Notice that if you ask "When does life begin?" you get a definition, not a fact. What does this mean for the debate between pro-choicers and pro-lifers, one side defining life to begin at birth, the other at conception? Doesn't it mean that it's a problem without a solution?

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I think this has a two-part answer.

One, the legal view (my reply above) and the other is "The Trolley Dilemma"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem
When is it right to take a life?
But first you have to make up your mind when it is a life.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_aspects_of_the_abortion_...

"The bodily rights argument"
... that the woman's right to abortion does not include the right to directly insist upon the death of the child, should the fetus happen to be viable, that is, capable of surviving outside the womb.

My personal view.
The fetus becomes a human/person when it's capable to survive "on it's own".

But the final word goes to the only gender that has a womb.

My personal view.
The fetus becomes a human/person when it's capable to survive "on it's own".

That's not a fact. It's the definition you like. You see, this is all about competing definitions, not about facts, except that once you determine which definition you choose, you can go fact shopping.

Out of curiosity, what exactly is the factual definition of pain and suffering?

Yes, that's the definition in terms of its colloquial use, but how exactly do you measure or quantify sensation, suffering, and distress? 

Also, is all pain bad?...Rihanna sure doesn't seem to think so.

I think we need a proof that pain and suffering are bad. I was taught that they build character. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. What does kill you makes something else stronger. It's Nature's Plan.

There are many definitions of life. It can be argued that galaxies are alive; they spin around, interact with their surroundings, and split off to form new galaxies. For the same reason, it can be argued that the weather is alive. The question is which forms of life *should* not be killed. On that note, we all agree that ants (and other pests) are alive, yet we happily kill them.

So what makes some life worthwhile, and other life expendable? 

I say it's not a fundamental distinction but an arbitrary definition: we avoid killing humans in respect for an unspoken ethical code allowing humans to live in non-anarchy.

Personally I think that a mother's decision to abort her own fetus does not disrupt the non-anarchy. Evolution will keep the practice in check.

But then, can we allow a mother to kill her own infant? I say no, because it is significantly more difficult to discern which child belongs to which mother after birthgiving. Among other reasons, of course.

^LIKE :)

Double-like.  Love the distinction you made about ethics vs morals.  I feel like morals are these absolute judgements of actions with no context.  Maybe it's my professional experience, but I find ethical frameworks to be much more context and outcome-focused.

Okay, Misanthrope, you keep on talking about science not being reliable.  That is the most absurd poorly thought out and commonly repeated argument next to "prayer works".

Of course you will find areas of science that change their position regularly.  That is supposed to happen.  That is what is flying past your skull.  That is part of the process.  Abandoning beliefs when they are no longer reasonable...  Sometimes this requires humanity to abandon the truth for a short while.  Yes I said it.  Abandon the truth.  Why abandon the truth?  Because by abandoning anything that isn't reliably able to be tested, you end up abandoning a myriad of lies and only a few truths by comparison.

By eliminating the lies, humanity eventually realizes the truth they once had abandoned as part of the leaning process of science is indeed the truth.  Without doing that, all the lies just keep on breeding.

So what that we haven't figured out nutrition perfectly enough!  So what!  It doesn't matter.  Do planes always fall from the sky? Isn't your computer working enough to type everything you put here?  I suppose you have electricity and heat, and I would venture to say that 95% of everything you use has been brought to you because science works and creates progress.

The alternative is faith.  That is all you get as an alternative to science.  Personal experience and faith that the personal experiences of the few people you know are a fair and consistent example of how everything works for everyone else.  Math proves this is wrong.  Not just science.  Math.  Math proves that for every group, things will appear related when they are not.  Read the original flying spaghetti monster letter.  The decrease in pirates was clearly connected to the the increase in global warming.  Pirates went down, and global warming went up /sarcasm.  People do this crap all the time.  They associate things together that aren't even connected.  "I prayed, and my cold went away, that means there must be a God"  "Tide goes goes in tide goes out, you can't explain that, there must be a God".

