Saturday, September 23, 2006

If ensoulment happens at conception, what about identical twins?

I’ve written elsewhere on how the human conception and development process is so fragile that (not counting abortions), only about 50 percent of conceived embryos wind up developing into human babies, and how this ought to cast doubt on the metaphysical validity of the “conception at ensoulment” idea, officially held by the Roman Catholic Church, among others, that a human soul is created at the moment of fertilization of a female egg cell by a male sperm cell.

So, what about identical twins? There’s only one conception.

Do they share a soul? Is that why some people believe twins have (quasi)-telepathic communication with each other?

Or did the “original” soul split when the embryo did? If so, can each “half-soul” develop into a full soul, or do souls need to undergo only mitotic division? But, if a “half-soul” can become a full soul, what’s the smallest bit of soul division that can become a full soul?

What about conjoined (“Siamese”) twins? Does that original soul fully divide, or is it only a partial, incomplete division, like that of the embryo?

What if one conjoined twin is good and one is bad? If the soul doesn’t fully split, can a god send half to heaven and half to hell?

Those of you who regularly read my blogs know I’m a materialist, so I personally don’t think there’s anything to worry about. But maybe Pope Benedict needs to worry about this in between antagonizing Muslims (and don’t tell me he was clueless about what he was reading and what provocation it might seem to be).

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