Human Exceptionalism

How My 2008 Predictions in Bioethics Turned Out

Each year, the Center for Bioethics and Culture asks me to make predictions for the upcoming year about what can be expected in the field of bioethics. I didn’t do too badly last year–although when my head told me I-1000 would pass legalizing assisted suicide in WA, and my heart told me (hoped) it wouldn’t, I went with my heart. In any event, here is my article for the CBC summing up how I did, beyond the assisted suicide issue. From the newsletter:

I was right that assisted suicide would not be passed legislatively…

I was right that Futile Care Theory would not advance

I was mostly right about the year in embryonic stem cell and human cloning research:…Here is what I was right about:
— Research into human iPSCs will advance toward overcoming the need to use viruses in the cell reprogramming…

— No laws will be passed to permit egg buying for biotechnological research…

— The Bush ESCR funding restrictions will not be overturned — There will be no changes in the law about human cloning…

Here is where I was wrong: I predicted that “the first human cloned embryonic stem cell line would be created,”…They tried but the task is apparently very difficult…

I also missed the extent to which human exceptionalism would be undermined : Last year saw the enactment or near-enactment of some of the most radical proposals in history, which I never imagined would come to pass.

1. Spain’s Parliament cleared away all procedural impediments to passing the Great Ape Project into law that will create a “community of equals” among human beings, chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas, and bonobos in that country.

2. Switzerland established the intrinsic dignity of individual plants… 3. Ecuador granted “rights” to “nature” that are coequal with those of human beings.

The import of this trend cannot be overstated. We are being led by radical environmentalists and anti human exceptionalists toward an international public policy that will sacrifice human welfare and prosperity “for the animals,” or “to save the planet.”

And that’s the way it was. Next week, my predictions for 2009. Hint: It isn’t pretty.


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