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What Makes a Human?

Human Anatomy, Physiology, and Medicine. Anything human!

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What Makes a Human?

Postby Izzibeth » Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:40 pm

This thread is more for my own piece of mind than anything else. On another forum I got into a little bit of a heated debate about what makes a human being human. This is in regards to the recent development of the transgendered man who is now pregnant because he kept his original female organs. I am going to copy the relevant part of the discussion here... I'm sure you will be able to see where the problem arises..

Izzibeth
Are you being serious here? You're actually going to say that this person is not a human being because he took hormones and had his breasts removed?

Response
From a biological standpoint, it can't fully be considered a human being. As I said, Homo sapiens infants are born by females of the species. A male (which is what the thing claims to be) bearing a child can not fully be considered a human being.

Izzibeth
Like I previously mentioned ... when I said "ah, good old dehumanizing" and you said "call it what you will".... when you say that a human being is not a human being .. that's "dehumanizing".

Response
My intent wasn't to "dehumanize". I'm not suggesting we treat it as an inferior or anything, I'm pointing out that it doesn't have all of the characteristics needed to be considered a human being.

Izzibeth
#1. The fact that this person, who you are tactfully calling a 'thing', is bearing offspring nulls your own statement that 'things' can not bear children.

Repsonse
To the contrary - the fact that it's bearing offspring is precisely what makes it not a human.

Izzibeth
#2. If medical science made it possible for males to bear offspring... would all males who chose to undertake this mission suddenly lose their "human being" status?

Response
Yes.

Obviously I do not agree with what this person is saying, but I am not a biologist and I don't know, honestly, how to respond to such a statement. How would you respond to this claim that "If a male gets pregnant then he is no longer a human being and becomes an 'it' because in the human species only females give birth." or "If a person who is born with sexual organs takes hormones to switch their gender but gets pregnant then they become an 'it' and lose status as a human being because only female human beings give birth." ?

Thanks! I know this is a random thread but I just thought that it was such a ridiculous thing to say and I wanted to share it. If nothing else it speaks volumes about how easy it is for some people to dehumanize others so they can do them harm without feeling remorse.
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Postby mith » Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:04 pm

According to my encyclopedia, a human is a bipedal primate. Is an amputee human? It becomes a slippery slope, fast.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
~Niebuhr
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Re: What Makes a Human?

Postby MichaelXY » Wed Apr 09, 2008 10:37 pm

Well, a Tunicate starts out with a notochord, but eventually loses it as it reaches maturity, yet it is still classified as a chordate.
Going on that premise, what you start out with is what you is, even if the final product changes.
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