Embryos are humans, too

Our Other View

The debate about stem cell research should not be seen as a view either for or against healing people with disease, nor should it be seen as a case for or against life, but should be seen as a case of what is and is not human.

In this dissenting opinion, we will not say that we are against increased medical research and knowledge because it ultimately leads to healthier and longer lives. Nor will we say that we are making some sort of claim about life, for cells existing as just cells are a form of life; and science, ethically, kills them daily.

No, the debate is whether one can ethically kill a human and, more so, when exactly a fertilized ovum (or embryo) becomes a human.

Both sides of the debate can agree upon the first part of the question. Unjustly taking any human life is wrong. However, defining exactly what is human proves to be much more difficult.

The other side of this argument would view what constitutes a human in terms of themselves, meaning that something is human when it begins cognitive activity, feeling, or takes on a certain form resembling the human form.

This dissenting opinion, however, does not try to define humanity in terms of itself, but rather takes a deistic view of humanity, meaning that a human is human because of a god or transcendent being. To be human is not necessarily to feel or think, but to be and be in the image of a creator. Admittedly, this view is not empirically provable, nor is it a view that defines humanity in terms of its ability to think or feel.

If one were to view humanity in terms of cognition and sensory perception, then those unfortunate humans in deep comas could no longer be viewed as human. In these conditions, it is of benefit to see humanity from a transcendent view.

We will not disagree that feeling and thinking are certainly human characteristics; though, we will not permit them to be the basis for what is human. Thus, if humans come from a deistic source, then it is reasonable to think that humanity occurs at fertilization and any death thereafter is murder and unjust.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of three members of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.