April 24, 2014

Wesley J. Smith: Peter Singer Says Full Moral Status Not Earned by Babies “Until After 2 Years”

Wesley J. Smith

Dostoevsky: When men stop believing in God, they will believe anything. I was alerted by Nat Hentoff about an assertion made by Peter Singer–as reported in the Catholic Eye–at a Princeton conference around the abortion question, in which he claims that human beings don’t possess full moral status until after the age of two. I checked it out for myself. Yup. From my transcription of Panel II on 10/15/10 (press “Event Videos,” 20101015-panel two, to link to access streamed session): Q (beginning at 1:25:22): When discussing at which point after birth we would give full moral status, you gave…a legal or public policy point about practicality… Forgetting the practical or public policy questions, if a person is a self aware individual and self awareness isn’t conferred by birth, and we use mirror tests to determine self awarness…at what point do you think an infant would pass the mirror test and therefore be self aware and be considered a person. Singer (beginning at … [Read more...]

Wesley Smith on Peter Singer

From First Thoughts by Wesley J. Smith: Peter Singer Sympathetic to Human Extinction as Way of Avoiding Suffering Peter Singer blogs at the New York Times about a new book (Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence, by David Benetar) that apparently advocates human extinction as a way of preventing human suffering. Singer doesn’t agree, but is clearly sympathetic. From Singer’s post: I do think it would be wrong to choose the non-sentient universe. In my judgment, for most people, life is worth living. Even if that is not yet the case, I am enough of an optimist to believe that, should humans survive for another century or two, we will learn from our past mistakes and bring about a world in which there is far less suffering than there is now. But justifying that choice forces us to reconsider the deep issues with which I began. Is life worth living? Are the interests of a future child a reason for bringing that child into … [Read more...]

Keep the Human in Humane

Wesley J. Smith

Wesley Smith, occasional commentator on AOI blog published the is article on To the Source. Visit Smith's blog Second Hand Smoke. When Aldous Huxley wrote his prophetic 1932 novel Brave New World, he envisioned a dystopian future in which mankind would become, in the words of bioethicist Leon Kass, "so dehumanized that he doesn't even realize what has been lost." Huxley believed we would evolve into a society steeped in radical hedonism—where drugs would be used to erase every negative emotion and promiscuity would be not just the norm, but the expected. He also saw our future as becoming profoundly utilitarian and eugenic, depicted in his novel by genetically engineered babies being decanted through a cloning-type process rather than being born, a society without families, without the old and sick—who are done away with rather than being cared for—and without real purpose other than experiencing transitory pleasure. It is a world in which human life has been … [Read more...]