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Rethinking what it means to be “legally human”

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In an age when many are pursuing human-animal chimeras, a “less stringent” definition is sought:

The pace of biotechnology research is blurring the bounds of humanity so rapidly that two US scholars are calling for a rethink on what it means to be legally human.

Writing in the journal Science biomedical law experts Bartha Knoppers, from McGill University in Canada, and Henry Greely, from Stanford University in the US, say technologies that mix non-human and human cells, such as CRISPR, xenotransplantation and chimeras, mean a less stringent definition of “human” will be needed going forward.

For the purposes of ascribing all-important human rights, set out in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we should only require the organism to be “substantially” human, they argue.

One biotech prompting the taxonomy shift is the human-animal chimera.

Paul Biegler, “What does it mean to be human?” at Cosmos Magazine

Many jurisdictions now allow abortion up to the moment of birth and some allow infant euthanasia of children who are obviously human. So “legally human” means they can’t just legally kill you because someone has the power to end your life.

Perhaps we will morph into a civilization where a turtle with some human cells is legally human and therefore has security of the person but vast swathes of humanity are not. If you vote for people who think that’s cool, at least you will get something you voted for. Happy New Year.

8 Replies to “Rethinking what it means to be “legally human”

  1. 1
    AaronS1978 says:

    Human chimeras only come into existence when humans make them, but we need to make a definition of what it’s like to be human so we can differentiate the difference between the two because our technology is blurring the lines of what it means to be human

    I just want to get that straight that because the technology that humans created and humans create human chimera’s using technology that humans both discovered and I emphasize CREATED, we need to create a new definition of what it is to be human

    This is painfully stupid and maybe we should put the brakes on these types of technologies pretty damn quick less something stupid happens

    It’s like being worried about a robot apocalypse but the only reason why robots would kill us all is because we programmed them to do that

    I hate this age

  2. 2
    AaronS1978 says:

    Yes it’s OK to do monstrous things because we can’t stop the progress of science that’s just immoral

  3. 3
    Ed George says:

    AaronS1978

    I hate this age.

    I’m interested in why you would hate this age. Every age has had to deal with how to apply new discoveries. Why is this age any different?

  4. 4
    Ed George says:

    AaronS1978

    Yes it’s OK to do monstrous things because we can’t stop the progress of science that’s just immoral.

    Can science be immoral, or just amoral? I agree that scientific discoveries can be used immorally. And that the motivations for some research might be immoral. But science as a process is just science.

    I am sure you have heard the thought experiment about whether we should make use of scientific discoveries obtained in an immoral fashion. The common example is, ‘if Nazi concentration experiments conducted on Jewish prisoners resulted in a cure or treatment for some disease, should we use it?’ .

  5. 5
    ET says:

    “UnNatural Selection” is a show on Netflix. It proves that, thanks to biotechnology, individuals can indeed evolve by means of intelligent design. “The Island of Dr. Moreau” may be right around the corner.

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, FYI, 40 years ago, lessons derived from said atrocities were embedded in medicine and it was said that more lives were saved than had been unjustly taken through mass murder. In parallel with that, a programme of ethical research was undertaken to recreate the same knowledge soundly and succeeded in the end some years ago. The evil did not justify needless further sacrifice of lives but the wound on the soul of medicine had to be healed. And again, this illustrates the reality of the mixed character of a civilisation. If we disqualify what is good because the vessel that carried it is imperfect or even evil, we would disqualify almost every step of progress or knowledge. In fact, what is done is that cultural marxists target those they oppose through the oppression thesis to poison the well we need to drink from, in a variety of selective hyperskepticism. They want us to throw the baby out with the bath water, the better to introduce a deadly asp that we are expected to coddle. This shows them to be misanthropes. It is time to turn from such ruthless manipulation and suicidal folly. KF

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    If Darwinists want to be able to define what it means to be “Legally Human” it might greatly help them to first be able to define what it means to be “Scientifically Human”. But alas, Darwinists can’t even define what a species is in a scientifically rigorous manner, much less can they ever define what it means to be “Legally Human” . As the following article makes clear, “What is a species? The most important concept in all of biology is a complete mystery”,,,

