Monday, August 01, 2005

Size does matter!


The Ayn Rand Institute (whose concern for the poor and suffering is legion) is the latest to dismiss human embryos from inclusion in our species based on their size. To wit:
"But embryos used in embryonic stem cell research are manifestly not human beings--not in any rational sense of the term. These embryos are smaller than a grain of sand, and consist of at most a few hundred undifferentiated cells."

Well, so what is the magic size at which one becomes a person? Would it be 1000 cells? Would it be 13 inches in length (crown to rump)? Would it be 5 ft 3 in?

As long as there is a size under which one is disqualified from inclusion in humanity, is there an equivalent size over which one issimilarlyy disqualified?

Say, for the sake of the argument, that anyone over 6 ft 6 in is no longer part of homo sapiens sapiens. We will now create a new category for them -- say -- homo sapiens basketballus.

Of course the argument about being too tall is absurd, just like the idea that the smallness of the embryo actually disqualifies it from being human. What, if not a human being, will a human embryo become?