Sunday, October 30, 2016

Federal Research of Human-Animal Chimeras; Monkey Trials To Follow

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has proposed to lift the ban on federal funding of research for human-animal chimera, e.g., injecting an animal with human stem cells to grow human organs. Many organizations, including the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) oppose lifting the ban. The NhRP argues among other things that such research ignores “the ethical imperatives of an ever-evolving global scientific understanding of nonhuman animals’ cognitive and emotional complexity” already accepted by our culture.  

In The Hot Monkey Love Trial Bert defends himself, at the urging of his attorney, by insisting that he is not a “person” because of the unique monkey gene inserted into his genome.  It’s a good move since, inconveniently, a real person can be tried for the murder charges he faces.

Steven Wise, founder of the NhRP, tackles the issue head on: “…legal personhood has never been, is not now, nor will it ever be synonymous with the term ‘human being.’” He foresees the inevitability of the legal drama fully acted out in The Hot Monkey Love Trial: “Whether chimeras are considered human beings, nonhuman animals, or a new class altogether remains to be legally explored."

And perhaps decided by a jury.  

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Pence Stand-Up Act Imitating Monkey Falls Flat

It’s a Presidential election year.  The concern in America’s reality-television culture is not whether a candidate makes sense or absolutely no sense at all. The question is whether he or she looks or sounds “Presidential.”  In this video from the House floor in 2003, then-Congressman, now Governor and candidate fore Vice-President, Mike Pence seeks to disprove evolution once and for all. I’ll concede he must be Presidential because he makes absolutely no sense. I also give him credit for his imitation of the comically-righteous and blindly-ambitious Presidential candidate, Senator Ray Hoffenworth, in The Hot Monkey Love Trial.

Pence’s entire argument revolves around the fact that evolution is just a “theory.”  In the realm of science that would be like challenging a “fact” for being nothing more than objectively verified, grounded in reality, and undisputed by everyone. Good move, sir. You’re on a roll!

The first and scientific dictionary meaning of “theory” is “a set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.” Think theory of gravity, theory of electricity, and yes, definitely theory of evolution. All fit the definition and have dramatically altered for the better our understanding and experience of the physical world. Among many symptoms of his allergy to intellectual discipline that he manifests in this video, he’s apparently never heard the primary definition but instead is only familiar with the sixth definition of “theory,” way down at the bottom of the definitional food chain: “an assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.”

In his meandering and nonsensical presentation, swinging from one branch of history to the next, he even manages to mention the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial. Somehow the Monkey Trial was another blow to science making Pence's case that evolution has proven to be a shot-in-the-dark conjecture. Watch the wildly gesticulating hands in the video. Who or what is Pence trying to ape? 

Oh. Never mind...

NOTE: No nonhumans were treated with cruelty or in any way dissed in the writing of this blog post. The subject human is the object of ridicule for his utterly foolish imitation of an alpha-male primate of another species who, incidentally, in a scientific debate would easily have the subject for lunch (literally and mercifully).

Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Dog Is A Sentient Being. Are You?

In The Hot Monkey Love Trial the question boils down to this: Can Bert Gropes be prosecuted for crimes as a person when he’s different than “ordinary humans” because of the presence of a unique monkey gene (from the Libidoan monkey, unique to the Isle Libido) that was inserted into his genome in vitro?

Similar legal issues are now playing out in courts and legislatures throughout the free world. In December of 2015 France passed a law recognizing that dogs are “sentient beings” entitled to rights not to be subjected to  cruelty. Until then they were considered nothing more than “movable goods” along the order of soybeans, furniture, and bananas. How did it take so long for  dog-loving France to come to this? Mon Dieu! 

More recently in June of 2016 the Oregon Supreme Court in a landmark case held that dogs are "sentient beings" that may be tested without the consent of their owners. The dog’s owner objected to the blood being drawn from her “property” in violation of search and seizure laws. But the Oregon court concluded that because of the sentient, capable-of-suffering nature of dogs, and the rights they have to be free of abuse or cruelty, it was permissible to draw blood to detect and measure malnutrition and neglect regardless of the owner’s objection, similar to the way such testing can be conducted on children, who may have been abused, without the consent of  parents.

So what’s the takeaway here? That we are still debating whether dogs are sentient beings shows why rights should be based on sentience, not command of science, i.e., intelligence. It also proves that human beings are not too – shhh! someone who can spell may be listening – “s-m-a-r-t.”  The owner of the dog in the Oregon case, when confronted with the overwhelming evidence of animal starvation and neglect, responded by admitting that she had no dog food but – wouldn’t you know it? –  she insisted that she was just going out that very evening to buy more dog food.

See what I mean?