A human being, from the point of conception
Matthew Warner has a great post over at FallibleBlogma.com outlining the scientific basis of the origin of life. Quite frankly, it’s disappointing that it needs repeating, but some people just don’t want to believe it.
“It’s just a clump of cells.” Mmm… yes, as we all are. But, that there’s a unique human life, a new organism, from the moment of conception is not a matter of debate for any man or woman of science.
“That is, in human reproduction, when sperm joins ovum, these two individual cells cease to be, and their union generates a new and distinct organism. This organism is a whole, though in the beginning developmentally immature, member of the human species. Readers need not take our word for this: They can consult any of the standard human-embryology texts, such as Moore and Persaud’s The Developing Human, Larsen’s Human Embryology, Carlson’s Human Embryology & Developmental Biology, and O’Rahilly and Mueller’s Human Embryology & Teratology.” – Dr. Robert George
Then, this is where the twist usually comes.
At this point in the debate, some try and introduce a separate distinction and question of “personhood.” Aside from this usually being a convoluted way to try and create classes of human beings and that it doesn’t hold up to any consistently logical scrutiny, it’s also not at all a scientific argument. It’s a philosophical one. So it is totally irrelevant to the scientific question of when human life begins.
How often do pro-choicers change the topic mid-debate? It’s important to separate the science from the philosophy. Scientifically speaking, there is no distinction between a human being and a human person.
It’s sad that this needs repeating, but Matthew does a great job of repeating it.