Biological science affirms that every fertilized human egg is a human (it has its own gender, unique DNA, and is no other species but Homo sapiens). The question is not whether a zygote (or embryo or fetus) is human. It is.Egnor asserts that humanity is a discrete, not a continuous variable. If so, then would he kindly point to the exact point at which the human begins? After all, fertilization itself is a multi-step process. So, where is it? When the sperm breaches the oocyte membrane? Formation of the pro-nuclei? Initial DNA replication? Degeneration of the pro-nuclei membrane? Formation of the mitotic spindle? Fusion of the chromosomes? Division of the chromosomes and formation of the first daughter cells? This really should be an easy answer for Egnor. Since biological science affirms that there is a discrete distinction between human and gametes, pointing to that magic point should be trivial.
Of course it isn't, which is why it is correct to say that Egnor declares a zygote a human, with human rights, by fiat. But if that's the case, shouldn't zygotes have the right to vote, drink, own property, etc.? He gets around the implications that we recognize different rights by age by claiming that while humanity is a discrete variable, human rights are not. Well, except for one.
I assert that all human beings have at least one right of personhood -- the right to life.Using his regental powers, Egnor again claims something by fiat. At least in this case, he isn't claiming that biological science affirms he is right. Of course this raises some interesting questions too. Why isn't Egnor equally outraged about the growth of in vitro fertilization, which necessitates the production of far more fertilized eggs than are necessary, resulting in the destruction of many human lives? Or the fact that about half of all pregnancies end in spontaneous abortion? Or the dying who are prevented from exerting their right to life by seeking assitance in ending it? Or the use of the death penalty? Or war? Really, holding true to this belief means that you don't even have a right to lethal self-defense, since an attacking individual's right to life trumps your own right to not be hurt, or robbed, or intimidated. Or if you are a pregnant woman who is diagnosed with cancer and must go through with chemotherapy to live, it is not allowed because that would necessitate an abortion.
That's what it is really about in Egnor's mind. It's not just that zygotes have a right to life; they have more of a right to life than any one else.