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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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. 

Since there was no reply ability at the end of the other posts.. going to add it this way.. Here goes..
 

@Misanthrope
You come across as nearly as misguided and indoctrinated as many theists. Your ideas come off as inconsistent and without any intellectual merit. You make assumptions without anything to back them up. When someone disproves a point you'd rather bring in some scientific quote or block you think proves your point. Which really is truly ironic since you claim to have come to your 'atheism' without science, yet you fall back to it at every chance. 

Also, you said..."What Does American stand for " One nation under God"

That is incorrect. If you actually did your research as you claim no one else does, you would know that just because religious freedom was one of the freedoms which the Founders advocated for, it is not the primary one upon which this country was formed. Also, "One nation under God" was not in the Pledge of Allegiance as it was originally written in1892 nor was it officially the U.S. motto until the 1950s.. some 180 years after the writing of the Constitution-- Also, you'd be hard pressed to find any mention of "God", "Creator", or "Almighty" within the Constitution. (hint: there isn't any).

And to reinforce that.. . "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." - Treaty of Tripoli, as ratified by the U.S. Senate   under then President John Adams,  June 7, 1797

With that said, I'm done on this thread. 

I can't imagine you reading a single book, and if you did you probably didn't understand anything from it. How can you claim any kind of knowledge when even your posts here are hard to decipher for any intelligent human being?

This is still a personal attack, even if veiled by not directly calling her a name.This discussion has really been reduced to poo-flinging. I really don't want to, but I may be forced to close this thread down because it's just too heated. Please... disengage if your conversations aren't productive in some way. This convo is obviously going nowhere fast.

Oh, I hope it doesn't get that far. I'm getting the impression that the poor girl is being attacked because of a seemingly anti-science approach. Atheism is based on logical reasoning that science (which is just more logical reasoning) just helps provide support. Science is just a method of gathering observable facts in an objective manner and developing a model to logically describe and explain those observations. It's not an instrument of ethical boundary. Matters of a subjective nature are not within the scope of the field of study. The question presented in the original post may be more of a subject nature and should be evaluated based on that particular framework. I have a science background myself, but I know that it has it's limits.

This topic is ALL about ethics. If you can't recognize that, perhaps you place too high a standard on your own.

Richard, I understand the sentiment, but if you carefully read everything in chronological order, she isn't.  She is simply being attacked because nothing she says makes actual sense.  You can not represent anything she says on venn-diagrams, because they aren't sensible.    

Furthermore, Misanthrope is incredibly hostile, and yes while some people were hostile to her before, she chose to demonstrate unprovoked hostility and personal attacks to other people like me who simply asked her a question.  She isn't a victim of anything, and she isn't demonstrating any kind of the reasonability or consistency required to further this discussion on ethics without science.  

I haven't read everything she has posted, let alone in any order. I responded to the moderator comment who I'm sure has (I moderate a board myself). But with a nickname like "Misanthrope" I would expect a little hostility :) 

In all honesty, I haven't even read her position on the original topic. I have read her defense of her general belief system though. And, if it's an honest one, seems plausible enough. I have enough of a cog-sci background to recognize the triggers and patterns of interpersonal conflict and I'm used to helping calm things down. First step - stop reacting to her. I know that's hard, but if you can't refrain from it, just find a positive point of comment with regards to her and stick with it. That old saw about flies and honey still works. 

Speaking as the OP, go for it. Nobody is really discussing the original subject.

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