CONTROVERSIAL scientist Richard Dawkins has sparked anger once again - this time by claiming foetuses with Down's syndrome should be aborted.
The outspoken athiest author said parents should abort unborn babies with the condition and "try again".
He made the comments during a Twitter debate, provoking fury from many online.
Down's syndrome is a genetic disorder that delays growth and causes intellectual disability.
It is named after Torpoint physician John Langdon Down, who was the first to properly detail the condition in 1862.
The online discussion involving Professor Dawkins began when he posted a link to an article in US magazine New Republic titled 'The Catholic Church prefers medieval barbarism to modern abortion'.
The 73-year-old said: "Ireland is a civilised country except in this one area. You'd think the Roman Church would have lost all influence."
Irish Catholic fitter Aidan McCourt responded by asking The God Delusion author: "994 human beings with Down's syndrome deliberately killed before birth in England and Wales in 2012. Is that civilised?"
Professor Dawkins, who has around one million followers on Twitter, replied by saying: "Yes, it is very civilised. These are foetuses, diagnosed before they have human feelings."
He went on to say: "Learn to think in non-essentialist ways. The question is not "is it 'human'?" but "can it suffer?""
A Boston-based writer calling themselves 'InYourFaceNewYorker' tweeted at him: "I honestly don't know what I would do if I were pregnant with a kid with Down's syndrome. Real ethical dilemma."
Prof Dawkins' reply to the American's comment has since prompted a furious response online.
"Abort it and try again," he said.
"It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice."