March 14th, 2012 marks the 133th birthday of one of the greatest minds of all time, Albert Einstein. Not only did he come up with the general theory of relativity and mass-energy equivalence, he did extensive work on the modern quantum theory, which would later influence Heisenberg’s work with the uncertainty principal. Oh science, what would we do without you? We’ve depended on you possibly since Roger Bacon in the 1200s. Have we ever recently doubted you? Well, something like the uncertainty principle might be difficult to comprehend, but there can be some things that we can be certain of — like if you walk off the roof of a tall building, you will fall down and likely die.
So I have to ask; why would one doubt that human life starts at fertilization? It’s not like the seemingly unintuitive fact that caffeinated beverages do not dehydrate you or the developing knowledge of cancer cells and how to terminate their growth. Fertilization of a human egg and its gestation into a human baby has been happening since the beginning of humans, though the dynamics were not always known scientifically. That doesn’t mean that fertilization started when the science caught up; it simply means that our knowledge of it began then.
But when can we say we have discovered something for sure? One way is to use the scientific method, which we have been using for over half a millennia. Humans observe, hypothesize experiment, theorize, observe further, question more, experiment further and then perhaps arrive at a law. There are many on-going developments, discoveries, and understanding of mechanisms that are not complete, yet, there are still things we’re pretty sure we know for certain.
Science is evidence based. The truth that science manifests is explained by the proof provided through the observations of scientists. One cannot simply reject a piece of science as a non-truth just on a whim; evidence must prove the science otherwise before it can be put into doubt. There can be false evidence; this can be tested to be verified. In the case of when human life begins, some researchers believe it begins at fertilization.
To make their side known and defend their point, I think that some would rather cast science and reason aside, showing what I believe to be a disregard for the objective truth that is absolute because there can only be one objective reality. Instead they base their argument on subjective truth, which is unreliable, and ever changing, dependent on the opinion of the person to whom the question is posed. Absolute truth is denied and ignored because it does not conform to human convenience.
So when thinking about the ultimate truth, think about what agrees with reality. Reality corresponds with actual existence. Actuality is existing, objective fact. Fact is truth proven by direct observation. If it is your own reality, it is not objective. If you don’t know what is real and true, look up what the observations are. That’s scientific method right there. If you find that human life — and we can talk about personhood later — does not start at fertilization, and have scientific proof of that, well, the pro-life movement would be obsolete and you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
Agnus-Marie Lucas believes that life begins at conception.