Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Stalking Pharyngula

I was over reading on PZ Myers' blog and saw this lengthy bit on whether a fertilized egg is a member of the species it could one day represent. I'm curious what others' thoughts on this might be.

I agree with the assessment of life being continuous. It spawns anew, and while death for an organism is inevitable, the act of recombinant procreation is clearly a continuation of 2 seperate organisms' partial genetic code. At no point did it become not alive, even when the individual gamete contains only half of the necessary chromosomes for reproduction.

So, here's what I don't get. By the definition of life, most "pro-life" advocates want to say that human life begins at conception. But this isn't really true since the life (as far as biology is concerned) never "started" but was, as PZ says, continuous. I think, if we're arguing about this, its an important distinction between life and cognizance. Otherwise we might as well argue that ovulation is murder and male masturbation mass murder.

I'm really not an expert on this. Thoughts?


  1. I love PZ for these things. (Frankly, I want to have sex with his mind.) I never thought of it that way. I think he's right, but I'm a legal secretary, not a scientist.

    Btw, the same logic that has a zygote being a human also would qualify a tumor as a human, and I don't really think anyone wants to go there.

  2. I adore his irreverent style.

    By the N. Dakota interpretation shaving my head might be considered genocide.

  3. Cue "Every Sperm Is Sacred" music...