Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Does a new, distinct human being begin at conception?

Scott Klusendorf posted a public reply to a critic of his debate on the Unbelievable show, which I blogged about yesterday.

The full reply is here, but I wanted to highlight’s Scott’s scientific defense that the embryo is a human being.

He writes:

First, your claim that because biological life is continuous (an “unbroken tree” as you put it), we can’t say when the embryo’s life begins, is demonstrably false. Just because life is continuous between generations does not mean we can’t tell when an individual human begins to exist. The science of embryology points to a clear, non-arbitrary divide between sperm/egg on one hand, and a newly conceived embryo on the other. That is to say, from the earliest stages of development, embryos are distinct human beings. True, they have yet to grow and mature, but they are human nonetheless. Leading embryology textbooks affirm this.

For example, in “The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology” (Saunders/Elsevier, 2008), 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.”

T.W. Sadler’s “Langman’s Embryology” (Saunders, 1993) 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.”

Embryologists Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola Müller 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” (Human Embryology & Teratology. 2nd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996).

And then he quotes some pro-choice scholars, including Peter Singer and David Boonin, to make the point:

Contemporary defenders of abortion also reject your claim that we can’t tell when individual life begins. For example, in his book “Practical Ethics” (Cambridge, 1993) Peter Singer—a bioethicist at Princeton University and supporter of both abortion and infanticide —denies your claim the beginning of human life is can’t be known. He writes: “Whether a being is a member of given species is something that can be determined scientifically, by an examination of the nature of the chromosomes in the cells of living organisms. In this sense, there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being.”

Philosopher David Boonin, author of “A Defense of Abortion” (Cambridge, 2002), writes: “A human fetus, after all, is simply a human being at a very early stage in his or her development.”

I tried to space it out a bit to make it more readable. I think what his sources are saying is that when an egg and sperm meet, they create something with a completely different DNA signature than either the sperm or the egg. I think if you have an organism that has human DNA, distinct from the mother and father, and it is developing in a self-directed way (unlike your finger nails, or hair, say), then you have a distinct human life. And I don’t think “because I’m bigger than she is” is an adequate reason to kill that other human being.

I have a rule in my life. Don’t do anything that is likely to get an innocent person killed. Why can’t everyone have this rule? Is recreational pre-marital sex REALLY that important? I don’t think any of the reasons that people give for having sex (self-esteem, pleasure, etc.) are more important than not killing an innocent human being. When little lives are at stake, we grown-ups should all try to control ourselves, so that we don’t harm people who are smaller and weaker than we are. It just isn’t right.

You can read the whole dialog between CoD and Scott on the Unbelievable page.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , ,

Did your science textbook teach that embryo drawings prove evolution?

Jonathan Wells, a biologist with Ph.Ds from Yale and UC Berkeley, writes about one example of fake evidence here:

Charles Darwin thought that “by far the strongest” evidence that humans and fish are descended from a common ancestor was the striking similarity of their early embryos. According to Darwin, the fact that “the embryos of the most distinct species belonging to the same class are closely similar, but become, when fully developed, widely dissimilar… reveals community of descent.” 2 To illustrate this, German Darwinist Ernst Haeckel made some drawings in the 1860s to show that the embryos of vertebrates (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) look almost identical in their earliest stages.

But Haeckel faked his drawings. Not only do they distort vertebrate embryos by making them appear more similar than they really are (in a way that Stephen Jay Gould wrote “can only be called fraudulent” 3), but they also omit classes and stages that do not fit Darwin’s theory. Most significantly, Haeckel omitted the earliest stages, in which vertebrate embryos are strikingly different from each other. The stage he portrayed as the first is actually midway through development. Yet according to Darwin’s logic, early dis-similarities do not provide evidence for common ancestry.

Haeckel used his faked drawings to support not only Darwinian evolution, but also his own “Biogenetic Law,” which stated that embryos pass through the adult stages of their ancestors in the process of development.

…Haeckel’s drawings were exposed as fakes by his own contemporaries, and his Biogenetic Law was thoroughly discredited by 20th century biologists. It is now generally acknowledged that early embryos never resemble the adults of their supposed ancestors. A modern version of recapitulation claims that early embryos resemble the embryos of their ancestors, but since fossil embryos are extremely rare, this claim is little more than speculation based on the assumption that Darwin’s theory is true.

