Kinds of Personhood:
A Reply to Clifford Grobstein
F. EARLE FOX, D.Phil.
P.O. Box 21
Ambridge, PA 15003
From: PSCF 45 (March 1993): 49-56
An issue occasionally arises which tests a culture to the very roots of its being. The issue of abortion is dividing America more deeply than almost any issue of this century, partly because it is tied to so many other volatile issues such as women's liberation and gender roles, but also because the divisions arise out of an even deeper ontological split about the nature of life itself. As the Roe v. Wade debate shows, we are divided over the very meaning of our Constitution.
This split is reflected in opposing interpretations of the fundamental object of study in the discipline of psychology. Is there a "psyche" of which we might have an "-ology"? Is there a "self," or "soul," as it used to be called? Is there a "me" independent of the observable characteristics which we measure, tabulate, and turn into statistical averages? Behaviorists would tend to answer "no" to these questions. Others of a more traditional bent would affirm that indeed, yes, there is some kind of independent self that makes itself known through the things that we study with our technological expertise, but which is not itself directly visibly or tangibly observable.
Clifford Grobstein, an embryologist and Professor Emeritus of Biological Science and Public Policy at the University of California, San Diego, was interviewed by Elizabeth Hall of Psychology Today on the subject of "When Does Life Begin?"1 That article gives a clear perspective on the behaviorist end of the philosophical spectrum. This paper critiques that position, and suggests that the alternative view has much to be said for it.
Defining the Issue
He who defines the terms controls the debate. Grobstein sets up his own discussion by defining his terms:
The pro-life movement's contention that a person exists fully and absolutely from conception sidesteps the difficult questions. As I wrote in Science and the Unborn, extending full personhood to an individual cell that is barely visible makes no more sense than declaring acorns to be oak trees and selling them at oak tree prices. (p. 43)
When asked by Hall, "What kind of individuality exists at conception?," he replies,
Only genetic individuality, a set of hereditary properties that define an individual, is present at conception. But there are five other essential aspects of individuality still to come: developmental, functional, behavioral, psychic and socialˇwhich means that full individuality emerges in stages over time. [Emphasis added.]
It's important to ask when individuality in the developmental sense begins. When does the developmental process become committed to the production of a single person? It doesn't happen at conception, but about two weeks later, during the course of implantation. Until then there is no embryo, and the future of the cells that will become an embryo is not fixed║ .That's why I think it's important and proper to call this early stage a pre-embryo. (p. 43.)
Pregnancy is a state of the woman. It does not begin until implantation takes place. (p. 44)
The terms of the discussion are already set up so that one can arrive only at the position that the growing entity is not a person, at least not yet. Grobstein has set up his definition of a person as what philosophers would call an "operational definition."
It is noteworthy that a definition of the basic object of psychological study, the psyche or self, is being offered from the field of embryology, not from within psychology itself, which reflects the lack of total self-sufficiency within any discipline and a curious interrelatedness between disciplines. The fact that embryology, not philosophy or theology, is selected to define the substance of psychology, also suggests a basic ontological slant, a specifically "behaviorist" perception about the nature of being.
One would like to receive that bit of news with the usual academic detachment, but it is staggering just the same to consider the possibility that literally millions of lives are hanging in the balance of this "merely academic" question.
People in the marketplace seldom really follow the arguments and reasoning of the "experts." What the layman in any field hears is that "psychology says," or "science says," or "the Church says." None of us can do everything, so only rarely do lay persons take the time in any field to explore the deep reasoning behind the issues, and that for the most part only when crisis descends upon the social order. They trust or at least hope that the experts are performing their rightful task of providing accurate knowledge for the functioning of society. Such trust requires that among the experts there be a truly open, honest, and self-policing debate occurring with all the issues put clearly on the table, for otherwise we are so deeply vulnerable to each other's nonsense.
When physicists "look for" electrons, they never actually see, touch, hear, taste, or smell an actual electron. None of the five physical senses ever directly perceives an electron. We know of electrons only by inference from things that we do see, hear, taste, touch, or smell. The direct observations are, for example, of visible trails in a cloud chamber apparently created by the passage of "something" through the cloud, or of readings on the dials of electronic devices which detect electrical influences, never directly of electrons themselves. We see certain effects and try to figure out what the cause of them might be. And so we come to "believe in" these unseen and unseeable electrons because they are needed to explain what we do see directly.
But some physicists and philosophers (e.g., Werner Heisenberg) have concluded that it is meaningless to talk of actual electrons, or atoms, or anything else we cannot directly observe.2 We can talk only of those operations by which we observe certain "effects." We can talk of an electron as a symbolic way of referring to the set of operations which produce that effect, e.g. of certain readings in an electronic device or the trail in a cloud chamber. But we have no direct evidence for talking of an electron in and of itself as an existing entity.
This is, of course, the radical form of materialist philosophy. If you cannot measure it, count it, put it in a test tube, directly observe it, then it does not exist. And that is what Grobstein does with the definition of 'person.' When asked, "What kind of individuality exists at conception?" he replies:
Only genetic individuality, a set of hereditary properties that define an individual, is present at conception. (p. 43) [Emphasis added.]
He thereby defines 'individuality' or 'person' solely in terms of the (more or less) observable characteristicsˇcharacteristics that a non-behaviorist might normally look for as evidence of the presence of the unseen person-as-such. A person on the behaviorist view is not "unseen-but-manifesting" those characteristics. A person is simply the coming together of those characteristics. Before they have come together there is no person, and if, having come together, they fall apart, there is again no person. It is a matter of definition of the word 'person.'
One can define words (such as 'person') any way one likes. But one cannot define objective realities (such as persons) any way one likes. Words are defined arbitrarily for the sake of communication. But realities have to be defined or described according to what they really are, not just any way we find convenient. It is the subtle confusion of these two kinds of defining (words vs. realities) that gives Grobstein's kind of argument plausibility. It seems as though he has defined a real person when he has in fact defined only the word, 'person.' If we do not realize what he has done, we may conclude that his scientific expertise in embryology has shown us something about real and substantive personhoodˇabout which that field of science is incapable of telling us.
Grobstein's use of the terms 'individual' or 'person,' in other words, begs the issue he is trying to prove. By defining individuality as the coming together of six kinds of characteristics (genetic, developmental, functional, behavioral, psychic, and social), he naturally can, indeed must, emerge with the conclusion that a true individual exists only as the specified process comes to completion. His conclusion is already contained in his definition, not in his scientific observation of the characteristics, with which pro-lifers have no argument.
But if 'person' is defined that way, that word 'person' is no longer referring to what pro-life people want to give protection of law. Pro-lifers are talking about a kind of person quite different from what Grobstein is talking about. In one rather odd sense, the whole abortion debate is a verbal dispute.
His definition of pregnancy, for example, as "a state of the woman," leaves out any reference to the child, implying, rather strangely, that the child is merely incidental to the process. We are not dealing with a child yet because the required characteristics have not yet fully come together. We are dealing only with "a state of the woman" which we call pregnancy. He wants us to understand pregnancy not as the presence of a baby, but simply as a certain biological state of the woman.
Grobstein makes his key point:
It's important to ask when individuality in the developmental sense begins. When does the developmental process become committed to the production of a single person? (p. 43)
Grobstein is implying that individuality "in the developmental sense" begins when the developmental process becomes committed to the production of a single person. And the answer to his question is two-fold, for it depends entirely on whether you hold an "operational" view of definitions or a "substantive" view.
The answer on the operational view is that the developmental process never becomes committed to the production of a single person, for there are always more characteristics developing, people are always changing. With the growth of gerontology, we have discovered that life really does begin at forty. It also begins at fifty, and at sixty. It keeps on beginning. Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. Only by an arbitrary restricting of the definition of the developmental process can one say of a given set of characteristics thatˇTHIS is a person and there is no more to happen to make an actual person.
Although Grobstein may want to define individuality in terms of observable traits for the sake of his embryology, that does not give him license to inflict that definition on the whole of the human race.
The answer to Grobstein's question on the traditional view of the human soul is that the developmental process is committed to the production of a single individual right at the beginning. It is only the characteristics of that individual that are developing, not, in the strict sense, the existence of it. All of the characteristics which embryologists, psychologists, educators, clergy, parents, politicians, career counselors, and many others might look for in an individual can continue to grow and sometimes even reverse themselves. But it is ontologically the same person going through these changes right from beginning to end.
When Grobstein states that "only genetic individuality, a set of hereditary properties that define an individual, is present at conception," one has to conclude that those hereditary properties are sufficient then to indicate the presence of an already substantial personˇwho a few months (or many decades) later will still be the same substantial person, albeit a person with perhaps a greatly enriched (or impoverished) set of characteristics being observed by folks like Grobstein.
