So why does anyone, especially the DN editors, care what Richard Dawkins thinks?
Why was this incident or opinion, of all the opinions across the country,
highlighted for an editorial essay?Mr. Dawkins obviously has a
different set of standards to live by than most of the readers of the DN, or
not. So why use this page to highlight his opinion rather than just ignore it
and not publicize it. How many of the readers of the DN would have even known
about his tweet had it not been highlighted in this essay?
Personally I think the point of abortion rights is that a woman gets to choose
for or against such actions herself within limits. That's his
opinion, probably wouldn't be mine carte blanche.To the point
of the article though, the voice of the other end of the slippery slope no
choice at all is in full throttle in America. Personhood amendments, and legal
regulations on providers are rampant.You find one voice on the left
and sound the alarm while casually mentioning two slopes, when in fact the right
hand slope is up, greased, fully functioning. It's like when
the media has a discussion regarding climate change with one supporter and one
nay sayer, when in fact it should be 97 supporters and one nay sayer.
Do we choose for ourselves the terms and conditions for giving life? Will we
find that it is ethical to abort female babies or male babies? Will we find
that is is ethical to abort a baby that doesn't have blue eyes, or brown or
hazel? What are the conditions that we will accept as being the
"perfect" baby?Mankind has only been given the option to
invite children into the world through the creative act. God decides whom to
send. Each person has infinite worth. Each person has a purpose and a mission.
The world needs every type of person to soften us, to teach us to care for
those who are not "perfect", to remind us that some have physical flaws
that handicap them, but that all of us have hidden flaws that handicap our
eternal progression. We need to deal with life as it is, not as we
wish it were. Babies are precious and they should all be treated as gifts from
Who the heck is Richard Dawkins?... and why does ANYBODY care what HE says?It's his opinion. Just because he thinks it... doesn't mean
we have to do it!Do we just follow Evolutionary Biologists, or other
people who tell us it's OK to abort your babies???I mean it may
make you feel more OK about your decision to hear that other people agree that
you should abort... but I doubt anybody's going to go out and get an
abortion because this guy (who evidently has some clout in some circles) said
@pragmatistferlife – “the right hand slope is up, greased, fully
functioning.”Thanks for adding some accurate perspective to a
topic that typically has none.And to ECR’s point, I think the
whole reason for printing the article (despite the faux-protestations of the 1st
two paragraphs) is to give justification for this extremism on the Right.But if we take those two paragraphs seriously (even when the author does
not) we should recognize that this issue will never go away if the extremists
remain the only voices at the table. We could end this issue (at least being a
hot button perpetual political issue) once and for all if a reasonable
compromise we’re enacted into law.How about this – pick
a time period when a fetus develops most of the characteristics of being a
person, say somewhere between 7 and 20 weeks, and make abortion illegal for any
time after that (life of mother exceptions, etc…) - prior to that it is
between the parents and their doctor.Now which side do you think
will oppose this vehemently? And so this issue will never go away until all
blastocysts are issued social security cards.
From an evolutionary biology point of view, where you are are talking about
genetic traits becoming more common in the species over time, his statement
probably makes sense. To people dealing with real life, it
doesn't.He's entitled to express his opinion. The rest of
us are entitled to ignore him.
Tyler D,A human being is teachable until he reaches teenage years,
but until he is about four, he doesn't have enough "skills" to
comprehend much. His vocabulary is too small. His frame of reference is too
limited. If we used your logic, it would be permissible to terminate life
whenever YOU have decided that that person doesn't "qualify" for
life. How about the aged? With a glut of "baby-boomers", at what age
would you give them the dreaded "pink pill" to terminate their lives,
after all, we can't have anyone around that inhibits our idea of a perfect
and pleasurable life.When a woman has consented to sex (not rape and
not incest), a pregnancy should not be terminated. I know that some would say
that when the health of the mother is in question, that abortion is allowable.
Many families have faced that possibility, including ours. We choose to NOT
abort. A innocent life must never be destroyed because we are too involved in
our own life to care about those who are the most innocent among us.
