When does life begin?

  1. The first time your mom is so mad at you that she uses your full name causing you to realize how quickly it can all be ended.

  2. I grew up in a family where everyone had a nick name, and don't think we've ever used our given name to address each ohers.

  3. Our moms brought us into this and by god if she wants she will take our ass out. 24 years old and I still think about what I fucked up if I hear her say my full name.

  4. My father is a biologist and he told me that technically fire is alive. We can't really define life.

  5. Life is like a big obstacle in front your optical to slow you down. And every time you think you’ve gotten past it, it’s gonna come back around and tackle you to the damm ground.

  6. “In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”

  7. There is no definition that makes sense in the vaguely worded form of the question that's not conception. The bacteria in my gut are independent organisms and alive, despite the fact that they depend on my intestinal tract to live.

  8. What about thinking about it by questioning when we gain consciousness, or when our prefrontal cortex of the brain develops around 17-25 weeks?

  9. Good point. Hadn’t considered the simplicity of the question. On the question “when does human life begin?” I would say after birth which is what I voted for in this. It’s when you take your first breath and open your eyes. Prior to that what exists in the womb is of parasitic/commensal nature. It doesn’t quite fit those definitions per se, but it isn’t an independently functioning human yet. Psychologically, the birth certificate stands as a good declaration of a human being entering “life.”

  10. Completely agree. Abortion is ending a life. I am pro choice. Of course it’s a hard choice, but sometimes the better option is aborting

  11. Depends what you're trying to classify as life. The cells that make up the foetus during pregnancy are alive, but this doesn't mean that the cells have developed neural circuitry required for basic consciousness. Until the brain is developed to the level of conducting some bodily functions (breathing movements, kicking, responding to basic sounds etc.) it's closer to the end of the 2nd trimester. This doesn't necessarily mean the foetus is 'conscious'.

  12. Right. When does personhood begin would be better, but even that is still irrelevant. A person has an inviolable right to their own body. We don’t have forced organ donation programs and we don’t force bone marrow donations even though both would save lives. We won’t even hold a person down and draw blood out of their arm to save the life of a person they just grievously injured. And we won’t carve up a person’s body after they die without their expressed permission in life even to save others. But why do we make this one single exception about a woman and her fetus? The fetus occupies a space in a person’s body that is not its own and draws nutrients from a body that is not its own. If that arrangement is not voluntary on the part of the mother, than that’s it, she has no further obligation if a person’s body is truly and inviolably their own.

  13. Yeah I'm cool with abortion but still think the way you do, it is ending a life, but a life without any feelings or memories

  14. Agreed. I believe that a zygote is “life” but I also believe it’s a woman’s right to terminate that zygote if she wants.

  15. Exactly, thinking it begins as conception doesn’t mean that life that just began is more important than the woman having control over her own body and what happens to it. Her life is more important than an unborn cluster of cells that can’t even have a sentient thought yet

  16. Yeah, making a definitive line between what’s considered life and not life is more complex than most people think

  17. Well, a piece of skin tissue in a lab is also alive then... We are not just the sum of our parts. Cells being alive doesn't mean the organism is, just like how cells are made of dead parts yet are alive

  18. I’m pro-choice, but I always get annoyed when people try to argue a fetus isn’t alive. Try telling that to a woman who miscarried at 21 weeks, and watch everyone (rightfully) call you an asshole.

  19. Life begins before conception, as even gametes (egg and sperm cells) are alive. But personhood begins at viability (a pregnancy can survive outside the body, but may not have actually left yet).

  20. I generally go with this definition. Now, genuine philosophical question: how much medical intervention is allowed to considered a pregnancy viable? Do new records in 'earliest surviviable birth'? Push the definition back slightly or not?

  21. I used to believe unquestioningly that personhood began at conception and then I started thinking about identical twins and learned that sometimes the embryo splits up to 2 weeks AFTER conception, and so then I backed up and realized that from my Christian upbringing perspective it's not so much a question of "when does LIFE begin" as much as "when is it a human with a soul?" And questions of souls are really beyond the realm of science... but since it is a matter of life and death of a (potential) human-with-a-soul, I'd have to err on the side of caution and assume it might be a person as early as conception.

  22. I like this answer. We plan for life while the child is growing in its mother. We celebrate life on the day that it is born to the World and record this as the birthday; giving significance to when the child starts aging. Otherwise we need to consider the dates the sperm and egg became one as the earliest forming of the individual's life. Which would be something of a rewrite of history and start new birthdays for us all.

