First rule of holes…


I can only think that what was on Richard Dawkins’ mind when he composed his most recent series of tweets was that he hoped to reassure critics of his, erm, often problematic approach to social issues that he wasn’t really saying or suggesting the awful things they thought he was. The result has, I fear, made an awkward situation worse. For starters, the tone of scolding condescension doesn’t help.

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.  Mild pedophilia is bad. Violent pedophilia is worse. If you think that's an endorsement of mild pedophilia, go away and learn how to think. 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.

Someone might have tapped Dawkins on the shoulder at this point and gently suggested that addressing rape survivors as if they were creationist numbskulls who never grasped the whole thinky thing might have been the wrong approach. So he attempted to clarify some more.

Yes yes, you rank X and Y differently. Fine. Whichever you rank as worse, it is still illogical to interpret that as approval of the other.

Richard…stahp…

And he of course has defenders insisting he’s just making a perfectly sound logical point and all that. Whatever. But here’s a question. For one thing, why are we ranking rape by severity, if we’re in basic agreement it’s all bad?

The answer is that this latest tweet storm is Dawkins’ way of responding to critics of his comments regarding the (in his words) “mild pedophilia” he experienced as a small boy (he was fondled by a teacher, apparently) and how this did not exactly wreck his life or damage his psychological development into adulthood. After the initial appearance of these statements in the media, he quickly had to walk them back and apologize for suggesting that how he felt about his own experiences should in any way have any bearing on how someone with the same history of abuse should feel about theirs. But I guess the criticism still stings, and he felt a need to address it further. But, like someone who thinks the way to fix a cake that’s fallen in the oven is moar frosting, he’s not understanding what the problem is.

It isn’t that anyone thinks that, by saying Y is worse in severity than X, you’re endorsing X. It’s that you’re still, whether you mean to or not, minimizing and diminishing X.

This is what people who attacked him for his “mild pedophilia” remarks, and for “Dear Muslima,” were pointing out. Not that he was endorsing “milder” crimes (and “milder” by whose standards?), but that such reductionism was dismissive of subjective experience. It’s just an intellectualized way of saying “Stop being such a whiner.”

I mean Jesus, if this

"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?

Mild? Well, if it didn’t leave any bruises…

…isn’t the poster-tweet for “not getting it,” I don’t know what is.

“Of course I don’t endorse the date rape you experienced. I’m simply pointing out that it was mild compared to this other more horrible date rape where a knife was used.”

I don’t endorse what happened to you. I’m just saying, it could’ve been worse. At least you were only raped. What if you were raped and knifed? Have a little perspective here.

Um…

No, man. You really, really aren’t getting it.

HwNLeCq

Comments

  1. corwyn says

    For one thing, why are we ranking rape by severity, if we’re in basic agreement it’s all bad?

    Because differences matter. We rank murder by severity as well, and we’re in basic agreement that it’s all bad. Should we not? Should we consider vehicular manslaughter as exactly the same crime as premeditated murder?

    There is a *reason* that we rank murdering a police officer as needing a stiffer punishment than murdering a civilian, and it isn’t that we value police officers more.

  2. says

    So then do we tell someone who’s grieving because they lost a loved one to vehicular manslaughter that, hey, it could have been worse, at least it wasn’t premeditated murder?

    Legal distinctions, for the purposes of prosecution and sentencing in courts of law, are one thing. The question is how we approach these topics in everyday discussion, on a social level, and particularly when addressing the people whose direct experiences are being referenced.

    On the social level, the effect of categorizing the severity of a social ill is that you end up policing the feelings of people on the receiving end. You’re essentially telling them that, because a more severe example of what they experienced exists, that their emotional response to their own experiences is overblown. (You were only fondled, it’s not like you were gang-sodomized.) Of course, how someone responds emotionally to their own experiences is no one’s business to decide but their own.

    And, as Amanda Marcotte has pointed out, it’s especially thoughtless for Dawkins to have used date rape as an example in his tweets, when we already live in a culture where actual politicians and lawmakers use terms like “legitimate rape” with a straight face, as a way of diminishing what actually constitutes a sex crime, and in the further (religiously motivated) interests of depriving women of their reproductive rights. Would it sufficiently shame Dawkins, I wonder, to be told that his remarks are playing right into the rhetoric of moralistic Christian conservatives?

  3. says

    Corwyn, we rank murder not by severity but by motive and intent. Planning a murder vs. flying into a rage. But to the victim it makes no difference. Dawkins isn’t discussing legalities here, he’s telling one set of victims that they don’t have it as bad as another set of victims. I do find it odd that he didn’t compare burglary to armed robbery…

  4. Nick Gotts says

    There is a *reason* that we rank murdering a police officer as needing a stiffer punishment than murdering a civilian

    No, “we” don’t.

  5. ButchKitties says

    One of the reasons we make the distinction between manslaughter and premeditated murder is that there are ways to kill another person accidentally through criminal negligence. There is no way to accidentally rape someone. It is by definition a deliberate act. Can we PLEASE stop comparing rape to accidents?

  6. says

    I’m not sure I understand what Richard is saying. Let me think about this. Hrmmm.

    Water-boarding evolutionary scientists is bad. Drilling holes through their finger and toe nails is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of water-boarding, go away and learn how to think.

    No, I don’t think I quite get the point yet. Let me try again.

    Mildly cutting of a man’s balls is bad. Cutting off his balls and dick is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of mild castration, go away and learn how to think.

    I think I’m starting to get it! Thanks Richard! If I didn’t have your wonderful examples of rape and pedophilia mansplained to me, I would never have even entertained the notion that we could sit back in our armchairs with a good pipe and rank horrible things.

  7. Edward Gemmer says

    It seems important to note that Dawkins himself was abused and roundly criticized and compared to a NAMBLA member for talking about what happened to him and how he felt about it.

  8. says

    No, he was criticized for suggesting that how he felt about his abuse is how others should have felt about their own. His quote, emphasis added: “I don’t think [my abuser] did any of us lasting harm.” A presumption, to say the least, and that specific remark is what he was taken to task for and eventually apologized for.

  9. says

    Seems pretty clear to me that he is saying both X and Y are bad and he’s speaking to anyone who concludes that a comparison equals an endorsement is wrong. He’s not doing reductionism, he’s showing how reductionism is wrong. He is not speaking to any particular victim and diminishing their experience in any way. Just like he was only speaking of himself in the original statement, not anyone else’s experience. If you take away our ability to make comparisons, you are taking away our right to think. That’s the point.

  10. L.Long says

    Get schite on by explaining some fine point or get schite on for not explaining…just admit you like schiting on him. Tweetting-discussing-blogging about some point does not mean indorsing it.
    That all the tweet was about. Let’s all just calm down.
    Usually when I get into a discussion about rape (or what ever) I always take the opposing view. Since most rant about the rapist should be hung up, I talk about the victim asking for it….THAT DOES NOT MEAN I AM IN FAVOR OF RAPE!! Just getting points into discussions.

  11. kestra says

    *Why* does Dawkins keep leaping into these self-set bonfires with both feet? I mean, watching someone self-immolate can be funny the first time, but he just keeps hammering back at this “point”, which seems to be that “some people get all upset about some stuff that *I, Richard Dawkins* don’t think is as bad as this *other bad stuff*”

    Aaaaand? Richard, if you think the conversation, whatever it is, is silly and overwrought, then Just. Stay. Out. Of. It. No one is holding you down and *forcing* you to read this stuff and then tweet about it. It takes a really myopic sense of your own privilege not to have learned by now to just shut the hell up when the topic is rape or sexual abuse, unless you’re talking about your own experiences. But even then, you can’t seem stop yourself from projecting your emotional response onto others as the “correct one”. You can’t logic other people out of how they feel, and your current tack certainly seems to be, “*I* don’t feel like that, so you shouldn’t either.”

  12. Monocle Smile says

    If you take away our ability to make comparisons, you are taking away our right to think. That’s the point.

    Whut?

    What, pray tell, is the point of making these stupid-ass “comparisons” in the first place? Rape is rape. Just because the rapist didn’t use a knife doesn’t mean the victim was any less raped.

  13. Monocle Smile says

    Just FYI…being a contrarian asshole for its own sake is neither funny nor constructive.

  14. says

    Maybe, or: the actual point sailed well over Mr. Long’s head. (And the whole “devil’s advocate” thing is not really the kind of argument tactic that shines as much light on a topic as those who engage in it seem to think.)

  15. schusterfleck says

    The answer is that this latest tweet storm is Dawkins’ way of responding to critics of his comments regarding the (in his words) “mild pedophilia” he experienced as a small boy (he was fondled by a teacher, apparently) and how this did not exactly wreck his life or damage his psychological development into adulthood.

    In the context of his and Sam Harris’s recent tweets, I was under the impression that the “X” and “Y” of his original tweet were supposed to refer to Israel and Hamas. Rape, pedophilia, and robbery were only brought up to serve as analogies. None of that takes away from your analysis of what’s wrong with his remarks, of course.

  16. says

    And as has been pointed out, if Dawkins merely wanted to make the point “Y is worse than X ≠ endorsement of X,” he could have chosen a million other examples than rape to illustrate the point. McDonald’s cheeseburgers aren’t as bad as Jack in the Box cheeseburgers ≠ endorsement of McDonald’s.

  17. Monocle Smile says

    Oh, I thought “abused” in Edward Gemmer’s comment referred to the verbal criticism he received for his remarks, not the molestation he suffered.

  18. Edward Gemmer says

    Yeah….no.

    PZ Myers: “Should I have raised my children with such a lack of self-respect that they should have allowed dirty old men to play with their genitals? I would have wanted them to inform me, so that such behavior could be stopped.

    Just when did it stop being OK for acquaintances to put their hands inside Richard Dawkins shorts? I presume it would be an utterly intolerable act now, of course — at what age do the contents of childrens’ pants stop being public property?

    Should we be giving pedophiles the idea that a “mild touching up” is reasonable behavior? It’s just a little diddling…it does no “lasting harm”. Christ, that sounds like something out of NAMBLA.”

    Greta Christina: “There’s a petition up — asking Dawkins to retract his statements, but also demonstrating to the world that these ideas absolutely do not reflect the values of the atheist community, and that we utterly repudiate them. Please sign — and please spread the word.

    There’s many more and I don’t mean to belabor the point, but it is true Dawkins received a huge amount of criticism for talking about his abuse. Much (most?) was about how he described what happened to him as “mild.” Many mistook this for some sort of message that he though child abuse was no big deal, but it seems more likely that he was describing what happened to him as in comparison to what has happened to other people. He even uses the same phrase in his tweets, likely referring to the same thing.

  19. Narf says

    After the initial appearance of these statements in the media, he quickly had to walk them back and apologize for suggesting that how he felt about his own experiences should in any way have any bearing on how someone with the same history of abuse should feel about theirs.

    After that initial apology, which wasn’t half bad, he should have reverted to name, rank, and serial number. “I made a poor choice of words, and I apologized for it. I don’t wish to discuss it further.”
    “But do you have anything you’d like to …”
    “No.”
    His PR person needs to have a word with him about this sort of thing.

  20. Narf says

    There is no way to accidentally rape someone. It is by definition a deliberate act.

    Eh, I could see some sort of legal defense being mounted, in which someone was under the influence of seriously mind-altering drugs. It depends upon your definition of ‘accidental’ and ‘deliberate’.

    From a social perspective, you end up at a point of, “Why the hell were you taking something that does that sort of thing to you?” I’d like to think that legally, you’d be just as culpable for the end result. I dunno.

    Basically, what I’m saying is that I dislike absolute statements of this nature. I guess that was my only point.

  21. Narf says

    Well, it started as an anecdote of his own experiences. Maybe he’s never been robbed?

    Still, dude, watch the hot-button issues. Sheesh.

  22. A Hermit says

    Seems pretty clear to me that he is saying both X and Y are bad and he’s speaking to anyone who concludes that a comparison equals an endorsement is wrong.

    And who on earth would that be? Is there anyone you can think of who has actually said that, and if there is why doesn’t Dawkins make it clear that’s who he is talking to?

    As so many others have pointed out the problem isn’t that such rankings are an endorsement; it’
    s that they are way of telling some victims they shouldn’t complain. “After all, you were “only” raped, not raped and threatened with a knife, so it can’t have been THAT bad…”

    That’s a terrible thing to say to someone who has been raped.

  23. Narf says

    Eh, but that was already the topic at hand. If he had changed the topic and turned it into an X ≠ Y argument, involving another subject, no one would have paid any further attention to him.

    … which would have been a damned good thing.

  24. Narf says

    You seemed to have missed the point of this post, that Richard just needs to learn when to cut his losses and leave it at an apology.

  25. adamah says

    “No way to accidentally rape”? Really?

    It’s almost as if you’ve never heard of ‘statutory rape’, where the young lady lied about her age since she thought the older guy was totally hot and she really wanted to get laid? Although she consented, she’s a minor and thus unable to give consent; the guy is still going to be charged with statutory rape, and face punishment, including being put on the State’s pedophile database for life.

    That example demonstrates WHY we need gradients: “one size fits all” justice doesn’t work to fit the punishment with the actual crime committed.

    BTW, this whole tendency to over-simplify complex situations is utterly dismaying: is this the blog for AXP, the smart atheists who put on the cable show?

    Adam

  26. says

    The situation here isn’t that complex: Dawkins chose appalling examples to illustrate a logical point that pretty much everyone he was trying to address already understood.

  27. Monocle Smile says

    Statutory rape is entirely a red herring, adam. It’s very, very obvious that’s not what’s being discussed.

    Then again, babbling about stuff no one cares about for the sake of being contrarian has been your MO for a while.

  28. Narf says

    Then again, babbling about stuff no one cares about for the sake of being contrarian has been your MO for a while.

    I hadn’t noticed …

  29. says

    Also a reply to Edward:

    I’m failing to see the problem here. What’s wrong with the criticisms? Do you just not like them for the comparisons that were made? If that’s the case, that’s your problem. It doesn’t make the criticisms invalid.

    If there is no problem, I’m then failing to understand why this would “seem important to note.” OK, noted…I guess.

  30. says

    Edward’s trying to make the point that Dawkins was (apparently) told that his feelings about his own molestation are wrong, which is what we’re criticizing Dawkins for, however unintentionally, telling other victims. So double standards. But Edward left a few details out of his quote mining.

    Greta criticized Dawkins, not for his expression of his own emotions, but for his much more sweeping statement that “you can’t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours,” and therefore

    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 [Speak for yourself, Richard, I totally do. —MW], 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.

    In short, not just what happened to him, but he can’t find it in himself to condemn past instances of “mild pedophilia” generally, as moral standards were somehow different back then and it just wasn’t the crime worthy of condemnation that it is today.

    And both Greta’s and PZ’s criticisms came before Dawkins’ apology. But even so, PZ’s on the money when he points out that even the “mild touching up” of a child is an inexcusable act, even if the victim is now in his 70s and isn’t particularly bothered by the memory of it.

  31. corwyn says

    So then do we tell someone who’s grieving because they lost a loved one to vehicular manslaughter that, hey, it could have been worse, at least it wasn’t premeditated murder?

    No. Why would you ask that? Was that the context of Dawkins remarks? Ick. Are you *sure* that was the context?

  32. Frank G. Turner says

    I would disagree from this standpoint. Dawkins was not simply comparing a random X to a random Y, i.e.: McDonald’s cheeseburgers to Jack in the Box cheeseburgers, peanuts to cashews, Male to Female, etc. WHat Dawkins was saying was:
    “Acknowledging that a very traumatic and psychologically difficult situation in which a person was the victim of an atrocity (X) when compared ot an even more traumatic and psychologically difficult situation in which a person was the victim of a greater atrocity (Y) is less in degree than the second atrocity, does not justify or endorse the first atrocity.”
    .
    There are better examples of this, but when doing comparisons in which it is nessecary to indicate that immoral atrocities are just that, immoral atrocities, it is hard to pin down a “good” example. People who wortk in the emergency rooms of hospitals do make judgements about which injured person is doing worse. A person who is not breathing generally gets more attention and at a faster rate than a person with a broken limb. That’s what triage is all about.
    .
    Maybe that is a better example but that lacks the idea that what brought the person to the hosptial in the first place may have been a moral atrocity which was the critical point of compaarison. Perhaps it woudl be better to say that if a hypothetical rape victim who is not breathing as a result of being raped and they get more attention from the triage in ER does not justify the rape of a second hypothetical rape victim in the same ER getting less attention who has a few broken bones.
    .
    I dunno does that work better?

