Thursday, January 14, 2010

Non-Human Persons

Finally, science is giving dolphins their due. They are now recognized as the second smartest creatures on the planet. Smarter than dogs. Smarter than chimps. Smarter than three-year-old humans! Heck, they're probably smarter than most of the people I know! That's why some zoologists are arguing that they should be classified as "non-human persons." (Read more here.)

In all seriousness, I have a feeling that one day in the future, the human race will wake up and realize that there are many species that are far more intelligent than we ever imagined. Almost every day I read something amazing. Elephants mourn their dead. Chimps can learn sign language. Dolphins can not only learn amazing tricks--they can teach their friends, too. Pigs are plotting to take over the government of Liechtenstein. (Okay, I made that one up.)

So let's start taking dolphins (and other creatures) more seriously! If we don't there's always a chance they'll stop showing up to save our rumps (literally).

UPDATE: Video narrated by my personal hero, one of the greatest men who ever lived, Sir David Attenborough.


Anonymous Nellie said...

And the best thing about them...they're delicious.

Sorry. I just had to say that, didn't I?

Biologically speaking, humans are animals, but what makes us truly different form animals is our ability to think, choose, and love; and our immortal souls. So I think that dolphins shouldn't be treated along the same level as humans. It is, if you'll pardon me, rather messed up. Animals aren't humans; humans aren't animals. If there was a severely handicapped child who operated on the brain level of, say, a newborn baby, would we call it "a human non-person"? (Don't even get me started on the legal non-personhood of unborn babies.)

Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying that animals cannot be intelligent. Just that they cannot, and never will, be as smart as or on the same level as humans. So, yes, maybe we should take them more seriously. Just not treat them as humans.

If I offended anyone, I apologize.

11:57 AM  
Blogger Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City said...

Nellie: Very intelligent comment, as always. Yet I believe you may have just mauled a straw man.

I don't think that the scientists were arguing that dolphins should be treated "like humans." How would we do that, anyway? Force them to obey the speed limit? Let them apply for government assistance?

And given how we treat other human beings on this planet, I'm not sure the dolphins would benefit anyway.

I believe the point the scientists were trying to make was that extremely intelligent creatures deserve to be treated with respect. That means trying to protect them whenever possible. (And in my opinion, that includes not eating them, though others may disagree with me on that point.)

I'm not going to get into subjects like immortal souls, but I do believe people can and SHOULD be judged by how they treat weaker creatures--whether those creatures are human or non-human.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City said...

Can you tell I enjoy a good debate? (At least as much as you and your sis!) I think we should all argue like this more often. The world would be a better place.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous 42 said...

I can see both sides.

Dolphins are very intelligent. (Better then most kids at my old school, in fact.) Some people would say that they understand and, therefor, "feel" human emotions. If something is capable of that, regardless of species, then it should be treated as if it were human.

However, as hard as they try, dolphins will never be human.

But if they learn to communicate (hopefully in full sentences) with humans, they could be given human jobs. (They're already entertainers.)

So dolphins can act and be treated like humans, but they will never fully "be" a human.

2:08 PM  
Blogger H said...

I don't think they're saying dolphins should be treated like humans ( like dressing them up in swim suits and stuff like we do to dogs) but they're saying that dolphins are incredibly intelligent animals.

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Nellie said...

I misunderstood the scientists, I think, if they were only saying that we should treat dolphins with extra respect. Sorry about that.

We as humans certainly have the responsibility to protect the weak and innocent, including animals (as long as we can still keep the distinction between man and beast). Still, the concept of "non-human personhood" is very strange to be, and I can't help but feel that it's not a very good idea. From the article you linked to:
"The researchers argue that their work [that shows the dolphins' intelligence level] shows it is morally unacceptable to keep such intelligent animals in amusement parks or to kill them for food or by accident when fishing."
I think my main problem with this is that they're basically saying intelligence means you should be treated with extra respect. If dolphins are smarter than three-year-olds then is it okay to kill two-year-olds or put them in amusement parks?

However, I do think that we should respect animals. I think that was a little unclear. And now I step down from my soapbox. XD

What did you mean about the straw man?

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Nellie said...

Oops, forgot to say this: Sorry again if I offended anyone. Also, thank you very much Ms. Miller for your kind words!

4:36 PM  
Anonymous TricksterQueen said...

