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Party panders to special interests to raise the deficit to take away Americans' personal medical freedoms

(This article deals with politics and the internet -- those who do not wish to read about these topics are forewarned)

The Republican National Party (RNP) published its platform -- entitled "We Believe in America" -- on Aug. 29, 2012, presenting the party's federal vision for America.  The platform claimed three primary authors -- Senator John Hoeven (R-N. Dakota), Governor Bob McDonnell (R-Virg.), and Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).

In our first piece we analyzed the internet policy and free speech side of the platform.  In this article we offer up nuggets from the scientific side of the platform.

I. Digging Into the RNP "We Believe..." Platform

Reading the document I think the public may find many appealing aspects in the platform, starting with the subtitle "Reforming Government to Serve People" -- surely a worthwhile goal given today's state of hyper-deficits and inconsistent taxation.

But the troubling aspect of the platform from the perspective of a technology and science observer is the high degree of inconsistency and obfuscation amongst the various platform planks (though to be fair I fear we shall find similar problems in the Democratic National Party's (DNP) platform).

Let's dig into what exactly the platform says -- after weeks of rumors and speculation -- but first let's be perfectly clear what the platform is.  

It is somewhat of a myth to say that America does not have or has never had viable third parties -- President Andrew Johnson, the man who succeeded President Abraham Lincoln -- was effectively a third-party president after publicly renouncing the Democratic Party while in office, while also refusing to join the Republican ranks.

But in all practicality, the nucleus of political power in America today is largely binary.  And today it takes millions of dollars to get elected to office.  2008 marked the first race in which the average "price" of a seat in the House of Representatives passed the $1M USD mark.  The candidate with more money won 9 out of 10 federal races.  Much of that funding comes from the national party, which in turn receives a mixture of money from small donors and hefty special interests.

 
RNP

Against that backdrop, consider that the RNP's and DNP's platforms are non-binding, yet they do carry substantial weight and pressure.  Candidates who buck the carefully laid out talking points in the platform risk losing funding, and by proxy losing a job opportunity.  Of course there may be some element of pandering to the platform -- so it's not impossible to fathom that either party might adopt a plank (passage) that they have no real intention of enforcing.

II. Science v. Religion: The War on Drugs, Research, and Medical Freedoms

The RNP platform offers an incredible degree of cognitive dissonance. Most of it deals with the Republican party proposing large, intrusive federal expensive expenditures to regulate personal choices on medical interest at the behest of special interests or religion basis, not a scientific basis.

-- restricting scientific research or medical freedoms for religious (and not scientific) reasons, or at the behest of special interests.  For example the RNP states (pg. 34):

We call for expanded support for the stem-cell research that now offers the greatest hope for many afflictions– with adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and cells reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells–without the destruction of embryonic human life. We urge a ban on human cloning and on the creation of or experimentation on human embryos. We support restoring the Drug Enforcement Administration ban on the use of controlled substances for physician assisted suicide. We oppose the FDA approval of Mifeprex, formerly known as RU-486, and similar drugs that terminate innocent human life after conception.

So the party's plank basically states: ban embryonic stem-cells that could be used to treat disease victims, ban the morning after pill, and ban assisted suicide.

Embryonic stem cells
The RNP wants to ban embryonic stem cells that could treat paralysis victims. [Image Source: Metrolic]

Likewise (pg. 38) the RNP states:

The resources of the federal government’s law enforcement and judicial systems have been strained by two unfortunate expansions: the overcriminalization of behavior and the over-federalization of offenses. The number of criminal offenses in the U.S. Code increased from 3,000 in the early 1980s to over 4,450 by 2008. Federal criminal law should focus on acts by federal employees or acts committed on federal property – and leave the rest to the States. Then Congress should withdraw from federal departments and agencies the power to criminalize behavior, a practice which, according to the Congressional Research Service, has created “tens of thousands” of criminal offenses. No one other than an elected representative should have the authority to define a criminal act and set criminal penalties. In the same way, Congress should reconsider the extent to which it has federalized offenses traditionally handled on the State or local level.

Yet on (pg. 37-38) they comment:

To that end, we support mandatory prison sentences for... repeat drug dealers... 

