Tarry for the Nonce

December 1, 2005

Going For PlanB

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 4:15 pm

Walgreen is really caught between a rock and a hard place, so I appreciate their response:

Walgreen Co. said it has put four Illinois pharmacists in the St. Louis area on unpaid leave for refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception in violation of a state rule . . .

A rule imposed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich in April requires Illinois pharmacies that sell contraceptives approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to fill prescriptions for emergency birth control. Pharmacies that do not fill prescriptions for any type of contraception are not required to follow the rule . . .

Walgreen, based in Deerfield, Ill., put the four on leave Monday, Bruce said. She would not identify them. They will remain on unpaid leave “until they either decide to abide by Illinois law or relocate to another state” without such a rule or law. For example, she said, the company would be willing to help them get licensed in Missouri and they could work for Walgreen there.

Walgreen can’t really do anything about the Illinois law, (unless, of course, they stop selling birth control altogether,) and they certainly don’t want to put themselves in a position where they could be sued by some irate yuppie who wants her LoOvral – and she wants it now. Frankly, I think it’s awfully decent of Walgreen to offer to relocate the employees.



  1. Walgreen’s (like other major drug store chains) is screaming for pharmacists; trust me, they aren’t getting an offer to transfer for altruistic reasons.

    My thoughts are that these people should lose their pharmacy license much in the same way a doctor who refused to do a blood transfusion because he or she is against it personally.

    It just amazes me that a refusal to fill a legal Rx comes from someone who should be a person of science.

    Comment by Howard — December 1, 2005 @ 5:48 pm

  2. It amazes me how many people think that because one is involved with science, one must inherently be an atheist, or at least morally neutral. It is as naïve as thinking that scientists are above board when it comes to ethics and data. But the reality is that, as much as scientists and engineers fudge numbers due to pressure from management (look into the history of pre-Reagan research in federal government labs), so to do the majority of ‘scientists’ believe in God. In fact, I know of a few respectable PhDs that have a moral and ethical compass directed by their belief in Christ. And not only are they great scientists, but they also make amazing theologians.

    Comment by Andrew P. — December 2, 2005 @ 12:15 am

  3. My thoughts are is that God(s) was (were) created to give man an explanation for things that weren’t understandable. Solar Eclipse? A God must be riding a chariot across the sky. A Pattern of drought? Clearly, god must be displeased with our actions.

    Being moral has nothing to do with being religious. While I don’t believe in an invisible man who lives the sky, I do my best to live well and treat others in ways I would want to be treated.

    Could you someone, in theory, spend untold year understanding the science behind something and still think it was “miracled” into existence? I can’t personally imagine it but I guess anything is possible.

    Nevertheless, just because your way of thinking about a possibly fertilized, unimplanted egg makes sense for your own rationale, as a healthcare provider, it isn’t your place to impose that viewpoint onto someone else. Can’t live with it? Get out of the profession.

    Comment by Howard — December 2, 2005 @ 8:37 am

  4. Get out of the profession.

    I suspect that many do, which is only one of the reasons that Walgreens has a shortage of pharmacists.

    Comment by laura — December 2, 2005 @ 1:38 pm

  5. While I don’t enough people of science believe that a possibly fertilized, unimplanted egg is “life” to cause a shortage, but if so, that’s a worthwhile trade-off.

    If I have a prescription, or I give a prescription to one of our patients, I want to ensure that they’ll be able to reliably get it filled.

    Comment by Howard — December 2, 2005 @ 3:08 pm

  6. Nevertheless, just because your way of thinking about a possibly fertilized, unimplanted egg makes sense for your own rationale, as a healthcare provider, it isn’t your place to impose that viewpoint onto someone else. Can’t live with it? Get out of the profession.

    Hmm, that’s funny. I would take the same tack with the state, but obviously you don’t know, or don’t care, that the State of Illinois has forced not only healthcare providers but also pharmacies to fill prescriptions for things they, as entities, may not find morally acceptable.

