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Debate Score:61
Arguments:42
Total Votes:94
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 When does life start? (42)

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JakeJ(3255) pic



When does life start?

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3 points

When a haploid sperm cell meets a haploid egg cell, they form a diploid zygote, which has the same exact DNA that the fully developed baby will have- and exactly as much of the DNA. This zygote, having human DNA, also carries out the basic life processes of all life: it "eats", makes waste, reproduces (this would be asexual reproduction to make more cells), can react to the environment, grows, etc. Bacteria can do all of the same things and they are only one cell each. Nobody says they're not alive.

Side: Conception

I've thought about it, and actually, I agree.

The thing is that the question automatically gets people started on abortion and fetuses, when really, all it's asking is, when does life start? I'm not sure if the intention of the person who made this debate was to talk about abortion or simply the creation of life, but if it was the creation of life then it would be the zygote.

"Bacteria can do all of the same things and they are only one cell each. Nobody says they're not alive."

So if this argument is taken as an abortion issue then one (well, me, duh [: ) could argue that while bacteria may be alive, no one really has any qualms about killing bacteria because as I stated in my original argument, it is not a conscious, thinking, feeling thing (at least not in the way humans are, just to be clear).

Side: Consciousness
0 points

"So if this argument is taken as an abortion issue then one (well, me, duh [: ) could argue that while bacteria may be alive, no one really has any qualms about killing bacteria because as I stated in my original argument, it is not a conscious, thinking, feeling thing (at least not in the way humans are, just to be clear)."

Ah interesting point! And I'm sure there are many people that could kill bacteria without even thinking about it. But how many of those people also kill spiders and insects? And how many of those people go hunting and kill deer. The point is that that one little cell is still a living human cell and not many people would admit to having the guts to murder something. ;)

Side: Conception
3 points

life started trillions of years ago when protein molecules or w/e were able to form a sequence that was able to create the very first living object (a cell).

That cell divided and mutated to form other things. skip a few trillion years and here we are.

Now, if you're talking about abortion... well, like i said, life was already around way before that. If anything, it's most likely that all of us (unless some other cells came from another planet through an asteroid or something) have all come from the same exact life form.

Let's face it, abortion is built on morals and NOT ethics. You find it morally wrong to kill a fetus. Old school catholics find it morally wrong to kill sperm.

To me, the only thing that can ethically be supported is once the fetus has consciousness it should be considered an individual. Sure, but we still don't really know when that is. It varies.

Me? I think the human race is tainted enough with morons and the last thing we need is more morons, especially if the parents didn't want them in the first place. As human beings we need to focus on important issues, getting our lives fixed. We can't tell every pregnant teenager to live with the consequences. This just spawns more irresponsible idiots and bad upbringings. Trust me, young mothers who have to work 3 jobs just to support her child (since she couldn't get a college education with a child to pay for) is not good for society.

I'm all for individualism, but I don't really consider fetuses to be individuals in the first place. Why should REAL individuals have to care for surreal individuals?

Side: Trillions of Years Ago
MKIced(2510) Disputed
2 points

I might as well jump on the bandwagon and quote your famous line: "I think the human race is tainted enough with morons and the last thing we need is more morons"

The solution to this is not abortion. Most of us are all born the same. Except for mental disabilities at birth, we all have the potential to learn and the potential to become great. It just takes more work with some people. Yes, the human race might be tainted with morons, and the last thing we need is more of them, but this can be fixed with education.

Side: Trillions of Years Ago
ThePyg(6737) Disputed
2 points

I'd hate to have to quote Ron White to make a point, but he was right when he said "you can't fix stupid".

The people raising these children are most likely to be morons (because most human beings are morons). No matter how much education a school system shoves down a child's throat, nothing's going to fix the plague that humanity has dealt with since evolution. Human Nature. Which includes its natural stupidity.

Side: Trillions of Years Ago

"The human race is tainted enough with morons and the last thing we need is more morons"

Great! Haha, I agree completely.

Side: Trillions of Years Ago
JakeJ(3255) Disputed
-1 points

"I think the human race is tainted enough with morons and the last thing we need is more morons"

I think Ebenezer Scrooge said something like that ... .. ..(;

Side: Conception
2 points

This is a loaded question, since there's no clear definition for what constitutes "life".

Using Biology's definition, there are 7 characteristics that living organisms exhibit:

1. Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, electrolyte concentration or sweating to reduce temperature.

2. Organization: Being structurally composed of one or more cells, which are the basic units of life.

3. Metabolism: Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.

4. Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.

5. Adaptation: The ability to change over a period of time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism's heredity as well as the composition of metabolized substances, and external factors present.

6. Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of multicellular organisms. A response is often expressed by motion, for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun (phototropism) and by chemotaxis.

7. Reproduction: The ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism, or sexually from two parent organisms.

Since the question is actually asking "when does the life of a child start", all 7 criteria are not met until puberty.

Supporting Evidence: Life (en.wikipedia.org)
Side: Trillions of Years Ago
1 point

For a human, when some form of consciousness begins, which the best we can guess is around the 3rd trimester. While there is not much more consciousness than an insect, we give it credence because of its potential to become a human.

It's a good compromise between the two irreconcilable views, pro-life and pro-choice, unfortunately some would rather kill fully conscious adults with a family and friends of their own than compromise on this, but w/e.

For animals I think it depends. We treat all animals basically the same, like in some countries you eat monkey, but emotionally primates are not much different than us - Bonobo, the Forgotten Ape: De Waal & Lanting. Other animals like chickens, it's debatable whether they reach much consciousness beyond that of say a fetus in the 8th month, but hardly anyone pays much attention to it because there's no further potential.

