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View Poll Results: Are all humans equal at birth ? (choose ALL that apply)

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  • 1.1 All human are equal in rights

    16 55.17%
  • 1.2 Men and women are not equal in rights

    5 17.24%
  • 1.3 Some races have more rights than others

    4 13.79%
  • 1.4 Some individual have more rights than others

    10 34.48%
  • 2.1 All humans are born intellectually equal (only education and experience differenciate them)

    2 6.90%
  • 2.2 Men and women's brains differ considerably

    11 37.93%
  • 2.3 Intelligence varies considerably across races

    6 20.69%
  • 2.4 Every individual is born with a unique intelligence

    14 48.28%
  • 3.1 All humans are born with equal physical strength and abilities

    0 0%
  • 3.2 Men and women have considerably different physical strength and abilities

    15 51.72%
  • 3.3 Physical strength and abilities varies considerably across races

    8 27.59%
  • 3.4 Every individual is born with unique physical strength and abilities

    13 44.83%
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Thread: Are humans all born equal ?

  1. #1
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    Are humans all born equal ?



    It is politically correct nowadays to say that all humans are born free and equal in democratic countries. Yet, I believe that this only refers to the legal aspect. Genetically, everybody is different. It can be argued whether intelligence, physical strength or other capabilities are genetical or acquired. It certainly is a bit of both, but I'd say that genes play the most important part of the "potential", which one's education and environment will more or less develop.

    Some people argue that no significant differences in intelligence, physical strength or other capabilities exist between human "races". Some insist that men and women are not different because of biological factors, but just because of social expectations and education. I believe that none of this is true. Men and women's brains work differently, and each have abilities in which they excel over the other sex. Physically, men tend to be stronger, but women tend to be more supple.

    It is the same for "races". It is no coincidence that Black people excel in some Olympic sports (e.g. sprint), but that East Asians excel in others (e.g. gymnastics) and Caucasians in yet others (e.g. cycling). Physically, the most masculine "race" would be the Blacks, while the most feminine would be the Mongoloids.

    The same is true for arts, music or intellectual disciplines. It is probably no coicidence either that the world's 3 big monotheistic religions were invented by Semitic people, and the 3 great pantheistic or polytheist ones (Hindusim, Buddhism, Jainism) by Indian people. Likewise, Black people are better at the more spontaneous rap or jazz music, while "classical" written and directed by a single artist for a big orchestra is almost only Caucasian.

    I believe that cultures are what they are partly (but not only) because of the genetic predispositions of their people. Cultural advancement only depend on time and resources. But the orientation or sensitivities present in each culture has a correlation to the majority of its people's genes. That's why genetically similar populations have also similar sensitivities (e.g. modern Japan, Korea and China, regarding their liking for food, material goods, similar type of music, economic systems, etc.).

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    I cannot understand how 3 people so far voted for "Every individual is born with a unique intelligence" and not for "Intelligence varies considerably across races". If each individual has a unique intelligence at birth (because of different genetic makeup), then forcedly there are considerable differences between races, as the genetic differences are even more marked. Same for physical abilities (strength, resitance, suppleness...).

    Likewise, if hormones can differentiate men and women's intellectual and physical abilities (and all research have concluded that they do), then intellectual and physical abilities also vary on a racial level, as hormonal levels vary across racial groups (and individuals within each group, but mostly inherited from the parents).

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    Are all people born equal .... ?

    Manifestly ... NO! Nor are they born with equal opportunity.

    .... but now I have to retire to elaborate on this swift reply ... and cover my bum against any comments that may be seen to be politically incorrect or dubious in that regard.

    Excellent question, though ... and perhaps as inflammatory as a cigarette in a firework factory! ... Back soon!

    ジョン

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    A nice discussion is surely in the potential of this thread; I hope to follow it with interest as well.

    As often is the case with the polls, there probably is not really enough room to put all plausible cases, and that sometimes makes it hard. Those which I voted for turned out to be the biggest ones yet, but there was still some hesitation on a few of them.