... a comment that alludes to the party's ongoing support of marijuna prohibition.  The marijuana issue is notable, as nearly half of criminals in U.S. prison have lost their liberty due to non-violent drug offenses, with a half of those prisoners (a quarter of all prisoners) being imprisoned for marijuana offenses.  

To put this in context, the U.S. has lost almost $2T in tax revenue on marijuana alone in the four decade "War on Drugs", launched by Republican President Richard Nixon, while spending $1T USD in taxpayer money for bloated federal enforcement.  Meanwhile, all three of America's last presidents -- Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama acknowledge consuming marijuana as youths (though Bill, famously, "did not inhale").  And the world's most prominent medical experts are in general agreement in the peer-reviewed literature -- marijuana is no more harmful to health and society than alcohol (legal) or tobacco (legal) -- in fact, in may be substantially less harmful.

To recap the Republican party wants to spend billions in taxpayer to jail, imprison, and otherwise financially ruin the lives of those who use the morning after pill, use a low-harm drug (marijuana), or who do research using embryonic stem cells.  It wants to expand federal government to act as moral police dog for the nation.  And it wants to ban a person's own right to end their life, even in cases where of chronic pain and suffering.

Yet the party claims it is about personal liberties and reducing the federal budget/deficit.

Some parts of the moral stands (e.g. the reproductive rights parts) may be mere pandering and may not see serious legislative action (although they may).  But the RNP is following narrowly the DNP's line of spending billions in the "War on Drugs", which is largely the "War on Marijuana".  It is extremely hard to see that war as anything other than an effort to funnel money to the alcohol and tobacco industry. 

Marijuana Mexico
Both Obama and Romney have accepted around $200,000 from the alcohol industry to keep marijuan illegal.  Both candidates plan to rack up billions in deficit debt to pander to the special interest bosses. [Image Source: AFP]

Tobacco Lobbyists have spent almost $2.5M USD this election cycle, with over 2/3rds of that money going to Republicans [source].  The alcohol industry has spent close to $5M USD [source].  Republicans have a slight edge, but overall the alcohol industry is much more equal in funding both parties, with both presidential candidates accepting close to $200,000 in special interest money.  Perhaps that's why both candidates want to continue the war on drugs, wasting taxpayer money to manipulate the "free market" -- after all, they've been paid to have that opinion.

Clearly there's a huge contradiction between the various planks in the RNP platform.

Source: GOP



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RE: I fail to see religion's
By Asetha on 9/12/2012 2:33:56 PM , Rating: 2
I appreciate your civility. Some here have lost the plot entirely when talking about this issue and resort to ad-hominem attacks due to their lack of coherent argument.

quote:
So where do you stand regarding conception of an embryo by forcible means: rape, incest, etc? Would you allow a woman to abort the embryo; what about your sister, mother or yourself in that situation?


I'd certainly entertain death by acid bath or dismemberment for the rapist, but certainly not for the innocent human being conceived as a result of any rape. I wouldn't kill my neighbor's kid because his father beat up his mother, would you?

Rape/incest doesn't change the equation that killing an innocent human being is wrong. It may make the situation more psychologically complex, but it doesn't change anything regarding the fetus.

quote:
Given what you've stated so far, a life in all forms deserves protection under the law no matter what state


The pro-life position can be compatible with capital punishment, as it removes all risk that a murder may kill again. I've stated that it is wrong to kill innocent humans, I'd think that most people in most countries will agree with that statement. So no, all human life doesn't deserve protection. All innocent human life does.

No, I didn't know that human beings need to be of certain age to fall under the law's protection. I'm sure that would be news to Scott Peterson, who murdered his pregnant girlfriend and was convicted of double homicide. The truth is that a human being is fair game to kill as long as the mother decides it within the first X month(s) of it's life. X varies by country.

quote:
It's modern religious doctrine that stipulates an embryo of any age deserves legal protection no matter the case.


The only differences between any zygote and you are 4 things: 1 Size, 2. Level of development, 3. Environment, and 4. Dependency.

1. They are small, you are large. But I'm also larger, and more biologically complex than my nephew, who is 2. Does that make him less human than me?

2. I can reproduce, my nephew cannot. Is he less human because he isn't at my level of development?

3. Any fetus cannot survive outside of the womb. Yet as far as I know, my environment has no bearing on the definition of me being a human.

