Tweeting on Abortion

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Here are my tweets this morning on abortion. Some of them are clearly responses to misunderstandings expressed in other tweets, and I have tried to make this clear.

Richard

(note that the comment length is not restricted to 140 characters here.  Feel free to make comments as long as you'd like).

 


 

Written By: Richard Dawkins
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45 COMMENTS

  1. Sometimes I don’t know why Twitter and its 140 character limit is used for such purposes. All that is going to happen is a lot of confusion from people with short attention spans and misunderstandings. This wouldn’t happen if tweet 1 said “Go here for my thoughts on xxx and leave a message.”
    Twitter ‘reaches’ the masses but also those who otherwise wouldn’t bother with such a thing as a longer article(!) Heaven forbid that actual reading is involved! So the result is frustration on the part of the tweeter (Richard in many, many cases lately). One thing Twitter has shown, is the number of dumb people who have access to a computer and probably the vote too.

    • In reply to #1 by bootjangler:

      Sometimes I don’t know why Twitter and its 140 character limit is used for such purposes. All that is going to happen is a lot of confusion from people with short attention spans and misunderstandings. This wouldn’t happen if tweet 1 said “Go here for my thoughts on xxx and leave a message.”

      Fricking bingo. Richard, please would you do us all a favour and just delete your Twitter account!

      In reply to #6 by saralhargrave:

      In reply to #5 by BigChris:

      I’d have thought this website would be a better forum for RD to express such thoughts.

      I agree in principle, but it reaches a much more niche audience.

      Yes, but as has been said, when one gets into long exchanges on Twitter people get the wrong idea and constant corrections and clarifications need to be made. It’s a waste of time and effort.

  2. Thank you, Richard, for your thoughtful comments. I feel that your ethical perspective makes more sense than either of the more ‘mainline’ arguments, since it seeks to minimize pain for all individuals (born, or yet to be born). It also allows for improvements to be made to procedures without having to juggle ethics, admitting past guilt, or debating the ‘meaning of life.’

  3. I do think the ‘pig’ comment was an invitation for trolls on both sides of the aisle to attack you, however. But it also brings up another important point, which is ethics in animal testing.

    I am an animal researcher in a neuroscience lab, and we do strive very much to minimize the pain and suffering of the rats we use in our procedures. Still, we are constantly under attack, regarding the acts which we ‘commit.’ I do believe that rats are conscious (if they were not at least semi-conscious, they would make a poor model for human neurological conditions), and that they do feel pain, but also know of few alternatives to animal research. I worry that the extremists on the “PETA” side (BTW, I don’t want to single out PETA, since I agree with many of their points, but find them to be hypocritical or extremist on a few points) of the argument are alienating scientists, and making this debate polarized in a similar manner to abortion, leading to some resistance to any improvements to animal well-being (justifiably so).

    I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue at some point.

    • So, if you were given the option to do your research without harming animals, you would.
      I’m on the fence about this : I understand the need for research, but I also think way too many animals have to suffer for it.

      Aren’t there alternatives to this ? Testing on consenting humans ?
      I appreciate your input.

      In reply to #3 by saralhargrave:

      I do think the ‘pig’ comment was an invitation for trolls on both sides of the aisle to attack you, however. But it also brings up another important point, which is ethics in animal testing.

      I am an animal researcher in a neuroscience lab, and we do strive very much to minimize the pain and suffer…

  4. I agree bootjangler. If I don’t take the time to explain what I mean, should I be surprised when people don’t fully understand what I mean? (Especially when many of those people are looking for an excuse to misunderstand anyway.) I’d have thought this website would be a better forum for RD to express such thoughts.

    • In reply to #5 by BigChris:

      I’d have thought this website would be a better forum for RD to express such thoughts.

      I agree in principle, but it reaches a much more niche audience. I mean, by your argument, should Dawkins only express himself through his books? As eloquent and compelling as they are, there is a bigger “cost” (time) to reading longer works. For novices, tweets could do some good, and be an introduction to his other writings. I suspect the worst tweeters are more willfully ignorant than they are naive.

