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Richard Dawkins, unaccountably identified as a “bioethicist”, said that it is the moral and responsible thing to abort babies with Down syndrome. “Apparently I'm a horrid monster for recommending WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS to the great majority of Down Syndrome fetuses” he wrote.

No one is calling Dawkins a logician.

If he’s a monster, so are the people who are actually doing it. Let’s stick with Dawkins for now. Is it OK to do something because lots of other people are doing it? If so, we wouldn’t need a legal code of any kind. People kill other people every day. The Nazis made a social program of killing people they thought were inferior.

Should people not be allowed to live because of physical or mental flaws? They use up resources, in some cases more than other people. Down syndrome individuals require more of certain kinds of care than people without that impairment.

Therefore, is resource consumption a valid basis for eliminating some people? You might as well say kill the rich, because they use up more resources than the poor. Yet the poor may use up more of certain kinds of resources, in the way of medical care or legal aid, at least if they live in the prosperous West. And some rich people give a lot of their wealth to charity or businesses which employ people. It is a conundrum.

Should people be killed because they do not produce goods for society in the way you would prefer? Although handicapped people can be well employed in certain kinds of service or manufacturing jobs, they generally don’t get cool jobs in academia or the arts.

Should some people be killed just because you don’t want to see them? Dawkins apparently hasn’t personally known any people with Down syndrome. He might like some of them if he did. They tend to be mild-mannered and friendly. Certainly no threat to him.

What about fetuses that have no perceivable major handicap, but who may develop one in the future? Which is most of us if we get old enough, even Dawkins. What about preventive abortions for everyone?

What makes some of us so uncomfortable in the face of imperfections, to the point of wanting the imperfect person dead? The common or garden variety psychologist could explain this with one brain hemisphere tied behind his back. So what’s wrong with Richard Dawkins? The spiritual void is easy to peer into, but he would not perceive that void as a flaw. What’s wrong with him that he can’t bear to see mirrored and exaggerated?

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