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The Morality of Reproduction (Dawkins & Down Syndrome)

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  • Valmont wrote: »
    Until you may be willing to accept that objective standards of morality exist then this is as far the discussion can go unfortunately. I've been thinking about a thread on this topic for some time and have held back only because the philosophy forum sees so little traffic. Maybe this is the place for it.

    I'm not unwilling to accept that there may be objective standards of morality. In fact I'm very interested to hear what they or anyone else's personal moral view may be in relation to this issue.

    As I said in my previous post a lot of energy has gone into dismissing Dawkins view but attempts to actually argue against it seem to be pretty lacking.




  • seamus wrote: »
    Whether this counts as "eugenics", I don't believe so. Going by the definition posted earlier, the aim of eugenics is to "improve" the gene pool (whole other discussion on how one would define that). Down's by its very nature is more-or-less incapable of "tainting" the gene pool since the vast majority are sterile. Often the offspring are likewise sterile or otherwise fail to procreate (i.e. die before sexual maturity), but the sample size on this is very small. Either way, since Down's people do not represent a "threat" to the "purity" of a gene pool, then from a eugenics point of view it makes no odds whether a Down's person is born or not.
    Personally I agree that terminating those foetuses that are affected with Downs syndrome is not an exercise in eugenics. As you point out, many are sterile - actually mainly men, females (while impaired) are generally not. Either way, it is medically much less evasive to sterilize those that are not already sterile; termination is unnecessary.

    Termination, as a choice (92% of European foetuses detected to have the condition) is not done for any reasons of genetic social responsibility, but because of the likely consequences to the parents and any other children they may have. I've seen in friends the devastating economic and social consequences of having to care for such a person - and not just the parents; who do you think ends up caring for them after the parents die? Not all those afflicted have short lives. So I can understand why many would opt for termination, but it's certainly not for the good of the gene pool that they do so.

    I would nonetheless take exception to your use of biased terms when describing eugenics, such as "tainting" or "purity". If a policy of eugenics is administered for the purposes of maintaining some ideal of "purity" then you have a point, but in many cases, such as Sweden, where it was practised this was not the case. So to reduce it so is really just an exercise in Godwin's Law, TBH.
    Valmont wrote: »
    Until you may be willing to accept that objective standards of morality exist then this is as far the discussion can go unfortunately.
    To me this is like asking someone to accept that Santa Clause exists. It's like your earlier claim that "civilisation is based on peace, cooperation, and the non-violent resolution of conflict" - I could hardly suppress a chuckle when I read it - "non-violent resolution of conflict"? Sure, just ask the Carthaginians about that.

    Like it or not, morality is a human construct designed to allow populations to coexist relatively peaceably, and it allows for the violent resolution of conflict in every single culture throughout history. And it varies wildly in most every single culture throughout history.

    If you seek objectivity in morality, it is at best utilitarian; seeking to product the authority of the state and/or societal unit (typically the family), protection of property and/or aforementioned societal unit and a ban on killing others without a socially acceptable cause. Outside of that, everything's up for grabs, which is why we'll find some moral stances elsewhere in the World abhorrent, just as they will find ours abhorrent. All we have in common is those basic utilitarian stances and none will shy away from imposing those using violent means, including us (or what do you think military intervention for 'humanitarian reasons' is?).




  • I do sometimes question whether reproduction is damaging us. I have it all sorted out in my own mind, that myself and my husband have replaced only ourselves on the planet with our two children, and I'm sure most parents believe their own children are enriching the species. ;)

    We think about environmental impact when raising them... There are trade-offs. Take travel for example. I would like to travel with the children, seeing other places is an experience I think would benefit them as adults . But there is an impact to be considered with all travel, especially if we go to africa or similar long-haul where flying is the only practical method of getting there. Using up global resources to see the world doesn't sit well.

    As for Downs specifically, the range of experiences is huge. There was a girl with downs syndrome who just completed her leaving cert in the papers recently. I would have considered that beyond the capacity of anyone with downs syndrome.




