First of all, I'm not 18 yet but so I can't vote. However, there's one thing I still can do: inform you of the the problems with proposal 2.
What Is Proposal 2?
-Proposal 2 is an amendment to the Michigan state constitution that would allow completely unrestricted use of embryos for embryonic stem cell research.
(It would be nearly impossible to undo, seeing as it would be an amendment to the Michigan state constitution.)
-It would prohibit state and local laws that prevent, restrict or even so much as discourage embryonic stem cell research in Michigan.
(In other words, for example: if someone decided that they wanted to build a research lab right next to your house, the zoning laws would not apply because they would "discourage" embryonic stem cell research.)
Some Surprising Facts You May Not Know:
-Embryonic stem cell research has cost taxpayers in other states that have allowed and embraced similar proposals loads of money. In New York, taxes were increased by $600 Million and in California, taxpayers have to deal with a $3 billion increase.
-EMBRYONIC stem cell research doesn't work. Plain and simple. No cures or therapies have been found as a result of embryonic stem cell research. None. It doesn't work.
-ADULT stem cell research has had GREAT success in finding 77 cures or therapies!
Why Vote No? (including the obvious aforementioned reasons)
-It leads to more loss of human life. (that alone should be reason enough.)
-It leads to more devaluing of human life.
-Embryonic stem cell research doesn't work.
-It would cost you (a taxpayer) loads of money.
-Resources that could have been used for other stem cell research that does work, will be wasted on embryonic stem cells research.
Interpretation Of The MOC:
-Proposal 2 leads to a slippery slope (represented by slick white surface) which in turn leads to the devaluing and loss of human life.
-The skeletons at the bottom of the slippery slope represent that lost human life.
-The backbone of the whole proposal is sin.
-Experimenting with the idea of combining human and animal embryos (a part of the proposal I didn't even get into) has its foundation in darkness, thus the black base-plates
I'm all for stem cell research, just don't kill human embryos to get the stem cells.
Feel free to argue with me. I'm quite confident that there are no reasons to vote in favor of this proposal other than one's that are than selfish, wrong, or confused.
Vote NO on proposal 2 in Michigan.
IN RESPONSE TO JAKE AND NATE BUSH:
I'm glad to have convinced you Jake :)
Nate, I'm glad you asked what you asked. First I'll explain why those cells you mentioned is a human life, then why this proposal would lead to the killing of that life.
First: Please, I've been wanting someone to tell me, what else could those human cells be?? What they are is a human in one of its earliest stages of development.
Second: Some of the kinds of embryonic stem cell research that would be allowed include that which requires the killing of the embryo in order to get the desired results. I will gladly delve deeper into this topic if you'd like.
When I said that embryonic stem cell research does not work, I meant just that. It doesn't work. The reason that it is being restricted is because of that reason and because it kills human life. I don't think it's the other way around as you put it (that embryonic stem cell research's lack of cures is because of how restricted it is). And, by the way, I wouldn't consider $3 billion all going to help embryonic stem cell research (as is the case in California) a restriction!
Thank for being willing to talk about this! It's nice to be able to "sit down" and have a good argument with each other :)
(I would just post this as a comment, but MOCpages won't let me right now, oh-well)
EDIT # 2 IN RESPONSE TO NATE:
No, I disagree, a human embryo is a human life. Here's how I figure (using simple logic): The human embryo develops into a human being, thus we know it is alive and therefore a being. And furthermore, it cannot develop into anything other than a human, thus we know it is a human.
So according to your argument, if someone cannot feel anything, there's no reason why it would be wrong to kill it? In other words, for example: If you hit you're head while walking up the next flight of stairs you encounter and go into a coma, it would be alright for anyone else to come and kill you for research purposes (say, dissection). The error seems a bit more obvious in that situation doesn't it? Now you might say: "well, the person in the coma would be able to come out of the coma and then continue life as usual". I would in turn reply: "The embryo has a perfectly good chance as well to live a normal life, that is unless someone comes along and kills it."
Yes, I did mean: "produce useful results" when I said "work".
In your response you also said:
"Taxpayers’ money goes to fund research that will not lead to anything useful all the time, and stem cell research is no different in that regard (unless it does lead to something useful). "
When you said "stem cell research" did you mean ADULT stem cell research?
If you did, then I would tell you that adult stem cell research is drastically different from embryonic stem cell research in that regard. ADULT stem cell research has been used to discover 77 different cures or therapies. EMBRYONIC stem cell research has been tried, but with NO success. Are you suggesting that we choose to fund something that has proven itself "not to work"?
EDIT #3 IN RESPONSE TO NATE:
The definition of the word sentient, according to Websters New World College Dictionary 4th edition: of, having, or capable of feeling or perception; conscious.
How does the example of you in a coma not fall into the same category as an embryo as far as this definition is concerned? Please tell.
Also dealing with the example of a coma, you said,
"...waking up from a coma is not the same thing as the long process of developing into a sentient human. A person in a coma probably still has friends and family, and could resume his or her life upon waking. This is the important distinction: by developing into a human, an embryo would not be resuming a previously-started life, but beginning a new one. That’s why there’s nothing wrong with killing embryos for research." (I still reply, as I did ahead of time before, "The embryo has a perfectly good chance as well to live a normal life, that is unless someone comes along and kills it.")
So in other words, I suppose I could have used the example of you as a baby. Babies are also (along with embryos) just starting life. Why didn't someone just kill you when you were a baby? Sounds a little different now doesn't it? You even had sentience and everything. But don't worry, killing you as a baby would have been OK, and in fact would have helped solve the problem of overpopulation! Wouldn't that be wonderful? In fact, why not just kill yourself now, since you missed the chance earlier?
I truly hope that now you begin to see my point. No, I don't want you to kill yourself, but according to your arguments: you should be perfectly fine with the idea. So why aren't you? It's rather hypocritical, is it not?
Yours and mine differences are our worldviews. Your worldview causes you to think of people as mere things, just things to use (for your own selfish means, which in the very beginning of all this I said, "I'm quite confident that there are no reasons to vote in favor of this proposal other than one's that are than selfish...") life is rather unimportant to you. You die, the end. My worldview (a Christian worldview) says that we're are all important to God. It says that when someone dies, they will either go to heaven or hell, and that it matters what you do, believe or decide in life because of those outcomes.
Because of our worldviews, I believe life has value. You don't.
You also said, "Either way, it [research] will increase our knowledge of things, and that’s always good."
Was it good when Hitler experimented and researched on humans in the ways he did? Certainly not.
EDIT #4 IN RESPONSE TO GOERG PECHLER:
It's very important to define what you mean when you use the word problem.
EDIT #5 IN RESPONSE TO SILENT SIG-FIG:
I don't think you understand my view. I am all in favor of adult stem cell research!! It is a wonderful breakthrough! Adult stem cells research has already been used to find 77 different cures of therapies! It's totally awesome. What I do have a problem with, is research that kills or harms the human embryo.
EDIT #6 IN RESPONSE TO NATE'S 2nd COMMENT ON NOV. 5:
If you end the life of the embryo, then you end the life of the human that the embryo would have developed into, it's that simple.
The reason I believe you don't value human life is because you've said yourself to think of it as, (I interpret) good only for your own selfish means: "...considering all the problems that come from overpopulation, it’s probably a good thing that these embryos don’t develop into more humans." (Let's not get off onto a tangent, but there is actually no problem of overpopulation.) "...there’s nothing wrong with killing embryos for research. There is no shortage of human lives..."
That is not valuing human life. Yes I realize that you think that human cells in their early stages are not a human life, but I still ask, what else could they be other than a human life?
You said: "The thing about an embryo is that although it does have a good chance to live a normal life, it hasn’t yet, while a person in a coma has already, and could wake up at any random moment. That’s why killing someone in a coma is not okay..."
What do you mean by this? Does someone have to have some "badge" or "level of social involvement" or simply "sentience" to be worth keeping alive?
You said: "Also, your example of Hitler’s research does not apply here. No, it wasn’t good when he did his cruel experiments on people, because he was not even considering ethics." Whoa there, just wait one minute. Hitler actually though that he WAS doing the best possible thing for everyone by killing the one's he thought were inefficient, or in-superior. Much (I am extremely sad to say) like you think should be done. The only difference is your views on which group should go.
I believe that you just killed your previous argument about you in a coma not being comparable to embryos for me by saying this, "stem cell research is not unethical, because the embryos are not sentient in any way. Although they have the potential to be, that’s no reason to treat them as if they already are." Which could be read as: "killing someone in a coma (stem cell research) is not unethical, because the person in the coma (embryo) is not sentient in any way. Although they have the potential to be, that’s no reason to treat them as if they already are." Embryos have just as good of a chance at a "normal" life as someone in a coma.
I would absolutely love to hear your definition of ethics.
Lastly, if there's anything I neglected to answer or cover, please tell me. My head is swirling with thoughts :) Still glad we can argue civilly. -Ben
EDIT #7 IN RESPONSE TO "SOMEONE":
I'm glad you decided to take action "Someone". Arguments like this one are very healthy. I did not ignore his comment about the fact that SOME embryos would be discarded anyway, so why not use them for research. My answer was, "How does that justify the act of killing them?" Which I believe led us into the topic of the value of human life.
Don't worry at all about any bad English you might have, I know how hard it is to fully learn other languages (I'm learning Mandarin Chinese myself). Keep on thinking, this is a very important topic! -Ben
EDIT #8 IN RESPONSE TO NATE'S LAST COMMENT ON NOV. 5:
First of all, I need to apologize to you Nate. I did not mean to suggest that you are a Nazi, because you're not. I am sorry.
I see that since our worldviews are different, the way we view topics such as these can only also be different. So, unless one of us is willing to change his world view, this argument between us won't end. With that in mind, I think it's time to take a break from it for now each with one thing agreed:
"we are agreed that we disagree :)"
There, isn't it great to end with an agreement (er, sort-of).
See you around MOCpages, and it was great to speak with you Nate!
EDIT #9 IN RESPONSE TO "SOMEONE'S" RECENT SET OF COMMENTS:
I may say anything I wish about Obama (due to the whole "free speech" idea in America), he is "bad" and (just like proposal 2) he is another "issue" that people need to be aware of. (Expect a MOC about him.)
This MOC/experience has been great and the argument was a good one!
Like I said to Nate, it is time we should end this argument, but I'll tell you what I told him about some of these things previously, and answer a few of your questions.
I'm not quite understanding what you said about mothers, and abortion.
Most embryos used for embryonic stem cell research die. I would say all, but I say most because some places restrict research on embryos that kills or harms the embryo.
Sperm is only part of what is required to start the process to make a human. Not a human in and of itself.
You said: "A person in coma have memories, a personality and when he wake upp he has feelings." I told Nate that the same ideas can be applied to an embryo: It will make memories, have a personality and feelings.
You said "...it [an embryo] wouldn´t even know it´s dead when it is ( I hope )." Still, I believe the act of killing it is wrong.
You're right, I do believe that I should have taken more care not to hurt Nate. I think that that is taken care of now though (I hope he forgives me).
