Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism, and consults for the Patients Rights Council.

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More than “in God's Image”

From Web Exclusives

We live in an increasingly secular society. One consequence of this cultural shift is the rejection of the once uncontroversial belief that humans reside uniquely at the pinnacle of moral worth.Activist academics, purveyors of popular culture, and issue ideologues across a wide swath of movements—from bioethics, to animal rights, to environmentalism—seek to knock us off the pedestal. Public intellectuals like Princeton University’s Peter Singer even argue that being human is morally irrelevant; what matters is possessing sufficient cognitive capacities to qualify as a “person.” Continue Reading »

What Clarence Thomas Meant

From Web Exclusives

In the public square, many misuse the word “dignity” by conflating its subjective and objective meanings. Some see it as descriptive of behavior, an idiosyncratic concept that can vary widely across cultures. Thus, when I am on the dance floor, few would say I exhibit dignity. But my herky-jerky . . . . Continue Reading »

Euthanasia's Open Season on the Mentally Ill

From Web Exclusives

A few years ago, I spoke about end-of-life care at a town-hall event; it quickly devolved into an intense debate on assisted suicide. When the time came for audience questions, a self-described “mentally ill” woman took the microphone and declared that she had a right to doctor-prescribed death. More than half the audience burst into applause. Continue Reading »

​Even Materialists Crave Religion

From Web Exclusives

Even materialists crave religion. The need to believe—to locate ultimate meaning in the universe—is deeply embedded in our natures. Atheists seek to deflect attention from this deeply human yearning. Thus, Richard Dawkins famously wrote that Darwin made it possible “to be an intellectually . . . . Continue Reading »

Euthanasia's Cancerous Corruption of Medical Morality

From Web Exclusives

During World War II, German doctors euthanized disabled babies and adults. As Robert Jay Lifton reported in The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide, no one forced these doctors to kill. Many of them believed euthanasia to be a “healing treatment” that ended “unlivable” lives, liberated families from the burden of caregiving, and kept the country from “wasting” scarce resources on the lebensunwertes leben(“life unworthy of life”). Such was the fruit of years of utilitarian indoctrination and the resulting societal acceptance of eugenics ideology.At the time, Netherlander doctors were well aware that German medical ethics had devolved. Thus, when the German commander of the occupation, Arthur Seyss-Inquart (now known as “the Butcher of Holland”), commanded that Dutch medical practices adjust to the German way, Netherlander doctors courageously defied the order. Continue Reading »

My New Tattoo

From Web Exclusives

I never expected to get a tattoo. Until two months ago, I fully expected to go to my grave ink-free.Then, as my wife and I were planning our just-completed vacation to Israel, I came upon a [R1] about a Christian Palestinian family in Jerusalem that for hundreds of years has been tattooing Orthodox Christians as a permanent commemoration of their pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I showed the story to my wife, and she voiced the thought that had popped into my head: “You should do it!” Continue Reading »

AI Machines: Things Not Persons

From Web Exclusives

Transhumanists insist that we are quickly approaching [R1] the moment at which technology will become an unstoppable and self-directing power that will usher in the “post-human” era. To get us from here to there requires the invention of “artificial intelligence” (AI), computers and/or robots that become “conscious” and self-programming, independent of human control. Actually, these advocates would say “who” become conscious: Transhumanists believe that AI contraptions would become self-aware and thus deserve human rights. Continue Reading »

The Great Terri Schiavo Divide

From Web Exclusives

At the end of this month, Terri Schiavo will be ten years dead. But she is far from forgotten. Everyone reading these words knows the story, and everyone has an opinion. What began in 1990 as a private tragedy—a vivacious young woman stricken in the prime of life with a severe cognitive . . . . Continue Reading »

Reaper at Bay

From the March 2015 Print Edition

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End ?by atul gawande? metropolitan, 304 pages, $26 Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End is an eminently useful book. Gawande, a surgeon and a staff writer for the New Yorker, is anything but clinical. With a . . . . Continue Reading »