Secondhand Smoke, the popular bioethics blog of Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Wesley J. Smith, is now being hosted by First Things, the distinguished journal of religion and culture. Secondhand Smoke, described by Smith as “Your 24/7 seminar on bioethics and the importance of being human,” was named a “Top Health Blog” by Wellsphere, and “One of the Fifty Best Business Ethics Blogs” by Online MBA Reviews. The American Journal of Bioethics review of Secondhand Smoke stated:
“In Smith’s ‘human exceptionalist’ view, a great range of bioethical theory improperly undermines human rights by coupling rights not to our humanity simpliciter, but to our possession of certain capacities—consciousness, perhaps, or ‘moral personhood,’ or mere sentience…Thus Smith’s critique runs in two directions: against those who, like embryonic stem-cell researchers and assisted-suicide advocates, use capacity arguments to justify what Smith regards as the immoral destruction of humans; and against those who, like animal rights extremists, use a different sort of capacity argument to extend rights—in his view, improperly—to non-humans, even at the expense of humans (as when People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA] activists seek to shut down medical experimentation on animals).
This core critique gives SHS an unusual combination of variety and unity.”
Smith has been affiliated with the Discovery Institute since 2004 and is the most prolific contributor to the DI’s Center for Human Rights and Bioethics project. He asserts that “In a time of when many newspapers and other information media are in crisis, it is vital that alternative methods of communicating about crucial issues such as assisted suicide, human cloning, and the dangers of radical animal rights ideology and deep ecology ‘environmentalism’ be developed and disseminated. Being part of the First Things family of blogs can only assist in that important work.”
Bruce Chapman, president of Discovery Institute lauded the development, saying, “Having Wesley blogging at First Things can only increase the penetration of Smith’s work among the general public and increase the visibility of the Discovery Institute’s bioethics project as we develop our work in this important field in the coming years.”
The blog will continue, of course, to be carried on Discovery’s own site and also www.wesleyjsmith.com.