  • Valmont wrote: »
    When Dawkins says it is immoral not to abort a foetus with Down's Syndrome, by what standard of morality is he making his judgment?



    Perhaps we can gain an insight into his thinking from this quote? (I haven't verified if he actually said this, please let me know if I'm wrong).

    Morals are subject so by whatever axioms of morality he decides to believe in.




  • Given you have no knowledge of what interaction Black Swan or anyone else for that matter has with down syndrome I think that statement is utterly pointless.
    Someone's personal interaction with Down Syndrome is not important. What matters is the nature of Down Syndrome and the medical consensus that people with this condition can have very decent lives.
    Nobody has mentioned imposing standards of quality in this thread
    Several posts say other wise.
    Imposing such a condition and all that goes with it on another being is a choice the parent makes to force their will on another human being.
    Yes and I would argue it is equal to taking the choice of bringing the next talented writer or sportsperson into the world.
    Your last statement is why its so difficult to discuss these issues and why I started a thread here to get away from AH. People cannot seem to control their emotions in relation to the topic and discuss it in a reasonable way.
    What can I say, some people find actuality uncomfortable.


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  • As I said in my previous post a lot of energy has gone into dismissing Dawkins view but attempts to actually argue against it seem to be pretty lacking.
    Seamus wrote:
    Is it a reasonable position to hold that knowingly carrying Down's to term is "immoral". Yes, I think so.
    By what standard is it immoral? Why is it any of Dawkins' concern if somebody somewhere has a child with Down's Syndrome?

    I believe the debate is pointless unless we can agree on an objective morality. Otherwise Dawkins' position is both moral and immoral depending on who's looking - and if you hold that morality is ultimately subjective (it can't be true by merit of being accepted by a majority) any argument about whether the act is moral or not is a farce. This is why I think it is important to ask by what standard is Dawkins' making his moral prescription?

    EDIT: I have the unsettling feeling that as long as we accept moral relativism then any barbarous act of murder or genocide is technically moral if it represents some utilitarian urge, as suggested by The Corinthian.




  • robp wrote: »
    Someone's personal interaction with Down Syndrome is not important. What matters is the nature of Down Syndrome and the medical consensus that people with this condition can have very decent lives.

    So why did you bring it up then and why did you use it to attempt to dismiss peoples views on this issue ? The nature of down syndrome is that it is a genetic disorder and the medical consensus is that a person with down syndrome has a greater risk of medical and social issues. The fact they can have very decent lives is irrelevant to this discussion. The discussion is about the morality of the decision to have a child with the condition rather than a child without the condition. Its unnecessary for a child to be born with the condition given the options available so in my opinion it is wrong to choose that a child be born with down syndrome.
    Several posts say other wise.

    Which posts are those that mentioned imposing your own standards of quality on another person ?
    Yes and I would argue it is equal to taking the choice of bringing the next talented writer or sportsperson into the world.

    Given you have already stated imposing your will on another human being is unethical then I take it you find both unethical now ? And I am very interested in hearing your argument as to why the choice of having a child with a greater chance of medical and social issues and a child with a less chance of having medical and social issue are equal.
    What can I say, some people find actuality uncomfortable.

    Would it not be better to discuss this in a rational way instead of making such pointless statements ?




  • robp wrote: »
    What can I say, some people find actuality uncomfortable.
    I actually posted something relevant to this, I think in this thread, which pointed out that most people's morality is felt, rather than reasoned and so when asked to justify it, simply wouldn't be able to. I suspect it was subsequently deleted because I added a picture of some sheep, which I believe encapsulates those who follow life on what they feel without being able to reason it - I don't know, no reason for the deletion was offered.

    A good example of this phenomenon is where one may compare homosexuality and consensual incest. Both can be consensual sexual relations between adults, yet while the former will today find widespread acceptance, the latter is still met with the 'ick' factor, despite it being, in principle, exactly the same.

    Now, I don't want to drag the thread into a tangent on this; the fact remains that objections to the latter tend to be felt, rather than reasoned (although some will apply reasons after the fact).