4. Fetuses are totally dependent on someone else for their survival. So are newborn babies. So are people in comas. Does a person's physical dependency make them less human that a physically independent human?

Please point out my religious doctrine in any of the above positions. I'm really interested to see where my dogma closes my mind. Seriously.


RE: I fail to see religion's
By EricMartello on 9/14/2012 4:56:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'd certainly entertain death by acid bath or dismemberment for the rapist, but certainly not for the innocent human being conceived as a result of any rape. I wouldn't kill my neighbor's kid because his father beat up his mother, would you?


Killing a kid who had an abusive parent is not even close to ending a pregnancy early before the human in development has a chance to live.

Suggesting that a human is "innocent" or not implies that you believe you are able to judge this. You are not and quite frankly neither is anyone. We could go with the view that all humans are "guilty" as they have subverted natural processes that regulate population growth and density. We use a disproportionate amount of resources and, as a species, should be thinned out. What better way to do that than by regulating the amount of new humans entering the world?

Until the fertilized egg can exist outside of the womb without any artificial life support it could still be considered a health condition of the woman's body and not an independent being.

quote:
Rape/incest doesn't change the equation that killing an innocent human being is wrong. It may make the situation more psychologically complex, but it doesn't change anything regarding the fetus.


Until the human can live without the support of the mother and without some artificial device it is not alive - it is in development. Is a car a car when it's just the chassis with no motor, no tires, no seats? You have the basic form but it cannot drive.

Innocence or lack thereof means you believe you are some kind of arbiter that can pass judgement on others - what makes you believe you are qualified to judge other people?

quote:
The pro-life position can be compatible with capital punishment, as it removes all risk that a murder may kill again. I've stated that it is wrong to kill innocent humans, I'd think that most people in most countries will agree with that statement. So no, all human life doesn't deserve protection. All innocent human life does.


Interesting - you point out that it's OK to kill a murderer because he MAY kill again, but it's not ok to end a pregnancy early even though there is a really high risk that an unwanted child MAY grow up in poverty and MAY become a street thug or gangster who rapes, murders or kills another person later in their life.

If you're concern is protecting human life then you should probably take all factors into account, not only the factors that support your point of view. After all it is easy for you to declare that abortion should not exist in any form, but you ignore the problems that unwanted, uncared for offspring cause as they grow older.

quote:
The truth is that a human being is fair game to kill as long as the mother decides it within the first X month(s) of it's life. X varies by country.


If the fetus is not at a stage where it could live outside of the womb without "life support" from the mother or a machine then it is not alive. It is a biological process developing into life. We are 70% water, but would you call water "alive" simply because it's what we're mostly made of? You're making some loose connections here.

My position on abortion is that it should be allowed up to the point where the fetus CAN exist outside the womb without external life support. This is generally 7 months or so into pregnancy, and since it can vary a bit between people a doctor should be required to confirm that the fetus cannot live outside the womb before approving an abortion.

quote:
The only differences between any zygote and you are 4 things: 1 Size, 2. Level of development, 3. Environment, and 4. Dependency.


The only difference between a car and a pile of parts to make up said car is nothing other than the pile is not assembled into a usable form. There is literally no other difference, and yet the vehicle cannot exist unless it is correctly assembled.

quote:
1. They are small, you are large. But I'm also larger, and more biologically complex than my nephew, who is 2. Does that make him less human than me?


Irrelevant.

quote:
2. I can reproduce, my nephew cannot. Is he less human because he isn't at my level of development?


Irrelevant, and a poor attempt to make your point. Level of development should be discussing the completion of assembly. Just because it has the shape of a human doesn't mean it IS a human.

quote:
3. Any fetus cannot survive outside of the womb. Yet as far as I know, my environment has no bearing on the definition of me being a human.


If your defining human life from a medical perspective, which we are in this case, then a human would need to be a fully-functional being that can exist outside the womb.

Naturally I do support euthanizing retards and other defective humans mainly because they would live a poor quality of life, but that is, for some reason, more touchy with people than abortion. Strange.

quote:
4. Fetuses are totally dependent on someone else for their survival. So are newborn babies. So are people in comas. Does a person's physical dependency make them less human that a physically independent human?


