Should mentally retarded people be considered human?

Posted by: RM

Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/14/05 11:02 AM

Should people who's brains work in a very different way to normal humans be considered human? Also, should people who's brains are structured in a way that stops them from having any memories or being self aware be regarded as 'humans', or primitive organisms?
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/14/05 03:41 PM

-- beginning of sarcasm

Of course they shouldn't. People that are mentally defective should be hunted down and destroyed to keep the gene pool free from contamination.

I believe it was Robert Heinlein (but it could have been Carl Sagan or Isaac Asimov) who said that anyone that doesn't understand math is not completely human.

So lets solve all of the world's problems with global warming, poverty, and crime by eliminating everyone without a degree in mathematics or one of the hard sciences. I say if you can't do a Standard Deviation ... you are a Standard Deviant.

-- end of sarcasm

Thus Rob ... while your idea may make some perverted sense to you ... it is a slippery slope from which you, undoubtedly, would be among the second wave of victims. Get over it!
Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/14/05 03:59 PM

I thought he asked a pointed question that got right to the crux of the matter. I did not think for one second that he was advocating killing retarded people or classifying them as non-human.

What I thought he was doing was taking a highly abstract conversation and expressing it in real terms. We're taking words that have reasonably firm meanings and we're thinking of different situations and asking ourselves - do the terms still make sense.

What is intelligence? What is sentience? What is human? What is a human being? To what extent do our answers to these questions reflect our collective moral sense?
Posted by: Yet Another Crank

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/14/05 04:40 PM

"Human" refers to qualities of our species, homo sapiens, that make us different from other animals. Usually, it refers to those unique qualities as speech, complex reasoning, complex emotion, symbolic thought, and the like.

This refers to an aggregate set of qualities that exist in general across the population. Individual members of the population, however, may exhibit such qualities in varying degree -- or even not at all -- but still remain members of the population.

Thus, the child of a human mother is still considered human, even if she cannot speak. Or even if she cannot engage in complex reasoning. Or even if she cannot think symbolically.
Posted by: Uncle Al

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/14/05 04:40 PM

Quote:
People that are mentally defective should be hunted down and destroyed to keep the gene pool free from contamination.
Absent a demonstrable objective giftedness (e.g., idiot savants), anybody with an IQ below 70 should be sterilized and thereafter wholly supported by its family, or euthanized by the State.

Do not invest in a future you do not want. Do invest in a future you do want.
Posted by:

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/14/05 05:05 PM

Yet Another Crank. You nailed it. And on the flip side.. if, "Should people who's brains work in a very different way to normal humans be considered human?" -Rob .. then people who have high "IQs" (whatever the hell that is) are suspected of not being human? I think that I know what you are trying to convey Rob, but try to elaborate as to why you feel this way. Also explain why a human is not human (except based upon genetics). Sure, we are all different and unique.. ok. You raise a good question as to what exactly IS human then. IF we are all different then how can we be grouped under the term "human".
Are you stating?: When a person suffers from amnesia, with some memory loss, then they are no longer considered to be human. Because that is a tough sell.
Sincerely,
Posted by: Dogrock

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/14/05 09:04 PM

When is a dog not a dog, even sick and without a bark, or a leg or two, people who loved them once continue to do so. So it is with humans. Sometimes it is even hard to throw away a rock. So says dogrock. The consideration of human or not is an emotional decision for humanity, not a scientific one.
Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/14/05 09:06 PM

"The consideration of human or not is an emotional decision for humanity, not a scientific one."

I agree. Science can help enlighten our values, but it can't tell us what to value.

(And, yes, I disagree with Jacob Bronowski's thesis in his book, 'Science and Human Values.')
Posted by: Philege

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/14/05 09:43 PM

Ofcourse mentally retarded people should be considered human. Just because there is a disparity between their mind and their bodies, (i.e. the cause of their retardation) does not mean that every other aspect of them is not human. I once knew a man in Zimbabwe, who appeared very retarded. He was badly squint, badly pigeon toed and his hands back to front. But mentally he was quite sound, yet everyone thought he was retarded. He even practised as a journeyman in mechanics and could diagnose problems better than normal people. One must not forget the human soul. Remember that blind lady, what was her name again, not Marie Curie emmmmm that deaf dumb and blind lady emmmmm, the one that used to clap her teacher. You know the one they made a film about emmmmmm Enid Blyton no Helen Keller, that's it. She could describe a country scene yet she was totally deaf, dumb and blind. So ofcourse we who know how she was able to do so, know that her mind escaped from her body because of her intense desire to see, hear and speak. Because the soul which contains the mind is not impaired she was able to discern all that she could not see physically. So her MIND was not retarded as many people thought in her early years.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/14/05 09:53 PM

How did we evolve to the point where people survive such a long time after their usefulness is finished,(their ability to procreate and pass on their genetic information)? Surely it makes sense that early humans would have been more 'fit' for survival if people died when they slowed down and couldn't contribute, but were just another mouth to feed - especially if resources became scarce.

