Ursula Presgrave Richard Dawkins
Civil Liberties

Why isn't Richard Dawkins prosecuted under the Malicious Communications Act?

 

Ursula Presgrave (left) posted on Facebook: “Anyone born with down syndrome should be put down, it’s just cruel to let them lead a pointless life of a vegetable.” For this was dragged into court where she pleaded guilty to an offence under the Malicious Communications Act; specifically that of sending an electronic communication with intent to cause distress or anxiety. She now faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail or a £5,000 fine.

Richard Dawkins (right) tweeted that babies with Down’s syndrome should be aborted: “It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.” For this he wasn’t dragged into court because he was deemed to have committed no offence under any act.

And yet offence was mainfestly caused, so much so that Richard Dawkins issued an (unprecedented?) apology. There is unequivocal parity of offence caused both to people with Down’s syndrome and their families, who invariably view them as real people with real feelings who can lead very happy lives. But, for Ursula Presgrave, their existence is “pointless”, and for Richard Dawkins it is “immoral”. Who determines that some causes of offence are criminal, while others are permissible?

Why is Ursula Presgrave’s Facebook post considered “vile”, “sick”, and “attention-seeking”, while Richard Dawkins’ tweet is considered by many to be scientifically enlightened and intelligent? Apparently, Presgrave was arrested “after police also found photos joking about the disabled”. Why is it a crime to joke about the disabled but not to advocate their mass extermination on the grounds of social morality or economic expediency? Where is the greater ‘hate’? Why is it a “malicious communication” to post on Facebook that people with Down’s “should be put down”, but not to tweet that people with Down’s should never be allowed to be breathe at all?

According to the Mail‘s account, the first question Ursula Presgrave was asked by police was whether she knew that she had committed a criminal offence, to which she allegedly responded: “Yes, and I am very sorry about it.”

Have the police ever interviewed Richard Dawkins under caution? Have they ever put to him that his views about the disabled might be considered malicious?

And what about his views on Islam? Are they not “indecent or grossly offensive” to Muslims? Might they not cause “distress or anxiety” to those who follow the path of Allah and the precepts of Mohammed? Why is Pastor James McConnell being dragged through the courts for “improper use of electronic communications network” (ie streaming a sermon via the internet in which he said that Islam is ‘satanic’), while Richard Dawkins can tweet about the evils of Islam and intellectual deficiencies of Muslims with seeming impunity?

Why do we prosecute tattoos, piercings and foul language, but not the highbrow Oxford intellect? Don’t thick morons already suffer a congenital disadvantage?

  • CharleyFarleyFive

    No one should be prosecuted for expressing an opinion, however vile, including Presgrave. The difference here however, as I believe you know, is that abortion is not murder whereas ‘putting down’ a child that has been born is.

    • carl jacobs

      The point is that he devalues an entire class of living people by suggesting it would have been better if they hadn’t been born. He suggested that their existence proceeds from an “immoral choice” to give birth. That’s about a bit more than abortion.

      • Anton

        He’s discriminating. God’s view is that since Adam fell it would have been better if nobody had been born. But, as we have been, let us give thanks to God for sparing us and providing a way back to him.

        • carl jacobs

          God’s view is that since Adam fell it it would have been better if nobody had been born.

          I disagree. God chose us in Christ Jesus before He laid the foundations of the world. The Cross wasn’t plan B. The Cross was Plan A.

          • Anton

            Please see Genesis 6:6.

          • carl jacobs

            Please see “anthropomorphization.” And Eph 1:4.

          • Anton

            Please explain the relevance of anthropomorphisation. I regard the clash between Genesis 6:6 and Ephesians 1:4, like many clashes of verses, as being tied up in the mystery of the Holy Trinity.

          • carl jacobs

            Genesis 6:6 is an obvious anthropomorphism because God is not subject to his creation. He does not learn. He does not evaluate a circumstance to determine a next course of action. The problem of revelation is to communicate the outworking of God’s eternal decrees to man who cannot escape the creation in which he exists. We cannot comprehend what it means to exist outside of time. How then do we receive information about exactly that subject? Calvin called it the lisp that a parent uses to explain things to a child in the only terms the child can understand.

            The plan of God to redeem a people for Himself was the best of all possible plans. The outworking of that plan was intended to display the Glory of God. There would never have been any purpose for a Plan B. God is sovereign over His creation. It does what He decrees.

          • Anton

            You say God does not learn but we are told that the boy Jesus “grew in wisdom”.

            I accept that Ephesians 1:4 is a problem for the position I proposed. I think you would do well to accept that Genesis 6:6 is a problem for the position you propose. Calling it by a long word like anthropomorphism does not get away from the fact that words have meanings and God did not have to use the ones he did in Genesis 6:6.

            I am not saying “You are wrong”. I am objecting to the fact that you think there isn’t a problem with either of our start positions. I think the resolution of this issue is deeper than we grasp – and probably deeper than we can grasp in this life.

          • carl jacobs

            the boy Jesus “grew in wisdom”

            Yes, because He was fully man. Men can grow in wisdom. God can’t. This is were you must apply our inability to comprehend the unity of infinite eternal God and finite limited man. We must neither divide the person nor confound the natures.

            Calling it by a long word like anthropomorphism does not get away from the fact that words have meanings

            God is Spirit. Does He have an arm? Does He have eyes? These words have obvious meanings and yet we don’t immediately assume that Scriptural references to God’s eyes and arms imply God has a body. We understand them to be concessions to our inability to the understand. Why then do we not see the same point in descriptions of God’s behavior.

            Time is an aspect of creation. To subject God to time is to subject Him to His own creation. It is a pagan notion just as surely as claiming that God has a body. (That’s why Mormonism is fundamentally pagan BTW.)

            The Scriptural descriptions of God’s actions are revealed to men who are bound in time. We are utterly incapable of understanding actions in the absence of time. So how them do we see God’s interaction with men in time? Through our limited lens. It’s all we are capable of seeing. It is however God who exists outside of time and orders all things from beginning to end according to His will.

            God cannot repent in the sense that men repent. It would violate Hus nature to do so. Our limited ability to comprehend requires such descriptions of God in human terms. An anthropomorphism.

          • Anton

            I agree – in full – with all but your last paragraph. I should like to amend what I said about the reconciliation of Ephesians 1:4 and Genesis 6:6 being subsumed into the mystery of the Holy Trinity. It might also or as well be subsumed into the mystery of how Jesus Christ is both wholly God and wholly man. That is how you dealt – correctly, in my view – with my question of how Jesus grew in wisdom. I believe it is also the answer to many other riddles, such as how God can repent (meaning simply “change his mind”). One person of the Trinity – the Son – voluntarily subjects himself to the constraints of time, and that is the person referred to when such phrases are used, even in the Old Testament although the Trinity is not yet explicit.

            I prefer this explanation to the claim that certain words (such as repent) mean different things when applied to God and to man. That is too pat, a forced way out of the paradox, eisegesis, or whatever. God uses language we understand. You are, by the way, in the company of Albert in your present explanation. I’ve had this discussion with him too.

            As a physicist I can shed some nice light on the fact that time itself is part of the creation – something understood by Augustine of Hippo. Einstein’s general theory of relativity implies that time itself began when the universe began. So to ask what God was doing beforehand is a meaningless question. It is like (very like, in mathematical terms) asking what is north of the North Pole. Herein is the best resolution going of the “Who created God then” smartass question: the question subsumes a meaning of time which is not in fact available.

          • carl jacobs

            God is sovereign over His creation. He orders all things from beginning to end after the council of His will. That means God ordained the Fall. He ordained the Flood. He ordained the Incarnation. He ordained the Cross. He ordained the Final Judgment. He ordained Eternal Life. God knows the beginning from the end of human History because He ordained all of it. From God’s perspective, nothing is contingent.

            What I seek to avoid is the introduction of contingency into God’s ordination of events. That way leads straight to Open Theism, a reduced Chess-master god, and an inflated self-important man. If God repents as man repents, that means He must view a situation, learn from it, and change His actions accordingly. It means He cannot be completely sovereign over His own creation. But that is not the God revealed in Scripture. Everything happens according to His Word. How could He possibly be sovereign if something happens contrary to His word such that He chooses to change His mind? For this to be the case, something would have had to happen outside of His knowledge. God would have to change. But God does not change.

            The Incarnation has a very definitive beginning. The Second Person of the Trinity was not always infinite eternal God and finite limited man. That occurs in a definite moment in time within the bounds of Creation. So the pre-Incarnate Theophanies of the Second Person of the Trinity do not represent God Incarnate. The man Jesus did not yet exist in space and time. For Jesus to be just like His brothers in every way (yet without sin) He had to have a definite beginning in time and space just like we do. That moment is when God subjected Himself to His own creation, but not before.

            You are, by the way, in the company of Albert in your present explanation.

            Really. That’s encouraging. I’ll make a Calvinist out of him yet. 😉

          • Anton

            He’s probably reckon he’d make a Thomist of you yet; Aquinas and Calvin agree about this. I think that you are merely blanking my comments about the meaning of words. We learn the meaning of words in the human realm. That a word means differently when applied to God and man raises the question of why God, whose word the scriptures are, didn’t use a different word or description.

          • carl jacobs

            The problem that you face with the meaning of words is that many words inherently contain the concept of time. We actually have no idea what time is. We can measure its passing. We can define it according to an ordered sequence of events. But we know absolutely nothing of its essential nature.

