Part of a high protein, low reason diet
Don’t accept any dinner invitations to Richard Dawkin’s house. You might be asked to swallow more than his bizarre idea that God doesn’t exist.
If you do do, don’t be surprised to find the soup course followed by Roast Spleen of Graduate Student, or Ten Toe Casserole.
Why the warning? Dawkins noted that playful scientists managed to created meat-like goo in a test tube. And so he wondered in a tweet “What if human meat is grown? Could we overcome our taboo against cannibalism? An interesting test case for consequentialist morality versus ‘yuck reaction’ absolutism.”
There are some kinds of indigestion even the strongest antacids can’t cure.
Before getting to the meat of this subject, it’s well to point out this isn’t the first time Dawkins was caught licking his lips while reminiscing about the Donner Party.
Fellow atheist David McAfee reminds us that Dawkins in a 2010 video “raised the idea of cannibalism as the logical end to those who won’t eat animals because they can’t ‘consent’ to it. If a human being consents, he says, it would follow that you could eat that person under that logic.”
McAfee thinks Dawkins is not “a secret cannibal or that he ‘craves’ human meat.” Rather “he enjoys asking questions that many people shy away from.”
Childish impertinence may be the right explanation for Dawkins’s cannibalistic quips, but it’s just as well to ban Dawkins from manning the grill at the next atheist convention.
Let’s return to the big people’s table and contrast Dawkins’s “consequentialist morality” versus “absolutism.” Consequentialism says that the consequences of a person’s actions should be the sole basis to judge whether those actions are right or wrong. There is nothing inherently right or wrong in any act, but only what flows from an act. Absolutism does not deny consequences, but insists acts can be good or bad in themselves.
Many who heard Dawkins’s dinner bell and jumped to his defense embraced consequentialism. They pointed out that human meat carries more diseases than animal meat. Therefore, unless these diseases can be screened from human meat, the consequence of bad health shows cannibalism is wrong.
One person compared cannibalism to incest, saying “The ‘yuck reaction’ associated with cannibalism & incest have a far deeper purpose than a mere taboo avoidance. We know incest is bad since there’s lots of evidence for offspring turning out w[ith] terrible conditions.”
This conclusion is as consequentialist as it gets. Incest is bad only because of its health consequences.