Thank you for your interest, care and effort to help us understand each other. I think we can both agree that it is much appreciated :)
EDIT #10 IN RESPONSE TO NATE'S LAST COMMENT ON NOV. 5:
OK, well then if you two don't want to end yet, then lets continue shall we?
Nate, here is why we can't agree, simply put:
We each have different views on when human life begins, and how important it is when it does begin. Because of this we don't agree on the value of human life in certain stages of development, or if it's OK to decide to end the life of a human at different stages. And because of that we disagree on whether or not proposal 2 should have passed.
In other words, I'm not sure what's left to argue between you and I dealing with this issue.
Please let me know if you change you mind ;)
(I'm not able to comment again, that's why this is here)
EDIT #11 IN RESPONSE TO NATE'S NOV. 6 COMMENT @ BEN (ME)
Killing the embryo does do harm to someone: the embryo itself.
There would be enough parents to adopt the children, just maybe not enough that are willing. And then, even if there aren't enough the reason is because of abortion (which has killed millions of people who would be parents) which is extremely similar to killing embryos. That's also why social security is all screwed up right now.
I believe this sentence that you wrote in your last comment to be at the root of your argument: "I mean, what's wrong with killing an embryo when you can just make another one?"
That sentence scares me. It scares me because it shows a lack of value of human life (Yes, I know you think that it doesn't matter that the embryo gets killed, because it may not be sentient yet; but I think it does).
My foundation is this: I believe that since God made that embryo, no man has the right to kill it.
I have a love for an embryo even before it develops into a fully developed being, because God loves it.
One more thing. I recently learned that scientists have been able to make adult stem cells behave in a pluripotent (I do hope that's the correct word) manner! That's wonderful news! It means that adult stem cells are now much more versatile which will unlock even more cures and such :) I'm excited to learn more about this because it sounds great.
Also check this out: http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/11/19/windpipe.transplant/index.html?eref=rss_topstories
EDIT #12 IN RESPONSE TO NATE'S NOV. 19 COMMENT:
There is no problem of overpopulation, or man-made pollution (these are too far off our main topic though, so let's not get off on a rabbit trail)
I also need to correct something I said earlier, there actually are many parents who are not able to have babies on their own that would be thrilled to adopt one.
I have two more important things to address in this edition of "The Endless Argument" ;)
First, a question: Where do you get your ethics from and what do you base them on?
Second, an (actually two) answer to your extremely important question, "How do you even know that this God exists?"
Personal experience. If I didn't have the God given peace that I have now, I can't even quite imagine what kind of a person I'd be (I do know that it would NOT be an improvement). I'm absolutely at peace knowing that I'm a child of an all-powerful God, and that I'll go to Heaven when I die because his grace and my faith in his son, Jesus. I wish everyone would take God's offer of salvation. Everyone can, but not everyone does. I also (I know that this will be taken as a coincidence) prayed before I created an account on MOCpages, that God would use it for his glory, and that other people would be able to learn about him through me on MOCpages. That's exactly what's happening :) Praise God.
Creation. There's a verse that says, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." That is so true. I encourage you or anyone else who reads this to go outside on the next clear night, and look straight up into the sky for a while. It's not just in the sky that his work is evident. Evidence of his infinite ingenious creativity is everywhere, look at trees, symbiotic relationships between creatures, the qualities of a protein, the variety of animals, to name a few. The complexity of everything, and each thing in creation only points to one place, God.
IN RESPONSE TO NATE'S NOV. 22 COMMENT:
I think what you're saying is that you are your own God, is that correct? Or just that there is no God and you believe humans are all that there is as far as ethics go? (please tell if I'm mistaken as to what you believe)
I believe that people are born with what's called a sin nature, everyone is born with evil motives due to what happened in the Garden of Eden (the fall of man). That would explain all the evil in this world wouldn't it?
You said (and I suppose I'm not quite satisfied with your answer; what is this "innate moral intuition" and where does it come from?), "Everyone who isn't a psychopath (for example, you and I) has an innate moral intuition..." Wouldn't this then make it wrong from your point of view to kill embryos? If everyone has innate moral intuition, doesn't that mean an embryo does too? Wouldn't it probably go against the embryo's innate moral intuition to get murdered? Or does an embryo not have it? And if not, how do you know that?
You said in your last comment, "Whether or not a given belief is comforting has no bearing on whether or not it's true. It would give me peace to believe that when I wake up tomorrow, space aliens will come to Earth to give me a million dollars for being the most awesome being in the universe ever..." (I like you're example, it made me chuckle) I say that that's a fair statement.
Here is some more evidence of God's presence in me: I love others (God commands that in the Bible), I have his peace, I strive daily to be more like Jesus in order to glorify God, I have a joy that could only come from God (seriously, this joy is like nothing else), my attitude is always changing for the better but only with God's help, I'm not in jail. (Yes, I know these all sound like "Christian-ese") Now, about that last one (I'm not in jail), if I didn't continually look to God for answers for everything I do, I'm quite confident that I would be one of the most sad, rotten, evil, sick , twisted, confused, disobedient teens out there (and I definitely wouldn't be playing with LEGO bricks). I say all that with confidence because even now, as someone who has experienced God's love, grace, peace, kindness, and justice, I make poor choices. My life is a testimony of God's existence.
If this beyond-description universe that we live in doesn't direct your thoughts to God (the creator of it), then I must ask, what does it make you think about?
(This next statement/answer to your question [Do you still think that the reason stem cell research should be illegal in this country is because every embryo was made by God?] will bring us back to our argument about whether or not it should be OK to kill embryos [humans])
Part of the purpose of a country is to protect its citizens from those who would like to do them harm or kill them, do you agree? Therefore making embryonic stem cell research that kills or harms the embryo (its citizen) illegal is part of America's duty as a country.
IN RESPONSE TO NATE'S NOV. 24 COMMENT:
So where does this innate moral intuition come from?
You said, "Don’t you think that if you didn’t look to God, you would still want to follow your own morals and do what you think is right anyway?" My answer is an emphatic, yes! That's exactly what I would do, and what I strive to avoid. Here's another way to put it: I have recognized my own sinful depravity, asked God to save me from it (myself in a way), and He, in His wonderful grace and mercy did just that through salvation. Now that I'm a Christian, I can know more and more just how infinitly good God is and I therefore want God to help me to do his will in everything I do (bear with me here, more "Christian-ese ;)). Since I'm doing God's (my creator, saviour) will, I have an inexpressable joy that I know can only come from him.
You said: "Okay, but embryos aren’t citizens. People aquire their citizenship at (but not before) birth or later in life, and I don’t think it’s necessary to give embryos the same protections we give to citizens anyway." So do you think that we shouldn't do what we can to make the lifes of our future generations better?
IN RESPONSE TO NATE'S NOV. 28 COMMENT:
First of all, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving time this year.
Since you think that the physical (as opposed to believing in the spiritual also) is all that there is, how do you scientifically explain morals or ethics?
I would also really enjoy hearing your argument for how you know God doesn't exist (though perhaps we could exchange phone numbers and talk over the phone).
I would be pleased to elaborate :) (and I sorry that I haven't been really clear, I guess I'm just so familiar with all the Christian phrases and words I use) You asked about the process of salvation, well this in turn begs the question, "Why do we need salvation?"
God has (in his Bible which are his words that were given to men by Him to write down) says what is right and what is wrong. God absolutely hates sin. Humans are born "naturally" evil, which means that humans desire to disobey God. Since humans sin, they are (justly) condemned by God to hell. That is why we need salvation and what we need to be saved from. Here's (simply put) how someone can receive that salvation.
First the person must realize that he is in a state of separation from God, and that realization should then cause him to see his need for God. Once that happens, the person can ask God to save him from His (God's) condemnation and forgive him for the sins he has committed. Back about 2000 years ago, God sent his son (Jesus) to Earth to be the payment for those sins in order that those who accept God's gift of salvation (being saved from evil's grip and becoming a child of God) wouldn't have to go to hell and instead would spend eternity with God in heaven after they die physically. Here's an analogy for Jesus' sacrifice for us: suppose you go and break a car window, you then get caught and go to court. Well, once you're in court the judge sentences you to pay a $5,000 fine for breaking the window, the only problem is that you don't have the money. However the judge graciously decides to offer you the $5,000 and all you have to do is accept it.
In the analogy, breaking the window represents sin, the $5,000 represents salvation and the judge represents God. God is both perfectly just, and perfectly merciful.
Also, the way I know I'm doing God's will is by reading what his will is in the Bible.
You also said, "...Thinking that embryos don't need the same protections as citizens is not the same thing as thinking that we shouldn't do what we can to make the lives of future generations better..." OK, but wouldn't it be great if each embryo got a chance to develop into a human at the very least? Who are we (as humans) to decide to kill someone before they've even been born? How do you feel about the fact that you could have been killed as an embryo, if it's really OK to kill embryos, you should be fine with that thought. Some important things to think about.
IN RESPONSE TO NATE'S COMMENT ON DEC. 4:
Would you think of humans as no more than just another species of animal trying to survive?
OK, if that's what you prefer, then let's keep up the argument on MOCpages.
God is evident to me through his grace, mercy (I mentioned earlier what I would be like without God), creation, and Holy Spirit (the Holy Spirit is who God "plants" in someone once they are saved). Since I know God exists (he has shown himself clearly to me), and because everything (and I mean everything!) in the Bible is so consistently true and perfect, I know that it must have come from God. Since it comes from God (he inspired men to write what he wanted them to write), I know that what he says is his will in it, is his will. In the Bible, God also tells how someone can be saved, and again I know that what he says about salvation is true because I've experienced it first-hand.
OK then, assuming that you don't believe that God doesn't exist, what reasons to you have for not accepting his salvation? I have to tell you, it's the most important decision you can possibly ever make. Think about it, whether you believe it or not what you decide about accepting salvation here on Earth will effect where you spend eternity.
Humans are evil by God's standards. I mean evil as in, against what God says is right.
No, saying that God is evil doesn't make sense, here's why:
God made humans, God is perfect (infinitely better than us), God knows everything, humans are sinful. God sets the standard for his creation (including humans) of what is right and what is wrong, it can't be the other way around.
I was wondering earlier, do you think that humans have souls?
Also, I don't think your explanation of where human moral intuition comes from is feasible. If each human just automatically has an innate moral intuition, then there can be no such thing as law. Say for example (according to your definition) that my moral intuition is that it's OK to murder people just for the fun of it, and yours is opposed to murder, who's to say which one of us is right? Remember, you think that human moral intuition is all that there is in the way of right and wrong, so how could you (in the example) possibly dare to tell me that I'm wrong; why according to the thought that each person has his own moral intuition, I'm right. Your view on moral intuition has no foundation and it results in chaos and pain, each person has his own right and wrong and when those conflict, what happens? You used the example of killing kittens for no reason (or something along those lines) and in that example you said that you're sure I would agree that killing kittens just because is wrong, well, yes I do agree with you, but where does that moral intuition that says that it's wrong come from? There has to be a reason for that innate moral intuition.
You said, "...you asked: “wouldn't it be great if each embryo got a chance to develop into a human at the very least?”. Not necessarily." Again, who are you to decide that (or any other human for that matter)?
