what do we think of Neanderthals: buried dead, did art - are they human? what are implications?

2»

Comments

  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Timmy is human if he has human parents. If he was born with a severe learning disability then he is even more deserving than me of human compassion and care. If he is like Tony Bland and suffered severe brain damage resulting in persistent vegetative state (PVS) then he is also deserving of human care and compassion. Tony Bland was in PVS for 4 years after the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. His parents loved him dearly but they and those looking after him considered his treatment to be futile and wanted him to be allowed to die. The courts had to rule on the case and it went to the highest court in the UK. The Law Lords upheld their request (by a majority of 3 to 2) and used the following rationale: Treatment for someone unable to give consent is only lawful if it is in their best interests. Nutrition and hydration etc was deemed medical treatment. This treatment was evidently not in his best interests and so not only could it be legally withdrawn but it was illegal to continue with it.

    Not sure what this has to do with Neanderthals but I am interested in the case of Timmy.

    Timmy probably didn't even cry at birth. Is he resurrected? Along with all the miscarried, aborted? Consider the ant?
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    Consider the ant?
    He'll be having a go at the flowers next.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Consider the ant?
    He'll be having a go at the flowers next.

    Well his unwritten science-fantasy masterpiece Sap does consider that.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Consider the ant?
    He'll be having a go at the flowers next.
    Well...

  • A serious response:
    Most (if not all) characteristics that we might consider to be characteristic of humans are not exclusively human. Even excluding the other great apes:
    Tool use? Otters, some birds
    Agriculture? Leaf cutter ants
    Modifying our environment? Termites building mounds to provide their nests with air con
    Intelligence? Even flowers.

    Alternatively some people need a cultural education.
  • Forkhead Box Protein 2 (FOXp2)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FOXP2

    Without which we don't have language. No language no thinking?
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Looks like it. No stories. Knocks everything else in to a cocked hat.
  • Here is an article about defining serial killers, which I cite because the description of prototype theory seems to me to be relevant in thinking about what and who you define as human.
  • Forkhead Box Protein 2 (FOXp2)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FOXP2

    Without which we don't have language. No language no thinking?


    My observation of pre-verbal people I know, is that they appear to be able to integrate information, make choices and engage in purposeful action - which I think is evidence of thought.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Fascinating. These are people who do not yet understand any language, visual or spoken, cannot perform complex communication? But will?
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited August 18
    I am thinking of people I know with severe learning disabilities. Speech and language therapists may organise the use of symbols or objects of reference to support communication. So if someone brings you a cup, because they know that results in getting a drink - that is a communication, future orientated purposeful action - but it is not language. They may also actively select the right people in the environment to give the object to, a staff member rather than a housemate for example.

    In teaching such systems you rely on fundamental human instincts such as imitation, and fundamental learning processes such as positive reinforcement and operant conditioning.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited August 18
    I can easily imagine such people being transcended, being enabled in that. Even in this life by sci-fi level gene therapy.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited August 18
    That is a complex ethical issue, if you change someone out of all recognition are they still themselves ? Would it not completely change your consciousness ?
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    There is the beautiful short story by the golden age sci-fi writer, Clifford Simak, Flowers For Algernon that explores this terribly poignantly. None of us will remain as we are. Thank God.
  • Timmy is human if he has human parents. If he was born with a severe learning disability then he is even more deserving than me of human compassion and care. If he is like Tony Bland and suffered severe brain damage resulting in persistent vegetative state (PVS) then he is also deserving of human care and compassion. Tony Bland was in PVS for 4 years after the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. His parents loved him dearly but they and those looking after him considered his treatment to be futile and wanted him to be allowed to die. The courts had to rule on the case and it went to the highest court in the UK. The Law Lords upheld their request (by a majority of 3 to 2) and used the following rationale: Treatment for someone unable to give consent is only lawful if it is in their best interests. Nutrition and hydration etc was deemed medical treatment. This treatment was evidently not in his best interests and so not only could it be legally withdrawn but it was illegal to continue with it.

    Not sure what this has to do with Neanderthals but I am interested in the case of Timmy.

    I don't agree with that. For me, human is a state solely reliant on possessing those attributes we generally ascribe to humans. Remove those attributes and you have something less, and often much less, than human. It follows that other species that display near human attributes are also deserving of being considered human. The unfortunate Tony Bland had lost all the attributes of being human and should have been allowed to die much sooner.

