19th Apr 2018 at 11:21 AM
Last edited by keyqueen : 19th Apr 2018 at 12:30 PM.
Little thought experiment: biological life or sentient life
I've been struggling to fall asleep and thought this up. I figured it would be interesting it hear some options on it.
Let's say there is a scientist performing experiments on cultures of Mold/fungus like organisms. Mold and fungi qualify by the scientific and biological definitions of life as living life forms and are a good example of the simplest multicellular life on earth. Probably very few people will express moral objections against experimenting on organisms such as fungus even if they lead to the death of the whole organism. Surely not even the most radical non human rights groups would argue that the experiments undermine the organisms rights as lifeforms, But why is that? Is it because they are such a basic lifeform? Because they have no capacity by which to suffer from such treatment? Because they have nothing to lose from loss of life? Or perhaps because most see molds and fungus as disgusting?
Now let's say that the scientist gets clumsy and bracks one of the Petri dishes resulting in a spore from the culture coming into contact with a cut in his skin and taking root. For the sake of argument there is no way for the scientist to remove the organism from his body without causing its death. While it is pulling nutrants from his blood supply which could present a small chance of health complications such as infection and even very slimy the risk of death, it poses no immediate threat to his health and the situation will resolve itself in time once the organism reach the end of its relatively short lifespan. Mostly the organism presents is an inconvenience to him.
Again it is unlikely that anyone would object to the scientist ending the life of the organism prematurely to maintain his own ‚Äústandard of living‚ÄĚ or to elementat the reasonably small chance of harm to his own body. But why should the scientists health and inconvenience outweigh the life of the organism?
Now let's say (here it's going to get a little out there) that the experiments our good scientist was performing was to create a chemical compound that mutants the organisms causing them to develop intelligence and sentients comparable to a human child of food five years while still biologically belonging to their current species. As he has already successfully performed the experiment multiple times he knows that it in fact works. And spore that has taken up residence in his skin has already been exposed to the chemical. In sort it is almost certain that it will eventually become sentient , however as it has only beginning to develop as a separate organism it does not yet possess the physiological structures to support any such awareness. Does this in any way change the scientist right to remove the organism for his person? How come or why not?
The idea behind this though experiment it to examine the significance of biological life Vs sentient life. Clearly the experiment has many thinly valed metaphors to the abortion debt as it is one area where the two definitions of life frequently clash. As each side tends utilizes a different definitions. I thought this might be a good start to separate the bio Vs sen life debt and look at it as a separate issues.
That's like saying foot fungus is part of you and shouldn't be removed, which is wrong because there isn't supposed to be any fungus growing or living on you. I don't think where the fungus would grow would change anything, it's still a biological organism that is not sentient. There's a reason why biological life and sentient life aren't the same thing. An extreme example would be saying that since a tumor is living (because it's growing) then you can't remove it because that might "hurt" it. That creates a problem because you could do something about it- remove it and the person gets better and continues to live, but by saying that the tumour is alive and should be allowed to remain in its place beacuse it "lives there" is morally questionable. Does a biological organism that is harmful to a senient being more important than the sentient being imply because it's alive?
I'm not sure of my response makes any sense because I have thoughts but I can't seem to get them out?