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Writing about morality is dangerous because you might reveal that you don’t have a very good grasp of the subject. In Ethics for Extraterrestrials , Robert Wright asks what the morality of aliens might be like and answers the question by imagining man meeting another being in space. He thinks we might do rather well, and invokes Peter Singer.

Singer notes the striking moral progress we’ve seen since the days when citizens of Greek city-states treated citizens of other Greek city-states as subhuman. Compare this to the now-common belief that people of all races, creeds and colors are actually people, worthy of decent treatment.

Words fail me. Now, what class of human being does Singer treat as subhuman, as unworthy of the regard and protection we give the human person? What type of human being does he not believe “actually people, worthy of decent treatment”?

Exactly. If Peter Singer’s an example of moral progress, any aliens we meet should shoot first and ask questions later.

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