            The problem can be illustrated by examining a word like ‘velocity.’ How do you translate this concept into an eternal context where the boundaries of our 3D universe no longer apply. It is not possible for us to conceive of velocity without reference to time and displacement. We are trapped by our inherent creatureliness inside our own creaturely limits. Does God move? How should He communicate this to us given the limits of our comprehension? He uses what we know to describe Himself according to our limitations. Mathematically, I would describe it as a Transform from N-space to 3-space where N is infinite. That means a lot of information of necessity gets lost. If that makes any sense.

            In a similar way, we understand “repent” in terms of man’s action. But there is an implicit concept of time in this word. Something before is different from something now. We have changed. The Transform doesn’t completely convey the true nature of God’s relationship to His creation. Specifically, it implies that God can be changed by His creation. He can learn from it. The temptation then is for us to consider God the analog and man the type. We learn, so God must learn. In fact, the reverse is true. Man is the analog and God is the type. We imperfectly understand Him. He perfectly understands us. We can’t impose a human model on Him without compromising the distance between divine and human nature.

            That’s what the Open Theists do, and its dangerous.

          • Anton

            I know nothing of the Open Theists but I have an axiom, which is that if you need elaborate philosophical apparatus to explain something in the Bible to an intelligent 1st century Jewish peasant then something is wrong with your explanation.

            Changing the subject slightly, I think I know why Genesis doesn’t say that God created the world “from nothing” but just that he “created it”. It’s because philosophers (and latterly physicists, with quantum “zero point energy”) then promptly start a debate about the meaning of “nothing”. Mostly people think of empty space in three dimensions. but that empty space has nonzero dimension and is not therefore nothing. Genuine nothing has no dimension either. God does not want this sort of blah-blah so he just tells us that he created the world.

          • carl jacobs

            There isn’t any complicated philosophical apparatus here. There is really a very simple question.

            Can God change or not?

          • Anton

            God the Son did. Where God is described as changing in the Bible, I suggest that the second person of the Trinity is involved, even if unrecognised in the OT.

          • carl jacobs

            God the Immutable Second Person of the Trinity existed in the days of Moses. The Son of God Incarnate was not yet brought forth. The Son of God can learn and grow and change. The Second Person of the Trinity can not. This is why I said we must neither divide the person nor confound the natures. To say that the second person of the Trinity can change is to confound the natures.

          • Anton

            Your anthropomorphism explanation doesn’t satisfy me. We learn the meaning of words in the human realm. That a word means differently when applied to God and man raises the question of why God, whose word the scriptures are, didn’t use a different word or description. I distinguish my reservation at your explanation and my attempt at an alternative. I accept that the latter could be wrong but I am still doubtful of yours.

            Speaking of Albert, he and I continued a lengthy exchange at the Cantalamessa thread in case you are interested.

          • carl jacobs

            Mostly people think of empty space in three dimensions. but that empty space has nonzero dimension and is not therefore nothing.

            Exactly so. “Nothingness” is beyond our comprehension. This is why I ask atheists about the origin of time and space and energy and matter. They cannot explain it in terms of immanent cause. They appeal instead to a metaphysic. They must. They have no other rational choice.

          • Anton

            There’s a mix of sense and nonsense in the multiverse concept, but in the context you encounter it they are indeed talking nonsense back to you. Details on request.

          • carl jacobs

            The whole concept seems nonsensical to me. It’s an exercise in playing with equations in order to explain things that can’t otherwise be explained. All of it is beyond observation. What does that sound like? It is a faith system devised to deny God. One may conclude that it is a tacit admission that God does exist since they have to invent something like God but carefully constrain it so as to avoid moral responsibility.

            My wife’s uncle is a physicist (now retired) who is at best an indifferent agnostic. Somehow we got onto the subject of time travel at one time, and he alluded that it was possible. I mentioned the rather significant impact the concept of time travel would have on the nature of life and man himself. He responded “The equations allow for it.” And I thought to myself, “If the equations allow for something ridiculous, then perhaps you should reconsider the validity of the model.”

          • Anton

            “The equations allow for it” is an over-simplification. (I’m on your side over this issue, by the way.) The solutions of the equations of general relativity (GR), which we believe are correct, don’t seem automatically to rule out what is called a “naked singularity in spacetime” – which would permit time travel – but on the other hand nobody has found a solution that corresponds to one. I am prepared to bet that either a proof of the impossibility of such solutions will eventually be found, or that GR will require modification to a theory which predicts identically to it in all situations that have been subject to experimental testing to date.

            As for the multiverse, it was not invented for the purpose of denying God. It’s a bit more complicated than that and there is a mix of sense and nonsense in it. I’m not going to give a physics lecture here unless you really want it.

      • CharleyFarleyFive

        That’s true but everyone would presumably have a different threshold. For me it’s quality of life and I can’t agree with Dawkins as Downs children invariably have a good quality of life.

        If however I were told that with great certainty my unborn child would be in pain and discomfort for their entire life with no prospect for communication I would most likely opt for abortion.

    • Ayn Randall

      Pete Singer would disagree with you, as he argues that up to a certain point, there isn’t fundamental difference between an unborn child and a newborn. Unfortunately for those who possess an extra chromosome, instead of denouncing abortion, he goes on to conclude that killing a newborn baby is no more heinous than euthanising a dog.

      • Cressida de Nova

        He is also argues that bestiality is OK as long as it is consensual sex between the animal and the human. I mean, really,who could possibly value the opinion of a person like this?

        • Read his books not digests – he’s a very bright man and a nuanced ethicist.

          • Cressida de Nova

            I have not read his books or his digests – I watched him utter this profanity and I have no respect for any society which places him in an elevated position of eminence to promote such views.

            His intelligence is of no importance. He is a disturbed person
            who should not have contact with youth or animals. He should be barred contact with both in view of his depraved and disgusting views.

    • IanCad

      A bit of a problem here Charley.
      Such is the perception of morality that murder and abortion are now synonymous, according to the chief purveyors of the craft.
      “Fourth Trimester Abortion” is the current euphemism for the murder of the recently born.
      Renowned University of Manchester Fellow in Bioethics, Dr Sarah Chan, has averred that not only can a foetus (baby) not be wronged but it’s perfectly fine to top it if convenience or whim dictate thus.

      • CharleyFarleyFive

        We can only reasonably judge this against the backdrop of current UK law. Whether abortion is as some believe murder is another debate.

        • Anna

          Some of us prefer to ‘judge this against the backdrop’ of a higher law.

          • CharleyFarleyFive

            Which is? Something you imagined?

          • Anna

            No, rather, something that we and our fathers have known for centuries – for the Lawgiver has made it known to us.

    • Little Black Censored

      There is no moral difference, althoough there is a legal one. I do agree that even nasty people should not be prevented from expressing their opinions.

  • I hadn’t heard of the Presgrave case – disgraceful that she’s in court. Cops have no business getting involved in questions of taste or morality. Who is next in court, Pete Singer?

    • CharleyFarleyFive

      I rather wish more people had been aware of this case so that she’d had the support to plead not guilty and test this prosecution.

    • Bernard from Bucks

      I think this is more a case of putting a ‘high-profile’ person in the spotlight to set an example (nudge and condition other twitters).
      A bit like going for Sally Bercow some while back and scaring the ‘proverbial’ out of the rest.

  • len

    Richard Dawkins is ‘the darling’ of the secular World and as such whilst not actually being able to walk on water can more or less say what he likes (against God and Christians anyway) and get away with it…..

  • Anton

    Why is Ursula Presgrave’s Facebook post considered “vile”, “sick”, and “attention-seeking”, while Richard Dawkins’ tweet is considered by many to be scientifically enlightened and intelligent?

    Forgive me for answering Your Grace’s obviously rhetorical question, but it is because our wonderfully enlightened and intelligent society does not consider people human until they have been born.

    Leave Dawkins alone – he is, unintentionally, one of the church’s best recruiters. (The law should also leave Ms Presgrave alone, for free speech is a higher good and permits her to be rebutted in just as offensive a manner as she has spoken.)

  • sarky

    It’s the language used. Although saying pretty much the same thing, one sounds like an intellectual discussion, the other a thuggish rant.
    Should either be prosecuted? Of course not. However, the mob will police itself and unsavoury views will be rigorously challenged.

  • carl jacobs

    Dawkins didn’t apologize for much. And he certainly didn’t apologize for the view he expressed.

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/aug/21/richard-dawkins-apologises-downs-syndrome-tweet

    He wrote: “If your morality is based, as mine is, on a desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering, the decision to deliberately give birth to a Down’s baby, when you have the choice to abort it early in the pregnancy, might actually be immoral from the point of view of the child’s own welfare.”

    Neatly put. “You should be killed for your own good. As a matter of fact, it would be immoral if I chose otherwise since your death is the better moral choice when considered from the perspective of your own welfare.”

    And consider this marvelous piece of ethical reasoning. “a desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering” Increase happiness for whom? Decrease suffering for whom? Don’t look too carefully at the answer to that question or you might notice a fair degree of self interest.

    He also argued: “Those who took offence because they know and love a person with Down’s syndrome, and who thought I was saying that their loved one had no right to exist, I have sympathy for this emotional point, but it is an emotional one not a logical one. It is one of a common family of errors, one that frequently arises in the abortion debate.”

    It’s not an emotional point at all. It’s an exceedingly logical point. This is just a way to delegitimize the criticism without actually addressing it. Evidently family members get emotionally attached and this prevents them from being logical. If only we could apply this logic across the board. People can get emotionally attached to family members who live well beyond their expiration date. We need objective observers who are capable of logical decisions.

    Life Unworthy of Life. Expressed in coldly logical terms. One might describe it as Darwinian.

    • The Explorer

      “The greatest good for the greatest number” has always made me uneasy. Think of how it might be applied (or misapplied in terms of its original intent). Suppose someone latched onto it as the solution for Germany’s immigration problems? Suppose those outside Europe (who outnumber Europeans) took it as a justification for seizing the continent?

