T Nation

Amidst Backlash, Dawkins Doubles Down on Down Syndrome


#1

Please defend a puppet of Satan.

â??Barely 24 hours after he sparked a Twitter furor by declaring that bringing a child with Down syndrome to term would be "immoral," biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins has doubled down on his original assessment.
On Wednesday, in a reply to a Tweet from a woman who was uncertain how she would handle being pregnant with a child who has Down syndrome, Dawkins advised her to "Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice."

He also said it was "very civilised" to abort children with Down syndrome because "these are fetuses, diagnosed before they have human feelings." He also indicated that unborn children don't "suffer" from abortion.
In a blog post later in the day, framed as an â??apology,â?? he wrote that he â??regretsâ?? using â??abbreviated phraseology which caused so much upset,â?? blaming the shortness of Twitter for his answer.
"Given a free choice of having an early abortion or deliberately bringing a Down child into the world, I think the moral and sensible choice would be to abort."

But while conceding that the choice would "obviously" be the mother's, he again repeated that he believes abortion is the truly â??moralâ?? option, and painting a bleak picture of life with Down syndrome or providing for a child with the condition.
"For what itâ??s worth, my own choice would be to abort the Down fetus and, assuming you want a baby at all, try again. Given a free choice of having an early abortion or deliberately bringing a Down child into the world, I think the moral and sensible choice would be to abort."

Dawkins said his "morality is based...on a desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering" in the world.
Thus, he said, bearing the child "would probably be condemning yourself as a mother (or yourselves as a couple) to a lifetime of caring for an adult with the needs of a child."
"Your child would probably have a short life expectancy," continued Dawkins, "but, if she did outlive you, you would have the worry of who would care for her after you are gone. No wonder most people choose abortion when offered the choice. Having said that, the choice would be entirely yours and I would never dream of trying to impose my views on you or anyone else."

Dawkins' original postings garnered an international reaction from pro-life leaders and Down syndrome advocates.
Live Action's Lila Rose told LifeSiteNews that "it's sick and twisted for anyone to advocate for the killing of children with disabilities," while Carol Boys, chief executive of the Down's Syndrome Association, told MailOnline that "people with Downâ??s syndrome can and do live full and rewarding lives," and "also make a valuable contribution to our society."
Dawkins' critics on Twitter and in online comments sections noted that Nazi Germany advocated for eugenics, including the targeting of babies with Down syndrome. They compared Dawkins' statements to those of the Hitler regime, as did John Hawkins of Right Wing News. Hawkins told LifeSiteNews that "Hitler had babies with Down Syndrome put to death. It's sad to see that an influential atheist like Richard Dawkins agrees with his reasoning."

Jan Lucas, whose son Kevin has Down syndrome, told LifeSiteNews that far from suffering, Kevin has brought enormous joy to the family, and "is so loving. He just has a million hugs." Kevin explained that his favorite things to do are "spending time with my family, and keeping God in prayer."
In his Wednesday night post, Dawkins said eugenic accusations and claims that he was saying those with Down syndrome "had no right exist" were inaccurate. He also said that "at least half the problem" of people reacting negatively to what he said "lies in a wanton eagerness to misunderstand."

Dawkins also noted that the vast majority of people abort their children when pre-born screening shows a child has Down syndrome. It is estimated that in many Western countries the abortion rate of children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is at least 90 percent.
However, polls have found that those who choose to bear their disabled children to term do not appear to be condemning themselves or their children to a life of suffering. One large survey found that 99 percent of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy," and 99 percent of parents said they loved their child with Down syndrome.
Only 4 percent of parents who responded said they regretted having their child, while 97 percent said they were proud of them.

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/amidst-backlash-dawkins-doubles-down-on-downs-syndrome-moral-choice-is-to-a


#2

I love to hear “atheists” contradict themselves by appealing to morality.


#3

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:
I love to hear “atheists” contradict themselves by appealing to morality.[/quote]

Why must an action conform to deontology to be moral? Consequentialism would justify Darwin’s position.


