View Poll Results: Is a single celled human zygote an 'organism'?

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  • Yes, a single celled zygote is in fact an organism

    99 51.30%
  • No, a single celled zygote is not in fact an organism

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Thread: Is a single celled human zygote an 'organism'?

  1. #91
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    Re: Is a single celled human zygote an 'organism'?

    Quote Originally Posted by repeter View Post
    biologically it can be considered a parasite. Since the conventional thinking is that a zygote is a good thing, because it means a child, that fact is overlooked and ignored.

    The point I'm trying to make, is its as much a parasite as an organism.
    its not a parasite, parasites are of a different species to the host organism.

    from wikipedia:
    Parasitism is a type of symbiotic relationship between organisms of different species where one organism, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the host.

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    Exclamation Re: Is a single celled human zygote an 'organism'?

    Quote Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
    But what is the defining moment? By quoting the Constitution, you claim that it is basically which side of the vagina that you're on. But this argument is absurd because a baby that maybe was born 5 days ago was still viable. Even if born a few months early that are still viable with an incubator (are people on respirators necessarily dead?). So, we can see that the claim that just "being born" is absurd. This is not when we get our rights. So it must occur at some point in the womb. The onus is on you to prove when that is because it cannot be at birth.
    When you consider the fact that the moment of biological conception is in fact a 'birth,.......'

    It can.

    In this thread, you have already acknowledged that a zygote is an organism.

    Correct?

    Well, you tell me,... "when did that organism come into being?"

    Conception;
    5. origination; beginning:

    Born
    b. Brought into existence; created:
    Last edited by Chuz Life; 01-25-10 at 09:58 AM.

  3. #93
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    Re: Is a single celled human zygote an 'organism'?

    Quote Originally Posted by repeter View Post
    Yes, and alongside that ideology is the rest of the big screw-ups you can make. Life is not black and white, there are many different shades.

    Biology has lots of intricacies along with it as well. As I'm taking AP Biology right now, I can tell you, its not easy understanding all the fine details.

    I think it'd be best to wait and see what the universities have to say. They're as close as you can get to being official.
    You may be taking AP Biology, but you don't learn much about development from AP Bio. That said, calling it a parasite is irrelevant. What matters is that this is a human cell, and it is totipotent. It will develop to become a human. It is a human organism.

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    "True law is right reason in agreement with nature . . . Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature [and] will suffer the worst penalties . . ." - Cicero

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    Re: Is a single celled human zygote an 'organism'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuz Life View Post
    When you consider the fact that the moment of biological conception is in fact a 'birth,.......'

    It can.

    In this thread, you have already acknowledged that a zygote is an organism.

    Correct?

    Well, you tell me,... "when did that organism come into being?"

    Conception;
    5. origination; beginning:

    Born
    b. Brought into existence; created:
    The organism came into being at conception. I think you simply misread my post. I agree with you on abortion.

    Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. Psalm 24
    "True law is right reason in agreement with nature . . . Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature [and] will suffer the worst penalties . . ." - Cicero

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    Re: Is a single celled human zygote an 'organism'?

    Since this was aimed at me by name, I may as well make a reply. Please note, though, that a fair proportion of this will be copy-pasted from elsewhere; other threads where I have given Chuz the same information and have been ignored for it. I can't see this thread changing all that much, but...

    *******************************

    First, I would say that the question "Is a zygote an organism" is not even a scientific one. The question deals almost exclusively with semantics - it shows how people use the word, not whether the word is applied appropriately or not. However, as arguments from authority go there is legitimacy to be had from a scientific consensus, so we shall push ahead with the term itself.