    I go along with research that states that each brain is different at birth, although there is a 'basic set-up' which is practically the same in all. This 'being different' often seems to imply a difference in potential--in that the brain is largely 'plastic'.

    The well evidenced differences between the 'male' brain and the 'female' brain total out to become an 'average difference', with a fair degree of overlap between most in any of the two sexes. (That has come up on an earlier thread also--I'm overlap, but, obviously, more of a 'male' brain.)

    The term/concept 'culture' has a lot that can be discussed it seems, as can also that of 'race'--the latter being even more uncertain, or lacking, as far as concrete explanations go.

    I look forward to watching what goes down here. (Alas, I now have one more thing to keep an eye on in all my busy-ness. . . but I love it, and live for it !!)

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    Nice thread start-up there, Maciamo san !!

    I can understand you point in post #2, but my reasoning on that at the moment, is that due to 'overlapping' and 'averaging', it could be said that 'differences' are spread out, kind of making an effectual equalibrium. I will not state that as any final conclusion, though, so I am still open for argument and debate--in otherwords, I don't have my mind made up yet, and I don't think those who study such things have come to any definite consensus on it either.

    I look forward to hearing more detail of your understanding and view, as well as to that of others too. Thanks for the input.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensuikan San
    Are all people born equal .... ?

    Manifestly ... NO! Nor are they born with equal opportunity
    Well, opportunities depend on several things. First of all, it is a fact that some people are born in more priviledges milieux than others, and will enjoy a better education, will have easier to create business relations through family and friends, etc. Then, depending on the country, ethnic minorities may encounter more or less discrimination.

    I think that nobody will contest that inequalities depend a lot on the soicio-economic background into which one is born. It is more interesting to discuss whether people born within the same family or in similar conditions, can really be equal, not in terms of economic opportunities, but "legal rights" (on paper), "intelligence potential at birth" (regardless of education), and "physical potential at birth" (regarding of experience and training). I think that only legal rights are the same for the entire population. Intellectual and physical potential are decided by 1) the genes and 2) the "quality of pregnancy" (i.e. a well-nourished foetus in a healthy mother will produce a potentially healthier and more intelligent child).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars Man
    I go along with research that states that each brain is different at birth, although there is a 'basic set-up' which is practically the same in all. This 'being different' often seems to imply a difference in potential--in that the brain is largely 'plastic'.
    There are at least 2 crucially different factors in every brain at birth, despite a similar "set up" : 1) the number of neurons (unique in every brain) and proportion of white matter vs grey matter (see this thread to understand the importance it has), and 2) the hormonal level and neural sensitivity to hormones set by the DNA , also unique to every individual (which determines whether an individual will be more/less hairy, physical stronger/weaker or more masculine/feminine than others).

    Like for the "white vs grey matter proportion", each nerve cell has a different sensitivity to hormones, which is also determined genetically. That is why, some men will have more facial hair at the chin, while others will have more on the cheeks, or why some will go bald above the forehead, while others will lose their hair only around the tonsure. All this (number of neurons, grey/white matter proportion, sensitivity of each neuron in the brain and body to hormones..) is set genetically for every individual, and can be partly inherited. That makes every humans fundamentally unequal from birth, although the closest people are genetically, the the closest their "properties" will be.

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    I think all human's life worth is the same regardless of race or gender. Each race is pretty much the same, but there maybe slightly different mental abilities that we can't detect.

    Men and women on the other hand, although equal in life worth, are more different than any feminist wants to believe. I think in general women are better at communcation as well as doing multiple tasks at once, while men are stronger and may have a better sense or direction. Physically men and women are quite different, although if you compare it to the differences between a male gorilla and a female gorilla the physical differences are not as much ;)..

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    I think that people are not born "equal". But, I think everyone has equal value. Which is a different thing, I know. Obviously people don't all have the same intelligence, health, strength, abilities and luck. Everyone can see that people are not the same, and I think most people would agree that when they say people are "equal" they actually mean equal in value and that ideally everyone should have equal rights.

