Page 2 of 3 [ 36 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next

Janissy
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 5 May 2009
Age: 52
Gender: Female
Posts: 6,508
Location: x

16 Jun 2010, 8:20 am

I would define it as having Homo sapien DNA. Why? Because these other ambiguous definitions have the potential to leave certain people defined as non-human. There is a professor of ethics at Princeton University, Dr. Singer, who is very strong and powerful in the animal rights movement. Part of his argument for animal rights is that a lot of animals are smarter than humans with severe mental retardation. He would like to see people with an IQ <20 re-classified as not being humans and used in experiments in lieu of animals. While I am in favor of animal rights, I am horrified by his desire to re-classify severly mentally retarded people as not human. This right here is the very real danger of using anything but a species-wide definition. He has failed in his quest to literally dehumanize severely mentally retarded people, but he does teach ethics at Princeton (ack!!). This means that every semester, his poisonous idea reaches the minds of students who potentially will be in a position to make such legal changes someday.

Some ideas really are dangerous. And I think the idea of using anything except species membership to define "person" is just such an idea.



you_are_what_you_is
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 26 Mar 2010
Age: 27
Gender: Male
Posts: 755
Location: Cornwall, UK

16 Jun 2010, 8:27 am

Janissy wrote:
He would like to see people with an IQ <20 re-classified as not being humans

No he wouldn't. He might have argued that they shouldn't be classified as persons, but I doubt he's ever argued that they're not human.

Quote:
and used in experiments in lieu of animals

As far as I'm aware, Singer's position is: if experiments on non-human animals are justifiable, then so are experiments on severely retarded humans and infant humans.

Quote:
Some ideas really are dangerous. And I think the idea of using anything except species membership to define "person" is just such an idea.

The amount of suffering caused by our decision to draw a line around humans and see ourselves as morally special is absolutely unimaginable. The current consensus is hardly a good alternative to Singer's suggestions.

.


_________________
"There is no idea, however ancient and absurd, that is not capable of improving our knowledge."


Awesomelyglorious
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Dec 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 14,316
Location: Omnipresent

16 Jun 2010, 11:00 am

you_are_what_you_is wrote:
I don't think there are any clear answers. It's the paradox of the heap: if you take away one grain of sand at a time, at what point does it stop being a heap? There isn't a clear-cut answer to this, but 'heap' remains a useful concept to have. The same is true of personhood.

.

This I can agree with somewhat. Particularly if useful just means useful.



sartresue
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 Dec 2007
Age: 64
Gender: Female
Posts: 6,766
Location: The Castle of Shock and Awe-tism

16 Jun 2010, 11:20 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
sartresue wrote:
Artsy-craftsy topic

For potential, I mean imagining something far above the surface of the earth, perhaps a bird, in prehistoric times, turning it into a story (or art) or an invention, or imagining air travel. Not sure if Neanderthals did, but the cave dwellers depicted their imagined hunts on cave walls. Foresight might be a better word. If neanderthals did cave art the evidence is lacking. By "us" I am referring to those who cannot design and build these slippers of the surly bonds. even if it could be imagined. Who has not pretended to fly as a child, to imagine being a bird, throughout history. And then there is Einstein, who imagined riding on a beam of light.

Well, I just mean that I am skeptical of a species really having an essence.

I have difficulties assessing your measure. Would you call it imagination? What would a human without this trait be like? Would it be ok to slaughter them and eat them?


Persons and humans topic

I think I understand where you are going with this now, since others have commented. Humans can be proven to be via DNA, but at what point is a human a person, I suppose in the sense of being aware, having an imagination, etc, or at least an ordinary intelligence to be averagely functioning in the world.

I would imagine that less than 150 years ago severely challenged infants born would be left to die (obviously we did not have the technology to assist in maintaining infants with severe neurological/physical challenges in the 1800s to more recently) and the doctor would quietly agree with this and there would be no repercussions and as no intervention was possible.

Women were not considered voting persons in the West until governments granted them this right. So personhood here is a political thing.

Nazis had a list of human life not worthy of life and this list was exclusively human. We know that they eliminated special needs persons and made videos of them to demonstrate just how unworthy of life they were. In China female infanticide was practiced, as the culture had this one child per family rule and many families of couse preferred boys. (Abortion is a another topic. In this post I am referring to infants born alive and breathing after the cord is cut. If they are gasping then intervention at this point is humanely warranted.)

