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  1. #331
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superbelt View Post
    By itself, all it can do is mitosis. Pure dividing into exact copies. That doesn't do much for life. It takes proteins from the mother to start changing things.
    Quote Originally Posted by SB
    You're challenging my biology curricula recall. But I'll try and comply....
    I believe you are correct that an egg/zygote/embryo needs proteins in order to keep undergoing its process of life... (just as a born human beings need food, oxygen, etc. in order to keep undergoing our process of life).

    That being said: I disagree with your characterization that the proteins dictate the life processes of an egg/zygote/embryo... just as I would disagree with the assertion that food, oxygen, etc. dictate the life processes of a born human being.

    IOW: a living organism uses fuel to undergo its own processes... fuel does not force internal processes to function.

    It sounds (to me) like you've got the tail wagging the dog.
    Although it is said that our faith concerns matters which are obscure, the reasons for embracing the faith are not obscure but on the contrary are clearer than any natural light.
    -Descartes

  2. #332
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    Quote Originally Posted by Augustus View Post
    Those are the minimum necessary factors. Those are the universal and undeniable ones -- now, I guess there are CHF's favorite add-on tests, and Superbelt's favorite additional requirements, and Augustus' favorite requirements....
    And I wouldn't suggest that we shouldn't rank requirements. I just don't get where 'arbitrary' is necessarily a dirty word.
    "the blade itself incites to violence." - Homer

    --

    "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - Kung fu Monkey

  3. #333
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalgaryHawkFan View Post
    And I wouldn't suggest that we shouldn't rank requirements. I just don't get where 'arbitrary' is necessarily a dirty word.
    Again, I'll suggest to you that you aren't making any sense.

    If all "requirements" are "arbitrary", then on what basis are we to "rank" them?

    Although it is said that our faith concerns matters which are obscure, the reasons for embracing the faith are not obscure but on the contrary are clearer than any natural light.
    -Descartes

  4. #334
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    Quote Originally Posted by Augustus View Post
    I haven't studied this particular issue, so this "potential" you keep speaking of may very well fail one or more of the three tests I mentioned, in which case I would agree that it's not a living human being. Science can address "living organism" and "homo sapiens species", but terms like "contraception" and "abortion" aren't scientific ones -- they are legal or ethical ones.
    The point you appear to be missing is this:
    Labeling "living organism" and "human being" as scientific terms and choosing to claim that "contraception" and "abortion" aren't scientific terms is an arbitrary decision on your part. The words you chose aren't any more or less scientific than those other words.

    Here's a hint: if it's a scientific term, then there's a consensus within the scientific community as to what the term means and what is and isn't included within the classification the term is meant to describe.

  5. #335
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalgaryHawkFan View Post
    And I wouldn't suggest that we shouldn't rank requirements. I just don't get where 'arbitrary' is necessarily a dirty word.
    It's not. I would think though that we should be careful with it on matters so integral to our nature as defining what is human. There have been times when skin color was an 'arbitrary' factor in the definition.

  6. #336
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonMan View Post
    if it's a scientific term, then there's a consensus within the scientific community as to what the term means and what is and isn't included within the classification the term is meant to describe.
    That's not true. There is not consensus on what is dark matter or on whether or not it even exists, yet "dark matter" is a scientific term. Even if there were consensus within the scientific community that the Beatles were the best musical band, it's still not a scientific question.

    Here is the real hint: if it's a scientific term, then it lends itself to testing via the scientific method.

  7. #337
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    Quote Originally Posted by Augustus View Post
    That's not true. There is not consensus on what is dark matter or on whether or not it even exists, yet "dark matter" is a scientific term. Even if there were consensus within the scientific community that the Beatles were the best musical band, it's still not a scientific question.

    Here is the real hint: if it's a scientific term, then it lends itself to testing via the scientific method.
    A well played rebuttal.
    Although it is said that our faith concerns matters which are obscure, the reasons for embracing the faith are not obscure but on the contrary are clearer than any natural light.
    -Descartes

  8. #338
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gmaniac View Post
    Again, I'll suggest to you that you aren't making any sense.

    If all "requirements" are "arbitrary", then on what basis are we to "rank" them?

    I'll give you the same answer I did before... by the values that we assign them.
    "the blade itself incites to violence." - Homer

    --

    "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - Kung fu Monkey

  9. #339
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    Quote Originally Posted by Augustus View Post
    It's not. I would think though that we should be careful with it on matters so integral to our nature as defining what is human. There have been times when skin color was an 'arbitrary' factor in the definition.
    I agree. G-man doesn't though. (which is fine too)
    "the blade itself incites to violence." - Homer

    --

    "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - Kung fu Monkey

  10. #340
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    Quote Originally Posted by Augustus View Post
    but terms like "contraception" and "abortion" aren't scientific ones -- they are legal or ethical ones.
    I had meant to answer this one first...