Mike, you have your opinion and you have a right to it and to express it. In
perspective however you are the right slippery slope I talked about. "God decides whom to send." I absolutely disagree with this as do
many (millions) of others. Therefore in terms of public policy my opinion and
the millions of other like me count as much as yours. Therefore in the course
of policy discussion we, as the citizens of the United States get to decide at
what point a fetus should be protected. If that has eternal consequences so be
it, I doubt it though. The fact of the matter is we have had that
discussion and it resides in Roe v Wade. 26 weeks is the standard. At the same
time there is nothing in the law that requires you or your family to abort a
fetus at any stage. So if you think it's wrong and has eternal
consequences don't. Many of us don't.Now if you can
prove that God exists and that the single agreed upon God has spoken in terms
procreation policy, I'm all ears.
@Mike Richards – “If we used your logic…”Mike, my logic was all about not going down any slippery slopes, which again
was the (disingenuous) point of the article. Going from a fetus still developing
a brain stem, limbs, organs, etc. to terminating toddlers is a place you went to
all on your own.Your point seems to suggest that we cannot draw any
lines on this issue, yet our entire legal framework is built on the fact that we
draw legal lines all the time (e.g., under 65mph legal, over 65mph illegal). So let me ask you a question – when does a soul enter a body? Does
that happen at the moment of conception or at some point in fetal
development?Also, please tell us how you would force mothers to
carry all pregnancies to term, especially early on? If they used, for example,
the morning after pill do you advocate prison terms for this offense? These questions become increasingly relevant as medical technology continues
to make birth control and early term abortions easier to obtain all the time.
Tyler,Re: "Now which side do you think will oppose this
vehemently?"... (limiting abortion to somewhere between 7 and 20
weeks)...Your question has already been answered!2013...
Texas tried to limit some abortions after 20 weeks ("20 weeks" is a more
palatable way of saying a "5 month old", just 3 months from full term).
Remember the excessive response from Planned Parenthood, Abortion
Advocates, and Democrats nationwide? It lead national news for weeks!Remember beautiful blond layer Wendy Davis?"On June 25, 2013,
Davis held an eleven-hour-long filibuster to block Senate Bill 5, a measure
which included more restrictive abortion regulations for Texas. The filibuster
played a major role in Senate Democrats' success in delaying passage of the
bill beyond the midnight deadline for the end of the legislative
session".She became a Democrat HERO for her filibuster. (note:
Republicans who filibusters are villains... Democrats who filibuster are heros)
anyway... she became an overnight sensation for her filibuster. Now she's
running for Governor of Texas. Some want her to run for PRESIDENT!There were no protests from the right.... It happened!It answers your question, "Who would oppose this vehemently"??
Mike,"Many families have faced that possibility, including ours. We
choose to NOT abort."Here's a point many on the right
ignore...the pro-choice crowd absolutely supports you in that decision. You
even referenced choice. Pro-choice advocates don't mean you SHOULD abort
when the mother's health is at risk, but that she should have the right to
do so. Abortion really boils down to the same thing all laws boil
down to: When you have two people's rights clash where granting to one
diminishes the other, there must be a compromise. Here, the baby and the mother
are those two people. Why is the mother not "innocent"? If a mother
gets pregnant, only to find out 4 weeks later that her life is at serious risk
and the baby is unlikely to survive, why should be we deny her the right to
survive? The compromise was reached in Roe v Wade where abortion
was granted up until the point it was deemed the baby was viable outside the
womb--that being the determination that it was a fully-formed human being.
Isn't it interesting that those who were allowed to live now choose to
destroy other lives that are coming to earth. Who gave them that
"right". The Constitution, if we believe the same-sex
"marriage" crowd, tells us that we are all equal and that we must be
treated equally. Surely destroying a life is not treating that person equally,
especially when that person has done nothing wrong, nothing against society,
except to accept the invitation offered to come to earth.What kind
of barbarians has society become when people think that they can kill whomever
they wish as long as they "say" that the life is inconsequential? Who
made that life inconsequential? Did our Creator, who made all things so that
life could exist, or did some of the people on this earth who have taken to
themselves the role of judge, jury and executioner?We look with
disgust at societies that destroyed those whom they thought inferior, including
the NAZIs. How will our society be judged when we are shown to have allowed
over 55,000,000 of the unborn in America to be destroyed?
