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 paedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.”Hat tip to the eagle-eyed spotters at Urban 75 for that charming little number.
Professor Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist, describes in a new autobiography how a master at his Salisbury prep school “pulled me on to his knee and put his hand inside my shorts”. He writes that the episode was “extremely disagreeable” and that other boys were molested by the same teacher, but concludes: “I don’t think he did any of us any lasting damage.”
In the interview Dawkins, 72, addresses his disagreements with the former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks and the physicist Peter Higgs. On the subject of abuse he emphasised that he sought to explain it, not condone it.
Asked whether the uproar over recent abuse scandals was partly a result of what he called the “shifting moral zeitgeist”, Dawkins says: “I think we should acknowledge it ... But the other point is that because the most notorious cases of paedophilia involve rape and even murder, and because we attach the label ‘paedophilia’ to the same things when they’re just mild touching up, we must beware of lumping all paedophiles into the same bracket.
It's only been, like, a month since Dawkins was last in the middle of a little media flap for his comments about Islam. One wonders whatever stupidity will next be proclaimed from atop his ivory tower. Church-goers should be prevented from voting? Full support for Bashar al-Assad in his struggle against Islamists?