For what if Charles Darwin has indeed “put God out of a job?” What if we, like every other creature, are the product of an unguided chance process? If we are merely one more animal among animals, what right have we to assign ourselves any more worth than the apes, or the mice? What right has Charlie Gordon to think himself more valuable than Algernon, if he can’t even solve Algernon’s maze?

Bio-“ethicist” Peter Singer says “None.” We have no such right. This is why, he tells us, you will not find his signature on “The Humanist Manifesto.” Despite their scientific pretensions, he writes, humanists prove themselves still infected by this most central of Christian dogmas: speciesism.

It is not logic that moves us to say we would rescue one child over 500 pigs in a burning building, if our noble aim is to minimize the suffering of conscious beings. It is the pure animal instinct to preserve our own, an instinct that should be overridden for the greater good, if necessary. Truly, Singer has the single-mindedness of a madman. Or just an atheist.