Dawkins Does Not Believe “Men” Have Unalienable Rights

Should a living organism be given special status simply based on the fact that the organism is human? The answer to such an inquiry is immediately clear to most people. Certainly humans have special rights that animals do not have. It would be morally detestable to eat a human, regardless of the intelligence or abilities of that human, simply because the subject is human. On the other hand, it would certainly be morally acceptable to eat a cow, regardless of the breed or the assumed intelligence of the subject.

The framers of the Declaration of Independence understood the special place that humans hold. They penned the famous words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (emp. added). Notice that the Declaration framers believed that humans had certain rights that were “self-evident.” In fact, the framers simply recorded an idea that had been understood by humanity for millennia.

The theory of evolution, however, militates against the self-evident idea that humans should be given any special, moral treatment based solely on their humanness. In fact, modern atheistic evolutionists like Richard Dawkins do not believe that humans should be viewed as any more worthy of special, moral treatment than animals. In a discussion about how a human embryo should be treated, Dawkins wrote: “The granting of uniquely special rights to cells of the species Homo sapiens is hard to reconcile with the fact of evolution…. The humanness of an embryo’s cells cannot confer upon it any absolutely discontinuous moral status” (Dawkins, 2006, p. 300, italics in orig.). Dawkins further argued that there is no “absolute” distinction between humans and animals. He reasoned that just because an organism is human does not mean that we should give it any favored status. According to Dawkins, an organism ought to be preserved based on the level of suffering it may have the capacity to feel, or the amount of intelligence it possesses, but not based on the fact that it is a human.

Using Dawkins’ reasoning, suppose we have two organisms—a human embryo and a two-week-old puppy. One of the organisms needs to be killed, so which should it be? If Dawkins is true to his writings, he would be forced to attempt to decide which would suffer more, or which is more intelligent. But the fact that one is a human and the other is a dog has no bearing on which should live.

Although Dawkins’ thinking is grotesquely immoral, it is in perfect harmony with the false theory of evolution. And while it is true that the scientific evidence available disproves evolution, the moral implications are so “self-evidently” wrong that, without any other evidence, they alone suffice to destroy the theory. If Dawkins and other “moral” evolutionists had to choose between saving a severely retarded one-year-old child and an extremely “intelligent” mother chimpanzee, and the atheists were true to their writings, the child would die—because its humanity simply is not a factor in the decision.


Dawkins, Richard (2006), The God Delusion (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin).


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