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Author Topic:   A very brief history of Human Life
RAZD
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Message 1 of 59 (798638)
02-01-2017 1:41 PM


The beginning of life
The oldest fossil record of life we currently have is over 3.5 billion years old.

quote:
Earliest evidence for life on Earth

The earliest identified organisms were minute and relatively featureless, and their fossils look like small rods, which are very difficult to tell apart from structures that arise through abiotic physical processes. The oldest undisputed evidence of life on Earth, interpreted as fossilized bacteria, dates to 3 Ga.[52] Other finds in rocks dated to about 3.5 Ga have been interpreted as bacteria,[53] with geochemical evidence also seeming to show the presence of life 3.8 Ga.[54] However, these analyses were closely scrutinized, and non-biological processes were found which could produce all of the "signatures of life" that had been reported.[55][56] While this does not prove that the structures found had a non-biological origin, they cannot be taken as clear evidence for the presence of life. Geochemical signatures from rocks deposited 3.4 Ga have been interpreted as evidence for life,[52][57] although these statements have not been thoroughly examined by critics.


quote:

The cyanobacteria have an extensive fossil record. The oldest known fossils, in fact, are cyanobacteria from Archaean rocks of western Australia, dated 3.5 billion years old. This may be somewhat surprising, since the oldest rocks are only a little older: 3.8 billion years old!

Cyanobacteria are among the easiest microfossils to recognize. Morphologies in the group have remained much the same for billions of years, and they may leave chemical fossils behind as well, in the form of breakdown products from pigments. Small fossilized cyanobacteria have been extracted from Precambrian rock, and studied through the use of SEM and TEM (scanning and transmission electron microscopy).

At right is a layered stromatolite, produced by the activity of ancient cyanobacteria. The layers were produced as calcium carbonate precipitated over the growing mat of bacterial filaments; photosynthesis in the bacteria depleted carbon dioxide in the surrounding water, initiating the precipitation. The minerals, along with grains of sediment precipitating from the water, were then trapped within the sticky layer of mucilage that surrounds the bacterial colonies, which then continued to grow upwards through the sediment to form a new layer. As this process occured over and over again, the layers of sediment were created. This process still occurs today; Shark Bay in western Australia is well known for the stromatolite "turfs" rising along its beaches.

In some cases, the stromatolites were infiltrated with a mineral-rich solution which fossilized the bacteria along with the layers, but more often only the layers are preserved.

The oldest stromatolites date to the Early Archaean, and they became abundant by the end of the Archaean. In the Proterozoic, stromatolites were widespread on earth, and were ecologically important as the first reefs. By the close of the Proterozoic, the abundance of stromatolites decreased markedly, though cyanobacteria continued to leave a fossil record, such as Langiella and Kidstoniella known from the Lower Devonian Rhynie chert.

The cyanobacteria have also been tremendously important in shaping the course of evolution and ecological change throughout earth's history. The oxygen atmosphere that we depend on was generated by numerous cyanobacteria photosynthesizing during the Archaean and Proterozoic Era. Before that time, the atmosphere had a very different chemistry, unsuitable for life as we know it today.


quote:
Photosynthesis

While contemporary cyanobacteria are linked to the plant kingdom as descendants of the endosymbiotic progenitor of the chloroplast, there are several features which are unique to this group.

Carbon fixation

Cyanobacteria use the energy of sunlight to drive photosynthesis, a process where the energy of light is used to split water molecules into oxygen, protons, and electrons. Because they are aquatic organisms, they typically employ several strategies which are collectively known as a "carbon concentrating mechanism" to aid in the acquisition of inorganic carbon (CO2 or bicarbonate). Among the more specific strategies is the widespread prevalence of the bacterial microcompartments known as carboxysomes.[15] These icosahedral structures are composed of hexameric shell proteins that assemble into cage-like structures that can be several hundreds of nanometers in diameter. It is believed that these structures tether the CO2-fixing enzyme, RuBisCO, to the interior of the shell, as well as the enzyme carbonic anhydrase, using the paradigm of metabolic channeling to enhance the local CO2 concentrations and thus increase the efficiency of the RuBisCO enzyme.[16]

Metabolism and organelles

As prokaryotes, cyanobacteria do not have nuclei or an internal membrane system. In most forms, the photosynthetic machinery is embedded into folds of the external cell membrane, called thylakoids. Cyanobacteria get their colour from the bluish pigment phycocyanin, which they use to capture light for photosynthesis. In general, photosynthesis in cyanobacteria uses water as an electron donor and produces oxygen as a byproduct, though some may also use hydrogen sulfide[18] a process which occurs among other photosynthetic bacteria such as the purple sulfur bacteria. Carbon dioxide is reduced to form carbohydrates via the Calvin cycle.[citation needed]The large amounts of oxygen in the atmosphere are considered to have been first created by the activities of ancient cyanobacteria.[citation needed]


The first life thus is >3.5 billion years old, and it was likely even simpler than the prokaryote cyanobacter shown above.

Since that time the only way that life has been observed to reproduce and diversify in single cell life forms is by mitosis (cell division), with occasional Horizontal gene transfer.

Then some 1.6–2.1 billion years ago ago eukaryotes appeared

quote:
Origin of eukaryotes

Eukaryotes can reproduce both asexually through mitosis and sexually through meiosis and gamete fusion. In mitosis, one cell divides to produce two genetically identical cells. In meiosis, DNA replication is followed by two rounds of cell division to produce four daughter cells each with half the number of chromosomes as the original parent cell (haploid cells). These act as sex cells (gametes – each gamete has just one complement of chromosomes, each a unique mix of the corresponding pair of parental chromosomes) resulting from genetic recombination during meiosis.

Fossils

The origin of the eukaryotic cell is considered a milestone in the evolution of life, since eukaryotes include all complex cells and almost all multicellular organisms. The timing of this series of events is hard to determine; Knoll (2006) suggests they developed approximately 1.6–2.1 billion years ago. Some acritarchs are known from at least 1.65 billion years ago, and the possible alga Grypania has been found as far back as 2.1 billion years ago.[69] The Geosiphon-like fossil fungus Diskagma has been found in paleosols 2.2 billion years old [70]

Hypotheses for the origin of eukaryotes

Different hypotheses have been proposed as to how eukaryotic cells came into existence. These hypotheses can be classified into two distinct classes – autogenous models and chimeric models.

Autogenous models

Autogenous models propose that a proto-eukaryotic cell containing a nucleus existed first, and later acquired mitochondria.[95] ...

Chimeric models

Chimeric models claim that two prokaryotic cells existed initially – an archaeon and a bacterium. These cells underwent a merging process, either by a physical fusion or by endosymbiosis, thereby leading to the formation of a eukaryotic cell. ...


All multicellular life involves eukaryotic cells, and they appear to be monophyletic, descendant from a single cell.

In sexual reproduction the process is a little more complicated than mitosis

quote:
Meiosis

Meiosis Listeni/maɪˈoʊsᵻs/ is a specialized type of cell division that reduces the chromosome number by half, creating four haploid cells, each genetically distinct from the parent cell that gave rise to them.[1] ..

In meiosis, DNA replication is followed by two rounds of cell division to produce four potential daughter cells, each with half the number of chromosomes as the original parent cell. ...

Because the number of chromosomes is halved during meiosis, gametes can fuse (i.e. fertilization) to form a diploid zygote that contains two copies of each chromosome, one from each parent. Thus, alternating cycles of meiosis and fertilization enable sexual reproduction, with successive generations maintaining the same number of chromosomes. For example, diploid human cells contain 23 pairs of chromosomes including 1 pair of sex chromosomes (46 total), half of maternal origin and half of paternal origin. Meiosis produces haploid gametes (ova or sperm) that contain one set of 23 chromosomes. When two gametes (an egg and a sperm) fuse, the resulting zygote is once again diploid, with the mother and father each contributing 23 chromosomes. This same pattern, but not the same number of chromosomes, occurs in all organisms that utilize meiosis.