  33. says

    They are an implication of his remarks that he did not consider when making them. He’s mistaken in thinking people accuse him of endorsement of “lesser” crimes and social ills. He’s missing the point that creating a hierarchy of severity (which is entirely subjective — how do you determine if “date rape by roofie” is worse/not as bad as “date rape at knifepoint”?) has the effect of diminishing an act that shouldn’t be diminished, simply because it was not as tragic as it could have been.

  34. Monocle Smile says

    How about the very simple example of a bar fight? If you’re talking about Israel and Hamas, why go to rape?

    If some angry dude pushes me in a bar because he’s mad, I can push him back. Maybe even slug him…once.

    I CANNOT shank him in the eye with a sword, pile-drive him headfirst into the pavement, and then light him on fire in retaliation to a push.

  35. says

    We all got the basic logical point Dawkins was after, Frank. And on its own, it’s sound. Being punched in the mouth is less severe than getting shot, but it’s still bad to punch someone in the mouth.

    The main objection is the use of rape as an example is a bad move, period, because of all the appalling things that can happen to someone, rape is routinely dismissed, trivialized and minimized. Women are commonly accused of being lying vixens who lure men into their sinful beds only to cry rape later on for the lulz. (adamah does it in this very thread.) In Islamist theocracies, only eyewitness statements from four men (easy to find, of course) can support a rape victim’s accusations in court, and even then, she’ll be the one convicted and lashed for her “crime.” Republican politicians, with a completely straight face, will pull statements out of their ass, that there’s a thing called “legitimate rape” that you can’t get pregnant from because women’s bodies psychically know the difference and their vaginas presumably spawn ninja killers to take down rape sperm and “shut that whole thing down.”

    So yeah, talking about “mild” rape, in whatever context, and even to make a logical point (that everyone already understands), is just a bad idea. Rape already isn’t taken seriously as it is.

  36. says

    Yeah, red herring. It’s true that those who have a vested interest in diminishing the importance of rape will cherry-pick the instances of lying accusers — the Duke lacrosse team or Conor Oberst’s accusers — and parade them as examples of the norm. (And to Oberst’s eternal credit even he acknowledged that his accuser hadn’t hurt him so much as she had real victims.) But it’s really beside the point in a discussion of the inappropriateness of Dawkins’ examples.

  37. Edward Gemmer says

    Yes, I did think their comments were outrageous. However, that’s not my point; Dawkins received tremendous criticism for suggesting there was such a thing as “mild” pedophilia when he was describing what happened to him. He also received criticism for the examples he chose here, which were about relatively emotional issues. My suggestion is the reason he used those examples was the prior event, where he was trashed for discussing his emotional issue. People seem to think these things are evidence he doesn’t take abuse seriously, when I think the contrary is true. He’s trying to show that just because he describes something as mild doesn’t mean he thinks it is ok.

  38. Narf says

    Speaking of legitimate rape, that’s one of the few things I can think of even slightly in Richard’s defense, that maybe things aren’t quite as fucked up in England, as they are right now in the US. Perhaps he isn’t paying as much attention to US politics and doesn’t know how much worse the rape issue is, over here. Not that it’s a safe subject in any circumstance, but it’s just that much worse, given the insanity of the Republican Party, recently.

    Maybe that makes it about 3% less horrific of a thing to say.

  39. says

    Blindness to the extremities of American religious misogyny might be a good excuse were it not for the fact that he tweets constantly in condemnation of misogyny in Islamist nations, and indeed uses Islamist oppression of women as his very justification for belittling women in the west for complaining about misogyny and sexual harassment over here. Which has now led him to write these latest tweets where he’s protesting he isn’t advocating for any kind of bad behavior. When it was never advocacy his critics were accusing him of.

  40. Narf says

    Hey, I’m looking for anything I can come up with to take a slight edge off, and I’m not coming up with much. :D

    It’s still an assholish implication, even with potential ignorance of the American political situation factored in. It doesn’t come anywhere near the level of excusing anything, just possibly explains why he might not know well enough to stay the hell away from the subject, when so many Americans pay attention to him. I’m more looking for an explanation for why he would say something so stupid, not an excuse.

  41. adamah says

    BTW, MS and Narf, it’s insufficient to simply claim another poster committed a fallacy (shouting, “RED HERRING!”), since you apparently haven’t yet memorized this by heart:

    “The one making a claim bears the burden of proof to support it.”

    Since Martin actually DID bother to offer rationale to support the charge of ‘red herring’ (and didn’t offer only a silly ad hom), he’s getting a response by engaging with an actual argument, not simply declaring conclusions that must be accepted as if stated by royal fiat.

    Martin said-

    Yeah, red herring.

    It’s true that those who have a vested interest in diminishing the importance of rape will cherry-pick the instances of lying accusers — the Duke lacrosse team or Conor Oberst’s accusers — and parade them as examples of the norm…..

    Your examples above are completely irrelevant to MY refutation above, since I specifically offered the example of STATUTORY rape.

    Neither case you offered above are thus relevant to MY example, since the ‘victim’ of statutory rape could even testify in court they BEGGED the defendent to have sex with them, lied about their age, paid for the condoms and hotel room, etc, and when it comes to determining guilt, it still wouldn’t matter (in some States) since sexual contact between adults and minors is verboten (based on the legal premise that minors lack the ability to give valid consent).

    (Apparently males are expected to ask for State-issued photo ID before having sex?)

    But it’s really beside the point in a discussion of the inappropriateness of Dawkins’ examples.

    Exactly, and precisely why would you assume I WAS speaking to the appropriateness of Dawkins’ examples?

    I posted specifically to refute ButchKitties “accidental rape is impossible” comment, since regardless of whether you accept it or not, ‘statutory rape’ IS considered ‘rape’, a fact which many here seemingly overlooked in their rush to bash RD and their desire to reduce complex issues into “one size fits all” answers.

    (I haven’t yet posted on the massive assumptions that people apparently are reading into RDs words from what, a year ago, now?)

    Many here frequently end up on the wrong side of arguments by simply assuming too much….

    Adam

  42. says

    And if he had done that, you don’t think people would have figured out/assumed he was referring to his earlier rape comments and made the same comments they are making now?

  43. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Martin
    We all got the basic logical point Dawkins was after, Frank. And on its own, it’s sound. Being punched in the mouth is less severe than getting shot, but it’s still bad to punch someone in the mouth
    .
    Thank you very much, and what you said is also a better example given how difficult rape can be. Dawkins will probably use better examples, but hindsight is 20/20 isn’t it?
    .
    Republican politicians, with a completely straight face, will pull statements out of their ass, that there’s a thing called “legitimate rape” that you can’t get pregnant from because women’s bodies psychically know the difference and their vaginas presumably spawn ninja killers to take down rape sperm and “shut that whole thing down.”
    .
    Aside from getting a giggle at your “ninja killer vaginas” comment, I remember those stories in the news a couple of years ago during the election. If I am not mistaken, BOTH of those congressmen lost. I almost thought the comments were a joke, but I drummed it up to lack of science education (that seems fairly common among conservatives doesn’t it?).
    .
    What I find about politicians is that statements like that come from the “I must win and must do so at any and all costs,” attitude. I am not saying that liberals don’t do it but it seems more common among conservatives. That “pulling statements out of their ass,” was likely the intent, see if you can bullshit gullible poorly educated people. That is probably, on a deeper level, why so many conservatives are against better education, that would thin-out their constituency. Of course that is hopefully happening anyway as people wise up to keep up with the world population or the world population migrates in, a possible reason why conservatives push so hard for immigration reform too.
    .
    Pardon my political tirade but feel free to use that on the show if you like.
    .
    @adamah and Martin
    .
    Women are commonly accused of being lying vixens who lure men into their sinful beds only to cry rape later on for the lulz. (adamah does it in this very thread.)
    .
    I have to comment on this and pardon if it goes long but I have a LOT of thoughts on this. I am not saying that all women are guilty of luring men. Many rapes seem to be about power and forcing oneself on the other person and if a man does that to a woman (or one person forces themselves on another REGARDLESS of the sex) there is NO WAY that she is “luring” him. And despite any hypothetical lures by women the rule in the middle east is just ridiculous and obviously misogynistic. In THIS country men have the capacity to use their brains and check to see if the girl is really the age she says that she is and can get serious about ensuring that the woman is consenting.
    .
    There was a musician who got really famous who did something interesting (I read about this many years ago). If a woman who was interested in sex, immediately before it he would have her take an instant camera picture of the two of them naked and both smiling and have her sign and date the picture and make a copy for her and him. He would also appear in public several times with the woman before sex and make sure that several public displays of affection were established where she was obviously consenting, particularly in areas that he knew were video taped. I keep thinking that it was Chubby Checker but I can’t find any references to that online. The whole point was to create a HUGE string of evidence to indicate that it was consensual.
    .
    As long as we are on the issue, there are examples of women engaging in statutory rape (Sky Captain, if you are reading this feel free to post a few links to stories about the schoolteachers having sex with their students). What is difficult is that a person does not magically become mature at a certain age. A 23 year old female or male teacher should not be doing things with a 17 year old student due to his/her position. The student may consent, but the position of power is ALSO a problem. In THIS country the student is technically a minor, but may have a job and may even engaging in the care of younger children. So it is not unusual that in some cases it has been argued that the student was mature enough to give consent. In other cases that is argued against.
    .
    At the age of 35 of the teacher the student would be 30, and that does not really seem that far apart does it? It is not like the person magically obtained wisdom that they did not have between the eve of the 18th birthday and the day of their 18th birthday. There are 90 year old ADULTS who are still immature and unreasonable.
    .
    With parental permission or if you are legally emancipated you can even join the military at 17 (without those it is obviously 18, FYI I met one in college who started at 17). IN many countries children are considered adults and can begin working and leaving the care of a parent at younger ages, say 14 or 16. Some of those countries even let you join the military at those ages. I personally would hardly consider it unethical if a 17 year old girl consented to sex with a 19 year old boy, but some states consider that so, others have laws addressing that very issue. I think THAT is closer to what adamah was addressing in his post. At least that is how I read it, I could be wrong.

  44. Narf says

    At what point did I say anything about either a red herring or a fallacy? MS explained what you said that is a red herring. He didn’t just throw out “Fallacy!” and leave it there.
    What the fuck are you talking about?

  45. Frank G. Turner says

    Some people won’t let it go. When you apologize they want more than that, they want to hear you apologize over and over and over again and beg for forgiveness on your knees. Its why I really think we need objective proof of people’s feelings. Hard evidence of emotion.
    .
    However, you make a good point, if Dakwins just apologizes and leaves it, when the other person who won’t let it go brings it up, they look like the asshole.

  46. Frank G. Turner says

    Pardon my bouncing all over the place with that. I just have done a lot of thinking about statutory rape and the whole at what age should individuals be considered adults questions.
    .
    Summing up:
    – You are right Martin in that the example Dawkins chose was bad, too sensitive of an area.
    – When it comes to rape many politicians many are ill informed (particularly conservatives) about the issue due to their misunderstanding of science.
    – Whether the rape is statutory or not that is a side issue in that it still makes the example a bad one form Dawkins standpoint and if he apologizes then people should let it go.
    – We should not be making presumptions about people’s motives.
    – Criminal intent (rape included but I would not use that if I had a choice due to its sensitivity) is a complex area where motives are hard to determine and people don;t become magically capable of making mature, well informed decisions when they reach a certain age.

  47. Narf says

    If I am not mistaken, BOTH of those congressmen lost

    It was more like somewhere between 10 and 15. That was the first national election in which there had been so many Tea Party nominees, since they had been primarying a large number of the sane Republican incumbents. There was so much crazy that year.

    I almost thought the comments were a joke, but I drummed it up to lack of science education (that seems fairly common among conservatives doesn’t it?).

    What I find about politicians is that statements like that come from the “I must win and must do so at any and all costs,” attitude. I am not saying that liberals don’t do it but it seems more common among conservatives.

    I think it was more of a failure of strategizing. The Republican Party seems to be run by their most insane talking heads, lately. There were people screaming during the primaries that John McCain lost the general election because he wasn’t conservative enough … as if picking Palin as VP wasn’t a clear indicator that he was selling himself to the most extreme edge of the party.

    It seemed to me that the Republicans forgot the barest basics of electioneering, that you appeal to your base during the primaries and immediately swing hard to center during the general election. The Tea Party Repubs seem to think that the majority of the country is actually with them, so they can express their more extremist views during the general election of any but the reddest states and still have a prayer.

    Pat McCrory (gov, NC) is a better demonstration for how you do things … at least for one term. He lied through his teeth, during the general election, saying that he wouldn’t sign any anti-abortion legislation, then began signing it days after taking office. He sold himself as a moderate, during the general election, when he’s anything but, so he won easily. You have to keep the crazy to yourself, while selling yourself to the moderates.

    Specifically, those 12 or 14, or whatever it was, represented the recent party platform of banning all abortion, without exception for rape, health-of-the-mother, etc. Another of the rape apologists was even testing out their stance that there doesn’t have to be an exception for the life of the mother, since modern medicine apparently prevents that from being an issue.

    They have their sights set on birth control next. Their problem is that maybe 10% of the population is with them in that goal, so they’re testing out ways to sell it to the rest of the country and are failing horribly.

    I’d say that it’s more of a Tea Party thing. Up until recently, the Republican Party has been controlled by fiscal conservatives who use the religious fundie stuff to pander to people who won’t benefit from fiscal conservatism. The large number of rape apologists during the 2012 election season was a result of the extreme base of the party grabbing the reigns and steering them off a cliff, to a chorus of, “Hey, watch this, y’all!” Most of those sorts are anti-science nuts, so you get what we got.

    Sadly, the climate science stuff isn’t as well known by the general public, so they’re getting away with that shit.

  48. Narf says

    At the age of 35 of the teacher the student would be 30, and that does not really seem that far apart does it? It is not like the person magically obtained wisdom that they did not have between the eve of the 18th birthday and the day of their 18th birthday.

    That’s why many states have additional parameters, in addition to the hard line at 18. Most have something to the effect that if you’re within 4 years of each other, it doesn’t matter if you’re on opposite sides of the consent line.

    Same states don’t have an exception like that, and you get stupid shit like an 18 year-old being arrested, put in jail, and having to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, because he had sex with his 17 year-old girlfriend.

    Some states have fucked up, stupid laws. This is not news.

  49. Narf says

    Yup. Like I said somewhere else on here: name, rank, and serial number. If people try to bring it back up, you tell them you don’t want to talk about it, again and again and again, if necessary.

  50. Narf says

    - Whether the rape is statutory or not that is a side issue in that it still makes the example a bad one form Dawkins standpoint and if he apologizes then people should let it go.

    Dawkins wasn’t talking about statutory rape. That’s the red herring that was brought up only in the comment section here. The issue with his own experience is that it was non-consensual fondling. The fact that he was a child was incidental.

  51. adamah says

    Narf said-

    Same states don’t have an exception like that, and you get stupid shit like an 18 year-old being arrested, put in jail, and having to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, because he had sex with his 17 year-old girlfriend.

    Some states have fucked up, stupid laws. This is not news.

    So lemme see if I’ve got this straight:

    You recognize the foolishness of those States that fail to differentiate between non-consensual sex (rape) and consensual sex between teens close in age where one is under-age (statutory rape), but then simply dismiss it as irrelevant, since you likely realize it torpedos the “all rape is equivalent” claim?

