Humans are not special simply because they are human

Speciesism, the notion that humans are unique and special and therefore deserve to dominate everything on this planet, takes another knock.

In a passionate, insightful, and well-crafted piece called The myth of our exalted human place, the Sentient Developments blog tackles the perspective that humans are destined to rule the cosmos.

Sentient Developments first artfully explains the connection between transhumanism and animal rights:

in the case of transhumanists, they're anticipating existence outside of the evolved human form and the rise of artificial intelligence and machine minds, whereas animal rights folks are acknowledging the personhood of gorillas, elephants, whales and dolphins. Ultimately, however, transhumanists and animal rights advocates are on the same wavelength in that they support the idea of non-anthropocentric personhood.

The blog then tells it like it is: "Of course, the argument that humans have value because they're human is not really an argument at all. Rather, it's a rhetorical tautology devoid of any substance - except for what it reveals about the person making the argument."

Insistence on human specialness has led to a range of abuses including those perpetrated against our four-legged kin. Sentient Developments, a blog I have just discovered, seems to have a perspective that shares some ground with Buddhism, yet also argues from secular disciplines. And the blog calls for skepticism with regard to religious claims wrapped in religious garb: "Even when framed in secular language, the allusion to religious sensibilities is inescapable and one that informs an indelible part of this ideology." (This is presumably a reference to some religious ideal that humans are meant to dominate, which is then interpreted to include exploitation of all of nature). The piece's conclusion does express the compassion urged by Buddhism and by the non-ideological core of most other religions: "Consequently, it is when we consider the well-being of both human and non-human animals that we become truly humane."

Read Sentient Developments for an informed and passionate view of our possible futures and the present medical and other technological developments that impinge on those futures.
Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen offers general corporate legal services, litigation consultation, and expertise in health law with a unique focus on alternative, complementary, and integrative medical therapies. The firm represents medical doctors, allied health professionals (from psychologists to nurses and dentists) and other clinicians (from chiropractors to acupuncturists), solo entrepreneurs, hospitals, and educational and health care institutions.

Michael H. Cohen is Principal in Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen and also President of the Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine (also known as the Institute for Health, Ethics, Law, Policy & Society), a forum for exploring legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues involved in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, massage therapy, and herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care. The most recent published book by Michael H. Cohen on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy pertaining to complementary, alternative and integrative medicine and related fields is Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion, which follows Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (1998), Beyond Complementary Medicine: Legal and Ethical Perspectives on Health Care and Human Evolution (2000), and Future Medicine: Ethical Dilemmas, Regulatory Challenges, and Therapeutic Pathways to Health Care and Healing in Human Transformation (2003).

Health care and corporate lawyer Michael H. Cohen is licensed has been admitted to the Bar of California, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington D.C., and to the Bar of England and Wales as a Solicitor (non-practicing).