Archive for the ‘Cloning’ Category

A human being, from the point of conception

July 24, 2009 17 comments

Matthew Warner has a great post over at outlining the scientific basis of the origin of life. Quite frankly, it’s disappointing that it needs repeating, but some people just don’t want to believe it.

“It’s just a clump of cells.” Mmm… yes, as we all are. But, that there’s a unique human life, a new organism, from the moment of conception is not a matter of debate for any man or woman of science.

“That is, in human reproduction, when sperm joins ovum, these two individual cells cease to be, and their union generates a new and distinct organism. This organism is a whole, though in the beginning developmentally immature, member of the human species. Readers need not take our word for this: They can consult any of the standard human-embryology texts, such as Moore and Persaud’s The Developing Human, Larsen’s Human Embryology, Carlson’s Human Embryology & Developmental Biology, and O’Rahilly and Mueller’s Human Embryology & Teratology.” – Dr. Robert George

Then, this is where the twist usually comes.

At this point in the debate, some try and introduce a separate distinction and question of “personhood.” Aside from this usually being a convoluted way to try and create classes of human beings and that it doesn’t hold up to any consistently logical scrutiny, it’s also not at all a scientific argument. It’s a philosophical one. So it is totally irrelevant to the scientific question of when human life begins.

How often do pro-choicers change the topic mid-debate? It’s important to separate the science from the philosophy. Scientifically speaking, there is no distinction between a human being and a human person.

It’s sad that this needs repeating, but Matthew does a great job of repeating it.


Human Beings or Lab Rats? has an interesting and upsetting article reporting on new legislation that’s been tabled in New South Wales that would allow therapeutic cloning. Archbishop Cardinal George Pell has been vocal on the matter, speaking out against the legislation:

To produce a human embryo with the express purpose of destroying it for research—as if it were a lab rat—is a perverse new direction for human experimentation.

No Catholic politician—indeed, no Christian or person with respect for human life—who has properly informed his conscience about the facts and ethics in this area should vote in favour of this immoral legislation.

You can read the full article here.

There are some other articles which are less decidedly pro-life than The one caution though with how the mainstream media treats the issue is how they focus on the Cardinal’s position in the Church. It is true the he is speaking especially to Catholics, but he’s not making an argument that “God says so” or anything like that. The argument that this legislation is unethical – that human embryos should not be treated as medical raw material – is an argument that everyone, no matter their religion or lack thereof, needs to seriously consider. Human embryos are indeed unique human lives, unique human beings in their earliest and most vulnerable stages. Anyone who believes that humans lives should not be raw material for experimentation should be in serious opposition to this legislation.

Some Other Articles:

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