Dolphins are almost as intelligent as humans; what constitutes personhood?


Full Question

The average dolphin is about 83 percent as intelligent as the average human. This makes them smart enough to be considered “people,” but what exactly would determine whether or not something is a person?

Answer

The presence of a spiritual soul determines personhood. Dolphins do not have a spiritual soul, so they are not persons, no matter how intelligent they may be. If personhood were dependent on intelligence alone, then we would have to say that people who are cognitively disabled are not really persons. However, since it is the soul made in the image and likeness of God that determines personhood, cognitive disabilities do not determine a status as a human person. 


Michelle Arnold