Joined: Jan. 2006
|Science is applicable when the law is scientific.....|
Otherwise it is completely arbitrary...
Sheesh! So we have a binomial distribution: things are either scientific or they are completely arbitrary. We have no other choices. Right?
Age requirements are empirical and heuristic. We step back, sight over our thumb, kind of get the gist of the issue, and do something workable. It's not *completely* arbitrary, it just has a lot of degrees of freedom.
When someone is deemed a "person" is determined using basically the same methods. We know by trial and error that (1) the starting date must be well defined (within a day), not guessed at; (2) That the legal and practical ramifications must be socially affordable. If infant mortality within the first month is over 50%, it's practical to start counting a month after birth, once the "crisis period" has passed; otherwise it's too expensive.
So while there is a good deal of flexibility in what is workable and practical, that doesn't mean "arbitrary" by any stretch. We know someone 10 years old can't operate a vehicle responsibly. We know that by the time someone is 30, they've long since been capable. So the age of "responsible enough" lies somewhere between 10 and 30. Not arbitrary, so we're talking about degrees of constraint.