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> When does "life" begin?, ...and why does it matter?
turnea
post Jun 10 2005, 04:52 PM
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In an effort not to drive an interesting thread off topic I would like to take up this debate here.
QUOTE(turnea)
Any competent biologist could tell you that the life (in the scientific sense) of a sexually-reproducing organism (usually, biology can be pretty strange at times) begins at conception.

In fact the way some on the left continue to refer to fetus as "potential life" is anti-rational at it's heart.


QUOTE(ampersand)
A similar thing happens in the abortion debate about "when life begins." When pro-choicers say "life," they're not referring to biological life, but to what might more technically be called "personhood"; the state of being a person entitled to civil rights, which is different from the state of merely being biologically alive.

Pro-lifers, on the other hand, tend to use "life" to mean "biological life." This allows them to mistakenly claim, as Turnea did, that "the way some on the left continue to refer to fetus as 'potential life' is anti-rational at it's heart." It's only anti-rationalist if we falsely pretend that pro-choicers are using "life" to refer to literal biological life, which they are not.

My response would be a simple, say what you mean because the life of an organism is a scientific concept but let's try and get a handle on this further.

QUOTE(Cephus)
No, any competent biologist would tell you that life is an unbroken chain going back billions of years. The sperm is alive, the egg is alive, yadda yadda. Now if you want to talk about something that is genetically human, then certainly that happens at the point of conception. Life, however, happened a long, long time ago.

So then...

When does the life of a human being begin? At conception? At birth? Somewhere in between?

Is reference to zygote/fetus as "potential life" misleading?

If so do you think think is purposeful on the part of "pro-choice" spokespeople?

Does this terminology have an anti-rational effect on the abortion debate?


Edited to Add: Notice this is not a free-for-all abortion debate, I am fully aware that the question of abortion is not settled within the parameters laid out for this debate.
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phaedrus
post Jun 14 2005, 06:17 PM
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QUOTE
When does the life of a human being begin? At conception? At birth? Somewhere in between?


At conception.

QUOTE
Is reference to zygote/fetus as "potential life" misleading?


Yes, living systems are being developed as soon as the metabolism begins to function. Everything that makes us human is present in the Zygote and within 11 weeks every vital organ is funtioning.

QUOTE
Does this terminology have an anti-rational effect on the abortion debate?[/b]


Absolutly, in fact, I think prolifers calling abortion murder has an anti-rational effect as well

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droop224
post Jun 15 2005, 01:02 AM
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Turnea

Can we logically deduce from all that is said in this debate about what is life, what is human, and what it is to be a being that a human skin cell meets the requirements of a living human being?

This post has been edited by droop224: Jun 15 2005, 04:48 AM
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turnea
post Jun 15 2005, 01:22 PM
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QUOTE(logophage @ Jun 14 2005, 12:04 PM)

I agree.  From reading back through the thread, it seems like "life" is being used more or less in a biological context.  However, once we stray into the domain of "human life" or "human being" or just "human", I think this is where the debate becomes muddled.  If we were to remain in the strictly biological domain, then I don't believe you will ever get a satisfactory answer with regard to the political and/or moral domains. 
*


This I agree with entirely, I believe the ultimate decision on abortion may well be a fundamentally irrational one no matter what side one takes.

Biology can tell us what a zygote or fetus is, it cannot tell us what its value is.

Nevertheless I do believe that knowledge of the biological facts concerning the matter is valuable in that at least the leap of faith it takes to come up with a position on abortion won't be rooted in misinformation such as the concept of "potential life".

QUOTE(droop224)
Can we logically deduce from all that is said in this debate about what is life, what is human, and what it is to be a being that a human skin cell meets the requirements of a living human being?

Yes, which as I've said before is why that should not have been my question. It only obscures the true point of contention.

That is when does the life of "a human" begin?

The word "being" was dropped pages ago.

This post has been edited by turnea: Jun 15 2005, 05:09 PM
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droop224
post Jun 15 2005, 02:35 PM
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Turnea
QUOTE
Yes, which as I've said before is why that should not have been my question. It only obscures the true point of contention.

That is when does the life of "a human" begin?

The word "being" was dropped pages ago.

Very Good!!

Is it your contention that a skin cell is not a human?? And that a zygote is a human???
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turnea
post Jun 15 2005, 04:33 PM
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QUOTE(droop224 @ Jun 15 2005, 09:35 AM)
Is it your contention that a skin cell is not a human?? And that a zygote is a human???
*


Again as explained before, yes.

