Ignorant people say stupid things about Down syndrome

Austen Heinz

Austen Heinz

From the news page, purportedly independent-thinking people say stupid things about Down syndrome, while a grandmother shares wisdom gained from having a granddaughter with Down syndrome.

  • Bigoted eugenicists are stupid

Austen Heinz  is the CEO of Cambrian Genomics, which proposes to print DNA for almost anyone who wants to create new forms of life. Commenting on his technology, Heinz has made the following statements as justifications for his company’s offerings:

 “I can’t believe that after 10 or 20 years people will not design their children digitally.”

 “A decent percentage of people have really nasty mutations that cause really bad, horrible things,” like Down syndrome and cystic fibrosis, he said. “These are basically like hell on Earth, and I think it’s smart to be able to avoid those things.”

I’m willing to bet all of Heinz’s millions of dollars in venture capital that he has never had a relationship with anyone with Down syndrome. If he had, he would know that they love their lives. Some man of science: stating a conclusion after zero investigation or knowledge of the facts.

Plus, that last quote was from a report by Stephanie Lee from the San Francisco Chronicle. I will make an equal bet that neither Ms. Lee nor her editors would have allowed Heinz’s bigoted statement about those with Down syndrome to have gone unchallenged had he been speaking of another minority–a point made by fellow dad and blogger, David Perry. Scientists continue to search for the “gay gene;” no doubt Heinz’s statement would have been reported much differently if he had sounded off on that as a “nasty mutation” that is “basically hell on Earth.”

  • Shocker! Motor City MadMan says something offensive

Heinz’s comments about Down syndrome shows he’s as enlightened as Sweaty Teddy, Ted Nugent, who recently, repeatedly, used the R-word in an obscenity laced on-line post, just prior to being scheduled to join Gov. Sarah Palin on her television show; Gov. Palin’s youngest son has Down syndrome.

  • Happy birthday, Sweetie Pie

Elaine Ambrose reflects on what her granddaughter, who recently turned 5, has taught her, with a quote that gives her the last word on Heinz & Nugent’s remarks:

Uneducated and insecure people reveal their prejudices when they ridicule someone with learning and physical disabilities such as Down syndrome. When I’m with Sweetie Pie, sometimes I get “the look” from others or the recognizable sigh of “I’m thankful that didn’t happen to me.” Thanks to Sweetie Pie, I have learned that ignorance and cruelty are bigger handicaps than a little extra chromosome.


  1. leticiacvelasquez says:

    I asked infamous bio-ethicist Peter Singer if he had ever met a person with Down syndrome. Once while at a dinner party a fellow professor whose adult daughter with Ds was being cared for at home by an aide had her daughter walk through the room. No wonder he makes such monstrously ignorant remarks about our kids!

  2. Getting offended or angry about what this guy said is no different than getting angry or offended when people create diets. People with Down Syndrome might love their lives. I understand not wanting to act like there is something wrong with people with down syndrome because there is not but you cannot deny the fact that it is a developmental disorder that prevents people with down syndrome from leading normal lives and the man is trying to find a way to prevent future generations from dealing with it…if we can find a way to prevent it…that is a good thing…they love their lives but they don’t know anything else…so up to this point, you have been able to live a normal, have a career, have a family, go to college, and do all of it without having to depend on other people, …. if somebody said ” hey for $10 bucks I can give you down syndrome” what would you do… if you would not be willing to take it after living a normal life… than getting mad about dude trying to find a way to prevent it is selfish as hell

    • I’ll put the same question to you as the bet I would make with Heinz: do you have a relationship with anyone with Down syndrome? Not that you’ve seen a person with Down syndrome, or several years ago went to school where a student had Down syndrome. But, do you have a relationship with a person with Down syndrome? I do and it has enriched mine and many others lives for the better for having known a person with Down syndrome. Just because I wouldn’t opt to add a 21st chromosome to me does not mean I am selfish or that I’m a hypocrite because I’m preventing myself from having Down syndrome. I wear eyeglasses so I can see, but that doesn’t mean I wish to prevent people who are born with congenital blindness. Rather than talking about preventing human lives, I prefer to work on accepting them, as is. I don’t find that to be selfish.

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