There is no new "creation of life" or added material observed through either mitosis or meiosis reproductive mechanisms, it is just a flowing of life from parent to offspring, a continuous flow that has been going on for over 3.5 billion years.

Thus the pro-life claim that "life is created at conception" is factually flawed misinformation.

Enjoy

Edited by RAZD, : .

Edited by RAZD, : title


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RAZD
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Message 2 of 59 (798639)
02-03-2017 4:57 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by RAZD
02-01-2017 1:41 PM


The pro-life claim "life is created at conception" is just wrong
There is no new "creation of life" or added material observed through either mitosis or meiosis reproductive mechanisms, it is just a flowing of life from parent to offspring, a continuous flow that has been going on for over 3.5 billion years.

Thus the pro-life claim that "life is created at conception" is factually flawed misinformation.

Exploring this further:

quote:
Human Development Chart:

sperm & ovum formZygote - single cell capable of growth into a human being
zygotelasts 30 hours, then makes first division
morulla or blastulaup 5daysball of undifferentiated totipotent cells
Blastocystby day 5Hollow Ball of cells, external and internal different. ca. 100 cells inner 50 are pleuripotent stem cells. External will become placenta, internal will become embryo
day 7 - 9 Blastocyst implants in wall of uterus
(55% of Zygotes never reach this stage.)
day 14 - 16Blastocyst develops line of dark cells down centre that will become the spinal chord. Real differentiation has begun.
Embryoday 14
to week 8
Embryonic phase:
gastrula
day 30Lengthens and differentiates into
ecto-, meso-, & endo derm
Embryonic phase endsweek 8At this point enough development to call a foetus. All organs and structures found in a newborn infant are now present.
foetusweek 9- 12Major organs have begun to develop. Recognizably human, but cannot survive outside the womb.
15 % of pregnancies miscarry during weeks 4-12
foetusweek 24About 11 inches long and weighs about 1lb 10 oz.
foetusweeks 29 - 39Most healthy foetuses delivered during this period survive, earlier ones may need mechanical help to survive.
birth of babyweek 39
child8 - 11 yrsCapable of independent survival


bold for emphasis.

So a zygote is "capable of growth into a human being" ... except that 55% never reach day 9, implanting in wall of uterus. That is more than half of zygotes are not "capable of growth into a human being" leaving 45% zygotes after the first week.

We don't have numbers from week 1 to week 4 but we can assume it is the same or higher for the weeks 4 to 12 when 15% miscarry. Thus we can assume 15% x 11 weeks / 8 weeks = 20.6% ... and this is likely low because the number of miscarriages drops with time.

... so of the 45% that do proceed to week 12, ~20.6% miscarry, meaning that 55% + 45%x20.6% = 64% are lost naturally, leaving only 36% of the original zygotes with any hope of growing into a living breathing human being.

Miscarriages continue to occur right up to birth, including premature birth and still-birth. A still-born fetus has no hope of growing into a living breathing human being. Furthermore ...

quote:
Blighted Ovum: Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

A blighted ovum (also known as “anembryonic pregnancy”) happens when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall, but the embryo does not develop. Cells develop to form the pregnancy sac, but not the embryo itself. A blighted ovum occurs within the first trimester, often before a woman knows she is pregnant. A high level of chromosome abnormalities usually causes a woman’s body to naturally miscarry.

One of the first things you need to know if you have been diagnosed with a blighted ovum is that this is a loss. Give yourself time and permission to grieve. This is a type of miscarriage, and you can help yourself in the grieving process by learning more about surviving a miscarriage.

A blighted ovum is the cause of about 50% of first trimester miscarriages and is usually the result of chromosomal problems. A woman’s body recognizes abnormal chromosomes in a fetus and naturally does not try to continue the pregnancy because the fetus will not develop into a healthy baby. This can be caused by abnormal cell division, or poor quality sperm or egg.


