On this episode of What It Means to Be Human, Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Wesley J. Smith takes a look at "personhood theory" advocated by such as Princeton University's Peter Singer. Listen in and learn more about the threat to the sanctity of life ethic as the fundamental value of our social order. As Smith says, "The time has come to pay attention. If human life is knocked off the pedestal, universal human rights will be impossible to sustain."
On this episode of What It Means to Be Human, Discovery Institute senior fellow in human rights and bioethics Wesley J. Smith takes a look at what's behind the radical euthanasia movement. According to Smith, "Support for euthanasia can be seen as merely a symptom of the deeper illness of nihilism, a social cancer that has been gnawing steadily away at us for more than a century." How do we stem this terrible tide? By "embracing human exceptionalism and its corollary that each and every one of us matters -- no matter what." Listen in and hear the charge for true compassion in our society.
On this episode of What It Means to Be Human, Wesley J. Smith explains how the push for granting rights to nature endangers human exceptionalism. According to Smith, “It can’t happen here” denial isn’t going to stop those committed to the cause from pushing these agendas into our body politic and laws. To the contrary, it helps them because people don’t mobilize to resist.
Click here to read more.
On this episode of What It Means to Be Human, Wesley J. Smith examines the need for conscience clauses to protect medical professionals.
Today, physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals whose moral beliefs prevent them from participating in legal but ethically controversial acts such as abortion and physician-assisted suicide, find themselves under increasing pressure to either violate their consciences or be driven out of their careers. Listen in as Wesley J. Smith explains why the life you save by supporting conscience clauses could be your own.
Click here to read more about conscience clauses.
On this episode of What It Means to Be Human, Wesley J. Smith examines the transhumanism of Slate's William Saletan. Is it possible to resist the bleak future Saletan paints? Listen in and find out.
On this episode of What It Means To Be Human, Wesley J. Smith looks at animal standing, which "would both undermine the status of animals as property and elevate them with the force of law toward legal personhood. On an existential level, the perceived exceptional importance of human life would suffer a staggering body blow by erasing one of the clear legal boundaries that distinguishes people from animals."
For more information, visit Wesley's blog, Secondhand Smoke.
On this episode of What It Means to Be Human, bioethicist Wesley J. Smith examines the subversive movement within psychiatry, psychology, and social work which holds that only “irrational” suicides should be prevented -- while other suicides should be "validated" by mental health professionals.
Listen in to hear the chilling details, and read more about the articles here.
On this episode of What It Means to Be Human, bioethicist Wesley J. Smith examines the biological colonialism that has come in the wake of the devaluation of human life. With the rejection of human exceptionalism, we now have the commoditization and exploitation of the body parts and functions of the poor, effectively treating human beings as mere natural resources to be exploited and/or harvested. Listen in and learn what it means to be human -- and why it's so important.
For more information, read Wesley's article here.
An ethics panel in Switzerland is considering granting rights to … plants. On this episode of What It Means to Be Human, Wesley Smith, Discovery Institute senior fellow in human rights and bioethics, looks at how Switzerland's enshrining of "plant dignity" is a symptom of a cultural disease that has infected Western civilization, causing us to lose the ability to think critically and distinguish serious from frivolous ethical concerns.
On this episode of What It Means to Be Human, bioethicist Wesley Smith looks at the judicial activism that has overturned a Montana state law banning assisted suicide. Listen in as Smith explains how this case is part of a slow motion coup de culture, a steady drive to topple the social order rooted in Judeo-Christian/humanistic moral philosophy and replace it with a dramatically different value system founded in utilitarianism, hedonism, and radical environmentalism.
With the cultural earthquake of last year's elections, what will happen in 2009? On this episode of What It Means to Be Human, Wesley Smith predicts a grim future for ethical bioethics. Human cloning, legalized assisted suicide, embryonic stem cell research -- listen in as Smith takes a tour of our likely future and the challenges ahead for morality and decency in the world of bioethics.
On this episode of What It Means to Be Human, Wesley J. Smith looks at the rights of conscience for health care professionals. Western culture is profoundly split about what is right and what is wrong, and the culture of death is already punishing dissenters because their refusal to participate sends a clear message that certain activities are just wrong. Listen in as Smith shares how the issue of conscience is quickly coming to a head in the West.
For more information, click here.
Why grant apes rights? On this episode of What It Means to Be Human, Discovery Institute senior fellow Wesley J. Smith exposes the radical Great Ape Project, which seeks a UN declaration welcoming apes into “a community of equals” with humans. The point is not animal welfare, but to break the species barrier and destroy the unique status of humanity, completely transforming Western civilization. What could the Great Ape Project, championed by infanticide proponent Peter Singer and anti-religious crusader Richard Dawkins, hope to accomplish? Listen in and find out.
On this episode of What It Means to Be Human, Wesley J. Smith takes a look at the media’s fawning treatment of suicide advocates. What does a reporter see when he visits the home of a suicide facilitator? Strangely and sadly, he often sees a hero.
