Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dolphins are people too.

At least, some humans wish they were. They believe that dolphins ought to be endowed with "non-human personhood" status. Margaret Somerville discusses (MercatorNet): 

The refusal of the courts to recognize unborn babies as persons, in order to allow abortion, shows the protective effect of the concept of personhood and that, unless expressly excluded, all human beings are persons. Currently, we also use the word person to distinguish humans from animals, in order to establish that every human deserves "special respect" as compared with animals.
As for me, I wish society would confer legal status upon our current "human non-persons" (the unborn).
We used to regard humans as special on the basis that they had a soul, a Divine spark, and animals did not. Far from everyone accepts that today. But most people at least act as though we humans have a "human spirit," a metaphysical, although not necessarily supernatural, element as part of the essence of our humanness. The beautiful Sanskrit farewell, loosely translated, "The Light in me recognizes the Light in you," captures this reality. 

We must have greater respect for all life, and I would add to that, in particular, human life. Restricting personhood to humans is one way we recognize and implement the latter.

Thanks to Dave for the heads-up on this story.

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