The vile ‘Personhood’ Amendment

The Personhood Amendment represents a disturbing campaign by the religious right that makes medical, scientific, technical, philosophical and political claims that are totally disconnected from reality. This amendment aims to assign full legal rights to human embryos. The YESon26 campaign is a full scale anti-abortion drive to outlaw the practice in Mississippi along with numerous other states. If successful, any abortions committed would likely face a full scale murder inquiry. The YESon26 mob have released an faq poster (yeson26-faq) in an attempt to address what they refer to as ‘scare tactics spread by the pro-abortion minority’. According to this poster they will not outlaw contraceptives, ban IVF or…….prosecute women who have miscarriages. They add to this by reassuring us:

‘Personhood will not make having a miscarriage a crime’

I certainly feel reassured now that they clarified this point. What about their views on abortions for victims of rape or incest? Or the result of these two acts in synergy? Their response to this is the child (child?) should not be the victim of the crime and that any child is a blessing. This is absolutely abhorrent and exposes the true nature of these sick individuals who try claim any kind of moral decency. If a resulting pregnancy from a vicious rape is a blessing then by that twisted logic the rape itself must be a blessing? This moral vacuity can only be a direct result of a violent bout of mental diarrhoea.

The biological definition of an embryo is unequivocally a scientific claim and attributing divine intervention at the moment of conception is beyond absurd. The absurdity is not just reserved for the belief in anything ‘divine’ intervening but also the fact these ideas are drowning in contradiction. Firstly, there is absolutely nothing in religious scripture that alludes to anything related to precisely defining the exact moment of ‘personhood’ or ‘human-ness’ through embryology. The complete lack of regard for logic, reason or even any kind of consistency is abundantly clear. These people claim creationism should be taught in schools and evolution outlawed and selectively decide to ignore all the evidence. However, they turn to Embryology, a complex branch of developmental biology that cannot be embraced without the knowledge and appreciation for the facts of evolution and genetics, and attempt to make specific claims about when a conceptus or embryo is human.

This is a comment from the Yes on 26 website:

“I view it as transformative,” said Brad Prewitt, a lawyer and executive director of the Yes on 26 campaign, which is named for the Mississippi proposition. “Personhood is bigger than just shutting abortion clinics; it’s an opportunity for people to say that we’re made in the image of God.”

What does this mean? That they worship an all omnipotent, pluripotent embryo? Or at least that God started out as an embryo and was therefore conceived by the fusion of a human sperm and egg cell?

In 2011 how can such draconian, archaic and dangerous ideas be endorsed by a Western governent?

Best evidence for evolution?

It always amazes me when creationists attack the theory of evolution but appear to regurgitate old arguments without incorporating anything to challenge recent advancements. Fossils provide a unique body of evidence that deliver an insight into the anatomy of our ancestors. However, fossils are very rare and indeed a luxury addition to the mass of evidence currently available. Why do creationists isolate the fossil record for the main focus of their arguments, i.e the lack of transitional fossils? Why do they choose to ignore the many examples of intermediate species such as the Tiktaalik? The researchers who discovered Tiktaalik were able to predict that a transitionary fossil would be found in rock ~375 million years old. They could only do this by employing a sound knowledge of evolutionary biology and biogeography. These discoveries are still incredibly rare as most extinct animals didn’t fossilise.

Molecular biology and bioinformatics have produced data that show very clearly evidence for evolution. Multiple alignments of genome sequences can be generated comparing different species to assess conserved areas. The percentage similarity between sequences that are closely related is higher than those that are more distant. The data fits the expected degree of relatedness garnered from previous knowledge of phylogeny. If species did not share common ancestors through evolutionary descent comparing these sequences would expose this in stark detail. The presence of pseudogenes that are no longer functional in one organism but still functional in their common ancestors surely provokes a creationist to ask the question ‘Whats the point?’. Why are some genomes duplicated several times? If they argue that a creator of the Universe is simply reusing code to produce all the species that have ever existed then 99.9% of his programs crashed and failed. With the large proportion of DNA attributed to the pseudogenome, why keep all the redundant code that you no longer need? If God did create all species and is the ultimate biological programmer then his coding techniques are pretty crap to say the least.