Jasper’s comment at Jill Stanek’s over Ilana Goldman’s refusal to answer Bob Enyarts question “What is it?” happened to coincide with an existing unpublished post of mine.
While reading through Robert P. George and Christopher Tollefsen’s book Embryo:A Defense of Human Life, it occurred to me so few people who argue in the abortion debates, both pro-life and abortion-choice, really understand the scientific basis for life. The biological depth is astounding, and invites a serious philosophical debate. The authors are disturbed by the diminishing level of discourse – where rationality regarding the evidence is being plainly and willfully ignored. (Ilana Goldman illustrates this irrationality so well.)
They point out various activities within the first 14 days after conception are not so easily explained. The possibilities of intercellular communication seem to be a fascinating area of biochemical research. There is sensing occurring, at a level we don’t yet comprehend. (If you think intercellular communication is not possible – you need to check out how single cell bacteria communicate.)
Some abortion-choice advocates call embryos non-sentient tissue, but their arguments are – subjective:
All human beings with rights are sentient; No embryo is sentient; therefore no embryo is a human being with rights.
If the argument is over living flesh and blood, and “what it is”, then sapience is a pre-requisite to sentience, because it is impossible to have a subjective (sentient) homo-sapien, without first having an objective one. Self-awareness does not require communicating self-insight to others, so any perceived observation of another’s self-awareness is completely subjective. It is an imposition of an external idea of awareness upon another, completely impossible without the underlying matter – the flesh and blood.
Put another way – arguments over flesh and blood rights doesn’t work if their own flesh and blood, (including their sense of self-awareness) is removed. So another approach would have been to ask Ilana – “what are you?”
How can one demand rights while denying pre-requisites underlying their own sense of personhood?
It begs the question.