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7695 clicks; posted to Politics » on 06 Feb 2007 at 5:32 PM (7 years ago)   |  Favorite   |  Watch    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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  2007-07-10 03:47:56 AM  
dottedmint: Neither an egg or a sperm are a living organism.

Why not? they have DNA, they can react (in a limited way) to stimuli, they can reproduce (sorta) what else is needed?

By themselves neither a sperm or an egg will become anything more than a sperm or an egg.

By itself, a zygote will never become anything but a zygote. (I.E, requires the nutrients provided by it's mother)

I just don't get how you can possibly believe a sperm and an egg a millimeter apart on a petri dish are worth nothing, but five seconds later they fuse and are suddenly worth the same as a human life. What happens in those five seconds? the insertion of a soul?

Morals (or the lack there of) have ZERO IMPACT on biological facts.

Asserting that a zygote is a human being is a moral position. you want to have it both ways here.

An embryo is a living organism that is genetically human.

So is a skin cell. Before you reply "yes, but the embryo can eventually become human", consider that, with modern cloning technology, so can the skin cell. Are we thus under an onus to make sure every living human cell eventually becomes human?

See....In order to have an honest moral debate we need to be honest about what biologically we are talking about.

Sure. But a single celled organism, even if one day it can become human, is not worth the same as a human life. No more than a skin cell (that scientists could potentially take genetic material from and insert into an egg, causing it to become a zygote and eventually a human; ( Somatic cell nuclear transfer)) is equal to a human life.
 
  2007-07-10 07:10:29 AM  
dottedmint: Neither an egg or a sperm are a living organism.

Gunther: "Why not? they have DNA, they can react (in a limited way) to stimuli, they can reproduce (sorta) what else is needed?"

I explained this earlier.

You have 46 chromosomes. An egg or sperm only have 23 chromosomes.

So when you say, they have DNA you are only half right.

And no...

Neither an egg or sperm can reproduce.

They will NEVER be anything more until they are joined.


"By itself, a zygote will never become anything but a zygote. (I.E, requires the nutrients provided by it's mother)"

As any living organism needs it gets food and shelter from it's mother.

That is basically all the mother provides.

You can provide an egg or sperm all the food and shelter you want but until you join them together they will never be anything but an egg or sperm.

"I just don't get how you can possibly believe a sperm and an egg a millimeter apart on a petri dish are worth nothing, but five seconds later they fuse and are suddenly worth the same as a human life. What happens in those five seconds? the insertion of a soul?"

As I've told others in here I have never mentioned any religious ideas so my arguments have nothing to do with the idea of a soul or any other religious standings.

"Asserting that a zygote is a human being is a moral position. you want to have it both ways here."

No. It is a biological fact.

"So is a skin cell. Before you reply "yes, but the embryo can eventually become human", consider that, with modern cloning technology, so can the skin cell. Are we thus under an onus to make sure every living human cell eventually becomes human?"

I was waiting for someone to try this clever argument.

But there really is a simple response.

An embryo is a living organism that is genetically human.

A skin cell is a living cell that is genetically human.

Many people in here obviously have a hard time telling the difference between the two.

IF you provide each of them will as much food and shelter as they need ONLY the embryo will ever grow into a 90 year old man.

The skin cell will never be anything more than a skin cell.

The ONLY way that the skin cell could become a living organism would be if scientists change it.

So NO a skin cell is not a living organism.

"Sure. But a single celled organism, even if one day it can become human, is not worth the same as a human life. No more than a skin cell (that scientists could potentially take genetic material from and insert into an egg, causing it to become a zygote and eventually a human; ( Somatic cell nuclear transfer)) is equal to a human life."

But that single celled organims IS human life.

And I explained the faulty nature of your skin cell/cloning argument above....
 
  2007-07-10 10:26:11 AM  
dottedmint: You have 46 chromosomes. An egg or sperm only have 23 chromosomes.

So? Some people are born with more or less than 46 chromosomes. Are they thus not human? can we kill them at will, enslave them, treat them like refuse because of their unusual chromosomal number?

our ability to think, to feel, to react to our emotions, our "sentience" defines humanity, not our genetics. Do you think an anencephalic baby (born without a brain) is worth the same as a normal baby because of its genetics?

The ONLY way that the skin cell could become a living organism would be if scientists change it.

The ONLY way the embryo could become a living organism would be if the mother harbors it until birth. A second old embryo is no more alive than a skin cell. neither are capable of so little as reacting to their environment, certainly neither can be said to think. Both posses the potential to one day become humans. Sure, one requires medical science to intervene, but so what? using that to deny the humanity of the somatic cell is no different than claiming a fetus with a ventricular septal defect isn't alive, as without the intervention of medical science it will die soon after birth.

Yes, the argument that a skin cell deserves the same consideration as a fully grown human is silly, but no more so than claiming an embryo is. Where do we draw the line?

Oh, and to pre-empt your "relative in a coma" argument, a person in a coma has a mind, it is just inactive for the time being. It's not remotely comparable to an embryo.
 
  2007-07-10 01:26:08 PM  
dottedmint I am only pointing out that what you support destroying is human life....a living organism....a human being....a human...how each of us began our lives.

Please spare me your petty insults, wild exaggerations, and mis-characterizations of reality.

A fertilized egg is the beginning of human life.

An acorn is the beginning of an Oak tree. Does that mean an acorn is an Oak tree?

When I shave my beard all my hairs are still on my face. Does that mean I still have a beard even though I just shaved?

Something that starts out as one thing and becomes something else doesn't mean the beginning point is the same as the end, or even the middle.

Before you say "it doesn't become something else, it was always a human being," well...

