Is Gun Violence Really a Pathology?

According to the Prevention Institute, gun violence is literally an epidemic and we need to “unshackle” the CDC to study and regulate the pathologies of violence related to guns. Similar to tainted spinach and influenza. This overlaps slightly with those who say that recent shootings might have been prevented had authorities the power to lock up mentally unstable citizens who have not committed a crime.

But the two perspectives are really quite far apart from each other. The first is a broad government-controlled surveillance and regulation of millions of citizens. Gun owners - those still able to own guns - would be guilty until proven innocent, just like with any pathology. The other is a targeted measure aimed at insane individuals.

Neither would guarantee that shootings at schools would no longer occur.

And arming school officials may deter and eliminate some threats. Or backfire horribly when an over eager official shoots a kid pulling a telescope out of his backpack. It's already happened with police outside schools in the general community.

But these horrific shootings are statistically a small sliver of the gun violence that occurs in America. Most are crime-related and often drug-related with alcohol often playing a role as well. They are usually done by criminals who manage to get their guns illegally, unsurprisingly. And to be honest, they don't shatter hearts the way school shootings do. They are one more late-night news item in a decades long war over control of the drug trade.

But proposed solutions to both the more typical drug and gang related shootings and to school shootings cut deeply across political divisions, and cultural war zones. So even agreeing on a solution or legislation is difficult.

The problem is, assuming Obama's executive action does survive court challengers, what will its supporters say when the next school shooting takes place? Or another innocent victim dies in the crossfire during a gang-related shooting?

It is interesting to note that Hobbe's Leviathan - from where the quote on the life of man as nasty brutish and short comes from - postulates an absolute monarchy whose potential wickedness is preferable to anarchy. And so with those who like to paint a picture of fear loathing and anarchy across the nation, ever-increasing regulation being the only possible solution in accordance with their bleak view of their fellow citizens.

Posted by Keeley at January 8, 2016 7:57 PM
Comments
Comment #401864

“…what will its supporters say when the next school shooting takes place? Or another innocent victim dies in the crossfire during a gang-related shooting?”

Thanks Keeley. How many trillions have we already spent to eradicate poverty? And yet, poverty has grown.

Government can not successfully legislate wealth and well- being.

Government can not successfully legislate man’s behavior.

Government can not successfully legislate an end to criminal activity.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 9, 2016 2:13 PM
Comment #401867

Here are three killers that cause more than guns and their deaths.

The motor vehicle
Alcohol used for consumption
Abortion for those who cannot respond

So why does it not cause the thinking of those who like to say they are the elite to not consider a solution to these three. Of course there are more but I don’t want to cloud up the heads of liberals/progressives.

Posted by: tom humes at January 9, 2016 3:51 PM
Comment #401869

Abortion doesn’t kill anyone.

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 9, 2016 8:07 PM
Comment #401870

I have way more faith in the ‘ability’ of gov’t to effect positive change in society.

Gov’t has successfully legislated wealth and well-being in this country. Certainly, not to every persons liking but, relative to the rest of the world we are doing ok.

There are many programs that are working for the poor. Also, a good many programs that are mostly political pandering to the poor.

Gov’t has a heavy hand on peoples behavior in this country. Don’t know an estimate on the number of laws and regulations that are enforced thru numerous agencies/dept’s. Gov’t works through legislation, with charities, churches, business, not for profits, and citizens groups to instill and maintain good behavior in folks.

Agree, that gov’t can’t legislate an ‘end’ to criminal activity. I can’t imagine that anyone would want to live in a country with ‘no’ criminal activity. Man is a complex creature and each person can only be subjugated to a certain point before breaking harness, choosing anarchy and so on —-

There is a low train trestle underpass in NC where some 800 trucks and similar have had their tops ripped off since about 2008, or something like that. This is a failure in gov’t but can be further defined as a failure of the citizenry. Gov’t is/should be a reflection of the citizenry it serves and if gov’t hasn’t fixed the problem then the real problem lies with the citizenry for not fixing the gov’t.

