Defenders of Science

Wingnuttia has found a new cause for outrage over chocolate-eatin' Old Yurpins:
You just knew it was coming: At the request of the Swiss government, an ethics panel has weighed in on the "dignity" of plants and opined that the arbitrary killing of flora is morally wrong. This is no hoax.
Maybe not a hoax, but it looks like a vast over-exaggeration. The law seems to primarily address future liability issues involved in widespread use of genetically modified organisms. Though that doesn't matter to the likes of Malkin...
Sure, you vegans thought yourselves so morally pure. But according to the Swiss government, your hands are stained with the chlorophyll of innocent beings.

Go ahead and read the whole stupid thing now, because it’s going to be all over Fox News and every local-market talk show and right-leaning blog this week.
..."Bird Dog"...
Regular readers know that all of creation is precious to us here at Magggie's Farm. We love plants, trees, birds, butterflies, rocks, mountains, meadows, rivers, intensely. Love them, love to be amongst them, and learn all we can about them. But we still hold that there is a big difference between "precious" and "sacred."

These folks have taken the Pathetic Fallacy to a psychotic extreme. One is forced to wonder whether the only dining acceptable to Greenie Gaia-worshippers would now involve cannibalism, since they want us to worry about the souls of asparagus and lobsters, and view human life as an obnoxious intrusion on an otherwise beautiful Eden (except that most animals eat plants and/or other animals).
...and Cap'n Ed...
I don’t think it’s coincidental that anthropomorphism gripped Western thought at the same time cartoon characters became popular — characters like Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Porky Pig, and the like appeared in the cultural zeitgeist. When the hunter got demonized in Bambi, that cultural moment gave impetus to the anthropomorphic silliness that eventually declared meat-eating a sin. It has become a secular religion in that sense, attempting to bury people in guilt for being omnivorous while at the same time declaring nature as our God, and never quite explaining how our naturally omnivorous state shouldn’t be embraced with the rest of nature.
I blame Ewoks!

From the original piece by Wesley J. Smith:
What is clear, however, is that Switzerland's enshrining of "plant dignity" is a symptom of a cultural disease that has infected Western civilization, causing us to lose the ability to think critically and distinguish serious from frivolous ethical concerns. It also reflects the triumph of a radical anthropomorphism that views elements of the natural world as morally equivalent to people.

Why is this happening? Our accelerating rejection of the Judeo-Christian world view, which upholds the unique dignity and moral worth of human beings, is driving us crazy. Once we knocked our species off its pedestal, it was only logical that we would come to see fauna and flora as entitled to rights.

The intellectual elites were the first to accept the notion of "species-ism," which condemns as invidious discrimination treating people differently from animals simply because they are human beings. Then ethical criteria were needed for assigning moral worth to individuals, be they human, animal, or now vegetable. [...]

Eschewing humans as the pinnacle of "creation" (to borrow the term used in the Swiss constitution) has caused environmentalism to mutate from conservationism--a concern to properly steward resources and protect pristine environs and endangered species--into a willingness to thwart human flourishing to "save the planet." Indeed, the most radical "deep ecologists" have grown so virulently misanthropic that Paul Watson, the head of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, called humans "the AIDS of the earth," requiring "radical invasive therapy" in order to reduce the population of the earth to under a billion. [...]

As for "plant rights," if the Swiss model spreads, it may hobble biotechnology and experimentation to improve crop yields. As an editorial in Nature News put it:
The [Swiss] committee has .  .  . come up with few concrete examples of what type of experiment might be considered an unacceptable insult to plant dignity. The committee does not consider that genetic engineering of plants automatically falls into this category, but its majority view holds that it would if the genetic modification caused plants to "lose their independence"--for example by interfering with their capacity to reproduce.
One Swiss scientist quoted in the editorial worried that "plant dignity" provides "another tool for opponents to argue against any form of plant biotechnology" despite the hope it offers to improve crop yields and plant nutrition.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for defense of science, but something tells me he's not necessarily interested in science per se.
In one sense, I think the Science Establishment asked for this. It has been a prime mover in seeking to stamp out human exceptionalism as the reigning ethic of society. Well, this is what happens when we lose our self concept as a species of unique importance. Once we are knocked off the pedestal, all fauna and flora get thrown into the mix of "creatures" entitled to "rights," even to the point that human beings are the world's villains in some eyes. We are, in effect, eating our own tails as we move from human rights, to animal rights, and now plant "dignity." This is beyond satirizing and, if we are not careful, can stop our own flourishing in its tracks.
Damned leebruhl scientists had it coming!

There are actually some interesting points of discussion that could be raised here: do corporations have the right to plant anything they want anywhere they want to without public comment; is using an "ethical" argument the proper approach to addressing concerns about genetically modified crops; do ecosystems have inherent value? But all we're going to hear from right-wing blogs, talk radio shows and Fox Noise will be how the radical people-hating environmentalists don't want you to mow your lawn because they hate the baby Jesus. Pathetic.