    • Phil R

       One might describe it as Darwinism.

      The coldly logical Nazis also found Darwin appealing and useful for “improving”the race

    • jsampson45

      If the police kept out of these matters we could see which influential people are culpably ignorant. The more publicity the better.

  • Jon Sorensen

    Because Dawkins is everyone’s hero. Leave Dawkins alone – and let Christians think that he is, unintentionally, one of the church’s best recruiters. Well soon they will go after people who carry a book telling to put gays and adulterers to death.

    • Anton

      In ancient Israel, wherein we do not reside. What do you think the punishment for adultery should be, by the way?

      I know plenty of atheists from my atheist days and many find Dawkins’ stridency an embarrassment.

      • Jon Sorensen

        “In ancient Israel, wherein we do not reside. What do you think the punishment for adultery should be, by the way”
        I know. God’s moral commandments are relative to time and place. Current level of punishment of breaking the marriage contract seems to be about right.

        Every Christian seem to have been an “atheist” when you ask them, and everyone has has a “negative” story about so successful Dawkins. Strange isn’t it.

        • Anton

          I can only speak for myself, and I know more about my life than you do.

          • Jon Sorensen

            I know. I just find it very strange how so many Christians claim that they used to be atheist, but overall population stats don’t support it.

        • Martin

          Jon

          The laws of Israel that covered punishment were not the moral laws although they reflected them to a greater or lesser extent.

          We all tend to a denial of God’s authority over us, hence many are Atheist in behaviour. But when someone becomes a Christian God changes them, indeed that is the way one becomes a Christian.

    • The Explorer

      Go after Muslims? Can’t see it.

      • Jon Sorensen

        Me neither. If they go after Muslims they would have take deep look in to the other holy books…

        • The Explorer

          Dawkins has told them there’s bad stuff in there, and they’re quite happy to take his word for it.

          • Jon Sorensen

            They have not taken his word.

  • IanCad

    “Don’t thick morons already suffer a congenital disadvantage?”

    YG, A collection plate facility (Top right) is available for those wishing to support your blog. May I suggest that you should establish a separate fund for the future fines most likely to accrue for such insensitive and incorrect postings, of which the above quote is typical.

  • David

    So why was Ursula Presgrave prosecuted and Dawkins was not ?
    Well I think many who visit this site will know the answer to that one.
    Dawkins is not half as clever as he thinks he is, but he is surrounded by an aura of Oxford “cleverness”, which protects him. Moreover the intolerant, so-called “liberal” establishment, find him a useful tool with which to fool the not so bright members of the population, that Christianity is a load of old codswallop. I suspect that Oxford finds him an embarrassment.
    Many of the questions presented to us on this excellent site do not lend themselves to finding easy, firm and conclusive answers, ensuring that a good debate then ensues. But this latest question is not one of those.
    Next article please Your Grace.

    • CharleyFarleyFive

      I’m not sure how clever Dawkins thinks he is but I’ve no doubt he has one of the cleverest minds of our generation.

      • Anna

        If he is ‘one of the cleverest minds of our generation’, then it’s a sad indictment on the level of intelligence found in our generation.

        To be able to sell a theory with such gaping holes as being ‘almost proven’ makes him a snake oil salesman, not a genius.

        • Phil R

          Such a fine mind that he chickens out debates on his favourite theory with creationists.

        • sarky

          Bit like christianity then.

          • Anna

            Please explain.

          • sarky

            A theory with gaping holes.

          • Anna

            So which part of Christianity is ‘a theory’ and where are the gaping holes?

          • sarky

            Creation, the flood, the exodus, the resurrection.
            The gaping holes are the lack of evidence for any of it.

          • Anna

            Creation…
            Suggests that an infinitely complex design system did not simply arise from nothing, but required a Designer’s brain.
            Common sense.

            …the flood…
            Yet, the folklore of most human cultures speaks of a worldwide flood. Mere coincidence?

            …Exodus…
            We have witnessed another ‘Exodus’ of the Israelites – from many nations and languages – in our own lifetime. No less a miracle than the first.

            …Resurrection…
            If there is God, then it follows logically that everything is possible for Him.

            http://www.0095.info/en/index_thesesen.html

          • sarky

            Like I said, no evidence.

          • Anna

            Then what would constitute evidence for you?

          • carl jacobs

            Aye, that’s the correct question. This is a little game atheists play. It’s called “Given that I can explain everything by immanent cause, prove the existence of God.” Any argument you might make has already been preempted by his pre-existing assumption.

            When you start asking him to explain the existence of space and time and energy and matter, however, he must retreat to what amounts to a non-theistic metaphysic. Else how can he explain the uncaused cause that must exist? In fact, he is just pushing his problem up one level and hoping that no one notices his little shell game.

          • sarky

            Alot more than the say so of a book. Archeological, geological, biological etc etc etc

          • Martin

            Sarky

            He said to him, If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.
            (Luke 16:31 [ESV]

            You’d accept no evidence.

          • sarky

            There is no fossil evidence for the flood. In fact its just the opposite.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            You really ought to learn some geology, you keep making that silly mistake. Most fossils were clearly inundated and buried rapidly, some in the process of eating their last meal. Some of those fossils even have recognisable soft tissue preserved. Clearly they weren’t laid down over millions of years.

          • sarky

            Where do you get this stuff??

            “Fantasy monthly” ?

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Look at the evidence. Mind, it won’t persuade you that your religion is wrong.

          • sarky

            It won’t persuade you either!

          • Martin

            Sarky

            The evidence has persuaded me. You still cling to your religion.

          • sarky

            I very happily have no religion.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Of course you have a religion, thats obvious for anyone to see. Your Atheism is your religion, you cling to it because if you cease to believe it you are lost.

          • sarky

            Do you actually understand the term atheism?

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Yes, and there are no real Atheists, for all know God exists. We just allow you to call yourself an Atheist for convenience. In reality you worship your own self, you are the judge of all in your paradigm

          • sarky

            You allow us? You have no say on my life whatsoever!!

          • Martin

            Sarky

            It’s nothing to do with your life, it’s just your pretence. We could, of course, call you what the Bible calls you:

            The fool says in his heart, There is no God.
            They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity;
            there is none who does good.
            (Psalms 53:1 [ESV]

          • Anna

            So common sense, logic, circumstantial evidence, etc, which would have some relevance even in a court of law are meaningless to you?

            Regarding archeological, geological, biological evidence, etc… the website I suggested (95 theses) might help.

          • Martin

            Anna

            What will constitute evidence for Sarky is standing in front of his Creator at the end of time and seeing the Lord Jesus Christ in all His glory. And even that he will try to deny.

            If he’d been in the garden, seen the stone roll away and Jesus walk out he’d still deny it.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Actually you are the evidence for Creation, the fossil layers for the Flood, the Jewish people for the Exodus and Christians for the resurrection. But you’d rather pretend.

      • The Explorer

        Dawkins considers himself bright. He didn’t invent the concept of ‘The Brights’ to describe those with a naturalistic view of the world, but he wrote in support of it.

        The Brights hold the views they do because they are intelligent. As for the intelligence of those who do not hold their views… Well, if you’re bright you can work it out.

        • Jon Sorensen

          Not true. Read Dennett’s original article.

          • The Explorer

            Paul Geisert was the originator, not Dennett. That was what I was going by, and from memories of hearing Dawkins talking about the concept, with the clear implication that his opponents were stupid. If we want to get technical, the term also covers apatheists , pandeists etc, but I was painting with a broad brush in terms of Dawkins’ self-image.

          • Jon Sorensen

            If you read the Wikipedia article it gives a lot of credit to Geisert. But if you were at the atheist and humanist meetings 12-15 years ago all the buzz was Dennett’s lectures and his edge.org article. If you ask atheists they will associate more Dennett as a founding father (maybe incorrectly).

          • The Explorer

            I first came across the Brights on You Tube when Dawkins was talking about it. When I looked it up. WIcki said Geisert had coined it as a term to describe those involved in the ‘Godless march on Washington’ as a blanket term for those who took a naturalistic view of the world. That’s as much as I know.

      • David

        Then I suggest you read a little more widely.
        Because he has skills in Evolutionary Biology he assumes he is competent in areas that are far more cerebral, and less physical evidence based, as philosophy and even theology. It is quite clear to anyone with even a passing knowledge of such disciplines, that he is quite at sea in such areas. Quite frankly, he makes a total fool of himself. He should stick to evolutionary biology.

        • Martin

          David

          One wonders how anyone can have skills in Evolutionary Biology when it has not been observed to exist. Perhaps his main claim to fame is in the writing of books in which he manages to convince many of his readers that it does exist.

          • David

            Indeed. Although I don’t have a degree in physical sciences but, initially in an Earth Science, I have made a study of the scientific method. The theory of evolution is just that, a theory with many holes in it and many questions arising from it.
            But the establishment love it, presenting it as “scientific fact”, which it simply isn’t, as it supports their world view. So yes, not having been observed, evolution is a strange, perhaps inferential form of science.

          • Martin

            David

            How can Evolution be a theory, indeed even a hypothesis without an observation of its process? It is loved by the establishment, a consensus even, but is consensus the way to do science?

          • David

            Quite !
            It depends upon the definition of theory. But using the definition of experimental science, pure science, you are right.
            Indeed it is the demonstrable successes and power of technology, which derives from pure science, that gives the larger body of science, including non-experimental ones like geology or evolutionary biology, its high status and reputation of course, in the eyes of the popular media and public. So in a sense, the less rigorous forms of science hide behind the more demanding ones, thus doing a sort of trick, in a sense.

