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    • CommentAuthorDario
    • CommentTimeNov 11th 2009 edited
     (7194.21)
    @StefanJ I doubt leopard women would sink so low. They're chimeras, not desperate.
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2009
     (7194.22)
    > When they are able to explain to me how to play black jack

    That's social, you know, cultural: not physical. A feral child couldn't do it: wouldn't even know (and couldn't be taught) what 'playing' is: don't have the capacity for 'shared attention', apparently: which we can certainly teach dogs.
    • CommentAuthorDario
    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2009
     (7194.23)
    Jesus.
    •  
      CommentAuthorrickiep00h
    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2009
     (7194.24)
    I love this thread just because it vacillates between completely serious and completely insane so well. Carry on, folks, I'm loving this.
  1.  (7194.25)
    @Rickiep00h
    -WHAT DO you have against LEOPARD WOMEN?! HRMM!

    erm. I mean.

    If a chimera of over 94% human biology were raised in a laboratory setting, would it be human? Would it end up growing up like a feral child with the cognative issues asociated with it, or would it grow up more like a normal human?

    I have NO CLUE.

    But I do like chewing on thoughts like these.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2009
     (7194.26)
    Homework: Olaf Stapledon's Sirius. Dog with a really big brain (through hormone manipulation in the womb; genetic engineering wasn't quite conceived of back then) raised by a Welsch family.

    @Rootfireember: Which 94%? What kind of laboratory setting? And what the hell is human anyway?

    There's a science story appearing here and there about the FOXP2 gene, which controls speech:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091111130942.htm

    One gene which controls language ability. At least on the cognitive level; I doubt you'd get a larynx for free. Humans with a mutated form of the gene have severe language difficulties. If you put the human form into an animal, it might very well have remarkable language abilities. But would it be human? Or more to the point, be able to have a meaningful life in human society? Smart creatures who can understand language but not actually talk, and who don't have hands and have short lives, might feel like they've gotten the shaft.
  2.  (7194.27)
    Some birds -corvids and parrots- have been shown to already be capable of using english to some degree, matching words with meaning.
    ...this has done nothing to change humans perceptions of them as dumb animals, it would seem.

    Also, I forgot about the FOXP2 gene! Thanks for bringing it up.
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2009
     (7194.28)
    > What kind of laboratory setting?

    There were those experiments by Harry Harlow, about touch and so on.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2009
     (7194.29)
    @Rootfireember "...this has done nothing to change humans perceptions of them as dumb animals, it would seem."

    Most people think crows are pretty bright. If they all talked like Alex the Grey Parrot we'd think they were even smarter. But it would make them even more annoying.
  3.  (7194.30)
    @StefanJ- The New Caledonian Crows have, as far as I remember, (I may be wrong) surpassed chimps in a variety of logic and toolmaking tests. There's a large volume of studies about avian intelligence. People just don't seem to like them as much as the monkey studies; and then there's the word Parrot. As in To Mimic. It's easy enough for the average person to mistake a bird's words for nothing more than abstracted, meaningless babbling -- a cute parlor trick, but little more.

    If you were, eventually to get an animal as intelligent as a human, with the ability to communicate like a human, would it have a chance of being accepted into a human society and culture, or would it always be an outsider, a freak to be toured around on youtube or for sound-bites? What would we do with such a thing? Would it have a chance at all of integrating into our society, and living a happy, fulfilling life?
  4.  (7194.31)
    From my beautiful Geneticist Wifey:

    She thinks the ethics line stops at the neck. She is uncool with any alteration producing sentience in animals about to be used for experimentation (perhaps in general.)

    I think all such idealist trends will yeild to profit unless some serious alteration of megacorp patterns is on the rise (HA Fucking HA)
  5.  (7194.32)
    If I can gain the proportional strength and speed of a spider, I'm all for this.

    My Spider-man pajamas need airing.
    • CommentAuthorPhranky
    • CommentTimeNov 13th 2009
     (7194.33)
    or would it always be an outsider, a freak to be toured around on youtube or for sound-bites? What would we do with such a thing? Would it have a chance at all of integrating into our society, and living a happy, fulfilling life?

    You have been on Youtube right? That's already a 21st century freak show.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeNov 13th 2009
     (7194.34)
    "What would we do with such a thing?"

    The only ethical way to treat them would be to raise them as our own kids, to be citizens. If they're not capable of participating in society in a meaningful way, I wouldn't bother making them in the first place.

    As to why even try:

    “The question that will decide our destiny is not whether we shall expand into space. It is: shall we be one species or a million? A million species will not exhaust the ecological niches that are awaiting the arrival of intelligence.” -- Freeman Dyson, "The Greening of the Galaxy."
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeNov 13th 2009
     (7194.35)
    “The question that will decide our destiny is not whether we shall expand into space. It is: shall we be one species or a million? A million species will not exhaust the ecological niches that are awaiting the arrival of intelligence.” -- Freeman Dyson, "The Greening of the Galaxy."

    Reminds me of the race of humans in the Hyperion series who genetically modified themselves to be able to live just about anywhere on any planet.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeNov 13th 2009
     (7194.36)
    @RenThing: I'm pretty sure Simmons wrote that stuff with Dyson's ideas slamming around his head. It was also the inspiration for Bruce Sterling's Schiszmatrix.

    The essay is from Dyson's Disturbing the Universe, which is a pretty amazing book.
    •  
      CommentAuthorrickiep00h
    • CommentTimeNov 13th 2009
     (7194.37)
    You know, I just thought of something. What about people going for animal genes? I mean, it's not like it's that far out of the realm of possibility. Sure, it's an ethically gray area, but so is animals with human genes. How far would we let people go before we started calling them freaks? Would society be okay with something like the Grays, a la Transmet?
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeNov 13th 2009
     (7194.38)
    @rickiep00h: I imagine it would be seen as Freedom by some people, sacrilege punishable by death for others, and for most people an indulgent affectation.

    But, like wearing blue jeans and not wearing a hat, with time it might become perfectly normal.
  6.  (7194.39)
    Another thing I'm curious about with chimeras, or humans with animal genes would be this:
    Would they be more susceptible to zoonotic diseases? Would they have to get animal shots and human shots? Would they become a pathway by which diseases that had previously only occurred in some non-humans crossed over to humanity?
  7.  (7194.40)
    Rickie -- I think where there is profit or advantage to be had, people will start doing it and issues of ethics and acceptance will be worked out over time.

    Look at the areas of sports performance that people are struggling with now, with various performance enhancers and so on. That's worked its way from dirty little secret to openly debated to some of the biggest names in sports doing it and not losing their status. Next, we'll start hearing about safer drugs and methods and the floodgates will start opening.