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Human is?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Oleg Volk, Jul 17, 2003.

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  1. Oleg Volk

    Oleg Volk Moderator Emeritus

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    "Human life is worth defending". Most of us agree. What I am curious about is the definition of human life. Some people feel their pets are human, though the courts disagree. Others are of opinion that a microcephalic individual isn't human due to the lack of any inelligence whatsoever. I am curious where you draw the line.
     
  2. Chris Rhines

    Chris Rhines Member

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    If an animal, vegetable, or mineral can say to me*, "I have the rights to self-ownership and self-rule, and I demand that you respect my rights as I respect yours," then they're human enough for me.

    - Chris

    * - And understand what they are saying. A tape recording is not human. Neither, by this definition, are most politicians...
     
  3. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    Interesting question. I go with the scientific approach that defines a "human being" as a "living human organism". This means having the following characteristics:

    1. Living - the most common evidence of this is cell division. This is evidence of life. When cell division stops, death has ensued.

    2. Human - having the complete DNA of the human species.

    3. Organism - the Encarta web site defines this word as follows:
    So, to me, a human life is one that exhibits all three qualities: life, human DNA, and the interdependent parts that make up a living human being. I discount attributes such as age, intelligence, physical or mental health, etc., as these are variables that will change over time for each of us. I may be young, bright and healthy at one time, and a few decades later might be old, senile and sick - but I'm still the same human being!

    Given this definition, of course, one can argue long and hard about abortion being murder (because a fetus has all of these attributes), or the sanctity of human life (when does life cease being "human"?), and so on.
     
  4. BerettaNut92

    BerettaNut92 Member

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    Uh oh. I see an abortion debate coming...better get my two dorrar in :D

    'Human Life is Worth Defending' means that I do what I can to protect myself and the people that I know and care about. Protecting society may be a contractual obligation (folks that serve in public safety, perhaps, whole 'nother debate here), subcultural one (members of the church look out for each other spiritually), etc. but at the top-down level, can still be open to abuse by the powers--corrupt police, churches divided by politics, etc. Defending human life is most efficiently done at the individual level.

    Pets are property. Funny thing is I heard some blissninnies say they'd take a bullet for their pets, but they wouldn't kill a predator to save their own life....strange people, but each their own as long as they leave me alone, which unfortunately, they're not. I would have a problem with my neighbor coming on my property and kicking my dog. But not sure what I can legally do about it. "I am going to call my lawyer. He is going to arrest you. Why did she do it?? She's lying! She's lying to you!!!"
     
  5. Darrin

    Darrin Member

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    I'll comment on the 'pet' part. My cat has more personality than most "humans." She knows when I've had a bad day and a good day, and usually acts accordingly. Sometimes, my cat is the only "person" I can talk to. (Yes, she talks back. Just a different language.)

    Now, would I shoot someone over my cat? Hard to say. If some BG comes into my house, and for some reason I can clearly see s/he's about to shoot my cat, well, I just might shoot. However, if I find my cat on the side of the road dead, (indoor cat, so I really don't have to worry about that) I would not hunt down the jerk who killed my cat. Well, maybe hunt him/her down, but I wouldn't shoot 'em.

    Dang good question, Oleg. I'm going to ponder on that for a little bit.
     
  6. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

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    I think a keyword ''sentient'' covers it quite well. ........ to feel or have feelings ..... pretty much most would say confined to homo sapiens.

    When it comes to the defense aspect then much will as ever depend on threat to self ... within which framework we can in fact include non humans, as in an attack by wild animal etc.
     
  7. Darrin

    Darrin Member

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    Ever see a dog get excited? Ever see a dog that's scared? Ever see a dog that's mad?

    Those are feelings.



    I promise I'm not with PETA, I just love animals and have oberved plenty 'o feelings in many of them. Of course, IME.
     
  8. Don Gwinn

    Don Gwinn Moderator Emeritus

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    I love my dogs, but they're not human. They're not persons, either. And if you think feelings are the definition of humanity, you're on a road to deep confusion.
     