    Anyhow, what you've just described is an example of that phenomenon. It makes people feel uncomfortable, sure, but so did homosexuality 40 years ago. Was our objective morality back then 'wrong'?
    Valmont wrote: »
    I believe the debate is pointless unless we can agree on an objective morality.
    We might, at least on the broad strokes, because we're all relatively culturally homogeneous.
    EDIT: I have the unsettling feeling that as long as we accept moral relativism then any barbarous act of murder or genocide is technically moral if it represents some utilitarian urge, as suggested by The Corinthian.
    I'm not sure what you mean by 'accept'. Morality is a human construct and thus may be defined as relativistic by default. To choose not to accept this seems to me on a par with choosing not to accept that day follows night.

    Truth is that any barbarous act of murder or genocide is technically moral if it adheres to an accepted moral code. Doesn't even need to be a utilitarian one. You'll find no shortage of examples in history to illustrate this.




  • Valmont wrote: »
    By what standard is it immoral? Why is it any of Dawkins' concern if somebody somewhere has a child with Down's Syndrome?

    I believe the debate is pointless unless we can agree on an objective morality. Otherwise Dawkins' position is both moral and immoral depending on who's looking - and if you hold that morality is ultimately subjective (it can't be true by merit of being accepted by a majority) any argument about whether the act is moral or not is a farce. This is why I think it is important to ask by what standard is Dawkins' making his moral prescription?

    EDIT: I have the unsettling feeling that as long as we accept moral relativism then any barbarous act of murder or genocide is technically moral if it represents some utilitarian urge, as suggested by The Corinthian.

    Dawkins moral view has been explained, as have I explained my moral view and discussed why I deem the decision to be immoral.

    I believe the debate is pointless while there is only one side willing to actually debate. There is plenty of scope to discuss the morality of the decision under both Dawkins moral view and whether he is correct in relation to that. Or indeed anyone else's moral view in relation to the issue who has weighed in on the topic. Its the morality of the decision which is the topic of this thread not morality itself.

    If you cannot get past the fact that morality is subjective nor are you willing to discuss the topic unless an objective moral standard is accepted then in my opinion its you who have come to an impasse not the discussion. And perhaps the discussion of morality itself is a discussion that's best had in isolation.




  • ...If it is always morally justified for a human to reproduce then what limits can be placed on that ? Then again if its not always morally justified to have a child due to the difficulties it will face then how can having any child be morally justified as there is no guarantee it will not face difficulties in some form or another ?
    I'm not closing myself off to discussion to be fair and I have asked a number of times: immoral by what standard? What code of values are you referring to here?

    Dawkins outlined his crude moral code of greatest happiness for the greatest number of people which is impossible to apply to the person with Down's Syndrome because we can only ever speculate about any one person's 'happiness'. So I ask, by what standard of morality can we actually (rationally) conclude that having a child with a disability is immoral?


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  • Valmont wrote: »
    I'm not closing myself off to discussion to be fair and I have asked a number of times: immoral by what standard? What code of values are you referring to here?

    Dawkins outlined his crude moral code of greatest happiness for the greatest number of people which is impossible to apply to the person with Down's Syndrome because we can only ever speculate about any one person's 'happiness'. So I ask, by what standard of morality can we actually (rationally) conclude that having a child with a disability is immoral?

    You have asked and you have been answered.

    Dawkins outlined his moral view as seeking to increase the sum total of happiness and decrease the sum total of suffering in relation to decisions he personally makes. As far as I'm aware this isn't anything new in terms of a moral philosophy. And in line with that seems to see it immoral and against his own moral standards to have a child with such a condition that will carry a higher risk of suffering due to medical and social issues related to its condition when the option was available to have an abortion and try again for a child that would carry a lower risk due to having no discernible conditions. Again I'll say its not about any person or their happiness its about the morality of the decision to create a person and the whether or not to create a person with the condition or without the condition taking into account the risk of suffering for each option and seeking in line with their moral standards to avoid the one with the greatest risk of suffering. That's how I see it but I'm not Richard Dawkins.

