Law/Philosophy question for you guys

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500_Apples
Law/Philosophy question for you guys

Would a cloned Neanderthal qualify for human rights?

Unionist

What do you have against Stephen Harper?

martin dufresne

Well, she would get points from the outset for not having invented nuclear bombs, concentration camps...

Tommy_Paine

It depends on how you define human.   If the law is based on a DNA type deffinition of human, then Neanderthals wouldn't qualify.  If we reach for any other definition, not only would Neanderthals qualify, so would Chimps, Bonobos, Gorillas, Oranguatangs, and David Frum, I think.  

 

Agent 204 Agent 204's picture

In Spain, they've passed legislation to make all great apes persons:

Quote:
Spain's parliament voiced its support on Wednesday for the rights of
great apes to life and freedom in what will apparently be the first
time any national legislature has called for such rights for non-humans.

Parliament's environmental committee approved resolutions urging
Spain to comply with the Great Apes Project, devised by scientists and
philosophers who say our closest genetic relatives deserve rights
hitherto limited to humans.

Given this, I'd say the Neanderthals would definitely be given those rights. I like this idea, but it's interesting to consider the implications nevertheless. If we develop an AI that can pass a Turing test, should it be considered a person as well? I don't see why not. Consider the alternative; if we restrict personhood to Homo sapiens, then not only is Data not a person, but neither is Whorf. (Don't know what you'd call Spock in such a case).

 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Well, that would depend on settling their taxonomical status. If they are homo sapiens neanderthalenis, then they are simply a sub-species and there would be no grounds for argument - they would have the same human rights as homo sapiens sapiens - on the other hand, if they are homo neanderthalenis, they would be a distinct species, and the matter might be debatable. A somewhat simple way of settling the debate would be to see if the mating of homo sapiens and homo neanderthalenis would consistently produce fertile offspring -- although, strictly speaking, the acid test is if such offspring were fertile when mated with other such offspring as opposed to mating with a representative of the "parent stock". If they passed this acid test, they are definitely human, fully qualified for full human rights, and every Rugby coach's wet dream.Laughing

500_Apples

bagkitty wrote:
Well, that would depend on settling their taxonomical status. If they are homo sapiens neanderthalenis, then they are simply a sub-species and there would be no grounds for argument - they would have the same human rights as homo sapiens sapiens - on the other hand, if they are homo neanderthalenis, they would be a distinct species, and the matter might be debatable. A somewhat simple way of settling the debate would be to see if the mating of homo sapiens and homo neanderthalenis would consistently produce fertile offspring -- although, strictly speaking, the acid test is if such offspring were fertile when mated with other such offspring as opposed to mating with a representative of the "parent stock". If they passed this acid test, they are definitely human, fully qualified for full human rights, and every Rugby coach's wet dream.Laughing

What about infertile couples? Are they not human? Do you hate people who adopt?

;-)

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

I loathe them and plot their downfall. LMAO

The word used was consistently rather than universally or in all instances. Individual exceptions would not negate the test - if one uses hinnies and mules as the example, there is a single recorded instance of successful mating of a two hinnies and seven recorded successful matings of two mules.... these are statistical anomolies and do not seriously undermine the assertion that donkey/horse matings produce infertile hybrids

Tommy_Paine

When scientists said Neanderthals were big boned, I think they were just being polite.

Wink

Seriously though, wiki said that the Max Planck institute started sequencing the Neandethal DNA back in 2006, and they should be finished.   However, it's not clear from my lazy search if they have announced any results yet.

 

Tommy_Paine

 

As for the interbreeding, I would take a different tack.   We know the most recent known date for Neanderthal and our co-existance was 30,000 years ago. 

How old is beer making technology?

500_Apples

Unionist wrote:
What do you have against Stephen Harper?

What do you have against Neanderthals?

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:

 

As for the interbreeding, I would take a different tack.   We know the most recent known date for Neanderthal and our co-existance was 30,000 years ago. 

How old is beer making technology?

Fermentation does not require technology per se (although technology helps).

500_Apples

bagkitty wrote:
Tommy_Paine wrote:

 

As for the interbreeding, I would take a different tack.   We know the most recent known date for Neanderthal and our co-existance was 30,000 years ago. 

How old is beer making technology?

Fermentation does not require technology per se (although technology helps).

It's as technological as planting berries.

Agent 204 Agent 204's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:
Seriously though, wiki said that the Max Planck institute started sequencing the Neandethal DNA back in 2006, and they should be finished.   However, it's not clear from my lazy search if they have announced any results yet. 

