"Who's a Who? Are you?"

Dianne N. Irving, M.A., Ph.D.
November 9, 1999
Reproduced with permission

Carie and Tim were thrilled! They might finally become parents! Long dark years had preceded this triumph and any hope of Carey becoming pregnant again was almost destroyed. Massive scar tissues had left her infertile -- caused by her earlier abortions, sexually transmitted diseases, and the use of an IUD. But thanks to the In Vitro Fertilization clinic, their troubles were over. Technicians had successfully fertilized 11 pre-embryos for them, and were ready to implant them into Carie's womb!

Their strategy: Of the 11 pre-embryos, 3 were discarded due to genetic diseases, leaving 8 healthy ones. Five would be implanted, but 3 of the fetuses would be "reduced" during pregnancy to allow the remaining 2 the best of chances. 3 pre-embryos would be frozen down and either implanted later, destroyed, or donated for use in experimental research, to help other infertile couples like themselves.

Carie and Tm poured over the complicated "informed consent" forms that explained in detail the basic human embryology, medical procedures, risks and benefits, and the proposed strategy. One question kept haunting them. "Just exactly what are these little 'pre-embryos'?," they asked their IVF researchers. "Would it be wrong to destroy some of them?" "Absolutely not," fired back the researcher, waving his hand towards the stacks of bioethics textbooks, journals and videos on the sagging shelves behind him. "Every expert in this business unanimously agrees that they are merely … loose collections of totipotent stem cells, about the size of the period at the end of a sentence! They're just … 'whats', not 'whos'," he explained, erasing any lingering doubts in Carie's and Tim's minds. The "informed consent" forms were signed, and the strategy put in place.

HELLO? Not "whos"? What does that mean? What is a "who", and why isn't it just a "what"? REALITY CHECK! Are you ready?

There is no such thing as a "pre-embryo". They just made that up! All of these little "whats" are really little "whos" -- little persons!

Two questions have been confused here: one is scientific; the other is philosophical. The hard cold objective scientific fact is that at fertilization these tiny embryos of Carie's and Tim's were already real live existing unique human beings. So Carry and Tim are already parents -- even before implantation takes place! This is not a "pro-life" or a "faith" position. It is an objective scientific fact agreed to by every human embryologist world-wide -- and anyone who tries to claim otherwise is fooling you. Look it up yourself in the library. Biology 101.

But, then, the philosophical question: Does that necessarily mean that they are human persons too? That is, are they also "whos", persons with ethical and legal rights and protections all their own -- just like me and you?

The answer is YES. Personhood depends on there being a human nature there, not on whether or not certain human functions and activities are actually being exercised at the time (e.g., being self-conscious, willing, choosing, loving, relating to the world around one, feeling pain or pleasure). Otherwise, even adults who are mentally ill, the comatose, Alzheimer's and Pakinson's patients, drug addicts, alcoholics, the disabled -- even us when we are sleeping -- would not be "persons"! Ridiculous. Every human being is simultaneously a human person. No exceptions -- including you!

All of these bizarre "theories" about "hats" and "whos" come from defunct and academically indefensible bioethics "theories". They simply dredged up philosophical theories of "personhood" that had been laughed out of the academies centuries ago, and applied them to current medical issues at the beginning and at the end of life. All of these passe "theories" contained what is called a "mind/body" split of some sort -- very convenient for marking off "whos" from "whats"! But think. If the mind (or soul) is one thing, and the body is a different and separate thing, then how in the world can there ever be any interaction between this "mind" and this "body" at all? Answer: there can't! No match with reality! The whole thing is a joke!

This is the hoax of the millenium, and the joke is not just on you, but on our entire culture. It's a fake word-game, and the lengths to which bioethicists have gone to fool us defies the imagination. In order to "scientifically" rationalize and justify the use of these young vulnerable human persons in research, they have simply re-labeled them to make us feel less guilty about it all. Rather than acknowledge the hard cold scientific facts and use a concept of "person" which matches that reality, bioethicists call them: "pre-embryos" or "just genetic individuals", and not "developmental individuals; "contain information content only, but no information capacity"; "just biological individuals", but not "ontological individuals"; only "transient natures", not "stable human natures"; only "biologically integrated wholes", not "psychologically integrated wholes"; "biological life only", not "personal life"; just "unconscious biological life", not "conscious personal life"; have "no brain life", rather than having "cortical brain life"; "no ones", rather than "some ones"; "substance sortals", not "phase sortals"; "zoes", not "bios"; only "possible or potential human beings or human persons"; "objects", not " subjects"; "not members of the human species"; "cannot exercise rational attributes or sentiene"; not "selves"; have "no human cognition"! Pretty inventive!The latest rendition in a current New York State case is a real scream: "pre-zygotes"!Imagine the court allowing such scientific fraud into the courtroom! Virtually none of these "labels" hold up under serious scientific or philosophical scrutiny -- not one. The worst part of this joke is that it has worked.What have we done?

The consequences are dark. Since IVF couples like Carie and Tim are already parents, they already have the moral and legal obligations to protect their children from harm. This means they cannot allow any of their children to be eliminated because of some lab test, or abort them to make way for larger brothers and sisters, freeze them down, or donate them for destructive experimentation for any reason, no matter how good it sounds. Evil may not be done that good may come of it. Nor can they really give their legally valid "informed consent" for any of these procedures, since they have been given fraudulent human embryology and therefore prevented from knowing the objective truth.

Nevertheless, we now have "emergency contraception", all sorts of human embryo research, and drug companies wanting to use them for screening new drugs. Legal precedents have been set for the disposition of frozen embryos and for regulating abortions, and this scientific fraud has completely permeated our scientific and public policy institutions, and been used in local, state, federal and international documents and policies. In fact the IVF industry itself inherently depends on it. As related in a recent legal case, if these embryos had been recognized as legal persons, "such a decision would doubtless have had the effect of outlawing IVF programs …". Reality check!

For more details and extensive references, see C. Ward Kischer, Ph.D. and Dianne N. Irving, Ph.D., The Human Development Hoax: Time To Tell The Truth! (2nd ed. 1997; distributed by American Life League).