Commenter John on handfuls of unthinking, unfeeling cells.

On my post about Iowa lawmakers trying to make abortion the same as murder, someone named John had the following…thought.

I don’t know why I continue to be gobsmacked by those of you who violently refuse to connect the dots between “a handful of unthinking, unfeeling cells” and a human being. But I do, indeed, continue to be so.

Gee, I don’t know John.  After all, they both have 23 pairs of chromosomes and share much of the same DNA, so I can see where you’d think they were the same.  If someone had to wager a crazy guess for why people like me don’t think removing a glob of cells from a woman is the same as putting the gun to a kindergartner’s head and pulling the trigger, they’d probably not all the ways the two are different once you get past that one similarity.  A full-fledged human being can do things like feel pain, have friends, eat ice cream, watch Judge Judy, and all the other things that differentiate their experience from the world from, say, a watermelon’s.  Not so much for a glob of cells.  So while those unthinking cells are certainly “alive” in the same sense that the grass in your lawn is alive, a zygote cannot experience its own loss.  Compare that to a human being who actively does not want to die.

And don’t just crawl up my ass for noting the universe of differences between a clump of mindless cells and your mother/dauther, even Christians don’t act like “a handful of unthinking, unfeeling cells” is the same as a human being.  Who has ever asked for a death certificate and a funeral/visitation for a miscarriage?  Meanwhile, I’ve known a couple people to bury pet mice.  That should tell you about the value even the most devout Christian really puts on those cells.

And, if zygotes/blastocysts/fetuses are people, then miscarriage is a global health crisis, way worse than cancer and much more serious than the “people” lost to abortion.  Why are we not dumping billions of dollars into researching how to save these poor “people?”

So why don’t you go be gobsmocked with your churchmates, or in the closest reflective surface, and then come back and tell me how my life full of love, fun, and responsibility is of identical value to a clump of cells that doesn’t even have the capacity to experience anything, let alone joy.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.