...An embryo doesn't have a brain, it can't talk, it doesn't have feelings, it doesn't have arms, legs, organs, eyes, a nose, ears, it isn't conscious or aware of anything. It's almost invisible to the naked eye at the stage at which it is used in stem cell research.

Those come later. That makes it very different.

Those are all "biological facts." Those differences make it biologically different from you or I. Before you come back with your next predictable argument that people are born without some of those things, well yes sure they are, but are they born with none of those things? And are they also born the size of the period at the end of this sentence? No. Oh yeah, they are also born already. That's another difference isn't it?

Those differences, among other things, make the moral position of harvesting artificially grown embryos for health research morally a-OK with me. Just because it is "biologically" life doesn't make it a human being whose death is morally wrong.
 
  2007-07-10 07:42:07 PM  
Good afternoon, dottedmint.

I do not hold that the embryo providing the stem cells is equal to the life of a 38 yo woman with breast cancer. The only value those cells hold is as testing material.
 
  2007-07-10 11:21:57 PM  
Gunther: "So? Some people are born with more or less than 46 chromosomes. Are they thus not human? can we kill them at will, enslave them, treat them like refuse because of their unusual chromosomal number?"

I was wondering if you would catch that one.....

I admit I should have said usually when I said 46 chromosomes.

A person with Down syndrome does have an extra chromosome but even with the extra chromosome they are still a living organism with all the characteristics of a living organism.

"our ability to think, to feel, to react to our emotions, our "sentience" defines humanity, not our genetics."

Actually our genetics do define humanity.

We as humans are genetically Homo sapien.

And for the record there are other organisms that have the characteristics that you list that are not human.

"Do you think an anencephalic baby (born without a brain) is worth the same as a normal baby because of its genetics?"

The parents of that baby would.

Also anencephaly is nothing more than a birth defect. The life expectancy of a baby born this way is anywhere from less than a hour to only a couple of days.

Some people live to be over 100 while other people only live for less than a hour.

I don't measure the worth of a person by how long they live.

"The ONLY way the embryo could become a living organism would be if the mother harbors it until birth."

Right???

Provide it with food and shelter just like any other living organism needs.

And a newborn baby will not grow to adulthood unless someone harbors it while it grows.

"A second old embryo is no more alive than a skin cell. neither are capable of so little as reacting to their environment, certainly neither can be said to think."

Being able to think is not a requirement for living organisms. An embryo is a living organism while a skin cell in only a living cell. There actually is a difference and I'd give you my old HS Biology book if I could but maybe you could check something out at the liabrary.

"Both posses the potential to one day become humans. Sure, one requires medical science to intervene, but so what?"

One only requires food and shelter to grow into an adult while the other requires massive scientific actions to create something else.

"using that to deny the humanity of the somatic cell is no different than claiming a fetus with a ventricular septal defect isn't alive, as without the intervention of medical science it will die soon after birth."

I already explained the fact that not every person is going to live to 100.

"Oh, and to pre-empt your "relative in a coma" argument, a person in a coma has a mind, it is just inactive for the time being. It's not remotely comparable to an embryo."

But you had just said.....

"our ability to think, to feel, to react to our emotions, our "sentience" defines humanity, not our genetics.".

My friend did not think, feel, react to his emotions and was not sentient and yet was human.

So?????

Being able to think, feel, react to emotions and being sentient isn't what defines humanity???
 
  2007-07-10 11:40:48 PM  
C-S: "...An embryo doesn't have a brain, it can't talk, it doesn't have feelings, it doesn't have arms, legs, organs, eyes, a nose, ears, it isn't conscious or aware of anything. It's almost invisible to the naked eye at the stage at which it is used in stem cell research."

Hmmmm.....

That 8 week old embryo that I pictured has a brain, feels, has arms, legs, organs, eyes, nose, ears.

We don't know when it becomes conscious and no it can't talk. (neither can a newborn)
 
  2007-07-11 01:06:36 AM  
dottedmint: That 8 week old embryo that I pictured has a brain, feels, has arms, legs, organs, eyes, nose, ears.

So what? Do we use 8 week old embryos for stem cell research?
 
  2007-07-11 06:13:58 AM  
dottedmint: The parents of that baby would.

Maybe, but that won't change the fact that it doesn't have a freaking brain.

Also anencephaly is nothing more than a birth defect. The life expectancy of a baby born this way is anywhere from less than a hour to only a couple of days.

They don't have a freaking brain. If you are so wedded to your ideology (which appears to be that anything genetically human is identical to everything genetically human) that you are willing to equate a lump of genetically human tissue that will never be anything else with a human life because of its genetics, then say so, so I can write you off as a partisan moron who doesn't deserve a response.

Actually our genetics do define humanity.

Genetics vary from person to person. Some species of chimpanzee have DNA that differs by less than 2% of our own. That's nearly to the same level of variation that some people show. We are not our genes. I don't know how to make this clearer to you.

I don't measure the worth of a person by how long they live.

Do you measure the worth of a person by whether they are alive in the first place? Is a brain-dead patient alive because their body lives? most people (even most pro-lifers) would say no.

An embryo is a living organism while a skin cell in only a living cell. There actually is a difference and I'd give you my old HS Biology book if I could but maybe you could check something out at the liabrary.

That's a fantastic argument. "theres a difference, but I can't remember what it is just now."

One only requires food and shelter to grow into an adult while the other requires massive scientific actions to create something else.

Both can eventually become human, both start as single celled organisms. The only difference is that one was created through nature, the other science. Unless you think god jams a soul into some single celled organisms but not others, there's no difference between the two. Once again; both can potentially become a human life. Both are genetically human. Neither are a human being right now.