Mike,You say destroy other lives, I say prevent lives from even
beginning. In other words, they are not a human being in the early stages of
pregnancy. They have to potential to become so, naturally, but that
doesn't mean they are. You are ignoring the fact that you too are making a
determination at which point you are satisfied that they are human. Many
believe using condoms to be immoral because it destroys sperm. There is some
Biblical justification for this point of view (Gen 38:9). Each use of a condom
destroys, on average, 180 million potential lives. Many believe that only to be
the seed, and it's not a human until the egg is fertilized. For me, a seed
is not a tree. A seed placed in the ground is not a tree. It's not a tree
until it sprouts into one. A fetus which lacks the possibility to live outside
the mother, regardless the intervention, is a part of the mother's body,
not an independent life.
ECR, 2 Bits, and Tyler D,People care about Dawkins because he is a
constant (shrill) voice against those who hold a religious opinion.He certainly does not represent all atheists but he certainly does speak for
some. Irrespective of that, when someone of his stature speaks something so
abhorrent, it should be noted and spoken against.
Pro Choice simply asserts that women are sovereign over their own bodies. This
has been a long time in coming. Traditionally a female goes from being her
father's property to being her husbands property. Many still think this
(this is stridently the view in Islam).So what about a situation
where sex is forced on a woman, in or out of marriage? This is rape, and in
that case a woman has a right to abort a pregnancy which results.
There is no question that Hitler would agree with Mr. Dawkins. He is putting
himself in good company.
The typical DN reader would learn an enormous amount by reading one of
Re: OHBU "Many believe using condoms to be immoral because it destroys
sperm. There is some Biblical justification for this point of view (Gen
38:9)..."In fact in Bible times was it not believed that the
entire human being was in the male seed? In that scenario the woman was
essentially just a flower pot. So spilling one's male seed on the ground
was literally taking life. We now understand that half of a new
life comes from the woman. But we are slow to understand that women have rights
equal to men. A lot of our social conflict centers on this fact.
I agree with the basic premise that Richard Dawkins' tweet was appalling. I
don't understand, however, the assertion that he's talking from the
"bottom of the slippery slope." I see no express assertion by him for or
against abortion. Certainly I see no slippery slope argument being asserted. The discussion of a slippery slope is confusing and misses the bigger
point: that what his deplorable position actually reveals, apparently
unwittingly, is a deeply troublesome aspect of current American law: that a
person could electively abort an unwanted child for essentially any reason.
Nothing in the laws prevents that—for the price of a genetic test, a
couple could take the steps he promotes.
Who had a choice? Did the 55,000,000 unborn babies who were aborted have a
choice? When did they get to speak? Who represented them?My hubby
did a little checking for me. He said that the average number of live births
per year in America, starting with 1976 and ending in 2013, was about 3,800,000.
So, 37 times 3.8 million is about 140.6 million babies born. There was one
abortion for every 2.5 live births! Then my hubby did a little more
research and found that only about 6% of pregnancies are "high risk"
where either the baby or the mother could be at risk. So for the approximately
200 million women who were pregnant during that time, only about 12 million
would be in the "high risk" category. That means that 43,000,000 babies
were aborted where there was no medical "high risk" reason to destroy
that unborn baby.Who spoke for those babies? Did they have a lawyer
represent them?Would a moral nation destroy its unborn babies?
Twin Lights - I certainly don't disagree with the point you have made. You
are obviously more aware of Mr. Dawkins' fame than I am (I had to Google
his name to learn more.) I guess my point is that when we give notoriety to the
narcissistic loud mouths of the world, regardless of what side of the political
spectrum they come from, aren't we just doing exactly what they want us to
do? I agree that extremism needs to be met with full force in the name of
moderation but it seems like sometimes just ignoring that extremism might be the
best way to silence it.Of course, as I write those words I agree
they sound silly and illogical. But it remains a dilemma...at least for me.
