PHLB09 2011 Lecture 3
oIt is wrong to kill something that might be an innocent human
oA fetus might be an innocent human
oIt is wrong to kill a fetus
•Can challenge these by questioning either of the premises
•Why is the fetus a human?
•It has a soul
•Only in 1869 that any Church Pontif officially declared that a
fetus is given a soul at the moment of conception. The exact timing has
been very ambiguous
•How do we know it has a soul?
oBible tells us so (does it?)
oModern genetic science gives us a "good indication" - zygote has DNA
•People didn't have a clear idea of the process of conception and
fertilization...could be why there is nothing prior to modern texts
concerning this matter
•Thus, it can be safe to deduce that using religious stances
aren't very effective when trying to convince someone who knows
nothing of the matter
•What's a soul?
oConsciously experiencing self?
•Our ability to move around, think, animate the body
•Some argue that the mind is not the brain, the conscious
experiencing self is not just a summation of parts of the body/brain
oImmortal part of person
•Independent of consciousness?
More of an exclusively religious perspective
Starting from premise that we live forever, the body is
temporary, soul lives on past death…
Either of these don't really provide a convincing stance,
or explicitly say where the soul begins, or what happens at the
moment of fertilization
•Consciously experiencing self:
oZygote has no brain, no nervous system, is immobile, has no eyes, no
oFrom moment of conception, zygote is NOT conscious…
•….there really seems to be very little grounds to say that this is
where the conscious experiencing self begins, likewise it's ridiculous to
claim that DNA is the beginning of the consciously experiencing self
•Immortal component of person, independent of consciousness, etc
oThen how do we know that it's implanted at fertilization of egg?
oIt could be implanted in one sperm. Or at 40 days, or at quickening