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  1. #1
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Default Equality: Is the basis moral, practical, or both?

    Okay, I have a hypothetical scenario for you all. Imagine that science proved conclusively, and demonstratably, that a particular group of people were mentally inferior to the others, or had less capacity for restraint, or anything else that makes them less suitable as members of society.

    If this happened, would we still have a moral basis for treating them as equals rather than as inferior? Or is this treatment rooted in the assumption of practical equality in terms of cognition, potential, and self-control?

    Basically, are there any moral arguments that can be used to justify equal treatment in the absence of actual equality in capacity? If so, what are they?

    Can the science be separated from the moral issue? It seems that one would affect the other, unless I'm mistaken about the basis of equality being an assumption of certain similar abilities in cognition, potential, and self-control.

    Ultimately, it comes down to this... what rights would be owed to such beings, if we found that such actually existed and could easily be distinguished from everyone else? Would this ultimately be a similar issue to animal rights?

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    Shaman BlackCat's Avatar
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    I would treat them equally, simply because I would like to be treated equally by everyone when "being treated equally" is on a surface level like this.

    In reality no one is truly "equal," some people are stronger, some are more intelligent, some are more successful. But the rights that we have have a basis in a respect for living beings.

    Aren't mentally handicapped people given equal rights? That seems to be going along the same lines as this.

    Assuming these people had been in society for a long time and it was normal to see them, they should have equal rights. But if they suddenly came to the world, I'm sure that something would happen in a District 9 fashion though.
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    Artisan Conquerer Halla74's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    Okay, I have a hypothetical scenario for you all. Imagine that science proved conclusively, and demonstratably, that a particular group of people were mentally inferior to the others, or had less capacity for restraint, or anything else that makes them less suitable as members of society.
    Do you mean mentally incompetent to stand trail in a court of law?

    Or do you mean that they are some considerably measurable margin less intelligent than normal humans?

    Either way I don't see that it is possible to afford such citizens less rights, if they are indeed HUMANS. Our inalienable rights are granted to us as a facet of our humanity. Currently, persons with sever cognitive limitations still have the same rights as those "under the bell curve." They might get institutionalized, they might end up in trouble with the law more frequently than others, but they still have civil rights

    I think the questions is, do these imaginary people pose a danger to themselves or others? If so, then you have to look at the issue under a different light.

    But, you cannot take away their humanity. Human is human. We all bleed the same color. We all will rot in the ground when we die. No one is any better than anyone else, despite the magnificently complicated socirtal constructs that have been built over the centuries to compel us to believe so.
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    Senior Member LEGERdeMAIN's Avatar
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    Many groups have already been found to be inferior, but this doesn't mean government should treat these groups unfairly. On an interpersonal level, I don't treat a handicapped person the same as someone with working limbs, although they have certain rights and privileges that other, more capable people don't have.

    Are laws giving special rights to the handicapped immoral or unfair?
    Would you consider an autistic child inferior to a healthy child?
    Would you treat them the same?
    “Some people will tell you that slow is good – but I’m here to tell you that fast is better. I’ve always believed this, in spite of the trouble it’s caused me. Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba…”


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    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halla74 View Post
    Or do you mean that they are some considerably measurable margin less intelligent than normal humans?

    Either way I don't see that it is possible to afford such citizens less rights, if they are indeed HUMANS. Our inalienable rights are granted to us as a facet of our humanity. Currently, persons with sever cognitive limitations still have the same rights as those "under the bell curve." They might get institutionalized, they might end up in trouble with the law more frequently than others, but they still have civil rights

    I think the questions is, do these imaginary people pose a danger to themselves or others? If so, then you have to look at the issue under a different light.

    But, you cannot take away their humanity. Human is human. We all bleed the same color. We all will rot in the ground when we die. No one is any better than anyone else, despite the magnificently complicated socirtal constructs that have been built over the centuries to compel us to believe so.
    It seems that you're avoiding the question by pointing to their "humanity." But how is it that their humanity alone makes them equal, without regard to their abilities or self-awareness? What is the origin of this concept, and how does it practically apply?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaybeLogic View Post
    Are laws giving special rights to the handicapped immoral or unfair?
    No, they seem to be making up for a deficit.
    Would you consider an autistic child inferior to a healthy child?
    Yes. But only socially inferior, not mentally inferior.
    Would you treat them the same?
    Only if it were reasonable to do so.

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    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    Okay, I have a hypothetical scenario for you all. Imagine that science proved conclusively, and demonstratably, that a particular group of people were mentally inferior to the others, or had less capacity for restraint, or anything else that makes them less suitable as members of society.
    It's called mental retardation. Why is this a hypothetical scenario?

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    Artisan Conquerer Halla74's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    It seems that you're avoiding the question by pointing to their "humanity." But how is it that their humanity alone makes them equal, without regard to their abilities or self-awareness? What is the origin of this concept, and how does it practically apply?
    I'm not avoiding anything; you have not sufficiently defined "inferior" and what that entails regarding overall balance in society.

    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    It's called mental retardation. Why is this a hypothetical scenario?
    Exactly. Duhh! Hello, McFly!
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Dooraven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    Okay, I have a hypothetical scenario for you all. Imagine that science proved conclusively, and demonstratably, that a particular group of people were mentally inferior to the others, or had less capacity for restraint, or anything else that makes them less suitable as members of society.

    If this happened, would we still have a moral basis for treating them as equals rather than as inferior? Or is this treatment rooted in the assumption of practical equality in terms of cognition, potential, and self-control?

    Basically, are there any moral arguments that can be used to justify equal treatment in the absence of actual equality in capacity? If so, what are they?

    Can the science be separated from the moral issue? It seems that one would affect the other, unless I'm mistaken about the basis of equality being an assumption of certain similar abilities in cognition, potential, and self-control.

    Ultimately, it comes down to this... what rights would be owed to such beings, if we found that such actually existed and could easily be distinguished from everyone else? Would this ultimately be a similar issue to animal rights?
    No, we should still treat them as equals. Being mentally handicapped does not mean that you are any less of a human being, every human being has the ability to love, formulate ideas, provide warmth and many other items but everyone does/masters everything in varying degrees. If mentally inferior people are classified as inferior humans then shouldn't we also class socially inferior people as inferior humans, what about intellectually inferior? How about openness to change inferior or People who just have no artistic abilities? Do they deserve to be treated as inferiors?.

    Mentally handicapped people may be stronger in other traits than others. Some people who are classified as mentally inferior has shown much more empathy than others, others have brilliant people who were lacking in another part of the brain.

    Everyone is limited in one way or another, its a human trait this is.

    Science is great for finding out stuff, but at the end of the day humans, as people have to decide if we want to use that part/discovery or not. There is a reason why we elect politicians and not scientists to run our countries.
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    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    I guess this means self-awareness/sentience isn't important... just humanity. So an alien or android with similar faculties (or even superior faculties) would NOT be equal.

    Sigh. I just don't like the way this is going... it sounds like so many of our ways of doing things are based on delusions about our own significance.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Dooraven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    I guess this means self-awareness/sentience isn't important... just humanity. So an alien or android with similar faculties (or even superior faculties) would NOT be equal.

    Sigh. I just don't like the way this is going... it sounds like so many of ways of doing things are based on delusions about our own significance.
    An alien would be considered in the same way as a normal human being in my eyes. They too have the ability to emphatize, formulate ideas and provide warmth as well as any human. An android well.. that would be different and considering on their type. If they could emphasize like a normal biological being and determine its own future then yeah by all means it should be treated as a human. If it is unable and can only carry out logical commands thats its builder has told them to do, what separates it from a computer?
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