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I have never disliked Richard Dawkins...until now.


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Having a son with a developmental disability (though not one that has prenatal testing- yet) I really am bothered by the idea that a developmental challenge = not worth living. It is neither easy nor painless to be raising my son but I wouldn't trade him for anything at all.

 

I agree with Sadie that testing should be optional, not pushed. And I wonder as genetic testing expands...well, I just wonder. Not a pleasant thought.

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It may be logical but it is based on a wrong idea. Of the three downs people, I know, I wouldn't say suffering would be the way I'd define their lives. They are happy and engaged people who deeply love their families and take a lot of joy from every day stuff. Two of these are children and one is a much older lady.

 

If I were to try and read Dawkin's and/or Singer's mind about this issue, I might convince myself to believe they don't rest the entire equation on the issue of suffering. What 67 mentions upthread is a valid concern, but by no means the only concern. The idea of universal healthcare helps relieve the financial burden, as has been mentioned, but then you get into the discussion about allocation of resources for society. Does a society want to continue allocating a certain percent to one service when it might be more beneficial to individuals and society in general to support a different service. Obviously people will have opinions and reasons to support their opinions. I'm not suggesting one thing or another, but throwing out the idea that this is far more complex than the issue of potential suffering. 

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I find this post very hard to follow. You find Dawkin's statement to not be all-or-nothing but my comparisons are? Morality is logically dictated but we all come at a situation with different moral beliefs? I said I thought you would not agree with the statements in my questions and you are asking why I think you would do or agree with those things? 

 

Dawkins said (of a hypothetical child with DS): "It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.†You argued that this is a logical stance because "But can you see how that follows, logically I mean? If, like 67_others' post suggests, one had reason to believe that the new life they were bringing into the world would be faced with great suffering, the moral option would be to avoid that suffering." 

 

Together these come across to me as sweeping generalizations about some kind of logically dictated morality that calls terminating or avoiding new life a moral imperative in order to avoid suffering. I do not see that Dawkins opinion, expressed publicly, should be seen as limited to a single (hypothetical) situation--if I say to you on this forum that it is immoral to eat meat, would you not assume that I think anyone who eats meat is making an immoral choice??? 

 

I am really not understanding why you seem to be defending Dawkins unless you agree with him that it is immoral to choose not to abort a child with Down Syndrome. 

 

 

I really am sorry, but on the whole this post just did not make sense to me.

 

I hope my last comment helps clarify my hasty comment. There's more to the concept of quality of life than suffering. Much more. Many variables are at play here, suffering is one, financial considerations are another. If you're interested in learning more, I'd suggest reading from the side of the proponents of this argument, not for the sake of horror, but for the sake of understanding why they have come to this opinion. 

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One thing that struck me as I read this thread is that more than one atheist has made a point of mentioning that they are atheist, but they disagree with Dawkins.

 

I would hope that no one would assume that one atheist speaks for all atheists, any more than anyone should assume that one loudmouthed Christian represents the views of all other Christians, or that one person of any nationality or religion speaks for the whole population.

 

It's unfair that anyone should feel the need to clarify their position, out of concern that other people might think that Dawkins' idiotic statements would represent how "all atheists" feel.

 

I found this interesting as well, Cat. 

 

Oh, wait, I can "like" you for all the world to see again!

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Oh my gosh, yes!  I can't believe how hard and fast the testing was pushed on me; I just walked out of the docs office and on home after being pressured because I refused the test for the same reasons you did.  You would have thought I was a child abuser for refusing the testing.  I thought it was just the charm of the Navy hospital, but I guess testing is pushed on everyone.

He most definitely crossed a line re DS.

 

I read an article about it yesterday. I think he's out and out wrong.

 

I personally didn't have any testing for DS because I wouldn't have terminated anyway.

 

I really resent the way the testing is shoved into mother's faces as something they MUST do.