    • In reply to #5 by BigChris:

      I agree bootjangler. If I don’t take the time to explain what I mean, should I be surprised when people don’t fully understand what I mean? (Especially when many of those people are looking for an excuse to misunderstand anyway.) I’d have thought this website would be a better forum for RD to express such thoughts.

      We are surely in the minority but I agree as well. You just can’t have an intelligent debate limiting yourself to 140 chars. Now if you are Kanye West and Justin Timberlake trading insults 140 chars is probably more than enough. But I wish intellectuals like Dawkins would just ignore it.

      • In reply to #10 by Red Dog:

        In reply to #5 by BigChris:

        I agree bootjangler. If I don’t take the time to explain what I mean, should I be surprised when people don’t fully understand what I mean? (Especially when many of those people are looking for an excuse to misunderstand anyway.) I’d have thought this website would be a better forum for RD to express such thoughts.

        We are surely in the minority but I agree as well. You just can’t have an intelligent debate limiting yourself to 140 chars. Now if you are Kanye West and Justin Timberlake trading insults 140 chars is probably more than enough. But I wish intellectuals like Dawkins would just ignore it.

        Me too. Twitter’s best suited to the linguistically challenged

  5. What about women who were raped and got pregnant? Raise your rapist’s child. I don’t think so. That reminds me: Was Mary consenting when she conceived the seed of God? It is their body and let them decide. Once the fetus is older, and can respond to stimuli, it might be a different story. For fetuses with damage or medical problems, it should be up to the mother to decide. Try raising a severely delayed child for the rest of your life.

    • I don’t understand these comments. I think Dawkins would agree that nobody should have to conceive a rapist’s child; only that the fetus be terminated in a humane way. Don’t really follow the rest of your comments…

      In reply to #7 by jstork:

      What about women who were raped and got pregnant? Raise your rapist’s child. I don’t think so. That reminds me: Was Mary consenting when she conceived the seed of God? It is their body and let them decide. Once the fetus is older, and can respond to stimuli, it might be a different story. For fetuses with damage or medical problems, it should be up to the mother to decide. Try raising a severely delayed child for the rest of your life.

    • Pretty sure Mary consented to have God’s baby: “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke, 1:38) . In reply to #7 by jstork:

      That reminds me: Was Mary consenting when she conceived the seed of God?

      • In reply to #9 by saralhargrave:

        Pretty sure Mary consented to have God’s baby: “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke, 1:38) . In reply to #7 by >

        I don’t think you understand what consent means. It wasn’t something Mary or any other woman in that culture had (to give). It’s more than acceptance.

        • I do know what consent means, and I absolutely think that it should be necessary for sexual behavior to occur. But let’s just consider the scenario in question a bit more.

          1.) Mary was told by an angel that she was going to have conceive God’s baby in your womb, and give birth to a savior (etc.). This implies that when the Angel communicated this to Mary, God’s will had not yet been done (and she had not been impregnated). So even though this wasn’t really God asking Mary if it was cool if he made a baby inside her, he told her that it would happen through a mediator, which would theoretically minimize coercion and intimidation.

          2.) After the angel told this to Mary, she said “That’s weird, I didn’t think that was possible. But whatever, that sounds good. I’m down.” This implies consent on the part of Mary. Of course, the story doesn’t say whether God would have still impregnated her if she had said “WTF? Birth a Savior? Ain’t nobody got time for that?!” It goes without saying that if God had implanted His Seed inside Mary prior to telling her about it, or if He did so regardless of what her thoughts were on the matter (she said “Eff that” and God says “too bad!”) Mary’s consent would either be questionable or absent. But that is not what (purportedly) happened (at least not in the main-line translations of the Bible), so it is not really much of an issue.