The title of the article and the blog entry is "Non-Human Persons". NON-HUMAN PERSONS. Scientists aren't suggesting that we treat them as humans but as people. Just because something isnt human it cant be considered a person? What about aliens? Are they not people because they're not human?

Why would they want to be human anyway? Let's think about this: we live, we eat, we pollute, then we die. We always prioritize a dying child over a tree. Why? Because it's a "human life". But why should we prioritize the child? How does it contribute to the environment? Frankly, it doesnt. It has some potential to society; in other words, humans. Yet a tree contributes and is tied directly to the environment. But, of course, humanity comes first.

However, I digress. Of course, dolphins will never be humans. But I agree with Kirsten on this. It doesnt mean that we cant treat them as equals. No, I dont mean forcing them to obey the speed limit. I mean, preventing them from being hunted into extinction or being put on display in some cruddy aquarium soley for the purpose of making money.

Basically, humans need to stop acting as if we're the "smartest" species on this planet. We're not. We just act like it.

For all we know, there is an ancient civilization miles beneath the ocean that's more intelligent than us and is plotting our downfall via junkfood and global warming.

Thanks for the article, Kirsten.

(If you couldnt tell, Im very much an environmentalist. ;D)

5:12 PM  
Blogger Kiki said...

I don't think we should treat ANY animal as human. I remember a quote about dogs that said something along the lines of no animal really wants to be human (actually, it said something that it is a disgrace to dogs to treat them or think of them as mini humans).
But I do think people need to realize that animals are more intelligent than they give them credit for.

5:19 PM  
Anonymous cait said...

But are humans BETTER then dolphins Nellie, when every day we kill each other, other creatures start terrible wars and destroy our own home.
Although of course dolphins have been known to attack other smaller porpoises very aggressively, but if we are a higher form of thinking shouldn't we know better?

5:35 PM  
Blogger Kiki Strike said...

Nellie: If you're debating a subject and your opponent claims you're "attacking a straw man," it means that you're not attacking her true position, but rather making it seem as if she's supporting a similar (but less defensible) position. Does that make things clear? I'm not sure I gave the best definition.

In this situation, I was arguing (in essence) that highly intelligent animals should be treated with greater respect. I accused you of attacking a straw man because you implied I was arguing that animals should be treated like humans.

But it was all in good fun! I really love hearing from you and Hazel. I hope you guys are on a debate team somewhere.

5:41 PM  
Blogger Kiki Strike said...

Trickster Queen: I love hearing all these different arguments. Expect controversy!

5:42 PM  
Anonymous cait said...

Wouldn't it be brilliant if they were proven to be sentient? Then we should deffenitly treat them with more respect. I mean if were not going to treat each over with respect why not a weaker being, cant be that, just let them be free, don't eat them and be more careful when fishing. we could always try interacting with them in the wild not in captivity. An excites me is that this i just the beginning and dolphins (and many other animals) are actually evolving to higher forms of life, so that in the distant/ near future we could say eaven if we are alone in the universe ( which i say were not) were definitely not alone on our own planet, atleast as far as intelligence goes.
Oh and i also enjoy a good debate, my old english class used to have them all the time, and it was really fun to hear everyone's opinions and voice my own. (we read the first Kiki Strike book in that class!)

5:50 PM  
Anonymous cait said...

Wouldn't it be brilliant if they were proven to be sentient? Then we should deffenitly treat them with more respect. I mean if were not going to treat each over with respect why not a weaker being, cant be that, just let them be free, don't eat them and be more careful when fishing. we could alway try interacting with them in the wild not in captivity. An excites me is that this i just the beginning and dolphins (and many other animals) are actually evolving to higher forms of life, so that in the distant/ near future we could say eaven if we are alone in the universe ( which i say were not) were definitely not alone on our own planet, atleast as far as intelligence goes.
Oh and i also enjoy a good debate, my old english class used to have them all the time, and it was really fun to hear everyone's opinions and voice my own. (we read the first Kiki Strike book in that class!)

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Lioness (whose account is not working AGAIN) said...

I don't think what Kirsten said was 'treat the dolphins like humans!' it's just that it is appalling how humans place themselves 'above' animals. Like the opposition to evolution-and I'm not saying I want to get into this-
people said "We couldn't possibly be related to APES. They are dirty and---well--- they live in trees for crying out loud!" We are ANIMALS. They are ANIMALS. We just happen to be the animals who drive other animals to extinction and mess up the planet. We need to respect them.. We need to allow them to thrive.

