[i] Alberto Kornblihtt, “Why I testified in the Argentina abortion debate: Critical thinking and clear definitions still have value in entrenched, polarized discussions, says biologist”, Nature(2018), Vol. 559, p. 303.
[ii] See, e.g., “George Soros caught ‘illegally’ funding Irish pro-choice group”, at: https://www.irishcentral.com/news/politics/george-soros-caught-illegally-funding-irish-pro-choice-group.; also, “Standards commission explains why George Soros’ donation to fund Amnesty abortion campaign was illegal”, at: http://www.thejournal.ie/george-soros-banned-3748738-Dec2017/. Soros is known to negatively influence such legislation by means of “dark money”. By“dark money” is meant that Soros gives funds to organization A, who then gives it to organization B, then to C, then to D, then to E — so that E’s funding source cannot be identified as Soros! See, e.g., “How Soros “Rents” Evangelicals to Push Social Justice; George Soros disguises his cash through a chain of various foundations, before he gives it to Southern Baptist and other evangelical institutions”, at: http://pulpitandpen.org/2018/04/20/watch-amazing-video-soros-rents-evangelicals-push-social-justice/.
[iii]Kornblihtt is a microbiologist — not a human embryologist; most of his research involves the use of human embryos and human fetuses. See multiple articles at:https://www.google.com/search?biw=1038&bih=547&ei=UwdQW6roFOHVjwSO7q2ABw&q=alberto+kornblihtt+embryo+research&oq=alberto+kornblihtt+embryo+research&gs_l=psy-ab.12…93193.101781.0.105068.17.17.0.0.0.0.219.1750.12j4j1.17.0….0…1.1.64.psy-ab..0.14.1501…0j0i22i30k1j33i160k1j33i21k1.0.z4OIsneuAmQ; See also: https://www.google.com/search?q=alberto+kornblihtt+fetal+research&ei=XghQW4fsLZ7ljwSo1bDoBA&start=10&sa=N&biw=1038&bih=547
[iv]The URLs for the Carnegie Stages changed a couple of years ago. For a listing of the new URLs, see Irving, “Caution Again: Need to Use Newer URL’s for Carnegie Stages for Issues Concerning the Early Human Embryo “ (Jan. 1, 2015), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_226new.url.html. E.g., Carnegie Stage 1a is found at: http://www.medicalmuseum.mil/assets/documents/collections/hdac/stage01.pdf; the Carnegie Chart showing all 23 stages is at: http://www.medicalmuseum.mil/assets/documents/collections/hdac/developmental_stages_in_human_embryoes.pdf;
a listing of all 23 stages of human embryonic development with extensive documentation and URLs for each stage is at: http://www.medicalmuseum.mil/index.cfm?p=collections.hdac.anatomy.index; the history of the development of the Carnegie Stages and the Carnegie Institution of Washington Department of Embryology is found at: https://embryo.asu.edu/pages/carnegie-institution-washington-department-embryology.
[v]See PIPAT, International Federal of Associations of Anatomists, at: http://www.unifr.ch/ifaa/.
[vi]See FIPAT, Federative International Programme for Anatomican Terminology, Terminologica Embryologica, at:
[vii]See extensive scientific documentation of this in endnote 10 below.
See also any of the following:
— Embryologist Dr. Ray Gasser’s website, “The Virtual Human Embryo”, at: https://www.prenatalorigins.org/virtual-human-embryo/intro.php?stage=1
— The Endowment for Human Development, DVD, “The Biology of Prenatal Development”, at: https://www.ehd.org/store/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=51
— National Library of Medicine, iTunes, “Embryo” app for iPhones, at: http://eot.us.archive.org/eot/20161213065507/http://itunes.apple.com/app/embryo/id422337604
Looks like Kornblihtt has a lot of homework to do.
III. ALL “DELAYED PERSONHOOD” CLAIMS ARE PHILOSOPHICALLY AND LEGALLY INDEFENSIBLE AND ILLOGICAL
In his arguments, Kornblihtt attempts to appeal to the now-defunct “personhood” claim. That is, there is no “person” present until after birth — and thus no legal rights until after birth. But a legal definition does not necessarily have to reflect the objective scientific facts. A classic example is the fake scientific term “pre-embryo”, which was formally rejected by the international nomenclature on human embryology years ago, but which still remains in various regulations and laws in various countries (and thus such legal definitions of “person” in those laws are based on false science).[i]
Definitions used in laws are also created by politicians and lawyers — not scientists — and often arbitrary. Consider the now-abandoned efforts of the non-human animal “personhood” lobby to legally define such animals as “persons” with legal rights.[ii] Legal definitions are also “exclusionary”, that is, must be strictly interpreted. Thus, if a law or regulation defines “bears” as “black”, then that must leave out of legal consideration all bears that are white or brown (and thus they may be killed, etc. — a favorite ploy of lobbyists). So if a law or regulation states that human beings are “persons” only after they are born, then such a law or regulation would not legally prohibit the killing of any human beings before they are born — and thus they could be used in destructive scientific research experiments.
