Sunday, May 11, 2008

He tries so hard...

Ever wonder what atheism and baby-killing have in common? Well, apparently our favorite man-child, Dinesh D'Souza, already knows the answer! It just so happen that the common thread is atheist philosopher Peter Singer. And, obviously, Dinesh cannot contain himself:

"Given the connection that Singer draws between atheism and child murder, using the former as his premise to recommend the latter, I wonder if our atheist friends are going to rush to embrace this guy as one of their heroes. Is Singer showing us where the road to complete secularism actually leads?"

Classy guy, that D'Souza.

Here is D'Souza's summary of Singer's most controversial points:

"[Singer] argues in favor of infanticide, euthanasia and (this is not a joke) animal rights! One of Singer's interesting proposals concerns what may be called "fourth trimester" abortions, i.e. the right to kill one's offspring even after birth!"

Of course, D'Souza is among the few who would actually see a contradiction here. If accounting for the potential for human (or animal) suffering were put into play, euthanasia would not be a bad thing, infanticide would not be a bad thing , and animal rights (protecting the animal from being abused) would be a good thing. It's all very simple, but D'Souza wants to see a contradiction so badly...

Some good points that Singer makes:
"The calf, the pig, and the much-derided chicken come out well ahead of the fetus at any stage of pregnancy, while if we make the comparison with a fetus of less than three months, a fish would show more signs of consciousness."

"Characteristics like rationality, autonomy and self-consciousness...make a difference. Infants lack these characteristics. Killing them, therefore, cannot be equated with killing normal human beings."

And D'Souza's attempts to dismiss them as too icky:
"So while Christianity introduced into Western civilization the concept of dignity of human life, Singer explicitly says we have to get rid of this outdated concept. He contends that God is dead and we should recognize ourselves as Darwinian primates who enjoy no special status compared to the other animals. In the animal kingdom, after all, parents sometimes kill and even devour their offpsring. Singer argues that the West can learn from the other cultures like the Kalahari where children are routinely killed when they are unwanted, even when they are several years old."

So, once again D'Souza argues that nobody cared about life, humans, society, morals, or even any form of restraint at all until Jesus moonwalked onto the scene. Oh, and of course, evil atheists are attacking the "dignity of human life" because it is a religious concept, or something.

A newsflash for D'Souza: humans are "Darwinian" primates, no matter how you slice it. Christianity wasn't the first religion to give "dignity" to human life, and religion is not necessary to see that it is a social imperative, in most arenas, for such "dignity" to remain. Oh, and, the thing about infanticide is that killing a human that young would not cause the child too much pain if done without malice, and would cause no duress to third parties or to social networks related to the child and its "journey" through life, which is all that Singer is arguing. And the thing about it is, he is basically right! There would be no social damages or mental anguish felt by any aside from the participants in the act, and the infant, ideally, would not suffer nearly as much pain as any other dying human being would. Needless to say, I emphatically do not support infanticide regardless, since going about a normal abortion gives you more than enough leeway in regards to bringing about the same result. Once a nervous system gets involved in the matter, it is too risky to attempt to justify beyond that, since doing so depends on a definition of humanity that is not just about cognitive function alone, but a certain level of cognitive capacity...which is a slippery slope into eugenics (which I do not feel like defending in the same breath as infanticide).

"He doesn't want state-sponsored killings. Rather, he wants the decision to kill to be made by you and me. Instead of government-conducted genocide, Singer favors free-market homicide."

Funny how you pretend to have a problem with this, when you could care less about death in the name of patriotism and religion. Government-conducted genocide, of course, is wrong to you, but not when it occurs within the confines of traditional warfare, or is directed against indigenous peoples. Free-market homicide is fine to you as well, as long as there aren't wittle babies or people on their death beds involved. As long as the homicide is in the form of an electric chair for people that we are fairly sure deserve it, it is A-Okay. As long as the homicide is in self-defense, it is justifiable. But don't touch our precious brain-dead coma patients, pain-wracked cancer patients, or infants whose mental capacity are on par with the chickens we so gleefully slaughter for our lunches, but are nonetheless afforded protections not afforded to other animals merely due to being a member of our species.

The issue isn't about being able to kill at whim. The issue is about having no logical basis by which we can deem it fit to let the dying suffer hopelessly, to bring harm to animals, and to afford protection to infants who are no more intelligent than the animals we devour. Our excuses for why we do these things are rooted in favoritism for our own species and for a natural tendency to try to preserve the lives of those in our in-group. It has an evolutionary basis, a psychological basis, a traditional basis, arguably a religious basis (beyond that encompassed by the first three), but no rational basis.

But, whatever. Secularism leads to legal murder! Everybody, run before zombie Thomas Jeferson re-establishes the wall of separation of church and state, and then eats your baby! No! Dr. Kevorkian, what hath your experiments wrought?!

No comments: