abortion "science"

Got this link in a facebook argument about abortion. The claim is, these “references” add up to scientific consensus that life begins at conception. Most of them are just defining terms, not commenting on “life” at all. Anyone familiar with this? Like, what’s it doing on Princeton’s website?

So, is there a scientific consensus on what constitutes a scientific consensus? And, what about a scientific consensus on what constitutes “life”?

As for why it would be on any particular website, I think a good guess would be that whoever put it there did so to reinforce an argument on abortion or the medical/science use of embryos and/or embryo parts.

Yes, there is. It is when 97% of published papers on a given subject all reach the same conclusion.

As for that second sentence, there can be no scientific consensus as it’s not a scientific question, it’s a personal opinion. “When life begins” is an arbitrary point in development chosen as being a significant point in development based on the person’s personal beliefs. There is no “point” where a fetus becomes a person. It’s a process.

To understand this let’s look at the age-old question, which came first? The chicken or the egg? Did the chicken have to exist first to lay a chicken egg? Did the egg have to exist first to hatch a chicken to lay future eggs? The answer is much simpler than you would think. Neither came first. There was no “first chicken”. If you traced the lineage of a chicken back far enough you would not find a first chicken, you would find a long line of creatures spanning at least thousands of years where you would say, “This may count, it may not”. The changes are so subtle over such a long period of time that you could look at one generation after another after another and would just suddenly realize, “Hey! I’m looking at a chicken!”, but you wouldn’t be able to find any single animal where you could say, “This is a chicken, the one before it is not”.

The same is true with the gestation of offspring, only over a much shorter time scale. There is no “magic point” where it was one thing and becomes another. The Monty Python song, Every Sperm is Sacred was meant to be a joke, but is no more an arbitrary point than any other point before birth. Since all points are arbitrary the Supreme Court tried to pick the most obvious logical point, viability. But even that point is arbitrary, it’s just one which is a little easier to track and not ridiculously short.

If, by some chance, you meant simply life in general, there is no rock-solid definition for “life” or what constitutes it either. It is still debated whether viruses are “alive”. And even if it were not, as with any consensus, it can change with new observation, discoveries and facts.

I think this thread would benefit from a recent book by Nathan Nobis and Kristina Grob entitled “Thinking Critically About Abortion.” Their books puts forth, among other things, the following two ideas:

#1. biological life begins at conception;

#2. an abortion is an intentional killing of a fetus to end a pregnancy;

Note that the probability that #1 is scientifically confirmed is so high that it would be perverse to deny it’s truth. On the other hand, #2 is merely stipulative - it’s Nobis and Grob’s definition of the word “abortion” for the purpose of their argument. Their definition seems like a good one, though, because it has the advantage, of being, as say they, “accurate, informative, and morally neutral.”

This then moves the abortion question from a confusing “when does life begin” to a more precise "when, if ever, is it permissable to kill a fetus? This is a question to which science and philosophy can contribute but not ultimately adjudicate. In the end, it is a values question.

That must be a pretty amazing book. To have “scientifically confirmed” something everyone else is still arguing about. Can you give us just a little bit of what’s in there, how they convinced you it’s “absurd” to think otherwise? Because if they are right, there are a few thousand more lives that should be getting $600 pretty soon. We should have home test kits that you must use every time you sex to see if you just created a life. Those are going to have to work a lot better than the ones you get at the drug store now, because, well, we’re talking about a human life here. You can’t just wait a couple weeks and see if signs of life just show up.

@elphidium55

#1. biological life begins at conception;

#2. an abortion is an intentional killing of a fetus to end a pregnancy;


I’ll give you both points. So what?

I repeat, so what?

Can you explain?

We intentionally kill life all the time, supported by scripture where ever it’s convenient - so yes it is a killing of a life.

What you are ignoring is that this life form does not take on the mantle of personhood until the being is born!

Note that the probability that #1 is scientifically confirmed is so high that it would be perverse to deny it’s truth.
Wow, you solved the debate on abortion. Now just go tell about 5 billion people because I don't think they got the news.

You’re life began in your grandmother’s womb. Your mother was producing eggs before she was born. Most of the eggs died while she was a child. This is true for every woman for hundreds of thousands of years. But, we never even knew it until recently. We have been letting all of those eggs die this whole time, what a bunch of sinners we are.

This may sound ridiculous, but imagine a world where the human race is on the edge of extinction. The knowledge that there are viable eggs in a new born baby would be incredibly valuable. It would be sacrilege to just let those die.

I can’t see how anybody who is scientifically literate could deny that life begins at conception. It is almost universally described that way by experts.

The big question is when do we assign moral worth to that life.

My tonsils began at my conception. But if I want, I can have them removed. I know, I am a cruel anti-tonsils murderer. But it’s my body, dang it.

 

The big question is when do we assign moral worth to that life.
 

No, I think the big question is: Whose business is a pregnant woman’s pregnancy?

Answer: Hers. Everybody else can butt out.

 

 

I’ll read that when I get a chance, but I do agree with this in the summary

However, these findings can help Americans move past the factual dispute on when life begins and focus on the operative question of when a fetus deserves legal consideration.
That's exactly why I believe we should not try to draw a line of when "life begins". Life is ongoing to me. The health of women should be our concern, not just two cells inside of them somewhere.

On my tombstone, I want it to say, “I’m dead. The data here matches that conclusion.”

The study linked does not support the conclusion that there is a consensus that life begins at conception. This sentence is particularly trollish and indicitive of how this is fancy language to say something that belongs on a cardboard sign in front of an abortion clinic:

Therefore, based on its biological classification, rooted in its genetics and development in the human life cycle, the zygote can be described as a Homo sapiens sapiens zygote (i.e., a human) to distinguish it from a Felis catus zygote (i.e., a cat). This is not controversial.

This is essentially what he did.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bVAoVlFYf0

The study linked does not support the conclusion that there is a consensus that life begins at conception. This sentence is particularly trollish and indicitive of how this is fancy language to say something that belongs on a cardboard sign in front of an abortion clinic:
It must be hard being a science advocate while denying scientific consensus you ideologically disagree with.

It must be hard being a science advocate when you don’t understand science. This whole thing boils down to “it’s a human embryo, so it’s a human. Checkmate.”

I’m not a science advocate, but unlike you I don’t call scientific studies “trolling” when it doesn’t fit my worldview.

That is the behavior of bitter nerds.