• What Richard Dawkins really meant

    This week, Twitter hell broke loose when Richard Dawkins tweeted about aborting a Down fetus:

    Plain simple, right? No, because Richard Dawkins can’t say about anything without being taken out of context, strawmanned and misrepresented.

    This bashing Dawkins trend is really obnoxious.

    Anyway, professor Dawkins is polite enough to clarify his thoughts, even though these people are acting on bad faith. Here’s what a sane, honest person, interested in actually exchanging ideas, would have understand from his tweet:

    Obviously the choice would be yours. 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. And, indeed, that is what the great majority of women, in America and especially in Europe, actually do. 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. I agree that that personal opinion is contentious and needs to be argued further, possibly to be withdrawn. In any case, you would probably be condemning yourself as a mother (or yourselves as a couple) to a lifetime of caring for an adult with the needs of a child. Your child would probably have a short life expectancy but, if she did outlive you, you would have the worry of who would care for her after you are gone. No wonder most people choose abortion when offered the choice. Having said that, the choice would be entirely yours and I would never dream of trying to impose my views on you or anyone else.

    In his post of this bashing Dawkins frenzy episode, Terry Firma wrote:

    Dawkins seems to suffer from an extreme form of tone-deafness. It’s almost as if Star Trek‘s Mr. Spock is modeled after him: cool, rational, detached, and faintly amused by the emotional human fools with whom he is forced to interact.

    Well, when people act like emotional fools, instead of engaging in debate following the simplest of the rules (reading as charitably as possible what the other is saying), no one would act in such a way; but I find myself sharing this feeling, am right there, with Dawkins: how come half the atheist blogosphere comes down to jumping to conclusions and being angry at someone else just for having an opinion (which they don’t even care to get right in the first place)?

    The funny part is Firma saying this hurts Dawkins’ reputation, hence all atheists’ image — well, there’s an easy fix to that: stop promoting the distortion and misrepresentation of everything he says, and portraying him as a liability to the secular cause, because he’s not. It really is that simple.

    (Image: Shane Pope via photopin cc)

    Category: AtheismPhilosophySecularismSkepticism and Science


    Article by: Ðavid A. Osorio S

    Skeptic | Blogger | Fact-checker

    3 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

    • kraut2

      There is a part of the atheist comminity that has abandoned rational discussions. They are trying to stifle any discussions that have to do with certain “social justice” agendas. Any attempt to question the claims of those social justice warriors will be met with fierce outrage and pushback.
      Dawkins is just one of the most prominent willfully misunderstood. Harris is another one who has to suffer being strawmanned by those who might be atheists but have abandoned any attempt of skeptical and/or rational discussion.

      • And Hitchens has been subjected to this as well (with the even more sickening detail that this has been done after his death, when he’s no longer here to defend himself).

        Such irrational and dishonest people I cannot stand!

    • Pingback: Richard Dawkins y el aborto de fetos con Down | Teocidas.com()

    • NoCrossNoCrescent

      On one hand I think Dawkins is right, and that people claiming children with Down’s syndrome bring “joy and fulfillment” to them (like Sarah Palin) are downright selfish; at best, they treat human beings with every potential for serious disease and suffering and zero potential for any intellectual achievement as live dolls; as worst, as is the case for Palin, they simply use them as stage props, which is despicable. In the end since Down’s syndrome sufferers will never be able to contribute to the discussion, I get the impression that Dawkins bashers are trying to protect their own fragile egos. On the other hand-I also think that twitter sucks, which is why by and large I avoid it.

      • If you’re strong opinionated and want to be bullied, by all means, create a Twitter account!

    • guerillasurgeon

      Dawkins should know better than to tweet shit like this. Twitter is not suited to anything much more than jokes. It certainly isn’t suited to rational discussion of anything.

      • Sure, but he’s just being naive. The other people are assholes who straman whatever he says. The wrong is on them.

    • Pingback: Richard Dawkins has nothing to apologize for * | Avant Garde()

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    • People who willfully have children with mental retardation are assholes. Now normally, I only use social conservatives’ favourite phrase “THINK OF THE CHILDREN!” sarcastically, but in this case, think of the children. Who should the child live a life inferior to normal people when they don’t have to be born at all? The twisted rationalisations these parents use to justify their selfish desires are grotesque.