Fetuses are not completely developed, and can technically be considered a parasitic infection until the embryo reaches maturity. A fetus CANNOT exist without the host during their early developmental stages so they are not in fact a separate entity from the mother. If you remove them from the body they will cease to develop even if you do hook them up to some kind of machine so if it CANNOT live it is not alive.

Healthy newborn babies are fully developed and rely on parents for care; they exist independently of the mother as their own being.

People in a coma are also fully developed humans who, prior to their coma, were able to sustain themselves independently and may regain consciousness some time in the future. You're really grasping at straws here.

quote:
Please point out my religious doctrine in any of the above positions. I'm really interested to see where my dogma closes my mind. Seriously.


Your ideology may or may not be rooted in religious beliefs but you are definitely attempting to make an argument against abortion based on the notion that "babies are innocent".

Innocence or lack thereof is a philosophical matter - you have virtually nothing in the way of logic or pragmatic reasoning to support an outright ban on abortion.

I can, at most, agree that abortions should be performed within a limited window and with discretion...but the practical reasons for allowing abortion to exist vastly outweigh your philosophical musings as to why abortion should be banned.


RE: I fail to see religion's
By Asetha on 9/14/2012 11:40:38 AM , Rating: 1
I appreciate the civil tone and the attempt to respond to the points. Thank you.

You claim (several times) that

quote:
If the fetus is not at a stage where it could live outside of the womb without "life support" from the mother or a machine then it is not alive.


and

quote:
Until the human can live without the support of the mother and without some artificial device it is not alive


You are kidding around, right? Have you ever seen a one year old baby find edible food and feed itself? It cannot live without the support of it's mother/machine, so by the definition you gave it is not alive. Kill away. That's why I start to think your side either has no arguments (my fervent hope), or you are a moral freak who argues babies aren't actually alive because they require support to live.

Well, meet the Environment and Dependency difference in my argument. I claimed that a human being is the thing produced by a human male gamete and human female gamete and provided a very standard peer-reviewed source for that claim. I then claimed that the difference between any 2 humans are merely their different stages of development. You argue against biology when you claim life is independent on a machine or another body for it to be viable. However any baby mammal is totally dependent on it's mother/father/machine to feed it for the earliest stages of it's life. Thus your definition of life does not include toddlers.

So now that your definition of life has been totally and completely debunked, lets move onto the 'innocent' claim. I insert the word into the argument because there can be room for capital punishment within the pro-life worldview. There are experts who argue that some individuals are beyond rehabilitation and that by letting them live is simply giving them another chance to kill someone else. Thus it can (note, not 'should') be argued that capital punishment may save lives. Also note I am not claiming to be an arbiter of that, you are inserting language into my posts I didn't use and attacking your own language, which is a straw-man fallacy.

An unwanted child is better off alive then dead. If you disagree, go to any adoption agency and ask them how many child suicides they get every year. A million bucks if the number approached .5.

I agree that some people are not good parents and don't want their children, or mistreat them throughout the child's life. However that doesn't justify killing the child. And if one accepts the biological definition of a human being (which I do) and doesn't impose a subjective 'its only alive when X occurs' (which is what you do), then abortion must be wrong.

What does our composition have to do with absolutely anything? You are factually biologically ALIVE when as soon as you are conceived. Life flows continuously from mother-zygote. There are no non-living cells that magically transform into living cells during the period of any biological system. You assume to know far more about basic biology than you do. That is basic, basic BASIC stuff.

The difference between a car and it's parts and a human at it's zygote stage and adult stage is that the car parts DO NOT SELF ASSEMBLE INTO A CAR. Here I thought that AMAZINGLY OBVIOUS but apparently it requires caps to clear the air. Holy cow.

The fact that the difference between the zygote and toddler stage of a human being is 'irrelevant' is only so to one who hasn't the foggiest idea that a continuum has no breaks, thus if one is at a certain stage on an inevitably occurring process then one cannot differentiate by definition from another at a different stage on the continuum. Thus it's only 'irrelevant' to someone who cannot logically think through that concept.

Agreed, shape is irrelevant to membership in homo sapiens. Totally agreed. My statement did not claim that shape has any impact at all, my statement argued that shape is irrelevant and thus just because a zygote is smaller than my it is no less human. Thank you for agreeing even though you do not understand. Is a newborn baby a 'complete assembly'? No. It cannot function as I can. Thus it is not complete. Does incomplete assembly mean non-human? I dunno, as someone born with no legs if they are human. If they respond somewhat rudely, act as if you are shocked and give them the statement about complete assembly.

