Full of potential…
Sorry if this isn’t the reply you’d like, I noticed on freethoughtblog the bulk of the replies were reinterpretations or dissections of Hume’s argument without actually addressing what I saw as the central issues of the original documents. From where I sit, there’s so much meat on those bones I’m less concerned with the philosophical implications as I am with the outright gibberish of the ‘superior/inferior’ dichotomy. Biologically, it’s nonsense.
It is physically impossible to determine what is a ‘superior’ and ‘inferior’ design at the time of its existence, it is only possible to determine beneficial and detrimental characteristics in an overall population, and only then in previous generations, and then only relative to the eventual outcome. I think Hume might enjoy the fact Biological Anthropology has Ernst Mayr to thank for what he called the “terminal taxon”. He defined it as: groupings are only possible when relative to all other things, therefore the only way to discuss a ‘species’ is at the moment of analysis, compared to the known past, all else is speculative at best.
Humans aren’t cold blooded, which is great from a dinosaur standpoint since dinosaurs went extinct. Except they didn’t, their antecedents are still around, and they were successful for a heck of a lot longer than mammals have been up to now. The only reason mammals now have the brain to speculate on the advantages of mammary glands is a catastrophic event for which a proportionally infinitesimal number of creatures were uniquely suited which has not recurred.
We’re well aware of species where, because of environmental or population shifts, suddenly switch genders (I mean, it was a central plot-point to “Jurassic Park” after all, this isn’t exactly obscure). There are hermaphroditic species, asexual species… It’s made those life forms incredibly successful. Only someone purely ignorant of zoology, or with a bordering eugenic agenda would argue there’s any way to determine what form of humanity is “superior” to the rest based on the absurdly limited perspective of the last few hundred thousand years.
Eugenics, and the assertion of “inferior forms” is the embodiment of Hume’s ‘Sunrise Dilemma’. The biological corollary to which could easily be: Never assert what is freakish, the freak of today could easily be the mother of tomorrow. For all we know, what is currently called ‘trans’ is actually an adaptation to some environmental factor as yet unidentified.