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Are chimps 'people'? Do chimps deserve rights? (Page 2)
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smacintush
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Dec 29, 2014, 03:52 AM
 
No...chimps are not 'people'...they're chimps.

You need to look at the essentials of what defines the species. Comparing an average or an above average adult chimp to a human child or a mentally deficient adult person is not valid.

Humans have rights because in our essential, mature state we have the rational faculty that allows us to comprehend and reciprocate said rights. Rights exist in a social context and only a social context. Meaning, it must go both ways.

In other words, if one party belongs to a species that cannot comprehend rights, they are incapable of respecting the rights of others. If they are incapable of respecting the rights of others they have no rights. This is why as much as it pains people to imagine (even me to an extent), animals have no rights and should not be given rights under the law.
     
Snow-i
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Dec 29, 2014, 03:08 PM
 
I'd say we need to first ensure the entirety of humanity is bestowed equal rights before we consider tackling a whole other species. We can't even seem to get our own species right - not yet.
     
smacintush
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Dec 29, 2014, 03:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
I'd say we need to first ensure the entirety of humanity is bestowed equal rights before we consider tackling a whole other species. We can't even seem to get our own species right - not yet.
Absolutely.

I think that the fact that there is even any controversy over whether a chimp has the same rights as a person is a symptom of the lack of understanding of the subject.

I also think that a huge part of the equation is an improper conflation of the concepts of morality and legality. While something that is illegal may (or may not in today's environment) also be immoral, illegality does not imply immorality. Conversely, the immorality of an act also does not imply that it is or should be illegal.
     
Cap'n Tightpants
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Dec 29, 2014, 05:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
No...chimps are not 'people'...they're chimps.

You need to look at the essentials of what defines the species. Comparing an average or an above average adult chimp to a human child or a mentally deficient adult person is not valid.

Humans have rights because in our essential, mature state we have the rational faculty that allows us to comprehend and reciprocate said rights. Rights exist in a social context and only a social context. Meaning, it must go both ways.

In other words, if one party belongs to a species that cannot comprehend rights, they are incapable of respecting the rights of others. If they are incapable of respecting the rights of others they have no rights. This is why as much as it pains people to imagine (even me to an extent), animals have no rights and should not be given rights under the law.
Given how many homo sapiens are incapable of respecting the rights of others, it's difficult for me to see why other higher primates can't at least have the same rights as a human serving life in prison.
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The Final Dakar  (op)
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Dec 30, 2014, 04:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
I'd say we need to first ensure the entirety of humanity is bestowed equal rights before we consider tackling a whole other species. We can't even seem to get our own species right - not yet.
Sorry Snow, that's a shit argument. Say you personally don't care. Say it's too hard to answer at the moment. But claiming we can't bestow basic rights for other species because we haven't perfected rights for humans is a huge sidestep of the issue. At its core, this argument can be used to postpone anything.

If your concern is of 'importance' I feel confident in predicting the amount of legal attention and resources this question will receive will amount to a grain of sand on the beach of human rights.
     
Cap'n Tightpants
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Dec 30, 2014, 04:08 PM
 
Not to mention, other primates will be extinct before we "catch up to them", if that's the case.
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The Final Shortcut
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Jan 26, 2015, 11:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
Humans have rights because in our essential, mature state we have the rational faculty that allows us to comprehend and reciprocate said rights. Rights exist in a social context and only a social context. Meaning, it must go both ways.

In other words, if one party belongs to a species that cannot comprehend rights, they are incapable of respecting the rights of others. If they are incapable of respecting the rights of others they have no rights. This is why as much as it pains people to imagine (even me to an extent), animals have no rights and should not be given rights under the law.
This is a super-wordy way of rationalizing your simple position of "No rights for non-humans because of the fact that they are non-human".

Humans are the most highly evolved animals on our planet. By definition, all other animals will not be able to understand the concept of "rights" to the extent that humans may understand...in fact most would probably agree that our ability to understand and appreciate all high-level concepts is what makes us so highly evolved. So as I have suggested, your initial answer seems rather self-fulfilled by your subsequent premise.