    I think I can see why not so many people chose the option "intelligence varies considerably across races". Of course, different races have different characteristics, which could be the result of an inextricable mixture of genetic factors and social/cultural factors (although we're thinking of genetics here). For example Maciamo pointed out the various sports at which certain races excel. But, differences in racial characteristics do not necessarily translate to "more" or "less" intelligent. So, you could say that, genetically, certain races are more likely to contain a much higher proportion of people whose brains work in a certain way (as suggested by the examples of the types of music), but, you can't say that makes these people - on average - any more or less intelligent than those of another race. It's just... difference.

    I believe that intelligence does not vary across races, although mental and physical "characteristic traits" obviously do.

    Hehe - as regards men and women... differences... I've always been good at direction finding and map reading, and RIGHT LOUSY at multi-tasking! And I'm anti-feminist...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kinsao
    I think I can see why not so many people chose the option "intelligence varies considerably across races". Of course, different races have different characteristics, which could be the result of an inextricable mixture of genetic factors and social/cultural factors (although we're thinking of genetics here). For example Maciamo pointed out the various sports at which certain races excel. But, differences in racial characteristics do not necessarily translate to "more" or "less" intelligent. So, you could say that, genetically, certain races are more likely to contain a much higher proportion of people whose brains work in a certain way (as suggested by the examples of the types of music), but, you can't say that makes these people - on average - any more or less intelligent than those of another race. It's just... difference.
    Yes. As in my examples, and as with differences between men and women, some races are better at some types of intellectual activities (in the broad sense, i.e. anything from arts to logics to 3D skills, to creativity, to language or communication skills), while other races at stronger at other intellectual activities. It's the same way that it is difficult to be very muscular and very supple at the same time, it's difficult to be good at every intellectual activity (e.g. one cannot concentrate on details and see the big picture at one and same time).

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    Everybody is different, is unique, however is equal in rights and duties.

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    Yup yup, I agree. Different people have different types of intelligence, and some races have more prevalent certain intelligences.
    (Sorry, that is a bad sentence I know... I can't figure out how to put it together properly... I don't have much of any type of intelligence today! )

    It's very interesting to look at different types of intelligences and capabilities of the brain, I often wish I had specialised in science so that I could have had the opportunity to study the brain scientifically.

    Sometimes, different types of intelligence combine in unexpected ways. (I get tired of the "scatterbrained artist" stereotype!) For instance, in my mind there is a kind of distinction between "intellectual activity" and "practical activity", and my brain works differently for those two functions - divergent for one, and focused for the other.

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    I voted for:

    • Some individual have more rights than others
    • Every individual is born with a unique intelligence
    • Men and women have considerably different physical strength and abilities
    • Every individual is born with unique physical strength and abilities


    I didn't generally vote for differences in gender and race as I am not completely decided that it is that simple. I know there is a lot of evidence supporting differences, but I have seen evidence against it too, so I can't be 100% sure. I also don't think we know enough about the brain yet. Basically, I believe that every individual is physically and intellectually unique, but I think it's much more complicated than race and gender. And since I am an exception to the rule I am suspicious of the rule!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsuyoiko
    Some individual have more rights than others
    Seriously?!? Why did you vote for that one?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsuyoiko
    Some individual have more rights than others
    Let us not forget that this is at birth. It's true that some individuals do obtain special rights from their function (e.g. diplomats enjoy diplomatic immunity), but I am not quite sure of who enjoy more rights at birth. Oh I get it now ! You are obviously referring the the lords' rights to sit in the House of Lords in the UK (hasn't it been abolished recently by Tony Blair ?), or the monarchs' priviledges in the remaining monarchies around the world.

