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?