Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Postrel again

I'm sorry to post again on the cloning issue, but Postrel made me do it.

Referring to Ramesh Ponnuru's blog at The Corner (link to the left) yesterday, she construes his argument for the personhood of blatocyst thus: this argument "declar[es] something a person because, given enough time and the right circumstances it could become one."


Should someone who disagrees that the embryo is a person come across this, please read very carefully and slowly...

We (Ramesh, me, and others who are pro-life) do NOT believe that an embryo is a person because it will later become a person. That's completely illogical and makes no sense -- it's saying that something is X because it will be X later; what???? If it only becomes X later, then it can't be X now, by definition. Anyone who portrays our position in such a manner either thinks we're really, really stupid or hasn't been listening very well (or both, I suppose). Our position is this:

To be a person means to have the active potential to reason and freely will (regardless of whether it is immediately exercisable or not).

A human embryo has this active potential at every moment of its existence.

Therefore, a human embryo is a person at every moment of its existence. It does not become a person later; it already is a person as soon as it begins to exist.

It isn't really all that complicated. The argument usually made against it seems to come down to this: it doesn't look like a person, so it can't be a person.

And that's a bunch of baloney. We've already been down that road way, way too many times.

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