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Emperor
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist with Finglongers

From: Cell 53, East Wing
Insane since: Jul 2001

posted posted 05-21-2003 15:05

The arguement that chimps should be given full human rights has been batted around for a while:
www.greatapeproject.org
www.monitor.net/monitor/9911a/aperights.html

as has the idea tht they could be sunk into our own genus Homo but a new report has pushed this idea some more:
www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,960125,00.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/277031.stm

I find the arguement pretty poor and it strikes me as really a means to emphasise the closeness of our species rather than as a serious attempt to shake up the hominoid taxonomy.

So my question is a little simpler: Do you think we should give chimps full human rights?

My feelings are that we should stop abusing such obviously sentient animals (I'd have to throw gorillas, as well as dolphins and whales, into that mix - the DNA shows we are equally close to them as we are to chimps) but we really need to get our own house in order and make sure all humans have human rights first.

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Emps

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Moon Shadow
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Rouen, France
Insane since: Jan 2003

posted posted 05-21-2003 15:41

The evolution theory states that we humans and the chimps have a common ancestor (not yet discovered). But, apart from that old relationship, nothing binds us the chimps. This is not like if they were our ancestors (something the detractors of this theory like to say), they are more or less 'cousins' with humans. Nowadays, one can't really say we belongs to the same family. So, why do those scientists try by all means to prove they are humans ? They are chimps, and as it stated in the theory, they are near cousins with us. So, yes they are close from us, but no they are not humans.

Furthermore, all these experiences made trying to show chimps are intelligent, or have an intelligence similar to humans are quite stupid. What has been proven for now is that chimps, raised by humans, educated by humans, can basically reproduce their behaviors. Or, a bit like Pavlov's dogs, act according to predefined schemes. Yes it is has been proven chimps behaves in society like us, think like us, in zoos. But in nature ? Do you really think that chimps in nature will change their behavior to act as humans ? I don't think so.

In fact, all this concern about seeking an human part in animals shows me something about humans. In my humble opinion, humans prefer seeking humanity where they can't find it, rather than learning to live with themselves, and this is truly revelative about our nature.


Edit : sorry the "Submit Now" was hit unvoluntarily before the end of the post.



[This message has been edited by Moon Shadow (edited 05-21-2003).]

Emperor
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist with Finglongers

From: Cell 53, East Wing
Insane since: Jul 2001

posted posted 05-21-2003 15:43

MS: As far as I can tell largely as a tool to push the idea that Chimps should have human rights.

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Emps

FAQs: Emperor

Moon Shadow
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Rouen, France
Insane since: Jan 2003

posted posted 05-21-2003 16:14

Hmm sorry I just became aware I was a bit "off" the question ("Do you think we should give chimps full human rights?").

I have a question for you people: Do you think a dog would agree living with you if he was aware of this concept ? Well, we don't know, but in fact a dog is far from understanding this concept, so we can say having a dog is not "bad", but neither it is "good" (relatively to his will). But now that we speak about chimps, some people think it's different because they demonstrate a superior intelligence on other animals. The basic answer is to say that if they are intelligent, they cannot be treated as other animals, and as the result we should stop anything we do with them. But do you really think they are able to understand such a concept ? No, they are not better able to do that than a dog, this is what I said in my previous post : their intelligence can be sumed up by a few experiences inducted by humans. So, basically, it can be sumed up into an ethical question, similar to "would my dog agree living with me?" : "would a chimp agree being studyed?" (= not having human rights).

This choice is up to everyone. Personally, I would prefer them not being studyed at all. Of course, if you continue with my argument you would go to other animals such as rats, and you would ask if we have the right to genetically modify them to prepare cures for humans. Well, I think a distinction has to be made here : studying chimps to eventually determine if they act as humans is wrong, modifying rats to help humans is good. But again this choice is up to everyone.

norm
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: [s]underwater[/s] under-snow in Juneau
Insane since: Sep 2002

posted posted 05-21-2003 17:21

I bet if we give chimps all human rights, including the right to vote, Bush will be re-elected.

Emperor
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist with Finglongers

From: Cell 53, East Wing
Insane since: Jul 2001

posted posted 05-21-2003 17:51

MS: Thats the question and was the reason the New Zealanders didn't give them human rights but did follow the example fo the British goverment and stop medical experiments on them. I think before we can even begin to address these issues we need to stop the Bushmeat trade's decimation of the primates, deal with deforestation, stop medical experiments on them, etc.

