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Meow101
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18 Jul 2010, 10:21 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
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.


Yes, his writings on the situation in Third World countries are extremely thought-provoking. It is very easy to forget about what goes on there and that their situation is worse than even the poorest of us in the US or other developed countries. If you're sitting here typing at a computer, you're not as bad off as they are.

As far as sentient aliens, hybrid forms, etc, I think that would have to be re-analyzed should those situations come up. If there were such life forms discovered which had equivalent sentience, consciousness, awareness, and thought to what we consider persons, by all means they should be afforded personhood as well, no matter what their genetic composition. At this time, though, Homo sapiens is the only genetic makeup we know of that has those qualities. Yeah, it's hard to put a finger on, but important to keep an open mind about to avoid serious injustice.

~Kate


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Awesomelyglorious
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18 Jul 2010, 11:22 am

Meow101 wrote:
As far as sentient aliens, hybrid forms, etc, I think that would have to be re-analyzed should those situations come up. If there were such life forms discovered which had equivalent sentience, consciousness, awareness, and thought to what we consider persons, by all means they should be afforded personhood as well, no matter what their genetic composition. At this time, though, Homo sapiens is the only genetic makeup we know of that has those qualities. Yeah, it's hard to put a finger on, but important to keep an open mind about to avoid serious injustice.

~Kate

I can see that to some extent. It is just always... interesting to try to understand these issues abstractly to see where we might already have questionable behavior. I mean, the animal rights case is in many ways strong, but the strength of it, along with the on-going rejection of it seems to show some absurdity somewhere in our thinking.



Meow101
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18 Jul 2010, 2:16 pm

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Meow101 wrote:
As far as sentient aliens, hybrid forms, etc, I think that would have to be re-analyzed should those situations come up. If there were such life forms discovered which had equivalent sentience, consciousness, awareness, and thought to what we consider persons, by all means they should be afforded personhood as well, no matter what their genetic composition. At this time, though, Homo sapiens is the only genetic makeup we know of that has those qualities. Yeah, it's hard to put a finger on, but important to keep an open mind about to avoid serious injustice.

~Kate

I can see that to some extent. It is just always... interesting to try to understand these issues abstractly to see where we might already have questionable behavior. I mean, the animal rights case is in many ways strong, but the strength of it, along with the on-going rejection of it seems to show some absurdity somewhere in our thinking.


My older daughter (who is 12 and who I think has some AS traits) has a special interest in apes and she points out their high degree of genetic similarity to humans all the time, as well as the fact that many apes sign and communicate using words (signs) at levels higher than some humans do. The fact that some apes are used in experimentation, sometimes without anesthesia, is indeed ethically troubling to me even if I don't think they are 'persons' per se, and I don't try to justify it to my daughter.

~Kate


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Asmodeus
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21 Jul 2010, 7:53 am

Meow101 wrote:
Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Meow101 wrote:
As far as sentient aliens, hybrid forms, etc, I think that would have to be re-analyzed should those situations come up. If there were such life forms discovered which had equivalent sentience, consciousness, awareness, and thought to what we consider persons, by all means they should be afforded personhood as well, no matter what their genetic composition. At this time, though, Homo sapiens is the only genetic makeup we know of that has those qualities. Yeah, it's hard to put a finger on, but important to keep an open mind about to avoid serious injustice.

~Kate

I can see that to some extent. It is just always... interesting to try to understand these issues abstractly to see where we might already have questionable behavior. I mean, the animal rights case is in many ways strong, but the strength of it, along with the on-going rejection of it seems to show some absurdity somewhere in our thinking.


My older daughter (who is 12 and who I think has some AS traits) has a special interest in apes and she points out their high degree of genetic similarity to humans all the time, as well as the fact that many apes sign and communicate using words (signs) at levels higher than some humans do. The fact that some apes are used in experimentation, sometimes without anesthesia, is indeed ethically troubling to me even if I don't think they are 'persons' per se, and I don't try to justify it to my daughter.

~Kate

Apes demonstrate intelligent behaviour, sentience and theory of mind, though they cannot grasp abstract concepts, though that leaves them cognitively at around the level of a human 5 year old or one who is at that level of development mentally (Down's syndrome, brain damage etc.), though lacking mental faculties isn't considered grounds for invalidating a person's personhood (and therefore rights), and so one might assume if one, also the other, so apes can vote :P .

But in reality people base the system on what they like/fear instead of what's right, and so I doubt apes will have the vote, and I estimate if an AI/spliced intelligence was created, public fear fuelled by the media will unsave the day and the being/s would be murdered or enslaved.



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21 Jul 2010, 8:01 am

Asmodeus wrote:

Apes demonstrate intelligent behaviour, sentience and theory of mind, though they cannot grasp abstract concepts, though that leaves them cognitively at around the level of a human 5 year old or one who is at that level of development mentally (Down's syndrome, brain damage etc.), though lacking mental faculties isn't considered grounds for invalidating a person's personhood (and therefore rights), and so one might assume if one, also the other, so apes can vote :P .

But in reality people base the system on what they like/fear instead of what's right, and so I doubt apes will have the vote, and I estimate if an AI/spliced intelligence was created, public fear fuelled by the media will unsave the day and the being/s would be murdered or enslaved.


I feel some reluctance to use high order primates for medical experimentation when lower order mammals could just as well be used. One of the prices we pay for advancement in the medical and biological sciences is sacrifice of living beings exhibiting some degree of sentience. If we must do such things, I would say leave the primates and cetecians (whales, dolphins, porpoises... ) be. Temple Grandin once said; nature is cruel but we don't have to be cruel.

ruveyn



Meow101
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21 Jul 2010, 8:37 am

ruveyn wrote:
Asmodeus wrote:

Apes demonstrate intelligent behaviour, sentience and theory of mind, though they cannot grasp abstract concepts, though that leaves them cognitively at around the level of a human 5 year old or one who is at that level of development mentally (Down's syndrome, brain damage etc.), though lacking mental faculties isn't considered grounds for invalidating a person's personhood (and therefore rights), and so one might assume if one, also the other, so apes can vote :P .

But in reality people base the system on what they like/fear instead of what's right, and so I doubt apes will have the vote, and I estimate if an AI/spliced intelligence was created, public fear fuelled by the media will unsave the day and the being/s would be murdered or enslaved.


I feel some reluctance to use high order primates for medical experimentation when lower order mammals could just as well be used. One of the prices we pay for advancement in the medical and biological sciences is sacrifice of living beings exhibiting some degree of sentience. If we must do such things, I would say leave the primates and cetecians (whales, dolphins, porpoises... ) be. Temple Grandin once said; nature is cruel but we don't have to be cruel.

ruveyn


I agree. There is enough genetic and intellectual overlap that cruelty does indeed become an issue.

~Kate


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