 

The testing is a tool that I believe should be available, but not de facto compulsory. And I don't judge those who decide to terminate a DS pregnancy OR those who continue with a DS pregnancy.

 

More support - much more support - should be available to families with a DS child, extending through adulthood. A lot more respite ( I have a friend with a DS daughter.)

 

Haven't read the rest of the thread, because I don't want to hear any dog whistling around 'this is what atheists are like' or the whole baby-murder stuff.

 

But yeah, done with RD for sure.

 

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I've really never paid any attention to the guy, I mostly knew him a someone who wrote books about evolution.

 

He really should stick to that. He's an expert on it and he knows his field. However, his outrageous statements of late have been alienating even those who once supported him. 

 

People were not outraged that he recommended abortion but that he stated it would be immoral to choose to bring the child into the world.

 

Yes, this. His comment smacks of eugenics. However, in his apology and clarification it does sound less like a horrible statement/belief and more like it was completely taken out of context. 

 

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/philosopher-richard-dawkins-keeping-syndrome-babies-immoral-article-1.1911789

 

A quote from the above link:

 

The University of Oxford professor took to Twitter yesterday to speak on abortion in Ireland, which is illegal. He advised a woman who wouldn't know what to do if she had a baby with Down syndrome to "abort it and try again" because "it would be immoral to bring it into the world."

 

If he was specifically responding to that one woman and not generalizing, then his statement is not as disgusting as it first seemed, and it does seem highly likely that someone deliberately took it out of context. It sounds like he was saying it would be immoral *for her* and that she should have an abortion and try again. 

 

Yeah, it is almost like a prominent atheist's name is in a thread title or something.

 

:smilielol5: 

 

I personally didn't have any testing for DS because I wouldn't have terminated anyway.

 

I really resent the way the testing is shoved into mother's faces as something they MUST do.

 

The testing is a tool that I believe should be available, but not de facto compulsory. And I don't judge those who decide to terminate a DS pregnancy OR those who continue with a DS pregnancy.

I agree with all of the above. I too chose not to test for DS even though I was pregnant at an "advanced maternal age" according to my file. I'm fully pro-choice, and that's what pro-choice means. Choice. It was my choice not to test because I would have not chosen to abort. I would not have judged or tried to stop anyone who chose differently.

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He most definitely crossed a line re DS.

 

I read an article about it yesterday. I think he's out and out wrong.

 

I personally didn't have any testing for DS because I wouldn't have terminated anyway.

 

I really resent the way the testing is shoved into mother's faces as something they MUST do.

 

The testing is a tool that I believe should be available, but not de facto compulsory. And I don't judge those who decide to terminate a DS pregnancy OR those who continue with a DS pregnancy.

 

More support - much more support - should be available to families with a DS child, extending through adulthood. A lot more respite ( I have a friend with a DS daughter.)

 

Haven't read the rest of the thread, because I don't want to hear any dog whistling around 'this is what atheists are like' or the whole baby-murder stuff.

 

But yeah, done with RD for sure.

 

I completely agree with the bolded.  

 

The only reason I agreed to the testing was because if indicators for something did show up, I figured I could read up on it and study and try to secure resources before the birth, but that's because I'm a crazy planner.  Not everyone deals with things the same way I do.

 

I had no intention of terminating.  

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Something that occurs to me is that - speaking pro-choice here - it is possible for apro-choice mother to terminate a DS pregnancy and feel that is an ethical choice in her circumstances.

 

But what authority does Dawkins have to pronounce about it - even for an individual woman ? Zero.

I'm out of likes, but I agree wth this completely (except that I personally fall more towards the pro-life side). There is a huge difference between saying it can be an ethical choice and declaring that any other choice is immoral.

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Oh my gosh, yes!  I can't believe how hard and fast the testing was pushed on me; I just walked out of the docs office and on home after being pressured because I refused the test for the same reasons you did.  You would have thought I was a child abuser for refusing the testing.  I thought it was just the charm of the Navy hospital, but I guess testing is pushed on everyone.

