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When Does Life Begin

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    Abortion doesn't have anything to do with blood. An organism is a human once it possesses its own unique DNA, and that is at conception. The zygote begins its cell division as it follows the human timeline. I think the concept of life follows on from there.

    The issue is more to do whether the mother's rights outweighs the fetus' rights, viability and sentience.
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    (Original post by PinkMobilePhone)
    It hardly matters what is the best "cultural answer". Different cultures have different levels of acceptance for different things. We don't have the death penalty, but the US does. Different cultures have different ages for the age of consent etc.
    What is a "cultural answer" is just a matter of opinion. You can't say that the question of "when life begins" is a mere matter of opinion. There has to be a definite point when life begins, as a FACT, not as an opinion.

    I mean, there are some things that are just NOT a matter of opinion. A spade is a spade is a spade. It's not a spade in one country, but a potato in another. It's not as though it is a spade today, but 200 years ago it was a cup of tea. No, it's a spade! Always has been and always will be a spade!
    I think you should read my post more carefully. I can't really see what your point is, except that you like to shout. I didn't say that the answer to the question was actually a matter of personal opinion, merely that different cultures interpret the question differently in ways that they, presumably, deem to be optimal.
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    I don't think you will find many people who disagree that the zygote is alive immediately after fertilisation, it is alive that is pretty much a fact. The disagreement comes when you start asking people when you think it becomes a person.
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    (Original post by Apeiron)
    I think you should read my post more carefully. I can't really see what your point is, except that you like to shout. I didn't say that the answer to the question was actually a matter of personal opinion, merely that different cultures interpret the question differently in ways that they, presumably, deem to be optimal.
    My point is that the question of when life begins cannot possibly be a simple matter of opinion, just as it's not a matter of opinion that a spade is a spade.

    Granted, we might not ever actually discover a pinpoint specific moment when life begins, (though yawn's argument is compelling), but that doesn't mean that such a moment doesn't exist. It has to. There has to be one deadly accurate moment when life begins.

    At the moment, it's a matter for conjecture, as nobody is 100% sure when it begins, but the moment has to have a definite starting point, it really isn't open to "cultural interpretation". It's not as though life begins for some people at conception, but other people aren't alive until the heart starts beating, or other people aren't alive until they are born...it's just not logical. We must all start our lives at the same point in our development, it's just that nobody can agree on what that point is. Doesn't mean all interpretations are correct though, there can only be 1 correct answer.
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    The problem is that no one is defining what they mean by 'life' at the moment. If you are all operating under different definitions, you will arrive at different answers.

    What do you mean by 'life'? The ability to grow? The ability to develop? The ability to function? The state of being human? etc.
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    (Original post by PinkMobilePhone)
    My point is that the question of when life begins cannot possibly be a simple matter of opinion, just as it's not a matter of opinion that a spade is a spade.

    Granted, we might not ever actually discover a pinpoint specific moment when life begins, (though yawn's argument is compelling), but that doesn't mean that such a moment doesn't exist. It has to. There has to be one deadly accurate moment when life begins.

    At the moment, it's a matter for conjecture, as nobody is 100% sure when it begins, but the moment has to have a definite starting point, it really isn't open to "cultural interpretation". It's not as though life begins for some people at conception, but other people aren't alive until the heart starts beating, or other people aren't alive until they are born...it's just not logical. We must all start our lives at the same point in our development, it's just that nobody can agree on what that point is. Doesn't mean all interpretations are correct though, there can only be 1 correct answer.
    What you say is true but not relevant to the fact that others may have different interpretations, however wrong in scientific fact they may be. I am not arguing for 'cultural relativism', or that we should 'respect' it, merely pointing out that it exists.

    Different societies do things differently, especially if they have little or no medical science, and are apt to construe the meaning of the word 'life' in ways that are scientifically unsupportable.
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    (Original post by Xotol)
    The problem is that no one is defining what they mean by 'life' at the moment. If you are all operating under different definitions, you will arrive at different answers.

