Peter Singer Gets A Chair
By Wesley J. Smith
Critique by Punkerslut
Image: "Peter Singer Lecture" Image, from Wikipedia Peter Singer Article
April 18, 2002
April 19, 2002
Peter Singer, I believe, is a wonderful philosopher and thinker. From reading his writings, many people can easily conclude that he does not overlook points, nor is he faulty in reasoning. However, there is a following that detests Singer. Some of these individuals do not necessarily detest the ideas of Singer so much as they detest the man himself. This can clearly be seen when a group of anti-euthanasia activists picketed his lecture on Animal Rights -- simply because Singer has written much in defense of Euthanasia. The following essay that I am about to critique is the opinion of a person who quite clearly detests Singer. Of course, his reasons do not stand critical investigation, as I shall show.
"MOST PEOPLE KNOW THAT IT IS WRONG TO KILL BABIES. Most people understand that pigs are animals, not persons. Most people view the intentional killing of "medically incompetent" people as murder."
This is an Appeal to Belief. Simply because "most people" agree to something, it does not mean that it is correct. If Smith actually believed this, then in the Middle Ages, he would find himself as a Sexist, a Racist, an Anti-Abolitionists, and a Flat-Earth Theorist; of course, that is due to the fact that he limits his mindset to whatever everyone else adheres to.
"Not Peter Singer. The Australian philosopher, a founder of the animal-rights movement, claims that infants have no moral right to live and views infanticide as an ethical act."
I am unsure if the statements made here are either Strawman arguments or complete ignorance of Singer's works. Singer did not claim that infants have no moral right to live and he stated that, with the proper circumstances, infanticide is permissible. To quote Peter Singer...
Some doctors closely connected with children suffering from severe spina bifida believe that the lives of the worst affected children are so miserable that it is wrong to resort to surgery to keep them alive. Published descriptions of the lives of these children support the judgment that these worst affected children will have lives filled with pain and discomfort. They need repeated major surgery to prevent curvature of the spine, due to the paralysis, and to correct other abnormalities. Some children with spina bifida have had forty major operations before they reach their teenage years.
When the life of an infant will be so miserable as not to be worth living, from the internal perspective of the being who will lead that life, both the 'prior existence' and the 'total' version of utilitarianism entail that, if there are no 'extrinsic' reasons for keeping the infant alive -- like the feelings of the parents -- it is better that the childe should be helped to die without further suffering. [Practical Ethics, by Peter Singer, Page 184, second edition.]
Yet there is another form of Infanticide that Singer promotes even beyond Euthanasia. If an infant is born with a painful, but livable, disease, such as Haemophilia, and if this infant could be euthanized and replaced with a healthy infant, then Singer would be in favor of this position. To blatantly state that Singer believes that infants have no moral rights to live and that Infanticide is always an ethical act is to misquote Singer phenomenally. Although I do not agree with Singer's position on Infanticide with replacing an infant with a disease, but a livable one, with a healthy infant, at least I am willing to recognize his points and his arguments for what they are, instead of construing them into senseless babble and drivel. Smith, the author of this article that criticizes Singer, is either incredibly ignorant, both of Singer's works and the world in general, or he is incredibly dogmatic. As I have stated before, when someone misquotes or distorts their opponent, and it is unclear whether they do it on purpose or are simply ignorant, red flags should shoot up for those who are scientific.
"He believes that medically defenseless people should be killed if it will enhance the happiness of family and society. He seeks to elevate the moral status of animals to that now enjoyed by humans and equates animal farming and ranching with the evils of human slavery."
Yet, so we see here, Smith does not offer arguments against Singer's pleas for equality.
"Strangest of all, Singer is by no means a fringe thinker. Over the last 20 years, his vigorous advocacy of utilitarianism have made him a darling among the bioethics set and with academic philosophers who share his antipathy to the traditional mores and values of Western Civilization. Singer is invited to speak at seminars, symposia, and philosophy association conventions, throughout the world. His 1979 book, Practical Ethics, which unabashedly advocates infanticide, euthanasia, and decries 'discrimination' based on species (a bizarre notion Singer labels 'speciesism'), has become a standard text in many college philosophy departments."
