BBC: Sally Phillips talks Peter Singer and Down’s syndrome screening on Frank Skinner on Demand


My next choice, there’s a strand called
hard talk and it’s an interview with Peter Singer who is regarded by some as
the world’s most dangerous philosopher and he’s kind of a hate figure for the
disability community but is a hero in other areas he has very strict
utilitarian views can I just do a slight footnote
utilitarianism is is the outlet the theory of the greatest good for the
greatest number so in the film when you are trekking across the desert and that
one of yous got a leg injury and they so don’t want without we a utilitarian
would say that’s a very good idea we will go on to that because you’re
slowing us down this better for the bulk of us to benefit and can we have your
can we have your food rations and we can we eat you orient you so that’s what is
it about the majority yes being happy yes so what’s interesting about this to
me is that so i started making this documentary about Down syndrome testing
and I went into it very naively games you mean down syndrome tested in
pregnant women pregnant okay yes yeah let’s say we’ve got a kind of arms
race on to find more and more sophisticated techniques to identify
dancing during the wing when there’s nothing you can actually do to help the
baby in the womb the only thing you would do on receiving the diagnosis
really is terminate so he then he’s questioned about his attitude towards
the disabled and he believes along with a lot of other people think it’s
worrying to me is that these are the people here are advising governments
they believe that if we talk about infants that a disabled child this is no
difference between the embryo and the child at the age of three and so you
want to be able to not only terminate throughout pregnancy but also kill no
one has a right to life he says so you want to be able to kill
the an infant with a disability up to the age of three and yeah it’s just you know I find this
incredibly hard to handle it so when I first started making the documentary I
was what we just need to know i have chartered seventies I was sort of well
you know everyone’s equal right I thought we all agreed that but the
minute I started meeting ethicists i discovered that nobody thinks we’re
equal anymore and actually Peter Singer is proposing that there are there are
human beings who are not persons uses the term person to mean someone who has
what he believes is the adequate amount of self-knowledge and he believes that
there are animals who are persons who have enough self-awareness and knowledge
and desire to live to be categorized as worthwhile and human beings who are not
ok so let’s have a look at a Peter Singer they’re talking about life i
think the sanctity of life is a religious doctrine that has no defense
ability at side particular religious views for example the idea that all
humans are made in the image of God or that all humans have an immortal soul or
that God has commanded us not to kill i don’t think it’s an idea that otherwise
is justified and has no place in the public debate well I mean I don’t reject people
mentioning it but I think if they mentioned that they should be challenged
they should be asked why do you think that a member of the species Homo
sapiens just because they’re member of that species has a right to life that
for example a nonhuman animal let’s say the gorilla who was shot in Cincinnati
Zoo last week does not have even though the gorilla has far more self-awareness
far more ability to form relationships with others than a member of the species
Homo sapiens with a very severe brain damage I would say that the there are
three main points to Peter thing as argument in in this interview and it’s
and give more money to charity killed the severely disabled and be nice to
animals yeah and i think it was meatloaf who
said two out of three ain’t bad no I think
that that middle one seems out of place doesn’t the other very very kind ones
Peter Singer I think he’s saying that if you kill the severely disabled to be
bumping brutal but that’s the that’s what he’s saying then the money you
spend on keeping them alive and all the stuff that you need to do for someone
who in his opinion has no quality of life could be spent on people who you
could lift them to it today effort a good life I mean if its business else thought that
Hitler and he practiced on the disables I’m gonna cry don’t cry have you seen the hard to locate
learning to be released now it’s going to go on please it’s all right to cry you won’t be the
first i’ve cried on the show I honestly I’m really i have yeah just yeah I mean
it’s what this I think it’s just not for him to say I mean it’s really
interesting because it’s kind of you know it does kind of make sense until
you’re the person who’s been put outside the circle and I actually feel through
being the parent of a disabled child myself that I went into that parenting
experience believing that independence was a sort of high goal and I’ve come
out of it going you know what it’s really not as important as all that
interdependence is much higher much much higher you know being able to interact
and relate with other people and and actually seeing my son only go through
life and bring this wake of kindness out of people you know if you could say to
somebody you’re going to have a child who will and magically bring about
social cohesion will bring a joy and encourage all the people around him or
her not to take life too seriously who will enjoy simple things in life he will
literally do a dance if this ice cream in the freezer who is able to enjoy you know is able to
enjoy life and that that’s a whole new value system isn’t it as a whole new way
of assessing what is or isn’t valuable you know in Denmark there it’s a it’s a
government goal to be down syndrome free by 2020 down syndrome Freeman is a
government goal whereas for me this is you know dancer
knows it so you know it feels like a cultural race this is not something i
can separate from my son it’s not like cancer that something that
happens it’s not a disease it’s not something that interferes with
his happiness he doesn’t suffer and yes it is the government agenda to eliminate
him and people like him what would say about this and I sound
facetious but it isn’t when I’m talking about that group of people walking
through the desert in all movies and and the injured one says go on without me it
makes absolute sense to go on without him but they never do and there’s a reason they never do and
it’s basically people feel that it’s wrong to do it even though when you’re
watching it of course the group will be better off
with that is that the person but in fact what you want to see is them love in
that person and caring for that person thinking you know what we’re gonna yeah
we’re going to risk at we’re gonna put ourselves on the line we’re gonna make
things more difficult for us but we don’t want to be part of a group where
we walk away from the guys got that’s what i think that i have understood
things I would never hope to understand i’ve had edges not off me that really
needed to come off I think what you might be thinking about
certainly is love anything I think love and science don’t always mix yeah that
well but it’s interesting how people should watch this and see what they
think and is calm logic is hard to fault it’s very tricky ok we’ll look it’s been a very something
like that has won all really interested in I think people should should
definitely check about okay thank you very much planning thank you lovely to
see you the CT so we have been discussing funny
valentines bill bailey love song hardtop peter singer and iron maidens the female
fighters and if you’d like to see Sally Phillips documentary world without downs
it will be on bbc2 Sue and I will definitely be watching