  9. Darrin

    Darrin Member

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    I was referring to what someone else posted.
    From what I'm reading there, only humans show feelings. I was stating that wasn't true.
     
  10. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

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    Seen all that Darrin ..... sure but as far as I'm concerned they are not ''feelings'' .... no ''hurt'', no ''bitterness', no ''love'', simply instinctual animal reactions to stimuli .... reactions to reward, deprivations etc . and threats.

    Dog excited? ...... yep ... association ... whether Pavlovian or not ... ''walkies''= pleasure .... food = pleasure .... = anticipatory excitment.

    Dog scared? ....... again yep ... reaction to threat perhaps ... not the dog ''thinking'' .... ***!! Just a perceived threat brought on by instincts ... survival instincts .. adrenaline etc.

    Dog mad? .... yep that too .. but assuming you do not mean rabid .. just plain ''angry, mad'' .... again usually a result of being ''wound up'' thru threat or a repeat of an action that previously produced pain maybe.

    I'm sure these things can seem like ''feelings'' but - the necessary consciousness capability just ain't there for emotions, per se.

    Anyways .. off topic, sorry. But dogs sentient .. nope sorry.:)
     
  11. BenW

    BenW Member

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    Exactly. Even if they were sentient, they would still be sentient dogs, not humans. Anything else is just anthropomorphising.

    That being said, my bird dog is way closer to the front of the line of "creatures Ben would special order a hamburger, hold everything but the meat and bun, at the MacDonalds drive through" than most humans out there are.
     
  12. Darrin

    Darrin Member

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    All good. I'll still have talks with my cat. :)
     
  13. BerettaNut92

    BerettaNut92 Member

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    My guns have feelings...they shoot lousy when I neglect them :eek:

    :D
     
  14. cordex

    cordex Member

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    BenW,
    I have a friend who will argue at length that human "feelings" are exactly as you described the dog's reactions.

    I'll buy Preacherman's definition of "human life".
    Living, human DNA and an organism. Works for me.
     
  15. TexasVet

    TexasVet Member

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    Okay, who had that Heinlein quote from Lazarus Long in their sig line. That pretty much defines what a human is to me.
    There are a lot of two legged, naked apes out there that don't come close to being human anymore. Sometimes I think that God made 4.5 Billion souls, and when we passed that population mark the excess is out there without that which makes one human.
     
  16. sm

    sm member

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    My definition closely resembles that of Preacher. I won't give the definition I learned and re-defined for myself from Anatomy and Physiology...his is close enough.

    Agree about some "organisms" walking on two legs, having opposing digit--perhaps that "intellect" thingy is missing. Theory: Correlation between politicians and this "intellect thingy" missing...I'd say so...getting passed onto "sheeple" through osmosis...yep!

    thankfully -some of us have "humoral immunity" ...
     
  17. BenW

    BenW Member

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    What, you mean slobbering all over a hamburger?::neener: :D
     
  18. brookstexas

    brookstexas member

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    The following is MY opinion, based on my life experiences and formation. Countless hours of reading religious text, Science books, Robert Heinlein and the first series of Star Trek, your opinion will likely differ...

    Humans are the most intelligent animal on the planet. Don't forget we are animals like it or not.

    Being such doesn't give us the right to do as we wish with less intelligent animals. If you feel dogs for instance are just "property" (Recent court decisions are changing that) then what is wrong with beating up mentally retarded children for fun?

    I know lower animals use tools, logic, feel fear and have dreams also.
    Sadly Koko the gorilla has a larger vocabulary than many people in Congress I think.

    Higher animals and lower animals, from some of the places around the world the line is too easily blurred.

    I think human is more than just being a sentient creature, it's what you do with the awareness.
    BrooksTexas
     
  19. brookstexas

    brookstexas member

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    Those aren't "Feelings"

    P95Carry wrote-

    Dog excited? ...... yep ... association ... whether Pavlovian or not ... ''walkies''= pleasure .... food = pleasure .... = anticipatory excitment.

    Dog scared? ....... again yep ... reaction to threat perhaps ... not the dog ''thinking'' .... ***!! Just a perceived threat brought on by instincts ... survival instincts .. adrenaline etc.

