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Dolphins - 'non-human persons'? #393662 01/18/10 01:30 AM
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From The Sunday Times ~ January 3, 2010 [quote][u]Scientists say dolphins should be treated as 'non-human persons'.[/u] ~ Jonathan Leake 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”. .... Dolphins have long been recognised as among the most intelligent of animals but many researchers had placed them below chimps .... Recently, however, a series of behavioural studies has suggested that dolphins .... could be the brighter of the two. The studies show how dolphins have distinct personalities, a strong sense of self and can think about the future. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article6973994.ece [/quote] What do forum-members think of this idea? Does / Might it have any effect on any religious beliefs?

Last edited by PDM; 01/18/10 01:31 AM.

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Re: Dolphins - 'non-human persons'? [Re: PDM] #393666 01/18/10 03:32 AM
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I am all for this. I always think we have such hubris to believe we are the only sapient creatures on Earth. I am happy to go where ever this leads.


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Re: Dolphins - 'non-human persons'? [Re: jilly] #393670 01/18/10 04:16 AM
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I think they could indeed be sentient. And perhaps there are others - some of the whales, perhaps?

As for religious beliefs, I'd say that any or all of them should be open to change. How can we know it all?


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Re: Dolphins - 'non-human persons'? [Re: Carl] #393673 01/18/10 05:30 AM
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This is absolutely fascinating!

As for wondering if this has any effect on religious beliefs, all you have to do is read the comments under the article to see that it will cause fury and ignorence. =P

If I put on my old xtian hat, I can say that no xtian (save for the very liberal) will respect an animal along side a human being. That's completely unacceptable to judeo-christian theology.

Re: Dolphins - 'non-human persons'? [Re: Niki] #393676 01/18/10 09:42 AM
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When I think of "non-human persons," the thought of religion doesn't even enter my mind. However the constitution of the United States does (Replace the constitution of your own country here if it's not the USA) The question is, should dolphins be granted the same unalienable rights as we as human beings get by virtue of being a human under our constitution? Should a dolphin be able to have free speech, carry a gun, vote, have access to medicare and social security, and be given the opportunity to run for president if they are born in the USA? I don't think they do. However, at what point of conciousness do you draw the line between free thinking humans and free thinking non-humans? You can't give a “non-human person" rights they don't even know exist (other than the protection of being hunted). If a dolphin could willfully act on any afforded constitutional rights that they are given as "non-human persons" then I would be all for the designation. However I think the legal can of worms is to much to do so. The only thing you can do for dolphins is just pass stricter protections on hunting/killing them. They are highly cognitive but are no where near the level of sophistication human beings are in every facet of life. But there's another thought that has came out of this in my mind (which is random but still on topic) if intelligent ET life is ever found, what rights would ET's be afforded? Would we consider them "human" and allow them the same rights as human beings? All of humanity's existing laws are tailored tword human beings only.

Re: Dolphins - 'non-human persons'? [Re: starfire] #393682 01/18/10 10:32 AM
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Interesting points, starfire.


"The secret of success is constancy to purpose" - Benjamin Disraeli.
Re: Dolphins - 'non-human persons'? [Re: PDM] #393687 01/18/10 11:49 AM
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'man has no pre-eminence over beast, for all is vain' - jebus said this (ecclesiastes 3:19), and i'm inclined to agree. either all animals and arguably all living creatures are sentient, which happens to be what i believe - or man is alone in this category, which seems entirely illogical to me.

that aside, i have always been puzzled how the dolphin got its new-age-symbol-of-mother-earth image. the only difference between dolphins and sharks is the breathing hole - both are top predators, and dolphins indulge in things like gang warfare and gang rape. so, quite human, i guess.


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Re: Dolphins - 'non-human persons'? [Re: janimal] #393695 01/18/10 03:20 PM
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Maybe they have potential to become sentient? Maybe their the evolutionary water-intelligence strand that branched off? Who knows. It does seem they have a far way to go, but from what I read in the article, they are leaps and bounds ahead of other animals in the realm of sentience.

Self-reflection for one thing, I think, is phenomenal. If one can grasp the concept of "I," ponder one's future, recognize one's appearance... well then we must go to philosophy I suppose. If I think, therefore am, and one's own consciousness is the basis of our knowledge... then they seem pretty close.

Re: Dolphins - 'non-human persons'? [Re: Niki] #393698 01/18/10 04:06 PM
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according to the hitch-hikers guide to the galaxy, humans are convinced they are superior to dolphins because they have digital wristwatches, ballistic missiles and wars, whereas all dolphins do is eat, play and have sex. oddly enough dolphins are secure in the knowledge that they are superior for exactly the same reasons.

which about sums it up for me.

as for whether whether other animals are sentient - hands up everyone who has ever been cleverly manipulated by a cat!


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Re: Dolphins - 'non-human persons'? [Re: janimal] #393700 01/18/10 05:02 PM
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Smiling again, Jan.


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