Lowell McDonald Some people speak of natural rights. Natural rights are rights recognized based on the nature (or kind) of thing in question. Humans are a unique kind of entity bacause of the capacities I spoke of earlier. Thus, we have human exceptionalism as a doctrine. Human equality is the idea that regardless of how developed you are as a human (some will be more or less rational, moral, creative, smart, ect.) simply by being human your basic rights will be recognized and you will be treated as being equally human to everyone else. I find the idea that we might extend rights and recognition of personhood to non-human entities distrubing. First of all, what are the grounds for this? Are we saying that dolphins are morally awareand therfore accountable?
Lowell McDonald First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you for weighing in. There are many worthy articles both here and on the web, and the fact that you take the time to read and comment on mine means a lot. Thanks. So, a bit of background: the reason why we specify human rights is because humans do indeed appear to be special creatures. We are unique in terms of our capacities for rational thought, awareness of moral laws, freedom of will. As far as we can see, we are the only creatures who exhibit these characteristics. Thus, rights have been a specifically human property. While we may disagree about which humans are persons (fetuses? the dying? the disabled?) as far as I know, we have always agreed that only humans can be persons.
Lowell McDonald You know, I have always wanted to see Misty and Colleen in a "Daughters of the Dragon"movie. It would be cool if they gave it a Charlie's Angels style, big guns, explosions, adventures. Of course, a T.V. show could work too, maybe in a cross between CSI: Miami and Fringe.
Lowell McDonald Great comments. Thanks for taking to time to chime in. To clarify: I am not arguing that we should not utilize this technology; rather, I simply advocate for clarity and proper restraint. After all, we see what has happened with abortion and Down Syndrome babies. What i really want to create conversation about-serious, cordial conversation- are the criteria by which we either include or exclude an entity as part of the human moral community. Who is the subject of rights? What is a person? These questions are constantly being brought up over and over again, and I don't exspect them to go away.
Lowell McDonald Susan- thatnks for weighing in. For the record, I am not a determinist. I believe in free will and the human soul. I was merely trying to convey the different sides of the debate. Also, just keep in mind what a determinist would say to your argument. He would say that mind and brain are the same thing. Mind just is what the brain does. So, mental dysfunction is brain dysfunction.
Lowell McDonald the point that determinists are trying to make is that regardless of the action itself, it has been predetermined. Everything from a person deciding to wear a certain color tie to a person deciding to go on a rampage is completely determined by natural laws and processes.
Lowell McDonald Jesse, As I say in the peace, the pressure is on for D.C. to do a,Justice League movie. Of course, Batman is a huge part of the justice league. Either way it goes, Batman is going to be a part of the D.C. movie universe. I simply propose going with an intepretation of the character that works.
Lowell McDonald I fail to see how having "In God We Trust" represents the establishment of religion. It might establish theism, but theism isn't a religion, it's a philosophical point of view. The Constitution roots human rights in a theistic context, in the "laws of nature and nature's God"...If the founders did not see every reference to God as a reference to religion, why should we?
Lowell McDonald I personally never take for granted that its obvious that science and religion are compatible, simply because I know that there are many people who have genuine questions about faith and how it interacts with science. For those people, there ought to be open venues to ask questions and recieve answers. For those of us who don't need convincing, we need to cultivate and deepen the conversation.
Lowell McDonald Mr. Goodman, Just to clarify: I have always been taught that suicide is murder of the self. And ,.by the way, thank you for maintaining an admirable demeanor, even as sensitive subjects are discussed.
Lowell McDonald Thanks for writing a researched, thoughtful article. The critique I might offer is simply that millenials have a bit of an intellectual challenge ahead of them. Simply put, many of the institutions, intellectual movements, and moral concepts we hold dear were originally concieved of within a theistic context. Human rights, for example. Because classical theism serves as a part of the foundation for human rights,when we subtract theism, if we still want doctrines of human rights, then we have to find a worldview with the sufficient intellectual resources. After all, even if millenials don't reference God in their own lives, they will have to defend their own worldviews from theists as well as offer critiques. Thanks again for writing.
Lowell McDonald Douglas, Thank you for your thoughtful response. I agree-things like DNR's and power of attorney are very important. Far too many people think that they "jinx" themselves by making preparations, when in reality, they are just making things easier for their loved ones. No fights. No lawsuits. These are my wishes. Secondly, doctors should have rights to conscience, so that they don't have to be a part of any procedure they find morally abhorrant. Like I said, more than 2/3rd's of doctors don't like these kinds of laws. Finally, I think the idea that a person has the right to take their own life a bit dubious. Murder is the unjust taking of human life. Mere consent doesn't make an action just.
Lowell McDonald Personally, I am not convinced that very many politicians of either party truly understand their role as public servants. Something about the structure of our political system needs an overhaul. The fact is that mnay politicans see being a Congressman as a career rather than a duty. Case in point: Obama. He got in on the black and youth vote and both now feel burned and ignored by Obama and will only vote for him because they feel a disconnect with Romney.
Lowell McDonald Thank you for writing this. Far too often, our cutlure sees every expression of sexuality as acceptable and constructive. We need to be wary of casting female victimization in a positive light, even if somebody, somwhere, finds it arousing.
Lowell McDonald What about informed consent? Informed consent empowers us in our relationships with medical professionals. Genetic mapping appears to provide valueable knowledge. The caveat I would add is not that knoweldge itself is bad, but rather what one does with that knowledge.