Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Some Basic Biology

     Although I am a Biomedical Science major, I have not yet taken any biology classes in college. I have only taken (and passed) the AP Biology exam in high school. But just that minimal knowledge of biology has been enough for me to understand how reproduction works. You would think that what I am about to explain would be common knowledge and commonly understood, but in our world of Choice it apparently is not.

     First, some background information.  There are 2 types of reproduction: asexual and sexual. The cells that make up our bodies reproduce asexually, meaning that almost every cell can divide into two "daughter cells". This is how we grow or heal wounds (mostly). But we as a species reproduce sexually. I know we all know this, but like I said, apparently a lot of people don't understand what this means.
     A new organism is produced via sexual reproduction by two haploid cells combining to make one diploid cell.   In humans, haploid cells are the sperm and egg. They are called HAploid because they have HAlf the number of chromatin necessary to develop.  So when you combine TWO haploid cells, we call it a DIploid cell because you now have twice the amount of chromatin, which now make the normal 26 paired chromosomes.  Scientifically, the first diploid cell is a new, unique, living organism. All animals reproduce this way, and even plants.
     Another seemingly common-sense statement: species reproduce new organisms of the same species. SO, when two HUMAN haploid cells combine, SCIENCE tells us that those HUMANS have created a new organism that is the same species: HUMAN. (After all, what do people think sex was developed by evolution for? Just for fun? And then it just happened to be a good way for reproduction to fit into the mix? No! Obviously the way sex was created by evolution was because it could reproduce. The reason we genetically want it so bad is because reproducing is REALLY important, so nature (God) made sure we really liked it).

     So Pro-Life realizes how this reproduction works and has adjusted our views about human life to incorporate it. Pro-Choice, on the other hand, has tried to find ways to avoid this SCIENTIFIC PROOF that a fertilized human egg is a human. Apparently they think there is some sort of extreme and undetectable exception to human diploid cells that make them different from every other species on the planet that reproduces in the same way.  I am going to list a few common Pro-Choice arguments dealing with early stage of human development and explain why they are inconsistent or flawed.
     "Humans are multi-cellular organisms. A single cell is not Human. Therefore, it can be removed if we want." This statement needs a correction: Humans are multi-cellular organisms for a majority of a human's life. From nearly day 1, that single diploid cell begins dividing and growing. But it is a fact that every human began as a single cell. We just don't see people while they are in this short single-cell stage of development, so we aren't used to thinking about it that way. So, in order to be consistent with this view, Pro-Choice needs to say that it is sometimes OKAY to kill humans, based on their size or abilities.
     "Early cells of what will develop into a new life cannot think or feel. They do not have sentience. They are not persons in the same way that I would consider you or I persons."  This argument draws a sharp contrast between being HUMAN and being a PERSON. Just to begin thinking this way should scare us. Saying there is a difference between being human and being a person is the same mind-set that helped the Nazis with their concentration camps.  A truly compassionate and loving society would treat all humans as persons.  If we try to redefine personhood, we are falling into the same mistakes that every society in history has made. In Ancient Greece and Rome, you had to be 18 years old and sometimes own property in order to be considered a full person and have rights. In some societies, parents could kill their children if they wanted because they weren't "persons" yet.  In early American history, if you had black skin you weren't considered a person. We are making these same mistakes. We're saying you have to have detectable brain waves, or be developed enough to feel emotions in order for us to consider you a person. (Not to mention how a consistent view of this treats the mentally ill or disabled) We need to stop drawing these lines and encompass all humans in our scope of compassion and life. This would seem like common-sense, but sadly it is not.
     "If you tell me that killing a single human cell is equivalent to murder, then every time I scratch my nose I'm committing genocide." When you scratch your nose, you're killing off less than 0.0001% of your body's cells. When you kill a human zygote, you're killing 100% of that organisms cells. You have killed that organism. Since that organism is human, you've just killed a human. Common sense? Apparently not...

     This is why I get so upset when I see or hear people say that Pro-Life is outdated religious beliefs. I see it completely opposite. Pro-Life has seen the science, seen the facts, and incorporated it into what we believe. People seem to think that its different because the early stages of that human lives in his or her mother. But that is just a fact of nature.

     As mammals, we live inside our mothers for the first 9 months of our lives.
     I don't know why I would be any more upset about that than I would be upset about the fact that I don't have wings like a bird.