John Podhoretz has backed himself into a highly illogical corner with these posts #1, #2 #3 and #4 in response to this post by Robert George.
What does "fully human" mean in the scientific sense, John? How does a ‘part human' become "fully human?" Can something be half human?
Nature is brutal so we can be brutal too? Says who? What kind of logic is that? Since a tsunami kills 200,000 people in southeast Asia, how does it follow that there is no reason why we shouldn't be killing people who reside in southeast Asia? No one is arguing that strawman.
Let's give Jpod his assumption that there is a moral force in the universe and that his plan in the end isn't brutal. How does that prove that brutal things often times via nature don't happen along the way?
If "life begins at conception" believers whWhich is why in the universe I think we live in, the moral force would not create massive numbers of living human beings in embryonic form only to snuff them out.
His argument is difficult to decipher because of the typos but his point seems to come through at the end. Basically, the moral force (John is trying to avoid saying God) wouldn't create millions of embryos merely to destroy them. As his readers pointed out earlier, the same argument could be made for newborns in developing countries due to high infant morality rate. By that logic, a newborn can't be ‘fully human' since millions of newborn lives have been snuffed out soon after birth.
Through none of his post does Podhoretz try to argue that life doesn't begin from a scientific perspective. He provides no scientific evidence just bad philosophical reasoning in an effort to justify his belief that embryos aren't ‘fully human.'
During his last post he claims those that believe life begins at conception do it based on belief not logic or science. He also calls unborn children "seedlings of human beings." Now that's true science. He then tries to claim that gender isn't decided until 6 weeks. I don't know what his sources are but an embryo has either a XX or XY chromosome pair long before 6 weeks. Maybe he's ignoring ‘sex' and talking solely about ‘gender' but then his argument wouldn't work because many transgendered individuals don't decide what their ‘gender identity' is until long after birth. Maybe he's confusing when our technology can tell what the sex is with when the sex is decided.
Note to John: just because your view on life's beginning is based on belief (it clearly is not based on logic or science) doesn't mean mine is.
The best part about this interchange is that Prof. George doesn't need to respond. The Corner readers take JPod to task for him.
Robert George does reply and clearly demonstrates why he's on the President's Council for Bioethics here and here.