Skip to comments.Michael J. Fox is a cannibal
Posted on 10/25/2006 10:21:35 AM PDT by freepatriot32
Michael J. Fox is a famous TV and movie star. He is witty. He is charming. A few years ago, we learned he has Parkinson's disease.
PD is a slowly progressive neurological disorder, characterized by tremors, shuffling gait, a masklike facial expression, "pill rolling" of the fingers, drooling, intolerance to heat, oily skin, emotional instability and defective judgment (although intelligence is rarely impaired).
PD is currently incurable, although there are several methods to slow its advancement, including drug therapy and surgery.
PD is tragic, particularly in Fox's case, because it rarely afflicts persons under 60 years old.
Yet everyone faces tragedy at one time or another, in one form or another. A person's moral fiber is revealed in tragedy.
So we learned through Fox's affliction that he has either extremely poor judgment or a diabolical character flaw. He supports human embryonic stem-cell experimentation, thus contending that some humans are subhuman and expendable for others' personal gain.
We know there is nothing new under the sun. So Fox's character flaw is not new, just a variation of the worst of human behavior throughout history.
Slaveholders thought those whose lives and deaths they controlled were "property," as the U.S. Supreme Court determined in the 1857 Dred Scott decision. Hitler thought Jews were evolutionary mistakes. The Islamic government of Sudan currently has it in for black Christians.
Different day, different holocaust.
As is always the case, the powerful determine the fate of the powerless, and if the powerful don't hold the view that all humans are created equal, then the powerless end up enslaved or dead.
Some may think I'm going over the top to compare Fox to slave owners or Hitler or the Sudanese government. "Fox is a nice guy, and he's sick. Be nice."
If you think that, your sympathies are misplaced. Fox advocates killing certain people to experiment on them "for the greater good" simply because those people don't look like we do yet. This is odd, because some day Fox won't look like most people either.
If Fox wanted to kill a football stadium full of toddlers to experiment on them, I doubt anyone would think he was normal, and I doubt anyone would bear with his barbaric rambling to be nice.
But using Fox's logic, experimentation of 2-year-olds should be acceptable. Toddlers are certainly far less developed on the human continuum and don't look at all normal by adult standards. The reason they are called "toddlers" in the first place is because their oversized heads and bellies cause them to "toddle" when they walk.
Scientifically speaking, a human is a human from the instant of fertilization, no matter what phase of development. "Take that single cell of the just conceived zygote, put it next to a chimpanzee cell, and 'a geneticist could easily identify the human. Its humanity is already that strikingly apparent,'" said Randy Alcorn in his newly released book, "Why Pro-Life?," quoting from "Preview of a Birth."
I'll worry about Fox's feelings after he stops using his considerable influence to convince the American public to support taxpayer-funded human embryonic stem-cell experimentation. Fox is not only pushing an ideology on me that advocates the destruction of human life, but he also wants to force me to pay for it. What gall.
I feel sorry for Fox's kids. Flashing them either forward or backward in one of Fox's "Back to the Future" movies, they are in lose-lose situations.
The future Fox wants to create for his three daughters looks bleak. No longer will only hens lay eggs for human consumption if Fox has his way. His daughters will be exploited for their eggs, too, because the only source of these pre-embryos is women. It is foolish to think technology will be sated by the availability of today's orphaned embryos, as is now the spin.
And in an altered past, Fox would have allowed the dissection of his days-old embryonic children so he could surgically ingest them in an effort to cure his own ailments high tech cannibalism.
It's funny that Fox calls himself a vegetarian.
Jill Stanek fought to stop "live-birth abortion" after witnessing one as a registered nurse at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill. In 2002, President Bush asked Jill to attend his signing of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. In January 2003, World Magazine named Jill one of the 30 most prominent pro-life leaders of the past 30 years. To learn more, visit Jill's blog, Pro-life Pulse.http://www.jillstanek.com/
Does the value of the research matter? By arguing about the value of research, we accept the utilitarian argument that this nascent human life can be destroyed if the value derived from the destruction is high enough.