Again, instead of arguing against Animal Rights, he simply refers to it as a bizarre notion.
"Singer is now so mainstream that he even wrote the essay on ethics for the Encyclopedia Britannica."
Although Singer may be popular with some thinkers and some individuals, I certainly would not go so far as to call him mainstream.
"Those who are fighting a rear-guard action to protect the human rights of weak and medically vulnerable people in universities and in debates over public policy in the United States have benefited from the fact that Singer has spoken from the hinterlands-Monash University in Australia. But now, even that cold comfort is gone. Next year, Singer will become a permanent member of the Princeton University faculty, where he will be the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, a prestigious, tenured academic chair, at the university's Center for Human Values.
"When asked why someone with opinions as odious as Singer's received such a prestigious appointment, a Princeton spokesman demurred. 'Appointments to Princeton's faculty are made solely in consideration of a candidate's demonstrated qualities as a scholar and a teacher,' said Justin Harmon, Director of Communications for the Center for Human Values. 'Appointment does not imply endorsement of a scholar's particular point of view.' Perhaps, but it is hard to believe that Singer's appointment just happened to result from a neutral, dispassionate search for academic talent. It is more likely that the academics who brought Singer to Princeton did so because of his views, not in spite of them. If true, the Singer appointment bodes ill for the future of Western values and ethics."
This is useless drivel. Smith develops his own conspiracy theory that the Princeton University is out to destroy Western values when they denied that. How wonderfully convenient.
"Singer's ideas are truly crackpot. He is an animal-rights radical whose ultimate goal is to elevate the status, moral worth, and legal rights of 'nonhuman animals,' to use his misanthropic term, to that of human beings. To accomplish this end, Singer denigrates the moral worth of some human beings-e.g., infants and those with cognitive disabilities-by comparing their intellectual capacities to those of animals."
Again, Smith makes abusive remarks instead of attacking arguments of Animal Rights. Further, he does not even properly understand Animal Rights arguments. When Singer tried to promote the equal consideration of non-human animals, he did not do this by saying that certain infants do not deserve equal rights. In fact, both incidents are unrelated in justification.
"Singer believes that one's membership in the human race should have nothing to do with one's rights and moral worth. So, he proposes to replace the prevailing ethic that promotes the equality of all humans as an objective concept with one based on subjective notions of 'quality of life.' What counts is not being a human, but a 'person.' To Singer, all 'persons' have equal rights and all persons have greater rights than nonpersons. This would not be a problem if Singer used the term 'person' as a synonym for 'human.' He doesn't. In Singer's wacky world, a person is not necessarily human and a human is not necessarily a person."
Again, more useless drivel and not a sign of any argument, reasoning, or logic for a thousand miles.
"In order to be a person, according to Singer, a 'being' must exhibit certain 'relevant characteristics,' primarily rationality and 'self awareness over time.' Under this definition, most healthy humans are persons-but not all. Infants, even if healthy, are not persons because they allegedly are not yet self aware over time and lack the ability to reason. Nor are humans with significant cognitive disabilities, such as people with advanced Alzheimer's disease, persons. To Singer, their moral status is the same as that of other forms of life he labels nonpersons-e.g. human embryos, human fetuses, chickens, and fish. On the other hand, a menagerie of animals are 'persons'-pigs, dogs, elephants, monkeys, chimpanzees, gorillas, whales, dolphins, cattle, seals, bears, sheep. This is true, he writes in Practical Ethics, 'perhaps even to the point where it [personhood] includes all mammals.'
"In Singer's philosophy, there is a crucial distinction between persons and nonpersons. Only persons have the right to live. Nonpersons can be killed without significant moral concern on the basis that their lives are 'interchangeable' and 'replaceable.'"
Not true at all, and Smith did not quote one piece of evidence of this. Utilitarianism is based on elevating the happiness of all conscious beings, be they aware or non-aware.
