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Anonymous

When Does Human Life Begin?
    #793923 - 08/03/02 09:28 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Tough question? Perhaps it's really not all that tough but a well reasoned answer may conflict with a person's desires. Before formulating answers, I ask that you ignore any questions or assertions about a woman's right to choose. Please do not try to justify your answer based on abortion rights. My inquiry is only about the following question...

When do you think that human life begins and why?


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OfflineAdamist
ℚṲℰϟ✞ЇѺℵ ℛ∃Åʟḯ†У
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Registered: 11/24/01
Posts: 10,211
Loc: Bloomington, IN
Last seen: 6 years, 6 months
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #793942 - 08/03/02 09:42 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

With the birth of a star.


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:heartpump: { { { ṧ◎ηḯ¢ αʟ¢ℌ℮мƴ } } } :heartpump:


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InvisibleSclorch
Clyster

Folding@home Statistics
Registered: 07/13/99
Posts: 4,805
Loc: On the Brink of Madness
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #793945 - 08/03/02 09:43 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Some would say at ejaculation.

Since I don't really remember anything before age 3, I could say my life began at around age 3. But that doesn't seem right. I think the biological answer is that it begins when the egg is fertilized. Yeah, that's my final answer.

As far as the ever-present abortion issue... I'll reserve my thoughts on that until someone brings that up (it WILL happen evolving... you know it will).


--------------------
Note: In desperate need of a cure...


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OfflineMurex
Reality Hacker

Registered: 07/28/02
Posts: 3,599
Loc: Traped in a shell.
Last seen: 14 years, 12 days
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #793949 - 08/03/02 09:44 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Sometime in the middle of the 9 months when the child is a fetus the soul is connected to the body- when there is enough brain matter and nerves formed to act as a conductor for the soul.




--------------------
What if everything around you
Isn't quite as it seems?
What if all the world you think you know,
Is an elaborate dream?
And if you look at your reflection,
Is it all you want it to be?



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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: Murex]
    #793956 - 08/03/02 09:47 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

... when the child is a fetus the soul is connected to the body- when there is enough brain matter and nerves formed to act as a conductor for the soul.
How would you determine this?


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OfflineGreyMatter
enthusiast

Registered: 03/26/02
Posts: 329
Loc: USA
Last seen: 17 years, 2 months
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: Murex]
    #793961 - 08/03/02 09:50 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

If you read about past life regression, some patients who are hypnotised claim to remember when they are in fetus. This is very early on during the pregnancy.
Sometimes within a couple of weeks after being conceived. Not sure exactly though.
Other patients claim to feel a burning sensation, (during their hypnosis session) when going back that far, when a mother tries to have an abortion.
Weird....


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OfflineGreyMatter
enthusiast

Registered: 03/26/02
Posts: 329
Loc: USA
Last seen: 17 years, 2 months
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: GreyMatter]
    #793964 - 08/03/02 09:50 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

A conductor for the soul?


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InvisibleMystical_Craven
mentally illpsychonaught

Registered: 06/16/02
Posts: 439
Loc: Earth
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #794019 - 08/03/02 10:19 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

The moment conception takes place.


--------------------


"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go..." T.S. Eliot


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #794021 - 08/03/02 10:19 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Before this thread gets heavy let me answer your question with a riddle:

This Christmas I am going to give you a basketball. I know I shouldn't tell you now because that will spoil the surprise but I am anyway. It is nicely gift-wrapped [edit] box [end edit] with a pretty bow. When you open it you notice that it has very little air in it.

What will be in the box I will give you?


Edited by Mr_Mushrooms (08/03/02 11:28 AM)


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InvisibleSclorch
Clyster

Folding@home Statistics
Registered: 07/13/99
Posts: 4,805
Loc: On the Brink of Madness
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #794129 - 08/03/02 11:16 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

You said nothing of a box... gift wrapped does not mean there is a box involved.
Rephrase the question.


--------------------
Note: In desperate need of a cure...


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: Sclorch]
    #794147 - 08/03/02 11:30 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

There, is that better?

And put that megaphone down. I'm not deaf ya know.

Cheers,


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #794168 - 08/03/02 11:55 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

What will be in the box I will give you?
A flat basketball.

I'll PM you with my mailing address.


Edited by Evolving (08/03/02 11:55 AM)


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #794231 - 08/03/02 01:15 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

A flat basketball.

Exactly.

Now you can never say you didn't get something out of being here.


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OfflineShroomalicious
You may say I'ma dreamer...

Registered: 06/20/02
Posts: 319
Loc: The Shire
Last seen: 18 years, 8 months
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #794232 - 08/03/02 01:16 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Sometime in the middle of the 9 months when the child is a fetus the soul is connected to the body- when there is enough brain matter and nerves formed to act as a conductor for the soul.

Exactly what I believe...however, who is to say exactly when it happens. I don't think it can be determined for certain.


--------------------
Shroomalicious - :smile: I love you and in doing so I love myself, because we ARE all one :smile: - "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth leaves the whole world blind and toothless". - Mahatma Ghandi


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Invisiblebuttonion
Calmly Watching

Registered: 04/04/02
Posts: 303
Loc: Kansas
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #794445 - 08/03/02 03:27 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

I think Adamist's response captures the underlying message of what would have been my answer.


--------------------
Concepts which have been proved to be useful in ordering things easily acquire such an authority over us that we forget their human origins and accept them as invariable.- Albert Einstein


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OfflineMurex
Reality Hacker

Registered: 07/28/02
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: buttonion]
    #794457 - 08/03/02 03:34 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

If a fetus is developed to a certian point-

When it isn't just a bunch of cells groing, but when the sum is greater than it's parts. When it is a functioning machine, with a heart that beats and a brain that works. When it starts to move.



--------------------
What if everything around you
Isn't quite as it seems?
What if all the world you think you know,
Is an elaborate dream?
And if you look at your reflection,
Is it all you want it to be?



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Offlinemr freedom
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Posts: 232
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #794475 - 08/03/02 03:51 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

When the infant, can and does survive outside of the womb without the benefit of life support devices. Be that in a time frame less than 9 months or longer. As technology progresses, the begining of life will change as to just how early we can have an infant survive outside of the womb.


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InvisibleSclorch
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: mr freedom]
    #794742 - 08/03/02 07:40 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Yeah... a future of bottled babies. We'll throw in different concentrations of alcohol to standardize different classes of people. Alphas, Betas, Deltas.....

Where have I heard this before? hmmm.....


--------------------
Note: In desperate need of a cure...


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OfflineChubbSubb
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Registered: 06/03/02
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: Sclorch]
    #794768 - 08/03/02 08:31 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

With the birth of a star.

Nice....I would say that also..


--------------------
Those who know do not speak.
Those who speak do not know.


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OfflineEvilGir
Im the on coming storm

Registered: 11/26/01
Posts: 1,301
Loc: Planet Irk
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ChubbSubb]
    #794888 - 08/03/02 10:40 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

It Depends what you define as human, do you just mean the body or mind.
If it the mind i would say we have been here over 2 billion years in some form or other going back since the creation of the universe.. But if you mean the body then as soon as the egg is fertilised. But even then whats the definition of life.
Does it mean the begining of conciousness, or the simple doubleing of cells.