        • CharleyFarleyFive

          That you feel theology is more cerebral than evolutionary biology suggests to me that you’re not best placed to judge someone else’s cleverness.

          Next you’ll be suggesting the purveyors of astrology are cerebrally superior to astrophysicists.

          • David

            Woops, you’re missing my point again. This is not a game of ranking peoples intellectual ability using as a criteria “how cerebral” someone is – oh no ! It is a matter of noting that some one trained in disciplines that are essentially evidence based, will struggle when studying a far more, “of the mind” discipline, unless they themselves first undergo sufficient training to switch to the new discipline.

            I found this out for myself. Having degrees gained in my younger days in forms of sciences, that are physical evidence based; then a lifetime in a profession that communicates, and legally justifies its actions and decisions, in terms of physical and legal evidence, I found that taking a degree with a high theology and philosophy content required a total shift in how one approached matters.

            All the other science based professionals on my course encountered exactly the same thing and the tutors confirmed this as the normal experience.

            Perhaps in Renaissance days one exceptional person could master the whole corpus of human knowledge but those days are long gone. Or perhaps you’re an incorrigible romantic and totally besotted by the “dazzling” Mr Dawkins.

          • CharleyFarleyFive

            I’m hardly ‘besotted’ by Dawkins, I am however in no doubt having read his early books of how clever he is. Something which you challenged in your original post.

            Perhaps you’d like to advise which you favour, evolution or creationism.

          • David

            Neither and both.
            I see no incompatibility between a belief in God and acknowledging the usefulness of Science; when the mechanics of God’s design are investigated and unpicked, it can be manipulated for our benefit. Whether we use it for good or evil is the stuff of morality and ethics.
            I lean towards the idea that a creator God fashioned the Universe (science strongly suggests this to me) in such a way that the evolution of a highly intelligent carbon based life form was inevitable.

          • CharleyFarleyFive

            Out of interest, what do you suppose this ‘creator God’ was doing before it created the universe and is it still around today?

          • David

            Point 1. If I must make a guess, how about perhaps, designing the Laws of Science ? But I’ve no idea really. We are not told.
            Point 2. God who describes Himself as simply “I am”, was and is and is to come = eternal.

          • CharleyFarleyFive

            OK.

  • carl jacobs

    So I have just discovered that Ursula Presgrave is a “reality TV star.” Perhaps then we should be charitable and find her “Not Guilty by reason of not possessing two brain cells connected in sequence.” This might be a time for mercy and not judgment.

    • sarky

      Wouldn’t call her a star. She appeared briefly in a couple of episodes of a show about a callcentre in Cardif. I watched some of it and couldn’t remember her.
      Doubt she would even be on the ‘z’ list of reality stars (and thats saying something)

      • The Explorer

        If she hadn’t gone this route, her next step would have been ‘Big Brother’ That would have given her sufficient status for ‘I’m a Celebrity get me out of here’ and thence to a TV chat show.

        • sarky

          Would be better to stick her on ‘Bear Grylls’ Island with only a rabid Wolf as company!

      • carl jacobs

        All I know of this is that about half the links in a Google search referred to her as a ‘star.’ I had never heard of her before. I grant the phrase is much over-used.

        • sarky

          Anyone appearing on these shows, no matter how briefly, is labeled a ‘reality star’.

          • Pubcrawler

            I prefer ‘exhibit’.

    • David

      Thank you for enlightening me. I had no idea who she was. However as I gave up watching TV some time ago, as I have no wish to be subtly told what to think, there are many others, I’m sure, “undiscovered” by me.

  • robin cornwell

    You have misinformed your readers about what Richard Dawkins said on this issue. He was asked what “he would do” in the situation of being told that his fetus (eg his partner’s fetus) had Downs Syndrome. He, like many other people would say, said he would want the fetus aborted. So please, if you are going to make an argument, you are obligated to be truthful. There is also the question of what Dawkins’ comment has to do with your argument. Are you arguing that Ms. press grave should be prosecuted and thus so should Richard Dawkins? Is your thesis that Dawkins’ has special privileges that puts him above the law? Or is your argument (I suspect) is that the ‘thought police’ are going too far regarding making everyone feel they can permanently reside in a safe place where nothing is ever questioned and discussions on difficult topics is verboten? If your thesis is the later, please stick with the topic and don’t dredge up well-known strawmen to support a weakly argued point.

    • The Explorer

      I agree there’s a difference between giving your opinion if you are asked for it, and proclaiming it unsolicited.

  • Why has she been taken to court? What a waste of money. Surely what she said was her opinion? She used the words “should be put down” not would be put down or another phrase such as put all down syndrome children down. She wasn’t making a threat, but simply voicing her opinion. Are we that sensitive that we have to gag anyone with a controversial view by taking them to court and sending them to jail? We are becoming as bad as the Stasi. Surely society on Facebook lambasted her for her opinions wasn’t that enough? Can we not poke fun at anyone now disabled or not?

    • Politically__Incorrect

      I think there is a qualitative difference between poking fun at someone, even ridiculing them, and saying they have no right to exist. Thankfully she cannot fulfil her wish, but she should remember she is attacking a group of people who are already disadvantaged. whether that deserves a jail sentence is another matter. I don’t think it does. it certainly merits a stiff rebuke. Also, as Christians, we should be aware of how much damage the tongue can do, especially when its message can reach large numbers of people through the Internet

      • But it’s her own personal page and I would think she is not a Christian. (She might benefit from doing a course on Christian thinking and an educational on Downs syndrome, or an English course in order that she might communicate her opinions in a more debatable way) Even if she has thousands of followers she is not producing a commercial broadcast or journal nor is she writing for a national newspaper. Followers can unfriend her if they are offended and they can ridicule her in online discussion on FB. The Malicious Communications Act does not apply to her.

      • CliveM

        No one is defending what she says, simply that she has a right to be treated with the same rigour as Dawkins.

    • Bernard from Bucks

      Had she ‘spoken’ those words she would not have prosecuted. She was prosecuted under the Malicious Communications Act; specifically that of sending an electronic communication with intent to cause distress or anxiety. It is using the internet that is most peoples downfall. At the moment we have yet to see a preacher in church falling foul of the law, although I believe that is soon to change when they are branded as extremists? (Prison Chaplain?)

      • Did she intend to cause distress and anxiety though? Or was she just sounding off? She’s young and not as educated as Richard Dawkins.

  • Phil R

    Why was Dawkins not paid a visit by the Thought Police?

    Simple. In our marxist/atheist and “tolerant” society, some are far more equal than others.

    • Jon Sorensen

      LOL marxist! but at least atheist society would be tolerant and equal having not Christian privileges.

      • Phil R

        But as we have seen and are currently seeing in the UK. The more Atheist a country becomes, the less tolerant it is.

        • Jon Sorensen

          LOL. UK now tolerates gays, inter racial marriages, women voting, equal rights. It is more tolerant than ever in the history.

          LOL. It’s just stupid to say atheist hate freedom. Do you hate reality?

          • Phil R

            You are wrong. We are not required just to tolerate, whatever “freedoms” the state decrees are in fashion at this point in history. We are expected to affirm them.

            Or else…

          • Jon Sorensen

            If you don’t tolerate gays nothing happens to you. Just treat them like anyone else. You don’t need to affirm them.

          • Phil R

            Whatever you say Jon. You are completely right of course.

            Two women making out with plastic penises or two guys sticking their dicks in each other’s arses (Don’t even mention sex changers) is exactly the same thing as the relationship and family, my wife and I have created.

            it isn’t. For most people in the UK who work for somebody, they are not allowed to say it either. Whether they are in work or outside of it.

            The fact is that for most people, if they want a livelihood, they experience no tolerance of anything outside of the new state orthodoxy, regardless of whether the facts of the matter in question is true or not.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “Two women making out with plastic penises or two guys sticking their dicks in each other’s arses (Don’t even mention sex changers) is exactly the same thing as the relationship and family, my wife and I have created.”
            Nice strawman comparison. As if “plastic penises” would define someone’s relationship…

            If I would criticize Christians at my work place the punishment would be severe. Christians have a 2000 year history of blasphemy laws and now you complain about free speech. Churches are allowed to discriminate while other businesses can not. Sorry, you are not getting much sympathy from non-Christians.

            “The fact is that for most people, if they want a livelihood, they experience no tolerance of anything outside of the new state orthodoxy”
            Terrible. That sounds like what Christianity has done 1700 years and NOW you are upset. Poor Christian…

          • Phil R

            So don’t pretend your world is free

          • Jon Sorensen

            It is not free. Christians have the privileges.

          • sarky

            Good. It stops idiots like you spouting bigoted crap.

          • Phil R

            Google bigot sarky

            then look in the mirror.

            I’m not the one suggesting censorship

      • Martin

        Jon

        You mean like Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia? Right. As a Baptist I do understand what tolerance is about, Indeed we have done since 1828.

        • Jon Sorensen

          Christians have weird habit of confusing Marxist and atheist as if all atheist would be Marxist. They never seem to confuse Christians and Marxist even when some Christians were Marxists.

          I guess Christians try to look better…

          Baptist on the other hand have no tolerance of non-Christians. They seem to think torturing people forever is a just punishment for finite crimes. And lol 1828… Original Christianity since 1828??

          • Martin

            Jon

            I’ve come across very few Marxists who are Christians, they all seem to be Atheists. But, of course, every Atheist denies that they are real Atheists.

            Your crime, like the crime of everyone else, is infinite, for you have rejected the infinite Creator. Such deserves an infinite punishment. Oh, and it isn’t Baptists who impose it but God. I was probably expecting too much of you to know of the repeal of the Test Acts.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “But, of course, every Atheist denies that they are real Atheists.”
            LOL. Have you ever met one?