I reject this argument wholesale. If I cannot determine the value of the human life objectively, how am I to measure it against the value of the research? If the value of the human life of a blastocyst is zero, then it would be fine destroy them for any purpose, and there should be Embryo Milkshakes available down at the Dairy Queen. However, if there is some positive value to be placed on this human life, any argument that weighs that value against anything else must assume that that value can be ascertained.
This is simply beyond our capabilities as human beings. I will not tinker with the machinery of weighing the value of some human life against other things. Down that road lies all the horrors of the 20th Century, and Hundreds of Millions dead.
These people need to GROW UP. We all have compassion for Michael J. Fox. It's a pity what's happened to him. But NOBODY is immune from criticism when they peddle mistruths in the public arena, especially with an election at stake. You can't just lie with impunity, whatever victim status you claim.
Like "fetal" sounds like a combination of "fecal" and "fatal."
("I didn't kill an unborn baby as long as your index finger, I merely removed 5 cm fetal material...")
See Politics and the English Language by George Orwell.
I should have made clear that my comment was directed to gridlock. I pinged you only because I was concerned that you had somehow taken at face value gridlock's ridiculous misrepresentation that I somehow favored a viability test based upon the ability to ride a bicycle.
Hey, LexBaird! Looks like atlaw has decided to leave with this comment, in spite of multiple attempts to engage his arguments. Ironic, isn't it?
Don't you agree that this statement is true?
Oh. Ok. So we're back to the unremarkable observation that human reproduction and development involves a lot of "stages." I am, of course, happy to agree with that, but I don't find it any more insightful than an observation that weather involves a lot of "patterns."
Thanks, Palladin. :-)
Ooops. You're a post late with your snorting.
I think you're right - this is a "drama queen" tactic used by the left and their "half truth" minions in the MSM... Now that the population has realized Republicans aren't starving old people to death, or making them eat dog food - the dems have come up with the new one - we're trying to keep diseases from being cured. If dems politicize medicine, it'll hurt the sick in the long run. In the short run, they'll get a few votes, they must not care about anyone but themselves...
Liberals never let that stop them.
The difference, of course, is that some folks are eager to assign different values to the different stages of human life in order to promote a utilitarian argument. By acknowledging that a blastocyst is a certain stage of human development, one acknowledges the possibility that it might have intrinsic value as human life. This is an important point, when considering a utilitarian argument.
One can then go on to argue about the intrinsic value of this particular form of human life, if one wants to. I, however, am of the opinion that this value is ultimately unknowable, and thus must be divorced from utilitarian analysis.
To extend it to your weather pattern analogy, if somebody declared all rainy days of little worth, and got hold of Karl Rove's Weather Machine, and set about eliminating rainy days because he found sunny days to be of higher value, then we're getting into the same territory. The counter argument that a rainy day weather pattern may be as valuable as a sunny day weather pattern would start with the acknowledgement that they are both weather patterns, and both connected to a larger whole, and may both have similar intrinsic value.
If one just says that rainy days are not sunny days and that sunny days are better, one misses the point.
Sorry for the premature snorting. It is good to have you back.
Are you implying that metaphysically, a gamete is the same kind of being as a 25-year old?
Actually, he was refuting my argument with that statement.
I was not implying that, metaphysically, either. See my post a few lines above for a continued discussion of this point.
Obviously, a gamete does not have even the same genetic structure as a human. So an argument to draw a line there is stronger. Though the Pope might differ!
No, not at all. I was engaging gridlock on the implication that all stages of human development must be assigned equivalence, which I thought was his contention when he stated in an earlier post that a blastocyst "is a certain stage in human development, kind of like a four-and-a-half year-old.
Certainly. But utilitarian arguments are not intrinsically improper. Indeed, I would suggest that they are a necessity.
