So I was having an online discussion with my younger brother a little more than a week ago about abortion. Being a devout and pro-life Catholic he held the opinion that life starts at conception, that it a fertilized egg is human and should be treated as human because it is a unique life different than the host parent. I have also been reading bio-ethics and many different places on the debate and they all seem to revolve around trying to justify scientifically what I can best describe as trying to answer the question, "when is an embryo tantamount to a human being?" 

     Of course, that one question gave way to the larger question, "What makes us human?" Where do we define the limits of humanity? Is it strictly in a biological sense as in form, shape, and structure? Is it in potential in the case of infants? Is it in behavior; could someone act in a way that they are no longer considered, if even for a moment, a human? Is it in ability whether physical or mental? Is humanity a transitive property; in other words, is it a label that can be taken away or does it last regardless once it has been gained? Are their varying degrees of humanity where a person could be considered "more human" than someone else?

I am very curious to hear all of your thoughts and ideas!

Tags: humanity

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Sort of like... "What is art? Art is what someone says is art."

That's probably closer to the truth than many would like.  I mean, if we're talking simple biological definitions, the answer isn't so complex.  Genetics covers the bulk of that territory reasonably well.  If we're talking about humanity in the sense of personhood, it seems to be a bit more wishy-washy.

Sure, there are ideological definitions, but if we look at the way human animals actually mete out rights and considerations for other human animals in practice, the definition of personhood seems to be a bit murky and opinion-based.  It's as if there are suddenly degrees of personhood.

@Mabel Would a human with a pig transplant still be human?

I read somewhere that we share about 50% of the same genes that bananas have.

Can any banana scientists out there shed some light on this for us?

Just curious, is it your philosophy of punctuation not to put a space after the period and before the next sentence?

I'm not following your logic. If "human" is just a label, then everything is just a label. Where does that get us? And if it's just a label, do you mean to imply there's no difference between a human, a knitting needle, and a piece of dog sh*t?

a human, a knitting needle, and a piece of dog sh*t?

Sometimes it's just hard to tell, does that count?

Michael, relax - Unseen tends to get distracted rather easily, as in "Ooh, shiny!"
Not all of us can ever expect to reach his degree of perfection - just ask him.

First, I feel sorry for your brother, in that beauty would appear to be lost on him, but secondly, Unseen isn't really as bad as I make him out to be, but don't tell him I said so, it'll go right straight to his head and we all know that's big enough already.

Come, come. You're actually one of the few people here who knows that I'm an artist. I have a great appreciation for beauty.

RE: "I have a great appreciation for beauty."

Yes, but don't you think standing in front of a mirror while singing, "I feel pretty," isn't taking it a little too far --?

@Michael M I agree that we cling to belonging to a particualr species as a means to discriminate against other species. Seems arbitrary to me and rather unappreciative of evolution. We have dominion!!

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