Dawkins, Death and Immorality
In the book of Proverbs we find this interesting passage: “all who hate me [God] love death” (Prov. 8:36). Yes, there does seem to be a real connection between the two. Those who reject God and shake their fist at him are rejecting a God of life, and are choosing to side with death.
And it is no surprise to see how often the two go together. Perhaps the majority of atheists and secularists are pro-death, as in pro-abortion. For example, the atheist philosopher Peter Singer is not only pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia, but pro-infanticide as well.
And now another uber-atheist has come out showing his hatred of life. His recent remarks have been widely reported, and widely condemned. I refer to Richard Dawkins who said that if a woman is pregnant with a Down’s Syndrome baby, she should “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”
The reaction was indeed quite strong – so much so, that he had to issue an apology, sort of. In fact in it he simply reiterated what he already said: “For what it’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.
“I personally would go further and say that, 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 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.”
Did you get that? It is immoral to allow such a child to live (even from his own point of view!), and it is moral to kill it. This is the twisted and sordid ethics of the misotheist Dawkins and others like him. They think life is bad and death is good. And they want us all to follow their advice and swoon over their philosophy.
Plenty of people were rightly upset over this madness, especially those who have children with Down’s Syndrome. For example, one mother who has a child with this condition said, “I would fight til my last breath for the life of my son. No dilemma.”
Other comments included:
-Richard Dawkins needs a hug from my daughter with Down syndrome to teach him to love.
-It’s heartbreaking that @RichardDawkins thinks the “morally right” thing for us to have done is abort our son, Noah.
-I suggest he shut it. (My son w/Ds due 1/2/15.)
And bigger names also got involved here. Sarah Palin, who has a son with DS, put it this way: “I’d let you meet my son if you promised to open your mind, your eyes, and your heart to a unique kind of absolute beauty. But, in my request for you to be tolerant, I’d have to warn Trig he must be tolerant, too, because he may superficially look at you as kind of awkward. I’ll make sure he’s polite, though!”
And John Flynn sent a public letter to Dawkins on the First Things site:
But one of the things I’ve concluded is that ethical philosophy can’t be done in a sterile environment—that our humanity, our intuition, our empathy, in fact, must be recognized as a source of ethical insight if we want to think well. Perhaps you believe that your position on abortion and down syndrome is logically valid. But I wonder if you’re kept awake at night by the revulsion that comes with being the champion of killing. Suffering is not a moral evil to be avoided. Suffering can have meaning and value. Ask Victor Frankl. Or Mohandas Gandhi. Or Martin Luther King, Jr. Or, if you’re willing, ask my children.
I have two children with Down syndrome. They’re adopted. Their birth-parents faced the choice to abort them, and didn’t. Instead the children came to live with us. They’re delightful children. They’re beautiful. They’re happy. One is a cancer survivor, twice-over. I found that in the hospital, as she underwent chemotherapy and we suffered through agony and exhaustion, our daughter Pia was more focused on befriending nurses and stealing stethoscopes. They suffer, my children, but in the context of irrepressible joy.
I wonder, if you spent some time with them, whether you’d feel the same way about suffering, about happiness, about personal dignity. I wonder, if you danced with them in the kitchen, whether you’d think abortion was in their best interest. I wonder, if you played games with them, or shared a joke with them, whether you’d find some worth in their existence.
And so, Dr. Dawkins, I’d like to invite you to dinner. Come spend time with my children. Share a meal with them. Before you advocate their deaths, come find out what’s worthwhile in their lives. Find out if the suffering is worth the joy. I don’t want you to come over for a debate. I don’t want to condemn you. I want you to experience the joy of children with Down syndrome. I want your heart to be moved to joy as well. Any day next week is good for us except for Wednesday.
Finally, Michael Brown, who called Dawkin’s remarks “utterly rancid” said this:
Aside from his claims that the baby would feel no pain in being aborted (he’s quite sure about that?), he is doing the very thing that theists claim atheism can lead to, namely, devaluing of human life based on a survival-of-the-fittest mentality. Really now, if you can determine that some people are not worthy to live before they are even born, surely it’s not that big a jump to determine that some people are not worthy to live after they have been born.