5:56 PM  
Blogger MushroomCloud said...

wow... once more I am up against people so much more intelligent then I that I don't know what to say. But I'll try:

In essence, what you're debating is whether or not animals should have the same rights as humans. I think not. If dolphins have the same rights as us, why not deer, or cows? It's kinda like racism, but w/ animals. If dolphins have our rights, ad we can't kill them, then we can't eat meat, right? All animals have different intelligence capabilities for their place in the food chain. We are superior to all animals because we can reason.I don't mean to offend anyone, but dolphins aren't exactly using electricity. So, we are more intelligent so we can help the world. We can help other animals, no one else can do that. If dolphins have technology and have a civilization we don't know about, then sure, treat them as equals. But until they do, they're not like us. Sorry 4 the length of this and if I offended anyone. :)

6:02 PM  
Anonymous TrueDragonMaster said...

Why do humans assume every one wants to be like us. If dolphins had a choice I am sure they would prefer no human interference.

Treat them with respect, do not eat them, possibly try to teach them some things but never try to make them like us.

Also keep in mind while they are intelligent it is not in the SAME way humans are intelligent.

6:04 PM  
Blogger MushroomCloud said...

Oh, and I'm kinda religous so sorry bout any problems with the purpose for creation thing

6:04 PM  
Blogger Kiki Strike said...

Mushroom Cloud: Don't apologize! All beliefs are welcome here! Just be prepared to debate. (It's a good thing.)

6:41 PM  
Blogger Kiki Strike said...

Mushroom Cloud: BTW, that dolphins electricity point was both smart and hilarious.

6:42 PM  
Blogger Al Fonzo said...

Kirsten & other people!!

I read In an article that scientists have a better chance of finding life on other planets!!!! They've made a probe and are going to send it to rocky earthlike planets!!!!

-al fonzo

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Kiwi said...


So I agree that dolphins are smart. I came to that conclusion a long time ago. And, yes, they are probably smarter than the majority of people at my school. I get sooo tired of nobody being able to think for themselves. They ask the teachers questions that a dog could figure out.
But I digress (getting a little of track there), dolphins are not humans (maybe smarter and less pollutant),and to me, "persons" means human (or humanoid... like Faeries or something). So I don't think we should call them "Non-human persons".

But dolphins are still really awesome. =D

7:13 PM  
Blogger lone_birdgirl said...

Funny thing, today some guy was parading about my AP History class declaring he was, indeed, the Prince of Liechtenstein.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Al Fonzo said...

Btw Here's the link, officialy by NASA:


9:10 PM  
Anonymous cait said...

well Kiwi i beleive that person or people should stand for all those that can think for themselves and have a conscience
Sorry for all the comments i am making, this subject fascinates.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Emma said...

I thought dolphins were smarter than people. Oh well, the mice are the ones controlling the planet anyway.

10:52 PM  
Anonymous The Irregular Girl said...

I think that dolphins should be conisdered "non-human persons".

If they're smarter than a three-year-old human, chimps, and other animals, hey; why not?

No, they'll never be humans, but that doesn't mean they can't be SMART.

6:40 AM  
Anonymous The Irregular Girl said...

You know, it's true that dolphins will never BE humans, but that still doesn't mean that they can't be considered as smart as we are. And in reference to the-three-year-old thing, I suppose that humans at that age are not fully developed and dolphins at that point are. So, perhaps that's not the perfect comparison.

As to giving animals more respect, I fully agree with that. We shouldn't be destroying other animals' habitats just for our dwellings, some too superfluous and extravagant. We need to stop killing animals that get in our way. They have rights too even if they can't state it themselves.

I know this might contradict the things I said in my previous post, but I had to give the subject more thought.

6:49 AM  
Anonymous TricksterQueen said...

I think the majority of us agree that dolphins are intelligent animals, likewise most of us agree that dophins are not human. However, the position we seem to be debating is whether dolphins should be classified as "people".

Again, if something isn't human it can't be a considered a person? If scientists ever discover life on another planet and they were more advanced than us in almost every way, would we not consider them people because humanity=person?

True, dolphins aren't using electricity. But neither were our ancestors a couple hundred years ago. It's only been in these last few DECADES that we've evolved to lamborghinis and ipod nanos - and it's taken us thousand of years to get here.

Can we honestly say that dolphins will never acheieve human-level intelligence? If we keep poaching them and allow them to fade to extinction, they never will.

