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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Thanks Arch. I will put it on my list!

Yeah, see what I mean? Stuff like that.

Case in point --

Only a few of our genes are really "special". It's the inheritance of culture that makes us humans a very different kind of animal.

If we could send a baby back in time to our cave days, the humans back then (and the baby) would never be able to tell the difference. It would all seem normal. Well, except maybe for facial features or racial characteristics.

And if we could snatch a cave baby and rear it here, no one would know the difference. (Well, except for the same caveats as above.)

I'm just saying, it's not the genes, but the accumulation of culture over hundreds of thousands of years that makes us so uniquely human.

It's heartening to see the words "accumulation of culture" - thank you for that.

I think to properly answer this question, we must answer what is being human.

Unfortunately, there are many ways of being human, many senses of the word.

Strictly speaking, from a purely scientific standpoint, the zygote is surely human.  But that distracts from the real issue, which is not about protecting that life; it’s about the need of some men to control women.  “Pro life” people don’t give a damn about the life of an unborn child.  They only care that men, have the power, as ordained in the Bible, to dictate ALL issues, not just birth, to women.

If the issue is the need of some men to control women, how do you explain that so many women are anti-abortion as well? These are the stupid women, or what? My point is that you're doing what both sides of disputes often do, which is to reduce the entire of the other side to the worst of the other side, and to fool yourself into thinking the people on the other side aren't really being serious and only believe what they believe out of specious or dishonorable motives, unless they are just stupid.

I think its more of the women that are pro life, because if a guy gets a girl pregnant and he dosent want it, he will suggest abortion.

Men are pro-life as long as it doesn't involve them and they are getting a free ticket to direct their hatred towards women after years of frustration. Also those men are projecting their own sense of rejection, they feel that the only way a woman can stick with them is if they have a baby together.

Men that are pro-choice are labeled as "selfish jerks who don't want to face the consequences of their actions". I believe that no man should be dragged into parenthood/marriage/child support if he doesn't want. Just recently in the news there was a story about a woman that after divorce chose to use the frozen sperm of her husband to  get pregnant, without his approval, he took her to court and won the case, and I think she ended up getting an abortion (I could be wrong). But just as women don't want to be forced into motherhood because is "our body", men shouldn't be either, because is "their wallet".

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