Christian fundamentalists put freaks on parade

Christians and other mystics sometimes argue that religion makes people moral. I disagree: morality is a practical science which can only be understood by rational consideration, not emotionalism (the epistemological method of faith). To the extent that religious dogmas and religious people preach and act morally, they derive their principles using the same rational methods and the same evidence that is available to everyone. Since rational moral claims need no mystical basis, it is only the irrational and immoral actions which require religious justification. To the extent that religious beliefs as such influence people’s actions, they can only influence them to do wrong – sometimes unspeakable and sometimes trivial, but still evil.

For the most part, modern Western religions, such as those in the United States, merely consist of mindless time-wasting rituals. They are evil in the sense of distracting people from more productive activities, especially from more productive means of finding moral guidance. Nevertheless, for the most part, and despite their religion, most Americans are good and productive people, who pay lip-service to a dogma highly diluted by Western philosophy and modern science.

The prime candidate for the moral monopoly of religion in America is the domain of life and death. This is where the real evil of religious influence becomes evident. One particularly despicable influence of religion was out on display when John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential candidate. One of Governor’s Palin’s qualifications for the presidential ticket is that she gave birth to a baby with Down syndrome in April.

The fact that Palin’s baby has Down syndrome is certainly tragic. Down not only severely impacts the health and life-expectancy of the child, is also a tremendous burden on their caretakers. (Aside from my personal observation, my girlfriend has worked closely with Down parents and their children.) As an unpredictable genetic disorder however, the symptom cannot be blamed on anyone. Except for this: since January 2007, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recommended Down screening for all pregnant women, and so Governor Palin knew that her fetus had Down’s, and decided to continue her pregnancy anyway. Furthermore, she has turned her decision into political leverage in the upcoming election as proof of her moral virtuousness:

“How refreshing that now we have a woman who reflects the values of mainstream American women,” said Janice Shaw Crouse of the conservative group Concerned Women for America.

Whereas previously, a Down’s child could be born without the prior knowledge of the mother, going forward, a parent with a Down’s child will likely (at least in the developed world) have made a conscious choice to have that child. The child represents a sacrifice made by their parents for their faith. As the recommendations of ACOG are implemented nationwide, Down children (and eventually those with other genetic disorders) will increasingly become symbols of faith – a freak show meant to communicate the “family values” of their parents. They will be a symbol of religious reverence in the same way as the scarred backs of Catholics who flagellate themselves, or Buddhist monks who set themselves on fire, or Sunni Muslims who mutilate their girl’s genitals or Shiites who bloody their and their children’s heads with swords.

Genuine moral virtues – such as integrity, honesty, and productivity are not useful as evidence of religious virtue. To the extent that their practical benefit is visible to everyone, they do not represent the special domain of religion. To demonstrate religious virtue, it is necessary to sacrifice authentic moral values in favor of “religious” values. The particular object of the sacrifice is not important – there is nothing particularly “biblical” about being prolife (the Christian bible just as easily supports the opposite position.) If Christian fundamentalists decided that cutting of one’s hand sufficed as proof of moral virtue, they would still be guilty of evil, but not much more so than the numerous other ways that people of all kinds find to be self-destructive. What is really vicious about fundamentalists in America is that the prey on the most vulnerable –poor pregnant young girls and women, those dying from painful terminal illnesses, the loved ones of brain-dead patients, — and children afflicted with terrible genetic illnesses.

One can at least grasp the moral indifference with which a fundamentalist can force a single young mother to abandon her goals and dreams and condemn her and her child to poverty. But what can we say about a parent that chooses a life of suffering upon their child? If we are morally outraged by child rapists, how should we judge a parent who chooses a lifetime of suffering on their own child?

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  1. Pingback: Mover Mike » An Examined Life

  2. This is such a sad commentary.

    Have you ever considered seeking a different perspective? Have you tried to engage a family who parents a child with Downs Syndrome? Speak to them and listen to how they feel about raising a child with special needs. They would surprise you. A lot of these children are very talented and can live pretty productive lives. They teach us so many things – Joy, hope, patience, selflessness, and most precious of all is LOVE. Able-bodied people should be so lucky.

    So, please don’t make hasty judgements about them based on what your girlfriend has told you.

  3. Hi there Dave. Thanks for posting on my blog. Because the subject of this post is similar to the comment you wrote there, I’ll paste my response to your comment here; I think it is relevant to the discussion.

    I understand what you are saying, but I don’t necessarily agree. I don’t really think that most people opt to have a Down syndrome baby as a way to advance their own political or religious agendas. However, I do think that there are some people who feel that they are martyrs for their cause (anti-abortion) when they choose to have such a child (I do agree that the decision is almost always religiously driven). Certainly some feel that they are morally superior to the 90% of us who would terminate such a pregnancy. My response to this is that it is their choice; they have to do what they feel is best for themselves, their child, and their families. This does not, however, grant them license to feel superior in any way to people who choose to abort. I don’t think there is anything at all wrong with deciding that you don’t want to raise a child with Down syndrome or any other genetic abnormality. Anyone who says that it isn’t difficult (emotionally, financially, etc.) is fooling themselves.

    I do have to take exception to your assumption that all Down syndrome patients live horrible lives of suffering. As you know, trisomy 21 occurs in varying degrees of severity, and plenty of people with DS live perfectly satisfactory lives. Still, it is impossible to tell how severe the disorder will be, and this is something that a parent deciding to birth and raise a DS child must take into account. They have to be prepared for the worst. The trouble is that society often is not, and I think that parents of DS children need to understand and accept that.

  4. dude, you are one sick individual, and I strongly suspect you’ve never met (a) a person with Down Syndrome (note: that’s the correct spelling) or (b) a parent of a child with Down Syndrome.

  5. OP: Should all children that have substantive birth defects be aborted, even if they are functional? Would you have aborted Stephen Hawkings or Mozart? How about if the child is going to be ugly, or socially awkward? Is taking children with disabilities of any sort to term a sign of “religious values”, and if not, where do you draw the line? Because when you say, “But what can we say about a parent that chooses a life of suffering upon their child? If we are morally outraged by child rapists, how should we judge a parent who chooses a lifetime of suffering on their own child?”, what I’m hearing is a slippery slope eugenics argument, sorry Godwin, reminiscent of Hitler. Should handicapped people be allowed to procreate? How about people who have a history of cancer, or risk of heart disease?

    And who the hell are YOU to draw that line for other people?

