The Instigator
Ambassador95
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
SkepticalDebatee
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Abortion takes the life of a distinct, living, whole human being

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
SkepticalDebatee
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/12/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,328 times Debate No: 54539
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (12)
Votes (1)

 

Ambassador95

Pro

This is a very simply debate with a simple contention. Yet I am amazed at how many people deny it. Therefore, I intend to to put this to rest once and for all. The parameters of this debate are narrow, therefore, any acceptor of this challenge ought to argue on-topic. I will defend, from science, three basic contentions:

Abortion takes the life of a...

1) Distinct
2) Living
3) Whole

...human being. That is it. Morally speaking, nothing is at stake explicitly. This is to challenge those who hold the view that the unborn are "mere clumps of cells" or "not even human" etc. So, who shall take me up on this challenge or are we all in agreement regarding the humanity of the unborn?

After the initial acceptance of the challenge, I shall present my case. Therefore, if someone accepts the debate, they should only accept, and not present reasons for their view until the second round to respond to my case.

There are four rounds

8,000 Ch. Max

72 Hour response time

The defense awaits a response.
SkepticalDebatee

Con

I accept this debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Ambassador95

Pro

Thank you for accepting the debate, I look forward to a rational, scientific discussion on the humanity of the unborn.

As stated above, this is purely factual. There are no explicit moral considerations in play. The only concern for this debate is 'what is the unborn?' I contend that they are 1) distinct, 2) living, 3) whole human beings. I will appeal to the science of embryology and to the science of the medical community to make my case.

Contention: The facts of science and medicine are clear: From the earliest stages of development, the unborn are distinct, living, and whole human beings. Therefore, every "successful" abortion ends the life of a living human being.

The scientific and medical community:

In its 1859 Report on Criminal Abortion, the American Medical Association (AMA) understood that "the independent and actual existence of the child before birth as a living being" was a scientific truth. Nothing has changed since that time. For the past 150 years doctors have known that life begins at conception.

Consider the following quotations from medical experts in the field of embryology.

(a) "It is the penetration of the ovum by a spermatozoan and resultant mingling of the nuclear material that each brings to the union that constitutes the culmination of the process of fertilization and marks the initiation of the life of a new individual." (1)

(b) "Every time a sperm cell and ovum unite a new being is created which is alive and will continue to live unless its death is brought about by some specific condition." (2)

(c) Dr. Watson A. Bowes of the University of Colorado Medical School speaks clearly, when he says, "The beginning of a single human life is from a biological point of view a simple and straightforward matter - the beginning is conception." (3)

(d) A 1981 U.S. Senate report states, "Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being - a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings." (4)

(e) Prior to advocating abortion, former Planned Parenthood President Dr. Alan Guttmacher was perplexed that anyone would question these basic scientific facts. "This all seems so simple and evident that it is difficult to picture a time when it wasn't part of the common knowledge," he wrote in his book Life in the Making. (5)

If this were not enough, (f) Keith L. Moore & T.V.N. Persaud write: "A zygote is the beginning of a new human being. Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm...unites with a female gamete or oocyte...to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual." (6)

(g) T.W. Sadler"s Langman"s Embryology, states: "The development of a human begins with fertilization, a process by which the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote." (7)

(h) Embryologists Ronan O'Rahilly and Fabiola M"ller write, "Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed....The combination of 23 chromosomes present in each pronucleus results in 46 chromosomes in the zygote. Thus the diploid number is restored and the embryonic genome is formed. The embryo now exists as a genetic unity." (8)

In short, a human life begins at the completion of the conception process; it is a distinct human life.

However, perhaps my opponent would argue that embryonic human beings are biologically human only in the sense that every cell in the body carries the full genetic code, meaning that each of our somatic (bodily) cells has as much potential for development as any human embryo. Put simply, perhaps my opponent would have us believe that there is no difference in kind between a human embryo and each of our cells (such as sperm or egg).

