What Makes Us Human?

     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!

Load Previous Replies
  • up


    Genetically we share 99 percent of our DNA with chimps and bonobos, and reading about the behavioral characteristics of both groups are interesting when compared to human behavior. Overall, the more I’ve been reading about taxonomy, genetics, and human/animal behavior, the less I see a difference between us and the rest of the creatures we share the planet with.

    If I was going to point out one thing that makes humans different from the rest of Earth’s creatures, it would be the capacity for self-delusion.

    I’m not going to weigh in on the abortion issue.

  • up

    Judith van der Roos

    What makes us human? Well bacteria for the most part - in a very literal sense !
    • up

      John Jon

      the birth control that is free and the 100% accurate to not getting pregnant is not having sex, i mean really there it is!!! when i heard about Sandra Fluke story i was shocked, so i looked inline and discovered that she spends $3K on Birth control, Jesus Christ WOW. then i saw this in http://winteryknight.wordpress.com "A Georgetown co-ed told Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s hearing that the women in her law school program are having so much sex that they’re going broke" really why should the government by that i mean the TAX PAYERS pay for that when all they can do is not have sex and save some money.