  6. Um, Downs kids are amazing. Downs adults are awesome as well. Have you ever met one of these individuals? I seriously doubt it, you speak as though they’re demons, they’re the opposite. They act like little angels, and God loves them just as much as he loves me and you. We’re all created in God’s image. We’re all equal. Please remember this and don’t be so judgemental. =)

  7. Amy,
    “I do have to take exception to your assumption that all Down syndrome patients live horrible lives of suffering. ”

    I don’t make this assumption. I do think that having Down’s significantly reduces the quality of life of the child. The particular degree isn’t important. What matters is that mothers have a choice to make – to inflict a terrible illness on their potential child, or try again and hope for a healthy baby. The choice is not between having a baby and not having one, but between having a sick one this year versus a healthy one in a year or two. It’s shocking to me that some people choose to have the sick child because they can’t wait a year or two.

  8. Hm… I don’t think it’s because they can’t wait. Again, I think that the anti-abortion stance is largely religiously motivated. As such, anti-abortionists will “take what they get” because it is their belief that what they’ve got is “God’s will.” It isn’t a rational stance, which is why it is so shocking to people who rely on reason over religious superstition.

    Because I know the disorder is so variable, I would never gamble the well-being of my child if it was diagnosed with DS and hope that the symptoms aren’t “that bad”. There again we get into this idea of choice: I choose not to raise a child with a genetic abnormality. This does not make me a bad person, as some other commentors of your blog seem to think. But if a person makes a conscious decision to go ahead with the pregnancy, that’s fine by me. Just don’t tell me what I can and cannot do to my own body, and my own life (Palin wants to do just that). And don’t assume some holier-than-thou attitude because my decision was different. The smugness of some religious people is really infuriating.

  9. Where do I even start to respond to this & the post you left for my blog. 1st of all children with Down’s Syndrome are NOT “freaks” as you so cruelly label them, they are human beings with the same rights as you & me. I was a special ed major & college & I can tell you that throught my almost 53 years of life that all these “freaks’ as you label them have only made my life richer.
    Which brings me to your quality of life comment, by who’s standards? Yours?
    I won’t even go into the lies & twisting of scripture done by the hate group that calls itself freedom from religion. Yes, I call them a hate group because that is what they spew, HATE.
    Instead I will leave you with a quote from Corrie ten Boom when she was brought in by the Nazi SS during WW II for questioning. The Nazi officer told her: “If you want converts, surely one normal person is worth all the half-wits in the world!”
    Her reply: “”The truth, Sir, is that God’s viewpoint is sometimes different from ours- so different that we could not even guess at it unless He had given us a Book which tells us such things. In the Bible I learn that God values us not for our strength or our brains but simply because He has made us. Who knows, in His eyes a half-wit may be worth more than a watchmaker. Or- a lieutenant.” I couldn’t say it any better.

  10. Pingback: Sarah Pain, Down’s Syndrome and questions of ‘morality’ « Confessions of an Undercover Theologian

  11. Pingback: Sarah Palin, Down’s Syndrome and questions of ‘morality’ « Confessions of an Undercover Theologian

  12. David, I don’t agree with you. But if you want to make an argument for Abortion, I would like to point out to you that not all Pro Lifers fit your narrow stereotype. For one thing there is the group, called Libertarians for Life, located at (http://www.l4l.org/) and the group Atheists and Agnostics for life, located at (http://www.godlessprolifers.org/home.html) I don’t expect to change your way of thinking, but you should examine both of those sites and at least take the time to consider some of their arguments. Sorry but I don’t know how to post direct links using this comment system.

    By the way, I am well aware of Rand Arguments for Abortion as a right.

  13. David, Also keep in mind that there were mystics who were also abolitionist in pre civil war America. In fact a few of them you might even consider christian fundamentalists.

  14. If you think about it, we’re all special-needs children.
    I just heard that on another blog, I like it. =)

    Oh, and Al- I LOVE THAT QUOTE. I just finished reading “The Hiding Place”- awesome book. =)

    David, have you ever seen a Downs kid smile? It’s more beautiful than a “normal” kids’ smile, and not a bit “freaky.”

  15. I don’t get the reaction of people to your comments. I don’t even see how people consider Down’s syndrome “children” to be human. I encountered one in the store today, and it was a drooling, loud, disgusting creature. My friend’s dog is better behaved than that creature was.

    Just because something looks like a human doesn’t mean it is. What sets humans apart from other animals is our intelligence. Looking somewhat human but being massively retarded makes Downs syndrome creatures closer to cattle than people.

  16. Well, I’m a vegetarian so eating them isn’t my style.

    My point was that they are fundamentally animals, not people. Aborting them and giving the parents an opportunity to have a human baby is a better answer all around than inflicting them on society and demanding that they be treated as human.

  17. Rob,

    Problem is that they are humans. They may not be functioning at an optimal level but that does not change their species. Its hard to imagine someone finding away to bring a cow to the level of a fully functioning human being, but what about a person with down syndrome? What if one day we find a cure? Its far less likely that we will be able to change the fundamental nature of cow, than we will be able to find a cure for down syndrome in the near future. Plus even if we don’t they are still human. They are still a member of our species. What gives you, or anyone else the right to decide who’s life is not worth living for them? I met a relative once (I can’t remember his name) who was severally retarded, I don’t know if he had down syndrome or not, but if anyone tried to hurt him, when I was around I would do everything in my power to stop them.

  18. The stupid, it burns: Damien, there can be no cure for Down syndrome. But thanks for showing your incredible ignorance of genetics, development, and biology in general.

  19. Well said, Damien. =)

    Rob, that’s one of the STUPIDEST things I’ve ever heard. Do you think people with Downs chose to be mentally retarded? NO! What if it was you, and people always glared at you and didn’t want to be your friend because you looked different? Wouldn’t that hurt your feelings? And yes, they DO HAVE FEELINGS. And by the way, not all Downs people are MENTALLY retarded, they may have other issues…

    Anyway, how does being mentally retarded make you stupid, or not a person worth loving? People with disabilities are more loving than regular, healthy individuals. They appreciate being alive, much more than we can appreciate. All people are equal, and yes, they are humans. They may be even more human than you, according to your heartless comment.

    God may someday decide to cure Downs Syndrome. Or stop the gene that causes it from working. He is all powerful, and all loving. And he wants us to love those around us, even our enemies. He wants us to love everyone: black, purple, white, Downs or not, he created us in the image of Him, so treat everyone with respect.

    -Holly

  20. Holly,

    Are you for real? Please tell me you’re really a brilliant satirist.

    Apparently people with DS aren’t the only ones who are retarded.

    P.s. Down (no ‘s’) Syndrome is not due to a gene. Idiot. You are sitting at a computer connected to the internet. Do a Google or Wikipedia search for crying out loud. There is no excuse for such laziness.