Thus, it is with the high murder rates in some cities/areas, with heavy drug in some areas, with high crime in some areas, and so on - - -

Same with immigration, inequality and any other national problem we might have. When gov’t fails in one or more areas it is up the citizens to bring correction to the process. In order for this process to work the citizens must be educated, informed, ethical, morals that reflect Christian values or greater, and willing to get involved and participate in the gov’t process.

Therefore, gov’t, if run properly, can legislate behavior to whatever level is acceptable to its citizens.

Take Chicago. The folks in chicago are living in sin to allow their children and young people to be killed with pretty much impunity, for drugs to be pedaled like water through the city, and so on - - -

How ‘good’ your gov’t is is a reflection of the people being served by that gov’t. End of story.

Otherwise = = =

Posted by: roy ellis at January 9, 2016 8:08 PM
Comment #401875

Americans are pretty much split down the middle on abortion. Much the same on any major issue you pick. One could put a number of labels on such divisiveness; tower of Babel, good vs evil, democracy unhinged, demise of USA, utopia rising, and so on - - -

IMO, Trump is playing the divide like a fine musical instrument. Well, at least a juice harp.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: roy ellis at January 9, 2016 10:07 PM
Comment #401882

warren

“Abortion doesn’t kill anyone.”

Really ?

Posted by: dbs at January 11, 2016 5:33 AM
Comment #401884

OK, there are a astonishingly small number of women who have died as a result of medical malpractice while undergoing an abortion.

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 11, 2016 11:42 AM
Comment #401897

wp

ignorance is bliss

Posted by: tom humes at January 11, 2016 5:58 PM
Comment #401902

warren

So those unborn babies are not human beings in your opinion ? Every abortion kills a living human being.

Posted by: dbs at January 12, 2016 5:32 AM
Comment #401906

The leftist extremists who are intent on gutting the 2nd Amendment are not wanting the CDC to study gun violence as if it were ‘tainted spinach,’ they are wanting to use the CDC to declare that all guns are ‘tainted spinach.’

“The problem is, assuming Obama’s executive action does survive court challengers, what will its supporters say when the next school shooting takes place?”

They already covered that with the ‘It won’t stop all, but is worth it if it stops even one,’ BS.

Some how, taking away my neighbors rifle is going to stop the next drive-by 30 miles away in downtown Kansas City.

Posted by: kctim at January 12, 2016 9:42 AM
Comment #401916
So those unborn babies are not human beings in your opinion ? Every abortion kills a living human being.

It is difficult to call anything before the 3rd trimester a human being. Only a negligible number of abortions occur that late and never are they performed for reasons of convenience.

The leftist extremists who are intent on gutting the 2nd Amendment are not wanting the CDC to study gun violence as if it were ‘tainted spinach,’ they are wanting to use the CDC to declare that all guns are ‘tainted spinach.’
I doubt you have the omniscience to make this declaration.
Some how, taking away my neighbors rifle is going to stop the next drive-by 30 miles away in downtown Kansas City.
Who said anything about taking away your neighbor’s rifle? Certainly not the President. Posted by: Warren Porter at January 12, 2016 7:36 PM
Comment #401922

Gun control targets guns, Warren, not gun violence.

If a person supports making something illegal, they support taking it away.

My point though, is that punishing the innocent for the crimes of the guilty, does nothing to solve the actual problem.

Posted by: kctim at January 13, 2016 3:04 PM
Comment #401923

Right on kctim.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 13, 2016 3:11 PM
Comment #401924

warren

“It is difficult to call anything before the 3rd trimester a human being.”

Sorry, but that is exactly what it is. The fact that you could argue otherwise shows the damage liberal theology has done to our educational system, both k thru 12, and higher learning. From the moment of conception it is human life, regardless of how early the stage. If it not human life then what is it ?

Posted by: dbs at January 13, 2016 5:00 PM
Comment #401927

How old is wp? The stuff coming from his mouth(keyboard) is so bizarre.

Your training in the medical field is non existent so why are you trying to act like an authority on when the birth of a baby can be determined by any of your credentials? Furthermore your lack of knowledge on abortion is not even in left field, it is beyond the parking lot.