    Dog mad? .... yep that too .. but assuming you do not mean rabid .. just plain ''angry, mad'' .... again usually a result of being ''wound up'' thru threat or a repeat of an action that previously produced pain maybe.

    Child excited? Yep association- Daddys home= anticipatory excitment
    Child scared?-Thunder does that to my Beagle also
    Child mad?- Sorry sometimes you just fall down

    Human emotions are very "Hardwired" also in this regard and both can be trained to react differently.

    BT
     
  20. Justin

    Justin Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't think that there's really any way to detect sentience, no moreso than one can scientifically quantify the soul.

    However, I think that it is possible to determine if a particular creature or species is sentient through a couple of methods:

    1)Technological development. Many animals use primitive tools or build primitive structures out of instinct. That doesn't count. What would count would be verifiable improvements in technology over a period of time. In other words, generational refinements of a tool over time to increase its utility.

    2)Use of and employment of fire. 'Nuf said.

    As for animal rights activists...
    The reason they are engaged in such activism is due to the fact that an animal is far less likely to look at them and say 'buzz off, jerk' than even the most simple of humans.
     
  21. Hkmp5sd

    Hkmp5sd Member

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    Humans are the only lifeform on earth that purposely seek to kill others of the same lifeform for a wide assortment of reasons, ranging from "to see what it feels like" to killing innocents in the belief they will be rewarded to an afterlife in heaven with a large supply of virgins. Some humans kill because they enjoy it. Some kill to force others to do what they desire. Some do it for greed or power.

    The vast majority of "animals" kill for survival and they kill because of instinct, not because they awoke this morning and decided to kill a dozen of their species because they didn't like the color of their fur.

    Another trait separating humans from other lifeforms is that humans alone have the capacity and ability to destroy every other lifeform on the planet, themselves included.
     
  22. HeavyHaul

    HeavyHaul Member

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    Ok, human life is worth saving. Unless that human happens to be one of the scum that preys on other humans. Then, if he tries to prey on me or mine, he becomes worm food. I will add that "mine" includes my cats. They are inside cats only. Thus if some scum of the earth is threatening my cats, they are in my house. My house is my castle, my last refuge. My place of safety. Violate that then you are, again, worm food. Yes, my cats are family. They talk to me, I talk to them. Are they worth putting my life on the line for? Yes. I live where I do (not the best area) because the landloards allow my cats. If I could afford my own place, then I would live in a better area. Animals may be property, but some property is worth more than others. JMHO

    sen·tient
    Having sense perception; conscious: “The living knew themselves just sentient puppets on God's stage†(T.E. Lawrence).
    Experiencing sensation or feeling.
     
  23. Byron Quick

    Byron Quick Moderator In Memoriam

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    Murder has been observed within bands of chimpanzees. War has been observed between bands of chimpanzees. Rape has been observed both intra-band and inter-band.

    Some male dolphins will have sex with anything that can't get away...including you if they catch you.

    The statements quoted can be read many places in works over centuries. However, observers of animal behavior in the wild over the last fifty years have found them to be largely false. Especially in what are considered to be the "higher" mammals.
     
  24. Hkmp5sd

    Hkmp5sd Member

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    Byron,

    You may be correct. However, I still believe that animals that do engage in violence/rape against their own or other species are doing it because of the "survival of the fittest" instinct and not because they simply enjoy it. Given that they have no moral or legal barrier to stop this action, if they were doing it because they liked it, they would wipe out their entire band and possibly their species.
     
  25. Byron Quick

    Byron Quick Moderator In Memoriam

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    Not necessarily. You've got some bully chimp that kills another one. Decides he likes it. So he does it again. And again. Smaller, weaker chimp who's smarter notes a trend. Smaller, weaker chimp happens to have a couple of smaller, weaker chimp buddies who think they might be next. They gang up and have bully chimp for lunch. Survival of the fittest happened to be: those who were fittest were those who cooperated best in emergencies. In this particular incident:D


    I believe this is the Heinlein quote referred to earlier by TexasVet.

    Also by Heinlein:
     
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