I already explained the fact that not every person is going to live to 100.

Congratulations on completely missing the point.

Being able to think, feel, react to emotions and being sentient isn't what defines humanity???

Having a mind defines humanity. Emotions, thought, being aware of your own existence are all caused by having a mind. Your friend in a coma has a mind it is just inactive for the time being.

A chair is for sitting on. By your logic, if I'm not sitting on it at the moment it doesn't exist.

We don't know when it becomes conscious and no it can't talk. (neither can a newborn)

Yes we do. we can detect brain waves, as several people in this thread have already told you.

All of the arguments you have posted are based on the one presumption: Something that is alive and is genetically human is identical to everything else that is alive and is genetically human. This is not true.

A brain-dead patient with a living body is not equivalent to a person. An anencephalic baby is not equivalent to a person. If I cut the head off a person and hooked machines up to the right tubes in the severed neck so that the tissues of the body still lived, that body would not be equivalent to a person. If I took a severed big toe and did the same thing, pumping in oxygenated blood, removing deoxygenated blood, so that the tissues that made up the toe were still alive, it would not be equivalent to a person.

A person can think, a person can feel, a person is aware of and can react to their surroundings. They aren't just a lump of tissue.
 
  2007-07-11 06:17:20 AM  
Woah, that'll teach me not to post when I've just woken up. Sorry about all the spelling and grammar mistakes in there.
 
  2007-07-11 12:28:03 PM  
Gunther: Woah, that'll teach me not to post when I've just woken up. Sorry about all the spelling and grammar mistakes in there.

The important thing is that you're challenging this rather extreme viewpoint held by a very stubborn minority.
 
  2007-07-11 03:46:05 PM  
I frogive yuo.
 
  2007-07-12 12:46:50 AM  
dottedmint: The parents of that baby would.

Gunther: "Maybe, but that won't change the fact that it doesn't have a freaking brain."

"They don't have a freaking brain."


Not exactly.

It isn't that babies born with anencephaly have no brain.

They have a basic brainstem.

"If you are so wedded to your ideology (which appears to be that anything genetically human is identical to everything genetically human) that you are willing to equate a lump of genetically human tissue that will never be anything else with a human life because of its genetics, then say so, so I can write you off as a partisan moron who doesn't deserve a response."

See I don't think that only a baby who will grow into adulthood is human.

"Genetics vary from person to person. Some species of chimpanzee have DNA that differs by less than 2% of our own. That's nearly to the same level of variation that some people show."

And yet scientists could take 20 different tissue samples from 20 different organisms and determine what different species they are.

That 2% difference is enough to tell a chimpanzee from a human by only using genetics.

"Do you measure the worth of a person by whether they are alive in the first place? Is a brain-dead patient alive because their body lives? most people (even most pro-lifers) would say no."

A baby born with anencephaly is not brain dead.

"That's a fantastic argument. "theres a difference, but I can't remember what it is just now." "

LOL....

Some organisms are only one cell but not all cells are organisms.

"Both can eventually become human, both start as single celled organisms."

A skin cell is not an organism.

The only difference is that one was created through nature, the other science.

A sperm cell is not an organism.
An egg is not an organism.
A skin cell is not an organism.

Once the egg and sperm are joined it becomes a living organism.

Once scientists change the skin cell by adding this or that to it it would (in theory) become a living organism.

Comparing a sperm with a skin cell would be a logical comparison because both are before they are changed...before they are combined with something else.

Comparing an embryo with a skin cell is just a bit dishonest because the egg and sperm had been changed but the skin cell had not been changed yet.

"Unless you think god jams a soul into some single celled organisms but not others, there's no difference between the two. Once again; both can potentially become a human life. Both are genetically human. Neither are a human being right now."

Again....your skin cell is not an organism.

An embryo just a day after fertilization IS an organism.

"Having a mind defines humanity. Emotions, thought, being aware of your own existence are all caused by having a mind. Your friend in a coma has a mind it is just inactive for the time being.

Hmmmm.....

That chimpanzee that you mentioned earlier has a mind.....has emotions....has thoughts....is aware of it's existence......

So using your definition a chimpanzee is human????

Gee....

Genetics say that only a human is human.....

dottedmint: "We don't know when it becomes conscious and no it can't talk. (neither can a newborn)"

"Yes we do. we can detect brain waves, as several people in this thread have already told you."


Um....

My friend was NOT CONSCIOUS but also had brain waves.

Also some reports say brain waves have been measured as early as 6 weeks.

And if with improvements of medical science we are at some point able to measure brain waves of a 4 week old embryo would you change your stance???

At 4 weeks is when the brain starts to form.

"All of the arguments you have posted are based on the one presumption: Something that is alive and is genetically human is identical to everything else that is alive and is genetically human."

Not exactly....

I contend that something that is a living organism that is genetically human is basically the same as everyhting else that is a living organism that is genetically human.

I don't think that a living organism that is genetically human is the same as everything that is genetically human.

A skin cell is genetically human but it is not a living organism that is genetically human.

"A brain-dead patient with a living body is not equivalent to a person. An anencephalic baby is not equivalent to a person.

And a baby with anencephaly is not brain dead as I pointed out above.


"A person can think, a person can feel, a person is aware of and can react to their surroundings. They aren't just a lump of tissue."

Again...so can a chimpanzee.....
 
  2007-07-12 12:48:57 AM  
And Whidbey I've pointed out before that a majority of people agree with me that life begins at conception.....
 
  2007-07-12 01:47:34 AM  
The issue isn't where life begins, dottedmint,, it's the simple fact that, as C-S pointed out so eloquently, a stem cell the size of a period is not a baby.

