Friday, January 8, 2010


You're now chatting with a random stranger. Say hi!
You: What is your opinion on abortion?
Stranger: Hello
Stranger: Well, I am pro-choice. However I do not think it should be used as a contraception method. It should be there for use in an emergency.
You: Why don't you think it should be used as birth control?
Stranger: I don't think it is good for a woman to have too many, there are other easier methods of birth control.
You: Why isn't it good for a woman to have too many?
Stranger: Because it is not good for the body.
You: So you don't think it's a good idea, but is it bad?
Stranger: Sorry? That does not make sense
You: I mean I think smoking is not a good idea.
You: But I wouldn't call it bad.
Stranger: But smoking is bad, it can cause so many health problems and is the biggest cause of lung cancer. I would say smoking is very bad.
You: Okay, is it immoral?
Stranger: Smoking? No
You: Abortion?
Stranger: No
You: Is there any point later in pregnancy where it becomes immoral?
Stranger: Well, I personally don't know the exact time frames but I would say once you are past the medical limit for abortion then it could be viewed as immoral, however if it is a recommended abortion on medical grounds then i would say no. It is not black and white.
You: Currently in America, abortions are legal until birth for any reason.
You: In fact, only recently did we ban partial-birth and live-birth abortions.
Stranger: Ok
You: Would you consider it to be okay to give birth to a baby breach up to the neck and then suck his brains out?
Stranger: What do you mean by suck his brains out?
You: Put scissors into the base of the neck and insert a suction machine to empty the skull.
Stranger: No I would not think that is ok unless it was absolutely necessary
You: Why not?
Stranger: Well if you are talking about a baby without any other health issues/complications and the mother is in good health etc I think there would have been other abortion options available before that point. It seems like a very last minute option so I think it should only be used in an emergency
You: Why do you see it as unacceptable?
Stranger: Because like I said if the baby was healthy etc and the mother was in no danger there would have been other abortion options avaiable up until that point and i dont know why they would ever need to carry the baby until that point to abort
You: If instead of delivering the baby part way they kept him inside and did the same thing would you oppose that?
Stranger: I don't know how they would be able to do that without hurting the mother
You: The mother?
Stranger: The mother of the baby
You: So you acknowledge the existence of an offspring?
Stranger: Well if there is a baby then there is a mother
You: So you think it is okay to kill babies?
Stranger: I have never mentioned killing babies, abortion is a completely different issue. The baby is not alive until it is born
You: Stranger: I don't know how they would be able to do that without hurting the mother
You: The mother?
Stranger: The mother of the baby
Stranger: yes?
Stranger: I dont understand what you are trying to say
You: You said that there is a baby inside her.
You: Abortion kills him or her.
Stranger: Not if it hasn't been born yet, it just stops the possibility of a baby
You: So she's not a mother?
Stranger: Not if the baby isn't born
You: Would you support an abortion at 8 months?
Stranger: I would need to know the full facts of the case, nothing is black and white
You: Would you support an abortion at 39 weeks?
Stranger: Again, I would need to know the full facts of the case
You: 41 weeks?
Stranger: Again, full facts would need to be known
You: What about infanticide?
Stranger: What do you mean?
You: Killing the baby after birth.
Stranger: No I do not support that
You: Why not?
Stranger: Because that baby has been born and is a life
You: The baby is a life before birth too; it's the same person.
Stranger: No its not, before birth it is the possibility of a person, only once it has taken a breath is the baby alive
You: The baby doesn't breath until a minute or so after birth.
You: That's why they need to slap it on the back.
Stranger: Thats when the baby is alive,
You: So after birth the baby isn't alive yet?
Stranger: The baby is alive once it has been born and taken a breath
You: What if she's born early and has to be put on a respirator?
Stranger: The respirator does the function it is supposed to and allows the baby to breathe
You: Do you know what the definition of life it?
You: ^is
Stranger: As far as I am aware life has never been officially defined by anyone. However it would be generally accepted as something that produces its own energy either through respiration/photosynthesis/chemosynthesis etc
You: The 7 characteristics of life are heredity, homeostasis, reproduction, metabolism, cellular organisation, growth/development, and response to stimuli.
You: That's out of my biology textbook.
Stranger: What is the name of your textbook? Also, characteristics aren't always a definition. I have blue eyes thats a characteristic but you couldn't use it to define a person.
You: It's just called "Biology".
You: But you can look it up online.
You: No organisms produce their own energy. Even plants take it from the sun.
Stranger: Photosynthesis, they use the suns energy to produce their own energy
You: The law of conservation of energy states that energy cannot be produced.
Stranger: No, all energy is in balance and you cannot produce any new energy from nothing, however by converting one form of energy to another you are producing a different kind of energy that was not there before therefore producing energy.