    Hmmmm….

    If you truly believed it was “fucked up”, as you say, then wouldn’t you be pushing for MORE differentiation between types of rape in all States, and not less?

    Or are you sticking with the “rape is rape” position?

    Adam

  52. adamah says

    Martin said-

    No, he was criticized for suggesting that how he felt about his abuse is how others should have felt about their own. His quote, emphasis added: “I don’t think [my abuser] did any of us lasting harm.” A presumption, to say the least, and that specific remark is what he was taken to task for and eventually apologized for.

    You forgot to mention that RD actually talked to the other adults who were his classmates as a child, and hence he was speaking only for those whom he talked to on several occasions. Out of the group, all self-reported no harm or lingering effects, since they all had realized they were children when it happened, and it was out of their control and powerless as kids; but as adults, they refused to play the role of his victim and waste their lives and energy on changing the unchangable past, and they simply moved on with their lives (as if there’s any other choice), all becoming successful in life.

    He also acknowledged there may very well be other unknown victims (RD is fully-aware of the ‘survivorship effect), and he publicly acknowledged he wasn’t speaking for them.

    So what part of this has got your goad, exactly: is it the actual pedophilia itself, or the fact that some people refuse to waste their lives by seeing themselves as victims of others, and are actually able to choose to escape the control of the pedophile (who died long ago) by refusing to become his life-long victims?

    Adam

  53. Narf says

    If you truly believed it was “fucked up”, as you say, then wouldn’t you be pushing for MORE differentiation between types of rape in all States, and not less?

    Or are you sticking with the “rape is rape” position?

    Okay, here’s the new rule. As soon as you start deliberately misrepresenting things and equivocating, I’m just going to tell you to fuck off. The others have seen enough of your bullshit that I’m fairly certain they’ll be with me.

    You occasionally have something interesting to say, but your wheat-to-chaff ratio is so poor that I just can’t be bothered to give a fuck anymore. Particularly after your “I have a Ph.D., so everything I say is right,” episode, I don’t like you, and I have almost no respect for you.

    That said, fuck off.

  54. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Frank G. Turner:

    As long as we are on the issue, there are examples of women engaging in statutory rape (Sky Captain, if you are reading this feel free to post a few links to stories about the schoolteachers having sex with their students).

    0.o
    You’re either inviting me to join you in the hole, or asking for more rope.
    Please, don’t to that.

  55. adamah says

    Narf said-

    Okay, here’s the new rule. As soon as you start deliberately misrepresenting things and equivocatingI’m just going to tell you to fuck off.

    So much to unpack: where to begin?

    For one, the old rule works just fine for me: the first one to resort to ad homs loses.

    It’s an admission they’ve got jack, are fresh out of ammunition (aka facts, evidence, cogent reasoning, an argument).

    Sure, some folks have the intellectual integrity to say, “You know, you’re right, and that’s makes a lot of sense: I’ve never thought of it that way before, so thanks!”

    Others lack that ability or character, and only manage to sputter a few ad homs as they head off to lick their wounds.

    It’s a personal choice: your call…

    2nd point: with the words in bold above, you weren’t implying I committed an “equivocation fallacy”, relying on statutory rape and non-consensual rape not being equivalent?

    They ARE equivalent, so it’s no fallacy: in both cases, consent isn’t given (where a minor by definition CANNOT give consent, and the adult victim DOES NOT give consent).

    But putting reality aside for a moment, if you DID accuse me of the “equivocation fallacy” you’d be denying that statutory rape IS a form of rape, and based on your prior “fucked comment”, you’d be implying that statutory rape is somehow LESS THAN non-consensual rape.

    Isn’t that exactly what some here have their undergarments in a twist over, objecting to RD’s attempting to rank the badness of “rape”?

    Wouldn’t that be further proof that in Nard’s eyes, not all rape IS the same? So you’d be disagreeing with Martin’s premise, above, where he questions RD for trying to differentiate to create a “hierarchy of severity”.

    So get your fallacies straight, for one, and you can relax: it’s not an example of an “equivocation fallacy”, since statutory rape actually IS considered a form of rape in the eyes of the law, and whether you admit it or agree or not is irrelevant to that basic premise of law.

    The others have seen enough of your bullshit that I’m fairly certain they’ll be with me.

    And sure, there’s no evidence of “group-think” going on here, no sirree, lol!

    PS you’d better figure out a way to disagree with Martin without actually disagreeing with his position, as a ome are intent on attempting to squash the voicing of opinions on certain topics as verboten, which is not equality, but appears to be a MASSIVE genetic fallacy (literally, against anyone who carries a ‘y’ chromosome, or even if not, for saying anything in support of equality).

    You occasionally have something interesting to say, but your wheat-to-chaff ratio is so poor that I just can’t be bothered to give a fuck anymore. Particularly after your “I have a Ph.D., so everything I say is right,” episode, I don’t like you, and I have almost no respect for you.

    That said, fuck off.

    Hint: it’s easier just to cry, “Uncle!”, as the net result is effectively the same.

    But as I said above, it’s a matter of style, and that’s your call (you get to pick your preferred flavor of poison)….

    Adam

  56. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    He didn’t state that he was specifically talking about legal definitions. He wasn’t saying “X is worse than Y, therefor the sentence for X should be longer than Y.” All he said was “X is worse than Y and that doesn’t mean I endorse Y.” Fine, in a purely logical sense and fine, if you’re someone who has never been affected by Y. But if you are? It’s going to come off like “Geez, why are you making such a big deal about Y?! At least it wasn’t X.”

    And this whole business of feigned ignorance that people are upset by this? Please, Richard Dawkins, tell me more about how there was no way you could predict anyone might have strong feelings on the topic of rape.

  57. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Sky Captain
    You’re either inviting me to join you in the hole, or asking for more rope.
    Please, don’t to that.

    .
    Oh no, that was not my intention, and I did not see myself as being in a hole. I have just noticed that you have a reputation for linking to sources/articles relevant to the information. That is a good talent and I appreciate it. (I considered linking to the source myself as I did with the Gorilla saving a toddler bit). It was meant as a complement.
    .
    I can do it. One is even recent.
    http://www.wcvb.com/news/somerville-teacher-charged-with-statutory-rape/26766676#!bqB9c3
    . Heck here is a list.
    http://www.zimbio.com/The+50+Most+Infamous+Female+Teacher+Sex+Scandals/articles

  58. Narf says

    You heard me the first time, Adam. Either find someone less dishonest to argue your “points” for you or just go away. I’m done wasting time on you.

  59. Frank G. Turner says

    @Narf and adamah
    You guys obviously have a history on here that I was unaware of. That is odd as I like both of you and think that you both have good points and are very intellectual and I appreciate that. I can see how issues might arise when we “read too much into” what is being said. I read something totally different into what adamah had said (as I indicated above) than what appeared to be indicated by a lot of people.
    .
    Furthermore I don’t like to “speak for the group” as I am aware of how my differences in how I read things is NOT representative of a majority and doing ANY type of thinking that what one thinks is representative of the majority can lead to disaster. That is too similar to what Narf said about Tea party repubs thinking that their party is “with them” on a lot of issues that they are not. People need to be taken on an individual basis even if the majority has a similar opinion on a particular issue. As I sometimes say, sometimes a certain forest can only be known by measuring the individual trees (the inverse of the common cliche). So I would be careful with that Narf. I am not saying that is was wrong, just to be cautious.
    .
    I don’t know about this “I have a Ph.D. therefore everything I say is right” episode, but I have respect for both of you and see the value of many of the points that you are making. Statutory rape is not the same as other types of rape but in many cases is still non consensual, but I would think that has more to do with abuse of one’s position of power as an adult towards a minor. I would not call it “non consensual” simply because an underage individual cannot “legally” give consent, children do have some power to agree to and object to things. Like I said some countries consider children adults at younger ages than the US does (some as young as 12, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_consent#mediaviewer/File:Age_of_Consent_-_Global.svg). That might have more to do with understanding “why” we object to and consent to things.
    .
    I don’t know if I would call the whole thing an equivocation fallacy. Maybe it is a “they are related but I don’t know if I would call them equivalent but I don’t approve of them either way” principle? That does not mean that I consent to ANY type of rape (getting back to the Dawkins issue). Furthermore, I understand that people may have differences of opinion with me on that and I am ok with that. I don’t need to be “right” on that given that I recognize there is some gray area. People mature at different rates so whether a person has the capacity to consent and understand why they are doing it varies.
    .
    I can definitely see why Dawkins says getting atheists together is like herding cats though. Let’s try to be civil with one another. Can we just go with this, “I don’t know” is the most honest position and agree to disagree about things? That is the big issue that we seem to have with theists isn’t it? They refuse to agree to disagree with us. So let’s demonstrate that we have the ability to agree to disagree with each other and lead by example…. please?

  60. Narf says

    Frank, he has a long history on here of generally being a douche bag, and I finally washed my hands of him after he proclaimed a global self-authority, because he has a Ph.D., a few posts back. I try not to waste time on assholes like him.

  61. Frank G. Turner says

    @Narf
    Same states don’t have an exception like that, and you get stupid shit like an 18 year-old being arrested, put in jail, and having to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, because he had sex with his 17 year-old girlfriend.

    Some states have fucked up, stupid laws. This is not news.
    .
    Some states have fucked up stupid people living in them. I think a lot of it comes from people who don’t comprehend the idea of gray territory in a lot of issues and think that everything actually has hard lines. That is much in the same way that I view people’s misunderstanding of scripture.

  62. Frank G. Turner says

    @Narf
    Frank, he has a long history on here of generally being a douche bag, and I finally washed my hands of him after he proclaimed a global self-authority, because he has a Ph.D., a few posts back. I try not to waste time on assholes like him.
    .
    Well I actually like him and appreciate a lot of what he has to say (although I do have some disagreements on this issue with him but that is going to happen). I even ask for his comments sometimes. For the most part I think he has a valid stance on this issue and we are just parsing semantics and bickering over gray territory. I don;t know so much about past history though.
    .
    I like you too though and appreciate what you have to say as well. Corwyn (I like the mathematics and how you put things into equation form, even when I think something is not quantifiable) and Sky Captain (I like the article linkage) you are both included in that too, what you have to say is appreciated.

  63. Narf says

    Some states have fucked up stupid people living in them. I think a lot of it comes from people who don’t comprehend the idea of gray territory in a lot of issues and think that everything actually has hard lines.

    I think it might also have something to do with the inability of a lot of people to reverse a previous decision. Take the Patriot Act. Once it was enacted, if a politician realized that we had gone way, way too far with it, and wanted to repeal damned near the whole thing, that politician was trying to enable the terrorists.

    Similarly, once statutory consent laws were enacted, I’m sure that anyone who wanted to implement a few clarifying laws, such as the 4-year gap allowance, got tarred as endangering our children, or something similar. This country has been very susceptible to political hysteria, for a long time.

  64. Narf says

    Well I actually like him and appreciate a lot of what he has to say (although I do have some disagreements on this issue with him but that is going to happen). I even ask for his comments sometimes. For the most part I think he has a valid stance on this issue and we are just parsing semantics and bickering over gray territory.

    Give him a while to wear on you. You’ll start to notice the way that he repeatedly pulls crap like the self-authoritarian bullshit that I mentioned. That wasn’t the first time he tried it, but that was the most blatant that I’ve noticed.

    Watch the way that he dives headfirst into a semantic argument and declares that everyone who has a slightly different interpretation of the terminology is wrong and should be embarrassed about their stupidity, or something similar. After a while, I stopped caring about the occasional useful bit that he can bring to a discussion, when it comes from such a person. Half of the other people on the blog can bring the same sort of thing, without the attitude.

  65. Frank G. Turner says

    @Narf
    I think it might also have something to do with the inability of a lot of people to reverse a previous decision
    .
    This country has been very susceptible to political hysteria, for a long time
    .
    There seem to be a lot of people in this country that think that the majority of the world is made up of is binary dichotomies. That is kind of sad really as it leads to a pretty limited world. I can understand though why they would need to focus on their imaginary friend being perfect and infallible as it is really a projection of them on their own insecurities. I have known many whose attitude is that they are “always right or always wrong” and nothing in between. That does make changing one’s mind on an issue when what should hypothetically work does not pan out in practice due to unforeseen variables that affect the situation.
    .
    It seems like that’s what we are trying to get people to understand. They don’t have to be insecure like Martin Luther who needed to be always right about everything because if he was wrong once about anything then he felt that he was wrong all the time about everything, a strong sign of severe insecurity. It seems like that’s what the political hysteria is, taking advantage of that insecurity.

  66. Conversion Tube says

    When do we get to talk about last weeks show and the slew of prank callers? Starting with the first caller. Stone Church idiot pretending to be Atheist and trying to hide his voice.

  67. Monocle Smile says

    For one, the old rule works just fine for me: the first one to resort to ad homs loses.

    Are you five? Nothing Narf said constituted ad hominem. He didn’t say you’re wrong because you’re a dick; he said he’s not going to address you because you’re a dick. That undercuts your entire spiel.

    Sure, some folks have the intellectual integrity to say, “You know, you’re right, and that’s makes a lot of sense: I’ve never thought of it that way before, so thanks!”

    Wow, adam. I wasn’t quite on the same page as Narf before, but now I’m firmly in his camp as well. Giving you a verbal blowjob doesn’t amount to intellectual integrity when your argument is bullshit. If your argument is valid, you STILL shouldn’t expect that level of adoration. There should be some amount of consideration…and THAT is intellectual integrity. I bet you insist on being addressed as “Dr.” in daily life.

    The REAL argument made here is that “statutory rape” is a misnomer. I personally think the term “rape” shouldn’t even be there; the serial date rapist and the 17 year old who had sex with his consenting 15 year old girlfriend have not committed crimes that are even in the same category. In other words, it’s a categorical difference rather than one of magnitude. Why you brought it up is a mystery to me…well, not exactly a mystery, but I’ll bite my tongue for now.

    You apparently wanted to argue for no reason, so when you saw “you can’t rape someone accidentally,” you though you had some “gotcha” bullshit by equivocating statutory rape with the category of rape that was being discussed. It was obvious to everyone else that statutory rape was not part of the discussion.

    Also, last I checked, “cannot” and “does not” aren’t equivalent (we’re not talking about legal shit here, which was made extremely clear). Now you’ll probably write a fucking novel about how I’m wrong for whatever bad reason.

  68. Frank G. Turner says

    @Narf and adamah
    Give him a while to wear on you. You’ll start to notice the way that he repeatedly pulls crap like the self-authoritarian bullshit that I mentioned.
    .
    Reading some of the posts I do see how people may perceive a lot of what adamah says to be rough in tone and inconsiderate. I don’t really trust myself to read between the lines with a whole lot of accuracy though as I have found that much of that is just educated guesswork. I would like it not to be (for emotion and intent to be objective and unbiased), but it is not that way and I have paid too much attention to the fact that my reading of what was implied to be less than accurate when it comes to how others read what was implied. In a way that can make it hard to relate to what you are saying and it may not wear on me all that quickly but at the same time it can immunize me a bit against said emotional implications.
    .
    From what I can see the term “statutory rape” came up, which seemed to be in response to the hypothetical idea of a male in his mid to late 20s getting involved with a teenage girl who claimed to be over 18 (hence the “accidental rape” concept). This was applied to Dawkins situation where he as a young 6-8 year old boy was fondled by an adult male in his mid to late 30s. Of course you came up with idea of an 18 year old boy who is arrested for sex with his consenting 17 year old girlfriend came up.
    .
    Those are all different contexts and we don’t have different words for them, but all are called “statutory rape.” Misunderstandings like that happen when we lack the words. Maybe we need new terms from Latin and Greek combinations like is done in describing diseases or new anatomical terms or alternately we need to start using eponyms.

  69. ceesays says

    There’s a way around this, yeah.

    “What I said wound up sending the message that there’s a hierarchy of rape, and since that wasn’t what I was trying to say, I have apologized for it.”

    Look, it even fits on a tweet!

