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Old 02-19-2009, 03:21 PM   #76
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This is a rather large segment, including huge numbers of the elderly suffering from dementia, as well as young children.

Nevertheless, they are extended human rights as we know them.
Right, because all humans must be seen as equal regardless of physical or mental capabilities and all of equal moral worth.

If we've learned anything it's that anything less opens the door to all sorts of horrors.
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Old 02-19-2009, 04:23 PM   #77
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Look, we can find humanlike social skills, low levels of communication and some reasoning in our closest animal relatives. What truly separates man from them isn't that our capacities for those are so much greater but our moral nature.

Chimpanzee don't weigh their interests against the rights of others, They don't deliberate their actions against the greater good, and while they may feel temporary remorse over an action they are incapable of lifelong guilt. Their world is only what lays before them.

Animals act by physical laws alone through their DNA. A chimp is a chimp and will act accordingly within those norms, just as water will rundown hill on its own accord. But man is subject also to natural law which, unlike physical laws, can be violated. Which is why we are capable of both charity and cruelty well beyond that demonstrated by animals.

Humans alone are morally capable of overriding our nature, escaping the tyranny of our genes, to do good or to do evil.

No chimpanzee is ever going to do anything that another before it hasn't or that another couldn't quickly be trained to do. Can you say that about man?


what are you basing this on? what are your sources?
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Old 02-19-2009, 04:41 PM   #78
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Right, because all humans must be seen as equal regardless of physical or mental capabilities and all of equal moral worth.
since fucking when?!
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Old 02-19-2009, 07:08 PM   #79
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Right, because all humans must be seen as equal regardless of physical or mental capabilities and all of equal moral worth.
In some cases, this should not be true, such as voting rights. Do you really want a person voting who believes it's 1948 and doesn't know who's running?
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Old 02-19-2009, 07:33 PM   #80
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This is the concept that there is an objective moral code established by a Creator and grounded in human decency. A natural law by which both man and state should be judged and which neither is above.
No one before the Enlightenment would've recognized this principle in precisely the way you're formulating it, though any polity claiming divine legitimation for its laws regulating human interactions--a state of affairs which long preceded Constantine--could be said to fit the broad outlines of the description. By way of illustration, and to return to my earlier comparison, Aquinas didn't share Locke's views concerning the right--indeed, for Locke, the duty--of citizens to overthrow a government not operating by "natural laws" (and again, this concept of "natural laws" goes back to the Stoics). Because, for Aquinas, rights aren't an inherent property of individuals, but rather a necessary legal consequence of the community's collective pursuit of Virtue (similar to Aristotle's view).

This is why I was trying to get you to specify something beyond "the Judeo-Christian philosophy" as a justification for the granting of rights; that's a uselessly broad and vague label which clarifies almost nothing about which ethical model(s) a person is in fact applying. After all, the preference utilitarianism of Peter Singer and the modified Kantian deontology of Tom Regan (both prominent animal rights advocates) are themselves ethical models from within the "Judeo-Christian"--really, Western--tradition.

Look, I'm not really expecting you to be able to pin your case against animal rights on one consistent philosophical model. I don't support animal rights myself (though I'd support some expansions of cruelty-prevention laws) and I can't claim philosophical consistency in opposing them; how to rationally justify extending rights to all humans while categorically excluding nonhuman animals is famously among the most intractable problems in modern Western philosophy. (To return one last time to Aquinas, the only earlier Western philosopher I know of who directly addressed the question, "it is not wrong for man to make use of [animals], by killing or in any other way whatever [since God created them expressly for human use]...Charity does not extend to irrational creatures." By which we can safely infer he'd have opposed even cruelty-prevention laws, 'Charity' otherwise being his justification for obligations towards the rationally incapacitated.) But, if you're going to carry on about "the Judeo-Christian philosophy" and how any argument for animal rights is inevitably fated to "torpedo" it with devastating human consequences, then in that case you'd better be able to spell out exactly which ideological strand of "Judeo-Christian tradition" you mean to stake your claim on, and demonstrate perfect consistency in applying it against these 'torpedoers'. Otherwise your case for "human exceptionalism" basically boils down to, well, Discovery Institute talking points, which aren't known for their philosophical rigor.
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Right, because all humans must be seen as equal regardless of physical or mental capabilities and all of equal moral worth.