--------------------
Fighting the man the best way I can.


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OfflineAmoeba665
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #794962 - 08/04/02 01:32 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

here's one theory:

" Rick Strassman, M.D. sees the Pineal gland
as being a possible source of the brain?s very own
?home-grown? [my term] hallucinogens. His contention is
that these ?home-growns? might be produced under certain
specific mental and/or physical conditions, including: near
death, birth, high fever, prolonged meditation, starvation,
and sensory deprivation. He calls the pineal gland the
?seat of the soul? or the infamous ?third eye? and
postulates that under these circumstances and because of
chemical alterations of melatonin and seratonin caused by
these circumstances it might produce DMT (N,
N-dimethyltryptamine, a very strong hallucinogenic drug) on
its own, and that this chemical may be responsible for
spiritual realities experienced under the aforementioned
conditions.
He continues to theorize about the pineal gland, but
starting with facts. It first becomes visible in the human
fetus at forty nine days after conception, at the same time
the gender becomes distinguishable. Coincidentally,
according to several Buddhist texts, ?forty nine days is how
long it takes the life-force of one who has died to enter
its next incarnation.? These two separate facts together
could be used to infer that ?the life-force of a human
enters the fetus at forty-nine days through the pineal.?
This would also suggest that the force leaves the body at
death in the same way, and entry and exit of the soul or
?life-force? into the pineal gland would be indicated by a
release of DMT. Tripping on ?acid? naturally during birth
and death? An interesting concept, to say the least. "


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---


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InvisibleinfidelGOD
illusion

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 3,040
Loc: there
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #794977 - 08/04/02 01:57 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

This is indeed a tough question.

Consider this:
When an embryo is conceived, it contains a unique genetic blueprint - something that has never before been seen and something that will never be reapeated naturally. Within that single cell is contained a large portion of who an individual is. Including, eye color, hair color, height, weight, susceptability to certain diseases - even personality to some extent.

I think this is the only definition of life that is not arbitrary. When you say life begins when you gain consciousness, you have to be able to pinpoint the moment of consciousness. When you say life begins when there is a "conductor for the soul", you have to pinpoint that moment. When you say life begins at birth, what about a baby that is "partially" born? Is it "alive" yet? Another idea is that life begins when a baby takes its first breath - but some babies take their first breath minutes after birth, premature babies require breathing aids for weeks after birth.

Biologically, there is very little difference between a fetus that is 1 hour from birth and a baby 1 hour after birth. Biologically there is very little difference between a 3 year old who is just about to form memories and a 3 year old that has just formed memories. Biologically there is very little difference between a fetus that is about to form a "conductor for the soul" and one that has just formed one. And finally there is little difference between a baby that is just about to take its first breath and one that has just taken its first breath.

But there is a HUGE biological difference between a pair of cells about to join and a single unique cell that has just joined to create a human life.



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Offlinemr freedom
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: Sclorch]
    #795064 - 08/04/02 05:11 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

I don't know where you have heard this before. To be honest, I pulled in out of my ass with about 30 seconds of thought. I dislike this topic even more than I dislike religious topics. But, I did try to answer with some modicum of what the poster wanted.

Ps. I see better, excuse me, WAY better answers than the one I gave.


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Offlinepattern
multiplayer

Registered: 07/19/02
Posts: 2,185
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: mr freedom]
    #795151 - 08/04/02 07:13 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Human "life" begins when a human is alive. This happens at conception.


--------------------
man = monkey + mushroom


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #795162 - 08/04/02 07:21 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

It is interesting how many people do not understand simple biology on a message board that deals with a living thing.

Maybe you should have asked, "When is a mushroom a living mushroom?" Of course novices would probably say when you pick it or some such thing. And we know that answer is wrong.

Cheers,


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OfflineEightball
whore consumer
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #795169 - 08/04/02 07:28 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

i'm going with 40 days after conception when the sex of the fetus is created and some other processes start. before that, the zygote is as 'alive' as cancer.


--------------------
If you're frightened of dying and you're holding on.you'll see devils tearing your life away.
But...if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels
Freeing you from the earth.


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OfflineEarth_Droid
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #795171 - 08/04/02 07:29 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

I downloaded some MP3s of James Arthur speaking. He is the author of Mushrooms and Mankind. He also gives that same information. I have become ever more fascinated with DMT, but I have not gotten a chance to try it yet. What amazes me is the similar descriptions of experience where people have distinctly felt in literally a new dimension and communicated with entities like DMT elves. It is interesting how they describe it as feeling more real than real.


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InvisibleSpiffy
Defender of theGnomes

Registered: 07/04/02
Posts: 1,693
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #796555 - 08/04/02 09:20 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

21 days after conception. The pleiadians tell us that this is when a spirit takes on human form. They do not condone abortion after this point. I believe that "life" doesn't really begin until a spirit inhabits a body.


--------------------
Namaste: "I honour that place in you where the whole Universe resides. And when I am in that place in me and you are in that place in you,
there is only one of us."


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #796558 - 08/04/02 09:21 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

It is interesting how many people do not understand simple biology on a message board that deals with a living thing.

Very interesting. The only logical conclusion that I keep coming back to is that human life begins at conception (a flat basketball is a basketball, even though not fully formed). It is the only conclusion that can be backed up with verifiable evidence and the science of biology. Anything other than that is pretty much arbitrary (beginning of third timester), dependant on too many variables (when a fetus can survive outside the womb), subject to interpretation (does a pineal gland make a human?) or disregards the necessary biological complexities that are requisite for a human life (the birth of a star).

What troubles me is that so many people will ignore the true nature of something because they find it inconvenient and at odds with their desires or comfortable notions. Sometimes reason unveils truths which many of us would rather not acknowledge. This is such an issue.


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Offlinegnrm23
Carpal Tunnel
Registered: 08/30/99
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #796900 - 08/05/02 03:35 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

if i am not mistaken, jewish law states that the fetus becomes a human when it is quickened in the womb (i.e. when the mother can say "i felt it move!")
(ummm, speaking here as a protestant christian (well...) with jewish friends, not as one with rabbincal authority here ...)
shalom
~


--------------------
old enough to know better
not old enough to care


Edited by gnrm23 (08/05/02 03:39 AM)


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #796932 - 08/05/02 04:41 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

What troubles me is that so many people will ignore the true nature of something because they find it inconvenient and at odds with their desires or comfortable notions. Sometimes reason unveils truths which many of us would rather not acknowledge. This is such an issue.

One of the best ways to blind oneself to the truth is to have a vested interest in the outcome.

The reason I used the basketball analogy is because it destroys the misconception that just because a human cannot function as a human it is not human or a person. Many try to argue that a human life begins at the moment of conception but personhood begins later. While there is an analytical distinction that can be made between personhood and non-personhood the distinction has no bearing on the validity of the claim that a fetus is not a person because it cannot function as one.

The terms, fetus, zygote, or whatever are stages of development. A deer fetus is a deer, not something else that becomes a deer. It is a matter of simple biology.

Good thread by the way. I enjoyed reading all the answers.