            “Your crime, like the crime of everyone else, is infinite”
            Christians don’t understand “infinite”, it’s not in the Bible and their morality is strange. Infinite infidel torture FTW!

            “Baptists who impose it but God”
            The is no Baptist God, so anything Baptists push is from Baptists….

          • Martin

            Jon

            I see you’ve descended into silly mode.

            “”But, of course, every Atheist denies that they are real Atheists.”

            LOL. Have you ever met one?”

            Met one what, I was referring to the practice of Atheists who, like you, whenever they are challenged with the behaviour of the likes of Stalin immediatly deny they are Atheists.

            !”Your crime, like the crime of everyone else, is infinite”
            Christians don’t understand “infinite”, it’s not in the Bible and their morality is strange. Infinite infidel torture FTW!”

            God is infinite, eternal. Please consider that your crime against Him is reflected in His nature and hence is infinite.

            “”Baptists who impose it but God”
            The is no Baptist God, so anything Baptists push is from Baptists….”

            Sorry, but this is too silly to answer.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “I see you’ve descended into silly mode.”
            You made a silly claim about atheists that tells me that you’ve never me one or you are not being serious.

            “I was referring to the practice of Atheists”
            Only Christians call “practice of Atheists”. There are so such thing.

            “Atheists who, like you, whenever they are challenged with the behaviour of the likes of Stalin immediatly deny they are Atheists.”
            I can’t remember ever don’t that or any atheist doing that. Any examples? Christians tend to juxtapose their best behaviour with Stalin killing millions and expecting this comparison to be taken seriously. Only Christians take that comparison seriously.

            “God is infinite, eternal”
            Any evidence for this claim or is this just your opinion?

            “Please consider that your crime against Him is reflected in His nature and hence is infinite.”
            There is no way I would be able to hurt and infinite, eternal being even if I would try. Why would there be any punishment for trying to hurt him let alone infinite? Sounds like a very small God if he needs to inflict infinite punishment for crime with no effect. Real God would be greater and beyond that.

          • Martin

            Jon

            Oh I’ve met Atheists, and I’ve corresponded with them for many years. Mind, not all Atheists call themselves such, but the all have certain things in common.

            For them all, their own opinion is the most important thing. They may make it sound fancy by referring to their grasp of reality but it boils down to their opinion. They will never accept what you say that challenges their beliefs despite any evidence you may give them. Indeed the ‘evidence’ they demand will always be something beyond grasp.

            And, of course, the Atheist will never accept that any of their coterie could ever do anything wrong but the most improbable person is obviously a Christian and demonstrates a wickedness that completely destroys any Christian argument.

            My evidence for the nature of God is the Bible, as always, for it is the Bible that God has written to tell us of Himself and us.

            You certainly can offend an eternal infinite being for you harm His Creation by refusing to obey Him. Indeed you dispute His honour by doing so.

          • Jon Sorensen

            How you described atheist you met online they sound like Christian trolls. Why don’t you check meetup.com atheist meetings and go talk to the in real life.

            “They will never accept what you say that challenges their beliefs despite any evidence you may give them.”
            Atheist tend to accept reliable evidence. Have you tried that?
            If you say “My evidence for the nature of God is the Bible” atheist dismiss that because Muslims also say “My evidence for the nature of God is the Quran” and neither can provide objective way to determine who is right.

            “the Atheist will never accept that any of their coterie could ever do anything wrong”
            This is not my experience after meeting atheists in real life.

            “You certainly can offend an eternal infinite being for you harm His Creation by refusing to obey Him.”
            How doe this harm your God? Does he get upset or what effect does my action on earth has to him?

            “Indeed you dispute His honour by doing so.”
            Does he really need to defend his honour? why?

          • Martin

            Jon

            I assure you they are real Atheists. And an Atheist, by reason of their muddled thinking and self denial are incapable of accepting the truth.

            The Bible is evidence by its nature. It demonstrates its truth to all, except fools, in every word.

            You pretty much act like an Atheist, where for example did I say that any can harm God. To God His honour is valuable, as it is to all sensible men. Only a fool disregards their honour and the honour of those they love.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “an Atheist, by reason of their muddled thinking and self denial are incapable of accepting the truth.”
            That’s right. Atheist don’t accept the gravity because is true.

            “The Bible is evidence by its nature. It demonstrates its truth to all, except fools, in every word”
            LOL Adam&Eve, Flood and contradictions.

            How do you know that God value honour? Sounds like you made it up without evidence.

          • Martin

            Jon

            If you’re going to be silly …

            As I’ve already said, Adam and Eve are your ancestors, as was Noah and the fossil record is evidence of the Flood. Any contradictions are simply your failure to understand, or a deliberate attempt to challenge the Bible.

            I gather you haven’t read the 10 commandments.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Adam and Eve is fiction. Christian geneticists agree that there was never a single breeding pair.

            If your premises is that “Any contradictions are simply your failure to understand” all contradictions disappear. It’s like magic.

            “I gather you haven’t read the 10 commandments.”
            I have. It says “Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk”. I’ve never done it.

          • Martin

            Jon

            So tell me, how would any geneticist, even if they were a Christian, work out that there never was a single breeding pair? They haven’t even worked out the full complexity of the genetic system yet.

            What I am saying is that you are desperate to prove that the Bible isn’t what it says it is. Therefore you will use any means to discredit the Bible, from your own ignorance of what it says to downright lies.

            Clearly you haven’t read the 10 commandments, for that isn’t one of them.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “how would any geneticist work out that there never was a single breeding pair?”
            Just educate your self. Genetic variation/change rate in DNA / mitochondrion DNA.
            Basics:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_Eve
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y-chromosomal_Adam
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_bottleneck

            I’m no more desperate to prove that the Bible than to prove that Harry Potter is not real.

            “Therefore you will use any means to discredit the Bible”
            Now that is a strange accusation. Is this one of your rationalisations again?

            Exodus 34:8-28 clearly shows the commandments God gave to Mo. Haven’t you read the Bible?

          • Martin

            Jon

            Oh wow, you think Wikipedia is an authority. Given our still very limited understanding of genetics many of those claims amount more to handwaving than actual knowledge.

            It is pretty obvious from your posts that you will oppose anything the Bible says, were you going to deny that? And since you hate the book you also clearly hate the author.

            Exodus 20 is where the Ten Commandments are given. So can you show me where in Exodus 20 it says “Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk”? Because that was your claim. Exodus 34 adds a number of other things and covers other than the moral law for it was God’s renewing of His covenant with Israel.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “Oh wow, you think Wikipedia is an authority.”
            LOL nonsense. I said it is *basics* on that subject. And source is not “an authority”, evidence is. Christians always get this confused with their Bible…

            “It is pretty obvious from your posts that you will oppose anything the Bible says, were you going to deny that?”
            I don’t “oppose anything the Bible says”. I don’t oppose everything Osiris’ followers wrote. They had good stuff too.

            “And since you hate the book you also clearly hate the author.”
            You premises is wrong and your logic is incorrect. Do you think you are a Christians because you can’t think clearly? 😉

            “So can you show me where in Exodus 20 it says “Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk”? Because that was your claim.”
            No. I didn’t claim that Exodus 20 has it. I said it was in [original] ten commandments.

          • Martin

            Jon

            Actually a source is an authority, evidence never is.

            I’ll admit I was wrong, anything you find in the Bible that you can use to say “the Bible is wrong” you accept, anything in the Bible that shows your understanding of the first part is wrong you reject.

            The evidence is clear, you hate both the book and its author.

            Hadn’t you noticed that 20 comes before 34?

          • Jon Sorensen

            Were humans were created before or after the other animals?

            “Hadn’t you noticed that 20 comes before 34”
            There was no 20 and 34 when those text were written. It is an other later addition. But nice try…

          • Martin

            Jon

            You’re not one of these tedious people whose reading comprehension is so poor that they think that there are two creation accounts in Genesis? The animals were made before Man and Genesis 2 focusses in on the sixth day. It’s very simple really.

            Curiously, the contents of chapter 20 still come before the contents of chapter 34 whether you divide it into chapters or not.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “The animals were made before Man and Genesis 2 focusses in on the sixth day. It’s very simple really.”
            Funny how you can’t answer a straight question…

            “Curiously, the contents of chapter 20 still come before the contents of chapter 34 whether you divide it into chapters or not.”
            Why do you think that was in the original text that way, and why would the order matter anyways?

          • Martin

            Jon

            Seems you can’t understand a simple answer. And the order mattered because of your claim.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Why does the order matter?

          • Martin

            Jon

            Because Exodus 20 is the original.

          • Jon Sorensen

            How do you know that?

          • Martin

            Jon

            Because it comes first.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    Very good point Cranmer. The imbalance in our system of “justice” is truly breath-taking sometimes. Why hasn’t he been prosecuted? I really don’t know. Maybe because nobody has made a complaint to the Police? Perhaps you should consider a trip down to your local Police Station.

  • Mr Bulls

    It is simple, Richard Dawkins is backed up by an army of Internet trolls and thugs. In a world without objective morality, might is right…

    • David

      Direct hit there !

    • Jon Sorensen

      That is so wrong that only Christians believe that.

      • William Lewis

        Except that some atheists believe it too.

        • Jon Sorensen

          There are 1 Billion atheists. Surely you can find one that believe any particular view. However Christians don’t have objective morality and they think that would lead to “might is right”. Christians refute their own view and are wrong in two levels on that.

          • William Lewis

            Christians have an external source and unassailable authority for their morality that renders an objective morality possible. Atheists do not leaving them with either consensus or force with the latter always trumping the former.

