Bright Flash of Light

It is possible to reason to an understanding of when life begins.

In case you need a hint, though, it turns out that nature provides a big one.


Anonymous said...

Not reading the article. The website requires me to remove my adblocker. I like blocking annoying ads. This is my small protest.

According to the analysis of Roe v. Wade, the question of when life begins is not adequate to decide the question of who makes the decision. In that decision, the court acknowledged that the time is likely to come when technical advances allow a fetus to survive outside the womb closer and closer to the point of conception. I would add that the logic behind the notion that human life begins at conception is as unassailable as the logic that it begins at birth, largely for the same reasons: each event is a marker or turning point that determines an enormous step in development.

The court decided on an admittedly arbitrary trimester timeline in order to balance the interests involved. What it accomplished was to deprive the State of the power to coerce abortions. Under Roe v. Wade, and abortion cannot happen, absent the consent of the mother.

This isn't enough for some people, because it admittedly results in abortions according to the mother's wishes. However, it does prevent a wholesale slaughter of the innocents by the States, as China has already done.

Meanwhile, Plan B is effective up to about 70 days.


Grim said...

That's odd -- I also use an adblocker, and could see it fine. Like you, I don't read articles on sites that absolutely require me to disable or whitelist them.

I'm aware of the intellectual history of Roe v. Wade. However, the issue of 'who gets to decide' isn't the one I'm engaging. What strikes me is that there's a firm metaphysical argument, as well as what turns out to be a more or less literal 'bright line' in biology, as to when the life process begins. I make the argument on a regular basis so that, whoever gets to decide, they might have heard the arguments I find most compelling.

douglas said...

Looking at the article closely, I'm not sure it's quite that literal bright line we might like it to be. I'm certainly in the camp of 'life starts at conception' and it's a bright line to me already, but as for the literal 'spark of life' light- well, in the studies they were using sperm enzyme (whatever that is) and not actual sperm inseminating the eggs to generate the 'spark'. Therefore, they got the spark without the egg being fertilized- no conception.

Still, it's a great article to point someone who's on the fence about abortion to- there is one passage that is particularly pointed as to the question of when life begins:
"Over the last six years this team has shown that zinc controls the decision to grow and change into a completely new genetic organism."

One might also surmise that zinc supplements might be a good idea for a woman trying to conceive.

E Hines said... the studies they were using sperm enzyme (whatever that is) and not actual sperm inseminating the eggs to generate the 'spark'.

They weren't using sperm enzyme, the sperm was--sperm enzyme is released by the sperm to allow the sperm to penetrate the egg.

The flash is tightly associated with the sperm head entering the egg.

Eric Hines

douglas said...

Um, no- Here's the quote from the article:
"In the experiment, scientists use sperm enzyme rather than actual sperm to show what happens at the moment of conception."
Well, I should say, yes, you're correct about the sperm using it, but not about the scientists using actual sperm to trigger the flash.