#4

Here’s an interesting question: should mentally disabled individuals be free to reproduce?


#5

[quote]Bismark wrote:
Here’s an interesting question: should mentally disabled individuals be free to reproduce? [/quote]

Sure why not? Democrats are people too right?


#6

Utilitarianism is a bankrupt paradigm that adherents will drop anyway as soon as it conflicts with their ideology. Use an act utilitarian argument to oppose gay marriage and the atheist will appeal to “human rights” - a concept they either don’t understand or have warped to suit their own ideology.


#7

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

[quote]Bismark wrote:
Here’s an interesting question: should mentally disabled individuals be free to reproduce? [/quote]

Sure why not? Democrats are people too right?[/quote]

Hahaha. But seriously, should they?


#8

[quote]Bismark wrote:

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

[quote]Bismark wrote:
Here’s an interesting question: should mentally disabled individuals be free to reproduce? [/quote]

Sure why not? Democrats are people too right?[/quote]

Hahaha. But seriously, should they?[/quote]

As long as there is no “potential for being a productive member of society” clause attached to reproduction, then yes. Otherwise, mentally disabled would not be the only ones told that they cant have children because they might burden an already over burdened system.


#9

[quote]Bismark wrote:

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

[quote]Bismark wrote:
Here’s an interesting question: should mentally disabled individuals be free to reproduce? [/quote]

Sure why not? Democrats are people too right?[/quote]

Hahaha. But seriously, should they?[/quote]

Fortunately I’m not in a position where I have to make a decision like that. My inclination would be to take a case by case approach involving medical professionals and the families.


#10

Also, who decides where the line of “you are to mentally handicapped to have children” really is. Seems like a dangerous line to draw.


#11

[quote]jbpick86 wrote:
Also, who decides where the line of “you are to mentally handicapped to have children” really is. Seems like a dangerous line to draw. [/quote]

I think it boils down to, “Is the mentally handicapped individual (or couple) able to properly care for that child?”

If a mentally handicapped individual can only live in an assisted living facility because they can’t properly care for themselves, how will they care for a baby? Or an adolescent for that matter?

I don’t know what the answer is.


#12

[quote]Dr. Pangloss wrote:

[quote]jbpick86 wrote:
Also, who decides where the line of “you are to mentally handicapped to have children” really is. Seems like a dangerous line to draw. [/quote]

I think it boils down to, “Is the mentally handicapped individual (or couple) able to properly care for that child?”

If a mentally handicapped individual can only live in an assisted living facility because they can’t properly care for themselves, how will they care for a baby? Or an adolescent for that matter?

I don’t know what the answer is.
[/quote]

But what is properly care for a child. There are plenty of people who are not responsible for themselves yet are having babies left and right with no real means of caring for them. Is that really any different?


#13

[quote]Dr. Pangloss wrote:

[quote]jbpick86 wrote:
Also, who decides where the line of “you are to mentally handicapped to have children” really is. Seems like a dangerous line to draw. [/quote]

I think it boils down to, “Is the mentally handicapped individual (or couple) able to properly care for that child?”

If a mentally handicapped individual can only live in an assisted living facility because they can’t properly care for themselves, how will they care for a baby? Or an adolescent for that matter?

I don’t know what the answer is.
[/quote]

There is plenty of fully capable people that fail to take care of their kids too.

This idea is too, way too much into the “government control” spectrum. People should be free period. And yes that means, as a free society, we will have some messes to clean up.


#14

You are making this too hard people. Dawkins is sold on how smart he is – I find him to be one of the most insufferably arrogant people I have ever heard. He especially likes being way smarter than Americans. Basically every talk he gives is telling people just that and the greatest praise he will give an audience is that they are almost smart enough to see how smart he truly is (though he does have to still help them along).

