Is freedom to breed a right?


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"Values are the motivating power of man’s actions and a necessity of his survival, psychologically as well as physically.

Man’s values control his subconscious emotional mechanism that functions like a computer adding up his desires, his experiences, his fulfillments and frustrations—like a sensitive guardian watching and constantly assessing his relationship to reality. The key question which this computer is programmed to answer, is: What is possible to me?

There is a certain similarity between the issue of sensory perception and the issue of values. . . .

If severe and prolonged enough, the absence of a normal, active flow of sensory stimuli may disintegrate the complex organization and the interdependent functions of man’s consciousness.

Man’s emotional mechanism works as the barometer of the efficacy or impotence of his actions. If severe and prolonged enough, the absence of a normal, active flow of value-experiences may disintegrate and paralyze man’s consciousness—by telling him that no action is possible.

The form in which man experiences the reality of his values is *pleasure*."

“Our Cultural Value-Deprivation,”
The Voice of Reason, 102–103

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Living "For" others, is not where altruism ends. Anyone knowing human nature and the outwardly displayed consequences of a sacrificial ideology, should see that "by" and "through" others must and do follow "for". Living ~by~ others' moral standards or permission, and ~through~ others' moral approval. I think that links to existing ~above~ or ~beneath~ others - which involve social/intellectual "elitism" and the latter elites' social/political "power" ( the two explicit results of altruism which are referred to often).

Metaphysics only has to be replaced by altruism's "social metaphysics" and that gets us to "the second-hander".



Isn’t that the root of every despicable action? Not selfishness, but precisely the absence of a self. Look at them.  . . . . They’re second-handers . . . .

They have no concern for facts, ideas, work. They’re concerned only with people. They don’t ask: “Is this true?” They ask: “Is this what others think is true?” Not to judge, but to repeat. Not to do, but to give the impression of doing. Not creation, but show. Not ability, but friendship. Not merit, but pull. What would happen to the world without those who do, think, work, produce? Those are the egoists. You don’t think through another’s brain and you don’t work through another’s hands. When you suspend your faculty of independent judgment, you suspend consciousness. To stop consciousness is to stop life. Second-handers have no sense of reality. Their reality is not within them, but somewhere in that space which divides one human body from another. Not an entity, but a relation—anchored to nothing. That’s the emptiness I couldn’t understand in people. That’s what stopped me whenever I faced a committee. Men without an ego. Opinion without a rational process. Motion without brakes or motor. Power without responsibility. The second-hander acts, but the source of his actions is scattered in every other living person. It’s everywhere and nowhere and you can’t reason with him. He’s not open to reason.

For the New Intellectual

“The Nature of the Second-Hander,”


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19 minutes ago, This isn't the Reference Desk said:


“The Nature of the Second-Hander,”


Slightly more revealing ...

Edited by william.scherk
Don't be cheap with URLs
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19 hours ago, Wolf DeVoon said:

Too late now. As we say in the card game schaapskopf, what's laid is played.

Huh, the game is still in play, I think. Just pointing out possible lingering ideas that you "sacrificed" anything, or you believe self sacrifice is 'noble'. One *pays* in some and many ways to gain a greater value, everything costs in virtue and energy. Like a Queen Sacrifice to win a chess game, that's no sacrifice.

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22 minutes ago, anthony said:

Huh, the game is still in play, I think. Just pointing out possible lingering ideas that you "sacrificed" anything, or you believe self sacrifice is 'noble'. One *pays* in some and many ways to gain a greater value, everything costs in virtue and energy. Like a Queen Sacrifice to win a chess game, that's no sacrifice.

Kind of you to reply. Not every kid is a winner in the game show of life. One of the defects in Miss Rand's work is the 12-0 jury nullification of Roark's felony.

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16 hours ago, Wolf DeVoon said:

Kind of you to reply. Not every kid is a winner in the game show of life. One of the defects in Miss Rand's work is the 12-0 jury nullification of Roark's felony.

I won't take your metaphors literally, though I perceive a problem with seeing life as a game show, and don't know what a "winner" actually is or looks like since we can only see/hear the externals of individuals, rarely insight into their minds.