Unfortunately the pro-lifers often make the same mistake, trying to prove, on the same assumptions, that biological evidence can prove the existence of human life at conception. Paul Byrne, M. D., writes,
A new human life begins at conception when the sperm providing half the chromosomes penetrates the ovum, providing the other half of the chromosomes to form a new set of chromosomes.3
To be accurate and to avoid the impression that biological observables can define personhood, he needs to state, "Insofar as biological science can give us information on the subject... a new human life begins at conception...." Biological evidence can indicate, but not define, the presence of a person.
It is a much more humble position, but also much more accurate. To fail to do that is to adopt the very mistake that the behaviorist is making and therefore to engage the battle on the wrong (because insoluble) grounds.
While one wants to grant to embryologists their area of expertise, namely embryology, one still has to point out that embryology has not got the capacity to define personhood in the sense that pro-life people would want to guarantee it legal protection. Or, to put it differently, embryology as a science cannot give us any definitive information about either the existence or non-existence of souls or selves as such. Pro-life people are not interested in protecting merely a certain conglomeration of attributes, which an embryologist for his professional convenience might choose to call "individuality." As important as those characteristics to which Grobstein points are for our understanding the growth of the individual, they do not define individuality. Those characteristics are manifestations of the individuality (personhood) that is already there, but not definitions of it.
Empirical science therefore cannot rightly be asked to define 'personhood'ˇa task beyond its capability. It is being asked rather to describe the growing signs of the presence of a person. Of logical necessity, personhood cannot be empirically defined. At some point life beginsˇa free willing, independent, purpose choosing and purpose fulfilling organism, self-aware and conscious, however primitive. We cannot examine (yet, at least) with any clarity the "personal" characteristics of the initial two celled being. But our knowledge is being pushed back earlier and earlier at an extraordinary rate, and the lines of present knowledge clearly converge on conception as the beginning of it all. As many have noted, after conception, only two things are added: time and food. (One must also add to that the requirements of caring and bonding.)
Or Substantive Definitions
When one makes those empirically measurable characteristics which Grobstein lists into a definition of individuality, then one puts the whole human race at risk. What used to be called the "sanctity" of life is reduced to the "quality" of life, which can be defined only by the "convenience" of life, which then quickly becomes the narcissistic private pleasure of life. And at that final stage, all life outside of oneself is seen as having value only insofar as it promotes my personal convenience and pleasure. Once one abandons the objective value of individual personality, quite apart from any functional or commodity value, all personhood is at risk and vulnerable to the manipulation and destructiveness of raw power struggles.
Grobstein might reply that he never meant his remarks to be an operational definition of substantial personhood. But if so, the implications of his article for the abortion debate are all vitiated, for his embryological evidence then has no bearing on when substantial personhood beginsˇonly on when his valid but limited embryological methods can begin to detect the presence of that personhood.
In any event, it is clear why so-called "quality of life" has replaced sanctity of life. There is nothing left, on the operational view, to be sacred. Everything comes and everything goes. Nothing is of eternal merit or worth. All human life is a constant flux with no objective permanence, moral binding power, or value. If that is the case, then indeed the best we can do is to make life as pleasant for ourselves as possible, and to form a social contract of hopefully noble values. But a social contract with no objective binding power will be quickly eliminated so that we can dispose of one another as we perceive that other person to be inconvenient to our own domain.
On the other hand, if something quite extraordinary happens at conception, if that is an event of new creation, new life coming into being which is of such paramount value that it must be defended by constitutional law, then we have quite a different situation. One is not here declaring acorns to be oak trees and selling them at oak tree prices. One is declaring that these particular acorns have an inestimable value already invested in them, partly indeed because of what they can become, but also because of what they already are.
The analogy of "oak tree prices" being paid for an acorn works for Grobstein only because of his assumption of a commodity value system. An acorn has value commercially only because of what is going to be in the future, namely a oak tree which can be sold for landscaping, lumber, or firewood. To make that comparison with a child is to assume the conclusion already, namely that there is no value of the two-celled being which is independent of the future conjunction of the clinically measurable "commodity values" to which Grobstein is referring. It may be Grobstein who sidesteps the difficult issue by redefining the terms of the discussion.