    I have explained as best I can my own view in this post where I see it similarly to Dawkins that it is wrong to knowingly and needlessly do something to increase the suffering or risk of suffering for another being. The needlessness coming from the availability of abortion with which to terminate the pregnancy due to the condition and try again.

    The only obstacle in this discussion is an unwillingness to discuss this issue by any moral standard at all as far as I see it. If you do not agree with mine or Dawkins moral view or the conclusions made in the framework of those views then please do explain why. But to insist as you have done that discussion on morality is futile unless we accept an objective moral standard is simply refusal to discuss the topic imo.




  • So the entire premise is based on the potential happiness of the person born with downs syndrome? He sees it like a mercy killing? Did he suggest using anesthesia too? I hope so.

    If happiness is the reason to stay alive, then we are all in a lot of trouble.




  • A good example of this phenomenon is where one may compare homosexuality and consensual incest. Both can be consensual sexual relations between adults, yet while the former will today find widespread acceptance, the latter is still met with the 'ick' factor, despite it being, in principle, exactly the same.

    Not necessarily. The incest taboo might be the one universal. The taboos on homosexuality didn't start until the late 19th century [think glorified ideal images of the Victorian family eventually smashed into the image of the tragic family by Freud and one that currently dominates today.] Before then, classification of homo- bi etc were not so rigid. And not that American culture is so dominant you have a greater intolerance for ambiguity.

    However given reproductive advances, then yes rationally speaking outside of the ick factor consensual incest should be ok or seen to be ok. And I suspect will eventually give way to approval. It's already largely forgiven in the cases of siblings who did not grow up together, something about genetic attraction being a common enough occurrence when they do not grow up in the same home. It's the growing up in the same home that induces the incest prohibition and not the actual blood tie.
    I'm not sure what you mean by 'accept'. Morality is a human construct and thus may be defined as relativistic by default. To choose not to accept this seems to me on a par with choosing not to accept that day follows night.

    Truth is that any barbarous act of murder or genocide is technically moral if it adheres to an accepted moral code. Doesn't even need to be a utilitarian one. You'll find no shortage of examples in history to illustrate this.

    What you are saying is problematic for a number of reasons. We could look at history, but you'd have to come to an agreed version of history first and that wont be so easy. History has nothing to do with the past, but how you want to go ahead in the future. So whatever moral codes you draw from it are only useful in what it indicates in terms of how you plan to proceed in the future.




  • diveout wrote: »
    So the entire premise is based on the potential happiness of the person born with downs syndrome?

    No. His view of morality seems to be making decisions in the way least likely to result in suffering. In that sense due to the increased risk of medical and social issues relating to the condition of down syndrome he views abortion and an attempt to have a child without the condition as the moral option rather than continuing with the pregnancy. As best as I can make out. As I said I am not Richard Dawkins and this thread isn't about Richard Dawkins its about the morality of the decision. Any questions about Richard Dawkins should be forwarded to Richard Dawkins.
    He sees it like a mercy killing? Did he suggest using anesthesia too? I hope so.

    Mercy killing of what exactly ? There is nobody to kill.
    If happiness is the reason to stay alive, then we are all in a lot of trouble.

    I don't see how reasons to stay alive are relevant to this discussion. Nobody but you has mentioned it.

    And I'm still waiting on an answer to this post.




  • No. His view of morality seems to be making decisions in the way least likely to result in suffering. In that sense due to the increased risk of medical and social issues relating to the condition of down syndrome he views abortion and an attempt to have a child without the condition as the moral option rather than continuing with the pregnancy. As best as I can make out. As I said I am not Richard Dawkins and this thread isn't about Richard Dawkins its about the morality of the decision. Any questions about Richard Dawkins should be forwarded to Richard Dawkins.



    Mercy killing of what exactly ? There is nothing to kill..

    Well.... that debate is built into this I'm afraid.



    And I'm still waiting on an answer to this post.

    It's completely irrelevent. However, we all deviate from perfect ideals so to some extent aren't we all disabled?




  • diveout wrote: »
    Well.... that debate is built into this I'm afraid.

