The Instigator
Chuz-Life
Pro (for)
Winning
4 Points
The Contender
TruthHurts
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points

A human being in the Zygote, Embryo and Fetal stage of their life is "a human being"

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Chuz-Life
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/14/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,402 times Debate No: 58971
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (25)
Votes (2)

 

Chuz-Life

Pro

TruthHurts, I have read in now at least two of your recent (abortion related) debates where you make the claim that a human fetus is not "a human being." Do you think you can defend that claim in a debate?
TruthHurts

Con

I appreciate the challenge, and I am happy to defend that a zygote, embryo, and fetus are not human beings (that is: full human lives subject to the same rights and protections as you and I). I shall be defending this stance until the fetus is viable and has cognitive abilities, recognized as around the 20-24th week of development (per Roe v. Wade).

I look forward to this debate, and wish you good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
Chuz-Life

Pro

Thank you CON for accepting this debate challenge. This is my first attempt at a personal debate challenge and I was not aware that the text of the challenge itself would be posted in R1. Had I anticipated that, I would have been a little more detailed in my framing of the debate.

In your acceptance, you clarified your position by saying that you are "happy to defend that a zygote, embryo, and fetus are not human beings (that is: full human lives subject to the same rights and protections as you and I)." I ask my opponent to consider that this debate was originated in the "Science" section of DDO's forum for debating and not in the "politics" or "philosophy" sections.

Does Con concede the scientific fact [1] that a human being in the zygote, embryo and fetal stage of their life is biologically "a human being?"

If Con does accept the fact that (at least biologically) a human being in the Zygote, Embryo and Fetal Stages of their life is "a human being," then I believe my opponent may have accepted my challenge prematurely.

Again, thanks to my opponent for accepting the challenge. I look forward to reading the responses and comments.


[1] http://www.princeton.edu...(biology).html

TruthHurts

Con

I was going to begin with some pleasantries, as I was expecting an interesting debate on personhood, in the legal sense, as related to abortion. However, this is not going to happen.

Pro cannot change terms of the debate after I have accepted the challenge. Pro left the parameters of the challenge reasonably open (while specifically mentioning previous abortion rounds), and I clarified the position I would be defending. It is irrelevant where the debate is classified, and the onus should not be upon me to determine what you imply by a classification; since Pro did not make any definitions clear in the challenge, I provided a standard that I would be arguing. Pro CANNOT fiat a new debate topic in Round 2, and I am fairly disappointed that he has chosen to do so.

Regardless, I will present a case to counter Pro's nonsense. What is important to note is that Pro has not defined what a human being is. Something can have human DNA (like my arm does), but that does not make it a human being. The fact that Pro's link does not work does not assist his case.

I shall take the liberty of defining human beings in two ways: One that reflects my stance in a legal sense, and one that looks upon what biologically characterizes a human being.

Human being:

"A man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance." [1].

or, as person (defined as equivalent to human being),

" one (as a human being, a partnership, or a corporation) that is recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties" [2].

The importance of these definitions is that being human is about cognitive abilities, from which mental development and articulate speech come from, and from which we develop rights claims. This means that, to be a separate human being, one must possess these abilities. A zygote/embryo/fetus before the point of viability does not have the mental capacity to do so. These develop around the 22nd week, the same time as the point of viability [3]. Thus, they cannot be human beings in any sense.

In essence, what we must note is the difference between life and a human being. I agree that a fetus is alive, and that is has human DNA. That does not make it a human being any more than an egg is a chicken or a seed is a plant. It is the primordium of a human being, from which we can trace the development of the future human being [4]. That does not mean that it is a separate, individual human being in the sense I have held since my opening statement. My opponent appears to be conflating living human tissue with a human being. This is the key problem with Pro's argument, and is one that cannot be resolved.

Pro has decided to use ridiculous, unfair semantic shifts and incongruous, unsubstantiated arguments about what human beings are, without using the philosophical and biological nuance that my arguments offer. Note that my definitions of a human being stem from my acceptance, where I clarified what I would be arguing (since that was unclear). Any further definitions offered by Pro shall be irrelevant, as Pro chose not to provide one when given the change during the initialization of the challenge.

As such, my arguments flow through, and I am proud to oppose. Thank you.