Listen in as bioethicist Wesley J. Smith shows how journalism has become a prime mover in the culture of death, to the point that its terminal nonjudgmentalism cannot be trusted.
Click here to read more.
On this episode of What It Means to Be Human, bioethicist and Discovery Institute senior fellow Wesley J. Smith takes a look at our culture’s "terminal nonjudgmentalism." How far have we come as a society when we lose the will to save suicidal people's lives? Smith examines two outrageous cases from the UK, one where doctors refused to save a dying girl and another where a disabled man’s parents helped took him to Switzerland to commit suicide. What does the advocacy of death culture turn us into? Tune in and find out.
On this episode of What It Means to Be Human, Wesley J. Smith examines a new extreme environmentalism that seeks to grant equal rights to . . . Nature. Yes, Nature. "Nature rights" have just been embodied as the highest law of the land in Ecuador's newly ratified constitution. Rather than establishing environmental protections as a human duty, there is now a self-demotion of humankind to merely one among the billions of life forms on Earth, no more worthy of protection than any other part of the natural world. What is the potential harm to human welfare? Listen in as Wesley J. Smith explains how the establishment of "Nature rights" is the culmination of 2008 as one of the most radical anti-human exceptionalism years in recent history.
For more information, read Wesley J. Smith's article in The Weekly Standard here.
On this episode of What It Means to Be Human, Wesley J. Smith, senior fellow in Human Rights and Bioethics at Discovery Institute, explains why human exceptionalism is so important for universal human rights.
There is a war being waged against unique human worth on many fronts, from personhood theory and the animal liberation movement to radical environmentalism and philosophical materialism. Very powerful forces have dedicated themselves to convincing us that we really aren't all that important. Smith explains these attacks and shows why human exceptionalism must be defended for the sake of human rights everywhere.
In this installment of BNB, Anika Smith interviews Discovery Institute Senior Fellow and bioethicist Wesley J. Smith, who shares his story of the people and events which shaped him into the advocate he is today. Hear how his career spanned from consumer advocacy to campaigning with Ralph Nader to becoming one of the nation's leading advocates for the value and sanctity of human life.
Do animals have rights? Bioethicist Wesley J. Smith investigates this issue in light of the dog fighting scandal surrounding football star Michael Vick. Smith argues that the outrage generated by Vick’s alleged actions stems not from any violation of animal rights, but from the violation of his own humanity. Smith reasons that humans are the only conscious organisms in the universe, the only beings able to reason and choose. This sets humans apart from animals, and vests in them a responsibility to treat animals fairly. If Vick facilitated a sanguinary sport like dog fighting, Smith concludes, then Vick has cruelly abused animals and ignored the higher standard to which all humans are held accountable.
Today’s podcast is based on Wesley J. Smith’s recent column that appeared in the Rocky Mountain News.
In this installment of BNB, Wesley J. Smith discusses the ongoing assault on human exceptionalism. Exceptionalism holds that human life is intrinsically unique and valuable, different from life as experienced by other organisms. Rising to challenge this idea is an array of figures including philosophers, academics, environmentalists, and materialists. Such people seek to erode any separation between humans and other species, and wipe away the idea that humans are beings with a soul. Smith warns that this trend could eradicate any foundation for human rights, and even pave the road toward classification of humans based on superiority and fitness.
Is the Drug Enforcement Administration scaring doctors away from treating pain aggressively? Bioethicist Wesley J. Smith discusses recent reports on the DEA’s aggressive pursuit of doctors who subscribe pain medication for chronic pain sufferers. The perception by doctors that the DEA is “gunning” for those who may over prescribe, which according to Smith can result in a lamentable deterence to the proper alleviation of pain. Legislation to help ease this tension and provide a solution has been caught up in the debata over assisted suicide with supporters of doctor assisted suicide warning that such legislation threatens Oregon’s assited suicide regime.
On this episode of Brave New Bioethics, Wesley Smith takes a look at the disturbing trend toward embryo quality control. After embryo-screening was recently employed to prevent a child from being born who might contract adult-onset cancer, Wesley asks if this eugenic attitude might continue to the point that we permit no babies to be born at all.
On this episode of BNB Wesley Smith looks at last week's Supreme Court decision upholding the ban on partial birth abortion. Smith examines the majority decision, written by Justice Kennedy, and notes that it an assertion that seems to be a stronger affirmation of the moral value of nascent human life than has heretofore found its way into most Supreme Court jurisprudence.
On this episode of Brave New Bioethics senior fellow Wesley J. Smith explains how a new bill introduced in the US Senate actually authorizing human cloning can yet be called a ban on cloning.
New congressional legislation that explicitly legalizes human cloning and also authorizes researchers to pay women to harvest their eggs for cloning research. The bill has been named by it’s sponsors, Senators Hatch and Feinstein, the Human Cloning Ban and Stem Cell Protection Act. Smith shows how they use definition sleight of hand to get away with it.