If this is the case, then it would be an example of bad biology. This would make the rather elementary mistake of confusing parts with wholes. The difference in kind between each of our cells and a human embryo is clear: An individual cell"s functions are subordinated to the survival of the larger organism of which it is merely a part. The human embryo, however, is already a whole human entity in and of itself. Robert George and Patrick Lee say it well. It makes no sense to say that you were once a sperm or somatic cell. However, the facts of science make clear that you were once a human embryo. "Somatic cells are not, and embryonic human beings are, distinct, self-integrating organisms capable of directing their own maturation as members of the human species."

Dr. Maureen Condic points out that embryos are living human beings "precisely because they possess the single defining feature of human life that is lost in the moment of death - the ability to function as a coordinated organism rather than merely as a group of living cells." Condic, Assistant Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah, explains the important distinction between individual parts and whole human embryos often overlooked:

"The critical difference between a collection of cells and a living organism is the ability of an organism to act in a coordinated manner for the continued health and maintenance of the body as a whole. It is precisely this ability that breaks down at the moment of death, however death might occur. Dead bodies may have plenty of live cells, but their cells no longer function together in a coordinated manner."

However, from conception forward, human embryos clearly function as whole organisms. "Embryos are not merely collections of human cells, but living creatures with all the properties that define any organism as distinct from a group of cells; embryos are capable of growing, maturing, maintaining a physiologic balance between various organ systems, adapting to changing circumstances, and repairing injury. Mere groups of human cells do nothing like this under any circumstances."

In conclusion then, it is the unanimous contention of both medical science and the science of embryology that the unborn are human. Not only that, but that they are 1) distinct from their parents, 2) unquestionably alive, and 3) whole human beings, not merely part of a larger whole like sperm or egg.

Should my opponent deny my proposition, he will have to show that my scientific evidence is invalid and demonstrate that over 150 years of medical science have reached a false conclusion.

I look forward to my opponents response.

(1) Bradley M. Patten, Human Embryology, 3rd ed., New York: McGraw Hill, 1968, page 43.
(2) E. L. Potter and J. M. Craig, Pathology of the Fetus and the Infant, 3rd ed., Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, 1975, page vii.
(3) Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, Report, 97th Congress, 1st Session, 1981.
(4) Subcommittee on Separation of Powers, Ibid.
(5) A. Guttmacher, Life in the Making: The Story of Human Procreation, New York: Viking Press, 1933, p. 3.
(6) K. Moore & T.V.N. Persaud, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (Philadelphia: Saunders/Elsevier, 2008), p. 15.
(7) T.W. Sadler, Langman"s Embryology, 5th ed. (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, 1993), p.
(8) O'Rahilly, Ronan and M"ller, Fabiola. Human Embryology & Teratology. 2nd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996, pp. 8, 29.
SkepticalDebatee

Con

As my opponent accepted that they have burden of proof in the comments section, "Yes, I take responsibility to prove the proposition of the debate.", I only have to disprove one of his three points.

First though I must show how early in the developmental cycle an abortion can occur. The first response pregnancy test can detect pregnancy 6 days before a missed period, and with more than 99% accuracy 3 days before a missed period. [1] This means that pregnancy can be detected pretty much instantly. After calling in an abortion appointment can be set up within a week, usually sooner. [2] For these reasons we will consider anything after 10 days fair game.

I would like to first focus on whole. Whole: "All of; entire:" [3] This definition basically states that whatever it is it is complete. My opponent has labeled a fetus in any of the three trimesters, "It would include the first, second, and third trimester of pregnancy.", as a whole human. This means that if I can show that a fetus is lacking any parts that make up a human in any of the three trimesters I have won. (If my opponent can't thoroughly attack my case.)

A fetus does not become a fully formed baby until the second month of pregnancy. Fairly simple. Until the end of the second month the child is not whole. Well within our time parameters. Even if it is a whole organism it is simply not a whole human being. To take this even further it will not even develop muscles till the beginning of the fifth month. The fetus/child can't even survive outside of the mother until it is seven months old, and that's with intensive care. I can't consider anything that would die without constant attachment to another object to be whole. If it were whole it would function on its own. [4]

Next I will attack distinct. Distinct: "Recognizably different in nature from something else of a similar type." [5] If I can show that at any point after ten days a fetus s not recognizably different than any other fetus at the same point I have won. (If my opponent can't thoroughly attack my case.)