Rand bribed the jurors, I guess. I expect some degree of creative license from a writer, while it's not outside realms of possibility that Roark's moral defence convinced the jury, over legality and rights. That was her intention, preserving the moral ascendancy.

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To return:

"Second handers have no sense of reality. Their reality is not within them, but somewhere in that space which divides one human body from another". Not an entity, but a relation--anchored to nothing." AR

How many I have known. (During a passage in my life, not so far from this, myself - so I understand the phenomenon somewhat). I have personal and close contact still with adult individuals whom I can only describe as "not all there". All over the place, changing their minds from one hour to the next, as they hear of 'new' opinions divulged from others. In the end, not entirely "real".Decentered. Dependent. In "that space", one which is only exacerbated by the flood of opinions and emotions expressed on the Internet, cyberspace.

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How does the failure of Socialism keep reinventing itself? Memories are short, perhaps. Only, it seems, in times and places where societies are doing better than ever, does sacrifice/self-sacrifice become more concentrated or prominent a creed. A struggling nation can't survive socialism since most of its values and value-producers have already been used up, dispersed and sacrificed. Socialism needs a healthy host to start with.

The social system based on and consonant with the altruist morality—with the code of self-sacrifice—is socialism, in all or any of its variants: fascism, Nazism, communism. All of them treat man as a sacrificial animal to be immolated for the benefit of the group, the tribe, the society, the state. Soviet Russia is the ultimate result, the final product, the full, consistent embodiment of the altruist morality in practice; it represents the only way that that morality can ever be practiced.

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Tony's excerpt from Altruism:

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This is a bit off-centre from the OT, but is interesting/infuriating enough to post here; dude does not believe in Free Will, and he thinks psychological/character states are 'readable' via AI+Deep Learning; also, his work was of great interest to the Russian cabinet, or so he says:

'I was shocked it was so easy': meet the professor who says facial recognition can tell if you're gay


Psychologist Michal Kosinski says artificial intelligence can detect your sexuality and politics just by looking at your face. What if he’s right? [...]

Kosinski’s “stuff” includes groundbreaking research into technology, mass persuasion and artificial intelligence (AI) – research that inspired the creation of the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. Five years ago, while a graduate student at Cambridge University, he showed how even benign activity on Facebook could reveal personality traits – a discovery that was later exploited by the data-analytics firm that helped put Donald Trump in the White House.

That would be enough to make Kosinski interesting to the Russian cabinet. But his audience would also have been intrigued by his work on the use of AI to detect psychological traits. Weeks after his trip to Moscow, Kosinski published a controversial paper in which he showed how face-analysing algorithms could distinguish between photographs of gay and straight people. As well as sexuality, he believes this technology could be used to detect emotions, IQ and even a predisposition to commit certain crimes. Kosinski has also used algorithms to distinguish between the faces of Republicans and Democrats, in an unpublished experiment he says was successful – although he admits the results can change “depending on whether I include beards or not”.

Emphases added.

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This is a useful point for discussion ...


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Phrenology. Lines on the hand. Height. Deepness of voice. Size of gonads or mammary glands. Genetic makeup? Is it possible there is a genetic marker in your DNA that determines traits or do you "Choose Free Will" as Rush sang? 50-50 nature - nurture? As I contemplate my inner being I would say I am (60 percent nature,) (40 percent nurture and free will.) As I write the last sentence I changed it three times. Who can possibly introspect and know for sure? 

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  • 4 weeks later...

This topic needs a jump start. It was brought up on a TV show recently that “advanced” aliens who observe us eating meat would consider us as a primitive and possibly defective species. What do you think? Peter   

From: "Gayle Dean" To: <objectivism Subject: OWL: Animal Rights Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2005 23:53:55 -0500. Bill Dwyer wrote (3/21):  >The force of this argument [marginal cases]turns on the empathy that we naturally feel for victims of cruel and inhumane treatment.