    …I want to ensure that they’ll be able to reliably get it filled.

    I think its deplorable for a state/city to force companies to do things that the free market should decide, like ban smoking and force a pharmacy to carry certain pharmaceutical prescriptions, even if the company has a moral objection to them. Afterall, the pharmacy is a separate entity from the state, and has its own inherent rights. If it decides not to fulfill certain prescriptions, then people will go elsewhere. Its funny how the government thinks people need to do due diligence in many places, but not when going to get their prescription filled. IMHO, Gov. Badgoyabitch should be shot.

    I agree that if you have a job and know ahead of time what might be required, then you shouldn’t object; but at the same time, the state shouldn’t force companies to change their plans/way of business simply because the state believes a healthcare provider should provide abortion/contraceptive services. Afterall, a business (providing healthcare) is a public or private entity, which should, technically, have more rights than the State of Illinois is allowing them to have.

    God(s) was (were) created to give man an explanation for things that weren’t understandable.

    Hmm…interesting. So what you’re saying is that your educational formation by those who wish to deny God has influenced your ideas about the origin of religion? Were you educated in the public school system? Fascinating. The problem with this rationale is that God’s existence isn’t determined by man’s existence and vice-versa, much the same way as the logic that says: I’ve never seen a polar bear. I believe they exist because people who have seen them tell me so; however, I have to have enourmous amounts of faith in these people that they are not lying to me about polar bears. Likewise, I don’t know if God exists; however, there’s ample evidence to suggest it, and one particular individual who claims to have been the Son of God, and backed up those claims by ‘miracles’ that even modern science can’t perform (yet…go back and read that article about nose tissue and spinal cords).

    From my understanding, the more a ‘scientist’ looks at the universe, and the more they study nature, the more they begin to truly believe in a creator who designed the universe and such. But as I have never really been in a position to study the universe in an indepth manner… Of course, one man’s proof is another’s coincidence. Regardless, belief in something doesn’t change whether or not that something is real. I don’t have direct proof for the Van Allen Radiation Belt, but I take it on faith that it exists based primarily on what other’s have witnessed. In fact, science requires as much faith as religion, if not more.

    As the old joke goes:
    “God is dead.” -Nietchsze
    “Nietchsze is dead.” -God

    Comment by Andrew P. — December 2, 2005 @ 4:26 pm

  7. My mother is an orthodox jew; my father a reformed jew. My education was secular (except for several years of hebrew school). I didn’t have any figures in my life saying that wasn’t a god; quite the opposite. However, learning critical thinking allowed me to see the story of the bible for what it is: A story.

    Hey, don’t get me wrong. I understand how comforting it must be to believe in the supernatural. Death is scary and I’m sure it must put people at ease to think they’ll live forever in a wonderful place. Tens of thousands of people get killed in a natural disaster strike you as tragic? Don’t worry, as God must have had a plan for it (perhaps the people were evil).

    I would put put it to you that it’s a belief in God that hold us back as a society. For crying out, half the people in this country don’t believe in evolution and think that life around us was just, again, just “miracled” into place.

    You may not have direct proof of, say, a Big Bang, but science has to stand up to repeated efforts to disprove it. Assertions from the church most assuredly do not. Science demands that you not take things on faith (e.g., String Theory). Even after things are accept, science works hard to try to prove that wrong. That’s how knowledge advances.

    Going back to the topic at hand, if you’re in a profession like healthcare and there are things you’ll be called on to do that you find objectionable, tough. Too bad. You have public responsibility beyond that of a maker of widgets. Find a derivation of your profession where you won’t be called on to do those things-like teaching or being a drug rep. Want to dispense drug for a living? So long as it won’t harm the patient (drug allergy or interaction), you have a responsibility to give them that drug.

    On a more practical note, the state regulates pharmacies and licenses pharmacists so they have every right to demand they perform their duties in a professional manner.