I will not call you any vile names because you have committed the acts yourself.

Posted by: tom humes at January 13, 2016 7:42 PM
Comment #401929

We’ve debated abortion numerous times before. It cannot be a surprise that I don’t consider blastocysts or zygotes to be people in the same way you and I are people. To me, they are no different than sperm or ova.

Now, if anyone has a rational argument for why a blastocyst or zygote is a person, but that a sperm or ova is not, I am all ears. Apart from the number of chromosomes, they really aren’t all that different. For me, there isn’t any legal distinction between sperm, ova, zygotes, blastocysts and early embryos. None of these things have sentient thoughts; they are human cells with the potential to form life if given the right circumstances.

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 13, 2016 10:05 PM
Comment #401933

Warren Porter, you’re going off the rails in defense of your political party.

Is a car not a car until it’s sold? Is a pork chop not food until it’s eaten? Is a book not a book until it’s read?

You seem to ignore one major fact to support your claim of life is not life.

You draw no distinction between sperm/ova and embryos. You see no difference. That can only be ignorance. There is one very major difference between sperm/ova and embryos. That difference is the act of sexual intercourse, the true choice ignorant people want to ignore.

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 14, 2016 11:16 AM
Comment #401934

Man on the street interviews in Democraticville:

Q: What do you do in the Auto Assembly plant?
A: I attach an assortment of minerals and alloys to each other to make a pile of minerals and alloys.

Q: Are you writing a book?
A: No, I’m allowing wood pulp to mutate.

Q: What would you like for your Entree?
A: I’ll have a piece of that dead pig.

Q: Are you having a baby?
A: No, this is just an inconvenient mass of tissue that has formed in my belly for some unknown reason. I didn’t even take my pants all the way off!

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 14, 2016 11:41 AM
Comment #401937

I can’t expect any rational discussion regarding abortion until men can become pregnant, carry the pregnancy through term and then birth. Until then opinions from men regarding this are hypothetical and outside of the realm of their experience. It is difficult to have a rational discussion when 50% of the people discussing are unable to participate completely.

Posted by: Speak4all at January 14, 2016 12:54 PM
Comment #401938

ww
It is truly a tragedy when one cannot understand life and death.

WP
so explain to me the heart beat of whatever you prefer to call and what I call a baby.

explain to me the process of breathing in whatever you refer to and what I refer to as a baby

explain to me the flow of blood in a baby and whatever you want to call it

explain to me the form of a baby and what you call a half dozen items

You should consider what you are. A sperm, ova, zygote or any of those other mis-nomers

explain to be how the creator has caused life in a baby and you refer to anything but a baby

Posted by: tom humes at January 14, 2016 1:00 PM
Comment #401939

Willie,

Is a car not a car until it’s sold?
A car isn’t a car until it reaches the end of the assembly line.
You seem to ignore one major fact to support your claim of life is not life.
Sperm and ova are living cells too.
That difference is the act of sexual intercourse, the true choice ignorant people want to ignore.
Not every act of sexual intercourse creates a life, so that cannot be the metric we use.

I want people to think really hard and come up with a simple diagnostic rule that allows us to determine whether something is a person or not. Here is my rule: If something has the neural capacity for sentience, it deserves to be protected. The neural pathways necessary don’t even begin to develop until the end of the second trimester.

Remember, I am asking for a diagnostic rule, not a prognostic one. It should be applicable without any knowledge of the past. Only a single observation of the present should be necessary.

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 14, 2016 1:30 PM
Comment #401940

None of these things have sentient thoughts; they are human cells with the potential to form life if given the right circumstances.
Posted by: Warren Porter at January 13, 2016 10:05 PM

Hmmm…human cells but no life? Are they inanimate?

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 14, 2016 2:01 PM
Comment #401941

Tom Humes,

A heartbeat is a silly diagnostic rule. There are many things with heartbeats that aren’t people. Same goes for respiration.

You should consider what you are.