"As one of his chief arguing points, Singer has rationalized the killing of human babies. In Practical Ethics, he supports the killing of newborns with hemophilia. As he writes: 'When the death of a disabled infant will lead to the birth of another infant with better prospects of a happy life, the total amount of happiness will be greater if the disabled infant is killed. The loss of the happy life for the first infant is outweighed by the gain of a happier life for the second. Therefore, if the killing of the hemophiliac infant has no adverse effect on others it would... be right to kill him.'
"Singer reiterated the point, using a different example, in Rethinking Life and Death: The Collapse of Our Traditional Ethics: 'To have a child with Down's syndrome is to have a very different experience from having a normal child.... We may not want a child to start on life's uncertain voyage if the prospects are clouded. When this can be known at a very early stage of the voyage we may be able to make a fresh start.... Instead of going forward and putting all our efforts into making the best of the situation, we can still say no, and start again from the beginning.'
"His use of passive language does not blunt his meaning: Singer is advocating infanticide as a parental prerogative. In the most extreme form of his argument, he has even suggested that parents have 28 days in which to decide whether to keep or kill their infants."
Still, no arguments against Infanticide.
"When Singer gives examples of babies who are appropriate to kill, he usually writes or speaks, as above, of children born with disabilities. But it is important to note that under his thesis, disability has little actual relevance. Utilitarian considerations of maximizing happiness and reducing suffering are what count to Singer. Thus, if a parent is unhappy with the birth of a child, if that child's death will cause them more happiness than keeping it, or if keeping the child will make life less happy for potential future children, then infanticide is an acceptable alternative. (Perhaps Brian Peterson and Amy Grossberg, who recently pled guilty to manslaughter after they wrapped their newborn baby in plastic and then tossed him into a waste receptacle, should have called Singer as a defense witness instead of copping a plea. After all, they were simply maximizing their happiness and ending the life of a replaceable being.)"
Singer advocated the Euthanasia of infants with defects; not infants who are healthy.
"Singer's attitudes about cognitively disabled people are equally abhorrent. He argues that cognitively disabled people who are incapable of 'choosing' to live or die can be killed. This applies to people diagnosed as permanently unconscious (a notoriously misdiagnosed condition) and those who are conscious but not 'rational or autonomous.' In other words, brain-damaged people, those with significant mental retardation, and/or some forms of psychosis, are not persons and do not have a right to life. Singer writes in Practical Ethics that, 'it is difficult to see the point of keeping such human beings alive, if their life, on the whole, is miserable.'"
Smith calls Singer's philosophy "abhorrent" and offers no reasoning in even the slightest. There is not one ounce of intellectual investigation in this article.
"This century has already seen what is possible when it becomes acceptable to kill infants and profoundly disabled people. During the euthanasia program of Germany, between 1939 and 1945, more than 200,000 people-ranging from disabled infants, to people who were mentally incompetent, to adults with physical disabilities-were killed by German doctors, who took the lives of their 'patients' willingly, not under menace or duress from the Hitler government. Many Germans and Austrians, with acute memory of that atrocity, are so disturbed by Singer's advocacy of infanticide and involuntary euthanasia of incompetent people, that he is unable to lecture in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland because of angry demonstrations which erupt against him whenever he is invited to speak in those countries."
This is False Analogy, not to mention that Singer had three relatives who died in Concentration Camps. Furthermore, what the Nazis did was not Euthanasia. They killed people because they felt that the people were inferior, even when they lived happy, productive lives. The Euthanasia promoted by Singer is to kill people when they are suffering in miserable lives on their own will when they are capable of consenting. There is certainly no parallel between the Euthanasia promoted by Singer and the murder done by the Nazis.
"These protests deeply disturb Singer. As a child of German/Austrian Jews who lost family members in the Holocaust, he resents his philosophy being linked in any way to the Nazis. Indeed, Singer actually sees himself as the victim of totalitarian thinking by protesters. A few years ago when Singer was shouted down at the University of Zurich, with chants of, 'Singer raus! Singer raus! (Singer out),' he complained, 'I had an overwhelming feeling that this was what it must have been like to attempt to reason against the rising tide of Nazism in the declining days of the Weimar Republic.'