Sources:

1. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
2. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
3. http://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au...
4. https://www.princeton.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
Chuz-Life

Pro

Thanks again to my opponent (Con) for his/her interesting response in R2. I'm sorry for the rocky start to our debate. I'm also sorry that my opponent thought this was to be a debate about "personhood in the legal sense, as related to abortion." Though I was not able to provide definitions and an outline in R1, I thought that Con would understand from the title of the debate and from my clarification in R1 - that he/she is being challenged on his / her denial about the biological facts.

My comments in R1 was only an attempt to clarify my original intent for this debate. It was not an attempt to "fiat a new debate topic." That said, I do not fault Con for trying to take advantage of the wide parameters of my poorly framed challenge.

I would have likely done the same.

So now, in the interest of fairness, I will address some of Con's denials about the legal and the biological facts about "human beings" who are in the Zygote, Embryo and Fetal stages of their life, growth and development.

Con claims in R2 that I had "not defined what a human being is." Though my link was broken in R1 - I did in fact try to provide a definition for his/her consideration. I have no idea about why the link did not work. However, I find it curious - that my opponent (or anybody else) would DENY that a human being in the Zygote, Embryo or Fetal stage of their life is "a human being" without already knowing what the biological and legal definitions are.

Con then proceeded to select and to provide comments, definitions and sources to support Con's denials about human beings in the Zygotes, Embryo or Fetal stages of their life being recognized as "human beings" and especially as "persons."

At a risk of letting this debate devolve into a purely semantic argument, I will address the definitions my opponent selected and used to support his/ her denials. By using some of Con's (previously provided) definitions and sources along with some additional information of my own, I will show that a human being even in the earliest stages of their life and development ARE factually biological "human beings."

I will then provide LEGAL definitions to show how human being's in those stages are already being legally recognized and defined as "human beings" in our current laws. To save space and due to character limitations, I will not be quoting entire definitions and legal text. Sources will be provided at the bottom of this round for those who want to explore them further.


(Beginning with the definition provided by Con in R2. )

Human being:

"A man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance." [1]. (emphasis is mine)

Using Con's own (provided) source, we can find the following:


Child:[2]

"A son or daughter of any age."


The logical conclusion is this - "A son or daughter of any age" is a Child and by the definition provided by Con - they are in fact 'a human being.'

Because the language of that definition closely follows the 'legal' definitions that I have found - I would like to present that legal definition now.

Under Federal Law 18 U.S. Code § 1841"the term "unborn child" means a child in utero, and the term "child in utero" or "child, who is in utero" means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb." [3] That same Federal law makes says: "If the person engaging in the conduct thereby intentionally kills or attempts to kill the unborn child, that person shall instead of being punished under subparagraph (A), be punished as provided under sections 1111 (murder)[4], 1112 (manslaughter) [5], and 1113 (attempted murder/ manslaughter) [6] of this title for intentionally killing or attempting to kill a human being.

Of Course, Con will now try to point out the language in this (and other) fetal homicide laws that makes exceptions to (for now) keep abortions legal. However, that language speaks only towards the prohibition of using fetal homicide laws to prosecute women who choose to have an abortion. The language does NOT support Con's denial of the fact that a child in utero "in any stage of development" is "a human being."

In R2, Con argues almost convincingly - that "being human is about cognitive abilities, from which mental development and articulate speech come from, and from which we develop rights claims[R2-3]." However, Con's provided source on "Human Development" itself indicates that the development of an already existing human being - "from a cell to a newborn infant in nine months" begins at fertilization. [7]

It's clear that my opponent thinks that a human being - developing in the womb - is not a human being - because that development is not complete. So, he / she sees a human being in the fetal stage of their life as "a human being that is being developed" rather than as an existing "human being" that is simply developing further and further towards their maturity.

Hopefully, our fetal homicide laws (cited above) will give Con good reason to revisit his /her conclusions on that.

In R2, my opponent agrees that "a (human) fetus is alive, and that is has human DNA." So, to my opponent I ask the following. 1. Aren't all living things "living beings"- Living existences [8]? 2. If you can agree that a being in the fetal stage of their life is "a living being..." then what kind of being is it - if it (according to you) is NOT a 'human' being?

