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When Does A Person Becomes A Person?


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#1 skwayred

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 04:27 AM

I have read this question from one forum: When does a person become a person? Or when does a person become self aware?

When the brain becomes fully developed? But if our self-awareness if dependent on the functionality of the brain, then is consciousness just that, a function of the brain?

#2 chance

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 01:31 PM

A person legally becomes a person at birth (some cultures delay this to some time after birth).

I would think a person becomes self aware at around age 2 to 3.

Brain trauma has led to many discoveries about how the brain functions, and yes it seem that consciousness is just brain function. Damage certain parts of the brain and you change.

#3 Fred Williams

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 03:48 PM

A person legally becomes a person at birth (some cultures delay this to some time after birth).

I would think a person becomes self aware at around age 2 to 3.

Brain trauma has led to many discoveries about how the brain functions, and yes it seem that consciousness is just brain function.  Damage certain parts of the brain and you change.

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The Christian view, implicit from the Bible, is that a person becomes a person from conception. Scientifically, we have also learned the person becomes a person at conception, at least genetically speaking. The person gets his/her own 46 chromosomes, its entire blueprint, at the moment of conception.

What people say is the "legal" moment a person becomes a person does not make it the truth. For example, owning slaves was once legal in this country, as was killing Jews in other countries.

Scientific evidence also supports that the person is self-aware in the womb. For example, the "Silent Scream" ultrasound was performed at 11 weeks after conception. I recommend people check it out.

I also have to say I find it appalling that you would suggest a child doesn't become self aware until 2 or 3 years old. I can only suspect this is out of ignorance and guess you must never have had children, becuase I even know a few atheist parents who would not venture to make such a claim.

Fred

#4 Dave

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 05:54 PM

Hi Fred, et al,

I'd venture to say that we have "personhood" long before any of the times suggested.

Jer 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee ...


I believe that before God created the heavens and the earth he already had in his possession a photo album of everyone who has ever been conceived and everyone who has yet to be conceived. In other words, my son is only 14 right now, but God already "knows" my future grandkids. Awesome!

Notice I did not say "ever been born." A major tragedy of today's culture is that many are conceived who never survive the womb. I believe God knows even those little murdered babies.

Dave

#5 chance

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 07:35 PM

The Christian view, implicit from the Bible, is that a person becomes a person from conception. Scientifically, we have also learned the person becomes a person at conception, at least genetically speaking. The person gets his/her own 46 chromosomes, its entire blueprint, at the moment of conception.

What people say is the "legal" moment a person becomes a person does not make it the truth. For example, owning slaves was once legal in this country, as was killing Jews in other countries.


I agree with most of this and was deliberately sticking to the ‘legal aspect’ to avoid an ‘abortion debate’ (having been in and viewed them from the sidelines I can attest they can be very emotive subject). So rather than upset the forum decorum I did not want to start such a subject, unless I was invited, and then only participate with mature members.


I also have to say I find it appalling that you would suggest a child doesn't become self aware until 2 or 3 years old. I can only suspect this is out of ignorance and guess you must never have had children, becuase I even know a few atheist parents who would not venture to make such a claim.


I should clarify, I’m not say the child is not an individual, but that by self-aware I am using the definition of an adult observing the child to exhibit self recognition and ability for interaction.
A new born is not much more that an eating machine running on instinct. The cognitive part of our brain develops later.
Mind you it’s been awhile since my kids were children so perhaps 3 is too old, lets say somewhere in the vicinity of walking and talking (might be as low as one year), is where the child has it’s own ‘identity, and you can observe personality’.


Scientific evidence also supports that the person is self-aware in the womb. For example, the "Silent Scream" ultrasound was performed at 11 weeks after conception. I recommend people check it out.


do you have a link? 11 weeks seems way to young for self awareness, I would suspect only action-reaction to be developing.

#6 Fred Williams

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 03:11 PM

Hi Fred, et al,

I'd venture to say that we have "personhood" long before any of the times suggested.
I believe that before God created the heavens and the earth he already had in his possession a photo album of everyone who has ever been conceived and everyone who has yet to be conceived. In other words, my son is only 14 right now, but God already "knows" my future grandkids. Awesome!

Dave

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Thanks Dave, I think Jeremiah 1:5 was a great verse to bring up! It certainly augments the Biblical position that a person at the very least begins at conception before God began to form them in the womb. I have read that the word "knew" in Jer 1:5 is apparently similar to the use of "knew" in Matt 7:23 “I never knew you, depart from me”. It’s a personal relationship.

This particular verse is in Jeremiah is one of those that often comes up in predestination vs free-will debates. I believe the idea that God had a photo album of all of us ions ago is plausible to me, though to be honest I view the Openness Theology view on this to be a little better fit. :) I tend to lean toward the theology that the future is not set in stone. Otherwise, God could not change it, and the effectiveness of our prayers would seem to be diminished; for example, see Isaiah 38 where God added 15 years to Hezekiah’s life. Just some additional food for thought… :)

Here’s a couple related threads in the Bible section:

Predestination & Free Will

Openness Theology

Fred

#7 Fred Williams

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 03:21 PM

I should clarify, I’m not say the child is not an individual, but that by self-aware I am using the definition of an adult observing the child to exhibit self recognition and ability for interaction. ...
A new born is not much more that an eating machine running on instinct.  The cognitive part of our brain develops later. 

