[Adam Kolber, guest-blogging, February 13, 2008 at 2:35pm] Trackbacks
Chimp Intelligence:

Eugene mentioned that I wrote some years about the cognitive abilities of apes. I don't plan to say much about the topic, but you may enjoy watching this amusing video clip of a chimp trying to remove a peanut from a plastic tube.

Frog Leg (mail):
You also might to look here to see if modern artists are actually any better than chimps.
2.13.2008 3:11pm
Freddy Hill:
I thought about peeing, but I must agree that the chimp's approach is, well, cleaner.
2.13.2008 5:52pm
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Prof. Kolber-

Here are a couple of hypotheticals that I would appreciate if you would address:

(A) Through genetic testing it is determined that a small part of the population, primarily of the same ethnic background, is genetically divergent enough for some to argue that they constitute a separate species from or at least a subspecies of homo sapiens. The group in question is basically normal in appearance and displays at least average or above average intelligence, educational achievement, language skills, social skills, maturity, judgment, etc. They can reproduce with homo sapiens and produce normal, fertile offspring.

(B) The same kind of people as above, but not isolated in the same ethnic group. So individuals are seen as rare genetic mutations rather than a divergent species or subspecies.

Say various groups of people tried to argue that these people were not human - that they should be classified as "apes", "unidentified" or "unknown" primates, etc. and should face various restrictions on their fundamental rights and freedoms - forced monitoring, forced drugging and other medical treatment, forced guardianship, no or reduced rights under the legal system, restrictions on property ownership, travel, relocation, occupation, marriage, sex, child custody, etc. In some cases certain groups going so far as to claim "ownership" of some individuals, their labor, their property, their genetic material, any offspring that occur, and the right to nonconsensually conduct scientific and medical experiments on them.

Obviously if these kind of policies were enacted they would be criminal, tortious, unconstitutional, etc. But where would one start as far as legally establishing that these individuals are "people" under the Constitution and all other federal, state, and local laws? Would being citizens for generations and voting, paying taxes, etc. be enough? Assume that these individuals have always been present in the population and just blended in and that their genetic differences have only been detectable by relatively recent advances in genetic testing.
2.13.2008 7:20pm
100% on the quiz. The chimp paintings are obvious, there's clearly no intention, they're just throwing their hands around. I'm not saying that I love Pollock, but his painting do have a deliberate quality about them.
2.15.2008 10:40pm