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Watson, Dawkins: What Is It with Scientists Who Become Crusading Atheists and Raging Bigots?

Wesley J. Smith

Down syndrome.jpg

First, there was James Watson who came out as a eugenicist and also remarked about how "some anti-Semitism is justified" (he later apologized). Now Richard Dawkins has let out his own inner bigot by claiming that women have an ethical duty to abort Down babies. From the Telegraph story:

Richard Dawkins, the atheist writer, has claimed it is "immoral" to allow unborn babies with Down’s syndrome to live. The Oxford professor posted a message on Twitter saying would-be parents who learn their child has the condition have an ethical responsibility to "abort it and try again"…

He claimed that the important question in the abortion debate is not "is it ‘human’?" but "can it suffer?" and insisted that people have no right to object to abortion if they eat meat.

The last feeble defense is a non sequitur. He wants Down babies aborted because they are disabled, not because they can’t suffer — a questionable premise — while late-term fetuses.

Dawkins’s bigotry goes beyond the question of whether women should have a right to decide to abort a Down fetus. It is a claim that they are morally required to do so.

I miss our missing Down brothers and sisters. They are some of the most beautiful people on the planet. If "all you need is love," they have it in quantities to spare. It is a lamentable tragedy that so many are killed while gestating. We are all the poorer for it.

Atheists insist that they don’t have to believe in God to be moral. I agree. But they do have to believe in human exceptionalism.

Otherwise, we end up dividing humanity between the fit and the unfit — which essentially is why Dawkins pushes eugenic abortion as a moral obligation.

Photo source: Rich Johnson/Flickr.

Cross-posted at Human Exceptionalism.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.

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