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Author Topic:   Legal Death, Legal Life
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19575
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 1 of 40 (449158)
01-16-2008 10:14 PM


Purpose #1: define human life
Note: not a discussion on abortion

A previous post was on the Legal Death, Legal Life, Personhood ... thread in the Faith and Belief forum (now closed).

From the above link we can see that over 70% of zygotes do not normally and naturally become living breathing thinking human beings. Over half of conceptions are not human beings - a single cell that passes out of the uterus is no different than a skin cell that is shed, an ejected blastula is no different than tissue that is accidentally or intentionally cut off (like a toenail), and an empty pregnancy sac is not a living organism.

All A is B but not all B is A: B ≠ A.

The real question is when does this continuum of life begin to be a distinct living breathing heart thumping thinking human being. On common moral grounds, it is important to be consistent at both ends of the spectrum of life. Thus the concept of beginning needs to be consistent with current medical practice in determining when a human life has ended. This criteria has been developed over a significant period of time with a lot of ethical input from all sides into the specific ethical considerations involved.

Legal Death

The legal standard of death is very clear - from What is the medical definition of death? (click):

UNIFORM DETERMINATION OF DEATH ACT
§ 1. [Determination of Death.] An individual who has sustained either
(1) irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or
(2) irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, are dead.
A determination of death must be made in accordance with accepted medical standards.

That's the legal nuts and bolts of it: either failure of {heart\lung} system or total brain failure. Any person with either of these failures is universally and legally considered to be dead.

The word "irreversible" is used to refer to common medical practical limits to resuscitation.

Legal Life

When considering this in terms of beginning rather than end, the same conditions should apply. Where the irreversible failure of either system qualified for death, the irreversible instigation of both is logically necessary for life to legally begin. Likewise "all functions" would become "any functions" of the brain. This could be reworded in a format similar to the death act above as follows:

UNIFORM DETERMINATION OF LIFE
§ 1. [Determination of Life.] An individual who has sustained either:
(1) irreversible instigation of circulatory and respiratory functions, and
(2) irreversible instigation of any functions of the (entire) brain, including the brain stem, is alive.
A determination of life should be made in accordance with accepted medical standards.

Note that this is derived logically from the legal definition of {death} to the form of the legal definition of {NOT death = life}, and thus it is legally applicable and morally, culturally as acceptable as the universal definition of death.

The heart and circulatory system develop first, followed by rudimentary activity in the brain stem, then upper brain areas, followed last by the development of the respiratory systems. Typically the limit to saving premature babies depends on the level of development of the lungs - before a certain point the lungs just cannot be made to function. This point would have to be determined by professionals in each case, based on the actual level of development the fetus has reached.

This would in effect make the point of "uniform life" to be the earliest possible point at which assisted premature birth would be medically feasible without causing significant effect on the end result.

Enjoy

Note: not a discussion on abortion

Edited by RAZD, : focused

Edited by RAZD, : castrated for admin approval

Edited by RAZD, : last edit for approval

Edited by RAZD, : added more miscarriage information ... took out cell shedding

Edited by RAZD, : title and subtitle

Edited by RAZD, : applying my own criteria

Edited by RAZD, : added note top and bottom

Edited by Zen Deist, : updated link to legal death definition


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


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Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Adminnemooseus, posted 01-16-2008 10:33 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply
 Message 11 by bluescat48, posted 01-26-2008 8:22 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply
 Message 12 by Hyroglyphx, posted 01-26-2008 9:28 PM RAZD has responded
 Message 23 by Stile, posted 02-06-2008 11:59 AM RAZD has responded

  
Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3867
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 2 of 40 (449163)
01-16-2008 10:33 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by RAZD
01-16-2008 10:14 PM


Too much to be a topic - AM says "no go"
This is from a personal essay on the ethics, cultural concerns and morality on the boundaries of human life, including the implications for abortion and stem cell research.

Forum guideline 3:

When introducing a new topic, please keep the message narrowly focused. Do not include more than a few points.

Not that it's stopped some of your other "monsters", but I think this is way to much to fit the guidelines of what should be a new topic.

I guess we could file this in the "Coffee House" as a closed reference topic. But it does not seem proper to promote it to open debate.

I think we need much more specific focus.

Opinions of other admins?

Adminnemooseus

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Add link to forum rules page.


New Members should start HERE to get an understanding of what makes great posts.

Comments on moderation procedures (or wish to respond to admin messages)? - Go to:
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Considerations of topic promotions from the "Proposed New Topics" forum

Other useful links:

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Admin writes:

It really helps moderators figure out if a topic is disintegrating because of general misbehavior versus someone in particular if the originally non-misbehaving members kept it that way. When everyone is prickly and argumentative and off-topic and personal then it's just too difficult to tell. We have neither infinite time to untie the Gordian knot, nor the wisdom of Solomon.

