To Be Human | INFJ Forum

To Be Human

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by Azure_Knight, Apr 21, 2009.

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  1. Azure_Knight

    Azure_Knight Community Member

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    When do you think a human becomes a human? I have been thinking about this for some time after reading the thread Abortion: The Ethics of Liberty. This thread is about:

    1) defining when someone becomes human
    2) what rights a human has when they become human
    3) whether human life has an inherent preciousness or value to it
    4) if and/or how should scientists be allowed to use human embryos (chimerism, stem cell research, etc.)
    5) what you think about designer babies, and should it be allowed if they ever be able to be 'customizable' to the point of skin color, eye color, hair color, and genetic predispositions

    Please be serious in your responses: I am interested in seeing what people think.
     
    dneecey and acd like this.
  2. Flavus Aquila

    Flavus Aquila Finding My Place in the Sun
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    1) defining when someone becomes human
    My op: After fertilization, as soon as the zygote becomes viable.

    2) what rights a human has when they become human
    My op: Whatever rights the society they are part of grants to anyone else. (I am no fan of human 'RIGHTS', but rather of responsibilities).
    All humans have a responsibility to respect, and indeed protect the life of other humans.

    3) whether human life has an inherent preciousness or value to it
    Yes on account of its potential for intelligence and self cognisance.

    4) if and/or how should scientists be allowed to use human embryos (chimerism, stem cell research, etc.)
    No, for the reason stated above. Similarly, if we should ever encounter another intelligent species, we have no right to destroy them in the name of research. I would hope that if we do encounter other intelligent life, it will respect us likewise.

    5) what you think about designer babies, and should it be allowed if they ever be able to be 'customizable' to the point of skin color, eye color, hair color, and genetic predispositions
    I don't think modifications should be made to an existing embryo, because changes to one's composition should only be initiated at the request of the patient. If the selection was carried out as a matter of selective breeding or eugenics - I think that it could produce interesting results. Indeed, some selective breeding might be the only way that humans as a species could actually progress in overall genetic disposition to higher intelligence. Given the way that society functions, increased intelligence gives no reproductive advantage - indeed the opposite seems to be true insofar as top academics seem to have less children than the uneducated.


    TO ANYONE READING MY RESPONSE AND GETTING READY TO OBJECT: DON'T BOTHER - AN HONEST OPINION SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN REQUESTED AND I HAVE GIVEN MINE, WITHOUT CONSIDERATION OF OTHER FACTORS - IT'S SIMPLY MY OPINION.
     
    #2 Flavus Aquila, Apr 21, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2009
  3. dneecey

    dneecey I am who I am.

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    I agree with Flavus that after fertilization the embryo is human.

    I mean if a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it still make a sound?

    As far as rights I tend to go by treat others as you wish to be treated.

    I do believe that all life has indeed a precious value to it, and I think everything happens for a reason. Or at least works into reason.

    As far as the use of embryos, well, sort of in the way you would use the organs of a donor, but not from abortions. This is something that I can not seem to get behind. I have more than one relative who was raped and became impregnated at a young age and still carried their child to term and loved those children regardless. In fact those children are some of the most talented, intriguing, caring, and loved individuals I've ever met and I couldn't imagine my life without them. I feel like if a mother knows that the child wont make it to term, and there is no other option than as the steward of that child she should be able to decide to do with the "body" or embryo and if it helps to prolong the life of another than so be it. I don't know much about this subject however so I can not really go into it.

    And as for "designer babies" well I am entirely against it.
    Children aren't possessions! They shouldn't be custom made. They are put in our lives to guide and protect until they can fully understand and make their own decisions. I have more to say but I'm being nagged to get off the comp.. I will be back in a bit.
     
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  4. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    1)
    defining when someone becomes human

    Human at conception.
    Personhood is a different story (or so it is argued.) http://faculty.washington.edu/wtalbott/phil102/tr11-27.htm

    2)
    what rights a human has when they become human

    Damnit. This is difficult. I am against abortion for myself because I believe that at the moment of conception, there is human life and potential personhood. Upon being conceived, I believe a human has the same rights as people walking around being sentient.. Denying personhood does not make abortion morally correct in my view because were you to bring it to term, it would be a person anyway. It just seems kinda backwards to me to say terminating 'potential' person is ok because it is not yet a person. (Now I'm thinking of that SNL skit where Will Ferrell is born a 40 year old hairy man..) Anyway. That said.. For those reasons I am against abortion for myself. However, I am not against another woman's right to choose. Call it a cop-out.