Now the standard response from Darwinists: no textbooks are still using the fraudulent embryo images.

You can see the actual faked pictures from the modern textbooks here. These textbooks were being produced as late as 2004, even though the fraud was detected in the 1800s! Is this the vaunted self-correction of science, or science being twisted to support social and political goals?

And this excerpt from that article is interesting:

Some Darwinists continue to deny that there has been any misuse of Haeckel in recent times. If that is the case, why did Stephen Jay Gould attack how textbooks use Haeckel in 2000? Gould wrote: “We should… not be surprised that Haeckel’s drawings entered nineteenth-century textbooks. But we do, I think, have the right to be both astonished and ashamed by the century of mindless recycling that has led to the persistence of these drawings in a large number, if not a majority, of modern textbooks!” (emphasis added) Similarly, in 1997, the leading embryologist Michael K. Richardson lamented in the journal Anatomy and Embyologythat “Another point to emerge from this study is theconsiderable inaccuracy of Haeckel’s famous figures. These drawings are still widely reproduced in textbooks and review articles, and continue to exert a significant influence on the development of ideas in this field.” (emphases added)

Finally, here is a link to the peer-reviewed journal Science, where there is an article talking about the fraudulent embryo drawings.

If this is what you were taught that convinced you of evolution, better take another look at the facts. You’ve been had.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ryan asks Biden: if you’re protecting Catholics, why are they suing you?

If you missed the debate last night, Life News can fill you in on the best question of the night.

Excerpt:

Paul Ryan had perhaps the question of the night when he challenged pro-abortion Vice President Joe Biden on the issue of the HHS mandate that compels them to pay for abortion-causing drugs.

During the debate, Ryan brought up the controversial mandate that pro-life groups oppose.

“What troubles me more is how this administration has handled all of these issues. Look at what they’re doing through Obamacare with respect to assaulting the religious liberties of this country. They’re infringing upon our first freedom, the freedom of religion, by infringing on Catholic charities, Catholic churches, Catholic hospitals,” he explained. “Our church should not have to sue our federal government to maintain their religious liberties.”

Biden try to explain away the Obama administration’s pro-abortion assault on Catholics, evangelicals and other religious groups and businesses.

“With regard to the assault on the Catholic church, let me make it absolutely clear, no religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy Hospital, any hospital, none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact,” Biden falsely claimed.

“Now, I’ve got to take issue with the Catholic church and religious liberty,” Ryan retorted.  “Why would they keep — why would they keep suing you? It’s a distinction without a difference.”

The mandate compels religious employers to pay for and refer women for abortion-causing drugs, birth control, contraception and sterilizations.

The mandate has drawn significant opposition from Catholic, Protestant and evangelical groups, pro-life organizations and others concerned that it includes no conscience protections for employers that don’t want to be required to pay for or refer women for drugs that end life and violate their faith.

Americans United for Life called the mandate a “payout for the abortion industry.”

So how does a person who claims to be Catholic explain why he supports the murder of unborn children?

CNS News explains what Biden said:

“With regard to abortion,” he said, “I accept my church’s position on abortion as a, what we call de fide doctrine. Life begins at conception. That’s the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devote Christian and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman.

“I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that, women, that they can’t control their body,” said Biden. “It is a decision between them and their doctor, in my view, and the Supreme Court. I am not going to interfere with that.”

The actual position of the Catholic Church is that any law legalizing the killing of an unborn child is an unjust law that violates the natural law and is, therefore, no law at all. Vice President Biden’s church teaches that it is not acceptable even to obey such laws let alone support them as part of a political campaign.

The abortion issue can best be understood by comparing it to slavery, although abortion is worse than slavery. Slavery involves the mistreatment of an individual for your own benefit. Abortion goes further – you actually murder an individual for your benefit. What Biden is really saying is “don’t like abortion, don’t have one”. He certainly won’t have one, but he doesn’t mind if you do. Now apply that to slavery. Biden might say that he personally would never own slaves, but he doesn’t mind if you own slaves. But is that a moral view? No – the moral view is not only to not own slaves yourself, but to help people escape slavery and to make the practice illegal. The moral thing to do is to save the victims of slavery as much as possible, and that goes the same for abortion.

Recall that Biden had previously defended China’s one-child policy, which is enforced through forced abortions and mass sterilizations. That’s his view. And he calls that Catholicism.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dad rescues “brain dead” son from organ-harvesting doctors, son recovers

From Life Site News.