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Comments

  1. Talking about rights in incredibly unhelpful, usually just a proxy for outrage.
    I have never heard Peter being described as "the most dangerous". Any damage people may think he has done is more than undone by his work on animal welfare. The issues of the disabled pale in comparison to animal welfare issues.
    I don't know if Peter is quite as rigid as Sally is characterizing him, he brings up valid points about wellbeing and economics but insists that parents have the last word on termination.
    "…kill the disabled" – that is certainly not an accurate paraphrasing of the clip you showed – well done for lowering the discourse to an emotional level. COMPARISON TO HITLER! Oh come now.
    Down syndrome is not a disease??? Really? Based on the definition is clearly is, although its a pretty broad definition. I know Sallies motivations come from a good place but is definitely an example of the regressive left.

  2. Thank you Sally, there has been push by the media for the last five years to diminish the value of life. The night the Paralympics 2012 ended at 2. am, David Cameron held a reshuffle & the following day the front pages of the gutter press showed the story of the mans death, who had campaigned for euthanasia. This message suggested that if you weren't one of the Paralympian's, then kill your self. At that moment I knew fascism was very real & being propagated by the people who are employed as public servants.

  3. "sorry about my name my brother thought it would be funny to change my name…."

    I am a carer to a little girl name Zahra, which she has down's, She's a bright and lovely girl. To me I find Zahra being normal to me, she is still a person but I believe they are a gift of life. They are special and they all have something about them. Since I've been her carer everyone's noticed a change in her, she makes me happy and a world with out special is not a world at all. Its not a race!

    I'm happy someone has taken time out to show a life of a child with downs, Sally is amazing

  4. It does make me feel like I am everyone's idea of perfect. Yet my mother wanted a son. Took Thalidomide whilst pregnant with me – and my sister is my biggest disability. The desert story of going in the desert and leaving the person injured doesn't make sense to me. If my father in law and I were walking in the desert and he needed a wheelchair, I would push him. If we got to the border and needed to pay a million of the local currency to get past, he would pay for himself but leave me behind ? If I didn't make the money? I need him for things and he needs others sometimes. I go to the railway station in a foreign place and ask someone for help as to which platform I need, but in my home town, someone asks me. We all need eachother. Should I, as someone who does not need glasses look down on all who wear glasses ? Gays, unmarried mothers, who hasnt been looked down on ? I find being perfect makes people like my sister jealous. And hurtful.
    A disability in its own right. For the record, I was a geriatric mum and did not have any test as I would have accepted what I was given. But then, I would not have had IVF either. I don't believe in messing with nature. I believe in choice. For each individual.

