Atheist Richard Dawkins has been slammed on social media after suggesting that while a eugenics policy would be “bad”, it would “work” to improve the human race.
On Sunday, Dawkins tweeted: “It’s one thing to deplore eugenics on ideological, political, moral grounds. It’s quite another to conclude that it wouldn’t work in practice. Of course it would. It works for cows, horses, pigs, dogs & roses. Why on earth wouldn’t it work for humans. Facts ignore ideology.”
The tweet quickly attracted more than 8,000 responses, many scolding the outspoken atheist for suggesting a practice adopted by Nazi Germany would “work”.
Eight hours later Dawkins was forced to follow up the claim with further clarification, tweeting: “For those determined to miss the point, I deplore the idea of a eugenic policy. I simply said deploring it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work. Just as we breed cows to yield more milk, we could breed humans to run faster or jump higher. But heaven forbid we should do it.”
Heaven forbid we should do it? Eugenics is “bad” and “deplorable”? But, according to what moral standard? It’s at this point that the atheist becomes undone. Here’s why:
If the atheist believes there is no God, then ultimately we’re nothing more than the unintentional chemical by-product of time and chance working on matter. And if that’s the case, then what one chemical does to another chemical is morally irrelevant.
The atheist may appeal to the “greater good of society”, but in doing so he’s still begging the question. What one chemical does to a larger collection of chemicals is also morally irrelevant. That’s because, according to the atheist, human action and behaviour is nothing more than the result of atomic motion in the brain obeying the fixed laws of chemistry.
So, by what moral standard does Dawkins deem eugenics “bad” and “deplorable”?
Douglas Wilson put it this way: “If there is no God, then the difference between your thoughts and mine correspond to the difference between shaking up a bottle of Mountain Dew and a bottle of Dr Pepper. You simply fizz atheistically and I fizz theistically.”
He continued, “This means that you don’t hold to atheism because it’s true, but rather because of a series of chemical reactions. Morality, tragedy, and sorrow are equally evanescent. They are all empty sensations created by the chemical reactions of the brain, in turn, created by too much pizza the night before.
“If there is no God, then all abstractions are chemical epiphenomena, like swamp gas over fetid water. This means that we have no reason to assign truth and falsity to the chemical fizz we call reasoning or right and wrong to the irrational reaction we call morality. If no God, mankind is a set of bi-pedal carbon units of mostly water. And nothing else,” he added.
So, while Dawkins may attempt to water-down his assertion by labelling eugenics “bad” and “deplorable”, in doing so, he now finds himself at odds with his self-professed atheism. But then again, consistency has never been a characteristic of atheism.