          3.) I find your last point deeply concerning — that Mary (or any other woman in that culture) lacked any consent to give. It is because of this statement that I fear that YOU do not know what consent means (According to the OED, consent is defined as: voluntary agreement to or acquiescence in what another proposes or desires; compliance, concurrence, permission). No matter what culture you live in, all conscious beings have the ability to choose whether or not to agree/comply with another being. The problem with rape or other similar scenarios is that an individual acted inappropriately to an individual who did not give consent (or whose consent was not deemed ‘legal’).

          Note that even in some instances of rape, consent may be given. However, if the consent was obtained under duress, or from a person deemed by a court of law to be mentally incapable of making an informed decision (due to age or incapacity of some kind), then the action is illegal. What we determine now to be legal consent is not the same as what was considered legal at the time, and while I am not particularly a moral relativist, there were certainly circumstances beyond simple male chauvinism in play (for instance, the average lifespan was shorter, so it made sense to marry younger). The point is that consent from a 14 year old is still consent, as is consent from an 85 year old with Alzheimer’s, or 21 year old of sound mind. But the consent is considered invalid in a court of law because of extenuating circumstances.

          I am absolutely not arguing that Mary was a product of an incredibly chauvinistic culture, and that she was put into an incredibly weird situation. I don’t know that her consent would hold up in a court of law today (we have very little evidence on either side to really make an informed judgment). But saying she was unable to make up her own mind because she was a product of a particular culture is insulting to women.

          In reply to #16 by Jabu Khan:

          In reply to #9 by saralhargrave:

          Pretty sure Mary consented to have God’s baby: “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke, 1:38) . In reply to #7 by >

          I don’t think you understand what consent means. It wasn’t something Mary or any other woman in that culture had (to give). It’s more than acceptance.

          • In reply to #18 by saralhargrave:

            I do know what consent means, and I absolutely think that it should be necessary for sexual behavior to occur. But let’s just consider the scenario in question a bit more.1.) Mary was told by an angel that she was going to have conceive God’s baby in your womb, and give birth to a savior (etc.). This implies that when the Angel communicated this to Mary, God’s will had not yet been done (and she had not been impregnated). So even though this wasn’t really God asking Mary if it was cool if he made a baby inside her…

            Let’s cut to the chase here. The gospel story of the nativity is pure mythology. In all probability Yeshua the preacher, around whom the legend of the ‘Christ’ was later constructed, resulted from young Mary being knocked up by a Roman soldier and then married off to a local carpenter (Joseph) to preserve family ‘honour’.

    • In reply to #7 by jstork:

      What about women who were raped and got pregnant? Raise your rapist’s child.

      The fetus doesn’t know or care how it was conceived. The woman might. She might not. It’s only one factor that weighs differently on different people. I don’t see why Rape, as a factor, should be given such leverage.

      The people who oppose abortion except in cases of rape or incest are still imposing their own will on the potential mother.

  6. Moral absolutism is an excessively stupid and dangerous dogmatic idea.We all know about the sad case in Ireland where the health authority stood and watched a woman dies,refusing to perform an abortion the only medical procedure that would possibly saved her life.

  7. My point was that a woman did not chose who to have sexual relations with at the time. She would be killed for doing so. She was the property of her father until purchased from him by another man. If a man did rape a woman damages were awarded to the father and could be reduced by marrying the rape victim. What she thought was of no interest. The fact that Mary says she Is a handmaiden to the lord, a term denoting status as a bound servant, sounds more like an acknowledgement of her place than giving consent to me.

    The Gospel of Mary isn’t considered canonical by most churches anymore. That being said the book left tell very little of Mary’s story. If the basic story from apocrypha were any indication ( not that I think any of it has anything to do with reality) Mary’s parent were also visited by an angel before Mary was conceived. She was picked to birth the Christ before she was born.

    I did not say that woman were not capable of giving consent in the sense that they were not of sufficient faculties. I was saying that they were not afforded that liberty. I don’t think it Is the women of the era that it reflects poorly upon.

    • I think we can all agree that the past was terrible and that religion played a large part in that.

