Thursday, March 4th, 2010


PETA president, Ingrid Newkirk, is famous for having said, “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.”  And now Wesley Smith will become famous for using that disturbing line as the title for his new book exposing the radical nature of the animal rights movement Ms. Newirk et al represent.

I have not read Smith’s book yet, but I have followed his blog for a long time, and have found his thoughts on this topic to be excellent.  Smith argues that humans are exceptional among animals, not just another animal on the farm.  Human dignity belongs to all humans in virtue of their identity as humans.  While animals are valuable and should be treated humanely, they are not the moral equivalents to human beings, and treating them as such does more to demean human dignity than to elevate animal dignity.

Smith pointed his readers to a review of his book that I found helpful and on-target.  I wanted to recommend it to you, as well as share a few teaser quotes:

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The New York Times ran an article on their front page about academic freedom bills that are popping up in some states.  Some of these bills require that teachers teach both the evidence for and against certain scientific issues (such as evolution and global warming), or at least allow them to do so.  Who could oppose such bills?  You would be surprised!  But I digress.  

The one part of the article that irked me the most was their mischaracterization of intelligent design as “the proposition that life is so complex that it must be the design of an intelligent being.”  What’s so disturbing about it is that they have been told by the Discovery Institute (the main ID think-tank) in the past that this definition is inaccurate, and yet they refuse to characterize ID accurately time and time again. 

I decided to comment on the article to set the record straight and vent my frustrations with the NYT.  Seeing that my comment, if it is approved, will be #1010-ish, I doubt it will get read by too many people, including those at the NYT (but I feel much better now).  Here is what I wrote:

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“If you asked twenty good men to-day what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you asked almost any of the great Christians of old he would have replied, Love. You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance. The negative ideal of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point. I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love.”—C.S. Lewis