Excerpt:

According to the Daily Mail newspaper, a young British man owes his life to an insistent father who would not allow his son’s organs to be removed from his body, despite assurances from four doctors that his son could not recover from the wounds he had suffered in a recent car accident.

The Mail reports that Stephen Thorpe, then 17, was placed in a medically-induced coma following a multi-car pileup that had already taken the life of his friend Matthew, who was driving the vehicle.

Although a team of four physicians insisted that his son was “brain-dead” following the wreck, Thorpe’s father enlisted the help of a general practitioner and a neurologist, who demonstrated that his son still had brain wave activity.  The doctors agreed to bring him out of the coma, and five weeks later Thorpe left the hospital, having almost completely recovered.

Today, the 21-year-old with “brain damage” is studying accounting at a local university. “‘My impression is maybe the hospital weren’t very happy that my father wanted a second opinion,” he told the Mail.

The article lists a few more examples:

In 2011, the Quebec Hospital Sainte Croix de Drummondville sought permission to extract the eyes of a patient who had choked on hospital food in the absence of a nurse, claiming she was “brain dead.” After the family demanded proof from physicians of her alleged condition, she regained consciousness, and recovered most of her faculties. The family declared its intention to sue the hospital.

In 2008, a 45-year-old Frenchman revived on the operating table as doctors prepared to “harvest” his organs for donation, following cardiac arrest. In the subsequent investigation by the hospital’s ethics committee, a number of doctors admitted that such cases, while rare, were well known to them.

That same year, a “brain dead” 21-year-old American, Zack Dunlap, was about to have his organs harvested when his two sisters, both nurses, decided to test the hospital’s theory that his brain was no longer functioning. Family members poked his feet with a knife and dug their fingernails under his nails, provoking strong reactions by Dunlap and proving he was conscious. He recovered completely. He later related that he was conscious and aware as doctors discussed harvesting his organs in his presence.

Wow. My buddy ECM likes to talk about “ghouls” who like to profit from practices like abortion. Well, I don’t think he’s going to find a better example of ghoulishness than these doctors.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Loosening of UK IVF laws causes spike in fatherless children

Dina sent me this article from the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

The number of single women and lesbian couples receiving fertility treatment has soared since the  Government took the controversial decision to remove the legal requirement for any child conceived to have a father or father figure.

In 2007, before the change in the law, only 350 single women had IVF. But by 2010, the last year for available figures, that had leapt 448 per cent to 1,571. The number of lesbian couples given IVF more than doubled in the same period, from 178 to 417. But the number of heterosexual couples treated rose by only 18 per cent.

[...]The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act in 2008 removed the requirement for clinics to  take into account a child’s need for a father or male role model before agreeing to treatment. Instead, gay couples or individuals have to prove only that they can provide ‘supportive parenting’.

The legislation also allowed birth certificates to record  two mothers or two fathers for the first time.

One beneficiary is single mother Elizabeth Pearce, who had treatment to have her son Leo, now two. She paid £900 for sperm from an anonymous donor.

Unable to afford IVF after being made redundant from her job as a personal assistant, she cited the European Convention on Human Rights to compel her local NHS trust in Ealing, West London, to pay for her treatment.

Ms Pearce, 40, who now lives in Kent, said: ‘In an ideal world, Leo would have had a dad but that’s not the way things worked out. Single women have as much right to a child as couples.’

Natalie Woods and Betty Knowles, from Brighton, were the first lesbian couple to have a child that listed them both as parents on the birth certificate.

Ms Woods, 40, who had IVF and gave birth to daughter Lily-May in 2010, said: ‘The legal changes have given a clear message that it is OK to parent without a father. What’s important is that there are either one or two big hearts filled with love for your children.’

Keep in mind that IVF is completely taxpayer-funded in the UK. Families where the man works and the wife stays home with the children are forced to subsidize IVF treatments for single women through the UK’s very progressive income tax code.

Just in case anyone needs a refresher, here are some statistics showing the harm that fatherlessness causes little boys and girls. It’s also important to realize that IVF typically results in some number embryos being thrown away because they are not wanted. So not only are there harmful effects on children caused by the fatherlessness, but there may also be the killing of innocent unborn children when discarding unwanted embryos. And if that were not enough, keep in mind that marriage prevents abuse of women and children as well as child poverty, according to the evidence we have.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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