A skin cell is a piece of a human. I wouldn't call a kidney a human either.

A zygote on the other hand is an organism unto itself. Single-celled but whole.
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logophage
post Jun 15 2005, 05:29 PM
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QUOTE(turnea @ Jun 15 2005, 09:33 AM)
QUOTE(droop224 @ Jun 15 2005, 09:35 AM)
Is it your contention that a skin cell is not a human?? And that a zygote is a human???
*

Again as explained before, yes.

A skin cell is a piece of a human. I wouldn't call a kidney a human either.

A zygote on the other hand is an organism unto itself. Single-celled but whole.
*

This is the whole tricky language issue. Clearly, we would agree a skin cell and a zygote are both alive. They both are human. They are both "organisms". One type of cell is specialized for skin production whereas the other type of specialized for embryo production. A skin cell is not skin just as a zygote is not an embryo. That said, a zygote is a precursor to an embryo.

One could argue that a zygote contains all the genetic material necessary to produce an adult human, and since we give adult humans a moral status different from other living things, one could feel compelled to give a zygote or embryo the same status. However, this is only half the story, no? A zygote cannot become an embryo and an embryo cannot become a fetus without the gestational, nutrient bath of the mother's womb. It is tempting to separate the genetic material housing from the gestational housing, however at our current level of technology this is impossible. Of course, even if we did achieve a completely "motherless" human, a zygote/embryo would still require some technology designed to mimic the gestational housing provided by a mother. Thus, a zygote and embryo are subcomponents to the reproductive process during those development stages.

So here's the thing. We want to apply concepts used in everyday experience (person/human/etc.) on that which doesn't fit the clean language boundaries we have created for those everyday experiences. Or rather, we do have words with exact definition but they are unsatisfactory to some because they do not map cleanly to the world of thinking/talking/walking humans. Because of this, the debate always seems to get muddled.

From one perspective, we can take the moral status of ex-embryonic/post-fetus humans and walk backwards along the causal chain until two haploid cells combine granting all those intermediary developmental stages equivalent moral status that we give the "ex-embryonics/post-fetus". From another perspective, we can walk up the chain from haploid cells, to diploid/zygote, to embryo, to fetus granting all those developmental stages the equivalent moral status we give to any cell or set of cells. I believe that both perspectives have merit and both perspectives are too rigid. I suppose I believe in proportionality, but anyway that strays too far from the debate topic.

So, back to the whole "potential life" thing. I agree that it is a misleading term, however I do not ascribe malicious intent behind its usage. If people only understood and used a more exact biological definition of "life", then of course they would realize that "potential" is wholly inaccurate. There is no doubt that there is living stuff. However, what they mean, when the term is used, is "potential person" or even "potential ex-embryonic/post-fetus human". At least, it's what I think they mean wink.gif.

This post has been edited by logophage: Jun 15 2005, 05:30 PM
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turnea
post Jun 15 2005, 05:57 PM
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QUOTE(logophage)
A zygote cannot become an embryo and an embryo cannot become a fetus without the gestational, nutrient bath of the mother's womb. It is tempting to separate the genetic material housing from the gestational housing, however at our current level of technology this is impossible. Of course, even if we did achieve a completely "motherless" human, a zygote/embryo would still require some technology designed to mimic the gestational housing provided by a mother. Thus, a zygote and embryo are subcomponents to the reproductive process during those development stages.

This obscures the issue. Certainly a developing embryo requires the physiological support of the mother's womb. This does not mean it is a part of the mother.

The zygote is, at conception a wholly separate organism. I brought up the roughly analogous case of a kangaroo in a pouch. Without the pouch the baby kangaroo (born woefully underdeveloped when compared with many other mammals) would die almost immediately.
QUOTE
Kangaroos have developed a number of adaptations to a dry, infertile continent and a highly variable climate. As with all marsupials, the young are born at a very early stage of development after a gestation of 31-36 days. At this stage, only the forelimbs are somewhat developed, to allow the newborn to climb to the pouch and attach to a teat. In comparison, a human embryo at a similar stage of development would be about 7 weeks old, and premature babies born at less than 23 weeks are usually not mature enough to survive. The joey will usually stay in the pouch for about 9 months or(for the Western Grey)or 180 to 320 days, before starting to leave the pouch for small periods of time

Kangaroo
That does not mean the the kangaroo is not a kangaroo as much as the mother.