 

It's not pushed on everyone.  It was offered to me with all the kids.  My youngest is only 2.  When I said I wouldn't be terminating, they reiterated that any testing was optional and it was up to me.  They did also point out that being prepared at birth could be helpful. Like if pediatric cardiology needed to be present.

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It's not pushed on everyone.  It was offered to me with all the kids.  My youngest is only 2.  When I said I would be terminating, they reiterated that any testing was optional and it was up to me.  They did also point out that being prepared at birth could be helpful. Like if pediatric cardiology needed to be present.

 

It's good to know there are some who are reasonable out there. 

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I don't see how people can say he was taken out of context. It was a hypothetical situation and he said letting the baby be born would be immoral. This sounds like a very general statement to me. It might be different (but still disgusting in my opinion) if he had said something like, "Well, if you already have a couple kids with disabilities, you should abort and try again."

 

I really wish that everyone, pro-life or pro-choice, could find a way to work together to encourage good pre-conception nutrition and care so we could reduce the number of babies that develop all the various disabilities. Prevention would be far better than abortion.

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It's not pushed on everyone. It was offered to me with all the kids. My youngest is only 2. When I said I would be terminating, they reiterated that any testing was optional and it was up to me. They did also point out that being prepared at birth could be helpful. Like if pediatric cardiology needed to be present.

I had about the same experience- no pressure to test.

 

It was presented as optional. I was 22, 25, 28 and 31 for my pregnancies that progressed to the point they would offer it. For the last three of those however I was in the care of a great ARNP level midwife. Unfortunately the pregnancies at age 25 and 31 ended in miscarriages. I wonder if the pressure to test will be greater now that I am approaching "AMA" status *if* I am ever pregnant again and I switched midwives/providers.

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If I were to try and read Dawkin's and/or Singer's mind about this issue, I might convince myself to believe they don't rest the entire equation on the issue of suffering. What 67 mentions upthread is a valid concern, but by no means the only concern. The idea of universal healthcare helps relieve the financial burden, as has been mentioned, but then you get into the discussion about allocation of resources for society. Does a society want to continue allocating a certain percent to one service when it might be more beneficial to individuals and society in general to support a different service. Obviously people will have opinions and reasons to support their opinions. I'm not suggesting one thing or another, but throwing out the idea that this is far more complex than the issue of potential suffering.

To be honest this just concerns me even more. I heard an interview with a lady who had written a book about shipwreck type disasters. The thing that stood out for me was that when they turned to survivor maths it never ended well. As in... You are the weakest member and you are going to die anyway so you don't get food. In those situations very few people survived

 

Personally I prefer to be part of a society that does the absolute best to provide the best level of healthcare we can to everyone. Regardless of medical issues or their perceived value to society or the group.

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This is easily the most beautiful non-apology apology I have ever read!  Full of thinly-veiled contempt and ridicule, blaming the offended, it's truly a piece of art.

 

 

 

My phraseology may have been tactlessly vulnerable to misunderstanding, but I can’t help feeling that at least half the problem lies in a wanton eagerness to misunderstand.
 
I disagree with his statement and I find it ironic that he is disabled himself.  Fortunately his mother didn't follow his advice, and/or didn't have the advance notice that some mothers do that their child will be less than perfect.  However, I am not surprised by his sentiments regarding down syndrome babies and, presumably, all disabled/imperfect babies.  I find it to be the logical conclusion of the mind-set that a fetus has no human rights or value.
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I'm speaking as a very pro-life Christian who has a profoundly disabled child.  I always say that we are very much living our values.  I never had the tests because I would have never terminated.  The problem is, we, as Christians encourage women to have children they know are disabled because we value them as humans - children of God.  When the child is born and serious financial and physical support is needed though, the church is relatively silent.  As my husband has been looking for work in various states, you would be shocked at some of the stories about what is happening with disabled adults whose parents can no longer support them.  We're talking the kind of stories that really make you shocked that this is happening in a developed country.  And what is the churches response in these particular states (I googled special needs church ministries)?  "We offer a volunteer to help with disabled children so they can go to Sunday School!"  Or, "Twice a year, we'll watch your moderately disabled child at the church so you can go on a date!"  Yay!  