"But scratch beneath Singer's self righteousness, and an interesting juxtaposition emerges between Singer's thinking and predominate German philosophy circa 1920-1945. For example, in a 1991 BBC documentary on the German euthanasia Holocaust, which aired on the program 'Four In One,' Singer claimed, 'Nothing in my ideas gives any support to what the Nazis did. What the Nazis did was a totally different thing. They called their program euthanasia but it was not euthanasia because it was not for the good of the infants involved.'
"Singer's phrase, 'it was not for the good of the infants involved,' is telling. Singer does not say it was wrong per se for German doctors to kill disabled infants. He can't do that because he believes it is often right to kill disabled babies. Rather, he decries the German doctors' motives. But a murdered baby, is a murdered baby, is a murdered baby. That Singer does not grasp that basic moral concept speaks volumes about his philosophy."
The fact that Smith can speak so ignorantly about the works of Singer and make such gigantic, fraudulent presumptions speaks volumes of his own inability to understand anything written down on a piece of paper. First, Singer stated that he did not support what the Nazis did. Smith distorts this to say that he actually agreed with the actions of the Nazis. Second, Singer stated that what the Nazis did was not Euthanasia, because it was not for the good of the infant. Smith distorts this further by repeating himself in his monotonous, unrevealing drone, by saying that killing a baby is wrong, because that's what everyone believes. In fact, I would actually be surprised if Smith ever gave a single reason, a single piece of evidence, as to why he believed anything that he states.
"Singer is also wrong historically when he claims that his bases for promoting infanticide are nothing like those which motivated German doctors. It is true, of course, that a major reason for the German euthanasia program was to promote 'racial hygiene,' a concept of which Singer does not approve. But Singer's pretense that racial hygiene was the entire basis for German euthanasia is, at best, disingenuous. In fact, the intellectual genesis that led directly to the killing of disabled infants and disabled adults had little to do with racial theories. Rather, it came from a book, Permission to Destroy Life Unworthy of Life, published in 1920, long before Hitler took power.
"Written by a famous law professor, Karl Binding, in collaboration with a noted physician, Alfred Hoche, and called 'the crucial work' by Holocaust historian, Robert Jay Lifton, Permission to Destroy Life Unworthy of Life advocated ideas that are strikingly similar to Singer's. Binding and Hoche were not motivated by hate or the desire to create a master race. Rather, they believed that killing certain categories of people was compassionate, in their words, a 'purely healing treatment.' Those eligible for 'the healing work' of being killed by doctors were terminally ill or mortally wounded individuals, cognitively disabled people, and the unconscious. These are virtually the same categories of people whom Singer says can be killed ethically-those who voluntarily and autonomously decide to die, or those who do not but must face the same end because of their supposed status as 'nonpersons,' or, in Binding and Hoche's idiom, because they are 'empty shells of human beings.'"
Again, a False Analogy. First, Smith states that the "Euthanasia" of Nazis came from a book that promoted the same Euthanasia as Singer. Second, Smith states that the book promoted racial Euthanasia based on Hate, the opposite of Singer. The contradiction is obvious and makes Smith look downright absurd.
"Binding and Hoche also justified the killing of mentally incompetent adults, just as Singer does today."
False -- Singer did not state that killing mentally incompetant adults was at all justified, and if Smith could prove this I would be amazed. To quote Peter Singer...
Der Spiegel, which has a position in Germany not unlike that of Time or Newsweek in the United States, published a vehement attack on me written by Franz Christoph, the leader of the self-styled 'Cripples Movement', a militant organization of disabled people. The article was illustrated with photographs of the transportation of 'Euthanasia victims' in the Third Reich, and of Hitler's 'Euthanasia Order'. The article gave readers no idea at all of the ethical basis on which I advocated euthanasia, and it quoted spokespeople for groups of the disabled who appeared to believe that I questioned their right to life. I sent a brief reply in which I pointed out that I was advocating euthanasia not for anyone like themselves, but for severely disabled newborn infants, and that it was crucial to my defense of euthanasia that these infants would never have been capable of grasping that they are living beings with a past and a future. Hence my views cannot be a threat to anyone who is capable of wanting to go on living, or even of understanding that his or her life might be threatened. After a long delay, I received a letter from Der Spiegel telling me that, for reasons of space, they had been unable to publish my reply. Shortly afterward, however, Der Spiegel found space for a further highly critical account of my position on euthanasia, together with an interview, spread over four pages, with one of my leading opponents -- and again, the same photograph of the Nazi transport vehicles. [Practical Ethics, by Peter Singer, Pages 344-355, second edition.]
