1. Joined
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    26 May '09 18:571 edit
    The inspiration for this thread came from talking to someone about abortion in another thread of mine in which I was questioning when and for what reason we become "human"? That is, at what point should we attain "rights" that we now hold under the law of the land?

    The thread I am referring to was started in the debate forum but I thought the spirituality forum would be more appropriate. In the other thread I am referring to, I believe one person said that after so many weeks in the womb when the unborn is "viable" they should be considered human. Another responded that he saw no difference in killing an animal than say a human since he considered humans to be nothing more than a glorified animal. Another responded that only when we have the ability to communicate should we be considered human with special rights to go along with it.

    So what do you think?
  2. Subscriberduecer
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    26 May '09 19:58
    Originally posted by whodey
    The inspiration for this thread came from talking to someone about abortion in another thread of mine in which I was questioning when and for what reason we become "human"? That is, at what point should we attain "rights" that we now hold under the law of the land?

    The thread I am referring to was started in the debate forum but I thought the spirituali ...[text shortened]... we be considered human with special rights to go along with it.

    So what do you think?
    it depends on what "human" means doesn't it? If by human you mean species, then our genetic code makes us human. If you are asking what sets us apart from animals, that is another question. Our culture is what sets us apart not only from animals, but from each other. Culture is a function of language. All concepts of time, morality, complex ideas, etc... are all a part of language and would not exist otherwise. When does a baby become "human"? when it begins to understand language. When is a baby human? From the moment of conception. The question you are struggling with is one of morality. It isn't acceptable to randomly kill kittens and puppies in our society, or any other creature be it human or not, but what of fetuses? They are not human by a complete definition are they? So the real question is: when is it unacceptable to terminate a fetus? Nature eliminates zygotes all the time, do we protest nature? No, I'm afraid the question is far to complicated to solve here, and one where religion should play no part, it is a matter for science.
  3. Joined
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    26 May '09 20:19
    Good question. Our genetic code puts us in the annimal class, but I think it is our soul that makes us human.
  4. Joined
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    26 May '09 20:51
    Originally posted by Thomas Lavery
    Good question. Our genetic code puts us in the annimal class, but I think it is our soul that makes us human.
    Define soul?

    How would you determine if an animal has a soul?
  5. Donationrwingett
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    26 May '09 20:56
    Originally posted by Thomas Lavery
    Good question. Our genetic code puts us in the annimal class, but I think it is our soul that makes us human.
    Soul? Give me a break. The Human Genome Project identified and mapped up to 25,000 genes of the human genome, but James Brown notwithstanding, we don't have a single iota of evidence to indicate that there is any such thing as a "soul". Being 'human' just means that we're a separate species of hominid.
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    26 May '09 21:00
    Originally posted by whodey
    ...only when we have the ability to communicate should we be considered human...
    I guess that excludes a lot of rhp forum users out then...😵


    One way to think about this could be to identify everything that makes us inhuman, and consider what remains as what makes us human?
  7. Donationrwingett
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    26 May '09 23:20
    Originally posted by duecer
    it depends on what "human" means doesn't it? If by human you mean species, then our genetic code makes us human. If you are asking what sets us apart from animals, that is another question. Our culture is what sets us apart not only from animals, but from each other. Culture is a function of language. All concepts of time, morality, complex ideas, etc... are ...[text shortened]... ed to solve here, and one where religion should play no part, it is a matter for science.
    I would hate to see this thread devolve into a squabble on abortion, but even as an atheist, I see no reason why religion should play "no part" in these questions. If, for religious reasons, someone adopts the personal opinion that abortion is unethical, then in and of itself it makes no difference to me. They are free to refrain from having abortions as they wish. The area where religion should play no part is in turning that religious opinion into public policy.
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    26 May '09 23:37
    Originally posted by rwingett
    The area where religion should play no part is in turning that religious opinion into public policy.
    "a healthy discussion of faith in a pluralistic society includes the need for religious people to translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values during public debate" - from Whitehouse.gov

    The point is that it is OK to say, "my religion teaches me such and such and it would be good for everyone because.." but not to say "my religion teaches me such and such and everyone must do it."
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    27 May '09 00:042 edits
    Originally posted by whodey
    The inspiration for this thread came from talking to someone about abortion in another thread of mine in which I was questioning when and for what reason we become "human"? That is, at what point should we attain "rights" that we now hold under the law of the land?

    The thread I am referring to was started in the debate forum but I thought the spirituali we be considered human with special rights to go along with it.

    So what do you think?
    I think we should not automatically conflate humanhood (which can be seen as something descriptive having to do with species membership) with moral personhood (which is something normative involving irreducibly normative things like rights).

    The relevant question surrounding abortion is not something like "when does the fetus become human?" The fetus is very obviously human; even the zygote at conception is obviously something human. A more relevant question would be like under what conditions, if any, would it be permissible to kill a human organism?
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    27 May '09 03:07
    To quote Jefferson: "Life is for the living."

    If you're talking about rights then it is a political issue not a biological one. Implicit in political rights is the ability to act in exercise of those rights. Some "humans" who may meet the biological definition are not accorded full rights because they are not deemed to be capable of fully exercising them either temporarily (the case of an unconscious patient with a promising prognosis, or someone incarcerated for just cause) or permanently (the brain-dead shell of a human who can never recover, or the condemned murderer.) You can imagine political rights without humanity (a thinking machine, or an alien.) But sentience alone may not qualify for those rights (a dolphin, or a monkey.) Political rights are also weighed against the rights allotted to the state and those possessed by other citizens (regulating the motorway, or yelling "fire" in the subway.) A balance must be sought judiciously. At what point can the state act? If it can ban public smoking for health concerns then why not private? Unfortunately none of this (no matter how much people would like it to be) is simple.
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    27 May '09 03:19
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    I think we should not automatically conflate humanhood (which can be seen as something descriptive having to do with species membership) with moral personhood (which is something normative involving irreducibly normative things like rights).

    The relevant question surrounding abortion is not something like "when does the fetus become human?" The fetus ...[text shortened]... would be like under what conditions, if any, would it be permissible to kill a human organism?
    Thanks for that clarification and the answer is.....?
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    27 May '09 03:28
    Originally posted by duecer
    it depends on what "human" means doesn't it? If by human you mean species, then our genetic code makes us human. If you are asking what sets us apart from animals, that is another question. Our culture is what sets us apart not only from animals, but from each other. Culture is a function of language. All concepts of time, morality, complex ideas, etc... are ...[text shortened]... ed to solve here, and one where religion should play no part, it is a matter for science.
    Are you suggesting that animals do not have a culture of some kind? In fact, I think many animals live in packs/tribes much like humans. Perhaps they are not as complex, but they communicate and have a culture of some kind nonetheless.

    Nature terminates fetuses all the time? Doesn't nature terminate adult human beings as well? How is that an arguement?????

    So if religion should play no part in this discussion, do tell what science tells us? How is the human race any better than say that of cattle? Why is it acceptable to kill and eat a cow but not a human being? Is it purely a matter of self preservation or of self importance or of a cultural norm etc? Do you think it is OK to kill a cow to eat it? Of course, I assume you don't think it is OK to kill a human being to eat it. In fact if you suprise me and say otherwise I think it perhaps necessary to start yet another thread altogether!!! 😛
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    27 May '09 04:19
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    Define soul?

    How would you determine if an animal has a soul?
    He explicitly said "I think it is our soul that makes us human."
    He didn't say "It is our soul that makes us human.", right?

    And that's what it is, just a thought, nothing else.
  14. Melbourne, Australia
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    27 May '09 04:30
    Originally posted by whodey
    Are you suggesting that animals do not have a culture of some kind? In fact, I think many animals live in packs/tribes much like humans. Perhaps they are not as complex, but they communicate and have a culture of some kind nonetheless.

    Nature terminates fetuses all the time? Doesn't nature terminate adult human beings as well? How is that an arguemen ...[text shortened]... e and say otherwise I think it perhaps necessary to start yet another thread altogether!!! 😛
    Your cow idea is a little bit disingenuous though, isn't it?
    Abortion is not about killing a human to eat it. And before you declare that you made no link to abortion, let's face it, this is the context behind your posts.
    Abortion does not involve 1 human life - it involves at least 2, often more. The simple absolutes of 'thou shall not kill' and 'abortion is murder' are not the whole story clearly or we wouldn't constantly be having this debate. I think we can probably mostly agree that pro-choice and pro-life advocates both agree that murder is wrong - that we should not kill other humans.
    But of course we do kill other humans - on the battlefield, in self defence, and of course, in abortions - so the question is when is it ethically acceptable to do this, to kill another human? I would guess that few people could argue never.
  15. SubscriberFMF
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    27 May '09 06:19
    What makes us human?

    Our capicity for speech along with everything that enables it and everything it enables us to do.
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