    As the old joke goes:
    “I’ve begun worshipping the Sun for a number of reasons. First of all, unlike some other gods I could mention, I can see the Sun. It’s there for me every day. And the things it brings me are quite apparent all the time: heat, light, food, a lovely day. There’s no mystery, no one asks for money, I don’t have to dress up, and there’s no boring pageantry. And interestingly enough, I have found that the prayers I offer to the sun and the prayers I formerly offered to God are all answered at about the same 50-percent rate.”
    — George Carlin

    Comment by Howard — December 2, 2005 @ 10:41 pm

  8. Look, Howard, I don’t want your life’s story. I don’t care where you were educated. The point is that regardless of religiousity, we still have freedom of religion, and expression of religious beliefs in the workplace is part of that.

    Public responsibility? Hmm, last I checked the drug/health industry, along with many other industries, have only been regulated for the last 100 years or so, if not less. When the government forces healthcare companies to provide specific types of medical care that it otherwise objects to, that smacks of lobbyism. Its equivalent to forcing every healthcare provider to offer cosmetic services under the guise that it is in the interest of the people. It has nothing to do with public health. Just as Walgreens, Target, Osco, Walmart, and CVS all compete for business, so should they be allowed to decide if they will carry a type of medication. Likewise, a bar or restaurant should have the freedom to decide if it wants to have a smoking section, and, if it does, can let the free market decide if it wants to allow the business to stay in business. Now how the smoke is handled inside the building is something the state should regulate, just as the quality of the prescriptions a pharmacy fills should also be regulated for public good (or the quality of the pharmicists). However, the types of prescriptions should not be regulated because the business should decide, assuming the substance is legal, whether or not it wishes to stock such items.

    Have you ever gone to the pharmacist and asked for a prescription that they couldn’t fill because they were out? Most people then go to another pharmacy when this happens in order to get the prescription filled. Its not like there’s a pharmaceutical monopoly out there at Walgreens. When our rights to freedom are hampered by the state, whether we are individuals or entities, we have to start questioning the very integrity of the state that is dictating this type of forced regulation in adherence to policies that the entities, for whatever reason, have decided not to implement on their own, especially if it is in regards to something as trivial as birth control. If we let the government intercede on behalf of ‘reproductive rights’ now in the business of entities, where will it stop in the future? Will it force businesses to sell condoms? What about blow up dolls? There’s a public interest in blow up dolls you know. Its small, but its out there, it just doesn’t have a large enough lobbyist front…yet.

    Comment by Andrew P. — December 3, 2005 @ 1:19 am

  9. Last I checked it was a scientific fact that when a human sperm and a human egg join together a new human life is formed. Is this life not human? What kind of person (religious or non-religious) would deny what is taught in 6th grade biology? How many advanced degrees and ph. d’s does it take for someone to decide that it is not a human life? And aren’t those same people who deny that it is a human life — also the same people who were small little emryo’s themselves? According to them — they were not humans — and I think that perhaps they are still denying their own humanity as they deny the humanity of others who didn’t get to be as old and sophisticated as themselves.

    Comment by Brian — December 3, 2005 @ 12:57 pm

  10. Brian wrote:Is this life not human?

    I guess that depends on how you define “life.” I’m personally a big fan of brain activity. I think you can use that as a marker without denying your own humanity (whatever you mean by that).

    Andrew P wrote: Look, Howard, I don’t want your life’s story. Actually, you asked who taught me not to believe in the supernatural. I thought I gave you a pretty pithy answer.

    As someone who has a dental practice, you’re damn right I think the profession has special obligations that owners of, say, a dry cleaners do not. We’re there to serve the public in unique way from other “businesses.”

    If someone came into our office with an avulsed tooth, they should be able to reasonably expect that we’ll take care of them. If The Flying Spaghetti Monster teaches me that this procedure interferes with the natural order of the universe, IMHO our oath to the public supersedes our personal religious beliefs. If I decide not get my own tooth re-implanted, that’s my own business.