You: Well, if you're talking about metabolism, we do that before birth. The umbilical cord brings us oxygen and sugars that we break down in cellular respiration.
Stranger: Yes and it is still attached to the mother, therefore the "baby" is not doing that itself.
You: The food comes from the mother but the cellular respiration happens in the fetal cells.
Stranger: Yes but the baby cannot do that without the mother being there, the baby cannot sustain itself
You: Cannot do what?
Stranger: Cannot do anything, if the mother is not there to provide the oxygen, to provide the food the baby cannot exist, it is not a life as it cannot live by itself, it is part of the mother, in fact you could see similarities between a baby and a tumour or a growth
You: If we removed the baby we could give him or her the nutrients mechanically.
Stranger: But that baby is still not living on its own is it? It is being artificially reared, in nature that would not happen.
You: In nature a premature baby wouldn't survive.
Stranger: No it wouldn't
You: Are premature babies not alive?
Stranger: If it has been born and is breathing then yes
You: But it cannot survive on its own.
Stranger: It might not survive for long but once that baby has taken a breath it is alive
You: They can't breath on their own. That's what the respirator is for.
Stranger: If the baby has not taken a breath it is stillborn
You: So a baby is stillborn until a minute after birth?
You: You: The baby doesn't breath until a minute or so after birth.
You: That's why they need to slap it on the back.
Stranger: Thats when the baby is alive,
Stranger: No, stillborn is when a baby does not take a breath for a period of time, there is no respitory function. They don't just say "oh well a minutes up, thats it"
You: The thing is this: the mother and baby are two organisms in a temporary symbiotic relationship in which the mother supplies nutrients to the baby.
Stranger: OR the baby is a parasite feeding off the mother?
You: If the baby is a parasite, it is a separate organism by definition.
You: Also, a parasitic relationship is a type of symbiosis.
Stranger: I was being funny, you can take all your points to try and justify your anti abortion view however it sitll does not work. A baby is not alive until it has been born and has taken its first breath
You: Does the baby grow?
You: Yes or no.
Stranger: Are we talking about after birth? Then yes it does
You: Does the fetus grow?
Stranger: The fetus does grow yes
You: Is the fetus composed of cells?
Stranger: Yes it certainlely is
You: Do those cells divide?
Stranger: Yes they do
You: Does the fetus direct his or her own development?
Stranger: It has limited control you could argue
You: I'm not debating the source of nutrients.
You: I'm asking whether or not the fetal DNA directs the production of proteins.
Stranger: Well, it is an issue!
Stranger: Yes it does, in addition to the mothers help
You: How does the mother help aside from supplying nutrients and a hospitable environment?
Stranger: I think those are pretty big issues! Try sticking a fertilised egg on a table and see what happens
You: After fertilization, there is no egg; the sperm and egg fuse into a zygote.
You: But try sticking a fish in outer space.
Stranger: Ok ok, use your terms, stick that on a table
Stranger: haha, you are getting desperate with your reasoning now. You said how does the mother help the baby aside from that, and i merely said that the baby would not be able to even begin to develop without that, we were not talking about fish in space
You: I'm not asking if the baby could develop without help. This is universal for all organisms. I'm asking whether the fetus's development is self-directed, not self-sustained.
You: Does the fetal DNA direct development?
Stranger: Ok, then Yes
You: Okay.
You: The mother supplies nutrients through the placenta and umbilical cord. Do the baby's cells then metabolize these nutrients (with the help of the oxygen supplied the same way) through cellular respiration?
Stranger: Hells yeah
You: Does the baby react to stimuli?
Stranger: it depends on the kind of stimuli
You: Does the baby react to any stimuli at all?
Stranger: it could do
You: So we have established that the baby grows through cellular division, correct?
Stranger: Yes
You: We have also established that the baby's cells take nutrients provided by the mother's bloodstream and metabolize them through cellular respiration, correct?
Stranger: Yes, with the help of the mother
You: The mother provides the nutrients, yes.
Stranger: yes
You: Have we also established that the baby is made of cells?
Stranger: Yes
You: Have we also established that the baby's growth and development is self-directed, but not self-sustained?
Stranger: Yes
You: And, finally, we have established that the baby can react to certain stimuli.
Stranger: Yes
You: Because the fetus's growth and development are self-directed, it is an organism and not part of the mother's body.
Stranger: Ok, so what about a tumour?
You: A tumor is not a separate organism.
Stranger: why?
You: Because it does not have its own DNA.
You: It is cells of a larger body.
Stranger: But it is made of cells, it grows, it can react to stimuli if it is nervous tissue?
You: These are all true.
You: Those are characteristics of life.
You: Ever cell in your body is alive.
You: To be a separate organism, its growth must be self-directed.
You: That is the difference between a tumor and a tapeworm, for instance.
Stranger: Ok, so do tumours self direct their growth?
