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Catholic Bishop: Abortion Is the 'Preeminent Evil in Our Culture.


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Just now, Bernard Gui said:

Please see my edit. I did not see this response when I made it.

Yes, I take it very seriously, but others may think differently. Our brothers and sisters are free to make their own choices based on the information they have. I am sure they are acting in good faith. There is only one judge, and I am not he. 

Very pro choice of you. 

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1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:
1 hour ago, Ryan Dahle said:

And what specifically is the impact, philosophically/religious speaking, of accepting the scientific fact that a zygote is a human life?  

Perhaps it should encourage us to reconsider how we treat human beings even in their earliest stages of existence. 

Just to clarify, I'm very much not a pro-choice person. And I am in complete alignment with the Church's position on this issue.

All I'm saying is that science itself doesn't provide us with value judgements about the sanctity of life. And pretty much everyone participating in the debate is sufficiently aware of the process of human conception and development. Everyone knows that humans begin their development at fertilization. If most people who disagree on philosophical/religious grounds actually agree on the science of human development, then the debate has clearly moved well beyond an appeal to the scientific definition of human life.

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1 minute ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Very pro choice of you. 

Thank you. This from the Church should also be considered.

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Fertility Treatments

The pattern of a husband and wife providing bodies for God’s spirit children is divinely appointed (see 2.1.3). When needed, reproductive technology can assist a married woman and man in their righteous desire to have children. This technology includes artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization.

The Church discourages artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization using sperm from anyone but the husband or an egg from anyone but the wife. However, this is a personal matter that is ultimately left to the judgment and prayerful consideration of a lawfully married man and woman.

It is all about choice.

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4 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Thank you. This from the Church should also be considered.

It is all about choice.

Indeed and IVF in almost every instance involves the destruction (killing) of extra human embryos/blastocysts (human beings to use your term). Very troubling indeed if they were actually people with the same moral and ethical rights. 

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27 minutes ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Well, I'm asking you because you seem to think it has some sort of special relevance.

I am quite confident that seekingunderstanding agrees with science's description of human conception and development. And he agrees explicitly that a zygote is a "human life," when looked at from a strictly scientific point of view. Pretty much everyone in the conversation agrees with that statement, if you qualify it appropriately. Since science doesn't have anything to say about human value or rights, and is only able to offer a description of human physiology and biological processes, I'm not sure what the point is of focusing on its use of terms--terms that virtually everyone agrees with, if you are careful to not attach additional moral/religious value to them.

You can't see that it seems to have some sort of special relevance to seekingunderstanding too?  I do think that "human beings" have special relevance.  I think seekingunderstanding agrees.  That is why he can't get himself to acknowledge the scientific fact that a zygote is a human being - because then it would have relevance to him.    If we can instead use some non-scientific term, like "person" and arbitrarily assign this entity to some state of human development (as unscientific as it is) then we can feel better about ourselves when we kill human beings.   

 

 

Edited by pogi
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11 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Indeed and IVF in almost every instance involves the destruction (killing) of extra human embryos/blastocysts (human beings to use your term). Very troubling indeed if they were actually people with the same moral and ethical rights. 

Yes, that's the point. I would very much like to discuss this with someone at the revelatory level (rather than Internet personalities) who might be able to shed more light on what happens to the embryos/zygotes/blastocysts/pre-embryos/human beings when they are flushed and if that is a good thing. Would they agree that those early stages are in fact human beings, or are they something else?  I am always open to instruction. Saying "read the handbook" is not necessarily what I have in mind. When we know more, we can do better.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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1 minute ago, Bernard Gui said:

Yes, that's the point. I would very much like to discuss this with someone at the revelatory level (rather than Internet personalities) who might be able to shed more light on what happens to the embryos/zygotes/blastocysts/pre-embryos/human beings when they are flushed and if that is a good thing. I am always open to instruction. Saying "read the handbook" is not necessarily what I have in mind. When we know more, we can do better.

And I would say that the church is already quite clear. If they are okay with IVF, they are okay with the destruction of human embryos that goes with it. Therefore human embryos are not people in the same sense that human infants are. What other possible conclusion could be reached here?

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15 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Sister Gui remembers her earliest at about 20 months. With seven, the memories can get confusing. 

 

6 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Weeks, maybe?  ;):D (Or maybe we should ask what species you are? :D :rofl: :D )

 

3 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Yep. Getting old is not for sissies.

I admit, you've got me beat in that department, but, I ain't no spring chicken no more, neither! :huh:

;):D

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14 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

And I would say that the church is already quite clear. If they are okay with IVF, they are okay with the destruction of human embryos that goes with it. Therefore human embryos are not people in the same sense that human infants are. What other possible conclusion could be reached here?

That is what I would like to explore with someone involved with the Church statement. I would ask these very questions. I'm not sure we even have answers at this time. I am sure you have never questioned a Church position. 

Even after all this back and forth, we are still stuck back at the first question I asked and your answer. 

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At what point does a blastocyst (interesting euphemism) become worthy of saving?

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Just a scientific term so we know what we are taking about. 