    What is a species? The most important concept in all of biology is a complete mystery – July 16, 2019
    Excerpt: What is a species?
    The most famous definition of a species comes from the 20th century German-born biologist Ernst Mayr, who emphasised the importance of interbreeding. The idea (roughly) is that two organisms are of the same species if they can breed with one another to produce fertile offspring. That is why a donkey and a horse aren’t the same species: they can breed and produce offspring, but not fertile offspring.,,,
    But it wasn’t long before the problems with Mayr’s approach became apparent. The definition makes use of the notion of interbreeding. This is all very well with horses and polar bears, but smaller organisms like bacteria do not interbreed at all. They reproduce entirely asexually, by simply splitting in two. So this definition of species can’t really apply to bacteria.,,,
    In the 1960s, another German biologist, Willi Hennig, suggested thinking about species in terms of their ancestry. In simple terms, he suggested that we should find an organism, and then group it together with its children, and its children’s children, and its children’s children’s children. Eventually, you will have the original organism (the ancestor) and all of its descendents. These groups are called clades. Hennig’s insight was to suggest that this is how we should be thinking about species.
    But this approach faces its own problems. How far back should you go before you pick the ancestor in question? If you go back in history far enough, you’ll find that pretty much every animal on the planet shares an ancestor. But surely we don’t want to say that every single animal in the world, from the humble sea slug, to top-of-the-range apes like human beings, are all one big single species?
    Enough of species?
    This is only the tip of a deep and confusing iceberg. There is absolutely no agreement among biologists about how we should understand the species. One 2006 article on the subject listed 26 separate definitions of species, all with their advocates and detractors. Even this list is incomplete.
    The mystery surrounding species is well-known in biology, and commonly referred to as “the species problem”. Frustration with the idea of a species goes back at least as far as Darwin.,,,
    some contemporary biologists and philosophers of biology have,,, suggested that biology would be much better off if it didn’t think about life in terms of species at all.,,,
    One of the great discoveries of evolutionary biology is that the human species is not special or privileged in the grand scheme of things, and that humans have the same origins as all the other animals. This approach just takes the next step. It says that there is no such thing as “the human species” at all.
    https://theconversation.com/what-is-a-species-the-most-important-concept-in-all-of-biology-is-a-complete-mystery-119200

    And there you go, yet another insane consequence of Darwinian materialism, in all its full blown absurdity stated clearly for all to see, “there is no such thing as “the human species” at all.”,,,

    You just can’t make this stuff up. Nobody would believe it.

    Darwinists are driven to this insane conclusion of “there is no such thing as “the human species” at all” because of their reductive materialistic foundation which does not allow for the ‘permanence of essences” and/or for the ‘permanence of forms”.

    Logan Paul Gage explains the irresolvable dilemma for Darwinian materialists as such, “For Darwin, there is no immaterial, immutable form. In The Origin of Species he writes:
    “I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience, to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms. The term variety, again, in comparison with mere individual differences, is also applied arbitrarily, for convenience’s sake.””