      In reply to #19 by Jabu Khan:

      My point was that a woman did not chose who to have sexual relations with at the time. She would be killed for doing so. She was the property of her father until purchased from him by another man. If a man did rape a woman damages were awarded to the father and could be reduced by marrying the rape victim. What she thought was of no interest….

  8. I’m disappointed and rather surprised that Richard Dawkins, normally an articulate and nuanced communicator, thinks it possible to make a meaningful contribution to a complex debate in 140 characters.

  9. Life is sacred, the believers say. Or so it seems. The criteria for a worthwhile life are manifold. Do we have to honour the rapist also as we honour God? I don’t think so. Is the fetus going to have a life worth living? And what if we don’t honour God at all? These are very interesting questions, to say the least. It does not always make sense.
    Why is it that other creatures, having been created by natural selection, have not taken these standpoints up for discussion. Because they have no gods, I think. Or natural selection does not mind the viewpoint of the ignoramus. If you want to have a christian view on this, contact Päivi Räsänen/Suomen eduskunta (Finnish Parliament). She has definite opinions on the issue. The Finnish Lutheran Church lost quite a lot of members because of her opinions on gay marriages.

  10. I had never considered the concept of pain to the fetus. I have always considered the potential consequences to the woman and her actual children being more important than a hypothetical human. Considering the number of children living with abuse and neglect, and the foster care system, I wish we could focus more of our time and attention on the children who already have needs; rather than debating what’s appropriate for hypothetical humans. Each individual woman has the right to clear and thorough information regarding the potential risks involved in any health care issue. Furthermore, no one but the individual can weigh the potential consequences to her health and well beimg as well as her current economic and family circumstances. I can’t understand how abortion is still being debated in 2013 as we are facing much greater problems that we should be tackling.

  11. Getting back to the abortion issue, I’ve found it very hard to have a productive discussion about it because of absolutism on both sides, as RD says. Intuitively, deep inside, I feel very uncomfortable with abortion, especially at the late stages. When does a disposable fetus become a precious baby? It goes back to that discontinuous thinking RD wrote an article about. I find it hard to draw a line. Is a 36 week fetus, who could survive perfectly well outside the womb, still part of the mother’s body? And the decision to end the life hers alone? Should mothers have the right to end the life of a new born who has abnormalities? At what point does it become murder? Should a two-year old who sustains brain damage be terminated because he/she would be very difficult to raise? I’d be interested in what others think. Even as an atheist, I find the idea of human life sacred, more sacred than a pig’s, but not sure how I justify that idea.

    • In reply to #28 by currerbell:

      Getting back to the abortion issue, I’ve found it very hard to have a productive discussion about it because of absolutism on both sides, as RD says. Intuitively, deep inside, I feel very uncomfortable with abortion, especially at the late stages. When does a disposable fetus become a precious baby? It goes back to that discontinuous thinking RD wrote an article about. I find it hard to draw a line. Is a 36 week fetus, who could survive perfectly well outside the womb, still part of the mother’s body? And the decision to end the life hers alone? Should mothers have the right to end the life of a new born who has abnormalities? At what point does it become murder? Should a two-year old who sustains brain damage be terminated because he/she would be very difficult to raise? I’d be interested in what others think. Even as an atheist, I find the idea of human life sacred, more sacred than a pig’s, but not sure how I justify that idea.

      I think that is where science has to come in to guide to the point where a judgement can be made, and why there has to be a time limit somewhere between the lines of the viability of the fetus and the health and rights of the woman. Nobody would believe a blastocyst is a child or fully human, and everybody would agree that a newborn is, and is fully human. Everyone would agree that the woman has full rights to control her own body over what isn’t yet a equal human being. Its just when does it become a fellow member of the human race that is the issue.

      The limits are blurry and I guess they are always going to be a bit artitrary. Which is an argument for very easy access to abortion as early as possible when it isn’t an issue. And I agree the debate isn’t helped by absolutism on both sides and the sometimes knee jerk reaction that if religion thinks one thing atheists must think the opposite without any degree of critical thought at all just because. There are always gray areas.