I am diploid. Therefore I am not a gamete (sperm or ovum).
I am multicellular. Therefore I am not a zygote.
My cells are differentiated. Therefore I am not a blastocyst.
My organs are fully developed. Therefore I am neither an embryo, nor a fetus. Instead, I am a person, a sentient human being.

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 14, 2016 2:06 PM
Comment #401942

“Not every act of sexual intercourse creates a life”

How do we know when it has created a life?

Posted by: kctim at January 14, 2016 2:09 PM
Comment #401944

My organs are fully developed. Therefore I am neither an embryo, nor a fetus. Instead, I am a person, a sentient human being.
Posted by: Warren Porter at January 14, 2016 2:06 PM

A premature baby is usually not fully developed, meaning some vital organs might not be functioning at optimal levels. Some may not be ready to operate at all, which is why these babies are placed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and cared for by specialists.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 14, 2016 3:01 PM
Comment #401945

Sentient Being Definition:
A creature that can suffer and feel pain; mostly animals and humans.

Aborted babies are fully capable of feeling pain Warren.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 14, 2016 3:04 PM
Comment #401946

It appears that Warren has knowledge, but lacks judgement.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 14, 2016 3:09 PM
Comment #401948
How do we know when it has created a life?
When that life is born.
A premature baby is usually not fully developed, meaning some vital organs might not be functioning at optimal levels. Some may not be ready to operate at all, which is why these babies are placed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and cared for by specialists.
Apples & Oranges. A fetus at 20 weeks has never survived outside the womb and is insufficiently developed to be sentient. 10 weeks later, I can argue that a fetus is capable of sentience. The babies you see at the NICU are always much more developed than nearly anything involved in an abortion. Posted by: Warren Porter at January 14, 2016 3:37 PM
Comment #401949

The part of the brain that processes pain is called the anterior cingulate. It is in the cerebral cortex and begins to develop in week 26. The thalamocoritcal connections that feed sensory input to the brain, such as pain, develop between 22 - 34 weeks, with 29 weeks considered the most reliable estimate.

In other words, the brain of the fetus is not developed enough to experience pain until the 3rd trimester.

Abortions in the third trimester are rare. It is estimated less that 1% of all abortions occur during the last trimester, and they usually involve horrendous physical problems that make it necessary to end the pregnancy.

Posted by: phx8 at January 14, 2016 3:41 PM
Comment #401950

correction- it is spelled thalamocortical. There is your word of the day.

Posted by: phx8 at January 14, 2016 3:42 PM
Comment #401951

“My organs are fully developed. Therefore I am neither an embryo, nor a fetus. Instead, I am a person, a sentient human being.”

“…I can argue that a fetus is capable of sentience.”

Parsing is not your strong suit Warren. Tell us, which quote of yours is correct?

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 14, 2016 3:44 PM
Comment #401952

“Mr. President, in drawing attention to the capability of the human fetus to feel pain, you stand on firmly established ground…. That the unborn, the prematurely born, and the new-born of the human species is a highly complex, sentient, functioning, individual organism is established scientific fact…. Over the last eighteen years, real time ultrasonography, fetoscopy, study of the fetal EKG [electrocardiogram] and the fetal EEG [electroencephalogram] have demonstrated the remarkable responsiveness of the human fetus to pain, touch, and sound.”

http://www.abortionfacts.com/facts/13

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 14, 2016 3:55 PM
Comment #401953

Looks like this topic will be heating up more now that PP has filed a lawsuit against the Center for Medical Progress. This suit is not about money but about the discovery process that PP’s lawyers will use in an attempt to find out who funds their lies and misinformation. Not to mention the evidence that the videos were edited and meant to disparage PP’s work. This should be very interesting to most women and any men that take an interest in reproductive rights of women.

Posted by: Speak4all at January 14, 2016 3:56 PM
Comment #401954
It appears that Warren has knowledge, but lacks judgement.

Maybe so. Let’s talk it out and see where it leads us.

Sentient Being Definition: A creature that can suffer and feel pain; mostly animals and humans.

