Friday, January 06, 2006

Blogger Limelight: What is a "Person"?

Are you in the Blogger Limelight?
Recently, Ariel of Bittersweet Life extended the invitation to his regular readers to initiate Limelight discussions if we so chose (click on the button to go to Ariel's post explaining this). As readers of good ol' Blog Meridian know, I've participated in a couple of these in the past, and something I ran across a couple of days ago has raised a question in my mind that begs for a broader discussion: At the intersection of the very different realms of biology, theology and law, what might the definition of "person" look like?

Some background:

A few days ago on his blog, Andrew Sullivan, a practicing Catholic who is opposed to Roe v. Wade on constitutional grounds but whose opinion on legal access to abortion I don't know, posted a request for factual information on death rates by natural causes for fertilized zygotes. He wanted no arguments, he said, but he got one anyway, ironically caused by his own request that no one else send him more information (it's a short post--read the whole thing, as they say). What follows are, in order, posts written by Sullivan and two guest bloggers responding to each other and even to bloggers elsewhere entering into the fray (N.B.: Some of these are quite long, not to mention closely argued):

I need to reread these posts and do some more outside reading and thinking myself before I reply even tentatively. But I do think that engaging in the work of defining terms, while it might not solve anything in the short term , at least has the advantage of clarifying our thinking about this complicated but quite literally essential issue.

I'll be posting something more substantial soon.

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Ariel said...

That's a pretty weighty topic, John. I've thought about it in the past; like you, I'll have to think about it awhile longer before I venture an answer.

Thanks for a provocative and important question.

Andrew Simone said...

Here is my post on the subject. I think it is a good start but not definitive.

John B. said...

And here is mine. Likewise, as I make clear, far from definitive.