In chapter 8, Dawkins talks about abortion. He makes a couple of startling claims. First, he argues that religion is bad because a select few fundamentalists kill abortion doctors, and then he goes on to argue support for abortion because fetuses aren’t really human anyways.
Dawkins’ logic is seriously flawed in this chapter. There are two problems here.
First, he uses the red herring of religious fundamentalists that have killed abortion doctors as a protest against abortion. I touched on this in the last chapter when I talked about fundamentalism. Even though a select few choose to kill in the name of their cause, that doesn’t necessarily make the cause a bad one. Thus, Dawkins yet again shows a flawed sense of logic in his arguments. That is another strike against Dawkins and his writing in this book. I talked quite a bit on this topic of religious fundamentalism in the last chapter and I’ll be talking about it again in the next chapter. So, I’m going to put this aside for now.
The second problem is this: Dawkins tries to dehumanize abortion in an attempt to justify it in some way.
My views on this topic have gone from extremely liberal to extremely conservative. I think of myself as fairly liberal in a lot of respects. I lean towards rehabilitation for criminals, I’m against capital punishment and I think that social assistance is an important safety net for all of us, especially the least among us. Those aren’t typical conservative views. To stick with the stereotype, many liberals support free choice, while most conservatives are pro life. Yes, this is a generalization, but I think it’s a fairly accurate and it does seem to represent the “typical liberal or conservative” agenda.
But I digress…
Like I said, I used to be extremely pro choice. I always thought that abortion should be the individual’s choice. My views on this were strongest in my teens and early twenties, which is the age at which most of us may feel the need to deal with this issue on a personal level. And, I remember at the time feeling that this would be “the best choice for me as I wasn’t ready to have a kid yet.” Fear, uncertainty and lack of readiness are the thoughts that came to my mind when I considered the options available to people in my age group when it came to having children. If I wasn’t ready, well… the medical system had the easy out, the so-called “get out of jail free” card.
It wasn’t until I had matured more that I revisited my thoughts on abortion. And, I didn’t revisit these views until I started to think I was stable enough to have a family of my own. At that point, my views started to take a turn in a different direction. All of a sudden, abortion represented the death of a child. As any expectant parent understands, that week 12 visit to the doctor is extremely symbolic. At week 12, most parents hear the heartbeat of their new little baby for the first time. I remember the first time I heard Noah’s heartbeat. I was instantly connected to my first son. And the connection was more vivid for Julie as she started to experience Noah kicking and punching inside of her as he grew in her belly.
It’s interesting how perspectives change depending on the circumstances, eh?
To read the rest of this chapter and the rest of The God Solution, please visit your favourite ebook seller: amazon.com, amazon.ca and kobobooks.com. And, don’t forget about The God Solution Promotion.
3 replies on “The God Solution – Chapter 7 – The slippery slope of abortion”
Congratulations on writing your first book! I’m looking forward to buying and reading it in its entirety!
Your post today struck a particular chord with me, so I thought I’d leave you my two cents on the topic.
Pro-life, pro-choice, religion, anti-religion – it all seems a little too black and white to me. Like yourself, I think of myself as a fairly liberal person and I like to keep an open mind on most topics. I don’t have a strong opinion on pro-life or pro-choice because I believe that the circumstances around each situation are different, and without careful consideration of those circumstances, a sound decision can not be made. I apply this thinking to topics such as abortion, because there are a variety of circumstances in which a measure like this may be considered.
I’m certainly not in favor of killing children, but if you frame abortion as starkly as that, of course it would seem barbaric. However, I remember the last time we spoke, you mentioned that if your family were in mortal danger you wouldn’t hesitate to use whatever force was necessary to protect them. I know that you don’t condone or endorse murder, but under certain circumstances, it may be an option you would need to consider.
My point being, circumstances in each situation need to be factored into decision making. It’s not really as simple as saying “I AM PRO-LIFE” or “I AM PRO-CHOICE”.
My last thoughts on the topic of religion or anti-religion is that religion should be kept separate from God. I personally believe in God, and I grew up as a Catholic. As an adult, I’m forced to consider that religion, which is undisputedly penned by man, may be flawed. I’ve taken the approach that a good religious education and upbringing can instill good morals, however, I am also of the opinion that man created religion.
I think Dawkin’s objection to God largely stems from the fact that religion and God are so intertwined. However, the structure, books and tenants of every single religion were penned by man. Regardless of if your belief is that there was divine assistance, the pen to paper aspect was done by a man and may be considered flawed. This is why I advocate a more “learn-the-lessons” approach to religion and a more firm belief in private worship.
Hey Eric, thanks for sharing. I really appreciate the candidness of your response.
The chapter title sounds a bit… graphic.