There was never any hope that the zygotes that ended up as empty sac pregnancies could have grown into a living breathing human being, and these are fairly common among miscarriages.

quote:
What to Know About Ectopic Pregnancy

For pregnancy to happen, the ovary has to release an egg into the fallopian tube, where it stays for about 24 hours. There it has to come in contact with a sperm to be fertilized. The fertilized egg stays in the fallopian tube for 3 or 4 days before it heads to the uterus. There it attaches to the lining and continues to grow until a baby is born.

But if the fertilized egg implants in your fallopian tube or somewhere else in your abdomen, you end up with what’s called an ectopic pregnancy. In these cases, the pregnancy can’t continue normally, and it requires emergency treatment.


These pregnancies require medical intervention to prevent the death of the woman, whether or not you call it abortion, and (not trying to be insensitive, just factual) there is no hope of these types of pregnancy ever becoming a living breathing human being. So there should be no objection to this medical intervention.

And there is more information pertinent to the issue of actually resulting in a living breathing human being ...

quote:
Premature babies' disability risk

Forty per cent of very premature babies have significant learning disabilities, ...

The programme has had exclusive access to the unpublished Epicure study, the largest study of its kind.

Just over 1,200 were born alive and 811 were admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit. Of these 314 survived to go home.

The first phase of the study revealed at two and a half years old 50% of those studied had some form of disability.

In a quarter of the children severe disabilities were identified, including cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness and arrested development.

The latest results show that 40% of the surviving children had moderate to severe problems in cognitive development at the age of six, compared to 2% of a control group of their classmates.

But Professor Kate Costeloe, Prof of Paediatrics, Queen Mary, University of London, who also worked on the study said: "I would hope that people understand that being born early is a very, very serious business, that survival is not high, and that should children survive, their likelihood of having life-long problems - particularly in respect of learning is high.

"At 23, 24 weeks I have sometimes thought that if these outcomes are as good as they can be, should we be doing this."

Bright Asamany, born at 24 weeks, is one of the most severely disabled of all the children who were born in 1995 ... his father, Kennedy, says ... if they had another baby born as early as Bright, he would say "turn off the machine, there is no need to continue".


Check the table above for where 24 weeks fits in the development of the fetus, as this appears to be the lower limit of premature birth that can survive with medical assistance, even if the quality of life is severely diminished -- and some parents may justifiably choose to turn the machine off.

And that should be their right to choose, just as family has the right to choose to turn off the machines at the end of life for terminally ill parents.

But what is indisputable is that over 64% of conceptions have no hope of ever becoming a living breathing human being. That is not "creation" of life.

Enjoy

Edited by RAZD, : .

Edited by RAZD, : ..

Edited by RAZD, : weeks 1 to 4 estimated


we are limited in our ability to understand
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(1)
Message 3 of 59 (798641)
02-04-2017 7:12 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the A very brief history of Life thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
RAZD
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Message 4 of 59 (798642)
02-04-2017 8:05 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by RAZD
02-03-2017 4:57 PM


When does a living breathing human develop?
foetusweeks 29 - 39Most healthy foetuses delivered during this period survive, earlier ones may need mechanical help to survive.
birth of babyweek 39
child8 - 11 yrsCapable of independent survival

One could argue with equal fervor as the pro-life crowd that a fully functional non-dependent human being begins at 8 or 9 years old, as depicted in the "Home Alone" movies.

But this is unreasonable because humans are a social support species that look after their young and the young of others.

Traditionally people have considered that the baby is alive when it draws it's first breath, the breath of life.

There are fundamental physical differences between a fetus and a baby, including some changes that occur shortly after birth before the baby is fully functioning as a living breathing laughing human. These changes are part of the challenge in helping prematurely born babies to live (which they normally do not do when there is no treatment):

quote:
Differences between fetal and postnatal

Remnants of the fetal circulation can be found in the adult.