We are not defining anything from a medical perspective. We are discussing basic biology. So much for that line of argument. Folks see killing retards and whatever else society deem the unfit as horrible because they can see those individuals. There is no logical difference between that and abortion, so I'm starting to think you are indeed a moral freak.

If you take me out of the environment I am designed for (and that comprises an extremely tiny % of the universe) I would cease to function. This has no impact whatsoever on me being a human being. You are making a massive category error here. There is absolutely no difference between James Cameron in a submarine at the bottom of the Marianas Trench and a human baby before its born. Both are human. Both are living in an environment that keeps them alive. You have no point at all.

Re: comas. Grasping at straws is making up definitions that suit your argument and then changing them when they are destroyed. You have not provided a biological defnition of life that is consistent with every scientific experiment done on living cells ever. Life has not been demonstrated to come from non-life, thus your definition of life is bullshit. Your argument never gets off the ground because you assume magic is involved in the development of biological systems.

I'm too pro-science to be pro-choice. You make up a definition of what a human being is and then all bets are off. Except your definition is totally bunk, because you cannot prove that a zygote is a non-living organism.


RE: I fail to see religion's
By EricMartello on 9/14/2012 4:37:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It cannot live without the support of it's mother/machine, so by the definition you gave it is not alive.


All people need to eat regardless of their age - their reliance or lack thereof for someone to feed them is not a gauge as to whether or not they are alive. I am sure you thought this was a brilliant argument but it's not. It is comparing two entirely different things. An embryo cannot exist without the specific conditions that exist within its mother's womb including being physically connected to the mother. At this point it is still a part of the mother's body and not an individual being.

You have not debunked anything, bro.

quote:
Also note I am not claiming to be an arbiter of that, you are inserting language into my posts I didn't use and attacking your own language, which is a straw-man fallacy.


Your previous arguments were based on banning abortion due to the perceived "innocence" of the unwanted pregnancy. I pointed out that to take that position you believe you are able to judge the worthiness of life, and you went off on some tangent to talk about the death penalty...not a straw man. It's the position you decided to take.

quote:
An unwanted child is better off alive then dead.


Citing child suicides does not in any way support your claim that unwanted children are better alive.

Look at any country where people fcuk and pop out kids with impunity - the are poor, run down third world sh1t holes. Many people cannot effectively care for themselves let alone another human - so if a few of these inept would-be mothers are SMART enough to acknowledge this and decide to end a pregnancy before it spawns a problem - more power to them.

quote:
I agree that some people are not good parents and don't want their children, or mistreat them throughout the child's life. However that doesn't justify killing the child.


Nobody is suggesting we kill children; we are talking about ending a pregnancy early before the biological goop in the mother's womb develops into a child and pops out.

I'm still waiting for you to provide an argument that is based on logic and reason to support your position - we're down this far in your wall of text and there is no sign of anything other than inaccurate metaphors and a notion that "what other people said before" legitimizes your point of view for you.

quote:
What does our composition have to do with absolutely anything? You are factually biologically ALIVE when as soon as you are conceived.


Living Cells != Human Life

It has everything to do with the stage of development. An embryo is a cluster of cells in development. It does not have the complex organs and bodily processes that a fully finished human does. It is not a human. If you removed an embryo and plopped it down on the table, nobody is going to say THAT IS A HUMAN. Some people may acknowledge that, given enough time and the right environmental conditions, the embryo would become a human.

Furthermore, whether or not it is alive is irrelevant. To humans, the value of life is evaluated on a sliding scale based on relatively ambiguous observations and perceptions. An embryo falls below insects on this scale because an insect is, at least, a fully developed creature.


RE: I fail to see religion's
By Asetha on 9/15/2012 2:02:21 AM , Rating: 2
You said that human life begins when the human in question can survive without the environment provided by the mother's body. I provided examples of other environments that permit human life to exist, thus arguing your definition to be subjective (you made it up, there is no biological evidence you can provide that backs up the 'life begins at stage X' position). I'm sure you thought your (bad) reading of my point was great, but you ignored the thrust. An astronaut cannot exist without the specific conditions that exist within his/her space ship. The condition of the environment required for their survival is irrelevant to the status of their membership in the species.