There used to be a comedian who presented his ideas for a better world, and one of them was to arm everyone on the highway with little rubber dart guns. Every time you see a driver doing something stupid, you fire a little dart at his car. When a state trooper sees someone driving down the highway with a bunch of darts all over his car he pulls him over for being an idiot.

Please make it easy to tell you apart from the idiots. Source


This message is a reply to:
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AdminQuetzal
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 40 (449233)
01-17-2008 8:55 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by Adminnemooseus
01-16-2008 10:33 PM


Re: Too much to be a topic - AM says "no go"
I agree.

RAZD: I suggest you distill this monster down to a short thesis statement and maybe a paragraph or two covering the highlights. Save the detailed arguments for the actual discussion. THEN you can haul out the heavy artillery.


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19575
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 4 of 40 (449939)
01-19-2008 10:00 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by AdminQuetzal
01-17-2008 8:55 AM


zippy writes:

I think we need much more specific focus.


Q writes:

maybe a paragraph or two covering the highlights.

These are mutually exclusive requests.

I've shortened it and focused it to the point where I am losing interest. The original post on the previous thread was much longer, and I really don't see what the problem is with this length. Do we really need to cater to 'sound-bite' mentality?

Just out of curiosity, what's to keep me from putting in one paragraph to get it passed, and then putting the rest in the first post after promotion?

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : subtitle

Edited by RAZD, : curiosity.

Edited by RAZD, : hiding message that no longer applies - use 'peek' to see

Edited by RAZD, : removed signature


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Replies to this message:
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Admin
Director
Posts: 12560
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002


Message 5 of 40 (450019)
01-20-2008 9:56 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by RAZD
01-19-2008 10:00 PM


Re: too much management maybe.
RAZD writes:

Just out of curiosity, what's to keep me from putting in one paragraph to get it passed, and then putting the rest in the first post after promotion?

If you're certain of your audience's interest and stamina then I suppose exceptionally long posts are okay, but in my view exchanges of extremely lengthy messages are very difficult to both follow and participate in. The worst I've seen is when someone responds to a very lengthy post by quoting and responding to each paragraph.

A planned feature for a future release will allow moderators to place limits on post length. These limits will be able to be assigned by forum, thread and member.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

This message is a reply to:
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Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3867
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 6 of 40 (450644)
01-22-2008 11:47 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by RAZD
01-19-2008 10:00 PM


Looking at "The Big Picture" vs "A Workable Debate Topic"
While much is to be said for looking at "the big picture", in the context of a debate forum it does not work well to debate said "big picture". That is why we try to get "the big picture" broken down into a number of "small pictures", which can (maybe) function as workable debate topic.

This situation/problem might actually make for a topic in itself. Such as "How does one debate "the big picture""? I guess such would go into the Suggestions and Questions forum. If you wish, go for it.

Adminnemooseus


New Members should start HERE to get an understanding of what makes great posts.

Comments on moderation procedures (or wish to respond to admin messages)? - Go to:
General discussion of moderation procedures
Thread Reopen Requests
Considerations of topic promotions from the "Proposed New Topics" forum

Other useful links:

Forum Guidelines, Style Guides for EvC, Assistance w/ Forum Formatting, Proposed New (Great Debate) Topics, Official Invitations to Online Chat@EvC

Admin writes:

It really helps moderators figure out if a topic is disintegrating because of general misbehavior versus someone in particular if the originally non-misbehaving members kept it that way. When everyone is prickly and argumentative and off-topic and personal then it's just too difficult to tell. We have neither infinite time to untie the Gordian knot, nor the wisdom of Solomon.

There used to be a comedian who presented his ideas for a better world, and one of them was to arm everyone on the highway with little rubber dart guns. Every time you see a driver doing something stupid, you fire a little dart at his car. When a state trooper sees someone driving down the highway with a bunch of darts all over his car he pulls him over for being an idiot.

Please make it easy to tell you apart from the idiots. Source


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by RAZD, posted 01-19-2008 10:00 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

    
Admin
Director
Posts: 12560
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002


Message 7 of 40 (451112)
01-26-2008 11:08 AM


^Bump^
Reopened by proposer's request.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19575
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 8 of 40 (451163)
01-26-2008 3:24 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Admin
01-26-2008 11:08 AM


revised
Thank you. Faith and Belief forum please?

Edited by RAZD, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 9 of 40 (451180)
01-26-2008 4:20 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
Replies to this message:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19575
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 10 of 40 (451186)
01-26-2008 5:12 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by AdminNosy
01-26-2008 4:20 PM


Thanks
Would it be possible to [hide]previous messages discussing changes etc[/hide] as they may seem cryptic otherwise?
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bluescat48
Member (Idle past 2114 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 11 of 40 (451226)
01-26-2008 8:22 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by RAZD
01-16-2008 10:14 PM


Re: Purpose #1: define human life
RAZD
This would in effect make the point of "uniform life" to be the earliest possible point at which assisted premature birth would be medically feasible without causing significant effect on the end result.