  70. Narf says

    It seems like that’s what we are trying to get people to understand. They don’t have to be insecure like Martin Luther who needed to be always right about everything because if he was wrong once about anything then he felt that he was wrong all the time about everything, a strong sign of severe insecurity.

    I don’t get the part about ‘insecure like Martin Luther’. Is that a reference to one of his works that I haven’t read or something? Explain please.

    It seems like that’s what the political hysteria is, taking advantage of that insecurity.

    Oh, absolutely. The biggest thing that the Republican Party deals in is fear. The liberal side has their own emotional levers, but they’re not as intellect-overriding as the fear-of-other that the Republicans usually deal in.

  71. says

    Wow, how did this discussion get derailed from Dawkin’s willful ignorance of the cultural and rhetorical significance in using rape to illustrate toddler level logic?

    Oh, never mind, I see Adam is performing his usual “level three: argumentative” tactics to change the narrative to whine about how bad men have it, what with all of that “jail bait” out there tempting us.

  72. Narf says

    Monocle Smile

    I personally think the term “rape” shouldn’t even be there; the serial date rapist and the 17 year old who had sex with his consenting 15 year old girlfriend have not committed crimes that are even in the same category. In other words, it’s a categorical difference rather than one of magnitude.

    There we go. Much better than the term I was thinking of. I was stuck on ‘context’, for some reason, when I think I really meant category error, all along. Wrong C-word. Thank you.

    Did I ever actually say ‘context’, or did I just think it, somewhere up above?

    Oh, and 17 and 15? Are you in England or something?

    You apparently wanted to argue for no reason, so when you saw “you can’t rape someone accidentally,” …

    I don’t see why he even had to drive things into the legalistic category, causing the cluster-fuck that he did. I already brought up a possible exception to the no-accidental-rape statement.

    Taking mind-altering medications that will make you sexually-aggressive and destroy your inhibitions isn’t the get-out-of-jail-free card that he was looking for, I guess, and he wasn’t happy with just trading the one violation for another.

  73. Niall O says

    As a former admin at his old forum, I’ve managed to sustain the cognitive compartmentalisation that allowed me to praise his pop science books in one breath but admit he has the social intelligence of a teaspoon the next. After this I can’t stand to see his tomes on my bookshelf. They’ll be paying a little visit to Oxfam in the morning. Sorry it took me so long.

  74. Narf says

    Frank G. Turner

    Those are all different contexts and we don’t have different words for them, but all are called “statutory rape.” Misunderstandings like that happen when we lack the words. Maybe we need new terms from Latin and Greek combinations like is done in describing diseases or new anatomical terms or alternately we need to start using eponyms.

    This is one of the big problems with trying to drive it into a legalistic context. A 6 – 8 year-old boy clearly isn’t giving informed consent to a fondling by an adult, since a 6 – 8 year-old doesn’t even have a concept of sexuality and what it means to that adult.

    Trying to compare that situation to a 17 year-old girl whom the law has determined can’t legally give consent is so far off from any valid comparison that I don’t know where to start un-fucking the comparison, even if I was so inclined. It has freaking nothing to do with the subject, which was emotional harm to the victim.

  75. Narf says

    Wow, how did this discussion get derailed from Dawkin’s willful ignorance of the cultural and rhetorical significance in using rape to illustrate toddler level logic?

    Good to see I’m not the only one who has an issue with this sort of nonsensical crap, Bits.

  76. Narf says

    Eh, I’m fine with that level of compartmentalization. I can appreciate Dawkins’s books while cringing at half of the things he says without having time for a rewrite.

  77. Niall O says

    I wouldn’t be able to read them without hearing his sanctimonious Oxbridge dulcet tones anyway. I’ve learned all I could from them anyway. Plus, there’s always David Attenborough to fill the cool zoologist uncle role in my life.

  78. Frank G. Turner says

    Interesting that you mention that, I commented about the caller “Daniel” sounded like a prank caller on the #875 board.
    .
    I guess we could just start it here and move over when they start the other board.

  79. Monocle Smile says

    Narf, Michigan puts the age of consent at 16. In high school, someone was indeed arrested for statutory rape. We had like five pregnant girls walking around, one of whom was carrying the child of a security guard, and the arrestee wasn’t one of their boyfriends. Parental complaints trumped pretty much everything else.

  80. Narf says

    Well, Martin seems to be paying attention to this thread. Maybe he’ll get on that, when he checks back in. *shrug*

  81. Narf says

    Heh, true. If you’ve read them a few times each, you probably have all that you’re really going to retain from them.

    I guess it would be easier to deal with if his particular focus of incompetence was something less socially awkward. Oh well, plenty of other writers out there in both categories in which he’s dabbled.

  82. Narf says

    Wait, so they arrested a 17 year old for that? Is that even a thing? When you aren’t legally an adult, how can you be arrested for having sex with a minor? I was under the impression that statutory consent was only an issue for anyone 18 or older, in states that have an age of consent below 18.

    That’s kind of fucked up, beyond the hard-line thing. Hell, I’m in a state that has both the hard line set at 18, so there isn’t any confusion over how old you have to be before the line applies to you, since 18 is the line-of-accountability for damned near everything … but then we have the four-year gap exemption, on top of that.

  83. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Narf

    It seems like that’s what we are trying to get people to understand. They don’t have to be insecure like Martin Luther who needed to be always right about everything because if he was wrong once about anything then he felt that he was wrong all the time about everything, a strong sign of severe insecurity.

    I don’t get the part about ‘insecure like Martin Luther’. Is that a reference to one of his works that I haven’t read or something? Explain please.

    .
    Actually pardon my mispeaking with regard to Luther having to be always right or being always wrong. That is more my own opinion based on various writings about Martin Luther (as in the protestant reformer, whom I remember Aron Ra commented on due to Luther’s objection to “reason” in a speech Ra gave once).
    .
    What I was getting at was this. Many works on Martin Luther indicate that he continuously felt unworthy as a Catholic Priest when he was ordained. WHile one may admit that Luther had many things to be unhappy with the Catholic Church about at the time (the purchase of indulgences, corruption of the priesthood, etc), Luther had his own personal issues. He repeatedly felt so unworthy of God, this perfect being who granted grace, that Luther would spend hours and hours trying to confess every little tiny sin that he could think of, would walk outside, step on a bug, and walk right back in to spend more hours confessing every little thing. He reports having felt that the tiniest little sin would make him so unworthy of God’s grace that he would be hit by a horse, die, and be condemned to hell for all eternity for the most miniscule of evil deads. Talk about an inferiority complex.
    .
    Luther came up with “solo fides,” or “only faith” as an idea of how to be worthy of the grace of a perfect God. He said soemthing in one writing about how he needed to know that he could commit adultery 100 times a day and still be granted God’s grace (paraphrasing). So basically he could not get used to anything shy of absolute perfection and some sort of guarantee of how o get it given that he was so imperfect. That is the insecurity issue.
    .
    Luther gave in to this “us vs. them” mentality as part of his search for absolute perfection (Luther wrote a lot about his concern for his eternal spirit) as Luther wrote numerous anti-Semetic works. There is a book I heard about online about how Luther was laregly the inspiration for Hitler.
    .
    Politics often takes advantage of such insecurities as Hitler and the National Socialists did.

  84. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Narf (above):

    @Frank G. Turner:

    Martin Luther who needed to be always right about everything because if he was wrong once about anything then he felt that he was wrong all the time about everything, a strong sign of severe insecurity.

    I don’t get the part about ‘insecure like Martin Luther’. Is that a reference to one of his works that I haven’t read or something?

     
    Article: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Martin Luther

    Luther was haunted by insecurity about his salvation (he describes these insecurities in striking tones and calls them Anfectungen or Afflictions.) […] He threw himself into the life of a monk with verve. It did not seem to help.

    By doing your best, even as minimal as it is, this will merit […] an infusion of grace
    […]
    Within this context of covenant Luther struggled to prove that he was good enough to merit God’s grace. However, he failed to convince himself. He might have been contrite, but was he contrite enough? This uncertainty afflicted (Anfectungen) him for years.

    In 1513, he began his first lectures on the Psalms. In these lectures, Luther’s critique of the theological world around him begins to take shape. […] It was during these lectures that Luther finally found the assurance that had evaded him for years. […] Now, Luther understood righteousness as a gift of God’s grace. He had discovered (or recovered) the doctrine of justification by grace alone.

    Acceptance is based on who one is rather than what one does. Justification is bestowed rather than achieved. Justification is not based on human righteousness, but on God’s righteousness
    […]
    From now on, Luther’s response to the trials of his life and the crises of the late medieval period was to be certain of God, but never to be secure in human society.

    Philosophy tells us that God is omnipotent and impassible; revelation tells us that Jesus Christ died for humanity’s sin. The two cannot be reconciled. Reason is the devil’s whore precisely because asks the wrong questions and looks in the wrong direction for answers. Revelation is the only proper place for theology to begin. Reason must always take a back-seat.

    Reason does play a primary role in governance and in most human interaction. Reason, Luther argued, is necessary for a good and just society […] Here, opposite to his discussion of theology, it is revelation that is improper. Trying to govern using the gospel as one’s model would either corrupt the government or corrupt the gospel.
    […]
    Luther was self-consciously trying to carve out proper realms for revelation and philosophy or reason. Each had a proper role that enables humanity to thrive. Chaos only became a problem when the two got confused.

  85. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Sky Captain
    Ah thank you. Exactly the piece that I was looking for (I knew I had read that before).

  86. Narf says

    Heh, nice. I knew about the Hitler thing, but I didn’t know that he started the faith-alone thing.

    Well, that isn’t right, saying that he started it, but I didn’t know that he was a major proponent. I thought that the saved/born-again thing was an addition of later Protestant groups. I always thought of Martin Luther as more in line with what we think of as current Catholic teachings, since he wasn’t an intentional breakaway.

    The constant self-abuse is in line with what I remember of Catholicism. They just tend to be less absolute about it … you know, as long as you’re giving them money.

  87. Frank G. Turner says

    Oh and FYI, THIS is why I brought that up earlier in the thread, you seem to be very good at finding the reference that people are making in documented form. I will refrain from asking in the future.

  88. Narf says

    Luther believed, rather, that philosophy and reason had important roles to play in our lives and in the life of the community. However, he also felt that it was important to remember what those roles were and not to confuse the proper use of philosophy with an improper one.

    I smell some of William Lane Craig in that statement, with his garbage about the ministerial and magisterial use of reason. According to him, the only proper use of Reason is as theology’s bitch, as Steve Shives paraphrased it.

  89. Narf says

    Heh, nah man. Nothing wrong with a little duplication. Sky Captain handles the psychic, and I handle the psychotic.

  90. Frank G. Turner says

    No no, I mentioned how women can be perpetrators of stautory rape as well as men. I invited Sky Captain to comment on that as he would probably have links to articles on that very topic. (I notice that he is very good at that and I appreciate it). He did not like the fact that I referenced him for that (it was meant as a complement). So I just linked some articles myself.
    .
    I have read similar articles to what he linked but was having trouble finding them. I was commenting that he is good at finding those. I will try not to ask him to do so in the future.

  91. Frank G. Turner says

    I smell some of William Lane Craig in that statement, with his garbage about the ministerial and magisterial use of reason.
    .
    Craig is the perfect example of the “I must be right at any and all costs” attitude and he will use lofty language and be intellectually dishonest in subtle ways to do it.

  92. Narf says

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I see what you mean now, yeah. What he took to be a swipe, you genuinely meant as a, “God dammit, you’re too good at this, so feel free to demonstrate what I’m trying to allude to here, as you often do so well.” Gotcha.

  93. Narf says

    But yeah, when he admits intellectual dishonesty in the introductions to his books, it makes me look at Christians funny, when they suggest him to me.

    Really, you couldn’t have referenced a good apologist, who … well, okay, I won’t ask for a good apologist, because I don’t want to demand an impossible task. But you couldn’t have named someone less obviously full of shit?

  94. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Narf
    Well, that isn’t right, saying that he started it, but I didn’t know that he was a major proponent. I thought that the saved/born-again thing was an addition of later Protestant groups. I always thought of Martin Luther as more in line with what we think of as current Catholic teachings, since he wasn’t an intentional breakaway.
    .
    Religious development is a lot like evolution. (Pardon me for mentioning it but that is something adamah mentions in the #874 board with a reference to the book “A History of God,” and I think it honest to give credit where it is due). Evolution builds upon past forms with new forms having elements of the old, sometimes becoming less complex to adapt and sometimes more. So did the proponents of “solo fides” and the development of Protestant dogma.
    .
    Heck even the development of evolutionary theory is like evolution. I wind up telling undereducated science individuals how a number of the principles (almost all of them) actually pre-date Darwin (inviting them to look up Linneas).
    .
    Martin Luther’s ideas came from Catholicism because he was an ordained Catholic Priest and he did not object to everything that they were doing. If he had been diametrically opposed he would be anti-Xtian wouldn’t he?

  95. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Frank G. Turner:
    A) You were getting caught up in a derailment, and asked for links that would neither aid your statements nor end the derailment. When I link, I do so to add information.
     
    B) I’m not always haunting this blog to notice promptly. And when I am around, I link proactively. Also, it’s kinda weird to be summoned by name for support, rather than an idle request for info.

  96. Frank G. Turner says

    Bullshit. He’s not that subtle.
    .
    It was a rhetorical understatement. Thanks though.
    .
    And I recently tell people that Craig is making their situation worse, not better. (Though the caller Daniel on show 876 was doing a wonderful job of demonstrating someone who is an inarticulate apologist rather than an articulate one like Craig).

  97. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Sky Captain
    A) I failed to see it as a derailment but I often fail to “read between the lines” on certain things as I don’t do emotional interpretation very well. The point was to demonstrate that rape issues are not always mysogynistic.
    .
    B) It was not intended as a summoning for support. I just realized that you are good at this and figured that you might want to chime in. I would have asked about the Martin Luther article in an idle sense if you had preferred that but I am concerned that you might see it as a derailment.
    .
    THere are times when things are implied based upon the projections of others and what they think the other person is saying vs. what they are saying. I have heard it said that the words sometimes heard loud and clear are the ones that are not spoken, i.e.: what is implied vs. what is stated explicitly. I tend to be largely focused on what is stated explicitly and less on what is implied because that is how my brain works. That can be an advantage or a disadvantage based on the situation.
    .
    Notice how I had a completely different idea of “how to take” adamah’s comments, i.e.: what was being implied?
    .
    IT is why I am often long winded as I don’t expect or want a whole lot beyond the very basics to be taken as implied by what I am saying. I would prefer everything spoken and outright. Too much of what is “implied” is guesswork. People think they can read between the lines because they think they have done so well in the past, but they tend to ignore the times that they didn’t read between the lines so well and missed the implication (you know confirmation bias?).

  98. Frank G. Turner says

    Yes I often wonder if Craig will turn brown due to being at his maximum capacity for fecal matter.

  99. Narf says

    Yeah, that’s why I almost always immediately walk back statements like that. Pointing to a specific point and saying “That’s where it happened,” is almost always an exercise in futility.

    Hey, that’s a pretty good response to half of the theistic bullshit out there, both in the realm of evolution-denial and the theology itself. I’m sure that’s part of their failure in grasping most concepts: the perverse demand for an oversimplification of everything.

    In evolutionary theory, that’s what makes them say stupid things like speciation meaning that a crocodile just gave birth to a bird. I think a few of the sheep in the pews actually think that that’s what punctuated equilibrium means. In their defense of their religion, that’s what makes them create such absurd dichotomies. “So, if Jesus didn’t do everything described in the Gospels, you think that the apostles just made it all up?”

    Dude, life just isn’t that simple and clear-cut.

  100. Narf says

    Also, it’s kinda weird to be summoned by name for support, rather than an idle request for info.

    Thou shalt not take the name of thy Sky Captain in vain. :D

  101. Narf says

    I would have asked about the Martin Luther article in an idle sense if you had preferred that but I am concerned that you might see it as a derailment.