My insertation of the word 'innocent' was to argue the moral position of killing human beings. No one agrees that killing a human being not convicted of any crime is moral. It is rather difficult for a fetus to commit a crime, thus the language. I talked about the death penalty because the previous poster asked me about it. Read first, then comment.

You are accusing me of judging the value of human life, then you claim that you know what constitutes a life quality index below which death is preferable. Child suicide rates were brought up because it stands to reason that if one's life quality is so bad that death is preferable, suicide will result. Guess what? It doesn't.

quote:
Many people cannot effectively care for themselves let alone another human - so if a few of these inept would-be mothers are SMART enough to acknowledge this and decide to end a pregnancy before it spawns a problem


Only pro-aborts argue that a living human child is a 'problem'.

Actually a human being at any stage of it's development is still biologically a human being. Life is a continous process that begins at conception and ends at death, there is no biological stage when a 'living clump of cells' attains membership into a certain species. An embryo is a cluster of cells in development. Aptly put. So am I.

Plopping an embryo on a table and have someone observe it is entirely beside the point. We are not discussing the appearance of a human being, we are talking about what biologically constitutes a human being. Nice red herring.

quote:
Furthermore, whether or not it is alive is irrelevant. To humans, the value of life is evaluated on a sliding scale based on relatively ambiguous observations and perceptions. An embryo falls below insects on this scale because an insect is, at least, a fully developed creature.


Actually, whether someone is alive or not is very relevant. Which humans are worth less than others by your ambiguous observations and perceptions? I believe that any member of the species homo sapiens is worth as much as any other. I'm curious to hear which ones you ambiguously perceive to be worth less than others.


RE: I fail to see religion's
By EricMartello on 9/15/2012 3:36:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You said that human life begins when the human in question can survive without the environment provided by the mother's body.


Right, the HUMAN in question. The embryo is not a human and you not put forth any facts to support this (because there are no facts to support you). Suggesting that the definition of a human is somehow tied to its ability to survive in a particular environment is laughable.

quote:
No one agrees that killing a human being not convicted of any crime is moral. It is rather difficult for a fetus to commit a crime.


Why is it difficult for a fetus to commit a crime? You've been trying to convince us that it is human to make your other failed argument "work". LOL

If the fetus is human, as YOU say, then I can judge it like I would any other human. And I've decided that we have enough humans on this planet and that birthing more is a crime in itself, punishable by death. This is the antithesis of your position that all new humans are "innocent". You're playing judge to grant life and I'm playing judge and executioner.

quote:
You are accusing me of judging the value of human life, then you claim that you know what constitutes a life quality index below which death is preferable.


I am not accusing you - unless you've lived your entire life without killing any other creature you do value LIFE in general on a sliding scale like all other people do. With that fact in mind, it is quite possible to judge the value of life at a particular stage in development.

We are not lacking in the means to produce new humans so there is no justification to keep the defective ones.

Note that you have not responded to my statement that keeping retards alive condemns them to a life which can be likened to what many would describe as being a personal hell...and for what? For your selfish, misplaced moral principles that are likely not even your own?

quote:
Actually a human being at any stage of it's development is still biologically a human being. Life is a continous process that begins at conception and ends at death


Is that what Father Touchmenot taught you at sunday school after church? You do realize that you said this before and you failed to "sell" it.

An embryo is not a human.

You are trying to stretch the definition of human to make an argument.

Most mammalian embryos are incredibly similar biologically - it is the DNA in the cells that causes them to DEVELOP into different creatures over time.

Stem cells and those contained in our embryos are useful for improving life for many people that have been born and suffer from debilitating diseases or conditions. You did not want us to euthanize them and now they've lived a life of suffering...now you want to deny them medical research that can help them...for your own...selfish and narrow-minded beliefs.

quote:
Plopping an embryo on a table and have someone observe it is entirely beside the point. We are not discussing the appearance of a human being, we are talking about what biologically constitutes a human being. Nice red herring.


No, it's not because an embryo does not constitute a human being in any way, shape or form.

