Re: Let Me Get This Straight . . .

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From: Jeff Bone (
Date: Sun May 13 2001 - 15:10:49 PDT

John Klassa wrote:

> In your mind, at what point is that fetus a
> human being

Slipping down the slippery slope even further, let me point out the problem
with this whole argument. The question really shouldn't be "when is a fetus a
human being" --- that obscures the real question and opens the discussion up
to a totally ambiguous and volatile set of questions such as "what is a human
being" etc. etc. We can both be (at least semi-) reasonable people and yet
argue 'til we're blue in the face about what constitutes a human being --- and
still never agree. Note that the controversy around this and related
questions is only going to get worse in the future, as we start to see machine
sentience, augmented animal intelligence, genetically engineered humans,
uploaded humans, etc.

The real question is much simpler, and much clearer. We should rather ask
"under what conditions should the law recognize an entity's human rights?"
The answer to that must of necessity be an arbitrary one; as long as we can
accept the arbitrary nature of any such decision, then we can perhaps elevate
the discussion out of the non-rational and emotional (i.e., your side
screaming "bloody murder" and mine screaming "religious nutcases" and

Random thoughts: if the answer is "whenever there's a complete, new genome"
then that covers zygotes and fertility clinics are probably guilty of wrongful
imprisonment of iced zygotes. Also, why should the presumed rights of a
pre-conscious fetal entity usurp the clear rights of the mother, particularly
the right to make her own decisions about her body? Isn't a fetus a parasite,
particularly if unwanted?



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