Let me tell you something, I'm glad you exist and that I've gotten the chance to meet and argue with you. It has really strengthened my faith (in God), sharpened my mind, and it's been a lot of fun :) Enjoy the weekend.
IN RESPONSE TO NATE'S DEC. 8 COMMENTS:
Consider this analogy: You make a LEGO minifigure, now who reigns over who, you or the minifig? Of course you reign over the minifigure, how else could it be?
Here's the part you're missing: God is the best there is. He's perfect, has always existed, and is all-powerful. I'm trying to explain God in words, but he's so much more than what I can even begin to explain. You and I are nothing COMPARED TO God, I mean that exactly how I said it: "nothing", however that's not to say that we are nothing TO God, there's a large difference between the two. We as humans have absolutely no right to even think of disobeying God, and yet we still do. Our "innate moral intuition" or conscience comes from God, however our innate moral intuition is different than our sin-nature. Our sin nature makes us want to do wrong, but our conscience let's us know what is wrong, again two separate things.
You can scientifically explain the growth of bones, but it's impossible to scientifically explain innate moral intuition (a sense of right and wrong), instead it is something God created humans with. It's also impossible to scientifically explain emotions.
Some more extremely important aspects to God's supremacy are these: He is also perfectly just, loving, gracious and merciful. He knows what best (again I really mean that, he knows what's BEST), and is Loving enough to tell us what his will is (which is best).
Here are some of the commands God has given us (see if you think these are "morally reprehensible"):
Don't commit adultery
Don't have any other God's before me (God)
Now you're thinking "everyone has done at least one of those." Well yeah, you're right and that's where salvation comes into play.
What is a soul? Well, it's the most marked difference between animals and humans.
You said, "Well, in that case, the law would have to get involved, and it would be on the side of the person whose morals are not deviating from the norm..." OK, so who decides or sets "the norm"? Couldn't the norm change?
So, again it brings us back to the fact that you think it's OK to kill a human (embryo) for convenience, whereas I do not.
One last thing, God has revealed himself to you. It's not likely that He'll send some angel down to convince you of his existence (though He could if He wanted), he has instead revealed himself to you through creation as I mentioned before (consider the origin of everything, how did life begin?) and through me as I tell you about him.
IN RESPONSE TO NATE'S DEC. 9 COMMENT:
Again, I know that what I said is true because it's in the Bible, and I know that what is in the Bible is true because God said it, and I know that God said it because he has revealed himself to me through salvation, and it all makes perfect sense.
So yes, that's a very important distinction: your sin nature is something you are born with, and it's why you naturally want to rebel against God. Your (God given, not just innate) moral intuition is also something you're born with, and could be explained as your conscience, and it actually also explains why most people have the same "innate moral intuition", because God has given it to everyone.
You said, "I already explained why we have our sense of right and wrong, and emotions can easily be explained scientifically." Well, you said that we just have our moral intuition (you compared it to bone), but that doesn't explain where it comes from, which is what I want to know. Also, please explain what these five emotions are scientifically: happiness, love, sadness, enjoyment and hate. And please scientifically explain why I had (not what they are) the emotions I had in the following example, I just yesterday bought a brand new iPod touch. I'm extremely excited and happy about it, but why? If I'm just another animal who's sole purpose in life is to survive, why care?
The question of what a soul is is a very difficult one. However, I know that it is not physical, and that it is the thing that seperates us from all other creatures. In Genesis (the first book of the Bible), it says that God breathed into his (man's) nostrils the breath of life, which is most likely talking about the soul. The soul is God given.
OK, here's the deal, God is supernatural. There are things about God that our minds can't fully grasp, for example: he spoke the earth into existence. Not everything that we know can be explained scientifically, and since the only thing left is the spiritual realm, we know that it exists.
You said, "The norm is what it is because virtually everyone happens to share the same set of morals (and we do for a reason). I suppose it could change, and if it did, laws would probably change with it. However, I seriously doubt that it has much of a chance of doing so, mostly because if it did, society would be thrown into disorder. I don't think it's changed much (or at all) in all of human history. Everyone suddenly deciding that pointless murder is not immoral isn't something that I'm concerned about." First of all, "happens to share the same set of morals"? It's that's rather convenient isn't it? How did that happen? Again, I believe that what you think occurred by chance, actually was designed to by God. Also, another extremely important point: MURDER IS LEGAL in the USA, through the evil of abortion. Things are changing and it is causing pain and chaos as I mentioned before.
You said, "Also, what do the origin of the universe and the question of how life began have to do with God?" They are thoughts that if delved deep enough into can only bring about one answer, God exists. Nothing else makes sense, the thought that random occurrences that rely on non-life becoming life happened and the result is everything physical we now know is absurd.
You also said, " And God revealing Himself through you telling me about Him doesn't seem to be working..." That is the sole reason that I continue to argue with you. I care where you spend eternity and I truly want for you to know God.
I also encourage you Nate, to try to disprove the existance of God, whether or not you write about it here is up to you.
Lastly, if I ever come across as rude or snobbish, I don't mean to be. Rather, please interpret it as a passion to inform others of something important.
IN RESPONSE TO NATE'S DEC. 17 COMMENT:
Here are my thoughts, I'm just going to speak because I'd like you to
know what's going through my mind. I know that you don't believe in
God and it grieves me more than you can know. I care about you, I've
never even met you, but I care. All I feel I can do is to relay the
truth to you. God exists. God loves you (for serious). You will die
sometime. When you die, you'll either go to Hell or Heaven based on
what you decided before you died regarding God's perfect gift of
salvation. You (your soul, the non-physical part of you) will last
You said: "social animals have to modify or restrain the sort of
behaviors that are only helpful for living a solitary life in order
for group living to be worthwhile..." This brings back my question,
where does any of that morality come from?
Sorry, but I don't know what the limbic system is. I would like to
hear it in your own words though.
Oh yes, I did get an iPod :) It's a really fun little tool, I think
it's so amazing what people can do with technology!
You said, "Remember when I said: "I do think that humans are another
species of animal trying to survive, but we are also more that just
that"? Well, being happy about getting a new iPod would fall under the
"more than just that" category. What exactly is this "more than just
How we know that there is a spiritual realm? I suppose I'm forgetting
that it's just so obvious to me because I'm coming from a completely
different set of circumstances (possessing the knowledge of God's existence
mainly). I need to see what you say about the limbic system to help
clear this part up.
So I'd just like to be clear, you think that the approximately 6.5
billion (don't just skim over that number, think about it for a bit)
people in the world just happen to (for the most part) have the same
basic moral intuition?
I'd like to hear why you think slavery is wrong (assuming you do think
Sure, the burden of proof is on me, but if you can I'd like to hear your argument against his existence. One of my objectives in this argument is to learn a lot about other views.
IN RESPONSE TO NATE'S COMMENTS ON JAN. 6
I'm realizing that I need to clearly know your point of view, before I can argue against it. How do you believe life began? What do you believe is our purpose for living? And why, to both of those? [How] do you think humans are any different from other animals?
I have given several "convincing reasons to think my given claim is true," you have rejected all of them. However, it looks as though you would prefer some sort of good firm historical evidence (that's partly what my brother wanted to see when pursuing the truth). Here's some: Jesus had twelve disciples who lived at the same time as him, (if you're wondering how I know THAT, it's just like knowing that Socrates existed, accounts of them have been recorded and kept safe), of those twelve men, eleven of them were murdered and or tortured (stoned, crucified, put to the sword, etc.) for their faith in Jesus and for their refusal to deny that he was God. Many more Christians have done the same since. Why? Let's look specifically at his twelve disciples: think of how sure they must have been that Jesus was the real deal in order for them to rather die, then simply say, "I'm done, this whole Jesus thing is really something we made up with him." How many people would die for a lie? These men must have known that Jesus was who he said he was for their faith to be so firmly implanted.
Yes, that does sound crazy to me, absurd in fact. Gnomes, pixies the Tooth Fairy don't have a following of millions of people who would devote their life and truly put their faith in them. They have not significantly changed peoples lives for the better, and as you said, don't have any evidence for their existence. Thus, they are not comparable to God.
You said, "before I stopped believing in God..." does this mean that you did believe in him at one point? And if so, why did you believe?
You said, "The claim that God is real because the Bible says so is an appeal to authority." Yes it is, and a very trustworthy authority at that. There is an increasing amount of evidence for the accuracy of the Bible.
Here's another way for you to think about the legitimacy of the existence of God: you have (there is) no evidence against his existence, I have some evidence for his existences. Thus, it only makes sense to believe that he exists.
Oh, and have a happy new year my friend! Enjoy the rest of this week.
RESPONSE TO NATE'S JAN. 8 COMMENT:
Many other explanations more plausible than God? Could you give me a short bit of info of on each of some of the ideas you count as credible.
I didn't ask how you came to be (which is of course through birth as you correctly said), but rather, what is you purpose for living, and choosing to continue to live? I get the feeling that you don't really think that there's an "afterlife" (Heaven or Hell), and also you clearly believe that the problem of overpopulation exists. Considering both of those views, why not end your life? What reason do you have for living?
Do you believe that taxonomic classification is the only way we differ from other animals (say, the ape for example)?
You said, "Likewise, the fact that lots of people are Christians cannot be considered evidence that Christianity is true." You're right about that, good point.
(A side note, though an important one. The bible clearly states that salvation is eternal; you either still are saved [I don't see any evidence of this though] or you never were saved.)
(Most of the following are excerpts from books or other resources. After saying that the bible is historically accurate, I realized that I didn't exactly know how, and so research by myself ensued...)
One evidence that the Bible has been copied accurately in the past is shown in the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. These scrolls, found by a shepherd boy in 1947, are dated from 250 to 150 BC. This discovery pushed back our available oldest Scripture text almost 1,000 years. And when the content of the scrolls was compared to later copies, no significant differences were found. That means scribes had been copying with great precision for almost ten centuries.
(Yes, this simply tells us that the bible hasn't changed much at all since it was originally written. Consider the following however, keeping in mind the question of the Bible's historical accuracy. I've also included the pertinent Bible verses, and a really nice, free online Bible can be found at "BibleGateway.com," I recommend the NIV [New International Version] translation.)
Research in the field of archeology has supported the existence of King Balshazzar (spoken of in the Bible, who's existence was questioned) the son of Nabonidus who ruled as co-regent with his father who was previously thought to be the sole ruler at that time. (Daniel 5:30)
Excavations in 1929 revealed a man known as Erastus and identified him as the director of public works in Corinth. (Romans 16:23)
A 1961 discovery in the Mediterranean port of Caesarea uncovered a 2' by 3' inscription referring to Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:1-2)
There was no mention of him outside of the Bible. 1993. It was then, at an excavation at Tel-Dan in N. Israel they found a now famous stone with an inscription (in Aramaic) referring to the House of David 1994 two more fragments of the same stone inscription were discovered, again mentioning the House of David. In 1995 Time Magazine did a story on this discovery and stated, This writing—dated to the 9th century B.C., only a century after David’s reign—described a victory by a neighboring king over the Israelites…The skeptics’ claim that King David never existed is now hard to defend"
And there's more, lots more.