However, such laws and arguments merely reflect the philosophical“delayed personhood” ruse, which claims that first there may be a human being present at fertilization, but that human being is not a human “person” yet until sometime later in development or birth. Such “delays” in “personhood” arguments have long been refuted, and often suffer from an academically indefensible “mind/body” split. And any similar legal definition of “person” necessarily suffers from the same refutations.
Although my original field was as a bench research biochemist at NIH, my own doctoral dissertation in philosophy analyzed over 20 such “delayed personhood” claims (Georgetown University 1991, 390 pages, Scientific and Philosophical Analysis of the Nature of the Early Human Embryo).[iii] No theology was used; only science, philosophy and logic. In virtually all such claims for “delayed personhood”, none of them used the accurate scientific facts of human embryology, none of their “philosophical” claims could be academically defended (including massive “mind/body splits”), and in none of them did their conclusions follow logically from their premises. Quite a shock!
Simply consider this: if there is no “person” there until “sentience” (the ability to feel pain and/or pleasure), then all adulthuman beings with with neuropathy or who are paraplegic would also not be “persons” (and thus could be killed). Or if there is no “person” there until the active expression of “rational attributes” (make rational choices, relate to the world around one, etc.), then even adulthuman beings who are comatose, the mentally ill and retarded, drunks and drug addicts, etc., are also not “persons” (and thus could be killed). Such ‘delayed personhood” arguments gained popularity for a while, but eventually could not be successfully defended and were thus dropped. All one has to do is Google such terms to find access to this long but fairly recent history. Kornblihtt’s efforts, in fact, are a little late in coming!
- EXAMINING KORNBLIHTT’S CLAIMS
It should be noted that none of the scientificrefutations that follow contraKornblihtt involve any theological, subjective or ideological opinions. Rather, they are based on long-known internationally recognized objective empirical scientific facts, as noted above. Further, Kornblihtt’s “claims” about “personhood” cannot be academically defended philosophically,
and the same errors long-identified with “delayed personhood” philosophically can likewise apply to any legalconcept of “personhood”. Finally, Kornblihtt’s arguments fail even the most cursory requirements of logic.
For example, Kornblihtt argues that “an embryo is made of living cells, but so are placentas, sperm and eggs.” One would think that even a molecular biologist would know the difference between mere cells that are part of a larger organism and an organism itself! But apparently Kornblihtt doesn’t. The empirical scientific fact is that an embryo is a human being,a whole human organism, even at the single-cell stage (Carnegie Stage 1). It is an organismthat is only 1-cell big at that point in time, but continues to develop itselfinto a multi-celled organism. However, placentas, sperm and eggs are mere cells that are only parts of larger organisms — not organisms themselves. It is also an empirical scientific fact that sperm have only half of the DNA of a human being; “eggs” have only half of the DNA of a human being. Only a human being has the full DNA required of a human organism. So Kornblihtt’s “science” is erroneous, and thushis analogy is logically reduced to comparing apples with oranges.
His “legal” example is that a “person” can be declared dead even when his or her heart stops beating or brain activity ceases; but that would mean that even adult human beings who are on life support or who are comatose — or, as Mersenne blasted Descartes’ definition of “person” centuries ago — even all of us, including Kornblihtt — are not “persons” while we are sleeping!
In short, Kornblihtt’s arguments are scientifically, philosophically and logically in error, and if pushed legally could even lead to the legal killing of adult human beings. It is critical for people to realize this last point — not only that Kornblihtt’s “science” is erroneous, but also that his appeal to such a legal concept of “person” would also be subject to similar philosophical“mind/body” splits (and similar philosophical defects) in which the “mind” can never be connected to the body, and suffers the logical consequences such an erroneous concept of “person” would mean for even adulthuman beings.
The science of human embryology is based on objective empirical facts. “Personhood” is simply a concept, not an empirical fact. And concepts must be able to match or correspond with the empirical facts. If a concept of “person” does not match the empirical facts, then it is an erroneous concept and should be rejected. If a concept of “person” does match the empirical facts, then it is a legitimate concept. The only legitimate concept of “person” that matches the empirical facts is that a “person” begins to exist immediately when the human being begins to exist — at Carnegie Stage 1a, at “first contact” of the sperm with the “egg”. That human being is realisticallyan actualitywith the potential to simply growand develop bigger and more complex along his or her continuous development from embryo to fetus to birth. The powersto feel or think are present; they simply haven’t been activated yet. Sperms and “eggs” and organs have no such powers and can never singly develop into a human being.