      As far as I can see the current limit of 24 weeks that we have in the UK seems ok in terms of what we know tho I’d be unhappy going above that unless it were a case of any risk to maternal health, severe fetal abnormality or rape. Whilst the 36 weeks you quote is far too late. That is 4 weeks off full term and at a stage where all it is to all intents and purposes a baby – it could easily be born and survive withot help.

      But even at 24 weeks I know very pro choice people who have issues with that cut off. I have an fiercely atheist friend who works in a special care baby unit. The technological advances have meant she can now keep babies born at 26 weeks alive and pushing the boundaries ever backwards. As a result she has moved away from being very happy with the 24 week limit to wanting a much bigger margin between what shes caring for and what is discarded (I have to add she is also a bit uncomfortable with the long term outcomes for some of those very early babies and their poorer quality of life but its her job just to keep them going as best she can if that is what the parents want). Technology has changed her opinion of boundaries and what we know, and what lives or dies. Even twenty years ago those babies would have had little or no chance of survival.

      But then you have the problem that any meaningful debate about limits will inevitably be hijacked by our religious politicians with sinister agendas so tends to be avoided to retain the hard won right to any abortion.

      As for the pigs comparison? I don’t understand it. My husband is a vet and would consider pigs far more sentient and capable of stress than a 12 week embryo but only until a certain point is reached when he would state the fetus is more important. But as he pointed out a living pig and a human fetus are two very different things, and are incomparable in this context. It seems a meaningless comparison – it doesn’t make any real sense to me. Why RD always feels the need to reach for odd comparisons that don’t really work I don’t know.

      As for the tweeter that claimed that they knew women who regretted their abortions? I’ve heard that old religious argument so many times but have yet to see figures and can say the overwhelming emotion everyone I know has felt after terminations is utter relief! So why didn’t Dawkins ask for their stats cos I’d love to see them.

      So given all the above which has barely scratched the surface, I don’t think it is an issue that can be debated on something like twitter. That really is for frivolous chatter or for directing people to somewhere more serious to debate it properly. You can’t make really serious points in 140 characters and trying to just trivialises them.

  12. I struggle with the whole anti abortion argument, lets say for arguments sake I’m a aspiring anti abortionist and pro life activist, surly if my motivation for the preservation of life was in anyway sincere, I would be helping to tackle the thousands and thousands of unnecessary deaths that children suffer all over the world.
    I could take on a extra job and give all the money to starving children in third world countries,
    or devote my time children who are suffering at the hands of abuse, children who have already developed a wide range emotions and understanding.
    Perhaps it,s just another cause one can jump onto, be angry about, and have a jolly good fight.
    for some people it’s football teams.

  13. Thanks for your brave tweets. But one note: even when we take the consequentialist view of morality, it’s difficult to get a definite answer as it is hard to know whether the woman’s right to body trumps fetal pain or not. Because (I’m a newbie to philosophy) how does one even compare “rights” to “pain”? I mean, how much pain does a fetus need to feel to outweigh the right of woman over her body.

  14. Well I suppose when you think about it (Arpitchauhan) it’s a pain on pain argument, what ever a womans decision about abortion, their may possibly be emotional pain, how do you compare emotional pain to physical?
    Far more people are driven to suicide through emotional pain than that of people who look to euthanasia as an answer to physical pain. what I do know is a woman is a fully grown human being that has a full understanding of both emotional and physical pain. So i guess you take a scientific and objective view and go for the lesser of two evils.