    What do you mean by 'life'? The ability to grow? The ability to develop? The ability to function? The state of being human? etc.
    What not just use the biological definition of life i.e. living organisms? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life There's no point philosophizing the definition of life, might as well use the scientific one.
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    (Original post by Apeiron)
    What you say is true but not relevant to the fact that others may have different interpretations, however wrong in scientific fact they may be. I am not arguing for 'cultural relativism', or that we should 'respect' it, merely pointing out that it exists.

    Different societies do things differently, especially if they have little or no medical science, and are apt to construe the meaning of the word 'life' in ways that are scientifically unsupportable.
    Well yes we all know that different cultures have different opinions on when life begins (or indeed even within cultures there are differences of opinion). That doesn't prove a thing though. The question was "when does life begin"? There can only be one definite answer to this question.
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    (Original post by PinkMobilePhone)
    Well yes we all know that different cultures have different opinions on when life begins (or indeed even within cultures there are differences of opinion). That doesn't prove a thing though. The question was "when does life begin"? There can only be one definite answer to this question.
    As I said, previouly. What part of the word 'Yes' don't you understand?
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    (Original post by Apeiron)
    As I said, previouly. What part of the word 'Yes' don't you understand?
    you didn't say anything about the word "yes" previously.
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    (Original post by PinkMobilePhone)
    you didn't say anything about the word "yes" previously.
    I expect you to be able to infer that I agree wth you since I stated:

    >It seems to me that fertilisation is the only sensible biological answer to the question of when life begins
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    (Original post by Apeiron)
    I expect you to be able to infer that I agree wth you since I stated:

    >It seems to me that fertilisation is the only sensible biological answer to the question of when life begins
    ok
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    There is no such thing as a beginning to life, life does not begin because it does not exist. In order to answer your question one would have to ask what life is. No one quite knows what it is, there are simplifications taught it to us in school and primary school, e.g. life is something breathes, grows, consumes etc. but there is no border between life and non-life in reality. Life is a concept we project into the universe.
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    (Original post by _saleri_)
    There is no such thing as a beginning to life, life does not begin because it does not exist. In order to answer your question one would have to ask what life is. No one quite knows what it is, there are simplifications taught it to us in school and primary school, e.g. life is something breathes, grows, consumes etc. but there is no border between life and non-life in reality. Life is a concept we project into the universe.
    'In reality', a great many concepts have fuzzy borders with their opposites, but that does not mean that we should not discuss and refine our understanding.

    As a matter of fact, 'life', even if not fully understood to the perfection you seem to think is necessary, is capable of better decription than you indicate, since it:

    is capable of self-reproduction;
    is capable of evolution;
    exhibits homeostasis;
    exhibits growth;
    is characterised by organisation into cells;
    which are built from self-replicating entities;
    shows responses to stimuli;
    exhibits metabolism.
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    I don't think conception is the beginning of life. It's the beginning of parasitic development inside the mother. Life begins when the foetus could survive outside the mother's body, until this has occurred, the foetus is an organ of the mother.
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    (Original post by Apeiron)
    'In reality', a great many concepts have fuzzy borders with their opposites, but that does not mean that we should not discuss and refine our understanding.

    As a matter of fact, 'life', even if not fully understood to the perfection you seem to think is necessary, is capable of better decription than you indicate, since it:

    is capable of self-reproduction;
    is capable of evolution;
    exhibits homeostasis;
    exhibits growth;
    is characterised by organisation into cells;
    which are built from self-replicating entities;
    shows responses to stimuli;
    exhibits metabolism.
    I think it's fine to investigate the concept of life but I think starting from understanding the concepts of life is most important then answering the question. 'What is life' has to be answered before 'when does life begin'.

    The investigation of the question 'when does life begin' will certainly be an interesting dialectic but there is no actual answer to the question, I think that its important to know that the answer to the question has nothing to do with nature really, it actually is about our own language and concepts.

    But perhaps the questioner is more interested in investigating nature rather than coming to an answer.

    As a deconstructionist I looked at the question in terms of the language/concepts used...my approach to the question may not even involve any investigation into nature whatsoever...but thats how i role
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    (Original post by _saleri_)
    I think it's fine to investigate the concept of life but I think starting from understanding the concepts of life is most important then answering the question. 'What is life' has to be answered before 'when does life begin'.

