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Nyarlathotep's picture
Jon the Catholic -

Jon the Catholic - Fertilization isn't a multi step process.

Columbia University - There are four stages to fertilization...

So, for the fourth time: at what stage/step/point does life begin?

If you don't know, that's fine, say you don't know or just ignore me. But don't make shit up.

jonthecatholic's picture
Okay. Educate me on the four

Okay. Educate me on the four stages.

Nyarlathotep's picture
I am no expert on the subject

I am no expert on the subject. You said life begins at conception which presumably has something to do with fertilization. I know fertilization is a complicated thing that can be described in steps. Combining those two seems to lead to the conclusions that at a certain point in the fertilization process life hasn't started, and at another point in the process life has started. That seems to describe a very special point in the process that I am interested in. Aren't you?

Randomhero1982's picture
Well I'll step away from this

Well I'll step away from this question for now, I don't think it is ever going be resolved without impossing one person's will on another and negating their dignity, human rights and free will and that's something I cannot agree with no matter how well it is argued.

I think a lot of posters have not thought of this in if they were in the same position?

A finally analogy I would offer which isn't extreme is, what if a pregnant women develops cancer during this period and requires immediate treatment then spells certain death for an unborn infant? This is a well documented occurrence unfortunately... and if we use some of the responses from here, it's murder... because your knowingly having a procedure that will end a life.

This is why I said that if any state wanted to be ghoulish enough to intervene on these sorts of things, it has to be done on a case by case basis.
And not by waving your hands about and spouting nonsense.

jonthecatholic's picture
There does exist a principle

There does exist a principle of double effect for such extreme cases. It basically says that you may perform a certain action (treat the cancer of the mother) while having an unfortunate (secondary) effect of killing the child.

The act itself is geared towards the treatment of the mother while the unfortunate secondary effect is the death of the fetus (even if the secondary effect is 100% sure). Is it murder? No. Because the act being engaged in was geared toward treating the cancer. The act was never intended to the killing of the fetus.

I'd like to go back to the OP, premise one says:

It is always wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human person.

The word "intentionally" is in there for a reason.

RedleT's picture
It sure is there for a reason

It sure is there for a reason.

LogicFTW's picture
@Jon the Catholic

@Jon the Catholic
And curing the mother of cancer in a process that kills the baby is not intentionally killing a person?

As with all cancers, the timelines on them is not set in stone. Rarely is it: if mom does not get the cancer treatment in the next 48 hours the mom will almost assurdely die. Instead it is: The mom should take care of this soon as possible, or her odds of dying is greatly increased. The mom could try carrying the baby for another month to go from 20 weeks to 24 weeks, but their is a decent chance that in 4 weeks the cancer will spread to the point that there will be no effective treatment for her cancer, but it also could possibly go into remission all on it's own, although it is small.

The doctors will likely not even know the true odds. Just a vague: you need to take care of this cancer now because it will likely get to the point that it is untreatable, a month from now. The baby will likely survive at 24 weeks if we remove the baby from the womb, but you are only at 20 weeks. It is also very possible that the treatment you take now that will definitely kill your baby will not save you either.

How does someone make a hard fast rule on this? Nope, a baby is a baby at the moment of fertilization of the egg. The fetus is 100% human, the baby will have roughly 50+ percent chance to survive at 24 weeks, the cancer prognosis is unknown, since the baby has the same rights as the mom. The mom now by law must be an incubator to this baby and risk likely death by untreatable cancer. The mom cannot decide to lose the fetus, improve her odds of surviving the cancer, and try for a baby again later.

The correct answer, in my mind is: the fetus has rights, but those rights do not supercede or is even equal to the mother's, until the baby has reached the point that it can survive outside the mother, then this baby moves up to full rights of a human as this can be a semi sensible line to draw on what a human is. When the sperm reaches the egg and fertilizes it, is a ridiculous line to draw on what a human is.

jonthecatholic's picture
"And curing the mother of

"And curing the mother of cancer in a process that kills the baby is not intentionally killing a person?"

No, it's not. Now, if we could move medicine in a direction that saves babies even in the case where the mother has a cancer, then that would be very welcome. As it stands now, we don't have that technology.