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OK, but let's face it, with an evolutionary worldview you are much more likely to attribute early behavior to instinct more than cognitive interaction. I noticed interaction not that long after birth, and very much believe self awareness occurs much sooner than that, before they are born. It's all a matter of what your perspective is, neither of us can conclusively prove scientifically when this occurs (though the Silent Scream goes a long way toward this).

do you have a link? 11 weeks seems way to young for self awareness, I would suspect only action-reaction to be developing.


Just do a google or Yahoo search on 'Silent Scream'.

Fred

#8 Dave

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 03:50 PM

Hi Fred,

I don't know if I've written this somewhere on this board before, but it could bear repeating if I have. My favorite Bible teacher, Chuck Missler, explains the "future" problem this way:

He says to picture God hovering high above a parade, high enough to see the starting place from the ending place. He can see the first floats to cross the ending place at the same time as he sees the last floats to start out at the starting place.

A viewer from the sidelines, however, can only see only what's directly in front of him. Floats approach him, pass him and move on. He doesn't see what happened before the floats got to him, and he doesn't see what happens to the floats after they pass by. But God does.

My interpretation about the "future set in stone" problem is thus: At any given point in time God can see all the floats. He can tell the person on the sideline what individual floats are doing, and what they will do (relative to the stationary viewer). However, one of the floats might use free will and make a sudden left turn and leave the parade. To the spectator, when he hears about it, it's a surprise. To God, it's not a surprise, because he "saw" it in the future before it happened.

Like most analogies, this one will break down if you examine it too much, but I think it's a good layman's example. Personally, I've avoided the predestination-free will debate. It's a mystery to me on a par with God hardening Pharoah's heart to keep him from freeing the Israelites. It's one of those things I'll just ask God when I see him.

Dave

#9 Fred Williams

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 09:00 PM

Like most analogies, this one will break down if you examine it too much, but I think it's a good layman's example. Personally, I've avoided the predestination-free will debate. It's a mystery to me on a par with God hardening Pharoah's heart to keep him from freeing the Israelites. It's one of those things I'll just ask God when I see him.

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Hi Dave,

I agree with you that there are mysteries in the predestination-free will question that we probably won’t find out until we ask Him. Heck, both viewpoints could be right in some way.

I think I also mentioned that I really like Missler and have many of his tapes, in fact some of the “hidden treasures” I’ve posted I heard from him. But I’ve struggled with the ‘God outside of time’ issue for some time. While I truly think the parade analogy could be valid, like you said if one tries hard enough they can probably find a way to make matters difficult for it. :)

Here’s another one, just for fun. If God is outside of time, then there should be no time in heaven. But apparently there is:

Rev 8:1 When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

This verse is actually bad news. It means there won’t be any women in heaven. ;) (Sorry ladies, couldn’t resist that one! :) )

Fred

#10 skwayred

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 03:55 AM

^Maybe it's another dimension of time or something. ;) Haha, nice one BTW.

#11 Dave

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 07:04 AM

Here’s another one, just for fun. If God is outside of time, then there should be no time in heaven. But apparently there is:

Rev 8:1 When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

This verse is actually bad news. It means there won’t be any women in heaven. ;)  (Sorry ladies, couldn’t resist that one!  :) )

Fred

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Howdy Fred,

I don't have any problem with that. I apply the plain meaning that God is omnipotent and omniscient. I believe it is well within God's power to have a "clock" running in Heaven while He Himself is outside of and unaffected by that clock. From all accounts, as we will be in resurrected bodies in Heaven and aware of ourselves and others, it makes sense that there will be some sort of time component there for us.

I've also heard (from Missler) that there will be cats in Heaven. There are harps, see? Harp strings are made from cat gut. It's a joke that Missler liked to play on his daughter, who loves cats.

Dave

#12 chance

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Posted 02 July 2006 - 07:40 PM

OK, but let's face it, with an evolutionary worldview you are much more likely to attribute early behavior to instinct more than cognitive interaction.


I don’t think so, even with a religious perspective I don’t see how one can claim cognitive vs instinctive without evidence. e.g in an infant, do you see smiling, or crying as instinctive or cognitive?


do you have a link? 11 weeks seems way to young for self awareness, I would suspect only action-reaction to be developing.



Just do a google or Yahoo search on 'Silent Scream'.



Found the link for silent scream, it is a 1980’s anti abortion film, of which there are the inevitable critics that the film inaccurately portrays the facts.

Either way, I don’t see any evidence that a new born and especially not a foetus is self aware, more like a reaction, if the interpretation of the ultrasound is to be believed.




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