Cheers,


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InvisibleMystical_Craven
mentally illpsychonaught

Registered: 06/16/02
Posts: 439
Loc: Earth
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #796991 - 08/05/02 05:57 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

In reply to:

But there is a HUGE biological difference between a pair of cells about to join and a single unique cell that has just joined to create a human life.

AND

The terms, fetus, zygote, or whatever are stages of development. A deer fetus is a deer, not something else that becomes a deer.


Two very good points that prove a human first comes into existence the moment a sperm and an egg combine...at least in my mind anyways. Does anyone have a logical rebuttle to either of these two that is based off of factual evidence? I'd be interrested in hearing something like that


--------------------


"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go..." T.S. Eliot


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OfflineEightball
whore consumer
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #796999 - 08/05/02 06:08 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

is a basketball a basketball when its liquid rubber? NO. if you're gonna make analogies, at least be reasonable.


--------------------
If you're frightened of dying and you're holding on.you'll see devils tearing your life away.
But...if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels
Freeing you from the earth.


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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 15,413
Loc: In the hen house
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #797015 - 08/05/02 06:27 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

The only logical conclusion that I keep coming back to is that human life begins at conception...

Has anyone here stopped to ponder if the question itself really makes sense? On the surface it certainly does, but let's look a little deeper.

For the moment let's accept evolving's conclusion. Does life begin when:

the sperm touches the ova?
the sperm penetrates the ova's membrane?
the sperm enters the nucleus
when a zygote is formed
when the zygote cleaves into a blastula

at what nano-second in what process?

I see life as a continuum with no set starting point. I can say that human life starts when a man and a woman look at each other in the certain way and be just as correct as any other scenario here.

Dig up a plant and tell me where the plant's roots end and the earth begins. It is impossible as it is a continuum.

Where does your hand end and your arm begin?

The question is a legalese one that has no answer. It is based on the idea of division brought about by language and western thought. I contend that the asking of such a question, is itself, meaningless.


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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InvisibleRevelation

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Posts: 6,135
Loc: heart cave
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: Swami]
    #797173 - 08/05/02 08:13 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Yes...well said. That is what I believe too. Like apples on an apple tree.


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Invisiblebuttonion
Calmly Watching

Registered: 04/04/02
Posts: 303
Loc: Kansas
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: Swami]
    #797233 - 08/05/02 08:44 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

*clap, clap, clap*

Well put dude. I totally agree...


--------------------
Concepts which have been proved to be useful in ordering things easily acquire such an authority over us that we forget their human origins and accept them as invariable.- Albert Einstein


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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
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Posts: 9,134
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: Swami]
    #797271 - 08/05/02 09:04 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

"Dig up a plant and tell me where the plant's roots end and the earth begins. It is impossible as it is a continuum"

Don't be silly, have you ever weeded a garden? It is perfectly simple to tell where the roots of a plant end.


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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Invisiblebuttonion
Calmly Watching

Registered: 04/04/02
Posts: 303
Loc: Kansas
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: Swami]
    #797538 - 08/05/02 11:00 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

The question is a legalese one that has no answer. It is based on the idea of division brought about by language and western thought. I contend that the asking of such a question, is itself, meaningless.

Right on. Now if we were talking about when should the human life be recognized to begin, in order to determine when constitutional rights should be granted, that would be another conversation. But the deeper, existential question "when does life begin" appears to be a question asked in the wrong way.



--------------------
Concepts which have been proved to be useful in ordering things easily acquire such an authority over us that we forget their human origins and accept them as invariable.- Albert Einstein


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OfflineDasKomet
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: Swami]
    #798234 - 08/05/02 05:37 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

I agree.
Must account for the space that allows for the ball.
Peace.


--------------------
The Woven World is all I see.
Put cloves in your weed and tell them its for the LSD.
.oO0 Listen to White Zombie 0Oo.


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: Swami]
    #798597 - 08/05/02 08:47 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Has anyone here stopped to ponder if the question itself really makes sense? On the surface it certainly does, but let's look a little deeper.

Yes, I have examined this issue very thoroughly.

Does life begin when:

the sperm touches the ova?


Obviously not.

the sperm penetrates the ova's membrane?

Again, obviously not because the fertilization process is not complete.

the sperm enters the nucleus

Obviously not, same reason.

when a zygote is formed

When it is fully formed, yes.

when the zygote cleaves into a blastula

Before that.

at what nano-second in what process?

Not only is the demarcation brought into the realm of a nanosecond, it could be divided into a picosecond. When the DNA is conjoined together a new individual life is formed. Simple biology. It is the same process as downloading a file. At the exact instant that the file is fully downloaded it is, therefore, fully downloaded.

I see life as a continuum with no set starting point. I can say that human life starts when a man and a woman look at each other in the certain way and be just as correct as any other scenario here.

You are conflating the difference between poetical truth and descriptive truth. I can say with others that a human life begins when a star is formed and grok the oneness with the best of them. However, science and biology do not procede in that manner.

Dig up a plant and tell me where the plant's roots end and the earth begins. It is impossible as it is a continuum.

Where does your hand end and your arm begin?


What? Fuzzy logic? Kosko's artful book is at best fuzzy thinking. I read it and was amazed at how far off he is.

The question is a legalese one that has no answer. It is based on the idea of division brought about by language and western thought. I contend that the asking of such a question, is itself, meaningless.

It certainly has a definitive answer and I gave it. In other places in other threads you have defended your position by using logic. If logic is bereft of meaning then all things are meaningless, and, they are not. Your post seems highly inconsistent with your other answers. Please explain.

Cheers,





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Invisiblebuttonion
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #799623 - 08/06/02 10:11 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

I appreciate your definition of ?human life? as useful, likely used by several biologists and other scientists. But Swami?s and Adamist?s responses are coming from an equally valid, but qualitatively different perspective on the idea of life (and ?things? in general). Apples and oranges really.


The reason I used the basketball analogy is because it destroys the misconception that just because a human cannot function as a human it is not human or a person.


This is just one example in which the English language places an adjective in front of a noun that denotes a similar thing, instead of coming up with a brand new noun. The ?flat basketball? retains some characteristics of the ?blown-up basketball,? enough so that we decide to say it is the same ?thing.? At what point does something cease to be a version of the original thing and become something entirely different?

What if I painted the ball blue? A ?painted basketball??
Punched a whole in the basketball? A ?basketball with a hole in it??
Melted the basketball (thanks Eightball)? A ?melted basketball??
Took all of the melted basketball goo and used it to make a child?s toy? A ?remolded basketball shaped in the form of a train??
What if I vaporized the rubber? you get my point?


The answer to my above question is that the ?sufficient amount of change? point at which we decide to create a new category of a thing is essentially arbitrary, likely dependent on how humans perceive and what culture has told him.

To delineate when life begins and ends is equally arbitrary (just like the recognition of any chunk of reality as a ?thing? is). You have chosen ?the formation of the zygote? as the beginning of life, when the genetic material from both parents has combined. And you say that from this point until death, there is a human life. Why not chop this into pieces too? Characteristics of the developing organism are constantly changing- size, shape, brain development, genitalia- does this not suffice to create more categories (?a deer fetus is still a deer)?? How about when there is a fully functional nervous system?