Regards,

Blacknad.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/14/05 09:56 PM

Sorry,

Off topic a little there.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Philege

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/14/05 10:00 PM

Precisely what I am trying to say, there is more to a human than the physical shell. Our physical existence is only a small part of our evolution, there is the spiritual element. This will one day be realised by everyone. many so called retarded people can be credited with wonders and inventions. Remember Ford who only went to standard six, what about Edison and the others.
Posted by:

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/15/05 05:24 PM

"The consideration of human or not is an emotional decision for humanity, not a scientific one." - Dogrock

Please Explicate. Are you talking about a philosophical, sociological or theological definition?

Science DOES define human: ~ Biologically, humans are classified as the species Homo sapiens (Latin for "knowing man"): a bipedal primate belonging to the superfamily of Hominoidea, with all of the apes: chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, and gibbons.
Scientific classification:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Superfamily: Hominoidea
Family: Hominidae
Subfamily: Homininae
Tribe: Hominini
Genus: Homo
Species: H. sapiens

Binomial name
Homo sapiens
Linnaeus, 1758
Subspecies
Homo sapiens idaltu (extinct)
Homo sapiens sapiens

In any event... of course there is a scientific consideration for what is human.

Sincerely,
Posted by: Dogrock

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/15/05 05:44 PM

I was answering in context. Scientific analysis of what species are has its own grey areas but we do have for-all-practical purposes analysis. So again in context.
Posted by: Garry Denke

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/15/05 09:54 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Mung:
Science DOES define human: ~ Biologically, humans are classified as the species Homo sapiens (Latin for "knowing man"): a bipedal primate belonging to the superfamily of Hominoidea, with all of the apes: chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, and gibbons.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Superfamily: Hominoidea
Family: Hominidae
Subfamily: Homininae
Tribe: Hominini
Genus: Homo
Species: H. sapiens
1. Should H. sapiens that are mentally defective be hunted down and destroyed to keep the gene pool free from contamination?
2. Is a H. sapien that doesn't understand math not completely a H. sapien?
3. Would all of the world's problems with global warming, poverty, and crime be solved by eliminating all H. sapiens without a degree in mathematics or one of the hard sciences?
4. Absent a demonstrable objective giftedness, should H. sapiens with an IQ below 70 be sterilized and thereafter wholly supported by Hominidae or euthanized by the State?
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/16/05 12:03 AM

To answer your questions one would have to agree on a common goal or a set of criteria by which to judge whether the answer was in line with the goal.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/16/05 06:17 AM

There are so many causes of mental retardation, from genetics (Down's Syndrome has its counterparts with other chromosomes as well) to accidents at birth to problems with anaesthesia during "routine" operations like tonsillectomies. It hardly seems logical to sterilize people who have chromosome anomalies, as they are for the most part unable to reproduce because of the genetic problems they have. What can we say to those whose genes are normal who have simply suffered accidents that damamged their brains? I'm not talking about the Terry Schiavo's of the world, I'm talking about the kid down the block with brain damage from an accident. Sterilizing him or her is hardly going to prevent the same accident from happening to another child, and who knows, they might give rise to the next Einstein or Frank Lloyd Wright or a genius who can bring about world peace? Unlikely, perhaps, but not impossible. Sterilizing people who have accidents that left them with brain damage is kind of like fighting for peace, it's counterintuitive. Save it for people who are genetically impaired whose ancestors were dumb as rocks.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/16/05 07:41 PM

Simply put ... in an amoral world we would sterilize or euthanize everyone that does not meet some criteria developed by those self-annointed moral authorities such as politicians and priests.

Of course doing so posits that they would be willing, for what amounts to purely financial purposes, to define the end-point of human evolution and progress.

The rest of us, having taken a close look at the Nazi experiment, might decide it is worth living in a world with imperfect people to protect ourselves and our families just as those that love freedom of speech tolerate those with whom we disagree or find obscene.

The cure, as demonstrated by human history, is far worse than the disease.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/17/05 12:08 AM

Well said, Dan, well said!
Posted by:

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/17/05 04:32 AM

Dogrock,
I apologize; after examining my post to you it seemed combative. For that I am sorry; that is not what I intended. Further, I was also incorrect. The definition of "human" can be defined through biological terms but it also carries philosophical, religious, moral, etc. vantages. I do not know why I was stuck on the biological. Sorry again ! smile
Sincerely,
Posted by: RM

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/17/05 02:06 PM

"Thus Rob ... while your idea may make some perverted sense to you..."

Easy with those wild assumptions and accusations DA Morgan, what idea?
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/18/05 03:01 AM

Rob wrote:
"Easy with those wild assumptions and accusations DA Morgan, what idea?"