    I believe that abortion is also a natural phenomena. And thus would fit under 'scientific' as opposed to 'ethical.'
    "the blade itself incites to violence." - Homer

    --

    "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - Kung fu Monkey

  11. #341
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalgaryHawkFan View Post
    I'll give you the same answer I did before... by the values that we assign them.
    Again... you haven't answered my question, you've simply begged another:

    How do we judge the values by which we rank the requirements?

    Be specific, if possible.
    Last edited by Gmaniac; 04-05-2014 at 05:15 AM.
    Although it is said that our faith concerns matters which are obscure, the reasons for embracing the faith are not obscure but on the contrary are clearer than any natural light.
    -Descartes

  12. #342
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    If something can be true or false depending on where you stand, when you happen to be standing there, or who you are standing with, odds are that it's an arbitrary claim.

    i.e. if you stand on the border of Colorado and say "Smoking pot is bad because we have laws against it" but then cross over into Colorado, where it's perfectly legal to smoke pot, you have lost the justification for your original claim (where you happen to stand and when you happen to be standing there, there are no laws against it).

    I think the biggest objection to the "it's just a bag of cells" defense is that if you call it a bag of cells on January 1, in less than a year it's a small child.

    Now granted, plenty has to go right in order for it to move from "bag of cells" to "crying baby," but if left alone and there is no intervention into the process, what you say in January is no longer true in December.

    Which renders the argument arbitrary.

    If you want to view the 2-day old fertilized egg as just a "bag of cells," what happens a month later? What happens when it can respond to stimuli in the womb? What happens the day before the kid is born into the world- is it still just a bag of cells because it exists within the body of its mother?

    At any point in the process, from fertilized egg up to crying baby, you would have to know some definitive moment at which it crosses from "non-life" and becomes "life."

    What scientific process or delineation can reliably determine such a distinction?

    Even so, is that moment in time the same for every developing human child, given that some are born earlier than others?

    I know CHF will start in with the "you need things to be black and white but life is grey" abstractions, but it's really quite simple-

    Barring intervention, will your claim that it is "just a bag of cells" remain valid for an extended period of time? If not, it is an arbitrary claim.

    It has human DNA. That's how we can determine it is different than a pig or a duck.

    Only human beings are interfertile. That is how we define the offspring of humans- there can be no offspring except other humans. It's not like a horse and a donkey hooking up.

    And the most basic definition of life is

    the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.
    The condition. And upon fertilization, not only is it human, not only is it a uniquely human individual, but it is alive.

    Capacity for growth? Check. Capacity for eventual reproduction? Check. Capacity for functional activity? Check. Is it changing on its way to an eventual death as part of the living cycle?

    Check.

    Spending 40 years wrangling with the point at which something stops being a bag of cells and becomes a human life would accomplish nothing aside from idly allowing the deaths of tens of millions of innocent human beings.

    The definition of "living human being" is not difficult to arrive at. It just happens to be inconvenient to admit.
    “Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you. Never apologize for being correct, or for being years ahead of your time. If you’re right and you know it, speak your mind. Speak your mind. Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.” -Gandhi

    Rational skepticism is not the same thing as being a conspiracy theorist.

    Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream. -Muggeridge

  13. #343
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gmaniac View Post
    Again... you haven't answered my question, you've simply begged another:

    How do we judge the values by which we rank the requirements?

    Be specific, if possible.
    Me not answering to your satisfaction does not equal me not answering. We judge it the same way we judge anything, by the metrics we agree to assign. What makes murder different from manslaughter from self defence? Answer specifically? By the metrics we assign to them.
    "the blade itself incites to violence." - Homer

    --

    "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - Kung fu Monkey

  14. #344
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThankGod4Walsh View Post

    I know CHF will start in with the "you need things to be black and white but life is grey" abstractions, but it's really quite simple-
    Yes if the last fifty years have shown us anything it's that it's very black and white simple. Heh.
    "the blade itself incites to violence." - Homer

    --

    "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - Kung fu Monkey

  15. #345
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gmaniac View Post
    I believe you are correct that an egg/zygote/embryo needs proteins in order to keep undergoing its process of life... (just as a born human beings need food, oxygen, etc. in order to keep undergoing our process of life).

    That being said: I disagree with your characterization that the proteins dictate the life processes of an egg/zygote/embryo... just as I would disagree with the assertion that food, oxygen, etc. dictate the life processes of a born human being.

    IOW: a living organism uses fuel to undergo its own processes... fuel does not force internal processes to function.

    It sounds (to me) like you've got the tail wagging the dog.
    It's not that the early embryo needs it as food or energy. They actually spur development. The early embryo doesn't have the control structure to actually tell it's cells what to do, all they can do is replicate.
    The consistent factor of all of your dissatisfying relationships and failures is you.

    R.W. 09.21.10 I love you.

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