Bill mischaracterizes the argument from marginal cases as "turning on empathy" when it does no such thing. It is a strictly logical argument that can be done on the computer. But, I puzzled over his response for several hours today, because the marginal cases argument is the exact argument that Bill himself accepts when he admits that if rationality is the criterion for rights, then babies and other "pre-rational" beings do not have rights.

Bill says:  > Therefore, it does not apply to non-rational beings- to beings that are incapable of recognizing and applying moral principles.  Nor does it apply to those human beings who are unable to survive on their own, such as pre-rational children and the severely retarded.

But, there's another very important point here.  Some here seem to be confused about the marginal cases argument.  It doesn't say: Babies have rights; therefore, animals have rights, too.

Instead, it is an argument that says whatever the criterion for rights is, it has to be applied even-handedly. If the criterion is having blue hair, then anyone with blue hair has rights, whether human or not.  Or, if you want to rule out the blue-haired animals, then you have to rule out the blue-haired people, too -- or else find another criterion. The marginal-cases argument doesn't tell us the correct criterion for rights. But when you plug in some plausible criterion, like rationality, that has to be applied evenhandedly, too. And if you discover that some humans – like babies -- fall short on the rationality scale, while some other animals do as well as babies, then

A.  EITHER both the babies and the animals have rights, or

B.  NEITHER the babies nor the animals have rights.

What you can't do is have a split decision, where the babies get into the moral club by being rational, but the animals get left out without being any less rational. If that's the conclusion you want -- babies in, animals out -- you need to find some other criterion that will do the job.

Most Objectivists accept neither A nor B. They'd rather have the split decision. Bill accepts B. He gets credit for understanding the logic involved. But rather than examine other criteria that may be better for rights possession, Bill grasps frantically for some _other reason_ not to BBQ babies or use them for medical experimentation. He settles on the idea that killing "pre-rational" or non-rational humans is a moral question, not a legal one. Unfortunately, this is a misperceived "escape" for many Objectivists who cannot counter the marginal cases argument. 

Bill says:  ><snip> Look at it this way:  Allen might object strenuously to a parent who is feeding her overweight children nothing but fast food and calorie-laden sweets, thereby predisposing them to heart disease and diabetes.  Does that mean that he has a right to take the children away from the parents, and feed them a vegan diet?  No; the parents have a right to raise their children as they choose.  But it also doesn't mean that he can't condemn them for the way they're doing it.

Let's be clear here!  We are not talking about whether it is child abuse to feed children sweets or fast food.  We are talking about whether it should be legal to slaughter and eat children for dinner or to perform medical experiments on them.  According to Bill (and the Objectivist rationality argument), it should be perfectly legal to do so, just as it is legal to set one's own cat (as property) on fire.  This formulation treats babies and other non-rational humans as property.

Bill continues:  ><snip> But the concept of individual sovereignty or of moral autonomy applies only to rational animals;... <snip> Not every animal can be accorded the status of a sovereign entity with all the rights and privileges of a rational human being.

I'm hoping this is just overzealous rhetoric on Bill's part. No animal rights advocate says that animals should be "accorded all the rights and privileges of a rational human being." None thinks animals should have the right to vote or attend public school.  But, are we supposed to think that because animals voting is such a silly idea, then an animal doesn't have any right at all?  The answer to this silly claim is obvious.  As Tom Regan says in "Empty Cages" "This argument misfires. It assumes that animals do not have _any_ right unless they have _every_ right. But, no animal rights advocate believes this...Clearly, humans do not have to have _every_ right, to have _any_ right. We do not insist that children be given the right to vote or drive cars in order to say they have a right not to be killed. Drunks don't have a right to drive while intoxicated. Animals have no interest in going to school or driving cars and that idea is just nonsense.

Bill continues:  ><Snip>  Objectivism's argument for human rights is an argument for the right to freedom of action, a right which pertains only to morally autonomous human beings, not to non-rational humans, such as babies, the severely retarded or the mentally incompetent.  And if that right does not apply to non-rational humans, then it certainly does not apply to non-rational animals.