And I don't believe the majority of America would halt embryonic stem cell research any more than they would fight to illegalize abortion once again.

You do realize that you represent an extreme viewpoint.
 
  2007-07-12 03:38:35 AM  
It isn't that babies born with anencephaly have no brain. They have a basic brainstem.

They're freaking mini-Schiavos. No brain, no thoughts, no conciousness, no mind. They're a meat popsicle in the shape of a baby.

dottedmint: A baby born with anencephaly is not brain dead.

That was a different analogy. Joe bloggs is walking home from work one day when a bus slams into him, impaling his head on a stop sign. Result; total, permanent brain death. His body however, is alive. Is he? does he deserve the full rights of a person? Medical science says no. We can transplant organs from or turn off the life-support for brain-dead patients. Why? cause they're already dead, their bodies just haven't caught on yet.

Comparing an embryo with a skin cell is just a bit dishonest because the egg and sperm had been changed but the skin cell had not been changed yet.

Is a fertilized egg that's going to be implanted into a willing host alive? It requires medical intervention, what's the difference between it and a skin cell? Once again, you seem to believe that some magical event happens at conception that transforms unliving tissue into a human being. I know you've been careful to shy away from religion, but what, other than the supposed insertion of a soul, makes one better than the other?

So using your definition a chimpanzee is human????

They are worthy of at least some moral consideration, if that's what your asking, but their minds are not equal to a human mind in capability or sentience, so no, they are not human.

I contend that something that is a living organism that is genetically human is basically the same as everyhting else that is a living organism that is genetically human.

Then you are wrong. There's no other way to say it. A human body with its brain scooped out that's hooked up to a machine that keeps the tissue alive by pumping blood into it is not alive, and it's certainly not equivalent to me or you..

I am my thoughts. If my thoughts cease, I cease to be. I don't really see how you can disagree with this.
 
  2007-07-12 07:18:46 AM  
Gunther: "Is a fertilized egg that's going to be implanted into a willing host alive?"

I would hope so because they would not want to implant a DEAD embryo.

"It requires medical intervention, what's the difference between it and a skin cell?"

True there is 'medical intervention'.

The difference is that the act of fertilization is a natural part of biology.

Some people need to go to the doctor to get help with this part of biology.

A skin cell being transformed into an embryo is not a natural occurance.

"Once again, you seem to believe that some magical event happens at conception that transforms unliving tissue into a human being. I know you've been careful to shy away from religion, but what, other than the supposed insertion of a soul, makes one better than the other?"

No....

Obviously a sperm and egg are alive. They just are NOT organisms.

I don't think an egg or sperm deserve any type of special protection because neither of them are organisms.

After they are joined together a living organism is created and I think that deserves protection.

I don't think skin cells deserves any type of special protection because they are not organisms.

After scientists manipulate the skin cell and CHANGE IT to create an organism then I would say it deserves protection.

"They are worthy of at least some moral consideration, if that's what your asking, but their minds are not equal to a human mind in capability or sentience, so no, they are not human."

It seems like you are changing your standards for humanity.....

You had said....

"Having a mind defines humanity. Emotions, thought, being aware of your own existence are all caused by having a mind."

and....

"A person can think, a person can feel, a person is aware of and can react to their surroundings."

Chimps (as well as some other animals) have the characteristics that you said define humanity.

Now you seem to basically be saying that a chimp can't be human because they are not smart enough.....

So a child born brain damaged who will never be any smarter than a chimp isn't really human???

How smart does a person need to be before you call them human???
 
  2007-07-12 11:57:39 AM  
Here's a really dumb question I've been mulling over my entire life.(For about an hour now.) Since Halliburton has decided to move out of the US, why can't we get a bill passed saying that any company having any business with the US military must be an entity based right here in the US of A? If for no other reason, the security of our armed forces. When they were based out of Houston, at least they were our crooks. Now that they plan on moving to DUBAI, why should they be trusted by Americans?

Does anyone know if the move is still a go? The latest info so far found is from 3/07. Still checking.
 
  2007-07-12 12:37:52 PM  
trog69

I was wondering exactly the same thing.
 
  2007-07-12 02:48:21 PM  
trog69: why can't we get a bill passed saying that any company having any business with the US military must be an entity based right here in the US of A

I can totally anticipate the answer:

You're STRANGLING BUSINESS! And that's Un-American! Free enterprise, man!

Even though companies that go transnational are the ones thumbing their collective noses at America by skirting tax laws, environmental laws and (I'm sure) ethics laws.
 
  2007-07-12 05:22:57 PM  
Trog69

I'd never thought about the Halliburton/foreign company issue, interesting point. I have been aware of the issue of private security forces operating with our military, but didn't think of the angle re: these companies being foreign entities. I did a quick Google search and found some interesting info.

To me, private contractors working in crucial capacities with our military during an armed occupation--besides the fact that many of them are non-Iraqi foreigners--is highly problematic in its own right.

This article from http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/070407D.shtml talks about the issue: (sorry I'm at work on break and don't have farkode or the time to find out how to link it manually):

"The numbers [of private contractors employed by the US Military in Iraq] include at least 21,000 Americans, 43,000 foreign contractors and about 118,000 Iraqis - all employed in Iraq by U.S. tax dollars, according to the most recent government data."

These are foreign (and domestic) companies who are responsible for, say, delivering food or maintaining weapons. This leads to situations like this:

"At one point in 2004, for example, U.S. forces were put on food rations when drivers balked at taking supplies into a combat zone."

Now, it's nothing new that we employ foreigners with US money. In many cases it's actually preferable, such as when you are dealing with USAID or NGO projects in developing countries. Typically, "grassroots" projects are in fact more successful in the long term and you want the locals to be the ones doing it. However, for those projects you are employing foreigners who are locals.