You: No, they do not.
Stranger: Are you sure on that?
You: Unless you can provide evidence to the contrary.
You: Tumors are cells of a larger body that contain the DNA of other somatic cells, but the cellular division routine has gone awry.
You: This is why tumors develop chaotically.
Stranger: or is it organised chaos?
You: No.
Stranger: But how do these tumors actually grow?
You: By cellular division.
Stranger: but you said that has got "awry"
You: Yes.
You: The division is typically controlled and limited according to genetic instructions.
Stranger: So it is controlled?
You: But not in tumors.
You: No.
You: It is not even self-controlled.
Stranger: So its just a bit wacky? And just so happens to result in the growth of a tumour in a random point?
You: Sometimes it is triggered by a chemical imbalance of some sort.
You: That's why you need to eat healthy.
Stranger: Ahh, ok, so tumours do nothing themselves?
You: Nothing but grow chaotically.
You: Otherwise they just sit there.
Stranger: So they cant induce anything?
You: Like what?
Stranger: Like growth of blood vessels?
You: What do you mean?
Stranger: Well, they just sit there right?
Stranger: They cant do anything they just grow chaotically due to limited genetic instructions, thats what you said right?
You: No, they grow chaotically because they do not entirely follow their genetic instructions.
Stranger: So what drives them to grow?
You: They're still cells, and cells divide.
Stranger: So thats all it is? Cell division?
You: Without restriction, they don't stop.
You: I must admit, however, I am not an expert on tumors.
Stranger: I am just interested to know what control they have over their growth
You: Not really any.
You: I would encourage you to research this for yourself, if you're interested.
You: I know, however, that they are not organisms.
Stranger: Ok, so you are only here for your anti-abortion agenda nothing else
You: I'm not here to talk about something I am as uninformed on as tumor growth.
Stranger: but you are an expert on pregnancy and birth?
You: Not at all, but I have a basic understanding of the definition of life.
You: It's the first thing you learn in biology.
Stranger: but your understanding is skewed in order to meet your agenda
You: Not at all. We can have a legitimate debate as to whether the baby is a valuable human being or possesses "personhood".
Stranger: Yes we can
You: But from a purely biological perspective, the baby is certainly alive.
Stranger: However, it is not classed as alive until it has been born
You: Legally, no it is not.
You: As far as I know.
You: I know for certain that, in the case of abortion, it is not a legal person.
Stranger: You could argue that the legal definition is wrong, however you could also argue that the definition of the basic characterstics of life are wrong. They were both decided on by people and therefore are not necessarily all encompassing.
You: If you are going to dispute the definition of life, take it up with scientists.
You: But, being the core of biology for hundreds of years, you'll need more than a political agenda to change it.
Stranger: But your whole argument here has been using the definition of life
You: So has yours. If you want to debate the rights the baby has, go ahead.
You: But it is alive.
Stranger: indeed, well stranger I think we shall just have to agree to differ.
You: Are you currently a student?
Stranger: No, are you?
You: Yes.
You: If you have access to a biologist, ask him or her.
You: You know that human beings reproduce sexually right?
Stranger: I actually have a background in biology myself so there is no need for the patronising lecture. I suggest that to succeed as a student (in whatever subject not necessarily biology) you should open your mind to debate a bit more. You are very one sided and that will limit your opportunity to learn.
You: Sexual reproduction is defined as the production of an offspring by the fusion of the genetic material of both parents. To say that the baby is part of the mother's body that splits off at birth suggests that you believe we reproduce asexually.
You: I am in no way trying to be patronizing.
You: I apologize if I came off that way.
You: I'm just clarifying that the baby is biologically alive. Whether he or she is philosophically valuable is still up for debate.
Stranger: Someone has to play devils advocate thats how things work. I wish you good luck in your studies stranger but i do suggest that you try to acknowledge the other side of debate occasionally.
Stranger: Good luck in the future
You: I acknowledge the other side.
You: I am pointing out that the biological life of the baby is not debated in scientific circles.
You: If you want to debate philosophical value, I will have that debate.
Stranger: I dont think you do. It is all very well debating but you must be prepared to acknowledge that you might not have all of the answers and sometimes things are not black and white. The biological life of a baby is not debated as it is known, a baby is considered alive after birth.
Stranger: I have to go now stranger, i do wish you well in your studies.
You: But the stubborn facts of science stand in favor of at least the biological life of the baby.
You: Goodbye.
You: And thank you.
Stranger: Perhaps, but its not how it is acknowledged currently. You may well be right but I and most other people do not consider a baby to be alive until after birth.
You: This has been an interesting dialogue.
Stranger: Goodbye stranger, it has officially been my most interesting omegle, thank you!
You: In strictly biological terms, the baby is alive.
Your conversational partner has disconnected.

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