When is a Brick a House

Dr. Henry Morgantaler, well-known spokesman for the pro-abortion movement, in a video-taped debate with Dr. William Craig, uses a simple analogy. He says that "Surely no one would say that one brick, or even one or two hundred bricks, is a house! We know that a house needs much more than a few bricks. It needs internal (functional) organization, plumbing, electricity and many other items to be a house." I agree! He, of course, was using this example to illustrate how ridiculous he thinks it is to call a fertilized human egg (zygote) or even the later blastocyst, embryo or fetus stages of human development, a human being. Here I DISAGREE!

Please follow as I turn Dr. Morgantaler's analogy into an enlightening allegory.

Suppose that we want to end up with a house. Let us start with one brick. However, this is not just your common, ordinary clay brick. It cannot be just one random brick among the many bricks and other materials which intelligent, skilled, energetic workmen shape together according to the blueprints to produce a house. Rather, this brick is a very special little brick. This little brick is very fragile and we don't want it to get stepped on or bumped, or to suffer much temperature change so we need to protect it in a special, climate-controlled dome. Now this little brick is also a very "smart" little fellow. In fact, it is so smart that it can divide itself into two bricks almost identical with itself. These two bricks in turn divide into four bricks. After several such divisions our little group of bricks now "plug" themselves into an "electrical outlet" (energy source) we have provided in our protective "dome". Since our little bricks now have an outside energy source, they can continue to multiply by dividing themselves repeatedly. For a while they just look like a little pile of bricks and they still must have special protection but they continue to increase in number. Soon something very amazing starts to take place. As the bricks multiply, some of them change from "clay" bricks into wood, copper, plastic, steel, glass, and other types of "bricks". Furthermore, all these special bricks fit themselves into their proper places according to the "blueprint" contained in that initial brick and passed along to the succeeding bricks.

Finally, after about nine months, we have almost a complete house, although it is still somewhat smaller than a "mature" house. It is now ready to move out of its protective "dome", but it still needs regular shots of energy, and some finishing touches and protection as it continues to "develop" into a full-grown house. Even more amazing is the fact that our maturing house is totally unique. It is also very special and smart. In fact, it will even be able someday to get together with another house down the street and produce a new brick (similar to the initial brick) which can, in turn, develop into another house having some of the characteristics of both former houses but always being different in several ways.

Now I ask you, at what point does our little brick become "a house"? Is it a house from the start? Is it a house when it has multiplied to 100 or 500 bricks or when some of the clay bricks have turned into wood, steel, and glass "bricks"? Some might argue that it becomes a house when it leaves its protective "dome". But remember, it still will not survive after that point without further protection and energy being provided to it! Perhaps it becomes a house when it is big enough to talk to other houses or when it becomes mature enough to get together with that other cute house to produce the next generation brick? Finally, does it cease being a "house" when it is too old to produce new bricks or when it decays and becomes uncomfortable to live?

I submit to you that we are justified in calling our special little brick "a house" from the start since nothing is added to it from start to finish except energy, protection, and some finishing touches. Further, these finishing touches (love, education, etc.) do not normally affect the "blueprint" for the next generation house unless the house is severely damaged by environmental factors.

Surely destroying our initial little brick or the multiplying group of bricks anywhere along the way is equivalent to destroying the mature house (except that it is not quite as obvious that we are doing so at these early stages). Remember that no outside materials or intelligent directions have been added to the brick from the beginning. Only protection and a suitable energy source are supplied along the way.

Dr. Morgantaler's simple analogy may at first glance sound reasonable and logical but just a little thought reveals what a poor and illogical analogy it really is. Let us not be deceived. Let us recognize the humanity of human life from conception to natural death. Let us recognize the great worth of every human life, not only to the human race, but also to our great Creator God who programmed all this and so much more into His marvelous creation. 

Garry A. Miller, B.E., M.Sc., M.R.E.

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