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Jack Sisson's Life Ethics Blog

We must find new ways through many ethical issues, especially regarding bioethics, medical ethics, and criminal justice. Jack Sisson's 'Life Ethics' blog focuses on numerous areas of concern, including the philosophical and ethical dilemmas surrounding stem-cell research, abortion, medical research, and health care.

The following is excerpted from a blog post at Petunia's.

Well, then. I was getting ready to post about this article on embryonic research and I noticed that it went well with this post Amanda at Pandagon put up a bit ago. Nice timing. Anyway, the article notes the attempt to define the beginning of human life as contraception using science:
“To be a complete human organism,” they write, “an entity must possess a developmental program (including both its DNA and epigenetic factors) oriented toward developing a brain and central nervous system.” The program begins at conception; therefore, so does personhood.
And later:
The program’s collective nature doesn’t discredit individual rights. But it does complicate the authors’ task. They have to show that the embryo is an individual, not just a program. Here, again, science defies them. They write that the embryo’s cells “function together to develop into a single, more mature member of the human species.” Not quite. In one of every 300 cases, the embryo splits to become two or more people, at least one of whom wasn’t a distinct organism at conception. And in every case, part of the embryo becomes placenta, nurturing the other part and passing away. The embryo, too, is collective. [Emphasis added.]
The song and dance with science here is the religious right’s way to try to get contraception outlawed. If they can convince people that embryos are human, then they’re half the way there. In fact most of the way and if they can use science language to help they will, just as they use the language of science to argue for intelligent design (a disguise for creationism–ie religion). The fact that their science is bad might not matter, because it’s just a smokescreen.

Read the entire post.

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