"They based their euthanasia advocacy on the alleged misery of the lives of mentally impaired people, as well as a way to end the burden their support caused to families and to society-a concept echoed clearly in Singer's utilitarian premise that it is allowable to kill human nonpersons whose lives are deemed to have little value to them, if it produces the most 'total amount of happiness.'"
Singer stated clearly that he did not advocate the Euthanasia of those who can decide whether or not they want to be Euthanized; a person who is capable of this decision should be treated accordingly: Euthanized if asked for and not Euthanized if not asked for. Those that Hitler killed did not ask to be Euthanized.
"The 1920 publication of Permission to Destroy Life Unworthy of Life set off a national discussion about euthanasia among the German intelligentsia and eventually among the general public. These dehumanizing ideas deeply influenced German popular attitudes toward medically defenseless people. As reported by British author Michael Burleigh, in his book on the euthanasia movement in Germany, Death and Deliverance, a 1925 survey taken among the parents of children with mental disorders disclosed that 74 percent of them would agree to the painless killing of their own children. (One can only imagine the attitude of the nonparents.) Thus, while the Nazis certainly propagandized energetically against the value of the lives of the disabled after they came to power, they were working in a field already made fertile by the general acceptance by doctors and the general populace of the Singer-like notions of Binding and Hoche."
Again, this is False Analogy. Binding and Hoche, by the admission of the author of this article, based their claims on Nazi ideology, whereas Singer's claims are based on Utilitarian reasoning. Still, I have yet to see anywhere an attack on the reasoning of Singer.
"Singer seeks to distance himself from German euthanasia with the claim that the actual killing of disabled infants which would be conducted under his ethical paradigm would be nothing like those which occurred in Germany. To this one must respond: not so fast."
What is this? It's the meanderings of an ignorant person. First, Smith claims that Singer distances himself from Nazi Euthanasia by stating that he will conduct his methods differently -- as though Singer agreed with Nazi Euthanasia. And then Smith responds to the claims of Singer, claims he did not even make, by not even using reasoning.
"One of the first people murdered in the Holocaust, as described in Lifton's, The Nazi Doctors, By Death and Deliverance, and Hugh Gallagher's book on German euthanasia, By Trust Betrayed, was an infant known as Baby Knauer. Baby Knauer was born in late 1938 or early 1939. The child was blind and had a leg and an arm missing. Baby Knauer's father was distraught at having a disabled child. So, he wrote to Hitler requesting permission to have the infant 'put to sleep.'
"Hitler had been receiving many such requests from German parents of disabled babies over several years and had been waiting for just the right opportunity to launch his euthanasia initiative. The Knauer case seemed the perfect test case. He sent one of his personal physicians, Dr. Karl Rudolph Brandt, who would later be hanged for crimes against humanity at Nuremberg, to investigate. Dr. Brandt's instructions were to verify the facts. If the child was disabled as described by the father's letter, Brandt was to assure the infant's doctors that they could kill the child without legal consequence. With the Fuhrer's assurance, doctors willingly murdered Baby Knauer at the request of his father. Brandt witnessed the baby's killing and reported back to Hitler. The Baby Knauer incident convinced Hitler that his plan to permit doctors to kill disabled infants should go forward.
"He signed a secret order permitting infanticide of disabled infants in 1939. Soon thereafter, adult disabled people could also be killed in what came to be known as the 'T-4' Program (named after the address of the German Chancellery, Tiergarten 4.)
"The euthanasia program did not remain secret for long. Too many people were being killed. Himmler called it 'a secret that is not a secret.' As a consequence, in 1941, Hitler rescinded the T-4 program which had permitted euthanasia of disabled adults. (He did not order an end the killing of disabled babies, however.) But despite Hitler's partial tactical retreat, euthanasia continued unabated until a few weeks after the end of the war, carried out by doctors who believed they were acting ethically, compassionately, and responsibly in their killing work, based on theories first promulgated by Binding and Hoche more than twenty years before."