 

There is a huge financial cost to many families - a cost even universal health care could not provide. Who is going help to buy the $30,000 ramp van (used with 100K miles on it)  or help with the thousands of dollars needed for house adaptations?  More than likely, one parent will need to stay home because universal health care will not provide "babysitters" for a 15 year old child.  That leaves a large financial stress with a one income family.  I had no idea how truly horrible the situation is for many families with disabled children in this country.  Universal health care will "help" but not solve this problem at all.  The church really needs to step it up and provide financially and physically for these families who are struggling.  And every time you see a family with a profoundly disabled child, assume there are struggles.  

 

Honestly, I am trying to teach my children that their brother's life is valuable because I see this type of Dawkin's mindset running in many circles.  Add that mindset to assisted suicide and the "financial burden" these children are on an already overloaded health care system and I don't see a lot of positive futures for my son.  

 

Know that my heart is not to terminate any of these children's lives or suggest that this is an alternative for women.  It's just that I do understand why they may do it (I don't agree at all, but understand).  I think a mother's heart wants even more to protect a disabled child - it's just a very difficult, very painful road.

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Why is everyone surprised? Isn't it just an extension of his belief of survival of the fittest?

No.

 

"Fittest" doesn't mean meanest or most ruthless or strongest.

 

It means the best fit for the environment. It is quite possible (likely even I would say) that we as a species have the best chance of survival if we treat each other with compassion and kindness. Those who seem to not be the strongest or most intelligent might still have something vitally important to contribute. And even if they don't, treating them with compassion makes the world a better place (which means our children are more likely to grow up). We help our own survival and the survival of our kids when we treat each other well. Treating each other violently puts our survival at risk.

 

It is much more likely that we would go extinct by not valuing each other and wiping each other out violently than by allowing too many people with disabilities to live. Fostering empathy and the biological underpinning that goes with the social and culture shifts means we all live in a more peaceful world, even if we do devote resources to the disabled who may or may not contribute directly to society. What's more costly to us really? Caring for Down's Syndrome children, or living with the consequences of not caring for each other?

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I feel like we should all make a pact to never stop speaking out against this kind of madness, regardless of whether it comes from a super duper look-how-logical-and-rational-I-am wacko or just your standard issue kooky religious wacko.

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Found this below, and to me it sounds like a child with Downs wouldn't be considered, as

a 'fit member' of the the human species etc... So it isn't surprising that he would say what he did.

 

 

Wiki-

 

Survival of the fittest refers to the characteristics of the fittest members of a species (in terms of their ability to survive in a given environment and produce offspring) will be passed on and become more common in the species

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No.

 

"Fittest" doesn't mean meanest or most ruthless or strongest.

 

It means the best fit for the environment. It is quite possible (likely even I would say) that we as a species have the best chance of survival if we treat each other with compassion and kindness. Those who seem to not be the strongest or most intelligent might still have something vitally important to contribute. And even if they don't, treating them with compassion makes the world a better place (which means our children are more likely to grow up). We help our own survival and the survival of our kids when we treat each other well. Treating each other violently puts our survival at risk.

 

It is much more likely that we would go extinct by not valuing each other and wiping each other out violently than by allowing too many people with disabilities to live. Fostering empathy and the biological underpinning that goes with the social and culture shifts means we all live in a more peaceful world, even if we do devote resources to the disabled who may or may not contribute directly to society. What's more costly to us really? Caring for Down's Syndrome children, or living with the consequences of not caring for each other?

Whoops, missed this on my phone.

 

You put that very nicely, and it is what you believe, but from reading other articles it seems to say that the strongest and best species survive. And the weakest and not-perfect won't in the end etc...So to me, its fitting what he said. Not that I agree.

