Comparing Abortion and Killing Chimpanzees

Richard Dawkins writes in A Devil’s Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love,

Science cannot tell you whether abortion is wrong, but it can point out that the (embryological) continuum that seamlessly joins a non-sentient foetus to a sentient adult is analogous to the (evolutionary) continuum that joins humans to other species. If the embryological continuum appears to be more seamless, this is only because the evolutionary continuum is divided by the accident of extinction. Fundamental principles of ethics should not depend on the accidental contingencies of extinction. To repeat, science cannot tell you whether abortion is murder, but it can warn you that you may be being inconsistent if you think abortion is murder but killing chimpanzees is not. You cannot have it both ways.

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