  21. Actually, Damien, we aren’t. Please stop trying to pretend you know anything about genetics.

    THIS is why we are nearly last in the world in science education… didn’t you people take a biology course? Christ. No, of course not. You were too busy jacking off to your invisible sky daddy.

  22. Um, I’m 13. I don’t know everything about genetics, and I haven’t had the opportunity to take a biology course. Sorry. What is trisomy 21? What do you call it? Excuse my ignorance, please.

    But what I do know is that I’m CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD. YOU ARE CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD. EVERYONE IS. That’s all you need to know. Knowledge has nothing to do with your importance. Seriously. It’s not like I’m saying this because I fail at school and want an excuse. I have a 3.8 GPA. But you are important because Jesus died for you.

    And Anon, have you ever been degraded? Keep in mind that there is a living breathing person behind each post on your computer screen.

    I love you, because Christ loves you.

    -Holly

    Leviticus 19:14 NIV

    Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord.

  23. Just made my way back here, glad to see that my original post was deleted. Not sure why. Is it because it’s harder to make the sick argument that David and Rob espouse to someone who has a sister with Down syndrome? Thanks for calling my loving, intelligent sister a “freak” and a “creature.” I’d much rather spend my days with her than with you fellas. The fact that the sight of someone so different from you makes you feel icky shouldn’t be reason enough to engage in eugenics. (Don’t kid yourself, that’s exactly what this is.)

    anon (Classy to write such vitriol and not sign your name, by the way), did you pay attention in biology? Down syndrome, in fact, is genetic. It’s an additional 21st chromosome, hence the name ‘trisomy 21.’ Also, mad props for the shining example of tolerance that you provided.

    Is it the level of positive contribution to society that determines a person’s right to live? If that’s the standard, there are several folks in this thread with serious reason for concern.

  24. And Holly, I’m glad to see your hope is in Christ. Your love and concern for others is evident. Stay in The Word and don’t let the hate and derision of the world get to you. He warned us it was going to get bad, didn’t he?

  25. Kev,

    I am a biologist. Please to read what people post: I never said DS was not GENETIC, I said it was not caused by a GENE. Perhaps you want to revisit both biology and reading comprehension, eh?

    And no, I don’t have tolerance for people who refuse to live in the real world. You can be religious and still use logic and reason. There is no excuse to fall back on the idea that your imaginary friend is going to solve the world’s problems. PEOPLE solve the world’s problems (which is ironic, because for the most part we cause them too). Blind faith precludes action. That is detestable.

    Also, abortion is NOT eugenics. Eugenics is forced sterilization; it strips an adult of their reproductive rights. And before you use the tired argument, no, abortion does not strip a fetus of its “right to live.” It’s a fetus, it isn’t a person, and therefore it HAS no rights. I have an infant daughter at home, and it doesn’t change my stance one bit. A woman has every right in the world to decide what happens to her body and her life. And there is nothing wrong with terminating an abnormal pregnancy. It doesn’t affect your life or mine in any way. So quit trying to force your ridiculous religious dogma on other people and get over it.

    Finally, it doesn’t matter what name I use, dipshit, this is the internet: we’re all anonymous. If I said my name was Carl or Diane, it would be just about as useful to you.

  26. anon, re-read your own post. You said it wasn’t due to a gene. On this technicality, I would correct your statement by adding that it’s due to the mutation of a whole string of genes. My point was that you were nit-picking something Holly said (without providing clarity on your behalf, I might add) rather than discussing the real crux of the issue you had with her: you had her beliefs.

    What you don’t have tolerance for, anon, is for people who refuse to adhere to your core set of beliefs. So you see, you have just proven my point for me. Tolerance isn’t really tolerance if the other person must agree with you for you to be tolerant of them. (I don’t see tolerance as such a virtue, I’ll note, but rather living in peace with others as much as it is within my power.) Your worldview is different than mine, and that frustrates you. You cannot accept it. While we both believe each other is wrong, I can accept it and move on. You apparently foam at the mouth. I am not forcing my world view (or religious dogma, as you call it) on anyone any more than you.

    “And there is nothing wrong with terminating an abnormal pregnancy.” You’ll notice, if you open your mind, that here you are asking me to weigh the termination of a pregnancy against your definition of right and wrong. Yet if I did the same, you might shout that I stop being such an absolutist. As it turns out, anon, you are just as much the cause of intolerance in the world as I. Most arguments could be resolved by the maturity to say to the other person, “I completely disagree, but I know it’s because I see the world differently than you. Good day.”

  27. Amazing!

    The ignorance of some posters is astounding. Something tells me religious brainwashing has a lot to do with it. Blind faith clouds your ability to reason, and you end up making complete fools of yourselfs on a public forum.

    It’s especially sad to see the 13 year old poster who’s already deep in clutches of Bible-based-science.

    People fail to understand what the blogger meant. They can’t assess his words using their minds – so they resort to emotional response instead. Down Syndrom people are a burden to everyone – if you think otherwise you are either ignorant, or just lying to yourself.

    Enough of the ‘they are so much more loving’ rhetoric. They are not. Unless you consider love of a puppy more meaningful than the love of your wife.

    Less Jesus Christ and more Ayn Rand, and maybe you’ll come to see the ‘truth’…

  28. Most arguments could be resolved by the maturity to say to the other person, “I completely disagree, but I know it’s because I see the world differently than you. Good day.”

    That approach worked really well with Hitler during WW2. Oh, wait…

    With a twisted logic like that, I guess we should we also turn a blind eye to girls being mutilated in Africa, honor killings in India, and political persecution in China. Because you know – ‘they see the world differently than us’.

    Gotta love the convenience of moral subjectivism…

  29. As a side note, I just noticed a pretty high (one would almost want to say ‘meaningful’) correlation between people’s ability to reason, and their choice of operating system ;)

    I always kept saying that Apple is for dummies.

  30. Kev,

    DS is NOT DUE TO A MUTATION. OMG. It is due to a mistake during meiosis. You FREAKING MORON.

    And I don’t hate anybody’s beliefs. But I have a hard time respecting them when they are stupid and have no basis in reality.

  31. Thanks Kev. =)

    Actually, we’ve been discussing “worldview” in my Bible class. It’s very interesting, how people can have such different opinions.

    And I’m not brainwashed. A few kids at my school are, but that’s not to their own fault. I went to public school for 7 years, and that’s where I learned the colorful vocabulary which most teenagers speak. I don’t, because I see it as a lack of intelligence to say “OMG,” “Shut up,” “You’re a ****** ******”, and/or anything of that nature. If you’re smart, you must be able to figure out something else to say. Cussing is so cliche.