It is not a particularly easy task to draw a scientific "off limits" line when dealing with pre-implantation reproductive cycles. For example, artificial implantation of blastocysts has some considerable success in generating term pregnancies, which would not occur if manipulation of blastocysts (with the concomitant percentage loss of blastocysts generated and used in artificial settings) was forbidden.
I think we have to realistically recognize the ubiquity of pre-implantation reproductive cell generation as a utilitarian matter, or otherwise consign to the dustbin a great many reproductive advances in both viability and health.
25 years old is also an incidental property of of the essence, "human being", but that's pretty much where the similarity ends. In other words, it is not essential that a human being be 25 years old to be human. There are human beings that are other ages. Some human beings are 14 days old, for example. Hence, the property of being 25 years old is an incidental feature of humans. That having been said, a gamete and 25 year old are two very different kinds of incidental categories of human.
What do you favor basing a viability test on? Roe v Wade based it on an arcane survivability/trimester formula that has long since been obsoleted by medical science.
It seems to me the "is it a human yet or not" or "is it a alive yet or not" pro abort arguments are basically dishonest justifications for what they really advocate. It is clear that a fetus is alive, genetically distinct from its mother, and genetically human even at the multi cell stage.
What is truly advocated at heart by both abortion advocates and fetal cell advocates is that the death of one unique human organism is justifiable homicide because of the benefit to another unique human organism.
A society can justify the killing of an attacker, a convicted offender, or an enemy soldier, and absolve the killer of shame and guilt, because such acts are seen to benefit society more than the preservation of the same life. Even so do the abort crowd seek to lay off the cost of their moral choice through a variety of justifications, such as "medical benefit to victims of horrible afflictions" or "mental well-being of the pregnant woman".
In most historically accepted cases of justifiable homicide, the person killed bears some responsibility for the situation. For an unborn human, this is never the case, hence the reluctance to call the killing of the unborn exactly that. By their euphemisms ye shall know them.
Its difficult, painful and unpleasant to critize Fox for his statements.
There but for the Grace of God go I.
Yet Fox alone is not entirely to blame. He is a product of the hedonistic, self-centered, me-first, instant gratification generation. The generation to whom duty, honor, self-restraint and self-respect have no meaning.
A society whose culture is directed by high-priced harlots in Hollwoood who have the temerity to refer to themselves as "Entertainers".
Utilitarian in this context implies that a decision is made by some people with power over other people without power with respect to the human dignity and worth of the latter.
Either all human beings have rights, or only some human beings have rights. Is there such a thing as a human being without human rights?
If all human beings have rights, then either all human beings have rights simply because they are human beings, because such rights are intrinsic in human nature, in the human essence, in the human being, or all human beings have rights because some other human beings say so. There is no other logical possiblity. If the Preamble of the Declaration is any guide, the wrongness of the utilitarian approach lies in the arrogant and false presumption that human wills determine human rights. Human nature does not change, but human wills do. There is no security for any rights at all based on a conceit of some human wills saying today that all humans have rights saying tomorrow that only some have rights. History is filled with the sordid misery of that ethos.
Are you contending that a blastocyst, for example, has rights? If so, is there any stage in the reproductive cycle where discrete cellular development is without rights?
Such advances make me uneasy, I will confess. But, at the end of the day, people are using technology to mimic what happens naturally. The many of the blastocysts formed the "old fashioned" way fail to implant and are lost. So there is a certain logic to that.
But I don't think that it is proper to extend that logic to medical experimentation. Creating life in the interest of creating life is one thing. Creating life in the interest of medical experimentation is another.
It is a different utilitarian argument. In one case, a woman is doing something to maximize her own utility by becoming pregnant. Whether she does this in bed or a lab does not make that much difference, really. In the case of medical experimentation, the whatever-it-is is being destroyed in the interests of societal utility. So, whereas in the first case the issue centers around indivudual freedom, in the second, the issue centers around trading off one unknowably valuable life to serve another, or perhaps many others.
Well, first, I'm not sure that "viability" is the proper inquiry. There is too often imbedded in viability arguments the notion of survivability independent of the mother.
