Richard Dawkins
Associated Press/Photo by Fiona Hanson
Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins, Down syndrome, and worldview


Richard Dawkins, a well-known atheist/agnostic, sowed the wind of controversy and reaped another online whirlwind of outrage when he made a statement completely consistent with his worldview. A woman on Twitter wrote, “I honestly don’t know what I would do if I were pregnant with a kid with Down Syndrome. Real ethical dilemma.” To which Dawkins replied, “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”

Pro-lifers and a few of Dawkins’s fellow abortion advocates objected to his statement. Were you shocked by his remark? Most women kill their own unborn children for convenience. They do it because they can’t afford “it,” or “it” would interfere with school, work, etc. A majority of European and American women diagnosed with a Down syndrome pregnancy kill the babies in the womb, as Dawkins noted in a tweet, “Apparently I’m a horrid monster for recommending WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS to the great majority of Down Syndrome fetuses. They are aborted.”

In the United States, it’s the law of the land that a woman has a previously unknown right of privacy in the U.S. Constitution to kill her baby before viability for any reason. Perhaps what angered pro-lifers was the moral spin Dawkins tried to put on aborting humans with chromosomal abnormalities. He sort of said he was sorry: “I apologise for impugning the morality of the approximately ten percent of women who deliberately choose NOT to abort a Down’s fetus.”

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You have to look at Dawkins’s remarks from the context of his worldview. He is a godless supporter of abortion on demand. He believes we evolved from single-celled organisms to the upright creatures (oops … that implies a Creator) we are today. From his what’s-best-for-society perspective, killing unborn Down syndrome babies is the logical thing to do. Dawkins said his morality is based “on a desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering,” and people with Down syndrome aren’t as happy and they suffer more.

This is what happens when you are your own highest authority. If you believe we’re random-chance beings inhabiting an accidental world, out there in cold space with no purpose other than to propagate the species, the idea of killing the “less fit” is logical.

Dawkins, like all unbelievers, lives in spiritual darkness. They’re without excuse, but they’re in darkness nonetheless. I envision atheists reading this article and shaking their heads in pity at such statements. Oh, the blessings of faith! The natural man doesn’t receive the things of the Holy Spirit. To men like Dawkins, they are—we are—foolishness.

Truly, we reap what we sow. This is a warning to unbelievers and encouragement to us. The apostle Paul said, “[H]e who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

La Shawn Barber
La Shawn Barber

La Shawn writes about culture, faith, and politics. Her work has appeared in the Christian Research Journal, Christianity Today, the Washington Examiner, and other publications


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