Human Exceptionalism

Peter Singer: Use Brain Damaged Humans Instead of Chimpanzees in HIV Research

There he goes again: I missed this at the time, but last May, Princeton University’s Peter Singer urged in an on-line periodical that brain damaged human beings be used in HIV research rather than chimpanzees. From the story “An Ethical Man:” “‘HIV research using chimps has not been very helpful as they don’t seem to get the disease in the same way humans do,’ Singer explains. ‘So I don’t think it’s right and it’s causing a lot of suffering and distress to beings who are sensitive animals–social animals who should be living in social groups and who suffer being in isolation and confined and that’s wrong. If we need beings very like us to do this on, we should perhaps [turn to] the families of people who tragically have been brain-damaged and have no hope of recovery from persistent vegetative state who are totally beyond suffering because they are beyond consciousness.”

Well, I guess we should just dump the Nuremberg Code in the shredder and tear up the rules regarding ethical human subjects of medical research. Singer rejects human exceptionalism and embraces personhood theory, and so the cognitively devasated are reduced to so many guinea pigs. And while we’re at it, why not include unwanted infants in medical experimentation since they, like they too are not considered persons in Singer’s view. This is precisely where rejecting the belief in human exceptionalism and universal human equal moral worth leads us.

An “ethical man” my left nostril.

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