What is a human being? Throughout your university education you will have to answer this question in various courses. While it may seem like a purely biological question, there are many other areas of study that address the notion of what a human being is. For example, sociology looks at the study of what constitutes a “human being” from the standpoint of abortion. When does a fetus become a “human being”? Or how about the psychological question of what is the difference between an animal and a human being? How does a dog’s brain differ from a human brain?
The study of what a human being is is generally looked at from the following perspectives:
Human Being and Genetics
The question of what constitutes a human being is far more complex then anyone thought 300 years ago. Before the age of enlightenment, the question was pretty straightforward. However, science has taught us that the definition of a human being has ramifications that trickle down throughout culture and society.
One can look at the concept of a human being from the standpoint of genetics also. For many centuries, scholars have attempted to unravel the mysteries of life through many ways. Philosophers have theorized the origin of human existence and the place of humans within the context of the universe. Psychologists and sociologists have examined life from the perspective on the individual and the group. Writers have explored the creation of life through creative means, such as Shelley did in her Frankenstein. Biologists, however, have attempted to search for clues scientifically. This process has involved the methodological procedure of “taking one step at a time” approach, and in doing so, they have built a wealth of knowledge regarding the human life. Although biologists have enabled us to understanding the physiological activities associated with life, until recently, the “blueprint” of life has remained elusive. Advancements in technology, such as computers, have enabled scientists to begin the creation of the basic diagramming of the specifics with regard to human life. The Human Genome Project is a public endeavor to record the sequence of material that prescribes our DNA in the human cell and clearly define what a human being is according to genetics.