But we're talking about a military occupation here, employing massive amounts of private contractors, where the non-Iraqi foreigners outnumber American employees. Not a humanitarian USAID project in, say, Uganda employing Ugandans.

Not to say you can never have any private contractors ever, but when you start putting a rather large emphasis on private in general contractors (like, say, Iraq, where private contractors working with the military outnumber US troops) then yeah, there may be a problem.

Also not to say foreign contractors are worse than American contractors. Instead, I think the issue that you have such a significant amount of private contractors in any way involved with your military effort is troubling to begin with, more troubling than them being foreign. For instance, one could argue that the fact you are in Iraq requires you to hire Arab speaking foreigners, many of whom may not be from Iraq. OK, I can see that point. But still, should our military be relying so heavily on private firms to begin with? Especially when you are talking about the performance of intrinsically military functions, like supplying and feeding troops?

What's the reasoning? Is someone going to actually claim the Pentagon is short on cash?

Are they short on manpower? Well... maybe that's an issue that should have been thought about before the invasion? Can you realistically invade and control a country the size of Iraq with 120,000 troops?

To me though, the biggest issue is private security firms. Essentially, hired mercenaries. When you are talking about people with guns that are engaging in combat under no flag of any country, such as the private security contractors, you have a problem. (Kind of like the terrorists themselves?) Not only because they are private, which is the main issue, but if they are foreign companies, are they accountable in any way?

The article states that estimates vary widely on how many private security contractors there are. The Pentagon says 6,000, but private firms themselves state there are as many as 30,000.

30,000! How do you make sure these people are accountable? Is it even possible to hold these people accountable? Are private entities susceptible to international laws of war? The Geneva conventions? If terrorists are, I'd say they should be too, not to mention via simple vicarious liability... but unfortunately, many people including this administration think the Geneva conventions only apply to official army soldiers of nations... so it may be contradictory for them to try and negate these concerns by arguing these hired guns would be held accountable under international law.

But nonetheless, you'd hope we wouldn't need to even go there. You'd hope that you wouldn't have a case where private companies are fighting wars for you to begin with. Unfortunately, that seems to be the direction we are heading. Are we going to start outsourcing our wars now too?
 
  2007-07-12 07:22:11 PM  
dottedmint: A skin cell being transformed into an embryo is not a natural occurance.

That's it? That's your argument? Hate to break this to you but there's no such thing as "natural". It's a rediculously undefinable term. Either everything in the universe is "natural" or nothing is.

Now you seem to basically be saying that a chimp can't be human because they are not smart enough.....

More than simple intelligence is required (self-awareness, empathy, the whole deal) but basically yes.

Do you really think our minds are immaterial to morality? If we discovered a chimp that was capable of talking, of reasoning, of showing human levels of intelligence, empathy and awareness, then surely we should extend it the same respect and moral value we would a human?

So a child born brain damaged who will never be any smarter than a chimp isn't really human???

Genetically, they are human. Morally, it's a difficult question. If their mind is limited in the same ways chimp's minds are limited, then sorry but no, they aren't fully human. It's the reverse of the above "intelligent chimp". A chimp's mind in a humans body is not a human in any measurable way but the physiological and the genetic.

In the same way, if you used some futuristic "mind-switching" device with a chimp, so that your mind was in its body and vice versa, despite having the body of a human it would still be a chimp, and despite having the body of a chimp you would still be a human.
 
  2007-07-12 08:18:41 PM  
edit--
*emphasis in general, not private in general...

Hopefully people can follow my rambling up there... if I'd had more time I would have made that a little more organized, sorry...
 
  2007-07-13 01:20:00 AM  
Cleveland-Steamer: To me though, the biggest issue is private security firms. Essentially, hired mercenaries. When you are talking about people with guns that are engaging in combat under no flag of any country, such as the private security contractors, you have a problem. (Kind of like the terrorists themselves?) Not only because they are private, which is the main issue, but if they are foreign companies, are they accountable in any way?

Blackwater USA. Read up on them. When the Dominionists finally gather enough money and clout, Blackwater will, most likely, be the force they use to keep the heathens in line/eliminated. Blackwater is owned and operated by some very devout nutjobs. (I'm an atheist, so when I say nutjob, I mean it in the nicest way possible.) 8^O
 
  2007-07-13 01:38:18 AM  
Cleveland-Steamer: Are they short on manpower? Well... maybe that's an issue that should have been thought about before the invasion? Can you realistically invade and control a country the size of Iraq with 120,000 troops?

Yes, of course you can.

40,000 to catch/vase flowers.
40,000 to write thank you notes for candy.
40,000 to secure the oilfields.

Just ask Rumdummy.
 
  2007-07-13 07:01:52 AM  
Gunter: "Genetically, they are human. Morally, it's a difficult question. If their mind is limited in the same ways chimp's minds are limited, then sorry but no, they aren't fully human. It's the reverse of the above "intelligent chimp". A chimp's mind in a humans body is not a human in any measurable way but the physiological and the genetic."

WOW

So a child who is brain damaged isn't really human???

I do have to point out that a chimps mind is not as limited as you seem to be suggesting.

Chimps think, have emotions, have personalities, and obviously have a mind.

These are characteristics that you had said define humanity.

I don't really have time to find it right now but I recall seeing a study that said chimps have an intelligence that was comparable to maybe a four or five year old.


Does this mean that a 1, 2, or 3 year old isn't really human because they are not smart enough?

At what age does humanity emerge?

IS a newborn baby human?