    Similarly, the lack of human attributes in a foetus is why I have no problem with abortion.
  • @Colin Smith I don't think we diasagree as much as it might seem.
    I agree Tony Bland should have been allowed to die much sooner -it was just that the coroner warned the consultant in charge that he could face a murder charge if he withdrew treatment without legal 'permission'. And I'm not against abortion because a woman's body is hers alone. And I'm passionately against any harm coming to primates, dolphins etc etc. I even feel sad if a spider accidently goes up the vacuum cleaner.
    And I'm sure Neanderthals should be considered human.
    Which brings us back to the OP
  • @Colin Smith I don't think we diasagree as much as it might seem.
    I agree Tony Bland should have been allowed to die much sooner -it was just that the coroner warned the consultant in charge that he could face a murder charge if he withdrew treatment without legal 'permission'. And I'm not against abortion because a woman's body is hers alone. And I'm passionately against any harm coming to primates, dolphins etc etc. I even feel sad if a spider accidently goes up the vacuum cleaner.
    And I'm sure Neanderthals should be considered human.
    Which brings us back to the OP

    That's cool. :smile:
  • I don't agree with that. For me, human is a state solely reliant on possessing those attributes we generally ascribe to humans. Remove those attributes and you have something less, and often much less, than human. It follows that other species that display near human attributes are also deserving of being considered human. The unfortunate Tony Bland had lost all the attributes of being human and should have been allowed to die much sooner.

    Similarly, the lack of human attributes in a foetus is why I have no problem with abortion.

    How disabled do I have to be or become, for you to start to consider me sub-human ?
  • Colin SmithColin Smith Shipmate
    edited August 19
    I don't agree with that. For me, human is a state solely reliant on possessing those attributes we generally ascribe to humans. Remove those attributes and you have something less, and often much less, than human. It follows that other species that display near human attributes are also deserving of being considered human. The unfortunate Tony Bland had lost all the attributes of being human and should have been allowed to die much sooner.

    Similarly, the lack of human attributes in a foetus is why I have no problem with abortion.

    How disabled do I have to be or become, for you to start to consider me sub-human ?

    The kind of identity striping dehumanising Alzheimer's that my mother has would do it. She made it clear when she saw her own mother similarly reduced that if she ever got to that stage she'd like someone to put a pillow over her face and end it. Unfortunately, the law has yet to agree.

    Should add that no amount of physical infirmity would ever strip someone of their humanness.
  • And people with severe learning disabilities ?
  • And people with severe learning disabilities ?

    Depends how severe but in general I don't think life should be prolonged or perpetuated when a reasoned judgement is that it isn't worth living. That's a judgement we make of other animals all the time so I don't see why we shouldn't extend it to humans.

    In the case of severe mental and physical disabilities discovered before birth then I believe the case for termination should be overwhelmingly.

    That may seem callous but my mother's situation tells me that our current attitude to 'life' is untenable.
  • Oh fantastic, you believe in eugenics.
  • Oh fantastic, you believe in eugenics.

    No I don't. I don't hold that man is perfectible through eugenics, but I do hold that life is not always worth living.
  • Oh fantastic, you believe in eugenics.

    No I don't. I don't hold that man is perfectible through eugenics, but I do hold that life is not always worth living.

    I made a thread, I have changed the title in deference to your post.
  • Eugenics is an invention of white supremacy.

    FOXp2 and related genes allow the understanding of grammar and sophisticated details: you wait here like I did last time and I'll scare the antelope your way and we'll all share in the kill.

    That my dogs and severely communication challenged people understand some levels of language does not equate to this level of communication. It's more than here and now, single detail communication: sit, halt, I'll get that for you.

  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Eugenics is an invention of white supremacy.

    FOXp2 and related genes allow the understanding of grammar and sophisticated details: you wait here like I did last time and I'll scare the antelope your way and we'll all share in the kill.

    That my dogs and severely communication challenged people understand some levels of language does not equate to this level of communication. It's more than here and now, single detail communication: sit, halt, I'll get that for you.
    Incorrect. Animals that hunt in packs communicate strategy without the FOXp2 gene.
    Unless one believes in a 6k year old world, this question is not so cut and dry.
  • Oh fantastic, you believe in eugenics.
    Before I continue reading, I am going to respond to this post - what you have written is totally unfair and I am wondering whether to use the word bigoted.
  • @SusanDoris I started a new thread in Epiphanies to discuss this, maybe take it there. I’d link but I couldn’t work out how to - it’s called Less Than Human.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Eugenics is an invention of white supremacy.