Brilliant, best definition of life I've ever heard.

Edited by bluescat48, : spelling


There is no better love between 2 people than mutual respect for each other
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Hyroglyphx
Member
Posts: 5593
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 12 of 40 (451239)
01-26-2008 9:28 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by RAZD
01-16-2008 10:14 PM


Re: Purpose #1: define human life
quote:
UNIFORM DETERMINATION OF LIFE
Β§ 1. [Determination of Life.] An individual who has sustained either:
(1) irreversible instigation of circulatory and respiratory functions, and
(2) irreversible instigation of any functions of the (entire) brain, including the brain stem, is alive.
A determination of life should be made in accordance with accepted medical standards.

"uniform life" to be the earliest possible point at which assisted premature birth would be medically feasible without causing significant effect on the end result.

So does this mean that late-term abortions should be outlawed, or at least considered?


β€œThere is something which unites magic and applied science while separating both from the 'wisdom' of earlier ages. For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to objective reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline, and virtue. For magic and applied science alike the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men: the solution is a technique; and both, in the practice of this technique, are ready to do things hitherto regarded as disgusting and impious" -C.S. Lewis
This message is a reply to:
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molbiogirl
Member (Idle past 566 days)
Posts: 1909
From: MO
Joined: 06-06-2007


Message 13 of 40 (451244)
01-26-2008 9:51 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Hyroglyphx
01-26-2008 9:28 PM


Re: Purpose #1: define human life
So does this mean that late-term abortions should be outlawed, or at least considered?

Oh, don't start, Juggs.

RAZD has a nice life/death definition thing here. Don't drag it down the abortion road. Tread lightly, remember?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by Hyroglyphx, posted 01-26-2008 9:28 PM Hyroglyphx has responded

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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19575
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 14 of 40 (451251)
01-26-2008 10:28 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Hyroglyphx
01-26-2008 9:28 PM


Re: Purpose #1: define human life
So does this mean that late-term abortions should be outlawed, or at least considered?

The 1st purpose of this thread is stated above: define human life.

Once we reach a point of relative agreement we can see where the definition takes us in ethical questions. If you read the previous versions you would know that the second focus was originally on stem cell research. But lets not be too quick to run from definition to discussing what should, or should not, be law eh? In the interim you can read the previous thread, which dealt with abortion in detail.

I would say that this definition should replace the traditional "life begins at birth" definition. It takes into account the advances in medical technology AND their limitations.

One of the problems with defining human life is where you draw the line: bits of life are mixed and mingled and then incubated in a soup of nutrients and hormones, at some point that mixture becomes human.

The problem is like trying to define the precise wavelength where yellow becomes blue:

Another approach I saw on another website used a common (simplistic) definition of life and tried to apply that to a single individual:

quote:
What makes it a human life? I believe it needs to follow certain characteristics to be a human life and thus a human person:

"... is biologically alive. It fulfills the four criteria needed to establish biological life:
metabolism,
growth,
reaction to stimuli, and
reproduction." (4)

Reproduction: It's DNA already contains the functions it will need to design that needed to reproduce at puberty.


The problem I had with this was that this is equivocating on the definition of life and reproduction for a population of organisms to applying it to only one individual. If you were going to do this properly you would need to wait until puberty and the actual ability to reproduce, and this means somewhere between 12 and 19 years old.

To my mind this is just as silly as saying life begins at conception because it misses reality (human life before puberty).

Enjoy.

Edited by Zen Deist, : updated link


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by Hyroglyphx, posted 01-26-2008 9:28 PM Hyroglyphx has responded

Replies to this message:
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Hyroglyphx
Member
Posts: 5593
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 15 of 40 (451253)
01-26-2008 10:37 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by molbiogirl
01-26-2008 9:51 PM


Re: Purpose #1: define human life
Oh, don't start, Juggs.

RAZD has a nice life/death definition thing here. Don't drag it down the abortion road. Tread lightly, remember?

I'm behaving. Since things are seldom black and white, I want to know how this will work in practical terms.

I agree that its a pretty good definition from a medical approach, as in clinical death.

I'm just curious to know if it can apply to determining life as well. And if so, wouldn't that preclude late-term abortions?


β€œThere is something which unites magic and applied science while separating both from the 'wisdom' of earlier ages. For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to objective reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline, and virtue. For magic and applied science alike the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men: the solution is a technique; and both, in the practice of this technique, are ready to do things hitherto regarded as disgusting and impious" -C.S. Lewis
This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by molbiogirl, posted 01-26-2008 9:51 PM molbiogirl has not yet responded

    
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