Well, at least we agree on that.  But my argument is not that if babies have rights, then animals have rights.  It is instead that the Objectivist criterion for rights is wrong.  It is important to consider necessary vs. sufficient conditions for rights, here. Rationality may be a _sufficient_ condition for rights possession, but that does not mean that it is a _necessary_ condition.  Thus, (according to sufficiency) humans may have rights because they are rational, but since it is not a _necessary_ condition, babies, retarded people, insane people, and some animals may have rights, based on some other criterion. Gayle Dean

From: "Gayle Dean" To: <objectivism Subject: OWL: Chimps Don't Have Minds proclaims Teresa Summerlee isanhart Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2005 09:56:42 -0500

Since it's impossible to respond to everyone with the one post per day limit, this lengthy post addresses one issue in general and then I reply to Teresa Sumerlee Isanhart.

Keeping Objectivists focused on the marginal cases argument always proves to be a monumental task. Almost across the board, they start by making the claim that rationality is a _necessary_ and _sufficient_ condition for rights. And almost across the board, when they are presented with the marginal cases argument they fail to address it directly, but instead try to add _other_ criteria, such as being the same species (speciesism), being the same kind (kinds), being human (speciesism) human use of language, etc. Those are different arguments that have their own refutations.  And none of them answers the marginal cases argument...they only serve to muddle the issue.

It seems to me, that we need to answer the fundamental question about rationality and marginal cases before moving on to the other arguments about speciesism, kinds, language, souls, or whether chickens have a positive right to social security.

Bill Dwyer is the only person who seems to understand and deal logically with the marginal cases argument.  There are two possibilities: Either babies don't have rights, or one of the premises is wrong. However, instead of coming to the conclusion that there may be something wrong with the idea that babies do not have rights-- as the rest of us do, he accepts the premises, performs correct logic and holds to the position that babies and non-rational humans do not have rights.  But, there is another possibility, i.e., that one of the premises that he uses to arrive at his correct conclusion, is wrong. And that is what ARAs are challenging.  The premise  that rationality is a _necessary_ and _sufficient_ condition.  And if rationality is not a _necessary_, but only a sufficient condition for rights, then other beings may have rights, but by some other criteria.

Second, just to be clear, I agree with Rand/Rothbard's argument that "borderline cases" do not a moral philosophy make.  But in the marginal cases argument, Rand's principle is being misapplied by Objectivists. I am not objecting to Rand's principle, per se. I agree with it, but only when it is applied correctly.  So, here is the problem with its application whenever marginal cases is being debated.

If your ethical theory wishes to omit borderline or marginal cases, then they must be omitted in _all_ borderline cases.  Rand would agree.  In other words, in the current debate, marginal cases must be omitted (or permitted) for both marginal babies as well as for marginal chimps who meet the rationality criterion. You cannot _equivocate_ on the principle to allow some marginal cases like babies in, but then disallow the marginal cases to exclude chimps, without offering some _OTHER_ reason for excluding them.

By analogy, I've tried to create a concrete example. Suppose, there is a criterion that says that in order to qualify for law school, you must score at least a 90 on your final exam. But, very few people score as high as 90 this year, so in order to fill the classes, the university dean decides to examine the applications of the "marginal cases"...i.e., the people who scored 89. But *then* the dean proclaims that the only marginal cases that will qualify for the openings are blue-eyed blondes who scored 89. He will not consider brown-eyed brunettes who also scored 89. This is how Objectivists are trying to apply the marginal cases principle to babies and animals. But, you cannot include one group who meets the marginal cases criterion (scoring 89) while excluding another group that also meets the same criterion, without offering some _OTHER_ reason for excluding them. Sure, you may add an additional criterion, such as: brunettes don't qualify (even if they do score 89) because, let's say, none who applied has blue eyes.  But, now you have _two criteria_ that must be met to get into law school...both, a score of 89, and having blue eyes.  And you can continue with this ad infinitum.  .