    It’s interesting that this issue is only affecting women’s right. I wonder what would happen if a pharmacist refused to sell, say, Viagra to a widower when the pharmacist didn’t think he had mourn as long the bible says you’re supposed to.

    The government mandates many aspects of health care (as well they should). A mandate removing religion from healthcare is one I’m all for.

    Even though the I find the very premise of healthcare workers inflicting their religions views onto others offensive in the extreme, let’s put that issue aside. People in rural areas many only have one pharmacy in an hour’s drive. This drug needs to be taken with a certain period of time. People in rural area don’t have the luxury to indulge the druggists’ belief the teaching of the supernatural.

    I hope you’ll excuse me if don’t bother to respond to you trying draw a parallel between drug that allow a person control over the own body and blow-up dolls.

    Freedom of religion is also freedom from religion.


    Comment by Howard — December 3, 2005 @ 5:29 pm

  11. A mandate removing religion from healthcare is one I’m all for.

    Kind of goes against our basic rights as US citizens, don’tcha think? Hmm, let’s see…Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Huh. That’s the first amendment…in fact, that’s pretty much the first thing in the Bill of Rights.

    I thought this was about moral choice… did I miss something? A pharmacy should have the right to decide what it carries. Just like other regulated industries. Just as a financial advisor can decide what products he/she’s going to pedal to the public. Its like having the state tell a doctor what he/she must prescribe based on a set of symptoms. Its just not ethical for the state to intervene in this way.

    I disagree with your rural analogy. Show me a place *in Illinois* where there’s only one pharmacist in an hour’s drive. Due diligence should be done before leaving the house and to trek east instead of west to get to one of the two pharmacies 100 miles away from your home. Besides, if you’re living such a high-risk lifestyle, then why wouldn’t you have stocked up on this ahead of time?

    The pharmaceutical industry is mainly regulated, last I checked, by a federal agency. Why the state is getting into the business of forcing its will on the industry doesn’t make sense, considering its not a problem in other states. Is this merely a ploy to make the governor, and the state, look more progressive? Perhaps the governor is trying to win over certain voters that may not have voted in the past, or just gain favors with/fulfill promises to certain lobbyist groups.

    It’s interesting that this issue is only affecting women’s right.

    Yes, it is interesting. Why hasn’t the governor forced pharmacies to carry viagara while we’re at it? Hmm, perhaps because men’s reproductive rights are viewed differently from women’s? Could that be it? Do most people think that men’s reproductive rights are a joke? Looking at how men are treated in the modern world, I would agree with that viewpoint.

    On a side note: I didn’t mean to post certain pieces of that before, but I was under some time constraints, and hit that post button without filtering the ridiculous out or re-editing parts of the post. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I wanted your life’s story. I just wanted to point out that you were indoctrinated by your education, as most of the rest of us, to lean away from Platonic/Aristotlian ideals and more towards those of Nitschze and Freud, even if you don’t realize it.

    And one last thing…

    Freedom of religion is also freedom from religion.

    Umm, no, no it’s not. That’s where you are dead wrong. Freedom of religion is just that. When you start saying things like ‘freedom of religion is also freedom from religion’ then you are really saying ‘I don’t like your religion, so please don’t push it on me’ and ‘why can’t the government do something about these nutty people who practice religion in the open and shove it in my face all the time.’ But see, that’s what the constitution guarantees. That I can practice my religion, AND reflect it in my life without having to fear government reprisal. This, my friend, is probably one of the starkest contrasts to China’s psuedo-liberty that we have in our country. And I guarantee that someone will eventually challenge the contraceptive pharmaceutical laws based on constitutionality of freedom of religious expression. I would be willing to wager that they will win.

    Comment by Andrew P. — December 4, 2005 @ 3:30 am

  12. If a dry cleaner decides that mini skirts are immoral and decides not to process said garment, that’s fine. If you get an STD and the doctor decides that it’s immoral by his or her own values and refuses to treat you, that’s wrong. They took a public oath.

