Tuesday, June 18, 2019

"This is not a difficult concept"

This seems to be a popular meme. A few basic issues:

i) If you remove the yoke and white from the shell, you interrupt the process of gestation. 

ii) Turning silk into a dress is not a natural process or natural continuum. 

iii) Why is an acorn not a tree? Is the difference that some acorns never germinate?

iv) From a secular standpoint, what makes a human a person? There are physicalists (eliminative materialists) who regard consciousness as an illusion.

v) Is a comatose patient a person? Suppose the patient will emerge from their coma in two weeks, with their personality intact. Would it be murder to kill them while they are still comatose?

vi) What about lowering a patient's body temperature to the point where they have no vital signs or EEG reading? That's a surgical procedure to prevent blood loss. Is the patient still a person? 

vii) Does personhood depend on brain development? What about the hard problem of consciousness? 


  1. I'd add:

    1. The first picture is just a chicken egg. But it takes a chicken egg and chicken sperm to make a chicken.

    2. Oak trees are monoecious. That's not analogous to humans where we need a male and a female to copulate in order to produce offspring.

    3. I'll assume it's an image of a sperm fertilizing an egg. However, you can still see the tail of the sperm so it's possible the sperm hasn't entirely penetrated the egg yet. If so, then this is shy of conception. Not to mention it's possible some sperm fail to penetrate an egg. So, technically speaking, this isn't a person. This reflects their scientific illiteracy. If they had wanted to make the point they're trying to make, they should've used an image of a zygote.

    1. On the one hand, pro-aborts often argue they don't know where to draw the line regarding when personhood begins. In fact, they often argue we have to be flexible about when personhood begins. That's part of their justification for pushing personhood to (say) brain development or fetal heart beat.

      On the other hand, this pro-abort meme rules out personhoood at conception.

      So pro-aborts don't know when personhood begins, but they know it can't be at conception. How would that work? What reason allows them to not know when personhood begins but know it can't be at conception?

    2. What's more, no elective abortions occur at the zygote stage of human life. Part of the reason is because that's too early to tell a woman is pregnant. Rather, elective abortions occur many weeks later. Up to ~20 weeks, give or take, since it varies from state to state. However, at ~20 weeks, the baby has a head, hands, feet, etc. So it's very much a human person.

      To put it another way, suppose pro-lifers agree with pro-aborts that elective abortion (as vile and reprehensible as it is) can be legal from conception to one month or four weeks old. I say four weeks to give plenty of cushion for the pro-abort "clump of cells" argument. Not to mention 4 weeks is when the baby's heart begins to beat and the baby's neural tube has closed. However, suppose abortion should be illegal any time after four weeks. Would that satisfy pro-aborts? Nope. That's because there are many women who aren't even aware they're pregnant even at four weeks. Also, most elective abortions don't happen until at least 11-13 weeks. So pro-aborts need abortions to be legal up to at least 11-13 weeks if not later.

    3. There's even more scientific illiteracy. If that's a fertile egg, then there is a tiny embryonic chicken in there, even if it's too small to see in that particular photograph. And an acorn as it develops actually does have a tiny plant inside it. It's just that we reserve the word "tree" for the developed tree because that is what is useful and interesting to us.

    4. --Also, most elective abortions don't happen until at least 11-13 weeks. So pro-aborts need abortions to be legal up to at least 11-13 weeks if not later.--

      IOW, they need to replace the last image with that of a 12-week old fetus... WHOOPS, THAT LOOKS LIKE A TINY HUMAN BABY, IMAGINE THAT!

  2. Of course, this meme also overlooks the fact that human rights are based on human ontology (i.e., the fact that individuals are HUMAN), not "personhood". Ontology is not dependent upon stage of development. A human fetus is not interchangeable with a feline fetus or a canine fetus, (or even for our Darwinist friends, a chimpanzee fetus) because human fetuses are *HUMAN*.

    Also, to add to the error of the acorn...yes, it's not a tree because "tree" is a general concept referring to several different species of plant at specific stages in their development. It would be like showing an infant and saying "This is not a teenager." Yeah, and neither is a puppy a teenager. Stage of development has nothing to do with ontology. So this is a huge category error made by the meme.

    Acorns are oaks at the seed stage; they are not aspens, pines, or willows--that deals with ontology. If oaks had rights qua oak-rights, then acorns would be protected in ways pinecones would not be. Likewise, human beings have human rights, and the unborn are human beings, period.

  3. It is tempting to respond to that meme by pointing to The Treachery of Images. "Ceci n'est pas une pipe."

  4. If they had memes in the 1800s, the pro-slavers might have made bottom right picture of a black guy.