The Instigator
Hunter611
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
2-D
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points

Should the unborn be valued as a fully grown human?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
2-D
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/14/2014 Category: Health
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 677 times Debate No: 43788
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)

 

Hunter611

Pro

So... New debate. Hopefully I won't miss any of this one. Anyways, does the unborn have the full value of a fully grown human being? First round is for con to lay out their argument.At the moment of conception should the unborn be considered a fully grown human, as in terms of value.
2-D

Con

As Pro has agreed, per my comment, we are defining unborn as the first cell at the moment of conception. Google defines value as, “the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.”

At conception we are talking about a single cell that, at this early stage, expresses only maternally derived genes [1]. A process has started that will likely fail due to natural causes. Only about one third of conceived eggs successfully develop. At this stage the embryo has no features that distinguish humans from other animals: rational thought, self-awareness, four limbs, five digits etc.

How are humans distinctly valuable when compared to other animals?

We value humans over other animals because of our ability to be self-aware and value our own lives. Our advanced degree of consciousness determines the value and makes us uniquely human. While an advanced fetus may have some version of consciousness a zygote most certainly does not.

While most agree that the consciousness has some value and that other animals should not be treated cruelly, few would advocate any moral responsibility toward insects and other non-conscious forms of life. At conception there is no possibility of any form of consciousness.

Collections of human cells, in and of themselves, are not what we mean when we are referring to a human. There is a case against late term abortions and I understand this debate as the brain of a fetus develops at later stages of a pregnancy and many states have various restrictions at different stages throughout the pregnancy [2].

The issues raised are not at all relevant at the moment of conception. These include questions over a fetus’s ability to feel pain or to achieve some form of conscious thought.

In practice humans are valued for advanced conscious thought

Fertilized eggs used for in vitro fertilization are often disposed of and are not valued as a human in the legal sense. When brain activity ceases we call that brain death [3] and organs are often used to help those in need of organ transplants. There is clearly no brain activity in a single cell so it is not valued as a human.

A fertilized egg may eventually be a human

This is a stronger argument against abortion that is the underlying issue of this debate. Again, this is not relevant because the question is whether or not a zygote is itself valued as a human. The sperm and egg are also living cells and also represent the potential value of humans. Life is not created and initially exists for a long period as a dependent collection of cells and as an extension of the mother.


[1] http://med.stanford.edu...

[2] http://www.guttmacher.org...

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 1
Hunter611

Pro

Hunter611 forfeited this round.
2-D

Con

Hunter has eluded me again. It looks like his name was accidentally ironic and not literal. Well, all right, I will try to help out. For this round I will argue for Pro. The unborn should be valued as a fully-grown human.

Wow, this is a difficult resolution if you do not state an assumed existence of souls.


Assuming you believe in souls

Many do or at least have some form of spirituality in mind. You can’t discount this if you disagree. To someone with this perspective in terminating a zygote you have ended an eternal life just as it began.

This is the main reason why this is such a hotly contested issue, imo, and why laws regulating this issue are so difficult. The psychological impact, from this point of view, cannot be discounted. For large portions that believe this way there is a major psychological toll and this should be taken into consideration.


A fertilized egg may eventually be a human.

Con threw this point out at the end suggesting that it is not relevant to the debate. A Zygote may eventually become human and that is precisely why it should be valued. From Con’s perspective it would be perfectly acceptable to terminate an early pregnancy and may lead to a slippery slope.


Slippery slope

When we refuse to acknowledge the value at the start of the process what is to stop us from going further? What’s next? This kind of thinking could easily lead to excessive practices starting with stem cell research and leading to human cloning.

Con places a high value on consciousness. Would it then be permissible to clone a human to grow and harvest organs provided we could prevent consciousness? Does this mean that those that have severe brain damage are not human?


How are humans distinctly valuable when compared to other animals?

Here Con is working off the assumption that potential value is irrelevant. This looks like an assertion based on the unborn definition and I don’t think it has been sufficiently established. I will concede that consciousness is a value and that more is better than less. There is a certain value and beauty to all life.

It may surprise Con to learn that the religion Jainism values all forms of life [4]. They have been known to sweep the floor to avoid stepping on insects and believe that all life is sacred. This leads back to the potential psychological impacts when we do not value the most basic forms of life. For a Jain violence against any living thing inhibits one’s ability to attain liberty.


In practice, humans are valued for advanced conscious thought.

The legality of a position does not mean that the laws are correct. In the case of brain death we are talking about the natural end of a life. The Con position has lead to abortion laws preventing life at its beginning and could lead to the excessive practices I mentioned such as cloning.

-

Well, that was difficult but I was able to at least bring up some points for Pro.

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 2
Hunter611

Pro

Hello sorry about that, but when I tried to come and see the debated from my accounts debate list, a page appeared saying "This debate does not exsist" I could not access it until this round started. Anyways, here I go.
This may be a bit lacking since you brought up some of my own points.... Ill probably restate some of what you already said for me?
In practice humans are valued for conscious thought.
As stated, the value of a person should be based on inherent ability [what you may be able to do in the future] not current ability. Maybe i'm not intelligent now, but I could be, or have the ability to become intelligent. Con says,Again, this is not relevant because the question is whether or not a zygote is itself valued as a human. But do you judge a person based on what they are now, or what they could be? A toddler is not advanced as a fully grown adult, so are they worthless? Can they not be valued as human? They will become a fully grown and intelligent adult therefore they have value.