On the other hand, many animals (mammals in particular of course) have complex societal structures in which some limited concept of individual rights and subsequent interactions between parties is apparent in some respect and/or to some degree. And in fact, some of these animal societies have even shown they can more-or-less peacefully accept human integration if said humans choose to follow the established rules and rights in place. When humans break the "rules", violent punishment is usually the result - again, a somewhat less-complex version of our own social structures (although may I be so bold as to suggest that there is room to debate the evolutionary superiority of our own justice system(s) ).

I think I agree with Tightpants (and disagree with you) in the sense that just because all other species did not evolve as humans did, it does not make sense to me personally to say that they should therefore inherently be denied all rights.
     
smacintush
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Jan 26, 2015, 09:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Shortcut View Post
This is a super-wordy way of rationalizing your simple position of "No rights for non-humans because of the fact that they are non-human".

Humans are the most highly evolved animals on our planet. By definition, all other animals will not be able to understand the concept of "rights" to the extent that humans may understand...in fact most would probably agree that our ability to understand and appreciate all high-level concepts is what makes us so highly evolved. So as I have suggested, your initial answer seems rather self-fulfilled by your subsequent premise.

On the other hand, many animals (mammals in particular of course) have complex societal structures in which some limited concept of individual rights and subsequent interactions between parties is apparent in some respect and/or to some degree. And in fact, some of these animal societies have even shown they can more-or-less peacefully accept human integration if said humans choose to follow the established rules and rights in place. When humans break the "rules", violent punishment is usually the result - again, a somewhat less-complex version of our own social structures (although may I be so bold as to suggest that there is room to debate the evolutionary superiority of our own justice system(s) ).

I think I agree with Tightpants (and disagree with you) in the sense that just because all other species did not evolve as humans did, it does not make sense to me personally to say that they should therefore inherently be denied all rights.
So is this your super-wordy way of rationalizing your simple position of "Some rights for animals because it seems like it should be that way to me."?

It's not rationalizing, but "No rights for non-humans because of the fact that they are non-human" is pretty close to correct. It is not simply because they are not human, but because they lack any rational capacity. Justifying extending rights to a lower animal with no rational capacity IS rationalizing. It would require arbitrarily re-defining the very essence of rights to fit your viewpoint.
     
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Jan 27, 2015, 10:03 AM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
So is this your super-wordy way of rationalizing your simple position of "Some rights for animals because it seems like it should be that way to me."?
No. It appears you ignored my point entirely. I did not actually rationalize my position; all I did was disprove the rationalization of yours.

It's not rationalizing, but "No rights for non-humans because of the fact that they are non-human" is pretty close to correct. It is not simply because they are not human, but because they lack any rational capacity. Justifying extending rights to a lower animal with no rational capacity IS rationalizing. It would require arbitrarily re-defining the very essence of rights to fit your viewpoint.
You seem to be willfully ignoring the fact that it has been proven time and time again that many animals do have the ability for rational capacity: they can make choices based on wants or moods as well as basic needs; they can solve problems; they can recognize themselves as individuals; they can feel and demonstrate a wide range of emotions such as love, hate, sadness, joy, depression, anxiety, fear, contentment, and so on. Similarly, your statement that I quoted
Rights exist in a social context and only a social context. Meaning, it must go both ways.
...also ignores the fact that many animals do "exist in a social context" which can be surprisingly complex and include demonstrated understanding of social status of individual members, including oneself.

Granted, all of the above cannot be demonstrated for all animals, and even in the best of cases can likely only be demonstrated at a fraction of the cognitive level of the average adult human. None the less, it is irrefutable that animals can display the very qualities that you have stated that they cannot, and which you used as the basis of your argument to deny them rights.

So my point was that when you say they "can't", you are simply wrong. They can do the specific things that you have mentioned, and thus by using your very own metric, they should be afforded rights.

But you disagree with that conclusion. So despite what you wrote as an argument, what you were actually saying is "they cannot do any of these things at the same level as humans can", which, well, is a totally different argument, really (and inherently means that you are simply saying that the dividing line is humans | non-humans).