A fetus does not develop fingerprints until six to thirteen weeks within pregnancy. [6] This pretty much rules out physical difference as the face is not really distinct from others for several months. [4] This leaves only difference in chromosomes unique life experiences are far away so this is the big differentiating factor. Unfortunately for you however there are only 8,338,608 different assortments of the 46 chromosomes that are inherited from parents. [7] This means that we are not distinct. With over 7 billion different people out there [8] (and quickly rising) a fetus could be genetically identical to a thousand other people (while those people were also a fetus.)

I concede that they are living, but remember that I only have to disprove one of Pros three assertions to win.

I look forward to my opponents rebuttal, and giving my own.

1. http://www.firstresponse.com...
2. http://www.americanwomensservices.com...
3. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
4. http://my.clevelandclinic.org...
5. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
6. http://everydaylife.globalpost.com...
7. http://www.sumanasinc.com...
8. http://www.worldometers.info...
Debate Round No. 2
Ambassador95

Pro

I see now that there is much wisdom in what some of the comments have identified. Namely, that debates on this site all too often are reduced to semantics. Therefore, in subsequent debates, I will be sure to define my terms more precisely, so as not to have my opponent define them for me.

Before I engage in my opponent's response, I must ask what interaction has taken place with my embryological and medical evidence? It has been all but neglected. Once again, if my opponent disagrees with the proposition, one would expect him to engage with the evidence provided, not reduce the debate to the defining of terms. However, as the opposition has made attacks on my view, a defense is in order.

The first attack deals with the notion that the unborn are whole human beings. I will demonstrate how this objection reduces to a counter-intuitive view of human beings and how we understand our own identities. SkepticalDebatee, you see, is confusing property things with things of internal nature. Allow me to explain. He asserts that a fetus is not a whole human beings because it lacks a certain amount of parts; that it is incomplete. Such things as arms, muscle, and organs are, in his view, essential to being a whole human being. But this misunderstands what is under consideration. Never have humans been considered merely a collection of parts, assembled over time. We all understand that our parts can be changed, replaced, or even removed while remaining whole human beings. Or else kidney donors would all be part, not whole humans! Indeed, are amputees only part humans? Or those who are born with abnormalities (such as only one arm), will my opponent concede that such people are not whole? Suppose my opponent suffered an accident in which he lost his legs, who among us would argue that he is now only part of a human?

The error in such reasoning then, is that my opponent views the unborn as a property thing. He claims that just as cars are merely sum totals of their parts, so too, are human beings. If you remove the motor or a tire from a car, you technically have only part of that car. For there is no essential nature that defines the car and orders its basic capacities. Property things like my car come into existence part by part. However, we know that this is not true of you or I, and in the same way, we know that it is not true of the unborn. For that matter, it is not true of female toddlers. 2-year old girls do not have a functioning reproductive system, yet they are whole human beings nonetheless. For living things come into existence all at once and then gradually unfold themselves according to their inner natures.

We see then, that if humans can only be whole if they have all of their parts, then many war veterans are not whole human beings. >But< if people with less parts are still whole human beings nonetheless, then something else must account for this fact. The only things which can account for a person remaining whole after the loss of a part is a unifying, inner nature; a human nature. In the same way that you, the reader, are a whole human irrespective of your parts, so too the unborn are whole human beings irrespective of their parts. Will my opponent deny this fact?

Secondly, SkepticalDebatee attacks the idea that the unborn are distinct. Notice, however, the basis for this rebuttal: That the unborn could be genetically identical to nearly a thousand other people in the world. First, a factual response. Geneticist Dr. Rama Balakrishnan of Stanford University reaches quite a different conclusion than my opponent. In fact, she says "How about a sequence that is 300 bases long? How many different combinations of the 4 bases are possible in these 300 bases? The total number of possibilities will be 4^300,"[1] That is, 4 to the 300th power. We don"t even have a name for such a large number! And that is only one gene 300 base pairs long! Therefore, it seems that this objection is demonstrably false.

