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Comment Re:Why animals can't be given human rights. (Score 1) 168 168

everybody that can have offspring with us so no goats, no horses, no rabits, and also no apes, pretty easy definition of same specie animal

Only creationists cling to that definition. Evolution killed it dead.
The problem is that change occurs gradually. The common ancestors of you and a cat could certainly interbreed. And so could their offspring, for a long while, until at first you had individuals that were different enough that they couldn't, although most could, and then twogroups that were incompatible, although both could interbreed with a third one, and eventually, all individuals that could interbreed had died off. But what's the exact point where there were two species?

To get the pre-evolution "interbreed" criterion to work, you have to define a proto-species. One individual that is who everyone else is measured against. Otherwise, you wlll run into the problem where your Nth cousin on one side can breed with individuals that you cannot. Where does the line go then?
But by defining a proto-species, you also end up with individuals and groups that will belong to multiple species, because they're midway between the two.

Look at lions and tigers. One variety of tiger can interbreed with lions and create viable offspring, while others cannot. Yet the different types of tigers can interbreed. So our division into species for lions and tigers is not based on breeding.

Your biological parents certainly could breed - there's sad evidence for that. So could their parents. And so on, back through time, back to the common ancestor of you and a chimp. It's a gradual change. Making pigeonholes you can place each individual in is pretty much impossible unless you're prepared to say that your parents were a different species.

We are not good at thinking gradually, alas. We want to classify and group things, to make things simpler. But it's as futile as trying to define where one cloud ends and another one begins. It will always be arbitrary, and subject to change over time.

Comment Re:Why animals can't be given human rights. (Score 1) 168 168

Look, we have one distinct species we consider human.

But the question is how do you define it?

"Species" is a construct to make it easier for us. We like to classify things. We probably have a brain that favors classifying things. We certainly have brains that favor "us" versus "them". But there really is no such thing as "species" - it's just a convenient lie.

The old rule, "can breed with and produce viable offspring" does not work - evolution killed it. Species that cannot interbreed have a common ancestor, That logically kills that definition (and most others, like your attempt to define humans using human as part of the definition - a classic begging the question).

All living things on earth are related. There are no precise boundaries between "species". Our parents differs slightly from us, and our grandparents even more We may classify our great-N-grandparent or Nth cousin a different species, but we have no rules for saying that our great-N-grandparent was a different species while our great-N-1-grandparent wasn't.

There is currently no objective rule that can say whether someone is or was human or not. Any such rule will either include what we consider other species or exclude some who we consider people. And most certainly, it won't stand the test of time, as we evolve into something we of today surely would call a different species.

I think we need to move beyond our propensity for pigeon-holing, and accept a gradient way of thinking, without boundaries, but degrees of similarity.
I'm very similar to my father, but less so to my ancestor 10,000 years ago, and very dissimilar to my ancestor a million years ago. There's no point in saying who was "human" - it was mostly a gradual change, with a little bit of hybridization throw in at times. I can't point to one of my ancestors and declare that he wasn't human, but his son was. But I can say how much they differed from me. That's useful. Making rules we cannot logically defend isn't.

Comment Re:Why animals can't be given human rights. (Score 0) 168 168

There's an easy definition to Homo Sapiens: a child of a Homo Sapiens. This works for all possible people throughout human history.

Except that it doesn't. It's a classic case of begging the question.

How do we know you are human by that definition?
We would have to know that your parents were human.
But how do we know that?
We would have to know that your grandparents were human.
But how do we know that? ... and so on

Before long, we look at a common ancestor to you and the chimp. Which either makes the chimp human, or you not.

No, you can not get around this by saying in modern recorded history either, because how do you determine that the first person in modern recorded history was human? There must then be another criterion.

Comment Re:Why animals can't be given human rights. (Score 0) 168 168

Personhood is fairly well defined in most, if not all, jurisdictions and it pretty much explicitly excludes anyone who isn't a member of H. sapiens.

The problem is that there's no definition for what is a member of Homo Sapiens. Was your mother? Her mother? Her mother? When exactly did that change? Back when you and the chimp has the same great-great-N-greatgrandmother?

I have around 5% Neanderthal genes. Yet chimpanzees are 98% similar to humans. Who's the human?

Sure, we can come up with a definition of human. But how do we make it so it includes people with an extra chromosome, people who due to genetic differences cannot reproduce with others, or our own descendants down the line?

Comment Re:My sympathy (Score 1) 43 43

It's called a "DNR" - Do Not Resuscitate. The EMTs will ask if you signed one as soon as they see you stretched out on the floor.

But see, i dowant to be resuscitated in ways that will not cripple me or make my final days unbearable. Defibrillator? Bring it on. Adrenaline? Jab it in.
CPR? No thanks.

Comment Re:My sympathy (Score 1) 43 43

I hope you take comfort from the fact he truly made a vast difference to the lives of people in a way that most people can only dream about.

Four out of five elderly people given CPR end up dying within days. Many of them with prolonged and intense suffering due to CPR prolonging the inevitable.
And in some cases CPR is given when it's not warranted, breaking ribs, collapsing lungs or otherwise causing serious and sometimes fatal damage.

It's a useful tool for saving lives when not used indiscriminately. But that's how we use it. If I keel over, please don't resuscitate unless there is at least a 50% chance of long-term success, and less than a 50% chance of causing long-term damage. It's just a life.

Comment Crooks are afraid of the dark, too (Score 4, Insightful) 293 293

And cars tend to have headlights.

I remember a study from the 90's that showed eliminating lights around schools at night actually reduced the number of break-ins at those schools. The reasoning was that a) most people are afraid of the dark and b) a ne'er-do-well would need a flashlight, which would be easy to spot in the darkness.

Comment Re:Off Topic Editorial Complaint (Score 1) 591 591

Personally, I think that we, the users of slashdot, should purchase it. I would gladly donate some money for it, and I think a lot of other users would do the same.

There is precedence. The WELL was bought by users, and is still operational.

What's Rob Malda doing these days? Any spare time?

Comment Re:Yeah, be a man! (Score 1) 591 591

Oh yes there would be a very public trial. Why do you need a closed trial when all the classified evidence has already been published by the accused and is in public domain?

You don't need to, but they'd want to. Else, a trial would mean losing even more face and credibility. There is no way in hell that The Man would allow that.

Comment Re:The argument is "leaky" at best too (Score 1) 195 195

I think you are confusing "fittest" in the "physical fitness" sense and not the specific meaning that has been ascribed to that term when discussing evolution.

No, i'm not. The problem isn't the word stem "fit", but the qualifier "-est". There is no evolutionary reward for being fittest; nature only tends to weed out those least fit. Which rewards both the fittest and those slightly less fit as long as they're fit enough. The fittest may not be the winners - everyone fit enough have a fair chance at the game, and sometimes the fittest lose to those just fit.

The tally of the score after the fact is what we call evolution; evolution itself causes no changes, of course.

Economists state their GNP growth projections to the nearest tenth of a percentage point to prove they have a sense of humor. -- Edgar R. Fiedler