Aborted babies are fully capable of feeling pain Warren.

A lot of research has been done on the issue of fetal pain. Very little evidence suggests that pain can be felt by a fetus after fewer than 20 weeks of gestation. At 30 weeks, things are a bit different. However, such a fetus can only be aborted under limited circumstances.

That said, I do not equate feeling pain with sentience. At least not in the manner that is useful in this context. Animals of all stripes are capable of feeling pain, yet most of us would not consider them people worthy of legal protections.

I sometimes use sentience and consciousness interchangeably, which might be a mistake. What I am trying to describe is the concept of personal identity espoused by John Locke in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding:

we must consider what person stands for; — which, I think, is a thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing, in different times and places; which it does only by that consciousness which is inseparable from thinking, and, as it seems to me, essential to it: it being impossible for any one to perceive without perceiving that he does perceive. When we see, hear, smell, taste, feel, meditate, or will anything, we know that we do so.
. Does a blastocyst or zygote fit Locke’s definition? Certainly not. The same goes for any embryo. Only when we reach the end of the second trimester of fetal development do things begin to get murky.

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 14, 2016 4:04 PM
Comment #401955

What a lousy link Speaks. Can you read this gibberish?

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 14, 2016 4:06 PM
Comment #401956

Warren, one must be careful what they write.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 14, 2016 4:09 PM
Comment #401957

I am not responsible for your ability to parse legal documents however here is a link to an article that details what this means.

Planned Parenthood comes out swinging

Posted by: Speak4all at January 14, 2016 4:31 PM
Comment #401958

Nasty day for you Speaks?

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 14, 2016 4:40 PM
Comment #401959

No just figured it was better to have the legal document link rather than what I am certain some would feel was a link to a left-wing website. It seems to me they are telling CMP we are coming after you for what you tried to do. I guess the truth will become more evident for either party in the lawsuit. We shall see.

Posted by: Speak4all at January 14, 2016 4:44 PM
Comment #401960

Glad your OK Speaks.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 14, 2016 4:50 PM
Comment #401961

You too RF.

Posted by: Speak4all at January 14, 2016 4:51 PM
Comment #401962
“My organs are fully developed. Therefore I am neither an embryo, nor a fetus. Instead, I am a person, a sentient human being.”

“…I can argue that a fetus is capable of sentience.”

Parsing is not your strong suit Warren. Tell us, which quote of yours is correct?

It seems Aristotelian logic is not your strong suit. If all men are mortal and Socrates’ wife is mortal, it does not mean Socrates’ wife is a man.

Just because my fully functioning organs make me a sentient human being does not preclude the possibility that a 3rd trimester fetus with mostly complete organs cannot also be a sentient human being. Admittedly, the period after the late 2nd trimester is very murky. Phx8 has shared some relevant details regarding fetal development.

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 14, 2016 5:02 PM
Comment #401963
No just figured it was better to have the legal document link

Primary sources are always preferred. Thanks!

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 14, 2016 5:05 PM
Comment #401964

Don’t be upset Warren. I am graciously attempting to help you organize your thoughts.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 14, 2016 5:15 PM
Comment #401965

Regarding the question of fetal pain, the most comprehensive study that I have seen is this one, published in the Journal of American Medical Association:

The capacity for conscious perception of pain can arise only after thalamocortical pathways begin to function, which may occur in the third trimester around 29 to 30 weeks’ gestational age…While the presence of thalamocortical fibers is necessary for pain perception, their mere presence is insufficient—this pathway must also be functional… Constant SEPs (Somatosensory evoked potentials) appear at 29 weeks’ PCA (Postconceptual Age), and EEG (electroencephalogram) patterns denoting wakefulness appear around 30 weeks’ PCA. Both of these tests of cortical function suggest that conscious perception of pain does not begin before the third trimester
Posted by: Warren Porter at January 14, 2016 5:23 PM
Comment #401966

“When that life is born.”

So a chick has no idea that the sexual intercourse she had has resulted in creating a life, until after she gives birth to it?

Come on Warren, you can do better than that.