  5. SALLY PHILLIPS IS JUST ANOTHER MOTHER OF A DOWNIE, WHO IS SECRETLY FRUSTRATED WITH HER LIFE AND HER SON. She just can’t stand the fact that other women are having the chance to abort, get pregnant again and deliver the healthy baby she didn’t have. So now she is promoting pre natal scans restrictions in order to make other women as miserable as she is.
    Sorry… but I just can find another explanation for this. I can’t understand why is she doing this kind of “campaign”. She is obviously not doing it for her son’s sake. Ollie doesn’t get affected if other women decides to have a termination. She just does it because her ego is hurted. She can’t stand being the mother of the kid who nobody wants to have (let’s face it: NOBODY wants a kid with Down Syndrome; those kids are one of the worst nightmare of every pregnant woman).

    REMEMBER: this is a woman who realized her kid had Down Syndrome 10 DAYS AFTER HE WAS BORN. This is not a woman who had the chance to have an abortion and decided not to. Instead, she was forced to accept her son’s condition when there wasn’t anything else to do. If an abortion would have been offered to her, Ollie probably wouldn’t exist.
    I know SO MANY women like this…. They spend so much energy trying to prove they are happy with their disabled kids, because they don’t want people to feel sorry for them. That acting can go too far sometimes, and they spend a lot of time promoting abortion restrictions, even if they know how hard and expensive can be have one of this “”angels””. But they just don’t care. They rather destroy other families lifes than being the only one with a defective and dependant kid.
    By the other hand, I know so many families with disabled kids who have enough ethics and moral to not to do something like this. They would never wish to another what they don’t want to themselves.
    But this woman doesn’t seem to have any ethics at all……. SHAME ON HER!!!!!

  6. This is such a great exaple for a misinterpretation! It seems like they don't understand Singers idea at all. He is talking about specific disabilities that cause a life of pain rather than joy for the children and their parents. (for example certain forms of brain damage) I have not seen an interview where he says, people with disabilities like DS were not worth living, he says if the parents suffer too much under that fact that their unborn child would be born with DS, it COULD EVENTUALLY justify an abortion. He doesn't say you should kill infants with DS. This would completely go against his idea of Utilitarism!

  7. Their desert example is off. Well, more like too vague. How is the group ‘better off’ without the injured person. Is the injured person an inconvenience? Or will other people die if they drag the injured person along?

  8. my mum was Austrian and she and her brother grew up in hitlers time. my uncle had emotional difficulties my grandmother was a single mother which in catholic Nazi Austria was not a good place to be. he was placed in a mental hospital in Graz and euthenized by Nazi doctors not before he was experimented on in a very horrible way by being tested for various experimental drugs that the regime were trying to produce for its soldiers. He was considered unfit for life. he was 21 when he was murdered. Don't ever trust people who wear white coats just because they wear white coats

  9. So is Peter singer a self species hater? … Does he actually believe ANY animal can be killed up to 3 years old?..

  10. SINGER IS NOT A HERO IN ANY WAY HE IS LIKE ROPLH HARRIS HE IS A PIDO AND RAPES WOMEN SINGER SHOULD BE KILLED I AM CATHOLIC I LOVE DOWN SYNDROME PEOPLE DONT DARE ANYONE TERMINATE A DOWN SYNDROME BABY OR THEY WILL HAVE GOT TO ANSWER TO SINGER IS NOT RIGHT IN THE HEAD I HATE PEOPLE WHO HARM CHILDREN 3 YR OLDS

  11. HITLER WANTED TO KILL US ALL US ANTI ABORTIONISTS SHOULD OF KILLED HITLER HITLER ALSO WANTED TO KILL PEOPLE WITH ADDITIONAL NEEDS US ANTI ABOORTIONISTS NEEDS TO DEFEND OURSELVES ITS NOT IMPAIRMENTS THAT STOP QUALITY OF LIFE ITS SOCIETY I LOVE DOWN SYDROME PEOPLE ID BRING LOADS OF THEM IN THIS WORLD

  12. freedom of speech ppl mispresent us anti abortionists we like to save poorly babies we hate singer for wanting to kill them we want to kill singer

  13. Singer has never said we 'ought' to kill the disabled. Merely that parents should have the option. I know a lot of people will still find that abhorrent but I do think it's an important distinction.

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