Wesley J. Smith: No, We Are Not ‘Beasts’


(NRO) – The New York Times is fond of running “big idea” opinion essays claiming that humans are just another animal in the forest — and, sometimes, that plants are persons too.

This Sunday’s example involved a writer, Maxim Loskutoff, recounting the time he and his girlfriend were threatened by a grizzly bear while hiking in Montana — a terrifying experience that taught him a lesson. From “The Beast in Me“:

It was a strange epiphany. To be human today is to deny our animal nature, though it’s always there, as the earth remains round beneath our feet even when it feels flat. I had always been an animal, and would always be one, but it wasn’t until I was prey, my own fur standing on end and certain base-level decisions being made in milliseconds (in a part of my mind that often takes 10 minutes to choose toothpaste in the grocery store), that the meat-and-bone reality settled over me. I was smaller and slower than the bear. My claws were no match for hers. And almost every part of me was edible.

Of course we are animals biologically. But so what? Flies, oysters, and most plankton are too. That identifier — in the biological sense — does not have significant import outside of the biological sciences. CONTINUE