We don't seem to know what we are talking about.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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2 minutes ago, pogi said:

I do think that "human beings" have special relevance.  I think seekingunderstanding agrees.  That is why he can't get himself to acknowledge the scientific fact that a zygote is a human being - because then it would have relevance.

Actually, here is what seekingunderstanding said: 

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And I will state emphatically for the record that there is no doubt a zygote is a human life scientifically speaking. 

I'm sure he would agree with the term "human being" as well, if it is used strictly in a scientific context. It honestly doesn't matter what science calls it because science doesn't attach any ethical/religious value to it. The debate has nothing to do with scientific definitions because everyone already agrees on those. 

9 minutes ago, pogi said:

If we can instead use some non-scientific term, like "person" and arbitrarily assign this entity to some state of human development (as unscientific as it is) then we can feel better about ourselves when we kill human beings.

Of course it is unscientific to assign a different sanctity-of-life value to a zygote than it is to a human adult. It is also unscientific to assign the same sanctity-of-life value to a zygote as to a human adult. Science doesn't have anything to say about the sanctity of life. 

And it goes without question that, scientifically speaking, a zygote is at a different stage of human development than a adult. Whether or not there is a different sanctity-of-life value between those stages is clearly a philosophical/religious matter, and not a scientific one. Thus, once again, appealing to scientific descriptions/definitions gets us nowhere. 

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12 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

And I would say that the church is already quite clear. If they are okay with IVF, they are okay with the destruction of human embryos that goes with it. Therefore human embryos are not people in the same sense that human infants are. What other possible conclusion could be reached here?

Most people would kill 2 children to save just 1 of their own children in the scenario I presented.  Using your same logic - therefor these 2 children are not people in the same sense that your own child is.  "Could there be any other possible conclusion to be reach here?" 

Yes, actually, there could be.  

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8 minutes ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Actually, here is what seekingunderstanding said: 

I'm sure he would agree with the term "human being" as well, if it is used strictly in a scientific context. It honestly doesn't matter what science calls it because science doesn't attach any ethical/religious value to it. The debate has nothing to do with scientific definitions because everyone already agrees on those. 

Of course it is unscientific to assign a different sanctity-of-life value to a zygote than it is to a human adult. It is also unscientific to assign the same sanctity-of-life value to a zygote as to a human adult. Science doesn't have anything to say about the sanctity of life. 

And it goes without question that, scientifically speaking, a zygote is at a different stage of human development than a adult. Whether or not there is a different sanctity-of-life value between those stages is clearly a philosophical/religious matter, and not a scientific one. Thus, once again, appealing to scientific descriptions/definitions gets us nowhere. 

Yet we use the "facts" of science to inform ethical discussion all the time. 

To me it's helpful to consider Pogi's arguments in the context of the paper he cited.

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 ...there is a radical difference, scientifically, between parts of a human being that only possess "human life" and a human embryo or human fetus that is an actual "human being." Abortion is the destruction of a human being. Destroying a human sperm or a human oocyte would not constitute abortion, since neither are human beings. The issue is not when does human life begin, but rather when does the life of every human being begin. A human kidney or liver, a human skin cell, a sperm or an oocyte all possess human life, but they are not human beings - they are only parts of a human being. If a single sperm or a single oocyte were implanted into a woman's uterus, they would not grow; they would simply disintegrate.

...the human embryonic organism formed at fertilization is a whole human being, and therefore it is not just a "blob" or a "bunch of cells." This new human individual also has a mixture of both the mother's and the father's chromosomes, and therefore it is not just a "piece of the mother's tissues". 

 

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5 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Ha! For my part - full disclosure- I resigned my membership a year ago. 

I know. I was being facetious. How do you pick and choose which Handbook section to believe?

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Just now, SeekingUnderstanding said:

I’m obviously the wrong person to ask ;) 

Yes, but you really like the Handbook section I quoted, right?

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10 minutes ago, Ryan Dahle said:

I'm sure he would agree with the term "human being" as well, if it is used strictly in a scientific context.

Why are you always trying to speak for him?  Why don't you just ask him for yourself.  Ask him if a zygote is a "human being" in the scientific context.  He didn't seem to like the journal article I linked to which used the term.  He thinks that she was not really referencing otehr biology texts and experts in using the term "human being" for the zygote.   

Have I been unclear that I am not using the term in the scientific sense?  There is no ambiguity at all.  Apparently you aren't reading the same thread I am.    Even in the scientific sense that I have made 100% clear in how I used the term, he stated, "it is not a "being"".   Did you miss that part?  He can't accept that.  He denies that biologists would accept the term "human being" as used in the scientific sense in the the journal article I linked to.  He thinks the author is lying and that it is only her opinion that the zygote is a human being in the scientific sense.  He think there is no bibliographical reference which uses that term - "human being" -  in reference to the zygote in her paper.  Why?  If he accepted the term in the scientific context, why would he doubt that it could be found in the bibliography?  Seems strange, don't you think?  

