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To be absolutely shocked at this story?

(97 Posts)
Lilygran Thu 21-Aug-14 10:16:05

In The Telegraph this morning, Dawkins is quoted as saying parents of unborn children diagnosed with Down's have a "duty" to abort them. I really am shocked.

sherish Thu 21-Aug-14 10:28:48

Parents have a duty to give unconditional love to their children regardless of what they are born with. Stupid man.

Nonnie Thu 21-Aug-14 10:33:20

That is appalling. There are some wonderful rewarding Downs people in the world, why should they be denied to their parents. I asked not to have any tests when I was pregnant.

What is next? Short people? Research suggests they don't do as well as tall people.

sunseeker Thu 21-Aug-14 10:56:35

I think this man just says things to shock and get publicity (has he written another book?). My BiL has a Downs syndrome child and she is absolutely delightful and they wouldn't be without her.

MiceElf Thu 21-Aug-14 10:58:49

Surely the lofty academic, Richard Dawkins, can see the logical fallacy that saying there is a moral duty to abort a foetus with Downs Syndrome is no different from saying that there is a moral duty not to abort such a foetus?

This is not about the morality or otherwise of abortion, but about the valuing of individual human beings and about respecting parents' right to bring to birth and love and cherish their child, no matter what its gifts and talents may be.

durhamjen Thu 21-Aug-14 11:01:17

I wonder if he has been tested for Aspergers? His distinct lack of empathy would suggest it.

Greenfinch Thu 21-Aug-14 11:18:50

I dread the time when a test for autism is discovered and they will be saying the same thing. sad

Elegran Thu 21-Aug-14 11:29:59

A test for people saying damn stupid insensitive things would throw up quite a lot of candidates for extermination.

vampirequeen Thu 21-Aug-14 12:28:21

Is he a follower of eugenics?

Grannyknot Thu 21-Aug-14 12:28:51

I have always found Richard Dawkins quite interesting in a curious sort of way. His lofty followers on Twitter are all over the place because of this - someone commented that he clearly has a God delusion himself. Someone else tweeted "Oh no, Richard Dawkins has just become indefensible".

Anyway he is making an idiot of himself on social media. As I said on a previous thread, so clever and yet so not clever confused.

Marelli Thu 21-Aug-14 12:29:47

Like your post, Elegran.

Grannyknot Thu 21-Aug-14 12:34:11

He has really irritated me with this comment. So if you have a healthy child who e.g. suffers trauma during the birth and becomes cerebral palsied, then do you also have that child "put down"?

feetlebaum Thu 21-Aug-14 13:32:55

@vampirequeen :

No - he says "Down Syndrome screening is not eugenic: DS has extremely low heritability."

MiceElf Thu 21-Aug-14 13:43:27

I've just taken the trouble to look at RD's tweets and this is what he wrote:

It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you had a choice.

It is perfectly clear from that that Dawkins takes the view that people with Downs are of little or no value.

One of the most chilling assertions I have ever read.

Nonu Thu 21-Aug-14 13:53:29

For Dawkins to make that comment is just BEYOND mere words.

Has absolutely no MERIT whatsoever.

rosesarered Thu 21-Aug-14 14:14:36

Dawkins is another one of that breed...... intelligent idiots.Perhaps there is a test for that?

Elegran Thu 21-Aug-14 14:21:14

By their tweets ye shall know them.

HollyDaze Thu 21-Aug-14 14:35:51

I've seen this type of comment on various forums over the years and from what I can understand (and I may be wrong) is that those who support aborting a foetus on these grounds (being immoral) is that you are wilfully condemning a child to live a life without ever knowing independence and freedoms that everyone else has - or something like that anyway. I don't think it's about undervaluing them but more about the life they would have if their parents died and could no longer look after them.

I can see the logic of the argument but I could never support the action.

