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

    94 48.70%
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Thread: Is a single celled human zygote an 'organism'?

  1. #111
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    Re: Is a single celled human zygote an 'organism'?

    Biologically speaking, a zygote is a human organism at the earliest stage of development. Period. There is no debate. That is simply a fact.

  2. #112
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    Re: Is a single celled human zygote an 'organism'?

    Biologically speaking, a zygote is a human organism at the earliest stage of development. Period. There is no debate. That is simply a fact.
    If it's a developing organism, then it will become an organism, which implies it's not an organism yet.

    There certainly won't be any debate if you're not prepared to have one.
    The truth may be out there, but lies are in your head. ~Terry Pratchett

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

    Quote Originally Posted by iangb View Post
    If it's a developing organism, then it will become an organism, which implies it's not an organism yet.

    There certainly won't be any debate if you're not prepared to have one.
    An organism which is in the act of further 'developing' is already an 'organism.'

    I think more and more people are starting to 'get it', Ian.

    Even if you still refuse to.
    Last edited by Chuz Life; 01-27-10 at 02:29 PM.

  4. #114
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    Re: Is a single celled human zygote an 'organism'?

    An organism which is in the act of further 'developing' is already an 'organism.'

    I think more and more people are starting to 'get it', Ian.

    Even if you still refuse to.
    ...adn we return to our impasse. Quite - if it as organism which is further developing, it is an organism, but if it is something which is developing into an organism, it is not.

    As this thread most definitely shows, that depends on your definition.
    The truth may be out there, but lies are in your head. ~Terry Pratchett

  5. #115
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    Re: Is a single celled human zygote an 'organism'?

    Quote Originally Posted by iangb View Post
    If it's a developing organism, then it will become an organism, which implies it's not an organism yet.
    Is a caterpillar not an organism because it hasn't developed into a butterfly yet?
    You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo

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  6. #116
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    Re: Is a single celled human zygote an 'organism'?

    Is a caterpillar not an organism because it hasn't developed into a butterfly yet?
    I would agree that I wasn't precice enough in my above statement. It should have read "If it's developing into an organism, then this implies it's not an organism yet."
    (Reasoning: To say that an organism is developing into an organism is technically correct and possible, but gramatically pointless.)

    To use an old analogy; a pile of ingredients could be described as 'a cake in the earliest stages of development'.

    in-post edit: Yes, I realise that Lakryte didn't specify what it was developing into; I was just showing that it's perfectly possible to make that statement and conclude that a zygote is not yet an organism
    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'?

    First of all, I apologize if what i'm saying has already been said, but I just want to jump in here and reading 12 pages of posts is incredibly exhausting.

    In terms of what an organism is, I've consulted two sources:

    Merriam-Webster
    Main Entry: or·gan·ism

    1 : a complex structure of interdependent and subordinate elements whose relations and properties are largely determined by their function in the whole
    2 : an individual constituted to carry on the activities of life by means of organs separate in function but mutually dependent : a living being

    And my biology class's text book, "biological science, 3rd Edition by Scott Freeman which states that an organism is, "a living entity that contains one or more cells"

    and as this same book describes, all biologists agree life means that something is able to reproduce and metabolize.

    Now, zygotes, as im sure everyone following this topic knows by now, is the combination of two haploid gametes to form one diploid cell. The question then becomes, is this diploid cell alive? Mechanics of reproduction and metabolism aside, we do know obviously that the zygotes replicate and divide, which requires energy. However, in our very same bodies, every single one of our somatic (diploid non sex cells) also divides and uses energy as the zygote does. As I'm sure everyone would agree, it's quite the stretch to say that every single one of the cells that make us up is its individual organism, therefore since zygotes are almost identical to the somatic cells, I would argue that a zygote is most certainly NOT an organism.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by phildozer9121 View Post
    First of all, I apologize if what i'm saying has already been said, but I just want to jump in here and reading 12 pages of posts is incredibly exhausting.

    In terms of what an organism is, I've consulted two sources:

    Merriam-Webster
    Main Entry: or·gan·ism

    1 : a complex structure of interdependent and subordinate elements whose relations and properties are largely determined by their function in the whole
    2 : an individual constituted to carry on the activities of life by means of organs separate in function but mutually dependent : a living being

    And my biology class's text book, "biological science, 3rd Edition by Scott Freeman which states that an organism is, "a living entity that contains one or more cells"

    and as this same book describes, all biologists agree life means that something is able to reproduce and metabolize.

    Now, zygotes, as im sure everyone following this topic knows by now, is the combination of two haploid gametes to form one diploid cell. The question then becomes, is this diploid cell alive? Mechanics of reproduction and metabolism aside, we do know obviously that the zygotes replicate and divide, which requires energy. However, in our very same bodies, every single one of our somatic (diploid non sex cells) also divides and uses energy as the zygote does. As I'm sure everyone would agree, it's quite the stretch to say that every single one of the cells that make us up is its individual organism, therefore since zygotes are almost identical to the somatic cells, I would argue that a zygote is most certainly NOT an organism.
    So, at which point does it become an organism?

    From the logic you are using, it seems it wouldn't be considered an organism until it is in fact not a zygote, but further along the developmental path.
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    Re: Is a single celled human zygote an 'organism'?

    The problem with describing something in terms of biology, is it's rarely clear cut. There is no point in time or devopment when you can point and say, there, right there is the exact moment in time when this ceases to become a cluster of cells that make up an organism, and is now a plant. If we are to use texts from biology, an organism is something living that can reproduce and create its own energy. When does, a human posses this ability? we lack the mechanisms to reproduce until puberty, but I dont think that anyone is going to say that a 5 year isn't an organism. In my reckoning, something does not become an organism until the system of cells can run by themselves.

  10. #120
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    Re: Is a single celled human zygote an 'organism'?

    Quote Originally Posted by phildozer9121 View Post
    The problem with describing something in terms of biology, is it's rarely clear cut. There is no point in time or devopment when you can point and say, there, right there is the exact moment in time when this ceases to become a cluster of cells that make up an organism, and is now a plant. If we are to use texts from biology, an organism is something living that can reproduce and create its own energy. When does, a human posses this ability? we lack the mechanisms to reproduce until puberty, but I dont think that anyone is going to say that a 5 year isn't an organism. In my reckoning, something does not become an organism until the system of cells can run by themselves.
    Does that mean birth? When the child is seperated from the mother, and functions on its own? I'd think that a fetus is a living thing though, and I'm sure that the sperm and egg cells are organisms as well, and the zygote is a living thing...
    Veni. Vidi. Vici.
    -Gaius Julius Caesar
    The Only Thing to Fear is Fear Itself.
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