In R2, Con says: "My opponent appears to be conflating living human tissue with a human being. This is the key problem with Pro's argument, and is one that cannot be resolved. " Obviously, Con believes his /her own denials but the legal and scientific references (some provided by Con) prove otherwise. It can be resolved and despite my opponent's claims to the contrary - I believe the evidence shows that it already HAS been resolved. When we have multitudes of persons already charged and convicted for crimes (like murder) against 'children in the womb' and those convictions are being upheld by our Supreme Court [9], how has it not been established that a 'child in the womb' is 'a human being?'


In conclusion of this round, I would like to apologize for my opponent's conduct and inflammatory rhetoric last round. His /her allegations of "ridiculous, unfair semantic shifts and incongruous, unsubstantiated arguments" is neither called for nor productive. I ask our readers and followers to remain objective as they decide each for themselves - what is "nonsense" and what is not.

As an addendum: I would like to add that even Planned Parenthood defines a Zygote [10], Embryo [11] and a Fetus [12] as an organism. Logic would dictate that human Z/E/Fs would be "human" organisms. Wouldn't it? And living "Human Organisms" are living "human beings." When abortion providers do not deny this fact [13] I have to wonder why Con or why anyone else feels the need to do so.



1. Human Being http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
2. Child http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
3. Unborn Child http://definitions.uslegal.com...
4. Murder http://www.law.cornell.edu...
5. Manslaughter http://www.law.cornell.edu...
6. Attempted Murder / Manslaughter http://www.law.cornell.edu...
7. Timeline of Human Development http://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au...
8. Being http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
9. Constitutional Challenges http://www.nrlc.org...
10. Zygote http://www.plannedparenthood.org...
11. Embryo http://www.plannedparenthood.org...
12. Fetus http://www.plannedparenthood.org...
13. Am I Killing? http://youtu.be...
TruthHurts

Con

I am going to begin with a quick introduction, and I will attempt to organize this debate into its two constituent parts: philosophical/legal and biological.

Three quick notes to begin:

1) My position is that fetuses are not "full human lives subject to the same rights and protections as you and I," i.e. not human beings. If I can defend this standard, I win the round.

2) Pro has the BOP in this round. His BOP is to show that a fetus IS a full human being, in the philosophical/legal sense and the biological sense. If he fails to meet either of these, he loses the round.

3) This debate will quickly devolve into a wash if we assert different, conflicting items in the status quo. Pro has made several claims, particularly legal ones, that describe the status quo. Though I will show that opinion and, indeed, law varies on these definitions, this, to some extend, need to be a debate about SHOULD, because descriptions of the status quo, and semantic games, will likely prove to be a wash. Pro needs to discuss why fetuses SHOULD receive the same protections as you and I.

I. Philosophical/Legal

A. Legal Status

Pro has claimed that, because the Federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act, fetuses are obviously human beings because they can be found to be murder victims under this piece of legislation. Three responses:

1) Even if this was a uniform case, a piece of legislation does not make something true in any philosophical or biological sense. The United States, for some time, denied that African-Americans, or women, were full human beings. Those pieces of legislation did not make the assertions within valid or true.

2) Legislation and legal code regarding this status is mixed. The Supreme Court HAS upheld these convictions, but a reading of the rationale will dispel Pro's resultant claim:

"The proposition that Smith relies upon in Roe v. Wade — that an unborn child is not a “person” within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment — is simply immaterial in the present context to whether a state can prohibit the destruction of a fetus." - Smith v. Newsome, 815 F.2d 1386 (11th Cir. 1987).

So let's be clear about what the Courts (in this case, an 11th Circuit ruling that was given a stare decisis ruling by the Supreme Court) actually says. The Court has merely ruled that the state can prohibit the malicious destruction of a fetus. It did not, in any way, affirm the personhood of the fetus.

I will also present a piece of legislation that supports my view:

"Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a
fetus, with malice aforethought." - California Penal Code, Section 187(a). [1].

Note that this piece of legislation explicitly delineates fetuses as SEPARATE FROM a human being.

Finally, I would like to note that only 23 of 50 states have fetal homicide laws that extend before the point of viability [2]. Clearly not a universal standard.

All I am trying to prove here is that there is legitimate debate, and that relying upon the word of a piece of politically-inspired legislation is not going to win or lose a debate.

3) As Pro has states, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act allows abortions [3], as does Roe v. Wade, which amount to a killing of the fetus in practice. The important thing to note is that it is illegal for a woman to kill her own child (a human being). This means that fetuses are not subject to the same legal protections as you and I, for, once I was born, my mother could not legally kill me for any reason.

B. Philosophy of Law

In all of this semantic bickering, my opponent has completely missed the crux of my argument, that being a human being, and having rights, is specifically about having the capacity to reason, to be sentient. It is these capabilities that are meant to be protected, through rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

For instance, we allow the unplugging of braindead patients, which effectively prevents them from biologically functioning. A braindead patient has several things in common with a fetus: 1) They have living human tissue, and 2) Their brain cannot support cognitive abilities. We allow families to unplug in these scenarios because the patient has nothing left to legally protect; they have ceased being human beings, just as fetuses are not yet human beings.

Biological

I. The Semantics Game

Here, Pro attempts to say that a fetus has age. They don't.

Age is the "the time of life at which some particular qualification, power, or capacity arises or rests." [4].

For instance, the driving age is 16. When does this clock begin to tick? When one is born. Not before. It is fun to wonder, though, about how old one is before birth. Are they -5 months? Pro's attempt to squirrel out through semantics will not work.

The other example of this game we get is the idea that being = existence. Well, remember, that existence is, "reality as presented in experience" [5]. How do we get experience, "the process of doing and seeing things..." [6]? By being sentient, by having cognitive abilities. Again, Pro's attempted semantic games actually support my side. A fetus is a fetal being. Simple enough.

II. Biology, Proper.

I really think that my opponent and I agree on the facts of biology. We both agree that development of the fetus begins with fertilization. I have never denied this, and Pro agrees. The difference is what we call such an organism. I concede, a fetus is living. I concede, a fetus has human DNA. That does not make it a human being. Despite all of Pro's claims that I have, in some way, denied science (which, for the record, he has not once presented evidence for), I have presented evidence that a fetus does not have sufficient brain development for cognition until around the 22nd week (see earlier source).

What this means is that a fetus is distinct from a human being because it has not developed to the point where it can access what it actually is to be human. Because one random abortion provider, who has been noted for performing illegal abortions [7], believes so, does not actually make it the case.

Again, an egg is not a chicken, a seed is not a plant, and a fetus is not a human being.

Thank you, Pro. So far, this is a clear Con ballot.

Sources

1. http://www.leginfo.ca.gov...
2. http://www.ncsl.org...
3. http://www.law.cornell.edu...
4. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
5. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
6. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
7. http://abortionwiki.org...
Debate Round No. 3
Chuz-Life

Pro

Thanks to all who have been reading this debate. In this final round, I will again refute Con's key arguments. To minimize confusion, Con's comments will be italicized and bolded and my comments and my responses to Con's claims will follow.


#1
Con claims that (human) "fetuses are not "full human lives subject to the same rights and protections as you and I," i.e. not human beings..."

RESPONSE:
Notice Con does not seek concurrence on the parameters for what qualifies as "a full human." In the absence of such a consensus, we are left to decide each for ourselves about what a "fully human" being is.

I contend that even in the earliest moments of their life, growth and development - human beings (human organisms) automatically meet the minimum requirements to be recognized as "human" beings. It's worth noting that the LEGAL definition for a NATURAL PERSON [1] is simply "a human being" or "the body of a human being." There are no other requirements like those that Con suggests.

Human Beings (Placental Mammals) "bear live young. Live young which are nourished before birth in the mother's uterus through a specialized embryonic organ attached to the uterus wall, the placenta." [2]

Contrary to Con's suggestions, human beings do not produce new human beings by way of metamorphosis. We don't have sex to create one organism that only later becomes another. Frogs and butterflies do this but human beings do not. Biologically, We (human beings) are the same organisms at the beginning of our life cycles (conception) that we are at the end our life cycles (death). [3]

Con does not seem to appreciate the fact that our Fetal Homicide Laws (referenced earlier) already define and treat "children in the womb" as full human beings - by making it a crime of MURDER to intentionally kill one in a criminal act. In that way, Fetal Homicide laws recognize "children in the womb" as real human beings and not just as 'fictional' - persons.



#2

Con claims (in R3) that I "need to discuss why fetuses SHOULD receive the same protections as you and I. "

RESPONSE: With all due respect to my opponent - No - I don't. This debate was never about what the protections of a human being in the womb "SHOULD" be. While I agree that the debate could have been framed more clearly from the beginning - it has always been about whether not a human being in the zygote, embryo and or fetal stages of their life is "a human being" and nothing else.