Or maybe we should broaden the definition. When mom and dad had intercourse. When mom knew for sure that she wanted a baby when she got older. When her mother gave her a dollar for doing the dishes, which in turn led to ?etc.

And so I hope it is clear that looking at human life with an appreciation for the arbitrary delineation of chunks of perception into "things" and the infinite amount of conditions that must be in place for the ?thing? to ?exist,? is not the result of fuzzy logic, but is an equally valid (and I would say more accurate) way to answer such a question.


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Concepts which have been proved to be useful in ordering things easily acquire such an authority over us that we forget their human origins and accept them as invariable.- Albert Einstein


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OfflinePhred
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: mr freedom]
    #800102 - 08/06/02 02:34 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

mrfreedom writes:

When the infant, can and does survive outside of the womb without the benefit of life support devices.

This is far and away the best "legal" definition I have seen in this thread.

The question as it is phrased is sufficiently vague to permit a broad spectrum of answers to be "correct".

The problem is that there is no supplied definition of "human". Clearly a zygote is not a human. It is (if all goes well) at best a potential human. Clearly a three year old infant IS a human. Arguably, (depending on which definition is agreed upon) a neonate is not yet a human. Certainly many cultures believed (and still believe) this to be the case.

Some thoughtful answers, but it surprises me mightily that I am the first to ask for a definition of "human". Without such a definition, the opinions are worthless, since there is no way of telling if we are all addressing the same question.

pinky



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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: buttonion]
    #800301 - 08/06/02 04:25 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Are you conscious?

This is not a rhetorical question.

Please tell me so I may improve.


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: Phred]
    #800330 - 08/06/02 04:41 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Heritage House Dictionary:

human being n. 1. A member of the genus Homo and especially of the species H. sapiens. 2. A person: a fine human being.

Taken from a standard Internet source, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary:

human being n. 1. A member of the genus Homo and especially of the species H. sapiens. 2. A person: a fine human being.

Dictionary.com:

hu?man Pronunciation Key (hymn)
n. A member of the genus Homo and especially of the species H. sapiens.
A person: the extraordinary humans who explored Antarctica.

http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary.asp :

Zygote

The fusion of two haploid gametes with the consequential creation of a diploid zygote cell, which can raplidy multiply after this fertilisation of fusion of genetic material occurs.

etc, etc, and of course et cetera

Modern biology says you have the wrong answer.

Cheers,



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Invisiblebuttonion
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #800409 - 08/06/02 05:13 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

If by this you mean am I self-aware, aware of objects external to my ?self?, experience a continuity of time passage, have memory, a sense of experienced freewill, then just as ?orange? is useful to describe a basketball, I agree that ?conscious? is useful to describe my organism.

(that is an ambiguous word you know).


--------------------
Concepts which have been proved to be useful in ordering things easily acquire such an authority over us that we forget their human origins and accept them as invariable.- Albert Einstein


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: buttonion]
    #800450 - 08/06/02 05:30 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

So you recognize the distinction between yourself and me?

How important is that distinction?


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Offlinemr freedom
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #800786 - 08/06/02 07:51 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Mr. Mushrooms and Pinky, I believe that, between both of you, we might have an area for intelligent dialouge. I do believe that we will need EVOLVING'S help though. Let me demonstrate with a few definitions and see where we can take it. The original question was:
"When do you think that human life begins and why? "

The biological definition of homosapiens is catagorical in nature. Meaning, that homosapien is the catagory to which humans belong, "To be human is identifiable by species (homo sapien) and genetic code". When one says "human" I think that we can all agree to what particular species we are refering; namely all of us having this little discussion. (please, no witty comments from the children). Two cells, a sperm and an ova, donated (in whatever way one wishes to donate them, upside down, manualy, assisted manual, automatic; you get the picture), from humans and implanted into a human female uterus(by whatever means), will, given no complications, produce a human offspring; we are not talking about frogs.

The second term in question would be "life". It is this term that needs clarification. It is a daunting term. There are a myriad of legal, ethical, religious, philosophical, and biological definitions to this term; but, NO concensous. Is life a continuum? Does life necessitate an understanding of reality; meaning must one be aware of ones surroundings? Does life have a differention from living? For example, I am alive, my heart beats and my lungs and digestive system function without the aid of machines. I am confined to a wheel chair and have no independant movement at all; am I alive or am I an organ donor in denial? It is to this second term that I would ask EVOLVING for clarification. Only the original poster can answer what is meant by life. Yes, I have a definition of life, but I choose to wait for Evolvings response.

Third term: begins. This would indicate an assumption that the poster does not beleive that life is a continuum. More to the point, that there is a precise moment in time that life "begins". Again, taking Pinkys suggestion, I would ask for clarification before truly making this assumption.

Now, to my own interpertation of the question. I believe that we are not talking about the biological definition of life, nor of human for that matter. I believe that the question holds an underlying moral dillema. That dillema being, at what point in time do we, society or the individual, afford a new life the same rights that we, as well developed humans, share. (I, of course, will limit my assumptions of "rights" to the THEORETICAL rights, guaranteed by the constitution of the United States).

Now, if this is an inaccurate interpertation, I expect the original poster to correct me post haste.

I look forward to this argument. I know Evolvings stance on the "a" issue, and, that question has been eliminated from the argument quite well.

Of course, if I am completely, totaly off-base then my original definition of the begining of human life stands and I will profer the second half of the question at a later time; the "why" part.


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InvisibleSclorch
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: mr freedom]
    #800934 - 08/06/02 09:08 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

God damn, that was a thorough post. Nice.

I personally think that pinpointing exactly what 'life' means is impossible. The word itself is, at the root, merely an arbitrary construct... a hand-me-down concept that doesn't jive well with reduction. I've been arguing this for awhile now (with myself, friends, colleagues, teachers, etc.)- I'm at a loss for words, literally. I think a new language will be necessary within the next millenium.


--------------------
Note: In desperate need of a cure...


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: mr freedom]
    #801371 - 08/07/02 03:45 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Evolving's original post indicated that the proper context for the answer was to be found in biology which is why I frame my answer the way I do. To answer outside the context is to miss the point or engage in ignoratio elenchi, a logical fallacy.

The moral, religious, and legal aspects spin off of the biological definition which is nothing unusual as scientific truths do impinge upon those areas as a matter of course. Here's a few examples:

When a religious text makes a descriptive truth claim and then science shows that the claim is false we are compelled to reinterpret the truth claim in the light of the scientific fact such as, "The world is flat". If a religious text were to proclaim that we would say the the text is wrong.

Philosophy itself has had to yield to the findings of science as well.

Every discipline has to acknowledge the existence of truth that has been verified empirically. That is the way it is and there is no changing that unless a person wishes to remain illogical and live in a land of fantasy.

In the United States one of our first documents was the Declaration of Independence. In that document the Founding Fathers wrote that life, ie Human Life, was an inalienable right, guaranteed and given by God and that NO STATE, POLITICAL ENTITY, KINGDOM, OR WHATEVER had or has the right to disenfranchise a person of that right.

