Nadine Dorries MP vs Humanism

Nadine Dorries MP complains:

The Humanist magazine are running an online ‘bad faith’ poll and I am apparently in the lead.

I am not sure why anyone would admit to being a humanist and part of an organisation which has such extreme views. A humanist recently commented that, not only did he believe that abortion was acceptable right up to the moment of birth, but that termination of a child’s life was acceptable up until the point where the child had the ability to reason, understand and justify life.

Dorries has been nominated due to her attempts (blogged by me here) to change laws around sex education and abortion counselling:

Where to begin? Conservative MP Dorries has been fighting a war on two fronts this year against the twin evils of abortion provision and comprehensive sex education. In May she proposed legislation which, in the unlikely event of it becoming law, would introduce abstinence-based sex education for girls, while in September she suffered a heavy defeat over her proposals to prevent abortion providers offering counselling services, which many believed would force vulnerable women into the hands of faith groups.

The quote: Asked by humanist Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert to respond to evidence suggesting the abortion counselling system works just fine, she responded: “That is probably the most fatuous comment that we will hear in this House”.

A number of Humanists who do not hold pro-infanticide views have asked Dorries to elaborate on her accusation, prompting a second post on the subject:

Here is the proof in the words of the Australian humanist Peter Singer who was awarded ‘humanist of the year’ by the Australian humanist society in 2004.

This, in my opinion, evil humanist states that infanticide is ok and that the life of a baby is of less value than a pig.

In 1979 he wrote, “Human babies are not born self-aware, or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons”; therefore, “the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee.”

In 1993 he stated that no newborn should be considered a person until 30 days after birth and that the attending physician should kill some disabled babies on the spot.

….There is a lot more about him on this blog

So, the Australian humanist society makes their man of the year one who advocates infanticide. Nice. 

I feel slightly disgusted that such an extreme group of people even print my name in their glossy (we are ever so innocent really) magazine. Oh yes, and that reminds me, which former LibDem MP has a role to play in the British Humanist Society? Maybe that’s why Evan Harris’ nickname in Parliament is Dr Death…

Unity at Ministry of Truth has scrutinized Dorries’ characterization of Singer here and here. While Singer’s philosophical musings on the subject are certainly controversial and arguable (and, to some, distasteful), Dorries’ account is crude: it should be noted that the “blog” she cites is actually an article posted on the website of Hank Hanegraaff’s Christian Research Institute and that the same piece attacks the theory of evolution, denouncing Singer’s “Darwinian worldview”. And while Humanists in general tend to support euthanasia and abortion rights, the idea that Singer’s arguments on these or on other matters (animal rights, left-wing politics) define Humanism is too much of a stretch. But Humanists have attacked certain things Dorries has said and done, and, as ever, her response has to be viciously personalized vilification.

It’s a pattern we’ve seen again and again: a blogger who has investigated her expenses and challenged some of her assertions is a “stalker” whose “special hatred is reserved for women”; a constituent who was off work waiting for operations on her feet and who criticised Dorries on Twitter “is giving housebound disabled people a bad name” and ought to be put to work; her (now ex-) boyfriend’s estranged wife is “violent” and has been repudiated by her own children; Tim Farron MP, while purporting to be a Christian, has been “outed” as someone  who has been “blinded by ambition and sold his soul to the devil” (“outed” was also a mocking jibe about rumours concerning Farron’s sexuality); Chancellor the Exchequer George Osborne is a “traitor” and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is “mad”; the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has “offended every practicing Christian in the UK”.

And so on. Not even the Prime Minister completely escapes Dorries’ censure, starting with a question raised in Parliament in September:

The Liberal Democrats make up 8.7% of this Parliament and yet they seem to be influencing our free school policy, health and many issues including immigration and abortion. Does the Prime Minister… think it is about time he told the Deputy Prime Minister who is the boss?

Cameron’s reply was off-the-cuff and dismissive:

I know that the hon. Lady is extremely frustrated about the—[ Interruption . ] Perhaps I should start all over again—[ Interruption. ] I am going to give up on this one.

The two “interruptions” noted by Hansard were guffaws of laughter at the unintended double entendre in “frustrated” – the word was perhaps misjudged and Cameron subsequently sent Dorries an apology. However, that served only to spur her on to milk the incident even more aggressively, with a Daily Mail op-ed entitled “The PM Publicly Humiliated Me in Front of the Entire Nation, What Did I Do to Deserve That?”

(Incidentally, while Dorries has found the time to research Peter Singer and the evils of humanism, she’s still struggling to work out how to upload a pdf of a report on Equatorial Guinea she promised to put on-line last week)

5 Responses

  1. Well, she’s only one out of 650.

    I imagine the proportion of the British population who think that only their own brand of Christian should be let into Parliament is a good deal more than that.

  2. What Nadine Dorries seems to have forgotten is that she attempted to humiliate David Cameron on live television with her “who’s the boss” question. Cameron’s unfortunate choice of the word “frustrated” was unintentional as anyone who watched the footage can see. I fail to see how she can claim any moral high-ground when it is she who intended harm, not Cameron. (cant stand the slimey bugger myself but fair’s fair and all that.. )

  3. Dorries states:

    “A humanist recently commented that, not only did he believe that abortion was acceptable right up to the moment of birth, but that termination of a child’s life was acceptable up until the point where the child had the ability to reason, understand and justify life.”

    Dorries need not worry. She has reached middle age and still has not managed to gain the requisite “abiility to reason,” or to “understand”.

    The only justifying she does is self-justifying, either of her dubious expenses claims or of her bizarre aspersions, and even then she makes a pig’s breakfast of that.

    So I doubt that the nasty humanist will soon be calling for her post-natal abortion…..

  4. […] I discussed here, Dorries is involved in a more general feud with humanism. Share […]

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