 
  2007-07-13 08:26:55 AM  
dottedmint

Did you not see this part?
Gunther: More than simple intelligence is required (self-awareness, empathy, the whole deal)

Intelligence isn't enough. What's important is the mind as a whole.

IS a newborn baby human?

Genetically, yes. They don't yet have a fully developed human mind though, and it is the mind that makes us who we are. You danced around answering this earlier, so I'll ask it again:

Is a brain-dead person worth the same as a normal person?

There is no answer you can give to this. If you say "no", you admit the mind is important in some way to humans being considered human. If you say "yes", then you also have to agree to the case of the headless body with tubes hooked up to it's neck, and the severed to with oxygenated blood being pumped in.

/As an aside: There are some moral philosophers who think it should be legal to put babies to death for the first six months or so if they are heavily deformed or born to unfit parents. Their arguments are based on whether infant babies think or not, and so whether they can be said to be alive. Linky.

I disagree as strenuously with this as you seem to with abortion, incidentally
 
  2007-07-13 09:54:22 AM  
dottedmint: After they are joined together a living organism is created and I think that deserves protection.

Right there is where we diverge, my friend. The protection point for those disagreeing with you starts farther up the line. How much farther is again, debatable, though I doubt you would appreciate how far up the track many of our trains would run.

/barring derailment!
 
  2007-07-13 10:48:21 PM  
Politics forum stays on track to hash over abortion? Yick. I'm totally against them. They don't taste good.

/Except on Russian Rye
//You need a robust bread to stand up to the bold flavor
 
  2007-07-14 05:19:18 PM  
I don't get it.
 
  2007-07-15 12:12:21 AM  
I'm having a hard time following what you think defines humaness...humanity....being human.

I had pointed out that every characteristic that you mention can be found in chimps and questioned if by your definition chimps were human.

You basically had said that chimps aren't smart enough so I had asked if brain damaged child (one who may never reach an intelligence higher than maybe a 4 year old) was human.

Your response (to my surprise)...and I wanted to quote you so I got it right was....

"Genetically, they are human. Morally, it's a difficult question. If their mind is limited in the same ways chimp's minds are limited, then sorry but no, they aren't fully human."

Now you say....

Gunther: Did you not see this part?

More than simple intelligence is required (self-awareness, empathy, the whole deal)

Intelligence isn't enough. What's important is the mind as a whole.


dottedmint: IS a newborn baby human?

Gunther: "Genetically, yes. They don't yet have a fully developed human mind though, and it is the mind that makes us who we are."

So????

A newborn is genetically human.....

Has it reached humaness....humanity....being human?

Gunther: "You danced around answering this earlier, so I'll ask it again:

Is a brain-dead person worth the same as a normal person?"


I actually thought I had but when I looked back I couldn't find a response.....

So....

In general I would say NO.

However IF say in 50 years medical science improves to a point where the person who is brain dead could have a stem cell taken from their bone marrow and could fix whatever damage was done to the brain and jump start the brain then I would say YES.

What would you say in that situation?

The flaw in trying to use the brain dead argument is that while an adult who is brain dead cannot (as of yet) regenerate their brain an embryo does generate a brain as it grows.
 
  2007-07-15 11:34:56 AM  
dottedmint:I'm having a hard time following what you think defines humaness...humanity....being human.

That's partially my fault. I haven't made it clear a couple of times whether I'm talking about "genetically human" or "a living, human being". Obviously there's a pretty big difference between the two.

You basically had said that chimps aren't smart enough...

No I didn't, dammit. I said that intelligence wasn't enough, and that a chimps' mind is limited in ways other than low intelligence. Now, if a brain-damaged child could be shown to have a mind as limited (not just in intelligence, but in sentience, reason, morality, etc) as a chimp, so that there was no real difference between their mind and a chimp's mind, then they would not be fully human. In the same way, If I invented a machine that transferred a chimp's mind into a human body, it would not be fully human.

A newborn is genetically human.....
Has it reached humaness....humanity....being human?


It's not like a switch is flipped in the babies head that changes it instantly from "genetically human tissue" to "a human being". A baby is part of the way there. It's semi-human. Quasi-human. The "diet coke" of human. If you want to know where I think the cutoffs for abortion should be, I generally err on the side of caution and say whenever it begins to show functioning bran waves.

Incidentally, isn't it curious how both of us use "it" to refer to a baby, never "he", "she" or "they"?

In general I would say NO.

So you admit the mind is important in some way to humans being considered human? Doesn't this contradict your previous argument: "I contend that something that is a living organism that is genetically human is basically the same as everyhting else that is a living organism that is genetically human." Just a little bit?

However IF say in 50 years medical science improves to a point where the person who is brain dead could have a stem cell taken from their bone marrow and could fix whatever damage was done to the brain and jump start the brain then I would say YES.

...So your definition of alive and dead differs depending on the available medical technology of the time? That's ...odd, to say the least. What happens if we invent a time machine? does that mean nobody who has ever lived can ever be classified as "dead" because theoretically we could travel back in tie and save them?
 
  2007-07-15 02:46:13 PM  
dottedmint: However IF say in 50 years medical science improves to a point where the person who is brain dead could have a stem cell taken from their bone marrow and could fix whatever damage was done to the brain and jump start the brain then I would say YES.

What if only an embryonic stem cell could do that?
 
  2007-07-15 08:44:39 PM  
Gunther: "That's partially my fault. I haven't made it clear a couple of times whether I'm talking about "genetically human" or "a living, human being". Obviously there's a pretty big difference between the two.

You still haven't clarified what you think is required for humaness...humanity....being a human being.