FetalDeveloped
foramen ovalefossa ovalis
ductus arteriosusligamentum arteriosum
extra-hepatic portion of the fetal left umbilical veinligamentum teres hepatis
("round ligament of the liver")
intra-hepatic portion of the fetal left umbilical vein
(ductus venosus)
ligamentum venosum
proximal portions of the fetal left and right umbilical arteriesumbilical branches of the internal iliac arteries
distal portions of the fetal left and right umbilical arteries medial umbilical ligaments

In addition to differences in circulation, the developing fetus also employs a different type of oxygen transport molecule in its hemoglobin from that when it is born and breathing its own oxygen. Fetal hemoglobin enhances the fetus' ability to draw oxygen from the placenta. Its oxygen-hemoglobin dissociation curve is shifted to the left, meaning that it is able to absorb oxygen at lower concentrations than adult hemoglobin. This enables fetal hemoglobin to absorb oxygen from adult hemoglobin in the placenta, where the oxygen pressure is lower than at the lungs. Until around six months' old, the human infant's hemoglobin molecule is made up of two alpha and two gamma chains (2α2γ). The gamma chains are gradually replaced by beta chains until the molecule becomes hemoglobin A with its two alpha and two beta chains (2α2β).


There are profound differences between a human fetus and a living breathing baby human, and calling a fetus an "unborn baby" is inaccurate and apparently intentionally misleading, playing on emotion rather than objective empirical evidence.

Call me a traditionalist if you will, but I believe that the change from fetus to living breathing baby occurs at birth, when the first breath is taken and the life-support dependence on the umbilical chord is severed.

Until then, from zygote to fetus, it lives on life support at the pleasure of the woman.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
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Faith
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Message 5 of 59 (798649)
02-04-2017 10:24 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by RAZD
02-04-2017 8:05 AM


It's a human being at every stage of life
If you let the fetus develop on its own without interference it will become a baby. A baby will become a toddler, a toddler a child, a child an adult and so on. It's just a self-serving rationalization to think you can kill it at any stage and not be murdering a human being. If the fetus spontaneously aborts that's not murder; if the born human being dies of natural causes that is not murder either; but if you kill it at any stage that's murder, or whatever it should be called legally. It would also be murder to kill a person who couldn't live without mechanical help with breathing or kidney dialysis or anything like that. You are rationalizing murder by pretending it doesn't have all the stuff of a human being at every stage.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


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Theodoric
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Message 6 of 59 (798657)
02-04-2017 11:17 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Faith
02-04-2017 10:24 AM


Re: It's a human being at every stage of life
Using your argument every sperm and egg is a human life. Every miscarriage should be followed by an investigation.

Do you think taking a person off of life support is murder?


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.


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Faith
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Message 7 of 59 (798664)
02-04-2017 12:36 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Theodoric
02-04-2017 11:17 AM


Re: It's a human being at every stage of life
Oh nonsense. Straw man. The argument is that if you leave natural processes alone you'll either get a human being or nature will bring about miscarriage.

Other things such as mercy, assessment of possibility of recovery and so on, enter into decisions about life support. There are so many things that go into it that it's not possible to give a principle that covers them all. Even you wouldn't be in favor of removing life support in many cases.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


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Theodoric
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(1)
Message 8 of 59 (798667)
02-04-2017 1:14 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Faith
02-04-2017 12:36 PM


Re: It's a human being at every stage of life
Even you wouldn't be in favor of removing life support in many cases.

You have no idea what I would or would not favor. If the person on life support wanted off or if they left Instructions not to be on life support than life support should be removed.
The only thing that enters into the equation is the wishes of the person and their family.

Not a strawman. A natural extension of your argument and its consequences. If a blastocyst is life, shouldn't their be an investigation every time that life ends. Shouldn't someone be held accountable.

If a blastocyst is independent life, how does it follow an egg and sperm are not? A blastocyst is a potential toddler as is every egg and sperm.


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.


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Porosity
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(4)
Message 9 of 59 (798670)
02-04-2017 1:39 PM


It's painfully obvious Christians are not pro-life, they are pro-straight, white, christian fetuses.