I'll draw a parallel situation for you. Say you're a lifeguard and you see two drowning people but you can only save one. Even if you know that by saving person A, you're indirectly killing person B, that doesn't make what you did wrong. Now consider the situation that both of them are crying out to you. You want to save person A and not person B. So to do this, you grab person B's head and push it underwater so he drowns and dies... and then you save person A.

In one of those scenarios, you're not willing that the other person die but they do but if you could, you would've. In the other, you're directly killing one so you won't have to worry about them anymore.

LogicFTW's picture
So you at least agree if the

So you at least agree if the mother's life is in danger, the mothers rights supercede the fetus's.
That is a step in the right direction.

Now if we can only get you to realize a recently fertilized egg cell smaller than the period at the end of these sentences, more simple in structure than most bacteria, is not a human person, just the potential to be one...

RedleT's picture
He's not going to agree with

He's not going to agree with your first paragraph.

jonthecatholic's picture
You misrepresent my view, sir

You misrepresent my view, sir. The mother's right doesn't supercede the fetus's. In case that the mother needs to undergo treatment for cancer, the case can possibly become "you can either save one (the mother) or you lose both." Whatever the case, you'd want to save both lives as there are two lives on the line here. We always try our best to save both.

Consider the same case. Mother goes in for cancer treatment and gets cured. The baby in her womb which should've died as a result, didn't die for one reason or another. In other words, the treatment failed to kill the baby. In this case, we'd actually be happy because we were able to save both lives.

Then do the same thing for abortion. If after the procedure, the abortion fails to kill the baby, would you think that the mother would feel relieved?

Randomhero1982's picture
May I ask guys, and this isn

May I ask guys, and this isn't just drawing comparisons etc... this is a stand alone question.

Do you think it was morally right for god to kill the first born son's of Egypt?

RedleT's picture
Yes, but if I am wrong about

Yes, but if I am wrong about that, it doesn't mean I am wrong about abortion.

LogicFTW's picture
So the murder of actual born

So the murder of actual born humans is not always wrong, but the murder of a fetus "human" is always wrong?

jonthecatholic's picture
Intentional killing (murder)

Intentional killing (murder) of innocent human life (including born and unborn) is always wrong.

Unintentional killing is not always wrong (like in accidents)
Intentional killing of human life is not always wrong (as in self defense)
But intentional killing of innocent human life (like the unborn) is always wrong.

Is it wrong for God to take back what is His (our lives)? No.

We are straying off topic here. Let's end with that.

jonthecatholic's picture
It actually depends on the

It actually depends on the view you hold. Christianity tells us that God made everything and he basically owns everything, including our lives. So when He decides to take us from this life is purely his prerogative. That doesn't mean to say that that's the end though. There still exists a life after death which these first sons of Egypt may still enjoy.

So is it morally right for Him to take back the life he made? Yes.

Randomhero1982's picture
So what happens to free will

So what happens to free will within Christianity?

jonthecatholic's picture
This view is actually

This view is actually explained best by the parable of the talents. Just google it.

Note: I'm assuming you're referring to free will in connection to God owning everything including our lives.

Flamenca's picture
I'm just curious Jon... Are

I'm just curious Jon... Are you in favor of death penalty for murderers?

jonthecatholic's picture
Me, personally no. But if I

Me, personally no. But if I had to kill someone (an aggressor) to preserve my own life and/or my family, I would. I'd only do so defensively of course.

Randomhero1982's picture
And may i ask how would you

And may i ask how would you feel if theoretically there was a 'God' and he unleashed his wrath on your country killing all new born first child males, with the caveat of hypothetically one being your own?

I promise by the way, there will be no massive comment following up these questions by the way... I'm just curious to the mind of a theist.

jonthecatholic's picture
Looks like it's inevitable

Looks like it's inevitable that it will be a massive comment follow up (but maybe not from you. Hahahaha).

That's a tough question. Let's look at context first. In the case of the first sons of Egypt, God had a condition which when not met, meant death for the first born son. So it was the defiance of the parents that ultimately lead to the children being taken. Plus there came before this plauge, 9 other plagues which went unheeded. So this was kinda "the last straw" if you will.