  23. I was hoping to find someone else with my answer, but not expecting it. If fully-grown humans can be pronounced brain-dead and removed from life support without a murder charge, then I'm pretty sure something lacking 98% of a brain to begin with is fine. It takes time for those structures to even finish developing

  24. Jellyfish are somehow alive without a brain or a heart. I can never fully understand those mf’s

  25. When the organ exists or when their brain is fully functioning? Because a new born has a brain but that brain is kind of useless. It does not have the capacity to think like people do. It's barely capable of keeping its body functioning. It takes years to develop, and even into your teenage years your brain is still developing.

  26. Life absolutely begins at conception based on the biological definition, but for all intents and purposes I 100% agree the formation of a brain is way more important to certain topics like abortion

  27. Agreed. Too much talk of fingernails and heartbeats. I have far more sympathy for thinking, feeling life than I do a lump with fingernails. Besides, most women already have heartbeats and stuff. If we're going to debate whose life to prioritize, we need to pick factors they don't share.

  28. Murder only applies to humans and has a different definition than killing. Murder refers to the premeditated killing of another human by another with intent.

  29. I think a person gains personhood as soon as they are able to retain and recall memories. At that point their experiences begin to stack up and develop that individual into a unique person.

  30. In humans, gametes, the egg and sperm, are haploid human cells, fully alive. When they merge to form a diploid cell, the fertilized egg, again fully human, they are fully alive. There is no 'beginning of life', just a continuing of two lives.

  31. Well, idk, let’s try it like this and see if we can make some sense…so when you plant a “plant” you use a seed…the seed doesn’t transform into a plant until the very first root has sprouted. So with that said I’m high af

  32. Most conservatives don't like abortion, most also don't vehemently oppose it. The caricature of conservatives on reddit(not saying you're doing this) is so out of touch. So many people seem to believe that you need to be some crazy Christian in order to believe abortion is wrong, most of the time.

  33. There’s a difference between being “alive” and having a sense of personhood, which is what’s at stake here. Nobody is arguing a fetus isn’t “alive”. We all know it’s not dead. The question is whether that fetus has rights over the mothers’.

  34. “Outside the body” implies that it’s okay to kill a baby literally after the water breaks. Why are so many people okay with that? I’m pro-choice but come on you can’t really believe it’s okay to kill a baby that’s minutes away from birth?? That’s insane

  35. It’s ironic that the question “when does life begin”(I would assume that it is a poorly worded question) makes us discuss at what point it is acceptable to destroy it.

  36. Life began a few billion years ago in the ocean. Not quite sure when there is supposed to be a pause in the process since then

  37. My thoughts are mostly this; technically, though, our brains aren't fully formed until ~25. However, I fully believe there is a reasonable cutoff. Not to push this discussion off to a different one, but coming to a consensus on what constitutes consciousness would answer the question for me.

  38. I would argue that human life begins the moment a mind becomes aware of its own existence, because otherwise it’s a nature created machine. Say, an Android shell without the programming that makes it pass a Turing test. When actual life begins, would definitely be when the heart starts and everything starts working as it’s supposed to, like a well oiled machine starting up for the first time.

  39. I think it's kind of funny how everything is political now a days. It is a fact that life begins at conception, if not we wouldn't even have a word for conception. What is really debated is when this conceived life becomes as valuable as an adult human life. I don't believe that life is relative to the feelings of the mother. For instance, if the mother is pregnant with a fetus that isn't viable yet, and someone assaults her and causes a miscarriage, her attacker can be charged with murder. So viability isn't the standard, at least as far as the law is concerned. Meanwhile that same pregnant woman can go and get an abortion and everything is fine since she doesn't want to be pregnant. I guess my point is that you can't have it both ways. It's not a life when you want it to be, and a clump of cells when you don't. There is an objective reality.

  40. i honestly dont understand how you cant realize that a fetus is alive, like im all for choice of abortion, but lying and acting like the fetus isnt just a baby inside the mother is preposterous.

  41. So life begins earlier now than 100 years ago? It seems odd to me that out scientific advancements would impact the definition of life. Also would that mean that when our technology reaches the point where conception and the whole growth process can be sustained outside of the womb, life begins at conceptions?

