Re: [asa] scientific fact vs. ideology?

From: Michael McCray <>
Date: Thu Mar 26 2009 - 00:47:17 EDT


I applaud your faith. I hope that in my responses to Jack that I have
answered your inquires also. If not please let me know. I certainly
appreciate your getting back to me.

Thanks Don

Michael McCray

On Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 11:41 PM, Don Winterstein <>wrote:

> Michael,
> Sorry for the late reply. I was away for a few days.
> I'm not "just trying to bust [your] chops," but when I run across
> statements that seem to have no scriptural or scientific support, they
> distract me, and I have difficulty proceeding. Truth be told, this is not a
> hot topic for me. But when I see someone advancing arguments on a basis
> that I feel has no support, I often rudely interrupt to make my feelings
> known. My intent is to let the person know that, when he advances arguments
> that seem to be unsupported, he should either think twice or explain how
> they are supported.
> I'll now address your questions (I'm still playing catch-up, so I'll be
> briefer than usual):
> (1) Peters doesn't know for sure that there's no soul that persists after
> the body dies; that's why I say "he asserts." However, we have no reason
> from Scripture or science for claiming there is something that persists
> after death except "in the mind of God." I suspect Peters is correct, but
> I'm open to other possibilities.
> (2) Some time ago I got into an exchange with someone here who strongly
> believed that the Bible makes it clear that human souls are immortal. I
> cited several biblical references to show he had no case.
> (3) I believe my life will continue at the resurrection of the dead.
> (4) I'm not searching for a way to continue my life after death because I
> believe God has already taken care of that.
> Don
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Michael McCray <>
> *To:* Don Winterstein <>
> *Sent:* Friday, March 20, 2009 7:32 AM
> *Subject:* Re: [asa] scientific fact vs. ideology?
> I must correct something in my first post. I realized last night that the
> description of the IVF procedure and the numbers I supplied were given to me
> in the late nineteen eighties. Today the ova are harvested utilizing
> transvaginal needle aspiration. And according to Dr Perloe a fertility
> specialist with Georgia Reproductive Specialists who is actually doing the
> procedures, 12-18 eggs are harvested but the number is quite varible. And
> 1-2 embryos are typically implanted, perhaps 3 depending upon conditions.
> Don
> I hope that you are really interested in what I might have to say and are
> not just trying to bust my chops. I say this because every so often when I
> write something here some one wants to drag me aside and get up in my face.
> I don't like this form of communication. It is hard to be eloquent and
> complete when your mind moves at 200 words a minute and you type 200 words a
> day. There I go again using an absurdity to make a point. When you talk with
> someone, even when you talk to a group, you get some kind of feed back that
> allows you to better communicate. Non verbile clues allow the speaker and
> also the listener to better understand the message of the words being said.
> Those clues are unavailable here and I'm having a &^%$#@! of a time making
> the transition into this format, &^%$#@!!!!.
> Let me try to turn this into more of a conversation rather than a debate.
> And before I begin to answer your questions or substantiate my arguments.
> Let me ask you a few questions so I will know where to begin. You say "Peters
> asserts: 'Nothing in our present make-up of either body or soul can by
> natural means persist beyond death.'"Peterís says that there is no part of
> our physical body Do you agree? [A simple yes or no to these questions may
> be sufficient, but if you wish to elaborate please feel free.]
> You say that Earlier I argued from various passages that the Bible does
> not support the idea of an immortal soul?
> Do you believe that your life might be continued in some form after mortal
> death?
> Are you searching for a way that your life might be continued after mortal
> death?
> On Fri, Mar 20, 2009 at 1:09 AM, Don Winterstein <>wrote:
>> Michael asserts: "When the flesh and blood dies, what continues
>> [is] the personality."
>> Charles Austerberry earlier referred us to an essay by Ted Peters at
>> Peters asserts: "Nothing in our
>> present make-up of either body or soul can by natural means persist beyond
>> death." Christian teaching promises only resurrection by an act of God, not
>> survival of something after death. Earlier I argued from various passages
>> that the Bible does not support the idea of an immortal soul. (It seems
>> you're pretty much substituting "personality" for "soul" here.)
>> Michael asserts: "Personality is bestowed by the Father at the time of a
>> 'viable conception.'"
>> This also seems to be out of the blue. Since you provide no basis for
>> these two assertions, your associated arguments lose force.
>> Don
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> *From:* Michael McCray <>
>> *To:*
>> *Sent:* Thursday, March 19, 2009 2:41 PM
>> *Subject:* Re: [asa] scientific fact vs. ideology?
>> 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"
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > To unsubscribe, send a message to with
>>> > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
>>> To unsubscribe, send a message to with
>>> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
>>> To unsubscribe, send a message to with "unsubscribe
>>> asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Thu Mar 26 00:48:04 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Mar 26 2009 - 00:48:05 EDT