He just showed his true colors that people dumber than him are better off dead. His entire take on religion is that it is just stupid, superstitious people being hypocrites. And yes, I know people that are way smarter than he is, ever was or ever will be. I’m just not impressed with him, his ego or the shrillness of his self-aggrandizement.

– jj


#15

[quote]Bismark wrote:

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:
I love to hear “atheists” contradict themselves by appealing to morality.[/quote]

Why must an action conform to deontology to be moral? Consequentialism would justify Darwin’s position.[/quote]

Isn’t consequentialism part of deontology? But that is beside the point. I’m not arguing with his brand of morality. I’m just noting that “atheists” always have their own gods. He worships at an alter just like everyone else. His dogma is just “desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering”. He even lets this guiding voice dictate who he thinks should live and die apparently. Kind of sounds like a religious nut if you ask me.


#16

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:
Isn’t consequentialism part of deontology? But that is beside the point. I’m not arguing with his brand of morality. I’m just noting that “atheists” always have their own gods. He worships at an alter just like everyone else. His dogma is just “desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering”. He even lets this guiding voice dictate who he thinks should live and die apparently. Kind of sounds like a religious nut if you ask me.[/quote]

Come on, dude! A god is only a god if you refer to it that way! A rose by any other name would not smell as sweet-everybody knows that.


#17

[quote]Bismark wrote:
Here’s an interesting question: should mentally disabled individuals be free to reproduce? [/quote]

I don’t think so but I also don’t think we need to be legislating against it (and it wouldn’t be realistic). It opens up a slippery slope and I presume there’s not a lot of mentally disabled individuals reproducing as it is so there’s no need to correct a non-existent problem.

I’m against anyone who can’t properly care for their offspring and raise them as productive members of society but I couldn’t a case for making that into law. If you say mentally disabled people can’t reproduce, where is the line drawn? What’s the IQ you need to reproduce? I wouldn’t want to be in a society where only the elite are afforded that right. But when I look around the world and even the US, reduction in birthrates for those that have no hope in properly caring for their children would likely reduce the depravity so many children are born into.


#18

[quote]jbpick86 wrote:

[quote]Dr. Pangloss wrote:

[quote]jbpick86 wrote:
Also, who decides where the line of “you are to mentally handicapped to have children” really is. Seems like a dangerous line to draw. [/quote]

I think it boils down to, “Is the mentally handicapped individual (or couple) able to properly care for that child?”

If a mentally handicapped individual can only live in an assisted living facility because they can’t properly care for themselves, how will they care for a baby? Or an adolescent for that matter?

I don’t know what the answer is.
[/quote]

But what is properly care for a child. There are plenty of people who are not responsible for themselves yet are having babies left and right with no real means of caring for them. Is that really any different?[/quote]

No, it isn’t really different which is why this is an interesting hypothetical to ponder but isn’t realistic in current society. No one would stand for refusing the right to reproduce for the sorry and downtrodden.


#19

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]Dr. Pangloss wrote:

[quote]jbpick86 wrote:
Also, who decides where the line of “you are to mentally handicapped to have children” really is. Seems like a dangerous line to draw. [/quote]

I think it boils down to, “Is the mentally handicapped individual (or couple) able to properly care for that child?”

If a mentally handicapped individual can only live in an assisted living facility because they can’t properly care for themselves, how will they care for a baby? Or an adolescent for that matter?

I don’t know what the answer is.
[/quote]

There is plenty of fully capable people that fail to take care of their kids too.

This idea is too, way too much into the “government control” spectrum. People should be free period. And yes that means, as a free society, we will have some messes to clean up. [/quote]

Ultimately, I’m with this position. The costs of government having control of who is able to reproduce is too high. You make a salient point concerning fully capable people being fully capable of shitty parenting.


#20

Dawkins is a moral relativist. His suffering may be another’s happiness and a downs syndrome child is a perfect example of this. The pure happiness of those with DS and the happiness they bring to those around them is astounding. To call that suffering and deem himself the decider of happiness is, as others have alluded to, an extreme act of arrogance.