Richard Dawkins date rape and pedophilia comments offend

Richard Dawkins “Worse Than Date Rape” “Mild Pedophilia” Commentary Raises Ire

Richard Dawkins is under fire today after a stream of Twitter comments including such shocking terms as ‘mild pedophilia’ and ‘worse than date rape.’ Attempting to explain how ranking offenses or violations doesn’t imply acceptance of the ‘lesser’ one, Dawkins blew into a firestorm of angry response as he dug deeper into topics that are too emotional for rationalization.

Response quickly mounted, with many people telling Dawkins that he’s wrong, and that he doesn’t get to categorize rape.

Richard Dawkins has been shunned by much of the atheist community since a 2011 incident when, as detailed here at Discover Magazine, he made a controversial remark about a man who propositioned a female atheist blogger, Rebecca Watson, in an elevator, making her uncomfortable. Dawkins furthered the offense by sarcastic commentary that suggested Watson should stop complaining, since many women face far more oppressive acts on a day-to-day basis.

In this latest Twitter outrage, Dawkins was trying hard to explain similar comments, attempting to prove that if he says one offense is worse than another, it doesn’t mean that he thinks eitheris acceptable.

Unfortunately for Dawkins, not many were having it, especially when Dawkins couched it in terms that appeared to be telling people how to feel about their own experiences.

Becoming sarcastic, Dawkins began to parody responses to him:

As people continued to tell him that ranking people’s assaults, violations, and oppression can be extremely offensive, regardless of whether the speaker intends to dismiss the one he qualifies as ‘lesser,’ Dawkins continued to dig himself deeper with further examples:

Finally, Dawkins resorted to implications that the intelligence of the Twitter population just wasn’t up to his logic.

In what he calls his ‘last word on the matter’ Dawkins wrote out a blog post (perhaps thinking, like Stephen A. Smith recently, that his communication problem was with the short form, rather than content) calling the response he received on Twitter ‘bizarre.’

Here, Richard Dawkins proceeded to try to backpeddle some statements.

I should of course have said RELATIVELY mild. Obviously I don’t think any pedophilia is mild in an absolute sense.

In both my hypothetical examples, I made the mistake of forgetting to put quotation marks around the hypothetical quotations. The second one, for instance, should be amended to

“Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse.” If you think anybody who said that would thereby be endorsing date rape, go away and learn how to think.

Dawkins tried once more, in long form, to explain his point — that whether or not ranking ‘badness’ of offenses is okay, ranking them doesn’t mean approval of the one you consider ‘lesser’:

I wasn’t even saying it is RIGHT to rank one kind of rape as worse than another (that caused an immense amount of agony and a scarcely creditable level of vitriolic abuse in the Twittosphere)…. All I was saying is that IF you are one of those who is prepared to say that one kind of rape is worse than another (whichever particular kinds those might be), this doesn’t imply that you approve of the less bad one. It is still bad. Just not AS bad.

While Richard Dawkins may feel the Twitterverse missed his point, the overwhelming sentiment seems to be that ranking violations doesn’t have to be a dismissal of the ‘lesser’ offense in order to be dismissive and offensive to those victimized.

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