    3)
    whether human life has an inherent preciousness or value to it

    Human life does have an inherent value to it. Not really sure why. Could be 'cuz I'm a human and the people I care for and who care for me are human and I like us all just fine. Plus, we exist so why not be valuable? Though you could flip the table on me and say, "So does cancer, so why're we tryin' to cure it."

    4)
    if and/or how should scientists be allowed to use human embryos (chimerism, stem cell research, etc.)

    Are there any alternatives available? Not sure about this one. In my mind, you're destroying a potential life to save an existing life. Maybe the existing life is more important? Potential life is important, too--but I'm not much of a fatalist. I don't believe we're destroying the next Enlightenment.

    5)
    what you think about designer babies, and should it be allowed if they ever be able to be 'customizable' to the point of skin color, eye color, hair color, and genetic predispositions

    I think it's creepy. But maybe I think it's creepy because I watch creepy movies about this. And maybe I think it's creepy because it goes against my beliefs. I don't think surfacy things such as appearances are important and it seems easy for people to get hung up on the surfacy things, so in a sense, designer babies devalue human life and make it something manufactured.
     
    #4 acd, Apr 21, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2009
  5. OP
    Azure_Knight

    Azure_Knight Community Member

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    1) I believe a person to be human at conception. Whether or not this little human would be considered a 'person' is debatable across cultures and philosophic outlooks. Some would say a person is one when it has a heartbeat. Others say when it is born. The Romans considered humans to have achieved 'personhood' when they were able to talk. Biology shows that humans are born mentally premature; it takes about 2 years for a child to have a brain with the capacity to check off all sorts of achievements in human mental development checklist. IMHO, I would consider a human to be a person at conception as well, but it gets tricky. How do you tell your embryo from the embryos of any other mammal? What about twins?

    2) I would say that humans have the same rights as a child. I can't see granting full adult legal rights to an embryo; it doesn't make much sense to me.

    3) I am torn on this one. Biology makes humans similar to other animals, yet our brains and complex thought make we want to say we are special. However, I would have to say that all intelligent life has a special quality to it: anything from dolphins to elephants and from cats to dogs. I would also say that any organism that has the capacity to feel pain would probably be special; I hate watching where people feed live animals to snakes and such. It's just cruel, no matter what beauty one gets from watching a predator hunt prey.

    4) I don't like the idea of embryos as a commodity because I consider them to be human and to have rights as humans. I have also worked in enough labs where animals have been killed and have heard all sorts of morgue stories where people disrespect the bodies of the dead to know that respect for life is not high on the agenda of the medical community.

    5) I don't think designer babies should be done for the same reason that I think we shouldn't create customized pets: there are plenty of animals and children that need homes that aren't taken care of already. I think it points more to the shallowness that seems to be ingrained in us and important to us: eye color, hair color, and skin color are not important criteria for a human; nor should it be as mundane as selecting what color you want for your carpet. I can just see some rich couple arguing over red hair and green eyes versus blue eyes and blond hair, etc. There are also parents who want children born with some of the same characteristics as themselves (such as a dwarf parent wanting a dwarf child).

    However, I still think that numbers 4 and 5 will be done regardless of what people say. Science is too curious not to find out. And people will pay for it. And in the end, that's all that seems to matter.

    ~sorry for ending on that note, but I'm not feeling great about humanity's motives after thinking about my post
     
    #5 Azure_Knight, Apr 22, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2009
  6. IndigoSensor

    IndigoSensor Product Obtained
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    1.) Someone is human at birth. I mean in a biological sense, they are even before they exsist. Nevertheless, I believe that life starts (as a human) once birth has been decided and agreed upon.

    2.) Everyone should have the right to live, to live in a safe environment, have clean food, water, living areas, be able to live freely (so long as they aren't causing harms to others), and believe what they believe is true.

    3.) Of course human life has value to it. Everything has value to it. Of course, this perceived value is going to vary from person to person. I perceive my mom to be of much greater value then my neighbor in the dorms. Although this is not true, this is just how I see it. When it comes down to it, we are of all equal value.

    4.) They can do whatever they want with the embryos. It is a potential life, that is it. Nothing beyond it.

