Science and Belief

baby-605588_1920At what point in human development can we recognise the presence of another person like us?  It’s an age-old question which cannot be avoided, and I’ve been interested in the recent discussion about this on this blog.  Each one of us comes to this question from a different perspective, so I would like to offer some reflections from the perspective of a baby doctor. As a neonatologist I have cared for many tiny and fragile babies, some as small as 22 weeks of gestation and weighing less than 500g.

What is immediately apparent is that, even at extreme degrees of prematurity, babies are conscious and responsive to stimuli. In particular it is the face that seems to be the focus of their receptivity. The baby responds to touch on the face, will suck on a finger tip, responds to sounds and to light and the facial expression changes in response…

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