Human beings have developed the the ability to have these stages of development occur internally, but the stages are the same.

There is a fundamental biological difference between a zygote and a skin cell (or any differentiated tissue for that matte.).
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logophage
post Jun 15 2005, 11:24 PM
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QUOTE(turnea @ Jun 15 2005, 10:57 AM)
QUOTE(logophage)
A zygote cannot become an embryo and an embryo cannot become a fetus without the gestational, nutrient bath of the mother's womb. It is tempting to separate the genetic material housing from the gestational housing, however at our current level of technology this is impossible. Of course, even if we did achieve a completely "motherless" human, a zygote/embryo would still require some technology designed to mimic the gestational housing provided by a mother. Thus, a zygote and embryo are subcomponents to the reproductive process during those development stages.

This obscures the issue. Certainly a developing embryo requires the physiological support of the mother's womb. This does not mean it is a part of the mother.

You're splitting hairs. A skin cell can also exist apart from the original skin organ. Are you arguing that a skin cell is not part of the skin organ because of this?

QUOTE
The zygote is, at conception a wholly separate organism. I brought up the roughly analogous case of a kangaroo in a pouch. Without the pouch the baby kangaroo (born woefully underdeveloped when compared with many other mammals) would die almost immediately.

I won't disagree that one could create a situation where a zygote could exist independently from its gestational environment. However, this is simply not the evolutionary adaptation which mammals (including humans) are using. In order for a zygote to move to its next stage of development, i.e. embryo, without technological intervention, it requires a very, very specific environment. The environment is so specific, in fact, that to speak of the zygote as the both necessary and sufficient component for continued development is inaccurate. While a zygote is necessary, it is not sufficient.

QUOTE
That does not mean the the kangaroo is not a kangaroo as much as the mother.

The mother is an adult kangaroo while the offspring is a baby kangaroo. Surely, you're not arguing that the infant kangaroo is an adult?

QUOTE
There is a fundamental biological difference between a zygote and a skin cell (or any differentiated tissue for that matte.).
*

I agree there's a difference, but a "fundamental biological difference"?
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droop224
post Jun 16 2005, 12:36 AM
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Turnea

QUOTE
Kangaroo
That does not mean the the kangaroo is not a kangaroo as much as the mother.


The Kangaroo in the pouch and the mother Kangaroo have something significant in common. They were both birthed.

But that's just a quip. I have another question. Even if your claim is true that a zygote is an organism unto itself, by what reasoning do you call a zygote a human?
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Vermillion
post Jun 16 2005, 01:46 AM
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QUOTE(turnea @ Jun 15 2005, 05:57 PM)
There is a fundamental biological difference between a zygote and a skin cell (or any differentiated tissue for that matte.).


Is there?

The only difference I can see is in its 'potentiality'. Taken as a point-in-time, a zygote and a bunch (say an equivalent number of cells) of skin cells are pretty much exactly the same. They live for about the same emngth of time when cut off from the human body, they will both multiply and divide, though the zygote will do this at a faster rate, that is hardly relevant.

As to it being a 'being in and of itself', that is a non-statement. What makes the Zygote more of a 'being' then a bunch of skin cells apart from its potentiality?

Now that the prospect of clonig exists, and fresh, health skin cells could technically be cloned into a being, do the skin cells therefore not also contain a certain degree of 'potentiality'?

Apart from this 'potentiality', I cannot actually see any real difference between the skin cells and the zygote. If you maintain there is some, then you will need to demonstrate it to me, and explain exactly what the difference is.


Nobody can deny the great difference of what the zygote MAY become in months time (remembering that over 70% of pregnancies end in very early miscarriages, usually not even detected by the woman), but we are not talking about what 'might be later', we are talking about what is.


Let me put it another way: to state that a zygote is 'a being unto itself' means nothing, as it is not a being in any measurable way different from a pile of skin cells. However, even if you were to accept this fallacious argument, I would like to point out that s sperm cell is by that definition also a 'being unto itself', and it too has 'potentiality' of turning into a child eventually. So is spilling semen also 'murder'?
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turnea
post Jun 16 2005, 02:59 PM
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QUOTE(logophage)
You're splitting hairs. A skin cell can also exist apart from the original skin organ. Are you arguing that a skin cell is not part of the skin organ because of this?