Other than point out this critical flaw in your argument, I did not provide any basis for my own agreement with Tightpants, other than to say that "they evolved differently" does not provide me with enough justification to deny all rights.
     
smacintush
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Jan 27, 2015, 11:48 AM
 
Without the ability to form and grasp concepts...no reason exists. No animal has demonstrated this ability. All of those other things you mentioned may be a glimmer of rudimentary intelligence, but that is not the same thing.

Also, let's be realistic here. You say "animals" but what you really mean is a very, very select few animals.
( Last edited by smacintush; Jan 27, 2015 at 01:08 PM. )
     
Cap'n Tightpants
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Jan 27, 2015, 12:11 PM
 
Right now my main concern on this matter is the Bonobo (a smaller, more socially evolved subspecies of apes). They need more official intervention ASAP, or their societies will be destroyed. Many concerned people (my family included) have come together and are doing what we can to try and protect them, buying tracts of land in the DRC that aren't part of the protected reserve (which is just a tiny section of the Bonobo territory). But even armed park wardens, with orders to shoot poachers, aren't enough to dissuade some people from going after them.
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BadKosh
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Jan 27, 2015, 12:36 PM
 
Why not let the chimps develop their own society and come up with their own rights? We did.
     
Chongo
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Jan 27, 2015, 01:21 PM
 
They still eat each other.

and thier cousins
     
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Jan 27, 2015, 01:25 PM
 
I'm sure they have a rational, rights-based reason to do so. We just don't "get it".
     
Cap'n Tightpants
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Jan 27, 2015, 01:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by BadKosh View Post
Why not let the chimps develop their own society and come up with their own rights? We did.
Originally Posted by Chongo View Post
They still eat each other.
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
I'm sure they have a rational, rights-based reason to do so. We just don't "get it".
The obvious mistake you've made here is that those are chimps, not Bonobo. They're like a completely different species. The social (and what we would call "ethical") differences between them are striking.
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smacintush
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Jan 27, 2015, 01:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
The obvious mistake you've made here is that those are chimps, not Bonobo. They're like a completely different species. The social differences between them are striking.
Apparently their views on cannibalism are not.
     
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Jan 27, 2015, 01:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
Umm, they eat small monkeys, not apes. Monkeys != apes. So, no, it isn't cannibalism, which would mean they eat other Bonobo (or even other apes), which they don't. It's like us eating pigs or squirrels, unless that's somehow "cannibalism" too. I never said they were vegan.
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smacintush
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Jan 27, 2015, 01:57 PM
 
I wonder if there is controversy among the Bonobo community concerning infant cannibalism.
     
smacintush
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Jan 27, 2015, 02:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
Umm, they eat small monkeys, not apes. Monkeys != apes. So, no, it isn't cannibalism, which would mean they eat other Bonobo (or even other apes), which they don't.
You are correct, it's not.

Eating your babies is.

It's like us eating pigs or squirrels, unless that's somehow "cannibalism" too. I never said they were vegan.
No...it's more like us eating Bonobos.
     
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Jan 27, 2015, 02:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
I wonder if there is controversy among the Bonobo community concerning infant cannibalism.
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
You are correct, it's not.

Eating your babies is.
I'm familiar with that, and that was an isolated case (the only one we're aware of) where they assume the mother was suffering from an acute form of postpartum depression. Human mothers have been known to do the same.

No...it's more like us eating Bonobos.
Again, no. Humans eating Bonobo would be much more like us eating aboriginal people, ie. pygmies in New Guinea.
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Jan 27, 2015, 02:24 PM
 
This why there are no Bigfoot/Yeti remains. They eat thier dead.
     