A fertilized egg may eventually be a human
Sperm and egg cells are also living cells, but do not truly represent the potential value of humans until they are combined. And you say that originally it is just an extension of the mother, this is true. But when a child is very young (1-5 years old) Do you think you can just throw them out on the street and expect them to survive without their family?
2-D

Con


Welcome to debate.org (DDO)! Yes, I have had that error before where a debate is not visible. Yeah, at this point I’m mulling over both sides of the argument so I will continue to pitch in on the Pro side round 4.


Arguments for Con:


Russel Brand once said, “It’s hardcore… Well, that’s ardent; they’re (vegans) the al-Qaeda of the dietary world but I support and endorse veganism in others.”


The major problem with the Pro position, imo, is that it enforces an excessive position (similar to veganism) on the rest of society. While a debate over when abortion is appropriate is a debate that I can appreciate arguments over a zygote are not. Pro has made some bold claims and I would like to see some sourcing on a few of the points.


Assuming you believe in souls


This is a fair point and I am willing to concede that there is some psychological distress for those that believe in souls and an afterlife when Zygotes are terminated. This does not mean that this should factor into the decision for others. No one is required to terminate an early pregnancy although legally you are allowed to.


A fertilized egg may eventually be a human.


I agree this is a central point and does lead to other debates. Where to draw the line is the real question and I am convinced that the moment of conception is not the place. The potential value of a zygote is still essentially a part of the woman in question and it should be her choice to value it however she chooses.


I agree that the sperm and egg are separate cells but they still represent a potential human and they are still a part of a fully-grown human just as a zygote is along with a developing fetus. A young child has a fully developed mind that is already capable of consciousness. This is in full swing and concludes in the third trimester [7]. At this point the parents have chosen to bring a life into the world and should be held responsible for this. In extreme cases adoption is an option.


Slippery slope


Some think of the slippery slope as a fallacy but I agree that this is often a valid logical device. The argument is usually a concern for the future but these concerns can be addressed later. Many distinctions we draw in society are arbitrary such as the drinking or voting age. An argument over these issues does not mean that a distinction should be thrown out all together.


The drinking age in Canada is around 18-19 yrs [5], which is fair. This does not mean that the drinking age could just as easily be 8 years old. It’s clear that the age could just as easily vary but there are many reasons why drinking is largely restricted to adults.


Arguments over stem cell research are certainly related but the research deals with multiple cells outside of the body and this should be treated as a separate issue [6]. Human cloning and issues with severe brain damage are related but are issues evaluated separately. Acknowledging that a zygote is not as valuable as an adult human (I don’t place much comparative value on a zygote at all) does not in any way license these excesses it just brings them up as an issue for debate.


How are humans distinctly valuable when compared to other animals?


I think I’ve more fully addressed the distinction between potential and actual value in other sections. In practice I would respect the opinion of a Jain but that does not mean their beliefs are based on sound reasonable arguments or should be applied to society in any way shape or form.


In practice, humans are valued for advanced conscious thought.


I agree that the legality does not necessarily end the debate but this is normally the official area in which society agrees on a minimal morality to impose on citizens.


The potential level of consciousness certainly cuts to the heart of the debate. The mind of a baby, for instance, has formed to the point that advanced conscious thought is possible. All that is needed is stimulation and instruction. A zygote needs time to reach that potential. This is the large distinction between ending a zygote and a baby.


I try not to judge people at all. Everyone is different so we all value different things and develop different opinions. One thing we all have in common is the advanced level of consciousness and that is why I value people so much.


[5]http://www.ccsa.ca...


[6] http://stemcells.nih.gov...


[7] http://www.babycenter.com...


Debate Round No. 3
Hunter611

Pro

Hunter611 forfeited this round.
2-D

Con

Arguments extended. I may elaborate on Con or both sides in the final round.
Debate Round No. 4
Hunter611

Pro

Hunter611 forfeited this round.
2-D

Con

2-D forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by 2-D 3 years ago
2-D
Yeah, sure why not? I have more experience and I should probably start looking for more of a challenge. I decided to pitch in. I have no idea how the voters will take it. Next round I'll argue against both Pro cases and see how it goes.
Posted by 2-D 3 years ago
2-D
Yes, thanks for incorporating the changes. I will further clarify in the following round. If you have any questions they are probably the same as the readers. You should feel free to point out anything that was not clear to you and I will elaborate in the next round.
Posted by Hunter611 3 years ago
Hunter611
I think I fixed it 2-d
Posted by Hunter611 3 years ago
Hunter611
I think I fixed it 2-d
Posted by 2-D 3 years ago
2-D
Hey, great! I have a couple requests. Please change 'can' to 'should in the title. We obviously have the option to value unborn but the question is, should we? Second, you need to clarify that the debate is about cells at at the moment of conception, that was my main objection in the first place and my only interest in the abortion debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
Hunter6112-DTied
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: I'm too biased to grade arguments, via having having medical knowledge... Con forfeited less.
Vote Placed by Orangatang 3 years ago
Orangatang
Hunter6112-DTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro FF most rounds, Con used very convincing arguments and rebuttals as well as reliable sources.