Perhaps the very elderly and the hopelessly infirm, especially if their lives could be terminated “mercifully”? Perhaps those who are incorrigibly violent? Perhaps those who are seriously mentally handicapped? Why not? Or, more specifically, based on what criteria do we judge who is worthy to enter this world and who is worthy to live?…
It is becoming increasingly clear that Dawkins is something of an embarrassment, even to other atheists (although he is still revered by many). The only question that remains is this: Are his irrational and immoral positions unique to him, or are they the logical outcome of his Darwinian evolutionism?
Of course the callous worldview being promoted by Dawkins is at least consistent with what he has always been saying. As he wrote back in 1995: “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. As that unhappy poet A.E. Housman put it: ‘For Nature, heartless, witless Nature. Will neither care nor know.’ DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.”
Yep, and we are getting plenty of “blind, pitiless indifference” out of God-haters like Dawkins.
11 Replies to “Dawkins, Death and Immorality”
I shouldn’t say this as a pro-life Christian, but it’s a shame that Dawkins himself was not aborted.
It’s a sad fact, but the world would be a better place without people like him.
While I understand your reaction Philip, in one way we need people like Dawkins to show us the reality of life without God. He too is an example to us all. A sad one, I’ll grant you but one who shows us the amazing character of God who in His humility allows people their freedom of choice. Dawkins has used his freedom to choose pain, emptiness and meaningless resulting in a man who increasingly lashes out at the world of hopelessness he lives in. We need to make sure we don’t choose the same path and use our freedom for the glory of God.
So his morality is based on a desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering?
Desire is subjective, passing, inconstant, anything but abiding. And the sum of happiness is something that cannot be calculated, cannot be verified, although you might assume it by blind secular faith. His morality is based on subjectivity and unknowns?
As for reducing suffering, that requires applied empathy. So where’s the evidence that people with his sort of moral illogic have an adequate fund of empathy?
Dawkins asserts his “moral” values:
““I personally would go further and say that, if your morality is based, as mine is, on a desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering…”
Bill, how strange that in one breath he can claim his moral standards, and yet in another, and ironically, he states:
“The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. …”
If no evil and no good exists, then by extension no morality exists either – how does that square?
Dawkins is the perfect illustration of how the Godless theory of evolution translates into dangerous fantasy and even more dangerous public policy in the minds of those who espouse it.
As you say, it is a relatively small step for such to argue for euthanasia, abortion, and twisted and distorted views of people and life.
As a contemporary comment puts it concerning Dawkin’s view that we are only a collection of genes :
“Darwin’s theory of evolution has only room for man as an OBJECT, and so necessarily reduces that ‘spiritual’ self to the workings of the physical structure of the brain. And that is a very dangerous thing, for to deny the ‘within’ of human experience, to see humans solely as objects, is to erase what they are, (made in the image of God), and change them into something else, as de-personalised beings. ….. this is a pervasive feature of materialist and totalitarian systems” .
The love of the parents of children with Down Syndrome towards Dawkins shown by their comments in your article is incredible despite his nasty,heartless comments. His attitude towards DS is what increases suffering, not the children themselves!. It would be great if he would meet the families and children and publicly revise his stance and position.
The logical consequence of Dawkinism.
Given the increasing percentage of the budget being spent on caring for the disabled, the elderly and the frail, be very afraid if Dawkinism takes hold of the mandarins of the public service, looking at making “savings”. Its not inconceivable that history won’t repeat itself.
This is real history and the ethics behind this practice are no different to what Dawkins advocates- its just a matter of timing.
(I’m sorry its may seem gruesome, but this is the logical consequence of Dawkin’s brand of atheism)
Q: Witness, when adult persons were selected for euthanasia and sent by transport to euthanasia stations for that purpose, by what methods were the mercy deaths given?
A: The patients went to a euthanasia institution after the written formalities were concluded – I need not repeat these formalities here, they were physical examinations, comparison of the files, etc. Then the patients were led to a gas chamber and were there killed by the doctors with carbon monoxide gas (CO).
Q: Where was that carbon monoxide obtained, by what process?
A: It was in a compressed gas container, like a steel oxygen container, such as is used for welding – a hollow steel container.
Q: And these people were placed in this chamber in groups, I suppose, and then the carbon monoxide was turned into the chambers?
A: Perhaps I had better explain this in some detail. Bouhler’s basic requirement was that the killing should not only be painless, but also imperceptible. For this reason, the photographing of the patients, which was only done for scientific reasons, took place before they entered the chambers, and the patients were completely diverted thereby. Then they were led into the gas chamber which they were told was a shower room. They were in groups of perhaps 20 or 30. They were gassed by the doctor in charge.
