with the environment and by complex internal negotiations within an increasingly complex embryo. Pretending that 46 chromosomes in a cell is sufficient to define a person is the most absurd kind of extreme biological reductionism."

Andrew Ryan said...

"however you still have one more to answer; in what way does an abortion prevent future children being born?"

Apologies again. Abortion kills the fetus by removing it from the essential support of the mother's womb. Therefore it doesn't ever get born and become, in the future, a child.

Chase said...

That comes down to when you believe personhood begins.

Agreed, which is why I asked you when you think the development of your being began and why do you think it began at this point. And this is quite different from asking when you became an adult and stopped being a child because it is asking when you came into existence not when a transition in development occurred.

It is the same with your beard analogy. I began growing a beard at the end of September of last year and shaved it off at the end of March. Whenever people would ask me how long I have had the beard I would reference its September origin point. I would not reference a date in between. Was there a difference between my beard at March and my beard at September? Of course, a developmental difference not an origin difference. Is there a difference between a newborn and a blastocyst? Of course, a developmental difference not an origin difference.

Again, I have provided embryology literature supporting that there is no difference between a blastocyst and a newborn; that they are both human beings. You missed the portion of my statement which is now in bold when you quoted it. Thus, you misrepresented me as saying that a blastocyst and a newborn are exactly the same when I did not. Additionally, you focused on the quote from Essentials of Human Embryology that states that embryonic development begins at fertilization and ignored all the others that state that an embryo is a human. You provided a quote from PZ Myers to call this into question, however, as far as I can tell this quote came from his personal blog. Every quote I provided is from either a published embryology text or a Senate subcommittee report.

However I will address what Myers states within his blog post to support his statement. He states that an embryo is human tissue with “the potential to go on and develop into a child.” He then compares the embryo to rough marble yet to be sculpted or a scrap of canvas yet to be painted upon to make his point. Rough marble or a scrap of canvas will not develop into art on their own and so Myers misses the key point: the ability to go on and develop into a child is innate to the embryo. There is nothing “potential” about it. The embryo, without human intervention or physical complications, will go on to develop into a child; the embryo will go on to develop into an adult. Why is this? Because the embryo is a human at the beginning of their development.

But a week before due date I'd call an abortion murder unless it was to save the life of the mother.

As explained in my first two paragraphs, the question of when you think the development of your being began and why is still on the table. However, you have answered when you think the development of your being began through your statement directly above. You are affirming the personhood of the unborn one week from the due date. Please clarify for me then, does this mean that you affirm that premature babies are not persons? They are delivered weeks even months before the due date.

the vas deferens is tied to prevent the flow of sperm, thus preventing conception.

Abortion kills the fetus by removing it from the essential support of the mother's womb. Therefore it doesn't ever get born and become, in the future, a child.

No apologies necessary and thanks for your answer. Perhaps condensing your thoughts into one comment each time would be helpful in tracking the thread. Something though is still not clear to me from your answers. If you can clear it up that would be great. Since an abortion kills life how is that not a critical distinction from a vasectomy?

Compared to all the monuments to the holocaust, yes.

If it is “weak gravy” why is the Holocaust Museum mandated by Congress to lead the nation in commemorating the Days of Remembrance?

Respectfully.

Andrew Ryan said...

"Perhaps condensing your thoughts into one comment each time would be helpful in tracking the thread"

Last comment I tried to post got rejected for being too long. Also if I'm typing on an iPad it's easy to lose an entire post, making it sensible to split them. Your post system isn't the easiest either, and the delay in posting makes it hard to keep track if what I've already posted as they spend some time in limbo.

Andrew Ryan said...

"The embryo, without human intervention or physical complications, will go on to develop into a child"

No - nine months or so of support is required from the mother. And that's pretty crucial.

Thanks for the conversation - you have the last word.

Chad said...

It seems that these facts speak for themselves and that Dr. Seuss has been right all along- A person's a person no matter how small!

Respectfully

Andrew Ryan said...

I didn't really answer your beard reply:

"Whenever people would ask me how long I have had the beard I would reference its September origin point."

Sure, and if someone asked me when my daughter was conceived I'd say nine or so months before her birth. But if you HAD shaved again back in September, 12 hours after the previous time, I don't think many people would say that what you shaved off – 12 hours of growth – could be described as a beard. Neither would I.

Chase said...

No - nine months or so of support is required from the mother. And that's pretty crucial.

