From _American Atheist Magazine_, January 1989, p. 33. A Roman Catholic member of the mand

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From _American Atheist Magazine_, January 1989, p. 33. A Roman Catholic member of the mandatory motherhood movement recently was asked what happens when a single zygote (fertilized egg) splits and turns into twins - whether each baby would come out with half a soul, or if one would have a whole soul and the other would be a soulless zombie. The Roman Catholic readily replied that since god is omniscient, he would know in advance that the single zygote would produce two babies, and thus he would zap two souls into the single zygote - making it possible for us to commit double murder by flushing a single cell down the toilet! Whatever the case may or may not be with fully separate twins, there is a problem when a zygote begins to form twins but doesn't divide completely, as in the case of Siamese twins. What happens when the separation ends with two bodies but only one head? Or two heads but only one body? Or how about two partial heads sharing one brain? Or how about one body, one head, and no brain? And how about the not uncommon condition where the object born looks more like a slug-filled cabbage than a vertebrate? How many souls does *it* have? What about the case where twins form, but one never develops beyond the early stages of differentiation and remains as a parasitic growth in the abdominal cavity of the other twin? Does the parasite have a soul, and will it be resurrected in glory? It is now possible to take normal zygotes and separate them after the early stages of cell division into clumps of cells which will form twins, triplets, or litters. If this were done with human zygotes, would god - knowing that some unbelieving scientist was planning to make a clone out of the zygote - zap into it enough souls to go around? If so, this means we would be able to control god. If we wanted god to make more souls for us to experiment with (if experimenting with souls were possible), all we would have to do is divide the conceptus up into the number of souls we wanted god to create. Neat! If we were to divide a conceptus in two, let one part grow into a baby, and deep-freeze the other to be used for artificial implantation and surrogate pregnancy ten years later, would the part to be frozen have a soul? Where would it be located in the deep-freeze? What if the freezer were to go off several years later, and the would-be twin were never to make it past the four- celled stage? Would god know in advance, and not give it a soul? Or would he give it a soul even though it will never become a baby - as happens naturally to about one-third of all conceptions? If god gives the never-to-be twin a soul, will it go to hell? Limbo? How about caviar heaven? As interesting as the previous experiment may be - since it gives humans the power to control god's acts - there is an even more interesting problem for the compulsory pregnancy people to solve. It is now possible to take two, three, or any small number of fertilized eggs - each one of which might by itself become a baby - and fuse them all together to make just one mosaic baby. If each zygote has one soul at conception then this composite baby must have two, three, or more souls! Of course, god in its prescience might know that some of the zygotes would be fused and have no need of their own souls, and god might create some zygotes without any souls at all. But this, of course, would violate the Roman Catholic teaching that every zygote has at least one soul. We will leave it to the theologians to decide how many souls result when one fuses a human zygote with a genetically nearly identical chimpanzee zygote. Will the part human / part ape creature have a soul at all? Will its hybrid body be resurrected? Will it wear golden slippers with openings at the sides to accomodate the prehensile big toes? -- "[Pregnancy] is like a harmless slavery of sorts. It is only nine months." -- Kevin Welch in talk.abortion ------------------------------------------------------------------------ This raises an interesting question more directly related to abortion: if God knows in advance how many babies will result, and so puts two souls in a zygote that will become twins, why is it not possible for God to put _no_ soul in a zygote which is going to be aborted? In that case, it might be that everyone who gets born had a soul from conception, while abortion would still be moral.

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