Sunday, December 30, 2007

Does Life Begin at Implantation?

If human eggs are destroyed, no one seems to be concerned. Possibly because very few human eggs result in a child. Of the up to 2 million oocytes (immature eggs) that each human female is born with, only about 400 will mature and be ovulated. For each monthly cycle, about 20 cells begin the process to become a mature egg, but only one or two will complete the process. By the way, this maturation process for each egg begins about 100 days before ovulation.

If human sperm are destroyed, no one gets concerned. Even more sperm are produced than eggs, so the chances of any sperm resulting in a child are minuscule.

Once a sperm and an egg are joined, commonly called conception, many people call the merged cells a human. While estimates vary, the chances of a fertilized egg resulting in a live child are only about 33%. Natural events end the process for most fertilized eggs before they are implanted. One can conjecture that many women who are "late" really are pregnant, but the process is halted naturally very early.

Once implantation occurs (the egg is implanted in the uterus about the 6th day after fertilization), the embryo at this point has about a 66% chance of surviving to birth.

The process of human development is very complicated. There are many problems that can interrupt the process before the birth of a live child.

We have an on-going ethical debate about when life begins. Why is it that an egg or a sperm is not seen as human life, but a fertilized egg is? None of the three can result in a child by themselves. At the minimum, the fertilized egg must be implanted in the uterus. This would argue that cells in a petri dish are not human. Yes, those cells could be implanted and result in a child, but an egg could be fertilized with a sperm in a petri dish and then implanted. If the embryo in a petri dish is human life, then the egg and sperm in their petri dishes are also human life. Of course, that is absurd.

Since invitro fertilization and some birth control methods routinely kill fertilized eggs, a belief that human life starts at fertilization not only is not supported by natural events, it would cause many people to be labeled murders.

When life begins is an ethical question, not a scientific one. But science shows us that for those who believe human life starts very early in the process, implantation is a more logical starting point than fertilization.

Cartoon used with permission.

For more information on the latest science on human reprodcution, see the article The Good Egg, printed in Discovery magazine, May, 2004.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Goober for President

A YouTuber suggested the perfect nickname for Governor Huckabee, Goober.

I'm not sure why I'm writing so many posts to prove the Governor deserves that nickname. Well, sure, he is an easy target and it is a lot of fun, but why do I keep pointing out how unqualified he is?

If Huckabee is the Republic nominee for president, the Democrats won't have to spend a dime to campaign against him. Except maybe they should buy him airtime to talk to directly to the American people about his views on the important issues facing the U.S. Heck, Democrats could even give him a little help and tell him what the important issues are. (Hint: it is not Pakistani's crossing the border illegally.) I think about 30 minutes of Huckabee's Homilies would be enough to convince the vast majority of voters that Huckabee should go back to preaching in Arkansas.

Democrats could save the money they would have used in the presidential campaign to maintain a permanent majority in Congress. "Permanent majority." I never really liked that phrase until now.

Maybe I should consider laying off of Goober and concentrate instead on McCain, the only qualified candidate the Republics have.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

God to Huckabee: Shut up!

When asked why his campaign has suddenly taken off, Governor Huckabee basically said it was God's work.

I know people of faith don't have a lot of need for reason and logic, and I don't like to question or make fun of someone's faith, but Governor Huckabee brought this into the public domain, so let's think about his statement.

His god is obviously a god of action. That is, his god is active in the world. His god changes things in ways that would otherwise not have occurred. For example, Huckabee would not be leading in Republic polls were it not for his god, God, either manipulating the results of the polls or getting into peoples heads and making them support him.

I believe that people of faith do not normally claim to know why God does what he does, so unless Huckabee is having conversations with God that already fall under the cover of executive privilege, even he doesn't know why God has chosen to move him up in the polls.

For all we or Huckabee know, maybe God isn't rewarding Huckabee, but rather punishing Romney. As soon as Mitt mends his ways, he'll go up and Huckabee will go down in the polls.

If Huckabee does go on to win the presidency, won't he have one hell of a political debt to pay? This makes other campaign contributors look like pikers. Would Huckabee have to turn the U.S. into a theocracy to pay off the debt? Then again, if an active God wanted the U.S. to be a theocracy, why didn't he just make it that way to begin with? The first ten articles of the constitution could have been the ten commandments.

If Huckabee doesn't win the presidency, what is he going to say? Probably something like, "We aren't capable of understanding God's plan. I'm sure he has some other tasks for me." Or maybe, “I sinned by presuming to divine God's actions.“ What he won't say is something like, “I was just making that crap up to win favor with the evangelicals”.

