Feti have memories? Not quite.

Last week there was a story in the Moonie Times, about some research that had shown a fetus at 30 weeks gestation has “memory”.  I already knew, as most half-assed intelligent people do, that when this kind of research refers to “memory”, it’s not talking about memory as you or I know it, but adaptation and response to stimuli. But the story was instantly seized upon by fetus fetishists and their mouthpieces as proof that feti are exactly the same as you and I.  Joe Fetus can remember things, like how dark it was in there and the taste of Mommy’s placenta — well, nutrition is blood-to-blood, so that’s something he’d have to imagine, but why not?  If they have memories, they probably have imaginations too, and pretty damn good ones, I bet!   Just like fetus fetishists!  

Then along comes a party-pooping scientist (and probably a goddamn atheist, and maybe French) to rain on the parade:

A new Dutch study that examined how 95 fetuses responded to in-utero vibrations has concluded that “the unborn may have memories by the 30th week of pregnancy” — or at least that’s how the story is being widely reported.  [..]

First, people should understand that the researchers are using the term “memory” very differently than most people do. When we think of memories, it may conjure up images of a first kiss, a concert we saw last weekend, or that trip to Lake Tahoe. That’s not what the study looked at; instead it examined habituated responses to vibrations. This is a phenomenon that has been long known to exist in fetuses (and even in individual, non-conscious cells). The response found in the study is interesting. But calling it “memory” is a gross exaggeration, an inaccurate journalistic shorthand that makes intriguing headlines but bears no resemblance to anything most people know as memory.

Oh. Well, that changes things up a bit.  It might explain the lack of comment from NARAL that Mark Hemingway snarked about after quoting the Times article at NRO

naralnro

That would probably be because NARAL already knew the same thing I knew, that the story “were” dishonestly spun for the kind of intriguing headlines that fit the Moonie Times’ agenda, and “were” not worth commenting on.  Also.

 

22 Responses to “Feti have memories? Not quite.”


  1. 1 deBeauxOs Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 4:11 am

    Pathetic grasping at straws.

    Next for the fundamentalist religious rightwing nutters: The earth is flat!!! The astronauts can’t see any corners from space.

  2. 2 hemmingforddogblog Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 4:12 am

    I think Feti have a memory like my laptop (or phone) battery has a memory. Although I am sure SUZY ALL CAPS would disagree. 🙂 Or CeeCee will come by a reminisce about her days in the womb…why she remembers 6 month gestation like it was yesterday!

  3. 3 mouthyorange Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 5:17 am

    Even if feti were to have some memory or consciousness of a kind that we, the post-born, could relate to, that isn’t the point. The point is that every individual woman is in the unique position of knowing whether she wants to let a pregnancy progress in her particular circumstances, and no one else has that authority or the right to impose their interpretation or wishes upon it. I wish that the struggle for women to maintain control over their own bodies, particularly when they are pregnant, would not be fought over the nature of the fetus — which none of us can know with any certainty.

  4. 4 J. A. Baker Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 5:54 am

    So, I sent Mark Hemingway the following e-mail:

    Mark,

    Perhaps NARAL has no comment because the phenomenon in question is NOT “memory” as you and I understand it, and that using the word “memory” is the dishonest spin that the Moonie Times put on the story to push an agenda?

    J. A. Baker

    What do you think the odds are that he’ll respond honestly, if at all?

  5. 5 JJ Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 11:23 am

    JAB – Let’s put it this way:
    “An email to M.Hemingway for comment on the implications of the outrageous spinning of research WERE not returned.”

  6. 6 JJ Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 11:26 am

    orange – Well said. It’s sort of a silly thing to spin anyway, given that almost no abortions even happen after 30 weeks, and the ones that do are only for dire reasons.

  7. 7 JJ Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 11:30 am

    SQ

    Or CeeCee will come by a reminisce about her days in the womb

    Ceecee, poor thing, is clearly a mental defective. I love her rants about how “it won’t be pretty” when atheists die and get JUDGED by the LORD.

  8. 8 JJ Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 11:32 am

    dBO – Actually, I was a little surprised to see them grab this story when it’s obviously not “memory” as in the kind of memory we have. But then again, the media isn’t helping by reporting it the way they are — even when they elaborate about what the research is actually about, they don’t make it clear enough that it isn’t “memory” per se.

  9. 9 Bruce Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Let’s see if NARAL tries to “forget” the whole thing.

  10. 10 deBeauxOs Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    But consider the logical implications of the fetus fetishists have imagined. If the zygote zealots think that it’s the same kind of memory, and if they force women to carry their pregnancies to term against their will, then what the pre-born are going to “remember” are sensations of anxiety, fear, rage & hate.

    Oh. Wait. That will make them perfectly malleable and pre-disposed recruits for their fundamentalist rightwing religions.

  11. 11 mouthyorange Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    dBO — “then what the pre-born are going to “remember” are sensations of anxiety, fear, rage & hate.”