    I think we’ve pretty much hit the point at which we can stop worrying about that, with this particular post.

  102. Monocle Smile says

    Maybe Alvin Plantinga, but ONLY because I’m more likely to be baffled by his bullshit rather than understand why exactly it’s bullshit.

    He’s unfortunately a graduate of my alma mater. We’ve got him, Ann Coulter, and the Unabomber. Luckily our claims to fame outweigh our claims to shame.

  103. Narf says

    And I recently tell people that Craig is making their situation worse, not better.

    ‘Splain please. Do you mean making their situation worse, in their attempts to educate themselves, or what?

  104. Narf says

    Well yeah. I’m just trying to come up with obscene hypotheticals to break the absolute nature of the statement I was responding to.

    I’d even go so far as to say that well over 90% of rapes in which someone was impaired, it was just the victim. I’ve never heard of a case in which a normally-sweet person was influenced into raping someone by a drug, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it has happened somewhere.

  105. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Monocle Smile:

    Maybe Alvin Plantinga, but ONLY because I’m more likely to be baffled by his bullshit rather than understand why exactly it’s bullshit.

    For anyone morbidly curious about “America’s leading orthodox Protestant philosopher of God”…
     
    Podcast: Conversations from the Pale Blue Dot – Why Plantinga’s Reformed Epistemology Fails (1:42:30)
     
    Short version: Reasonable beliefs are grounded in the immediate senses. Intelligent design’s the only way to explain how our senses work reliably. But god botched the sense that detects deities and gave us all brain damage; it makes us act impulsive and heatheny too. But then the holy spirit goes around later to fix certain folks: only Christians’ brains work properly. Now he’s not saying that’s true… only that if it were true, it’d be a reasonable basis to believe Christianity when you’re brought up in it… cause you can sense it’s true. Then you can get rest of the details from the book.

  106. adamah says

    SMS, I removed the childish ad homs to eliminate all but your actual point, which is this:

    The REAL argument made here is that “statutory rape” is a misnomer.

    I personally think the term “rape” shouldn’t even be there; the serial date rapist and the 17 year old who had sex with his consenting 15 year old girlfriend have not committed crimes that are even in the same category. In other words, it’s a categorical difference rather than one of magnitude.

    Your ‘misnomer’ defense, leading up to claiming it’s a ‘categorical error’ is utterly absurd.

    Here’s why:

    For one, you’re arguing against longstanding legal, ethical, moral, man-on-the-street, etc definitions for rape:

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Types_of_rape

    The critical element that defines all types of ‘rape’ is whether or not the person gave CONSENT to engage in sexual activity, rape as a violation of another person’s right to exercise bodily autonomy.

    By convention, societies come up with a quite-arbitrarily-determined and variable age below which a person (a minor) is presumed to be incapable of making a competent decision, lacking the mental capacity to make such an important life-altering decision.

    Minors are thus declared “out of bounds” for sexual activity (and as You pointed out, minors are even considered to be “out of bounds” to even other minors, since being under-age is no defense to a statutory rape charge in some States).

    In the case of a minor, they’re assumed to lack the ABILITY to give valid consent, based solely on their age; in the case of someone over the age of majority, although they possess the ABILITY to give consent, they simply DIDN’T.

    BOTH are forms of rape, and your ‘misnomer’ defense fails.

    And sure, you can argue all day long for what OUGHT to be (your “in my opinion” comment, above) , but most of us don’t live in a world of magical make-believe, preferring to live in the here-and-now, of what actually IS.

    you though you had some “gotcha” bullshit by equivocating statutory rape with the category of rape that was being discussed. It was obvious to everyone else that statutory rape was not part of the discussion.

    You clearly didn’t read (and/or understand) my post to Narf, who seemingly was toying with the idea of accusing me of equivocation. You took the bait even harder, I see?

    Fine, so you’re accusing me of equivocation: that implies you admit that not all rape IS similar.

    So you, like Narf, also recognize the need to differentiate statutory rape from non-consensual rape, since no shit, they should be handled differently. Cool….

    (although you did me the favor of adopting the more-extreme position of claiming they’re in completely different “categories”).

    That’s exactly the point RD was making!

    We in fact DO need to differentiate “bad things” from OTHER “bad things”, needing to rank, ‘create hierarchies of badness’, etc.

    Note that’s opposite to Martin’s position, where he suggested all cases of rape/child abuse/etc. should be treated equally, since to do otherwise would have some dastardly and unstated damaging effect on some unknown number of victims.

    (I can’t recall exactly what unknown harm he was appealing to: read above to clarify his exact position, since I don’t want to misrepresent whatever permutation of an ‘appeal to ignorance’ argument he was using.)

    Also, last I checked, “cannot” and “does not” aren’t equivalent (we’re not talking about legal shit here, which was made extremely clear). Now you’ll probably write a fucking novel about how I’m wrong for whatever bad reason.

    Well, surprise, surprise: no novel needed, since you’re actually RIGHT: “cannot” and “does not” are NOT synonymous, and do NOT mean the same thing.

    Of course, I never said they WERE synonymous concepts: I actually said they were DIFFERENT (and you misrepresented my position, but no harm, no fowl, since you’ve now demonstrating we’re in agreement on that point).

    But if you thought I was suggesting the opposite, you may have entirely missed the POINT of my post, and might re-read it again….

    Adam

  107. ceesays says

    Adamah asked something important.

    (Apparently males are expected to ask for State-issued photo ID before having sex?)

    You know what? sure. Do that. It’s easy. It’s so easy. Dudes have asked me for government issue in in the course of flirting many a time.

    If you’re lost on how to do this, put this on your “flirting with people” notecard:

    “What? You are not. You look way younger than that.” *smile and laugh* “Can you prove it?”

    and if they can’t, well then, kindly be on your way. sure, they might be telling the truth, and they really are 18. They might not actually want to show you their ID because it has their home address on it, or have a bunch of other reasons why they don’t want to prove their age to you. And so what? this is justification for becoming a rapist?

    I mean consider it for a minute. Someone you’re attracted to who appears to be attracted to you looks like they might be on the illegal side of the age of consent in the place where you are. What do you do?

    Well it appears that if you’re Adamah, waiting to have sex until you’re certain that there are no laws that could be broken is cause for incredulous outrage. Adamah, do you realize that your displeasure at your responsibility to insure that you’re not breaking the law strongly implies that you’d rather commit rape than have consensual sex with an adult? I’m sure you didn’t think of it that way, but dude. Come on, now.

  108. Andres Villarreal says

    I pretty much agree. This whole incident is blown so wildly out of proportion that Mr. Wagner and other commenters are starting to be bigger offenders than Mr. Dawkins.

    This might be the very first time I am in total disagreement with Martin Wagner. But by not letting a slightly unfortunate tweet pass, we are all discussing English and leaving both the date rapers and armed rapers off the hook.

    In this age of tweets and sound bites we are losing our capacity to work complex issues. We are jumping on our high horses because a celebrity failed to transmit a whole essay in 140 characters or less (the maximum length of a tweet, as far as I know). We do not even research the context of his remark or look for any idea he was trying to work out.

    In a similar incident, also with Richard Dawkins, he was angrily criticized because one man offered a woman both a cup of coffee and a sleazy late night romp in a hotel room, but he only commented on the cup of coffee.

    In both cases the answer to Mr. Dawkins should be the same: “Please, Mr. Dawkins, tell us the full context of your comment. I am sure I will agree with you when I hear more than a sound bite”.

  109. Narf says

    In this age of tweets and sound bites we are losing our capacity to work complex issues. We are jumping on our high horses because a celebrity failed to transmit a whole essay in 140 characters or less (the maximum length of a tweet, as far as I know). We do not even research the context of his remark or look for any idea he was trying to work out.

    That’s one of the reasons I completely avoid Twitter, yeah. About the last thing we need in our culture is a way to make things more simplistic and sound-bite heavy. Our news was bad enough before Twitter was a thing, and I think it’s gotten worse since.

  110. adamah says

    Ceesays said-

    Well it appears that if you’re Adamah, waiting to have sex until you’re certain that there are no laws that could be broken is cause for incredulous outrage. Adamah, do you realize that your displeasure at your responsibility to insure that you’re not breaking the law strongly implies that you’d rather commit rape than have consensual sex with an adult?

    Lol! You project a lot? I mean, “incredulous outrage”? Really?

    My wife and our grand-kids will get a kick out of your failed-attempt at ‘appeal to motives': maybe my grand kids will let ol’ gramps tag along the next time they go bar crawling, so I can hit on hotties (and then get outraged when i have to check photo ID, lol!)

    That was a pretty good laugh…. What else you got?

    ;)

    Adam

  111. Frank G. Turner says

    Splain please. Do you mean making their situation worse, in their attempts to educate themselves, or what?
    .
    It is a series of different things. Education or lack thereof (particularly on the grounds of us looking like bigger idiots to the rest of the world who scores better ob math and science than we do).
    .
    One particular point is that all of Craig’s apologetics are lofty language and complex emotionally good sounding words that are essentially deepities. It seems like no one who listens is being convinced who is not already buying his bullshit (I could be wrong), and those who are convinced sound like even bigger morons when they try to use Craig’s crap. However, even if he is grasping new people who might have been moderates, reading commentary from people who have do buy Craig’s bull, it is obvious that they have no idea what Craig is talking about. I listened to a archive episode of TAE on youtube where a kid called in and tried to use Craig’s arguments (Martin was the host of the show) and it sounded like the kid was a complete idiot. He did not even understand the basic principles of the Kalam argument, much less being able to identify it.
    .
    I would almost argue that he is actually exposing some of his believers to the opposing argument by getting involved in a debate and opening up the moderates to do their own research. Heck Craig had a student who became an outspoken atheist who was interviewed on The Thinking Atheist. So Craig is either, exposing moderates to the opposing argument so they can do their own research and find out that he IS full of shit or, making people who are already closed minded believers seem like more foolish and under educated than they already are.
    .
    Just to give an idea of how Craig can make people seem like bigger idiots than they already are, let me tell this story. I had a conversation with a minister who LOVED Craig yet could not seem to use Craig’s arguments to draw in more to his parish. He was actually a pretty decent human being but when he said the line, “Why can’t people see like Craig tells them that evolution is only a theory” that I knew I was dealing with a moron. I asked him if he had ever done any research into the word “theory” and the minister said something to the effect of, “No Craig gave me a pretty good idea of what it means.” I asked what credentials Craig had in science or diction to make an assessment like that and all I got was a blank stare. I tried explaining that the word “theory” meant something different in science than it does in common parlance and that an educated scientist would know, all I got in response was, “but it is only a theory” with even more blank stares. I asked if he could explain any of Craig’s ideas in his own words. He just quoted the Bible. I asked him if he could explain Craig’s idea without quoting the Bible and got another blank stare. He even tried to close with, “but don’t you believe that it is only a theory?” I was not sure which was worse, that he didn’t know what the hell Craig was talking about or that he thought that he did.

  112. Monocle Smile says

    So you, like Narf, also recognize the need to differentiate statutory rape from non-consensual rape, since no shit, they should be handled differently. Cool….

    That’s exactly the point RD was making!

    No, it wasn’t. You need to learn how to fucking read.

    Statutory rape and forced non-consensual rape are categorically different.

    Date rape and rape at knifepoint are NOT categorically different.

    What’s so fucking hard to understand about this? Why are you consistently ignoring the VICTIM’S perspective, which is what counts here? Again, I’ll bite my tongue for now.

  113. adamah says

    MS said-

    Statutory rape and forced non-consensual rape are categorically different.

    Once again, whenever you make that claim, you’re broadly validating RD’s point. You don’t see that differentiating rape on the basis of severity and even “victim impact” (as you prefer be the focus) helps make his point?

    Whatever happened to the “RAPE is RAPE” argument feminists typically make? Are you abandoning that claim as unworkable, since it so completely fails to differentiate between types of rape and thus makes a mockery of the entire goal of law: making punishment fit the crime?

    OK, though, fine.

    Let’s try this from another angle (ohhh, did I really say that, as if an open invitation for someone to post: “That’s what said!!” There: I took care of it myself!)

    :)

    For the sake of simplicity, let’s stay within the confines of the specific example RD offered: ‘date rape’ (a subset of acquaintance rape).

    You said:

    Date rape and rape at knifepoint are NOT categorically different.

    Huh?

    I assume you mean the knife-wielding rapist is NOT a complete stranger, but the rape occurred during a pre-arranged social setting (i.e. a date). Cool, that’ll work.

    In your opinion, would the following examples of ‘date rape’ be any different from the other, in any way?

    1) a couple had been dating regularly for the past year and having consensual sex during that time, when the guy picks up a knife and implies causing her physical harm if she doesn’t comply?

    2) a couple had been dating regularly for the past year and having consensual sex during that time, when the couple were celebrating Valentines Day, where the expectation for intercourse was present, but not stated.

    Out on the town after a romantic candlelight dinner, she became highly-intoxicated (doing shots) and the women passes out on her bed. The male is heavily-intoxicated, too, and he proceeds to rape her (she’s passed out, so she couldn’t give valid consent).

    The next morning, he felt guilty, and told her. She was OK with it, since she had over-imbibed and felt somewhat responsible for ruining the plans for the evening and letting him down; she was deeply in love with her boyfriend, and he, with her, and they moved on from the episode.

    BOTH are examples of ‘date rape’, and both you’d agree are categorically the same?

    Should they be treated any differently, and regarded as any different by society, or in the eyes of the law?

    I’d say they SHOULD, since in the first example the Police need to get involved, as the male is a threat to society at large, and she’s going to require more special-services to help her deal with the aftermath of being a victim of ‘date rape’ (counseling, etc).

    Even though the second example is technically also ‘date rape’, the outcome is “categorically different”, involving a different set of extenuating circumstances. Her need for counseling is significantly-less (if non-existent), since, unlike the knife-point rapist, she likely wasn’t traumatized by the experience.

    Remember, RD is living in UK, which has a veritable cottage industry of self-appointed victims advocates groups, who criticized him for DARING to suggest that people don’t have to remain trapped in the role of victims, but can move on by refusing to see themselves as “perma-victims”.

    YES, even though he explained it indelicately (tweets are limited to 140 characters), RD HAS a valid point.

    This continued diatribe against him is quickly approaching the point of smelling an awful lot like mere “tone trolling”, or an excuse to make fun of RD’s British accent (ad hom), an easy target for claiming he’s pompous.

    Adam

  114. says

    In a similar incident, also with Richard Dawkins, he was angrily criticized because one man offered a woman both a cup of coffee and a sleazy late night romp in a hotel room, but he only commented on the cup of coffee.

    He was criticized because the comment was a pure, unfiltered “there are worse problems out there, so shut the fuck up about things that bother you” to Rebecca Watson. His next remark on it (“zero bad”) confirmed that his remarks were understood completely from the first time they were criticized.

    In both cases the answer to Mr. Dawkins should be the same: “Please, Mr. Dawkins, tell us the full context of your comment. I am sure I will agree with you when I hear more than a sound bite”.

    Most of us are criticizing him with full knowledge of the context. The context, where it’s missing at all (usually, it’s not), doesn’t make his stupid remarks on Twitter any smarter.

    I like almost all of Dawkins’ work, but he really needs to lay off the Twitter (as should everyone else; a 140 character message service is idiotic) and realize that people are criticizing the implications of his statements (in this case, the way they tend to minimize the “milder” forms of rape, despite not endorsing those forms), not the basic logic behind them.

  115. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Frank G. Turner:

    Martin Luther who needed to be always right about everything because if he was wrong once about anything then he felt that he was wrong all the time about everything, a strong sign of severe insecurity.

    I forgot to elucidate the “all-or-nothing” part…
     
    Article: Wikipedia – Scrupulosity

    Scrupulosity is a psychological disorder […] typically conceptualized as a moral or religious form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), although this categorization is empirically disputable.
    […]
    Martin Luther also suffered from obsessive doubts; in his mind, his omitting the word enim (“for”) during the Eucharist was as horrible as laziness, divorce, or murdering one’s parent.

