Friday, July 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Is God Pro-Life or Pro-Choice?

Biologist Scott Gilbert writes that neither science nor the bible clearly puts the start of human life at conception.

Is God Pro-Life or Pro-Choice?

Earlier this week, Mississippi voted down an amendment that would grant personhood to fertilized eggs. This is in keeping with the Bible and science, according to Swarthmore developmental biologist Scott Gilbert. He wrote an essay on the matter, which ran Friday on the editorial page of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The piece was headlined “Against Science and Scripture.”

Gilbert, who has degrees in both science and religion, first explained why some scientists believe human life begins when a fetus develops a nervous system. Others think personhood starts at birth:

Still other biologists contend that only birth itself makes us physically distinct individuals, independent of maternal physiology. The anatomy of our heart, lungs, and blood vessels changes at our first breath.

This, interestingly, is where the Bible claims personhood originates. Genesis 9:6 says that one who murders a man must himself be destroyed. But Exodus 21:22 says a man who causes a woman to miscarry is not to be put to death, but rather should pay a fine. In the Bible, personhood is a birthright.

The advocates of "zygote rights" - who plan to pursue measures in several other states following their Mississippi defeat - are going against both science and Scripture. It is a dangerous thing to equate a fertilized egg with an adult human. It not only makes the zygote like the person; it makes the person like the zygote. As less than half of normal human conceptions make it to term, most zygotes don't become babies. Zygotes can be cheap, and human life never should be.

You'd think of God really thought personhood started at conception, He would have made this clear in the Bible.  

 

 

About this blog
Faye Flam - writer
In pursuit of her stories, writer Faye Flam has weathered storms in Greenland, gotten frost nip at the South Pole, and floated weightless aboard NASA’s zero-g plane. She has a degree in geophysics from the California Institute of Technology and started her writing career with the Economist. She later took on the particle physics and cosmology beat at Science Magazine before coming to the Inquirer in 1995. Her previous science column, “Carnal Knowledge,” ran from 2005 to 2008. Her new column and blog, Planet of the Apes, explores the topic of evolution and runs here and in the Inquirer’s health section each Monday. Email Faye at fflam@phillynews.com. Reach Planet of the at fflam@phillynews.com.

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