          • Jon Sorensen

            1) Christians don’t have external source as they can not provide evidence for it or agree on any moral point
            2) Even if they had a external source it would be subjective. Correct moral action would be subject to God’s will.

          • William Lewis

            1) Don’t be silly.

            2) God’s will can be objective from a human POV.

          • Jon Sorensen

            1) Truth seems to be silly to Christians.
            2) LOL confusion. Christopher Hitchins’ will can be objective from a human POV too.

          • William Lewis

            1) Either you don’t understand what the word evidence means, perhaps your English isn’t upto it, or you are just trolling.

            2) Correct. You seem to have grasped the difference between subjectivity and objectivity. To cement this joyous accord, I will give another example in the manner of your original assertion. Humans are also subject to the force of gravity, yet we would say that this force can be perceived objectively.

          • Jon Sorensen

            1) Just hand waving and no evidence. Just claiming that there is evidence does not mean that there is.
            2) Gravity can’t be perceived objectively. Try dropping a ball in an elevator. It’s subjective to the situation. Just like God’s moral guidance. Genocide is good if God orders it, genocide is bad if God doesn’t want it. God and his followers have only situational morality.

          • William Lewis

            1) What’s that got to do with Christian evidence for God?
            2) Oh dear, you haven’t grasped subjectivity/objectivity after all. One last try. Two people in the elevator can both perceive the dropping the ball objectively. See? Just because there is a context, e.g. an elevator or a particular decree by God, doesn’t mean there are no objective criteria.

          • Jon Sorensen

            1) There is no evidence
            2) “Two people in the elevator can both perceive the dropping the ball objectively.”
            No they don’t. If the elevator is free falling the ball will not drop. In a stationary elevator people don’t experience objectively but subjectively. How would you even tell if you sense things objectively? You are just confusing objective and subjective. Just like you are confusing the God’s commandments. All those are subjective.

          • William Lewis

            1) There’s none so blind as they that will not see.
            2) It seems that you believe that everything is subjective, in which case discussing the existence of an objective morality or truth with you is pointless.

          • Jon Sorensen

            1) I don’t see, and you are rationalizing that to yourself. Does your faith require you not to be believe in reality
            2) All our personal observations are subjective. So if my view are different than yours on something it is “pointless” to discuss with me! Are you in some kind of mind control cult? Are you afraid to change your mind?

  • Anna

    For those who believe that the survival of the fittest is the normal way of things, anyone weak or ugly or old or deformed is a liability – not worthy to be born and better off, killed in the womb or whenever they become a ‘burden’ to others. Anyone so weak as to constantly require your time, attention and money, is considered a waste of space.

    Atheists will fight for the rights of gays (who already enjoyed every reasonable privilege under civil partnerships) to marry – for extending such support cost them nothing. Their intolerance is laid up for the weakest and most defenceless; and cloaked in the language of ‘choice’ and ‘rights’ or even the ‘well being’ of the victim.

    Atheists will struggle to understand the inherent worth of people born with Down’s syndrome. To Christians, their lives are not purposeless; they are born to teach us how to love.

    • sarky

      Total crap. As an atheist I find your assumption offensive. One of the things I strive for and that I teach my children to strive for, is to look for the inherent worth in EVERYONE. Just because Dawkins comes out with another ill thought out piece of rubbish, dont tar us all with the same brush.

      • Anna

        I agree, of course. I don’t mean to suggest that every atheist is like that. What I meant was that Dawkin’s views are the natural outworking of the theories that he and many atheists hold.

        • sarky

          What, survival of the fittest? I agree, but in my world the fittest have an obligation to care for the weakest.

          • Anna

            Then you have a Christian viewpoint on the matter. Dawkins is more of a purist.

          • sarky

            No, I have a human viewpoint on the matter.

          • Anna

            Is Dawkins less human? Perhaps – as a descendant of non humans…

          • sarky

            No, but he has books to sell!!

          • Inspector General

            You haven’t met cold and desolate atheists then, sarky thing…

          • sarky

            No, just normally warm happy ones.

          • Inspector General

            You obviously don’t get out much….

          • sarky

            Dont need to we’re everywhere 🙂

          • The Explorer

            Darwin pointed out that the herd will gore and trample one of their wounded, and considered it one of the blackest facts of Nature. In a letter, he noted that some ants make slaves of other ants. That humanity was part of Nature troubled him. It also troubles Dawkins, who said in interview that taking Nature as a model would lead to Fascism.

          • sarky

            He’s probably right. But luckily ourbig brains allow us to see the inherent danger and we put the brakes on.

          • Christian thinking has allowed us to see the inherent danger and put the brakes on.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Did you realise that the size of the brain is irrelevant. If not, look it up.

      • William Lewis

        How do you know that Dawkins’ view of EVERYONE’S inherent worth isn’t more valid than yours? After all, he’s much more learned than you in the ways of godlessness. Perhaps it’s you who is coming out with the ill thought out rubbish.

      • Albert

        Value from which perspective?

      • carl jacobs

        sarky

        One of the things I strive for and that I teach my children to strive for, is to look for the inherent worth in EVERYONE.

        And where does this inherent worth come from? It doesn’t exist just because you say it does. What standard would you use to evaluate that inherent worth? There are any number of people who will judge that question by different standards – the gentle Mr Dawkins for instance. Do you have any grounds beyond yourself to justify your judgment that his conclusions are an “ill thought out piece of rubbish?” You of yourself can declare any standard you like, and you can enforce it exactly as far as the reach of your right arm. Dawkins’ “ill thought out piece of rubbish” would then seem to have the advantage over your judgments, don’t you think? He has place and position and an audience. And I doubt he would be much intimidated by your conclusion. What you lack in your contest with Dawkins is authority. You can say whatever you like. It is here today and gone tomorrow. It’s the same deficit that may be found in Dawkins. He can say what he likes, but he can’t establish it. He can’t bind men to agree against their own judgment. There is no way to establish inherent worth in any man unless it can be established with authority. And that authority must be above man.

        When you tell someone to strive, to look for the “inherent value in any man” you are telling that someone to make a forensic examination. You implicitly assume a standard, and tell the evaluator to compare the subject to the standard. You therefore open up the possibility that the evaluator will conclude his examination by saying “I find no value in him.” You thus inevitably create the very possibility that you are trying to avoid. It cannot be avoided in the forensic examination because the fact that you must perform this examination means that worth is not self-evident. You have to find evidence of it. And in any examination, there must always exist the possibly of an empty set. It’s the trivial solution to the problem, but it is a valid solution none the less.

        Why does a man have value? Because he is created in the image of God. If this is not so – if man is not a created being but rather nothing more than a random product of unknown causes – then he is neither more nor less significant that a ring of benzene. His perception of his own value is just an expression of his own self-interest. And of what use is self-interest in determining the worth of another individual? It is a fickle beast that can rescue one day even as it kills the next.

        I suppose you might say “But people can collectively agree,” Yes, they can. And that is the essence of your problem. Because people can agree to do anything. And what they agree to do is by definition right. Assuming of course they possess the strong right arm to enforce the collective judgment. Not good. Not evil. Not right. Not wrong. Just power.

        And nothing more.

        • sarky

          Really Carl? What a load of old waffle.

          • carl jacobs

            Oh well then. I guess that tells me.

            Perhaps you could answer Albert’s question below instead. Here. Let me helpfully reproduce it for you.

            Value from which perspective?

        • Phil R

          Brilliant piece Carl.

          • carl jacobs

            Thanks for the kind words, Phil. I’m glad you find value in what I write. But how would Jack ever survive it? I’d have to title the book “Beating Jack with a Stick. My Life at Cranmer’s.”

      • cmflynn

        You are an atheist? And you have children? Wow, that’s so unusual for an atheist to have a personal stake in the future. Almost always its other people’s children atheists want to sort out.

  • Inspector General

    …and leave a message after the bleep {BLEEP!}

    “I keel you. I keel you good. And when you dead, I keel you again”

    “Martin!”

    “Errr, yes dear?”

    “Are you bothering the Holy Father again?”

    {SILENCE}

    “Listen, that fake Mexican accent fools nobody, and the judge did swear on his children’s lives and by everything that’s holy that if you did it again, he’d put you away”

    “I’d better go and pack then”

    “Not so fast. This week’s copy of Belligerent Interfering Woman Today says the courts are choked with Facebook unpleasents being prosecuted for not-very-nice comments which really annoy the gentle at heart and easily offended. Which means that genuine criminals like you are left alone to glorify in being a public nuisance. What have you got to say to that?…Martin?…Martin?”

    “Hello. Hombre, is dat de Vatican. Can you put me through to the Pope again…”

    • William Lewis

      “That was our play for the day. An independent Inspector Towers production. Tune in tomorrow for a harrowing account of a man trapped in the 19th Century.”

      • Inspector General

        Well really!

  • The Explorer

    The Spartans exposed weak or sickly babies after birth. They did not have the medical technology to determine weakness or sickliness BEFORE birth. We do. That changes the ethical landscape.

    That, I think, is what Dawkins was getting at, and he’s right: whether or not we agree with the conclusions he draws.

    • Phil R

      The Spartans eventually lost everything

      • CliveM

        The Spartans weren’t unique, except that the State took the decision, whereas in Athens it was the father.

        • Phil R

          Which one would you chose.

          State or family?

          • CliveM

            For the reason in question, neither.

            I was simply pointing out that whatever the cause of their decline, this wasn’t the reason. I think it was also common in early Rome.

      • The Explorer

        What I’m saying is, how would the Spartans have behaved if they could have known the sex of a baby before birth; or that it had, say, a spinal disease? Infanticide would have ceased to be an issue, because they would have made their decisions pre-birth.