  116. ceesays says

    you’re right, I shouldn’t have characterized your response as outrage, but I didn’t see how you could have been asking the question as anything but an example of absurdity.

    But it isn’t absurd, Adam. If the law says that you are too old to have sex with someone of a certain age, because legally they are not considered to be old enough to consent to have sex, then the responsibility of making sure you don’t commit that particular sort of rape lies with you. Because you are presumably the adult.

    It doesn’t matter if the person who was legally too young to have sex with you behaved as if they enthusiastically consented. You are presumably the adult, and the responsibility lies with you, because legally the responsibility does not lie with them. That’s the whole point.

    Where I live, it is illegal to sell tobacco products and alcohol to persons under the age of 18, and “they told me they were 18″ isn’t an excuse that means you get a pass on breaking the law. as the seller of the substance, and the adult, you are responsible.

    So if a person you think is attractive but might be close to that age where legally they can’t consent to have sex with you, because they are too young (and you are too old, in states with an age range of 4 years) starts behaving in a seductive manner or just flat out issues an invitation, then yes. Ask for proof of age. Why not?

  117. Monocle Smile says

    Holy fucking shit, adam. There’s only one reason you could possibly be playing this stupid, meaningless mind games. Fuck you.

    Whatever happened to the “RAPE is RAPE” argument feminists typically make?

    This solidifies my feelings. Fuck off and go be butthurt and self-righteous somewhere else. Whatever fraction of a shit I gave is now gone. I expect you’ll follow this up with self-congratulatory smugness and an imagined increase in dick size.

  118. adamah says

    MS said-

    Holy fucking shit, adam. There’s only one reason you could possibly be playing this stupid, meaningless mind games. Fuck you.

    Lol, that’s a pretty-damning admission that you consider logical arguments (based on actual evidence) to be just a “stupid, meaningless mind game”?

    Your “cherry on top” was (yet) another silly ad hom. You’re only going to embarrass yourself (and if not, I’m embarrassed for you)!

    As to this bit of ironic unsolicited wisdom (perhaps you’re giving yourself advice, aka projecting?):

    Fuck off and go be butthurt and self-righteous somewhere else. Whatever fraction of a shit I gave is now gone. I expect you’ll follow this up with self-congratulatory smugness and an imagined increase in dick size.

    It’s not about being right or wrong, or caring about the other side of a debate: as Matt always says, it’s about having as few false beliefs as possible, and as many true beliefs. As Matt says, he’s unlikely to convince Sye to deconvert: doesn’t matter, since there’s others watching who ARE persuaded by a rational, sound argument (or as you put it, “stupid, meaningless mind games”).

    As I explained to Narf, the choice for how to respond to having your errors in logic pointed out is up to you, alone (where you seemingly didn’t even bother to read Narfs or my post, since you didn’t even learn from Narf’s mistake, following him blindly into the same ditch, ignoring the flashing road sign saying, “Warning! Road out!” to do so).

    PS oh, you’re going to have to prove a correlation between ‘winning’ arguments online and the size of one’s genitalia before I accept your interesting hypothesis, since it strikes me as being highly unlikely.

    I’m not saying such a correlation DOESN’T exist, just that it still needs to be proven.

    (If fact, you may be into something there, as that may account for why the female clitoris is much smaller than the homologous structure in males, the penis, as a result of ‘losing’ debates. You really want to go down that road, too?)

    ;)

    Adam

  119. Monocle Smile says

    This is correct. Greta Christina usually calls this the “How can you talk about blowjobs when people are dying in Darfur” argument. As if we’re all required to be single-minded and only the absolute worst atrocities are deserving of attention.

  120. Monocle Smile says

    Yeah, that’s a good summation of a modal logic argument. There are a billion “ifs” and it’s all bootstrapped to a presupposition anyway.

  121. Monocle Smile says

    I must be a goddamn prophet, because adam just did exactly what I predicted.

    It’s not about being right or wrong, or caring about the other side of a debate

    If you really believed that, you wouldn’t be a pompous asshole on every single thread and wave around your PhD every time you get backed into a corner. So now you’re just posturing. You didn’t make a “rational, sound argument.” You pulled out a red herring and started piling on irrelevant qualifiers to distract from the subject, which was VERY OBVIOUSLY non-consensual (in the literal sense, not the legal sense, douchebag) rape. Now you’re venturing into specific extreme cases just to beat yourself off.

    That you think you made any valid or relevant point is merely a product of your narcissism.

    Oh, and you still don’t know what an ad hominem is.

  122. adamah says

    Once again, I snippity-snipped all the pointless hysterical venting and ad homs out, leaving only this tiny grain of illogic:

    MS said-

    You pulled out a red herring and started piling on irrelevant qualifiers to distract from the subject, which was VERY OBVIOUSLY non-consensual (in the literal sense, not the legal sense, douchebag) rape.

    “Non-consensual rape”?

    Tautology much?

    That tautological statement confirms you’re waaaay over you head here, since by definition, rape (whether defined legally/ethically/morally/religiously/or by an atheist on the street, etc. IS ALWAYS defined as “non-consensual sexual intercourse”.

    Too many words for you?

    RAPE = NON-CONSENSUAL sex

    From the perspective of the victim, are you denying there’s a difference between various classifications of rape, where rape committed by a stranger who broke into a girl’s apartment at night and threatened her with a gun is to be viewed as THE SAME as the Valentines Day ‘date rape’ situation I offered earlier?

    Can you say, “HUGE false equivalency”?

    Get your position and arguments solidified, since unless you have anything on on-topic to add (hope springs eternal….), you’ve dug yourself deep into a hole (and seemingly lack the common sense to stop digging yourself in even deeper).

    Adam

  123. Narf says

    Ah, so you meant it on multiple levels then. Gotcha. Makes sense to be vague, when you actually mean something in multiple senses. :)

    It seems like no one who listens is being convinced who is not already buying his bullshit (I could be wrong), and those who are convinced sound like even bigger morons when they try to use Craig’s crap.

    That’s generally the case with apologetics, yeah. Even books that swear up and down that they’re speaking to the unbelievers make it obvious that they’re really just preaching to the choir, a few chapters in, when they start spouting Bible verses as if they’re supposed to mean something to us.

    Several of them, like I don’t have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek, start out in their convertion of atheists with a horrible straw-man of atheists and their faith-based position. It’s a pretty grotesque book.

    At least WLC admits that he’s preaching to the converted, which has to be worth something somewhere, even if I can’t figure out where.

    I would almost argue that he is actually exposing some of his believers to the opposing argument by getting involved in a debate and opening up the moderates to do their own research.

    That’s definitely a nice thought, that he’s only helping our cause, by sending out some people who would otherwise never engage with atheists. When he arms them so poorly (not that they have anything better than Styrofoam swords and shields in the fundamentalist arsenal), it increases their likelihood of snapping out of it, when they see how easily their arguments fall to pieces.

    Heh, cool deal with the preacher. I might have to go out and find a few to talk to. I’ve talked to plenty of fundies in the past few years, but not any actual preachers, even if a few of the ones I talked to were theology students.

  124. Narf says

    … start out in their conversion of atheists with a horrible straw-man of atheists and their faith-based position.

    Christ. Scan for typos, THEN hit send. Meh.

  125. Monocle Smile says

    unless you have anything on on-topic to add

    Says the guy who derailed the entire goddamn thread SOLELY to make it about himself. Just like you do pretty much every other fucking time.

    I’m done. This is time I’ve wasted and I won’t get back. Nothing was accomplished except maybe you feel more superior to everyone, if that’s even possible.

  126. Narf says

    Sounds like a likely manifestation of OCD, in a hyper-religious individual. The idea of an omniscient being looking over your shoulder judging you could have a horrific layering effect with the OCD.

  127. Narf says

    Monocle Smile

    Holy fucking shit, adam. There’s only one reason you could possibly be playing this stupid, meaningless mind games. Fuck you.

    I see you’ve finally come to the same conclusion about him that I did a while back. :D

  128. adamah says

    Ceesays says-

    you’re right, I shouldn’t have characterized your response as outrage, but I didn’t see how you could have been asking the question as anything but an example of absurdity.

    It was done for effect, but practically speaking, it’s not too far off the mark (as I explain below).

    It doesn’t matter if the person who was legally too young to have sex with you behaved as if they enthusiastically consented. You are presumably the adult, and the responsibility lies with you, because legally the responsibility does not lie with them. That’s the whole point.

    People should check their State laws, since the laws used in many States don’t adopt the extreme approach you suggest, and a valid defense is often made based on many other factors, including whether the minor used deception (i.e. the minor bought a fake ID to enter bars, where patrons are assuming the bouncer is doing his job by keeping under-aged minors out, if only to protect the bar’s liquor license).

    But note that we’re talking about possible legal DEFENSES that can be used in a statutory rape case: it’s still an extremely costly process to go through, not only in terms of $$ and legal fees, but emotionally-draining and the damage done to the reputation of the accused.

    Hence why it’s better NOT to end up being charged with stat rape, in the first place; I’d say to be safest, you should check the ID of anyone who appears to be under 40 before engaging in sex.

    Adam

  129. Narf says

    I pulled that episode to my phone, now. I’ll listen to it after I finish the episode of Non Prophets that I’m currently on. I’ve gotten a little backlogged on those and I’m getting my backlog of podcasts cleared out while going for long walks.

  130. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Narf
    That’s definitely a nice thought, that he’s only helping our cause, by sending out some people who would otherwise never engage with atheists.

    Heh, cool deal with the preacher. I might have to go out and find a few to talk to. I’ve talked to plenty of fundies in the past few years, but not any actual preachers, even if a few of the ones I talked to were theology students.

    .
    Unfortunately when it comes to indoctrinating children I think WLC does a good job. And some of the choir that he preacher to stay buried in their sense of confirmation bias due to him. Yeah though, it does make some of them seem like morons when they try to use it (I like the styrofoam swords analogy).
    .
    I dunno if I even made a dent with the minister. He was buried in his emotional beleifs. Part of the conversation involved the idea of slavery and he was quoting Philemon as God’s demonstration of disaproval of slavery. (Uhm, yeah sure, returning a slave is speaking out against hundreds of years of approval). And there were more of those “slavery was different in those days” bullshit in what he said.
    .
    I think the blank stares were his way of saying, “I can’t be wrong but I don’t have a good come back to this but I just can’t be wrong.” His sword may have been made of styrofoam but his shield was titanium. I have seen little kids do that when they understand the logic of what you are telling them not to do as it will hurt them but want to do it because they think it will be fun. (Yes I am suggesting that many closed minded Xtians are essentially immature children with adult bodies, not all, but many).
    .
    I didn’t even notice the typo until you mentioned it. The contexxt auto corrected it for me mentally and I had to look back.

  131. Frank G. Turner says

    @adamah
    I wanted to respond to this a bit more directly so pardon me for not maintaining the chain here or for it having to do directly with this part of it.
    .
    I do actually agree with you on a lot of points and I try not to make too many judgements about the emotional context of what you are saying. I am generally NOT the kind of person who says that it is not about what you say but how you say it as I do try to listen to words and not the literary voice in which the author is speaking with regard to etiquitte and emotional context. In general it becomes pretty hard to offend me as I don’t read between the lines all that well when it comes to the emtoional context of writing. So one would not think that with everyone else saying that you are acting insensitive that I would right?
    .
    Well actually no, despite a certain degree of immunity to emtoional context and etiquitee issues and attempts ot ignore the etiquitte and emotional context of what is being said and attempting to focus just on the logic and not the character of the person, even I think that you are acting rude and talking down to people. I acknowledge that others are doing so as well and don’t think it is appropriate for them to do it just because you do, but from what I have seen here you are the worst perpetrator.
    .
    You may not intend it that way as you may not be as capable of reading how your own words might sound rude or insensitive, I have that same issue at times. It took me a long time to understand why that was the case, why people read me that way even though I did not intend it. It is, in part, due to a condition I have that that is quite common in scientists and intellectuals (like us) with a particular condition which I am wondering if you have (I know that I do but found out some years ago and could have been served better by knowing at a younger age if my parents had been able to accept that). Understanding that I had this condition and learning to deal with it and how to work around it has been very satisfying for me over the years and I have made better friends as a result. It is helping me on here and it could help you and be very satisfying (no this is not religious preaching, I would not be that foolish so you are not going to hear me say something about accepting Jesus into my life, I already tried that).
    .
    If you do have it and can learn about it and how to work around it you might actually get some forgiveness from people on here. You certainly would from me (albeit you really have not offended me personally I just see how what you are doing can be offensive to others). It could make it much easier to understand where you are coming from (might make a good show topic too).
    .
    Well….?

  132. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Sky Captain
    Thanks for that, I did not think of applying the article that way but you make a good point, all or nothing thinking and “I must be right” mentality does sound a bit like OCD.
    .
    You are the person (man, being PC though)

  133. Frank G. Turner says

    @Narf
    Monocle Smile

    Holy fucking shit, adam. There’s only one reason you could possibly be playing this stupid, meaningless mind games. Fuck you.

    I see you’ve finally come to the same conclusion about him that I did a while back.

    .
    That conclusion is putting up a red flag for me as it sounds very familiar, particularly to myself which is why I am wondering something…

  134. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Frank G. Turner:

    I think that [X is] acting rude and talking down to people. I acknowledge that others are doing so as well and don’t think it is appropriate for them to do it just because [X does]

    Article: Wikipedia – Tit for tat
     
    There are people who will abuse social contracts of honest discussion – some even habitually for self-interest, vandalism, sabotage, lulz, etc. Given that you will encounter them, you’ll need a personal threshold for identifying such breaches, a corrective strategy, and a means to eventually allow for error/forgiveness.

  135. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Sky Captain
    There are people who will abuse social contracts of honest discussion – some even habitually for self-interest, vandalism, sabotage, lulz, etc.
    .
    I have a certain condition that made it very difficult for me to understand the ideas of social contract as well as how to read the emotional context of what people are saying. In many ways it was hard for me to understand how my words could be offensive, they just seemed like words to me and I felt like people were “reading too much into” what I said.
    .
    Many of the same accusations that are being made of adam were made at me over the years ad I could not understand why. I am wondering if he has the same condition. Many of us with it are highly functional but socially very awkward with others but not as much with one another (we are not “reading into” each other’s speech what others are reading into ours). I found out that I had the condition some years ago and have done a lot of reading about it. It is not unusual for us to get involved in very explicit fields like the sciences (FYI, I am a scientist too, mentioned that in another series of threads).
    .
    This may sound strange but I needed a lot of social etiquette put into words that i could understand. I needed to be walked through a lot of social etiquette the same way one might teach a person how to operate complex machinery. Certain things needed to be explained in a very explicit way so they were less of an art and more of a science for me. Do you remember how I said that if the Bible were written with someone like me in mind that it would sound a lot less like a series of newspaper articles written by authors who all had ADD and a lot more like a set of instructions on how to put your couch together that you bought from IKEA? I came up with that when reading about my condition.

  136. Frank G. Turner says

    FYI go ahead and say it if you know what I am talking about. I think that I have described it well enough that it could be looked up in a textbook. The point was that I did not want it to be about me but I think I understand why adam’s words were not as offensive or as derailing to me as they are to others if what is going on is what I think is going on.

  137. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Frank G. Turner:

    it was hard for me to understand how my words could be offensive, they just seemed like words to me and I felt like people were “reading too much into” what I said.
     
    Many of the same accusations that are being made of adam were made at me over the years ad I could not understand why. I am wondering if he has the same condition.

    There are other conditions with greater prevalence.
    You are capable of comporting yourself.
     
    Atheists here are well aware of awkward, tone-deaf arguers (ex: the OP).
    Reactions take this into consideration.
     
    Article: RationalWiki – Hanlon’s razor

  138. adamah says

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks for the ‘compliment sandwich’, but what you’re doing is focusing on my choice of style rather than the substance of my arguments. That’s a logical fallacy, ‘placing style over substance’.

