Mark at #27:
“Wow, calling a human life a parasite.”
As a zygote and fetus, it is parasitic. During those stages of development, the one (zygote/fetus) isn’t separate from the other (parasite). The earliest part of the human life cycle is a parasitic cellular collection.
“So, when does it stop being a parasite and become a human being?”
Mark, the point is, the opening stages of the human life cycle is parasitic. The parasitic stage of the human life cycle stops upon birth and excision from the umbilicus. At that point, the life form may be sustained by resources outside (if necessary) that of the host. Food, oxygen, shelter, and so forth, may be provided independent of the host. Up until that point, the life form remains parasitic.
I would argue that the status of human being as organism with rights defined in a collective social environment and acknowledged within legal and other social systems therein, also starts at birth and host-independent viability, as well, though there have been socio-cultural systems that argue that actually happens later.
Here’s the thing about all this: it’s not an insult. It’s not a “bad” thing. Before I was born, I was a parasite on the system of my mother (and I didn’t have enough cellular structure or collective complexity to have self-awareness of an identity as “I” or “me,” incidentally). It’s just the circumstances of the biological system. Ultimately, however, during the zygote and fetus stages, the host system is the viable system, and the host’s independence is paramount in terms of rights and autonomy. The host gets to decide. I don’t get to decide, even if my spermatozoan managed to fuse with the host’s ovum. I hope I might be a party to the discussion if I did contribute a spermatozoan, but ultimately, the host (the mother, the woman) is the one who’s ultimate autonomy about health and life decisions are paramount.
You’re trying to re-categorize this issue as one of tyranny of one life over another (host over parasite), when in fact your own re-categorization is an imposition of tyranny of one life over another (your opinion over the independent health decisions of a woman, any woman). Your re-categorization demonstrates the extent to which you don’t value both the life and autonomy of women.
The maintenance of that choice – the choices women make about their own health – exceeds the potentiality of a cluster of cells. Moreover, working to ensure that choice of health and well-being decisions remains with the person most dramatically affected (and in the case of pregnancy that is the woman, not the cluster of cells) actually helps improve the health and life chances of women and clusters of cells alike.
I know it may be hard to see, but better availability of choice, and better infrastructure to support the outcomes of those choices, actually helps reduce long term human suffering. You want things to get better for potential clusters of cells?
Start working to ensure that women have independence, autonomy, and choice in their health care decisions.
“I have the power and you don’t because you are a parasite in my eyes.”
One of the problems of religion and its effect on human psychology is how perfectly legitimate terms used to describe an elegant classification system have been appropriated as pejoratives. Now maybe you, Mark, aren’t religious, but here’s what happens:
“Animal” becomes an insult. “Parasite” becomes something abhorrent.
Except that I am an animal, nothing more, nothing less. I share many characteristics, down to the atomic level, with many other animals. I am a chordate, but that’s not unique to me or my species. I am a mammal, but that’s not unique to me or my species. I am a social animal, but that’s not unique to me or my species. I have multiple systems of communication, but that’s not unique to me or my species.
And during the cellular collection that would eventually gain independence from its host such that it might continue to grow and attain enough consciousness that it identifies as “me” (even though that consciousness is strictly a manifestation of the material organism), I was a parasite.
I was a parasite, but that wasn’t unique to me or my species.
“It is amazing how human beings can De-humanize another human being to justify killing them.”
I agree, especially the way many men (and some women) will de-humanize women to justify killing them or oppressing them by enforcing parasitic development that threatens the health and well-being of the woman, and by trying to remove the autonomy of choice from women such that they cannot make the best possible and most well-informed decision possible.
“Oh, you aren’t human you are a parasite.”
As I’ve explained, the one doesn’t exclude the other. I’m a human, but also an animal. I am a member of a species that biologically starts off in a parasitic state before achieving viable independence, and remains an animal throughout it’s life cycle.
There’s a kind of special pleading that sometimes comes from religious believers (though perhaps you’re not a religious believer, I don’t know) who think that “human” is some sort of special achievement, some sort of unique state of being, a boss-level that you unlock in the X-box game of life. It’s easy to understand where that comes from if you imagine (as many religious believers do) that the universe is specially created for humans by a being that holds humans dear above all else.
Except that’s not the case. Sure, there are some features that don’t appear very frequently elsewhere in other animals, but at our most elemental, we’re just organisms, long chains of hydrogen and carbon, and we share many other features, such as complex neurological systems, certain environmental adaptability (within limits), tool use, omnivorous diet, an endoskeleton, certain sexual proclivities, and so on, with other animals.
And there’s no evidence that we’re special outside our own socio-cultural and psychological behavior of meaning-making. There’s no evidence of a universal creator that holds us dear.
We’re not particularly special outside our socio-cultural meaning-making. It’s actually not a bad thing (or a good thing) to have started on the road to present consciousness (as an extension of the electro-chemical neural net) as a parasite. It’s just how it is. My mother happens to love her youngest former-parasite (she’s given birth to three of the little previously-non-independently-viable-collection-of-cells), but it still started as a parasite. Now her youngest has attained viability independent of host. Guess what? Mom still loves it, even when it doesn’t believe in the god that she does!
That doesn’t change the fact that Mom loves it because loving is a behavioral characteristic of many examples of the species, and because our psychology makes meaning.
“Sounds a lot like the people in Rwanda when they slaughtered thousands of people and they called them cockroaches.”
Except that those were viable humans killing other viable humans, not zygotes and not fetuses, and not in consideration of the mother’s health and well-being. Those weren’t health decisions about the integral bodily autonomy of a host, and they weren’t health decisions made by the person most affected by the health circumstance. Those were just socio-political differences fallen under that age-old human method of resolution: violence.
Nice try, but what you’ve created there is what’s known as a false equivalency, and it doesn’t work in arguing against abortion (or pretty much any other argument, for that matter). Try again.