    “But I have a hard time respecting them when they are stupid and have no basis in reality.” That’s really judgemental on your part…

    John, what? You just said that everyone who uses Apple is automatically inferior to people who use Firefox? Wow. 0.o At first I was mad, then I laughed. Oh, and the Rob that posted on this blog also uses Apple and shares your beliefs on this subject…

    And seriously, have you (anon, Rob, John) ever gone up to a Downs person and spent time with them? You’ll find they’re really nice. Try it, it’s not fair to judge if you haven’t even tried to talk to one of them.

    -Holly

  32. OMG is not “cussing”. It is an expression of frustration and exasperation.

    Also, you’ll note that I never once said that I disrespect people with disabilities in any way. I do not. They are not at fault for their conditions. But that does not change my position on a woman’s right to terminate an abnormal pregnancy. Not wanting to raise a child with a disability does not translate into disdain for people with disabilities. I encourage you to consider this distinction.

    Your belief in a deity is NOT based in reality. It is based on faith (that’s kind of the point). I’m not being judgmental, I’m making an observation. There is nothing inherently wrong with turning to metaphysical explanations; just be aware that there are OTHER explanations that account for natural phenomena in much more meaningful ways than mere claiming that “god did it.”

    Also, Holly… *shaking head* Honey, I know you’re only 13, but please learn the difference between an operating system and a web browser.

    I will say this: I admire your attempt at engaging in meaningful, intellectual discourse, and a difficult one at that. Hopefully over time you will further develop your critical thinking and reasoning skills to better express your point of view.

  33. anon, you may want to just ignore this first paragraph because you don’t believe in the Bible: OMG means “Oh my God,” which is using God’s name in an unflattering way, which is a sin… so I view it as cursing, but that is a Christian worldview, which is very different from modern standards/worldviews.

    Thanks, that means a lot, other than the word “attempt”- we are having an intellectual conversation. Sorry for being picky, believe me, I’m like that with everyone. One of my many faults. =)

    I’ll ask my dad about the differences between the two…

    God bless, Holly

  34. > You just said that everyone who uses Apple is automatically inferior to people who use Firefox?

    Thanks for proving my point :)

    Anyway – I hope you’ll be able to grow out of organized religion, and open your eyes to the real world. Right now you’re trapped in the ‘Bible matrix’. Unfortunately, very few people are able to free themselves from the chains, once their minds have been raped by the sick, dogmatic ideology of religion when young.

  35. Ha, ha. Crap. Stupid wording, excuse me. I’ve been off today… XP

    Rewording:

    You just said that everyone who uses Apple is automatically inferior to people who use Dell, PC, etc…

    But you could understand what I’m saying. Now then, raped by dogmatic ideology? Wow, the world is fallen. Thankfully, I know someone who’s coming to make it right again…

    -Holly

  36. For this blog post to have any hope of being rational, it must first show that Palin is in fact a Christian fundamentalist, which it does not even come close to doing. As of now this post is just slop. Do you really think this kind of stuff promotes objectivism?

  37. > For this blog post to have any hope of being rational, it must first show that Palin is in fact a Christian fundamentalist

    Please tell me you are not being serious about doubting she is one?

  38. I agree Nick, this post is slop. We may not agree in our end conclusions (though I really can’t say one way or the other just yet), but I’m also experiencing your frustrations in the assumptions made by the post’s author. Most of the commenters are wanting to engage in some sort of completely objective discourse when the basis was wholly subjective and emotional. (Don’t agree? Look at how emotional all the people arguing with me are getting. The CAPS are getting out of hand.) He is certainly using words of science and distinction, but his determinations are based on his observations. There is no way to actually test just how mindless someone’s rituals are. Their rituals are not time-wasting if the person performing them deems them the most important thing to be doing at a given time. Or is their value in terms of societal productivity more important? How very industrial of him.

    The assertion that morality is a practical science is undefined, at best. Such a bold statement is made, and the the author continues onward without explaining the standard by which one can measure morality. To that end, I ask the author to define right and wrong. Is it when this happens that the fun shall really be had.

    Of course Hitler couldn’t have been stopped by a simple “Agree to disagree.” But you know what my point was, and I qualified it with the word ‘most.’ I was speaking largely in terms of disagreement between two people. In the spirit of Godwin’s law, you have already lost this one.

    So Holly, the 13 year old, doesn’t know the difference between a browser and an operating system. I suppose that means she knows nothing then, right? Pure silliness…. (Holly, come on over to my blog. We’d love to have you involved in the public forum on those threads!)

    anon, I respect that you know more than I do about what causes DS. But clearly your experience with it is quite clinical, while mine is personal and experiential. No one here has been able to come up with any quantifiable definition of a human that would exclude people with DS. Based on DNA, they are human. And based on my experience with my sister, I know she is. Keep telling me that she isn’t; all I can do is shake my head at the ignorance. Based on your rubric for a human, John Galt, I’ve experienced a large cross-section of the population that isn’t deserving of life. Let’s just mow ‘em down, non?

    “And I don’t hate anybody’s beliefs. But I have a hard time respecting them when they are stupid and have no basis in reality.” Your have the debating skills of a Russian, my friend. Maybe, just maybe, Holly and I know something that you don’t. Maybe we’ve seen, experienced, and known something or someone towards whom you’re still blind. Maybe it’s our eyes that are opened and yours that still cling to the religion of self. Or maybe not. You know, whatever. But there’s something to be said about your comment that “very few people are able to free themselves from the chains, once their minds have been raped by the sick, dogmatic ideology of religion when young.” Remove the charged words, and you’ll find that you seem to have quoted Christ: “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:29) Are you one who has been “freed” from the bondage of sick, dogmatic ideology? You certainly write with the tone of a disgruntled former church-goer.

    I’m not trying to “win” here. I can’t imagine any of you suddenly changing your mind. I just thought, in the spirit of open discussion, that you should know what other people think. I do hope you enjoy tearing my post apart (based on your own belief system that you’re certainly not forcing on anyone else), and I’ll return soon enough to read your responses.

  39. > Are you one who has been “freed” from the bondage of sick, dogmatic ideology? You certainly write with the tone of a disgruntled former church-goer.

    Bingo! I am one of the few, lucky ones. I saw and lived both sides of the argument – I like the rational side better.

    Bottom line is – it should be only up to the woman in question to make a decision about what to do with her body, and the parasite within. The government should have no say in it. The moment it does, we might as well declare women’s wombs government property.

    Sadly Palin insists on taking that position.

  40. Goodness, no one’s answering my question. John Galt, anon, Rob, others on that side of the discussion: Have you ever spent real time with someone with Downs, or other special needs?

