Difference between revisions of "Talk:When does life begin?"

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--[[User:Earthland|Earthland]] ([[User talk:Earthland|talk]]) 14:59, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
 
--[[User:Earthland|Earthland]] ([[User talk:Earthland|talk]]) 14:59, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
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:I don't know if you've noticed, but nobody here cares and you're completely failing to convince. Obviously this is because everyone else on RW is part of a hivemind, and certainly not because you might be wrong in any way - [[User:David Gerard|David Gerard]] ([[User talk:David Gerard|talk]]) 15:13, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Revision as of 15:13, 22 April 2010

copyright

email sent to Scott Gilbert

Dear Scott Gilbert

I am a contributor to a wiki known as Rational Wiki, the aim of which is to debunk irrational thinking in pseudo-science and religion (and have some fun). After some debate on the whole subject of abortion we required an article on 'When does life begin?'

When I cam across your web site at http://8e.devbio.com/article.php?id=162 I found the answer to what I as looking for and I used your structure and precied your ideas in the article I wrote which you can find here - http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/When_does_life_begin

I am now locking the door after the horse has bolted and asking for your permission to use your ideas. I ask this as

  • Although I have followed your structure and ideas I have not done a cut-and-paste job. Rather I have rewritten each section as a one or two sentence precis
  • I have, of course, credited you and added a link to the original article in the hopes that any readers will follow it to your far superior explanations

If you are not able to give permission for this please let me know and I will remove the article as soon as I get your reply

Yours faithfully

Bob Soles

This article has taken on a life of its own and the copyright aspect is no longer really an issue. All that we have left that is copied is the order of the five scientific views. Bob Soles 00:27, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

I have it on good authority

That life begins at Forty. Deny this and lose all credibility. --Kels 23:06, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

I am denying it and losing credibility. AceMcWicked 23:09, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
I have it on better authority (ie mine) that life begins when one stops posting on the Internet. --The Emperor Kneel before Zod! 23:11, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure we should parody these points in a fun article using that as a basis... Scarlet A.pnggnostic 23:12, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
How about adding it to this one? It's a bit lacking in snark. Oh, and life begins about 3.5 billion years ago and hasn't stopped yet. Only individuals die, the molecule we exist to replicate lives on... ħumanUser talk:Human 23:45, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
Hence 'when does a life begin' vs 'when does life begin'. The latter, as you say, is pretty obvious. --䷉䷻䷶䷈䷰䷒䷰䷈䷶䷈䷡䷶䷀䷵䷥

Scott Gilbert has actually said more

This article is an extra part of his book "Developmental Biology". In the sixth edition of this book he makes some pretty interesting statements, for example:

"Traditional ways of classifying catalog animals according to their adult structure. But, as J. T. Bonner (1965) pointed out, this is a very artificial method, because what we consider an individual is usually just a brief slice of its life cycle. When we consider a dog, for instance, we usually picture an adult. But the dog is a “dog” from the moment of fertilization of a dog egg by a dog sperm. It remains a dog even as a senescent dying hound. Therefore, the dog is actually the entire life cycle of the animal, from fertilization through death. /... / The life of a new individual is initiated by the fusion of genetic material from the two gametes—the sperm and the egg. This fusion, called fertilization, stimulates the egg to begin development."

Besides that, there is no such thing like textbook of human embryology that does not say that fertilization marks the beginning of the life of the new individual human being. But human embryologists are the main experts of this field.

Scott Gilbert actually makes his point quite well in the following quote:

"The entity created by fertilization is indeed a human embryo, and it has the potential to be human adult. Whether these facts are enough to accord it personhood is a question influenced by opinion, philosophy and theology, rather than by science." (http://www.sinauer.com/pdf/BioethicsCh02.pdf)

This is what Scott Gilbert thinks. Wikipedia's article Beginning of human life puts the main stress on fertilization. Life quite undoubtedly begins at fertilization.

Edit: "Therefore defining "life" to begin at this stage could - taking these facts at face value - make most women on the planet guilty of some form of manslaughter. " This is not even an argument and definitely not scientific fact against this definition.

