Skip to comments.A Throw Away Culture in Reproductive Medicine
Posted on 10/18/2013 8:27:42 AM PDT by RBStealth
The Brave New World of genetic manipulation in reproductive medicine has arrived, and its arrival embraces the utilitarian calculation that the death of the innocent is a legitimate means to secure the health of another.
Mitochondrial diseases, such as Leighs Syndrome and Alpers Disease are passed down from mothers to their children because offspring inherit their mitochondria (the energy producers of cells) exclusively from their mothers. Often caused by mutations in the mitochondrial DNA, these diseases can be devastating. Modern medicine has yet to offer a cure.
Researchers in the UK and USA have developed a number of procedures to prevent the inheritance of disease-causing mitochondria. The most favored method appears to be Pro-nuclear Transfer (PNT). PNT involves the creation of two one-celled human beings (zygotes) in a petri dish. One is donated and the other is the offspring of the parents who have passed on a mitochondrial disease. To bypass this disease, researchers remove and discard the nucleus of the donor zygote and replace it with the nucleus that has been removed from the infected zygote.
That sounds judgmental.
Though wait until medical research comes to a virtual halt under barrycare.
>one-celled human beings (zygotes) in a petri dish
1. a man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance.
It would not require the death of an embryo when used therapeutically but undoubtedly would result in discarded embryos in the experimental phases.
Utilitarian scientists pursue both routes, looking for whichever works best, or first. Fame, wealth, and prizes to the winner of the race.
Wow, we know the conversation has sunk to low levels when the other pulls out a dictionary to win an argument, not even an appropriate medical or biological dictionary at that.
With all the real tragedy of yanking living humans out of the womb, a single cell in a petri dish is hard to get excited about. I just can’t see calling a single cell a Human Being until it has become a Human Being.
When does it become a human being? Is it justified to kill the clearly human organism before it becomes a human being?
Its not all about the body, each human being is endowed with a soul that comes at the moment of conception. God has a plan for each life that is conceived.
A zygote qualifies as a child of the species Homo Sapiens. If you tighten the definition to the actual presence of "superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance" as opposted to membership in the species, you must logically reach the conclusion reached by Michael Tooley, Peter Singer, and others, when they not only defended abortion but also infanticide, because newborn infants lack any traits, other than species, that might usefully distinguish them from animals philosophically. To accept that it's OK to kill a zygote for any purpose or even limited utilitarian purposes is to accept that it's OK to kill an infant for the same reasons. Is it OK for parent to have a second child, only to kill that child to fatally be used as an organ doner for a first child in failing health?
That, in a nutshell, defines the two logically defensible positions one may take concerning the personhood of an unborn child in the abortion debate because abortion is essentially prenatal infanticide and you can't logically separate the morality of the former from the later. There is no relevant trait that distinguishes the newborn from either an animal nor that same child moments befor birth, nor from the zygote. Oh, there are certainly differences, but none that would lead you to conclude an adult animal was a person if it exhibited the same characteristic. Animals have heartbeats, brains, feelings, and so on, too, and chimpanzees certainly look fairly human, so that the newborn has such characteristics and the zygote doesn't makes such things irrelevant as distinguishing criteria.
Sure, you can then argue that even if the unborn child is a person that a woman has no obligation to take care of it, even if the results of her removing it are fatal to the child, but then you wind up having to support child abandonment. Several years ago, a woman in New Jersey wanted to go out partying. After several attempts to find a babysitter failed (she did actually try to get others to take care of the child for her), she decided partying was more important than her infant son so she tossed him off a bridge into the Passaic river. If you do't think a child has the right to force a woman to take care of it, then I find it difficult to see how you could find fault in this woman's actions (Perhaps it might have been better if she'd just abandoned him on the bridge and it would have been find if he fell into the river himsef?).
agree. Sometimes using a dictionary is appropriate, sometimes a ‘field of study’ dictionary is appropriate.
Sometimes a general encyclopedia is appropriate and more so
a ‘field of study’ encyclopedia may be the ticket.
But something as advanced as the debate of the beginning of human life and reaching for a Random, and I do mean random, House dictionary is very low brow.
It becomes a human being the moment it becomes a distinct individual. Two parents become two parents and a child during fertilizatoin. Identical wins go from being one individual to being two individuals when the zygote splits. Chimeras go from being two individuals to being one individual when they lose a distinct individual identity. This works well even with the hard cases to define and strange science fiction examples, such as a Star Trek transporter splitting one person into two people.
The key is understanding that "when does a human's life begin" is a trick question. The cells involved are never dead because dead matter does not spontaneously spring to live. That quaint idea went out with the development of microscopes and the discovery of bacteria, sperm, and eggs in the 19th century. The question isn't "When does the baby become alive?" because it's never dead. It's also never not human at any point. So the question here is, "When does it become a distinct individual?" which is what's generally meant by "human being" and the answer is typically at fertilization, which is the problem here.
Now, if you want to try to draw a line somewhere between that zygote and an adult human where the human being in question develops some set of traits that you want to use to distinguish between what philosophers genererally refer to as a "person" and a non-"person", you are free to do so, but an honest assessment of any such characteristics will quickly lead one the conclusions reached by Michael Tooley and Peter Singer, which is that to accept abortion is to accept infanticide because there is no relevant difference between a child before or after birth nor at any particular phase before birth after fertilization. If you want to test that, ask yourself if finding the same characteristic in an animal or alien lifeform would be sufficient to consider it a person. And before considering the mental capacity of a newborn to be an obvoius distinguishing characteristic, please look into the true non-romanticized mental capacity of a newborn really is.