    5.) I am not going to lie, the idea of designer babies makes me cringe. I think it comes down to us seeing it as "unfair". In a sense that we didn't get the gift of that. And that the baby might not have wanted to turn out that way. I am really torn if it should be allowed. The way I see it, I will resist it if it is tried to be set into pratice. However, if it is put into pratice, I will let it be. There could be great benifits to this, and lead to so many scientific advancements.
     
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  7. OP
    Azure_Knight

    Azure_Knight Community Member

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  8. Morpheus

    Morpheus Community Member

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    1) defining when someone becomes human

    This is a faulty question. Imagine that you have a can of yellow paint and a can of blue paint. You start pouring the one to the other and demand us to pinpoint exactly when it turns green. Things don't work like that in real life. I define a human as a self-conscious being capable of feeling, thinking and introspection. A fetus is not these things. Neither is a small baby though, but since those things don't act as parasites on a single person, I think it's wrong to kill them.

    2) what rights a human has when they become human

    Who said we have rights? Objective ones? Where would such things come from? I think that we have the right to decide about our own lives. Even that is really a product of cultural atmosphere though, not something absolute.

    3) whether human life has an inherent preciousness or value to it

    It doesn't have, not really. Life has many things, such as potential, but without it being fulfilled it doesn't have any real value. Being a decent person is enough to give one's life value in my eyes, though.

    4) if and/or how should scientists be allowed to use human embryos (chimerism, stem cell research, etc.)

    Yes. Disagreeing is frowned upon. Hindering the research is fucking evil.

    5) what you think about designer babies, and should it be allowed if they ever be able to be 'customizable' to the point of skin color, eye color, hair color, and genetic predispositions

    Why not? It makes me slightly uncomfortable, but it's the way we are moving. I think we should be really careful though.
     
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  9. EloquentBohemian

    EloquentBohemian Community Member

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    An excellent thread, Azure_Knight.

    1) I consider this analogy from Marc to be very appropriate to the question: "Imagine that you have a can of yellow paint and a can of blue paint. You start pouring the one to the other and demand us to pinpoint exactly when it turns green".
    When does a seed become a tree?

    One way to determine this is to work in reverse. We know by observation and experience that there is an 'animating factor' which determines the point death occurs, when that 'animating factor' is no longer detectible in a human body. Discovering this factor and developing the means to detect its presence allows us to determine when this factor is present in the beginning of an entity, human or otherwise.

    2) None whatsoever.

    3) Value is a rational consideration determined individually. Until one who is considered human begins to develop the capacity to rationally decide for oneself, society should value the existence of this individual and one's potential to develop the rational capacity to place value on one's own life.

    4) This would depend on the answer to question #1, determining when the 'animating factor' is evident. Once this factor is evident, one is no longer merely a potential human, but distinctly a human.

    For embryos which are determined not to possess an animating factor and have been removed from the human womb by the mother's choice, any research or medical application which advances or enhances the human species as a whole, and not a merely a cosmetic application, should not be hindered.

    5) No, in reference to my answer to question #4.
     
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  10. Morpheus

    Morpheus Community Member

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    But all life doesn't equal human life. I don't think that a terminally ill comatosed patient or a braindead corpse is really a human anymore, even if it's physically alive. Consciousness and self awareness are what makes one a human.
     
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  11. EloquentBohemian

    EloquentBohemian Community Member

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    I won't argue the points because all Azure_Knight wanted was opinions, but determining when the 'animating factor' begins provides a starting point for determining consciousness and self-awareness. It would alter assumptions concerning life if the fetus did not possess a separate 'animating factor' of its own but utilised the 'animating factor' of the mother.
     
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  12. just me

    just me GONE

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    Azure Knight, if I may entertain a question regarding when someone becomes human........
    I have been pondering lately horoscopes; specifically, the date and hour of birth. There is much evidence linking time of birth to many different things through astrology. I know it may be impossible in most normal instances to know when one was conceived in the womb. Could time of conception have as great an influence on a person as time of birth? I wonder....
    Life and life join together as one and new life is formed.
     
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  13. Flavus Aquila

    Flavus Aquila Finding My Place in the Sun
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    Are you human when you sleep without dreaming?
     
  14. Morpheus

    Morpheus Community Member

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    Obviously you are not. That's why I sneak around sleeping peoples houses with pickaxe and a hacksaw.

    On a more serious note: yes, since that's nothing but a temporary altered state of consciousness.
     
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