Besides that, "twinning" is simply an asexual reproduction. The embryo developed as an individual organism before twinning. That there is possibility of twinning (which happens 3 times out of 1000) does not mean that embryo isn't an individual being before that. It's analogous to cell division - cell divides into two or more daughter cells, but the cell developed as individual unit of life before the division.

--Earthland 08:59, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

An ant is alive. Is it morally on the same level as killing a human to step on one? Educated cubic Hoover! 10:14, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
I wonder why I was the one being advised to look up "demagogue". Oh, never mind. You're actually talking about completely another issue, haven't you noticed? The question is, when do we have another human being, not if it's right or not to kill that being. But as an answer to your question, do you think that human being has right to live only if it has certain weight or height, or level of intelligence? The most important thing about human being is fact that human being is human being. IMO. --Earthland 10:31, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Name

Is there a better name then having it as a question? - π 00:06, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

"Conclusions"

As quoted: "The entity created by fertilization is indeed a human embryo, and it has the potential to be human adult."

And then the "conclusions": "potential for human life"? Where did that come from? It simply isn't there. In a matter of fact, human embryo is human life:

Encyclopedia Britannica: "Embryo" - /.../ In humans the term is applied to the unborn child until the end of the seventh week following conception; from the eighth week the unborn child is called a fetus.

The Gale Encyclopedia of Science 1996, v 3, p 1327: For the first eight weeks following egg fertilization, the developing human being is called an embryo.

And even Merriam-Webster says: : "the developing human individual from the time of implantation to --Earthland 20:39, 15 November 2009 (UTC)the end of the eighth week after conception"

Therefore, Scott Gilbert makes difference between human individual and person, but he does say that scientifically, from the moment of conception we have new human individual.

--Earthland 20:39, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

Yes, we get it. You think anything that is called human at all is deserving of life. We don't. Educated cubic Hoover! 21:12, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
I am a semi-sentient alien from Jupiter. I am not Human. Am I alive?--Skynet 21:21, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
It depends. How many fingers are you holding up? Educated cubic Hoover! 21:29, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
Fingers?--Skynet 21:30, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
Wrong. Educated cubic Hoover! 21:34, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
Think of a number. Educated cubic Hoover! 21:34, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
Ok, I'm thinking of one. OH! Can it be an imaginary number? I like this game.--Skynet 21:43, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm thinking of Pi. Also, I'm thinking of pie. --The Emperor Kneel before Zod! 21:49, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
Oh,and I'm also thinking of pi --The Emperor Kneel before Zod! 21:51, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
Right, now picture that number of mushrooms. Educated cubic Hoover! 21:48, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
Hey guys. I've grown fingers now and I've got rid of the chastity belt and, well I think I'm going to like it here. Thanks for all your advice. Can I stop thinking of the numbers now, cos I'm getting distracted with the fingers.--Skynet 21:53, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
OK. the number you were thinking of was wrong anyway, so you're probably human. Educated cubic Hoover! 21:54, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm holding up three fingers! Okay, they're not my fingers, but you shouldn't get all hung up on details. --Kels 21:56, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
OOO. OOO. So does that mean I'm alive as well? Do I have a soul? Because being an alien I'm not sure.--Skynet 22:05, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
I have a soul, but it's that of a hoover. How did you manage to get a body? Educated cubic Hoover! 22:16, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
Oh, we learn matter control very early on in Jupiter. Usually before we are a thousand earth years old. You've got to learn how to control these things if you want to get out of the core. The thing I'm working on now is biology though. I've got it looking human-female but it only looks that way. There's nothing really working inside if you know what I mean. No blood, heartbeat, sexual excretions etc. How do you do it? I'd be really really pleased if you could give me some tips. Really. I'd be ever so pleased.--Skynet 22:23, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
Get an anatomy textbook? Educated cubic Hoover! 22:24, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
Pouts. I was hoping for something a little more personal. Ah well. Never mind. I'm sure that I'll figure it out as I go along. (Happy again.) --Skynet 22:27, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
...More personal? But I don't know much about anatomy... Educated cubic Hoover! 18:26, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

"There isn't even consensus amongst scientists as to whether there's consensus."

This is a complete lie, an outrageous misrepresentation of science. You will never get enough of that, won't you?

1) All these scientists are absolutely sure.

It is incorrect to say that biological data cannot be decisive. It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception
—Dr Micheline Matthews-Roth, Harvard University Medical School
The beginning of a single human life is from a biological point of view a simple and straightforward matter—the beginning is conception. This straightforward biological fact should not be distorted to serve sociological, political, or economic goals.
—Dr. Watson A. Bowes, University of Colorado Medical School
To accept the fact that, after fertilization has taken place,
a new human has come into being is no longer a matter
of taste or opinion. The human nature of the human being
from conception to old age is not a metaphysical conception.
It is plain experimental evidence.
—Dr. Jerome Lejeune, known as
"The Father of Modern Genetics"
The basic fact is simple: life begins not at birth, but conception."
—Ashley Montague, a geneticist and professor at Harvard and Rutgers

2) Why not to trust the experts of this field - embryologists?

Virtually every human embryologist and
every major textbook of human
embryology states that fertilization marks
the beginning of the life of
the new individual human being.
—Dr. C. Ward Kischer ,Professor
Emeritus of Human Embryology
of the University of
Arizona School of Medicine,
American College of Pediatricians
This fertilized ovum, known as a zygote, is a large diploid cell that is the beginning, or primordium, of a human being. /.../ Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm ... unites with a female gamete or oocyte ... to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.
—Keith L. Moore (1988. Essentials of Human Embryology.)
...gametes, which will unite at fertilization to initiate the embryonic development of a new individual
—William J. Larsen 1993. Human Embryology.

3) If absolutely all encyclopedias agree, then doesn't it count as consensus?

Although organisms are often thought of only as adults,
and reproduction is considered to be the formation of a
new adult resembling the adult of the previous generation,
a living organism, in reality, is an organism for its entire
life cycle, from fertilized egg to adult, not for just one
short part of that cycle.
—Encyclopedia Britannica 1998, v 26, p 611
A new individual is created when the elements of a potent sperm merge with those of a fertile ovum, or egg
—Encyclopedia Britannica 1998, v 26, p 664
For the first eight weeks following egg fertilization, the developing human being is called an embryo.
—The Gale Encyclopedia of Science 1996, v 3, p 1327
Embryo. The developing individual between the time of 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.
—Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia 2002, v 1, p 1290
The new individual is established at the time of fertilization, and embryonic development simply prepares this individual for the vicissitudes of adult life, and the development of future embryos.
—Collier’s Encyclopedia 1987, v 9, p 117
The fused sperm and egg, called zygote, is a new individual with full capacities for development in a normal environment.
—Collier’s Encyclopedia 1987, v 9, p 121

You have failed to produce even a single expert who would specifically testify that life begins at any point other than conception. This article is a cowardly attempt to hide the truth.

In 1981 the U.S. Senate considered Senate Bill #158, the "Human Life Bill." Extensive hearings (eight days, 57 witnesses) were conducted by Senator John East. National and international authorities testified. A quote from the official Senate report, 97th Congress, S-158:

Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception (they defined fertilization and conception to be the same) marks the beginning of the life of a human being — a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings.
—Report, Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, 97th Congress, 1st Session 1981, p. 7

On pages 7-9, the report lists a "limited sample" of 13 medical textbooks, all of which state categorically that the life of an individual human begins at conception. Then, on pages 9-10, the report quotes several out-standing authorities who testified personally:

- Professor J. Lejeune, Paris, discoverer of the chromosome pattern of Down’s Syndrome: "Each individual has a very neat beginning, at conception."

- Professor W. Bowes, University of Colorado: Be-ginning of human life? — "at conception."

- Professor H. Gordon, Mayo Clinic: "It is an established fact that human life begins at conception."

--Earthland (talk) 12:37, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Can I be the first to say "oh, get over yourself". Scarlet A.pnggnostic 13:09, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
The article as it currently is tells lies. It's as easy as that. You can either refute it with a rational argument or go on lying - but since RW advertises itself as something science-based, it would be... ugly. --Earthland (talk) 15:22, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
It depends on how you define "life" and "individual human life". If by "life" you mean something having biological processes, then sperm and eggs would be alive. If by "individual human life" you mean, say, the unique genetic makeup of an individual, then of course it begins at conception. If by life you mean something more...meaningful (PJR moment here)... then you might be wrong. So what do you mean by "life"? What do you mean by "individual human life"? — Sincerely, Neveruse / Talk / Block 15:44, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Just because the article doesn't say exactly what you believe and only what you believe doesn't make it "wrong", it's actually quite good. And your wall o'quotes above is pointless. ħumanUser talk:Human 15:50, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Neveruse: The question of whether or not every human being is a person, is another question and biology has little to do with it. However, biology tells us whether or not something is a human being, and fertilized egg is definitely a human being. It is a functioning individual organisms that genetically belong to the species Homo sapiens. It has the characteristics of life - fertilized egg can reproduce its own cells and develop them into a specific pattern of maturity and function. It can develop only into a fully mature human. But this being is complete. Nothing new will be added from the time of union of sperm and egg until the death of the old man or woman except growth and development of what is already there at the beginning. All it needs is time to develop and mature.
The article currently states that scientists do not agree when does life begin, and this is an outrageous lie. That life of every individual human being begins at conception is not my belief or theory. It is not debatable, not questioned. It is a universally accepted scientific fact. And, Human, try to act more rationally. It is amusing to observe how people who are not capable of any rational refutation quickly choose the "standard emergency answer": it's just your belief, you just don't like it and that's why you say so, everything you say is pointless etc. Critical thinking? Huh. By the way, quotes from experts are not pointless. --Earthland (talk) 17:17, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Ian Wilmot who created Dolly the sheep would think that it happens 14 days after conception, as the "primitive streak" develops. We can quote individuals all day, bunging together some quotes from individuals and encyclopedias does not under any circumstances prove a consensus. For a start, I'm a scientist, and I don't think there's a very clear line, I don't even think "begin" is the right term. I can straw poll the people around me (about 10 on a full day) and probably get an equally wide range of opinions. Yes, quotes from "experts" ARE pointless. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 17:23, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
And can you quote Ian Wilmut actually saying such thing? What kind of scientist are you - I mean, an astronomer probably doesn't count as an "expert" of embryology. For a start, if the most respected academics (including Ashley Montague, who is actually politically pro-choice), the most respectected experts (embryologists) and the most reliable encyclopedia (Encyclopedia Britannica) all state very firmly that life begins at conception, then it is at least enough to refute the statement that "There isn't even consensus amongst scientists as to whether there's consensus." By the way, Encyclopedias are meant to reflect the scientific consensus.
Of course, you can quote few experts who disagree and few pseudoscientists and scientists who talk outside of their field, but it doesn't change the fact that the consensus is overwhelming. Even if dozens (not "few") examples from encyclopedias are not enough, the last quote from US Senat report makes it quit clear. As Dr. Herbert Ratner wrote: “It is now of unquestionable certainty that a human being comes into existence precisely at the moment when the sperm combines with the egg.”
You are little late here in RW. It's long since the "beginning of human life" was the main issue in the abortion debate. More intelligent pro-choicers (including Peter Singer) have understood that there is no point trying to deny that the embryo is a full living human being. Now the central issue is "personhood". --Earthland (talk) 18:26, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
By the way, these people are not merely giving their opinions. You should notice that all these experts and encyclopedias are absolutely sure - "It is now of unquestionable certainty", "there is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings", "It is scientifically correct to say", "a simple and straightforward matter", "no longer a matter of taste or opinion", "the basic fact is simple", "It is an established fact"
Sorry, but you alone with a bunch of friends and one or two scientists is simply not enough to argue against this. Don't try to deny the obvious fact. --Earthland (talk) 18:26, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
(EC) As I said, if by "individual human life" you mean the unique genetic makeup of an individual, then yes, "individual human life" begins at conception. — Sincerely, Neveruse / Talk / Block 18:27, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

I mean every living individual organism that belongs to species Homo Sapiens. Such human organism begins to exists when sperm and egg unite. --Earthland (talk) 18:30, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

This would be the third time we've said basically the same thing. Maybe that's why you're having problems with other editors? — Sincerely, Neveruse / Talk / Block 18:36, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
It seems that you fail to realise that people are trying to make a semantic distinction.
Above you have written that "However, biology tells us whether or not something is a human being". This is not true. Biology can tell us that a group of cells is the embryonic stage of an organism belonging to the species Homo sapiens as defined by its genetic makeup. It can tell "us" whether it's a "human being" only for a very specific, technical definition of "human being" (and by definition, all definitions are arbitrary). You are committing a fallacy of equivocation here. The meaning of "human being" and "human life" depends on the context and that's what the other users have been trying to explain to you, and that's what the article is about. Perhaps it should have been made more explicit.
"...and fertilized egg is definitely a human being.", "...the embryo is a full living human being..." - So it gets to vote? Pay taxes? Serve in the army? What's the criterion for "fullness"?
Also, some points not related to semantics: "It can develop only into a fully mature human." - No, it is not necessary. There are a number of developmental disorders that may prevent a zygote from becoming a fully mature human. Ever heard of spina bifida? It puts an interesting twist in your simplistic definition of "human being".
"But this being is complete. Nothing new will be added from the time of union of sperm and egg until the death of the old man or woman except growth and development of what is already there at the beginning. All it needs is time to develop and mature." - It also needs life support in the form of a placenta and an uterus to carry it to term, but let's not get pedantic. My point is that saying "nothing new will be added ... except growth and development" is like saying "we won't euthanize any animals in your zoo... except for the ones to which we'll give a lethal injection". It's not true that nothing new will be added - a lot will be developed on the base of the existing stuff, but it doesn't exist at the moment. A clump of cells that may develop into a brain if nothing goes wrong is not the same as a fully-functioning mature brain with orders of magnitude more, highly-specialized cells. --ZooGuard (talk) 19:47, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
The problem is that you peoples (RWians, Earthland especially, quoted persons etc) are mixing the ideas of "life", "unique genetic makeup", "human" and "personhood". Until those are cleared up, there can be no rational debate. Some pointers:
a) "Life" = Every single thing around. Including bacteria and animals.
b) "Human Life" = A single human cell. Or even a headless body, or a severed hand that hasn't died already as well.
c) "Individual unique makeup" = A cute way attempting to seperate a bunch of human life from another, until you realize that identical twins don't have that.
d) "Emergent, information based, self-aware entities arising from complex underlining structures, ie: A brain" = What actually matters, although probably you'd rather call that "personhood" or "conciousness".
As an evil abortionist it is my belief that a,b,c are worthless and without rights without d, and d would deserve rights even without a,b,c. A fetus has a,b,c but not d. An embryo begins to aquire d at about 20-25 weeks of conception. A full grown human body that just had an accident and has just been beheaded has a,b,c (with sufficient technology a headless body could potentially live the rest of his cellular lifespan without a head) but not d, a human skin culture has a,b,c, a bacterium has a and c, a strong A.I would just have d. Clear? Sen (talk) 21:10, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
What I was getting at with the "unique genetic makeup" is that before conception the makeup in question (probably) didn't exist, regardless of whether or not it will be duplicated. — Sincerely, Neveruse / Talk / Block 21:21, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Sen, this is precisely what I was talking about when I mentioned multiple meanings of "human life" and "human being".--ZooGuard (talk) 06:59, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

getting back to the subject

I want to address Earthland's first comment.