Haven't found anything on it yet either. In fact, I haven't even been able to find anything on the Neanderthals' chromosome number, which should give us a good idea about whether or not they were interfertile with us.

Tommy_Paine

Every time I see a documentary or do some looking up or reading on Neanderthals, everything I thought I knew seems to have changed.  Including even how to pronounce Neanderthal.

Wikipedia seems to offer these agreed upon facts.  The youngest indications of anything Neanderthal in the fossil record date back to 24,000 years ago.  However, this specimen seems to indicate a Neanderthal and homo sapiens sapiens mix.  Solidly Neanderthal specimens have been re-dated to about 30,000 years ago.   However, there is cultural tool evidence that may indicate a Neanderthal presence as late as 22,000 years ago.

That being said, I would find it surprising that the fossil record to date would offer up the very last evidence of the last Neanderthals.  I would think it safe to bet that their final existance as Neanderthals was more recent.

Gilgamesh and Inkadu, anyone?

Anywho. 

 Using two different sequencing techniques, two labratories sequenced the DNA from a 38,000 year old sample taken from a femur bone found in Croatia.  

The results were similar. However, they don't seem to have answered the question about extinction vs. interbreeding.   The results could not eliminate the possibility of modern human DNA contamination during the sequencing process, nor a build up of errors in the sequencing.  One technique seemed to indicate some interbreeding.  The other didn't.  Both labs agreed that there wasn't a large enough sample group to even yell at each other about, that both conclusions were suspect.

All that sequencing for nothing.

 Previously, it was thought that Neanderthals and humans arose from a common ancestor 700,000 years ago.  This project seems to have bumped that up to about 500,000 years ago.  But even this seems to be questionable.

 

Maysie Maysie's picture

bagkitty wrote:

there is a single recorded instance of successful mating of a two hinnies and seven recorded successful matings of two mules.... these are statistical anomolies and do not seriously undermine the assertion that donkey/horse matings produce infertile hybrids

Sometimes I think scientists just make shit up so they can watch various animals boinking. But that's me.

And Unionist, I'm deeply offended that you compared Neanderthals to Stephen Harper, thereby deeply insulting any and all Neanderthals everywhere. Shame on you. Tongue out

remind remind's picture

Though this comment is not about Neanderthals it is about early Europeans allegedly coming to NA and mixing with early Japanese arriving here.

Discovery Channel  a couple of days ago had a  fantasy program on about how the early Europeans from France, those who made the drawings in the caves in caves, who allededly used the "ice bridge" across the Atlantic, in the last ice to come to NA. The "story" they created goes on to depict a niotion they ran into the ancestors of today's Japanese, who came across on the lad bridge via Alaska, and they joined together thereby creating today's First Nation peoples.

Apparently they say the genetics of the Ojibway prove this and 1 spear head made from flint, found in Virginia.

IMV, it was an amazing fete of propaganda that is designed to re-write history and state that "Europeans" were the first settlers in NA.

___________________________________________________________

"watching the tide roll away"

Tommy_Paine

I think I saw that a while back.  There is a lot of crap out there in documentary land, even on the "Discovery" channel. 

However, I think too much is made either way about these speculative assertions about Europeans coming to North America thousands of years ago. 

Even if they did, it doesn't speak to current politics.

And the thing about spear points is that there's probably only a few different ways, variations due to prey being hunted, of tying a pointy rock to the end of a stick.  Just because you find a certain tool in one part of the world, and a similar one in another part of the world does not mean that there was any kind of cultural exchange.   

 

just one of the...

Apples, I have read tha neanderthals had bigger brains than us. Maybe you can correct me. If that is true and neanderthals were not the stereotyped neanderthals that we think, then maybe the question is should they give us human rights?

Maysie Maysie's picture

just one of the concerned wrote:
Apples, I have read tha neanderthals had bigger brains than us. Maybe you can correct me. If that is true and neanderthals were not the stereotyped neanderthals that we think, then maybe the question is should they give us human rights?

Hee, good one. Although I suppose they would call them "neanderthal rights".  Smile

Tommy_Paine

 being a buttinski, sorry.

A 1993 study of 118 hominid crania indicated that we had Neanderthals beat by 75 cc: 

 

"The assertion persists that neanderthal cranial capacity was much larger than modern humans, indicating their brain size may have been larger; however, a 1993 analysis of 118 hominid crania concluded that the cranial capacity of H.s. neandertal averaged 1412cc while that of fossil modern H.s. sapiens averaged 1487cc."

