July 16, 2008


Monkey Business: Spain apes the Declaration of Independence. (Wesley J. Smith, 07/21/2008, Weekly Standard)

[W]hy grant apes rights? After all, if the Spanish parliament deems these animals insufficiently protected, it can enact more stringent protections, as other countries have. But improving the treatment of apes--of which there are few in Spain--is not really the game that is afoot. Rather, as Pozas chortled after the environment committee of the Spanish parliament passed the resolutions committing Spain to the Great Ape Project, this precedent will be the "spear point" that breaks the "species barrier."

And why break the species barrier? Why, to destroy the unique status of man and thus initiate a wholesale transformation of Western civilization.

Specifically, by including animals in the "community of equals" and in effect declaring apes to be persons, the Great Ape Project would break the spine of Judeo-Christian moral philosophy, which holds that humans enjoy equal and incalculable moral worth, regardless of our respective capacities, age, and state of health. Once man is demoted to merely another animal in the forest, universal human rights will have to be tossed out and new criteria devised to determine which human/animal lives matter and which individuals can be treated like, well, animals.

Singer and Cavalieri put it this way in the introduction to The Great Ape Project: Equality Beyond Humanity, the collection of essays they edited in 1993, with contributions by noted opponents of a human-centric ethics such as primatologist Jane Goodall and Ingrid Newkirk of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals:

Our request comes at a special moment in history. Never before has our dominion over other animals been so pervasive and systematic. Yet this is also the moment when, within that very Western civilization that has so inexorably extended this dominion, a rational ethic has emerged challenging the moral significance of membership of our own species. This challenge seeks equal consideration for the interests of all animals, human and nonhuman.

Should that come to pass, the ancien régime (as they view it) based on the sanctity and equality of human life would crumble. In its place would emerge a society sufficiently hedonistic to eschew moralizing about personal behavior (Singer has defended bestiality), but also humbled to the point where people would willingly sacrifice our own flourishing "for the animals" or to "save the planet" and utilitarian enough to countenance ridding ourselves of unwanted human ballast (Singer is the world's foremost proponent of infanticide). Thus, in the world that would rise from the ashes of human exceptionalism, moral value would be subjective and rights temporary, depending on the extent of each animal's individual capacities at the time of measuring.

Most important in the minds of many proponents of the Great Ape Project, religion--above all, orthodox theistic religions that view humankind as at the center of Creation--would be sapped of its remaining vitality. Pozas's spear point is aimed right between the ribs of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, all three of which are loathed by the materialists who have brought the Great Ape Project to the brink of its first triumph.

Thus, no one should be surprised that Richard Dawkins, bitter proselytizer for atheism, has been a strong supporter of the Great Ape Project from its inception.

...just hating on God.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 16, 2008 5:16 PM
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