God does answer prayer, but the thing to understand is that he decides what to to according to his will. There's a verse in the bible that says, "God works all things for the good of those that love him." Very recently, my Grandmother was in a nursing home only for a short time so that she could recover from surgery she had had. My whole family was praying that she would heal and be able to go back to her home with my Grandfather. After four weeks of good recovery and healing, she died. Her funeral was wonderful (that sounds weird, but it's true) and I learned several things at it. Now back to the verse, it doesn't say that God works all things to the wants of those that love him, but rather, to their good. I of course didn't want my Grandmother to die, but it turned out for my good. God answered our prayers.
Always cool to see people using lego as a medium to express their political beliefs. While I disagree with pretty much everything you claim, and this amendment passed, I still say props for the effort.
July 2, 2012
Judging on the date of this moc, I bet your not only 18, but your probably old enough to receive Social Security benefits. Oh, BTW, how's that hip replacement treating you?
It's cleverly made, though I disagree with most everything you said.
I think the the problem is that you aren't looking at the situation objectively. You are religious, which is more than okay, so you look at the situation through that lens, and that lens tells you that this is morally wrong. The thing is, if a woman is, say, raped, and becomes pregnant, should we force that woman to carry that baby to term, regardless of how she feels? Is it morally right to FORCE that woman to keep the baby, a token of the horrible incident that has befallen her? Do they not have a right to privacy, and the right to do what they want with their body? The answer is yes. So, if the fetus is going to be aborted, why not then use it for research purposes? No one is advocating going up to women who want to be mothers and killing their babies.
No one is here to devalue your life, or kill humans (which embryos are not, but that's a separate discussion, and one you've already had). The point of research is to learn new things, and just because embryonic stem cell research has not produced any results yet, doesn't mean it won't eventually produce many beneficial results. There are many promising clinical uses for embryonic stem cells, and laws like this are necessary to help scientists protect us.
In short, you're pretty bogged down in a debate about overpopulation and religion, both good topics but not entirely relevant to your point about stem cells.
Embryonic stem cell research has produced cures and therapies (you have listed that, but only in adults) maybe it didn't produce the results you look for, but it is still producing results. Its called research for a reason, there maybe even more cures and therapies waiting to be discovered. If you ban the research that could potentially provide these cures and therapies, then there will be no way of knowing if there are any. The aborted fetuses was the choice of the woman. Its up to her to if she wants a baby or not. Women should have that freedom. If they do make that choice then why waste the fetus? Why not explore the possibility of those potential cures and therapies?
Due to the fact that the ethics of this practice will remain controversial for the foreseeable future, I will not comment on the ethical concern of this issue. I will also not comment on your view of the bible. Rather, I will argue only a few items that I found on this page.
You easily claim that embryonic stem cell research has had no success, and yet you provide no evidence or article to support your claim. The lack of key funding has also been a reason why success has been far and few between. But there has been success.
Allow me to provide you with a bit of reading material to back up my claims:
Those are just two articles from a simple google search. I suggest you do it in the future.
It is arguable that the increase in funding in both of those states did not result in the $600 million and $300 billion increase in tax revenue. Again, no sources were used.
Also, Mocpages is not the right place for an argument over politics, religion, and what is moral or not. This was not deserving of MoTD.
Please use logic and reasoning when arguing your point, instead of relying on baseless claims and ethics.
very very interesting information you give on, by this moc (when i saw the main title, i thought you ment the movie, for that i would diffently vote no for hehe) ive read the whole thing you wrote, and i dont understand it (thats because im from Denmark, and we dont do that stuff, we only experiment at vegetables) hehe, but i like the messege in this moc, you have given, by adding the skeletons, that is crushed beneath the law thing, great detail, and then all the colors and what they mean, try to go to an art professor, he would diffently like this, great job, and best messege in a moc, i have ever read, nice job, keep on spreading the messege.ery very interesting information you give on, by this moc (when i saw the main title, i thought you ment the movie, for that i would diffently vote no for hehe) ive read the whole thing you wrote, and i dont understand it (thats because im from Denmark, and we dont do that stuff, we only experiment at vegetables) hehe, but i like the messege in this moc, you have given, by adding the skeletons, that is crushed beneath the law thing, great detail, and then all the colors and what they mean, try to go to an art professor, he would diffently like this, great job, and best messege in a moc, i have ever read, nice job, keep on spreading the messege.
I agree with your arguments on the "life-aspect" (although I don't believe in any of the existing religions as far as I can tell).
I wonder if those numbers for the results with adult and embryonic SC consider only American research or projects all over the world.
Additionally, in my opinion this proposal is to much "black&white". There seems to be no balance. You mentioned the example with the lab in the neighborhood. It's quite clear that most people don't like the idea of killing a living being even if it might help to find cures or therapies.
Such proposals should be open for compromises, for example build the lab when mentioned people raise a petition against such a lab in their neighborhood.
Still, complete proscription of the issue might not be the right way, either. Just because we didn't manage to produce results from embryonic stem cell research doesn't mean, that it offers none. Maybe we just haven't look for them the right way, yet.
You sir have ignited a flame to which had been dulled long ago. Thank you, I know God brought this to me today to smash that two by four square between my eyes and say, "told ya so", because I had doubted him. I know he put this up here for my and many other people to see him and know he is near. God bless you, you have done good work for him today :)
And Mr. Pieces below me, I just want to comment that you said, "the only reason it [the embryo] has life is because it is attached to the mother". But it can be argued that it is alive! I could get into the whole fact of the matter that for a cell to grow and reproduce to make something bigger, it must have life! It must be alive to do all of these things, otherwise if it were dead it would dissipate into nothingness, absorbed by whatever was there to use its energy as its own. It matters not that it lives by the energy given it by the mother, it is still alive. You live right now because of the life that flows within you given to you as a gift from God. So couldn't it be argued that you live by the life of your mother [God]? (please don't yell at me for making the connection of mother to God seeing as how he is the father, you should have understood the point.) I may not be able to say this as nicely or well planned out as was written in the MOC, but hopefully my point got across.
This MOC scares me. Especially the comments (I'm not going to name anyone, but there are some very close minded comments on this page). ESCR debates should be conducted on a factual, scientific basis, without the involvement of religion and emotive language (I'm going to start on the use of emotive language to be seen on this page). Religion is a spiritual affair, and I have not seen any evidence to prove, nor disprove, the existence of a God(I respect people's spiritual beliefs, however I don't feel that religion should be used as a basis for a scientific discussion).
Scientific research however, is purely factual. Many people who have commented don't appear to know the difference between an embryo and a human child. The embryos used in ESCR are 4-5 days post conception. That means that at this stage in the reproductive cycle, the embryo consists of 16-32 cells. Not sure how many of you are scientifically minded, but that is an amazingly minuscule organism. Anybody who believes that these embryos are "human beings" is factually wrong. At this stage of the reproductive cycle, the embryo does not even have a brain - it is a ball of cells which is only living because it is physically attached to the mother's body.
Hopefully my information about the embryos used in ESCR will help conclude that section of this complex debate.
Hmm... So if in theory, a cell can transform into any other cell in the body, we should not conduct medical research for it? In your philosophy, we should just abandon working on cures for cancer or A.I.D.S., becasue the research did not give any results, it is just a waste of money. Anyways, I may be wrong here, but do the scientists researching the embrionic cells and cures they could potentially discover, actually go around and kidnap pregnant women and make them abort, so they can conduct experiments? Is that how America works? I do not believe so, but it may, I do not live there to know. So if they really do steal embria, it is a bad thing. But if the embria are willingly given, this is as ethical as medically profiting contraception.
What on Earth were you smoking when you brought politics onto a mainly childrens website, stem cell research is progressive in all honesty and progression is always gonna be in our lives, deal with it.
January 23, 2012
In your response to Nate's comments you ask him why we're alive and what's the meaning of life. Take a bit of time to look at how animals live their lives, they're born, they reproduce, they die and so on so forth, the reproduction aspect of this is the most important thing to look at here, humans, we're born, we reproduce, we die, there's no difference, other than our utilities of technology, we're far more advanced that's the only difference, and what created technology? Science, if science can create billions upon billions of machines who's to say theories of science cannot produce earth and water.
How we came to pass is forever a mystery, but how can you truly trust in religion or science?
Meaning of life is simple, life, to live, to reproduce, to die.
Ben, I agree with you on every thing you are saying. They should not be killing off human embryos just so that they can use them for science. God specifically says do not murder. Murder is the killing of innocent life. Embryonic stem cell research is buried in sin.
It's also good to note that now, even over a year later, embryonic stem cell research had made no progress in giving us cures. It's become common sense to throw this research out the window, and continue with the increasingly successful adult stem cells.
To all who have taken the time to put in a thoughtful comment: thanks! It's awesome to have this on the front-page even more than a year later, and see that it's had an effect. My views on this matter have changed, but only as they've been strengthened. I'm still adamantly opposed to embryonic stem cell research, and very much in support of adult stem cell research.
I really don't believe politics have any place on this site. I just don't. Beyond that, your are clearly missing some facts in your statements. I'll avoid the hot-button issue because it rarely ends will when one person has a religious stance.
But zoning? Zoning doesn't discourage research. A lab is zoned as industrial, the same zoning used for a meat-packing plant, a paper mill, and a car factory. The final product isn't taken into account into zoning, only the general market category. Stem cells fall into medical research. That wouldn't dictate freedom from zoning laws.
Not appropriate for MotD. Whether it's morally wrong or not isn't a topic for MOCpages and this shouldn't have made it to the frontpage.
You may have to realize this, that is is not a political debate site. Although I respect your political views, I do not believe that you need to tell people what is right, how God exists, that is an opinion, not a fact. Thank you for understanding, and I hope you will delete this Moc.
This is madness.
That proposal is PROGRESIVE.
You said it doesn't work, well, the answer is simple, they still need to do MORE research, while that's allsaw a LIE, it DOES work, there are lots of therapies with embrionyc cells (leoporine lip, for example).
I totally don't agree with you.
(still didn't give you low score, the moc is well done).
Wow, the nostelgia. I remember the first time I saw this and started the longest and most enjoyable arguement in my life. Very few have created a moc that had such a big responce. A great moc with excellent symbolism although I still don't fully agree with you.
I will suggest one thing: Why don't you make a MOC about the War in Iraq? Estimates say that The War has cost US taxpayers 1.9 trillion dollars! That's $1,900,000,000,000, which pales in comparison the 3 billion, 3,000,000,000 spent on Embryonic Stem Cell Research! That's a ratio of almost 1:63! Not to mention, the Iraqi government reported 5 million orphans resulted from the Iraq War. While estimates of the casualties have a large range, the lowest estimates place Iraqi casualties at 100,000, the highest at 1,000,000. Almost all of those people were civilians. Not to mention the 4,000 American deaths, and the over 30,000 wounded. That, my friend, is a higher cost of human life than stem cell research could ever take away. Which is worse, cracking an acorn or cutting down an Oak Tree? Alive adults have family, friends, feelings. And not to mention, the embryos that we're talking about would never become adults anyway.