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Whoops, missed this on my phone.

 

Put very nicely, and it maybe what you believe, but from reading other articles it seems to say that the strongest and best survive. And the weakest and not-perfect won't etc...

 

But it doesn't say anything about killing the less fit either pre or post birth, now does it?

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Whoops, missed this on my phone.

 

Put very nicely, and it maybe what you believe, but from reading other articles it seems to say that the strongest and best survive. And the weakest and not-perfect won't etc...

I think you are trying to start a fight here.  I'm so over fights on this site, so I'll leave you with a cartoon. 

 

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/sneakermales_01

 

ETA: Also this http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/kindness-emotions-psychology/

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But it doesn't say anything about killing the less fit either pre or post birth, now does it?

This. Survival of the fittest relates to the processes of nature by which the most successful genes are passed on. Survival of the fittest is not an arbiter of human decisions and morality. I do not think even Dawkins believes that.

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Why is everyone surprised? Isn't it just an extension of his belief of survival of the fittest?

 

No, it is not.

 

Compassion, love, altruism, kindness, mercy, generosity are all present and available to atheists or those who believe in evolution as well.

 

Survival of the fittest is a stripped down pithy presentation about how species survive. It does not come with morality - a lack of which is assumed in your post.

 

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I think you are trying to start a fight here.  I'm so over fights on this site, so I'll leave you with a cartoon. 

-------

 

 

No, not at all! Just saying that to him it make sense-if nature hasn't taken care of it then do something to help it along

 

And I'm not saying that all who believe 'survival of the fittest' would abort! Just that I can understand how he would get to that point.

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This is easily the most beautiful non-apology apology I have ever read!  Full of thinly-veiled contempt and ridicule, blaming the offended, it's truly a piece of art.

 

 

 

 
I disagree with his statement and I find it ironic that he is disabled himself.  Fortunately his mother didn't follow his advice, and/or didn't have the advance notice that some mothers do that their child will be less than perfect.  However, I am not surprised by his sentiments regarding down syndrome babies and, presumably, all disabled/imperfect babies.  I find it to be the logical conclusion of the mind-set that a fetus has no human rights or value.

 

 

 

Read even more, from Richard Dawkins, not an edited version of some of what he said. 

 

https://richarddawkins.net/2014/08/abortion-down-syndrome-an-apology-for-letting-slip-the-dogs-of-twitterwar/

 

 

<snip>

Yesterday a woman on Twitter, one of our respected regulars on RichardDawkins.net, said she would be unsure what to do if she found a fetus she was carrying had Down Syndrome. I replied to her, beginning my reply with @ which – or so I thought (I’m told Twitter’s policy on this might recently have changed) – meant it would not go to all my million followers but only to the minority of people who follow both her and me. That was my intention. However, it doesn’t stop people who go out of their way to find such tweets, even if they don’t automatically pop up on their Twitter feeds. Many did so, and the whole affair blew up into the feeding frenzy I mentioned.

 

Here is what I would have said in my reply to this woman, given more than 140 characters:

 

“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.â€

 

That’s what I would have said, if a woman were to ask my advice. As you might notice, it takes a lot more than 140 characters! I condensed it down to a tweet, and the result was understandably seen in some quarters as rather heartless and callous: “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.†Of course I regret using abbreviated phraseology which caused so much upset. I never wanted to “cry havocâ€!

<snip>

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No, it is not.

 

Compassion, love, altruaism, kindness, mercy, generosity are all present and available to atheists or those who believe in evolution as well.

 

Survival of the fittest is a stripped down pithy presentation about how species survive. It does not come with morality - a lack of which is assumed in your post.

Okay, yes, I should have made it more clearer that I'm not surprised that he believes what he does, as I have heard him say other terrible things in the past. And I did think there was a connection with the concept. Thanks for clearing it for me. :-D

 

Learn something new everyday. ;-)

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No.