JessM Thu 21-Aug-14 15:39:53

This is of course not the same as saying that anyone should be forced to do so. It's a personal statement of what he thinks would be an immoral decision. Remember that those with Down's syndrome do suffer a lot of physical problems as well as learning difficulties so he might be taking that into account.
I guess the philosophical question would be - where do you draw the line if you are a parent who is told your unborn child is going to be born with a significant disability? Because there are a lot of physical defects that could show up on a scan. When my GD was a newborn she was, for a couple of days, on a ward with a toddler who was born without a stomach. The child's life since birth had been mostly miserable and in hospital as far as DS could tell. So would it be right to go ahead if something like that appeared on a scan? Unless you say "no there are no circumstances" then it is just a matter of where you draw the line, isn't it?

rosesarered Thu 21-Aug-14 15:54:51

I think the main thing is that parents must decide what is right for them and not have people like Dawkins trying to make up their minds for them.
I have heard him say some very strange things over the years. He says so many things 'for effect' [the effect of keeping his name in the public's mind.]

Nelliemoser Thu 21-Aug-14 16:17:37

Dawkins is becoming dangerous. He seems to think he is the all powerful God he does not believe in.

I have no issue with him being an atheist but I am worried about the way he is presenting his views these days.

Move over Adolph H? He arranged for persons with disabilities to be murdered as they were in his eyes imperfect beings.

Grannyknot Thu 21-Aug-14 16:23:01

JessM there is a family business near me (bakery and cafe) and the owner's adult son is Down's Syndrome and he must be "high functioning" (sorry, I don't know the correct terminology) because to all intents and purposes he seems to live a "normal" life. So are there tests that can identify, or would the degree of impairment influence decisionmaking?

Interestingly, I met a young friend for coffee yesterday who had a termination at 16 weeks when they discovered that the fetus had "gross chromosomal abnormalities" and they were told that the girl she was carrying would be born with Turner's Syndrome. My friend appears to be unaffected by it, (she said she wished people would stop treating her as if she should be in mourning) excepting to feel total relief that these tests are now available.

Mishap Thu 21-Aug-14 16:40:19

Dawkins seems to be losing it a bit. It feels more and more as though he just enjoys publicity.

Unfortunately it detracts from the sensible things he says, like the importance of scientific method and reason. He has no flexibility of thinking and cannot see that being an atheistic can be carried to extremes in the same way as can religious fanaticism.

I have worked with many people with Downs and they did not have a poor quality of life; and they gave back a great deal to their communities in their own ways. It is unlikely that he would understand that - so we will just ignore Dawkins I think.

Eloethan Thu 21-Aug-14 18:29:50

I think if parents don't feel they have the capability to care for a Down's syndrome child, perhaps because of difficult family circumstances, it should be their choice.

However, to assert that parents have a "moral duty" to abort such a child is, I think, totally wrong. I can see that there are concerns as to what will happen when parents die or become ill or disabled. But my feeling is that a decent society, especially one with our resources, should provide early and ongoing support to such children and their families. Then, in the event that a parent reaches the point where they can no longer manage, there should be be a smooth transition to good quality - and caring - supported housing or a residential home.

My husband worked with people with learning disabilities and I often went to social events in various residential homes in the borough. It seemed to me that those with Down's syndrome and other learning disabilities led, on the whole, happy and fulfilled lives.

ffinnochio Thu 21-Aug-14 19:17:27

Dawkins is opinionated, and gives his opinions freely. However, his opinions are just that, opinions. Sometimes he enrages me, and sometimes he makes me think a lot more deeply about stuff, and if he does that to me, then I expect there are thousands of similar people who think likewise.

In this specific instance I'm not sure how I stand with what his tweet has to say - but twitter only provides sound bites.

As I understand it, his comment was brought about by this:

"The row erupted during a debate on Twitter about calls for further changes to Ireland’s abortion laws in the wake of the case of a rape victim who was forced to carry the child until she could deliver by caesarean section.
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.”

Would I?

Life isn't always black and white.