    The investigation of the question 'when does life begin' will certainly be an interesting dialectic but there is no actual answer to the question, I think that its important to know that the answer to the question has nothing to do with nature really, it actually is about our own language and concepts.

    But perhaps the questioner is more interested in investigating nature rather than coming to an answer.

    As a deconstructionist I looked at the question in terms of the language/concepts used...my approach to the question may not even involve any investigation into nature whatsoever...but thats how i role
    I needed you when in dialogue with PinkMobilePhone. I hope you are happy in your certainty.
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    (Original post by Apeiron)
    I needed you when in dialogue with PinkMobilePhone. I hope you are happy in your certainty.
    hmm,

    I would say the only certainty I have is that I know I don't know anything...but to be certain about not knowing anything is the greatest certainty one can have...I think


    (Original post by PinkMobilePhone)
    My point is that the question of when life begins cannot possibly be a simple matter of opinion, just as it's not a matter of opinion that a spade is a spade.

    Granted, we might not ever actually discover a pinpoint specific moment when life begins, (though yawn's argument is compelling), but that doesn't mean that such a moment doesn't exist. It has to. There has to be one deadly accurate moment when life begins.

    At the moment, it's a matter for conjecture, as nobody is 100% sure when it begins, but the moment has to have a definite starting point, it really isn't open to "cultural interpretation". It's not as though life begins for some people at conception, but other people aren't alive until the heart starts beating, or other people aren't alive until they are born...it's just not logical. We must all start our lives at the same point in our development, it's just that nobody can agree on what that point is. Doesn't mean all interpretations are correct though, there can only be 1 correct answer.
    yawn?....

    Yes yawn about stumbling across the fact that our concepts of time and other dualistic notions are super impositions on nature and the universe.

    See this argument of yours here completely ignores the pure hard fact there there literally is no boundary between life and death...but you insist to play within the rules of the concepts of beginning and end when there is no such as beginning and end beyond the actual idea of 'beginning' and 'end'.

    There is not 1 correct answer, there are either an infinite correct answers or no correct answer to this question. If you don't simply "yawn" away the issue of beginning and end then this debate thats being had may take an interesting rather than going around in circles knowing full well that there is no answer because the concepts we are trying to simplify the universe too are not real, i.e. the notion of beginning end, life non-life are concepts made up of humans, none of these things exist in the universe.
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    (Original post by _saleri_)
    The investigation of the question 'when does life begin' will certainly be an interesting dialectic but there is no actual answer to the question, I think that its important to know that the answer to the question has nothing to do with nature really, it actually is about our own language and concepts.
    Unfortunately, the experts on the question of when human life begins - you know, the biological scientists that have been cited on the Princeton University website (see post #12) - have given a very precise answer. And I have no reason to believe that their answer to 'what is life' is equally as unequivocal as the thread question.

    However, I do agree that by asking 'what is life?' before 'when does life begin?' is one of language principally; which is why I mentioned the matter of semantics when it comes to debating what is in effect, the ending of human life after its begun.

    Such is the nature of philosophy...it all about semantics when it comes down to it.
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    (Original post by _saleri_)
    hmm,

    I would say the only certainty I have is that I know I don't know anything...but to be certain about not knowing anything is the greatest certainty one can have...I think




    yawn?....

    Yes yawn about stumbling across the fact that our concepts of time and other dualistic notions are super impositions on nature and the universe.

    See this argument of yours here completely ignores the pure hard fact there there literally is no boundary between life and death...but you insist to play within the rules of the concepts of beginning and end when there is no such as beginning and end beyond the actual idea of 'beginning' and 'end'.

    There is not 1 correct answer, there are either an infinite correct answers or no correct answer to this question. If you don't simply "yawn" away the issue of beginning and end then this debate thats being had may take an interesting rather than going around in circles knowing full well that there is no answer because the concepts we are trying to simplify the universe too are not real, i.e. the notion of beginning end, life non-life are concepts made up of humans, none of these things exist in the universe.
    yawn is a member of TSR who has posted in this thread. If you actually look on page 1 of this thread, you would see that.

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