I get nervous when I hear people talk about when life begins because in the background lurks the idea that we can take a human life and say we have not killed a human being.

We all know the backdrop in this post is the idea that SCOTUS came up with when it decided that a human might be human but not a person. But that is off topic as Evolving did not directly ask that question.

Hitler (yeah, I know Sclorch will love the reference) and the Nazi's decided that certain persons weren't human and so did the United States with the Native Americans and Negroes. No law created to strip humans of their inalienable rights can or could ever be moral to me.

In the meantime I am waiting for an answer to my questions from Buttonion. I want to see where that line of questioning will lead.

Thank you for your compliment.

Cheers,


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Invisiblebuttonion
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #801537 - 08/07/02 06:23 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

So you recognize the distinction between yourself and me?

I acknowledge a distinction between my hand and my arm because drawing a line between them is useful: I can tell my doctor where the pain is or explain to another person where a glove should be placed. It is useful. Similarly, it is useful to continue to acknowledge a distinction between you and I.


How important is that distinction?

In order for us to continue to converse and function in society, it is very important.

But keep in mind, these distinctions I acknowledge are out of convention. I, and most others, use the ?static things exist? assumption as my default way of apprehending nature, while I strive to keep in the back of my head that this is not necessarily the ?real state of affairs.? I also acknowledge your definition of human life as useful, but, like other things, merely an arbitrary delineation of a chunk of reality.


--------------------
Concepts which have been proved to be useful in ordering things easily acquire such an authority over us that we forget their human origins and accept them as invariable.- Albert Einstein


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: buttonion]
    #801647 - 08/07/02 07:16 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Is pragmatism the only reason to ackknowledge "arbitrary" distinctions?

But keep in mind, these distinctions I acknowledge are out of convention. I, and most others, use the “static things exist” assumption as my default way of apprehending nature, while I strive to keep in the back of my head that this is not necessarily the “real state of affairs.” I also acknowledge your definition of human life as useful, but, like other things, merely an arbitrary delineation of a chunk of reality.

How do you know that the distinctions are merely formed out of convention?

How do you know this is not the "real state of affairs"?

Are all perceptions arbitrary?


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #801693 - 08/07/02 07:43 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

How do you know that the distinctions are merely formed out of convention?
How do you know this is not the "real state of affairs"?


Let's take the case of the hand and the arm. Most people will contend that there is such a thing as a hand and I will contend that there is NOT. That it is merely a lingustic convention ("the map is not the territory").

A hand, the flesh and blood, skin and muscle cannot be separated from its function. Remove it from the arm (at some arbitrary point) and it is a lifeless lump that can no longer grasp objects.

Even disregarding function (which I cannot, but you might make a case for it) ask 100 medical experts to show where the hand ends and it will be impossible to get agreement. The best they will be able to do is point on a skeleton where the metacarpal bones end. However the tendons go all the way to the elbow and the skin and blood are part of the continuum known as the human body.



--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


Edited by Swami (08/07/02 03:52 PM)


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OfflineChikhai
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #801897 - 08/07/02 09:26 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

This may have already been mentioned but the Pineal Gland is formed 49 days after the planting of the seed if you will. The Pineal gland, which creates N,N,DMT, is unique in that it is not composed of brain tissue yet sits right smack in the middle of everything that makes us, us. Also, 49 days is when the sex organs first start to appear. The bible makes makes numerous references to 7 x 7. I believe this is a basic Buddhist belief also.

Why this matters? DMT is unleashed during very "psychedelic" moments of one's life including death and birth. I'd find it strange for it to be just a coincidence..


--------------------
"I see!" said the blind man to his deaf wife.


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: Swami]
    #801902 - 08/07/02 09:27 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

i don't necessarily believe in a soul.

i don't believe that DMT is a channel for the soul.

i don't believe that the question is important, because for most people human life NEVER begins, they remain vegative organic growths for the whole of thier existence.

if the question is important it should be broken down into addressable questions. your question is too broad. some of these questions would be...

1) how do you define human life? is human life anything with a certain DNA pattern? or are other factors important? is the term "human" even useful? maybe sentience would be a better litmus test for measuring the value of a life form.

2) is consciousness an important part of being human? if it is then you have to answer a whole slew of other questions like ... are animals conscious? how conscious do you have to be to be human? what types of consciousness?

3) at what point does a life form attain the attributes of sentience? how can this be determined? is classifying things as human arbitrary?

just some thoughts.


Edited by vaporbrains (08/07/02 09:42 AM)


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: Swami]
    #802210 - 08/07/02 11:57 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

I agree that the hand/arm analogy is a good analogy of where an arbitrary distinction can be drawn but that is not to say that all distinctions are arbitrary. In cases of individual life/death and inorganic/organic not only are the distinctions more than arbitrary they are foundational to our understanding of the world.

However, with all that said, Buttonion may be on to something. I will wait for his answer before I refine everything I have ever learned about the universe and the way it exists. In the meantime I want to see how far down the gard... erm, I mean where our dialectic will take us.

Cheers,


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InvisibleMystical_Craven
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #802411 - 08/07/02 01:37 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Interresting post vaporbrains...almost forces one to reconsider their stance. Perhaps there is far more to the question then what is apparent on the surface. Maybe I should start looking deeper into these things before I just blurt out whatever answer seems fitting at the moment.

Or, maybe I should just stop trying to classify things and learn to accept them 'as is' without concerning myself with all the 'why's of the world.


--------------------


"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go..." T.S. Eliot


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Invisiblebuttonion
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #802430 - 08/07/02 01:51 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

(My brain hurts, but I am getting a lot out of this)


Is pragmatism the only reason to ackknowledge "arbitrary" distinctions?

How do you know that the distinctions are merely formed out of convention?


How do you know this is not the "real state of affairs"?


I hope this clarifies my position. Everything that we acknowledge as a thing is ultimately dependent on a countless number of conditions for its ?existence.? The herb in my window is as it is because of the sun, the nutritious soil, water, the humidity in the air, my desire to have it there, the way my parents brought me up to appreciate plant life, my parents good health, the meeting of my wife and her subtle encouragement to pursue a childhood hobby, my parents first date, the cooperative coexistence of the millions of cells that comprise the plant, the evolutionary pressures that led to this breed, and finally gravity and the speed of light. All of these conditions and infinitely many more had to happen for there to be the herb currently sitting in my window. This is the same with all ?things?- any ?thing? you can think of is dependent on an infinite amount of conditions. In other words, all existence, without exception, is entirely contingent- no inherent, by itself existence, but, contingent, dependent existence.

And so ?existence? begins to take on an entirely new meaning. When the conditions change, my plant changes. Although it makes sense to say that ?it changes?, there is in reality no ?it? to change, for when my plant has become compost, where is the ?it? which was the plant? Where is the fist when I open my hand? Where is the basketball that has been vaporized into the air? We refer to ?it? as ?it? because it is useful- we note a relatively stable chunk of perception that we have a need to refer to from time to time, and so it gets a label. But as Swami said, ?the map is not the territory.? These nouns we throw around are useful ways for our organism to achieve some satisfactory understanding of the Tao (I am really liking that word lately, better than ?objective reality?).