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Jan 27, 2015, 02:25 PM
 
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Chongo
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Jan 27, 2015, 02:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
Again, no. Humans eating Bonobo would be much more like us eating aboriginal people, ie. pygmies in New Guinea.
Humans can't make babies with bonobo. Pygmies are humans.
     
smacintush
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Jan 27, 2015, 02:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
I'm familiar with that, and that was an isolated case (the only one we're aware of) where they assume the mother was suffering from an acute form of postpartum depression. Human mothers have been known to do the same.
Oh really? I guess you missed the part from the article where the corpse was passed around like a joint?

"After an hour, Marta, a dominant female then took the body, retaining it despite initial resistance from Olga. She then began to consume it, joined by most of the community including the mother," Dr Fowler told the BBC.
"Consumption took several hours, and possession of the carcass changed several times. At times Olga and Ophelia, her remaining daughter, were not involved but remained nearby throughout the period," he says.
Or this part:
Though uncommon, the behaviour may not be aberrant, says the scientist who witnessed it.
Interesting that it didn't even START with the mother.

Again, no. Humans eating Bonobo would be much more like us eating aboriginal people, ie. pygmies in New Guinea.
Oh, so aboriginal people and pygmies are not homo sapiens now? They are a lower, less evolved species related to us?
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Jan 27, 2015, 03:10 PM
 
And it seems Ebola is spread by eating apes so this would kind of be natural selection. Sure doesn't make them civilized, or requiring rights.
     
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Jan 27, 2015, 03:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
Oh really? I guess you missed the part from the article where the corpse was passed around like a joint?

Or this part:

Interesting that it didn't even START with the mother.
Still not seeing how an isolated incident = established behavior. The answer? It doesn't.

Oh, so aboriginal people and pygmies are not homo sapiens now? They are a lower, less evolved species related to us?
Less evolved? In certain ways, yes. In fact, many scientists have debated for years if they (specifically the NG pygmies) should have a different taxonomy than other human races, genetically they're different enough to actually warrant being considered a different species that diverged from other humans 60,000 years ago. All that aside, does that mean they're deserving of less respect? No. Are inferior? Hell no. They're a people, a society, and my argument is, the bonobo are reaching a point in their own social evolution where they need to be given much more consideration than they currently have.
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smacintush
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Jan 27, 2015, 04:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
Still not seeing how an isolated incident = established behavior. The answer? It doesn't.
First of all, the details the article completely refute your baseless assertion that this is some kind of "postpartem depression".

Second, the behavior observed was not the kind of behavior you might see in an ape or apes with a screw loose. There was a definite group dynamic that is consistent with other social behaviors. Whether this a common or not, this contradicts previous opinions about these oh-so wonderful, peaceful apes. As mentioned in the story, the fact that it was not previously observed would not be surprising considering how little we know about them and as the scientist speculates, the possible agendas of previous potential observers.
     
Cap'n Tightpants
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Jan 27, 2015, 04:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
First of all, the details the article completely refute your baseless assertion that this is some kind of "postpartem depression".

Second, the behavior observed was not the kind of behavior you might see in an ape or apes with a screw loose. There was a definite group dynamic that is consistent with other social behaviors. Whether this a common or not, this contradicts previous opinions about these oh-so wonderful, peaceful apes. As mentioned in the story, the fact that it was not previously observed would not be surprising considering how little we know about them and as the scientist speculates, the possible agendas of previous potential observers.
Oh, you're an ape psychologist? I forgot about that, my bad. Fact: one incident doesn't contradict jack. AND, if you'd read the article about that particular form of cannibalism, that human mothers can suffer from too, it states that it's tied to sense of smell, combined with other biological factors (including post partum depression and even menstruation) and can affect any woman. It's rare, like with bonobo, but it does happen.

So, why the bee in your butt over extending additional courtesy to a relatively tiny number of our closest cousins (that are also hovering on the edge of extinction in their native habitat)? Did a chimp fling poo at you while visiting the zoo?
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Jan 27, 2015, 04:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
Oh, you're an ape psychologist? I forgot about that, my bad. Fact: one incident doesn't contradict jack. AND, if you'd read the article about that particular form of cannibalism, that human mothers can suffer from too, it states that it's tied to sense of smell, combined with other biological factors (including post partum depression and even menstruation) and can affect any woman. It's rare, like with bonobo, but it does happen.