Kirsten: I dont like controversy either. Actually, I hate politics and government. Im more of an econ person. But that was one of my arguments for speech and debate. The issue was "In times of economic instability, the UN should prioritize poverty over the environment". It's REALLY HARD to argue in favor of the environment, especially when your opponent is throwing out statistics about how many children die in third world countries every day and the amount of curable diseases that run rampant and untreated. @_@ It was the only argument my partner and I could come up with to level the playing field. "Human lives are prioritized over the environment because we have humanized the world and consider ourselves above the ecosystem and welfare of the planet." Something to that effect. We won, but very narrowly.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Hazel said...

I agree that we should treat animals with respect, but I don't think that the amount of respect should be based on intelligence like these scientists seem to be suggesting. If you do that, you (as in people in general, not Ananka or anyone else personally) run the risk of falling down the slippery slope towards human eugenics. The difference between man and animals isn't how well they communicate, or whether they can teach each other, it's the rational human soul. Humans are rational; dolphins aren't. Humans have human dignity. We can respect dolphins (and monkeys and trees and rocks) without treating them as our equals or regarding them as "persons" as Thomas White (at the end of the article Ananka linked to) suggests we should (I assume this would mean they would receive equal protection from the law, making it a capital crime to kill a dolphin, etc.). Humans don't, and shouldn't, respect only humans, but animal's aren't people.

Trickster Queen: Even worse and more dangerous than basing worth on intelligence is basing worth on how much good someone or something brings to society (or the environment or their/its family or country, etc.). Then you get into 'might makes right' 'ethics', and that's where racism and sexism and ageism and, yes, speciesism and all the other evil 'isms' come from. Race-based slavery wasn't invented after what people thought of as the discovery of differences between races. Rather, racism was invented so that people could avoid thinking about the fact that they were abusing their fellow man.
Some things and/or creatures are more important and have more inherent dignity than others. A human's being human is a very good reason to respect him or her more that a tree. I love how the German constitution (random, right?) starts: "The dignity of man is inviolable. It is the duty of all public authority to respect and protect it." (Whether that statement is actually carried out in German laws is a different story, but let's not get into that.) If you don't believe in inherent human dignity, I really don't know what to say to you.

Golly, that was long.

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Patsee said...

Hazel: My sentiments exactly.

5:48 PM  
Anonymous Hazel said...

I just wanted to say that I now realize it sounds like I meant that we consider ourselves superior to animals merely to justify our power, which doesn't fit with the rest of my statement at all. Upon further reflection, I realize "speciesism" (as applied to the superiority of humans to animals) is based on reason rather than bigotry and so doesn't fit with the other "isms" I mentioned. Sorry about that.

6:19 PM  
Blogger MushroomCloud said...

Thanks Kirsten! I realized afterwards that it would be REALLY bad 4 dolphins 2 use electricity cause water and electricity don't mix that well...... oh and dolphins are not people at all. they're fishy things

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Nellie said...

I agree we should treat animals with respect, but we should do this in a way that is not classifying them as persons. There's got to be a better way.

3:50 PM  
Anonymous EQ said...

Don't bash sharks. Sharks almost never attack people. More people die of falling coconuts, per year, than shark attacks.

Al Fonzo: If they are trying to send one probe to a lot of different planets, it could take a while. Rocky or earth-like planets in other systems are hard to find because right now our main way of locating them is seeing when they pass in front of their star. If they're small or at an angle, we can't detect them.

On top of it all, right now, the most likely earth-like planet to have liquid water is Gliese 581-d, about 7 M[sub]earth in size, orbiting in the outer habitable zone of a red dwarf star called Gliese 581. It's about 20.3 light-years away from earth. It would take a very, very long time to get there.

The article you posted talks about several new systems to *detect* earth-like planets, not sending probes.

Furthermore, looking for earth-like planets will probably only yield results if the closest ET is of earth-like origin. That would mean we're following a galaxy-sized red herring if the closest ET is in fact extremely unlike life on earth.

And now I look like a geek, don't I?

7:19 PM  
Blogger MushroomCloud said...

Oh, and I was a very intelligent 3year old!!! I mean come on, my preschool had goats!! incase u were wondering, my brain was stimulated by being terrified that the goats would eat me (that's what they told us!) and chasing a smelly ferret.(I strongly dislike ferrets.)

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Hazel said...

EQ: You only look like a geek if "geek" is dolphin for "smart and well-informed".

