Earlier today I shared a remarkable comment from under my Dawkins piece, but some of the other comments I'm seeing just make my blood run cold. My God.
"Ask yourself if you would knowingly buy a piece of equipment that is known to have faults that will make it a constant drain on your pocket and still not do the job you bought it for....and you are stuck with it, you cannot get rid of it and get another better one."
Different guy: "Maybe Dawkins was right, maybe he was wrong - or most likely he was neither, or somewhere in between. All the same, I'd rather live in his world where prospective parents have the choice to not spend the rest of their lives caring for a functional infant..."
"...than the world of many commentators where random genetic flukes can utterly, irreparably and irrevocably torpedo the lives of parents with not a damn thing they can do about it..."
"...This is the rest of two human lives we are talking about. Every waking moment. They will never be free of caring for this person. To wish to deny them an out is abhorrent."
Someone else agreeing: "Quite. Having a child like that just ruins lives. Other siblings will eventually will feel invisible as the downsyndrome child hoovers up all the attention and family budget."
Bloke one again: "Until recently...many African tribes killed disabled babies because they were not willing to support someone who would not contribute to the tribe. The world seems to be collecting more and more people who need full time care from birth, is this a good thing?"
An ex-pat from Egypt weighs in: "Let's be honest, no one would choose this situation. When I lived in Egypt, any child born with an obvious disability would be discreetly knocked over the head or otherwise left to die, which was presumably the same here until recent times."
More: "Seeing some noise that Dawkins is a lunatic. On the contrary. Just stating a fact that less and less Downs syndrome children will be born, probably to the point where it is 0 in advanced medicine economies...Why would you not eradicate Downs like smallpox if you could?"
Alright, that'll do. Now for a cleanser: "We are left with the abiding impression that, to paraphrase Dr. Peterson, we behave as if God exists. I have written many eulogies, including those of people who have lived with Downs..."
"As I said at one funeral, 'how many parents would have traded the suffering and anguish of a child whose challenges were not so apparent at birth for the joy this beautiful lady brought into the lives of those she loved so well.' Existence is not merely utility."

Poetic P. S., thanks to another comment: John Stallworthy, "The Almond Tree":

(I am reading this poem for the first time right now, it is a revelation.)

Crossing (at sixty) Magdalen Bridge
Let it be a son, a son, said
the man in the driving mirror,
Let it be a son. The tower
held up its hand: the college
bells shook their blessings on his head.
Under the sheet
wave after wave, wave
after wave beat
on the bone coast,
bringing ashore - whom?
minted, my bright farthing!
Coined by our love, stamped
With our images, how you
Enrich us! Both
you make one. Welcome
to your white sheet,
my best poem.
That link is missing a stanza Stallworthy later took out. He may have been torn over it, but I find it a worthy conclusion.

I have learnt more from your lips
than you will from mine, perhaps.
I have learnt that to live is to suffer,
to suffer is to live.


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More from @EstherOfReilly

19 May
Sometimes reading the comments you see the most amazing things. Exhibit A, from under my latest @spectator. Thread. /1

Anonymous writes: "May I give a word of warning to any atheists. Do not think too hard about this issue. As soon as you start to think seriously about ethics you are tottering on the edge of a deadly precipice." /2
"The danger is that the twin faculties of reason and conscience might drive you to a belief that there really is such a thing as objective morality. Once you lose that battle your entire 'system' could collapse around you in a very short period of time." /3
Read 9 tweets
17 May
This will be fun.

Poor @PaulVanderKlay, the content just keeps coming.
I have to say it's sort of nice to finally hear someone talk about "rationalism" with understanding that empiricism is its proper opposite.
Read 5 tweets
17 May
Putting together thoughts on @UnbelievableJB with Douglas Murray and Tom Wright, reflecting on how my own Anglican heritage plays into this. Douglas laments that the CofE has lost its saltiness. I got the full flavor of Anglicanism only because my folks landed in a dying corner.
When they found their way past fundamentalism, liturgy beckoned, so they walked into a continuing Anglican church and put down roots, but already the clock was ticking. Today that church is on its last legs.
In some sense I see myself as Douglas's kid sister American avatar waving him down from across the pond and saying he should come back, but then I pause and ask myself "Come back to what?"
Read 8 tweets
29 Apr
Hi Michael! So glad you asked. Let me explain. No, there is too much, let me sum up. /1
The first issue here is the problem of what we're even talking about when we talk about "extraordinary." If the claim is that the sort of evidence we have for ordinary historical truth claims could never establish a miracle, this is false, and a Bayesian modeling explains why. /2
Let's say "R = Resurrection," "~R = not Resurrection," "E = Evidence," "P = probability of" and "|" means "given." Here's the fraction to watch: "P(E|R)/P(E|~R)." I want to know if *this* fraction is top-heavy--if the numerator way outweighs the denominator. /3
Read 12 tweets
28 Apr
"We have to reverse that long march through the institutions by marching through ourselves." Spirited words from @calvinrobinson in this morning's @Heritage webinar with @DouglasKMurray et alia. I'm with Calvin in principle, but my inner pessimist just wonders if it's too late.
Douglas: "I was having a discussion with an American filmmaker who said 'Not many people in America know about this particular race riot in the 20s.' Not many people in America know ANYTHING about ANY history!"
On how cancel culture works: "The chihuahuas come for the person above you and try to get them to shut you up. That's the deal. That's how this works."
Read 5 tweets
3 Aug 19
I have some thoughts to add on a comment from @ThatsBSPodcast in our discussion of Jordan Peterson's fixation on the Judeo-Christian strain of religious thought in particular (link below). They're more clearly sorted in my mind now. Thread. /1

@ThatsBSPodcast I discussed how JP is looking at J-C religion like a Darwinian pragmatist, observing what's most useful time-tested for the most people across time. Jordan (That's BS Jordan) countered that if that's the motivation, hypothetically J-C didn't have to be the "winner." /2
He suggests, "If Islam were later to become the most widely useful religious framework for people instead, as a consistent pragmatist wouldn't JP have to do his tour all over again, this time talking about Muhammad's flight on a winged horse instead of Cain and Abel?" /3
Read 9 tweets

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