 

"Fittest" doesn't mean meanest or most ruthless or strongest.

 

It means the best fit for the environment. It is quite possible (likely even I would say) that we as a species have the best chance of survival if we treat each other with compassion and kindness. Those who seem to not be the strongest or most intelligent might still have something vitally important to contribute. And even if they don't, treating them with compassion makes the world a better place (which means our children are more likely to grow up). We help our own survival and the survival of our kids when we treat each other well. Treating each other violently puts our survival at risk.

 

It is much more likely that we would go extinct by not valuing each other and wiping each other out violently than by allowing too many people with disabilities to live. Fostering empathy and the biological underpinning that goes with the social and culture shifts means we all live in a more peaceful world, even if we do devote resources to the disabled who may or may not contribute directly to society. What's more costly to us really? Caring for Down's Syndrome children, or living with the consequences of not caring for each other?

 

Dawkins explains this very concept (in bold) in the book that brought him public attention, The Selfish Gene. I disagree with your conclusion, however. "Valuing each other" is a purely subjective comment that can't mean anything, since it means something different to each person. It's an emotional appeal, I suspect, that can't really be used in any practical way. What does it mean to "value" a person? Is terminating a pregnancy always a case of lacking value? Even at risk to the mother's life? What about at risk to the mother's emotional and mental health and well being? What about at risk to the family's resources? That's just one example of how vary amorphous this concept is. Your answer may be different from mine, which may be different from the next poster. Further, "fostering the biological underpinnings that goes with the social and culture shifts" may indeed include terminating the development of a fetus, depending on all kinds of circumstances (like the ones I suggested, but so many more). Lastly, I think the idea of people who "contribute directly to society" is a bit of a shadow belief, a take-away from a religious social moral code. According to many Christian apologists, each person is created with a "purpose" and that would be, ideally, to help contribute to society in one way or another. But, outside the religious context, in what way is this contribution identified? economically? socially? through the arts? entertainment? practical services and products only? It's a concept that plays on the emotion ("I value children!"), but contributes more questions than answers in my opinion.

 

But biology doesn't work like that. The egg and the sperm don't have intent when dividing and multiplying, the developing young don't have a "reason" to exist, a "purpose" or some direction that has been predetermined for them by virtue of an intelligent agent. Instead, life just... happens. There's no meaning save the meaning we determine for ourselves, and Dawkins is contributing his opinion from a particular philosophical point of view that rejects these traditional assumptions (what "purpose" "contribution" "value" mean). 

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I think you are trying to start a fight here.  I'm so over fights on this site, so I'll leave you with a cartoon. 

-------

 

 

No, not at all! Just saying that to him it make sense-if nature hasn't taken care of it then do something to help it along

 

And I'm not saying that all who believe 'survival of the fittest' would abort! Just that I can understand how he would get to that point.

 

But he didn't, so your point is moot. 

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Yes, the strongest and best survive and the weakest do not. But everything depends on how you define strongest, best, and weakest.

 

The weakest member of a group might be the one who tries to use his superior physical strength to bully others and get the most for himself. The group will reject him and he will be less likely to find a mate, less likely to raise happy, well- adjusted kids, and more likely to suffer from physical ailments as a result of his social rejections.

 

The more complex the social structure is of a given species, the more important social skills are. "Strong" and "weak" mean very different things to bacteria, a tree, an antelope, and a bonobo.

 

It isn't just something pretty I made up. If you are interested in exploring more on the topic, I'd encourage you to start by googling evolution and cooperation or altruism. Fascinating stuff, but you won't learn about it from sources intent on discrediting evolution by any means necessary including misrepresenting it.

 

I should add for clarifications sake that the topic morphs between cultural and biological/genetic issues. When it comes to caring, our culture is changing much more rapidly than our biology, so what is properly considered "survival of the fittest" in evolutionary terms can get lost in the cultural whirlwind. Like I said though, it's interesting stuff if you want to explore it more.