In a complicated situation like this, it should be the decision of pregnant
woman and her doctor, not the decision of Mr. Dawkins nor big government's.
@L White – “Would a moral nation destroy its unborn
babies?”But this is the whole point of the debate - at what
point does it make sense (logically & scientifically) to refer to a fetus as
a baby? The rhetoric from the Religious Right assumes (by their ubiquitous use
of the word “babies”) this is already a given, but for millions
(even most) Americans it is not.If you want to say after many weeks
of development in the womb it is a baby, fine. But if you are going claim that
status for a blastocyst, it is fair to ask on what grounds you make this
claim.A 3 day old blastocyst is ~150 cells, which may sound like a
lot but is over 99,000 LESS cells than the brain of a fly. Are you as troubled
by swatting a fly as you would be using the morning after pill? If not, why
not?@Mike RichardsIt’s disappointing that rather
than engage in conversation you chose make abstract and non-sequitur speeches
(there was a good article just the other day in DN on this very trait).
When is a human viable? After college graduation? After working thirty years
in the job force? After raising children? When can we say that that
person's life has fulfilled its purpose?Surely we don't
kill babies because they can't talk or toddlers bcause they can't
build a house. What should be our expectations for unborn babies? Should our
only concern be whether we want to be "bothered" with a baby? Should
every Tom, Dick and Harry become a judge with authority to destroy life? Is
that what we want in society?Killing an unborn baby is not a small
thing, whether it happens on the day of conception or weeks later. That unborn
baby in on its way through mortalilty; it just hasn't developed to the
point that it can act on its own, and it will not develop to that point for
about 20 years. Using the logic of those who think lightly of destroying life,
any person who cannot completely care for himself is a candidate for
extinction.A moral and just society must expect its members to
respect life - from conception on.
@2bitsThere were other limits in that Texas bill Wendy was filibustering
that would've (and have) resulted in around half of Texas clinics shutting
down (since the legislature passed it later in another special session). It
wasn't just about the matter of a 20 week limit though courts have struck
down those types of bans too. Mississippi set up its own trap law to
try and force the last provider in the state to shut down but the courts struck
that down because it'd have eliminated legal abortion in the state.
Some of you seem to think that before abortion was legal there were no
abortions. Or that making abortion illegal will stop abortions. There have
been abortions as long as women have been becoming pregnant.
Now let's consider what Dawkins said "Abort it and try again," he
counseled. “It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the
choice.”There is a social context here. If the pregnancy was
in France where there is an elaborate network supporting pregnant and birthing
moms that would be one thing, but if we are talking about the United States
where health care support is stingy and vengeful (like Utah) then I think
Dawkins advice is pretty good advice.
Again... why does anybody care what this guy tweets???
Did Prof. Dawkins offer his justification for why he believes it would be
immoral to carry a fetus with Down's Syndrome to term? I have been unable
to find this and would be curious to hear his reasoning. I can't fathom it
myself. I do agree with the position of the Down's Syndrome Association
quoted in a UK source in response to this story:“At the
Down’s Syndrome Association we do not believe Down’s syndrome in
itself should be a reason for termination, however we realise that families must
make their own choice."
RE: Karen R "Did Prof. Dawkins offer his justification for why he believes
it would be immoral to carry a fetus with Down's Syndrome to term?"I too am interested in Dawkins justification. For the record I would
have a hard time deciding to terminate. Since the woman's body is being
used, I think the woman has the ultimate decision to make, with advice to be
sure, but the decision is hers.
