Re: Re: [asa] scientific fact vs. ideology?

From: Michael McCray <>
Date: Fri Mar 20 2009 - 15:57:37 EDT

Hello Jack
My responses interspaced below > <

On Fri, Mar 20, 2009 at 7:35 AM, Jack <> wrote:

> I am glad you sent this, there is a lot to respond to. My first question
> for you is what exactly is a viable conception and where did you get this
> idea? You make several statements regarding this without evidence to
> support that statement, such as: "Personality is bestowed by the Father at
> the time of a "viable conception" ". Do you have any scripture reference
> for this? Conception is typically defined as fertilization, when the
> two gametes fuse, and does not typically refer to implantation, or any other
> definition of viability.

> >A viable conception is simply a conception that results in a viable
> pregnancy [medical term] a live newborn infant. Conception does not insure a
> viable pregnancy. I chose the term viable conception because I think that
> the Father can and does distinguish between those conceptions that are
> viable, that result in a viable pregnancy and a live new born infant and
> those conceptions that do not. Scripture--- I think Jesus said don't waist
> your time dressing a rotten log that you will have to reject in the end.
> Terrible scripture to use here, I know. I was hoping you might recognize
> that the Father is smart enough not to invest in something that has no
> chance of knowing him.

>George was concerned with when does a ___ become a person. In your
last paragraph you say "life begins." As a life seperate from the mother's
life, a seperate person. I think you both understand that moment to be
conception. The RCC says that at conception the soul is ____.
[I want to say bestowed but perhaps there is a more appropriate word.] We
are all shooting for something special to happen at conception, and indeed
it does, but it is not the soul that is bestowed at conception, it is a
human personality. The Father is the First Personality and he bestows
personality on a large number of intelligent beings that are not mortal and
he bestows personality on all humans. So a human life comes into the world
with a unique and imortal personality. As has been mentioned by a few on
this thread, the human soul, seems to need the facilties for making
decisions, I would agree and say the human soul begins to grow when a child
makes, on his own his first moral decision. Scripture, He is our Father and
we are his sons and daughters, how could we be His sons and daughters unless
he gave something to us that is our own. My earthly mother and father gave
me my body, my heavenly Father gave me my personality. That personality
although it interacts with this mind and this body is not made of this


> You point out that IVF is not an industry. Ok, but who here called it
> that? You also claim that it is not un-regulated. Tell me exactly what you
> mean by this.

>David O referred to the IVF industry as being unregulated. I sounded
to my when I first read it like he was insinuating that medicine was like
AIG. I was caught up in Green Bay when the older model of medicine where
patients were treated with respect morphed into the business model of
medicine. I don't like the business model for medicine, considering medicine
as an industry is even worse.

>You as a Doc should understand what I mean by medicine is not
un-regulated. A doctor follows guidelines that are called the standard of
care. Just as with a normal citizen if the doctor follows the standard of
care, or the citizen goes around without causing trouble nothing happens.
But if the doctor has a bad outcome and he has violated the standard of
care. more and more restraints can be placed upon him. Loss of privliges in
a hospital, censure or loss of liscense to practice medicine and always if
the patient is not happy they can sue.

>Most Docs follow the medical guidelines, just like most citizens
follow the laws. But every once in a while a doctor will violate the ethics,
morals, and standard of care so blatently as to make every other doctor
cring. Octamom is such a case. If the doctor involved had privilages at your
hospital, would you try to see that his priviliges were revoked? Would you
refer your findings to the state medical board along with any other
situations in the past where this doctor showed poor judgement? In short
would you do everything you could to see that this clown never got to
practice again? Of course you would not do any of this without first having
a fair hearing. I would not be surprized if this doc found himself in front
of the state medical board, I doubt that you would be either.<

> I chair our hospital ethics committee. Last month our topic was the the
> octoplet mother, and it focused on a) why she had so many zygotes implanted
> and b) why she was undergoing the procedure in the first place. The
> technology for IVF has improved significantly over the years. In the past
> they used to implant multiple zygotes hoping that at least one would become
> viable, if this resulted in multiple pregnancies they would reduce the
> number through abortion. Fortunately now they usually only implant one or
> two zygotes because their success rate is much better. The question in this
> case is why did the IVF clinic implant so many in this woman especially
> since she had made it known that she wouldnt allow any to be reduced if she
> had more than one that became viable. The risk to the mother and the babies
> goes up dramatically with multiple babies, so to put the mother, and the
> babies at such risk (by implanting more than one) is questionable at best.
> I was also concerned about why a mother with six children, with no job and
> no husband was undergoing this procedure in the first place. Again, you
> mention that IVF is not un-regulated. My question for you is, by whom?
> When asked why they performed this procedure in this woman, the IVF
> physician stated that he didnt think it was his role to be the gatekeeper of
> fertilization procedures. (Or that it wasnt his job to decide who can get
> pregnant via IVF, something to that effect.) And my point is, if he is
> not, THEN WHO IS? I was very saddened by his statement. For years I have
> been claiming that we as a medical profession have given up too much to
> patients regarding decision making. In the coming years, we are going to
> have to make harder and harder decisions about who gets what care, resources
> are not unlimited. Instead of patients getting to choose whatever they want
> to have, Iaccording to their wishes, I believe that it is time to swing the
> pendulum back a bit, to a more communitarian model for medical decision
> making. But statements by physicians like this make me concerned that it is
> too far gone, and we have given up something that we will never get back.
> I previously mentioned the IVF problem. This problem that I was referring
> to are the 400,000 or so frozen embryos in the freezers of the IVF clinics
> across the country. If one believes that life begins at conception,
> (conception as it is typically defined) then we have a pending disaster of
> holocaust proportions here.