So, why the bee in your butt over extending additional courtesy to a relatively small number of our closest cousins? Did a chimp fling poo at you while visiting the zoo?
Actually, I am. I have a BS from MSMD University.

I was wondering why people like you are so desperate to assign a higher status to lower lifeforms? It's interesting how often that happens. They've tried it for decades with dolphins and chimps and gorillas. The fact that the scientist in the article would even SPECULATE that people may have observed this behavior before and kept it to themselves is rather telling.
     
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Jan 27, 2015, 04:55 PM
 
I'm not seeing speculation, that's reaching. However, the fact you're tying the psychology of social apes to that of humans (saying that your expertise covers all primates) means you're coming around, I guess.

I'll tell you why I feel strongly about this, because how we treat emerging social structures (particularly with regard to other primate groups) that border our own cultures reflects on us as a society. If humans don't destroy themselves in the next few millennia, we'll be able to witness a truly remarkable evolutionary happening, the birth of real sentience in another life form on this planet. Being able to witness such a thing is invaluable to us as a species and will tell us more about ourselves than we can now imagine.
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Jan 27, 2015, 04:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
Actually, I am. I have a BS from MSMD University.

I was wondering why people like you are so desperate to assign a higher status to lower lifeforms? It's interesting how often that happens. They've tried it for decades with dolphins and chimps and gorillas. The fact that the scientist in the article would even SPECULATE that people may have observed this behavior before and kept it to themselves is rather telling.
There is a professor from ASU that claims he found evidence that the Anasazi engaged in cannibalism in contridiction to the common wisdom they lived a "utopian life style" Needless to say it did not go over well with his peers.
     
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Jan 27, 2015, 05:13 PM
 
Out of curiosity, smac, how do you feel about law against animal cruelty or animal captivity?
     
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Jan 27, 2015, 05:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
Actually, I am. I have a BS from MSMD University.
By the way this was my poor attempt at a joke.

BS as in bullshit

MSMD = Monkey See Monkey Do

Well...It was funny to ME
     
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Jan 28, 2015, 09:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
Without the ability to form and grasp concepts...no reason exists. No animal has demonstrated this ability. All of those other things you mentioned may be a glimmer of rudimentary intelligence, but that is not the same thing.

Also, let's be realistic here. You say "animals" but what you really mean is a very, very select few animals.
Well now I can point out that you have moved the bar yet again. Like I said, all you're doing is drawing the line at the fact that any other "lower" life form does not have the higher brainpower that makes us human in the first place.

(Incidentally I have a good friend who moved to Africa to study bonobos...getting a doctorate in primate something or other.)

But in any event, my own rationalization primarily does stem from the fact that I am a human being and have the ability to grasp concepts and rationalize. I know that mammals in particular have the ability to think and feel emotion in a way that is not entirely a simple chemical reaction (such as insects for example), even if it may be rudimentary compared to my own ability. And I know that almost all animals - in particular any highly evolved wild mammals - likely require some measure of protection in order to survive the changes we make to their environment.

I also have absolutely no problem with the concept of killing or eating them, but I do believe that this process should lend some level of regard to the fact that it should be done judiciously and given the above facts, limit suffering as much as possible.

As such, in theory I do support a declaration of some limited form of inherent rights to mammals. But where I do get muddled is whether rights or protection is the best answer.
     
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Jan 28, 2015, 11:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Shortcut View Post
Well now I can point out that you have moved the bar yet again. Like I said, all you're doing is drawing the line at the fact that any other "lower" life form does not have the higher brainpower that makes us human in the first place.

(Incidentally I have a good friend who moved to Africa to study bonobos...getting a doctorate in primate something or other.)

But in any event, my own rationalization primarily does stem from the fact that I am a human being and have the ability to grasp concepts and rationalize. I know that mammals in particular have the ability to think and feel emotion in a way that is not entirely a simple chemical reaction (such as insects for example), even if it may be rudimentary compared to my own ability. And I know that almost all animals - in particular any highly evolved wild mammals - likely require some measure of protection in order to survive the changes we make to their environment.