    I’m on my way out the door but I wanted to reply in the meantime.

    Comment by Howard — December 4, 2005 @ 10:15 am

  13. Freedom of religion is a freedom to believe in a supernatural being in the sky if want, but also to only believe in the empirical.

    You can believe whatever you like. However, if you decided to be a healthcare worker, IMHO, that supersedes a dislike for something motivated solely by one’s mythical beliefs.

    If the pharmacists take this to court and fight for their “right” to impose their version of morality on someone else, I believe they’ve abandoned their responsibility to the public.

    If this goes to trial, it’ll be a dark day indeed for the healthcare industry. It’ll also be something that I’ll be less proud to be associated with.

    Comment by Howard — December 4, 2005 @ 1:44 pm

  14. How do I define life: living. I believe one sign of life is that the organism is growing and advancing. I do not think any scientist would deny that the little boy or girl embryo is growing and advancing. (unless of course its growing and advancing was terminated). I also agree that another sign of life is brain wave activity. Certainly the more advanced the brain the better our ability to detect its brain waves, but I would hesitate to say it is not living just because we can not yet detect its brain waves. Perhaps our scientific instruments are not yet advanced enough to detect brain activity in its most smallest and infantile stage.

    Comment by Brian — December 4, 2005 @ 4:09 pm

  15. Next comment: denying our humanity.

    I believe Hitler denied the humanity of the Jews (and lots of others) when the holocaust went on. His position was that those ‘creatures’ were not worthy of living. They did not meet his ‘standards’ for humanity, and for ‘scientific progress’.

    Hitler placed himself into the position of judge of who should live and who should not live. Some people defended the Jews right to live by appealing to the common humanity that all humans share. Hitler put these people to death also. He would not listen to their appeal.

    I believe that when Hitler denied the right to life of the Jews he was out of touch with his own humanity. He acted as judge, and not with human compassion.

    I believe that today there is also a modern Holocaust going on. Thousands of innocent lives are being slaughtered in abortion mills and in their mother’s wombs because someone else decides wether or not they are properly human. This grieves me. As a human, I believe it is our duty to appeal to our shared humanity, and not to be judges over who should live and who should die.

    Religious or not, we are all humans. We all share human dignity whether we are big or small, embryo or elder, Jewish or athiest.

    Comment by Brian — December 4, 2005 @ 4:33 pm

  16. *phew* I was fretting over how to weigh in on this issue, but Godwin’s Law has brought this one to a close. Looks like I’m off the hook. 😉

    Comment by Chrispy — December 4, 2005 @ 5:06 pm

  17. Brian, the parallels you’re drawing between Hitler and abortion are incredibly offensive and not worthy of a reply.

    I think you owe apologies to the 11 million thinking, feeling, self-aware people killed in the holocaust by comparing them to a non-viable, organized groups of cells. Jerk.

    Comment by Howard — December 4, 2005 @ 7:45 pm

  18. So you’re saying racial discirmination is worse than age discrimination? How very interesting, Howard.

    Comment by Andrew P. — December 5, 2005 @ 1:53 am

  19. Age discrimination? Well, maybe you consider things sharing DNA commonalities with humans but no functioning brain “human.” I’m a little fussier in my standards.

    Wow! Imagine all the “humans” that are “killed” by fertility clinics!

    Comment by Howard R — December 5, 2005 @ 9:01 am

  20. The problem I see is that abortion is legal, but if one kills a woman who is pregnant, its considered two counts of murder. In fact, the state represents the deceased fetus on its behalf. So wtf. Either its a baby, or its tissue. It can’t be both.

    Comment by Andrew P. — December 5, 2005 @ 1:11 pm

  21. The difference is that not allowing a fertilized and implanted egg to develop into in a baby is a woman’s choice. No one else has the right to make that decision for her.