    • Old Nick

      It is not simply the technology which changes the ethical landscape, the ethics do as well. The Romans exposed babies on kopria (dung-heaps) with as much gay abandon as the Spartans. The Christian Fathers, living in the same world, are unanimous (and well-informed) in their condemnation of this practice.

  • Albert

    Excellent post. As usual, you might be forgiven for thinking the law is really about achieving ideological purity.

    • CliveM

      I’m not sure how you get to that conclusion? You may be right, but if so, why let off Dawkins? Or why Prosecute Ms Presgrave?

      • Albert

        Because Dawkins is suggesting abortion (which is good), while Ms Presgrave is suggesting infanticide or later (which is bad). There’s a difference, apparently.

        • The Explorer

          The argument, as I understand it, is about achieved personhood.

          Abortion is okay because a foetus is not yet a person. Infanticide is not okay because a baby, by being born, has become a person: and killing people is wrong.

          But what if the baby is born without eyes, or without a brain. Is it a person? If it isn’t, is it then okay to kill it?

          Down’s Syndrome obscures the starkness of this argument because those with Down’s Syndrome are recognisably human. A target way beyond that would be the starting point. But as the T4 programme (administered by caring medical staff who wept that progress was so cruel) found, there is a tendency to work backwards from the extreme to the less extreme. So if eliminating idiocy was justifiable in breeding the Master Race, what about the elimination of acne, or sticking-out ears?

          • Albert

            Exactly. Somehow or other the distinction between being born and not being born is so significant that it affects whether one can kill or not. As for why that should be, answers on a postcard…

          • Tutanekai

            My understanding of the secular position on the morality of taking life is that any organism capable of independent life should not be eliminated unless it poses a direct threat to the continuation of our lives.

            By that reckoning, non-viable fetuses can be terminated whereas viable fetuses should not be. Birth marks the starting point of life, however the period before birth during which a fetus would survive if it were born can be considered as being part of the fetus’s life even though that life has not yet properly begun because were it to begin, it would continue.

            And as for fanciful ideas that newborn infanticide is permissible because babies can’t survive for long without being fed and cared for, do the people who pretend to support such an idea not realise that newborn children arrive in this world with at least one parent (often more), whose role it is to make sure their offspring survives?

            A child is not incapable of independent life just because it needs to be fed. When it’s hungry, it cries and the adult(s) taking care of it respond(s) by feeding it and looking after it. Its life is independent in the sense that it continues when supplied with the fuel that all life requires. How it gets that fuel doesn’t matter.

            On those terms the life of a Downs baby is as independent as any other. I think Dawkins would agree, but he seems to believe that quality of life determines the morality of the taking of life, which is another discussion altogether. Euthanasia and abortion are not at all the same thing, although some abortions may be performed with euthanasia as the primary motivating factor.

            Should Downs babies be euthanised? Anyone who’s ever had any contact with Downs children would probably vigorously disagree. Quality of life is subjective and just because they’ll never be doctors or lawyers or Oxford dons is no reason for ending their lives. They have as much of a right to life as anyone else.

          • Albert

            My understanding of the secular position on the morality of taking life is that any organism capable of independent life should not be eliminated unless it poses a direct threat to the continuation of our lives.

            Why? Where does this come from? Why aren’t secularists all vegitarians if this is true? Why is there a limitation on the most vulnerable life?

            And as for fanciful ideas that newborn infanticide is permissible because babies can’t survive for long without being fed and cared for, do the people who pretend to support such an idea not realise that newborn children arrive in this world with at least one parent (often more), whose role it is to make sure their offspring survives?

            The people who defend this, are not Christians, and do not do so on these grounds. But this argument here looks like an argument against abortion.

            I think Dawkins would agree, but he seems to believe that quality of life determines the morality of the taking of life, which is another discussion altogether.

            No, it is this discussion. Why single out Downs’ children for elimination in the womb? Even if I accepted abortion as right, I would still find that kind of discrimination disgusting.

            Anyone who’s ever had any contact with Downs children would probably vigorously disagree. Quality of life is subjective and just because they’ll never be doctors or lawyers or Oxford dons is no reason for ending their lives. They have as much of a right to life as anyone else.

            So you disagree with Dawkins then, presumably?

          • Tutanekai

            My position on vegetarianism is that we have the dentition and digestive tracts of omnivores, therefore meat forms a natural part of our diet.

            The eating of meat generally requires the killing of the animal that provides it. You could argue that this should only be done in extremis when all other food supplies have been exhausted (e.g. in famine situations, or extreme climates). But most of the human race considers the consumption of at least some meat as essential to its survival. Whether it is or not is debatable. You can survive on a vegan diet, but Man could not have evolved the large brain necessary for the abstract thinking needed to imagine that a vegan diet might be necessary if he had not first eaten the meat that made such thinking possible. The concentrated protein needed to power abstract thought can’t be found in a blackberry or a wild tuber.

            Vegans would not have the intelligence to figure out how to transform foods like yeast and mushrooms into concentrated sources of protein if their ancestors hadn’t been meat eaters. Our very humanity is built upon blood sacrifice.

            As for whether or not it’s permissible to terminate a pregnancy on the grounds that the fetus has Downs Syndrome, my own view is that this choice must rest with the pregnant woman. You’re free to be as disgusted as you like if she chooses to terminate. You’re not free to prevent her from exercising her own free will and judgment within the limits set down by law regarding abortion, which in my view are pretty much where they should be.

            Where do these beliefs come from? Reason applied to the reality of the world as perceived by human senses, which are all I have to go on when judging the morality of a situation. As God, if he exists, remains stubbornly silent and offers no guidance whatsoever, what other option is there?

            The only option you offer is to listen to you as if you were God. But you’re not God. And neither is the Church. And as for that debatable and heavily edited tome you insist is God’s word, whose word do I have for that but yours? We’ve already established that you’re not God, and as your arguments make no logical sense (e.g. bread and wine are actually human flesh and blood in disguise), there’s no reason to do anything except dismiss you as just another religious fanatic and fantasist.

            I wonder though, in all of your religious wisdom as an infallible proclaimer of God’s word, how do you solve the dilemma of the Christian vegetarian? If the things you refer to as the Blessed Sacrament really are made of flesh and blood, vegetarians can’t partake of them and therefore excommunicate themselves by virtue of their dietary choices. What would you tell them to do? Start eating meat again, or join a Protestant church where the bread and wine are seen as symbolic? Is vegetarianism a barrier to salvation? If you won’t chow down on the Lord will the Devil chow down on you? Don’t tell me you don’t know. If you’re not infallible, why should I believe anything you say?

          • Albert

            My position on vegetarianism is that we have the dentition and digestive tracts of omnivores, therefore meat forms a natural part of our diet.

            That’s nice. I like your use of natural law there – I wonder where that might lead? Our teeth are directed to eating meat, therefore we should be allowed to eat meat. A foetus is directed, as we all are, towards human life. Therefore, the foetus should be allowed to live, so abortion is wrong. Sex is directed towards procreation. Therefore…well, you get the idea. But I didn’t ask your opinion about vegetarianism. I asked why, if the following statement is true, secularists aren’t vegetarians:

            My understanding of the secular position on the morality of taking life is that any organism capable of independent life should not be eliminated unless it poses a direct threat to the continuation of our lives.

            It seems that that statement is not one you want to defend. So why did you say it? Strictly speaking of course, it condemns vegetarianism as well.

            You go on:

            As for whether or not it’s permissible to terminate a pregnancy on the grounds that the fetus has Downs Syndrome, my own view is that this choice must rest with the pregnant woman.

            Yes, but what is this based on? It can’t be based on the statement you claimed it was based on, for you have given no evidence for that, and you have already disowned it as it stands, and it violates the natural law argument you gave earlier.

          • Tutanekai

            Natural law is a nonsensical concept dreamed up by demented Christians desperately searching to justify their arbitrary bans on whatever they don’t like. There is no such thing.

            There are no natural laws, only natural limitations. But limitations don’t have anything to say about the morality of an act or an attempt.

            I have no wings so I can’t fly. Therefore according to your idiotic concept of natural law, it’s sinful for me to circumvent this limitation by taking a plane. Man isn’t meant to fly because we have no wings. What a load of bollocks!

            It’s this kind of obscurantist nonsense that renders all conversation with Christians utterly pointless. I’ve always known that, and this site confirms it time and time again.

          • Albert

            Natural law is a nonsensical concept

            But you used it. So by your own definition, you used a concept that you think is nonsensical.

            dreamed up by demented Christians

            Aristotle was a Christian? Do you know when Jesus lived?

          • Tutanekai

            I most emphatically did not make any reference to the pseudo-science Christians call “natural law”. I merely mentioned that as humans have the dentition and digestive tract that allow us to eat meat, we are not limited in our ability to do so. No bar to eating meat can be inferred from our form and structure in the way that it can be when looking at the form and structure of other species. A cow can’t eat meat. A human can. There’s no moral judgment in that, just a simple acknowledgment of reality.

            But that’s the one thing you can’t do, isn’t it? You can’t not judge the morality of a situation according to the arbitrary rules of your superstitious beliefs, because to do so would be to render them pointless. Everything we do must have moral consequences or your religion has no reason to exist.

            Well on your own terms then, what are the moral consequences of cannibalism? That’s what you believe you’re doing when you eat and drink your God. And if you deny being a cannibal, what about the moral consequences of untruthfully claiming that bread and wine are actually flesh and blood? Either way you commit a sinful act: either you’re a cannibal or you’re deceitful.

            How strange that the central act of your faith should require you to commit crimes as defined by the faith itself. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

            So which is it? Are you a cannibal or a liar?