  • 1) All these scientists are absolutely sure. -> Unless you quoted 80% of all the world's scientists, this is not evidence of a consensus. Your section title implies you were trying to persuade us that there is a consensus among scientists, but you seem to have abandoned that for a very general series of arguments about the definition of life.
  • 2) Why not to trust the experts of this field - embryologists? -> Being an embryologist does not make your statements on embryology true by definition. If these people are right, why not site a quote or study where they explain why they are right? Of course, you can't because the definition of human life is all opinion.
  • 3) If absolutely all encyclopedias agree, then doesn't it count as consensus? -> It might count (if you could actually cite "absolutely all the encyclopedias") as a consensus among encyclopedias, but not as a scientific consensus. I'm getting more confused as to what you're actually arguing. Mei (talk) 18:52, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I would also like to add that 1) "sureness" is not an indication of "rightness"; 2) such thing as "quote mining" exists, and words may not mean what the reader thinks they mean; 3) encyclopaedias tend to simplify things, partially because of volume restrains, partially because that's the point of encyclopaedias - to provide a simple summary. Like basic textbooks, they tend to be full of "lies-to-children". (And if someone hasn't read The Science of Discworld, they should correct that error as soon as possible.)--ZooGuard (talk) 19:54, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

1 line

Life doesn't begin at conception, life begun once, about 3.7 billion years ago. Sen (talk) 20:02, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

That --Opcn (talk) 21:30, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Delete template

For some reason there is a delete template on this page. I vote that we delete the delete template and promote this to featured article.

For removal of delete template

--BobSpring is sprung! 19:02, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Against removal of delete template

For featured article status

--BobSpring is sprung! 19:02, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Against featured article status

Discussion

You can't vote to delete the template. The template means we are discussing deletion. If we are, it stays. If we're not, just remove it. Mei (talk) 19:06, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

OK. I don't think it should be deleted because it is a good article.--BobSpring is sprung! 19:11, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
We aren't discussing deletion. We are duplicating most of the talk page from Earthland's essay. ħumanUser talk:Human 23:56, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

"there is no point trying to deny that the embryo is a full living human being."

Do you even know what an embryo is? You seem to be under the misapprehension that as soon as a sperm fertilises an egg bang there's an embryo. What about a 32 cell blastocyst, is that a 'full living human being'? DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 20:26, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

How about ectopic pregnancies, A significant number (like 8%) of women who survive strokes have Y chromosomes in the repaired tissue, from ectopic pregnancies, is that patch of cells a fully living human being? --Opcn (talk) 21:34, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
How about the "leftover" fertilized eggs from in vitro fertility treatments? ħumanUser talk:Human 23:58, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm just using one word, OK? Don't try to draw the attention away from the central issue. A zygote is just an unicellular embryo, by the way - and that is before it is called a "blastocyst".
Here an embryologist actually explains why she is right.
Now, this is kind of stupid to say that I can't say there's no consensus if I won't quote all the world's scientists. I quoted many very respected scientists who confirmed not only that life begins at conception, but that there is an overwhelming scientific consensus about it. You should also notice that you have still failed to produce even a single expert who would specifically testify that life begins at any point other than conception.
As said Dr. Bernard Nathanson, "the favourite pro-abortion tactic is to insist that the definition of when life begins is impossible". You can't still make difference between "life" and "personhood", can you? Personhood is a philosophical issue and as such it deserves no place in an article that claims to give an overview of scientific view. On the other hand, "life" is a very clear issue. The zygote is biologically the same being as 30 years old man. This being is also alive. Get over that. --Earthland (talk) 06:28, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
"The zygote is biologically the same being as 30 years old man." "That word you use, I don't think it means what you think it means..." --ZooGuard (talk) 06:54, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Right then Earthland, you are either being deliberately misleading or are playing a game of semantics;
  • Yes, a zygote is 'living', in that it is capable of reproduction via cell division.
BUT
  • That is something very different from a "full living human being". No?
So then, do you consider the following to be "full living human beings"? (I have numbered them so you can answer yes/no nice and easily)
1) Unused fertilised eggs from IVF treatments
2) Zygotes that do not successfully implant in the ovarian wall (and thus die)
I'm not trying to draw the attention away from anything, I'm trying to make you realise that there's a massive distinction between being biologically alive and a full living human being. How's the bible going anyway? DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 10:00, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, a fertilized egg is a full human being. The unborn is simply less developed than an adult, but it doesn't make it any less human being. It has only potential skin, potential bones, potential legs and potential head, in other words, it is potential human adult, but it looks exactly like a human being should look at this stage of his or hers development. As Scott Gilbert himself has said: "Traditional ways of classifying catalog animals according to their adult structure. But, as J. T. Bonner (1965) pointed out, this is a very artificial method, because what we consider an individual is usually just a brief slice of its life cycle. When we consider a dog, for instance, we usually picture an adult. But the dog is a “dog” from the moment of fertilization of a dog egg by a dog sperm. Therefore, the dog is actually the entire life cycle of the animal, from fertilization through death."
I hope that you aren't just willfully ignorant. --Earthland (talk) 12:07, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
If you think that a single-cell zygote is the same as a full living human being, then you are an idiot. It also explains why you are having so much trouble understanding this, and why it is pointless to attempt to continue to discuss this with you. Speciationspeed! DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 12:46, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
You seem to be in trouble because you don't get the nuance, the fundamental difference. By "full" I do not mean "fully grown" - I am not myself a "fully grown human". A zygote is a full human being just like a newborn - it means completely human, not "half-human" or "pre-human" or "potential human being". That is the scientific truth you seem not to understand. This fact is so largely accepted even by most pro-choice people that it is a little embarrasing to even engage in conservation with people who deny it. --Earthland (talk) 14:36, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Consensus or not