What, in even the slightest consideration, does the history of Nazism and its rise have to do with Singer? False Analogy -- it's a false argument and Smith seems to be using it at every opportunity he gets. "Smith is a human being just like Hitler. Therefore Smith is astoundingly similar to Hitler."
"The murder of Baby Knauer is precisely the scenario Peter Singer supports when he argues that parents should be permitted to have their unwanted babies killed in order to maximize their own happiness and that of potential future children. Indeed, Baby Knauer's father was quoted in Lifton's book, The Nazi Doctors, as stating in 1973 that the family was thankful for the killing: 'We wouldn't have to suffer from this terrible misfortune because the Fuhrer had granted us the mercy killing of our son. Later, we could have other children, handsome and healthy . . .' Note, the exact congruence of the father's sentiments supporting the murder of his baby with Singer's philosophy."
Actually, yes this is what Singer supports: the Euthanasia of infants that are horribly disabled and would live a life of misery and pain. The argument that Smith draws upon is Poisoning the Well: "Since this idea came from the Nazis, it must be inhumane." This argument is false. One could possibly say, "Slavers believed the world was round, therefore the world must really be flat."
"The German euthanasia program also took the lives of tens of thousands of disabled adults during its six-year reign of medical terror. Most of those killed were people with physical disabilities or relatively mild retardation, people whose killing Singer would not support. But many of the disabled adults butchered in the Holocaust were profoundly retarded or demented."
As I quoted earlier, Singer does not promote this.
"According to Singer, such people are not persons and they can be killed if their deaths end lives of little value to themselves and promote greater happiness."
Again, as I quoted earlier, Singer did not promote this at all. "According to Singer" should be changed to, "According to the foul mind of the author of this article, who has not the critical faculties to examine claims before believing them..."
"Since those were the very reasons German doctors murdered these helpless people, it is hard to distinguish their actions from those advocated by Singer today."
Again, a Poisoning the Well argument. Just because someone despicable promotes an idea, it does not mean the idea is any less meritorious. See the slaver and the round earth theory: "Slavers believed the world was round, therefore the world must be flat." Or, it can be turned around even more: "Nazis believed the world was round, therefore the world must be flat."
"It is true, of course, that there are many learned men and women who spend their lives promoting pernicious, even evil, ideas, and the world is none the worse for wear. So, why does this particular appointment cause so much alarm?
"In a word, Princeton. The holders of elite chairs at elite universities, such as that soon to be inhabited by Singer, exert tremendous influence. That is why these positions are so highly coveted.
"Dr. Herbert London, the John M. Olin Professor of Humanities at New York University (NYU), explains how the influence of Peter Singer can spread throughout society because of his Princeton professorship. When a controversial thinker is given an elite academic chair, London points out, a 'superstructure' is created which vastly increases the influence of the professor beyond the ivy-covered walls of the university. Visualize this superstructure as an inverse pyramid, with Singer the point at the bottom and his influence branching up and out in all directions. His position at Princeton gives him great respectability. What he says and advocates, almost by definition, will now become legitimate topics of public discourse."
Still, no arguments brought against Singer. Simply just poor comparisons, Strawmen, ignorance, False Analogies, and Poisoning the Well arguments.
"'After all,' says Professor London, 'this is not some small, insignificant university. This is a very significant university. It is a major chair. It is a significant appointment and all those things contribute to the legitimacy of the arguments that emanate from it.' Thus, from the mere fact of the appointment itself, Singer's ideas will matter more than they did before he came to Princeton. As London points out, 'These elite professors produce new holders of the Ph.D., who look and act and quack just like the professors who conferred the degrees. Then, these young people go out into the world espousing the same views as the professors.' Making matters worse, Princeton being Princeton, most of Singer's students-to-be are destined to rise to the top of American life. They are the physicians, health care executives, political-office holders, bureaucrat policy makers, foundation decision makers, and university and college professors of tomorrow. That means that Singer's ideas are likely to eventually affect the every-day reality of American life."