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Dawkins has no redeeming social value and never has, IMO. Every once in a while he confirms that in a spectacular way.

He is a prime example of this:

 

"To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society." - Theodore Roosevelt

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Yes, the strongest and best survive and the weakest do not. But everything depends on how you define strongest, best, and weakest.

 

The weakest member of a group might be the one who tries to use his superior physical strength to bully others and get the most for himself. The group will reject him and he will be less likely to find a mate, less likely to raise happy, well- adjusted kids, and more likely to suffer from physical ailments as a result of his social rejections.

 

The phrase "survival of the fittest" was not Darwin's phrase, but was coined by English philosopher Herbert Spencer, who first talked about "survival of the fittest" in Principles of Sociology. The concept is sometimes misunderstood to reflect a strong individual, but the mechanism of natural selection (how evolution "works") applies to a population relative to its environment, not individuals. It's logical to assume the strongest members of any species will live longer and thus have more offspring, but then, so too are the luckiest members of society.  Here's a quick article that introduces the concept for those not so familiar (I don't mean to imply you, livetoread, I'm just taking the opportunity to add an educational link the the discussion if anyone is interested). Your Inner Fish is a fantastic resource for those who have more time and prefer visual sources. 

 

As far as a group rejecting the bully, there's reason to believe a certain amount of aggressive behavior is not only tolerated, but beneficial to a population. It's especially beneficial when competing for resources or defending from enemies. The aggressive members of a group are often the "soldiers," if you will, the ones who run in the front lines of any attack or defense. Not all "bully behavior" is interpreted as bully behavior, even when complex social species (like primates) exhibit concepts like justice and empathy. A really fantastic explanation of this, I think, can be found in this talk by neurologist Robert Sapolsky. 

 

 

A warning, there is an unsettling image (with a purpose) at 24:33. It lasts about 30 seconds. It's not a "bad" picture, but one that more sensitive viewers might wish to be aware of. The entire talk is really quite interesting, I think, and explains a bit of behavior as evolutionary traits. Your earlier point about social support and altruistic behavior being beneficial and natural is explained in more detail in this talk 

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I don't see how people can say he was taken out of context. It was a hypothetical situation and he said letting the baby be born would be immoral. This sounds like a very general statement to me. It might be different (but still disgusting in my opinion) if he had said something like, "Well, if you already have a couple kids with disabilities, you should abort and try again."

 

I really wish that everyone, pro-life or pro-choice, could find a way to work together to encourage good pre-conception nutrition and care so we could reduce the number of babies that develop all the various disabilities. Prevention would be far better than abortion.

 

I agree, but I would point out that Down syndrome is not preventable other than by not conceiving.

 

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I guess I can see elements of morality and immorality in either choice, to abort or to carry to term. Neither is without sacrifice or pain, comes without emotional and/ or other burdens, or both selfish and selfless motives.

 

If I were in the position to make that choice: to carry to term would satisfy my maternal drives to protect and cherish and prevent the guilt of ending a developing life. To abort would satisfy my need to protect my son from shouldering a tremendous burden, emotional and financial, protect my physical and emotional resources from being depleted beyond my abilities, and avoid burdening an already overtaxed health system.

 

I don't know. I see elements of good and bad in both, so I don't begrudge anyone their decision.

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I guess I can see elements of morality and immorality in either choice, to abort or to carry to term. Neither is without sacrifice or pain, comes without emotional and/ or other burdens, or both selfish and selfless motives.

 

If I were in the position to make that choice: to carry to term would satisfy my maternal drives to protect and cherish and prevent the guilt of ending a developing life. To abort would satisfy my need to protect my son from shouldering a tremendous burden, emotional and financial, protect my physical and emotional resources from being depleted beyond my abilities, and avoid burdening an already overtaxed health system.

 

I don't know. I see elements of good and bad in both, so I don't begrudge anyone their decision.