    Comment by Howard R — December 5, 2005 @ 1:43 pm

  22. But that’s flawed logic…. By that logic, I should have the right to smoke crack, but its illegal due to various reasons. If its all about the right to choose, then where’s my right to destroy my brain? Let’s get serious here. If we legalize the killing of children under the guise of personal choice, then let’s just legalize everything and let nature take its course. Otherwise, let’s seriously examine the after affects of abortion, there are many, and let’s find a way to fix this little contradiction.

    I still don’t think the court should be able to say in one case the child is a child and in another case the child is a group of cells. That type of thinking is simply unjust, and runs along the same lines as Hitler’s ideology that ‘Jews,’ and other cultural archtypes, were sub-human. Afterall, the people who believed in his rhetoric had arguments along the same type of lines.

    The only major difference between the holocaust and the abortion movement is that the holocaust was directly architected and executed by the government; whereas abortion is indirectly architected by the government (through acceptance of the ‘right to choose’ argument) and directly executed by the individual.

    Comment by Andrew P. — December 5, 2005 @ 4:34 pm

  23. To clarify: Obviously there are other differences; this was based on the assumption that you can get beyond the surface level difference of race vs. age discrimination, and really look the behind the scenes at the bigger picture.

    Comment by Andrew P. — December 5, 2005 @ 4:38 pm

  24. Andrew, I think you have the right to use drugs so long as you don’t harm anyone else. I think drugs should be taxed and regulated. I think this “war on drugs” is an enormous and wasteful drain on society.

    That aside, while the Nazis (and many, many other groups killed people based nothing but ethnicity) considered some groups to be sub-human, mine is based on having cognition. A person that lacks this is medically dead; a group of cells that lacks this isn’t alive.

    The bible may say differently (does it?) but that’s the framework from which I’m arguing. FWIW, while I don’t expect us to ever agree, I do appreciate you (and everyone else) taking the time clarify your position.

    Comment by Howard — December 5, 2005 @ 7:03 pm

  25. Plan B is an emergency contraceptive. Stop talking about abortion. The last time I checked, no one mentioned RU- 486.

    Contraceptive – A device, drug, or chemical agent that prevents conception

    Comment by Mark A. — December 5, 2005 @ 7:16 pm

  26. BIG NEWS!!!! The newest way to not have to deal with the choice of pro-life or pro-choice!
    It’s hip, it’s nation wide! It’s the greatest thing since cookies!
    It’s called abstinence! go ahead, try it!
    Warning: you could experence a sense of self pride if you take this course. side affects also include being respected for your strength over peer power. you might also feel a need to better yourself in other ways, such as work, school and other improvements.

    Comment by Alistair A. — December 6, 2005 @ 11:14 am

  27. It’s called abstinence!

    Yeah! What a great idea! Let’s all remain chaste until marriage! Oh wait, birth control can fail? Even with married couples? Oh, this is very different.

    Comment by Howard R — December 6, 2005 @ 11:37 am

  28. If you don’t want kids don’t have sex. why take birth control after you marry? what’s the point of marrying? unless you want to have someone there, and are not willing to try your hand at caring for someone yourself.

    Comment by Alistiar A. — December 6, 2005 @ 12:13 pm

  29. Alistar no offense, but are you really asking why someone would get married if they don’t want children?

    Comment by Howard R — December 6, 2005 @ 3:22 pm

  30. I’m asking why you would have sex if you’re not willing to take the responsibilities of what could happen. And to your question: I’m asking why wouldn’t you want to have kids if you do get married.

    Comment by Alistair A. — December 6, 2005 @ 4:47 pm

  31. You know what, at this point I have to believe that you’re just trying to yank ol’ Howard’s chain on the whole “consequences of sex” thing.

    If you can’t imagine why someone wouldn’t want to have a carpet-crawling, curtain-climbing, ankle-biting little rug-rat, I don’t think I’m capable of explaining it to you. Tell you what: Try eating out or going to the movies. Perhaps you’ll have an epiphany there.