However, even if it were the case that only few different genetic combinations existed, this argument still fails for the following reasons. Namely, it would not follow that if two embryos had identical genetics, that they would not be distinct. Consider if cloning became commonplace, would genetic unity eliminate each embryo"s distinct nature? Certainly not! A mother could carry three genetically identical twins, yet surely my opponent would not argue that these triplets are not distinct from one another. How then would he be able to say that the unborn are not distinct?

And not only this, but how can such a claim be entertained in the face of such overwhelming contrary scientific evidence as presented in my opening statement? It is stated explicitly by Embryologists Ronan O'Rahilly and Fabiola M"ller when they write, "Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed....The combination of 23 chromosomes present in each pronucleus results in 46 chromosomes in the zygote. Thus the diploid number is restored and the embryonic genome is formed. The embryo now exists as a genetic unity."[2] Further, Keith L. Moore & T.V.N. Persaud write, "A zygote is the beginning of a new human being. Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm...unites with a female gamete or oocyte...to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual."[3]

To close then, the reader is left to judge whether my opponent"s view of humanity is correct. Are humans merely collections of parts assembled over time? Such that we become only part of a human should we lose some of our parts? I contend that this is not the case. Rather, that we are all whole human beings in virtue of something we all share: a common human nature. If this is not the case, it is hard to see how one can include amputees in being whole human beings. Further, it was demonstrated that my opponents attack on the distinct nature of the unborn was factually in err. But that, even if accurate, would still not support his proposed conclusion. And so to restate, the scientific evidence of embryology in conjunction with medical science demonstrates clearly that from the earliest stages of development, the unborn are distinct, living, whole human beings.

I look forward to my opponents response.

[1] http://genetics.thetech.org...

[2] K. Moore & T.V.N. Persaud, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (Philadelphia: Saunders/Elsevier, 2008), p. 15.

[3] O'Rahilly, Ronan and M"ller, Fabiola. Human Embryology & Teratology. 2nd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996, pp. 8, 29.
SkepticalDebatee

Con

I will now provide a rebuttal for my opponents case.

He starts off by stating that in 1859 the American Medical Association stated "the independent and actual existence of the child before birth as a living being" was a scientific truth. Not only does he not give a source for this, but it is woefully outdated. Currently the AMA takes no stance whatsoever on the ethicality of abortion. [1] "Nothing has changed since that time. For the past 150 years doctors have known that life begins at conception." You are either lying or ignorant. Neither bodes well for your case.

(a) Outdated source, (1968) and an appeal to authority fallacy. [2] This source doesn't present the evidence that led to it coming to this conclusion.

(b) Outdated source, (1975) and and an appeal to authority fallacy.

(c) Appeal to authority fallacy. (Not sure when this came out as the Senate case appears to be cited twice.

(d) Outdated source, (1981) and if you had actually read a proper summary of the case you would have seen that no decision was made and that another hearing was held in 1982. [3] This brings up further question towards my opponents honesty in this debate. I could not find a transcript/summary of this case, but if it did pass to place life on the fetus then I doubt that we would be having this debate.

(e) Outdated source, (1933) and appeal to authority fallacy. (Also it' really silly to cite someones opinion after they change it and has an organization against that opinion named after them.) [4]

(f) This source is not outdated. Hooray! (2008) Unfortunately for you however I have already shown that scientifically each fetus is not unique. (Yes I know about Pros rebuttal, and I will attack it thoroughly later.)

(g) Somewhat outdated, (1993) and doesn't actually support Pros case. "The development of a human begins with fertilization, a process by which the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote." This says nothing about whole or distinct, (or any synonym of the words) and while it does imply that something is living that thing is a zygote not a human being. This is really just more evidence for my case.

(h) Somewhat outdated, (1996) and an appeal to authority fallacy.

"perhaps my opponent would have us believe that there is no difference in kind between a human embryo and each of our cells (such as sperm or egg)." I never make this claim.

"Dr. Maureen Condic points out that embryos are living human beings 'precisely because they possess the single defining feature of human life that is lost in the moment of death - the ability to function as a coordinated organism rather than merely as a group of living cells.' " This is bad biology. Humans are not the only coordinated organisms. [5] This link provides information about the Chimpanzee. One of only many other coordinated animals.