I tend to view uterine implantation as the demarcation point. Of course, post-implantation there remain a large number of natural fetal development failures, but it seems to me that post-implantation there should be no artificial inducements of failure. In short, I think the very definition of the term abortion is artificial termination post-implantation.
There are, obviously, problems with even this apparently bright line. In the implantation process, enzymes in the trophoblast of the blastocyst effectively break down the uterine lining, and this erosion of both the superficial epithelium and the deeper, cellular connective tissue is a process that takes several days. It is really only after the blastocyst is completely buried that cell differentiation commences within the inner cell mass. So you have a period of time between commencement of implantation and successful implantation during which there is arguably no inititation of fetal development, and in fact a period of time during which natural failure rates are fairly high.
That said, there is a definable moment when the implantation process commences (even if it is difficult to ascertain) and hence a definable bar to artificial de-implantation processes, including those that would interrupt the implantation process once commenced.
Indeed. One could logically point out that a three year old could likely not survive without a nurturer providing food, shelter and protection from harm.
What is your opinion of medical experimentation that artificially sustains and grows the blastocyst and induces later stages of development that normally occur after implantation without implantation? It is a fairly straightforward problem to keep the blastocyst developing in a laboratory setting, getting differentiation and such, without the tissue every being implanted in a womb.
Certainly it is reasonable to assume that before too many years pass, medical science will permit us to grow fetuses all the way to the point of birth, or decanting, as Aldous Huxley called it. Should such a child have rights as an individual, even though it was never implanted?
But at four-and-a-half, they have a shot! (just kidding!)
Is the blastocyst a human being? Then, yes. They have human rights. It is unethical to experiment upon human subjects without their consent and where the experiment is likely to cause their injury or death.
If so, is there any stage in the reproductive cycle where discrete cellular development is without rights?
"Reproductive cycle", and "discrete cellular development" are too ambiguous for me to be able to know precisely what you are asking. Perhaps you could give me an example.
So, would you say that your dividing line falls at the point in development where implantation would occur, even if the embryo is being developed without implantation?
If so, I guess this makes a certain amount of sense. At the point of implantation, a large majority of implanted embryos will grow and be born. Something that derails the process at this point is more the exception than the norm.
I don't happen to share this view, as I have explained before. But it does make a certain amount of sense.
That's a fairly accurate way of putting it, with the caveat that I view actual implantation as the sine qua non of fetal "viability" (if I may use a word that I earlier disavowed).
Spermatagonia. Spermatozoa. Ova.
I don't happen to share this view, as I have explained before. But it does make a certain amount of sense.
With all due respect, it doesn't make sense to me. It seems to me the equivalent of saying that because most people are going to die from natural causes anyway then it is ethically acceptable to deliberately target and kill some of them. Implantation as a dividing line between when it is acceptable to kill and/or experiment on a human being-in-fact is completely arbitrary because a human being's location or access to nourishment has nothing to do with the intrinsic dignity and worth of that human being.
A gamete is an indispensable "part" of a human being. But for the gamete, there would be no human being. Ten fingers are not an indispensable "part" of a human being. Your reasoning seems to me rather facile.
How so? What about human beings who cannot produce gametes? Are they not human because they lack that property? But you say, "but for the gamete, there would be no human being.". That is true but irrelevant because you are conflating the hypothetical potential of a gamete to become something different, i.e. an actual human being, a different category of being (by being united with another gamete of the opposite sex) with an actual human being with potential. When an ovum is fertilized both it and the sperm cease to exist as such and become a single new entity, an entirely new thing; a new human being, one who has never existed before and will never exist again. Though a gamete is a necessary part of the creation of a human being it does not follow that it is the same category of thing as a human being.
It is a contradiction in terms to say that the potential and the actual can exist simultaneously in any thing. It is impossible. An actual gamete with potential and an actual human being with potential are two different kinds of being entirely.
