Dawkins and Downs

One of the blogs I follow, “The Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy”,is very much concerned with the day-to-day life, problems and beauties of bringing up a boy with Downs Syndrome.

One of the issues at the moment is a statement by the evolutionary biologist and professional atheist, Richard Dawkins, in which he says that unborn babies with Downs Syndrome should be aborted, presumably because they represent a genetic mistake.

Now, normally I am broadly sympathetic to the ideas of Mr Dawkins. I really enjoyed his books the Selfish Gene and The God Delusion. But I part company with him here.

Here, I must admit to my ignorance. And, by the way, I wish other writers and journalists would do the same. I am not a biologist, nor am I an expert in evolution. My knowledge, such as it is, comes from being interested and open-minded.

I can’t help but think that Dawkins has somehow got it wrong here (how arrogant of me!). Evolution is Big, very big, and Slow, very slow. It works through random mutations, most of which die out. Some mutations die out quickly, and disappear from the DNA of the species. Some might struggle on for millions of years, like human beings, until the environment changes and they can’t cope.

Evolution is not ours to manipulate. Human beings are work in progress. Who knows what will happen in the next six million years, or which gene mutations will prove advantageous to our species’ survival.

Richard Dawkins has forgotten how unimportant he is. And howe unimportant we all are..



About stevehobsonauthor

I am blind, and I hate it. It stinks. But life is still sweet. I have multiple sclerosis, and that stinks too, but life is still sweet. These are my musings.
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