All I'm saying is that no matter how you look at it, there's no comparison between the War in Iraq to Stem Cell Research. The reason that there were "no" cures brought on by ESCR is because there hasn't been any funding, even though it has been used to cure mice of sickle cell anemia.
PRO LIFE ALL THE WAY!!! I agree with you. What's cool is that you didn't just say what you wanted to and just make a mosaic of it out of LEGOs, you illustrated the entire situation with LEGOs, and that's fitting in with the culture here, and that's necessary if you want to get your message across. Thank you whoever put this on the homepage. Even if the bill was already passed, at least now people can know its wrong, and not vote in favor of inevitably similar bills in the future.
Do you know that stem cell research can be used to repair someone's broken back? Do you know that that embryo would have been an exact copy of the person who's back was being repaired? Finally, in my case, they could repair my crushed pituitary gland so I didn't have to get a shot everyday? They don't need an actual embryo to get stem cells, they could take a skin sample and turn that into stem cells by using 4 chemical signals. Those stem cells would be an exact genetic copy of of the person's skin and then could have chemical signals sent at it to turn it into a spine to repair that broken back. This could help a lot of people.
Hey great work. your message is exactly what everyone needs to hear. I am really glad that not everyone is pro abortion. I'm guessing that your not an Obama freak? I am a christian and I do believe in God and think everyone else should to. I really like your one photo that says "sin". You totally hit the nail on the head there. When did Michigan start this bill? Do you like Obama's "new" death care bill? I doubt that you do. I am calling it a death care bill 'cause I believe that that is exactly what it is. Keep up the good work. God Bless
Way to go! MOCs should be a way to express your thoughts and beliefs, not just build neat things. From what I read, you're right on with what you're saying about the embronic stem cell research. Also, the build itself is good and gets the point across well, but seems just a little plain. Maybe adding in a few more details, covering some of the studs, etc. would make it look a little better. Anyway, great job and keep it up!
I have mixed feelings about this(bear with me here, I'm only 12). I agree that biological research is important for our society, but I do NOT think it's the governments job to do that. The government has ebough problems alreay...don't soak up more tax money for that. Leave it to the free market.
I agree with you 100%. I'm Catholic and I know what my church says unlike some people---adult stem cell research HAS BEEN PROVEN to cure diseases---My main point is that isn't the embryo a person even if the embryo doesn't look like a human right then and there-I think so!
i am thankful for your stand against this wicked and sinful thing also you may not be aware of the fact that in certain countries a father can kill a baby if he does not want it also i wonder if the people who oppose you would be able to stand in a room and watch a baby(newborn) be killed for "humane" purposes that is the same thing as standing in that voting box and voting for it (the vote may have already taken place i dont know)
Okay, I’ve sent you an e-mail with my response. I just think it’s unfortunate that we’re moving this conversation to e-mail right after I learned how to quote you (although I won’t miss not being able to write out “he11”).
Quoting Someone Somewhere?
Hello, i can´t believe you continued, but now you aren´t argueing about the subject, you are argueing about religon and/or the existence of a god.
If you recall, it was Ben who first brought it up. I was only answering his questions without really thinking about how they were relevant to the stem cell discussion (which seems to have fizzled).
Quoting Someone Somewhere?
Hello, i can´t believe you continued, but now you aren´t argueing about the subject, you are argueing about religon and/or the existence of a god. I think there is no real reason to try to convince someone to a belief, why, it´s probobly the number one reason to the most conflicts throughout history (christianaty probobly the biggest, but I don´t know for sure).
Now this arguement is still friendly, but be carefull.
The reasons why I haven´t written anything for long is two: First I thought that you two had ended the arguement, then when I discovered that you had continued, the mocpages was updated and I couldn´t figure out how to post a comment.
You can se my email(I think atleast), and I will email you to about those three questions you asked Nate about.
Lastly sorry for some bad english, haven´t used it during the winter holiday.
As always, don't worry about your English, I can understand everything you say :) Also, I got your email and will respond when I can.
Hello, i can´t believe you continued, but now you aren´t argueing about the subject, you are argueing about religon and/or the existence of a god. I think there is no real reason to try to convince someone to a belief, why, it´s probobly the number one reason to the most conflicts throughout history (christianaty probobly the biggest, but I don´t know for sure).
Now this arguement is still friendly, but be carefull.
The reasons why I haven´t written anything for long is two: First I thought that you two had ended the arguement, then when I discovered that you had continued, the mocpages was updated and I couldn´t figure out how to post a comment.
You can se my email(I think atleast), and I will email you to about those three questions you asked Nate about.
Lastly sorry for some bad english, haven´t used it during the winter holiday.
Quoting Nate Bush
Hey, check it out, I figured out how to quote you! Now I don't have to keep writing "you said" all the time.
I'm writing this to let you know that I will be responding soon, I just got back from Virginia which is why I haven't replied yet.
Also, I don't have your email address, here's mine: email@example.com if you email me, then I'll have you address so you don't have to post it on MOCpages. Of course, if you'd rather not give out your address, I would understand. (We may want to consider moving our obscenely huge conversation to email from here on MOCpages)
Happy (week-late) new year to you too! Good riddance 2008. Anyways, how life began: I’m going to be honest and say that I’m not entirely sure. However, before you say that God did it, I will say that there are many other explanations that are more plausible than God doing it. I’m just not sure which one of those is correct. What our purpose for living is: well, I don’t know about you, but I’m only here because my parents decided to have a child. I’ve asked them what the purpose of my existence is, and they didn’t give me a clear answer. I guess they just wanted to start a family or something. How humans are different from any other animal: of course I do think that humans are different from other animals, and how different we are from them depends on what specific species we’re comparing ourselves to. However, there is one way in which humans are invariably distinct from all other animals, and that would be our taxonomic classification. You said: “I have given several "convincing reasons to think my given claim is true," you have rejected all of them”. Yes, because they actually weren’t convincing (and I tried my best to explain why), so I don’t think rejecting them was unreasonable. At least for the sake of this argument, I do not doubt that these disciples honestly believed that Jesus was God. However, just because these men and so many other Christians believed it and would die painfully for their beliefs doesn’t mean that they were right or that their beliefs were correct. I’m sure that many Muslims would die for their beliefs, too, but that’s no reason to believe in Allah. You said: “Gnomes, pixies the Tooth Fairy don't have a following of millions of people who would devote their life and truly put their faith in them. They have not significantly changed peoples lives for the better”. Are you saying that if they did, you would believe in them? Gnomes, pixies, and the Tooth Fairy don’t have a lot of worshippers, but in every other important way, I maintain that they are comparable to God. Here’s another analogy: if everyone on earth suddenly started believing that the air we breathe is made of pure oxygen, that wouldn’t change the fact that it’s mostly nitrogen. Likewise, the fact that lots of people are Christians cannot be considered evidence that Christianity is true. To answer your question, yes, I did believe in God when I was a kid. I believed in Him because I was indoctrinated into Christianity by my family. They told me that God is real and, being a kid, I trusted them. Once I seriously started thinking about it, I realized that I didn’t have a good reason to believe in Him, so I stopped. Of course, if you can give me a good reason, I will gladly start again. You said: “Yes it is, and a very trustworthy authority at that. There is an increasing amount of evidence for the accuracy of the Bible”. Care to tell me what that evidence might be? How do you know the Bible is trustworthy? You said: “you have (there is) no evidence against his existence, I have some evidence for his existence. Thus, it only makes sense to believe that he exists”. Anecdotes and appeals to authority are not sufficient to make me believe in something like God. Your evidence is not convincing, and like I said, the burden of proof is on you to provide evidence for Him, not on me to provide evidence against Him. By the way, depending on what kind of God you’re positing, I actually might have some evidence against His existence. For example, if you say that God answers prayers and I repeatedly pray to Him and they go unanswered, then that could be considered evidence that a prayer-answering God is not real.
Part 1/2: You said: “God exists. God loves you (for serious). You will die sometime. When you die, you'll either go to [He!!] or Heaven based on what you decided before you died regarding God's perfect gift of salvation. You (your soul, the non-physical part of you) will last for eternity”. Notice how you are merely asserting all of that. Like the late Carl Sagan said, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”, and I don’t see any evidence of those claims being true. You said: “This brings back my question, where does any of that morality come from?” Oh, right. Sorry you had to keep asking that, but I’m not completely 100% sure, since there are several probable explanations. I think a prominent one is that what was to become our general sense of what is right and wrong was co-opted or developed from another trait (possibly the capacity for empathy or something like that) through a process called exaptation, and then selected for among our ancestors. When I said that “our moral intuition is a natural consequence of the fact that we’re social animals”, I think I was talking about something else. Anyways, since you asked me to describe what it is, the limbic system is a group of brain structures that produce emotions. I encourage you to look this stuff up, if only because it’s interesting to read about. You also asked me what the “more than just that category” is. That’s a pretty huge question, but unless you think that we humans are nothing more than just another species of animal trying to survive, you should already know the answer. Part of it is that we humans find pleasure in things that don’t necessarily help us survive, such as good music. That’s part of the reason why we are happy to get new iPods. You said: “So I'd just like to be clear, you think that the approximately 6.5 billion (don't just skim over that number, think about it for a bit) people in the world just happen to (for the most part) have the same basic moral intuition?” Well yeah, pretty much. Going back to my analogy, saying that 6.5 billion people would just happen to have skeletons doesn’t sound too weird to me, and neither does this for the same reason. Anyways, I think that slavery is wrong because people being made slaves against their will conflicts with my sense of morality. I know that I would not like to be a slave, and since I have the capacity for empathy (which is part of said moral sense), I can understand why others would not like to be slaves, either. Freedom from slavery is an internationally recognized human right for a reason.
Part 2/2: Lastly, since you asked, I’ll try to explain why I don’t believe that God is real. To put it shortly, it’s mostly because of the Carl Sagan quote I mentioned above (a corollary of which being that claims require evidence). What is meant by “evidence” is not necessarily definitive proof, but just any convincing reason to think a given claim is true. The existence of a God cannot be either proven nor disproven, but we can judge how likely it is to be true based on these standards of evidence. This may sound crazy to you, but I think that gnomes, pixies, leprechauns, the Tooth Fairy, and Russell’s teapot are just as likely to be real as the Christian God, since they all have the same amount of objective evidence of being real (which is to say, none). I don’t believe that these things aren’t real because I can’t know that for sure, but I wouldn’t believe that they are unless there was some positive reason to think so. Before I stopped believing in God, the idea that He’s just as likely to be real as the Tooth Fairy sounded very weird to me, but just think about it and it will make sense. Another very important point is that every single argument for God’s existence that I’ve seen put forth so far has been fallacious in some way. The claim that God is real because so many people believe in Him is an argumentum ad populum. The claim that God is real because the universe would be an evil place without Him is a non sequitur. The claim that God is real because the people who don’t believe in Him are evil and/or did bad things is also a non sequitur. The claim that God is real because life and the universe are beautiful and complex is yet another non sequitur. The claim that God is real because the Bible says so is an appeal to authority. The claim that God is real because He has personally revealed Himself to you relies on an anecdote which cannot be corroborated by me or anyone else. I could go on. I’m not saying that this is an exhaustive list of arguments for God or that you, Ben, are making any of these arguments (except the last three), but I’ve heard them all before. If there’s one that I left out that you would like me to address, feel free to tell me it. Until then, I see no reason to think that God, especially the specific Christian God, is real. Having explained all that, I should say that it makes less sense to think that your theory of human morality is true than it does to think that mine is true, because yours must first deal with this question of whether or not God exists, since it invokes Him.
