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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

500 primates vs. 500,000 humans, which side would you chose?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26783points) November 4th, 2010

500 primates or 500,000 humans, which side would you lean on? All the talk of animals rights (mostly just animals humans find to their liking) how far would you go to preserve the rights of animals? Primates are said to have 93% +/- shared DNA to humans so logically using them to test out product, procedures, and medicines that would eventually be used for humans on them 1st. Why risk harm to humans when there seem to be an ample stand-in? Also quite plausible would be that last un-similar 7% =/- DNA would render them as poor test subjects because that little patch of dissimilar DNA could throw off the test, give false readings. With that would you risk using 500 primates for testing if that leads to the cure or wellbeing of 500,000 humans? Or is one primate too much to spare to save even on human? If not even one primate should be lost or suffer so that no human has to should the test be forced upon or offered to prisoners facing life as incentive to maybe getting parole one day? In short, would you be willing to sacrifice murderers, serial sex offenders, drug king pins, terrorist, etc. for the benefit of mankind and to save primates that none of them ever suffer?

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35 Answers

FutureMemory's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction.

Cruiser's avatar

If these 500,000 humans were the morons that voted to re-elect our Governor and my asshat next door neighbor….they are all yours and take them away please.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

If these 500,000 humans were the morons that voted to re-elect our Governor Even primates would be too smart to vote for that doofus, not that there was a good choice.

josie's avatar

Only human beings are born with rights.
Animals only have whatever protections that human beings choose to bestow upon them, for capricious and/or political reasons.
I share the disgust that @Cruiser feels for the sub-primate choices that some humans make in the voting booth.
That aside, however, I vote for finding cures for human disease.
Then make sure you keep the cure a secret from the people who re elected your governor.
On the bright side-in my state they tossed the governor out after one term.
All is not lost.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

The testing should be upon well informed, well paid volunteers… no monkey business

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

If we could donate 500,000 pedophiles, rapists, serial killers and drug dealers to science and save the innocenent animals? Hell yeah! If the testing was all done on decent hardworking people, then I’m sorry but Curious George has to go.

the100thmonkey's avatar

@josie: Humans aren’t born with rights.

“Rights” are a human construction – we confer them on ourselves. The problem with conferring rights on other organisms is that we choose “consciousness” as our primary criterion, despite the fact that we can’t define what it actually is in people, and have only recently come to regard even the higher animals as having consciousness. Moreover, that opinion is limited to small numbers of people.

500 monkeys, excluding myself.

josie's avatar

@the100thmonkey “Mind” is a human construct as well. You are still born with the facility. The word “right“may be a construct, but the thing that is a right is still there, no matter what you call it. There is nothing in reality that states that you are not entitled to be you as long as you are here. And you are here. So you can claim that right as intrinsic.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I am having trouble imagining a scenario where this would be my choice. And there is no reason to do 500 vs. 500000 – I’d do 500 animals or 500 humans and I’d leave it to random chance.

mattbrowne's avatar

All humans are primates, but not all primates are human. The versus part seems confusing.

crisw's avatar

Harms cannot meaningfully be aggregated, because they accrue to an individual. Therefore, in deciding what is ethical for any given situation, the question is whether it’s ethical for any given being involved. The goal is always to pick the least harm. So, if the choice is between torturing and killing a monkey or pricking the finder of a human, the finger prick is less harm. This holds whether it’s one monkey or 1000.

If the choice is between killing a monkey or killing a normal adult human, the monkey loses because death is more of a harm to the human, because the human has more to lose. If it’s between a baby chimpanzee and an irreversibly comatose 70 year old, the person in a coma loses.

There’s simply not a black and white answer to the question.

Scooby's avatar

Why test on either! I’m leaning towards natural selection, put the primates back where they belong, stop testing altogether, there are enough medicines out there now surely to bolster the longevity of the one animal on this planet that’s over populating it & tearing it apart….. We gotta go sometime, why prolong the inevitable? Just for the sake of our own vanity!? Just saying…… :-/
If I had to make the choice I’m with @RealEyesRealizeRealLies….... NO MONKEY BUSINESS!!

