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Monday, October 05, 2015

When does human life begin?

Even if abortion had never existed, the question of when human life begins would be interesting. We are humans, after all. I submit that the answer to that question is religious, political, legal and cultural, and that science can't answer it. The main reason is that "human life" means different things to different people. Different legitimately. Abortion does exist, of course, and that brings up the obvious question as to whether it is murder or not.

Wired, definitely not a religious periodical, has published an essay on when life begins, featuring the views of an expert on human embryology, who says that we can't determine when human life begins scientifically, and gives some reasons for that.

My most important post on the question of abortion, from a Christian viewpoint, is here. This essay includes a discussion of Exodus 21:22-3, and other verses that may bear on the Biblical view of abortion. I have previously posted on the question of when life begins, here and here

Thanks for reading.


FancyHorse said...

Maybe we can't scientifically, but I believe that the intention of human life begins at conception. That's when the process begins. Just my opinion.

Martin LaBar said...

Conception -- when human life begins, in at least one sense. But the process of fertilization (or conception) takes a dozen hours or more. Does human life begin at the beginning of that, at the end, or later? An early human embryo can split in two (or more) and form identical twins, a few days after fertilization. When did their life begin? At fertilization, or the split? can an embryo with no functioning nervous system (it happens in a couple of weeks or so) be considered to be truly human? There are other legitimate questions about when life begins, scientifically. But, of course, we could decide, on non-scientific grounds, that human life begins at the moment of fertilization. Many people have made such a decision. I can live with that, myself.

Thanks for your comment.