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Human Exceptionalism

Center on Human Exceptionalism

Canadian Doctors Get Ready for Child Euthanasia

It never made any sense. The assurance that active euthanasia would always be limited to terminally ill, competent adults just never made any sense. Here’s the problem: Once a society widely supports eliminating suffering by eliminating the sufferer and redefines as a “medical treatment” the act whereby doctors kill seriously ill patients, there is no logical argument for limiting euthanasia to adults with legal decision-making capacity. After all, children suffer too, so how can they be logically refused “medical aid in dying” — or MAID, the current euphemism for euthanasia and assisted suicide — only because of their age? The short answer, of course, is that they can’t and they won’t be, once a society generally embraces euthanasia consciousness, as is demonstrated …


Transhumanist Bill of Wrongs

Transhumanists have seen the future and it is authoritarian. More specifically, it is both authoritarian and anti-human. To make matters even worse, transhumanism would coercively bankrupt the world economy. Beyond that, it’s a pipe dream that threatesn venerable Western values. What’s not to like? For those who may not know, transhumanism is an increasingly influential futuristic social movement that flowed out of the high academy to become a pet cause of atheism advocates and Silicon Valley billionaires. Akin to a contemporary Tower of Babel project, it is utopian to the core, with adherents who grandiosely plan to “seize control of human evolution” to bring about a “post-human” species that will leave natural humanity in its wake. When it first emerged, Read More ›


A Gruesome Plan

The Hippocratic Oath is dead. “Do no harm” medicine is fast becoming extinct. Contemporary health care is increasingly under the sway of a utilitarian bioethics that makes the elimination of suffering the prime directive—to the detriment of traditional standards of medical morality that deem all human life equally worthy of care and protection. The prestigious New England Journal of Medicine has been among the instigators of this shift. As early as 2005, the journal published (without significant criticism) the so-called Groningen Protocol—a bureaucratic checklist from the Netherlands that instructs Dutch doctors which terminally ill or seriously disabled babies they can lethally inject. In 2010, NEJM published advocacy in favor of an invidious health-care rationing measure known as the QALY (“quality-adjusted life year”), adoption of …




The Wages of Death

Twenty-five years ago, Newsweek published my first essay. In the wake of my friend’s suicide under the influence of the Hemlock Society, I worried that some suicides would be “promoted as a virtue” if assisted suicide, or euthanasia, was ever accepted. (Assisted suicide involves a doctor’s knowingly prescribing drugs for use in the patient’s suicide; euthanasia involves a doctor’s lethally injecting the patient.) After that, I predicted, eligibility for hastened death would expand to those “who don’t have a good ‘quality’ of life,” “perhaps with the prospect of organ harvesting thrown in as a plum to society.” Read More ›



Weird Science: PETA is no Friend of STEM

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) makes no moral distinctions between humans and animals, believing, as its alpha wolf Ingrid Newkirk put it once, “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.” The organization opposes any instrumental use of animals—no matter how beneficial to human thriving—insisting that they are “not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.” PETA’s adamant opposition to animal research puts it squarely in the anti-science camp. Not because they are ethically opposed to such experiments—although that marks the group as anti-human in my book—but because the organization routinely slanders animal researchers as cruel and sadistic and persists in its false and dishonest claim Read More ›


Your Mind Uploaded in a Computer Would Not Be You

Transhumanists, as they are often called, pursue several approaches to attaining, if not exactly eternal life, then an indefinite existence. Some aim at radically extending life expectancy through biotechnology, such as by overcoming cellular aging, manufacturing cloned organs to replace worn-out body parts, and using stem cell therapies. But the most prominent transhumanist immortality proposal these days aims to upload our minds into computers, enhanced with artificial intelligence capabilities, whence we can “live” in the Cloud or as cyberbeings. Read More ›