A person who discounts or ignores societal or environmental problems because they believe that intelligence and technological prowess make humanity exempt from the natural processes that govern other species.
Man sells his soul and dooms himself to perdition if he listens to the madness of the exemptionalists. To believe that he is different in kind from all other species and can build a world more suitable and secure than this one is arrogance run amok, many hints of which the half-blind can even now see.
Perry Mann, "Getting back to nature," Charleston Gazette, November 5, 2001
Exemptionalists believe that humanity (Homo-Sapiens) is uniquely different from all other living species on planet-Earth. By its ingenuity, force of will and who knows, divine dispensation — humanity will survive and thrive forever.
—“Nano-technology,“ Daily News (Sri Lanka), July 27, 2011
In the midst of uncertainty, opinions on the human prospect have tended to fall loosely into two schools. The first, exemptionalism, holds that since humankind is transcendent in intelligence and spirit, so must our species have been released from the iron laws of ecology that bind all other species. No matter how serious the problem, civilized human beings, by ingenuity, force of will and - who knows divine dispensation, will find a solution.
Population growth? Good for the economy, claim some of the exemptionalists, and in any case a basic human right, so let it run. Land shortages? Try fusion energy to power the desalting of sea water, then reclaim the world's deserts. (The process might be assisted by towing icebergs to coastal pipelines.) Species going extinct? Not to worry. That is nature's way.
Edward O. Wilson, "A suicidal impulse," The Toronto Star, June 13, 1993