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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 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 ›

Behind the Curtain of Assisted Suicide Advocacy

The United States assisted suicide movement claims that it wants only a limited “reform” of law and medical ethics, restricting what it euphemistically calls “aid in dying” to competent adults with terminal illnesses for whom nothing else can be done to alleviate their suffering. But this claim isn’t true. Currently, no law permitting doctors to write lethal prescriptions mandates any 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 ›

Your Mind Uploaded Into a Computer Would Not be You

Man, who is born of woman, is short-lived and full of turmoil. Like a flower he comes forth and withers. He also flees like a shadow and does not remain. — Job 14:2 The human immortality movement is all the rage among the hyper-rich and supposedly visionary futurists in Silicon Valley. Their goal? Nothing too audacious—just the defeat of death itself. Transhumanists, Read More ›