@marxistRe: "Pro Choice simply asserts that women are sovereign
over their own bodies"....Yes but it also asserts that women are
sovereign over the bodies they may create. That's the problem. There
are TWO bodies to be considered now, not just hers.===============Re: "Traditionally a female goes from being her
father's property to being her husbands property"...Seriously? That's how you see it?? We're talking about women in
America you know...===============Re: "So what about
a situation where sex is forced on a woman"...That is a
different topic. We are talking about CHOOSING to abort a child you conceived
intentionally, and try again... because it has a syndrome (read the letter).We can save your tangent for another day. I think you will find most
people are not as entrenched as you think when rape is involved. I know the
Utah GOP platform gives an exception for that. The National GOP platform
doesn't say a rape victim can't make that choice as well.==================Maybe it's not quite as black-and-white as
Since nobody else has, I guess I will ask it (rhetorically speaking)....What if Dawkins' mother had made the choice being proposed by
Dawkins (assuming that the means were available to detect his handicaps
prenatally)?Kinda get the feeling that Dawkins may harbor some
resentment. Quite a paradox, really.
This debate is interesting, but it's mostly just an academic exercise,
because the numbers of children born with Downs Syndrome has dropped
dramatically. In other words, what Dawkins suggested is already
being widely practiced.For those who disagree with Dawkins'
suggestion, you'd probably be better served to try and outlaw prenatal
tests, since people (evidently) can't be trusted with the test results.
Richard Dawkins is part of the elitist group that thinks religion is for the
weak and that everyone should bow to their superior intellect. I
find his comments shallow and lacking basic human concepts of love and
"In most circumstances, the idea of the slippery slope is an intellectually
lazy way to use fear of extremes to cast doubt on more moderate stances"
Umm, in the author's opinion perhaps but extreme views are seldom accepted
outright; but like the frog in the boiling water can arrive unnoticed when
accomplished by degree. Mr. Dawkins is an aggressively hostile atheist his
opinion is not surprising.
ECR,I agree we should not give a platform to the "narcissistic
loud mouths of the world" but Dawkins already has a platform - and a pretty
big one. He has just over a million followers on Twitter.If he were
just anyone, then I would agree that ignoring him might well be the best way to
go. But that is simply not the case.He already has a huge
megaphone. When he uses it to make highly objectionable statements such as
this, he deserves to be blown back - hard.
According to the CDC, which ABC News quoted on December 1, 2009, Down Syndrome
births are UP sharply since 1979. They reported a 31% increase in babies born
with Down Syndrome. The December 1, 2009 report reversed a November 2, 2009 ABC
News report that told us that Down Syndrome births were down.The CDC
tracks that kind of information. It would have accurate records.
@J ThompsonI stand corrected on the absolute number of Downs
Syndrome births, though the picture is somewhat muddled. According
to a journal about Prenatal testing, more women are having the Downs Syndrome
prenatal test, and there has been a slight increase in the number of women who
get a positive test result (ie, their fetus has Downs Syndrome) and who elect to
give birth anyway, though the percentage of those who terminate is somewhere
between 60 and 90%, meaning the introduction of testing has resulted in many
abortions.More women are electing to have children later in life,
which increases the chances of Downs Syndrome, and there are more Hispanic
births, with significant portions of those women not getting prenatal
testing.So, the net result is a small increase in the number of
Downs Syndrome births, over all, but also an increase in the number of
terminations of Downs Syndrome pregnancies, since prenatal testing has been
occurring.Support programs and options for women who do have Downs
Syndrome children have improved, so it is not as difficult as it previously was
to raise a child with DS.Certainly not a simple issue.
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you
apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." (Jeremiah 1:5)Just as God knew Jeremiah before he was conceived, God knew each of us before
we were born. He also knows all of the innocent, precious babies who've
been butchered through abortions. The fact that we celebrate this evil confirms
our fallen condition.
I will first state that I support abortion rights and that like Richard Dawkins
I am an atheist. However I would also like to ask that people do not judge all
of atheism by Dawkins. It's true that he is a loud voice in the atheist
community but he has many, many detractors in the community as well. Some of his
past comments make this look rather tame and there are many, many atheists who
have called him on his garbage. As the parent of a child with Down
syndrome (we did not know until she was born but it wouldn't have mattered
for my wife and I as we would have kept her no matter what) I have been worried
by the increased rate of abortion for babies with Down syndrome. And contrary to
what many are saying here the vast majority of those aborting these children are
Christian. But the desire to have "perfect" kids is very powerful in our
society. This is sad for me and what Dawkins said sickens me; but he isn't
really the problem. The problem is fear of anything not perfect.
