Today’s currency comes from famed Biologist and atheist, Richard Dawkins.  He recently began tweeting his thoughts on abortion concluding that a human fetus is less valuable than a pig.

Dawkins 2

This statement is meant to suggest a low view of fetuses in order to justify abortion.  While it is tempting to spend time on Dawkins’ thinking with respect to fetuses, specific attention will be focused on something else Dawkins said:


Here Dawkins refers to something he calls “consequentialist morality.”  Consequentialism is a form of ethics that involves making decisions based on what can be perceived as the most beneficial outcome of those decisions.  So, if a group of Americans were deciding whether or not to take a vacation in North Korea, they would be deciding based on what they perceive to be the better set of consequences out of the two choices.  This understanding raises some questions about what Dawkins meant when he said that a pig is more valuable than a fetus.  Clearly, a “consequentialist morality” cannot inform anyone of the intrinsic value of fetuses compared to pigs.  Dawkins first had to make an ontological decision that a fetus is not a human at conception (and, therefore all fetuses are exactly the same) before concluding that a pig is more human than a fetus.  Also, consequentialism as a normative ethic does not necessarily have to agree with Dawkins’ view on fetuses and abortion.  In other words, a consequentialist could consider society on the whole as having more value than the individual’s preference.  So Dawkins really hasn’t explained his view by appealing to consequentialism.

In light of this societal consideration, I responded to him below.  How would you have responded?

Dawkins Response


  1. Value is subjective. One person may consider a fetus of greater value than a fully grown pig. Mr Dawkins has no monopoly on truth. Objective observation would conclude that fetus and fully grown pig has no relationship to each other.

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