I believe that all humans are persons, no matter what ability, and all have essences, no matter if they can show/prove this (via communication, art, craft, whatever). Being a belief I suppose it is not a falsifiable premise and is not a theory (as is evolution) but is a moral and ethical premise.

I hope this helps. 8)


_________________
Radiant Aspergian
Awe-Tistic Whirlwind

Phuture Phounder of the Philosophy Phactory

NOT a believer of Mystic Woo-Woo


Awesomelyglorious
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Dec 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 14,316
Location: Omnipresent

16 Jun 2010, 1:24 pm

sartresue wrote:
I believe that all humans are persons, no matter what ability, and all have essences, no matter if they can show/prove this (via communication, art, craft, whatever). Being a belief I suppose it is not a falsifiable premise and is not a theory (as is evolution) but is a moral and ethical premise.

I hope this helps. 8)

I suppose then the question becomes "what is a human?". If I show you a living liver, with its own unique DNA, I doubt you would consider it to be human. If I showed you a decapitated body though, and one that was still functioning, would that be human? If I showed you a vegetable, with a non-working brain, would that be human? A coma patient that would never recover then? Is there a solid line? If so, then where? If not, then how do we see into the essence?

Even further, how human must the DNA be to consider a being a person? I mean, species are conventional categories, rather than strict lines, so if I genetically engineered a being, what line would it cross to stop being human under your system?

This isn't to say that you are wrong, but there are a lot of issues.



sartresue
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 Dec 2007
Age: 64
Gender: Female
Posts: 6,766
Location: The Castle of Shock and Awe-tism

16 Jun 2010, 2:45 pm

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
sartresue wrote:
I believe that all humans are persons, no matter what ability, and all have essences, no matter if they can show/prove this (via communication, art, craft, whatever). Being a belief I suppose it is not a falsifiable premise and is not a theory (as is evolution) but is a moral and ethical premise.

I hope this helps. 8)

I suppose then the question becomes "what is a human?". If I show you a living liver, with its own unique DNA, I doubt you would consider it to be human. If I showed you a decapitated body though, and one that was still functioning, would that be human? If I showed you a vegetable, with a non-working brain, would that be human? A coma patient that would never recover then? Is there a solid line? If so, then where? If not, then how do we see into the essence?

Even further, how human must the DNA be to consider a being a person? I mean, species are conventional categories, rather than strict lines, so if I genetically engineered a being, what line would it cross to stop being human under your system?

This isn't to say that you are wrong, but there are a lot of issues.

Drawing the human line topic

I suppose my premise is more of a moral/ethical premise, as I mentioned. Is this human liver for transplant? Or is it jus tbeing studiedd on an autopsy table? Swine parts are still used for diabestes treatment, or at least they were. To me the human is the living and breathing body, even if comatose, if there is some vestige of hope that it might be revived (not cryogenics, at least, not yet).

The decapitated body is brain dead because there is no viable ECG, as there is no brain. A heart can still beat, but apart from perhaps keeping the body for donar transplant in a humane way (at the wishes of the deceased and family), or even being kept viable for transplant in a cooler, the decapitated body is no longer human. But this does not mean to treat the body disrespectfully, because the body was once a human being and a person.

All humans created by the union of sperm and egg and born from a womb have human DNA, should they be tested. The frozen potential human embryos are not persons, and in my book, do not count, but if I had a store of them and they were destroyed I would be pissed and may have a legal case.

There are lots of issues, but I am trying to be as consistent as possible in what I consider human and personable. A genetically engineered body or a borg (a future? scenario) would need to be legally dealt with fairly, it is hoped.


_________________
Radiant Aspergian
Awe-Tistic Whirlwind

Phuture Phounder of the Philosophy Phactory

NOT a believer of Mystic Woo-Woo


Asmodeus
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 24 Feb 2009
Age: 31
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,520

17 Jul 2010, 2:03 am

Sentient, intelligent (not high-intelligent, simply having basic cognitive function) lifeforms. This includes turing-level bots.
However in real life this isn't an absolute, and non-intelligent, and even non-sentient humans will be maintained as people.

I liken this to the manner that animal rights activists care a lot more about monkey and puppy testing than snakes or reptiles. If these issues come up, you can only be sure that philosophy will not dictate what happens. It will be how the masses feel.

District 9 is worth a look.



