Monday, January 4, 2010

ZenTiger Dolphins are people too

Dolphins have been declared the world’s second most intelligent creatures after humans, with scientists suggesting they are so bright that they should be treated as “non-human persons”.

Hmm, an interesting ethical dilemma. Do we treat them like the unborn, who seemingly have no right to life? Or perhaps like dogs? It was argued that it was against the law to hit a dog, but not a child during the height of the anti-smacking debate. Apparently, dogs had more rights than children.

Well, aside from the fact that even if humans aren't always protected by the rights that we have given them, and we seem to be able to apply these rights with a degree of inconsistency, we at least have a measure to argue against.

Collectively speaking, I've always thought we have been too err, inhumane, in the treatment of animals, so I wonder what the impact would be to accord non-humans human rights? What's the moral obligation such a move would place on us, collectively. How would that differ from us simply trying to become more humane?

It's often (but not exclusively) religion fighting for "right to life" issues for humans, will the humanists step up to the plate and argue that humanism is much bigger than a few apes?

Related Link: Flipper Explains Property Rights Claim to Pacific Ocean

7 comment(s):

KG said...

Well, they're not that bright--they can't tune the six Weber carbs on a Colombo V12 Ferrari, or use a digital camera or grill lamb chops, to give a few examples.
I'm not sure why anybody would regard the intelligence of any animal as a yardstick by which to calibrate the humanity of their treatment of it.

ZenTiger said...

Indeed, because that would make dumb humans expendable. Or comatose ones. Or newborns. Or unborns.

On the other hand, you've inspired me to add the clip from the Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy that goes on about Man being so clever because they invented the wristwatch and nuclear bombs, and Dolphins believing they are actually more intelligent for precisely the same reasons. (Actually the clip says it differently than I remember from the book, but it was so many years ago that I can't quite remember the phrase I have approximated)

Anonymous said...

I'm just waiting for Ban Ki Moon to offer them some carbon credits and a place on the IPCC panel for their role in fighting climate change. And then they can get abortion as a "near-human" right under ObamaCare.

But seriously, I read this in hard print in the Press and it struck me as just another case of AspergerAcademic Syndrome, whereby they talk with no-one else but those with similar academic trains of thought and come to some wild conclusion. What's next: Egyptian dog, rat and dolphin worship?

I know the ancient pagans worshipped their ancestors but including the evolutionary tree is just a little bit too far I think.

Murray said...

"-they can't tune the six Weber carbs on a Colombo V12 Ferrari, or use a digital camera or grill lamb chop"

Would you like to point you to a few "human beings" who would have about as much success as flipper doing those?

"Non-human" by definition is not a person. Same as the "ilegal" in ileagal alien actually means NO they DON'T have the rights of citizens.

If they get to work of classifing which humans we can exculde as person first I'll be more open to which "non-humans" get to pay taxes as well as the rest of us.

News flash Zen, dumb humans are expendable.

ZenTiger said...

News flash Zen, dumb humans are expendable.

Now that you say it, it seems so obvious. I must have been stupid not to see that.

Err, scratch that.

Murray said...

Yeah careful, you don't want to end up on The List.

Shem Banbury said...

Dolphins will get the vote soon. And with that I would probably vote for them when they join together and make a political party!!

In my mind you aren't a real human until you pay tax so when they start doing that I will give Dolphins my attention.

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