Author Topic: The soul and identical twins?  (Read 1900 times)

Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: The soul and identical twins?
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2017, 10:57:24 AM »
QMR, can you expand on "the embryo is not a human prior to ensoulment," please?  It seems like this could be a problematic statement (if true) for Catholics in opposing embryonic stem cell research, which, I believe, uses embryos/blastocysts only up to 4-5 days old.  But maybe I'm just misunderstanding what you're saying here?

Also, what do you mean by the conjoined bodies being an aggregate in the above post?

I don't see why it would be problematic regarding embryonic stem cell research anymore than it would be problematic regarding abortion - medieval thinkers held ensoulment to occur at 40 or 80 days post-conception and yet they still condemned abortion.  Sure, we don't know the exact moment of ensoulment, but that wouldn't make these things licit, for we are still interfering with the normal generative process, and in addition we are acting with recklessness due to our lack of knowledge.

An aggregate is the combination of two or more things which doesn't have a substantial form of its own.  For instance, a pile of rocks is an aggregate.
 

Offline Lydia Purpuraria

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Re: The soul and identical twins?
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2017, 11:11:07 AM »
QMR, can you expand on "the embryo is not a human prior to ensoulment," please?  It seems like this could be a problematic statement (if true) for Catholics in opposing embryonic stem cell research, which, I believe, uses embryos/blastocysts only up to 4-5 days old.  But maybe I'm just misunderstanding what you're saying here?

Also, what do you mean by the conjoined bodies being an aggregate in the above post?

I don't see why it would be problematic regarding embryonic stem cell research anymore than it would be problematic regarding abortion - medieval thinkers held ensoulment to occur at 40 or 80 days post-conception and yet they still condemned abortion.  Sure, we don't know the exact moment of ensoulment, but that wouldn't make these things licit, for we are still interfering with the normal generative process, and in addition we are acting with recklessness due to our lack of knowledge.

Thank you, QMR.  I'm thinking of it being problematic in terms of trying to convince others that it's wrong or shouldn't be done, if it's ceded that it's not even a human at the time they are doing their research.  (And the same would go for early abortions.) 

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An aggregate is the combination of two or more things which doesn't have a substantial form of its own.  For instance, a pile of rocks is an aggregate.

I'm still trying to get this in my mind, so bear with me.  But wouldn't conjoined twins be something different than an aggregate, since they at one point were one substantial form that for whatever reason was halted/disrupted in the process of splitting and becoming two substantial forms?  Or what am I misunderstanding here?

Thanks again.
 

Offline CilantroTamales

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Re: The soul and identical twins?
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2017, 07:48:24 PM »
My belief is that identical twins each has a soul - even as far back as conception.  A single-cell human is made up of 1000s of molecules, maybe millions of atoms, that are eventually going to split.  Why can't they already hold the souls?  I.e. the first thousand molecules have soul "A" and the other 1000 have soul "B".  In other words two souls are not "sharing" one body, they each have their own distinct physical characteristics.  Basically take the budding "video" and run it backwards (all the way to conception), you could technically be able to trace each back to their own molecules, atoms, etc.

Full disclosure: I have absolutely NO expertise in this matter.  My twins are fraternal.  My brother's twins appear to be identical but we've never discussed this concept before.  Obviously, if the Church teaches something different than what I've said, then I disavow the above.  :)
 

Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: The soul and identical twins?
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2018, 08:29:46 AM »
Nor is it reasonable to think that, at the moment of twinning, God creates an additional soul which then constitutes the form of one of the separated embryos, because while it is not contrary to His omnipotence to do this, it would falsify Catholic dogma.  This human does not have a mother and father, and is therefore not a descendant of Adam.  He did not arise via natural generation but via another process.

That last claim makes no sense: the conclusion would follow anyway, regardless of when the body were ensouled. The spiritual soul is not a product of natural generation but of a divine act, and the corporeal twinning is anyhow a result of "another process" and not the immediate result of the fertilisation of an egg. Further, "arise" here is not defined and it's not clear which definitons would or would not allow the product to be a descendant of Adam, the latter again being undefined.

In any case, this claim of yours is contradicted by scripture: "And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham for our father. For I tell you that God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham." (Matthew 3:9) God is able to turn stones into descendants of Adam, and that's certainly not by "natural generation"!

On the other hand, if you admit of conjoined twins that

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It isn't possible for the same individuated matter to have two essential forms.  So each of the conjoined twins has his own separate body and those two bodies are conjoined.  But the conjoined bodies is an aggregate and not a substantial form of its own.

then there is no reason that the embryo before twinning could not be an aggregate of two conjoined bodies: why can there not be two corporeal substances seemingly sharing the same material accidents and a volume of space as a kind of mixture? Indeed, you admit that despite sharing single organs and limbs there are nevertheless are two distinct bodies here, though you never define where one body begins and another ends or even wherein their distinctness and individuality consists. For example, if conjoined twins both have control over a particular limb, to which body does it belong? If it belongs to both, then why not the "whole body" in the same sense? If to one only, what does that even mean?

What about this case where they can see through "each other's" eyes and feel one another's pain?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1331769/Doctors-stunned-conjoined-twins-share-brain-thoughts.html