Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism

Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

Wesley is a contributor to The Corner at National Review and is the author of more than 14 books, in recent years focusing exclusively on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley’s most recent book is his updated and revised Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicinea warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement which was named one of the Ten Outstanding Books of the Year and Best Health Book of the Year by Independent Publishers Association. He collaborated with Ralph Nader, co-authoring four books with the consumer advocate, notably No Contest: Corporate Lawyers and the Perversion of Justice in America.

Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and was honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia.

An attorney by training, Wesley left the full time practice of law in 1985 to pursue a career in writing and public advocacy and has since published thousands of articles, columns, and opinion pieces on issues pertaining to the moral importance of human life. Wesley addresses the entire spectrum of bioethical issues, particularly relating to conscience, patient protection, eugenics, suicide, transhumanism, medical ethics, and law and policy. Wesley’s writing has appeared nationally and internationally, including in NewsweekNew York TimesThe Wall Street JournalUSA TodayForbes, the Weekly StandardNational ReviewThe Age(Australia), The Telegraph (United Kingdom), Western Journal of Medicine, and the American Journal of Bioethics.

Wesley has appeared on more than a thousand television and radio talk/interview programs, including such national shows as ABC NightlineGood Morning AmericaLarry King LiveCNN Anderson Cooper 360CNN World ReportCBS Evening NewsEWTNC-SPANFox News Network, as well as nationally syndicated radio programs, including Coast to CoastDennis MillerDennis PragerMichael MedvedAfternoons with Al Kresta, and EWTN. He has appeared internationally on Voice of AmericaCNN International, and programs originating in Great Britain (BBC), Australia (ABC), Canada (CBC), Ireland, Poland, New Zealand, Germany, China, and Mexico.

Wesley’s books include Forced Exit: Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide and the New Duty to Die, a broad-based criticism of the assisted suicide and euthanasia movement, which has become a classic in anti-euthanasia advocacy. Wesley’s Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New World explores the morality, science, and business aspects of human cloning, stem cell research, and genetic engineering. A Rat is a Pig is a Dog is a Boy: The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement serves as Wesley’s searing critique of the ideology and tactics of the animal liberation movement and a rousing defense of the unique importance of the human person, captured by the phrase “human exceptionalism”. Wesley’s The War on Humans, serves as a companion, exposing the anti-human and misanthropic nature of radical environmentalism and a call to return to a human-friendly understanding of ecology. Additionally, Wesley’s Power Over Pain: How to Get the Pain Control You Need, co-authored with Eric M. Chevlen, MD, provides practical responses for those who are the target of Compassion and Choices and other pro-suicide and pro-euthanasia activists.

Wesley is often called upon by executive branch officials, lawmakers, and policy advocates to advise on issues within his fields of expertise. Wesley has testified as an expert witness in front of federal and state legislative committees, and has counseled government and business leaders internationally about matters pertaining to bioethics and other issues about which he advocates.

An international lecturer and public speaker, Wesley appears frequently at political, university, medical, legal, disability rights, bioethics, religious, industry, and community gatherings across the United States as well as at the United Nations and in Europe, Mexico, Canada, South Africa, Australia, and other nations.

Archives

Wesley J. Smith, John West Decry the Demonizers and Dehumanizers

Today’s ID the Future brings listeners the second half of a panel discussion at the 2022 Center for Science and Culture Insider’s Briefing. This portion begins with bioethicist and Discovery Institute senior fellow Wesley J. Smith making a surprising argument: His own field, bioethics, is at war with true medical ethics. Specifically, its most prominent figures—hailing from elite universities in the United States and Europe—are dedicated to emptying our medical culture of traditional ethical standards that protect human rights and are guided by a commitment to inherent human dignity. Some leading bioethicists see human beings as of no more inherent value than yeast. Smith stands athwart this anti-human trend and urges listeners to wake up and push back. Then John Read More ›

Why We Will Never Control Medical Costs

The purposes of medicine are expanding rapidly beyond treating actual illnesses/injuries and promoting wellness, to also facilitating life fulfillment and making personal dreams come true.

Are Transplant Doctors Causing Brain Death?

A new and highly problematic means of obtaining organs is pushing the boundaries of the “dead donor rule,” which requires a vital organ donor to be truly dead before organs are retrieved. It also requires that no patient be killed for their organs.

‘Nature’ Gets a Seat on the Board

The anthropomorphization of “nature” continues apace, this time with a corporation that sells beauty products called Faith in Nature naming “Nature” as a member of its board of directors.

Composting the Dead Devalues the Importance of the Living

Starting in 2027, California will allow composting of the dead. Known officially as “natural organic reduction (NOR),” this novel final disposition process transforms the deceased’s body into soil to spread on gardens or in which to plant flowers or a tree.

Progressivism Colonizes the Science Journals

The scientific establishment moans that it is no longer trusted. True. But there is good cause. The leadership of the hard-science sector has grown increasingly ideological — undermining the science’s overall credibility.

‘Anything Goes’ Reproduction Gathers Steam

Medicine isn’t just about wellness and curing illness anymore. It is also a central resource facilitating lifestyle enablement and the fulfillment of subjective personal desires. Cosmetic surgery — as distinguished from restorative procedures — is an obvious example.