Sentences need subjects. Does yours have one?
Posted by: RM

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/18/05 09:34 AM

Yes, the subject of your attitude. Next time you read a post, take a few deep breaths and calm down before you formulate a reply. Unless, of course, your sarcastic and angry attitude is meant to be humorous. If that is the case, keep up the good work.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/18/05 04:59 PM

Angry? Don't flatter yourself. You are not that important.

But yes often my point is sarcasm, cynicism, and hopefully the loaded dart aimed at those who pefer fantasy over reality.
Posted by: Xennos

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/18/05 10:53 PM

Now now boys, medical science has ruined what ever evolutionary tail our fine race was taking, but it has also given rise to such a mind as Steven Hawking. lets not play a role we aren?t meant to play the environment to a degree will do away with the "inferiors" and strengthen to a degree the "survivors" but so long as we are screwing with the way evolution is going its not going to work as well as it had done previously to medical science, you can thank our hatred for loss and despair for that little spanner in the works . . . thanks emotions *thumbs up*
Posted by: RM

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/19/05 01:33 PM

Imagine having all your senses temporarily incapacitated. That would be so fun! You?d just be alone with your thoughts.
Is this actually possible? I was thinking of something along the lines of intercepting brain signals with electromagnetic waves...
Posted by: jjw

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/29/05 06:20 AM

ROB asks:

?Should people whose brains work in a very different way to normal humans be considered human? Also, should people who's brains are structured in a way that stops them from having any memories or being self aware be regarded as 'humans', or primitive organisms??

There appear to be multiple questions here.
People whose brains work in a very different way from normal humans may be very beneficial members of the community. The issue is what kind of different way are they working. More harmful or obstructive is not welcome. Being different, of itself, is not a measure of anything important. So yes they should qualify as human- if that is a goal.

The second part: ?Also, should people whose brains are structured in a way that stops them from having any memories or being self-aware be regarded as 'humans', or primitive organisms?? This conjures a picture to me of some bedridden human looking thing that may be brain dead or some such. The ?thing?, if that is what the question is offering, usually starts out as a human for all appearances. So it is not self aware and it has no memories and the difference here, I think, is that we distinguish between what is born that handicapped and what may become the bedridden vegetable do to any number of circumstances.

When I look at the question that way the issue of being human has nothing to do with the status of the person being discussed. Obviously we are talking about a human. The make up of the brains function is not an essential criterion to qualify as human. The reduction later in life to a non-functioning state is not relevant to the determination of what was human to start with; the entire question appears to be pointless now that I have looked it over.

Another question on what I think was intended would be how severe must a baby?s handicap need to be before being judged not worth saving. In other words simply let the handicap run its course to a natural termination? I cannot begin to make a choice of that kind. I do not doubt there are some that can do so and still sleep well.
jw
Posted by: Philege

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 10/30/05 01:16 AM

One day all the organs in the body were arguing about who was the most important. The brain shouted loudest, that it was since it was the centre of all activity. Then the stomach squealed and claimed that it processed all the food therefore it should be the boss. The heart said what about me, I pump all the blood around the body and give it what it needs I should be boss. Then the liver, spleen, intestines all laid claim. Then from the bottom of the body came a schreeching wail, it was dear old arsehole, trying to point out that he should be boss. well didn't all the other organs start laughing and chortling. So arsehold got fed up and closed himself very tightly. The other organs continued to laugh but not for long. After a couple of days, the brain started feeling funny, the heart started having palpitations, the stomach was bloated and sick, all the organs started feeling the pinch. After four days, they began to beg arsehole to open and eventually admitted that he was boss. So arsehole opened and soon everything was back to normal. Moral of the story - Even retarded people have a part to play in life and society. Just because we think they are unimportant doesn't mean they can't surprise us.
Posted by: RM

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 11/01/05 11:53 AM

what did appendix do?
Posted by: jjw

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 11/01/05 09:48 PM

Philege :

I saw that rendition some time ago and hoped then that I would not see it again. The moral you recite bears no relationship to the "story" that I can determine. cheers!
jw
Posted by: Philege

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 11/02/05 12:26 AM

I was only trying to point out that even retarded people are part of our society and that we cannot do without them. I thought of modifying the story for maximum impression, sorry if it disgusted you.
Posted by:

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 11/02/05 04:43 AM

"Just because we think they are unimportant doesn't mean they can't surprise us."
- Philege

Exactly who thinks retarded people are unimportant (other than to surprise us of course)?

"I was only trying to point out that even retarded people are part of our society"
- Philege

Maybe I misunderstand your intentions.

Sincerely,
Posted by: RM

Re: Should mentally retarded people be considered human? - 11/09/05 01:31 PM

jjw004,
You are right, the question was pointless. But some of the answers sure weren't!