Q. What was done with the bodies of these people after mercy deaths were given?
A. When the room had been cleared of gas again, stretchers were brought in and the bodies were carried into an adjoining room. There the doctor examined them to determine whether they were dead.
Q. Then what happened to the bodies?
A. After the doctor had determined death, he freed the bodies for cremation and they were cremated.
Q. After he had freed the bodies, had determined that they were dead, they were then cremated? Is that correct?
Q. There was a crematory built for every one of these institutions?
A. Yes. Crematoriums were built in the institutions.
Q. And these people thought that they were going in to take a shower bath?
A. If any of them had any power of reasoning, they had no doubt thought that.
Q. Well now, were they taken into the shower rooms with their clothes on or were they nude?
A. No. They were nude.
Q. In every case?
A. Whenever I saw them, yes.
(Testimony of Brack, regarding gassing of insane people in Germany.
Quoted in “Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals” – Washington, U.S Govt. Print. Off., 1949-1953, Vol. I, p. 876-886.)
I understand Dawkins started hating God when his mother was taken prematurely which he blamed God for from an early age. The sad irony is that I believe she was a Christian and so probably has eternal life and so it is Dawkins that is separating himself from both his mother and God; not God.
The other irony is that if you prevent genetic mutations from proliferating (which he believes Down’s syndrome to be) then you are preventing the mechanism that he believes created us. How would he suggest we should know that the particular “mutation” is not the one that will lead to the next evolutionary step? This, of course, is from the man whose theories wrongly wrote off huge portions of the DNA as “junk” and who cannot even explain why and how the sexes exist. They exist because they are one of a huge multitude of known biological, genetic as well as physical and social mechanisms, that prevent genetic mutations from taking hold in complex organisms in the first place I.e. to help prevent natural selection type evolution or the momentously more likely devolution, from occurring – this why he can’t explain it or the multitude of other mechanism that do the same.
I don’t think scientists have ever come up with any demonstrable mechanism that opposes the laws of entropy (the probabilistic movement from order to chaos) other than intelligence, yet people like Dawkins stubbornly push their atheistic religious beliefs and continually try to pass them off as scientific when they are just circular logic. Things designed and built by intelligence (e.g. cars) evolve, everything else we know of in this universe, wears out. Despite all of Dawkins’ rationalisations, there simply is no scientifically demonstrable method of escaping entropy in this physical universe, so life by his model simply cannot exist.
So which of these categories does life in this universe fit into? Both. We have to be moved into God’s realm before we can fully escape entropy (sin and evil) but God has promised us renewing in this world too but only by his direct and deliberate intervention. Good and evil are not opposites. Evil is simply the lack of good. Something Dawkins does not understand.
How wonderfully gracious the responses of parents with DS children are, especially John Flynn’s. Our own DS boy is not aware of how unhappy he should be, but he is certainly thrilled to make us happier and more loving people. As the previous commentator pointed out, evil is a lack of good and so is death a lack of life and lies a lack of truth. Death, evil and lies are in themselves nothing but can only identified in reference to those things that are, namely life, goodness and truth.
Thank you for your article. It is possible to feel sympathy for people like Dawkins hard as that is because they are so puffed up with the sin of pride that they are blind to the happiness, simplicity and innocence of the handicapped who can teach us so much about life. Thus, they miss out on growing as a person. He would probably apply his selfish values to ALL the handicapped were it possible to determine every kind of handicap in the womb. We should pray for his conversion of heart because inwardly he must be a very miserable person the way he thinks.
I used to admire Richard Dawkins and I used to think how awesome he was, this was when I turned away from God and I was living in the world and I was an atheist and agnostic. I was miserable and I never found happiness and peace living like that, now that I’m a born again Christian I now have total peace and happiness and I have a peace and a happiness that I have never had before and that I never experienced before. Richard Dawkins is such a miserable bitter person and I now simply feel sorry for him, what a sad life he has, atheists and agnostics are such miserable people as well as proud stubborn and rebellious people to. I pray for Richard Dawkins and the many others like him, I pray that they come to know the truth and that they come to know God and Jesus and that way they will finally be able to enjoy and appreciate life.
I love his fake outrage at being called a Nazi when he is advocating exactly what they believed in. Evolution does make strange bedfellows.