Intelligent Design

Richard Dawkins goes after people with Down syndrome… again

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Richard Dawkins by David Shankbone (2010) New York City’s Cooper Union to discuss his book The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution (CC BY 3.0)

Richard Dawkins appeared on Brendan O’Connor’s RTE radio show in Ireland on May 9, probably on the assumption that he’d bash Catholics and God. Apparently, he shared his “termination” views re people born with a disability. As it happens, the daughter of radio host O’Connor, has Down syndrome. It’s at the 1 hr 17 min mark at Brendan O’Connor. We don’t have transcript but O’Connor is considered to have handled the matter with dignity.

Something like that happened in 2014 when former Alaska governor Sarah Palin got wind of Dawkins’s views, widely aired, that it was immoral not to abort kids with Down’s. She said would instruct her son Trig (who also has Down syndrome) to be polite.

Brendan O’Connor

It’s interesting that, for decades, Dawkins could say the most awful things and still be popular. But there’s some evidence, noted here, that he’s starting to lose his shine, along with Darwinism in general.

We’ll keep an eye on that one; could be an early signal of a trend.

Ken Francis, hat tipped below, says that Dawkins should have been asked these questions:

He should’ve been asked the following questions:

  1. Where do these moral values you talk about come from?
  2. How can humans, if we’re animals according to Darwinism, act morally if animals aren’t moral agents?
  3. How can humans perform moral acts if they don’t have freedom of the will?
  4. If a Down syndrome baby has moral worth when born, why don’t they have it in the womb; is this argument based on geographical location and/or size?

See also: Mind Matters News Why do some famous materialist scientists hate philosophy? Takehome: Perhaps some scientists disparage philosophy because they do not like to admit that science starts with choices and choices entail philosophy. Philosopher of biology Massimo Pigliucci takes Richard Dawkins to task for that but he might have said the same of Stephen Hawking:

Hat tip: Ken Francis, co-author with Theodore Dalrymple of The Terror of Existence: From Ecclesiastes to Theatre of the Absurd

2 Replies to “Richard Dawkins goes after people with Down syndrome… again

  1. 1
    paige says:

    I certainly would not abort a child with Down’s syndrome but a friend of mine had a daughter who died in pain a couple months after birth because of a genetic disorder that she unknowingly carried. She has told me that if she had known, she would have aborted her.

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    I would have to disagree with Dawkins on this. I believe the right to life should extend to its very beginnings. That said, there are very difficult decisions to be made about what to do if the unborn is diagnosed with a condition that means a very short life involving considerable suffering which we can do nothing about at our current state of medical knowledge.

    We have to face the fact that caring for people with even more manageable conditions can take up a lot of time and resources. That is no reason for not caring for them but we need to be honest about the commitment required and be prepared to provide it.

    Where do these moral values you talk about come from?

    Moral values, in my view, come from us and by my standards aborting a fetus because of a diagnosis of Down’s Syndrome would be immoral.

    How can humans, if we’re animals according to Darwinism, act morally if animals aren’t moral agents?

    We are animals capable of forming moral judgements. Why should that be a problem?

    How can humans perform moral acts if they don’t have freedom of the will?

    They can’t. Was Peter morally culpable when he denied knowing Jesus three times even when he had been warned specifically that is what he would do? It would seem he had no choice. That Biblical story suggests we have no free will.

    In my view, however, we have a degree of free will but it’s not unbounded.

    If a Down syndrome baby has moral worth when born, why don’t they have it in the womb;…

    Good question.

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