Human Exceptionalism

Center on Human Exceptionalism

AI Should Never Have “Rights”

Efforts to expand rights beyond the human realm are ubiquitous and reflect, in my view, a deep misanthropy and a threat to universal human rights. That includes the movement to declare sophisticated artificial intelligent machines (“strong AI,” not yet here) to be “persons,” entitled to entry into the moral community. Today, there is an extensive discussion of this meme in Religion & Read More ›

Let’s Use Pigs as Organ “Donors”

There are approximately 120,000 Americans on the organ transplant waiting list, about as many people as live in Charleston, South Carolina and Hartford, Connecticut. Many of these people’s lives will ultimately be saved, after long and harrowing waits—as former Vice President Dick Cheney’s was. But others on the list will die before their turn comes up and a suitable donor Read More ›

Real baby being vaccinated with a syringe in the thigh by a pediatrician doctor to avoid the spread of diseases.
Real baby being vaccinated with a syringe in the thigh by a pediatrician doctor to avoid the spread of diseases.

The Young and the Vulnerable

When I was a small boy, polio terrified me. Each year, it would strike thousands of children like me — and you never knew when or where it would hit next. In the 1952 epidemic, a very bad year, there were nearly 60,000 reported cases in the United States and more than 3,000 deaths. Summer was the worst time, and Read More ›

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Stop Assisted-Suicide Opioid Abuse

The opioid crisis is tragically real and requires a concerted national commitment to remediation policies such as those recommended by the President’s Commission. In such a crisis, we cannot warn people not to abuse these powerful drugs, while at the same time allowing doctors intentionally to prescribe overdoses. Combating opioid abuse must apply to all abuses — including the use of these pain-killing drugs in suicide.

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Putting Infants “Down Like Dogs”

The Charlie Gard tragedy has renewed public advocacy for legalizing infanticide. Writing in the New York Times earlier this month, Gary Comstock recounted the tragic death of his son, Sam, who was born with a terminal genetic condition. Many years later, Comstock believes that his son should have been killed instead of being taken off of life support: It seems the medical community has few options Read More ›

Charlie Gard and the Age of “Do Harm” Medicine

Why wouldn’t you call what is happening to Charlie Gard a medical kidnapping considering the hospital won’t let his parents transfer or take him home to die? I think that the language is too provocative. This is a very sensitive thing. I use strong language, but I don’t want to use overly provocative language. Kidnapping is a crime; this is Read More ›

Whose Baby Is Charlie Gard, Anyway?

“The time has come for your baby to die,” a doctor told the grieving parents of a catastrophically ill baby. No, this wasn’t the ongoing Charlie Gard case—so prominent in the news today—in which United Kingdom doctors and judges have told Charlie’s parents that their son’s life support will be removed, no matter what they want. (Charlie has a rare terminal mitochondrial disorder.) Rather, that Read More ›

What’s Love Got To Do With Transhumanism?

Nothing you can make that can’t be made. No one you can save that can’t be saved. Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time. It’s easy. All you need is love. —The Beatles Transhumanism is all the rage among the nouveau riche of Silicon Valley, who are investing hundreds of millions of dollars into research Read More ›

Three Culture of Death Tipping Points

Pope John Paul II once famously described Western society as a “culture of death.” But what does that term mean? It refers to a civilization that endorses lethal omissions and even outright killing by doctors to alleviate suffering or resolve life crises. “Culture of death” is most often applied in the context of euthanasia, assisted suicide, and abortion. A few decades ago, Read More ›

Time for a “Populist” Bioethics Commission

Donald Trump has been president for less than five months, but his plate is already full: Iran, Russia “collusion” investigations, North Korea, global warming, the drive to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, tax reform, judicial appointments, key unfilled administration positions, bad relations with the media, Net Neutrality, sanctuary cities, trade—I could go on and on. That’s an exhausting Read More ›