But, of course, absent implantation, the blastocyst will never become a human being, and will be discarded by the body. But for implantation, a blastocyst is not, and cannot be, a human being. It's "intrinsic dignity" consists of two options -- implantation and commencement of the process of fetal development (of becoming a human being, in other words), or termination by its host.
If the threat of "arbitrary" line drawing is paramount, then of course your proposed line of non-protection for gametes, but protection for fused gametes (presumably meaning that the moment of fertilization demarks the line of non-acceptable artificial destruction), must be eliminated as well. As I noted above, your attempt to delineate a gamete as merely a "part" of a human and therefore free from protection fails the simplest of tests - can a human exist without this ostensible "part"? Indeed, if your reasoning is accepted, then the blastocyst itself is a mere "part" of a human being unentitled to protection, since an unimplanted blastocyst cannot alone become human.
I am not making light of this, by the way. I fully understand the difficulty of drawing lines. But since we choose to draw lines for many reasons, I tend to think that a closer approximation to a "but for" line is the more appropriate measure.
I thought it was fairly obvious what the meaning of my sentence was, but on the chance that you actually misunderstood, my point was that, absent a gamete, you would not have a blastocyst, and absent a blastocyst, you would not have a fetus, etc. You have chosen a point in this chain as a demarcation based upon the notion that a gamete is merely a "part" of a human being. Frankly, I don't see how this mid-chain demarcation of yours is anything but arbitrary, since the gamete is an indispensible "part" of the chain itself.
But you say, "but for the gamete, there would be no human being.". That is true but irrelevant because you are conflating the hypothetical potential of a gamete to become something different, i.e. an actual human being . . . with an actual human being with potential."
The same reasoning applies to the blastocyst. You are yourself "conflating the hypothetical potential of a [blastocyst] to become something different, i.e. an actual human being [by way of the indispensible prerequisite of implantation] with an actual human being with potential."
Though a gamete is a necessary part of the creation of a human being it does not follow that it is the same category of thing as a human being.
So too the blastocyst.
I am also curious about your use of the word "potential". I'm not sure what your intended meaning is, but if it is a reference to the "potential" of future physical development, then gametes and blastocysts bear the same "potential" qualitites, since both are themselves prerequisites to physical development.
It is an elementary category error akin to stating the taste of the color blue to assert that a blastocyst is not a human being. The age of the human being is an incidental property of the human essence. You are confusing essence and accident.
...(of becoming a human being, in other words)
There is no such thing as a being becoming a human being. In the first place every living thing is thoroughly actual, with more or less potential, and in the second place potentialities or capabilities are limited to the kind of thing to which they belong.
As I noted above, your attempt to delineate a gamete as merely a "part" of a human and therefore free from protection fails the simplest of tests - can a human exist without this ostensible "part"? Indeed, if your reasoning is accepted, then the blastocyst itself is a mere "part" of a human being unentitled to protection, since an unimplanted blastocyst cannot alone become human
In addition to repeating the category error, you are confusing a principle of being with being itself, which is indicated by your use of quotation marks around "part". A principle of being is not itself a being, per se. It is a principle of being that gametes are a necessary condition for the existence of a human being, but that does not mean that a gamete is itself a human being or has or ever will have the capabilities of one. A gamete can never be anything other than itself. It has 23 chromosones, etc. It has the potential to fuse with another gamete to procreate a new human being, upon which it ceases to exist as such. A blastoscyst, on the other hand, is already a human being if it possesses the potency of ever doing things that are human, because potentialities and capabilities are limited to the kind of thing to which they belong. A sperm can only now or ever in the future do sperm things. A radish can only do radish things. No individual living body can "become" a human being unless it already is a a human being. No living being can become anything other than what it already essentially is.