It's obvious the sanctity of life evaporates upon delivery of Muslim baby's, it's dangerous, you see it as a threat, you applaud it's expulsion from the country.

The sanctity of life does not count if that life comes out as LGBTQ, you condemn, harass and srtip it of it's civil liberty's.

If that life comes out brown, it's parents don't speak English, expel it, build a wall.

If that life comes out poor, deny it healthcare, under fund it's schools, build private prisons and applaud it's death penalty.

Onward! South Of Heaven!


    
RAZD
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Message 10 of 59 (798676)
02-04-2017 3:02 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Faith
02-04-2017 10:24 AM


When does personhood begin?
If you let the fetus develop on its own without interference it will become a baby. …

Sadly this is not always true. Miscarriages occur right up to birth, and even then still-births occur, and then sometimes early infant deaths occur (especially among premies) due to developmental incompleteness or incompatibility.

As you can see from Message 4 and above there are profound differences between a human fetus and a living breathing human baby.

… A baby will become a toddler, a toddler a child, a child an adult and so on. …

Once it survives the first several months the likelihood of growing old steadily increases, agreed.

A child may be capable of independent survival at 8 or 9 years of age, but it takes until the age of 20 or so for the brain to fully develop the cognitive ability to make fully reasoned decisions and consider the consequences of actions.

We also as a society tend to take care of babies and children, but malnutrition and poor education opportunities limit some from reaching their full potential. Certainly anyone that is pro-life should agree.

… It's just a self-serving rationalization to think you can kill it at any stage and not be murdering a human being. …

quote:
Life of the Mother "Exception"

An "exception" means a child intentionally killed. A physician should never postpone his efforts to save the mother in order to take time out to kill the child. If a doctor can only save the mother and not the child also, that is a tragedy, but it is not an intentional killing. Unintentional, unavoidable, and accidental death is not the same as intentional killing.
A personhood amendment has no exceptions. But what if a pregnancy threatens the life of the mother? The doctor's goal should be to save mom and the baby if possible. The goal should never be to kill the mother to save the baby, nor to kill the child to save the mother.



While I do not agree with the emotional tone and twisting of word definitions, I think we can agree that the life of the mother is more important than the potential life of the fetus.

… It's just a self-serving rationalization to think you can kill it at any stage and not be murdering a human being. …

Let’s look at the actual details before you apply a broad brush and sweeping statements.

… If the fetus spontaneously aborts that's not murder; if the born human being dies of natural causes that is not murder either; but if you kill it at any stage that's murder, or whatever it should be called legally. …

Abortion is currently legal and thus it cannot be called murder.

Calling a skunk cabbage a rose does not make the flower smell like one.

… It would also be murder to kill a person who couldn't live without mechanical help with breathing or kidney dialysis or anything like that. …

Before those machines became available, and indeed in location around the world where they are not available, the people die, and they die natural deaths. Thus it cannot be murder to provide them, and then withdraw that life-support when it no longer is useful, for reasons discussed below.

The legal standard of death is very clear:

quote:
What Is the Medical Definition of Death?

Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary, 31st Edition, republished on the website of Merck & Co, defined death as (accessed May 11, 2007):

  • "death (death) (deth) the cessation of life; permanent cessation of all vital bodily functions. For legal and medical purposes, the following definition of death has been proposed-the irreversible cessation of all of the following: (1) total cerebral function, usually assessed by EEG as flat-line (2) spontaneous function of the respiratory system, and (3) spontaneous function of the circulatory system...

  • brain d[eath]. irreversible brain damage as manifested by absolute unresponsiveness to all stimuli, absence of all spontaneous muscle activity, including respiration, shivering, etc., and an isoelectric electroencephalogram for 30 minutes, all in the absence of hypothermia or intoxication by central nervous system depressants. Called also irreversible coma and cerebral d[eath]."

    May 11, 2007 - Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary


Since I last wrote on this subject in 2004 (Legal Death, Legal Life, Personhood and Abortion), the second definition of death has been added. This is consistent with the "higher brain death" concept of personhood discussed below.