And I agree with Allen Costell that animal rights does not preclude Rand's fundamentals. It only precludes some of her conclusions.  Rand – herself a cat lover--told Henry Mark Holzer--her attorney and an animal rights activist, that she would welcome an argument for animal rights, even though she herself could not come up with one.  (That fact was confirmed to me recently in correspondence with Holzer.)  And knowing that Rand probably would not have maintained a personal  relationship with anyone she considered to be "irrational", the fact that she maintained Holzer as her attorney while he was working actively for animal rights is evidence that she didn't reject the idea out of hand.  So it is puzzling to me that Objectivists become so emotional over this topic.  One would think that up-and-coming Objectivist scholars would find animal rights to be a rich field of exploration, especially in light of the fact that Rand herself invited it. The philosophy could take a big step forward into a new area.

 . . . . Teresa aptly titles her post (3/23) "Assertion vs. Argument".  She provided the assertions. I provided the argument.  She did not address any of the arguments made about marginal cases.  In fact, after making several other unrelated and unsubstantiated assertions and then being challenged on those, she just concluded (3/21) with what I presume is her notion of an "argument".

She "argued":  >"I have no problem at all with individual humans making individual choices to be meat/fur free, but I have a big problem with groups of humans forcing bogus relativist legislative notions down my throat.

As I pointed out, this is question-begging. To say that it should be "an individual's choice" to kill an animal and eat him or use his fur is question-begging, when that is the very question being disputed.  So, I asked Theresa "Why shouldn't it  be an 'individual's' choice to kill another human and eat him" or use his fur?

No answer.  Blank out!

Teresa said:  (3/22) >"Mind" is a human concept. As a concept, the standard for its use can only be made by humans. Anything we measure as "mind" outside of human use will always be by human standards.

I replied: (3/23) "Yes, trivially whatever we do is measured by human standards, but by that argument, one could also say that whatever white men do is measured by white-man standards or whatever males do is measured by male standards.  It really tells us nothing about the content -- what we will find when we measure by our standards, or what are the right standards to use."

Teresa replied: > You're asserting that there is some substantial difference between men based on superficial, non-critical distinctions. Making crucial distinctions "trivial" is epistemologically devastating.

No I'm not "asserting" anything like that. Apparently you don't understand hypotheticals.  I never said (nor do I think) there is a difference based on superficial or non-critical distinctions.  I used the example of white-men and males to refute your argument that, because we measure things by human standards that that somehow changes the thing being measured, i.e., that since man measures I.Q. by man's standard that I.Q. of chimps isn't the same as babies or small children.

To simplify again, you would not say that because white men measure things using the mind of a white man (or a white-man's standards) that this changes whether or not 2+2 =4.  The result is the same regardless of the tool or standard of measurement. That was the whole purpose of my quoting Rand about the difference between the metaphysical and the epistemological. Just because we use man's standard (mathematics) to add 2+2 does not mean that the answer is not 4.

As an aside, apparently you are not aware of how the word "trivial" is used in philosophy.  It doesn't mean "trivial" as in 'the distinction is trivial'.  It means something that is true by definition and therefore beyond dispute. So, you're misunderstanding the argument on several different levels.

Teresa continued: >I am arguing that the differences between chimps and humans is so vast, that no comparison can be made. That the differences are substantial enough to make them critical distinctions (easily proven through human standards).

The Objectivist argument that rationality is the criterion for rights does not distinguish between degrees of rationality in that way and no one has ever argued that there aren't differences.  Certainly, chimps have _much less_ intelligence than humans. But, that is irrelevant to the argument.  So, I don't understand your point.

 >Your assertion, in essence, is that there are no differences critical enough between a man and a chimp to render the two distinguishable...

That is not the argument at all.   I (and others) have said repeatedly that chimps and babies are equivalent in the ONLY WAY that matters to the Objectivist theory.  To wit:  They are capable of using some degree of reason.  And that's all that is needed according to Objectivism.

 >(indeed, if this were the case, why bother naming them "chimpanzees" at all? Why not just assign some more human term to the species?). This is pure relativism at work.

I don't think Teresa understands the term relativism, either.  She wants to say that all humans, however handicapped, get protection, but no other animals, however competent, get any. That's the real relativism, here.