Implantation is a necessary development for future growth of that human being-in-fact, but it has nothing to do with that human being's essence. The bottom line is that you are conflating the potency to cause something to come into existence with the potency for this new being to become fully what it is. That a child is exposed to the elements and starves to death so that he never reaches adulthood says nothing about his humanity. It only says something about certain accidental features of his existence, such as his age and state of development at his death. That a blastocyst never implants says nothing about his humanity. It says only certain things about the accidents such as his age and state of development at his death.
First, if a blastocyst is a "human being," then the human reproductive system is a deliberately designed holocaust. Second, this mystical nonsense about human "essence" is so utterly undefined (and undefinable) as to be perfectly meaningless.
There is no such thing as a being becoming a human being.
In which case, no line can be drawn, at blastocyts, gametes or prior.
Implantation is a necessary development for future growth of that human being-in-fact, but it has nothing to do with that human being's essence.
I'm afraid you're arguments, relying as they do on this mushy notion of "essence", are entirely arbitrary, and as such, entirely unsatisfactory.
This seems a like negative theological argument in which it is assumed what God would would or would not have done in designing things, and then arguing from the existence of evil. I have thus far not based my argument on theological grounds, but simply on philosophical and scientific grounds.
If the blastocyst is not a human being then what kind of being is it? Is it a radish? Is it a sperm? Is it a chimpanzee?
If the proposition, "I was conceived" make sense, then the ontological status of the blastocyst is self-evident. When did you begin to exist? The beginning of your existence was at the beginning, not at some later time. The problem with your argument is that if you did not exist until you were implanted, there would have been a period of time between the time you were conceived at fertilization and the time you implanted in your mother's womb when you did not exist. This is clearly absurd. Human life is a continuum. Likewise, if you did not begin to exist until you implanted in your mother's womb then what kind of actual being was it that was the product of your parents gametes?
Second, this mystical nonsense about human "essence" is so utterly undefined (and undefinable) as to be perfectly meaningless.
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that entails rational thought and the the study of "first principles" and "being" (ontology) There is nothing mystical, arbitrary or mushy about it. Essence refers to the question, "what is it?"
Skepticism about a scientific fact as established as any fact of science, and confirmed beyond cavil that the beginning of a human life occurs at fertilization, is unwarranted. To say that we cannot know what a human being is is also unwarranted. We do not have to know everything to know with certainty what a human being is and how a human being's life begins. To say that we cannot know, itself a claim of knowledge that we cannot know, is self-refuting.
The purely subjective basis for your argument renders it as useless as, and as subject to abuse as, arguments based upon "viability."
Since when are the basic facts of biology subjective, and since when is there any scientific authority for the notion that sperm and ovum are the same kind of thing as a zygote? The novel assertion that they are is nothing short of backwoods biology, with apologies to the backwoods. A sperm is not a human being. An ovum is not a human being.
You claim that the severable sperm and ovum that initiate fetal development do not possess your subjective "human essence." But your claim is entirely arbitrary, since "but for" the genetic components of the sperm and ovum, there would be no human at all. The essential nature of the sperm and ovum, their "essence" if you will, is the very source of humanness, yet you exclude them from your "human essence" category.
For the umpteenth time, referring to what something is, a human zygote is a whole human organism, and, as such, a living (albeit immature) member of the human species. A human zygote has the internal, self-directed, self-integrating potency to develop and mature into a mature human being; a gamete does not. If you implant a sperm into a uterus the sperm will disintegrate. It will not grow into a mature human being in 25 years. Basic biological facts and distinctions are not a subjective enterprise.
Another could credibly argue that "human essence" is measured by brain waves, or motility, or communicative capacity, or sense perception. Indeed, their arguments would have considerably greater weight than yours, since you simply assign without explanation "human essence" to a personally preferred (and morally convenient) phase in the reproductive cycle.
In addition to objective, empirical, elemental biological distinctions, I have already argued that such potentialities and capabilities are entailed in the kind of entity it is, a point that you have not refuted.
You did not answer the question, "when did you begin to exist?", nor did you answer the question, "if you did not begin to exist until you implanted in your mother's womb then what kind of actual, physical being was it that was the product of your parents gametes?"