13 minutes ago, Ryan Dahle said:

And it goes without question that, scientifically speaking, a zygote is at a different stage of human development than a adult. Whether or not there is a different sanctity-of-life value between those stages is clearly a philosophical/religious matter, and not a scientific one. Thus, once again, appealing to scientific descriptions/definitions gets us nowhere. 

If we accept the philosophy (which America has adopted) that human beings have natural inalienable rights, then understanding what a human being is does get us somewhere. 

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12 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Yet we use the "facts" of science to inform ethical discussion all the time. 

To me it's helpful to consider Pogi's arguments in the context of the paper he cited.

 

That is exactly it.  That is why seekingunderstanding is comfortable calling it "human life" but not a "human being".  Skin cells are "human life" as he put it (if I remember correctly) "do they therefore deserve rights too?"

Ryan is falsely understanding seeking's position.  He thinks that seeking is equating human life (which a skin cell has) with "human being".  

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2 minutes ago, pogi said:

If we accept the philosophy (which America has adopted) that human beings have natural inalienable rights, then understanding what a human being is does get us somewhere.

Again, this from an authority quoted by Irving clarifies some ambiguity. Emphasis in the original.

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Although it is customary to divide human development into prenatal (before birth) and postnatal (after birth) periods, birth is merely a dramatic event during development resulting in a change in environment. Development does not stop at birth. 

The child after birth is no different than the child before birth other than it is breathing on its own. If we retrogress back to conception, at what point does whatever existed then become different than what exists at birth?

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2 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Yet we use the "facts" of science to inform ethical discussion all the time. 

To me it's helpful to consider Pogi's arguments in the context of the paper he cited.

I'm not saying that science shouldn't inform the ethical discussion. Of course it is important to understand the science in order to apply our ethical or religious values. What I'm saying is that everyone in the debate mostly already understands and agrees upon the scientific description of how human life begins. If someone is in error on that point, it is worth bringing the scientific facts to their awareness. But the scientific description of life, on its own, doesn't provide us with sanctity-of-life value judgements. It only describes a natural phenomenon to which we can apply our ethical/religious value judgments. 

 

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7 minutes ago, pogi said:

That is exactly it.  That is why seekingunderstanding is comfortable calling it "human life" but not a "human being".  Skin cells are "human life" as he put it (if I remember correctly) "do they therefore deserve rights too?" 

Yes. As Irving rightly points out,

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A human kidney or liver, a human skin cell, a sperm or an oocyte all possess human life, but they are not human beings - they are only parts of a human being.

 

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@SeekingUnderstanding

I pointed out to Pogi that you made the following statement

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And I will state emphatically for the record that there is no doubt a zygote is a human life scientifically speaking.

And then I followed up with this statement (Pogi's response follows):

20 minutes ago, pogi said:
38 minutes ago, Ryan Dahle said:

I'm sure [SeekingUnderstanding] would agree with the term "human being" as well, if it is used strictly in a scientific context.

Why are you always trying to speak for him?  Why don't you just ask him for yourself.

So I guess I will ask you. Would you agree that a zygote is a "human being" if that term is understood strictly in a scientific context, as merely a scientific description, with no ethical/religious values attached to it?

Edited by Ryan Dahle
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9 minutes ago, Ryan Dahle said:

 If someone is in error on that point, it is worth bringing the scientific facts to their awareness. 

Exactly. 

10 minutes ago, Ryan Dahle said:

I'm not saying that science shouldn't inform the ethical discussion.

Which is exactly why I brought it up.  As I have said a dozen times now.  

11 minutes ago, Ryan Dahle said:

 But the scientific description of life, on its own, doesn't provide us with sanctity-of-life value judgements. It only describes a natural phenomenon to which we can apply our ethical/religious value judgments. 

I have said as much myself several times in this thread.  I truly don't understand what your beef is with my approach.

If you acknowledge that science can inform ethical discussion, then let us agree on the science first before we talk about ethics.  Isn't' that what I have said this whole time.  

It is clear to me that seekingunderstanding is comfortable calling a zygote "human life", that way he doesn't feel any more ethical/moral responsibility to it then he does about protecting a skin cell on his butt.  But he refuses to acknowledge that it is scientifically speaking, a "human being", because there is more to that, ethically speaking, than a skin cell on his butt.  

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18 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Yes, but you really like the Handbook section I quoted, right?

I neither like it or dislike. I will say that the church’s position is not aligned with yours. If a zygote / blastocyst / embryo is a person like a human embryo than it would never be okay to terminate a pregnancy for rape. It would never be okay to discard an embryo. The church’s position seems to be that the creation of life is sacred and messing around with it Willy nilly is a grave sin (see fornication etc). The church’s position is not consistent with the personhood of a human embryo. 

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4 minutes ago, Ryan Dahle said:

@SeekingUnderstanding

I pointed out to Pogi that you made the following statement

And then I followed up with this statement (Pogi's response follows):

So I guess I will ask you. Would you agree that a zygote is a "human being" if that term is understood strictly in a scientific context, as merely a scientific description, with no ethical/religious values attached to it?

Absolutely. Again, my objection is that Pogi is attempting to use science as an end run around the moral questions by switching definitions midstream (from a scientific description of human being to a moral description of personhood and rights). 

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