    I have, I know an adorable little baby with Downs who had to have heart surgery when she was merely a few months old. She’s an only child, and is the cutest thing ever. Or one of the cutest things ever. Then helping out with the Special Olympics really made me love special-needs kids/adults. And appreciate what I have. These kids are completely content if you give them a stuffed-animal to play with, whereas “normal kids”- excuse me not knowing a better term- aren’t content until they get everything they see in the toy store. Especially nice, expensive things. But Downs/special-needs kids… they’re so sweet, and can constantly entertain themselves with anything, which is a great quality that most people lack nowadays… including me.

    That’s just one of the awesome qualities I see in these special individuals… maybe you should spend some time with them so you can discover others.

    -Holly

    P.S. Thanks Kev. And I do know the difference, sorry, I was having an off-day. =)

  41. Oh, I figured you were having an off day, Holly. My point to them was that it didn’t matter in the discussion. I suspect that none of the “thinkers” we’ve been dealing with in this thread base their decisions on their love and concern for others. They seem to have desperately arrived at a conclusion to support the revulsion they experience when around special needs children and adults. It is neither liberal nor conservative philosophy that drives them to this conclusion, only their exaggerated regard for self. They can’t imagine why anyone would want a freak in the world that drools, as one commenter put it. It bothers them because they are bothered by abnormally, and they’re trying to mask it using lofty sounding arguments about productivity, as if our purpose in life was to be the highest achieving organic factory we can be. But I agree with Yoxen. “Would you have aborted Stephen Hawkings or Mozart?” They were certainly abnormal. You would abort a child just because the fetus appeared to be sick? What about once they’re born. What about a kid whose autism becomes apparent well after birth; at 14, let’s say. We should kill them? But no, of course not. And you can see where the argument breaks down.

    They could not really seem to bring themselves to answer my last post with any level of satisfaction (John, you can’t lay out a bottom line final point of the argument if the supporting arguments are bovine scatology), so let me pose a few more, this time more direct questions. I’d only ask that you not respond with others’ arguments unless it supports your position. I’d rather not read what 15 other people thought the answer might be; I want to know what YOU think. It should help bring things into a better light:

    What is the meaning of life?

    What is love?

  42. Holy – these are your exact words:
    “the cutest thing ever”,
    “one of the cutest things ever”,
    “completely content if you give them a stuffed-animal to play with”,
    “they’re so sweet”,
    “and can constantly entertain themselves with anything”,

    If I didn’t know better, I would assume you are describing a puppy. In fact, I can get a puppy and experience the same type of affection, for fraction of the effort.

    I’ll answer Kev’s questions when I get a chance later on today – busy at work right now.

  43. Ha, I use the word “cute” too much. My bad. XP

    What I mean is that they are very sweet people and that they give unconditional love. You could say that sounds like a puppy also, but really, you’re missing my point. Downs Syndrome kids and adults are awesome, intricate people- they’re delicate and sensitive just like you and me. They’re all different and unique, all of them are created in God’s image, just like you and me.

    YOU STILL HAVEN’T ANSWERED MY QUESTION. HAVE YOU EVER SPENT QUALITY TIME WITH SOMEONE MENTALLY RETARDED OR DISABLED OR WITH DOWNS SYNDROME? I don’t mean saying “Hi” at the supermarket, I mean bonding. Talking about life and being a friend.

  44. Dear David,

    You are no less than brilliant when it comes to analyzing those twisted people who chose intentionally to have Down syndrome children. As a student of american culture I had often wondered why it was considered (by the mainstream media) to be so “moral” to bring one of these lovely babies into the world. That those who do so are considered to be “anointed”. You are exactly right, it is an “act of faith” on the part of the parents. No less than an act of faith than the story of Abraham who allegedly held a knife to the neck of his son, Isaac at the behest of his “god”. What kind of god would tell a man to sacrifice his son. An immoral one. These evangelicals claim to be “moral” but they don’t give a damn about how the child will suffer — from teasing, health problems, etc. And these parents think they are better than us (people with normal children who knew they were normal in the womb) and it is we who must pay for the medical problems (associated with Down(‘s) syndrome) and institutionalion, which happens in moderate to severe cases of mental retardation. If these holy rollers want to bring defective children into this world on purpose, they should be forced to pay for expenses related to the morbidity of their child’s illness. And that goes double for those who gain feelings of holiness from keeping a brain dead person on life support at public expense. The taxpayers payed more than 1$ million to keep Terry Schiavo on life support so that her catholic parents could feel anointed. This is Christ-insanity.

  45. John, please don’t hesitate in taking your views and returning to the dark ages. You did everything short of calling them mongolian idiots. The rage that builds up in you and the inexplicable feelings of hostility towards people who don’t kill their imperfect babies is not evidence of their wrongdoing. These parents don’t think they’re better than you. They don’t think they’re super awesome, or any of that garbage. What on earth makes you think that? But of course, you’re only trying to set up a Catch-22 argument here. If they’d aborted, they’re hypocrites. If they keep the kid, they’re Holy rollers that look down on everyone else. Please…

    These kids aren’t suffering. And the teasing? Are you serious? I’d laugh at your weak argument if it weren’t so serious. What on earth makes you think that a society’s immaturity and juvenile behavior is reason enough to kill a person?

    Down syndrome is not an illness and they’re not sick, do your research. In doing so, you might accidentally meet someone with it and let them change your heart of stone.

  46. It is so sad to think in 2008 that there are people among us who have the mindset like John Galt, Rob and David.

    It was their way of thinking that led to Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot and other monsters of the last century.

    It should be the responsibility of every person of conscience to denounce their hate filled rhetoric. The world will be a better place when John Galt, Rob and David are in the grave.

  47. I think David, the author, is just trying to point out that fundamentalists like Palin do things out of religious fervor with no regard for any other type of reasoning. I think that most would agree that actions defined by religious convictions alone is limiting.

    As far as abortion goes, who is to say whether aborting a fetus with Down Syndrome or retardation is right or wrong? In ancient Sparta where strong bodied individuals were needed for combat, a retarded child probably would be discarded. Today, however, a retarded child could lead a semi-normal life and even hold down a job of limited complexity. Not to mention be a good friend or brother or sister. Many families of retarded individuals see their situation as a blessing in disguise.

    As far as the notion that bearing a retarded child is cruel to the challenged individual, my bet is that the mentally challenged do not feel like life has been cruel to them. They are probably in better spirits than most “normal” people.

    Ultimately, I guess I would never know how to react to the possibility of aborting a retarded fetus until it happened to me and my wife. Without a doubt, I would never ever want to have to deal with such a burden by choice. However, if my wife and I were put in the same position as Palin and her husband I honestly dont know what I would do.

