Attempt At A Mutually Respectful Abortion Discussion

He did what you asked and provided a definition of personhood. You have no right to tell him that’s wrong because it isn’t yours. If all you’ll ever be is stubborn and combative, just admit it and leave. We’re wasting so much effort trying to have a conversation when it seems you’re only interested in demanding people to agree with you.

Not because we disagree. Neuroscience tells us that the characteristics of “personhood” are stored in the frontal lobe.

Citation needed.

This still comes from your definition of personhood; neuroscience tells you that the characteristics you associate with personhood are stored in the frontal lobe. Neuroscience itself makes no claim on the definition of personhood.

I would still like to know the specific degree of sentience and sapience that you believe demarcates personhood. To what degree does a human have to subjectively experience (sentience), and how much profound knowledge (sapience) must a human possess to be a person?

Apparently it’s not what your definition of biological independence means. A set scientific term of ‘biological independence’ does not exist. I take it to mean that a biological organism can exist independent of any other biological organism.

That’s not much of a person if all there is are involuntary movements going on in the body.

If this is so then birth is not the point at which personhood begins inasmuch as some children are in fact born without brains, so clearly birth is not a biologically significant event in determining personhood.

That is not what biologically independent means.

Once again you shift your definition. The brain of a fetus at nine months is much more developed than that of a premature baby delivered at six. If the baby is considered a person (possessing an active frontal lobe) then so is the fetus, yet you would deny that it was, so clearly this is not your real definition.

If “biologically independent” is your criterion then you would have to grant personhood to the infant born without a brain, which you seem unwilling to do, so clearly this is not your real definition either.

This is the problem with inventing criteria for something as undefined as “personhood.” Why not just admit that you don’t want to grant that status to the unborn and be done with it? There is no meaningful biological distinction that separates the person from the non-person.

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Do you hold that position for all stages of life? In other words, if a living entity which you once deemed a real human being should (for whatever reason) lose sapience, would that entity cease to be a real human being? Also, why does sapience matter? Doesn’t it mean “wisdom”? Who decides who is wise?

Would loss of sentience (for whatever reason) cause a living entity (who had already been deemed a real human being) to cease being a real human being?

I think I can agree to this (although, lol, we’ll have to define “end product”), except that your examples give me pause:

I do not see the acorn and the egg as being comparable. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the vast majority of acorns will never become an oak tree. On the other hand, all eggs will become chickens unless an outside force (could be a force of nature) prevents the hen from taking action to hatch the egg.

Again, I cannot be distracted with other conversations - even though there are probably wonderful things to learn from many of the posts. (Although we did get linked to a “dumbest discussion” thread, lol - but seriously, I would like to read the numerous well-thought-out posts, but my health and family needs make that unwise at this time).

Looking forward to your responses in our one-to-one!

Consider the case of Terri Schiavo, whose brain shrunk all the way that only some vegetative functions remain. If I am not mistaken, she was even unable to breathe on her own.

No, sapience is just the ability of to think over and beyond the vegetative level.

Just like the overwhelming majority of the human eggs - even the fertilized ones! - get simply flushed out of the woman’s body. And the chicken eggs need the natural or artificial heat coming from nesting or incubation.

It’s possible to have a non-self-contradictory secular pro-choice position. But if you believe abortion is wrong if the fetus is a person, being pro-choice necessarily contradicts believing personhood is meaningful because of sapience, or any other human aspect that is impossible to pinpoint when it first develops. There would be no way to know whether abortion kills a person. Therefore abortion would require willingness to kill a person.

I can think of a few alternatives that would allow for a consistent pro-choice position:

  • Not believing abortion is wrong if the fetus is a person
  • Believing personhood is meaningful because of any human aspect that can be certainly known to be present vs not present.
  • Not believing personhood is meaningful, or not believing that right to life is part of personhood.

So, in your view, did she cease being a living human being?

From where do you get that definition?

Unfertilized eggs are not an issue for me in this discussion (let me know if/why they are for you). Are the overwhelming majority of fertilized eggs flushed out naturally? I ask only to know the facts. Whether or not they are, the flushing out would still be an act of nature - something every human entity can be subject to.

Exactly - meaning that, just as the acorn/chicken egg comparison has holes in it, so does the chicken egg/human egg comparison. Once a fertilized human egg survives any flushing out due to an act of nature, it absolutely will become a baby unless it is interfered with (by humans or nature). Unlike a hen, the mother harboring the egg need not do anything whatsoever to keep that egg growing. In fact, she can actively do things to harm the egg (drink alcohol, smoke - anything), and it will still continue to grow.

Therefore, I continue to have a bit of a problem with using the potential/actual terms. However, I haven’t given up on them - as long as we can both agree to what their limitations are (or find better examples than acorns and chicken eggs).

Looking forward to your responses on Schiavo, sapience, fertilized/unfertilized human eggs, and the proper application of potential/actual (not to mention “end product”!).

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, so I don’t know if I’ll be online. But I probably will - Fireman Hubby has to work and Adopted Son is deployed overseas. However, I may just veg in bed watching South Park all day…

Lol, again?! Well, I’ll still be here on 5/23!

Sorry, Emma. Again what? Yes my suspension expired, so I am back.

It’s a Catholic Forum and Trump is not Catholic.

We respect people - but not necessarily their actions and beliefs

Abortion should have begun with the first person who thought it was a good idea. That first person should’ve been aborted.

Sorry I took so long to reply. Lots of work baloney. Ugh.

Do you want to continue where we left off?

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