  15. So is the question that abortion is OK if the fetus has become a sentient being? Does abortion in itself cause pain to the fetus? If so, how long does the pain last? It seems to me that the question should be the emotional condition of the woman carrying the fetus and the life she is prepared or not prepared to provide for the unborn child. Not having an abortion can cause more pain to the sentient mother or others affected by her choice than the fetus potentially could be feeling, if it feels anything at all…

    • In reply to #32 by lisarut:

      So is the question that abortion is OK if the fetus has become a sentient being? Does abortion in itself cause pain to the fetus? If so, how long does the pain last? It seems to me that the question should be the emotional condition of the woman carrying the fetus and the life she is prepared or not prepared to provide for the unborn child. Not having an abortion can cause more pain to the sentient mother or others affected by her choice than the fetus potentially could be feeling, if it feels anything at all…

      Human children don’t actually achieve sentience until they are between 18-30 months old.

      Mother is absolutely paramount.

  16. The worse start one can get in life is to be born when nobody wanted you to be born. There is a strict correlation between legalisation of abortion and lowering rates of delinquency 15 to 30 years after.

  17. I did more than just read the tweets; I listened to part of an interview with Richard Dawkins that again brought up pain as both a reason to limit abortion rights and to not eat meat. In the interview Richard seemingly took on the opinion that the pig’s pain is reason not to kill him for food, but that the same argument does not apply to plants.

    I want to argue that this is still an arbitrary line. He’s a biologist and should know this. Pain is nothing special. It is the result of sensory impulses that warn of injury. Well, plants have perception of injury as well. Just because they don’t have a nervous system like ours does not mean they don’t perceive injury. Mowing the grass might very well be an equivalent to amputation in animals. We understand animals better because we ARE animals and we don’t think the same kind of sensory information is passed in plants when they suffer injury.

    Like I said, it’s still an arbitrary line. Do we draw it at individual level, group level, species level, class level or do we draw at at the level of not wanting to harm any other life forms. Eating fruit pulp and carefully preserving the seeds should not convey any perception of injury, but then, eating the flesh of an animal already dead doesn’t either. Neither does causing the death in a way that doesn’t cause pain.

    Whether or not a fetus is capable of perceiving injury isn’t the entire story with abortion either. You can’t erase the mother from the picture and disregard her pain in favor of the fetus, as most anti-abortionists tend to do. The closer an abortion is to viability, the likelier the woman is to have wanted the child and the more difficult a decision to abort. Her life or her child’s is often at the heart of the matter and delaying the abortion can put both at hazard. A woman should have full rights over her own body and what uses it is put to, which makes a decision about an abortion rightfully hers, no matter if the fetus is capable of perceiving injury or not.

  18. It’s ashame that today we still have to argue for rights and freedoms that we should have gotten a while ago. A woman should be able to do whatever she wants with her body. Men should too. This also brings up the question of drug legalization. I, personally am pro-drug (I don’t do them, but I think they should be legal). We need more people like Richard Dawkins.

  19. I think the most important lesson here is in the intended use for twitter, and the need for its users to resist the temptation to try and actually address issues in a tweet. Twitter is like a signpost; it points you to the lecture hall, it doesn’t try to address anything you’ll actually be doing there. If clicking a link and reading more than a dozen words is too much like hard work for someone, you aren’t likely to get them to understand anything of importance anyway.

  20. It’s people like Richard Dawkins who make me feel like joining Twitter (and everyone else who make me reel in fear). The pig comparison is quite provocative if you are debating with… unintelligent… people (I didn’t know how to say it without sounding patronising, sorry!), as pro-life people tend to be. Of course, Dawkins’ arguments make a lot of sense (“Try harder” made me chuckle). I’ve noticed that I use parenthesis a lot (my apologies).

  21. I am Irish woman and currently living in Ireland, so if I get pregnant, in my country, I automatically lose my right to medical autonomy. Unless I am about to die, regardless of the viability of the foetus, my doctors are not allowed to intervene if it would harm the foetus. The current law of my country states that there must be a “real and substantial risk to the life of the mother as oppose to the health” before a termination can be carried out. It terrifies me. My request for a termination would be futile unless I could die, and I would just have to hope that they would decide my life (as oppose to my health) was at risk before it was too late. The consequences of such a law most likely cost Savita Halappanavar her life. It is refreshing to hear logic applied to such a serious topic. I just wish more people applied it.