Plucky's avatar

I’m with @RealEyesRealizeRealLies on this one :)

I also find the question confusing because humans are primates.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate If we could donate 500,000 pedophiles, rapists, serial killers and drug dealers to science and save the innocenent animals? Hell yeah! [sic] Elucidate, how would you come to thinking a criminal _no matter how heinous the crime would equal less than a chimp? And how would you justify that to said criminal’s spouse, parents, or children that the chimp was worth more than their locked up loved one if his/her involvement was forced and not voluntary?

@Simone_De_Beauvoir And there is no reason to do 500 vs. 500000 – I’d do 500 animals or 500 humans and I’d leave it to random chance. If you had some brilliant scientist slaving away in the lab and a team hits upon a possible drug or treatment for Alzheimer’s, on paper it appears it will work. The catch is they don’t know if the estimated dosage will kill the patient or how much the patient can take and get better or take to avoid the illness. Usually when a clinical trial comes around they have willing participant because those participate or desperate, they have no choice but to try the it because they are surely dead with out it. But if those brilliant scientist figured they can get the most accurate numbers by using apes, chimps, or whichever had DNA closest to humans without having to place humans in harm’s way, it come down to humans vs. primates. If those scientist figure to prefect their work they would have to test it out on 500 primates but if they got it right they could help out at the very least 500,000 humans (don’t know the actual number of people destined for Alzheimer’s), what would be the reason not to prevent suffering in humans if primates would be the fall guy? In other words would allowing many humans suffer for the sake of preserving one primate be acceptable?

@crisw If it’s between a baby chimpanzee and an irreversibly comatose 70 year old, the person in a coma loses. How would the baby chimp add more value to whatever than a comatose man in his 70s? Logically to society as a whole neither one is providing much. However would the chimp be missed by the other chimps in the pin to the extent the old man would when he passes? Would the chimps take it harder that their buddy or sibling died or was killed or would it be as many other animals they seem to get on with business should one fall to a predator or other ill effects?

@Scooby Why test on either! I’m leaning towards natural selection If there was never any sort of testing like that done many people maybe even us more than likely would have suffered needless harm.

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies The testing should be upon well informed, well paid volunteers… no monkey business If you did not have enough people brave enough or desperate enough to sign up for the clinical trials and you had to rely on volunteers if the treatment or drug had possible grave and adverse side affects how much would you think those volunteers should be paid for risking their health and maybe their lives? And how much would they have to do to earn that money? One shot? 1 – 10 shots or doses, survive x amounts of months then pick up your check? And if only the very poor and desperate take up the opportunity to earn the cash how to keep from it being the lives of the poor vs. the rich who will most likely be able to afford the drug or treatment after it is perfected enough for the general public?`

crisw's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central

The harm that death is is a function of how much the given individual has to lose. The irreversibly comatose man is going to die, and is not going to experience any more sensations before he dies. His family will miss him no matter what happens. The baby chimp has a lifetime of experiences and sensations left.

crisw's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central

Oh, and as to

“How would the baby chimp add more value to whatever than a comatose man in his 70s? ”

Add value to what? I am not an utilitarian. Individual rights are what matter.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central The way you put it, people already do this to animals – and I feel ambivalent about it.

faye's avatar

How many dogs would you test on to get to insulin?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@faye We already have insulin, but if it means finding a cure to prevent kidney cancer, how ever many pooches it took. They maybe fuzzy, cute, and love you until the end but they can’t cook an egg, fly a plane, or perform throat surgery; in short, they don’t equal up.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

They wouldn’t have to test the actual person. They could test his/her clone.

faye's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Yeah, I was agreeing with you. I really disapprove of testing beauty products on animals though.

crisw's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central

“they can’t cook an egg, fly a plane, or perform throat surgery; in short, they don’t equal up.”

