This blog was begun with the purpose of advancing the discussion in several areas of pro-life bioethics. It’s purpose is to educate regarding the mainstream science, explore the ethical issues attached to the science, and to integrate all within the framework of authentic Christian anthropology as witnessed by the Catholic Church.
An ambitious agenda, to be certain.
Where to begin seemed a reasonable concern, considering the ground to be quarried. The basic biology of human development was one area covered. Another area seemed to be the effects of abortion on women’s bodies, most notably through the induction of breast cancer.
It also seemed a good idea to explore the lie of contraceptives, especially that of condom efficacy. as well as exploring the eugenics of Planned Parenthood founder, Margaret Sanger.
In the course of laying out the science, I produced a formidable list of quotes from leading embryology texts which state unequivocally that fertilization produces a new human organism, beginning with the single-celled stage called the zygote. Further, the texts state that this organism is no longer mere maternal or paternal tissue, but its own genetically unique organism, separate and distinct from its parents and engaged in directing its own development. If one were to take the hundreds of thousands of biologists and add up our collective years of research, the number reaches into the millions of collective years of research.
We’ve managed to come up with a great deal of certitude in all of that.
The certitude of the zygote’s unique organismal identity and status is one of those truths taught in all of the leading texts in the field. Yet, a pro-abortion visitor to this blog has managed to derail one thread after another with denials of the basic biology, claiming that the early embryo is not human, and suggesting that I was reading an agenda into those quotes linked to above. I present two of those quotes here:
“The development of a human being begins with fertilization, a process by which two highly specialized cells, the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female, unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote.”
[Langman, Jan. Medical Embryology. 3rd edition. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1975, p. 3]
“Embryo: The developing individual between the union of the germ cells and the completion of the organs which characterize its body when it becomes a separate organism…. At the moment the sperm cell of the human male meets the ovum of the female and the union results in a fertilized ovum (zygote), a new life has begun…. The term embryo covers the several stages of early development from conception to the ninth or tenth week of life.”
[Considine, Douglas (ed.). Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia. 5th edition. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1976, p. 943]
What other kind of organismal being can come into being in a woman except a human being?
I have repeatedly stated that the bioethical issue of personhood status is framed by the observation that the rights enjoyed by an organism are determined by the kind of organism the thing is. In the case of human organisms, embryology has determined what the zygote is: It is a new human organism, a new human being, as quoted above.
This is the basis for advancing our bioethical argument against abortion. Knowing this, our friend here has deliberately denied the fundamental science, inserting his own (opposite) opinion as coequal in merit and therefore deserving equal consideration. He has had two months.
Last week, I declared an end to the flat earth mentality, the denial of scientific truth, the substitution of mere personal preference (agenda driven) for mainstream science. Contrary to this individual’s protestations, not everything in science is open to doubt and ready to be disproved (DO NOT TEMPT GRAVITY WHILE ON A LADDER). Those who suggest such mistaken ideology have little understanding of science and the certitude with which certain issues are taught, based upon their irrefutability.
No one in the lab handles HIV, hepatitis or caustics without gloves. It’s common sense. We know well the material we handle and what it can do. Similarly, when human egg and sperm join, we know that a new organism, internally directed toward development of the organism’s mature form (in adulthood) begins and proceeds though many developmental stages.
In the interest of moving the conversation forward, I have been forced to moderate the discussions by removing posts which deny the truth of science. If the field of embryology is not to be believed and lacks credibility in the eyes of one pro-abort, how much less credibility does that individual’s conjectures about embryology contain?
If science can teach us nothing, then bioethics becomes an academic version of Oprah or Montel Williams.
This blog welcomes strenuous debate in the area of bioethics. The matter of definitive science is closed to truth denial.
This train has left the station.