    In discussing the ‘positive’ form of the fallacy (i.e. being impressed by a debaters style), I used it as the basis of an article on my blog, pointing out what OJ’s lawyers had in common with the author of Genesis:

    http://awgue.weebly.com/what-did-ojs-legal-defense-team-and-genesis-yahwist-have-in-common.html

    But anyway, in the ‘negative’ form (i.e. criticizing style) it’s commonly-known as ‘tone/concern trolling':

    http://goodreasonblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/tone-trolls.html?m=1

    Even though it’s a ‘foul’, I’ll respond, since you brought it up, asked nicely, and I was hungry for a delish compliment sandwich! ;)

    For one, I’m told my posts are long enough as it is, without adding excess fluffery to create tasty ‘compliment sandwiches’ (it’s also why RD probably shouldn’t tweet: 140 char is just asking for trouble). I don’t pull any punches, and try to quickly get to the point.

    Also note I haven’t suggested you not use excessive puffery (I tend to distrust anyone who does, since I’m reminded of a used-car salesmen). It’s your right to do so, your call: we all bring different values to the table, and are free to wrap arguments in whatever we think will be effective (some folks need to be shocked to wake up; others need to be buttered up).

    Likewise, though, you should respect MY right to use whatever tone I do, for whatever reasons: it’s a personal decision.

    In a recent thread, a few posters here decided that ad homs were the way to go (in lieu of offering an argument); I called them on the ad hom, but it’s their bed, and they have to lie in it. Not my call, but…

    (And although the negative form of ad hom gets all the attention, few realize that a positive form of ad hom exists, where excessive compliments can be directed to the opponent in a debate to come off looking like a nice guy to build credibility. It’s also a form of ‘appeal to emotion’, and also distracts from the topic and arguments, since it’s irrelevant.)

    Matt D. has discussed the topic of tone/concern trolls on past episodes; you might search for the shows in the archives, or on YouTube.

    I don’t know I’d go so far as to adopt Matt’s position of dismissing all criticism of tone out-of-hand. He understands style is important (the old, “you attract more flies wth honey than vinegar” thing), esp when in front of an audience of theists who aren’t trained in formal debate, etc. so they’ll key in on factors such as manners, politeness, who’s smiling, etc.

    Most humans can’t HELP but be influenced by such irrelevant factors, and it takes very little provocation to trigger a Xian’s defense mechanisms.

    However, this forum is a different crowd: as rational atheists, we’re supposed to understand AND respect the principles of logic and debate, where part of that is learning to regulate one’s emotions.

    It seems reasonable to expect participants to practice what we preach, since we’re supposed to place reason above emotion (offering it to theists as an alternative to their faith).

    The irony is Martin’s post smells alot like tone-trolling RD by criticizing his style, since RD is factually-correct on his comments. In defense, Martin offers a questionable premise of the greater harm caused victims by attempting to differentiate amongst the harm. Huh? I’ll post on that subject in a bit, since surprisingly no one’s brought it up).

    Martin’s post also heavily-relies on ‘style over substance’ (by relying on animated GIFs, etc) which is all very amusing, yes, but it’s still no substitute for a valid argument. Yes, WLC may have a nice tan and a slick sales pitch and dulcimer tones, but he’s no more than a pool-table salesman in River City.

    The hosts of AXP shouldbe fully-aware of the phenomenon of tone trolling, having encountered many well-meaning fellow atheists who fully-agree with their arguments, but just want to make an itty-bitty suggestion that they “tone it down JUST a tad…”, out of concern for the atheist cause. It’s not helpful, it’s tone-trolling.

    So unless it’s a clear-cut foul, the rule is, “different strokes for different folks”.

    FWIW, I get emails on my blog thanking me for my efforts which helped them to “wake up”, and others will respond to other approaches. I believe Matt made that point recently on show, that there’s no “one size fits all” answer.

    PS thanks for your concern and suggestion, but I don’t have Asperger’s.

    I’m familiar with the clinical presentations, though, and I’ve had many pts who presented with the symptoms where I made a tentative “rule out” diagnosis of ASD, sending them with a consult/referral so they could be seen by the specialists who make the final diagnosis and treat/manage.

    Are you thinking I should self-refer?

    ;)

    Adam

  139. adamah says

    Btw, the link I posted previously was bad: here’s a thread from Sept 2013 which was started posted on JWN (a site for ex-JWs) after RD made his “mild pedophilia” comments which triggered an uproar from child advocacy groups.

    We parsed RDs comments on the issue, as well as the folly of applying modern moral standards (eg for pedophilia) to the past, and why believers cannot use that excuse.

    http://www.jehovahs-witness.net/watchtower/child-abuse/261083/1/Richard-Dawkins-Fail#.U9sd5nG9Kc0

    Here’s a FTB article written by Ashley Miller, who raises some interesting points, with interesting comments:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/ashleymiller/2014/07/29/richard-dawkins-on-date-rape-vs-stranger-rape/#comment-262506

    Adam

  140. Frank G. Turner says

    @ adam
    but what you’re doing is focusing on my choice of style rather than the substance of my arguments. That’s a logical fallacy, ‘placing style over substance’.
    .
    I am well aware of the not using style over substance fallacy. That’s why i pointed out that I was more focused on your words. I tned not to notice tone unless it is very extreme in nature due to the fact that, well in case you haven’t guessed, I am an Aspie (as well sometimes say though some consider that an insult, I do not).
    .
    Over time I did realize that tone is important, to some degree. When your tone gets so overwhelming that even an Aspie starts to notice then you have gotten pretty extreme (and you did). That was the point, your tone got so overwhelming that EVEN an Aspie noticed.
    .
    Believe me I would like a world in which we could turn the emotion dial WAY down. I see that as a lot of the issue with believers. Their emotion dial is turned up so high that they put feelings ahead of rational thought, so far ahead that it is almost as though rational thought is turned off. That certainly seemed to be the issue with Martin Luther and Protestantism (I discuss that below). Politics takes advantage of the emotional dial being turned up high and being able to emotionally manipulate people. It is interesting that you mention the OJ case as I have often heard it said that a lawyer is essentially a politician in training.
    .
    So we can’t completely ignore tone as it is important to some people, EVEN atheists. I got Dawkin’s point without concern over the emotional impact of the word “rape” but I recognize that said word does have emotional impact and that their would have been better words. I would very much not like that to be the case. If I could I would make the world so completely tone-deaf that Vulcans would look highly emotional by comparison.
    .
    FYI I know about the tone trolling episodes, I have watched a lot from the archive).
    .
    As far as self referring, it did me a lot of good to understand what I had and how it affected people. I realize that I was over tone trolled in my life by those around me, particularly in cases in which I was factually correct in an empirical sense and it just made people uncomfortable, but it did help me to understand where they were coming from. In many ways though being an Aspie I will have an easier time understanding you as I am somewhat tone deaf in that regard.

  141. Frank G. Turner says

    Atheists here are well aware of awkward, tone-deaf arguers (ex: the OP).
    Reactions take this into consideration.

    .
    Well I am fairly tone deaf at times but try very hard to be aware of my tone as a result. (I feel a lot like my blind friend who has to use his other senses to make up the difference).
    .
    Your response to this is appreciated.

  142. Frank G. Turner says

    Since the topic came up, is there an episode where the statistics of Asperger’s syndrome and atheism/theism comes up? Sound’s like a good topic for a show at some point.

  143. adamah says

    Frank said-

    When your tone gets so overwhelming that even an Aspie starts to notice then you have gotten pretty extreme (and you did). That was the point, your tone got so overwhelming that EVEN an Aspie noticed.

    So lemme see if I’ve got this straight:

    Even after politely pointing out that you’re ‘tone trolling’ (which you admit, and realize it’s an offense to rules of reason), you’re now using your condition as a defense as to justify your continued tone-trolling?

    Hmmmm….

    Yep, that’s classic Aspie behavior, alright!

    ;)

    (FWIW, I suspected it long ago, after you mentioned making socially-inappropriate comments, which, although true, offended societal norms by saying what someone with intact ‘filters’ simply wouldn’t say in polite company.

    Atheism is actually a good ‘cover’ for Aspies, similar to how religious rituals of Catholicism are a good ‘cover’ for those with OCD. Different disorders, but both are effectively masked by adopting opposite ideologies.)

    The CRITICAL difference is this is a forum where truth and free-thinking are placed ABOVE such social considerations, regardless of how much the truth hurts, or gives someone’s ego a boo-boo.

    That’s the whole POINT of the “no sacred cows” mascot seen on the show: no idea is above question, regardless of where the path leads and if the Pope or fellow atheist (gasp!) is offended.

    (Oh, Russell, if you’re reading, can you please check the under-belly of the stuffed mascot to see if anyone’s penned in the disclaimer, “No sacred cows, EXCEPT ideas which a certain group has determined to be worthy of placing high on a pedestal, protecting them from the dirty fingerprints of examination”? TIA!)

    :)

    Unless the blog’s name (FTB) is false advertising, I’d feel free to write things here that I wouldn’t DARE of saying in a clinical or social setting, since this is where all participants are supposed to share the goal of encouraging rationalism, not allowing mindless emotions to unduly influence and control our thinking.

    (BTW, the value of emotions hindering decisions-making is hardly a settled matter, since many (including me) would argue emotions serve a beneficial role in the process. I say that, since you referred to Spock’s “pure logic” meme from pop culture as a desirable goal: that’s hardly accepted, even if it were attainable.)

    I got Dawkin’s point without concern over the emotional impact of the word “rape” but I recognize that said word does have emotional impact and that their would have been better words.

    Frank, no offense, but did you read RD’s post on his website?

    https://richarddawkins.net/2014/07/are-there-emotional-no-go-areas-where-logic-dare-not-show-its-face/

    Your comment (in bold) suggests you missed RD’s point, since he INTENTIONALLY used hot-button words to elicit an emotional response. The series of tweets were preconceived, a set-up.

    (BTW, is it just my mistaken impression, or did you consciously avoid even daring to write the word, RAPE above, as if out of fear of offering offense? Hopefully not, since that’s exactly the point RD was addressing, since it’s the agenda of some to intimidate others from even daring to say the word, let alone entering the conversation of rape.)

    RD pushed a hot-button issue, in the hopes of allowing people an opportunity (after they calmed down) to look in the mirror and ask WHY they considered some topics as beyond discussion (AKA a sacred cow), even with some groups calling for others to be automatically excluded from the debate.

    This entire issue arose last year, where although RD actually WAS a ‘victim’ of a pedophile and talked to other classmates about their experiences as adults, RD was lambasted by child abuse advocates in the UK for DARING to relate how he and the others managed to overcome the experience by not allowing a sad and lonely pedophile (who’s long dead) to have any effect on their present life. They all refused to buy into ‘victimization thinking’, serving as ‘victims’ at ANYONE’S request, even the so-called ‘advocacy groups’ (a veritable cottage industry in the UK, where their agenda and methods are NOT to be questioned).

    And even after explaining he was speaking ONLY for his group of classmates whom he’d talked to (i.e. he acknowledged the possiblity of the “survivorship effect, where there may be others), the criticism only snowballed; he was accused of perpetuating pedophilia, and of being a pedophile himself.

    Truly nasty irrational stuff when people resort to labeling others at their sole discretion, as if creating scapegoats is the solution to all social ills. It’s human nature at its ugliest, and most divisive in the name of a “cause”.

    A few of us unpacked the original article on the following thread, discussing a “gotcha” article put together by a UK journalist in the time-honored tradition of ‘yellow journalism’, attempting to assassinate RD’s character.

    http://www.jehovahs-witness.net/watchtower/child-abuse/261083/1/Richard-Dawkins-Fail#.U9sd5nG9Kc0

    As this current thread shows, it was a highly-effective smear campaign, even amongst the so-called “rational” atheist community.

    As far as self referring, it did me a lot of good to understand what I had and how it affected people. I realize that I was over tone trolled in my life by those around me, particularly in cases in which I was factually correct in an empirical sense and it just made people uncomfortable, but it did help me to understand where they were coming from. In many ways though being an Aspie I will have an easier time understanding you as I am somewhat tone deaf in that regard.

    Well, thanks for your concern (I mean that sincerely), but my methods don’t require any defense, other than RATIONALISM, pointing out the truth.

    Just as RD has the right to use his methods to make a point, so does Martin, and so do you and I. Any criticism of style detached from the argument is tone-trolling, but it’s not the end of the World if it happens.

    If people don’t value facts above protecting their cherished beliefs, dogma and egos, they’re going to dismiss ANY valid points on the basis of tone, looking for excuses to dismiss others.

    If that’s all that rationalism means, then we all probably should just pull the plug on the “rationalism is better” claim, and join whatever church allows us to feel superior to other churches.

    If that’s all that being a rational atheist means to some, there’s certainly warmer and fuzzier ideologies to be clinging to.

    Adam

  144. Frank G. Turner says

    @adam
    .
    I am going to have to respond to this in parts.
    Even after politely pointing out that you’re ‘tone trolling’ (which you admit, and realize it’s an offense to rules of reason), you’re now using your condition as a defense as to justify your continued tone-trolling?
    .
    No, I recognize that tone trolling should not be done unless what the person is doing is just insulting the other individual and they have nothing substantial to add, in which instance they are basically refusing to comport themselves.
    While I agree that The CRITICAL difference is this is a forum where truth and free-thinking are placed ABOVE such social considerations, regardless of how much the truth hurts, or gives someone’s ego a boo-boo. That does not mean that one should use this forum as a cathartic release of one’s own personal tensions and act out without thinking. Truth (actually I tend to distinguish empirical fact and philosophical truth, not all truth is empricial fact) and free thinking are above social considerations but that does not mean that we go out and use others as a psycological punching bag.
    .
    A lot of people would “read into” what I said growing up, and still do, and they would often INSIST that they knew I was implying something that I knew I was not. I would tell them that they were reading too much into what I said and I sometimes got the response that I was reading too little into what I said, as if someone else knew my motivations better than I did. While I am aware that sometimes by subconcious motivations were indicated by what I said, sometimes they were not. Furthermore the people I was often talking to HAD TO BE RIGHT about what they read into what I said and ANY objection was met with anger and severe harshness. WHat helped me was to understand my potential tone. I had to tone troll myself a bit to comprehend where others were coming from. Although tone trolling is an offense to the rules of logic, considering HOW another person MIGHT tone troll you is not always a bad idea. Sometimes that I why I speak parenthetically a lot and am long winded, I am trying to PREVENT others from reading into what I say.
    .
    Some people are impossible though and are so fixated on what their emotions tell them you are saying that they will read into the parenthetical speech which is intended to prevent them from reading into the main dialogue. They are so focused on what is NOT being said that they forget to listen to what IS being said (I call this throwing out the pasta and giving someone hot water). I am family who are like that and I don’t talk to them much.
    .
    So what I AM saying is, take it into consideration (which I am sure that you do but it does not hurt to point it out). It did start to sound to me like you were using people as emotional punching bags and I don’t normally feel that way. (There are other aspects of what you have said that indicate healthy doubt for this conclusion).
    .
    While I acknowledge that UNLIKE the poeple I grew up with who HAD TO BE RIGHT that they were reading correctly my intent of what I said, I don’t have to be right about what was implied in your intent, but I still think about it. I can be wrong and if that was not your intent then so be it. Many years ago I would not have even known any better.
    .
    We can’t all turn off our emotions and make them dissappear, I really wish that we could sometimes. So I do take tone into consideration, I just generally tend to ignore those considerations it if I can’t back it up with something more substantial. It is kind of like what I was trying to explain to Valerie, being open to the possibility that God does not exists is not denying the existence of God. Well being opened to considerations of tone does not mean that I agree with those considerations, but having those considerations did help me. It particularly helped me to understand why some people are so focused on tone and emotional inference that they cannot even listen to the substance of words unless presented in an emotinally pleasing sense to them.
    .
    That is what I was basically getting at with the Dawkin’s article and idea.
    With regards to:
    Your comment (in bold) suggests you missed RD’s point, since he INTENTIONALLY used hot-button words to elicit an emotional response.
    .
    I got that, I was just trying to think about that in more general terms, which is why I wrote this in another part of this chain.
    I would disagree from this standpoint. Dawkins was not simply comparing a random X to a random Y, i.e.: McDonald’s cheeseburgers to Jack in the Box cheeseburgers, peanuts to cashews, Male to Female, etc. WHat Dawkins was saying was:
    “Acknowledging that a very traumatic and psychologically difficult situation in which a person was the victim of an atrocity (X) when compared ot an even more traumatic and psychologically difficult situation in which a person was the victim of a greater atrocity (Y) is less in degree than the second atrocity, does not justify or endorse the first atrocity.”