Pro-life people are generally coming to the very same scientific evidence out of a quite different framework from that of operational materialism. Since embryology itself logically cannot define 'personhood' in the sense that most people use the word, but only in an operational sense, the wider definition which Grobstein wants to apply to all of us has to come from some other source. Grobstein's definition of personhood did not come out of his embryology, but from the world view he brought to his embryology, namely some form of secular materialism, a feature of which is an operational definition of substantive reality.
And that is his prerogative, but then that world view must stand on its own feet against other competing world views to decide which gives us the truth of the matter. It is no one's prerogative to bring all the weight of a world view and its conclusions into a discussion as though one's technical expertise had established that world view as scientific fact. A great deal of expert testimony is being given with the "expertise" trying to carry a philosophical freight it has neither the right nor the ability to carry. If Grobstein had told us that his definition of individuality was a professional convenience limited to what embryologists can observe of individuality, not a definition of universal personhood, there would be no argument.
Most pro-life people are saying that something exists which is beyond those observable characteristics which are rightly studied by embryology, psychology, sociology, etc. That something, they are saying, is not simply the conjunction of those characteristics. The whole (or the self) is more than the simple sum of the observable parts. Rather, the self manifests itself into the world with those bodily behaviors and appearances which are studied by various scientific disciplines.
Pro-lifers want to say this for at least two reasons, the first and most common being the intuitive sense of rightness about it. A mother bonds to a baby, not to a convenient conjunction of attributes.
Secondly, the alternative given by behaviorist and operationalist definitions of reality leads to the final breakdown of both moral and philosophical meaning. And that is, after all, the final proof par excellence of the wrongness of a view. Grobstein-type definitions for the human self can therefore be helpful only as part of the jargon within a specific discipline. But when one generalizes from that to define not only one's limited sphere of study but the nature of reality itself, that very reality which one so defines is rendered meaningless.
If, for example, there is no conscious self independent of the observed list of characteristics, then one has to conclude that that bunch of characteristics has no more meaning than any other accidental and chance conglomeration. If a monkey were set to typing, and should, lo and behold, produce a manuscript which looked exactly like Shakespeare's Hamlet, one could say that that was an extraordinary bit of luck. It would not be a display of intelligence rivaling that of Shakespeare on the part of the monkey, but only an accident which looked like an intelligent display.
Likewise, if there is no meaningful self in Grobstein apart from the observable characteristics one might see in him (as he apparently believes), then his embryology might be mistaken for meaningful labor, but it is in fact merely a monumental accident which looks like meaningful labor. If we have only phenomena or appearance as reality, and if we are therefore limited to operational definitions, it is then impossible to make any clear distinction between total chance and meaningful intelligent behavior.
It is only the supposition that there is within each of us a reasonable, feeling, thinking, purposeful, self-aware "me" that gives weight to one's claim to be doing intelligent work. The worth of Grobstein's embryology therefore requires that sense of selfhood which he, by implication at least, denies to exist.
To give another example, in a test intended to measure intelligence, the operational definition of "high intelligence" would be only "the appearance of large numbers of correct answers on the test sheet" (or some other visible, countable item). The test would not be measuring a non-visible ability called intelligence, which is what most of us assume. The visible correct answers on the sheet would be the intelligence. But anyone who has cribbed on a test knows perfectly well the difference between correct answers and intelligence. A test is not intended to measure correct answers: it is intended to measure a physically imperceivable intelligence which is manifested (or not) by those perceivable correct (or incorrect) answers.
If a behaviorist working with this sort of philosophy really thinks that in an exam he is measuring correct answers rather than the unseen and unseeable ability called intelligence, then one suspects his definition of intelligence to be faulty, or worse, that he is only verifying his own contention concerning the normal definition of intelligence, namely that he lacks it.
The problem, therefore, with operational definitions of the self is that the person who makes such a definition thereby renders himself incapable of making intelligent definitions. He declares himself to be merely another accident looking like he is making definitions. And if that is the case, then, if there are any persons around who do happen to have real and therefore potentially intelligent selves, they cannot reasonably be required to pay very much attention to those who by their own admission do not.
And that in turn raises thoughts about the fact that Grobstein is Professor Emeritus of Biological Science and Public Policy. This sort of thought process is bad enough in embryology, but one certainly hopes that public policy emanates from persons with minds of substantial content and not merely passing phenomena. We excuse politicians, of course, but we expect better from our scholars.
