Richard Dawkins ran into quite a bit of trouble after announcing that it would be ‘immoral’ not to abort an unborn child who had Downs Syndrome. “Dawkins-bashing” has become too easy to be very interesting; yet his comments bear a little more reflection because his prejudices are very common in our secular age. When Richard Dawkins argues that advances in science disprove the existence of God, he is really saying that “science” can be a new god. I am very afraid that his “scientism” will become the god we draw our morality from.
Of course scientific research is a good thing when we use it well. Advances in science have allowed for better care for pregnant woman and their children. We are more aware of the importance of good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Women moderate what they put into their bodies so they don’t harm their ‘baby’ (most expectant mothers do not refer to their “embryo” or “foetus”)! Yet, some self-appointed spokespersons for “science” ask us to believe that if our baby has a disability then we should abort it ! We have better healthcare for people with disabilities; they live longer than they ever did hundreds of years ago because of scientific advances – yet prominent scientists tell us it would be better to kill them because they might not be happy.
Some tell us that “science” says it is reasonable in certain circumstances to abort a ‘baby’ after 24 weeks; that it is permissable to stab that baby in the base of the skull just before it is born. I wonder -will we move a step further if “science” should tell us that it is ‘immoral’ not to kill a disabled baby after it is born? We nw use comfortable terms like “abort” rather than ‘kill’; soon, perhaps, we will use terms like “neo-nate” and “infanticide” rather than “murder”.
No one is saying it is easy for a mother with an ‘unwanted’ pregnancy, or that it is easy to live with a disability. I am simply asking: shouldn’t we as a society have more qualms about killing? Aren’t we hypocritical when we call for humanitarian aid in other countries yet have no qualms about destroying human life in our own ? Should we ask science to define happiness and right and wrong? Shouldn’t we just let science get on with discovering the truth about the physical world?
How can science define happiness? How can it reveal the most fulfilling life? Should we be allowing science alone to define our morality? A scientist kids himself if he says we are performing these acts out of kindness. As it says in Jeremiah ‘the heart is deceitful above all things……’ The selfishness in our hearts can talk us into anything. The use of technology to destroy life, and the misuse of the term “science” to excuse destruction, reveals the deceitfulness in our hearts. “Science” could in fact be our downfall if it makes us feels as if we are ‘god’ of our own lives. We will only listen to the experts who tell us what we want to hear; “science” will only tell us convenient truths.