Thursday, July 31, 2014


'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse': Richard Dawkins sparks outrage during Twitter debate

He was trying to get everyone to think logically.  He failed.  When emotions intervene, logic flies out the window

Controversial scientist Richard Dawkins provoked fury yesterday after referring to ‘mild date rape’ and ‘mild paedophilia’ in comments on Twitter.

Campaigners for women and child abuse victims condemned the prominent atheist’s posts as ‘offensive and damaging’.

Professor Dawkins, 73, became embroiled in the row when he made a point about logical thinking to almost a million followers on the social networking site.

The academic sparked anger by choosing the example of sexual abuse to illustrate the idea.   He began by writing: ‘X is bad. Y is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of X, go away and don’t come back until you’ve learned how to think logically.’

Then he added: ‘Mild pedophilia [sic] is bad. Violent pedophilia is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of mild pedophilia, go away and learn how to think.

‘Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of date rape, go away and learn how to think.’

Despite coming under fire from scores of other Twitter users, the evolutionary biologist refused to change the topic.

He went on to write: ‘Mild date rape is bad. Violent date rape is worse. Is it really so hard to understand that that doesn’t constitute endorsement of either?’

The professor finally withdrew from the argument after tweeting: ‘What I have learned today is that there are people on Twitter who think in absolutist terms, to an extent I wouldn’t have believed possible.’

But Peter Saunders, chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said the scientist had belittled the ‘devastating’ effect of sexual abuse.

SOURCE



23 comments:

Use the Name, Luke said...

What's quoted in the article sounds like the same kind of comparisons as "Would you rather be shot to death or beaten to death." Both are so far over the line (death!) that any other difference is inconsequential.

It's very, very hard to take Mr. Dawkins' protest of "logical thinking" seriously when he was recently quoted actually defending "mild pedophilia":

In a recent interview with the Times magazine, Richard Dawkins attempted to defend what he called “mild pedophilia,” which, he says, he personally experienced as a young child and does not believe causes “lasting harm.”

Dawkins went on to say that one of his former school masters “pulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts,” and that to condemn this “mild touching up” as sexual abuse today would somehow be unfair.

“I am very conscious that you can’t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours. Just as we don’t look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today,” he said.

Plus, he added, though his other classmates also experienced abuse at the hands of this teacher, “I don’t think he did any of us lasting harm.”


— from Salon

Anonymous said...

Luke,

You just failed the logical thinking test though. A past experience shared publicly doesn't invalidate a point because it is used as one of the examples.

Anonymous said...

Luke is hyper-religious (or even a Creationist?), so by definition he can't think logically.
Some theologists actually "think" reason is subversive to "faith".

Anonymous said...

Martin Luther - “Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.”

Use the Name, Luke said...

A past experience shared publicly doesn't invalidate a point because it is used as one of the examples.

Wait, so you're claiming that Dawkins' statement, "that to condemn this 'mild touching up' as sexual abuse today would somehow be unfair," is only "sharing a past experience" and not a moral judgement?

2:01, what is the context of that quote? (By itself, it does not fit what the Bible teaches.)

Anonymous said...

Yeah I guess Lukey Boy here knows more about interpreting the Bible and the Christian religion than famous Christian figures such as Martin Luther. Like many theists, Luke questions the "context" of quotes what sound wrong to him, but accepts others at face value if they happen to coincide with his own prejudices.

Use the Name, Luke said...

Same old, same old. Don't you have anything other than the ad hominem fallacy, troll?

In case it's escaped your notice (and I'm sure it has) a fallacy is the opposite of logical thinking.

Anonymous said...

Luke, you cannot always hide behind the "ad hominem" claim when it accurately describes what you do!

stinky said...


Dawkins is just trying to soften the hatred towards him and his own stated level of pedophilia by pointing out that he could be even worse.

Sure, Richard, but that by no means excuses you. A pile of shit is still a pile of shit, even if there are bigger ones out there.

Bird of Paradise said...

Dawkins is a stupid blabbering nincompoop with his pea-sized brain opens his mouth and says stupid things and a darwinist's idiot all the way

Anonymous said...

Rather ironic that a "scientist" who uses circular logic and ad homenim attacks to support his "science" is trying to teach others logic.

Anonymous said...

It was the "learn how to think" comment that offended them the most, I think.
Thinking is the last thing the perpetually-offended want to do.

stinky said...


He's not trying to teach them logic. He's trying to use his status as a teacher to manipulate them under the guise of logic.

Go Away Bird said...

The Darwin Delusion these evolutionists wackos are so far out in the middle of stupidland they dont know their way back

slinky said...

"By itself, it does not fit what the Bible teaches."

Then why is it in the bible? One would think that god wouldn't have inconsistencies in his word. I guess he is not as perfect as we think.

stinky said...


Um, troll, Martin Luther was never part of the bible.


But at least you're good for lulz, doofus. Thx for making it obvious.

Anonymous said...

While I agree that throat cancer is generally worse than a sore throat and losing $10,000 is generally worse than losing $10 I'm not sure that the principle can be applied universally to say that one thing is always worse than something else.
For example, being raped by someone you know and trust may indeed be worse than being raped by a stranger because of that element of trust.
As Luke said, I'm not sure that being beaten to death is worse than being shot necessarily. A quick death is not necessarily better than a slow one if you have matters that you need to put in order before you die.
However, while you may disagree with his examples the point he made is usually not so controversial.

Anonymous said...

Dawkins is always attacked on principle by religious fundies (Christians and Muslims) as he shows how illogical they are in their primitive religious beliefs.

Use the Name, Luke said...

"Then why is it in the bible? One would think that god wouldn't have inconsistencies in his word. I guess he is not as perfect as we think."

That's HILARIOUS! Thanks for the laugh!

Anonymous said...

It’s interesting that an anti-religious advocate would immediately grab for an offensive and deviate sexual example. It shows a lack of empathy, as well as maybe an immature desire to provoke. Why is it that so many anti-religious zealots are so primarily focused on sex?

slinky said...

Sex is good. Religion is bad.

Anonymous said...

Religion is obsessed with sex, or rather unhealthy sexual repression.

stinky said...

And yet it is the trolls of the left who keep bringing it up.