Re: Arguments from Nonexistence. Was: Extropians and animalrights

Michael S. Lorrey (
Mon, 18 Jan 1999 12:00:46 -0500

Ralph Lewis wrote:

> this is interesting... any comments on the thought experiment below
> If a space ship arrived at earth and the occupants were humanoid. Lets say
> they were biologically humans, perhaps better. They all looked like Playboy
> centerfold models and Chippendale dancers. Well, why not if they had
> extropinan technology? Wouldn't you try a little self improvement if the
> technology was easily available? Would these visitors have any human rights?
> Or could they be placed into slavery under the current human rights law?

First they would need to convice people that:

a) they were intelligent
b) they posed no threat to Earth
c) they either sought asylum as refugees, or
d) they sought to establish diplomatic relations between Earth and somewhere else.
Just as one nation recognises people that are citizens of other nations as 'temporary honorary citizens' for legal purposes (with the minor aberration of those with diplomatic immunity, which has another legal purpose), we would obviously want to recognise them as 'honorary human beings' merely for the convenience of being accorded a reciprocating 'honorary alien chippendale/centerfold' when and if we visit their home planet.

This brings in a convention that Orson Scott Card uses in his Ender's Game trilogy (Ender's Game, Xenocide, Speaker for the Dead). My memory is sketchy here, so others are invited to correct me on the exact terms and definitions:

human: another being of the same species

varelse: a being of another species which is understandable, that can be communicated with, and can be conferred honorary 'human' status.

ramen: a being of a species that is alien to humans, which is not understandable or able to carry on rational sustained communication with humanity, and may be seen as a threat to humanity.

Now, up until this century, humans tended to look at others as human only when they belonged to the same race AND ethnic group, while members of other ethnic groups but of the same race were varelse, and those of other races were either varelse or ramen as the situation demanded (which is why it was so easy for such people to keep slaves, as they were obviously not 'human', as far as could be seen then.)

Today, more people beleive they can see some animal species as varelse, and even a few as 'human', and many vegans and animal rightists insist that all animals are varelse. My own opinion on this effect is that it is a phenomenon similar to isolated individuals talking to their teddy bears. We, as far as we know, are the only intelligent species in existence. We can theorize on the existence of other species on other worlds, but we have no evidence as of yet. Despite this, we have reached a point in our development where we are subconciously crying out for interaction with other intelligent species, and because we cannot find any, we are left talking to our teddy's.

Mike Lorrey

> but by all international norms, a human being must
> >> be a
> >> >citizen of either a country or a visitor from a UN Human Rights Treaty
> >> signatory
> >> >country, or from a country has diplomatic relations with the country we are
> >> >talking about to be considered to have rights.
> >>
> >> So now rights have to be conferred by the UN or by a country???? Aren't you
> >> supposed to be a libertarian?
> >