When Does Life Begin?

  • Thread starter ikos9lives
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  • #1
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I know that it begins about 3.8 billion years ago, and hasn't stopped since. But some people said life begins at conception. Is it correct? What is the difference between conception and fertilization?
 

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  • #2
Borek
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I think you are confusing two different things - existence of a life on Earth with the life span of a single organism.
 
  • #3
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I think you are confusing two different things - existence of a life on Earth with the life span of a single organism.
My question is probably a bit unclear, but I'll add this link inappropriate link deleted So if anyone could lay out a clear points or explanation of what the article actually is, it would facilitate good discussion.
 
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  • #4
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Yes, ikos9lives, the debate that the article you link to is about is not a scientific one, it is an ethical one. It is quite definitely not about abiogenesis, when life on earth began billions of years ago. It is very specifically about the beginning of human life – any human life, and it is discussing whether a deliberate act of aborting the development of an embryo or a foetus constitutes murder. It is a very difficult and sensitive debate, though I do not advocate shying away from it. However, it is pretty clear that any discussion of it does not belong on this, purely scientific forum. I am not pretending to have any authority to make these kinds of choices here, but my strong feeling is that if you wish to discuss this topic, you should do so either on the philosophy forum or on the politics and world affairs forum, or possibly the general discussion forum.
 
  • #5
Evo
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What is the difference between conception and fertilization?
They're the same thing, the formation of a zygote, which is a fertilized ovum.

And Ken is correct, we will not get into a discussion of religious and/or personal beliefs.
 
  • #6
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Although there is a danger of this discussion deteriorating into religious or personal beliefs, perhaps the OP was just looking for a scientific definition to contrast with the moral or ethical position of the link.
 
  • #7
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Hmmm, it is pretty clear, Skeptic2, that the article linked to was not of a scientific nature. It had a clear agenda against abortion, and, carefully reasserting that I seek to make no comment here on my views on that particular debate, it was also very clear to me that it was of the type of thing that seeks to clothe itself in an air of scientific rigour that it didn’t actually live up to.

So, for sure, you could have a scientific discussion about when exactly an individual human life begins. It seems to me that, if it was to be a really serious discussion, it might take Tibor Gánti’s chemoton as a model. I remember being involved in a discussion about whether a sperm should be regarded as ‘living’, not just because it is motile, but because it metabolises. We certainly talk about sperm dying. But if it does live, then what is it? Human? And in point of fact, why constrain the discussion to the matter of when life begins? Death too has become a more nebulous concept. Certainly, we may point to someone who is clearly living and someone else who is clearly dead, but the precise moment of transition from one to the other is not just as free from matters of interpretation as it once seemed.

But it is very clear, if the discussion is to be purely scientific then never at any point should it include discussion of the rights and wrongs of abortion. I strongly suspect that precluding that would preclude the interest of the OP.
 
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  • #8
Borek
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  • #9
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Borek

Normal sperm counts can range from 20 to 60 million/cc. Where else but in the UK can you get a bunch of pre-teen school children to sing "Every sperm is sacred!" on camera? That's a lot of sacredness. Do the powers that be know about this in Poland?
 
  • #10
Borek
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I guess some would love to block at least parts of youtube content in Poland.
 
  • #11
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Hmmm, it is pretty clear, Skeptic2, that the article linked to was not of a scientific nature. It had a clear agenda against abortion, and, carefully reasserting that I seek to make no comment here on my views on that particular debate, it was also very clear to me that it was of the type of thing that seeks to clothe itself in an air of scientific rigour that it didn’t actually live up to.

So, for sure, you could have a scientific discussion about when exactly an individual human life begins. It seems to me that, if it was to be a really serious discussion, it might take Tibor Gánti’s chemoton as a model. I remember being involved in a discussion about whether a sperm should be regarded as ‘living’, not just because it is motile, but because it metabolises. We certainly talk about sperm dying. But if it does live, then what is it? Human? And in point of fact, why constrain the discussion to the matter of when life begins? Death too has become a more nebulous concept. Certainly, we may point to someone who is clearly living and someone else who is clearly dead, but the precise moment of transition from one to the other is not just as free from matters of interpretation as it once seemed.

But it is very clear, if the discussion is to be purely scientific then never at any point should it include discussion of the rights and wrongs of abortion. I strongly suspect that precluding that would preclude the interest of the OP.
The question was "When does life begin" which is quite different to "When can you be considered a human being". I was really looking for a biological answer, not theological one.

It is at least possible that if we go back even further than that all life on this planet is related whether animal or vegetable. It may be possible that if life is found anywhere else in this galaxy we will find we are related to that life form. Apparently the "building blocks" of life have been found within meteorites. Some of these meteorites being possibly older than the solar system. I don't disagree with any of that. I just feel I am a unique specimen of life and my uniqueness stems from the moment of my conception. That is where life started for me. Whether one considers that a fact or just an emotional illogical response I leave for others to comment for good discussions.
 
  • #12
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Where else but in the UK can you get a bunch of pre-teen school children to sing "Every sperm is sacred!" on camera? That's a lot of sacredness.
The US?

Where else other than the US would you get those classic tunes produced by the Westboro Baptist Church?

With regards to the OP, I think there is confusion between origins of life and when something becomes 'alive'.
 
  • #13
Evo
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Thread closed. OP hasn't noted the difference between abiogenesis and fertilization.
 

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