In cases of individual life/death and inorganic/organic not only are the distinctions more than arbitrary they are foundational to our understanding of the world.

How is this any less arbitrary than any other distinction that is made? (my turn for questions)


--------------------
Concepts which have been proved to be useful in ordering things easily acquire such an authority over us that we forget their human origins and accept them as invariable.- Albert Einstein


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: buttonion]
    #802995 - 08/07/02 06:07 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

I am glad you are getting a lot out of this and I enjoy our little dialectic for similar reasons.

Yes, that clarifies things quite a bit.

What you said is like the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God brought forth by Aquinas in the 13th century.

1. Every being (that exists or ever did exist) is either a dependent being or a self-existent being.

2. Not every being can be a dependent being. Therefore,

3. There exists a self-existent being.

Note that the argument is valid or sound but it can be refuted. The way to unravel that argument is with the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR). PSR states, "There must be an explanation (a) of the existence of any being, and (b) of any positive fact whatsoever.

To explain how that is used to nullify the proposition would take too much time and is, off topic.

The bulk of your post does clarify your position but it does not answer my questions. At least, with the kind of sufficiency that I was looking for.

So with that in mind would you mind answering those questions before I attempt to answer yours? You merely turned my question around and asked me the same question. I want to hear your answer before I go any further.

BTW, I really appreciate your engagement in this dialectic. It is a joy to read your posts.

Yours,


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Offlinemr freedom
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #803107 - 08/07/02 07:04 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Very well, I'll concede that my second interpretation was incorrect.
You actually haven't answered the question yet. You have mearly hinted that the answer lies in a biological definition without giving that definition.

I think, that "human" should be a no-brainer; like I said, we aren't dealing with frogs here.

The definition of "life" is quite different and I think it requires more analysis.

Let's also not forget, Evolving did set the parameters of this exercise,( thanks for reminding me by the way). One of those parameters was, define the "beginning" of human life. This would entail some additional areas of science, philosophy and/ or legality to look for those definitions.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #803280 - 08/07/02 08:37 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Mr_Mushrooms writes:

Modern biology says you have the wrong answer.

Not so. Modern biology does not call a fertilized frog egg a frog. A frog zygote is just that -- a frog zygote. At least, every biologist I've encountered describes it as such, and thinks of it as such.

pinky


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: Phred]
    #803818 - 08/08/02 05:23 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

You are confusing the adjective with the noun.

In the case of a frog zygote the word frog is an adjective. Which means you can rephrase it, the zygote of a frog, which in turn means, a frog.

Other examples are:

An adolescent gorrilla.

An adult orangutan.

A newborn spider monkey.

Don't just take my word for it. Ask a biologist. When two words like "human fetus" are combined the first word tells what animal it is and the second one tells what stage of development it is at.

Otherwise the term zygote would not have a definition all by itself.

Cheers,


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Invisiblebuttonion
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #803934 - 08/08/02 07:16 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Understandable?

Is pragmatism the only reason to ackknowledge "arbitrary" distinctions?

Yes. I can?t think of another. As a means to some end (consciously or non-consciously) See next for elaboration.



How do you know that the distinctions are merely formed out of convention?

So I contend ?things? do not actually exist in the normally sense of the word ?exist.? (see previous post) The question is now, why do we acknowledge these things in the first place.

First, they may not originally be formed out of convention, ontogenically speaking. A person may distinguish a perception as a thing because of defining features that set it off from the background that our organism responds to (gestalt psych did a lot with this), patterns that became programmed as notable because of the survival value they imparted, or patterns that have been culturally transmitted for another reason. I would say that these patterns remain in the language of the culture because of their utility.

In direct answer to the question, again, I can think of no other reason- I think it is the most plausible answer.



How do you know this is not the "real state of affairs"?

Basically, because things don?t exist. If things don?t exist, then the billiard ball, causality model of nature is not the real state of affairs.



Are all perceptions arbitrary?

Yes. See above for elaboration.

I'm thinking that the idea that "things don't exist" (Emptiness) lies at the heart of this whole debate. What do you think?


--------------------
Concepts which have been proved to be useful in ordering things easily acquire such an authority over us that we forget their human origins and accept them as invariable.- Albert Einstein


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OfflinePhred
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Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #804628 - 08/08/02 01:47 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Mr_Mushrooms writes:

In the case of a frog zygote the word frog is an adjective. Which means you can rephrase it, the zygote of a frog, which in turn means, a frog.

It can be rephrased, true, but grammatically speaking in the second arrangement (which I should have used) both "zygote" and "frog" are nouns.

Semantics aside, there is a biological difference between the group of examples you used -- "newborn", "adolescent", and "adult", and a zygote.

A newborn gorilla IS a gorilla, albeit a sexually immature one. The zygote of a gorilla is NOT YET a gorilla. The fertilized egg of a frog is not yet a frog, nor is a tadpole yet a frog. This is precisely WHY biologists are careful to CALL them "zygotes" or "tadpoles" rather than "really young frogs".

When two words like "human fetus" are combined the first word tells what animal it is and the second one tells what stage of development it is at.

Not precisely. It tells what animal it is FROM (a duck egg vs a chicken egg, for example, or a monkey tail vs a horse tail), not necessarily what animal it IS.

It may be that I have had the misfortune of encountering only very literal biologists, or biologists who deal mainly in species who have a distinct larval stage (my uncle is a marine biologist), but I have never met one who referred to a tadpole as a frog, much less characterize a mere zygote as a frog.

This may all seem unnecessarily picky, but there is no firm legal definition based on biology as to what determines when a zygote or blastocyst or fetus becomes a human. Potential human, sure. Fetal or even larval human, sure, depending on which biologist you speak with.

What is THE defining characteristic that separates us from the other apes? It is not the upright stance or bipedal locomotion or opposable thumbs, it is the fact that man is a RATIONAL ape. Man's essential tool of survival is his MIND as opposed to his instincts. I submit that a zygote is not a rational being.

pinky



--------------------


Edited by pinksharkmark (08/08/02 02:07 PM)


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: buttonion]
    #805112 - 08/08/02 06:06 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Things do not exist.

You are a thing.

You do not exist.

You have already acknowledged that you can differentiate between yourself and me. Do you see what I mean?

You seem to place an emphasis on the fact that things have a relationship with other things and disavow their existence because of it.

Let me break this down into as understandable terms as I am able.

I am a realist. Philosophically that means that I hold three tenets to be true.

1. There are real objects.

2. They exist independently of our experience or our knowledge of them.

3. They have properties and enter into relationships independently of the concepts by which we understand them or of the language with which we describe them.

Science, common sense, and the bulk of philosophers throughout history hold to these three tenets. Others; metaphysicians, certain religious persons, and philosophers, do not agree with these tenets and are anti-realists. They have various ideas that seem to negate any or all of the three tenets but none of their ideas can be upheld in the light of logic. Essentially all their ideas boil down to; we can know reality only as we know it. That is a mere tautology and begs the question. I asked you how do you know that the distinctions are merely formed out of convention and the best answer you gave was that it seemed plausible. It may seem so to you but I assure you that most people do not agree.