#3
Con claims in R3 that : "A piece of legislation does not make something true in any philosophical or biological sense."

RESPONSE: Con is correct in that comment. However, the legislation presented was not presented as a response to Con's demands for biological or philosophical proof or evidence. The Laws were presented in response to Con's comments and definitions in R-2 about human beings in "the LEGAL sense."I submit that not only do our Fetal Homicide Laws already "legally" define a "child in the womb" as "a human being" but our U.S. Patent laws establish the same[4].



#5
Con posted: "2) Legislation and legal code regarding this status is mixed. The Supreme Court HAS upheld these convictions, but a reading of the rationale will dispel Pros resultant claim:"

RESPONSE: I disagree with Con's conclusion that - that language "dispels my claims." I encourage readers to read the complete text of the ruling cited [5] for themselves. So they can see where the Judge dismissed the convicted killer's claim that "the feticide statute is unconstitutional because there is no unlawful taking of a human life" as "FRIVILOUS."



#6
Con then presented this piece of legislation to support his/ her view:"Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought." - California Penal Code, Section 187(a). Con then added: "Note that this piece of legislation explicitly delineates fetuses as SEPARATE FROM a human being."


RESPONSE: My opponent and I agree that our laws are not infallible. Laws can be wrong and we know that they have been wrong in the past. That said, If my opponent will take some time and read the complete text of
California Penal Code, Section 187 - Con will see that the division Con claims is not actually there - because the actual text includes this: "Such malice may be express or implied. It is express when there is manifested a deliberate intention unlawfully to take away the life of a fellow creature. It is implied, when no considerable provocation appears, or when the circumstances attending the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart."[6] This language includes a child in the womb as "a fellow creature."



#7
Con Continued with the claim that I have "completely missed the crux of Con's argument, that being a human being, and having rights, is specifically about having the capacity to reason, to be sentient. It is these capabilities that are meant to be protected, through rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

RESPONSE: Con seems to be unaware of the legal rulings and Court's decisions which deal with the basic human rights of children born with anencephalia. Children born with NO cerebral cortex at all. [8] No ability to think, reason or to become self aware. Our courts have ruled consistently that those children are just as entitled to the protections of our laws that all other persons are entitled to. In doing so, the courts have ruled against Con's claims about sentience.



#8
Con adds: "For instance, we allow the unplugging of brain dead patients, which effectively prevents them from biologically functioning. A brain dead patient has several things in common with a fetus: 1) They have living human tissue, and 2) Their brain cannot support cognitive abilities. We allow families to unplug in these scenarios because the patient has nothing left to legally protect; they have ceased being human beings, just as fetuses are not yet human beings."

RESPONSE: Con might want to know that I had to deal with this very situation not very long ago when my wife suffered a cardiac arrest and was subsequently put on life support. I can't describe how repulsive it is - to be told she had "ceased being a human being" in the opinion of my opponent. Con does not seem to appreciate what the criteria actually is - for the removal of someone from life support. PROGNOSIS is key in that decision and I challenge Con or anyone else to find a doctor who would be willing to remove life support from any of their patients who has even a fraction of the prognosis that a typical human being in the fetal stage of their life has.


#9
Con said: "Pro attempts to say that a fetus has age. They don't."

RESPONSE: Yes, they do. Con does not seem to know or appreciate the scientific fact that a human being begins to age (biologically) at conception.

Reference: "Aging begins at conception and terminates at death. As we progress through life and its four major states: 1. conception and birth, 2. puberty and adolescence, 3. adulthood and 4. senescence, we realize and experience the fact that the human body is biologically changing. It is growing, changing and aging.[9]"



#10
Con added: "We both agree that development of the fetus begins with fertilization... The difference is what we call such an organism. I concede, a fetus is living. I concede, a fetus has human DNA. That does not make it a human being..." & "An egg is not a chicken, a seed is not a plant, and a fetus is not a human being."

RESPONSE: Con does not seem to appreciate the fact that a fertilized (chicken) egg actually is a very young chicken (organism) or that a germinated seed is likewise a young member of it's own species[10]. Con accuses me of playing semantics, then engages in a play on semantics of his/her own. What we "call" an organism matters greatly to how that organism will be treated. By placing arbitrary standards that a new "human organism" must breech before Con will finally (reluctantly) accept it as a "fully human being" is to me unacceptable. I believe that beings are defined by the attributes that they have and not by the arbitrarily decided attributes that they may temporarily lack. [11]

Please vote PRO if you agree.