    FOXp2 and related genes allow the understanding of grammar and sophisticated details: you wait here like I did last time and I'll scare the antelope your way and we'll all share in the kill.

    That my dogs and severely communication challenged people understand some levels of language does not equate to this level of communication. It's more than here and now, single detail communication: sit, halt, I'll get that for you.
    Incorrect. Animals that hunt in packs communicate strategy without the FOXp2 gene.
    Unless one believes in a 6k year old world, this question is not so cut and dry.
    You're conveying incompletely the nature of communication required with this. There are a number of possible behavioural patterns available to a pack when hunting. Clark Hull's "habit family hierarchy" explained this quite well 60 years ago (unfortunately some these principles were used by militaries in "improve" the killing efficiency of soldiers). Very cursory summary: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clark_L._Hull#Behavior

    None of the selection of responses among a pack involves thinking and language the way humans use it. Rather a group of animals responds to the stimulus (prey) and based on its behaviour, response to those subsequent stimuli both of the prey and of the other individuals. There hasn't been documentation that wolves (for example) talk of their parents, the behaviour of neighbouring packs, the likelihood of a early frost, whether this season is as good as the one 5 years ago etc.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Dogs communicate between themselves and with humans very effectively. Non-verbal communication is incredibly powerful.

    When my two play with each other they ‘speak’ and ‘read’ non verbal signals at lightning speed, far, far quicker than I can read them.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Eugenics is an invention of white supremacy.

    FOXp2 and related genes allow the understanding of grammar and sophisticated details: you wait here like I did last time and I'll scare the antelope your way and we'll all share in the kill.

    That my dogs and severely communication challenged people understand some levels of language does not equate to this level of communication. It's more than here and now, single detail communication: sit, halt, I'll get that for you.
    Incorrect. Animals that hunt in packs communicate strategy without the FOXp2 gene.
    Unless one believes in a 6k year old world, this question is not so cut and dry.
    You're conveying incompletely the nature of communication required with this. There are a number of possible behavioural patterns available to a pack when hunting. Clark Hull's "habit family hierarchy" explained this quite well 60 years ago (unfortunately some these principles were used by militaries in "improve" the killing efficiency of soldiers). Very cursory summary: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clark_L._Hull#Behavior

    None of the selection of responses among a pack involves thinking and language the way humans use it. Rather a group of animals responds to the stimulus (prey) and based on its behaviour, response to those subsequent stimuli both of the prey and of the other individuals. There hasn't been documentation that wolves (for example) talk of their parents, the behaviour of neighbouring packs, the likelihood of a early frost, whether this season is as good as the one 5 years ago etc.
    Hull. :disappointed: He and the other Skinner acolytes miss much by making a presumption before observing. Tollman was closer, but he did not go far enough.
    If one starts with a conclusion, cf Skinner, one will arrive with the same.

  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Two points (owed to the philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre):
    1) If animals can't communicate without words, then neither could language have evolved, nor could a human infant develop language.
    2) Nevertheless there are things that one can do with language that one cannot do without language. Language is able to quote other uses of language, to mention words without using them. Among other things that means that a language user can think about their reasons for doing or believing something and decide whether they are sufficiently good reasons. A language user can ask questions. In particular, one can't ask, 'why?' without language.
    (Nothing here supposes that only humans have language. It just says what one interesting point of emergent properties is.)
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    So we're saying that if human-ness is a matter of capabilities (a continuous variable that one can have greater or lesser amounts of) then on the plus side our favourite animals have some of it but on the minus side our severely brain-damaged relatives don't.

    If conversely it's a binary yes/no variable (e.g an incorporeal soul that's deemed to be either present or absent) then it's just us self-regardingly declaring ourselves special and arbitrarily drawing a line as to where "us" ends.

    I'm not seeing a good way out of this one...
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    It's not a matter of where "us" ends but were where "we" began. Just saying.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Russ wrote: »
    So we're saying that if human-ness is a matter of capabilities (a continuous variable that one can have greater or lesser amounts of) then on the plus side our favourite animals have some of it but on the minus side our severely brain-damaged relatives don't.

    If conversely it's a binary yes/no variable (e.g an incorporeal soul that's deemed to be either present or absent) then it's just us self-regardingly declaring ourselves special and arbitrarily drawing a line as to where "us" ends.

    I'm not seeing a good way out of this one...

    The only bad way out is if it's all meaningless.
Sign In or Register to comment.