A skin cell is part of a person's tissue. It is one brick in a wall of similarly differentiated cells meant to act as a single organ. A zygote is not part of the mother's tissues it is, again, a different, and separate organism. In fact the mother's tissue normally does not even touch fetal tissue, if this occurs between parent and offspring of different bloodtype it can be fatal to the embryo.

There's a medical term for that I learned years ago and cannot remember. tongue.gif

Edited to add:
I think I'll leave this one to the experts.
Solving the Pregnancy Paradox
QUOTE(logophage)
In order for a zygote to move to its next stage of development, i.e. embryo, without technological intervention, it requires a very, very specific environment. The environment is so specific, in fact, that to speak of the zygote as the both necessary and sufficient component for continued development is inaccurate. While a zygote is necessary, it is not sufficient.

The same is true of the infant kangaroo, without the pouch death comes quickly and certainly.

QUOTE(logophage)
The mother is an adult kangaroo while the offspring is a baby kangaroo. Surely, you're not arguing that the infant kangaroo is an adult?

Of course not. Surely you would not argue and infant kangaroo is not a kangaroo?

...and yet you continue to argue a zygote is not a human.
QUOTE(logophage)
I agree there's a difference, but a "fundamental biological difference"?

Yes, I will try and explain that best I can in response to Vermillion's post.

It should hopefully answer droop224's question as well.

QUOTE(Vermillion)
The only difference I can see is in its 'potentiality'. Taken as a point-in-time, a zygote and a bunch (say an equivalent number of cells) of skin cells are pretty much exactly the same. They live for about the same emngth of time when cut off from the human body, they will both multiply and divide, though the zygote will do this at a faster rate, that is hardly relevant.

You are correct only in a sense. In biology "potentiality" does not happen in a vacuum. A zygote has the potentiality to form all types of human tissues (which eventually make up an adult human) only because it is different form a skin cell in structure.

This is where the problem of not being a biology major comes in. I know how this works, less see if any of that tutor experience paid off and let's me explain it. whistling.gif

Let's begin with the zygote. It comes into being with the union of sperm and egg. That is where the first and most fundamental difference comes into play.

The union of the two haploid gametes into a diploid zygote creates the genetic recombination that results in (nearly) every person being genetically unique.

For the next couple of differences we can have a little help from Wikipedia.

Structurally a zygote is like an egg cell (with the exception of the addition of sperm cell genetic material) that is to say.
QUOTE
The egg cell (and hence the fertilized egg) is always asymmetric, having an "animal pole" (future ectoderm and mesoderm) and a "vegetal pole" (future endoderm), it is also covered with different protective envelopes. The first envelope, the one which is in contact with the membrane of the egg, is made of glycoproteins and is called vitelline membrane (zona pellucida in mammals). Different taxa show different cellular and acellular envelopes.

Embryogenesis



A differentiated tissue cell is another matter altogether.
QUOTE
Cellular differentiation is a concept from developmental biology describing the process by which cells acquire a "type". The morphology of a cell may change dramatically during differentiation, but the genetic material remains the same, with few exceptions. 
 
A cell that is able to differentiate into many cell types is known as pluripotent. These cells are called stem cells in animals and meristematic cells in higher plants. A cell that is able to differentiate into all cell types is known as totipotent. In mammals, only the zygote and early embryonic cells are totipotent, while in plants, many differentiated cells can become totipotent with simple laboratory techniques.[...] 
 
In most multicellular organisms, not all cells are alike. For example, cells that make up the human skin are different from cells that make up the inner organs. Yet, all of the different cell types in the human body are all derived from a single, fertilized egg cell through differentiation. Differentiation is the process by which an unspecialized cell becomes specialized into one of the many cells that make up the body, such as a heart, liver, or muscle cell. During differentiation, certain genes are turned on, or become activated, while other genes are switched off, or inactivated. This process is intricately regulated. As a result, a differentiated cell will develop specific structures and perform certain functions. 
 
Differentiation can involve changes in numerous aspects of cell physiology; size, shape, polarity, metabolic activity, responsiveness to signals, and gene expression profiles can all change during differentiation. In cytopathology the level of cellular differentiation is used as a measure of cancer progression. 

Cellular differentiation

Once differentiated in other words once certain genes to create certain proteins are turned "on, a cell (such and a skin cell) is pretty much "monopotent." That is to say it can only give rise to another skin cell.


That still sound like only potential to you. Understand that potential is no accident, it is a function of how genetic material in the cell is used.