… It would also be murder to kill a person who couldn't live without mechanical help with breathing or kidney dialysis or anything like that. …

So we are now discussing a person, and this applies to end of life personhood issues.

The above definitions of death are used to determine when a terminally ill person has passed the threshold from human life to not human life, even though significant portions of living cells still persist. This allows for organ transplants, say of a kidney to improve the quality of life for a person that was on dialysis.

Of course the decision to pull the plug lies with the family, in consultation with the doctor and after review of the prognosis. The family can also decide whether or not to allow organ transplants (depending on any directives of the patient, such as “no heroic measures”).

quote:
Biology, Consciousness, and the Definition of Death(PDF)

Some philosophers and scientists have argued that the whole-brain standard does not go far enough, Several leading authors on the subject have advocated a higher-brain standard, according to which death is the irreversible cessation of the capacity for consciousness, This standard is often met prior to whole-brain death, which includes death of the brainstem -- that part of the brain which allows spontaneous respiration and heartbeat but is insufficient for consciousness, Thus, a patient in a permanent coma or permanent vegetative state (PVS) meets the higher-brain, but not the wholebrain, standard of death.

From the present perspective, then, the core-meaning argument does not settle the question of the nature of human death. A more promising approach, on this view, is to take seriously the fact that we are not only organisms; we are also persons. According to one prominent argument for the higher-brain standard, the capacity for consciousness is essential to persons -- essential in the strict philosophical sense of being necessary: Any being lacking this capacity is not a person. It follows that when someone permanently loses the capacity for consciousness, there is no longer a person associated with the body. The person who was, is no more -- that is to say, she is dead. Thus, the argument goes, human death is captured by the higher-brain standard.

Finally, any effort to base a standard for human death on "our" values confronts the problem of value pluralism. While liberal intellectuals, and perhaps a majority of Americans, are likely to regard a future of permanent unconsciousness as meaningless, many people -- some of them religious fundamentalists -- would disagree, For the dissenters, biological life in PVS or permanent coma is at least life and therefore valuable (perhaps infinitely so), For at least some of these people, such a state is meaningful because it is a gift from God, a gift that must not be thrown away through active killing -- or defined away with a new definition of death.

lt is firmly established, both in case law and in medical ethics, that competent adult patients have the right to refuse life-supporting medical treatments, even artificial nutrition and hydration. By the same token, an appropriate surrogate can refuse life-supports on behalf of the legally incompetent if there is sufficient reason to believe the patient would have refused treatment in the present circumstances. Because of this broad legal and moral right to refuse treatment, life-supports that are unwanted or are considered unhelpful-- including life-supports for permanently unconscious patients -- can be terminated without first declaring the patient dead.


I was quite pleased to find this still on the web even though the previous link no longer works.

My mother had dementia, and for over a decade her abilities dwindled and eroded until at the end she was a shell of the vibrant, curious and witty person we knew growing up. She wasn’t totally gone, but she also was not totally there. My dad looked after her and dealt with it as best he could, keeping her home and out of institutions, getting assistance at the end (when she needed 24 hour care). In the end she died peacefully at home in his arms. If dad had institutionalized her she likely would have passed much sooner, so this is a decision he made to maintain as best he could the quality of her life.

… You are rationalizing murder by pretending it doesn't have all the stuff of a human being at every stage.

ummm … because objectively it doesn’t? A zygote has neither brain, lungs nor heart. At 4 weeks (30 days) they still have not developed. By week 8 they have, but there are still critical developments that need to occur before birth to result in a living breathing baby, and any misstep will likely result in miscarriage.

Certainly a zygote passing through the uterus without implantation has no measurable difference from a skin cell dying from sunburn and being sloughed off.

In fact the cells in your body are constantly changing as new cells are made (mitosis) and old cells die (apoptosis).

quote:
Does the Human Body Really Replace Itself Every 7 Years?

