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I was just thinking; if we ever met intelligent aliens, would it be right to count them as people? I mean, OK, so they're smart enough to communicate with us, so what? They're still not human, and thus pretty much the same as any other animal, just smarter. And what is it about intelligence that should automatically give you more rights anyway? What makes humans, human? If it is intelligence, what of babies, kids, and mentally challenged adults?
Also, given the way we humans love to play God and tamper in DNA for shits and giggles, what if one day we managed to genetically engineer an Earth animal to be intelligent? Like, say, pigs. Would we have any obligation to grant smart pigs rights on par with a human? And what of their dumber counterparts? No more bacon? Although, I recon the regular, dumb pigs would be to smart pigs like chimps are to humans, which doesn't really help. A lot of people give certain protections to chimps, and it's argued that they're so similar to humans. But they're also endangered. Would smart pigs have compassion for dumb pigs because of their similarities, or nothing change, since they're so plentiful?
And what would give a robot any rights, regardless of how smart it is? In the end, it is still nothing more than a well programmed machine, even if the hypothetical technology existed to let it feel emotions.
Aw snickerdoodles, I posted this under my generic profile.
Well, I mean, technically they wouldn't be citizens of wherever they end up, so I assume they'd be treated the same as human aliens.
On the other hand, if we suddenly made contact/vice versa, I think the whole world would be too busy collectively going "WTFOMG" to be worrying about anyone's, ahem, inalienable rights.
@Animals: ...that's not even something that I think is physically possible to genetically engineer outside of science fiction. Genetic engineering is, I assume, a much more complex process than the layman would probably guess. IF that were to ever be possible, the Earth would probably be engulfed by the sun by the time the scientists of tomorrow even start trying to do that.
The closest thing I can think of with that, though, is look at how we treat dolphins and gorillas, both extremely intelligent animals that are, IIRC, around on par with humans on average. There's your answer.
^^ What's the point of even having that? o_o...
I mean, it's only one number away from your usual one, too...
On this same subject, where is the line between Boldly Coming and bestiality?
Well that's just mean! D: You'll hurt their feelings. :<
Er, you know if their emotions work that way. Not gonna generalize here.
I made it back when I forgot my password. I didn't realize I could just ask for my password to be reset, so I made a new acount.
@Michael: It's all bestiality, just one is more accepted for some reason.
The measure of a sapient species is exactly that of humankind.
My opinion on such is peppered by my (religious) belief in beings that are as intelligent as humans, if not more so, who mostly do their own thing and occasionally play around here. Such things are spoken to kindly, respected, asked for invitation if you're going into their home, and given thanks when helpful. About like people. I think the same treatment should extend to aliens or naturally-occurring terrestrial species that evolve such a capacity for knowledge. As for flat-out "uplifting" animals, science doesn't work that way.
Also it seems kind of mean to treat aliens like they're worth less just cause they're not human beings. :/ Especially if they're sapient and can communicate and think abstractly and all that.
Like I said, they'd probably be treated in the same way as human aliens. By which I mean people will accuse them of takin' our jerbs and hurl slurs against them.
District Nine? :p
Haven't seen it yet unfortunately...but from my limited knowledge of it, basically, yes
Well good, cause neither have I. :p
Oh, Oscar Best Picture winners, no one ever watches you guys!
All of the reasons we consider human beings deserving of certain rights - our higher reasoning capability, capacity for understanding, empathy and whatnot - would largely apply to intelligent aliens, as well. I would hope that were we ever to encounter another intelligent species, "human rights" would be expanded into "sapient rights."
I don't think of it as a terms of species more of pass or fail on whether or not you have sufficient redeeming qualities. For example R2-D2 "human" the Joker "not human" that's my personal viewpoint anyway.
But the Joker has a sense of humor, and, according to Short Circuit, that makes him human.
I think that "personhood" is an artificial concept that most of us subconsciously redefine to our own ethical convenience. For instance, if you own a pet piglet, you are probably going to think of pigs as "persons", because your relationship with your pet is more emotionally satisfying that way. But if you're eating bacon, then you probably won't subconsciously grant pigs personhood, because in that context to do so would be emotionally distressing and dissonant.
If/when it becomes important to define personhood in a way that is unambiguous, unchanging, and not limited to homo sapiens, lawmakers are going to have a hell of a time.
Ah, but then the argument could be made that we only care about them because of their intelligence or because of their rarity. For some reason, all the smart animals are hard to come by.
A couple decades ago, they said the same thing about cloning animals.
Then the situation arises of what alien species is sapient. Or if the sapient line gets murkier on other planets. It's a somewhat clear line on Earth as we have sapient and non-sapient, but there's no real reason why several shades of sapience can't evolve on another planet.
Yeah, this is why I believe animals don't have souls. Any worth any given animal has, only has that value because another human put it on them. Everybody cares about their pet, but nobody cares about the stray that was put down (at least most people don't) or that gazelle that got shot. People who oppose hunting for stupid reasons seem to care about cutesie animals like deer and such, but will still gladly buy butchered cattle at a grocery store.
edited 18th Feb '13 9:13:00 PM by washington213
So yes, we do "care" about them, but as a whole, we really don't exactly show it.
edited 18th Feb '13 9:23:24 PM by 0dd1
Eh, wild animals being in their natural habitat is overrated IMO. I mean, yes, there should be enough to sustain their numbers of course, but on a case by case basis, who cares? It's not like the animal, even the smart ones, are smart enough to really miss being in a jungle or an ocean. And what's so great about the wild anyway? There's predators and lack of food in the wild. In a lab, as long as they're humane, they don't have to worry about any of that.
Because it messes with the natural order, and any amount of tampering with the natural order of a habitat can have disastrous consequences for it, no matter how major or minor it seems?
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