Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Embryo "Wastage?" More bad arguments

In the same article I blogged about yesterday, the authors make the claim that immediate ensoulment (at conception) is intuitively impossible, due to the phenomenon of embryo wastage, where only half of fertilized eggs come to term. (I have some doubts about that statistic, since I've only seen it determined as a generalization from the success rate of in vitro fertilization.) The authors say: "What meaning is there in the creation of such a principle [the soul]when there is such a high probability that this entity will not develop to the embryo stage, much less come to term?" (619)

So, because lots of embryos die, the conclusion is that they can't have been really human, and therefore it might be ok occasionally to kill them. Let's extend this line of argument:

In the middle ages, child mortality was quite high. Probably half of the children didn't make it to adulthood. What meaning could there be in the creation of souls for these kids when many or most will die? So none of them are really human, and it would be ok, if need were great enough, to kill them.

100% of people die (excluding Elijah, Enoch, and possibly the Virgin Mary). Therefore, with such human "wastage", it makes no sense for God to create a rational soul. So none of us are really human, and therefore it might be ok occasionally to kill us.
One can not licitly infer from the fact that something only lives for a short time to the conclusion that one is therefore entitled to kill it.

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