Anti-specialism or denial of the existence of God (2)

What is life?

A brief review of this concept is necessary to understand the inappropriateness of the concept criticized in this article and its inadequacy to reality.

First of all, it should be emphasized that the word “life” is an abstract term, not a concrete term. It is used to refer to living and animate beings. But by itself it denotes nothing but a class of beings. “Life” does not exist, only living things exist.

This point is important because the word happens to be analog, that is, it does not have the same meaning as applied to different classes of living beings. Speaking of human life, animal life or plant life does not mean the same thing at all. There is certainly a resemblance, but not an identity.

Also, when speaking of the life of God, the life of an angel, or the life of man, the use of the word is equally distinguished. Although the same word is used, there are significant differences, especially if we compare the life of the Creator with that of his creatures, angel or man.

Therefore, it is necessary to distinguish in our created material world the living beings of three categories: plants, animals and humans. To say that they live is equivalent to affirming that they have a soul, because by definition—and by demonstration, but that would take us too far—the living are distinguished from the inanimate by that part of themselves which allows them to be declared as such: principle of life., soul.

The simplest observation enables us to distinguish the vegetable from the animal and from man. This difference is in the soul which each possesses, and in the kind of life which the latter induces and carries out in the body which corresponds to it.

the plant soul

Some may be surprised to consider the claim of a vegetative soul, but it is true nonetheless. The understanding that the characteristics of the human soul are not to be attributed to it: therefore this soul disappears completely at the death of the plant.

The vegetative soul is further characterized by the functions it undertakes: the nutrition of the plant, its growth and finally its reproduction. This vegetative life is the basis of all life, and all living things have these functions, at least reproduction, as is the case with the virus, which, properly speaking, neither feeds nor grows.

the animal soul

The animal soul adds to the vegetative functions – which it exercises in a higher way than the vegetable soul – other functions which characterize the animal: sensibility connected with the five senses (for animals, which have all); animal passions such as attraction, desire, fear or anger; instinct, which is a kind of internal plane that allows the animal to adapt to environmental changes within insurmountable limits: to look for food or a breeding partner; and finally locomotion, for the animals endowed with it.

It is important to understand that the life that characterizes the animal is this life sensitive because it is based on the activity of the senses. Vegetative life is not exclusive to the animal, but it possesses it in its own way: it enables it to produce bones, blood, contract muscles, make sounds, etc. This simple observation makes it possible to grasp the profound distortion produced by anti-specialism, which assimilates all degrees of life into a happy mess.

the human soul

Finally, the highest degree, the human soul, adds to the vegetative and sensory functions its own activity: that of its spiritual faculties – in the sense of spirit, not supernatural life – for the human soul is a spirit created in the image of God , who is Spirit. This human spirit, unlike the angel, the pure spirit, is also a soul that gives life to the body.

The first characteristic of the human soul is its immortality: it continues to exist after the death of the body with which it was united, because as a spirit it possesses within itself the resources of a separate life, though somewhat crippled by the disappearance of the body. .

The proper life of the human soul is that of its intellect and its will, which are as spiritual as itself, and which do not depend on the body to exist or act: therefore human life properly consists in the knowledge of truth, as speculative and speculative (pure knowledge) as praxis (directed to action) and in the exercise of virtue.

without animals and a fortiori no plant can reach the lowest stage of this purely human life. Animals are still beasts, which the human imagination often colors with human feelings, for example, to teach them through a fable, but if one has the misfortune to believe that this is real, what the animal is is completely perverted.

reductive equality

It is often said that man was willed by God for himself and the universe for man. But this is not the doctrine of St. Thomas, who affirms instead that the first thing God wills is the good of the universe, that cosmic harmony which is the most perfect created image of the majesty and goodness of God. And in this universe man occupies a special place: he is above all other material creatures.

In a beautiful article in Summa Theologica (I, 47, 2), included in the treatise on creation, Santo Thomas explains his thought. When asked whether God caused the inequality in things, he answers: “It must be said that the wisdom of God, which is the cause of the distinction between beings, is also the cause of their inequality. (…)

“Because of the formal distinction [entre especies] always implies inequality. (…) In natural things species appear to be ordered by degrees, mixed bodies are more perfect than simple elements, plants than minerals, animals than plants, men than other animals.

