Sunday, October 21, 2007

Food For Thought

Take a look at these logical fallacies I have found in researching the definition of a human. Some have based their decision on whether or not to support embryonic stem cell research depending on these assertions:

1) If a human being does not feel pain when he or she is destroyed, it is not immoral to destroy him or her.
2) A human embryo does not feel pain when he or she is destroyed.
3) Therefore, it is not immoral to destroy a human embryo.

1) If a human being has more cells, then that human being is more valuable.
2) An embryo has a very small number of cells.
3) Therefore, embryos are not very valuable.
These conclusions are in correct logical structure, however are not necessarily accurate.

Each individual defines a human being in his or her own way, basing the decision on personal, biased beliefs. As Greg Koukl writes in opposition of using human embryo’s for research: “By any objective, scientific standard, the embryo qualifies as a member of the human race. From the moment of conception the embryo is an individual. The zygote is distinct from mother, father, and other living things, having her own unique genetic fingerprint.” This raises the idea of when exactly an embryo technically becomes defined as a human. Koukl considers the genetic make-up as the defining factor of an embryo becoming a human which is developed at the time of contraception. Therefore, Koukl believes it is wrong to use an embryo for research, believing it is destroying human life. The decision of whether to support or oppose embryonic stem cell research is based primarily on a personal definition of a human being.


kyorkster08 said...

i believe that an embryonic cell is a human being. how can we tell that they do not feel pain? yes they might not be fully formed but still dont they have a right to live? embryos do not have a large number of cells but thy still have the right to life. if it harmful to the embryo i believe it is harmful to a human. just plain and simple that embryo will grow and luckliy will have a future why take that away? this could be in the same category as abortion but the only difference would have to be that this is for research to better human life but still if it is harmful to the cells wouldnt it be doing the same thing as abortion?

trailrunner89 said...

Yes, stem cell research has been linked to some of the same debates as abortion. And everyone does have their own opinion about when they believe an embryo is considered a human. I personally believe that an embryo is not considered human until it is successfully implanted to a woman’s uterus. Until then, the fertilized egg, I don't believe is considered a human, and can ethically be used for stem cell research. This is because many fertilized eggs do not successfully implant in the woman’s uterus, therefore can not be accurately be classified as humans yet, in my opinion. Opposing viewpoints argue that an embryo is considered a human from the moment of contraception, therefore embryonic stem cell research is considered unethical, destroying human life, which is parallel to the abortion issue.

HotShot said...

wow those fallacies were very interesting. I like how you found that information and added it to your post. I can't believe that people would say that about how just because an embryo has less cells it is less valuable than a human but regardless, this whole issue revolves around the fact that nobody really knows when life really begins. Is at the time of conception or at birth or somewhere in between?

trailrunner89 said...

Yes, this issue does revolve completely around when life begins. This corresponds with your issue of abortion because abortion too deals with when a person believes life begins. Each person’s position on the issue stems from their answer to the question of when life begins. Does it begin at conception, at the moment the fertilized egg is implanted to the uterus, or when the baby is born???

bloggirl said...

I like how you pointed out the logical fallicies. However I dissagree with Koukl about not using embryonic stem cells. I believe that it if is beneficial to others then it should be allowed.

Vilese11 said...

I do believe that an embryo is a human being and killing it for research is wrong. It seems like it is the same thing as an abortion. Also, those fallacies that you presented were just ridiculous but I believe that it is good that you showed those because they allow the readers to see some people'e reasonings for supporting stem cell research. My question though is what is your opininon on this aspect of stem cell research?

Chelsea Pardue said...

In response to hotshot, I would just like to point out that there is not much of a debate that life begins before birth. Babies are almost completely developed by seven months; the few exceptions include their liver. However, most babies born at seven months are able to live with help. If life does not start until babies are born (normally after nine months), these babies born after seven months would not be able to live. I personally believe that babies are alive the second the embryo attaches to a woman's uterus because they begin forming at this time. This means that in my opinion, it is not okay to use an embryo after being attached to the uterus wall. That means that no embryos from abortions should be used. Although the embryos from abortions cannot be considered alive anymore, the use of them would promote abortion, and if one believes like I do, abortion is taking a human life.
There is only one question left. Should embryos that have not been attached to the uterus wall be used for research? My personal answer is no. As kyorkster08 says, we do not know if that embryo feels pain, and there is no logical reasoning behind something with more cells being more reasonable. Therefore both of the reasons given in the blog are logical fallicies, and neither can support the use of stem cell reasearch. It will take something more than the logic I have been given to change my opinion on this subject!

KGoods said...

I do not think that an embreyo is a human. It may have brain activity and a heart beat but that does not make it part of the human race, it is still attached to the mother and she is the only reason that it is surviving up to this point. The only way we can consider an embreyo part of society is when it is delievered from the mothers womb and is born. When it comes out the doctors make that day the birthdate, not when the baby was conceived so this is the only time a baby can be considered human. So i think that it is perfectly fine to go ahead with stem cell research.

trailrunner89 said...

This is a good point to make kgoods; that the only reason an embryo is surviving is because of the mother and that the birthdate is made when the baby is born and able to survive on its own. I had never looked at this viewpoint before, very insightful.