Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dinesh D'Souza on Peter Singer on Infanticide

Dinesh D'Souza has a nice article on called "Staring Into the Abyss
Why Peter Singer Makes the New Atheists Nervous." I agree that Singer has the logic of atheism correct. D'Souza, who recently debated Singer at Princeton, contrasts Singer with the "new evangelistic atheists" (you-know-who: D, D, H, &H). "The New Atheists say we can get rid of God but preserve morality. They insist that no one needs God in order to be good; atheists can act no less virtuously than Christians. (And indeed, some atheists do put Christians to shame.) Even while repudiating the Christian God, Dawkins has publicly called himself a "cultural Christian.""

Singer follows real atheism, like that of Nietzsche, who understood that with the loss of Christian theism's metaphysical foundation we've left "the land" and sail on a sea with an "infinite horizon" (this kind of horizon is the equivalent of "no land in sight"). So Singer advocates, among other things, "fourth-trimester abortions, i.e., the killing of infants after they are born." Singer writes: "My colleague Helga Kuhse and I suggest that a period of 28 days after birth might be allowed before an infant is accepted as having the same right to life as others... Rats are indisputably more aware of their surroundings, and more able to respond in purposeful and complex ways to things they like or dislike, than a fetus at 10- or even 32-weeks gestation. … The calf, the pig, and the much-derided chicken come out well ahead of the fetus at any stage of pregnancy."

Surely Singer is right in that, if there's no God, then humans are no different than animals and to think so is to be guilty of species-ism. Ideas like "All men are create equal" and "Human life is precious" make sense on Christianity but not on atheism. I've long thought that, were I an atheist, I'd be in the Nietzsche/Singer camp, and find it odd and at times humorous when atheists disbelieve in God but co-opt Christian theistic moral values to their advantage.