Source

1. Person http://dictionary.findlaw.com...
2. Mammals http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu...
3. Human Life Begins http://bdfund.org...
4. U.S. Patent Office http://www.uspto.gov...
5. Smith V Newsome http://openjurist.org...
6. CA Penal Code http://www.leginfo.ca.gov...
7. UVVA http://www.law.cornell.edu...
8. Baby K https://highschoolbioethics.georgetown.edu...
9. Aging http://snl.depaul.edu...
10. Illustration https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net...
11. BEING http://www.lexic.us...
TruthHurts

Con

Thank you Pro, and anyone who has read this debate. I urge all potential judges to vote based on the arguments presented, not their personal opinions either way.

I will respond along the same ten points delineated by Pro, to make for easier reading for the floor. Before I do that, however, I would like to point out a few things:

1) I have begged Pro, the entire round, to describe why the standard should be at conception instead of cognition, a standard which I defend with evidence and argumentation, with philosophy and biology. We literally never get a reason that the standard should be at conception, except for legislation and legal rulings that have been contradicted. Pro cannot win on this.

2) Note the difference between my source material and Pro's. My source material is impartial material, which substantiates my more controversial claim. Every single time Pro tries to make a controversial claim, he turns to unreliable sources like the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person, under the auspices of the Archdiocese of New York [1], or some random picture from some unclear source that proves nothing whatsoever [Pro's source 10]. This means that Pro relies on assertion, by and large.

3) A final reminder, Pro has the sole BOP, as I previously stated, to prove that fetuses are human beings in both the biological and philosophical sense.

Rebuttals/Arguments

#1: Pro claims that I have not sought a concurrence on what a full human is. By this, I clearly mean a human being, which is understood (as I have claimed the entire debate) as having the same characteristics and protects as you and I. This is not a difficult point. Perhaps more tellingly, Pro's argument here:

"The LEGAL definition for a NATURAL PERSON is simply a "human being"

is circular logic that does not seek to examine what a human being actually is.

Moreover, the only source material that Pro has to support his claim that human life is the same at conception as at birth is, again, the Westchester Institute. This is not sufficient proof.

Pro's other grasp here is fetal homicide laws. Note, again, that different states have different rules, and the standard is by no means universal. Pro cannot hinge an argument on laws that are not universal in any sense. Plus, since abortion is, in fact, legal, it is clear that the law does not see fetuses the same as human beings. Again, a mother could not kill a born child for any reason, but she could kill a fetus for any reason.

Remember, I have claimed, the entire round, that fetuses have human DNA, and will develop into human beings. My logic for this has been clear, and I will further expound later.

#2: I claimed here that Pro needs to examine the underlying biology and philosophy behind the law, since the laws are, in fact, divided on the issue. I suppose, and has been clear the entire round, Pro is uninterested in this, despite the fact that the round hinges on it. That's why I claimed that Pro needs to delve into the SHOULD. He hasn't, and, with that in mind, he cannot win the round.

#3: As my previous arguments and source material attest, the law is split on this matter. By legal sense, I was delving into the philosophy of law, something Pro never bothered to wade into. Moreover, Pro's claim about the US patent laws only state that the embryos have human DNA. A human being is simply never mentioned in the document. A quick ctrl+f on Pro's fourth source will reveal this.

#4?

#5:
To dismiss my claim that the Court did not rule fetuses as human beings, Pro literally repeats the text I cited. Note, the text said that the question of personhood was irrelevant to the case, as the Court ruled that a state could restrict the destruction of a fetus. Pro's quote reinforces this idea. The Court just simply has not ruled what Pro would have you believe, and the decision buttresses this.

#6: Right off the bat, regardless of any further language, the fact that the California statute, along with 15 other fetal homicide laws (as you will find in my earlier source material) explicitly denotes fetuses as separate from human beings is telling.

But, to play ball with another of Pro's semantic games, fellow could be explained by 1) Fellow, as in having human DNA, or 2) Fellow, as in being alive. The fact that the dichotomy is explicitly codified is important; fetuses can be fellow, but different.

#7: This is funny. Pro cites a source which deals with anencephalia [Pro's source 8]. Here is a critical passage from that source:

"They will never be able to think or achieve what is called "personhood.""