  22. Just throwing this out there: how much of religious society’s revulsion of elective abortion is related to the idea that more abortions will result in not a partial, but a total breakdown of whatever society comes after ours? Do we not continually hear phrases like “culture of death” and “societal decay”?

    People of faith who are against abortion have essentially had to abandon the soul argument (no evidence) and the moment of conception argument (conception isn’t a moment) in all but the most religiously fundamental of forums. But they haven’t abandoned the slippery slope claims. And Catholics (particularly it seems) also discuss the post-abortion mental health for women (ie: depression). However, there are women who are not depressed by having an abortion so that argument is not as strong as it might be.

    It seems to me that when faith is discarded from the pro-birth argument, a large chunk of protests rest on a perceived hypothetical: future societal decay. That’s a claim worth exploring in my opinion. Perhaps if it is found to be nonsensical, it will strip away another layer from their platform. And if there is merit to the claim, well, I’d like to know about that too.

    Mike

  23. The thing I don’t get is when people (particularly of the religious persuasion) seem to think pro-choice means pro-abortion.

    Any sane woman would not ever want to be in a situation where she’d even have to consider going through with something like this. It’s not a decision that’s taken lightly and if a woman realizes she’s not capable of raising a child it’s her responsibility to terminate the pregnancy in the most humane way available to her.

    Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of attempting to make women feel like shameful, selfish people for not wanting to carry out nine months of physical discomfort, we could further educate people on how to proceed while minimizing pain for the fetus?

  24. I understand your views, but what about you or me or anyone. We could say that the child will feel no pain, but what if that child could be more intelligent than you or any of the people here. you can not just cut of a life just because it is easy and painless, and why do you say a human is more intelligent than an animal before you know the result. Anyway the idea of kill them before they are born, or torture them afterwards what right do any of us god or man had to make this choice. The child you kill may not achive anything but so what, you do not care for a god, but you care for people like you, you even want money of them. If you are like any of us, you have limitations as do we all, and your reasoning to help others only rely on those that have the same limitations. I have lived, I am not you, but I have liked my life as do I think you have. I could have been killed before I was born, but I am glad I was not. I believe in life that lives, not in offing is a system of control people or whatever that gives up on life because it was weak or whatever. you want money of people, why, all you are offering is a system of control. If you have any sense you will give up on the selfish gene, as it is the basis of our brains. And it seems to be giving you the idea (genes to brain) that life is expendable. Well to all who are religious or not F**k the lot of you I would rather have a child who was happy, than the lies given to us by the selfish gene(it controles richard dawkins brain unless he lies) or whatever replacement you would like.

  25. Just this week, a new law has been passed in Spain. Debate, as always, is quite heated between pro-choice and pro-life. That brought me here and I can’t help but being a bit confused. Of all your tweets, the one I feel more inclined to follow is the “2 kinds of absolutist” ones. As for the other, I have the impression that you are just trying to justify with the help of a flawed logic, an unfortunate phrase. The summary of that lack of consistency is finally shown in the use of “probably”. Mr. Dawkins: none of us know for sure if a pig “feels” pain the same way as humans do, understanding “feel” in a human context, not in a purely sensitive one. Just as none of us know for sure when a human becomes human. For the pain issue, let me ask you something: there is a 35 year old woman in a severe coma. She has no family, relatives or friends that will mourn her. In your opinion, would it be morally “wrong” to get into that room with a chainsaw and chop her to pieces? Probably she would not feel it. She is just a piece of meat lying on a bed, just as we all are when we die. Maybe she is not dead since her heart keeps on beating, but who cares? At the end of the day she shares her DNA with the fetus, she doesn’t feel pain (probably) and she won’t be mourned. My intuition (call it that, or morals, or ethos or whatever) tells me that I am terribly wrong, but your logic tells me I am right. Just saying that the damn thing on abortion is one of the shadiest issues an intelligent human being can be confronted with.

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