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    I knew I had forgotten to explain something in that previous post! Of course I don't think some people should have more rights than others, but depending on where you are born you might not have the same rights as someone born elsewhere, right? Independent of government everyone has the same rights, but we are not independent of government - for example, if you are born in the UK you have the right to free health care from birth. This is not true everywhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsuyoiko
    I knew I had forgotten to explain something in that previous post! Of course I don't think some people should have more rights than others, but depending on where you are born you might not have the same rights as someone born elsewhere, right? Independent of government everyone has the same rights, but we are not independent of government - for example, if you are born in the UK you have the right to free health care from birth. This is not true everywhere.
    I see. I presupposed that the equal rights where for a same country, otherwise they are obviously different in every country. The same goes for legal obligations. Some countries have compulsory conscription, others don't. The legal age for various things (right of drinking, getting married, driving, voting...) varies between countries too. A country like Belgium has compulsory voting for everyone, but most countries don't. In some countries some people have the right of abortion or euthanasia, but many also don't. So, just the country of one's nationality AND the country of one's residence affect our legal rights. Being a foreigner also gives different rights depending on the country (some countries allow them to vote, others don't). So, let's say that for the poll's purpose we will only consider citizens of the same country in living their home country. I know that some immigrants who cannot or don't want to take on the nationality of the country where they live are exceptions...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsuyoiko
    I knew I had forgotten to explain something in that previous post! Of course I don't think some people should have more rights than others, but depending on where you are born you might not have the same rights as someone born elsewhere, right? Independent of government everyone has the same rights, but we are not independent of government - for example, if you are born in the UK you have the right to free health care from birth. This is not true everywhere.
    Ah - I see where you're coming from now! Thanks for explaining!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Let us not forget that this is at birth.
    Some good statements have come in, nice reading. I'll have to admit I had a little bit of a problem with the 'at birth' element. Of course, as I had written, in a kind of 'thinking outloud' fashion, it's hard to get all the factors so precise in these polls, but this one element did give me a hard time--"at birth."

    I agree with the information you carefully pointed out in your #7 post, Maciamo san--in fact, a recent article in the magazine Science atested to how that can make a difference in a persons having a tendency to be an habitual lier. That grey and white does work out to present a difference as the brain grows, yet at birth how can that translate into intelligence?

    Well, that word will always come up with the helping modifier, 'ability to', when checked in most dicitonaries, so then, that 'set-up' that I had mentioned before would likely be something that comes before the actual major brain development before birth. Now I do have some information on this which I will share later--it's at home; but I feel there is no disagreement here.

    Now there may be something on my voting for 1.4 (although that is counter balanced by my vote for 1.1) and here I will again have to admit that I broke the rules. I didn't take this as being an at birth thing, 1.1 did that, but rather I took this as applying to some who--be it right or wrong, and I'm not saying 'should'--are not given certain rights by society at large, such as the right to drive a car, to have children, or in somecases, perhaps, marry. I think you all may be able to see what I'm getting at here. I have known of one person in my life who was legally prevented from having the right to father children, and genelogically, it was understandable, I think, but right? who knows really.

    I like the styles Silverbackman and Kinsao used: "life worth" and "value", respectively. These are things that humankind needs to work on for sure. I am not big on being Political Correct (notice 'not big on' does not equal totally against) and thus reason that we all have to open up to just how the genetic factors play in a lot of these things. I go along with Maciamo on that as science shows that to most correctly, for now at least, to be the case. OH no...this got that long?
    Last edited by Mars Man; 08-11-05 at 12:54. Reason: a boo boo...x3

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    In some societies men and women are not equal at birth. For example, under the One Child Policy in China, there were many reported cases of female infanticide due to the perception that a boy is more valuable in economic and societal terms than a girl.

    In terms of rights of individuals at birth, there may be some semblance of this within certain idealised states, but as soon as you consider the differences in conditions (economic, societal, legal) across countries, the idea goes out the window. Everybody has the right to life, one may say, but then how can this be justified when comparing things like access to food, water, medication, safe conditions for birth etc. between developed and developing countries. One can be disadvantaged prior to being born in a country which does not have hospitals with proper sanitation, drugs, or appropriately trained professionals for example. Or what about children who are born with HIV and are immediately discriminated against, or children whose mothers were raped and are treated not as victims but blamed for their misfortune, with the children as unwanted pariahs. In this context rights seem like just a luxury for the privileged...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Index
    In some societies men and women are not equal at birth. For example, under the One Child Policy in China, there were many reported cases of female infanticide due to the perception that a boy is more valuable in economic and societal terms than a girl.
    ...
    Or what about children who are born with HIV and are immediately discriminated against, or children whose mothers were raped and are treated not as victims but blamed for their misfortune, with the children as unwanted pariahs. In this context rights seem like just a luxury for the privileged...
    In the poll, I have only 3 categories : legal rights (set by law), intelligence and physical abilities. I completely understand your points, but I think that discrimination, be it against women or on racial grounds, does not fit in the category of legal rights, except if the law specifically give unequal rights to men and women or different ethnic groups. Men and women may have different rights (e.g. different retirement age), but I am not sure whether all the combined differences are always unequal. Now that I think about it, women may enjoy more rights in some Western countries, as they avoid conscription (in some countries also men), and can often retire a few years earlier. Yet, I can't think of any law favouring men only in Western countries.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars Man
    I agree with the information you carefully pointed out in your #7 post, Maciamo san--in fact, a recent article in the magazine Science atested to how that can make a difference in a persons having a tendency to be an habitual lier. That grey and white does work out to present a difference as the brain grows, yet at birth how can that translate into intelligence?
    I am not 100% sure, but I think that the proportion of grey vs white matter is set genetically and does not change after birth (or at least once the brain has been completely formed a few months later).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    In the poll, I have only 3 categories : legal rights (set by law), intelligence and physical abilities. I completely understand your points, but I think that discrimination, be it against women or on racial grounds, does not fit in the category of legal rights, except if the law specifically give unequal rights to men and women or different ethnic groups. Men and women may have different rights (e.g. different retirement age), but I am not sure whether all the combined differences are always unequal.
    I was approaching the idea from another angle. In other words, not what things should be like, but what they are like. Therefore I was suggesting that legal instruments can be conceived as unable to protect the rights of individuals because such inequalities do in fact exist.

    Alternatively, if you look at it from the perspective of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights then discrimination is covered by the law, asuming one respects international law.

    In regards to domestic laws which are disriminatory, consider Syria, where a man is entitled by law to kill his wife in the case of infidelity, but a woman has no such rights.
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    I can't think of any law favouring men only in Western countries.
    That's what I meant in saying "idealised states", but I tried to avoid the terms 'democracy' or 'Western'.

    Would you consider the glass ceilings in pay scale existent in most Western countries a discriminatory law? Perhaps not a law per se but a regulation ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Now that I think about it, women may enjoy more rights in some Western countries, as they avoid conscription
    Do you mean women have more rights in this case because they have the right to not be in the military? I daresay that in most countries where there is conscription, women generally do not on the other hand have the right to serve in combat military roles, so one right is traded for another. A good deal, I wonder?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Index
    I was approaching the idea from another angle. In other words, not what things should be like, but what they are like. Therefore I was suggesting that legal instruments can be conceived as unable to protect the rights of individuals because such inequalities do in fact exist.
    If we look at the rights of someone at birth, it is unlikely that they will face discrimination at that time, and unsure whether they will actually face discrimination in their life. This is a matter of "chance", while law is imposed on everyone and does not depend on chance.

    Would you consider the glass ceilings in pay scale existent in most Western countries a discriminatory law? Perhaps not a law per se but a regulation ?
    It is obviously discrimination. But that's not a right someone get from birth or is sure to be confronted to. My poll is about certain, unavoidable things. We cannot say that all men and women in "idealised states" will certainly have different rights. Yet, it is undeniable that male and female brains think differently, and that men and women have clearly different bodies. With the same training, you cannot expect a woman to be a strong as a man, because the hormones are just different (muscles need testosterones, and men have much more of it).

    Do you mean women have more rights in this case because they have the right to not be in the military? I daresay that in most countries where there is conscription, women generally do not on the other hand have the right to serve in combat military roles, so one right is traded for another. A good deal, I wonder?
    In most/all Western countries where there is male conscription, women have the right to serve in the army if they want to (as career soliders). Men are forced to join the army for a certain period of time (like in France), while women have the right not to join.

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    freedom is a choice that one can always differentiate away from others, so i believe not one human is of equal situation.-my 2 cents

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