    Do you?

  48. I knew several kids that I grew up in from elementary school through high school. Most of them held jobs- albeit, low level jobs like bagging groceries – but these kids were more responsible than some of the normal kids I knew.

    I do have an issue with groups acting elitist if they chose a harder path, as in bringing a Down’s baby to term – however, just because Palin did it, doesn’t mean she sacrificed anything for her faith.

    If I were to get pregnant again (no plans – I have regenerated enough minions) and I was told that my child had Downs, I would most likely bring the kid to term and care for it. I wouldn’t expect anyone to think me noble – nor would I think anyone else evil if they didn’t bring their baby to term if it had Downs or another issue. However, it is a personal choice – I think the rewards to my family (and the child) would outweigh an abortion.

    But that is just for me.

    I am a bit disgusted actually (not by you David) but by both extreme sides of this argument: the hardcore Jesusfreaks that will never allow an abortion for anything, and those that feel a kid with Downs is some how less human.

  49. In my opinion, abortion should be saved for mothers who will face a life-threatening situation/condition if they keep the baby, and for rape victims. And I’m sure there are a few situations that branch off those two. But using abortion weekly or even monthly as birth control is wrong. But personally, I feel that I can’t make that decision for anyone. And that I should respect them no matter what their decision.

    Sherry, I can certainly understand your point of view. I went to public school through 6th grade, but the school I’m currently in is Presbyterian and strictly against abortion. At the beginning of last year, we had skits in chapel about abortion. We had art projects with baby dolls being stabbed with needles and fake blood covering the area around that SERIOUSLY freaked me out.

    And if you say (at my school) that you support Obama, you will be stoned. Don’t get me wrong, I love my school. But some Christians can’t think about any other issues in the election besides abortion. I believe there are OTHER issues of at least equal importance. If not more important. I think many Christians go overboard with this issue.

    If abortion is made illegal, people may go to extremes to kill their babies, and accidentally injure/kill themselves. That would be a huge problem. And/or we might have a generation of parents who had a baby by “accident” and don’t care for or love their kid. This would doom that generation of kids. Just food for thought.

    In conclusion, THE WAY ABORTION IS CURRENTLY USED IS WRONG. But that’s just my perspective, and I really can’t decide most anything for anyone else unless I’ve walked in their shoes…

    God bless, Holly

  50. I can’t believe so many people missed the entire point of this post.

    The severity of the problems associated with Down Syndrome is not important to the point the author is trying to make… feel free to substitute in its place any other horrible problem that might happen.

    The debate on what is severe enough or not severe enough is an entirely different debate, one that should be between the parents and their doctor.

    The reason why he referred to children with Down Syndrome as ‘freaks’ is because it is that which makes the abnormal that gives them moral worth to some. The author isn’t expressing his opinion so much as he’s pointing out the motivation of the parents.

    When parents knowingly give birth to a child with severe disability or defect it is basically Münchhausen’s by proxy. They may not be directly inflicting harm on the child they still seek the same psychological rewards.

    What other purpose could any person knowingly place a significant burden on themselves for the sake of a yet-to-exist person? If you answered ‘to be moral’ then I challenge you to explain why they should want to be moral and also why it is moral. If you answered ‘because the child has a right to its own life’ then I challenge you to explain why that trumps the same right to life of everyone else.

    To the person who asked the rhetorical question of whether or not others would have aborted someone famous such as Mozart… It would be completely foolish to decide to do or not do something because it of a random potential to turn out good. It’s also possible that the child would grow up to be the next [insert evil person here]. This is a completely arbitrary argument based on nothing.

    To the person who asked if we ought to kill a child with autism, after their birth, because they are also a burden… you’re making the mistake of assuming a fetus is the same as a child, a fetus is only a potential child. One is taking a person out of the world, the other is preventing its entrance into the world.

    To the people accusing those here that have pro-abortion opinions of hatred… hatred of what? Hatred of a non-existent person? Hatred of pain, suffering, and undue burden? What exactly do they hate? I say it is you who is showing hatred when you demand that others must endure such hardships. Unlike those you criticize you have far more on common with Hitler, Mao, Stalin, etc. They all demanded that we should sacrifice for something greater then ourselves and claimed that this sacrifice would make us some how better off. What is sad to think of is the fact it’s 2008 and there are people like you who still haven’t learned this history lesson.

  51. The only reason I’m here is because God made me, and gave me the privilege of life. Not just on earth, but in heaven also, because I’ve accepted his gift for me. Who are we to take another’s life- or potential life, in your opinion- when GOD made it??? The same guy who made every single star shine in the sky. The guy that parted and walked on water. Please tell me you’re not thinking of crossing Him, BAD idea. Throughout the Bible are tons of stories of people forgetting, blaspheming against and/or ignoring God, and their consequences… but let’s not get too far off the main subject.

    For you, when EXACTLY does a fetus “transform” into a person? My favorite bumper sticker: IF IT’S NOT A BABY, YOU’RE NOT PREGNANT.

    Sorry for the late post, very busy. =)

    -Holly

  52. “Please tell me you’re not thinking of crossing Him, BAD idea.”

    What exactly do I have to do to get his divine wrath? I’ve committed all the cardinal sins, used the Lord’s name in vain, rejected Christ in my heart, committed venial and mortal sins with deliberate and complete consent, and thrashed the Trinity in every way conceivable to my utterly and thoroughly corrupt heathen soul. What do I need to do to get some divine fucking retribution around here?? Jesus Fucking Christ! If he’s going to forgive and forget every sin under the sun, what is the point of having the notion of sin at all?

  53. David,

    I’ll be praying for you. But (obviously) you haven’t died yet; when you do, God will judge you and I’m sure each one of us will have a trillion sins we can’t explain. But up until then he totally wants to forgive us. What do you think happens when you die? Eternal judgment: heaven or hell. Only two ways to go. Christian or non.

    But I promise you everyone who blasphemes against God will endure their consequences from the Lord himself.

    But really, are the lessons in the Bible really that hard to understand? Christian “morals” (lack of better word) are pretty on target… just by a common-sense point of view. For example: God tells us not to have sex before marriage because it can bring an innocent child into the world who has uneducated, depressed parents because they had to drop out of school to take care of their little baby. Other consequences: STI’s, addiction, and a very painful breakup.

    If there was someone just observing a Christian and an active atheist, the person would observe that the Christian would have more joy in life. And certainty in death. We know where we’re going. Question is: which path will you take?

    -Holly

    P.S. Wrong type of “vain.”