    Comment by Howard R — December 6, 2005 @ 6:43 pm

  32. Anyone for McDonalds?

    Comment by Alistair A. — December 6, 2005 @ 8:09 pm

  33. Wow. This discussion spiraled out of control . . .

    Plan B is an emergency contraceptive. Stop talking about abortion.

    Granted. It is a bias of mine that I tend to use the term “abortion” to refer to any post-fertilization interference, including those that prevent implantation.

    Of course, this all stems from my conviction that once a genetically distinct “cluster of cells” exists – distinct from the mother or the father – it is a new individual with a separate life (albeit not yet self-sufficient, but who among us is?) and certain protectable rights.

    I find this the most consistent way to view things because I find the brain activity argument to be a bit fuzzy for me, since our medical technology has acknowledged limitations. With a nod to Chrispy, I also find the “point of birth” argument to be a bit sketchy because medical science is making it increasingly possible for an infant to live outside a mother’s womb at earlier points in the gestation process. And as odd as I find the concept, I imagine that eventually the artificial womb will become a reality, which would make the “inconvenience” of pregnancy a non-issue.

    So in tracing back through the point of birth and the point of detectable brain activity and the point where the fetus “looks” human, I am left with the only unambiguous point I can see – the point at which a genetically distinct individual exists. There, I feel I can hold the most objective and consistent opinion on the matter.

    Comment by laura — December 6, 2005 @ 10:50 pm

  34. Gasp! It appears that Howard, the champion of personal, sentient thought openly despises it in little brats.
    It’s one thing to advocate sentient thought, yet another to equate it with biological brain activity. Other beings have measurable brain activity and no human thought. What’s the difference? Do I cease being human if I cease thinking? What about my inhuman thoughts? Why choose thinking over the human ability of choosing? Why link thinking so closely with biological brain activity? Consider past indicators of human life: breathing, but there were some unintended live burials, or heartbeat, until we learned we could sometimes jump start someone. The major point being that your test is biological activity, but that human life is much more than biological.

    I found these interesting essays:
    or up one level if you wish to approach the debate from different angles:

    Comment by FRJTK — December 7, 2005 @ 10:57 am

  35. Gee, I would kind of think everyone would be a champion of conscious, critical thought.

    Do I cease being human if I cease thinking?

    First off, thank you for the straight line. While it’s darn tempting to do otherwise, I will give you a real answer: Yes. If you no longer have higher brain function, you are effectively a collection of chemicals compounds. If you disagree, may please ask you define death?

    Comment by Howard — December 7, 2005 @ 5:09 pm

  36. So what you’re saying is that if someone asks you what you’re thinking about and you say “nothing” for a while there you no longer existed?

    Comment by Alistair A. — December 8, 2005 @ 11:13 am

  37. Another reply to Howard,
    I will bypass the discussion on , as we have not yet exhausted the discussion on life.
    I heartily accept man as the rational animal; but he (or she) is always much more. This brings us from Aristotle through Avicenna to Aquinas. But it seems you approach the question from a materialist perspective—biological activity. I’m saying the thinking ability is something beyond the biological activity, though it is intimately united to it. And I’m pushing for the position that there is some immeasurable ability before it becomes measurably active. I guess that makes me a reverse Cartesian—I am, therefore I think. If our biology tells us embryonic cells are pluripotent and totipotent, why not conclude that we have great potential even before it becomes actualized? This is why conception presents itself as the logical point of essential difference, rather than the inception of brain activity. And if it appears that the discussion is unable to be resolved, shouldn’t the dignity of what we deal with lean toward greater than lesser care? I deeply respect the sacred life that becomes present as well as the sacred temple in which it resides.

    Check out this brain activity:

    Wow. I pause in amazement at the irony that has resulted in me making this post on this day to this person. Two words for Howard: Alphonse Ratisbonne.

    Comment by FRJTK — December 8, 2005 @ 3:29 pm

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