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« For too many, life is cheap | Main | ’Elvis lives’ says cosmologist »

January 23, 2007

It’s not about looks

I saw this letter yesterday in NRO, in which Professor Lee Silver of Princeton University presents "open-minded readers" with electron micrographs, one of a normal embryo, the other of "a bunch of embryonic stem cells" as part of an effort to convince us that a human embryo is not actually a human being. "Which one is which?" he asks.

I have no idea--which is totally irrelevant. The fact that neither I nor anyone else can tell the embryonic human from the clump of cells is meaningless for the reasons given by those who responded to his letter.

Professor Silver's reasoning--that one has to look human plus be kind of big in order to be human--reminds me of a murder trial I followed while living in Connecticut some years ago. The defendant was being tried for murdering his wife by (those of you who are eating might want to finish this later) putting her through a wood chipper. What was left of her did not look particularly human. Nor did her remains amount to much.The jury quite sensibly found these facts irrelevant and convicted him of murder.

Humanity is not about looks, and it's not about size. Thanks to those incredible pictures of unborn human beings only slightly older than the one Professor Silver offers, most of us know that now. But some people still need reminding.

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Comments

Dennis Babish

Maybe Professor Silver needs to look into a mirror and then at that clump of cells and realize that at one time he looked exactly like that clump of cells. Then he should be thankful that his parents valued him as a clump of cells more then he appears to value the ones he showed.

Lee Hargrove

"Open-minded readers," huh? Actually, we need to be more close-minded. We need to tighten the mesh of our thinking, our beliefs, our worldviews and put Biblical filters on our minds so that irrelevant comments, like those made by Professor Silver, are strained out and discarded.

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