Recently, on a Facebook post, a young woman made the comment that she did not believe that life (meaning human life) began at conception. She made this remark in opposition to conservatives who hold the opposing view. She was not being rude or confrontational; she just held her opinion matter-of-factly. In response, I posed the following question: “Do you believe a single-cell bacterium is life?”
Darwin suggested that all life sprouted from an unknown, unobserved single-cell animal. This has resulted in various depictions of the strange “tree of life,” one of which shows a single-cell entity at the base from which all other life springs. I seriously doubt that any biologist would deny that such a single-cell entity is living. Dictionary.com defines life as “the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally” (and I would add, “as designed by God”). Apparently, a bacterium qualifies as life according to this definition. It grows, reproduces, and it adapts to its environment. The same can be said for all single-cell animals.
Now consider this. When a human sperm cell unites with a human ovum, the resultant thing is a human, single-cell zygote. The single-cell zygote immediately begins the cell division process. It reproduces, it grows, and it adapts to a very hostile environment inside the mother’s womb. Does that not fit the definition for life? Just what additional things must it do to fully qualify for the definition of life? How is that different from the single-cell bacterium?
How would you respond to this young woman who rejects the notion that human life begins at conception?
I think that comments regarding life doesn't begin at conception are either self-deceiving or intellectually dishonest. When given an objective definition of life (as mentioned above), a zygote will meet all the criteria. When given a subjective criteria of life, then, by definition, a zygote will not meet everyone's definition. When given a subjective criteria of life, some elderly people will not meet everyone's definition. Pro-choice advocates beware: abortion is the gateway to euthanasia. These wouldn't even be issues if more people decided to go by the objective definition of life instead of re-defining life to fit their worldviews.
I have read the articles Human Reproduction and Human Gestation by Randy J. Guliuzza, and it is simply amazing what goes on at the time of conception. It is evident that both the sperm cell and ovum have life or they would not do what they do at the time of conception. But once they are united one cannot deny that the new being is alive. If it had no life it would not keep dividing and reproducing. Dead cells do not do anything. They are dead. I agree that the question is tied to abortion. If you can deny it is alive, you can justify terminating the pregnancy. What irritates me the most is the inconsistency of people. Where I live you get a high fine for destroying an eagle's egg, but if a baby in the womb is not alive, how can an eagle be life before it is hatched? Why am I fined if I break the egg? Nobody questions at what point the life of the eagle started, so why should one question that human life begins at conception.
If people do not accept that human life begins at conception, when does it begin? Remember the answer here is also tied into the abortion issue.