Quoting Nate Bush
or answering my questions, Luke, but I do have a few more. Most importantly, how do you know that this whole story with Adam and Eve is true? Is there any evidence that it’s true, and if so, what is it? Also, why do you think that the Bible’s theory of human morality (Adam and Eve eating fruit from a tree made everyone evil) makes more sense than the scientifically-verified theory of human morality that I explained in earlier comments? Or don’t you? Maybe I should be asking these questions to Ben.
The bible says that this took place. If Christians only believed parts of the bible and not other parts (such as this one), they would be showing that they don't believe that the Bible is God's word, if they didn't believe that, then there would be no reason to believe anything else the Bible says. But since we know that what the Bible says is true, we can beleive it without doubt. (P.S. I will be replying to your large comment very soon, I just wanted to get this cleared up first)
Thanks for answering my questions, Luke, but I do have a few more. Most importantly, how do you know that this whole story with Adam and Eve is true? Is there any evidence that it’s true, and if so, what is it? Also, why do you think that the Bible’s theory of human morality (Adam and Eve eating fruit from a tree made everyone evil) makes more sense than the scientifically-verified theory of human morality that I explained in earlier comments? Or don’t you? Maybe I should be asking these questions to Ben.
Nate: I believe that God made us originally perfect, but we broke His laws, then (since the only two people broke His laws) none of us were perfect any more. The Bible says that Adam and Eve ate fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (I know that sounds a little far fetched, because there isn’t one today. But it doesn’t say “Trees” it says tree. There was only one and now it’s gone) It sounds like, by doing this, they had a whole new side of them introduced. They didn’t even know what evil was before, but then all of a sudden, they knew what it was because they were (at least partially) evil. Everyone since then has shared in that evil, in that rebelliousness. Also, I believe that God gave us free will. He wants us to love Him, not just because we are told to, but because we choose to. I hope that clears thing up, please let me know if you have any more questions and I will do my best to answer them.
@ Luke Manuel: Thanks for clarifying that. You said that “God didn’t create our will to rebel against him”, but if He created us, then He must have also created our will, since our will is part of us, right? Ben said that we’re all born with sin natures, and since God created us, it must have been His intention for us to have them. But that doesn’t make any sense. Why did He make us so that we want to break His rules when He probably could have just made it impossible for us to break them in the first place (or at least made us so that we aren’t compelled to break them)? @ Ben: Now that I think about it, my explanation only says why morality is so widespread among our population, but not why any of our ancestors originally had it in the first place. Let me try to answer that: social animals have to modify or restrain the sort of behaviors that are only helpful for living a solitary life in order for group living to be worthwhile, and having a sense of morality helps to do that. Answering the question of where this sense comes from will take an explanation of why humans are social animals in the first place, because our moral intuition is a natural consequence of the fact that we’re social animals. By the way, I hope everybody had a Merry Christmas this year!
It's nice to know that someone on here shares my beliefs, Ben! Nate, God didn't create our will to rebel against him. The only humans on the planet broke God's laws and so has every person since then except Jesus. And rebelling against God is doing things your own way instead of the way God said to. It's like your parents setting rules, and instead of following them, you decide to live your life completely different than what the rules say, even though they were in your best interests.
Here’s the first part of this huge comment: You said: “I know that what I said is true because it's in the Bible, and I know that what is in the Bible is true because God said it, and I know that God said it because he has revealed himself to me through salvation”. Well, since God hasn’t revealed Himself to me through salvation, you can understand why I don’t believe that what you said is true, right? I still don’t think He revealed Himself to me through creation either, but more about that later. You said: “your sin nature is something you are born with, and it's why you naturally want to rebel against God”. What exactly do you mean when you say “rebel against God”? And why would God create us so that we naturally want to rebel against Him? You also said: “Well, you said that we just have our moral intuition (you compared it to bone), but that doesn't explain where it comes from, which is what I want to know”. I’ve already said where it comes from. Let me to copy and paste my explanation here so you can read it again: “having an innate moral sense makes it easier for us to interact with each other and form stable societies. Living in groups like this gives us better opportunities for survival and reproduction than if we were to just live solitary lives. Therefore, it was more likely (and probably still is) that people with a moral sense would reproduce than people without one, which, over time, makes it so that pretty much everyone in our current population has one”. You said: “Also, please explain what these five emotions are scientifically: happiness, love, sadness, enjoyment and hate”. To answer that, I will say two words: limbic system. Anyways, if your iPod story is true, then congratulations on your new iPod! You said: “I'm extremely excited and happy about it, but why? If I'm just another animal who's sole purpose in life is to survive, why care?” Because that’s not your sole purpose in life. Remember when I said: “I do think that humans are another species of animal trying to survive, but we are also more that just that”? Well, being happy about getting a new iPod would fall under the “more than just that” category. Also, judging from your description of souls, I’m going to say that no, I don’t think humans have them. You said: “Not everything that we know can be explained scientifically, and since the only thing left is the spiritual realm, we know that it exists”. I am baffled by this sentence. Please elaborate on it.
Second part: You said: “First of all, "happens to share the same set of morals"? It's that's rather convenient isn't it? How did that happen? Again, I believe that what you think occurred by chance, actually was designed to by God”. Yes, “happens to share the same set of morals”, but for a reason, which I didn’t say I think is chance. Please refer to the explanation that I’ve copied and pasted above. You said that murder is legal in this country through abortion. Well, we probably shouldn’t get into a discussion about abortion (which, along with stem cell research, I don’t think can be considered murder), but even if murder is legal, that still doesn’t mean that people don’t find it immoral. Since you somehow think abortion=murder, you find it evil, which reinforces my point that you wouldn’t suddenly find it not evil. You think it’s evil for a reason, and we’re talking about what that reason is. About the origin of the universe and life, you said that they’re “thoughts that if delved deep enough into can only bring about one answer, God exists”. But how does delving into them bring about that answer? I delved into them but didn’t conclude God exists. You also said: “Nothing else makes sense, the thought that random occurrences that rely on non-life becoming life happened and the result is everything physical we now know is absurd”. I don’t think it’s true that nothing else makes sense, and this other thing seems to be a straw-man. I don’t think anyone is saying that everything physical that we now know came about as a result of non-life becoming life. Besides, even if we didn’t have a workable theory as to how life and/or the universe came about, that wouldn’t mean that we could conclude that God made them. You can’t say: “we don’t know how the universe and life got here, therefore we know they got here because of God”. You also encouraged me to try to disprove the existence of God, but I don’t think I need to in order to not believe in Him. In fact, since you are the one making the positive claim (i.e. God does exist), then the burden of proof is on you to show that He does, not on me to show that He doesn’t. You are making a logical fallacy called a negative proof. And don’t worry about seeming rude or snobbish or anything. I don’t think you are, and I’m not easily offended anyway. Hopefully I don’t come across that way. I think it would be best for us both to say what we really think without too much fear of how we come across to each other.
Of course I agree with your minifig analogy. I’m not trying to say that we rule over God, I’m questioning whether He exists at all. If He does like you say, then of course He rules over us. You said: “Our "innate moral intuition" or conscience comes from God, however our innate moral intuition is different than our sin-nature”. Okay, I was under the impression that they were the same thing. Are you saying that everyone has two sets of morals? How does that work? And how do you know it works that way? You said: “You can scientifically explain the growth of bones, but it's impossible to scientifically explain innate moral intuition (a sense of right and wrong), instead it is something God created humans with. It's also impossible to scientifically explain emotions”. That’s not true! I already explained why we have our sense of right and wrong, and emotions can easily be explained scientifically. In your sentence, you seem to be implying that God creating us with a sense of right and wrong is an explanation, but not a scientific one. Can you scientifically explain how God created us? Also, I don’t think God’s commands to not lie, steal, murder, etc. are morally reprehensible (maybe except the one about having other Gods), but isn’t that because they happen to not conflict with the morals that you say He gave me? I don’t need Him to tell me not to do those things because I already know that I shouldn’t. What’s the point of Him giving us commands anyway? You told me that a soul is the “most marked difference between animals and humans”. Okay, so what is this difference? You asked: “OK, so who decides or sets "the norm"? Couldn't the norm change?” The norm is what it is because virtually everyone happens to share the same set of morals (and we do for a reason). I suppose it could change, and if it did, laws would probably change with it. However, I seriously doubt that it has much of a chance of doing so, mostly because if it did, society would be thrown into disorder. I don’t think it’s changed much (or at all) in all of human history. Everyone suddenly deciding that pointless murder is not immoral isn’t something that I’m concerned about. Also, what do the origin of the universe and the question of how life began have to do with God? You seemed to be saying that God exists because the universe is so complex and beautiful and stuff, but I already identified that as a non-sequitur. And God revealing Himself through you telling me about Him doesn’t seem to be working, since the only evidence of His existence that you’ve presented to me so far is secondhand anecdotes. He has only succeeded in making me aware that you believe in Him.
Wow, this is the first time I’ve had to split my comment in half because it’s too long. It’s telling me: “The requested URL's length exceeds the capacity limit for this server”. I guess I enjoy writing too much! Anyways, this is part one: I do think that humans are another species of animal trying to survive, but we are also more that just that. You said that God has shown Himself clearly to you, but then why hasn’t He shown Himself to me? It doesn’t seem fair that God isn’t making Himself evident to everyone. If He would just do that, then I would have a much easier time believing in Him and all this stuff you’re saying about the Bible. You asked: “OK then, assuming that you don't believe that God doesn't exist, what reasons to you have for not accepting his salvation?”. Because neither do I believe that God does exist. I’m also not afraid of being sent to he11, since I don’t believe that is real, either. You said: “Humans are evil by God's standards. I mean evil as in, against what God says is right.” Yes, I understand that, but if we think that what God says is right actually isn’t, then can’t we, as humans, consider what He is saying evil to an extent? You said: “God sets the standard for his creation (including humans) of what is right and what is wrong, it can't be the other way around.” But we’ve already set our own standards of what is right and what is wrong for ourselves. Are you saying that we should abandon our own morals and always carry out God’s commands, even if they conflict with what we think is right, because God is infinitely better than us? From the example I used earlier, would you condone the killing of someone for working on a Sunday if God told you that doing so is punishable by death? That doesn’t seem right to me. Why would a being which is perfect and infinitely better than us give us commands that we find immoral? Why would He even need to give us commands at all? And since He can do anything, why doesn’t He just make it so that we don’t find any of His commands morally reprehensible in the first place?