We don't know when life begins. It's obviously somewhere between
conception and birth inclusively. We don't know the answer, and I'm
pretty sure it's unknowable. There are only two clear and obvious
boundaries in the matter: conception and birth. Anything in between is a gray
area. So the question is this: do we err on the side of preserving life, or do
we err on the side of destroying life? How we choose defines who we are.
@ 2 bitsAgreed - it isn't a black/white issue and the factors
involved in the decision differ from case to case. Yet anti-choice proponents
presume to know what this decision should be and, among the most extreme, the
answer is indeed black/white.But isn't there a conflict of
interest at play for those with religious objections? Don't they risk
being on the wrong side of their god's judgment if they don't behave
as required, i.e., they must both personally object and work to "save"
their society too? Where this is the belief, how do we distinguish between true
conviction and saving one's own skin? How can one truly know in the
presence of a threat?I don't believe in gods and I choose life.
I think we should do everything we can to minimize the need for abortions. The
fact remains, however, that there always will be a need. If we respect the
notion of religious freedom, aren't we obligated to allow people in this
situation to apply their beliefs as they see fit? Or are some afraid NOT to
interfere because of the implications for themselves?
Mr. Dawkins has sparked a conversation with his comments. Frankly, I'd have
been surprised if his opinion was different. He's an evolutionary
biologist. However, part of the problem with a philosophical discussion like
this is that, in Utah, it never makes it past abortion. Here, since abortion is
taboo under any circumstances, the rest of the conversation is irrelevant. And
that's where we drop the ball. For instance, what kind of support are we,
as a society, willing to offer in the way of assistance for this individual and
their caregivers? Not much, judging by what I read in this publication. Nothing
in the way of health care, that's for sure. We've convinced ourselves
that's the 'moral' thing to do. It's the magic of religion
as an enabler, it needn't bode any further discussion.
"So why does anyone, especially the DN editors, care what Richard Dawkins
thinks?"Because Dawkins is endemic of the hate that permeates
the abortion industry.Planned Parenthood was founded by Margaret
Sanger, a eugenics zealot who advocated abortion as a way to eliminate
undesirable populations (disabled, minorities, homosexuals). PP still
disproportionately aborts minority children. Such hate continues with vicious
attitudes that assume that the child has NO rights or value; by people who
refuse to consider that there is a point that a child can survive outside the
womb. Because acknowledging anyone else is heresy to female supremacists who
feign perpetual victimhood as an excuse for rationalizing unconscionable
perpetration.The abortion industry not only deserves to be labeled
disgusting when they advocate late term abortions, but also when they oppose
legitimate laws designed to prohibit abortion based upon gender or race. Gay
fundamentalists, who are convinced that homosexuality is genetic, are just plain
dumb for siding with feminist bigots who advocate unrestricted, unquestioned
abortion.Ironically: Abortion extremists that oppose any and all
restrictions on abortion are the same people who fostered the legal environment
that allowed Kermit Gosnell to butcher women in unsanitary, and unregulated
clinics. Feminists hate women.
I would have relished hearing a conversation between Dawkins and Isobel Hawking
had she had previous knowledge of what her son was to develop and endure had he
given her the same advice and how he would have justified it to her or Stephen.
@sukiyhtakyFYI, Ms. Isobel Hawking's son, Dr. Stephen Hawking
is a world famous scientist and has made tremendous contribution to our society.
Very few people, even without any disability at all, can achieve his
accomplishments. Ms. Isobel Hawking could not be more proud of her
son.You comment is meaningless.
If a person is "pro-choice," then he should be in favor of individual
choice across the board. Including the choice (for instance) of a baker to
decline to supply a wedding cake to a gay wedding.If that is not
true of you, then you are not "pro-choice." You are only pro- one
particular choice, which (for some reason) you are too timid to name. Be honest with yourself, and us.