Last edited by Asmodeus on 17 Jul 2010, 2:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

Asmodeus
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 24 Feb 2009
Age: 31
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,520

17 Jul 2010, 2:07 am

Janissy wrote:
I would define it as having Homo sapien DNA. Why? Because these other ambiguous definitions have the potential to leave certain people defined as non-human. There is a professor of ethics at Princeton University, Dr. Singer, who is very strong and powerful in the animal rights movement. Part of his argument for animal rights is that a lot of animals are smarter than humans with severe mental retardation. He would like to see people with an IQ <20 re-classified as not being humans and used in experiments in lieu of animals. While I am in favor of animal rights, I am horrified by his desire to re-classify severly mentally retarded people as not human. This right here is the very real danger of using anything but a species-wide definition. He has failed in his quest to literally dehumanize severely mentally retarded people, but he does teach ethics at Princeton (ack!!). This means that every semester, his poisonous idea reaches the minds of students who potentially will be in a position to make such legal changes someday.

Some ideas really are dangerous. And I think the idea of using anything except species membership to define "person" is just such an idea.

If we had genetically engineered a dog to have as complex a brain as a human, and it could think and talk like you or me, would it still be fine to use it for testing?



ruveyn
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Sep 2008
Age: 82
Gender: Male
Posts: 31,726
Location: New Jersey

17 Jul 2010, 7:59 am

Asmodeus wrote:
If we had genetically engineered a dog to have as complex a brain as a human, and it could think and talk like you or me, would it still be fine to use it for testing?


If a dog were a person then it would not be ethical to do tests on it without its consent.

ruveyn



Meow101
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 16 Feb 2010
Age: 56
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,700
Location: USA

17 Jul 2010, 11:25 am

Janissy wrote:
I would define it as having Homo sapien DNA. Why? Because these other ambiguous definitions have the potential to leave certain people defined as non-human. There is a professor of ethics at Princeton University, Dr. Singer, who is very strong and powerful in the animal rights movement. Part of his argument for animal rights is that a lot of animals are smarter than humans with severe mental retardation. He would like to see people with an IQ <20 re-classified as not being humans and used in experiments in lieu of animals. While I am in favor of animal rights, I am horrified by his desire to re-classify severly mentally retarded people as not human. This right here is the very real danger of using anything but a species-wide definition. He has failed in his quest to literally dehumanize severely mentally retarded people, but he does teach ethics at Princeton (ack!!). This means that every semester, his poisonous idea reaches the minds of students who potentially will be in a position to make such legal changes someday.

Some ideas really are dangerous. And I think the idea of using anything except species membership to define "person" is just such an idea.


The problem with *only* a genetic definition is that it includes cell cultures and tumors and the like. What I would propose is this: defining a human being/person as any living entity with (1) Homo sapiens DNA and (2) a live cerebral cortex. This would include all people, including the most severely retarded, brain-damaged people, but would exclude brain-dead organ donors, tumors, cell cultures, liver cells and the like.

Just as an aside: Have you ever read Singer's work? I have, and although I don't agree with his more extreme ideas (like the ones you mention), some of his less extreme ideas are thought provoking.

~Kate


_________________
Ce e amorul? E un lung
Prilej pentru durere,
Caci mii de lacrimi nu-i ajung
Si tot mai multe cere.
--Mihai Eminescu


Meow101
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 16 Feb 2010
Age: 56
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,700
Location: USA

17 Jul 2010, 12:49 pm

you_are_what_you_is wrote:
No he wouldn't. He might have argued that they shouldn't be classified as persons, but I doubt he's ever argued that they're not human.


That's the case.

Quote:
As far as I'm aware, Singer's position is: if experiments on non-human animals are justifiable, then so are experiments on severely retarded humans and infant humans.


Again, correct.

Quote:
The amount of suffering caused by our decision to draw a line around humans and see ourselves as morally special is absolutely unimaginable. The current consensus is hardly a good alternative to Singer's suggestions.

.

Agreed. That's why I said that some of his less extreme ideas are very thought-provoking and really should be looked at.

~Kate


_________________
Ce e amorul? E un lung
Prilej pentru durere,
Caci mii de lacrimi nu-i ajung
Si tot mai multe cere.
--Mihai Eminescu


Awesomelyglorious
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Dec 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 14,316
Location: Omnipresent

17 Jul 2010, 1:27 pm

Meow101 wrote:
The problem with *only* a genetic definition is that it includes cell cultures and tumors and the like. What I would propose is this: defining a human being/person as any living entity with (1) Homo sapiens DNA and (2) a live cerebral cortex. This would include all people, including the most severely retarded, brain-damaged people, but would exclude brain-dead organ donors, tumors, cell cultures, liver cells and the like.