It's a neat idea, and one that has caught the popular imagination. Here's how the story goes: Every seven years (or 10, depending on which story you hear) we become essentially new people, because in that time, every cell in your body has been replaced by a new cell. Don't you feel younger than you were seven years ago?
It is true that individual cells have a finite life span, and when they die off they are replaced with new cells. As The New York Public Library's Science Desk Reference (Stonesong Press, 1995) notes, "There are between 50 and 75 trillion cells in the body.... Each type of cell has its own life span, and when a human dies it may take hours or day before all the cells in the body die." (Forensic investigators take advantage of this vaguely morbid fact when determining the cause and time of death of homicide victims.)


I injured my finger, getting a small blood blister under the nail near the cuticle, and I have observed over the couse of several weeks that it is migrating to the finger tip … as new cells fill in behind it and old cells are sloughed off at the tip (part of the dross under your fingernails is dead skin cells). The reason you don’t maintain a tan is because the skin surface dies and sloughs away as new cells grow behind them.

Curiously, this means that the 8 or 9 year old child that just reaches the capability for independent survival does not have any of the cells it was born with.

… It would also be murder to kill a person who couldn't live without mechanical help with breathing or kidney dialysis or anything like that. …

So we see that the decisions around personhood and death deserve a pluralistic approach to allow people with different belief systems to choose when and how to declare death, and such a pluralistic approach should also apply to when a human person begins.

So the question then becomes when does “personhood” begin.

Enjoy

ps -I lost the first version of this just as I went to post it, I notice that you edited your post, and I have accommodated that.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
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RAZD
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Posts: 19085
From: the other end of the sidewalk
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Message 11 of 59 (798677)
02-04-2017 3:06 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Theodoric
02-04-2017 1:14 PM


Re: It's a human being at every stage of life
If a blastocyst is independent life, how does it follow an egg and sperm are not? A blastocyst is a potential toddler as is every egg and sperm.

Actually 7-10% of blastocysts become "empty sac" pregnancies, an embryonic sac with nothing but liquid inside.

Not a human life as I understand it.

Enjoy


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RAZD
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Message 12 of 59 (798679)
02-04-2017 3:08 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Faith
02-04-2017 12:36 PM


Re: It's a human being at every stage of life
Other things such as mercy, assessment of possibility of recovery and so on, enter into decisions about life support. There are so many things that go into it that it's not possible to give a principle that covers them all. Even you wouldn't be in favor of removing life support in many cases.

So you agree that a pluralistic approach should be used where the decision is made by the family in consultation with the doctor after reviewing the prognosis.

Thanks,

Enjoy


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Theodoric
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Message 13 of 59 (798680)
02-04-2017 3:17 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by RAZD
02-04-2017 3:06 PM


Re: It's a human being at every stage of life
But if a fertilized egg is human life with all the rights and privileges, we need to be able to accurately account for each and every one. We need to hold mothers accountable for any behavior that threatens the human life she is carrying.

This is Faith's argument taken to it's logical end.

Edited by Theodoric, : Spelling, punctuation


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.


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Porosity
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Message 14 of 59 (798682)
02-04-2017 3:40 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Theodoric
02-04-2017 3:17 PM


Re: It's a human being at every stage of life
But if a fertilized egg is human life with all the rights and privileges, we need to be able to accurately account for each and every one. We need to hold mothers accountable for any behavior that threatens the human life she is carrying.
This s Faith's argument taken to is logical end.

Lock her up!.. Absurdism!


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Tangle
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(3)
Message 15 of 59 (798684)
02-04-2017 3:52 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Faith
02-04-2017 10:24 AM


Re: It's a human being at every stage of life
Faith writes:

It's just a self-serving rationalization to think you can kill it at any stage and not be murdering a human being.

Well I never thought I'd say this, but I think you're right.

When we abort a foetus we are deliberately stopping a human life. This is different from preventing a life from starting or from a life naturally aborting - we intervened. We all know this to be the case, it's an inescapable fact of the situation, but we rationalise and excuse it.

I support abortion, but I don't think we should hide from the reality of the situation.

Edited by Tangle, : No reason given.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien.

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


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