Acquisition of spirituality
Mon, 30 Dec 1996 08:06:20 -0500

There was a recent thread of discussion about abortion on
either the scichr-list or the asa list; i don't recall which
so i'll post this to both. Due to pressure of work and a
visit back to U.K. for my Mum's birthday, i missed most of
the correspondence.

I do NOT want to resurrect the abortion question, but one of
the issues raised was the moment at which the foetus gets a
"soul" or become spiritual. The question I have is this.
Is there a useful parallel to be drawn with the question of
when mankind became spiritual? If you hold to a YEC
position this is not an issue. But for those with a
theistic evolution position the question seems very
relevant. Did we suddenly become human in an instant of
spiritual creation? Or did our spirituality develop over
time? I think that this has been discussed by
Glenn and others before. But, it seems to me that we have
the same difficulty in dealing with the spirituality of the
foetus, or rather when it becomes spiritual, albeit in a
shorter time frame. I am also reminded of the addage
(somewhat flawed) that ontogeny repeats phylogeny - perhaps
this is true of the spirit as well as the body?

If this has been discussed in my absence, please ignore this
posting. Otherwise I would be interested in some comments.

Jonathan Arm
Assistant Professor in Medicine
Harvard Medical School