I also have absolutely no problem with the concept of killing or eating them, but I do believe that this process should lend some level of regard to the fact that it should be done judiciously and given the above facts, limit suffering as much as possible.

As such, in theory I do support a declaration of some limited form of inherent rights to mammals. But where I do get muddled is whether rights or protection is the best answer.
I wasn't trying to move the bar, I trying was get it wet and sprinkle some dirt on it so you can see it better.

All I am trying to point out is that in order to give lower animals "rights", we have to redefine "rights". The entire concept of rights is predicated on the capacity for reason. Yes, it's a humans only club because humans are unique in the way our brains function. We lack the kind inborn instincts and behaviors that lower animals have and we have to consciously think and reason in order to survive as humans qua humans.

You want to come up with a rational reason to protect them? That's different. Protection is what you do to a lower life form which lacks the capacity to comprehend the reality of its own destruction. That fits, and it doesn't attempt to arbitrarily redefine rights in order to try to shoehorn an animal into a category which it doesn't belong.

Would I agree with it? Probably not, unless you can come up with a way to do it while respecting the rights of humans, including property rights. I think that's probably possible, but highly unlikely considering those who would fight the hardest for such protections care for humans the least IMO.
     
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Jan 28, 2015, 12:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
Would I agree with it? Probably not, unless you can come up with a way to do it while respecting the rights of humans, including property rights. I think that's probably possible, but highly unlikely considering those who would fight the hardest for such protections care for humans the least IMO.
Umm, no. I'll fight rights for higher primates but I don't place that at a higher priority than humans, not even close (evident by the financial support our foundation donates to one compared to the other). In fact, I think the amounts last year were ~40:1. Being thoughtful stewards of the environment (I'm not talking about being a hippy, more like T. Roosevelt's idea of conservatism) makes us better people, plain and simple, and part of that is having a more considerate, thoughtful approach on handling our less evolved "cousins".
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Jan 28, 2015, 12:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
Umm, no. I'll fight rights for higher primates but I don't place that at a higher priority than humans, not even close (evident by the financial support our foundation donates to one compared to the other). In fact, I think the amounts last year were ~40:1. Being thoughtful stewards of the environment (I'm not talking about being a hippy, more like T. Roosevelt's idea of conservatism) makes us better people, plain and simple, and part of that is having a more considerate, thoughtful approach on handling our less evolved "cousins".
I realize that I was generalizing, but it certainly seems to be the case in most instances.
     
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Jan 28, 2015, 01:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
I wasn't trying to move the bar, I trying was get it wet and sprinkle some dirt on it so you can see it better.

All I am trying to point out is that in order to give lower animals "rights", we have to redefine "rights". The entire concept of rights is predicated on the capacity for reason. Yes, it's a humans only club because humans are unique in the way our brains function. We lack the kind inborn instincts and behaviors that lower animals have and we have to consciously think and reason in order to survive as humans qua humans.
As I have stated before, I consider most of this portion of your argument factually incorrect mumbo-jumbo rationalizing of a "humans | non-humans" conclusion. Inherently, humans are smarter and have far more advanced cognitive ability than all other species on earth. But other species can indeed "reason"; they can indeed grasp "concepts"; they can indeed exist in "societies"...all buzzwords which you have used as the basis of saying that "they cannot do these things; therefore, we are unique". But they can do these things; just on an extremely low level compared to humans.

So although you are making statements that are factually wrong, what you are actually doing is saying "ok, here are buzzwords like reason, concepts, societies, self-awareness, and so on....even if you can do these things, you cannot do them nearly as well as humans can, and therefore you do not meet the cut-off line". It's that simply, really; your cut-off line is "human?".
     
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Jan 30, 2015, 03:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
In other words, if one party belongs to a species that cannot comprehend rights, they are incapable of respecting the rights of others. If they are incapable of respecting the rights of others they have no rights. This is why as much as it pains people to imagine (even me to an extent), animals have no rights and should not be given rights under the law.
I know this doesn't add to the discussion in a positive manner, but I realized this is the kind of thinking that would have been used to keep blacks as slaves back in the day.
     