Science provides the means to falsify claims.  Without science you have no way to falsify anything.  Because of this, even if science gets things wrong, which it should and is expected to, the ability to falsify information is the only way to eventually weed out misconceptions and false association even those brought about temporarily through science.

But it is unquestionable that a newborn has a very poorly developed brain.  Everyone knows a newborn lacks gross motor skill development...  It is not a person.  

This is not a science debate, this is an ethics debate.  Science is used to help us decide what is ethical.  Whether someone is a person is of high interest to ethics.  A braindead person is of the species known as human, alive, but is not a person.  If the brain is completely destroyed, the human can still be sustained through life support and is a human life.  If you are of the opinion that all human life is sacred, you are under a moral obligation to sustain the life of a human without a brain.  Because it is a human life, as is mentioned in the Singer-Marquis debate.

Personhood has to do with self-awareness.  Infants do not develop self-awareness right away.  Infants act like animals until they do and are no different than most animals until they develop this.  They play like animals, they express delight like animals, and they complain like animals.  Until they are a person, it just doesn't matter.

Don't make the silly assertion that "We don't know exactly when it is a person"  We know for certain when it is impossible for that to happen, when it is not, and this is when the baby is in the womb.

We know this because they are still like animals when they are born.  We know what they can and can not recognize.   Lifespan Development is a branch of Psychology.  Babies are incessantly tested all the time.  Yes, there are changes in opinion as to how fast development of personhood occurs outside of the womb, but there is no question whatsoever that a baby has no self identity at birth.  

Infants older than them miserably fail all the tests every time that prove the slightest inkling of self identity occurs.  Their eyes do not demonstrate the recognition demonstrated by better developed older babies.  They forget what they were crying about once it is removed from sight.  Their brains are worse than animals, they are incomplete and barely functional in comparison to a human adult.  They have no sense of self.  

Any psychologist who proves otherwise would get their name recognized in the most elite journals and become wealthy and well respected.  So far none have been able to do it.   Scientists are constantly trying to make names for themselves by proving previous information wrong.  The idea that it can be done is so crazy absurd, that it has as much probability as the second coming of Jesus occurring proving God exists and that fundamentalism is the truth.

Of course you will find areas of science that change their position regularly.  That is supposed to happen.  That is what is flying past your skull.  That is part of the process.  Abandoning beliefs when they are no longer reasonable...  Sometimes this requires humanity to abandon the truth for a short while.  Yes I said it.  Abandon the truth.  Why abandon the truth?  Because by abandoning anything that isn't reliably able to be tested, you end up abandoning a myriad of lies and only a few truths by comparison.

If Misanthrope Ash wants to believe in a system that can't modify its beliefs, she should try fundamentalist Christianity.

Okay, I think personally that whether the baby is a life or not isn't the right question here. Clearly the way the mother feels about the baby will effect the babies life, for the rest of his or her life. If the mother doesn't want the child, is it simply because she doesn't want the responsibility? Nature and instinct don't lead us to abortion, it leads us to reproduce and care for a child.

Consider the baby! Not your sensitivities and moral indignation. Is it more ethical to terminate an unwanted pregnancy or to force an unwanted baby's mother to raise and resent a child she can barely provide for and has to give up her chances at having a wanted baby in the future who she CAN provide for?

Ok. Here's my take. 

1. Even a unfertilized egg and sperm cell are alive, as is a fertilized ova. And if we follow a bit of a slippery slope, we can argue life "began" in the primeval Earth. 

2. If you are trying to limit to human life's origin we start with our first human ancestor.

Maybe the problem is in the question. But as one poster here has stated already, definitions give the necessary boundaries to measure fact. 

"When does a human life begin in a self-sustainable form?" might be a better question. 

My answer is that there is some variance, but probably is close to the 3rd trimester of gestation. 

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