One fun thing about working at a site, not just writing for it, is you get to see the reader comments that come in but aren’tpublished. Here’s a lengthy tome on a piece of mine from last month, on anti-abortion protesters in Ohio and their belief that anything contradictory to biblical law is, in fact, unconstitutional.
I suspect that most of the founding fathers more or less thought that life began at the moment of ejaculation.
Spermatozoa was discovered by Anton van Leewenhoek and Johan Ham in 1627, but how it worked was a mystery for another couple of centuries or so. Not until 1875 did Oscar Hertwig conclusively demonstrate, with a handy sea urchin, “that the sperm head fused with the female genetic material inside the egg to form the nucleus of a new being.” http://www.seductionlabs.org/2007/04/02/a-brief-history-of-sperm/
To a spermist, the womb merely served the the teeny tiny embryo it was given, so a child would be the property of its father. I think that was generally the Biblical view as well, with the “seed” being conceptualized as an unformed child. Conception was generally thought, I think, to have happened when the womb accepted the man’s unformed life and began to form it, rather than having rejected it. Bad womb, bad bad womb… for rejecting a man’s seed.
The mammalian egg wasn’t confirmed by the Estonian scientist, Karl Ernst von Baer, until 1827, I think.
So…when the country was founded, the founding fathers were ignorant of the very most basic scientific facts of conception.
Has Christianity ever come up with a satisfactory theology of the human ovum and the fusion of male and female genetic material? If there was one leveler of the sexes towards greater equality, I would think it would be that rather recently established fact.
In any case, life obviously began eons ago and not at any “moment” in the process of conception. Processes may have arbitrarily designated milestones, so to speak, but there could not be a “moment” when conception happens, as every
“moment” in the deep time since life appeared on earth is necessary for every other moment. Conception continues life, not creates it anew. I’m not even a new being, really, as I have the genetic material of both my mother and father. I’m not really a new being, I’m my parent’s son. The odds that I exist at all, considering the millions of sperm and egg combinations, are astronomical…but if I didn’t happen, another child like would have come along…and four followed me into the sunlight.
And…that’s not the only process which can continues life for another turn of the globe, though it is for the continuance of mammalian Homo Sapiens Sapiens life…. for the time being.
Who has that much time on their hands?!