4:35 PM  
Anonymous TricksterQueen said...

Hazel: I think your post was posted earlier than mine, right? I ask because I feel unsure whether you read all of my second post.

I dont think humans should start talking to dolphins as if they understand, the same way that adults cant have long philosophical debates with infants. However, I do believe that more should be done so that our fellow inhabitants of earth dont suffer simply because humans feel superior to everything else because we're "human".

I also believe that if other species were given the chance to evolve further, they could possibly achieve "human-level" intelligence. Maybe not in one, ten, one hundred years; simply consider how long it has taken US to evolve (if not monkeys to humans, then from witch burnings to gradually accepting gender, race and sexuality). Then, humanity wouldnt be able to boast that they alone are capable of "human-level intelligence".

Kudos on the quotes and examples, by the way. Its always nice finding someone with an exceptionally good argument/point. It's harder to counter, but that makes it more fun. :)

10:01 PM  
Anonymous TricksterQueen said...

MushroomCloud: Your preschool had GOATS AND FERRETS? Im jealous. All my preschool had was a corner full of books you couldnt read because they were bigger than you, I kid you not.

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Hazel said...

TricksterQueen: Yes, I think I posted before your second post was published.
What I'm saying is that humans are superior to animals in a way that actually has nothing to do intelligence, or even individual moral worth. (Animals actually cannot sin, as they are not rational and therefor cannot knowingly do harm, which humans do all the time.) Humans have rational souls; they're made in the image and likeness of God. Even if you don't believe in that (I have no idea what your religious beliefs are), it's obvious that humans are different from animals, specifically more different than animals are from each other. (Did the syntax of that sentence work out? I mean the difference between humans and animals is greater than the difference between animals and other animals.) Humans (as a species, obviously most of this doesn't apply to, say, infants) have religious beliefs, bury their dead, make scientific and philosophic discoveries, etc., which animals are incapable of even desiring. We have human dignity, but we're not allowed to lord it over the rest of creation. We're stewards, not kings or gods. I think the best way to describe stewardship is that it's like babysitting: we're not responsible for creation and we don't make the rules and can't arbitrarily change them, but we enforce them (except the rules are more for us than for the rest of creation to follow), and it's not for our good or convenience, but for others'.
Do you get what I'm saying (and did I get what you're saying?)?

I love finding people like you on the web who can debate on a level higher than "you christians maek me sick. [ . . . ] go die" (This is a quote from a discussion on abortion I was in. It was actually in German, but I tried to replicate the guy's grammar fail in English.)
Thank you!

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Trickster Queen said...

Hazel: So what it somes down to is: Humanity was created "in the image and likeness to God". Therefore, humans have "rational souls". A rational soul is the requirement legally be recognized as a person (ie, you cant be dead. you're human, but you dont have a soul anymore). Is that right?

However, we cant use that as a reference. While it might be convincing to fellow Christians, there are other religons to think about, atheists and buddhists for example. (I realize that atheism is the absence of religon but it still serves as an example.)

Buddhism and Hinduism, for example, teach that people are reincarnated, most notably into animals and other beings. They would then argue that an animal DOES have a rational soul then because it is the soul living in another life.

(We've kinda taken a detour and started to debate about religon, and science vs religon, did you notice?)

Religon aside, scientifically speaking, dolphins have a CAPABILITY to evolve to human level intelligence. Studies show, as the article says, that elephants mourn their dead. Animals experience emotion, while other studies show that they can think and reason. Maybe not at a human level but its still there. I think that could qualify as having a rational soul, as per your descriptions.

As I've said before, if we give them time dolphins could shatter all of our expectations and evolve to computer level intelligence (they "think" and process but have no souls) if not human level.

That sucks. And thank you. :)

5:13 PM  
Blogger MushroomCloud said...

yes, trickster queen, it did. and the goats wee great, the ferret not so much. it pooped and smelled and was locked in the bathroom once every 2 weeks so i's cae could be cleaned. It was the only bathroom in the school so we had to use the teacher's mother's bathroom in the back. she was very nice, but she never spoke, always stayed in her wheelchair and the lights were alway off in her room. it was kinda weird.oh, it was a Montessori school. It was called Little Farm and it had a large wooden elephant behind it.

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Hazel said...

Trickster Queen: Well, having a rational human soul attached to your body should be what makes you legally a person, but many people's personhood is not legally recognized. But let's not get into that.