No arguments still.
Singer will also exert influence in the public policy-debate over euthanasia and medical ethics beyond the academic setting. 'He is likely to become a talking head anytime the electronic or print media discuss euthanasia,' says Stephen Drake, an organizer for Not Dead Yet, a group made up of disabled people and their allies who oppose assisted suicide, infanticide, and medical discrimination against disabled people, and who view Singer's appointment as a profoundly bigoted act. 'The Princeton prestige factor will impress the audience, adding weight to his ideas. Moreover, he is extremely charming and engaging, and is able to give a rational veneer to what is actually a genocidal agenda.'
Unlike those who apparently oppose Singer, Singer can actually offer rational reasons to his conclusions. Not once in this article did Smith even make one attack on Singer's position.
"Perhaps worse, Singer's radicalism is likely to make other bioethicists, who hold similar views, seem moderate because they may not share his extremist animals-are-persons mentality. 'Singer will do the same thing to bioethics that Kevorkian did to the debate over assisted suicide,' Drake says. 'Before Kevorkian, the Hemlock Society was seen widely as a fringe group. Today, in contrast to Kevorkian's radical persona, Hemlock is seen by some as more moderate. The same thing will happen with other bioethicists who differ with Singer about animal rights but hold similar ideas about the acceptability of killing disabled infants. Because they don't go so far as elevating animals to the status of people, they will seem tame by comparison and thus there is great danger that their ideas will be perceived as the acceptable middle-ground compromise.'"
Obviously an Appeal to Fear. The fact that Singer pushes the borders of what society considers and makes more things questionable does not make him any less scientific in his reasoning. In fact, pushing borders of thought is actually something a Freethinker would do.
"Human history has surely taught us by now that horror results whenever we attempt to distinguish the moral worth of some people from that of other people, based on allegedly 'relevant characteristics,' whether race, tribe, nationality, religion, gender,or any other human trait."
Appeal to Tradition -- just because we have always done something, it does not make it acceptable. Furthermore, it is obviously seen that "species" is left out of that list, and that it ends with "any other human trait." What pompous ignorance. The horror that is dealt to non-human animals is just as great as the horror dealt to African slaves, and Smith did not state one reason as to a difference.
"Such culling, however motivated, always leads to injustice, oppression, and too often, to killing."
Appeal to Fear. Can Smith actually even prove that Singer's works will turn into injustice or oppression. (Or just as they appear in the genius mind of Smith?)
"Blind to this lesson, Singer seeks to create a new form of unter menschen-the human being who is not a person-and further states that their killing is of no great moral concern."
Again, Smith brings no evidence that Singer says that taking human life is moral.
"By appointing Singer to a prestigious academic chair, Princeton has greatly boosted these ideas with its considerable prestige. This is a strange definition of academic freedom."
Academic freedom means being allowed to investigate any theory of any field, without limitation from government. If Smith limits the definition of "academic freedom" to "allowing the discussion of anything I believe in and banning the discussion of anything I do not believe in," then it is not academic freedom at all.
"Wesley J. Smith is an attorney for the International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force and the author of Forced Exit: The Slippery Slope fom Assisted Suicide to Legalized Murder.
Wesley J. Smith is a coward, simply put. He did not make one attack on the reasoning of Singer in even the slightest. His remarks were childish and silly. This article of his can be summed up as a collection of words and sentences that add up to nothing. There were no arguments against Singer. There were no reasons as to why Singer's beliefs were faulty. Smith did bring up the case of Nazis and compared it to Singer -- but what does this prove? He only took something that people felt was horrible and then compared it to Singer, and even after that, he offered no reasons why Singer was incorrect. As I said, Smith is a coward. He lied about the positions of Singer, offered Strawman arguments, made False Analogy arguments, made Poisoning the Well arguments, and then in the end stated that Singer should not be allowed his seat at Princeton because of his views. But more than just a coward, Smith is a fool and an ignoramus. As long as he opposes any theory, being it the theory of Nazism or the theory of Singer, and as long as he opposes this theory without offering the slightest evidence or the slightest reasoning, he will forever remain a coward and an ignoramus.