 

:iagree: Liking this was not enough.

 

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Yes. Although I also think that medical issues should be separated into non-lifestyle acquired and lifestyle-acquired.

 

Those with lifestyle acquired diseases should be offered low cost treatment for factors like smoking. If they don't change their lifestyle after being able to access treatment, they should have to contribute to their health care over and above general taxes.

Here (NZ) about 2/3 of the price of cigarettes is tax. Someone put forward a case once that is smokers died early and paid all that tabacco tax they may cost less than someone who lived to 90, drew a pension for 25 years and had hip replacements and rest home care. Not sure how accurate it was but they had a point.

 

Richard Dawkins does have a huge impact at the bottom of the world so I haven't read or heard anything he has said before and not sure I will bother now either.

 

I had my kids at 38 and 40 and apart from nuchal screening and a 20 week anatomy scan had no tests and was pushed to do so. A friend though who had her first at 37 was encouraged to have an amnio and did so. The difference was her midwife had nearly lost a baby at a homebirth because they weren't prepared for it having down syndrome related medical problems. So I would say testing pressure depends on the midwife you are dealing with.

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I'm speaking as a very pro-life Christian who has a profoundly disabled child.  I always say that we are very much living our values.  I never had the tests because I would have never terminated.  The problem is, we, as Christians encourage women to have children they know are disabled because we value them as humans - children of God.  When the child is born and serious financial and physical support is needed though, the church is relatively silent.  As my husband has been looking for work in various states, you would be shocked at some of the stories about what is happening with disabled adults whose parents can no longer support them.  We're talking the kind of stories that really make you shocked that this is happening in a developed country.  And what is the churches response in these particular states (I googled special needs church ministries)?  "We offer a volunteer to help with disabled children so they can go to Sunday School!"  Or, "Twice a year, we'll watch your moderately disabled child at the church so you can go on a date!"  Yay!  

 

There is a huge financial cost to many families - a cost even universal health care could not provide. Who is going help to buy the $30,000 ramp van (used with 100K miles on it)  or help with the thousands of dollars needed for house adaptations?

 

I agree that the christians and our churches have a long way to go in this area of real need. I'm thankful I'm in a church that does more than those things listed. 

 

I wanted to share this link in case someone reading this thread is looking for help with ramps, wheelchairs, etc... here is one place to look for some real help in the midst of it all.

http://www.joniandfriends.org/

 

 

I know that's not part of the philosophical discussion topic in this thread and is rabbit trail in the discussion. But in case it would be of practical help to someone finding this thread, I had to mention it.    One might have to email or call if their website doesn't show what you're looking for on their searches.  (I've heard their are hoping to revamp their entire website in a few months.)

 

 

PS:  for those who aren't aware of Tim Harris....  google on Tim's Place in Alburquerque.  Tim is currently owner of Tim's Place, is the country's (US) only (so far) restaurant owner with Down's Syndrome.    find the menu, find the youtube video.   breakfast, lunch and hugs.  

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True.

 

I haven't ever seen a DS with a family of their own. I suppose it depends on the severity of their condition.

A lot are also talked into choosing sterilization, or in the old days had their family choose it for them. About half of the children of people with DS will have the condition as well.

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/11047072/Richard-Dawkins-immoral-to-allow-Downs-syndrome-babies-to-be-born.html

 

Dawkins on Down syndrome:

 

"One participant said they would suffer a real ethical dilemma if they were carrying a child with the condition.

Prof Dawkins replied: “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.â€

Regardless of where you stand on abortion, or what decision you might make if faced with such a dilemma, the callousness of Dawkins retort is--just unfathomable to me.

 

I think it is the logical progression of his thought process.

 

So, not shocked.

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True.

 

I haven't ever seen a DS with a family of their own. I suppose it depends on the severity of their condition.

The more person centered term would be "person with DS". Since you're advocating for people with disabilities, you should, at minimum, not use offensive ways of referring to them like "a DS".

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