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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) 251

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)?

Comment Re:Fundamentals (Score 2) 350

That's directly related to the post. It's literally what the argument in it is:

1. If we bring them into US, they get "extended constitutional rights" (basically, due process)
2. If they get due process treatment, we'll have to let most of them go because there's not enough evidence to lock them up.
3. But they're bad guys who want to hurt us! I want them locked up.
4. Therefore, keep them at Gitmo where we can keep them locked forever without bothering with proving their guilt.

And yes, I'm well aware that the poster who made it does indeed think that this is a good thing. All it takes is looking at his comment history.

Comment Re:Fundamentals (Score 1) 350

Bosnia is a bit of a special case in a sense that Bosniaks there were targeted by Christian Serbs and Croats - so it would still be natural for them to see it as a fundamentally religious war (which is in an of itself quite sufficient to get radicalized), but furthermore to see US as generally "in the same camp" on account of also being Christian.

But even if they do get radicalized, the question is who becomes their primary target.

Comment Re:Fundamentals (Score 4, Insightful) 350

So basically what you're saying is that due process is just "too good" for some people, and would let them walk even though they're "bad guys". Shoving them into military detention centers that operate outside of rule of law is a workaround.

Are you also one of those people who always complain about how federal govt doesn't respect your Constitutional rights these days, by chance?

Comment Re:Freedom of Speech is the key. (Score 1) 668

There is a value in speaking to the audience face to face, as opposed to online discussions etc. Such speaking always requires venues.

I am not a speaker, so I do not speak for them and their desires. I am a listener, and I don't want other people to be able to block venues just because they don't like the message that is transmitted in that venue, and deprive me from the ability to attend, listen, and engage.

Comment Re:Just 5 billions for 200 MW?? (Score 1) 182

And if we don't do research like that, we never will know how to make it work, nor what it'll actually cost then.

$5 billion is chump change. US has been spending ~$100 billion each year for the past ten years in direct costs of war in Iraq and Afghanistan alone - and they might as well have burned all that money given what we got out of it.

Comment Re:Freedom of Speech is the key. (Score 1) 668

If we have to have "free speech zones", universities are supposed to be at the extreme end of that scale. So I don't think a request to find another venue is appropriate in this case. I also don't see why it's even a valid thing to ask unless it's unanimous - if you don't like the message, don't go and listen to it, but why are you trying to prevent other people who would like to attend from doing so?

And if it is unanimous, then a far more efficient form of protest is for no-one to turn up.

So "captive audience" is also not relevant here - no-one is captive, and no-one is forced to listen. The only thing that's forced on them is the knowledge of the fact that someone nearby is listening to those things.

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