Consensus

  • Encyclopedias agree (state it very clearly and firmly; you have failed to quote a single encyclopedia that would state anything else)
  • Experts agree (again, they state it very clearly and firmly; you have failed to quote an encyclopedia that would state anything else)
  • Very respected scientists and academics not only tell that they believe life begins at conception, they say that there is an overwhelming consensus ("It is now of unquestionable certainty", "there is overwhelming agreement", "it is scientifically correct to say", "a simple and straightforward matter", "no longer a matter of taste or opinion", "the basic fact is simple", "it is an established fact")

Not consensus

  • Personal disbelief that consensus could exists ("me & my friends don't agree")
  • One sentence in one article almost said something like that, although it isn't even sure that Scott Gilbert really meant that. He seems to make it quite clear that life does begin at conception: (in his book Developmental Biology): "Traditional ways of classifying catalog animals according to their adult structure. But, as J. T. Bonner (1965) pointed out, this is a very artificial method, because what we consider an individual is usually just a brief slice of its life cycle. When we consider a dog, for instance, we usually picture an adult. But the dog is a “dog” from the moment of fertilization of a dog egg by a dog sperm. It remains a dog even as a senescent dying hound. Therefore, the dog is actually the entire life cycle of the animal, from fertilization through death."

--Earthland (talk) 12:21, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

God, you're annoying... It's like talking to a wall. Even when someone agrees with you, you combatively rehash your answer. Over and over. And over. — Sincerely, Neveruse / Talk / Block 12:52, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
The article states that there is no consensus. Here is the evidence. You can either accept or refute it. --Earthland (talk) 14:40, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Scott Gilbert makes it clear that the fertilized egg is a new individual human organism. Here he says that fertilization is the beginning of a new organism and writes that "Fertilization accomplishes two separate ends: sex (the combining of genes derived from the two parents) and reproduction (the creation of new organisms). Thus, the first function of fertilization is to transmit genes from parent to offspring, and the second is to initiate in the egg cytoplasm those reactions that permit development to proceed." --Earthland (talk) 14:51, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Title change

If the title was changed into "the beginning of human personhood", it would be correct. Because the beginning of the life of new individual human being is conception, like it or not. It is an established fact

"Almost all higher animals start their lives from a single cell, the fertilized ovum (zygote)... The time of fertilization represents the starting point in the life history, or ontogeny, of the individual."

(Carlson, Bruce M. Patten's Foundations of Embryology. 6th edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996, p. 3)

--Earthland (talk) 14:59, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

I don't know if you've noticed, but nobody here cares and you're completely failing to convince. Obviously this is because everyone else on RW is part of a hivemind, and certainly not because you might be wrong in any way - David Gerard (talk) 15:13, 22 April 2010 (UTC)