Basically, I think this argument is coming down to whether what makes humans superior to animals is something inherent to humans, or something that can evolve, and we just did it first, for whatever reason. Right?
Even assuming for the sake of argument that it can evolve, classifying dolphins as 'persons' would, at least at this stage, be more a matter of redefining the term 'person', don't you think? So it's also really a semantics issue.

I kind of think, when dolphins (or other animals) ask for personhood, let's reconsider.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Kiki Strike said...

I commend you guys for having a rational, intelligent debate about very complicated issues. You've put most adults to shame.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous TricksterQueen said...

Hazel: You're entirely correct. This is a semantics issue as well. We would have to redefine the word "person" to mean "an intelligent species with inherent rights that is also protected by the government" or some such thing.

Furthermore, we could reconsider, but then that in itself is the issue. Should we give a creature with an unheard voice the chance to recieve better treatment and receive rights that help to protect its species?

(Thanks Kirsten. Ah ha ha. The world DOES feel like a better place. This is/was fun, Hazel :])

4:49 PM  
Anonymous TricksterQueen said...

MushroomCloud: I am speechless.

How did you enjoy the "completely child-centric experience"?

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Hazel said...

Trickster Queen: Are you saying having the label "person" is the only thing that would make an organism "[receive good] treatment and receive rights that help to protect its species"? What you last said sounds like that, but it doesn't fit with your previous comments, so I probably misunderstood. I think all organisms have rights that should be recognized (rather than granted) by law, but some organisms have more, greater, or more important rights. For instance, animals need the rainforest more than I need an eighth condo in Brazil, but if I'm starving, lost in the woods, I will definitely kill a squirrel with my bare hands and eat it. (Well, I'll try. XD) (Although I don't find it morally wrong to eat meat in general, and hunting meat yourself probably leads to less animal cruelty than buying meat from Giant.)

Kiki Strike: Thanks! And thanks for bringing up these issues and letting us monopolize your comments page. :)

9:09 PM  
Anonymous TricksterQueen said...

Hazel: No, I didnt mean that labeling an organism a "person" is the only way that an organism will recieve good treatment. However, labeling an organism a "person" would force humans to recognize that they are not sole masters of our happy little planet. It's easy to abuse an animal because it's "just an animal" However, giving an organism the title "person" makes it harder to abuse it. For instance, although it happens, just randomly beating up another person is horrifying to most people. Likewise, if someone eats a dolphin or abuses it, people will be shocked because it is almost on par with humans.

Also, it's true that (most) people will kill to eat when forced to because of the "eat or be eaten" argument. And ultimately, it is part of nature. (We cant really stop a lion from eating a gazelle and try to turn it into a vegetarian because the lion has a right to try to live its life.)

Yet, we as humans also have the choice and ability to reason and choose how we want to contribute to the planet. An I important? If I eat this squirrel and live, will I contribute to the world? That kind of thing.

(You'd eat a squirrel?)

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Hazel said...

Trickster Queen: See, I think we are, if not masters of the planet, definitely in charge in a way animals aren't (stewardship again), and animals aren't almost on a par with us. They're really great, and they may be intelligent, but there's a huge gap between us and them. Labeling them "persons" to get people to care more seems like PETA's "Nobody would hurt a sea kitten!" campaign, and also wouldn't contribute to animal rights in general. It would either promote the idea that it's not okay to kill dolphins, but we can kill "stupid animals", or we'd say all animals are "persons" and it would become shorthand for "organism which belongs to the kingdom Animamalia". We need to just say, "Yes, animals aren't us, but they have rights, and we need to protect them because no one else will."
Also, all people are important, even if they can't see how they contribute to the planet or whatever. For one thing, humans just are intrinsically important: to their families, to their friends, to whomever they might help at any time in the future, and for another thing, we need to work to make a difference. Everyone has a duty to take care of themselves, so you have an obligation to feed yourself etc.. See what I'm saying?

(Squirrel is yummy!)

7:51 PM  
Anonymous TricksterQueen said...

Hazel: I concede. ;)

12:49 AM  
Anonymous Hazel said...

Trickster Queen: That was a really interesting discussion, especially when it turned out the main thing we disagreed on was the semantics. Thank you!

Ananka: Thank you, too!

1:03 PM  
Anonymous kiki strikes again said...

Sorry, I just had to add in my own... one cent :D I don't think humans shouldn't start talking to dolphins like they understand. It's like talking to a person who speaks only French, in English!

7:41 AM  

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