Posted by: kctim at January 14, 2016 5:24 PM
Comment #401967
Don’t be upset Warren. I am graciously attempting to help you organize your thoughts.

Thank You.

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 14, 2016 5:31 PM
Comment #401968
Sor a chick has no idea that the sexual intercourse she had has resulted in creating a life, until after she gives birth to it?
Many embryos are miscarried before a woman even knows she is pregnant. Posted by: Warren Porter at January 14, 2016 5:34 PM
Comment #401969

A ninety year old woman is unable to take care of herself and would die if left to her own. Do we allow her to be killed for convenience sake?

The mentally challenged child destined to be in a vegetative state for the rest of his long life, unable to care for himself; should he be killed for convenience sake?

What about the 47% who depend on government assistance? Should they be exterminated as well?

This entire discussion about the legality of abortion and when a human being is considered a human being is obfuscation. It’s a smoke screen used to cover the fact that abortion at any time for convenience sake is murder. Because it is now legalized murder is exactly why this country has earned the scorn of the rest of the world and is destined for a very hard awakening.

Warren Porter uses the quote of personal identity espoused by John Locke as a reason why the fetus is not “a person”. Can you say the same for a corporation, Warren Porter?

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 14, 2016 9:59 PM
Comment #401970
A ninety year old woman is unable to take care of herself and would die if left to her own. Do we allow her to be killed for convenience sake?

The mentally challenged child destined to be in a vegetative state for the rest of his long life, unable to care for himself; should he be killed for convenience sake?

What about the 47% who depend on government assistance? Should they be exterminated as well?

These are sentient human beings. They exhibit traits that no embryo possesses.

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 14, 2016 10:28 PM
Comment #401971

You place corporations above human life?

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 14, 2016 10:41 PM
Comment #401972

A thirty year old has potential.
A teenager has potential.
A five year old has potential.
A newborn has potential.
A twenty-five week fetus has potential.
A nineteen week old fetus… worthless tissue mass.

Your thinking is flawed, Warren Porter.

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 14, 2016 10:45 PM
Comment #401973

That’s probably why Democratics think there’s no God. They just play one in real life.

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 14, 2016 10:48 PM
Comment #401974
You place corporations above human life?
Of course not. Corporations aren’t people.
A twenty-five week fetus has potential.
A sperm or an ovum have potential too. This is why I don’t use “potential” as a metric. Posted by: Warren Porter at January 14, 2016 11:47 PM
Comment #401975

It is sad that when our Creator is left out of the thinking process of a number on this site that all those words that have marginal meanings are employed to enhance the argument of those who have refused to acknowledge our Creator in the process. And with that they have shown their foolishness and ignorance. The strange part is that the books or the internet where you learned those words did not give you and education and knowledge in the application of those words. Even more strange is the Bible can teach anybody so much more about both life and death. So move over pride.

Posted by: tom humes at January 15, 2016 10:19 AM
Comment #401976

Tom Humes,

Don’t assume that I haven’t considered the role God might play. I will be the first to admit that I can be wrong, which is why ask for people to expose any errors in my thoughts. Give me an argument as to why blastocysts deserve more legal protections than gametes even though a blastocyst lacks basic traits such as differentiated cells, let alone organs or even the form or shape of a human.

If you feel I am misusing words’ definitions, please feel free to point that out. However, I recognize that we are using a language that developed centuries ago when people had very poor understandings of how the human body functions. Language is a tricky thing. I have gotten into trouble many times by recognizing that cancerous cells grow uncontrollably because they utilize genes that are only meant to be active during embryonic development. In this sense, a fetus and tumor share some qualities. This isn’t to say a fetus deserves the same disdain we grant cancerous tumors.

Ultimately, we must recognize that transformation of gamete into infant is a continuous process. There is no moment where we can say, “A second ago this was a clump of cells, but now it is a person”. Change is incremental and comes in steps. This is why the premise “life begins at conception” is so foolish. Are sperm and ova not alive?

This is why I have sought a diagnostic for determining personhood. I am looking for a trait that people posses that other things do not. Given our philosophical heritage, it is important to recognize that the key defining attribute of humanity has been our capacity for complex conscious thought. It is our sentience that makes our lives worthy of legal protection. I see no evidence of sentience of that nature occurring before the end of the second trimester.

Keep in mind that this is a secular nation. A law that conforms with Christian values but ignores Jewish values is not Constitutional. Ultimately, we need to respect all creeds. This includes those that don’t believe in God. For better or for worse, the religions of the world offer a diverse array of ideas regarding when it is justified to take a life. Some Hindus consider it immoral to take the life of a cow, but it would be absurd to impose that view upon the rest of us.

Ultimately, I feel that you and your allies are arguing from emotional perception. Without a doubt, a 10 week old embryo has the form and shape of a baby. It has a arms, legs and a head that look like a person. Its tiny heart beats and its tiny liver and kidney’s filter. However, this image that I have illustrated is completely divorced from rationality. It is not my beating heart that makes my life worthy of protection. The cow worshiped by a Hindu has a heart that beats just the same. It is not my recognizable face and limbs that make my life worthy of protection; some people who have suffered traumatic injury or genetic abnormality have very different appearances. No, none of these things matter; all that matters is my mind. If something lacks a brain necessary to house such a mind, then we cannot afford it the same legal status as something that does.

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 15, 2016 11:23 AM
Comment #401979

wp

“This is why I have sought a diagnostic for determining personhood. I am looking for a trait that people posses that other things do not.”

This is where your whole concept falls apart. We were created in the image of God. That is that we possess all the physical characteristics of God. We became a person in the nature of God. So that is where you need to focus. All those other words, phrases, and theories are a part of the pix. But the personhood of the human body must be examined in a greater detail than those cute words you use to explain body parts. We are not God nor gods. In a simple way we were created in the image of our parents. Now all those words you describe in the baby’s progress are part of that growth but the image of a baby has been started way before you can all the baby all those words.

A side note. My sister, over 40 years ago, had premature twins. One died the other lived. They were about 16 weeks old. That is a miracle that even one lived. She was in the nursing care facility for nearly a year. She is alive and well today. My argument to those who prefer to kill babies is that example.

Posted by: tom humes at January 15, 2016 2:06 PM
Comment #401980

Warren, I like this simple explanation.

“Humans are persons worthy of respect by virtue of the fact that we are created human, not because of anything we do. From the zygote to the incapacitated and everything in between, human beings are persons because we “are,” and we have human DNA. We do not lose our humanity or our personhood when we have diminished or absent function.”

https://bible.org/article/what-makes-person-person

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 15, 2016 2:58 PM
Comment #401982

warren

Once the two cells are combined, and the set of chromosomes is complete, it is a human being regardless of how early the stage. It cannot grow into a puppy, or anything but a human being, so it is a human being.

Posted by: dbs at January 15, 2016 4:20 PM
Comment #401985

Tom,
Now, you have made a religious argument. Essentially, you are telling me that zygotes/blastocysts/embryos have souls and gametes do not. Because there is no way for us to physically detect the presence of a soul, you have basically admitted that there is no way to define what makes a person a person in physical terms. Maybe my insistence on physical distinctions makes me a materialist according to your worldview. However, this is a fallen world, not a divine one. God’s kingdom may manifest itself in the future, but until it does, secularism is the only fair manner to craft our laws. I am not an atheist and there are many beliefs that I hold based upon belief alone. However, I feel it is not right for me to impose my values or my worldview upon others. If I cannot find a secular justification for a belief, I keep that belief to myself. Thus, even if you were to convince me that fertilized eggs posses a soul or contain an image of God, it wouldn’t do any good.

Now, as for the religious argument itself, I am admittedly no authority on interpreting scripture. I can only guess at what was meant when the words “צֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים” were written. Images are typically two dimensional representations of the three dimensional universe, so I typically take this to mean we are three dimensional projections of a higher dimensional being, but I cannot rule out a figurative interpretation of these words. This would mean we posses some, but not all physical characteristics of God, just as a circle possesses some, but not all characteristics of a sphere.

