Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The pro-life view is not 'biological reductionism'

PZ Myers, a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris, writes here about abortion. I'll respond to some of his claims in a few different posts.

He says this about the pro-life view: "Pretending that 46 chromosomes in a cell is sufficient to define a person is the most absurd kind of extreme biological reductionism."

This is a blatant misrepresentation of our position. 46 chromosomes in a cell is not sufficient to qualify that cell as a person, because any ol' cell won't do -- it must be a complete and whole organism. Pro-lifers contend that being a member of the species Homo sapiens -- a living human organism with a personal nature, who possesses inherent capacities, actualized or not, for self-awareness, rationality, thinking, feeling and choosing -- is "sufficient to define a person." We are persons by nature, because of the kind of thing we are, rather than because we have acquired a certain (seemingly arbitrary) degree of function, the root capacity for which we had all along by virtue of being human.