Here's a wacky notion: Moral status doesn't supervene on DNA. In other words, it's not something inscrutably wonderful about the order of human genes that makes us deserving of respect from our fellows, but our minds—the fact that we're thinking beings, capable of desiring and loving and hating and making plans and feeling pain. It isn't, I think, a terribly controversial position. All our common sense moral talk about why you shouldn't harm people implicitly makes reference to those features: We say things like "don't do that; imagine how you'd feel if someone did that to you." We use consent to distinguish between ranges of things it's permissible and impermissible to do to people, which would be hard to make sense of if it were our genes and bodies that were carriers of intrinsic worth. Boxing and assault can affect bodies identically; the mind makes the difference.
I'm tempted to say that this is such an elementary principle that it ought to be obvious to just about anyone. Yet for Wesley J. Smith, a veritable go-to guy for punching-bag punditry, this idea is apparently so horrific that he imagines it's sufficient simply to repeat it to raise his readers' goosebumps—no argument necessary. (Which, I suppose, is lucky for him, since he doesn't appear to have one.) The column's chock-full of question begging language, as when we're told: "Those who don't measure up [i.e. exhibit some minimal cognition] are denigrated as 'non-persons,'" or when Smith suggests that "Personhood theory would reduce some of us into killable and harvestable people." (On personhood theory, of course, that would be the case only once we were no longer "us".)
Now, if my higher brain centers are ever irreperably destroyed in some accident ("too late!" says the troll… well, even more so then) I'd like a slew of doctors to be reasonably close to certain that I'm not coming back. But if they are, I want my organs—don't hold out too much hope for the lungs and liver, but the rest—to go to someone who can use them. There's something perverse about a self-described advocate of a "culture of life" who'd keep the heart beating in my now-vacant shell of a body while someone in the next room, still full of plans and desires and thoughts, slipped away for want of an organ. What was it Tom Paine said about Burke? They mourn the plumage but forget the dying bird. Or, even more strangely for folks who make "materialism" an epithet, they mourn the empty flesh but forget the fading soul.