>Jack, I've been up for better than 36 hrs. and I'm a long way from
the days in residency when this was a common occurance. The last thing I
want to do is give you the impression I have not heard you, I have.

"My Father is the God of the living and not the dead"

Michael McCray

> Mar 19, 2009 10:42:09 PM, wrote:
> President Obama's speech seems to have sparked a reaction here. Although
> the speech seems specifically about Bush's ideology concerning ESC. It
> appears to me to have undertones of other ideologies that Bush seemed to
> cling to even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Both scientific and
> economic. I speak of Bush's denial of global warming and his support of a
> free market ideology largely without regulations. I hope that Obama has
> ideals and not just ideas. I think that he has ideals and is also practical.
> I hope that he can find practical solutions that also maintain his, our
> ideals.
> There are some depictions here that I would object to. Physicians in
> general and IVF physicians are not unregulated. And IVF should not be
> pictured as an industry.
> George has suggested that in order to take a proper stand on the question
> of ESC and other questions of early human life, it is first necessary to
> answer the question, "When does a person become a person?" I agree. But as
> George and anyone else who has been paying attention knows, this is a
> difficult question to answer. There are many pieces that may be brought to
> bear upon this question. Science cannot answer it completely and I do not
> think that theology has answered the question completely in light of the new
> science. Hence the rub.
> I would like to offer an opinion that takes into account a universal view
> [ideal] and a worldview [what is in our world] in the hope of maintaining
> the ideal while offering a practical approach to our problem.
> George I think that the personality- person conundrum needs to be gone into
> if only briefly. We think of persons as being composed of flesh and blood.
> But when the flesh and blood dies, what continues, the personality. So it is
> the personality that makes us a person.
> The personality is a gift of the Father and is unique in all the universe.
> No two persons receive exactly the same personality. Personality is bestowed
> by the Father at the time of a "viable conception." Having the power of
> complete foreknowledge He would know what constitutes a viable conception.
> Fertilization within a Petri dish would not constitute a viable conception
> scientifically or legally nor do I think the Father would consider it so.
> Once the embryos are implanted in the mother they may become viable.
> Embryos that are not implanted in a female have no chance of becoming
> viable. Again, the Father having perfect foreknowledge would not bestow
> personality upon an embryo that has no chance for viability. They are only
> potential people if they are implanted; otherwise they are only so much
> medical waste.
> Now let us approach why and how this waste is generated. There are couples
> who wish to but are unable to conceive normally. They will typically seek
> medical help and if unable to conceive otherwise will find themselves in the
> care of a fertility expert. After a thorough evaluation that expert will
> delineate the medical options for that couple. Typically the expert will
> choose the least complex and expensive option first and IFV would only be
> considered near the end of the options. IVF utilizing donor ovum and or
> sperm is also an option.
> In the normal female hormones initiate follicular development of many
> follicles but only one, occasionally more, are released at ovulation. In IVF
> the ovaries are artificially stimulated by hormones so that a large number
> of follicles all mature at one time. The ova thus produced are harvested
> utilizing an endoscopic procedure. I understand that this procedure
> typically produces eight to ten ova. The ova are then mixed with sperm
> and fertilization is allowed to take place. The fertilized ova are allowed
> to develop somewhat and because of typical losses more than one embryo;
> typically four are injected into the mother's uterus.
> The waste is a result of medicines inabilities. The inability to produce
> only those ripe ova necessary for subsequent implantation and the inability
> to determine which federalized ova will produce a viable pregnancy when
> implanted. I am sure that Doctors and other researchers are working on these
> problems.
> For now we produce embryos that have zero chance of becoming persons in the
> medical, legal sense. And as I've said, I do not think that the Father has
> recognized these embryos as persons. Rather than throw them out, since they
> appear to have some utility to us why not use them. We were not given
> curiosity and the ability to do science for nothing. God intended us to
> utilize our abilities while decreasing our inabilities.
> The question arises, "Does the Father bestow personality on those "viable
> conceptions" that will later be miscarried, undergo therapeutic abortions,
> be born dead or die as a newborn?" I do not know.
> I am setting here now wondering if I should send this. I'll miss David.