... and Therefore Disposable
Furthermore, given Grobstein's definition of individuality, there is no logical reason why any person with defective individuality at any age whatsoever should not be subject to the same disposability as pre-born infants. If a person at 40 is in fact defective in his viability (e.g., cannot live outside of hospital careˇwhy limit ourselves to the womb?), if his developmental, functional, behavioral, psychic, or social individuality is impaired, as it is to some degree for everyone of us, then logically he is not yet (or is no longer) a full person, and therefore less than that which is protected by constitutional law.
Indeed, is anyone at all protected under such a scheme?
I might, for example, consider Grobstein a "social defective" for his disagreeing with my notions of human life. And to add insult to injury, he is disagreeing with me as a (self-defined) non-intelligent being in the first place. In that case, on his own terms he is logically a candidate for being disposed of. And besides, being over 70 years old, he is most likely past his social usefulness, and in any event, not a likely prospect for conversion to the true (my) view. Bang.
If this seems silly and far-fetched, that is because we live in America where disposability for convenience has not been legally practiced for over a hundred years on adult human beings. It might not seem far-fetched in the former Soviet Union, South Africa, Cambodia, or Germany. A view of human worth based on commodity value, as Grobstein's operationism must be, will lead to a replay of Nazi eugenicsˇas documented, for example, in the June 1992 issue of Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith.4
The operationalist philosophy at issue here, which is the basis of human disposability, falls apart at the seams in any direction one wants to push it. It is not a philosophy by which any human being can consistently live. We tend to assign it to others, but seldom follow out the logical implications for ourselves. It lends itself to manipulative persons who are pleasure and power oriented, which may help explain why the 20th century has veered and lurched so strongly that way. Self-centeredness has found a not-very-well-thought-out, but nonetheless vigorously articulated philosophy of "enlightened narcissism" to justify its pursuitsˇthe belief that we should each defend the other's right to his own circle of self-centeredness.
In 1980, about 27% of pregnancies nationwide ended in abortion, better than one quarter of all pregnancies.5 We have turned the mother's wombˇthe deepest archetypal symbol of warmth, safety, and nurturingˇinto the most lethal place in the world for a child to be. Your statistical chances of survival shoot up dramatically if you can survive the nine month gamut of your mother's potential rejection.
If the maternal bonding process means anything at all for our self-image and personal identity, then this image of the womb and motherhood cuts right at the heart of who we are. This must have disastrous effects on the secure personhood of the whole human race. We can no longer even have a comforting "back to the womb" neurosis. Who would risk it?
Grobstein and Heraclitus and Ancient Wisdom
Heraclitus was an ancient Greek philosopher most famous for his saying that "one can never step into the same river twice." Change is the basic reality of life, he believed. Life is like a kaleidoscope, with patterns changing from one shift to the next, and with no inherent connection between the different patterns. Life has no permanence so that from one instant to the next, the river that flows is changing its own identity. The Mississippi River, then, cannot be stepped into twice by the same person. Immediately after the first stepping, the first Mississippi would no longer be there. It would be another Mississippi the second time one stepped in.
Such an assertion makes sense if and only if one defines identity in terms of the observable characteristics. For Heraclitus, the river was defined in terms of its sensory characteristics at any given instant. Since at no two given instances would those characteristics be exactly identical, he concluded that there was never the same river in existence for more than an instant.
This is just an ancient version of Grobstein's way of defining people. The ultimate conclusion of operational definitions is that there is no continuing person at all. Not only can one never step into the same river twice, there is no continuing "me" to do the stepping. I cannot do anything twice. I am in the same predicament as the river if the definition of "me" is only operational. For, just as the empirical river is always changing, so am I always changing. I am empirically therefore never the same person for more than a single instant. It is a different "me" stepping into a different Mississippi.
Does a person change identity with artificial limbs? If my wife should have a heart transplant, a wig, a wooden leg, and false teeth, should I therefore consider her anyone else than my wife?
Or can this particular ball in my hand be defined by listing its characteristics (round, red, bouncy)? The particular ball might certainly manifest those characteristics, but there is also an objectivity, even to a ball or sock, that is more than simply the sum of those observables.
Obviously more so, a human being is not merely the sum of the observable and measurable characteristics with which an embryologist might legitimately busy himself. Unlike a ball, a human being is not merely "there" being observed like a lump. A human being also takes initiative. It observes back, perhaps thinks about the embryologist, chooses and acts independently of the observer. The difference between a continually mended sock and a developing baby is that the baby has a psyche, a soul, a substantial self which is not merely the conjunction of its observable parts.
