Politicization of Science and Philosophy: The "Delayed Personhood" Debates and Conceptual Transfer

Dianne N. Irving
News Letter
Issue No. 2,
December 1994
Centre d'Etudes sur la Reconnaissance de la Personne Humaine
Reproduced with Permission


[Centre d'Etudes sur la Reconnaissance de la Personne Humaine (CERPH) News Letter, Issue No. 2, December 1994]

Workshop topic no.: 1,2,3,4

Not all ideas and theories are equal. Some match reality and some do not. Some can be successfully defended, and some can not. When ideas and theories are based on politicized science and philosophy, the damage in terms of valid and sound knowledge is alone sufficient for concern. When they are also applied to millions of innocent human beings, institutions and societies the impact of inaccurate, indefensible and politicized ideas and theories can be long-term and cause devastating personal, familial, academic, institutional, social and cultural damage.

My arguments do not concern religion or theology. They are based on science, philosophy and logic. They are a challenge to those who would try to claim that there is a real distinction between a human being and a human person (a contemporary mode of the mind/body split), and that "delayed personhood" begins at certain biological marker events during human embryogenesis. I argue that virtually all such claims and arguments are based on grossly inaccurate science, historically incorrect or empirically indefensible philosophical definitions of a "human being" or a "human person", and are simply illogical.

It is critically important for our contemporary societies to correct this inaccurate science and philosophy which grounds the currently popular concept of "delayed personhood". So many other theories and fundamental decisions are constantly based on the "personhood" - or lack thereof - of a human being. We should also welcome those "experts", upon whose work and advise the prevalent and inaccurate concepts of "personhood" are based ,to debate and dialogue in a public forum, so that these empirical errors and intellectual mutations can be mutually identified and corrected. There is a great deal at stake.

Of equal concern to our societies should be the occasions by which these defective ideas and theories of "personhood" can be transferred to many adult populations of human beings, as well as to many other related issues in "bioethics".