    Right on. This is why I keep thinking that the zygote zealots are trying to legislate their mothers into loving them. That this is why they’re so obsessed with trying to stop women from having abortions. It’s like so many psychological behaviours that people keep doing if they haven’t come to terms with the deep unconscious (or subconscious?) pain that they’re trying to alleviate by acting out the behaviour. Instead of fixing their problem they end up re-creating the same kind of circumstance that hurt them in the first place. Over and over again. A woman who doesn’t really want her child but carries it to term transmits what, to that child? And how does that affect the child throughout his or her life? But the child isn’t aware of the feelings that they are obsessed with trying to alleviate because the transmission of unwantedness took place while they were in the womb and their memories weren’t, well, memories as we know them.

    Only full access to safe abortion — and effective contraception — will stop the phenomenon and the suffering of unwanted children and the distorted behaviour that unwantedness may produce in them when they are adults.

  12. 12 JJ Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    dBO – Wouldn’t they just love that, if they could train feti in utero so that they’re born full of rage and indignance. It would save the time and energy they spend training them to be that way.

  13. 13 JJ Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    orange – Interesting hypothesis. The fetishists have the idea that once a woman is forced to carry a pregnancy to term, she can’t help but adore the resulting baby, but that’s not always the case. Some do, but just as many end up resenting the kid, and kids can grok this stuff. They’re very perceptive.

  14. 14 mouthyorange Thursday, July 23, 2009 at 2:25 am

    Love can’t be forced. If a woman doesn’t really want to have a baby, those feelngs probably won’t really go away, even in those cases where she subsequently develops an attachment to the baby. Deep down she’ll be even more disturbed, angry, and resentful because of what she was forced to go through. It’ll get even more twisted because any woman with a heart, if she also loves the child, will also feel guilty because she didn’t want to have it. How to cope in this intolerable trap? Denial! People who go into denial often play the other side really well. “Look what a devoted, loving mother I am!” Hey — if they didn’t have something to hide, they wouldn’t have to display that self-righteous motherhood all over the place like I’ve seen so many condescending “Christian” women do! But the child will feel the hidden truth and what do they likely grow up to do? Deny and continue the bullshit!

    So I’m talking about stuff that goes on way beneath the surface.

    A woman in slavery cannot be happy — even if part of her really loves her kid — and if other parties have used that kid to enslave her by forcing pregnancy and birth, she’s going to hate that kid even if she loves it.

    Come to think of it, forcing a woman to have a baby she does not want to have is an effective and insidious way of deepening of the bonds of slavery because it holds the woman in physical bondage until the unfolding of biological events causes her to becomes emotionally enslaved as well.

    This is a profoundly sick cycle, and it’s got to stop.

  15. 15 mouthyorange Thursday, July 23, 2009 at 2:32 am

    Edit to above: I should say she’ll also feel guilty not only because she didn’t want to have it but because of what she has lost by having it.

  16. 16 deBeauxOs Thursday, July 23, 2009 at 8:08 am

    Which leads a situation where the product of the forced pregnancy had better live up to its ambivalent mother’s unrealistic expectations – OR ELSE!!!

    So, anxious & resentful woman forced into motherhood + infant expected to compensate = dysfunctional family unit.

  17. 17 JJ Thursday, July 23, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Bruce

    Let’s see if NARAL tries to “forget” the whole thing.

    LOL, NARAL probably didn’t even acknowledge it to start with, it’s so silly.

  18. 18 JJ Thursday, July 23, 2009 at 8:42 am

    orange – That all makes sense. Unfortunately the Fetus Lobby’s response is somewhat delusional — a mother HAS to love her child. She just HAS to. End of story.

    That’s how unimportant women really are to them, other than as receptacles and ambulatory incubators.

  19. 19 JJ Thursday, July 23, 2009 at 8:45 am

    dBO

    Which leads a situation where the product of the forced pregnancy had better live up to its ambivalent mother’s unrealistic expectations – OR ELSE!!!

    Good point — forcing a woman to bear a child she doesn’t want has a dysfunctional effect that probably dominoes through future generations.

  20. 20 mouthyorange Thursday, July 23, 2009 at 9:09 am

    dBO — “anxious & resentful woman forced into motherhood + infant expected to compensate = dysfunctional family unit.”

    I’d say — right on, again.

  21. 21 mouthyorange Thursday, July 23, 2009 at 9:20 am

    JJ — Yeah, real women are not seen by the patriarchy that would control and exploit them, and by the unloved and unwanted grown-up children who desperately need them to be a certain way.

    And emotionally healthy people would not choose religious fundamentalism.

  22. 22 JJ Thursday, July 23, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Fundamentalism is a crutch — it’s for people who can’t/won’t/don’t want to think for themselves, and need some higher authority to give them a set of rules to live by. Most of us can decide what’s right and wrong without any help.


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