Here is the definition of human as it is in the dictionary:

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

Notice how the designation "human" is short for "human being", which is used by scientists to characterize us as a species based on several key traits that all humans are capable of. The lack any of these traits due to injury or defect does not mean that the damaged creature is not part of the human species but it could be argued that they are less than human if they are not meeting some or all of these basic criteria.

Now then, based on the secular definition of human being - which characteristics does an embryo share with that of a fully developed human?

Is an embryo a man, woman or child? No.

Can an embryo talk? No.

Can an embryo walk or move at all under it's own power? No.

Can an embryo think deeply? Kinda hard to do without a brain...so no.

quote:
Actually, whether someone is alive or not is very relevant. Which humans are worth less than others by your ambiguous observations and perceptions? I believe that any member of the species homo sapiens is worth as much as any other. I'm curious to hear which ones you ambiguously perceive to be worth less than others.


Nice try, slick...but just like the majority of what you say this has no substance either.

You have failed to provide even a shred of compelling text that would elevate an embryo to that of a fully developed human being. You're using some vague "continuum" as reasoning which...is not reasoning. It is simply a gaping hole in your logic that you are unable to fill.

Embryos are not humans.

Embryos exhibit no traits that a fully developed human possesses.

Embryos may be made of the some of the same stuff that humans are made of, but so is most life on earth...and we've already established that there is no human that regards the life of a mosquito or single-celled organism as being "the same value" as that of a human life.

Oh, and humans have more in common with chimps than we do with our own embryos. Can we stretch the definition of human to include all primates since we're sorta kinda like them?


RE: I fail to see religion's
By EricMartello on 9/14/2012 4:38:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The difference between a car and it's parts and a human at it's zygote stage and adult stage is that the car parts DO NOT SELF ASSEMBLE INTO A CAR.


The process of assembly is irrelevant. We can't fit a team of overpaid union workers into every womans' womb to build the embryo into a human so the individual cells do it for us over a period of 9 months.

BTW your excessive usage of elementary school biology terms is not adding any credibility to your philosophical argument. Just sayin. Nobody reading your posts believes you have any real scientific understanding or knowledge of humans' biological processes.

quote:
The fact that the difference between the zygote and toddler stage of a human being is 'irrelevant' is only so to one who hasn't the foggiest idea that a continuum has no breaks


It is irrelevant because they are two entirely different things. This "continuum" you're talking about is more highly opinionated, philosophical nonsense. If you cannot see the difference then you are not thinking logically.

quote:
Does incomplete assembly mean non-human? I dunno, as someone born with no legs if they are human.


Absolutely. Humans can exist without certain "parts" being included (i.e. limbs) but we cannot exist without a heart, a brain, blood...fundamental things that are simply not present in an embryo and even at later stages are not ready for prime time - like the engine block of a car vs the fully assembled engine.

quote:
Folks see killing retards and whatever else society deem the unfit as horrible because they can see those individuals. There is no logical difference between that and abortion, so I'm starting to think you are indeed a moral freak.


It's actually beneficial to humans as a species to maintain a standard of quality in our gene pool. The natural processes of life are quite vicious and violent - which seems "bad" and "cruel" but also tempers life to make it more resilient.

This has nothing to do with morality and more to do with practicality. Your "morals" condemn a retard to a life of dependence...they live looking through a window and being aware enough to know everything they can't do or will never be able to do. Some people may consider that a version of hell - but you're bleeding heart demands we embrace these people and let them live out their days/weeks/years rather than euthanizing the defects and keeping healthy people who have a higher chance of improving the human race as a whole.

quote:
If you take me out of the environment I am designed for (and that comprises an extremely tiny % of the universe) I would cease to function.


You really have no argument for what I said and it is quite apparent in your responses. THIS is an example of a straw man - which by definition is you attempting to present a similar but irrelevant example as being "identical" and suggesting that if A is true so is B.

You, as a human, are a sentient being who can function with some semblance of free will. You can choose to place yourself in a safe environment or a harsh environment - an embryo is not "designed to exist" in the womb because it is not designed to exist. It is designed to provide a framework for building a human out of biological parts. Until it can exist on its own as a sentient being independent from a host it is not alive.

quote:
There is absolutely no difference between James Cameron in a submarine at the bottom of the Marianas Trench and a human baby before its born.


No, not really. James Cameron is a sentient being who can function independently of his host. He can think and make his own choices. An embryo cannot because it is not alive - it is a human in development.

