In the last couple of episodes I demonstrated how using the same logic used to justify abortion, even early term abortion, can be used to justify infanticide. In Part 1 it became clear that our reasons for justifying abortion are merely our own personal opinions. People already choose to end pregnancies because of financial or personal hardship type reasons. Even in cases where a couple would like a baby, it’s clear they’re ending pregnancies because they’re not the right kind of baby. We tell ourselves it’s okay to end these pregnancies because fetuses may be human, but they aren’t persons.
In Part 2 it was obvious that this same line of reasoning can be used to justify infanticide, that is, killing babies that have already been born. A recent article in the Journal of Medical Ethics uses a well-reasoned argument that if fetuses are not persons, that newborn babies are not persons either. Personally, I believe the same logic that allows killing of newborns in this article, also easily extends to places like Alzheimer’s patients. Moreover, our self-granted philosophy of defining personhood however we please essentially grants us the permission to destroy or save whatever life we see fit. Absent of the recognition of the intrinsic value of human life, it’s up to society to decide which life is most worth keeping. One might say, for instance, a newborn baby is just a burden, while no expense must be spared to save a dolphin. PETA will be thrilled with the implications! Actually, they already are.
Last month, around the same time as the publishing of the JME article, some philosophers were meeting in Canada to gauge support for a “Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans“. Essentially, they’d like to get the same rights for dolphins and whales as humans. The line of reasoning that gets them there is that since cetaceans have critical thinking skills and self-awareness, just like people, that they should be treated like people. Rightly so, based on what we’ve witnessed in the last two posts. If you believe that people have no intrinsic value, granted them by their Creator, then there is no reason that you should think a dolphin, a dog, or a salamander should have any more value than a human being. On that worldview, that’s just a form of racism known a speciesism. Without a soul, you’re no better or valuable than the family cat.
This sickens me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love animals. Quite honestly I find nature to be one of the best evidences for an intelligent Creator, and as such the Creation of such a Being ought to be protected. In fact, God gave man dominion over every living thing (Genesis 1:26), but David tells us that it is all just on loan to us and rightly belongs to God (Psalm 24:1). It is, therefore, my responsibility to protect animal life to the best of my ability which may, indeed, mean supporting some laws that protect non-human life. Animals are here for the enjoyment of people, but needlessly killing or abusing animals is morally perverse.
However, where we’ve come to as a society, is madness upon madness. For us to accept the killing of newborn human babies because they don’t qualify as persons, and at the same time lobby for granting non-human animals personhood, is ludicrous. People are people, and animals are animals. We must realize the error of this logic, or we’re doomed to destroy both ourselves and the rest of nature with our stupidity. My only hope is that once we decide the dolphins and whales have the right to vote, that they’ll make better judgements.
I leave you with the following statement that I heard somewhere to sum up this series of posts (emphasis mine). Please keep in mind, that without the “Creator” part, the “unalienable rights” are not possible. For it is only in the context of a Giver of Rights existing beyond space and time, that unalienable rights become possible. If I’m simply a product of time and chance, I have no rights, nor does any other animal. Forced into that context, we’re all just accidental nature coming from nowhere, going to nowhere, with no purpose, and certainly no rights.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.