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3/24/09

Peter Singer & The New Atheism

Peter Singer is professor of Bioethics at Princeton. Provacateur? Yes, he is. Does he say outrageous things just to get attention? I don't think so.

In Animal Liberation, Singer holds that we discriminate against animals because they don't belong to our species. All beings, he says, are capable of suffering and worthy of our respect in that regard, regardless of their intelligence. Just as discrimination against skin color is wrong, so is what he calls specieism.

As for abortion, he argues that the preferences of the mother should be weighed against the preferences of the fetus. As a fetus is incapable of preferences till about 18 months, the mother's preferences should at least obtain until then.

With regard to poverty, he argues that there is not injustice in that some people live in abundance while others starve.

He forces people to take sides, for or against his views.

As for the new atheism, he is once again taking his own position.

"To understand Singer, it's helpful to contrast him with 'New Atheists' like Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Richard Dawkins. The New Atheists say we can get rid of God but preserve morality." More

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