There it is, in black and white. They will never be persons, which I have defined as the same as a "human being." The source even notes, with disdain, the previous Court rulings, noting the concordance among bioethicists about the need for a change in the ruling. Pro's source actually supports my position.

#8: Con offers anecdotal evidence here, feigning disgust, despite the legal rulings and medical definitions which affirm my position, that a braindead person is really dead, and has ceased being a human being [2]. I sincerely apologize that Pro had to endure such a difficult situation, but a braindead person really is dead. I do not know whether your wife's cardiac arrest caused such a prognosis; if she were declared braindead, the medicine and the law agree.

The importance of this argument is that braindead patients, like fetuses, lack sentience, lack cognition, but have living human tissue. The law and the medicine are clear, and Pro has decided not to engage.

#9: Readers, I am sorry about another semantic game. A fetus clearly ages with respect to time, as they exist, they age in the biological sense. However, Pro was making an argument regarding LEGAL age, which fetuses do not have. Either way, this point is a non-starter.

#10: Well, the one response Pro can give here is a random picture. I think that speaks to the defense he can feasibly mount here. I have not played a semantics game with regard to the definition of a human being; I have held a continuous standard, which, in earlier arguments, I substantiated with extensive evidence, both scientific and philosophical. The line is not arbitrary; in fact, it is quite clear. When a fetus has cognitive abilities, they are a human being.

A note here: Pro has never actually provided evidence for his view. Pro believes a lot of things, Pro claims a lot of things, and Pro asserts a lot of things. However, he has, not one time, provided biological evidence that substantiates his view, other than a clearly-biased source. I respect the passion with which Pro argues, but note the complete lack of actual, logical argumentation.

Conclusion

I just spend some time rebutting individual arguments, but here I would like to present a big picture of what this round has been about. We have argued about two distinct areas: philosophy and biology.

With regards to philosophy, I have demonstrated that the law is split on the issue of fetal personhood, and that we cannot make judgements based upon this, since either side can pull another law or ruling. However, if we want to appeal to the status quo, I noted that abortions ARE universally legal before the 20th week, which means that, from a legal perspective, fetuses are not human beings like you and I.

However, the more important philosophical note is that I have shown that personhood is about rights and protections, which are derived from cognition. If cognition is not present, there is simply nothing to protect, no human being to give derivative rights claims to. Pro has simply never offered a competing standard, and he therefore loses this side of the argument, since he has the BOP.

With regards to biology, I have shown that brain development, which is required for both definitions of human beings I presented, and Pro consented to, only arises sufficiently around the 22nd week of fetal development. Pro begs the question repeatedly, claiming that a fetus and a born child just are the same. They just are. This standard cannot stand. I have shown that a meaningful change occurs during fetal development, where a fetus transforms to a human being. This is a change in status, not in DNA. Pro cannot seem to grasp this.

This debate has often been sidetracked by semantics, conflicting sources, and assertions. But, with the above criteria set out, I simply see no way Pro could have met his BOP in this round. In fact, I would argue that my points have been more convincing, better argued, and more substantively sourced. Therefore, I urge the floor to side with Con.

Thank you, Pro, for this interesting, passionate debate, and for initializing the challenge in the first place. I hope I have been a worthy opponent, and that perhaps we have both become more aware of the opposing views in this debate.

Sources

1. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com...
2. http://www.medscape.com...
*Most source material from Pro or cited earlier*
Debate Round No. 4
25 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Chuz-Life 3 years ago
Chuz-Life
"" I never saw a thorough response for con's brain function (22 weeks), perhaps the most important sentiment in the debate.""

Whaaaa?

How is a cite from the Supreme Court that held that a child born with no brain function at all is entitled to the equal protections of our laws - something less than a 'thorough response?'

I know that you (some people) may WANT brain function (awareness) to be a requirement for personhood but it's not.
Posted by Chuz-Life 3 years ago
Chuz-Life
Daltonian, thanks for voting but wow. You really think that haploid sperm cells are actually "very young children?"
Posted by Chuz-Life 3 years ago
Chuz-Life
As you wish - the legal aspect was only part of the total evidence I presented in our debate. Your claims that sentience or brain function is legally required for a human being to be recognized as a person or as a human being is not supported in our laws or courts decisions. And, despite some outrage by those convicted, the SCOTUS has (so far) let those convictions stand.

