Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Playing the Human Being Word Game

When those who favor legal abortion talk to me, I always get a plethora of word games. Oftentimes my words are twisted or taken out of context. Other times issues that I present are ignored completely. There are other instances where the points on which I agree with another person are ignored entirely and maybe even refuted. These techniques are meant to etch away at my patience in a conversation so that when I end the conversation due to frustration the other person can claim victory.

Word Games Blur the Core Issue

I have an example of this. Is there a scientific definition of the phrase "human being?" I certainly have not found that particular phrasing in textbooks or online. Does this mean that the scientific community has not defined what is a human being or not? No, this is not true. However, to those who argue against me the opposite is true.

Those who argue against me claim that there are no scientists who agree that a human being's life begins at conceptions since one cannot find the exact phrase "human being" defined by science. Since no scientist can define what is a human being, they say, then we must use the philosophical framework to define what is considered a human being. In conclusion, they say, we must use the philosophical definition of a human being as having cognition which occurs at a particular point in human development. There are really huge reasons why this argument is flawed.

1. "Human being" is a phrase and not a word. Thus, one must combine two separate words to come to a definition. The word "human" means (in the context of this debate) a member of the species homo sapiens. Does science claim that a zygote is a member of the species homo sapiens? Yes it does. In fact, I have never heard of a current scientist claim anything else. The word "being" is defined as existing. Does a zygote exist? Only a moron would think that a zygote does not exist. Thus, "human being" (in the context of this debate) is considered any existing member of the species homo sapiens. Zygote easily fits this definition according to current scientific knowledge. Furthermore, the zygote is a living and independent member of the species homo sapiens whom exists in reality by objective scientific fact.

2. A philosophical framework can lead to many different definitions; not one definition could we all agree upon. I have heard people state what makes a developing human a "person" or "human being" is the detection of brain waves (8 weeks LMP [1][2]), when consciousness occurs (one claims that this is placed at approximately 28 weeks when thalamic afferents begin to enter in the cerebral cortex [3], another claims that consciousness doesn't occur until months or years after birth [4]), viability [5], birth [6], and other moments in a human's lifespan. Thus using philosophical, religious, and subjective reasons to define what is and what is not a human being cannot be trusted. These reasons are merely the inner workings of the human mind.

Yes, a fetus may not experience pain prior to 20 weeks gestation [7]. Yes, a fetus does not breath air until being born. Yes, a fetus does not respond to sound until around 20 weeks gestation [8]. Hmm... you know what? An infant cannot participate in sexual intercourse, believes that others can read his mind, does not understand commitment, does not have a fully developed nervous system, does not have fully functional visual capabilities, and has numerous other developmental milestones that he has not reached yet. I'm thinking all the more... all of us who are still alive have not experienced the developmental milestone of death.

"Development begins with fertilization, ..." [9] and ends with death.

To play the human being word game is to determine who will live and who will die.

1. Epigee: Health and Fitness, "First Trimester Fetal Growth" as accessed on March 16, 2010. "8 weeks - ... Brain waves can be measured." URL LINK

2. Abort73, "Fetal Development" as accessed on March 16, 2010 and last updated on February 27, 2010. "Primitive brain waves have been recorded as early as six weeks and 2 days (gestation)." URL LINK

3. User pirbird14 on YouTube comment on video "Abortion Pictures: The Abortion Reich Lie" comment posted on March 16, 2010. "Consciousness is a function of the cerebral cortex, which does not begin to develop prior to week 26 (sic)." URL LINK

4. Elroy. "Why Abortion is Moral" as accessed on March 16, 2010. "...consciousness normally doesn't occur until months, even years, after a baby is born (sic)." URL LINK

5. Little, Margaret. Rutgers School of Law. "Abortion and the Margins of Personhood" as accessed on March 16, 2010, published sometime in 2003. "Especially when robust viability precedes full moral status, a gray zone emerges in which decisions over the life of the fetus hover between the private and the public." PDF LINK

6. Green, John. eLetters, Denver Post. "Personhood begins on your birthday" as accessed on March 16, 2010 and posted on December 17, 2007. URL LINK

7. NewsMaxx. "Reintroduced Fetal Pain Bill Garners Unlikely Supporter" as accessed on march 16, 2010 and posted on February 2, 2005. URL LINK

8. Endowment for Human Development. "Prenatal Form and Function: The Making of an Earth Suit" as accessed on March 16, 2010. "By 20 weeks it reaches adult size within the fully developed inner ear. From now on, the fetus will respond to a growing medley of sounds." URL LINK

9. T.W. Sadler, Langman's Medical Embryology, 10th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006. p. 11.