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?
The appendix is a life, shame on all those doctors giving people appendectomies. so what if appendicitis is a life threatening disease, it's still a life! They're all murderers.
"Sperm are alive, eggs are alive,"
By the same criteria, it would appear cancer is alive and molar pregnancies are alive, but I don't think that is really the issue (although we could discuss what life is for some time). I think the real question isn't about "life" but really is when is something a human being? On this, there is no consensus, and it will give you something to mentally masturbate as long as you like.
Only if you masturbate maniacally!
Also, see that apple your eating? that's alive!
Nice bit of black & white dualism you've got there. Too bad the world doesn't work that way. The question is more a case of when does human life begin? A fertilized ova technically has the potential to be human, but there's a lot of development that needs to happen before we can call it that. A fetus by the third trimester is recognizably human, so it happens sometime before then, but it's not possible to state that this mass of cells is not human, but this one it.
Once we can agree on a specific definition, then we can talk. Until then, statements like, "You have two options...which one is it?" are meaningless and actually pretty stupid.
A and B are a false dichotomy
Now this is something I definetely agree with. As far as abortion goes, make your own choice. I really don't see why people are so concerned about another womans choice, especially when that choice does not affect them in any way.
However, since we are the dominant and intelligent species on this planet, we should most definetely be held responsible for how we treat the other animals. Animals are undeniably alive, they can feel pain, they have emotions whether we want to admit it or not. I certainly consider the issue you posted here to be more pressing than abortion.
Sorry Ash but I have to disagree... that's a false dichotomy (I think that's the right term). What I mean is, those aren't the only two options...
yes but then you get the argument that:
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, then it doesn't really make a sound. (or, if a particle has a position and velocity, but the are impossible to measure simultaneously, do both properties exist independently?)
Basically, if a person dies in a building, and no one ever knows, then it's like they didn't die. The only reason that sounds funny is because a person in a building usually has acquaintances that can account for his existence. A fetus has no such acquaintances, because no one can attest that it is alive!
You can't say that it's ALIVE, because that statement has no meaning, just like saying a particle has an exact position and velocity has no meaning. see also: "positivism"
You can say it's living. Does that imply that it's alive (if by "alive" you mean "a life")? You can say that your little toe is living. But to say "My little toe is alive" is a very odd thing to say because it's attached to and sustained by your body.
Just like a fetus attached to its host's body..
It's strange in that that is not the way we talk about parts of our body, generally speaking.
biologically it may be classified as living (or may not be, that's still up in the air), but philosophically is it worth something yet? Certainly ants are alive and not worth worrying about their killings, and corpses are dead yet worthy of respect, so "alive" does not mean "worth something" necessarily.
The abortion question is not about biological definitions, but about the question of worth. Clearly a sperm and an egg are not worth saving, yet a full-grown person is worth saving. So where does the switch happen? And before a fetus has formed any relationships (even with its own parents!), there is nothing worthwhile that is destroyed in abortion.
Once again, it's all about offering up definitions to apply rather than facts that might settle anything.
Here's a definition: for something to be a person it must have formed a personality. Does a zygote or fetus have a personality yet? Is it zany, or depressed, or politically conservative? Does it have a favorite color?
Fetuses can't be persons because they don't have a personality yet.