If we've learned anything it's that anything less opens the door to all sorts of horrors.
...For instance, assuming this is your answer for 'Why grant rights to mentally impaired humans?' , it sounds like negative utilitarianism in the vein of Karl Popper, not the modified Lockean view you seemed to be hinting you favored earlier.
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Socially, Western Civilization's moral code and theory of human rights developed under Constantine in the 300's A.D. and progressed through Thomas Aquinas, The Magna Carta, Blackstone's Commentaries and the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
I've never heard of a history of ethics or rights in the Western tradition that takes Constantine as a starting point; he didn't revolutionize existing Roman thinking or law on the rights of the various categories of subjects. Are you singling him out because as a Christian he granted full political equality to Christians? He also introduced new restrictions on Jews--conversion to Judaism was made illegal, and the price of converting a Christian to Judaism, in particular, was being burnt alive; Jews could not marry non-Jews; Jews, but not Christians or pagans, were forbidden to own slaves; etc.--so he couldn't be credited with introducing equality before the law for all religions, rather with laying the groundwork for the political privileging of Christianity within the Empire. (It was left to his successors to introduce the first laws limiting the rights of pagans, as the needed political capital to do so wasn't quite there in Constantine's time.)
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Old 02-20-2009, 12:47 AM   #81
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No chimpanzee is ever going to do anything that another before it hasn't or that another couldn't quickly be trained to do. Can you say that about man?
No, but you can't say it about chimps either, there had to have been a few chimps in history which figured out how to get termites with sticks and passed this technology on.
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Old 02-20-2009, 07:58 PM   #82
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That chimp who ate off the lady's face didn't see anyone do that before.
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Old 02-21-2009, 06:42 PM   #83
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^

I agree with what A_W said earlier though; chimpanzees are wild animals and shouldn't be kept as pets anyhow. That they're very smart and very dextrous only makes them more, not less, dangerous in a setting like that.
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Old 02-22-2009, 01:52 AM   #84
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Chimpanzee don't weigh their interests against the rights of others, They don't deliberate their actions against the greater good, and while they may feel temporary remorse over an action they are incapable of lifelong guilt. Their world is only what lays before them.
Hmm, but what of that study's suggestion that chimps have a sense of fairness and equality?

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Animals act by physical laws alone through their DNA. A chimp is a chimp and will act accordingly within those norms, just as water will rundown hill on its own accord. But man is subject also to natural law which, unlike physical laws, can be violated. Which is why we are capable of both charity and cruelty well beyond that demonstrated by animals.

Humans alone are morally capable of overriding our nature, escaping the tyranny of our genes, to do good or to do evil.
So an animal is determined from its dna, from birth, and will not learn or grow throughout life?

So a bad dog will always be a bad dog, no matter. And a good dog that is abused can't possibly go bad since it's not in its genes?

And from your final point there, I take it you are a nature over nurture type?

And yes you also think that someone is born evil but if they try real hard and are pious enough maybe just maybe they won't kill someone?

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No chimpanzee is ever going to do anything that another before it hasn't or that another couldn't quickly be trained to do. Can you say that about man?
That statement is inherently flawed.

Further, how many of your own thoughts and action do you truly believe are original, never before done by another human being, or something another human could be trained to do?

Einstein figured out relativity, but now we train E=mC^2 to youngsters. Does that diminish his accomplishment?
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Old 02-22-2009, 11:07 PM   #85
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PETA are jackasses.
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Old 02-22-2009, 11:43 PM   #86
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PETA are jackasses.
I think we can all agree on that point.

Terrorist groups like the ALF attack innocent scientists (and their families), for doing work that saves lives, I have little to no sympathy for their actions or their cause.