"In conclusion then, it is the unanimous contention of both medical science and the science of embryology that the unborn are human." No it isn't the unanimous contention. There is no scientific consensus on when life begins. Biologist Scott Gilbert, an expert in human development, tells us that there are at least four distinct moments that can be thought of as the beginning of human life. Each can be said to be biologically accurate.[6] There is a scientific consensus on when life begins, fertilization, but when human life begins is a whole other story.

1. https://ssl3.ama-assn.org...
2. https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com...
3. http://digital.library.unt.edu...
4. http://www.guttmacher.org...
5. http://animals.nationalgeographic.com...
6. http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Ambassador95

Pro

I appreciate my opponent"s rebuttal, as it will require me to bolster my case in these closing comments. First then, I will respond to the criticism of my choice and use of sources, and then I shall quickly re-state my case.

First let it be said that RationalDebatee is correct in saying that I failed to provide a source for my first quotation of the American Medical Association. I apologize. The correct source is found here: http://horatiostorer.net... (second article, 5th paragraph). Documents found on this site follow very closely AMA's long history of opposition to abortion on grounds of the unborn"s humanity. This source was merely to demonstrate such early opposition to abortion, not to reflect the AMA's current views.

To address the rebuttals directed at points (a), (b), (c), (d), (g) and (h) generally, the claim is that these sources are both outdated, and that most fall prey to the fallacy of appealing to authority. First then, I used such old sources to demonstrate that these facts have been around since before most of us were born. The idea that life begins at conception is not new, in other words. However, I would be more than happy to provide contemporary sources from academic textbooks:

(a.1) "Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm (spermatozoo development) unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual"..A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo)." [1]

(b.1) "Development begins with fertilization, the process by which the male gamete, the sperm, and the female gamete, the oocyte, unite to give rise to a zygote." [2]

(c.1) "[The zygote], formed by the union of an oocyte and a sperm, is the beginning of a new human being." [3]

(d.1) "Although life is a continuous process, fertilization (which, incidentally, is not a 'moment') is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte." [4]

As well as popular level sources:

(e.1)"Biologically speaking, human development begins at fertilization."[5]

(f.1) "The two cells gradually and gracefully become one. This is the moment of conception, when an individual's unique set of DNA is created, a human signature that never existed before and will never be repeated." [6]

Secondly, I find it strange that my opponent would accuse my use of academic sources as appeals to authority, thereby intending to invalidate my case. Indeed, in the very description of the fallacy found on his source cautions against such a misuse of the fallacy: "It's important to note that this fallacy should not be used to dismiss the claims of experts, or scientific consensus. Appeals to authority are not valid arguments, but nor is it reasonable to disregard the claims of experts who have a demonstrated depth of knowledge unless one has a similar level of understanding and/or access to empirical evidence."[7] And so, I suppose it could be said that I am appealing to authority; I am appealing to trustworthy, academic, legitimate authority.

Now specifically to (d), I never claimed that a decision was made in this instance. It merely servers to confirm that numerous experts in relevant fields of study have come to the conclusion that human life begins at conception. Once again, I never said that anything was passed into law. It is exactly what the quote says it is: a report. The contents of the report reflect the views of said experts. No dishonesty, just reporting of fact.

Regarding the specific criticism of (e), once again, this is used merely to demonstrate the wide acceptance of the scientific view that human life begins at conception. Further, how is it that RationalDebatee can claim that Dr. Alan Guttmacher "changed his opinion" without proper documentation? Also, how does it follow that if a man has an organization named after him that holds a different position than he did, that his position was false?

In response to his points on (g), my case is supported immensely by this quote! Consider the first sentence: "The development of a human being begins with fertilization"" I ask the reader, what kind of organism is identified in this quote? A human being. At what point does this human being begin developing? Fertilization. What then, is present at the point of fertilization? A human. Is this human dead? No. Therefore, a human life begins at fertilization. Also, it is stated by my opponent that "while it does imply that something is living that thing is a zygote not a human being." Hardly! Making a distinction between a zygote and human is a category fallacy[8]. You see, the term "zygote" is not the name of any particular organism: it is a stage of development. In other words, this objection is equivalent to me saying "although my parents imply that something is living in the guest room, that thing is a teen, not a human." You see then, that zygote is merely a stage of development in the same way that teen is a stage of development.