I understand the full comprehension will require a bit of a dialouge on this so fire away. mrsparkle.gif

This post has been edited by turnea: Jun 16 2005, 03:06 PM
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post Jun 16 2005, 03:24 PM
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When does the life of a human being begin? At conception? At birth? Somewhere in between?

As secularist, I have the luxury of forming my own opinion on this, but not of being able to claim that I am any more right, then someone who disagrees with me. Because i've realized that there is really no conclusive way of proving an opinion true or false, i've also realized that in this issue, I should basically believe whatever I feel like believing. In this case, that life begins at conception (because id rather not believe that 40 million Americans have died in the past 26 years).

Is reference to zygote/fetus as "potential life" misleading?

No. If I don't consider a fetus human, then acknowledging that it has the potential to become human is not misleading, and I believe that is what the above phrase is meant to mean.

Does this terminology have an anti-rational effect on the abortion debate?

No, but as I said, if you take this debate to its core, we are merely talking about what we consider human. If I don't consider something human until it leaves the womb, then all you can do is try to point out humanesc attributes of the uborn, and if I claim those things are irrelevant, then the arguments over. This method of reasoning can be attributed to a lot of things, but general isn't, because in most issues, both sides of the argument generally hold more morals in common.
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logophage
post Jun 16 2005, 04:12 PM
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QUOTE(turnea @ Jun 16 2005, 07:59 AM)
QUOTE(logophage)
You're splitting hairs. A skin cell can also exist apart from the original skin organ. Are you arguing that a skin cell is not part of the skin organ because of this?

A skin cell is part of a person's tissue. It is one brick in a wall of similarly differentiated cells meant to act as a single organ. A zygote is not part of the mother's tissues it is, again, a different, and separate organism. In fact the mother's tissue normally does not even touch fetal tissue, if this occurs between parent and offspring of different bloodtype it can be fatal to the embryo.

Again, we're doing the language dance or, more accurately, semantics dance wink.gif. To speak of a zygote as something independent of the mother (without technological intervention) is ...well... illogical. Both are required for the developmental stages to progress. If we can't agree on this point, then the debate will go no further.

QUOTE
QUOTE(logophage)
In order for a zygote to move to its next stage of development, i.e. embryo, without technological intervention, it requires a very, very specific environment. The environment is so specific, in fact, that to speak of the zygote as the both necessary and sufficient component for continued development is inaccurate. While a zygote is necessary, it is not sufficient.

The same is true of the infant kangaroo, without the pouch death comes quickly and certainly.

If homo sapiens were marsupials instead of "placentals", then we would still be talking about zygotes and embryos, however the debate would likely involve the ethics of ex vitro embryos; perhaps, in a parallel universe this is occurring wink.gif. The law does define an in vitro stage of development after which voluntary miscarriage is illegal.

QUOTE
QUOTE(logophage)
The mother is an adult kangaroo while the offspring is a baby kangaroo. Surely, you're not arguing that the infant kangaroo is an adult?

Of course not. Surely you would not argue and infant kangaroo is not a kangaroo?

...and yet you continue to argue a zygote is not a human.

No, I continue to argue that it is the context that is important when using terms. The term "human" is overloaded. It is used in many different domains -- morphology, genetics and ethics -- to name a few. Each domain says something different about human. I would either like to use different words or get commitment that a word in one domain will not then be used to transfer into another domain (under the covers, if you will).
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turnea
post Jun 16 2005, 04:21 PM
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QUOTE(logophage @ Jun 16 2005, 11:12 AM)

Again, we're doing the language dance or, more accurately, semantics dance wink.gif.  To speak of a zygote as something independent of the mother (without technological intervention) is ...well... illogical.  Both are required for the developmental stages to progress.  If we can't agree on this point, then the debate will go no further.

You will notice I did not say independent. A zygote is certainly dependant.

I said it was separate, because it is. The zygote is not part of the mother. It needs the mother most desperately but they are two different humans.

QUOTE(logophage)

If homo sapiens were marsupials instead of "placentals", then we would still be talking about zygotes and embryos, however the debate would likely involve the ethics of ex vitro embryos; perhaps, in a parallel universe this is occurring wink.gif.  The law does define an in vitro stage of development after which voluntary miscarriage is illegal.

Were are not talking about the law. In biology the birthed infant kangaroo is (as noted in the earlier Wikipedia article) roughly analogous to an embryo.