I think your interpretation that personhood is connected to the concept of “image of God” is a valid Judeo-Christian worldview. That said, you have given me no criterion for determining whether something contains the image of God. It certainly cannot simply be a matter of whether something looks like a person. After all, a statue, a mannequin or a doll contains a human image, but is not a person.

Ultimately, your argument rests along the premise that concludes your paragraph, “the image of a baby has been started way before you can all the baby all those words.” Now, this definitely hearkens to the opening verses of Jeremiah, where God reveals that Jeremiah was predestined to become a prophet. In particular, God claims to have known him not only before his birth, but before his conception. Apparently, Jeremiah’s image existed even before he was conceived. Nonetheless, I always view this as an affirmation of God’s temporal omnipresence, so we get a glimpse of what it means to be a deity. In the words of Einstein, “the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” and this truth is exemplified by this verse. For God, Jeremiah’s lifetime is just as easily accessed as any other no matter which century they lived in just as I can visit my neighbor’s homes no matter what street they live on.

My sister, over 40 years ago, had premature twins.
It is definitely good that your niece/nephew survived such a premature birth. I am going to guess you have mistaken 16 weeks premature for 16 weeks old. Otherwise, your niece/nephew would have been born well before the current record for most premature baby to survive. Assuming a 40 week gestation, this would put the birth at 24 weeks, which remains astounding, but is quite believable. Still, this is happening in the latter half of the second trimester, which is exactly when I suspected personhood might begin.

Royal Flush,
Thank you for sharing the link to the bible.org site. It definitely takes a good stab at what is a challenging question. Again, we have to reconcile the ways animals resemble people with our own concept of personhood. Also, there is a repetition of the argument that a zygote bears the image of God in a manner that sperm, ova or animals do not. However, it remains unexplained in what sense this is meant. It’s not like I can look at a cell under a microscope and decide whether it is a one-celled zygote bearing the image of God or an ovum that lacks such an image. Yes, I can count the number of chromosomes to see if the cell is diploid or haploid, but that’s not the point. Having 23 chromosomes doesn’t mean something bears the image of God. Otherwise, the plethora of animal species with 23 chromosome pairs would deserve our legal protections.

Once the two cells are combined, and the set of chromosomes is complete, it is a human being regardless of how early the stage. It cannot grow into a puppy, or anything but a human being, so it is a human being.
Again, having 46 chromosomes is not a uniquely human trait and there are plenty of people who don’t have 46 chromosomes. A different criterion is necessary. Posted by: Warren Porter at January 16, 2016 12:16 AM
Comment #401986

I wrote a lot last night and rambled quite a bit. Essentially, I want to know: How do we determine whether something bears the image of God? People seem to be quite confident that zygotes bear this image, but that sperm and ova do not.

Posted by: Warren Porter at January 16, 2016 10:09 AM
Comment #401990

I can see how we are created in the image of God. It’s not too hard to fathom.

My God is not perfect. He bumps into walls and skins his knees when he falls down. He has smacked his finger with a hammer on occasion. So have I. I am created in his image.

The only difference between us and God is scale.

We have yet to see to the edge of our universe. We do not have the capability to see that far. On the other end of the scale, we have not been able to reduce an atom or molecule down to it’s basic self. It is, based on our capabilities to observe, a combination of matter and energy. Every time we gain a better view it is the same, matter and energy. It’s just at a smaller scale.

So, I am stuck in the middle. I should say we are stuck in the middle. To the greatest scale we have God, a human being too large for us to comprehend, living out a normal life just like we do. On the minutest scale we have what could be the same scenario, only we are to be considered God to the worlds that make up the matter and energy we are incapable of seeing.

I once tried to describe this to another person and his response was, “That’s just a bunch of shit.” But, how does he know that? His response reflects most of the opinions held by devout religious people. That’s why I take organized religion with a grain of salt. It’s not that I’m an atheist. I just hold a different opinion of who my God is.

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 16, 2016 2:02 PM
Post a comment