Wow. Richard Dawkins has had a way recently of expressing his evolutionary ethics in pretty much the most tactless way possible. A few weeks ago, he was in hot water for his defense of “mild” pedophilia. Now, he’s in the hot seat again for saying it was immoral not to abort an unborn baby with Down’s Syndrome. The exact twitter interchange went like this:
The geneticist’s latest Twitter row broke out after he responded to another user who said she would be faced with “a real ethical dilemma” if she became pregnant with a baby with Down’s syndrome.
Dawkins tweeted: “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”
But it doesn’t end there. Oh no. Dawkins was forced to defend his comments later. And, honestly, his subsequent comments may be worse than the first:
If your morality is based, as mine is, on a desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering, the decision to deliberately give birth to a Down’s baby, when you have the choice to abort it early in the pregnancy, might actually be immoral from the point of view of the child’s own welfare.
The child’s own welfare? Perhaps I’m missing something. From an evolutionary perspective, what exactly is a worse welfare than not being alive anymore? Seriously. It’s not as if Dawkins is saying that the child will finally be free from Down’s Syndrome and don his angel wings in heaven. Dawkins is a materialist. Which means that, to him, life isn’t just everything—it’s the only thing. How in the universe can he say that the child’s own welfare is bettered by death? That doesn’t make any sense to me.
And honestly it sounds vaguely similar to the arguments made by eugenecists. “We can end the world of inferior genetics by killing the unfit.” Where does that end? Dawkins thinks we should abort children with Down’s Syndrome. What about children with autism? Aspberger’s? Where do you draw the line? Honestly, you could say that a “normal” child born into a poor family is worse off than a Down’s Syndrome child born into an affluent family. So, according to the rule of “the child’s own welfare,” poor children should be outlawed and poor people should abort all of their pregnancies. Which sounds oddly similar to what is actually being recommended elsewhere by Dawkins and his fanboys.
And that brings up this whole issue of immorality and morality. Where does Dawkins get off invoking those concepts? In an evolutionary model, there is no such thing as morality. Even his version of it: increasing the sum of happiness and reducing suffering. That sounds really nice and everything. But that means you have to define whose happiness is important, what constitutes actual happiness, and what you mean by suffering. The evolutionist materialist has absolutely no way of defining any of those terms in a way that is not outrageously subjective and arbitrary. And who is to say that a mother with a Down’s baby isn’t happy, or that her child isn’t happy? Dawkins? Wow. Just wow. So Dawkins alone defines for everyone else what is and isn’t happiness, and therefore what is and isn’t moral. And he calls Christians close-minded bigots?
And lest you think Dawkins is just a lone voice in the wilderness, what he is recommending is extremely consistent with the logical consequences of an atheist, materialist, and evolutionary worldview. No matter how much Stephen Jay Gould and other more tactful voices in the atheist camp want to drive a wedge between the theory of evolution and Social Darwinism, the fact is that Darwinism and Social Darwinism are, and always have been, handmaidens. If atheists and evolutionists are appalled by these logically consistent eugenic statements, perhaps they should be rejecting Darwinism, rather than just rejecting Dawkins.