    .
    So when you say, BTW, is it just my mistaken impression, or did you consciously avoid even daring to write the word, RAPE above, as if out of fear of offering offense?
    .
    The point was to say, “what if we think about this in more general terms, i.e.: what if the words were “assault” because “cheeseburgers” obviously does nto have the impact that it needed to have.
    I KNOW rape is a hot button issue. I KNOW that sometimes we need to make an emotional impact. I sincerely wish that we didn’t. I just think that a better word / example could have been used it all. Then again maybe not, Dawkin’s did want to appear sincere and sometimes sincereity comes from something that one has experienced themselves.
    .
    I ALSO recognized that the issue was essentially quote mining done to take Dawkins out of context. Much like creationists quote mine Darwin’s introduction to his chapter on the eye in “The Origin of Species” (in which I basically realized he was presenting a null hypothesis), which is taking Darwin out of context, I recognized that Dawkin’s was being taken out of context. I actually comment somewhere on here that Dawkins referenced the type of pedophilia that HE experienced when refering to rape vs. other types. ( And even after explaining he was speaking ONLY for his group of classmates whom he’d talked to ). However, I STILL think that as a continued example it is a bad choice of example, at least to some degree.
    .
    I may not continue to feel that way. Sometimes things work out in the long run and my mind may change over time regarding the issue.
    .
    One thing regarding tone trolling. People use tone to emotionally manipulate others.THat is what politicians do. If we were able to tone troll policiticans and ensure that they said nothing that was manipulative or biased, we might actually get some honest leadership going on. So the idea of tone trolling is not completely wrong in my opinion, as long as it were applied equally to everyone (or alternately everyone could be compeltely tone deaf so that no one was affected by it). Since that is not realistic I do try to be as tone deaf as possible and in most respects that is not too hard given my condition (I would think that some of my conversations with you have indicated that), but I do think about it.
    .
    Also, I suspected it long ago, after you mentioned making socially-inappropriate comments, which, although true, offended societal norms by saying what someone with intact ‘filters’ simply wouldn’t say in polite company.
    .
    Sooner or later people figure it out. If someone is an expert in it they see it in person withint a short period of time. WHat did I say on here though? I probably gave it away somewhere, like I said it is not too hard too see. Someone who had it saw it in me and said that I should get checked out some years ago which is why I did. There was this mention of how stressful situations often didn’t seem to have the same impact on me as they did other people, me often becoming like a robot and just working until I got what needed to get done done.

  145. Jeremy says

    Hi Martin,
    I think you’re wrong about this. I think Dawkins is right, whether we like his tone or not, or whether we want to complain about how “mild” is a poor word choice (and I think it is). But if we all agree at this point that there are a multitude of ways to suffer harm in this world, some of which are worse than others, then why are we being asked, it seems, to collectively pretend that the severity of all instances of sexual harm is exactly the same? That’s just plain false. Watching AE, I hear the phrase, “I want to have as many true beliefs and as few false beliefs as possible,” all the time. Or maybe it’s fine to hold that some harms are worse than others, but don’t you dare say so. But every time we challenge a theist’s beliefs, we do so despite the fact that the theist’s claims may be an incredibly sensitive issue, and may result in us being accused of insensitivity and disrespect, and of diminishing the value of their subjective experiences. Why should this issue be any different?
    Look, I really do get the fact that Dawkins’ comments are set against an historical and cultural backdrop in which the sexual abuse of children and sexual assault of women has gone unrecognised and unaddressed, if not actively condoned, and we’re trying hard to change that. I fully support the notion of zero-tolerance for any kind of sexual assault, abuse or harassment. I really understand that there are politicians spouting repugnant views about women and that they reflect whole segments of the population holding such repugnant views. But you’re never going to get those people to change their minds if the alternative involves adopting a falsehood–of pretending to treat every instance of sexual harm or trauma as equally severe when it just isn’t.
    Lastly, I want to point out that pretending that all sexual harm is equally harmful is potentially harmful to the sufferers of such harm. One of the ways that people are helped to cope with a traumatic experience is to recognize that their experience was not as bad as someone else’s. It’s called downward comparison. It’s not the only factor in recovering from trauma, but it’s important. And it can’t happen if we continually encourage everyone to disregard any distinction between these types of harms. You argued that the problem with Dawkins’ examples is that he was “diminishing X”. Why would anyone want to diminish someone’s perception of the harm they suffered? Well, if Y really is worse than X, but you as the experiencer of X are perceiving it as though it were the same as Y, then maybe for you, X needs to be diminished.

  146. piero says

    Jeremy:

    to collectively pretend that the severity of all instances of sexual harm is exactly the same?

    I don’t think that’s we are being asked to believe, but that the severity sexual crimes is not measurable, since each victim is a different human being, and therefore subjective experience is all that really matters. It is an obvious falsity, of course, but even if it were true it totally misses the point.

    It all started when Dawkins described an experience of sexual abuse he was the victim of as “mild”. The floodgates could not hold the stream of abuse he got for saying that. Most criticism was directed at his use of “mild” in the context of sexual abuse. Apparently, the reasoning behind it is that it trivialises sexual crimes: no abuse can possibly be “mild”.

    Dawkins replied that his characterisation was not an endorsement: that he regarded his experience as “mild” and other experiences as “harsh” was in no way a condonement of mild sexual abuse. All sexual abuse is bad, but some forms are worse. An obviously true statement, of course. It is obviously true because anyone can come up with suitable examples of sexual crimes that could be compared in terms of their effect on any person, thus avoiding the subjectivity trap. For example:

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    WARNING. SEXUAL ABUSE TRIGGER. PLEASE DON’T READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU THINK THIS MIGHT BE DISTRESSING TO YOU. THERE ARE SEVERAL BLANK LINES IN ORDER TO REDUCE THE POSSIBILITY OF ACCIDENTAL READING.
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Case 1: A 40-year old practicing female psychologist specialized in human sexuality is molested in the street by an 18-year old male stranger who touches her genitals and then goes away without saying a word.
    Case 2: A 12-year old boy is brutally beaten by his mother while being anally raped with several hard objects by his father.

    Now, I do not think there is any sane person in the world who would doubt that case 1 is “milder” than case 2. It is inconceivable that the victim of case 1 should endure a more serious and more enduring trauma than the victim of case 2. And yet we are being asked to believe that since we cannot possibly know what somebody elses’s subjective experience feels like, nothing can be said about the relative harshness of the experiences mentioned. An obvious falsity. We are also being asked to accept that describing the first incident as “mild” trivialises all sexual crimes, including the second. This is so obviously silly as to merit no comment.

    So the claim that it is impossible to assign degrees of seriousness to sexual crimes does not hold water. But even if it did, the reaction triggered by Dawkins’s statement is unwarranted: he was talking about his subjective experience, and so he was perfectly entitled to characterise it as “mild”. Apparently, you can only talk about subjective experiences of abuse if they traumatised you. I’m absolutely sure that, had Dawkins described his experience as “harrowing”, we would not be commenting here because his statement would have been a non-issue, even though it would make no sense to characterise so if there really was no difference between the severity of sexual crimes. Just as we never characterise water as “liquid”, we would never feel the need to attribute degrees of severity to sexual crimes: their severity would be part of the concept.

    So Dawkins had replied that describing an experience as “worse” than another does not imply exculpation of the “less bad” crime. Again, this is obviously true.

    Then criticism then shifted to Dawkins’s incapacity to perceive that using examples about rape in order to make a logical point was insensitive at best and callous at worse. Apparently, when you’ve been criticized as a matter of logic for something you said about abuse, you cannot defend your logic by using other examples of abuse. Why? Because there can be no comparison between the “mild” abuse Dawkins suffered and the “horrifying” experiences of rape he can know nothing about because he is not even a potential victim. Thus contradicting the initial argument that sexual crimes could not be rated on a scale of severity.

    The final chapter of this sorry saga concerns an article Dawkins published in his blog and The Huffington Post concerning the existence of taboos which lie beyond the reach of logic and reason. This has, of course, been variously criticized as “pompous”, “arrogant”, “insensitive” and so on.

  147. Frank G. Turner says

    Never mind. Listening to “The Thinking Atheist” from Tuesday the 29th right now (they address that very issue).

  148. Jeremy says

    Hi Piero,
    Thanks for the reply. Although you seem to disagree with me in your opening, I’m not sure we do, because I certainly agree with everything you’ve written. What am I missing here?
    The only thing I want to add is about Dawkins: I’ve never met the guy, and I know there’s a lot of amateur psychologizing that happens in regard to his social skills, but I wonder if he isn’t quite the social buffoon he’s being made out to be in various online venues? Maybe it isn’t that he doesn’t “get it”, and thus, according to Martin’s post, needs to just shut the fuck up (the piling on being all the more bizarre given Martin’s post immediately prior to this one). Maybe he just doesn’t agree with what he’s supposedly not getting.

  149. piero says

    Hi, Jeremy. I am not disagreeing with you at all; it’s just that Dawkins was not bashed because all instances of sexual harm are equally severe, but because they cannot be ranked in terms of severity.

    Cheers

  150. piero says

    Maybe he just doesn’t agree with what he’s supposedly not getting.

    I think so too. Martin sort of “explains” what Dawkins is not getting with this imaginary comment Dawkins might offer to a victim of rape:

    I don’t endorse what happened to you. I’m just saying, it could’ve been worse. At least you were only raped. What if you were raped and knifed? Have a little perspective here.

    Which is, of course, a completely fallacious and dishonest argument, because it:

    introduces the presence of a rape victim directly spoken to by Dawkins
    introduces a patronising remark directly addressed at the victim

  151. adamah says

    Jeremy, get the gold star for mentioning “downward comparison”, a part of group therapy in which victims of a traumatic experience are able to compare their perception to others, and place it in perspective (with the assistance of a therapist, if needed).

    Here’s evolutionary biologist Jerry Coynes’ take on RD’s series of tweets, on his blog:

    http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/dawkins-decries-taboos-in-discussions-about-society/

    As Coynes points out, the goal of RD’s public demo was much broader than simply educating the public on logical syllogisms, or RD handing down his opinion on the grading of severity of rape, etc. but more about findings from social psychology, and the dismaying tendency of even the most rational of humans to fall for ‘group-think’ (including those who’ve read Orwell’s 1984).

  152. says

    Martin,

    Is that last animated picture is Jenna Marbles?
    You know that she has attitude to feminism similar to Dawkins?
    And similar to that other guy on YouTube – Thunderf00t?

    And did you watched Thunderf00t videos? I think you should watch his videos about feminism to understand
    why Dawkins make such posts, because I think Dawkins have same views as Thunderf00t, and comes from same views when makes such posts.

    And all this makes me very sad. I like Atheists Experience, and all you guys, but I can’t understand why you turn off you critical thinking in such cases, why you don’t afraid to criticize religion disregard of norms in society that say that it is bad to criticize someones religious beliefs, and disregard of some people saying that you are smug asshole, and aggressive, and closed minded. But then in other sphere you join same witch hunts against people like Dawkins, because people are offended by his posts, disregard of logic behind them.

    There is problem in Feminism movement, that there is some people in this movement, who just have this ideology/dogma like “all men are pigs” or “oppression everywhere”. And while there is real problems with women rights in the world, and while there is real violence and rape is happening, they are not really fighting with real problems, but inventing problems by exaggerating some events, and sometimes just by exaggerating or misinterpreting other people words (and not even actions).

    And here is some hypothetical example.

    Imagine some guy goes to ComiCon, and then tweets that, “it was so cool, to have people in all this costumes having fun, in this relatively safe environment”. And then someone respond to him, “well you are white male, it’s maybe safe for you, but you need to check you privilege”.

    While i agree that this maybe true, that it not necessary that everyone have same experience on same event (comicon, or some atheist conference, etc). And I agree that if for someone it wasn’t safe, we need to fix this. Yet I don’t see how this is reasonable response and reasonable way to talk about something. This looks like blaming people in something, or saying that they are not allowed to talk about something, just because they are “white males”.

    Other hypothetical example,

    Imagine there is video game, sandbox like, where player can kill “bad” people, good people, men, women.
    And then imagine someone who call herself a feminist, makes video, ranting and bashing this game because this game allows to kill women. And then declare that this is proof of patriarchy and white male privilege. And that all these video games like this are bad.

    Is this also correct way to talk about these problems? It this rational, it this fair and honest? Why don’t you see here same dishonesty as in case of some right wingers/republicans, religious people, misinterpreting and lying about different things just so it would fit their ideology/dogma?

    And as last example.
    What about “Ban Bossy” campaign? Is this rational to ban words, that not even really so offensive or so bad? Is this rational to ban words at all? Is this freedom? And how this really will help?

    And consider all this examples, it’s obvious that some people like Dawkins don’t like this, and that they want to express they disagreement, and criticize them. Especially when people with such approach, and such views are trying to bring all this to the atheists community.
    Yes, maybe he choose not a best words to say this. But still, I don’t think that Dawkins are against equality of man and woman. That he is racist or sexists. Yet you people join witch hunt against him, while ignoring and not criticizing problem of other side, that mostly drives this witch hunt.

    Yes racism, sexism are bad things, but people who want to see racism and sexism everywhere, and accusing everyone in this, disregard of common sense, and logic, are also bad. They are not only doing bad things to people they accuse, they also doing bad things to feminism, they are not helping with human, or specifically women rights.

    It’s like those atheists who support Israel, just because they don’t like Muslims more, and disregard of fact that there is religion on Israel side to, instead of criticizing both sides, because both sides don’t care about other peoples life, and because there is aggressive fanatics on both sides.

    And it’s like those other atheists, who like to call themself “agnostics” and accusing other atheists being smug assholes, when they themself are same smug assholes, who just what to think that they are better, because they don’t argue with religious people and don’t care about fighting against religion.

    Please don’t be like those people.

  153. says

    Your thoughts are kind of scattered here, so I’ll just say that if you use terms like “witch hunt” whenever the person on the receiving end of criticism happens to be someone you like, you aren’t doing skepticism very well.

  154. afzal says

    it’s not ‘stahp’ it’s ‘stOp’ – some american accents lack the ‘o’ vowel ie ‘got’
    barbarously becomes ‘gat’ .

  155. Börndi says

    The only mistake Dawkins makes is that he seems to think that everyone who reads his tweets automatically is a rationally thinking person with interests in moral philosophy and science, and that emotion is completely irrelevant in a twitter discourse.
    Dawkins was most of his life working at a university. He seems not to get or to be shocked that outside the university, you have often simple people who are often highly emotional. I am absolutely sure that this is why he seems not to understand what is going on. Look f.e. at the piece he wrote as a response of the outrage he caused by his tweets:
    https://richarddawkins.net/2014/07/are-there-emotional-no-go-areas-where-logic-dare-not-show-its-face/
    This is a nice piece, a piece on moral philosophy, where we clearly can see what his perspective is. He writes as scholar, tries in detail to explain what the logic in his tweets is.
    I must say that I am with Dawkins because I have learnt that emotion gets you nowhere in finding the truth or solving an ethical dilemma. Emotion has to do with aggression and aggression is what every mammal has. The only thing that distinguishes us from other mammals is that we can build up complex thoughts.

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