But Kornblihtt continues with his argument that “the fertilization of an egg by a sperm is a necessary but not sufficient condition to produce a baby.” Embryos, he states, can only develop to maturity within a woman’s womb, but so far no one has created a placental mammal entirely outside a uterus, embryos depend on placental exchange, and thus, he claims, an embryo “is almostlike an organ of the mother” (emphasis added). He adds that ‘without the right to terminate pregnancy, women are essentially placed in bondage to their embryos.” So, Kornblihtt admits that he doesn’t know scientifically when a sexually reproduced human being begins to exist, and now claims that the embryo is ALMOST like an organ of the mother! “Almost” destroys his own argument!
And the issue is not what conditions are needed to produce a fully formed “baby” is, but rather what the unborn human being is, and if it is not a human being then can it be aborted. As noted above, in sexual reproduction the fertilization of an egg by a sperm results in the reproduction of a new existing human being/organism— whether or not it is allowed to continue to develop before birth. It is a fait accompliright then and there at “first contact”! And in no stretch of the imagination can it be scientifically accurate to claim that the developing embryo within his/her mother is simply an organ of the mother! That embryo is an already existing organism, an existing human being, not a mere organ of anyone. Embryos and fetuses don’t even have the same DNA as that of the mother. Indeed, such a “right” to kill living human embryos or fetuses places themin bondage to the women.
At the end of his “testimony”, Kornblihtt finally admits that he “could not define a precise point in a gradual process when an embryo becomes a human”, but is “convinced of the value of science to explain how facts can influence beliefs.” But if his own “science” is so overwhelmingly erroneous, how convincing is his “testimony”, and is he also simply trying to “influence beliefs” by his mis-information? Only time will tell. Hopefully the Argentine Parliament will understandably reject Kornblihtt’s and similar “testimonies” and vote down any attempt to decriminalize their current abortion law — and that the citizens of Argentina will support them.
[i]The 1984 Warnock Reportwas based on the fake McCormick/Grobstein “pre-embryo” (aka, “14-days post-fertilization), and still operative today; see the following:
Warnock Report 1984, at: http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/Warnock_Report_of_the_Committee_of_Inquiry_into_Human_Fertilisation_and_Embryology_1984.pdf. See another copy of the original report at: https://web.archive.org/web/20150501005945/http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/Warnock_Report_of_the_Committee_of_Inquiry_into_Human_Fertilisation_and_Embryology_1984.pdf. Here is a contemporary criticism of the 1984 Warnock Report: Melanie McDonagh, “Lisa Jardine and Mary Warnock – Britain’s answer to Machiavelli”, at: http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/melanie-mcdonagh/2013/10/lisa-jardine-and-mary-warnock-britains-answer-to-machiavelli/. See extensive refutations of this and similar pseudo-scientific claims about the early human embryo in articles by human embryologist C. Ward Kischer, Ph.D., who taught human embryology for 35 years at the University of Tucson, Arizona, many of which are listed at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writer.php. Most of those articles listed were previously published in academic sources.
[ii]See extensive history of recent attempts to legalize “non-human personhood”, at: https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=SmtTW_bYDdKe_Qbi7J-gCw&q=non+human+personhood&oq=%22personhood%22+%22no&gs_l=psy-ab.1.3.0i22i30k1l3j0i22i10i30k1j0i22i30k1l6.4734.14102.0.203184.108.40.206.0.0.0.74.906.16.16.0….0…1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.15.861…0j0i131k1.0.I3963XLl5sw
[iii]See my summary of my doctoral dissertation in “Philosophical and scientific expertise: An evaluation of the arguments on ‘personhood’”, Linacre Quarterly(February 1993), 60:1:18-46, at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_04person1.html. See also Irving, “Updated References for Accurate ‘Language’ Re ‘Human Being’/’Human Person’/’Personhood’” (Feb. 2, 2015), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_227updatedreferences.html; also, “Tangled Webs and History: Bioethics, Hastings Center, Eugenics, Gates, GMO’s, Transhumanism” (Oct. 14, 2014), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_225tangledwebsandhistory.html; also, “Planned Parenthood’s Website ‘Glossary’ – Fake Science, Phobias, and Sexually Obsessive Definitions” (June 26, 2016), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_233plannedparenthoodglossary.html
Click here to see Kornblihtt’s fake abortion “testimony.