    Which debate would that be ? This thread is about the morality of the decision not about the fact Richard Dawkins said it. Personalising it and being flippant and dismissive contributes nothing to the discussion.




  • diveout wrote: »
    Not necessarily. The incest taboo might be the one universal.
    Incorrect. It's been accepted or tolerated in various cultures through the ages; Egypt, pre-Colombian Inca empire, Tamil Nadu (southern India) where the practice of marrying your niece is still common. Even the Biblical Abraham supposedly married his half-sister.
    The taboos on homosexuality didn't start until the late 19th century [think glorified ideal images of the Victorian family eventually smashed into the image of the tragic family by Freud and one that currently dominates today.] Before then, classification of homo- bi etc were not so rigid.
    Sorry, again incorrect. Homosexuality was punishable by death long before the 19th century - Roman emperor Theodosius I proscribed burning at the stake as punishment. European morality has at best tolerated it at times since late antiquity, but it's been pretty much taboo up until quite recently.
    However given reproductive advances, then yes rationally speaking outside of the ick factor consensual incest should be ok or seen to be ok. And I suspect will eventually give way to approval.
    Likely, but not my point. I was just using it as an example to describe the 'ick' factor - what people 'feel' is wrong without understanding why and how this can and does change.
    What you are saying is problematic for a number of reasons. We could look at history, but you'd have to come to an agreed version of history first and that wont be so easy.
    If you want to challenge any of it feel free. Otherwise you really can't use that argument as the basis of barring the inclusion of any history from the discussion.




  • Which debate would that be ? This thread is about the morality of the decision not about the fact Richard Dawkins said it. Personalising it and being flippant and dismissive contributes nothing to the discussion.

    I'm aware of that thanks. :confused:

    Your accusing me of personalising and in the SAME sentence claim I am "being flippant."

    What are you talking about?




  • diveout wrote: »
    Can I ask you what is Dawkins talking about?

    Why would he or one trust test tube babies more than natural selection?
    diveout wrote: »
    He's a scientist. Nature is not moral. I wonder why he is getting moralistic about things.

    And is Dawkins expecting people to abort babies they spent 20k trying to conceive?

    diveout wrote: »
    I am half cringing and half laughing at Dawkin's statement considering that he is severely disabled himself.
    diveout wrote: »
    So the entire premise is based on the potential happiness of the person born with downs syndrome? He sees it like a mercy killing? Did he suggest using anesthesia too? I hope so.

    If happiness is the reason to stay alive, then we are all in a lot of trouble.
    diveout wrote: »
    I'm aware of that thanks. :confused:

    Your accusing me of personalising and in the SAME sentence claim I am "being flippant."

    What are you talking about?

    I'm talking about you personalising the topic in relation to Dawkins and being flippant and dismissive which you have been. While he was the one that made the statement this thread is as I have said numerous times on the morality of the decision not Richard Dawkins. I have posted the explanation of his moral standard in relation to the view of the immorality of the decision and I have put forth my own view of it. I have yet to encounter much in the way of an argument as to why none of it is valid.




  • Sorry, again incorrect. Homosexuality was punishable by death long before the 19th century - Roman emperor Theodosius I proscribed burning at the stake as punishment. European morality has at best tolerated it at times since late antiquity, but it's been pretty much taboo up until quite recently.

    Interesting. Because the law doesn't punish, but there are still hate crimes, bullying, ostracisation, adult children get disowned for it, etc so parts of the population still haven't come to terms with it.
    If you want to challenge any of it feel free. Otherwise you really can't use that argument as the basis of barring the inclusion of any history from the discussion.

    Wasn't suggesting barring it, only saying it is problematic.


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  • diveout wrote: »
    Wasn't suggesting barring it, only saying it is problematic.
    And I was saying if you find any particular historical evidence problematic, then challenge it.




  • MOD REMINDER:
    A few of the above posts are becoming a bit too personal in this thread. While spirited discussion is welcome, please focus on making meaningful contributions to the thread topic, and not each other personally. Thanks.