Back to the study - they claim that we share 99.4% of our genes. My conclusion to this is not 'Oooooo so they must be the same species' it is 'Ooooooooooo what a difference that 0.6% really makes'. I believe genetic studies still show a divergence between us and the chimps and gorillas at around 10-15 million years and it is worth noting that there is at least one (and pos. many more) species in our evolutionary past back to our last common ancestor (LCA) - the Australopithecines. There have been some arguements that our LCA may be in the various Australopithecine specues but nothing convincing. We also can't just draw dividing lines based on genetics as morphology has a huge part to play (as does behaviour in extant species) and this suggests that they aren't in our species.

I do see some merit in the arguement that by including them in our genus we might get some movement on stopping their extenction but I think more international laws and enforcement is required (and I also don't see we should go fiddling with taxonomy on political grounds).

norm: No I don't think he would

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Emps

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DL-44
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: under the bed
Insane since: Feb 2000

posted posted 05-21-2003 18:17

No.

Where do we draw the line?

Mice are very genetically similar to us...do we ban mousetraps and start perserving mouse habitats?

I think we grossly mistreat just about every species, including our own. But that's a different issue from granting a chimpanzee "human" rights.

Bugimus
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: New California
Insane since: Mar 2000

posted posted 06-03-2003 19:55

Right. Stop abusing them, as well as everyone else we abuse, but to grant human rights to non-humans is foolish. We don't need to grant them human rights to treat them properly. This just seems like another political and/or publicity move to push an agenda. The implementation of the agenda should stand or fall on its own merits and not on poor arguments designed to sway public opinion.

. . : slicePuzzle

bodhi23
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Greensboro, NC USA
Insane since: Jun 2002

posted posted 06-03-2003 20:46

I was reading along in the posts here, and I had an interesting thought. I figured I'd throw it into the mix:

The anthropological definition of "species" includes this one, important rule: members of a species must be able to create "viable" offspring.

Who wants to see if chimps and humans can create viable offspring? I'm quite sure that's unethical in the grand scheme of things, but if the 2 can't do that, there's no way to call them the same species...

quote:
What has been proven for now is that chimps, raised by humans, educated by humans, can basically reproduce their behaviors. Or, a bit like Pavlov's dogs, act according to predefined schemes. Yes it is has been proven chimps behaves in society like us, think like us, in zoos. But in nature ?


I agree wholeheartedly with this statement. I do have a point to make about your final comment there though. Chimps do have fairly structured society in nature. That has been shown. Their society is by no means as structured and complex as human society - nor has it been shown that chimps have that kind of capacity; but their society does exist. Dr. Jane Goodall has spent her life proving it...

The fact that they do have some semblance of society doesn't mean we can hold them on the same level as humans. The fact that they're intelligent for monkeys is one thing, the idea that they might be as intelligent as humans is something totally different.

Bodhi - Cell 617

Bugimus
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: New California
Insane since: Mar 2000

posted posted 06-03-2003 22:28

I draw a huge distinction between intelligence and the capacity for moral thought. We have consciences. To me, this is the kind of ability that would have to be demonstrated for me to consider animals approaching humanity.

Byron
Obsessive-Compulsive (I) Inmate

From: San Antonio, Texas
Insane since: Jun 2003

posted posted 06-03-2003 23:03

It seems to me that, from the perspective of world history, chimpanzees have exactly the same rights as humans - that is, they have the rights to which luck or striving entitle them. I have a lot of rights because I was lucky enough to be born in America. If I had been born in certain parts of Asia or Africa, I would have far fewer rights. Animals which are legally pets do have certain legal rights; animals which are legally test subjects have none. We allow slavery and mass murder to continue in some parts of the world because we're not willing to pay the price of ending them, and we may not be wrong - the price might be more than we could afford.
Okay, that is as regards legal rights. As for moral rights, I would argue that rights must be commensurate with responsibilities. As smart as they can be, chimpanzees are not capable of understanding the duties which we demand of human beings. If they can't understand property, they cannot respect it of their own will. Therefore they cannot live as humans do. They must live where there is no property, or within the property of a human who is responsible for them. So it's absurd to argue that they should have the same rights as human beings. If it is wrong to kill a chimpanzee, it is not because of a duty we owe the ape, but because of a duty we owe ourselves. I guess this is my position on abortion, too, but that's a different thread.

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