QUOTE(logophage)

No, I continue to argue that it is the context that is important when using terms.  The term "human" is overloaded.  It is used in many different domains -- morphology, genetics and ethics -- to name a few.  Each domain says something different about human.  I would either like to use different words or get commitment that a word in one domain will not then be used to transfer into another domain (under the covers, if you will).
*


I don't see where this has occurred at all. We are speaking of the pre-natal development a human. That is a biological concept by definition.

I thought we already agreed to stick to the sphere of biology.
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droop224
post Jun 16 2005, 04:34 PM
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Turnea
QUOTE
I don't see where this has occurred at all. We are speaking of the pre-natal development a human. That is a biological concept by definition.

I thought we already agreed to stick to the sphere of biology
.

But most things I have read seem to call a human zygote a human zygote, they do not classify it as a human. How have you come to classify a human zygote as a human??

You have done an excellent job in differentiating a zygote from other human cells, but that tells us the differences, that does not make it a human. Are you finding a lot of biological text refering to a zygote as a human??

Again, I state just because a zygote will become a human does not make it a human, so why do you continue to call it a human rather than a human zygote??
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turnea
post Jun 16 2005, 04:50 PM
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QUOTE(droop224 @ Jun 16 2005, 11:34 AM)

Again, I state just because a zygote will become a human does not make it a human, so why do you continue to call it a human rather than a human zygote??
*


A zygote does not "become" a human. Development happens to an animal species, it does not turn something into a member of its species.

This is not unique to humans, it is again simply a basic biological fact.

It is akin to asking why a kitten is a cat simply because it is referred to as a kitten.
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droop224
post Jun 16 2005, 05:21 PM
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QUOTE
A zygote does not "become" a human. Development happens to an animal species, it does not turn something into a member of its species.


So you continue to assert. But biology has not taken the stance you set forth. Biologist, in general from what I have read, do not say a zygote is a human. You have come to this conclusion, I am asking how.

QUOTE
It is akin to asking why a kitten is a cat simply because it is referred to as a kitten.


Is it really... Wouldn't it be more akin to asking why a zygote of a cat is not referred to as a cat. dry.gif

This post has been edited by droop224: Jun 16 2005, 05:22 PM
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turnea
post Jun 16 2005, 05:26 PM
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QUOTE(droop224 @ Jun 16 2005, 12:21 PM)
So you continue to assert.  But biology has not taken the stance you set forth.  Biologist, in general from what I have read, do not say a zygote is a human.  You have come to this conclusion, I am asking how

Merely because biologist have little motivation to state what is, to them, the obvious.

QUOTE(droop224)
Is it really... Wouldn't it be more akin to asking why a zygote of a cat is not referred to as a cat. dry.gif
*


About equal really. Both questions would be difficult to answer because of the basic nature of biology in question.

Again, this is not me talking. If you wanted to have a debate on why a vegetable is a fruit with a botanist, have at it. But the facts are the facts.
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droop224
post Jun 16 2005, 05:44 PM
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QUOTE
Merely because biologist have little motivation to state what is, to them, the obvious.


Whoa... you got me there.. w00t.gif Maybe it is because they recognize a human zygote as human, not a human.

But we come full circle back to the fact that a human is a philosophical term.

QUOTE
Again, this is not me talking. If you wanted to have a debate on why a vegetable is a fruit with a botanist, have at it. But the facts are the facts.


How can you not see it is you talking?? If biologist wanted to take a stance that a zygote is a person, then they would have. This is your stance, not theirs.

You give many facts and those facts for the most part have been agreed upon, but your assertion that a zygote is a person or a human is not one of the biological facts you have presented. This is an assertion from your facts. But your factsdo not logically lead me and others to the conclusion your assertion presents. Draw me a map, maybe I can get there. cool.gif
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post Jun 16 2005, 05:48 PM
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QUOTE(droop224 @ Jun 16 2005, 12:44 PM)


Whoa... you got me there.. w00t.gif  Maybe it is because they recognize a human zygote as human, not a human.

But we come full circle back to the fact that a human is a philosophical term.

false. A human is the common name for a member of the species homo sapiens. Just as "house cat" is the common name for felis domesticus.

Biological terminology.
QUOTE(droop224)
How can you not see it is you talking??  If biologist wanted to take a stance that a zygote is a person, then they would have.  This is your stance, not theirs.

They haven't taken a public stance on whether an infant is a person either.

Again they are unlikely to state the obvious.
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