If God would do such a thing, first thing I'd do is look for the escape clause, he usually puts one in like Repent - what I could do to stop it from happening.

Say he didn't put one in and it was a sure thing (death is a sure thing). Would I hate Him? Maybe I would for a time. But I'd rather trust that he'll take care of my child in the afterlife. He would actually make a better father than I.

[To anyone else reading this, please don't start a long comment thread on this]

Randomhero1982's picture
Ah yes, sincere apologies! I

Ah yes, sincere apologies! I didn't consider others might, and i'd echo your calls to not let this descend to absurdity.

I've just always been someone who asks a lot of questions, and by the way any critique is not of any of you personally but of the theology... I'm sure your good people.

Thank you for answering, I really wanted some clarity because of the feel of contradiction.

jonthecatholic's picture
Yeah. I'm pretty sure you're

Yeah. I'm pretty sure you're a nice guy too. I actually have the same sense of curiosity. I like to ask questions. That's a good trait you have there.

Randomhero1982's picture
Thank you very much sir,

Thank you very much sir,

Sorry I have another question now haha!

So if a women had an abortion, but repented after, is it then morally 'ok'?

jonthecatholic's picture
It's never morally "okay".

It's never morally "okay". They may be forgiven their sin but it doesn't make what they did any less grave...

Yeah... that's the short answer.

LucyAustralopithecus's picture
I come from a Roman Catholic

I come from a Roman Catholic back ground and this is one of the reasons I completely lost my belief,
The hypocrisy of what 'we' could not do, what was morally wrong or sinful and was yet committed by 'god' and/or his followers was quite ridiculous.

I don't think I had a 'there is no god' moment, or how some say, "it is like santa, so we grow out of it".
But mine was the realisation that this 'god' if real, is immoral, and if I am considered cattle for a man then I do not want to go to a heaven.

I think if biology was different and it was the sperm of man that single handed created life, there would be no rule regarding men and the extracurricular activities lol.

So this for me, feels like a man made system, to control and oppress.

But back on topic, it is a women's right but I would add that if she is in a relationship it should at the very least be a joint decisions as I feel sorry deeply for genuine, caring men who are denied father hood, especially in custody cases.

Equal rights for all people, and be considerate to situations! after all I doubt any lady wants to kill a person intentionally.
I think intentional is also a loaded word

Flamenca's picture
I think if biology was

I think if biology was different and it was the sperm of man that single handed created life, there would be no rule regarding men and the extracurricular activities lol.


I feel that in this topic, as it's shown in this very thread, our opinion doesn't count at all. I don't care if men consider life to begin when the sperm penetrates the egg, or if it's during the coitus, or when you're taking your clothes off... It doesn't change the fact that we have the right to do whatever we want to do with our bodies. The same right that you, men, have to get a VASECTOMY or get circumcised, if you want to.

LucyAustralopithecus's picture
I feel the same way, luckily

I feel the same way, luckily we live in a time when a women have rights in most civilised countries and their opinions and choices are respected for the most.

And although I am reasonably young, I have always respected myself as well as others, including their beliefs and rights.
I won't intrude on theirs and I would hope the same kindness to be returned.

The worry as well is what this will do to relationships between men and women. For me I would be even more selective on a partner and wait a long time for kids rather then giving chances via dates to make sure I met exactly the right man to settle with in order to never require this choice.

jonthecatholic's picture
"I come from a Roman Catholic

"I come from a Roman Catholic back ground and this is one of the reasons I completely lost my belief,
The hypocrisy of what 'we' could not do, what was morally wrong or sinful and was yet committed by 'god' and/or his followers was quite ridiculous."

- I hear you. And I agree with you. The thing is the church isn't a museum of saints. It's a hospital of sinners and every single one in the church is a sinner (no exemptions). Are there hypocrites among the priests. Yes! But there also do exist a lot of good people in the church. Jesus actually warned about hypocrites saying to "follow what they teach but not what they for they preach but do not follow" (or something to that effect)


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