    Based purely on dictionary use - arguably the most legitimate of authoritative sources, a zygote is not an organism. This can be shown from the following chain (bold always added by me):
    Organism
    An individual form of life, such as a plant, animal, bacterium, protist, or fungus; a body made up of organs, organelles, or other parts that work together to carry on the various processes of life.
    Individual.
    5. Biology.
    a. a single organism capable of independent existence.
    Viability
    2 Physiology.
    a. physically fitted to live.
    b. (of a fetus) having reached such a stage of development as to be capable of living, under normal conditions, outside the uterus.
    In short, pre-viability a foetus cannot live outside the womb, which is a requirement for it being biologically 'individual', which is needed for it to be an organism. Further evidence to back up this line of reasoning comes from the placenta later on in pregnancy...
    Placenta
    The vascular organ in mammals except monotremes and marsupials that unites the fetus to the maternal uterus.
    Unite
    1. to join, combine, or incorporate so as to form a single whole or unit.
    ...and the frequent phenomena of microchimerism, which shows that DNA is largely irrelevant to this issue (even ignoring twinning issues, which I might come back to later) and that the mother/foetus often exchange cells:
    Microchimerism
    the most common form is ... whereby immune cells ... from a fetus pass through the placenta and establish cell lineages within the mother. Fetal cells have been documented to persist and multiply in the mother for several decades [1] After giving birth, about 50-75 % of women carry fetal immune cell lines. Maternal immune cells are also found in the offspring ... though this phenomenon is about half as frequent as the former .[2]
    Judging by these references, a zygote is at best equivalent to an organ, at worst equivalent to a blood cell. The fact that it has different DNA is irrelevant - a transplanted heart would have this just as much, and many of the blood cells in your body have no DNA in them (hence my use of them as an example). The only thing which makes a zygote significantly different is the fact that it will one day develop into an organism if the right conditions are met - but then, so will a sperm cell (again, if the right conditions are met) and this also does not make the zygote an 'individual', just different from the other parts of the mother. In fact, that a zygote is defined this way...
    Zygote
    1. The cell formed by the union of two gametes, especially a fertilized ovum before cleavage.
    2. The organism that develops from a zygote.
    ... broadly : the developing individual produced from such a cell
    ...implies that the single cell itself is not an organism, nor an individual.

    Even more backup for this line of reasoning (zygote =/= individual) comes from a consideration of reproduction:
    Reproduction
    Biology. the natural process among organisms by which new individuals are generated and the species perpetuated.
    Reproductive cycle
    The cycle of physiological changes that begins with conception and extends through gestation and parturition.
    If reproduction generates new individuals, and only ends at parturition (birth) then a zygote is definitely ruled out.

    Moving on from this line... many of Chuz's sources disagree with the dictionary use shown above. However, the vast majority of them only show scientific opinions, not the consensus which is needed to get a definition into a widely used dictionary as I have been using. The problem with relying on individual people/sites is that to argue based on such sources naturally biases the argument towards false positives - it's far more likely that someone will consider a zygote to be an organism and use that on their website than for someone to consider a zygote not to be an organism and post it - after all, a zygote is not a great many things, why should 'not an organism' be specifically listed unless an agenda is present, making for an easy dismissal of the source? Most of the places to be found where a scientist states that a zygote is 'not an organism' are when they have been directly asked the question - as such, I present two such cases, just to show that not all scientists agree with Chuz's sources.

    "a zygote is not an organism.
    ...
    I don't know any biologist who would classify a single cell from a Homo sapiens as a Homo sapiens. Even a zygote, which may have the *potential* to become a Homo sapiens, but is not an organism by any stretch of the imagination, is not considered an individual Homo sapiens by any members of the scientific community that I know.": Dr Krempels PhD, allexperts.com (x2)

    "a zygote is not an organism": Dr Wolpe PhD, email exchange. [NB: This exchange was with Chuz Life himself, who emailed Dr Wolpe in a manner similar to his university emails in this thread following a debate with me on another forum. Dr Wolpe's disagreement with Chuz appeared to have little effect on Chuz's stance, though he did post the reply]
    ...and just to be complete, an expert agreeing with my opening statement.
    "[Whether a zygote is an organism or not] isn't a topic of concern in the scientific community. In fact, it isn't even really science! Science is testable and falsifiable; my view is neither. This does not make it a religious view, however; consider the fact that neither is your position in this argument! It is philosophy and semantics; taxonomy with some deep thoughts, if you will!": Dr Kalstrom, allexperts.com.
    ...I think that's probably enough for now.
    Last edited by iangb; 01-25-10 at 01:57 PM. Reason: minor grammerfix
    The truth may be out there, but lies are in your head. ~Terry Pratchett

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    Thumbs up Re: Is a single celled human zygote an 'organism'?

    Quote Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
    The organism came into being at conception. I think you simply misread my post. I agree with you on abortion.
    Thank you for your clarification(s).

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    fyi Re: Is a single celled human zygote an 'organism'?

    Quote Originally Posted by iangb View Post
    Since this was aimed at me by name, I may as well make a reply. Please note, though, that a fair proportion of this will be copy-pasted from elsewhere; other threads where I have given Chuz the same information and have been ignored for it. I can't see this thread changing all that much, but...

    *******************************

    First, I would say that the question "Is a zygote an organism" is not even a scientific one.
    Fail.

    As the polls show, Ian...

    Most people know better.