Okay here’s part two: you also asked me if I think that humans have souls, but I’m not completely sure what you mean. What exactly is a soul? You asked: “Say for example (according to your definition) that my moral intuition is that it's OK to murder people just for the fun of it, and yours is opposed to murder, who's to say which one of us is right?” Since most people in society would disagree with yours, and also since yours would disrupt society if practiced on a large scale, I would say being opposed to murder could be considered the right one (even though to you individually, being for it would be just as right as being against it would to me). And even if everyone thought that it was wrong to murder for no reason, there still could and should be such a thing as law, because sometimes people don’t listen to their morals, don’t have any in the first place, or are just plain stup1d. You said: “Your view on moral intuition has no foundation and it results in chaos and pain, each person has his own right and wrong and when those conflict, what happens?” Well, in that case, the law would have to get involved, and it would be on the side of the person whose morals are not deviating from the norm (i.e. the victim). We can generally count on people’s sets of morals being the same, but when they’re not, that’s what the law is for. You said: “...but where does that moral intuition that says that it's wrong come from? There has to be a reason for that innate moral intuition.” You’ve already asked me where it comes from, and I said that you just automatically have it. It’s innate. Let me re-word your question: “..but where do all of those bones come from? There has to be a reason for that skeleton.” If somebody asked you that, you would probably say something like: “you just grow them, they’re part of you”. Well, now you can kind of see what I’m trying to say about how you have your morals. Back to stem cells: when I said “Not necessarily”, you replied: “Again, who are you to decide that (or any other human for that matter)?”. Deciding whether or not something is “great” is a matter of subjective opinion, so I don’t see why humans can’t think that. I’m glad you exist, too, but if you didn’t, I would probably just find someone else to have this discussion with. That might sound mean, but you wouldn’t know it if you never existed.
Why thank you, I did have a good Thanksgiving, and I hope you did, too. Now, on to business: you asked me to scientifically explain morals/ethics, so let me try: having an innate moral sense makes it easier for us to interact with each other and form stable societies. Living in groups like this gives us better opportunities for survival and reproduction than if we were to just live solitary lives. Therefore, it was more likely (and probably still is) that people with a moral sense would reproduce than people without one, which, over time, makes it so that pretty much everyone in our current population has one. Anyways, I’ll give you my phone number if you give me yours, but I would much rather articulate my thoughts by writing them. I don’t know that God doesn’t exist, and you shouldn’t assume I do. That’s something that is impossible to know for sure, depending on how “God” is defined. Also, I have lots of questions about what you said. How do you know that the words in the Bible came from God, and that His will is in it? You said that humans are born naturally evil, but evil by whose standards? If you mean evil compared to anything but our own human morals, then “evil” probably isn’t the right word, since evil is defined as being contrary to our own human morals. If we have a natural desire to disobey God, and this desire makes us evil, wouldn’t that mean that you could turn it around and say that God is the evil one and we humans are not inherently evil? You said that humans are justly condemned to he11 (I have to type it that way) by God because we sin, but do you really think that such condemnation is just? If “sin” in this case is defined as disobeying God’s orders, and people are disobeying them because they think they (the orders) are immoral, then God is the truly evil one (again, because we're defining evil). For example, I can use my own moral intuition to decide that it would be immoral for people to be put to death for doing work on Sundays, but if God commands that people be put to death for working on Sundays, then I don’t think it would be just for Him to send people to he11 for disobeying that command. As for the rest of your explanation about salvation, I have one thing to ask: how do you know all of that is true? If we have a natural inclination to disobey God (a.k.a. our innate moral intuition, or sin), and He would condemn us to he11 for it, and all we have to do is ask Him not to, then that’s nice (or not), but why believe all of it? And how did we get into this topic all the way from a discussion about stem cell research? Speaking of which, you asked: “wouldn't it be great if each embryo got a chance to develop into a human at the very least?”. Not necessarily. You also asked: “Who are we (as humans) to decide to kill someone before they've even been born?” But you can’t really refer to an embryo as “someone”. In your sentence, the “someone” and the “they’ve” refer to two completely different things, only one of which it should be unethical to kill. You also said: “How do you feel about the fact that you could have been killed as an embryo, if it's really OK to kill embryos, you should be fine with that thought”. Yes, I am perfectly fine with that thought. It’s not like I would regret not existing. If I never existed in the first place, I would never know it.
Asking where our innate moral intuition comes from is like asking where our hair comes from. It’s just something that we (who aren’t psychopaths) develop on our own, not something that we get from anywhere outside of ourselves. I said that it’s innate, which means that having it is part of what it means to be a (healthy) human. Anyways, you said that you have recognized your own sinful depravity. I’m not sure what you mean by this. Elaborate please? You also said that God saved you from it through salvation. Again, what do you mean? What exactly happened? Basically, you’re saying that you recognized that you had some kind of “sinful depravity”, so you asked God to save you from it and He did, which is how you know that He exists, so you also know that He made every embryo (although that doesn’t follow), which is why you think that we shouldn’t kill them (which also doesn’t follow). Right? You said: “Since I'm doing God's (my creator, saviour) will, I have an inexpressable joy that I know can only come from him”. But how do you know that what you’re doing is God’s will? You asked: “do you think that we shouldn’t do what we can to make the lifes of our future generations better?” Of course not! Thinking that embryos don’t need the same protections as citizens is not the same thing as thinking that we shouldn’t do what we can to make the lives of future generations better, because making the lives of future generations better is not the same thing as making future generations consist of more lives.
Basically, I don’t think that we humans get our ethics from any deity. When I say “innate moral intuition”, I only mean a general sense of what is right and wrong. For example, whether or not they believe in God, I’m sure most people can agree that torturing kittens is immoral. You asked that if “everyone has innate moral intuition, doesn't that mean an embryo does too?” No, embryos don’t have a moral sense. Neither do they have a self-preservation instinct, and therefore wouldn’t mind being killed. In fact, they don’t have a sense of anything. I know that because they don’t have a brain, or even the slightest trace of a nervous system. Anyways, how is the fact that you love others evidence of God’s existence, and how do you know that this joy you have could only come from God? To me, it seems more likely that the joy comes from your belief in God, not necessarily God Himself. You said: “if I didn't continually look to God for answers for everything I do, I'm quite confident that I would be one of the most sad, rotten, evil, sick , twisted, confused, disobedient teens out there”. I hope you don’t think I’m any of those things! Remember, I never look to God for answers to anything, and I’m not in jail, either. Don’t you think that if you didn’t look to God, you would still want to follow your own morals and do what you think is right anyway? You asked “If this beyond-description universe that we live in doesn't direct your thoughts to God (the creator of it), then I must ask, what does it make you think about?” I don’t really see how this question is relevant to our discussion, but if I thought that God really was the creator of everything, then I probably would think of Him when I look at the universe. However, I don’t think He’s real nor that He created anything, so instead I think of other things. You said that “Part of the purpose of a country is to protect its citizens from those who would like to do them harm or kill them, do you agree? Therefore making embryonic stem cell research that kills or harms the embryo (its citizen) illegal is part of America's duty as a country”. Okay, but embryos aren’t citizens. People aquire their citizenship at (but not before) birth or later in life, and I don’t think it’s necessary to give embryos the same protections we give to citizens anyway.
While it’s true that there are many people who would be thrilled to adopt a child, the use of embryos for stem cell research does not make it any more difficult for them to do so. Even if it did, that wouldn’t be a bad thing, because embryos are disposable and more of them could easily be created (it would also mean that there aren’t any unwanted children). You asked me where I get my ethics from, and I would answer that by saying that I already had them to begin with. I did not need to get them from or base them on someone or something other than myself. Everyone who isn’t a psychopath (for example, you and I) has an innate moral intuition, regardless of our beliefs, or lack thereof, about God’s existence. It is possible for an otherwise normal person to have messed up beliefs that make them want to do immoral things, even while thinking that what they’re doing is for the best, but that doesn’t change the fact that they would be going against, or entirely forgetting, their natural sense of what is right. You said that you know God exists from personal experience, but what exactly did you experience that made you think God is real? You said that it gives you peace knowing that He’s real, but that doesn’t explain how you know that. Whether or not a given belief is comforting has no bearing on whether or not it’s true. It would give me peace to believe that when I wake up tomorrow, space aliens will come to Earth to give me a million dollars for being the most awesome being in the universe ever, but I don’t actually believe that it will happen. You also said that you think God is real because of creation. Quote: “The complexity of everything, and each thing in creation only points to one place, God”. I don’t get how it points to that. Everything is so complex and nature is beautiful, therefore God exists? That’s a non sequitur. However, it’s funny that you encouraged me to go out and look at the sky. Right before reading that, I happened to go outside to take out some trash, and I noticed that the sky was pretty clear. I remember seeing Cassiopeia, I think. Anyways, you didn’t address my point about the Establishment Clause. Do you still think that the reason stem cell research should be illegal in this country is because every embryo was made by God?
Will, I encourage you to remember that the Bible says: "Speak the truth in love." 1 Peter 3:15 also says "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with GENTLENESS and RESPECT," (emphasis mine).
I'm sorry Nate.
@ Ben: Okay, I will concede that thinking there’s nothing wrong with killing an embryo shows a lack of value for that specific form of highly undeveloped human life. However, I still don’t see why embryos are so valuable that we should always keep them alive (your argument about God making them has failed to convince me, but more on that later). I should also say that I do value the lives of adult humans (and when I say “value”, I don’t mean “like them so much that I think we should create as many more of them as we possibly can”). You said that if we don’t abort so many fetuses, then they would grow up and be able to adopt the babies that could develop from the leftover embryos. However, there are a few big problems with doing that. Leaving aside for the moment the fact that forcing women to always carry their pregnancies to term is unethical, the leftover embryos from IV clinics aren’t suitable for implantation, and even if they were, we can’t rely on them to grow up and adopt the unwanted babies from abortions, or vice versa. You’re definitely right that there wouldn’t be enough willing parents to care for the extra babies if we outlawed stem cell research, abortion, or both. And even if every baby had parents that would care for them, so many extra people would still generate tremendous amounts of waste and pollution and be a huge, and I maintain unnecessary, drain on society’s resources. I don’t think you understand just how incredibly vast the number of babies we would have if every single embryo had to develop. Now, you said that you believe God made every embryo. First of all, how do you even know that this God exists? More importantly, the belief that God made every embryo is a religious one. Therefore, the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment makes it unconstitutional to base any form of public policy or legislation on such a belief. So, you’re going to have to base your arguments on something else. That CNN article is great, and I’m all for adult stem cell research, but I don’t think that embryonic stem cell research should be illegal just because we’ve gotten successful therapies from adult stem cells. @ jimmings: I think you’re confusing two different issues here. Aborted fetuses aren’t used for stem cell research, because their cells have already differentiated.
In Response to Someones 2nd Nov. 6 comment:
Not all embryos that are researched on die. There are ways to do research on an embryo without killing it, just as research could be done on you without killing you.
BUT, when scientists want to do the kind of research that might lead to cures, the embryo is always killed in the process.