Now, are there varieties of ways to perceive the world? Yes, I can think of a few immediately. When a person is in a dream state they perceive the world or can perceive the world in a completely different manner. When a person uses hallucinogenic drugs, they also can perceive the world completely differently. However, for most people, they accept the fact that this reality is real and that the other states are not as valid. Are the other states as valid? There is no way to be certain of that. However, thinking that dream states and or hallucinogenic states are the real reality is a flight into irrationality at best and a flight into insanity at worst. Take your pick. I'll side with the reality I am in most of the time and use the standard interpretation of that reality. Others may do as they please.


How do you know this is not the "real state of affairs"?

Basically, because things don’t exist. If things don’t exist, then the billiard ball, causality model of nature is not the real state of affairs.

That is circular reasoning. You are begging the question.

I'm thinking that the idea that "things don't exist" (Emptiness) lies at the heart of this whole debate. What do you think?

I think that our dialectic is centered around this idea, yes. However, here is what I further think. I think that most people that are imbued with Eastern thought and Eastern Mysticism have a misperception when it comes to what it means to be without the ego. In simple terms, the ego is who we are. A person that places an emphasis on their own well-being at the detriment of others is called an egotist. That means they are consumed with things that, they think, benefit them. The way we treat others is a standard of who we really are. Such a person causes much harm in this world and can bring about pain to people within their orbit. Reality is a harsh place. The Tao is a refuge; a place of solace for people who have experienced the pain this life offers us. So, in order to hide from that pain they play hide and seek among things that cause the pain in an effort to diminish it or nullify it completely. In doing so, they are extremely focused on themselves. That is another function of the ego. It is another variation of an ego defense mechanism. This is most common among those who did not grow up with Eastern Mysticism and so are not culturally prone to it. Alan Watts was of this variety I think and that is why he couldn't put the bottle down. He knew this life was painful and sought sanctuary in the bottle and in ideas that are not accepted by most people.


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: Phred]
    #805146 - 08/08/02 06:15 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

It can be rephrased, true, but grammatically speaking in the second arrangement (which I should have used) both "zygote" and "frog" are nouns.

I do not understand what you mean here.


A newborn gorilla IS a gorilla, albeit a sexually immature one. The zygote of a gorilla is NOT YET a gorilla. The fertilized egg of a frog is not yet a frog, nor is a tadpole yet a frog. This is precisely WHY biologists are careful to CALL them "zygotes" or "tadpoles" rather than "really young frogs".

See above post.

Not precisely. It tells what animal it is FROM (a duck egg vs a chicken egg, for example, or a monkey tail vs a horse tail), not necessarily what animal it IS.

The word human also tells where we are from.

This may all seem unnecessarily picky, but there is no firm legal definition based on biology as to what determines when a zygote or blastocyst or fetus becomes a human.

This is incorrect. The SCOTUS decision which does not concern us here defined all stages of human life as human, but that those humans were not persons and could not be protected by law.

What is THE defining characteristic that separates us from the other apes?

DNA.

I really suggest you consult a professional biologist on this matter because it seems no matter what I say you cannot understand my point and/or cannot agree with it.

Zygote, Embryo, and Fetus are terms for stages of development. Human, chimpanzee and gorilla are terms for the living organisms themselves.

Cheers,





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Invisiblebuttonion
Calmly Watching

Registered: 04/04/02
Posts: 303
Loc: Kansas
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #805196 - 08/08/02 06:33 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Cool. I'm not going to be able to respond for a bit. Probably late tomorrow or Saturday morning.

By the way, I really appreciate your engagment in this, especially since we are getting a bit off the topic. I really want to iron this out.


--------------------
Concepts which have been proved to be useful in ordering things easily acquire such an authority over us that we forget their human origins and accept them as invariable.- Albert Einstein


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: buttonion]
    #805257 - 08/08/02 06:53 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

I feel the same.

Take your time. The slower we go the more progress we might make.

Cheers,


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OfflinePhred
Fred's son
Male

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 12,949
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Last seen: 6 years, 8 months
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: buttonion]
    #805588 - 08/08/02 09:02 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

I think this is straying further and further afield from the original topic of the thread. It might be best to spin it off to a new sub-thread, don't you think? But what the hell, I can't restrain myself from addressing a few points right now.

buttonion writes:

Everything that we acknowledge as a thing is ultimately dependent on a countless number of conditions for its ?existence.?

Perhaps. So what? The thing exists nonetheless.

This is the same with all ?things?- any ?thing? you can think of is dependent on an infinite amount of conditions. In other words, all existence, without exception, is entirely contingent- no inherent, by itself existence, but, contingent, dependent existence.

Ummm... not quite. It is true that a chunk of iron ore could not exist before a supernova somewhere created the conditions that allowed the formation of iron atoms from simpler atoms, but that doesn't mean that once formed that ore has no independent existence. It exists. There it is. Pick it up and handle it if you wish. That chunk of ore DOES have a "by itself" existence. It is no longer dependent on the continued existence of its parent supernova.

When the conditions change, my plant changes. Although it makes sense to say that ?it changes?, there is in reality no ?it? to change...

This argument holds water only if one defines an existant (let's call it an entity from here on) as something that is both eternal and static; something that has always been there and always will, ignoring the dimension of time. Just as an entity cannot simultaneously occupy every point on the X, Y, and Z axis of the standard physical three dimensional grid, so it cannot occupy all points on the time axis.

...for when my plant has become compost, where is the ?it? which was the plant?

The constituent components of what were once configured as the entity "plant" are still there, but in a different form. That doesn't change the fact that for a certain period of time, the plant existed as a plant.

Where is the fist when I open my hand?

Same answer, but now you are resorting to sophistry.

We refer to ?it? as ?it? because it is useful- we note a relatively stable chunk of perception...

Not exactly accurate. We PERCEIVE a relatively stable entity, which is not the same thing as noting a perception. The entity exists, whether we perceive it or not.

...that we have a need to refer to from time to time, and so it gets a label. But as Swami said, ?the map is not the territory.?

Perhaps. Yet the entity exists, whether we perceive it or not, whether we label it or not, whether we discuss it or not. Its existence is independent of our perception.

These nouns we throw around are useful ways for our organism(s)...

-- which are entities --

... to achieve some satisfactory understanding of the Tao.

Which, if I understand the term correctly, is the sum of all entities.

Responding to Mr_Mushroom's statement: In cases of individual life/death and inorganic/organic not only are the distinctions more than arbitrary they are foundational to our understanding of the world. buttonion asks:

How is this any less arbitrary than any other distinction that is made?

Because the distinction between a living entity and a non-living entity is THE key distinction to be made. It is not arbitrary at all. It is dead simple to differentiate a non-living entity from a living entity: a non-living entity cannot initiate action. A living entity not only CAN initiate action, it MUST do so in order to consider to exist as a living entity. Further, not only must it initiate action, it must initiate a complex and continuing SERIES of CORRECT actions necessary to sustain its existence as a living entity. Failure to do so results (in a very short period of time) in the end of its existence. A chunk of gold is a chunk of gold, whether hammered into a thin sheet or fashioned into an ornament or simply lying in a lump somewhere. A gold nugget can lie motionless in a cave for eons and still be a gold nugget. But if a mouse lies motionless in a cave for more than a few days it is no longer a mouse, it is a sack of decaying meat.