"No I didn't, dammit. I said that intelligence wasn't enough, and that a chimps' mind is limited in ways other than low intelligence. Now, if a brain-damaged child could be shown to have a mind as limited (not just in intelligence, but in sentience, reason, morality, etc) as a chimp, so that there was no real difference between their mind and a chimp's mind, then they would not be fully human. In the same way, If I invented a machine that transferred a chimp's mind into a human body, it would not be fully human."

OK.....still trying to figure your requirements out.....

A normal child has an intelligence very similar to that of a chimp.

Or perhaps I should word it that a chimp has a similar level of intelligence of that of a normal young child.

Now as far as "sentience, reason, and morality," I'm not sure how much difference there would be between a normal child and a chimp.

Then you go onto say.....

"It's not like a switch is flipped in the babies head that changes it instantly from "genetically human tissue" to "a human being". A baby is part of the way there. It's semi-human. Quasi-human. The "diet coke" of human. If you want to know where I think the cutoffs for abortion should be, I generally err on the side of caution and say whenever it begins to show functioning bran waves."

semi-human

quasi-human


?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

What?????

Does this mean that they are somehow not worthy of the same protection of (I guess you'd say) a real human???

"Incidentally, isn't it curious how both of us use "it" to refer to a baby, never "he", "she" or "they"? "

I wouldn't try making more out of that than needed.....

"So you admit the mind is important in some way to humans being considered human?"

It is only important to the point that an adult human body cannot contiue to function as a living organism without the brain.

(barring life support intervention)

"Doesn't this contradict your previous argument: "I contend that something that is a living organism that is genetically human is basically the same as everyhting else that is a living organism that is genetically human." Just a little bit?"


I don't think so....

This is because I question if a brain dead body should classify as still being a living organism. (at least at this point)

IF you remove the brain out of a perfectly fine body that body will stop functioning.

Sure you can keep it 'alive' artificially but I'm not sure I would call it a living organism.

As I said earlier an adult body cannot regenerate a brain (at least at this time) but an embryo does....

"...So your definition of alive and dead differs depending on the available medical technology of the time? That's ...odd, to say the least."

I don't think that is odd at all.....

50 years ago a baby would never have survived after only gestating for 26 weeks yet recently a pre-mature baby survived after less than 26 weeks in the womb.

How long ago was it that we were able to finally detect brain waves in a fetus?

There was a time when if someone had been in ice water for a certain amount of time it was thought that there was nothing that could be done to save them.

There was a time when if someone had a heart attack that they were...well...dead.

With improvements in medical technology what we consider curable changes.

Also.....the question that you asked was.....

"Is a brain-dead person worth the same as a normal person?"

And I said that at this point....NO.....

At some point in the future....YES.....

"What happens if we invent a time machine? does that mean nobody who has ever lived can ever be classified as "dead" because theoretically we could travel back in tie and save them?"

TIME MACHINE?!?!?!

Maybe you could go back in time and tell me what requirements you think there are to being a human being....being alive....reaching humanity....humaness.....

C-S: "What if only an embryonic stem cell could do that?"

Well....since there is more evidence of adult stem cells doing great things I suspect it would be more likely that adult stem cells would work in this case....

Basically.....I have no reason to think that something embryonic stem cells can do can't be done with adult stem cells.....
 
  2007-07-15 10:01:57 PM  
dottedmint: Well....since there is more evidence of adult stem cells doing great things I suspect it would be more likely that adult stem cells would work in this case....

Regardless of what you suspect, hypothetically speaking, what if only an embryonic stem cell could do it?
 
  2007-07-16 03:41:10 AM  
The Discovery Institute, that wonderful learning lab who tried to shoehorn Intelligent Design into classrooms before being smacked down hard by the courts, has a new book they're hoping our students might like to peruse. This time, ID isn't front and center; No, they have a new tack. The book spends almost all of it's words on punching holes in evolution theories. According the reviews I read, the books premise is to gently remark that if evolution isn't perfect, maybe it's all wrong. Gee whiz, I wonder if they have an alternative to evolution?
 
  2007-07-16 03:12:38 PM  
I'd love to hear the defense for teaching that garbage in public schools.
 
  2007-07-17 03:32:48 AM  
trog69

I have read some of the material, and it's completely intellectually dishonest.

The fun part will be: you can shoot tremendously bigger holes in the 'alternative theories' that I'm sure they are waiting with.
 
  2007-07-18 12:02:58 AM  
Cleveland-Steamer: I'd love to hear the defense for teaching that garbage in public schools.

Im not sure if it's 'cause I can't get the chinstrap on my tinfoil hat adusted properly,(and being from S. Arizona, where a previous governor, Evan Mecham, was ON RECORD as a proud tinfoil chapeau wearer/inventor, I have no excuse) or not enough sleep, but the more I read about theocratic/dominionist plans for a complete Christian takeover of America, the more worried I become. Just as with the moderate muslim enablers, the Christians who say "They shoulda never tooken prayer outta skools, that's why kids cain't learn nothin'" are the real problem. No matter how many times actual quotes from the Minds behind the Constitution are cited showing proof that they were firmly in favor of separation of church and state, I still hear daily from 'moderates' that this is a 'Christian Nation', and secularists are destroying the moral fabric of this country. And that doesn't even count Fark!

I worry that by the next time the right has a hold of all the reins again, the religious nutjobs will really get a foothold in our schools; indoctrination of the kids is job(not Job)#1 to them. I guess to play fair, I admit that it's just as important to us secularists that children have absolutely no religion in the classrooms(except for history class.)

I am aware that there are a great many Christian/religious people who agree on a wall of separation; saying nothing still makes them enablers.
 