On this episode of Brave New Bioethics, CSC senior fellow Wesley J. Smith looks at the newly release statement from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine on the issue of physician assisted suicide in which they assume a position of neutrality. According to Smith their new position is both a cowardly act and a backdoor repudiation of a long established philosophy of hospice care in respecting each patient's life. Such terminal non-judgementalism is an abandonment of the hospice organization's professed goal of promoting proper hospice care and worse is an abandonment of patients whose lives depend on doctors acting to relieve their suffering while abiding by the hypocratic oath.
On this episode of Brave New Bioethics, Wesley J. Smith takes a look at how an anti-human agenda like that of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is capable of causing great human harm. In the story of Dr. Edward Taub, we find that animal rights liberationists who literally believe that animals are equal to human beings are a threat to scientific research and the health and wellness of many.
There is no question that Chinese transplant centers sell their wares. China has admitted to selling the organs of executed prisoners. The question is whether some of these organs come from Falun Gong dissedents executed for heterodox religious beliefs that the Chinese government disagrees with, as discussed in a report by human rights attorneys titled Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China. A recent update to the report shows that the Chinese military may be running these organ transplant centers as a means of generating much needed revenue.
There is a new religion spreading across the globe. It is called transhumanism. Transhumanists believe that natural humans aren’t good enough, smart enough, strong enough, athletic enough, beautiful enough, or genetically diverse enough. They reject the very idea of normal, indeed, of there being any virtue at all in remaining fully human. Let's look at what exactly transhumanists want, and what the trouble is with transhumanism.
I am often asked how I became an anti euthanasia activist. Like most people on both sides of the issue, it began with a personal experience.
Usually after a suicide, those who were close to the deceased person wonder why, grieve, and finally go on with their lives. But I had a queasy feeling that there was more to Frances death than appeared on the surface. It was as if she had somehow been encouraged to pursue death. Yet, I knew her friends had all tried to persuade her to embrace life. I decided to investigate.
Visit my blog at www.wesleyjsmith.com/blog/.
I have had several requests to comment on the story of the cognitively disabled girl named Ashley, whose parents subjected her to hormone treatments and invasive surgeries (hysterectomy, mastectomy) to keep her "small." The point of these "treatments" was to ensure that by remaining at about 75 pounds, Ashley's care could still be provided by her parents. I certainly don't question the parents' motive. They thought this was the best way to continue to be able to care for their daughter at home. Still, the core questions as I see them, are whether these interventions supported Ashley's intrinsic worth and whether they were therapeutic and therefore ethical for a doctor to perform.
The answer to both questions, I think, is no. The motive was love, I agree. But, in the end, I think it was wrong.
Jack Kevorkian will soon be out of jail on parole, but we likely will not be told much about the ultimate goal Kevorkian sought to achieve through his nearly 10-year, law-defying campaign of assisted suicide. Kevorkian does not believe that assisted suicide should be narrowly applied to the dying as is often reported in the media. This fact is easily discernible from his remarks, his writings, and his actions. Unfortunately, this ugly truth will probably be lost in the stampede to talk and write about Kevorkian after his release from prison. Instead, we will hear of Jack the Martyred Saint, a man punished simply because he wanted to alleviate the suffering of "the terminally ill."
On this episode of BNB Smith highlights the stark difference between the attitudes of two men toward the weakest and most vulnerable among us, a difference that can be described literally as the distinction between loving and killing. The choice we make about such contrasting paths will determine whether we remain a moral society committed to the pursuit of universal human rights.
What is this new idea called personhood theory? Under Personhood theory each human being doesn’t have moral worth simply and merely because he or she is human, but rather, we each have to earn our rights by possessing sufficient mental capacities to be considered a person. Personhood theory provides moral justification to oppress and exploit the most vulnerable human beings. Indeed, based on the writing of some of the most influential writers in bioethics in the world’s most reputable bioethical and medical journals, being denigrated as a non person can have lethal consequences and lead to the worst forms of abuse.
For more information visit Discovery Institute's Bioethics website.
Are we headed for a brave new world where unconscious people are treated as if they were simply biological machines? Wesley warns that we maybe headed down that path, even though today most people believe “that treating people as mere things violates the intrinsic dignity of the individual and the equal moral worth of all human life.” And yet prominent bioethicists and philosophers are contemplating, and even championing, ideas and legislation that could lead to a bleak future where human exceptionalism is ignored.
Brave New Bioethics is a new podcast reported by Discovery Institute senior fellow and nationally acclaimed bioethicist Wesley J. Smith.
Listeners can tune in to the first episode on Tuesday, November 14 right here on this page.
In each episode Smith will explore the many policies and proposals in bioethics, bioscience, and animal liberation that threaten the idea of human exceptionalism and undermine universal human rights. Smith's unique approach will present his listeners with rigorously researched facts, unique analysis and provocative stories.
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“The primary moral challenge facing the 21st Century is defending the belief that human life has intrinsic value simply and merely because it is human,” says Smith. “To put it another way human life matters.”