  42. For purposes of the abortion question? Sentience; unfortunately, there's no real way to measure that, and even if there was it would presumably emerge in degrees

  43. I mean there are plenty of studies done on new borns. Like babies are not even aware they have a body until like a month or 2. Humans spend alot of time developing a very complex brain, but we really dont put it to use right away. Spend enough time with a baby you can tell when the on switch is pressed, and true humanity begins. Until then its all reflexes and instinct.

  44. I’ve read articles based on scientific research that they have determined sentience, consciousness, likely begins around the start of the 3rd trimester.

  45. It doesn't matter when life begins. Life has such a murky definition that I don't think it really helps to determine if someone or something is alive or not.

  46. I have a question. I might be wrong but would a babies first breath not be when it's outside its mother's body? Because if it's outside the body and doesn't have it's first breath...

  47. A bit of a stoner take, but I think life is a subjective term. I think everything animate is philosophically alive, from humans to foetuses to planets to dying stars. The entire universe is alive with atoms constantly swapping places with each other. Atoms that once were in a star will one day line the liver of my future children, and one day will cease to be completely.

  48. Why is the most voted answer "outside the body"? How can the answer to Is something alive depend on anything else then the "thing" itself ?

  49. I'm not religious, but I believe life begins at conception, I'm just ok with killing it before it gets any worse.

  50. I believe biological life begins at conception. I just don’t think that matters with respect to abortion. It’s biological matter, it’s alive, but it’s not a person. It doesn’t take precedence over the decisions if the person carrying it in any way shape or form.

  51. The cells that make up a baby are alive from contraception but that doesn’t make the baby alive. If you find a severed arm but the cells aren’t dead yet that arm isn’t alive just because the parts are

  52. I would argue it's a non issue and irrelevant question as it's related to abortion rights. The definition of life needs to be cleared up too. I would say a new life is never started just continued because it needed live cells in the first place. And even live cells are then just a potential life. Idk why this is even an issue in the first place. Separation of church and state?

  53. The fact that this is still a question is exactly why abortion needs to be a right of all women. We can’t agree on whether a fetus has rights, a soul, etc., but everyone can agree a girl/woman does. So why would we strip a woman of her bodily autonomy in favor of protecting the “life” of something that society has not come to a consensus to qualify as being alive?

  54. At brain activity. I believe in souls, and what we know about it is that it correlates with the brain.

  55. “Outside of the body” is absolutely criminal. Before that point there is a living being with a developing personality.

  56. I voted "other" because both cardiac and CNS function become independently viable around 20-24 weeks of gestation.

  57. Outside the body. Holy shit. So this many people would be totally cool with crushing a skull in the womb a week before birth.

  58. So if we find microbes on another planet will we call it life on another planet or does it not count cause it isn't complex enough to be considered "life"?

  59. Brain activity. We classify death by brain activity, or lack thereof, it's only reasonable to say that life starts when brain activity does.

  60. I believe that life probably begins at conception. Doesn’t mean I’m not pro right to choose though. I mean seems pretty obvious. We say that other multi-celled organisms are living. Why does it matter where it is along it’s development path to declare if it’s alive or not besides the sake of the argument for pro choice?

  61. While it is impossible to define biologically, it seems pretty clear legally. You are not recognized legally until you are born. A fetus is not a dependent, a resident, a citizen, or an alien. It is not a person. As such, no laws apply to it. Only the woman can be subject to any laws, and only the woman has guaranteed rights. Theologically, at least in Christianity in adherence to the Bible, life begins at first breath.

  62. Stating the obvious, sperm cells and egg cells are very much alive in order to be fertilized. Life doesn't begin at conception, it begins long before that. Life just changes forms. On the other hand, a new functional "human" is created after the 1st breath. In a car factory, you can have a car frame with an engine installed in the assembly line. it is definitely not drivable, and it cannot be called a car. Same for humans. An embryo with heart beat means nothing without a functional brain. I am no biologist, but from my understanding, DNA is the code/program of life, and protein executes the code. There are various program modules depending on stages of life. Early stages of the program are common among different species depending on evolution ancestry. The program execution diverges further and further during the gestation stage. In software, it is the initialization/booting stage. Once everything is loaded and checked, it drops all the temp files and moves to run/main stage, and never goes back to the initialization stage ever again. To me, the first breath signals initialization completed, human.run() starts.

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