Abortion, Atheism and Double-Standards

One of the things that disturbs me most in life are double standards.  I’m sure I’ve probably employed double standards myself at times, no doubt in times of selfishness, and so I’m not without needing some accountability on this as well.

Some double standards rock the very core of morality.  Here is a double standard that is beyond my understanding of human reasoning.

When Life Begins

Renown atheist and biologist Richard Dawkins, when questioned on the origin of life on earth, said …

“We know the kind of event it must have been, we know the sort of event that must have happened for the origin of life.  It was the origin of the first self-replicating molecule.”

At a later date, Mr. Dawkins tweeted …

“With respect to those meanings of ‘human’ that are relevant to the morality of abortion, any human fetus is less human than an adult pig.”

So, if this does not qualify as being a double standard in Mr. Dawkins opinion, then he must feel that the origin of life on earth was precious and necessary for all life on earth to exist, except for any human fetus.

Talk show celebrity and atheist Bill Maher stated a similar opinion about the morality of abortion on his show “Politically Incorrect” a few years back, saying …

“I have no doubt that a bunch of goo is not a baby.”

To me, if you are an atheist, you subscribe to the belief that life itself began in the proverbial “primordial goo” in its lowest form, and then evolved eventually into all life, and ultimately to a human form.  You also must believe that morals were either inherent in all life or somehow evolved on their own and most certainly were not in their origins taught to us.

So, random life sprung forth, preciously improbable, and evolved into a higher order of morality that supports the destruction of its own progeny.  To me, this “postmodern morality” is in essence saying  “The naturalistic origin of life itself is precious and thanks to it and evolution, I exist.  But, against the laws of nature, against any survival instinct, I reserve the right to destroy it if that life springs forth inside me at my inconvenience.  So… to help me feel better about myself, then I now deny that this fetus inside me is actually a human life.”

Do you not find that to be an extreme double-standard?

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3 Responses to Abortion, Atheism and Double-Standards

  1. Firstly I want to say that this issue has absolutely nothing to do with atheism itself. Yes, you are quoting atheists, but atheism is a lack of belief in a god and nothing else. It has nothing t9 do with your position on abortion and allows for any stance other than belief in a god.

    Secondly, the origin of life (Abiogenesis) is more precious in that it is more precarious than human conception. It is more rare for nonliving chemicals to produce living chemicals or even the components for living chemicals. You can actively create human life whenever you like with a relatively extremely high ratio of success.

    The next issue is that abortion is not a threat to our continued existence. Our population is stable if not increasing steadily despite legal abortions. If abortions were mandatory for all conceptions (which would be pro-abortion as opposed to pro-choice) then you would see everyone, atheists included, up in arms.

    Finally we need to be careful what the actual issue is about. Fetuses do not have actual legal rights, they are not cotizens, they don’t have a social security number or any other such recognition. Even if we did grant them all the rights a human child had, no human has the right to use another humans organs against their will even to sustain their own life. An abortion is not a matter of aborting a fetus, it’s a matter of aborting a pregnancy. A subtle but important difference. Also keep in mind late term abortions are reserved only for extreme cases where the health of the mother and/or fetus is concerned.


    • Doyle says:

      Thank you for sharing your perspective. I’ll respond to each of your points.

      “Firstly I want to say that this issue has absolutely nothing to do with atheism itself.”
      It was not my intent to address atheism itself, but rather to address specifically the double-standard I see as common among those who lack a belief in a god and those who support abortion. I’m not saying that all atheists maintain this same perspective, nor that all who support abortion are atheists.

      “(Abiogenesis) is more precious in that it is more precarious than human conception”
      I don’t believe it is more precious than human conception because I don’t believe in abiogenesis, a soundly discredited theory that life arose spontaneously from non-living matter. The fact that human conception has a high rate of success says nothing to whether life is a miracle or not, but again I understand that is my theistic opinion.

      “The next issue is that abortion is not a threat to our continued existence.”
      I agree that this is true given that the abortion rate never encroaches on the mortality rate. It does not mean that it is not a threat to our continued quality of life. When mankind loses its concern for other human life, deeming unborn humans as either worthless goo or at best no better than swine, the quality of life on earth suffers.

      “Finally we need to be careful what the actual issue is about.”
      Yes, I agree, let’s stick to the actual, original issue. My issue was about double-standards. Non-theistic evolutionists believe that life started from the most basic building blocks of matter and energy, but of those who also support abortion they believe, in effect, that we should respect this concept of evolution in general but that we do not need to respect any specific instance of human life in gestation. That to me is a gross double-standard.


      • 1. Well my stance is that atheism does not lead to any particular beliefs. Abiogenesis is not a specifically atheist belief, and many christians do believe in it. I would say everyone you quoted is an atheist though, and that atheists have less reason to NOT believe Abiogenesis than Christians do.

        2. Abiogenesis is actually not discredited to my knowledge, though it is on less stable ground than evolution which is much better supported. Abiogenesis is the study of how life comes from non-life, and there have been many experiments which show the multiple possible ways this can occur. We know Abiogenesis is therefore possible, but we don’t yet have any way to determine which of these ways life actually developed or if we have even found the exact method yet. What Abiogenesis has demonstrated is that the conditions for life to form are very exact and uncommon thus making it much more likely for two humans to conceive a child than for life to develop from non-life.

        3. I think we can agree here a bit. My position is not that the fetus is worthless and certainly not that abortions should be performed lightly. There should be some restrictions on abortion as to how late they can be performed and under what conditions. Optimally, I would encourage people to use safe contraception and only resort to abortions for health and safety issues. That’s where I draw the line between Pro-choice and “pro-abortion”.

        4. I think they would make the argument that it is not a double standard and that it’s comparing apples to oranges. The sheer difficulty of Abiogenesis as compared to conception is one issue. I also think they might posit that the chemistry and biology behind Abiogenesis and Conception are both incredibly beautiful. The difference comes when we can manipulate one and not the other. We can’t yet alter or generate abiogenesis, but we do have the power to interfere with a fetus. It becomes a question of who’s life do we value? Should we force a woman to carry a fetus to term even if it is likely to kill the mother? That sets the precedent that this fetus life has more value than the mothers life despite her having quantifiable rights and potential while the fetus doesnt. The fetus could be stillborn or die shortly after birth or even kill the mother during birth. When we get down to it we know one human doesn’t have the right to force another to share their organs. Even giving a fetus full human status we can’t justify forcing the mother to carry the child at ALL. We do place restrictions on late term abortions though just because we lack enough information to make a safe decision when dealing with a more fully developed fetus.

        To sum up my position I support putting reasonable restrictions on late term abortions except where either the fetus or mother are in medical danger. I’m not sure the average pro-choice advocates performing them indiscriminately or as a responsible means of contraception.

        I’d also like to thank you for the respectful response. I enjoy intellectual conversations and debates when I can find them.

        Liked by 1 person

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