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Jan 31, 2015, 01:15 AM
 
I don't really see how we could give apes or monkeys "rights" insofar as it takes an awareness of that right in order to invoke it.

Protection, yes.

But rights aren't absolute - every person has the opportunity in any given situation to exercise (or not) that right, which can be described as "latitudes" for each person within the framework of their legal system, which the governing body has no authority to legislate or otherwise regulate against. In this way rights confer aspects of citizens free choice against their governing bodies. From another angle - rights don't protect us from each other, they protect us from the government (If you murder someone, the other family isn't the ones who put you on trial, the government is). I don't think the (any) government is a given primate species' primary concern, and I think "protection" is the more apt terminology for what we're trying to accomplish in a conservation effort. At least until it they are capable of invoking their rights expressly, and it can be shown that they are "choosing" to invoke their rights, I don't think "rights" are the correct application of resources in order to save them.


IANAL, but if I were I would sue all of you on behalf of my primate clientele.
( Last edited by Snow-i; Jan 31, 2015 at 01:35 AM. Reason: clarifying a bit.)
     
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Jan 31, 2015, 01:27 AM
 
Here's an interesting question or five:

Let's say we did give primates (or any other animal) rights and they had the ability to invoke them. Would we then have to setup guidelines for how their society works, i.e. laws? I mean, how else could we define what each individual is entitled to? Or would we have a person represent those individual animals (much like children are handled today)?

Would we put em on the witness stand if any man or beast was found to be breaking one of those laws? I'll need to know so I can start planning my future as a civil litigation lawyer.
     
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Feb 2, 2015, 10:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
I don't really see how we could give apes or monkeys "rights" insofar as it takes an awareness of that right in order to invoke it.
I had a window open to address this, then you beat me to it:


Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
(much like children are handled today)
Seems like this disproves the premise that awareness is necessary to deserve rights


Would we put em on the witness stand if any man or beast was found to be breaking one of those laws? I'll need to know so I can start planning my future as a civil litigation lawyer.
Obviously not (see infants (humans )). It's perfectly reasonable to enact certain fundamentals (e.g. human not kill ape and ape not kill human) without the need to make every single higher-level right universal to all people. Humans already get more rights/responsibilities as they grow the capacity to use and deserve them.

The most fundamental of rights (right to life) can't be invoked by even the most highly-evolved mind, seeing as how after being deprived of it the victim is no longer alive to assert it personally. Such rights are always invoked on the behalf of a third party, so it's a little surprising to see this become a sticking point for expanding these rights.
     
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Feb 2, 2015, 12:18 PM
 
Yeah, I know this is anecdotal but I want to share it anyway. When my wife Kim and I went to the Memphis zoo to check out the bonobo habitat, we'd been considering giving them a grant for some time but we wanted to see the apes for ourselves, we had no idea what to expect. Apparently some species of apes you can visit with a trainer on a limited basis (specific chimps and orangutans that are known to be particularly docile), others you can't (gorillas and baboons) because they can become aggressive without warning, but with the bonobo a couple of ladies simply walked us in amidst 6 of them. Though they're small for apes, I was a little nervous, despite having heard how social and calm they are, I'd also seen where other apes have ripped peoples' arms off.

Anyway, we weren't in there for more than a minute when the matriarch got up and walked over to greet us (the trainers reminded us to relax) then the ape took my wife's hand and walked her over to where they'd been sitting and hanging out. In short order she started communicating that Kim could relax; stroking her hair, patting her hand, and then offered her some fruit, which my wife accepted and thanked her for, then they sat and held hands. I was essentially ignored by the leadership, since I was male and obviously of lower rank, but eventually one male did walk up and led me over to where I could sit with the menfolk, while they laughed and spit seeds at each other (it was a lot like sitting with frat guys). Also, I wasn't offered any lunch, obviously it was expected that I would fend for myself in that department.

The point of all this is we didn't feel like we were spending time with "common" animals, but with people, kind of like what you'd expect if you were introduced to a primitive tribe, and even though I know that those particular apes were very familiar with humans and it was an idealized environment for a first meeting, I'll never look at them in the same light again.
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Feb 2, 2015, 12:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
I don't really see how we could give apes or monkeys "rights" insofar as it takes an awareness of that right in order to invoke it.

Protection, yes.
I feel like the overarcing question is being ignored for semantics. Maybe it's important legally, but underlying idea is what we should be focused on.
     
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Feb 2, 2015, 12:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
Here's an interesting question or five:

Let's say we did give primates (or any other animal) rights and they had the ability to invoke them. Would we then have to setup guidelines for how their society works, i.e. laws?
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Why would you need to set-up guidelines and a society to allow an orangutan to be free?
     
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Feb 2, 2015, 01:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
The most fundamental of rights (right to life) can't be invoked by even the most highly-evolved mind, seeing as how after being deprived of it the victim is no longer alive to assert it personally. Such rights are always invoked on the behalf of a third party, so it's a little surprising to see this become a sticking point for expanding these rights.
Does this include the unborn?
     
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Feb 2, 2015, 04:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
I had a window open to address this, then you beat me to it:



Seems like this disproves the premise that awareness is necessary to deserve rights

Very good point, however we still assign guardians and legal representation for those individuals to "make up" for their inability to recognize and invoke their rights - my question is what is the analogue for an animal plaintiff, defendant or even witness?

Would we do the same for individual animals by assigning them a guardian/lawyer?



Obviously not (see infants (humans )). It's perfectly reasonable to enact certain fundamentals (e.g. human not kill ape and ape not kill human) without the need to make every single higher-level right universal to all people. Humans already get more rights/responsibilities as they grow the capacity to use and deserve them.
I'm not sure we'd have to make them all universal - but how would we enforce them? What rights would we bestow upon the animal world that we could uphold using our existing judicial and legislative framework?

I guess I'm more interested in how exactly we would apply this to the animal world. Children can still testify and be questioned for legal proceedings. How do we apply this to the animal world?
The most fundamental of rights (right to life) can't be invoked by even the most highly-evolved mind, seeing as how after being deprived of it the victim is no longer alive to assert it personally. Such rights are always invoked on the behalf of a third party, so it's a little surprising to see this become a sticking point for expanding these rights.
Technically speaking, there is no right to be alive (at least in the US). Murder is a state or federal offense, not a civil rights violation against an individual. The state are the ones who try you, not your victim. i.e. you are not going to jail for violating someone's rights, you are going to jail for breaking a local, state or federal law. In practice, I know many miss this distinction but it is an important one nonetheless when talking about legal doctrine.

When someone (government) violates your "rights", you take them to a civil court on a civil rights violation for damages where you are the plaintiff (not the state).

If you read through the bill of rights carefully, you'll see that none of them apply to other citizens, but to the government itself and which laws they can and cannot enact. This is why, IMO, the whole idea of giving "rights" to animals would be moot, as they have no laws to abide by and therefore no rights to exercise in the face of those laws.
     
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Feb 3, 2015, 10:25 AM
 
Trying to use human children as a guide for how lower animals' "rights" or protections should be handled is inappropriate IMO. Whether there are apes who are developed enough to think or not, or whether they deserve some kind of special protection or not...they are not human and they are not simply less developed little versions of us. They are altogether different and any discussion of this kinds needs to consider the actual nature of the actual animal and nothing more.

Also, to reiterate, children are a still developing version of a higher species. THAT is why their rights protected by proxy. This is not analogous to an lower animal that by its own nature cannot and will never be able to grasp its the concept of its own "rights".

IMO.
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Feb 3, 2015, 10:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by Chongo View Post
Does this include the unborn?
Please, let's turn this into an abortion debate.

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Feb 3, 2015, 12:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
Please, let's turn this into an abortion debate.

I wasn't the one who invoked the right to life.
     
 
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