I'm still perplexed about how you can claim to have a biological father too - since the only thing he actually fathered (according to your claims) was a mindless clump of cells that only later became YOU.
Posted by TruthHurts 3 years ago
TruthHurts
Where frivolous means immaterial to the question. The court ruled that the state could outlaw the destruction of a fetus. Nothing more, nothing less. I stand by my distinction in California law, and only put forward that the law is not settled. With such mixed laws domestically and internationally, I don't think that appealing to the status quo is an effective method of argument.

Moreover, simply because a politically-motivated piece of legislation was passed does not mean that the assertions within are true or valid. I submit that the federal legislation is unjust. Simple as that.

Look, as enjoyable as debating this with you is, unless you can demonstrate evidence that discounts my philosophical and biological standard (of cognition), you are not going to change my mind. It is clear that I am not going to change yours. I think that retreading these points is becoming somewhat redundant.
Posted by Chuz-Life 3 years ago
Chuz-Life
Again, the distinction you think was made in California law - is not what you claim it is. Furthermore, the FEDERAL law defines a child in the womb as "a human being" in ANY stage of their development. California law does not trump FEDERAL law. And as I showed in the debate, the FEDERAL Appeals judge dismissed the claim that "it's not a murder because a child in the womb is not a person" as FRIVILOUS.
Posted by TruthHurts 3 years ago
TruthHurts
Thanks for the story, C-L. Since the man, in my view, did not kill a human being, I definitely have a problem with his charges, despite the fact that his actions were an egregious violation of another's autonomy. I disagree with the charge of murder, if and only if murder is defined as killing of a human being (remember the CA distinction, which exists in other states as well). A charge of fetal cruelty, with varying degrees including causing the death of the fetus, would be a preferable legal road, in my opinion. Complex legal semantics at play here, though.
Posted by Chuz-Life 3 years ago
Chuz-Life
TruthHurts - this news story took me only seconds to find.

Note he is being charged with the MURDER of an 8 week old prenatal child.

Murder by definition is the act of one person criminally killing another. The charge for his harm to the mother was only aggravated assault.

http://www.kwch.com...
Posted by TruthHurts 3 years ago
TruthHurts
C-L, what you have to remember is that these people are doing time for other crimes (e.g. killing the mother), and that sentences are generally served concurrently in these instances. I don't see any scenario how somebody could hurt only a fetus, but not the mother. If such a scenario occurred, it could still be a crime, but not against a human being. Hurting a fetus could still be a crime. I simply disagree that it is a crime against a human being. Perhaps it could be classified as something between animal cruelty and child abuse.

Also, Domr's vote somewhat disappoints me, as it is a judgement on semantics of the challenge, not on our arguments. I am legitimately interested in what people thought of the meat of the debate.
Posted by Chuz-Life 3 years ago
Chuz-Life
Thanks for voting Domr. Also for your interesting comments.
Posted by Chuz-Life 3 years ago
Chuz-Life
TH, this is only a debate on an internet forum. It's also a debate about an issue that has been debated on this site many times before. My concern is not so much with the results of our debate as it is with the chance that people (according to your views) are doing time in prison for crimes against 'human beings' that (according to you) did not exist.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Daltonian 3 years ago
Daltonian
Chuz-LifeTruthHurtsTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Very, very close debate. Both con and pro verged on borderline bad conduct, Pro towards the end (became defensive and semi-aggressive against con, taking the debate personally and comparing to personal life situations), whereas con was unnecessarily aggressive towards pro in the beginning of the debate. However, I began to side with con later on in the debate. Pro is indeed right that, by all technicality, an egg is a "very young chicken", but then again, so is sperm! Pro is smart, but is thinking too literally and in english terms rather than what needs to be thought. I never saw a thorough response for con's brain function (22 weeks), perhaps the most important sentiment in the debate. I was more convinced by con than pro in this regard. The small thing that turned me to con is that pro's side of the debate consisted of working around arguments, not by opposition, but by little loopholes in the english language and the literalist definition of "human being". Very close. Good debate.
Vote Placed by Domr 3 years ago
Domr
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro stated premise was: " a human fetus is not "a human being."" Con changed the premise to include zygote and embryo. Fetus is the only premise that should be considered. Since fetus has no age, if at any point the fetus has cognitive function (22 week, stated by Con) then this falls under "human being".