  54. Pingback: A different perspective « Welcome to Illinois

  55. David,

    I should have said this earlier and I thought a long time about it. But do you realize that your argument could be used as a reason to force women against their will into having abortions? Think about it. You just compared Palin’s choice to bring Trig to term to rape. “But what can we say about a parent that chooses a life of suffering upon their child? If we are morally outraged by child rapists, how should we judge a parent who chooses a lifetime of suffering on their own child?”

    I mentioned this earlier in other comment where I linked to your post.

    https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=29196034&postID=8278213714854350738&pli=1

    This is something you really should take the time to think about.

  56. I think that people have reacted harshly to the example that you have chosen. What I saw in your post was a call out for people to recognise the contradiction in Christian’s (and most of the major religions) claims of infallible morality. Fundamentalist Christians seen to me to largely be ignorant and or good at bypassing understanding the history of their religion. How can a religion that organised and conducted the horrific atrocities of the inquisition claim higher morality? The history of Christianity is not just littered with but built upon lies, murder, torture, oppression, thievery, corruption and many more things that most of us believe are immoral.
    The more this point is reinforced the better in my view.
    I think the actual freak that was on show is actually Palin herself, to me there is something decidedly wrong when a creationist can get to such a position in government. I’m actually amazed that a creationist can make it through a normal day given the level of stupidity required to believe such nonsense – although probably ideal candidates for politics because they are great at ignoring the facts then making it up and truly believing it.

  57. I am astounded at the original blog post and at the discussion which follows. In fact, I’m reminded of the horrified fascination with which I read The Fountainhead when I was 14 or 15.

    The views put forth by the Objectivists are quite bizarre to me, and the manner in which anyone disagreeing is attacked and insulted confirms my distaste for Rand and her followers (and her literary style).

    Note, I said “my distaste” – I am expressing a personal opinion, not pushing anyone’s agenda. I understand your philossophy and I disagree, vehemently, with virtually every sentence Rand ever wrote… but this entry and the following comments seem still more extreme to me.

    Discussing humans as if they were not humans is, to be honest, something I associate with religious or political extremism more than philosophical movements, but whatever Rand said to the contrary there are many aspects of Objectivism which are cult-like: the reverence of Rand and of her work (however poor), the dogma, the mocking and rejection of outsiders, the implication that anyone who disagrees doesn’t understand or is somehow an inferior or enemy or consciously evil.

    Looking down on human emotions has never made anyone happy so far as I can tell. You can sneer at them all you like, but you’re still subject to them.

    Are the reasons for not aborting a disabled baby wrong by definition, simply because they’re based on emotion?

    By extension, would any of you Objectivists like to choose your conjugal partners by “rational” methods instead of emotionally?

    Basically what I’m saying here is that the moral high ground is a place which can only be occupied for a short time, because humans are humans and none of us (especially not Ayn bloody Rand) is perfect.

    The Christians and the Objectivists both love to talk down to outsiders and tell the world how there’s only one, singular, unalterable truth. Then the world happens, and the unalterable truth is altered. Or they make an exception just this once. Or they just plain justify themselves blue in the face until it looks sort of OK.

    I don’t have much of a problem with any of that (though it gets tiresome on a face-to-face level), but the major difference between Christians and Objectivists (to someone who’s neither) is probably that Christians are usually quite polite and amiable, whereas the Objectivists… let’s just say the attitudes on display here repelled me more than they surprised me.

    (I admit, being British, there are differences in my perceptions – fewer of both groups here, Jah be praise!)

    Besides, what is the OP actually advocating here? Should women have the right to choose or not? If you think they shouldn’t, admit it. If you think they should, shut up.

    I had to read over a couple of pasragraphs twice to be sure that this wasn’t an out-and-out call for eugenics. Not only is the OP a bit of a ranter, I’m also completely knackered!

    Perhaps as a result of this physical and mental exhaustion, this has come out sounding rather more like an attack than I wished, but the human feelings behind it are mine own, and I have no shame in owning to them.

    There are some good ideas buried in both Objectivism and in Christianity, but I would like to offer the idea that it is not any specific creed or belief that inhibits the development of a fairer and better society, but the existence of rigid dogma – and the fact that dogmatic types of every strip continue to view their opponents (real and imagined) as less than human, or less than rational.

    So leave the poor spackers alone, innit?

  58. Pingback: On Down Syndrome and other self-inflicted tragedies | Truth, Justice, and the American Way

  59. Rather interesting discussion to read – has any of you rational minded people ever considered Downs people as being natures piece of art… I guess none of you would consider general art being of absolutly no importance … and art in it’s very purpose will make some people puke and others find a higher non religious meaning.
    Jan father of 15 y old Downs
    Denmark

  60. Looks obvious to me there is only one side of this discussion that seeks to “sacrifice” people in the name of some ideology. And, it isn’t Sarah Palin’s side.

  61. Who took the comment down which said that bringing a child into the world “with severe disability or defect it is basically Münchhausen’s by proxy”?

    Who took that comment down, and why?

  62. I repeat my question, David:

    Who took the comment down which said that bringing a child into the world “with severe disability or defect it is basically Münchhausen’s by proxy”?

    Who took that comment down, and why?

    Answer my question, you fucking pussy.

  63. I will also echo Damien’s question to you, David:

    Do you realize that your argument could be used as a reason to force women against their will into having abortions? Think about it. You just compared Palin’s choice to bring Trig to term to rape. “But what can we say about a parent that chooses a life of suffering upon their child? If we are morally outraged by child rapists, how should we judge a parent who chooses a lifetime of suffering on their own child?”

  64. It’s still up there, if this is what you’re talking about.

    “When parents knowingly give birth to a child with severe disability or defect it is basically Münchhausen’s by proxy. They may not be directly inflicting harm on the child they still seek the same psychological rewards.”

  65. Seems as though a lot of folks that decide to go ahead with having a genetically damaged baby are also selfish, and self important.

    While there is a chance that some of these kids can be brought up to speed, the fact is they are part of the reason for the general decline in public schools over the last 20 years. Special needs students absorb over something over 30% of a teachers time in class, leaving the other 29 kids in class scrambling for the rest. Subtract another 20% of the time for serious troublemakers, and you have no chance to help the majority of the kids, or encourage the brightest.

    Its called survival of the fittest for a reason, and for the Right to Lifers (not the pro lifers)
    it is the same old story. Protect from conception to birth, then bitch about the load on the welfare state because of women and kids trapped in poverty.

    the article below, about autistic kids has a figure of 90 billion a year in costs for learning disabled. they just raised my tobacco tax 2000% because of a guess that smokers cost the country 47 billion a year( let alone that tobaco itself may not be bad for you, could just be all the additives) and the cost for diabetes at 147 billion a year because of all the sugar in our diets, think the self rightous have to use a religion to protect their demands on resources.