Now to his comments on my quote from Dr. Maureen Condic, my opponent misunderstands the nature of this quote. It is stated that "embryos are living human beings 'precisely because they possess the single defining feature of human life that is lost in the moment of death - the ability to function as a coordinated organism rather than merely as a group of living cells.'" The emphasis in this quote is on >lifehumanlivinglife< that is lost in the moment of death - the ability to function as a coordinated organism rather than merely as a group of living cells [such as a corps].' " This is not bad biology, the only thing being stated in this quote that the subject of interest, a human embryo, is alive due to the fact that it can function as a coordinated whole.

To respond to my opponent"s last criticism, it seems odd that he would accuse me faulty appeals to authority, and then appeal to authority himself. Perhaps there is a distinction that I am not aware of which would exempt him from this fallacy? And perhaps my opponent is right in that I should not use the word "unanimous" in this instance. Perhaps I shall re-state it in the following: it has been, and continues to be the generally accepted fact in embryology that human life begins at conception.

In conclusion then, both old and new sources confirm my position. The unborn is:

1) Distinct in that it is no other human being; it is itself from conception until death just as you and I have been and will be.

2) Living in that it is not dead.

3) Whole in that it is not merely part of some larger whole; it is itself a whole organism known as a human being.

Thank you very much for your participation in this debate, it has been a challenging and wonderful first experience.

[1] Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003. pp. 16, 2.
[2] T.W. Sadler, Langman's Medical Embryology, 10th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006. p. 11.
[3] Keith L. Moore, Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2008. p. 2.
[4] Ronan O'Rahilly and Fabiola M"ller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001. p. 8.
[5] The Biology of Prenatal Develpment, National Geographic, 2006.
[6] In the Womb, National Geographic, 2005.
[7] https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com...
[8] http://en.wikipedia.org...
SkepticalDebatee

Con

I will now rebuild my case.

"I will demonstrate how this objection reduces to a counter-intuitive view of human beings and how we understand our own identities. SkepticalDebatee, you see, is confusing property things with things of internal nature." I thought this was a scientific debate. Is my opponent referencing the soul? "Allow me to explain. He asserts that a fetus is not a whole human beings because it lacks a certain amount of parts; that it is incomplete. Such things as arms, muscle, and organs are, in his view, essential to being a whole human being." Yes, they are. "We all understand that our parts can be changed, replaced, or even removed while remaining whole human beings. Or else kidney donors would all be part, not whole humans! Indeed, are amputees only part humans?" They are not "only" part humans. (That would imply that there is something not human in them.) They still however are not whole. They are part of a human. (Part in this case not meaning individual piece.) This may be a disturbing thought, but please understand it is meant with no disrespect. They are still human even if they aren't complete. They may have just as much value, but they aren't hole. In fact the second definition of whole expressly states that something damaged is not whole. [1] "The only things which can account for a person remaining whole after the loss of a part is a unifying, inner nature; a human nature. In the same way that you, the reader, are a whole human irrespective of your parts, so too the unborn are whole human beings irrespective of their parts. Will my opponent deny this fact?" It is not a fact there is no evidence of a soul or "human nature", and even if there were it wouldn't help your case! My argument still stands.

" First, a factual response. Geneticist Dr. Rama Balakrishnan of Stanford University reaches quite a different conclusion than my opponent. In fact, she says "How about a sequence that is 300 bases long? How many different combinations of the 4 bases are possible in these 300 bases? The total number of possibilities will be 4^300,"[1] That is, 4 to the 300th power." My opponent clearly didn't finish reading the article. Just a few paragraphs later Rama Balakrishnan states this. "So, out of these (4^300)^25,000 combinations, we should exclude the silent and lethal mutations to get the true number of different people. Lethal mutations should eliminate lots of these as many, many changes will result in a nonworking gene." [2] Of course there are still many left after this, but it is important to note that on average each person only has 60 mutations. [3] This equation is finding how many unique combinations are possible, and not whether these combinations are likely. There could be someone with every line of DNA mutated! While this does drastically cut down my original figures we can still be certain that not every organism is distinct from the moment of inception. "A mother could carry three genetically identical twins, yet surely my opponent would not argue that these triplets are not distinct from one another. How then would he be able to say that the unborn are not distinct?" They will certainly become distinct later on, but they aren't unique from conception. They are identical! In fact I'm quite glad you brought up identical twins because now I have more evidence! Identical twins are genetically identical! [4] The twins will change after birth, but it is only in rare conditions that they will be different before birth.

