06 January, 2012

Reflections on "Life at the Moment of Conception"

Recently, much as the Grinch, I have been puzzling so much that my puzzler is sore.  Folks like the Ricks Santorum and Perry, Michelle Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, and others have made a big deal out of the “life begins at conception” premise.   I must note that this hypothesis is a social conservative, Christian construct, quite often accompanied by a corresponding claim that it is also at this self-same moment of conception that a soul attaches to the new physical being, making them the property of the Christian god for eternity.  The two beliefs are inseparable.
Interesting, but puzzling.  For the time being let us accept as fact both claims, and examine the consequences of so doing.
As to the first premise, if life truly begins at conception, the Christian god becomes at once a prolific abortionist.  From the blastocyst through the early fetal stages, somewhere between forty and fifty percent of all pregnancies will spontaneously abort.  Is that new life not important to their god?  Is he somehow so utterly incompetent that he screws up fully half of his creations?  Or is it simply that he likes his mini-unborns scrambled for breakfast?  Tongue in cheek perhaps, but a question no “pro-life” warrior has ever bothered answer, nor even ponder I suspect.
Why do the believing families of spontaneously-aborted “children” not hold funeral services for their dearly-departed, with match-box sized coffins and burials in the family plot?  I am not being flippant here; merely inquisitive.
The second claim is even more mind-numbing. 
I will ignore the obvious – that “souls” have neither biblical basis, nor any scientific evidence for their existence – and confine myself to the rather confusing logistics of soulhood itself.
The claim is that at conception a soul appears; from whence is unclear.  Is a new soul created from thin air at the time the sperm penetrates the ovum?  Is there a (heavenly?) pool of souls waiting to swoop in, much as a spouse in a cell-phone lot at a busy airport?  Are they assigned to particular blastocysts based on some set criteria, or is it first come, first served?
Are souls provided to the spawn of Hindus, Muslims, non-believers and the like, or is the supply limited only to Christians?
As to the aforementioned rate of spontaneously-aborted conceptions, what becomes of those souls?  Do they head back to the waiting area and get in line to be reassigned, do they evaporate into thin air, or are they immediately ushered into heaven to spend eternity praising the cantankerous Yahweh without ever having the opportunity to spend at least a short time enjoying normal existence?
Those who bother to think about these things can in all likelihood offer additional questions, consequences, and inconsistencies to my lists.  Those who believe in these things, having never bothered to question them before, cannot in all honesty be expected to begin now.
If believers in and advocates for such theses wish to enshrine them in law however, shouldn’t they be forced to confront these and similar questions and offer plausible answers before the entire nation is forced to worship at their alter?
Just asking.  Now I need to go rub my puzzler with some dry ice.