I do think that the humane treatment of animals in research is important and there are important ethical issues that scientists in relevant fields have an obligation to consider (thankfully fossils don't have rights).
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:10 PM   #87
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No one before the Enlightenment would've recognized this principle in precisely the way you're formulating it, though any polity claiming divine legitimation for its laws regulating human interactions--a state of affairs which long preceded Constantine--could be said to fit the broad outlines of the description. By way of illustration, and to return to my earlier comparison, Aquinas didn't share Locke's views concerning the right--indeed, for Locke, the duty--of citizens to overthrow a government not operating by "natural laws" (and again, this concept of "natural laws" goes back to the Stoics). Because, for Aquinas, rights aren't an inherent property of individuals, but rather a necessary legal consequence of the community's collective pursuit of Virtue (similar to Aristotle's view).
But the Enlightenment being the product of the West and the then accepted virtues of Christianity (new and dangerous 1500 years prior) and the resulting freedoms, but also the abuses of Christendom.
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This is why I was trying to get you to specify something beyond "the Judeo-Christian philosophy" as a justification for the granting of rights; that's a uselessly broad and vague label which clarifies almost nothing about which ethical model(s) a person is in fact applying. After all, the preference utilitarianism of Peter Singer and the modified Kantian deontology of Tom Regan (both prominent animal rights advocates) are themselves ethical models from within the "Judeo-Christian"--really, Western--tradition.
Look, I'm not really expecting you to be able to pin your case against animal rights on one consistent philosophical model. I don't support animal rights myself (though I'd support some expansions of cruelty-prevention laws) and I can't claim philosophical consistency in opposing them; how to rationally justify extending rights to all humans while categorically excluding nonhuman animals is famously among the most intractable problems in modern Western philosophy. (To return one last time to Aquinas, the only earlier Western philosopher I know of who directly addressed the question, "it is not wrong for man to make use of [animals], by killing or in any other way whatever [since God created them expressly for human use]...Charity does not extend to irrational creatures." By which we can safely infer he'd have opposed even cruelty-prevention laws, 'Charity' otherwise being his justification for obligations towards the rationally incapacitated.) But, if you're going to carry on about "the Judeo-Christian philosophy" and how any argument for animal rights is inevitably fated to "torpedo" it with devastating human consequences, then in that case you'd better be able to spell out exactly which ideological strand of "Judeo-Christian tradition" you mean to stake your claim on, and demonstrate perfect consistency in applying it against these 'torpedoers'. Otherwise your case for "human exceptionalism" basically boils down to, well, Discovery Institute talking points, which aren't known for their philosophical rigor.
Another Christian concept, no less crazy: the concept of equality of souls before God. This concept furnishes the prototype of all theories of equal rights."
-- Nietzsche
No fan of Christianity himself, at least he realized where to aim his torpedo.
Without getting caught up in the intertwining philosophies of the past 1500 years, one could never say the same of "animal rights." That it is a Christian concept, as there simply is no theology to support that.
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I've never heard of a history of ethics or rights in the Western tradition that takes Constantine as a starting point; he didn't revolutionize existing Roman thinking or law on the rights of the various categories of subjects. Are you singling him out because as a Christian he granted full political equality to Christians? He also introduced new restrictions on Jews--conversion to Judaism was made illegal, and the price of converting a Christian to Judaism, in particular, was being burnt alive; Jews could not marry non-Jews; Jews, but not Christians or pagans, were forbidden to own slaves; etc.--so he couldn't be credited with introducing equality before the law for all religions, rather with laying the groundwork for the political privileging of Christianity within the Empire. (It was left to his successors to introduce the first laws limiting the rights of pagans, as the needed political capital to do so wasn't quite there in Constantine's time.)
Constantine legalized Christianity in 313 AD opening up Western civilization to the Christian ideas of:
1) the notion of something greater than the State or Caesar
2) morality being based on something objective and not the subjective whims of humans
3) the rejection of Paganism
4) equality before God (Galatians 3:28 being just one example)
5) criticism of slavery
6) individual freedom (hinted at by Socrates)

Not that these all appeared at once and not that they all didn't slowly evolve along with politics and liberty (serfdom an interesting example). It being a long road from Constantine to Jefferson's "self-evident" truths to today.

"Rights" will continue to evolve of course but based on what moral and governing principles?
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:54 PM   #88
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Rights do not emerge from an infallible Godhead, they are a property of mutual consent and respect by human beings.

You might be right that theology cannot justify animal rights (seeing how a lamb of God had to be murdered), but that is irrelevant to the ethics of eating meat or animal testing.

As far as citing Christian principles that Constantine adopted I fail to see how rejecting Paganism for Christianity, with the accompanying forced conversions and burnings that later ensued, is something that anybody should be proud of.
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:04 AM   #89
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Constantine legalized Christianity in 313 AD opening up Western civilization to the Christian ideas of:
1) the notion of something greater than the State or Caesar
2) morality being based on something objective and not the subjective whims of humans
3) the rejection of Paganism
4) equality before God (Galatians 3:28 being just one example)
5) criticism of slavery
6) individual freedom (hinted at by Socrates)
\
Are you stating that these are ideas that are unique to Christianity?
Cause if you are, I would have to disagree with you on that one.

I would argue that the idea of there being something greater, than even the leader of a given group, is a long standing tradition, dating before Christianity - except it used to generally be polytheistic rather than monotheistic. Simple example: (para)vedic tradition. In fact, I would argue that such a notion is a motif, a common thread that occurs in many cultures.

And the greeks were all into the idea of freedoms and human rights. And I'm pretty sure they weren't Christian.
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Old 02-25-2009, 04:42 AM   #90
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I just love how this thread keeps on and on, but magically never passes page six.

Maybe this will be the tipping point.
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