  • I would nonetheless take exception to your use of biased terms when describing eugenics, such as "tainting" or "purity". If a policy of eugenics is administered for the purposes of maintaining some ideal of "purity" then you have a point, but in many cases, such as Sweden, where it was practised this was not the case. So to reduce it so is really just an exercise in Godwin's Law, TBH.
    That wasn't my intention, I was merely struggling to come up with better terms, hence the quotes around them :)





  • I'm just going to come out and admit that I strongly favour eugenics in principle.

    :eek:

    how do you manage an effective eugenics programme without becoming, for lack of a better word, a Nazi about it?

    You don't. You can't.

    And while the Nazi analogy is useful in that you correctly crystallize an accurate picture of the horror that happens when you go down the route of eugenics, the problem is that we expect Nazis to be strutting arrogant jackbooted monsters, swaggering down the railway ramp, thwacking a riding crop against their baggy pants while they decide "You: Gas chamber. You: Kitchens. You: Rock breaking quarry"

    We find it hard to imagine that such people could be softly spoken tweedy Oxbridge Dons, dedicated to science, learning and reason and yet just as capable as the rest of us of having a big black blind spot when it comes to morality and ethics.

    Dawkins is, to my mind based on what he has said recently and earlier, a dangerous man with extremely dangerous ideas. And by dangerous I mean for the human species. Morality is bounded by science, but cannot be a slave to it.

    I've posted these clips elsewhere but they're worth a look. It's from an appearance he made on the Late Late Show a few years ago and his answers to this question about his own death and this question about the future of the species raise some terrifying moral issues. I readily concede he did not make any moral statements on this program, but his recent comments about Downs Syndrome don't fill me with confidence.
    So while in principle I support the idea, I don't know if in practice it would be desirable.

    I think I do. It would be catastrophic. And we can say that because we have been here before.




  • Dawkins is, to my mind based on what he has said recently and earlier, a dangerous man with extremely dangerous ideas. And by dangerous I mean for the human species. Morality is bounded by science, but cannot be a slave to it.
    Would you prefer if it was a slave to a spaghetti monster in the sky or whatever god you worship? If so, I'd consider you far more dangerous than Dawkins.
    I think I do. It would be catastrophic. And we can say that because we have been here before.
    Which implementation of eugenics do you mean, the one that people focus on when they don't know much about the subject or one of the other ones?




  • I've posted these clips elsewhere but they're worth a look. It's from an appearance he made on the Late Late Show a few years ago and his answers to this question about his own death and this question about the future of the species raise some terrifying moral issues. I readily concede he did not make any moral statements on this program, but his recent comments about Downs Syndrome don't fill me with confidence.
    .

    I'm not sure of the relevance of his answers to those questions. I think you may be seeing things that are not there tbh. When questioned whether he as afraid of death he said he was afraid of dying and he didn't want to die in pain. When asked about the future of the species he simply states the fact that in order for there to be a noticeable physiological change there would have to be a difference in the rate of reproduction between people with different characteristics. He used brain size as an example. This is simply an explanation of how natural selection and evolution work.

    From what I see Dawkins simply talks facts and logical conclusions. As far as being dangerous he's no more dangerous than anyone else with an opinion and an ability to draw a logical conclusion. In fact to call someone like that a dangerous man with dangerous ideas in relation to the human race appears to me to be an argument for ignorance over education.




  • Would you prefer if it was a slave to a spaghetti monster in the sky or whatever god you worship? If so, I'd consider you far more dangerous than Dawkins.

    Which implementation of eugenics do you mean, the one that people focus on when they don't know much about the subject or one of the other ones?

    Where did I mention a God, or even a spaghetti monster? I didn't.

    Like the weather, the motion of the planets, the functions of biology, you may believe in God and all the rest (immaculate conception, transubstantiation, heaven, hell etc) or you may not. But it makes no difference to how the world or indeed the universe works.


    This is about the right of one human being, or even the collective of humans known as society,to decide arbitrarily whether another human being has a right to life based on a subjective assessment of their worth to society as a whole.