Pro-Abortion MDs Want Media to Cancel Pro-Life Voices

The media already mostly ignores anti-assisted-suicide voices in its biased reporting on that issue. Now, Physicians for Reproductive Health — an organization of pro-abortion medical and non-medical activists — is pushing the media to ban all pro-life voices from its reporting on abortion. From the organization’s open letter to the media, “Stop Giving Airtime to Anti-Abortion Extremists“: We are writing today with a big request: stop giving air-time to anti-abortion activists. As the undersigned over 600 providers of abortion care, people who have had abortions and will have abortions, abortion advocates, and individuals who work with the media regularly, we could not be more concerned for the safety and well-being of our communities, in part because of the misinformation, disinformation, and inflammatory Read More ›

Wesley J. Smith Unpacks Nature Article about Alarming Gene Editing

On today’s ID the Future, bioethicist Wesley J. Smith explores a recent article in the journal Nature, “The Alarming Rise of Complex Genetic Testing in Human Embryo Selection.” As alarming as that title sounds, Smith says the reality is even worse than the Nature article suggests. Using the breakthrough technology known as CRISPR, scientists are not only altering the genes of a given creature, including humans, but are even altering the creature’s germline. This threatens to permanently alter a species, Smith explains, including the human species. There’s the question of whether we have the right play god in this way, of course. There’s also the practical issue of scientists not really knowing what they are doing yet. A gene identified Read More ›

Wesley J. Smith Sounds the Alarm on Germline Genetic Editing

On today’s ID the Future, bioethicist Wesley J. Smith makes the case for passionate opposition to, and stricter bioethical regulations against germline genetic engineering that changes not only the genetics of the subject but also of all that subject’s descendants. He and episode host Casey Luskin discuss germline genetic editing in China, the brouhaha that ensued when the experimental work by He Jiankui came to light, and why Smith is convinced that China’s disapproving response is less than it appears on the surface. He’s convinced, he explains, that the Chinese government wasn’t upset that the Chinese scientist conducted the experiment. They surely knew about his work and allowed it, Smith says. Rather, they and the scientific establishment internationally were upset Read More ›

No, Scientists Should Not Rule

On this new episode of ID the Future, The Price of Panic co-author and philosopher Jay Richards hosts bioethicist Wesley J. Smith to discuss a Tweet from Physics-Astronomy.org. The Tweet read, “Imagine a world ruled by scientists, not politicians.” The drift of the Tweet was, wouldn’t rule by scientists be wonderful! Smith immediately threw up a great big “Don’t go there” sign at the Epoch Times. As  Smith and Richards emphasize, such an approach to governance would be disastrous, and would actually be anti-science. It would tend to corrupt the practice of science, thrust scientific specialists into positions calling for generalist skills, and further the arrogant mistake that is scientism—the view not only that nature is all there is, but Read More ›

Let’s Champion Human Exceptionalism, Pt. 3

On this classic ID the Future, hear more from bioethicist Wesley J. Smith about The War on Humans. In this episode of the series, hear about the legal movement to establish legal rights for animals, and even plants. Smith examines the meaning of the term “personhood” and its implications for human rights.

Wesley J. Smith on the Transhumanist Wasteland

On this episode of ID the Future, Emily Kurlinski interviews bioethicist, author, and Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Wesley J. Smith on transhumanism. It’s a technology-driven anti-aging effort to create a post-human species with advanced intelligence, brain-computer interfaces, and even immortality. Built on zeal and desperation to defeat death, it’s a quasi religion, except with no plan or apparent interest in cultivating a more wise and loving human species — which, Smith argues, makes it more dangerous than it might at first appear.

Canada: Physician-Assisted Suicide Devolves to Physicians Being Forced to Commit Homicide

On this episode of ID the Future, bioethicist Wesley J. Smith exposes the horror of “Medically Assistance in Dying” (MAi/D) in Canada. Worse than physician-assisted suicide, this is medical homicide. Hospitals are even advertising it. Doctors in at least one province have no choice but to be complicit in these killings, or else leave their specialties or even quit medicine altogether. Will MAiD come to America, too?

Wesley J. Smith on Human Cloning Hidden under Jargon

On this episode of ID the Future, bioethicist Wesley J. Smith speaks with host Dean Abbott about the arrival of human cloning. While significant barriers remain that will slow its development as far as human-cloned babies and adults, ethical constraints still depend only on scientists’ restraint — a “thin reed to stand on.” Human cloning research is underway even now, under cover of scientific jargon to obscure what’s going on, Smith says. Are we ready for this? Please consider donating to support the IDTF Podcast.

Wesley J. Smith: Human Cloning, Human Exceptionalism, Human Rights (and Wrongs)

On this episode of ID the Future, Dean Abbott hosts Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Wesley J. Smith in a conversation about human cloning, human exceptionalism, and human rights. Smith explains some of the reasons behind the drive toward human cloning, and places the error of that thinking in historic context of some of the worst ethical mistakes humans have made down through history. It’s all about forgetting who we are as human beings.

China’s Dark Path to Eugenics: Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis

On this episode of ID The Future, host Tod Butterfield talks with Discovery Senior Fellow Wesley J. Smith about the use and abuse of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) in China.  Smith delves into the initially humane reasons for PGD, but notes how PGD is being used to advance the dark agenda of eugenics. Smith argues that the international community needs to take a leading role in defending the dignity of all human life. Otherwise, he says, China—with its abhorrent record on human rights—may set the standard for the rest of the world.