    Darwin, Design & Thomas Aquinas
    The Mythical Conflict Between Thomism & Intelligent Design by Logan Paul Gage
    Excerpt: First, the problem of essences. G. K. Chesterton once quipped that “evolution . . . does not especially deny the existence of God; what it does deny is the existence of man.” It might appear shocking, but in this one remark the ever-perspicacious Chesterton summarized a serious conflict between classical Christian philosophy and Darwinism.
    In Aristotelian and Thomistic thought, each particular organism belongs to a certain universal class of things. Each individual shares a particular nature—or essence—and acts according to its nature. Squirrels act squirrelly and cats catty. We know with certainty that a squirrel is a squirrel because a crucial feature of human reason is its ability to abstract the universal nature from our sense experience of particular organisms.
    Think about it: How is it that we are able to recognize different organisms as belonging to the same group? The Aristotelian provides a good answer: It is because species really exist—not as an abstraction in the sky, but they exist nonetheless. We recognize the squirrel’s form, which it shares with other members of its species, even though the particular matter of each squirrel differs. So each organism, each unified whole, consists of a material and immaterial part (form).,,,
    One way to see this form-matter dichotomy is as Aristotle’s solution to the ancient tension between change and permanence debated so vigorously in the pre-Socratic era. Heraclitus argued that reality is change. Everything constantly changes—like fire, which never stays the same from moment to moment. Philosophers like Parmenides (and Zeno of “Zeno’s paradoxes” fame) argued exactly the opposite; there is no change. Despite appearances, reality is permanent. How else could we have knowledge? If reality constantly changes, how can we know it? What is to be known?
    Aristotle solved this dilemma by postulating that while matter is constantly in flux—even now some somatic cells are leaving my body while others arrive—an organism’s form is stable. It is a fixed reality, and for this reason is a steady object of our knowledge. Organisms have an essence that can be grasped intellectually.
    Denial of True Species
    Enter Darwinism. Recall that Darwin sought to explain the origin of “species.” Yet as he pondered his theory, he realized that it destroyed species as a reality altogether. For Darwinism suggests that any matter can potentially morph into any other arrangement of matter without the aid of an organizing principle. He thought cells were like simple blobs of Jell-O, easily re-arrangeable. For Darwin, there is no immaterial, immutable form. In The Origin of Species he writes:
    “I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience, to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms. The term variety, again, in comparison with mere individual differences, is also applied arbitrarily, for convenience’s sake.”
    Statements like this should make card-carrying Thomists shudder.,,,
    The first conflict between Darwinism and Thomism, then, is the denial of true species or essences. For the Thomist, this denial is a grave error, because the essence of the individual (the species in the Aristotelian sense) is the true object of our knowledge. As philosopher Benjamin Wiker observes in Moral Darwinism, Darwin reduced species to “mere epiphenomena of matter in motion.” What we call a “dog,” in other words, is really just an arbitrary snapshot of the way things look at present. If we take the Darwinian view, Wiker suggests, there is no species “dog” but only a collection of individuals, connected in a long chain of changing shapes, which happen to resemble each other today but will not tomorrow.
    What About Man?
    Now we see Chesterton’s point. Man, the universal, does not really exist. According to the late Stanley Jaki, Chesterton detested Darwinism because “it abolishes forms and all that goes with them, including that deepest kind of ontological form which is the immortal human soul.” And if one does not believe in universals, there can be, by extension, no human nature—only a collection of somewhat similar individuals.,,,
    Implications for Bioethics
    This is not a mere abstract point. This dilemma is playing itself out in contemporary debates in bioethics. With whom are bioethicists like Leon Kass (neo-Aristotelian and former chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics) sparring today if not with thoroughgoing Darwinians like Princeton’s Peter Singer, who denies that humans, qua humans, have intrinsic dignity? Singer even calls those who prefer humans to other animals “speciesist,” which in his warped vocabulary is akin to racism.,,,
    If one must choose between saving an intelligent, fully developed pig or a Down syndrome baby, Singer thinks we should opt for the pig.,,,
    https://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=23-06-037-f

    Needless to say, if your supposedly scientific theory of Darwinian materialism is at a complete loss to define what a species actually is, so as to differentiate humans from other species, then it is completely absurd for you to presuppose that you, via Darwinian materialism, will ever come up with a coherent definition of what it means to be “Legally Human”.

    Shoot, Darwinian materialists are even at a complete loss to scientifically, (and to therefore legally), define what a ‘person’ is in the first place. Which is, (i.e. that we really exist as real persons), the most certain thing we can possibly know about reality, (i.e. Descartes “I think think therefore I am!”).

    What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
    Excerpt: Barr rightly observes that scientific atheists often unwittingly assume not just metaphysical naturalism but an even more controversial philosophical position: reductive materialism, which says all that exists is or is reducible to the material constituents postulated by our most fundamental physical theories.
    As Barr points out, this implies not only that God does not exist — because God is not material — but that you do not exist. For you are not a material constituent postulated by any of our most fundamental physical theories; at best, you are an aggregate of those constituents, arranged in a particular way. Not just you, but tables, chairs, countries, countrymen, symphonies, jokes, legal contracts, moral judgments, and acts of courage or cowardice — all of these must be fully explicable in terms of those more fundamental, material constituents.
    In fact, more problematic for the materialist than the non-existence of persons is the existence of mathematics. Why? Although a committed materialist might be perfectly willing to accept that you do not really exist, he will have a harder time accepting that numbers do not exist. The trouble is that numbers — along with other mathematical entities such as classes, sets, and functions — are indispensable for modern science. And yet — here’s the rub — these “abstract objects” are not material. Thus, one cannot take science as the only sure guide to reality and at the same time discount disbelief in all immaterial realities.
    https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

    As well, besides humanity and personhood themselves finding no basis within Darwinian materialism, morality itself can find no basis within Darwinian materialism. For one example out of many,

    “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
    – Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

    As should be obvious , when the amoral metaphysics of Darwinian materialism, (metaphysics which explicitly deny any special moral status to humanity in general and to persons in particular), are applied to societies at large, the moral and ‘legal’ consequences for those societies have been unimaginably horrible.

    The unmitigated horror visited upon man, by state sponsored atheism, would be hard to exaggerate,,, Here’s what happens when Atheists/evolutionists/non-Christians take control of Government:

    “169,202,000 Murdered: Summary and Conclusions [20th Century Democide]
    I BACKGROUND
    2. The New Concept of Democide [Definition of Democide]
    3. Over 133,147,000 Murdered: Pre-Twentieth Century Democide
    II 128,168,000 VICTIMS: THE DEKA-MEGAMURDERERS
    4. 61,911,000 Murdered: The Soviet Gulag State
    5. 35,236,000 Murdered: The Communist Chinese Ant Hill
    6. 20,946,000 Murdered: The Nazi Genocide State
    7. 10,214,000 Murdered: The Depraved Nationalist Regime
    III 19,178,000 VICTIMS: THE LESSER MEGA-MURDERERS
    8. 5,964,000 Murdered: Japan’s Savage Military
    9. 2,035,000 Murdered: The Khmer Rouge Hell State
    10. 1,883,000 Murdered: Turkey’s Genocidal Purges
    11. 1,670,000 Murdered: The Vietnamese War State
    12. 1,585,000 Murdered: Poland’s Ethnic Cleansing
    13. 1,503,000 Murdered: The Pakistani Cutthroat State
    14. 1,072,000 Murdered: Tito’s Slaughterhouse
    IV 4,145,000 VICTIMS: SUSPECTED MEGAMURDERERS
    15. 1,663,000 Murdered? Orwellian North Korea
    16. 1,417,000 Murdered? Barbarous Mexico
    17. 1,066,000 Murdered? Feudal Russia”

    This is, in reality, probably just a drop in the bucket. Who knows how many undocumented murders there were. It also doesn’t count all the millions of abortions from around the world.
    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM

    Hitler, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao – quotes – Foundational Darwinian influence in their ideology (Nov. 2018)
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/historian-human-evolution-theorists-were-attempting-to-be-moral-teachers/#comment-668170

    As Aleksander Solzhenitsyn explains, “The failings of human consciousness, deprived of its divine dimension, have been a determining factor in all the major crimes of this century.”,,,

    “More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.
    Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.
    What is more, the events of the Russian Revolution can only be understood now, at the end of the century, against the background of what has since occurred in the rest of the world. What emerges here is a process of universal significance. And if I were called upon to identify briefly the principal trait of the entire twentieth century, here too, I would be unable to find anything more precise and pithy than to repeat once again: Men have forgotten God.
    The failings of human consciousness, deprived of its divine dimension, have been a determining factor in all the major crimes of this century.”,,,
    Aleksander Solzhenitsyn – “Men Have Forgotten God” – The Templeon Address – 1983
    http://www.roca.org/OA/36/36h.htm

    Bottom line, Darwinian materialists, since their theory, besides denying the existence of God, explicitly denies the existence of morality, humanity, and personhood, (and since the consequences of that denial have been unimaginably horrible), Darwinian materialists should not be allowed anywhere near the legal definition of humanity and/or personhood.

    It simply is suicidal for any society to allow as such.

  8. 8
    AaronS1978 says:

    Mine is not the problem with discovery it is the problem with the lack of restraint and the motivation behind the discoveries and are they truly beneficial. For example human monkey hybrids would not produce organs capable of transplant for humans because of their size, the only benefit that it might have is discovering a possible way to fight certain neurological diseases and that’s actually kind of up in the air

    And then you have loud voiced atheists screaming to create a humanzee to prove that humans don’t have a soul and we’re nothing more than a animal.

    Obviously I’m not against the former but the ladder I am entirely against

    Now as for the comment about Dr. Moreau’s Island being right around the corner

    It’s honestly not, even though they’re capable of creating a fetus chimera both human monkey or human mouse what they’ve discovered is most of the time the vast majority of humans cells are wiped out and there is only a small amount of human cells left

    The efficiency to produce a rat mouse chimera is incredibly low and they are only separated by 10 million years of evolution. The human monkey hybrid is separated by 40 million years of evolution which is proving to be an issue

    The recent hybrid macaque in China actually only had a success rate of five monkeys out of 11 that were capable of being brought the term and now the results are being scrutinized and they aren’t as prolific is one might’ve thought

    So I would not say it is around the corner at all

    The problem still resides in the actual cells behaving and not becoming the animal cells and then those animal cells wiping out all the human cells

    I’m not saying that this should not be a worry,?it definitely is a worry, but there are many complications that are starting to arise and trying to accomplish this

    But again my overall problem with this is the human inability to exercise restraint in the face of discovery that might not even be beneficial at all

    Now I am not generalizing all of science there are many people that hold my point of view and they’re the one standing in the way and I hope they continue to stay strong

    And comically China is starting to get annoyed with rogue scientists using their country to do their experiments

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