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Comment Re:Some people don't get it either (Score 1) 146

If you said that aloud, it would probably be, based on your tone and body language, clearly sarcasm. When it's in written form, though, you are mistaken--it is NOT clear. If, for example, this was being said by Rush Limbaugh, it would obviously be a tongue-in-cheek reference to Trump, but otherwise straight communication.

Speaking as someone who overuses sarcasm, I've found that no matter how clear *I* think I am being, others do not always see it that way.

Comment Re:another obstacle for HSR in USA? (Score 1) 218

It works great in Japan and Europe where towns are closer together.

That makes no sense--with high speed rail, you want fewer stops and longer runs, not stops that are close together. One of the challenges is that every town with rail running through it wants the HSR to stop there. Once it does, it's not "high speed" anymore.

Comment Re:hyperloop without the hyper or loop (Score 4, Insightful) 218

First off, you do make some good points (especially with regard to the utility of having the station in the city center, instead of a 30-60 minute drive outside of town), but, that said, you're also oversimplifying things. Probably the most egregious example is to suggest that building the hyperloop replaces the cost of two airline terminals (especially using JFK as a model). JFK serves dozens, if not hundreds, of discrete destinations, while the hyperloop serves two. Worse, the hyperloop destinations are only a few hundred miles apart. JFK has flights to six continents. In other words, unless you are advocating replacing all air travel with hyperloop style transport (something that would cost several orders of magnitude more than the short range test project) you are comparing apples to oranges.

Lastly, you are looking at sunk costs vs new investments. It's not "we can pay for the hyperloop instead of the airport" because the airport already exists.

Comment Re:Two opposed postions on abortion, both libertar (Score 1) 459

No. It would make them sentient dolphins, not "non-human people".

Whatever you want to call them - do you think that they would not be entitled to, at the minimum, a right to life to the same degree as humans (i.e. killing them should be treated as murder)?

If so, then what determines who has that right and who doesn't? Sentience? But zygotes aren't sentient.

Easy peasy!

23 chromosomes is a normal number for humans, but not all humans have 23 chromosomes - Down syndrome, XYY males and XXX females etc.

Ultimately, all this is just accumulated mutations and selection of them over the course of that 6 million years of divergence. By itself, that's still a quantitative difference, not qualitative - i.e. we know that things are different, sure, but they're also different between humans on genetic level. The question is, what exactly about those missing or extra chromosomes and DNA difference is responsible for having or not having natural rights? If you could incrementally edit a chimp's genome to make it human, at which point during the process is it "human enough"?

Comment Re:Two opposed postions on abortion, both libertar (Score 1) 459

Anyone intelligent enough to post on /. is intelligent enough to know that half the DNA isn't enough.

Enough for what? To eventually grow a human, sure. But to be a person? I don't know.

Thus, if self-awareness is the measure of humanity/personhood, it's just as ok to "put down" an eighteen month old human as it is to kill an unwanted dog.

You're correct - i.e. logically speaking, either both are okay, or neither is okay.

Or, possibly, the definition of "person" is more extensive than self-awareness. But I still don't see why it should have anything to do with DNA makeup.

I fail to see the difference between the two.

It's because the definition of "person" is not strict, and for most people who haven't given it consideration, it's basically "I know it when I see it". However, surely you can imagine a hypothetical non-human person, even under whatever subjective definition you subscribe to? E.g. suppose we do determine that dolphins are "intelligent enough", after all, and devise means to communicate with them with a full-fledged language - would that not make them persons?

"Human", on the other hand, is defined entirely in strict biological terms. It's still not a strict definition if you consider corner cases (which extinct hominids were human and which weren't, for example? and at which point the result of our future evolution can no longer be called "human" and becomes a different species?), but for practical purposes, you can just do a DNA test.

Where did I indicate such a thing???

You indicated that natural rights belong to humans, and humans are defined by DNA. I don't see why such differentiation by DNA is fundamentally different from differentiating within homo sapiens sapiens by DNA; the only difference is degree. Just as you can determine the difference between humans and chimps by comparing their genes, so you can determine the difference between different human populations by looking at some genetic markers or others (and yes, there are some that correlate pretty well with black skin, for example).

And don't pretend like the fact that one case straddles species boundary and the other one doesn't makes a huge difference - "species" themselves are a rather arbitrary human construct stemming from our desire to neatly label and categorize everything, but nature doesn't really care about such things. If you want to talk about objective facts, you'll have to show a difference in quality rather than quantity of differences (or demonstrate that some quantity is a threshold meaningful for some reason other than "because I said so").

It is relevant, because with it you boil the argument down to objective facts instead of philosophical and socio-political arguments.

You can't boil the argument down without agreeing on what the argument is about. This particular one is whether personhood or humanity is the defining factor for possessing natural rights, including right to life. Yes, if you arbitrarily resolve this question in favor of humanity, then you can boil it down to objective facts - DNA etc. But that first decision is arbitrary, and not everyone agrees to it.

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 2) 253

People don't tend to stay at those places long, but if you haven't been able to get other work it can help pay bills until you can.

Swiping wallets from tourists at a busy attraction can also help you pay the bills until you can, but I don't think that's a valid argument in favor of the person doing so.

Comment Re:Two opposed postions on abortion, both libertar (Score 1) 459

Answer, part #1: Because the the human brain develops naturally from that zygote.

Sure, but why start with zygote? Why not the egg? Why not before? Any point in this chain is pretty arbitrary, and even if you pick one (like you did with "has its own DNA"), it's not clear what it has to do with personhood.

Answer, part #2: Babies with severe microcephaly have no self-awareness, but are still humans.

Sure. And it's a valid question to ask whether they should have the same rights as a self-aware human being. Ditto for braindead people.

Because their DNA is not human.

But then you're not basing your definition of rights on whether someone is a person or not. You're basing it on whether they're human or not (or rather - because there isn't really a hard delimiter between species in general - on whether someone is "sufficiently human"). I don't see why this is, in principle, any better than denying on a scattering of other genetic markers that correspond to dark skin etc.

Biology is irrelevant here, because it does not really concern itself with issues such as "personhood" and "natural rights".

Comment Re:Two opposed postions on abortion, both libertar (Score 1) 459

So self-awareness, and brain in general, is not required to be a person?

Why aren't animals persons, then, and why don't they get all the same rights that a person should? Just because they have a wrong DNA? Does it also apply to humans with "the wrong DNA" (e.g. not sufficiently white)?

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