  2007-07-21 01:40:46 AM  
Braaaaaaaiiinssss
 
  2007-07-23 10:27:55 AM  
Hey, who's for taking the party to Pakistan? Am I the only progressive that thinks we must go in and take out the trash. From what I gather, the tribals are unable to kick them out(taliban/al qaeda.)
 
  2007-07-23 01:28:40 PM  
trog69: Am I the only progressive that thinks we must go in and take out the trash

You're not a progressive, then.

A progressive sees our military ejaculations as the pathetic, despicable acts they are, and works towards peaceful solutions.

The only trash we need to take out is what's left of this administration.
 
  2007-07-23 08:21:36 PM  
A progressivepacifist sees our military ejaculations as the pathetic, despicable acts they are, and works towards peaceful solutions.

FTFY

Progressive != pacifist.

A progressive shouldn't throw absolutes around. Neocons and fanatics do that. There are situations that require diplomacy and situations that require violence.
 
  2007-07-23 08:22:41 PM  
That's what I get for not previewing my HTML.

/you know what I meant.
 
  2007-07-23 11:01:47 PM  
Yeah, I do have a tendency to do that.

But I also believe that realizing that the same old sneaky way of doing business doesn't bode well for progress.

As in saying goodbye to policies that don't work.

There are situations that require diplomacy and situations that require violence.

If that's true, then this country is ridiculously tipped towards the violence end of the scales. And I can't even think of anything within recent memory where this country took diplomacy seriously.
 
  2007-07-24 12:15:42 AM  
If that's true, then this country is ridiculously tipped towards the violence end of the scales. And I can't even think of anything within recent memory where this country took diplomacy seriously.

I never said our leaders were capable of making the distinction. And that certainly needs to change. All I'm saying is that abuse/overuse of the violence option does not mean it should be done away with entirely. I also think that if there were some transparency in the administraion's decisions to go to war, we'd a) go to war less and b) go for better reasons when we did decide to go. If our foreign policy was in fact less 'sneaky', and you put it, the entire world would be much better off.
 
  2007-07-24 12:27:59 AM  
I'm not really for military intervention in Pakistan. As usual I have to give a long winded answer that involves lots of run-on sentences, so please excuse me...

a) It'd be an about-face on our current policy towards Musharaff. He is a complete bastard and we should be ashamed of ourselves for propping him up, but I am unaware of an alternative to him that could keep the country in order. I'm not really up on Pakistani politics so I don't know what alternatives there are to him, but I do know that one popular alternative right now is Islamic extremism, which seems to always fill whatever hole pops up in Islamic countries these days. He is on thin ice with Pakistanis as is, and direct US presence in the form of military action would probably be his undoing. I am not very curious to see what nutjob would take his job, particularly since Pakistan has nukes and especially right after direct US military action in the country that probably triggered said nutjobs rise to power.

b) In general our military "exploits" around the world seem to be the flash point for hostility against us. For instance, our presence in Iraq (regardless of whether one agrees with it or not) fuels anti-western sentiment in the Middle-East. This in turn helps terrorist and extremist groups gain popularity, when in reality these psychos should be getting run out of town. In the long term, I think we need to lessen our military presence around the world and stop propping up dictators, which seems to be our M.O. for the last 50 years or so. Combating terrorism is a more of a psychological "war" than anything else. Our foreign policy largely provides the fuel that these extremist political and terrorist groups use to gain public support, and decreasing our military presence and making a major change in our foreign policy would do a lot to stop giving people reasons to hate us. As opposed to say, bombing them, which tends to kill lots of people and permanently piss off those who don't get killed.

So in sum, no, I don't think it would work, because in the short term it would de-stabilize a very volatile area of the world, and in the long term it doesn't do much to combat terrorism and anti-western sentiment amongst the fellow earthlings with whom we have to share our nice little planet.
 
  2007-07-24 12:37:24 AM  
Cleveland-Steamer

My thoughts exactly.
 
  2007-07-24 03:30:29 AM  
Cleveland-Steamer: I'm not really for military intervention in Pakistan.

I would usually be sitting on your lap, helping you type that same response.(Last weeks "run-on sentences were great, huh?) Not only because the 'military-industrial complex is quite happy to ignite hegemony throughout the ME, but also I agree that Musharraf may be the evil we do know. My html-fu is borderline retarded, but if you go to Foreign Policy, or google China foreign policy on Pakistan, you'll find that China and Palookastan are very good friends. Musharraf is serving two masters, not including his own people. Fortunately(?), the Taliban/Al Qaeda has been targeting Chinese workers as well as non-fundamentalists, which was part of the reason behind Musharraf ordering the assault on that mosque. It might develop into an advantage. Obviously, just going in and/or bombing will require some pretty fancy footwork.

I just feel that, while we must try every possible means of aiding Musharraf in ousting Al Qaeda from Pakistan, we must draw a line in the sand against these Islamic Fundamentalists, and I fear that Musharraf has no more cards to play.

I sincerely hope someone here, or anywhere can show me a gameplan that doesn't involve more innocent people getting killed, 'cause, believe me(whidbey), I am sick of warmongering.
 
  2007-07-24 01:15:33 PM  
trog69: I sincerely hope someone here, or anywhere can show me a gameplan that doesn't involve more innocent people getting killed, 'cause, believe me(whidbey), I am sick of warmongering.

The problem is that the United States believes it can do no wrong, and our government certainly doesn't want to involve any other countries a la the UN. But we seriously have no business intervening in another country as we have both in Afghanistan and Iraq. It only shows we have no respect for sovereignty.

The problem of "terrorism" isn't going to disappear until it's dealt with internationally. Until then, it's only going to get worse, as we are trying to put out a fire using gasoline.
 
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