 >If I'm to be convinced that chimps and humans are equal in any way, I'll need an argument showing that chimps and humans are equal in some way other than mere assertion based on emotional convictions or superficial traits.

You don't need an argument for that.  Whether or not chimps use reason is not a philosophical question.  It is an empirical one. And there is an abundance of scientific literature on animal intelligence, cognition, and culture, which should demonstrate to any rational person that man's anthropocentric views about his superiority to other animals are misguided to say the least. And anyone who undertakes to debate the topic on a public list has the minimal responsibility to make themselves aware of these studies.

Teresa wrote 3/22: >"Mind" is a human concept. As a concept, the standard for its use can only be made by humans. Anything we measure as "mind" outside of human use will always be by human standards.

Teresa's point seemed to be that human standards determine the moral rules we live by or something similar:  I replied (quoting Rand) that although human standards are used, they are simply the measuring tool, and the measuring tool does not change the content of the moral rule. Teresa completely missed the point.

I said: >>"In other words, man can establish the standard of measurement (epistemological), but that does not change the content (metaphysical) of whatever is being measured. Rand is very careful to make this clear when she says: "It makes no difference whether one measures length in terms of feet or meters; the standard provides only the form of notation, not the substance nor the result of the process of measuring. The facts established by measurement will be the same regardless of the particular standard used; the standard can neither alter nor affect them" [ITOE, 8]."

Teresa replied: >You're making my point for me. Our measurement has provided substantial evidence that the differences between humans and chimps (the smartest mammal I can think of other than man) are substantial enough _not_ to view them as equal to humans.

Sorry, but that wasn't Rand's point at all, nor mine.  The point is that whatever form of notation is used, i.e., whatever way in which we measure things has nothing to do with the content of what is measured.  You can measure water with a bucket, a measuring cup, or a gallon jug, but the quantity of water does not change because of the measuring method used.

In the same way, you may measure intelligence or rationality by "man's standard", i.e., man's measuring tool, but that does not change the content of the measurement.

Again, to concretize:  If man measures an ape's intelligence- by man's standard- and discovers that apes have some degree of rationality by that standard, then, by the Objectivist criterion (rationality), apes have it. The tool or standard of measurement does not change the result of the measurement.

>If you're saying that the proof of your assertion is somehow outside of human epistemological ability (mystic), or that our ability to measure the world around us is flawed in some way (Kantian), it would be appreciated if you would just come out and say so. Otherwise, I can't accept this beating around the bush as an argument.

Gosh, you're way off in left field somewhere.  I'm saying (with Rand) the exact opposite.  I'm saying (with Rand) that the world does not change just because we measure it in different ways. If you agree, as you seem to be saying now, then what was the point of emphasizing man's standard of measurement in the first place??

Teresa continues: >Look, the only way we measure or distinguish what is "human" from what is not, is by what reasons and what does not.

That is just obviously false.  That is NOT the only way we distinguish humans from non-humans, that's how we can tell that there _ARE_ humans who don't reason.  And some animals do.  That is the whole point.

>I'm wishing you would just respond to the arguments being made, rather than make whole-cloth assertions of this issue, that's all.

You're the one who is nonresponsive, indeed muddled.. All you do is make wild false claims like chimps "don't have minds", or "the only way we distinguish what is 'human' from what is not, is by what reasons and what does not."  Those seem like crazy assertions that make it impossible to take you seriously.

>Dean finds it necessary to constantly misspell my name and then to attribute ideas to me I've never stated:

I've never attributed ideas to you that you didn't state.  Perhaps, it is that you don't understand the implications of your statements.  And, why so emotional over name spellings?  I don't object when people call me "he".  If you are really concerned about conceptual clarity and people getting your name right, then you should shorten it to fewer than nine syllables:-) But, it seems silly to focus on name spellings.  Name spellings, like gender are totally irrelevant to philosophical argument.

Everything you write seems to be either false, evasive, or totally irrelevant. For example you said: >Human vegetables need protection from what and in what way? (Confusing a "positive" right from the "negative" is very common, but it's still a mistake.)