    You claim that the dictionary is the greatest authority, yet you dismiss the definitions that you disagree with and you then go on to distort and twist others to suit your agenda.

    "Independent existence" means "exists apart from" as in the life a zygote is living is a seperate life from that of the mother's. "Independent existence" does not mean "does not depend upon another for anything." As by using your twisted logic, none of us are completely capable of "independent existence."

    I would like to thank Rivrrat and Phat for their intellectual honesty. As for our exchange (Ian) ,... I think you have helped me to my point that a "human individual's life biologically begins at conception" better than I could have without you.

    That you chose to stay in denial along with a few other holdouts doesn't suprise me in the least.

    I'll still be posting any responses I get from the Universities. I'm anxious to see what they have to say anyway.

    Beyond that, You've helped refine my points for my other venues and I appreciate it.
    Last edited by Chuz Life; 01-25-10 at 09:01 PM.

  8. #98
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    Re: Is a single celled human zygote an 'organism'?

    Fail.

    As the polls show, Ian...

    Most people know better.
    If you can show that your 40-person voluntary-response poll of a political debate forum is representative of the scientific community and free from bias, you might have a point. However, I doubt that's going to happen.

    Your claims of failure do not make it so; especially given the minimal amount of detail you have responded with.

    You claim that the dictionary is the greatest authority, yet you dismiss the definitions that you disagree with and you then go on to distort and twist others to suit your agenda.
    Could you name me any dictionary definitions I have dismissed? As to 'twisting' - that is a matter of opinion; and is certainly something that you could equally be accused of. If you have any examples of 'twistings' (other than the one soon to be discussed below), feel free to list them and we can argue over my justifications.

    "Independent existence" means "exists apart from" as in the life a zygote is living is a seperate life from that of the mother's. "Independent existence" does not mean "does not depend upon another for anything." As by using your twisted logic, none of us are completely capable of "independent existence."
    I never said 'independent existence' means 'does not depend upon another for anything' - that's your straw man. Furthermore, your own definition is tautological; you are claiming that the zygote is seperate from the mother because it is an organism, a definition it fits because it lives a life seperate from the mothers. A ZEF cannot do as you claim, it cannot live ('exist') apart from the mother.

    As for my definition; I was taking something 'capable of independent existence' to mean something that, if biologically seperated from all other organisms, would still live. A ZEF is biologically reliant on the mother for it's survival; her lungs breathe for it, her heart transfers oxygen and nutrients to it (or at least, to the placenta which unites the two), her immune cells often protect it. A newly born baby may rely on external support, but not in such a basic way - and not from one unchanging person; it's viability at which this changes.

    I would like to thank Rivrrat and Phat for their intellectual honesty. As for our exchange,... I think I've made my point that a "human individual's life biologically begins at conception" better than I could have without you.

    That you chose to stay in denial along with a few other holdouts doesn't suprise me in the least. I'll still be posting any responses I get from the Universities. I'm anxious to see what they have to say anyway.
    It's just a shame that you can't actually consider the points I've made, only say they are wrong without explaining why (apart from one).

    Out of interest; which universities did you ask?
    Last edited by iangb; 01-25-10 at 09:18 PM. Reason: schpellings
    The truth may be out there, but lies are in your head. ~Terry Pratchett

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    Re: Is a single celled human zygote an 'organism'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuz Life View Post
    Fail.

    As the polls show, Ian...

    Most people know better.

    You claim that the dictionary is the greatest authority, yet you dismiss the definitions that you disagree with and you then go on to distort and twist others to suit your agenda.

    "Independent existence" means "exists apart from" as in the life a zygote is living is a seperate life from that of the mother's. "Independent existence" does not mean "does not depend upon another for anything." As by using your twisted logic, none of us are completely capable of "independent existence."

    I would like to thank Rivrrat and Phat for their intellectual honesty. As for our exchange (Ian) ,... I think you have helped me to my point that a "human individual's life biologically begins at conception" better than I could have without you.

    That you chose to stay in denial along with a few other holdouts doesn't suprise me in the least.

    I'll still be posting any responses I get from the Universities. I'm anxious to see what they have to say anyway.

    Beyond that, You've helped refine my points for my other venues and I appreciate it.
    Actually, the last quote Ian brings up is quite interesting. There might in fact be something to be said about the science of this, because you don't seem to understand, science isn't black and white.
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    Re: Is a single celled human zygote an 'organism'?

    Quote Originally Posted by spud_meister View Post
    its not a parasite, parasites are of a different species to the host organism.

    from wikipedia:
    If you want to find another source with that statement, take your time, I'll wait.
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