          • Albert

            I most emphatically did not make any reference to the pseudo-science Christians call “natural law”. I merely mentioned that as humans have the dentition and digestive tract that allow us to eat meat, we are not limited in our ability to do so. No bar to eating meat can be inferred from our form and structure in the way that it can be when looking at the form and structure of other species. A cow can’t eat meat. A human can. There’s no moral judgment in that, just a simple acknowledgment of reality.

            If that’s all you were doing then I can’t see why you were saying that. The question was about why not be a vegetarian, even though your moral position required it.

            So which is it? Are you a cannibal or a liar?

            I don’t know much about why cannibalism is wrong. But I suspect the problem is to do with either (i) eating dead people or (ii) eating at the expense of living people. Now neither applies to the Mass.

          • Tutanekai

            So you’re admitting that eating human flesh makes you a cannibal then. But you argue that your kind of cannibalism is not immoral.

            Why? Because Christ willingly provides his flesh for you to eat? Is the issue one of free will? So if I willingly lopped off a limb and offered it to you as your main course, one assumes you’d have no objection to eating it.

            Of course my limb would look and taste like human flesh rather than a dry wafer. So perhaps I’d have to dehydrate my limb, grind it up into meal and then present it to you in a format similar to the host before you’d consent to tuck in. But if I did all this willingly, and it didn’t cause my death, presumably you’d have no issue with it.

            Am I right? You really see no moral problem with the consumption of human flesh as long as it doesn’t come from a dead person or is forcibly taken from a live one?

            I knew Catholics were strange. I just didn’t know how strange…

          • Albert

            No, that’s not what I’m saying is it? Take another look.

          • DanJ0

            When I was a vegan, it was in response to farming practices rather than meat-eating itself.

          • Tutanekai

            Buy organic then.

          • DanJ0

            One reason I stopped being vegan was because it was distorting my ethics. I watched a goat being ritually slaughtered in rural Morocco, and hens and a yak being slaughtered in Nepal. In the end, I thought it was better to support free range meat production where animals live according to their ethology than to tilt against windmills achieving nothing much other than some personal satisfaction. Being vegan or vegetarian is not like living on an ethical island, livestock farming is interlinked with other types.

          • DanJ0

            Arguably, a baby born without a brain (or an anencephalatic, at least) is not a person, though we’d grant it ‘honorary’ personhood for social reasons.

        • CliveM

          Ok now I understand, thanks!

  • The Explorer

    Observe any wild life programme. Although the young and breeding females within a species may be protected (and maybe not: viz lions eating cubs of rival males) Nature is ruthless and cruel. God created Nature. God is ruthless and cruel.

    The odd thing is, God calls on us to behave in ways contrary to Nature. Paul’s prohibitions in ‘1 Corinthians’ 6 are almost a description, and a condemnation, of the natural man.

    Christians have the Fall as an explanation. Darwin and Dawkins don’t. Powerful as they both are in depicting the processes of Nature, both are determined that humanity shall not reduce itself to the level of the animal world. But they can’t quite say why.

    • David

      Interesting points there Explorer.

    • DanJ0

      What if it’s in (part of) our nature not to be ruthless and cruel? What if there was an evolutionary advantage in co-operating, being gregarious, and having empathy?

      • The Explorer

        Evolved sympathy was Darwin’s solution in one mood. In another, it was whatever ensures survival. If empathy will do it, use empathy. If ruthlessness will do it, be ruthless.

  • Slack Alice

    Of course it is nothing more than intellectual snobbery combined with the police deciding which one of the two would cause least fuss if prosecuted.

  • “Ursula Presgrave was asked by police was whether she knew that she had committed a criminal offence, to which she allegedly responded: “Yes, and I am very sorry about it.” “

    Why didn’t she just ask what the law was – or seek a solicitor’s presence? If she did understand the law, which Jack doubts, this was an admission of intent to cause distress or anxiety and, under the Malicious Communications Act, this is a criminal offence.

    Presumably, one can still post an opinion that some may find distressing if one lacks criminal intent. Is this is the answer to the final question posed in the article.

  • Darter Noster

    Whether or not either of them caused offence is neither here nor there – causing offence should not be a crime, but incitement to hatred and violence is something different. People with learning disabilities, and Down syndrome especially, already face bullying, harassment and discrimination, and comments like these add fuel to the fire. Dawkins is a well-known public figure, and I dare say some people actually have the faintest bloody clue who this Ursula creature is; their public questioning of the right of people with Down Syndrome to exist just creates a culture in which bullying and discrimination is acceptable, and should certainly be challenged in the strongest possible terms by as many people as possible and as publicly as possible, but should either of them be prosecuted…? I have no sympathy with either of them, but prosecuting them is controversial.

    It’s not the offensiveness of their comments that bothers me, it’s the sheer ignorance that they display. I have known and worked with many people with Down Syndrome for many years, and not a single one is unhappy or unloved by their friends and families. Creating false and dangerously derogatory impressions of a group of people is hardly something benign, and can cause serious harm; if they’d expressed these opinions about an ethnic group instead, few people would argue with prosecuting them, and why should disabled people have less protection? Then again the backlash that these idiots cause is helpful in raising the profile of the issues and asserting an accurate and positive impression. Prosecute? Tough call. All I will say is that if you’re going to make controversial and/or offensive comments about groups of people then you have a responsibility to make damned sure that what you say is grounded in truth, otherwise what you are doing is slander – why should it be illegal to slander individuals but not groups? The higher the public profile you have, the greater the responsibility.

  • Darter Noster

    For a reality tv z lister, who works in a call centre annoying the public day in, day out, to describe anyone’s life as pointless and vegetative seems a bit rich.

    • That comment lacked charity, Darter.

      • He’s right though HJ, Nev’s call center employees pester you several times a wk flogging stuff. Yesterday evening after dark as the rain lashed down and the wind howled another of his ‘stars’ rang me to sell me some solar panels.

        • “There but for the grace of God …. ”
          For some folk this is the only work available and many of them are doing their best to get by. Call centre’s are a modern pest, yet, in the grand scheme of things, a minor nuisance.

  • Dreadnaught

    A sign of the times that confirms freedom of speech is dead when even No-marks like this woman can’t utter or fart in public without some jobsworth calling in the police.

  • dannybhoy

    “Richard Dawkins (right) tweeted that babies with Down’s syndrome should be aborted: “It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”

    “Anyone born with down syndrome should be put down, it’s just cruel to let them lead a pointless life of a vegetable.”

    I’m no supporter of Richard Dawkins, but what he said is not in my view a crime, any more than our discussions on abortion or assisted dying are criminal acts.

    I actually find Ursula Presgrave’s remark more offensive on the grounds that she apparently advocates that anyone born with Downs Syndrome should be put down rather than letting them live the pointless life of a vegetable.

    http://www.sunshineandsmiles.org.uk/about-down-syndrome/

    Physical and mental handicap* takes many forms, and there is no doubt in my mind that some poor creatures are born so profoundly handicapped that their discomfort and inability to communicate, eat, smile, run or play fills one with great sadness.
    All that can be done is to try and make them as comfortable as we can, and love and pray that their suffering may be as short as possible. I personally don’t believe that it was God’s intention that they should be born thus. It’s either genetic or damage done by human action/inaction.

    * ( I use that term deliberately on the grounds that it is as much a handicap as height is to a vertically challenged person wishing to be a basketball pro or a shortsighted man who wants to be a sharpshooter….),

    • Beeswax

      Wow, you believe you have insight to the mind of God.

      • dannybhoy

        What, because I don’t believe God intends that people be born seriously deformed or handicapped?

    • scottspeig

      So the location of the child merits whether one ought to be killed or not. Interesting

      • dannybhoy

        I get that you want to make a point, but I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. More info please.

        • scottspeig

          You find infanticide (killing the child out of the womb) more offensive than abortion (killing the child in the womb). The only difference really is the location. I find it interesting that the location of the child makes such a difference inthe level of offensiveness

          • dannybhoy

            If the child is born it must be cared for and the family supported.
            But it’s not just that child whose life is affected.
            It’s the whole family. It’s the effects on the parents and siblings. It’s the blame factor, the guilt factor, the children who miss out because all the attention is focussed on the disabled child.
            Now if medical science makes it possible to determine very early on that a new life in the very early stages in the womb may be so severely damaged that their quality of life will be seriously damaged, then an informed decision to abort may be the kindest thing the parents can choose. Or not. The decision should be theirs.
            Please remember that mothers lose their children, they might be stillborn or the body itself terminates the growing embryo.
            It would not be my place to judge a couple who decided to terminate such a pregnancy.

  • Malcolm Smith

    May I ask what was the point of the Malicious Communications Act? I would have assumed it was to prevent harassment of individuals. There have been all too many examples of people’s Facebook pages being flooded with hateful, insulting messages, and similar messages being sent by e-mail or text. If Ursula Presgrave put that message on the Facebook page of someone who was talking about their Down’s syndrome baby, there would be some point in prosecution. (Though I would have thought civil action would be more appropriate.) But to be prosecuted merely for saying something on your own Facebook page which might distress a third party is a bit rich.

  • DanJ0

    It’s not that Darwins ought to be prosecuted but that that Pasgrave ought not to have been. We seem to be having trouble with ethics regarding social media at the moment.

    • Martin

      DanJ0

      Dawkins?

  • npbinni

    interesting perspective from National Review: nationalreview.com/article/426713/free-speech-britain-downs-syndrome-controversy

  • steroflex

    Thoughtcrime. Two minutes’ hate. Truth is lies. Hate is love. Oppression is freedom. And the Ministry of Justice is ALWAYS RIGHT.