Why do you focus on human vegetables?? WHAT ABOUT BABIES- Don't babies need protection?!    You are picking and choosing what you want to respond to.  Forget the vegetables. And if you don't think babies need rights, then  you should join Bill at his backyard baby-BBQs. But, don't try to confuse the issue talking about human vegetables.

BTW, you're the one confused over positive vs. negative rights.  Leaving humans or other animals free to pursue their own interests is a *negative* right. No one but whacky, overemotional, ANTI-animal rights advocates have the silly idea that we are advocating that chickens be sent to public school, which would be a positive right.  We are advocating ONLY negative rights.

>Much has been written on this list by Bill Dwyer, Patrick Stephens, A. Weingarten, and others outlining the proper Objectivist ideology regarding rights,

Yes, and much of it refuted.  I've studied Objectivism in-depth for over forty years and I an well aware of the "proper Objectivist ideology regarding rights."  But, I am not arguing over what Objectivism says. I already know what it says, and that is what I am challenging.  But, the above paragraph demonstrates again, your confusion on more than one level.  If you agree with Bill Dwyer, then you must disagree with the others you mention, because they hold differing views. Bill states explicitly --that babies do not have rights.  Just yesterday 3/23, he said:  "I agree that newborn babies and the severely retarded do not have individual rights."

And to further demonstrate how "off the mark" Teresa's views are, I'd like to refer everyone to her post of 3/21 where she made the incredible claim that chimps don't even have minds.  She said: >"A chimp will never draw pictures of his friends or favorite food, nor will it fly, or burrow for shelter. These activities will never once occur to the smartest of chimps. Why? Because they lack the very thing that makes these and all animal activity easily accomplished by humans: A mind."

Chimps lack minds??  What??? Hardly any of even the most rabid ANTI- animal-rights philosophers think chimps are mindless, and even fewer cognitive scientists do.  That is a ludicrous statement, but one that fits well with Teresa's other uninformed views. I don't know how I missed it when she first said it.  If I had seen that statement before now, I could have saved myself a lot of trouble trying to debate her at all.  Certainly, no rational discussion can take place with anyone who believes that chimps don't have minds.

 ><snip> I suppose, that you find it appropriate to put words in my mouth.

Unfortunately, the words came right out of your mouth.

Gayle Dean

From: "Ralph Blanchette" Reply- To: "OWL" <objectivism Subject: OWL: Refuting Singer's Argument from Marginal Cases Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2005 23:19:29 -0500

-- Refuting Singer's Argument from marginal Cases --

Since my last post was somewhat discursive, I want to make a more rigorous case for rejecting the argument from marginal cases for beasts' rights. Following the reasoning of Singer perhaps, Gayle Dean insists on an even-handed application of the criterion for rights. That is what I here provide.

The IEP ( ) summarizes Singer’s Argument from Marginal Cases as follows:


(1) In order to conclude that all and only human beings deserve a full and equal moral status (and therefore that no animals deserve a full and equal moral status), there must be some property P that all and only human beings have that can ground such a claim.

(2) Any P that only human beings have is a property that (some) human beings lack (e.g., the marginal cases).

(3) Any P that all human beings have is a property that (most) animals have as well.

(4) Therefore, there is no way to defend the claim that all and only human beings deserve a full and equal moral status.


I reply:

(5) P = dependence by nature on the creation of values through (some agent’s) exercise of reason for the survival of one’s self and one’s species.

(6) Since _no_ human being lacks P, including the marginal cases, (2) is false.

(7) Since _no_ beast has P, (3) is false.

(8) Therefore all and only human beings deserve a full and equal moral (/legal) status, and the argument from marginal cases fails. -- Ralph Blanchette

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  • 1 month later...

OLers will probably have read about the Russian fox experiments in domestication. Here below is a video that shows some results.

On 6/5/2018 at 11:06 AM, william.scherk said:

I might find out that 'rights' to breed, propagate, disseminate, and control the living products of a process or patent are fiendishly complex in the case of dogs,  domesticated foxes, cell-lines, plants, genetic material and so on, and yet fiendishly simple in the case of human beings ...



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