Two more appeal to authority arguments are given. These aren't evidence. Evidence would require actual statistics or science proving this concept alone. Just the existence of identical twins negates this as generalization anyways.

"To close then, the reader is left to judge whether my opponent"s view of humanity is correct. Are humans merely collections of parts assembled over time?" Scientifically yes. Your argument against this view centers around the soul, or some similar concept. You have shown no evidence that this actually exists. Even if the reader agrees with Pro on distinct and living there is no argument on whole. As Pro has BoP I urge a Con vote. He lost whole and he has lost the debate.

1. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
2. http://genetics.thetech.org...
3. http://www.livescience.com...
4. http://www.geneticsawareness.org...
Debate Round No. 4
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Ambassador95 3 years ago
Ambassador95
And thanks, muffin8or, for the advice. I will keep that in mind for the future.
Posted by Ambassador95 3 years ago
Ambassador95
I hope you all stay tuned for the debate.
Posted by muffin8or 3 years ago
muffin8or
If this were one of my old philosophy essays the 'conceptual clarification' would primarily include 'distinct', 'living', and 'whole' as those are the main issues of contention. Standard dictionary definitions of 'abortion' and 'human being' would probably suffice as long as you direct the debate towards 'distinct, living and whole' and not what makes a human a human or an abortion an abortion. In general, you'd want to define any terms that are not in themselves up for debate (or have a reduced scope for debate).

In this case, I'd say that the definitions of distinct and whole will in fact be areas of debate but having a loose definition so you're on the same page will get things moving. in a direction both pro and con want
Posted by Geogeer 3 years ago
Geogeer
Too many on this site are eager to use semantics in debates. There is a time for it, but not nearly as much as is being done on this site...
Posted by Ambassador95 3 years ago
Ambassador95
@ muffin8or,

Hmm, I see your point... I suppose I kinda rushed into this one. This is my first debate and so I guess I have some learning to do, sorry. Do you have any suggestions on which terms to define for next time?
Posted by muffin8or 3 years ago
muffin8or
I would accept had you defined the terms, even loosely. I think this debate will quickly descend into an argument over semantics.
Posted by Ambassador95 3 years ago
Ambassador95
Yes, I take responsibility to prove the proposition of the debate.

Just a slight clarification, rather than contending that the unborn "posses these three characteristics of a human being", I am saying that the unborn are in fact human beings. So, it's not that the unborn posses characteristics of humans, rather that they themselves are human.
Posted by oculus_de_logica 3 years ago
oculus_de_logica
There is always a burden of proof, but in this case the burden is on pro, as he is claiming that a fetus possesses these three characteristics of a human being.
Posted by Ambassador95 3 years ago
Ambassador95
It would include the first, second, and third trimester of pregnancy.

I would assume the burden the proof, given that I am affirming the proposition. Given your preference to remove the burden of proof altogether however, I am not sure how a debate can proceed without a burden of proof?
Posted by JO3Y 3 years ago
JO3Y
And what trimester?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Cobo 3 years ago
Cobo
Ambassador95SkepticalDebateeTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro got caught by Con. Simple as that. Pro easily could have set the debate and the direction the debate would take in their first speech, yet the pro decided to forgo that and dive right into the debate. The reason Con gets the argument vote is because they won due to careful maneuvering of the Distinct, Living and Whole. Also the pro didn't even bother to address this thing in their first speech, while in the intro the pro says this is the key thing. Overall pro's arguments were better. It is just that Con had the pro on the whole argument and thus wins.