Not to belabor the obvious, but if the distinction between a living and non-living entity was arbitrary, hence of no fundamental importance, who would be around to even pose the question?

pinky


--------------------


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #805699 - 08/08/02 09:51 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

There are some very interesting responses in this thread...

The original question did not address at which point a human life becomes a person. The question was not an appeal for a legal definition. The question was really one of biology. Perhaps I should have presented it differently with more qualifiers, "At what point does an individual, biological human life begin?" However, the answers are most instructive in uncovering people's justifications for their moral and political positions (as I expected). My currently held assumption remains the same as previously stated. I have not encountered any compelling arguments to change it. Mr_Mushrooms stated quite well, my reasoning on the matter. My assumptions are based on observable, reproducible scientific (biological) evidence and principles.

Swami, I must say that I was quite distressed that I found myself in agreement with Alex123 regarding your statement, "Dig up a plant and tell me where the plant's roots end and the earth begins. It is impossible as it is a continuum." As one who has done a fair amount of gardening (legal and otherwise), that was pretty weak.


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: Phred]
    #806248 - 08/09/02 06:30 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Bravo bravo, well done!

[stands and applauds]


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #806254 - 08/09/02 06:35 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

To invest one's self in the pseudo-assumed conclusion of any particular premise or set of premises is the surest way to blind one's eyes to the truth. This thread offers abundant evidence of that.


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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 15,413
Loc: In the hen house
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #806392 - 08/09/02 07:50 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Swami, I must say that I was quite distressed that I found myself in agreement with Alex123 regarding your statement, "Dig up a plant and tell me where the plant's roots end and the earth begins. It is impossible as it is a continuum." As one who has done a fair amount of gardening (legal and otherwise), that was pretty weak.

When digging up any plant, you will bring up some dirt with it and leave some rootlets in the ground. It is impossible not to. Now whip out a microscope and state that you can tell EXACTLY where one starts and the other begins. The dirt is in the process of becoming part of the plant.

Try not to be too distressed.


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: Swami]
    #806430 - 08/09/02 08:08 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

I would state that the root begins at the cell wall.


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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 15,413
Loc: In the hen house
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #806514 - 08/09/02 09:02 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

For the plant to absorb any nutrients, the cell membrane cannot be totally closed. It must be permeable and that means an indistinct boundary. Is the mineral that is half in and half out of the membrane, dirt or plant?


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


Edited by Swami (08/09/02 09:43 AM)


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: Swami]
    #806545 - 08/09/02 09:15 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

The boundary is placed between that which has DNA and that which does not. The one side is organic and living and the other side is inorganic and non-living. There is nothing difficult about it.

Please refer us to a scientific peer-reviewed article that gives credence to your idea.

Thank you.

Cheers,


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Invisiblebuttonion
Calmly Watching

Registered: 04/04/02
Posts: 303
Loc: Kansas
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #807066 - 08/09/02 01:06 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

This is kind of funny. I have spent quite a bit of time on my response? and a way to expedite the conversation just dawned on me. I realize that it is my turn to respond, but your answer to this question will likely save me (actually us) a lot of time.

What is a thing, more properly known in philosophy as an ?object? or ?real object??

It is probably important to lay out a working definition, especially since I am basically saying that they don?t exist. A definition that I found involves independent existence, but this can't be what you are saying since I have shown that all "things" have interdependent existence.


--------------------
Concepts which have been proved to be useful in ordering things easily acquire such an authority over us that we forget their human origins and accept them as invariable.- Albert Einstein


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InvisibleSclorch
Clyster

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Registered: 07/13/99
Posts: 4,805
Loc: On the Brink of Madness
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: buttonion]
    #807193 - 08/09/02 02:01 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Too much idealism... not enough reality.

Practically speaking, the word "object" is VERY accurate.
HOWEVER, once we all note the interdependence (no determinism implied here) of all "things" in this place we call reality, it becomes quite clear that there is no ideal way of separating something from "the rest". Waves... particles... whatever, someTHING will "contaminate" (for lack of a better word) the "object" we are trying to separate from everything else.

So, it all boils down to our conceptualization of the world AND, since there are many different ways of looking at it, before we start arguing about such "things" it would help to have a common ground. The problem arises when deciding which common ground we'll use. Since I'm getting a little tired of tapping at these keys, I'll let someone else decide as this is not my argument.


--------------------
Note: In desperate need of a cure...


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Invisiblebuttonion
Calmly Watching

Registered: 04/04/02
Posts: 303
Loc: Kansas
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: Sclorch]
    #807219 - 08/09/02 02:16 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

it becomes quite clear that there is no ideal way of separating something from "the rest". Waves... particles... whatever, someTHING will "contaminate" (for lack of a better word) the "object" we are trying to separate from everything else.


Sclorch! Dude, jump in! I know your at least familiar with Watts. I can only think of so many ways of saying what I am trying to say here. Your input may clarify a lot.


--------------------
Concepts which have been proved to be useful in ordering things easily acquire such an authority over us that we forget their human origins and accept them as invariable.- Albert Einstein


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: buttonion]
    #807500 - 08/09/02 05:20 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

This question is actually more complex than some might think. I'll do my best to answer it.

Things, more properly called entities as Pinky indicated, must meet a set of criteria in order to count as things. Entities must be either an individual or a property or a relation or an event or a state of affairs or a set. Each of these examples is a category. Secondly, the existence, or being, of a thing is what makes it an entity. Thirdly, it has to have identity that is distinct from everything else. It must have properties and have a relation to other entities. And lastly, it must be logically self-consistent.

If you need a further explanation just ask. I can go into each section in more detail but that might be a bit cumbersome. Hopefully these answers are sufficient for our purposes.

Good job in asking for the definition. Most people argue without defining the terms they use. It's a mess.

Cheers,


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: Sclorch]
    #807504 - 08/09/02 05:24 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Too much idealism... not enough reality.

Yes, that has been on my mind ever since this thread took a turn down this path.

Berkeleianism makes my skin crawl.

Cheers,


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Invisiblebuttonion
Calmly Watching

Registered: 04/04/02
Posts: 303
Loc: Kansas
Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: ]
    #807565 - 08/09/02 06:07 PM (19 years, 1 month ago)

All right. After a review, I think that this is heading in the direction of a nominalism/idealism vs. realism debate. Let me reassess if this is the case, if nominalism/idealism encompasses the entirety of what I would like to say (and Buddhist/Taoist thought on existence- that would be interesting). I?ll start a new thread once I?ve figured it out. Talk to you soon.


--------------------
Concepts which have been proved to be useful in ordering things easily acquire such an authority over us that we forget their human origins and accept them as invariable.- Albert Einstein


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Anonymous

Re: When Does Human Life Begin? [Re: buttonion]
    #808357 - 08/10/02 07:27 AM (19 years, 1 month ago)

Good. The new thread will be fun!

I look backward to it.

Cheers,


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