If Romney wins, Huckabee will probably just think Mitt made a pact with the devil. If Clinton wins, Huckabee will have to question his faith in God and the power of prayer.

If God is really manipulating the election so that Huckabee or one of the other candidates will be the next president, why are we all bothering to help our candidate or even vote? If God is picking the next president, then he can also vanquish all the terrorists, end the war in Iraq, feed the poor, hook President Bush up with Scarecrow and put a man on Mars. What does he need us for? (Duh... The Wizard of Oz... Scarecrow has a brain.)

So, if you believe Huckabee is corrrect and that God is making him go up in the polls, then quit watching the debates. Don't worry about voting. What you think about politics or who would make the best president doesn't really matter. God will cast the final vote. Relax and read a Good Book.

If you think Huckabee has been listening to too much of his own preaching, then support and vote for a candidate that believes they and we are responsible for our own actions, successes and failures.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hot Stock Tip

Mr. Pickle, one of the few people sad to see President Bush leave office.Here is a hot stock tip for you - buy book publishers. President Bush and Vice-President Cheney are so secretive and they've presided over an administration with so many scandals and failures, come February, 2009, there will be dozens of books published.

White House insiders will be running to get their story out first and distance themselves from the worst president and vice-president in the history of the United States.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Gov. Huckabee, Does God Answer Your Prayers?

I heard an evangelical minister on NPR yesterday say that some ministers who wanted to support Mitt Romney were having a problem. They had previously demonized Mormons from the pulpit and now were having trouble finding ways to retract those statements and recommend Mitt Romney for president. I can see they have a problem, but then again their plight is a admission of on-going ethical problems. Sounds a lot like situational ethics to me.

In Charles Krauthammer's column, "Huckabee exploits religion in fighting Mitt Romney", Mr. Krauthammer takes Governor Huckabee to task for playing the Mormon religion card for political gain while refusing to label Mormonism a cult. Krauthammer also points out that Huckabee claims that religion isn't the most important issue when choosing a president and then labels himself a "Christian Leader" in political ads. Finally, Krauthammer laments that Mitt Romney has to defend his religious beliefs.

I disagree. The evangelicals, conservatives and Republics have worked hard to thrust religion into politics. Now they have to live with the results of that invasion. When people like Governor Huckabee call themselves a "Christian Leader" and when he says he believes his recent political success to be the work of God, he opens himself to every question the voting public has about his religious beliefs. When candidates publicly exploit their religion for political gain then that religion must be open to examination just like any other institution or organization where the candidate has previously worked or served. It a candidate publicly exploits their religious beliefs for political gain, then those beliefs should be subject to the same level of examination as any other part of the candidate's public or political life. If your religion and faith is a private matter, keep it private.

I suggest another YouTube debate for the the Republic presidential candidates dedicated to religious issues where the faithful and skeptics can ask each candidate tough religious questions.

When Is Treason Warranted?

In previous posts I've complained about Governor Huckabee's weird belief that the Second Amendment not only guarantees a citizen's right to keep weapons to use against the government if it doesn't do what it is supposed to do, he acts like it is a citizen's DUTY to keep weapons to use against the government.

I would like Governor Huckabee to give us some reasonable scenarios where the use of violent armed actions against the government might be justified, but he doesn't seem to be reading my blog. Does Governor Huckabee understand that the definition of treason includes "the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance..." (Merriam-Webster)?

I've tried to ask Second Amendment supporters to give me some examples of government actions that might justify an armed revolt. Ignoring those people who think I am an uneducated idiot, the responses are usually incidents from two hundred years ago or they cite Randy Weaver's stand-off at Ruby Ridge. I think some of them would include Waco, but I doubt that many would claim Oklahoma City. In short, they have no good historical examples and they have not suggested any likely future scenarios where violence against the government would be warranted.

It is interesting that Oklahoma City is not seen as a good example of justifiable violence against the government. I believe that it was government actions at Waco that motivated Timothy McVeigh to bomb the Federal Building. Don't people who believe that they need guns for self-defense against the government realize they are using the same basic reasoning that Timothy McVeigh used to justify his violence?

Actually, I see a situation looming that many people might use to justify violent action against the government. That is the up-coming review of the Second Amendment by the Supreme Court.

I predict there will be violence if the Court should rule that the Second Amendment is a collective right (the right to bear arms is only as it relates to Militia) rather than an individual right. I also predict you will never see a constitutional amendment to repeal the Second Amendment. The threats of violence would be so intense politicians would decide to leave it to the courts to slowly rein in our obsession with guns and violence.