Human Exceptionalism

Center on Human Exceptionalism

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 …

The Return of Nature Worship

We live in decadent times. Universal human rights have not been fully attained, yet radical environmentalists insist that flora, fauna and even geological features and structures should be deemed legal persons, a meme known as “nature rights.” The drive to grant rights to the entirety of the natural world has already achieved stunning victories. In 2008, Ecuador granted human-type rights to “nature” Read More ›

Religious Robots and Free Americans

Religious Robots and Free Americans

Of his many specialties, in this episode Michael inquires into David Gelernter’s professional preoccupation: artificial intelligence. Gelernter recalls the pioneering role of his father, warns of the perils of letting children be captive to flickering screens, and remarks on whether AI robots can be spiritual seekers. Gelernter also emphasizes the key role of the Judeo-Christian Western tradition in creating a free and idealistic context in which technology is primed to explode. Read More ›

Euthanasia is Almost a Declaration of ‘No Confidence’ in Medicine

Sputnik: What is your take on euthanasia and assisted suicide? How justified is this practice? Wesley Smith: I’ve been opposing assisted suicide and euthanasia for 20 years. I see it as a form of abandonment, when you have somebody who is suffering. To say to them: “Yes, the way to eliminate suffering is to eliminate the sufferer,” is to confirm the person‘s worst fears that they are a Read More ›

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 Read More ›

The “Medical Conscience” Civil Rights Movement

Until recently, healthcare was not culturally controversial. Medicine was seen as primarily concerned with extending lives, curing diseases, healing injuries, palliating symptoms, birthing babies, and promoting wellness—and hence, as a sphere in which people of all political and social beliefs were generally able to get along. That consensus has been shattered. Doctors today may be asked to provide legal but Read More ›