Friday, July 21, 2006

When life begins

I was reading an Island of Doubt blog posting about Bush's stem cell veto. I was going to make a comment on that blog but it wouldn't let me post (I guess I'm not on the approved list or something).

Anyway, while I agreed with the writer's sentiments, I think he's making a nonsense point.

No identifiable boundry for the beginning of life, he claims.

In describing a continium of life he says, "First the living sperm and living egg membranes fuse".

I'm not a biologist. I don't even know what "fuse" means in the above. But it sure looks like an identifiable boundary to me.

Is he claiming that there is no life? That laws against murder make no sense because life is a continium and there's no identifiable boundary where life starts? It sure sounds like that's what he's saying.

Look, Bush is insane, there's no question about that. But there's not much we can do about that right now. And, this kind of silly claim that we can't draw a line doesn't help.

You do not have to know where a line is to know that a line has been crossed. I don't know when life begins. But there are stages in life that are clearly identifiable where I know for sure that life has begun. He's claiming that's not true and that's nonsense.

His arguement would work a lot better if he tried to avoid nonsense.


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1 Comments:

Blogger Dutchmaus said...

The column makes a few points. It's interesting -- but maybe not important -- that for a while after the sperm has pierced the egg wall, the combo is still just the sum of their parts. The egg-plus thing doesn't yet have the DNA it'll end with. And DNA might be thought of as the individual's blueprint. (The point at which the organism has its own DNA might be a boundary marker for "beginning of life.")
On the other hand, my spit has my DNA in it. If you want to kill my spit, it's okay with me.

12:47 AM  

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