The newborn requires 18 years or so of support from the parents. Does this mean the parents have the liberty of removing that support? The newborn is not a human because it requires the support of others so the parents do have that liberty right? Again, the question comes back to what is the difference between the newborn and the blastocyst. I have provided embryology literature supporting that there is no difference; they are both human beings. You have provided no support for your assertion that the blastocyst is human tissue. Neither did PZ Myers come to think of it. He used an analogy comparing the embryo to marble or canvas, but they are not analogous. Marble and canvas, with the support of the artist, do not become art on their own. The artist makes the marble and canvas art through direct alteration of the marble and canvas. The embryo, with the support of the mother, becomes a child on its own. The mother does not make the embryo a child. Again, an embryo does this because it is a human at the beginning of their development.

Sure, and if someone asked me when my daughter was conceived I'd say nine or so months before her birth.

Was your daughter your daughter when she was conceived? I certainly think so and I think you do as well Andrew. Was my beard my beard at 12 hours after my last shave? Yes. It does not matter how people describe it. Similarly, describing personhood based on size, level of development, environment, or degree of dependency is not only flawed but dangerous as history well demonstrates from the very subject we have brought up in this thread; the Holocaust. Descriptors like these were used as justification to commit horrifying acts. If you think that personhood is determined by size, level of development, environment, or degree of dependency and this thinking leads to unconscionable or absurd things (which it does) then your thinking is flawed and you should rethink.

Since this is the end of the conversation here is a summation of what is left unresolved:

I asked when do you think the development of your being began and why do you think it began at this point? You affirmed the personhood of the unborn one week from the due date but did not give any reasons why. I then asked for you to clarify whether or not this means that you affirm that premature babies are not persons because they are delivered weeks even months before the due date. A response was not provided.

In response to your answers on how a vasectomy and an abortion prevent future children I asked: Since an abortion kills life how is that not a critical distinction from a vasectomy? A response was not provided.

In response to your comment that the Days of Remembrance are “weak gravy” compared to the Holocaust memorials I asked: If it is “weak gravy” why is the Holocaust Museum mandated by Congress to lead the nation in commemorating the Days of Remembrance? A response was not provided.

got rejected for being too long.

This has occurred to me as well. I then force myself to be more concise.

lose an entire post

Again, this has happened to me as well. I now type my comments in Word and then copy and paste them into the comment system.

delay in posting makes it hard to keep track

We post comments when we are able as everyone associated with this blog have families that are our first priority. I bring up the entire comment thread in a web browser window while typing my responses in Word. This makes it easier for me track the conversation.

All of the above are things that I have found work for me while commenting. Perhaps some of them will work for you.

Until our next conversation I wish you the best.

Andrew Ryan said...

If it helps, I'll answer a couple more of your questions:

"Was your daughter your daughter when she was conceived? I certainly think so and I think you do as well Andrew."

I don't. Not even close. I have two daughters. Their personalities didn't really start developing until a few weeks after birth, at best.

"Since an abortion kills life how is that not a critical distinction from a vasectomy? "

It is a distinction from a vasectomy. I never claimed the two were exactly the same. However the distinction makes no difference to the point I was making.

"I then asked for you to clarify whether or not this means that you affirm that premature babies are not persons because they are delivered weeks even months before the due date."

I said it was a continuum – no exact point – and I gave an analogy for this that I stand by. I feel uncomfortable about abortions around the 18 week stage, but I have no objections to abortions before 16 weeks. You could say I grow increasingly disturbed by them after that point. I'd be willing to debate changes in law to bring the cut-off point earlier.

But I reject completely that a two-week old blastocyst is as much a person as a newborn or you or me. If the choice was saving a newborn or three test-tubes with two-week old blastocysts, I'd choose the newborn. Wouldn't you?

"I then force myself to be more concise."
You ask lots of questions for me to answer! And the answers are generally complex!

"I now type my comments in Word"
I don't always have access to a computer over an iPad.

"Was my beard my beard at 12 hours after my last shave? Yes. "
To me it's just stubble. I shaved a couple of hours ago – no-one would say I've got a beard right now.

"If it is “weak gravy” why is the Holocaust Museum mandated by Congress to lead the nation in commemorating the Days of Remembrance?"
Why isn't it the Spontaneous Abortion Museum leading the nation on a single day of Holocaust Remembrance?

"The newborn requires 18 years or so of support from the parents"
Sure, and even now I rely on friends/family. But that's not really the same as the huge physical change required to develop a single-cell organism into a newborn. Plus, someone else can bring up the newborn – only the mother carries the child.

"I have provided embryology literature supporting that there is no difference; they are both human beings."
Which I already addressed. Huge difference – even discounting Myers' sculpture analogy

Chase said...

I thought you gave me the last word?

Again, best wishes until our next conversation.