 According to wikipedia.

Some further googling around seems to indicate that there is a lot of conflicting information concerning this.  It might come down to methodology in the measuring, or sampling issues.

I tried to find out through googling just how many Neanderthal individuals we have for examples.   I'm not sure how good the sources are, but it seems there's maybe a dozen or so complete skelletons.   If we include fragments, it seems there could be as many as 200 individual examples.

I couldn't find how many Neanderthal skulls there are to study. 

It seems like a small number, but on the other hand Neanderthal remains are more plentifull than other human relatives or ancestors.

 

Sven Sven's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:

However, I think too much is made either way about these speculative assertions about Europeans coming to North America thousands of years ago.

I think the great weight of the evidence is that peoples from Asia were the first humans on the North American continent. 

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Sven Sven's picture

By the way, for those that think cloinging a Neanderthal is just sci-fi:

‘A team of researchers led by geneticist Svante Pääbo at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany announced last week that they had completed a draft sequence of the genome of Neanderthal humans.

[snip]

Once the Neanderthal genome is complete, could it then be used to clone an actual Neanderthal? Harvard University biologist George Church thinks so.  He told The New York Times that a Neanderthal could be brought to life using present technology for about $30 million.  How?  Church would modify a modern human genome so that its DNA matches the Neanderthal version.  To avoid ethical problems, Church tells the Times, this Neanderthal genome would not be inserted into a human cell but instead into a chimpanzee cell. This chimp cell would be reprogrammed to an embryonic state, and then introduced into a chimpanzee's womb where it would develop into a Neanderthal infant.’

Read all about it: HERE.

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

contrarianna

The extension of human laws to other species on the basis of similarities to modern humans is not new:

"The Great Ape Project (GAP), founded in 1993, is an international organization of primatologists, psychologists, ethicists, and other experts who advocate a United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Great Apes that would confer basic legal rights on non-human great apes: chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans. The rights suggested are the right to life, the protection of individual liberty, and the prohibition of torture."

But as worthy as this project might be, the GAP, and the dialogue in this thread so far, reinforce the often unconscious arrogance of  anthropocentrism.

It is the ultimate "Might Makes Right" closed-circuit perspective.
Humans may allow other creatures into the privileged protection of human laws on valuations based on what features make these creatures sufficiently human.  
And how could it be otherwise. After all, it is the esteemed convoluted brains of humans that have assumed the right to dispose of other species and the planet as they will.
It is becoming apparent the last word will not be human law.

Sven Sven's picture

contrarianna wrote:
 
And how could it be otherwise.

That's true.  Other beings are incapable of asserting any rights.  So, any rights that those other beings would have are, by definition, human-granted rights.

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Papal Bull

Sven wrote:

Svante Pääbo

 

That name has too many umlauts in a row to be trusted.

Sven Sven's picture

I think the question is all but moot (because if it can be technologically done, I think it will be done...eventually) but what do Babblers think about whether or not a Neanderthal should be produced?

Personally, I'm squeamish about it...but not sure why, exactly (need to noodle on it more).

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

contrarianna

Sven wrote:

contrarianna wrote:
 
And how could it be otherwise.

That's true.  Other beings are incapable of asserting any rights.  So, any rights that those other beings would have are, by definition, human-granted rights.

The inability to "assert rights" may also be said some individual humans and supressed groups who are denied equal legal rights by the dominant group.

There is often a distinction made between "legal rights" and "natural rights". There are those who believe animals too have "natural rights" whether or not they are "human-granted" (ie legal).  

contrarianna

It's unfortunate that the criterium for being human is DNA analysis rather than ethos.

There are some questions that should be considered before granting human legal status to any creature.

"Is this creature capable of genocide?"
"Is this creature capable of wiping out the majority of species on the planet?"
"Is this creature capable of making the planet uninhabitable even for itself?"
"Is this creature capable of infinite self-delusion?"

A "No" to any of these questions ought to disqualify it from the dignity of human legal protection.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Papal Bull wrote:
Sven wrote:

Svante Pääbo

That name has too many umlauts in a row to be trusted.

Those aren't umlauts - they are an integral part of the letter.

ä and a are actually separate letters in the Swedish alphabet.

Merowe

hominid rights, maybe?

Sven Sven's picture

[Deleted]

Nevermind!!