Someone, you're not stupid :) This is a difficult topic to discuss, and it takes more effort than the everyday chatting skills we use more regularly. I think I speak for both Nate and I both when I say that I'm not annoyed :)
Earlier, you mention that you'd like to learn more about Barack Obama. I suggest that we take that conversation to email. Just check the little box that says you want to allow me to see your email address and type it in there. Don't include it in the comment or it will publicly available.
If you have any questions about how to do this just let me know.
In response to kafeend:
I know many people who could benefit greatly from research that develops cures and therapies, the problem with embryonic stem cell research is that it doesn't help in that way. Adult stem cell research on the other hand has uncovered 77 different cures or therapies. I'll be praying for your sister.
Nate and Someone,
You may be wondering why I have been inactive in the argument. My Internet service has been unavailable for about two weeks now and just came back online.
If you'll just give me a little time to sort out all these new comments that would be nice; and expect a reply from me soon :)
Okay, here’s what happened: Someone’s last two comments (which is really the same comment posted twice) were written after my long comment from November 6th, so they should be above it. However, I found a little grammatical error with my comment, so it was moved above Someone’s double-post when I fixed it. My shorter comment from November 6th, which is currently at the top, is addressed to Someone and was written after his last two comments. So basically, I’m still waiting for a response from you guys, unless you want to end this again. If you do, then please at least keep thinking about what I said and try to understand my position.
No, I don’t think the embryos that they research are technically dead, but they die in the process (I think). They’re trying to understand more about how pluripotent cells differentiate, and they need to be alive to do that. I don’t think they always implant more than one embryo during IV fertilization, because doing so carries the risk of multiple pregnancies. If they place more than one embryo in the uterus and only one implants, I’m not sure what happens to the other ones, but they probably just die. I think the ones that are used for research are ones that they won’t even try to implant. IV stands for “in vitro”. Again, if somebody knows more about this than I do, please tell us how it works. I could be wrong.
@ Ben: Of course I will let you know if I change my mind about this. If we have different views on when human life begins, I think it’s because we’re defining it differently. I’ve already said that I agree that embryos are human life. However, I’m sure we can also agree that an embryo is not sentient human life. I think our disagreement comes from the fact that although killing an embryo at such an early stage harms no one, it does prevent it from developing into a fully-grown person. You seem to think that just because something can develop into a person, it should. I think this is kind of absurd, because it’s just not feasible, and the last thing the world needs is more people in it. If every leftover embryo from every IV clinic grew up into a baby and was born, they would not have loving, supportive parents to care for them, because there would be such a vastly enormous number of them. Even our own human bodies are not able to utilize every gamete with 100% efficiency (especially not males, with all of that sperm). 25% of pregnancies are naturally spontaneously aborted during the first six weeks LMP, usually before the woman knows she is pregnant. This is normal, and to me, the loss of life is not a bad thing. I mean, what’s wrong with killing an embryo when you can just make another one? Like I said, there is no embryo shortage. @ Someone: Actually, they will die anyway. It is my understanding that IV clinics culture the embryos for the purpose of implanting them into someone’s uterus to get the person pregnant when they could not have otherwise. Naturally, this process sometimes generates embryos that are not suitable for implantation. These are the ones that would be otherwise discarded (if I’m wrong about any of this, I would appreciate input from someone with a better understanding of the subject). However, I still think that this point is irrelevant, because even if they were created for the sole purpose of research, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. You said that they would have given nothing valuable for their deaths, but that’s not true; they would have helped us understand more about them.
@ Ben: You’re ending it? Come on, you don’t have to do that! I would have no problem changing my worldview if you actually give me a convincing reason why embryonic stem cell research is not right. Also, Someone’s point about memories remains valid. Just because an embryo could eventually develop the ability to make them, it still hasn’t yet, while the person in a coma has already. @ Someone: In the case of embryonic stem cell research, women do not give away their babies for it. Embryos are cultured in vitro and allowed to grow for 3-5 days. We’re not talking about babies, but tiny bunches of around only 128 cells each, which are not things that people would form emotional attachments to. They come from fertility clinics and are commonly disposed of when not used for research. And of course an embryo wouldn’t know if it was dead. They don’t even know they’re alive when they are. Also, I have to agree with Ben about the Obama thing. If Ben personally didn’t vote for him, then he doesn’t have to like him being president.
@ Ben: You said that if “you end the life of the embryo, then you end the life of the human that the embryo would have developed into”, but my whole point is that you can’t end a life before it even begins. To be worth keeping something alive, I do think there is a certain level of sentience required. For example, although slime mold is technically alive, I do not think it would be unethical to kill it. So if human cells are going to be killed, then we should do it before they develop the ability to feel anything. You asked what else could human cells in their early stages be other than a human life. I would say that since they are human cells that are alive, they are human life in a sense. However, they are not if the definition of human includes sentience and being able to think and feel. You said that “Hitler actually though that he WAS doing the best possible thing for everyone by killing the one's he thought were inefficient, or in-superior. Much (I am extremely sad to say) like you think should be done. The only difference is your views on which group should go”. Okay, hang on! Hitler probably did think his experiments were ethical, but they obviously were not by our standards (these standards are what I was using as my definition of ethics). And what is this “much like I think should be done” quote all about? “My views on which group should go”? Please tell me, which group do I think should go? Do you seriously think that I think his experiments weren’t unethical, some races are inherently inferior to others, and social Darwinism is scientific? Let me make it perfectly clear that I don’t, and I am not a Nazi. Please do not try to associate me with Hitler and put fake words in my mouth to make me look bad. Anyways, it’s true that a person in a coma has the potential to wake up like an embryo has the potential to develop (even though it doesn’t, as Someone pointed out). However, it’s pretty clear when and how the embryo will develop and at which point it becomes sentient, while someone in a coma could wake up at any time, which is why we treat them as if they were sentient to a certain extent. My distinction between resuming a life and starting a new one is another important point. What do you think of the Monty Python song “Every Sperm is Sacred”? When a guy masturbates, is he committing mass murder because all those sperm cells have the potential to become a person? What if scientists wanted to kill sperm cells for research? I wouldn’t have a problem with that, either. @ Xiazeran: I hope your comments about Obama are in jest. If not, please cite some evidence to back up your claims. @ Charf Dorn: I have to agree with Ben here. Your rating is supposed to be for the actual MOC. What makes you the judge of what we can discuss here?
1) Not a very creative MOC.
2) Not the place to have a discussion on local politics (or any politics).
That's why I give this a 2. It has nothing to do with the particulars of your politics, which I will not dignify with an argument. There are appropriate places to have this debate but MOCpages is NOT a political forum. Please don't use it as a soapbox.
@ Will Thomas: But dolphins and babies can be classified as sentient! Look at Ben’s definition above. And what makes you think the “far left” values animal life more than human life? And what makes you think that I’m a part of this “far left”? @ Ben: The Webster’s definition of “sentient” is the one I have been using, so me in a coma would fall under the same category as an embryo. The thing about an embryo is that although it does have a good chance to live a normal life, it hasn’t yet, while a person in a coma has already, and could wake up at any random moment. That’s why killing someone in a coma is not okay, unless they’re totally brain dead with no chance of waking up. Before an embryo starts its life as a human, it’s not at all like an unconcious person or even a fetus. Remember, it’s just a small cluster of cells that haven’t even differentiated into distinct organ tissue. And no, you could not have used an example of me as a baby, because a baby has already started its life, while an embryo has not. Even before they are born, babies are able to feel things, so killing them for research isn’t okay, either. And what makes you think I think life is unimportant and doesn’t have value? Other people’s lives are very important to me, but the importance only comes after they develop into a thinking, feeling person. Also, your example of Hitler’s research does not apply here. No, it wasn’t good when he did his cruel experiments on people, because he was not even considering ethics. Modern research is very careful to not perform unethical experiments. However, stem cell research is not unethical, because the embryos are not sentient in any way. Although they have the potential to be, that’s no reason to treat them as if they already are.
@ Nate (his last review) : You seem to have an interesting perspective on sentient life. Dolphins have the brain capacity and can be trained to be as smart as young children. Does this mean that we should murder them as well for scientific knowledge? Just because they couldn't be classified as sentient life forms in their current state doesn't mean that they won't be soon. I have a question: what would happen if the conservatives decided that they wanted to use baby dolphins for scientific knowledge? Wouldn't there be a huge outcry from the far left, who value animal lives more than human ones? ~Will
this is a great moc of sybolism!!! how can you say stopping something from being born isnt killing it? and i believe you made a point, it is all supported by sin. i love this moc because it displays information in a simple yet interesting way.
I don’t disagree that embryos are alive, it’s just that being alive is not the same thing as being sentient and able to feel things. Just because we know that it can’t develop into anything other than a human doesn’t mean it is a human before it does so, at least when the definition of human includes sentience. I don’t think your example of someone in a coma would apply here, because waking up from a coma is not the same thing as the long process of developing into a sentient human. A person in a coma probably still has friends and family, and could resume his or her life upon waking. This is the important distinction: by developing into a human, an embryo would not be resuming a previously-started life, but beginning a new one. That’s why there’s nothing wrong with killing embryos for research. There is no shortage of human lives, and considering all the problems that come from overpopulation, it’s probably a good thing that these embryos don’t develop into more humans. Also, my other point is that research should be funded regardless of whether or not it “works” (i.e. produces practical applications). As long as it adds to the body of scientific knowledge, then it’s good. You said that embryonic stem cell research has been “tried”, as if scientific research can just be tried once and then either pass or fail. It actually doesn’t work that way. Maybe if we let this research continue, it will produce results. Then again, maybe it won’t. Either way, it will increase our knowledge of things, and that’s always good.
You mentioned devaluating human life in there. I know all life is valuable, with the exception of a certain few things, like Stalin and Bubonic Plague, but I think human life is already on that slippery slope there. Pollution for one example. If we keep this current rate up, one day there won't be any life to value. This has been another random review by Awesome-o-saurus.
Yes, a good argument is nice. You know you can respond to me in your own comment if you want. Anyways, a human embryo is a human life only in a very broad sense. Although it does consist of human cells, it is not sentient and cannot feel anything, so I don’t see what’s wrong with killing it for research, especially if it was already destined to be killed no matter what. When I asked you to elaborate on the “does not work” thing, I mostly meant to define what you mean by “work”. You probably meant produce useful results, right? But you can’t always expect that of scientific research. The point of research is not to create technology with practical applications, but to investigate how things work and aquire knowledge. Taxpayers’ money goes to fund research that will not lead to anything useful all the time, and stem cell research is no different in that regard (unless it does lead to something useful). Also, the restrictions thing probably goes both ways. It doesn’t produce practical applications, so people want to restrict it, so it’s even less likely to produce practical applications, etc.
I don’t live in Michigan anymore, but my family will be voting on this. Anyways, I have to disagree with your claim that this research leads to the loss of human life. It only leads to the loss of embryos (actually it doesn’t, because they would have been discarded anyway), and therefore does not lead to the loss of human life unless you consider a cluster of cells in a petri dish to be a human. Also, could you elaborate on your claim that it “does not work”? Of course research won’t be as likely to produce useful results if people keep wanting to restrict it. Nice job on the actual MOC and the lettering, by the way.