“And in each of these orders of creatures one species is more perfect than the others. Therefore, as divine wisdom is the cause of the distinction between things, of the perfection of the universe, so it is also the cause of its inequality. For the universe would not be perfect if only one degree of goodness were to be found in beings.”

Now, the goodness of a creature depends upon the way in which God loves it and makes it more like his own perfection. This is also a beautiful doctrine of St. Thomas: the mineral is a reflection of God because it exists; the plant because it lives; the animal, because it senses and thus can assimilate – in part – what surrounds it; man because he is spirit, intelligence and will. It is much more than a reflection: it is an image.

Therefore, man has received much more than all other created material beings because he is more loved by God. Not to mention that his nature is capable of receiving a supreme gift that equates him with God in an incomparable way: the grace that makes him a son of God and enables him to participate in the very life of God.

Therefore, it is through the disparity between these natural orders and their harmony that the cosmos proclaims God’s glory.

impossible right

It is absolutely impossible to ascribe rights to any entity other than man or the human person. We will explain this briefly.

The law presupposes a certain equality

Essentially, the law is like that something owed to others, which is specified by law, whether natural or human law. Law is the object of the virtue of justice. Also, the law is a equal relations, because it arises from the need for order in a community. This equality is not physical, but moralbecause it refers to a human operation that must be adapted to others for the common good.

All these properties already exclude all external rights of human personhood: it is for this reason that anti-species advocates want to equalize the living by asserting – almost – complete equality between all living species.

legal capacity

Human personality is a individual; on rational naturewhich enables him to perceive his full good; capable of perfection in a united society.

This is where it stems from legal capacitywhich is neither the autonomy of the will, nor the freedom it implies, nor the will to power or greatness, but rather the ability to jointly achieve a common goal.

It includes the sense of responsibility, that is, the possibility of self-determination. Finally, it implies the ability to understand that the measure imposed by reason or law on social relations of any kind, with a view to achieving the common good, is an actual right.

In short, legal capacity is rooted in reason, found in the will, and derives its immediate justification from the possibility of the law and above all from the common good.

The subject of law

Every person is a subject of law and receives legal capacity from the Creator.

The human soul is the image of its Creator: such is the reason for the existence of its attributes according to a theologian Saint Thomas.

In the opinion of philosopher all man’s prerogatives derive from the rationality of his nature. Only man has a personal goal to which he leads.

The basis of the rights of the human person lies in their domain (domain) about the universe and its actions. By innate disposition he is capable of personally achieving the good of the universe.

What is this domain? It consists of three realities: subject affected by the attitude of superiority or sovereignty person or thing over whom that sovereignty is exercised, and base of this relation, which consists in a power which arises from his condition of being reasonable and free.

The domain it is presented as a psychological and natural attribute of man: “Man differs from irrational creatures in that he enjoys control over his actions, est actuum suum dominus. It follows that the only actions which are properly called human are those of which he is the owner, dominus. [1]”

east domain it becomes a moral and juridical force only in so far as it relates to sensible objects: “The goodness of the will depends on reason as it depends on the object.” [2] Hence the object of the act in question constitutes the ground, cause, and measure of moral power, and that of all moral virtues.

And the trees?

Do we really need to ask this question? If we talk about the rights of animals, plants or nature, or it is no longer a right, but a lucubration; or, strictly speaking, it is a matter of regulating the duties which man owes to the universe in which God has placed him and entrusted him from Genesis.

But then it is a right in relation to oneself: to avoid the destruction of the environment, to be corrupted by animal cruelty, to want to enrich oneself at the expense of one’s peers or one’s offspring, for example.


Anti-specialism is not just intellectual stupidity, it is also a practical denial of the existence of God. To deny the degrees of beings and the order of the universe is to deny God. St. Thomas’s fourth and fifth “ways” of proving the existence of God are based on these two proofs, respectively.

By denying or rejecting them more or less completely, the anti-species indirectly but certainly denies the existence of the Creator, and believing that he raises plants and animals to the level of man, he only lowers the latter to his level.

Father A. Sélégny +

[1] Sum of theology, I-II, Prologue.

[2] Ibid., I-II, 19, 3.

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