Atheist Professor Argues for Infanticide for Severely Disabled Newborns

by Ken Ham

Jerry Coyne, an ardent atheist and evolutionist, caused waves recently with his blog post entitled, “Should One Be Allowed to Euthanize Severely Deformed or Doomed Newborns?” His blog answered this question with a resounding “yes,” sparking outrage and disgust. Although we certainly wouldn’t agree with Coyne’s conclusions, the logic of his argument makes sense in light of his naturalistic evolutionary/secular worldview.

Abortion, Infanticide, and Inconsistent Outrage

Coyne writes,

If you are allowed to abort a fetus that has a severe genetic defect, microcephaly, spina bifida, or so on, then why aren’t you able to euthanize that same fetus just after it’s born? I see no substantive difference that would make the former act moral and the latter immoral.

Now, this isn’t something I usually say regarding the writings of atheistic evolutionists, but Jerry Coyne’s statement is right in this way: if parents are allowed to abort their child because of a disability or genetic defect diagnosis, what is the difference between killing that child in the womb or out of it? Nothing has changed except the mere location of the child.

Many people have expressed outrage and horror at Coyne’s sentiments, yet some of those very people would inconsistently support the mother’s supposed “right” to an abortion. But what makes murdering a child in the womb okay while murdering the same baby out of the womb is not okay? Those who promote or allow for abortion have no logical defense against infanticide.

If You Have Abortion on Demand . . .

And why not take it one step further than Coyne? Women in the United States (and other nations) are allowed to have an abortion for any reason whatsoever (up to a certain gestational age). Wanted a boy, but not a girl? You can kill the baby and try again. Timing isn’t quite right? Well, you can kill the baby and wait to have a child later. Didn’t mean to get pregnant? You can kill the baby and move on with your life.

If abortion on demand is morally acceptable (which it certainly is not in a biblical worldview!), then why is infanticide for any reason not moral? Why allow one and not the other?

We’re thankful infanticide isn’t legal; I am just pointing out the inconsistency of promoting abortion while drawing the line at infanticide—nothing has changed for the child except the baby’s location and arguably the level of dependency. And why should a change in location and dependency be the difference between a legal death sentence and the right to life?

Infanticide is horrible and people are rightly disgusted and outraged at the idea. But abortion—the violent taking of a life—is equally horrible, and we should be disgusted, outraged, and just as quick to condemn it.

When you ignore God’s Word, moral inconsistency is the result, as mankind does whatever is right in its own eyes (Judges 21:25). But when we start with God’s Word, we can strongly condemn both abortion and infanticide because they are murder, and God commands us not to murder (Genesis 9:6). We don’t have to draw some arbitrary line somewhere between “acceptable” and “unacceptable”—we can turn to God’s Word to see what our Creator and Judge has to say about it and obey him.

We Kill Cats and Dogs So . . .

Coyne goes on to say:

After all, we euthanize our dogs and cats when to prolong their lives would be torture, so why not extend that to humans? Dogs and cats, like newborns, can’t make such a decision, and so their caregivers take the responsibility. . . .

The reason we don’t allow euthanasia of newborns is because humans are seen as special, and I think this comes from religion—in particular, the view that humans, unlike animals, are endowed with a soul. It’s the same mindset that, in many places, won’t allow abortion of fetuses that have severe deformities. When religion vanishes, as it will, so will much of the opposition to both adult and newborn euthanasia.

Again, Coyne is being consistent here with his evolutionary worldview. If humans are just animals—not really much different from a dog or cat, just more intelligent—then why not kill newborns or unborn babies? If we are indeed animals, then killing a baby is no different from killing a dog or cat.

As I’ve often said in my public talks, when you brainwash millions of kids to believe we’re just animals and there’s no God (which is what happens in much of the public education system), then if you get rid of spare cats, why not get rid of spare kids? There’s no difference!

We are special because we are made in the very image of God (Genesis 1:27).

But we aren’t just animals—we are special, and it’s not because we’re intelligent or have a good quality of life or contribute to society. We are special because we are made in the very image of God (Genesis 1:27). Our value comes from our Creator who loves us enough that he came and died in our place that we might have forgiveness and new and eternal life. Our value lies in our unique status as image-bearers of the King—something dogs and cats will never be.

A “Tide of Increasing Morality in Our World”

Coyne made another interesting statement:

This change in views about euthanasia and assisted suicide are the result of a tide of increasing morality in our world.

He claims that euthanasia and assisted suicide are the direct result of a change in morality—something he views as a good thing. And I would agree that the acceptance of these ideas is the direct result of a massive shift that’s taken place in our culture (though I certainly don’t view it as a good thing!). As a whole, our culture has abandoned the authority of God’s Word and, instead, bases its thinking on man’s ideas. And man’s ideas, unlike God’s Word, are subject to radical change, as what is popular can come and go.

But Coyne really has no foundation to say that euthanasia and assisted suicide are the result of “increasing morality.” Without an ultimate standard, he has no authority to say something is moral or immoral except his subjective opinion. And what kind of a foundation is that?

We need to start our thinking with the rock-solid foundation of God’s Word, not the ever-shifting sands of man’s opinions.

You can learn more about a biblical view of the sanctity of life in our four-part DVD series The Sanctity of Life, available at our online store.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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