Telos Schmelos — All this

Telos Schmelos — All this talk about embryos is frustrating. It's frustrating because there's little middle ground between 'lump of cells' talk and 'person' talk. There's little middle ground because there's little middle ground between reality and fantasy. There's really no getting through, is there? The “it's a person because it's a potential person” argument is just so shoddy that one despairs for Reason (the faculty, not the magazine) when it is advanced. But, hey. I'll just try again…

To say that something is a potential x is a way of saying that it is NOT an x. I am a potential brain surgeon. But I CANNOT sever your corpus collosum. Because potential means not actual. I'm a potential serial murderer. I'm a potential father. I'm a potential car crash victim. But I'm not hunted by the police, don't get deductions for dependents, and haven't been eulogized. Potential persons are not actual persons, that is, aren't persons at all, just as I'm not a corpse at all. Rights are something persons have. Things that aren't persons don't have them. Potential persons aren't persons. So potential persons don't have rights!

Got that? Well, no. No you didn't. Oh well. What? I forgot to address the hypothesis that bad fairies spoil milk, or that superspecial spiritual substances animate fertilized gametes. Oh, and that superspecial spiritual substances magically create binding moral obligations on all of humankind! (You mustn't hurt me! I'm imbued with superspecial spiritual substance!) Well, I wouldn't call it forgetting exactly… but I try. I try.