Just as an aside: Have you ever read Singer's work? I have, and although I don't agree with his more extreme ideas (like the ones you mention), some of his less extreme ideas are thought provoking.

~Kate

The problem I have with "Homo sapiens DNA" (or at least one of them) is that "homo sapiens DNA" as much as many of our genetic categories, is an ad hoc category. We construct it because it is useful, not because there is some underlying essential nature to "homo sapiens DNA". As it stands, while we can distinguish in practice between a human and neanderthal genome, the problem is that we now believe interbreeding occurred between the two groups. So, let's say that there is a half-breed sapiens-neanderthalensis, is it a person? Or not? Where is the real genetic line that we would draw for any interbreed person? I don't think that such a line exists, but it is hard to make a useful rule about individuals of such a nature. Now, this is obviously a hypothetical, but the issue is that the hypothetical undermines a lot of very basic philosophical assumptions.

Also, I have not read Singer's work, but from what I know about it, he provides a real challenge for us in our practical lives, both in his push to increase the well-being of the Third World, but also in his attempts to get us to rethink ethical matters involving animals.



Asmodeus
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 24 Feb 2009
Age: 31
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,520

18 Jul 2010, 7:24 am

Meow101 wrote:
The problem with *only* a genetic definition is that it includes cell cultures and tumors and the like. What I would propose is this: defining a human being/person as any living entity with (1) Homo sapiens DNA and (2) a live cerebral cortex.

I would suggest a functioning cerebral cortex, or an analogous structure (such as a sufficiently advanced AI, etc), and that the surrounding connected tissue/matter is considered under the ownership of, or integral to, that thing.

That way it makes sense in regard to transhumans, in that additions to the body are part of the person, as well as in the event of complete replacement (through retrofitting body parts) the person retains their personship.

It can't be purely genetic. If I take some of my tissue in the lab and make a functioning brainless human body, it isn't a person; it's an organ farm.



Fuzzy
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 30 Mar 2006
Age: 46
Gender: Male
Posts: 5,532
Location: Alberta Canada

18 Jul 2010, 9:11 am

Master_Pedant wrote:
My main point was to differentiate between the biologically (loosely) defined "human" and the morally defined "person".


A cursory glance at womens suffrage indicates easily that "person" is defined legally. Morals, extant for millennia, were not exceedingly quick to grant a little equality to the half the worlds population.

A happenstance reading of the facts of slavery suggests that personhood is defined only socially. Some light reading on 1960s Canadian law shows that until then native Canadians were not defined as people. Half a minutes exercise on the matter of partnership benefits to gays leads one to discover morality still isnt quite there. An extended case study on genital mutilation, arranged marriage, honor killings and genocide is pretty damn fine proof that morality can have some (un)funny ideas about what a person is.

I could go on and on, but the point is made: The concept of person is enforced by force of cold hard law and not morality at all. And the same goes for the definition of human.


_________________
davidred wrote...
I installed Ubuntu once and it completely destroyed my paying relationship with Microsoft.


Meow101
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 16 Feb 2010
Age: 56
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,700
Location: USA

18 Jul 2010, 10:15 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
sartresue wrote:
Artsy-craftsy topic

For potential, I mean imagining something far above the surface of the earth, perhaps a bird, in prehistoric times, turning it into a story (or art) or an invention, or imagining air travel. Not sure if Neanderthals did, but the cave dwellers depicted their imagined hunts on cave walls. Foresight might be a better word. If neanderthals did cave art the evidence is lacking. By "us" I am referring to those who cannot design and build these slippers of the surly bonds. even if it could be imagined. Who has not pretended to fly as a child, to imagine being a bird, throughout history. And then there is Einstein, who imagined riding on a beam of light.

Well, I just mean that I am skeptical of a species really having an essence.

I have difficulties assessing your measure. Would you call it imagination? What would a human without this trait be like? Would it be ok to slaughter them and eat them?


I am also skeptical of a species having an "essence". Plus, I also don't get this "imagination" measure...hmmm....would it be okay to eat them? I don't think so.

~Kate


_________________
Ce e amorul? E un lung
Prilej pentru durere,
Caci mii de lacrimi nu-i ajung
Si tot mai multe cere.
--Mihai Eminescu