Controversial atheist author Professor Richard Dawkins is playing up to his reputation as one of Twitter’s most prolifically divisive users by insisting that aborting Down’s Syndrome babies is a highly moral act.
The Oxford biologist became embroiled in the online row after he tweeted an article about abortion law in the Republic of Ireland, reports The Times. The heated conversation with his followers soon turned to selective abortion, specifically regarding foetuses diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome.
After repeatedly defending his position, Dawkins tweeted:
Women have a right to early abortion. Choice is theirs. Down Syndrome is 1 of the commonest & most moral reasons to exercise that right.
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) August 21, 2014
Clearly growing frustrated that fellow tweeters were unable to grasp his dispassionate, humanist stance Dawkins insisted that the ignorant just hadn’t read enough of his books:
If you don’t understand the point, look up “The Great Beethoven Fallacy” in The God Delusion.
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) August 20, 2014
Dawkins seems to relish the opportunity to raise his profile by applying his own logical perspective to ‘moral philosophic questions’ in particularly controversial and sensitive areas. Combining two of the great moral panics of our era, Dawkins held forth on pedophilia and rape.
The Christ Church professor tweeted that while ‘mild’ paedophilia is bad, ‘violent’ pedophilia is worse. Not satisfied at having outraged the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Dawkins continued to play with the same syllogism and asserted ‘date rape’ is bad, but ‘rape at knifepoint’ is worse.
A rape charity spokesman replied “Rape itself is a violent act regardless of whether any physical force is used. For survivors there is no hierarchy as to what constitutes ‘better’ or ‘worse’ rape. Rape is rape; there is no such thing as mild rape”.