An article in the UK Telegraph is reporting that a woman spent many years killing her babies and burying them in her back yard. The woman, a 45 year old nurse, is accused of "systematically killing her babies since 1988... It appears she had been hiding her pregnancies from her husband." Most people react to this story with shock; I know I do. One of the woman's neighbors said, "We all knew this couple. What has happened is unthinkable. No one knows how to react. We are in shock...They never did anything to suggest that they might be capable of abnormal behaviour. The husband was even elected to the town council."
Here is my question (and it is rhetorical, unless an atheist really wants to rise to the occasion): On what basis should we be morally outraged that this woman has chosen to eliminate her offspring?
Given a darwinian outlook, the worst charge that can be leveled is that this woman is simply defective (but by what standards?) - or "abnormal" as the neighbor said. Buy why? Because she has not effectively preserved her genetic fingerprint? But even more dreadfully, in a darwinian universe, this one creature spawned more creatures and then showed that she was the fittest by elimination of said new competition from the gene pool. Many atheist ethicists theorize that motherly instincts exist so that genes can be preserved. They theorize this to explain situations where parents give their lives to save their children, for example. Surely there is a darwinian motive for altruistic behavior towards one's offspring.
So what are we to make of this woman, then? They might argue that she is simply broken, but if that is the worst moral outrage that can be leveled at this evil woman, then that may hardly be regarded as a condemnation at all.
What cannot be explained, however, on the atheistic formula, is whether it was truly objectively wrong that this woman was murdering babies year after year. If her murder of these babies was merely conventionally wrong, then upon what basis do we condemn her? The Christian understanding of human beings tells us that these children were made in God's image and that this mother was made in God's image, as well. As a moral being with God's law within, she is guilty of suppressing the moral law and murdering at least eight times. This crime can be understood in Christian terms, but the naturalist understanding of these events only has some creatures eliminating other creatures. I will leave it to the reader to decide if such an analysis is sufficient.