Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The logical case for infanticide

So, by now I hope you have done your "homework" and have read the section of the article I directed you to. If not, go ahead and do that now. We will wait.  :)

Some sick stuff, isn't it? What Professor Peter Singer proposes should shock the consciences of decent people everywhere. After all, he advocates the right of parents to kill their children after birth:
Infants lack [characteristics like rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness]. Killing them, therefore, cannot be equated with killing normal human beings, or any other self-conscious beings. {Singer is referring to animals, which he believes to have more rights than infants.}
[K]illing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it is not wrong at all.
So here's the part that may surprise you (although a lot of you picked up on this, too): My overriding thought was that Singer’s argument is logical! Check it out:
[I]n discussing abortion, we saw that birth does not mark a morally significant dividing line. I cannot see how one could defend the view that fetuses may be 'replaced' before birth, but newborn infants may not be. Nor is there any other point, such as viability, that does a better job of dividing the fetus from the infant. Self-consciousness, which could provide a basis for holding that it is wrong to kill one being and replace it with another, is not to be found in either the fetus or the newborn infant. 
In other words, he is saying that if abortion is okay, then so is infanticide. It’s the only logical stance, and he’s right. He is showing us where moral relativism leads.
Singer is a consistent, honest liberal who understands the implications of his beliefs, even calling out other liberals who try to insist that infanticide is fundamentally different from abortion. Instead, he rightly argues that infanticide and abortion are not different in the least, and that birth is an arbitrary line drawn by abortion proponents to make themselves feel a distinction where there is none. 
It goes without saying that I do not agree with Singer's premise, and his beliefs repulse me. But his utilitarian, atheistic worldview is clearly stated. Remember how I’ve said that I prefer clarity to agreement? Well, Singer has -- with clarity -- shown us the worldview which stands in opposition to the Christian worldview. 

Liberals talk a lot about compassion and tolerance and love and acceptance, but when their philosophy is played out to its logical conclusion, it doesn’t look so pretty anymore. 

Despite his shocking views (or perhaps because of them), Singer is a darling of the academic left and has received heaps of accolades. However, your average American liberal (i.e. the nice guy next door, or the girl who does your hair) doesn’t have a clue where liberal thought ultimately leads. That is why I am grateful that Professor Singer lays it out and tells the truth.
And that is why I am honestly grateful to Gwen for doing the same
It’s so important to keep having the dialogue so people can make an educated choice about which worldview they will adopt. As Pope John Paul II said repeatedly, it is a battle between the Culture of Life and the Culture of Death. And we really do have to pick a side. Even Singer himself acknowledged this when he said of Pope John Paul II: "I sometimes think that he and I at least share the virtue of seeing clearly what is at stake."

Singer sees it, John Paul II saw it, and we need to see it, too. 


  1. And this is why I can both logically and wholeheartedly, be pro-life.

  2. I totally agree with you here, Leila-- his arguments were sound, but completely without regard for inherent worth or, really, basic morality. The comments about adoptive parents being willing to take on ANY child rang so true of what I've seen and heard of Catholic adoptive parents, in particular. Thanks for posting this-- it's truly frightening and also enlightening.

  3. Thanks for the post and link. I was not familiar with Singer, but it was a logical argument that, while sickening and without moral regard, was consistent from beginning to end.

    I must have missed what Lisa is referring to.

  4. Singer used to come up occasionally in or TOB group and we had a similar conversation. While repulsive, at least he took the thought to its logical end. (We were always talking about taking thoughts to their logical end, mostly because that is what JP would do.)

  5. Leila,
    Great post! This is such a slippery slope, and it is so scary to think about the implications that come with adhering to Singer's school of thought.
    I really want to believe that if people who are pro abortion understood what Singer is saying that they would rethink their position on the whole issue!
    A 40 week old baby in the womb and a 1 day old newborn baby are exactly the same biologically and developmentally, it is simply a matter of location.
    And if people can acknowledge that a baby in the womb at this point is of equal value to a newborn, then at what point in the womb do they no longer have the same value? Viability doesn't work because this continues to get earlier and earlier as science and medicine advance...
    The person has the same DNA at conception as they do at birth or even at age 8, 15, 20, or 50. It's all a matter of development, but from the point of conception, we are all equally human with equal dignity from conception until natural death.

  6. Thanks guys... You all have great, great insights and we just need to make this known.

    Chasing and Ann, you know what is weird? I am working on this post yesterday and my dh calls and tells me to turn on the radio: Michael Medved is interviewing Peter Singer!

    Wow... it was interesting. This time Singer was talking about if people should continue to have kids. He wrote an article about whether or not this should be "the last generation". He has a new book out I believe, called The Life You Can Save or something like that. He is really into animals, by the way. Huge supporter of animal rights. I was truly struck by his soft demeanor, very gentle manner and really disarming honesty. Unlike so many, he is just perfectly honest and truthful.

    I appreciate his truthfulness, but boy he espouses some sick and awful stuff.... {shudder}

    We really must pick a philosophical (and spiritual) side.

  7. Great post! (Okay scary post, but great points). Clarity is so important. So many want to take some sort of middle ground but... it just doesn't work like that.

  8. This is a great post! I think that Singer's point of view is scary, but points to the flawed logic concerning abortion.

  9. I was hoping, Leila, that you'd appreciate Singer's logical thought process and goal of clarity-I'm glad that his thought process came across that way to you.

    Also, i find the welcome Liberals sign vey funny : )

  10. Gwen, you should know I would appreciate Singer's logic. I love logic. I love that your position on gay marriage (and sibling marriage) is logical.

    But you haven't stated whether or not you agree with his position? It is logical if one is okay with abortion that one would be okay with infanticide. Are you in agreement with Singer on infanticide?

    I can't figure out if the last part, about my welcome sign, is sarcastic? I hope not...because I have always been happy to have you here! :)

  11. No no! I wasn't being sarcastic at all : )

    I do agree (mostly) with Singer. I agree that the term "pro choice" should really be "pro abortion" with regards to people like myself who want abortion to be an option. And I am in favor of parents (versus doctors, the state, other authorities) being allowed to make the best decision for their infant in situations where a severe (and I stress severe) medical/developmental condition is diagnosed. I realize as I write this though that probably some parents would not make decisions I would necessarily agree/be comfortable with (i.e., I would certainly hope no parent would terminate a pregnancy or euthanize an infant with down syndrome in order to avoid "dealing" with a special needs person). So, I will have to re-read Singer to give a better synopsis of what I agree/don't agree with.

    Er, off to dinner for right now.

  12. Gwen, I look forward to hearing more of what you think, after you re-read Singer. Thanks for your honesty.


PLEASE, when commenting, do not hit "reply" (which is the thread option). Instead, please put your comment at the bottom of the others.

To ensure that you don't miss any comments, click the "subscribe by email" link, above. If you do not subscribe and a post exceeds 200 comments, you must hit "load more" to get to the rest.