You need to cool it with the metaphors that range from inaccurate to entirely false and try to put forth some fact, or just accept that you've taken position that makes no logical sense to anyone other than yourself.

Nothing you've said is even thought-provoking in terms of making anyone feel that abortions are some evil that should be stopped.

quote:
I'm too pro-science to be pro-choice. Except your definition is totally bunk, because you cannot prove that a zygote is a non-living organism.


An embryo is made up of living cells and whether or not it's alive doesn't even matter to me because based on my "life valuation scale" it falls below insects. I have no problem swatting a mosquito and if research on embryos can lead to new treatments or improvements to make life better for humans that did make it out of the hole I would be quite supportive of said research.

You are obviously ignorant in terms of scientific understanding, although you seem to think that repeatedly using the word "zygote" equates to you having a PhD in biology.

You talk like a pro-life pamphlet given out by a church and you are no more a scientist than a banana is proof that "some intelligent being" exists.


RE: I fail to see religion's
By Asetha on 9/16/2012 2:05:32 PM , Rating: 2
While it's news to you, I don't get my pro-life position from any church. I get it from the embryology text i cited above. The authors plainly state that a human life begins at conception.

When you write your embryology text, let me know. My excessive use of elementary biology cited the above literature whilst you have provided jack squat in terms of science-based sources (Peter Singer is not a scientist). Thus you can yap all you like about my non-biological background (civil eng) but in the final analysis you have provided nothing beyond your subjective opinion.

quote:
whether or not it's alive doesn't even matter to me because based on my "life valuation scale" it falls below insects


Thanks for the concession speech. As I said, your subjective opinion. Not scientific fact. As cited above.

Thanks for playing, though.


RE: I fail to see religion's
By corduroygt on 9/16/2012 3:56:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
. As I said, your subjective opinion. Not scientific fact. As cited above.

You have no clue what "a scientific fact" is. Your "non-church" sources are all religious idiots who claim to use science for their benefits. Regardless of the fact, I'd value any embryo over your life any day.


RE: I fail to see religion's
By Asetha on 9/17/2012 12:01:44 AM , Rating: 1
Good to see you again, troll. Unfortunately for your argument the source cited above is consistent with the views of the leaders of the largest abortion providers in the UK and the USA.

Ann Furedi, CEO of the largest abortion provider in the UK, says

quote:
We can accept that the embryo is a living thing in the fact that it has a beating heart, that it has its own genetic system within it. It’s clearly human in the sense that it’s not a gerbil, and we can recognize that it is human life… the point is not when does human life begin, but when does it really begin to matter?


Source: Ann Furedi, “Abortion: A Civilised Debate,” Battle of Ideas, (London, England, November 1, 2008).

And another:

quote:
"The beginning of a single human life is from a biological point of view a simple and straightforward matter – the beginning is conception."


-Dr. Watson A. Bowes
University of Colorado Medical School

quote:
"By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception."


-Professor Hymie Gordon Mayo Clinic

quote:
"I have learned from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time of conception."


- Dr. Alfred M. Bongioanni Professor of Pediatrics and Obstetrics, University of Pennsylvania

quote:
"After fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being. [It] is no longer a matter of taste or opinion...it is plain experimental evidence. Each individual has a very neat beginning, at conception."


-Dr. Jerome LeJeune Professor of Genetics, University of Descartes

quote:
"It is incorrect to say that biological data cannot be decisive...It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception."


- Professor Micheline Matthews-Roth Harvard University Medical School

I guess the guys I quoted above have a scientific fact is either, then. Those
quote:
religious idiots
abuse science for their own benefits, as there is no benefit in spouting some bullshit to appease trolls like you.

I'm glad you FINALLY came to the heart of your argument - whether the unborn are human/alive or not is not part of your argument. You don't care about the biology, else you'd acknowledge the positions of the
quote:
religious idiots
I quoted above.

Thanks for playing, troll. Bring some grown-up arguments if you want to be taken seriously next time, though. Refuting your infantile bleating and ad-hominem fallacies gets boring.


RE: I fail to see religion's
By Asetha on 9/17/2012 4:15:08 AM , Rating: 2
Woops. I meant those guys I quoted must not have any idea what a scientific fact is, either.


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