Dignity of living beings

Winners of the Ig® Nobel Prize

For achievements that first make people LAUGH
then make them THINK

The 2008 Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded on Thursday night, October 2, at the 18th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, at Harvard's Sanders Theater. The winners of the Peace Prize and the Prize for Economics are both extremely remarkable this year.

PEACE PRIZE. The Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology (ECNH) and the citizens of Switzerland for adopting the legal principle that plants have dignity.
REFERENCE: "The Dignity of Living Beings With Regard to Plants. Moral Consideration of Plants for Their Own Sake"

Dignity of living beings

The Federal Constitution requires "account to be taken of the dignity of living beings when handling animals, plants and other organisms". The ECNH's key tasks include putting this concept into concrete terms.

With regard to animals, it means consistently taking into consideration the interests of animals when weighing them up against human interests: we must not, without justification, cause them suffering, pain, harm or fear. The Animal Protection Act already lays down these limitations to our treatment of animals.

Protecting the dignity of living beings, however, goes further: animals should also be protected from unjustified interventions on their appearance, from humiliation and from being disproportionately instrumentalised. The ECNH has also published a report on the consequences the constitutional definition of the dignity of living beings will have for our treatment of plants.

As part of the legislative process, the ECNH has issued several statements on the term "dignity of living beings" alone, including:
Vorläufige Stellungnahme zur Gen-Lex-Vorlage von 1998 (pdf, 21 KB)
Konkretisierung der Würde der Kreatur im Tierschutzgesetz von 1999 (pdf, 43 KB)

DAM: Oct. 7, 2008 - 8:41
ECONOMICS PRIZE. Geoffrey Miller, Joshua Tybur and Brent Jordan of the University of New Mexico, USA, for discovering that a professional lap dancer's ovulatory cycle affects her tip earnings.
REFERENCE: "Ovulatory Cycle Effects on Tip Earnings by Lap Dancers: Economic Evidence for Human Estrus?" Geoffrey Miller, Joshua M. Tybur, Brent D. Jordan, Evolution and Human Behavior, vol. 28, 2007, pp. 375-81.

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Original article

Geoffrey MillerCorresponding Author Contact Information, a, E-mail The Corresponding Author, Joshua M. Tybura and Brent D. Jordana

aDepartment of Psychology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA

Received 16 April 2007;
accepted 26 June 2007.
Available online 27 September 2007.


To see whether estrus was really “lost” during human evolution (as researchers often claim), we examined ovulatory cycle effects on tip earnings by professional lap dancers working in gentlemen's clubs. Eighteen dancers recorded their menstrual periods, work shifts, and tip earnings for 60 days on a study web site. A mixed-model analysis of 296 work shifts (representing about 5300 lap dances) showed an interaction between cycle phase and hormonal contraception use. Normally cycling participants earned about US$335 per 5-h shift during estrus, US$260 per shift during the luteal phase, and US$185 per shift during menstruation. By contrast, participants using contraceptive pills showed no estrous earnings peak. These results constitute the first direct economic evidence for the existence and importance of estrus in contemporary human females, in a real-world work setting. These results have clear implications for human evolution, sexuality, and economics.

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