    We've been here before. And as another poster quoting Dawkins pointed out "IN THE 1920s and 1930s, scientists from both the political left and right would not have found the idea of designer babies particularly dangerous -"

    That's right. They wouldn't. And all sorts of "nice" people took a rational interest in the topic. Including the likes of George Bernard Shaw, John Maynard Keynes , Margaret Sanger etc etc

    But this led inevitably to those with the power of decision making coming to fairly arbitrary conclusions about who was deserving of life and who should never have been born in the first place. Inevitably, it reduced down to racial preferences. And NOT just in Germany. Many of the United States of America had Nuremberg-like Laws long before Germany did, and indeed retained them for much longer afterwards.

    If Valmont quoted Dawkins correctly, and I accept he may be unsure as to whether that is a genuine quote from the man himself, he (Dawkins) seems to be saying. "OK so the Nazis screwed it up for everyone. But let's try again"

    Can you be so sure that the results next time around will be so much more beneficial than last time?

    In fact I think that might have been the point you were trying to make about eugenics being hard to implement "in practice". I was actually agreeing with you there.

    Don't know why you brought the Spaghetti Monster into it.




  • I'm not sure of the relevance of his answers to those questions. I think you may be seeing things that are not there tbh. .......

    From what I see Dawkins simply talks facts and logical conclusions. As far as being dangerous he's no more dangerous than anyone else with an opinion and an ability to draw a logical conclusion. In fact to call someone like that a dangerous man with dangerous ideas in relation to the human race appears to me to be an argument for ignorance over education.

    I conceded already that on the Late Late he wasn't making any moral statements on that occasion. But those issues raised interesting moral questions which weren't put to him on that occasion. I would love to have seen how he would have answered them.

    However, when you take into account his recent statements on DS it must at least raise the suspicion that he believes the same "moral imperative" not to bring a Downs Syndrome baby into the world would apply to limiting, at least, the not so bright to give the species a chance at long term survival. And then you're back into the "practicalities" of administering such choices which even The Corinthian has expressed doubts about.




  • I conceded already that on the Late Late he wasn't making any moral statements on that occasion. But those issues raised interesting moral questions which weren't put to him on that occasion. I would love to have seen how he would have answered them.

    However, when you take into account his recent statements on DS it must at least raise the suspicion that he believes the same "moral imperative" not to bring a Downs Syndrome baby into the world would apply to limiting, at least, the not so bright to give the species a chance at long term survival. And then you're back into the "practicalities" of administering such choices which even The Corinthian has expressed doubts about.

    And if he wants to give himself a permanent general anaesthetic when he feels his end is nigh, that's one thing. But

    His recent statement about abortion and down syndrome were in relation to the choice of having the child or not. Which is a choice every parent (in states with legal abortion) in that situation has to make. Faced with the decision he sees one option to be immoral given the availability of the other. The moral imperative is to make the best decision.

    Why would the same moral imperative apply to limiting the "not so bright" reproducing ? This is what I meant, his answer on natural selection and evolution were factual and explanatory answers and meaningless in relation to this discussion. He said nothing about giving the species a chance at long term survival. Yet you are inferring he thinks its necessary and then going on to wonder whether he'd be in favour of forcefully sterilising the not so bright to benefit the species ?


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  • His recent statement about abortion and down syndrome were in relation to the choice of having the child or not.

    He actually didn't say anything about choice in that exchange. He made a flat statement (was it a suggestion or an order?) to "abort and try again. It would be immoral not to" You are giving him the benefit of the doubt that he meant that as an option for the woman in question and not a duty.
    He said nothing about giving the species a chance at long term survival. Yet you are inferring he thinks its necessary and then going on to wonder whether he'd be in favour of forcefully sterilising the not so bright to benefit the species ?

    I'm saying it's likely that he thinks so. And as you have the right to give him the benefit of the doubt, I have the right to be extremely suspicious of him.
    If that is in fact what he thinks, it is extremely dangerous.

    I would love to hear him expound on those topics. Poor old Ryan Tubridy missed the chance to ask those questions a few years ago.


    (How would we breed the perfect chat show host? ;))


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