Biologist and best-selling author Richard Dawkins is no stranger to controversy. However, his recent twitter comments about abortion and the disabled has caused an enormous social media backlash against him.
This most recent controversy came after one of his twitter followers told him they would face a “real ethical dilemma” if they were pregnant with a down’s syndrome fetus. Dawkins responded to this by saying “abort it and try again.” Adding, it would be immoral to not abort a child with down’s.
@InYourFaceNYer Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) August 20, 2014
The aftermath of this conversation would later be described as a Twitter “feeding frenzy” by Dawkins on a blog post on his website.
— Argylist (@argyle_argylist) August 20, 2014
@RichardDawkins the fuck is this eugenics bullshit? You really do get worse and worse don't you. Oh btw, your a dick.
— Rosa (@marxroadrunner) August 20, 2014
— Chad Felix Greene (@chadfelixg) August 20, 2014
While Dawkin’s comments drew criticism from both his antagonists and supporters alike, the most powerful tweets came from the parent’s of children affected by down’s asking the famed biologist if he thought their children deserved to be alive.
— Angela Beegle (@chotiari) August 20, 2014
I am pro-choice and I still think Richard Dawkins is ignorant as fuck and talking out of his arse. It's not a just a 'pro-life' thing.
— Mary-Jo Hamer (@MaryJoHamer) August 20, 2014
— Debra Ruh (@debraruh) August 21, 2014
Dawkins more or less apologized for his outlandish comments in an article entitled Abortion & Down’s syndrome: Apology for Letting Slip the Dogs of Twitterwar. In the piece, Dawkins half heatedly apologizes for not approaching the subject with more tact, and then proceeds to blame his critics for willfully misunderstanding his position.
“Those who thought I was bossily telling a woman what to do rather than let her choose, of course this was absolutely not my intention and I apologize if brevity made it look that way,” wrote Dawkins.
“What I was saying simply follows logically from the ordinary pro-choice stance that most of us, I presume, espouse. My phraseology may have been tactlessly vulnerable to misunderstanding, but I can’t help feeling that at least half the problem lies in a wanton eagerness to misunderstand.”
While Dawkin’s reluctant apology won’t bring any solace to the families of down’s syndrome children, anyone familiar with Dawkin’s ego will undoubtedly chalk this half confession of guilt as a huge win.