Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The fallacy of thinking personhood begins at conception

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Some claim to believe that a fertilized human ovum is a person — that is, that personhood begins at conception. I disagree strongly. Personhood develops over time, just as (say) a heap of sand develops over time. If you start with a clean slate and place on the slate one grain of sand, you do not have a heap of sand. Add a second grain. Still no heap of sand. Continue adding grains of sand, one by one. At some ill-defined point, after many grains of sand have been added, you will have a heap of sand..

Personhood is like that. It’s not there at the beginning. In the photo at the right, well after the beginning, the fertilized ovum has become a blastocyst. The blastocyst is quite obviously not a person, though in time and with good fortune (for example, in the absence of a spontaneous miscarriage), it can become a person. But it is not yet a person at all.

People who claim that a blastocyst is a person are people who cannot tell the difference between an egg and a chicken nor between an acorn and an oak tree. An acorn is not an oak tree, though it has that potential. 

Written by Leisureguy

22 July 2022 at 1:04 pm

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