I don’t imagine you can fly a plane or perform throat surgery either (I don’t know about your egg-cooking ability);- I know I can’t. Does that mean people can ethically experiment on you or me?

What about any other humans who cannot do any of the things you mention- like babies, the senile, or the mentally handicapped? Is it OK to experiment on them?

Is it more ethical to experiment on the average Joe Blow than a genius?

What about_ all_ the people who “don’t equal up?”

Plucky's avatar

I can cook eggs ..but I only know a few ways. I can’t perform throat surgery or fly a plane. I guess I should get in line for the experimental testing :P

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I think the qualifier is that you have the ability to grasp the concepts of throat surgery, and plane flying, whereas primates do not.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies They could test his/her clone. That would never work If people would picket the lab because they would give Chim Chim a drug that might kill him for the benefit of mankind, clones would be even more likely to have preople rallying to their side. Plus they are smart enough to hire lawyers who would argue that they are as human as the original they were made from and just as you could not place your child in a trial with hopes of finding yourself a cure, the clone would have the same protection and/or rights. Even if we had clones it would never work.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I have great faith in the coming wave of designer biotech and fashion genetics. We are cloning individual body parts quite successfully, and soon the promise of modelling an entire individual human as a computer simulation will be upon us, thereby making classic animal testing seem quite antiquated and altogether blundering.

crisw's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies

“RealEyesRealizeRealLies’s avatar

I think the qualifier is that you have the ability to grasp the concepts of throat surgery, and plane flying, whereas primates do not.”

First of all, we are primates.

Secondly, many, many humans will never be able to grasp these concepts. Is it ethical to experiment on them?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

That’s a great point @crisw. A mentally handicapped human cannot grasp the concepts, yet that does not justify using them as test subjects. But keep in mind, as I said above, I don’t believe in primate testing. Other animals, perhaps. It would be difficult for me to exclude mice.

But I think we disagree as to whether humans are a species of primate or not. I believe we may once have been, as is evident from the discovery of primate olfactory genes in human pseudogenes. However, I don’t believe we are primates any longer, having evolved beyond them with our lower human count of 23 pairs of chromosomes, with Chimps having 24 pairs. That’s the first in a long list of too many other genetic differences to justify claiming Humans as Primates.

The common claim of 95–98% similarity is a misnomer and primarily accounts for protein encoding genes. That percentage drops dramatically when considering the majority of our genome comparisons, which does not encode proteins.

We are no more primate than primates are shrews.

crisw's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies

There is much, much more genetic difference between a chimp and a spider monkey than between us and a chimp. Yet the chimp and the spider monkey are both primates.

We have not “evolved beyond” being a primate- we are no more evolved than a chimpanzee is in terms of the distance from our last common ancestor; we are exactly equal in that respect. There are no taxonomists that I know of that dispute our status as primates; we share all of the anatomical, genetic and other characteristics that are common to primates. The genetic differences you speak of are evolutions of a primate genome that remains a primate genome- for example, the difference in the number of chromosomes between us and chimps is due to a fusion of two chromosomes that are still separate in chimps.

The only reason to dispute such a designation is one of semantics, not of science.

Plucky's avatar

Humans are indeed primates.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

At what point do enough changes in a genome justify speciation?

crisw's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies

I think that’s a fascinating question, but one that probably deserves a question of its own.

As far as the humans as primates discussion- we are a different species from chimps; we’re even in a different genus (although some taxonomists feel that should not be the case and that we should be in the same genus.) But we are in the same family- Primates. And there is no taxonomic reason that we shouldn’t be.

FutureMemory's avatar

(In my best Samuel L. Jackson voice):

Check out the big brain on @crisw!

Nullo's avatar

I favor humans over apes.

@crisw Flying a plane is, AFAIK, quite simple. It’s landing the sucker that’s going to be trouble.

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