> Michael McCray
> On Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 7:59 AM, George Murphy <>wrote:
>> Your 2d paragraph is to the point. As I noted before, many theologians
>> today would rather understand "person" as a relational concept rather than
>> as one defined in terms of static "natures." That suggests that an embryo
>> in a woman's uterus & one at the same stage of development in a laboratory
>> container may differ with regard to their personhood. Of course that is
>> just the beginning of an argument & we can't immediately conclude that the
>> 1st is a person & the 2d isn't.
>> & I should have noted last night in commenting on the supposed expertise
>> of "people who study personality professionally" in this matter: The modern
>> concept of "personality" is not the same as a technical definition of
>> "person" in philosophy, theology or law. Bringing in the concept of
>> "personality" when we aren't yet agreed on the concept of "person" is an
>> unnecessary complication.
>> Shalom
>> George
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> *From:* Jack <>
>> *To:*
>> *Cc:* ;
>> *Sent:* Thursday, March 19, 2009 8:18 AM
>> *Subject:* Re: [asa] scientific fact vs. ideology?
>> One of my biggest disagreements with the freedom of choice group, is
>> that they want to treat a woman's right to abortion simply as a choice about
>> her right to determine what happens to her body. It is clearly not that
>> simple. There is another entity involved.
>> There is also a relationship here. A unique, wonderful, HUMAN
>> relationship between mother and child (for lack of a better term). I think
>> this creates a very sharp line between in vitro embryos, and an implanted
>> embryo. I really have no trouble considering this entity a person at this
>> point, because it is involved in this relationship. This perspective also
>> is less arbitrary than any functional definition, and avoids any
>> discrimination against anyone. (Until the point that clones can be gestated
>> without a human uterus, something I doubt will ever happen. I am willing to
>> cross that bridge when we get to it.)
>> However, it is a different question entirely to ask what point can the
>> state intervene to protect the interest of its weaker citizens. I do not
>> think that implantation alone gives the embryo that level of protection, and
>> maybe some functional definition is needed for that. But the implantation
>> view is more conservative, well defined, and occurrs much earlier than
>> neural development, yet still avoids the stem cell/IVF problems as I have
>> stated before.
>> Mar 18, 2009 08:24:26 PM, wrote:
>> I am not suggesting that "life begins with neural activity" but that
>> "rationality begins with neural activity," and that therefore personhood
>> does not begin any earlier than that.
>> Shalom,
>> George
>> ---- David Campbell <> wrote:
>> > > The "certain level of ...mental function" that I (& others) have
>> suggested
>> > > is anything above zero. I.e., I would be happy to say that once the
>> brain,
>> > > or any neural structure, begins to form, the embryo should be
>> considered a
>> > > person. It seems to me that with this criterion there is no question
>> about
>> > > the personhood of those with Alzheimers, the comatose, &c. Part of
>> the
>> > > rationale for this is the parallel with the criterion of brain death
>> at the
>> > > end of life - which means whole brain death, not coma, vegetative
>> state, &c.
>> >
>> > That is certainly a coherent and reasonably precise criterion
>> > (determining exact line between zero and some is likely to be
>> > difficult, and "any neural structure begins to form" would need to be
>> > defined as to whether it includes the point at which a cell is
>> > definitely destined to form neurons versus the point at which a cell
>> > first shows any sign of neuronal features). However, "life begins
>> > with neural activity" seems no less arbitrary than "life begins at
>> > conception".
>> >
>> > Some things that might be of interest philosophically, though not
>> > directly applicable to human development, come from consideration of
>> > other animals. Sponges do not have any neurons at any point, though
>> > they have some capabilities for slow motion, internal communication,
>> > etc. They easily reproduce asexually by fragmentation, so the concept
>> > of an "individual" is somewhat blurry.
>> >
>> > Looking at more advanced animals, the vast majority have cell fates
>> > set from the start of embryonic development. There are no twins
>> > formed the way human twins are (some can asexually multiply embryos,
>> > though). From the very first cell division, the exact part of the
>> > embryo that will become neurons is fixed. Thus, the scenario would be
>> > somewhat different if arthropods or mollusks were considering the same
>> > issue.
>> >
>> >
>> > --
>> > Dr. David Campbell
>> > 425 Scientific Collections
>> > University of Alabama
>> > "I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
>> >
>> >
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Received on Fri Mar 20 15:58:12 2009

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