For the sake of our social sanity, we need to avoid taking the very limited vision of any empirical scientist, embryologist or otherwise, as though that were a definition of the substance of the whole human race. The ancient wisdom, both Hellenic and Hebraic, upon which western culture has flourished so extraordinarily understood that distinction.
Heraclitus was not the most popular philosopher, then or now, because his philosophy is unlivable. Grobstein and Heraclitus can offer such philosophies only because they tacitly exempt themselves from the implications of their philosophy, and consider themselves as enduring, rational, thinking, feeling, willing beings, not merely momentary accidental conjunctions of passing phenomena.
Modern technology may inform and clarify that ancient wisdom which understood the meaning of selfhood, but it does not have the logical capacity to replace it, for science and technology themselves always presuppose a deeper wisdom. Empirical science as such is incapable of defining the meaning or substance of life. And so when empirical science tries to run the universe through operational redefinition, it creates the very chaos which it was supposed to help overcome.
In order to ignore the self, one has to define it out of existence. It is impossible to hold consistently to the legitimate disposability of persons apart from something like the operational definitions of individuality and personhood given by Grobstein. And that is true even without appeal to traditional religion. It just happens that the primary tap roots of western wisdom, the Hellenic and the Judeo-Christian traditions, were aware of that long before the science of embryology, which is a Johnny-come-lately on the scene of human knowledge.6
Life is more than a mere concatenation of various phenomena. Any life reduced to a kaleidoscope of phenomena is reduced also to utter meaninglessness. Putting empirical scientists to work studying and categorizing a meaningless display of passing phenomena does nothing at all to make the phenomena more meaningful. Studying chaos does not make it less chaotic, especially when the study is done by persons who, by their own definition, have no hope of being intelligent and meaningful creatures.
For thus says the Lord,
who created the heavens
(He is God),
who formed the earth and made it
(He established it);
he did not create it chaos,
(He formed it to be inhabited!):
"I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I did not speak in secret,
in a land of darkness;
I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,
'Seek me in chaos.'
I the Lord speak the truth,
declare what is right."
If the world around us is not objectively meaningful in the first place, studying it will not improve the situation. Studying a world lacking in objective meaning will only drive us to turn inward to make up our own inner and private universe. We see this happening around us in the resurgence of escapist religions and self-help cults, an inward turn of events which quickly and inevitably leads to the social insanity suggested above. David Hume, when his philosophical wanderings into meaninglessness depressed him too greatly, would go play Backgammon.
There are those on both sides of the selfhood debate, no doubt, who are more wedded to their opinions than to the truth, whatever that may be. Much of the abortion debate has been carried on in a vacuum of knowledge, most especially about the issues of the nature of selfhood. And yet the nature of selfhood is the issue for the discipline of psychology. As a society, our answer to that question will tell us both what it is we are observing under the headings of psychology (or embryology) and give us the underlying pattern for wholeness toward which to aim in therapy and healing. But those are issues of which neither psychology nor embryology can tell usˇwithout appeal beyond their own borders to philosophy. And philosophy itself must ultimately appeal to theology.
The founding fathers of our country and the documents they wrote which constitute the philosophical, political, and moral basis of our national identity, testify to the sanctity of human life, not to its happenstance character or to its mere technological convenience. The foundations of western civilization rest on the distinction between who I am substantially in and of myself and what I do or manifest outwardly and which therefore can be empirically studied. That is a distinction effectively denied by Grobstein's operational and behaviorist philosophy, but it is nevertheless fundamental to any reasonable and liveable view of human life.
1 "When Does Life Begin?" by Elizabeth Hall, Psychology Today, September 1989, p. 42 ff. A conversation with Clifford Grobstein, 73, Professor Emeritus of Biological Science and Public Policy at the University of California, San Diego.
This article was submitted to Psychology Today in response to Grobstein's article, but was not accepted for publication.
2 See Physics And Philosophy, Harper and Brothers, 1958, for a fairly readable explanation of Heisenberg's view of electrons and his "operational ontology."
3 "Life Begins at Conception," by Paul Byrne, M.D., All About Issues, April 1990, p. 28 ff.
4 "Eugenics and the Development of Nazi Race Policy," by Jerry Bergman, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, June 1992, p. 109 ff.
5 National Center for Health Statistics, Washington, D.C.
6 Pro-lifers need to acquaint themselves with this operational and behaviorist philosophy of secular humanism as exemplified by Grobstein in order to counter it intelligently.