    As for the whole Palin dispute, think that it is disengenious. for one thing, think its her daughters kid, and to ask her to show the original birth certificate is not out of line because she demanded one of her political opponents to show a marriage license.

    here is the article on another genetic disease that had a breakthrough. Still think the original article has a valid argument on its own standing, and the love shown by the families on these kids is commendable. The lack of shame for taking resources that would help 50% more kids is not evident anywhere however. For a preventable, and known, condition, this is not very advantageous for the rest of the families in the world.

    Drug reverses mental retardation caused by genetic disorder
    UCLA mouse study offers hope for correcting how autism disrupts brain

    UCLA researchers discovered that an FDA-approved drug reverses the brain dysfunction inflicted by a genetic disease called tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). Because half of TSC patients also suffer from autism, the findings offer new hope for addressing learning disorders due to autism. Nature Medicine publishes the findings in its online June 22 edition.

    Using a mouse model for TSC, the scientists tested rapamycin, a drug approved by the FDA to fight tissue rejection following organ transplants. Rapamycin is well-known for targeting an enzyme involved in making proteins needed for memory. The UCLA team chose it because the same enzyme is also regulated by TSC proteins.

    “This is the first study to demonstrate that the drug rapamycin can repair learning deficits related to a genetic mutation that causes autism in humans. The same mutation in animals produces learning disorders, which we were able to eliminate in adult mice,” explained principal investigator Dr. Alcino Silva, professor of neurobiology and psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “Our work and other recent studies suggest that some forms of mental retardation can be reversed, even in the adult brain.”

    “These findings challenge the theory that abnormal brain development is to blame for mental impairment in tuberous sclerosis,” added first author Dan Ehninger, postgraduate researcher in neurobiology. “Our research shows that the disease’s learning problems are caused by reversible changes in brain function — not by permanent damage to the developing brain.”

    TSC is a devastating genetic disorder that disrupts how the brain works, often causing severe mental retardation. Even in mild cases, learning disabilities and short-term memory problems are common. Half of all TSC patients also suffer from autism and epilepsy. The disorder strikes one in 6,000 people, making it twice as common as Huntington’s or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

    Silva and Ehninger studied mice bred with TSC and verified that the animals suffered from the same severe learning difficulties as human patients. Next, the UCLA team traced the source of the learning problems to biochemical changes sparking abnormal function of the hippocampus, a brain structure that plays a key role in memory.

    “Memory is as much about discarding trivial details as it is about storing useful information,” said Silva, a member of the UCLA Department of Psychology and UCLA Brain Research Institute. “Our findings suggest that mice with the mutation cannot distinguish between important and unimportant data. We suspect that their brains are filled with meaningless noise that interferes with learning.”

    “After only three days of treatment, the TSC mice learned as quickly as the healthy mice,” said Ehninger. “The rapamycin corrected the biochemistry, reversed the learning deficits and restored normal hippocampal function, allowing the mice’s brains to store memories properly.”

    In January, Silva presented his study at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke meeting, where he was approached by Dr. Petrus de Vries, who studies TSC patients and leads rapamycin clinical trials at the University of Cambridge. After discussing their respective findings, the two researchers began collaborating on a clinical trial currently taking place at Cambridge to examine whether rapamycin can restore short-term memory in TSC patients.

    “The United States spends roughly $90 billion a year on remedial programs to address learning disorders,” noted Silva. “Our research offers hope to patients affected by tuberous sclerosis and to their families. The new findings suggest that rapamycin could provide therapeutic value in treating similar symptoms in people affected by the disorder.”

  66. There is quite a bit of misinformation in your post. First of all, let me just tell you that I am atheist, and I am also the mother of a child with Down syndrome. I did not give birth to my child as a sacrifice to any faith or religion; I simply believe that every human life has value. Furthermore, you are very mistaken to assume that my child is “a tremendous burden” on my family; he is NOT a burden. He is a child with some challenges. What child, pray tell, comes without challenges? Perhaps some of my son’s challenges are unique to Down syndrome, but he is far, far from a burden. If you had a “typical” child who was in a car accident and sustained a brain injury that left him or her with cognitive impairment, would you suddenly see that child’s life as any less valuable?

    The range of impact on health and intellectual abilities is great among people with Ds, so your characterization that “Down [sic] not only severely impacts the health and life expectancy of the child . . . .” is just plain bad information. Not all people with Ds have health problems; some have none at all, some have minor health issues, and some have more serious health issues. Just like the general population, actually. Your commenter’s characterization of people with Ds as “massively retarded” is also incorrect. People with Down syndrome typically fall into the mild to moderate range of mental retardation, which means that, while they may never become brain surgeons or rocket scientists, they are perfectly capable of being fully functioning people who contribute to society.

    It is not only intelligence that separates humans from animals. It is also compassion and tolerance. Your post illustrates that you are lacking in all three.

  67. “If you had a “typical” child who was in a car accident and sustained a brain injury that left him or her with cognitive impairment, would you suddenly see that child’s life as any less valuable?”

    If the answer is yes (and it would almost have to be given your opinions expressed on this blog), I wonder why your child would be less valuable to you? If for any reason your perfect child lost his health or some cognitive abilities (or just grew up to be not so bright) what would you find to love and value about him?

  68. I can’t wait till they develop fetal testing for Asshole-ism, so then we can start eliminating people like you before they’re even born.

  69. The current and preferred terminology is Down syndrome.

    I have the highest respect and admiration for parents of individuals with Down syndrome. They just love their children for being who they are “their children”.

    I can tell you that my best teacher has been an individual with Down syndrome. She teaches me constantly what is most important in life. Her lessons about love and acceptance are priceless. Seeing her live such a joyful life, so full of love, always inspires me and makes me happy.

    I also know many individuals with a lot of money and college degrees that are so miserable. I see them suffering all the time. Their lives are so empty and sad.

  70. My greatest hope in scientific discovery is that one day doctors will have the ability to perform prenatal tests in which a mother would be able to foresee if the baby she was carrying would be an ignorant dick such as yourself. At that point, I would hope she would terminate and never, EVER look back.

    The world would certainly be a better place without a prick like you.

  71. All I can say is keep your opinions to yourself you ignorant fucking bigot.

    There you go, it is public, now go into a hole and die!

  72. John & Dave –

    You should both think really hard before you spout this crap. Do you NOT think that YOUR mother continuing her pregnancy with you was a huge leap of faith? How disappointed they must be. You are basically no better than Nazi’s. Genocide anyone? Come near my son and I’ll drop ya like a hot coal.

    Stephanie.