Ken Connor

Every generation has a few atheists who seem eager to tell the world how much smarter they are than everybody else. The fact that such individuals still exist, and that they are still producing popular tracts in defense of their disbelief, is no surprise.

Nevertheless, because ideas have consequences, one cannot ignore the recent push by big-name skeptics to persuade Americans that there is no God and that we should therefore adopt a new set of ethical standards. In previous times, most people had a solid enough understanding of moral truth that they were not easily persuaded by atheist rhetoric, but today many Americans are so influenced by relativism that they find it difficult to respond. Some men and women are beginning to wonder if they really believe America's founding principles, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights..."

A couple of weeks ago, Peter Singer, a bioethicist at Princeton University, wrote an article for the New York Times that essentially denies the Declaration's core principles. While discussing the sad case of Ashley, a severely disabled girl whose parents had her uterus removed and put her on hormones to stunt her growth, Singer said:

We are always ready to find dignity in human beings, including those whose mental age will never exceed that of an infant, but we don't attribute dignity to dogs or cats, though they clearly operate at a more advanced mental level than human infants. Just making that comparison provokes outrage in some quarters. But why should dignity always go together with species membership, no matter what the characteristics of the individual may be?....[Ashley] is precious not so much for what she is, but because her parents and siblings love her and care about her.

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.