The whole thing is a little silly actually. From a strictly logical point considering how small all living things are the difference between us, the highest form we know of, and say that of an ant, is barely noticable. But really all we can do is make these kinds of moral judgements from our own perspective, and unless a god or some superior alien intelligence danes to "show us the way," it's important we continue to compromise with civility.

Side: inconsequential
2 points

I'm surprised no one else is taking my trillions of years ago argument.

That really is the most logical answer.

Side: Trillions of Years Ago
JakeJ(3255) Disputed
1 point

"When does life start?" not When did life start. ________--

Side: Conception
1 point

True technically, and I upvoted it. I felt like arguing abortion for the billionth time though, god knows why I bother.

Side: Trillions of Years Ago
1 point

I would agree with you in one sense. I almost used your tag but life goes back much farther. It's more like to infinity.

Side: Life is eternal
JakeJ(3255) Disputed
-1 points

For a human, when some form of consciousness begins, which the best we can guess is around the 3rd trimester. While there is not much more consciousness than an insect, we give it credence because of its potential to become a human.

How does consciousness matter if the potential is still there? What if it's a week before the "3rd trimester" mark? You have to draw the line somewhere. The consciousness line is too crooked.

It's the same as knocking a newborn unconscious then killing them.

unfortunately some would rather kill fully conscious adults with a family and friends of their own than compromise on this, but w/e.

Yeah don't kill the murderer, but the baby is small and unconscious, so kill it because it's basically an insect.

Side: Conception
iamdavidh(4856) Disputed
1 point

1. technically, yeah, it's a compromise, aborting when there is no consciousness isn't the same thing as murder. Since people are attached to the idea of human potential, they only perform an abortion after the 3rd trimester in extreme circumstances. So I agree that it's a silly line, but you have to draw it somewhere. If abortions are illegal people get them anyway, not an infant is "saved" and tons of women wind up dead from botched abortions in dirty basements. On the other hand we have a sense of empathy for the unborn even before they are self-aware in any respect because we're human, and so the line should be drawn somewhere.

2. abortion is murder, it's a doctor doing their job

Side: Conception
1 point

If we are talking about conception I think it's rather obvious. Both the egg and sperm are living, therefore it is life throughout. Furthermore when the DNA of the egg and sperm combine we now have a new and distinct creature. In the case of human sperm and egg; you now have a human being in the early stages of it's development. It was always alive but it is now a unique and distinct human being.

If we are talking about the ontology of life; I am convinced we are talking about ultimate reality, something our creator is. Since our creator is the sine qua non of the cosmos and everything in it, then life is contingent upon Him. Therefore since He is the source of life and He is eternal, than life must also be eternal.

So then if we take the above statements we can see that at some point our creator breathed life into matter and made living creatures. And from our present time all the way back there is a continuous thread of life that leads ultimately to the giver of life.

Side: Life is eternal
0 points

Life starts at consciousness. Life ends when you are (permanently) no longer conscious, so why shouldn't life begin that way? There are diseases that rot your body from the inside out and you have the potential to die, yet you still live because you are conscious of your self and your body.

If it is all about potential, consider this: The plant you walk on that looks like grass has the potential to become a great shade giving tree. The flora of endangered rain forests have the potential to become life-giving nutrients for the fauna of the forests, yet we cut those down. The fruits that we eat have the potential to kill us through an allergic reaction. The difference is consciousness. These things are not conscious like the human mind is conscious and so we don't think about it.

Let us look at consciousness: Consciousness depends on our neurons being able to communicate with each other; all the medical evidence and understanding we have in medicine and neuroscience points to consciousness and awareness arising out of cell interactions. If this is the case then the neurons have to be mature enough to develop an action potential. Myelin sheaths have to be developed so that the nerve cell is sufficiently insulated so that the charge that is transmitted is not interfered with or lost. Lastly, the body must produce neurotransmitters, chemicals that allow the charge from one neuron to be transmitted to the next neuron.

So life begins after and not before these three conditions are met.

Side: Consciousness
Kinda(1649) Disputed
1 point

So plants and animals do not have life?

I think I misunderstood your point.

Side: Consciousness
WendyMac1991(17) Disputed
0 points

I wrote: These things are not conscious like the human mind is conscious, so we don't think about it.

Is that clearer?

Side: Consciousness
-1 points

At the point when without an abortion or outside factor, a baby will eventually be born.

Even if it's just a zygote it will eventually be a person. It's all about potential. Therefore the masturbation (sperm killing) argument is invalid.

If one person can change the world, so can one abortion.

Side: Conception
1 point

"Therefore the masterbation argument is invalid."

This is also an invalid argument in a strictly biological sense. A sperm cell is haploid, which means it only has half as much DNA as a typical somatic cell. Organisms that have diploid cells only produce haploid cells as sex cells.

Side: Conception
0 points

Precisely

The minimum length for an argument is 50 characters. The purpose of this restriction is to cut down on the amount of dumb jokes, so we can keep the quality of debate and discourse as high as possible.

Side: Conception
MisterGuy(1) Disputed
-1 points

Human life is not about "potentially", it is about actuality. A human being is not considered to be viable until past the 20-week gestation mark, period.

Side: the point of viability
JakeJ(3255) Disputed
0 points

It's all about potential. If you would have been aborted in the womb you would have never had the chance to respond to my argument.

Side: Conception
-1 points

Life starts when you want it to. Its ready when your ready. Its based on whether you believe life has a purpose

Side: the point of viability
MisterGuy(1) Disputed
0 points

This is a silly "argument". A viable human life does NOT begin at conception. The point of human viability has been around 20-something weeks of gestation for quite some time now. It may creep earlier & earlier into a pregnancy, but we are a loooong way away from human life beginning at conception.

One's personal, religious beliefs have nothing to do with the science involved in this question. This is why the USA has a separation of church & state.

Side: the point of viability