Monday, 9 September 2013

Richard Dawkins on Paedophilia

Is it just me, or has Dawkins become a parody of himself? Here's his trolling from the weekend's Times Magazine:
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.”

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.
Hat tip to the eagle-eyed spotters at Urban 75 for that charming little number.

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?

12 comments:

Yakoub said...

So Richard won't kick up to much of a fuss if some nonce slips his hand down his own children's relatives' short? The man is a first class brainfart!

Phil said...

Dawkins can't help himself. This, new, this morning.

Anonymous said...

I think he does make a point about different era's judging by different standards, everything today seems hysteria overdrive to me.

However, we all have to accept that 'normality' is decided by competing forces, power balances and the general will, and whatever you think individually is almost irrelevant.

If you look at it this way though, then Islamism in certain parts of the world isn't something to be condemned but understood. In other words, why is 'normality' this particular 'normality'.

So if you condemn Dawkins then you would be hypocritical to criticise other societies. Unless you are a chauvinist or believe in an un-materialistic idea of 'universalism'.

Steven Carr said...

You would think Dawkins would have the decency and humanity to tell child abuse victims that they will suffer lasting damage for the rest of their lives.

Yakoub said...

Susan Clancy's 'The Trauma Myth' points out that most child abuse does not involve rape and doesn't 'traumatize' its victims. However, she is equally keen to point out that abuse nonetheless damages its victims (usually over a period of time after the abuse) and should be continued to be viewed as a serious crime. Her book is based on in-depth research. Dawkins talks out of the top of his hat.

Steven Carr said...

So all those people baiting Dawkins for saying the child abuse that happened to him did not lead to lasting damage should read Clancy's book.

Dan said...

His entire career seems like an Oedipal struggle against a God/Father/Authority figure betrayer. This is taken out on a religion for most of his public career that served as a bulwark against Islamic expansion.
He has recently acknowledged that Catholicism is a great deal less sinister than Islam...right as the former institution is unravelled and at the mOment that Islam is demographically ascendant and poised to dispossess Historic European populations.


Tell me again how he's not damaged?

Matt said...

He appears to have some competition in the form of Brian May for the "King of Stupid" title, for his "genocide of badgers" comments.

I'm not sure he has a good idea of what "paedophilia" means, though.

You're the sociologist, Phil.

Is not "paedophilia" the condition, and "rape" or "touching up" of minors possible actions as a result? And basically we criminalise some of the actions when they are judged to be hurtful to others.

I'd say he's right in that "paedophilia" is a massively misused/misunderstood/overused scare-label, and that our addressing of the issue is characterised by hysteria, though.

I wonder if it will go the same way as "misogyny" ('you disgagreed with a feminist') and simply become largely meaningless.

I'm more interested in the differences between countries/cultures and whether it is 'appropriate' to attempt to impose one set of standards from one context on all the others.

Or has "cultural imperialism" lost its meaning, too?

Phil said...

Understandably Matt, paedophilia is such an emotive issue that it is very difficult to subject paedophile panic as a social phenomena to serious analysis without causing offence or running the risk of getting cast as something you're not.

However, in Dawkins case, he's not daft. He knows the score. I believe he deliberately courted controversy with this one.

Tras Cord said...

Oh come on lets not talk about Susan Clancy (aka Barbara Hewson and Nancy Friday’s sister) and that monstrosity of a book ‘The Trauma Myth’ I am sure NAMBLA paid her to write it. As for that Richard Dawkins he is as much as a Zealot as those religious folk, someone needs to tell him he is not the face of atheism even though he badly wants to be.

Tras Cord said...

who would have thought he was peadophile apologist, considering his devotion to rational thought, would Mr Dawkins forgive catholic priests for so-called mild peadophilia, I think his intellect is way over rated he does not say anything that fellow atheists have not said before

Tras Cord said...

It's only a matter of time before peadophila will be fully integrated into our society as a 'sexual orientation' and anyone who dares oppose it will be called 'peadophobic'
pedophiliac behavior is a choice