A comment on Annals of dismissive contempt by a first-time commenter calling himself Vincent:
Unless you waterboard them, you cannot “make” someone drink. So, one can never say “he made me drink” without being a hypocrite. That is what Dawkins was talking about, probably irritated by exaggerations like “plying a woman with alcohol”, “sexual predator” and “meat market”. Predators kill, market is where you buy stuff, meat is dead. The use of exaggerations to amplify emotional impact is a sure sign of lack of otherwise convincing arguments. I consider that people old enough to drink alcohol are mature enough to stop drinking before getting themselves into trouble. We live in a world full of dangers for drunks and getting hit on by Michael Shermer is certainly among the least of them. If I ever get so drunk as to wake up in a man’s bed with a dreadful lower-back pain with no memory of how I got there, I would, yes, consider myself partly responsible for what I got myself into. Especially if I let him serve me drinks till I drop while being certain he wants sex with me. Ending up raped cannot be an excuse for acting stupid. If you get home so drunk that you fall asleep with all doors and windows open, and your house gets broken in during the night, that would not be an excuse for the robber, but I’m pretty sure that your insurance company will consider you responsible and will not give you a penny for your sorrow. You can never say that someone “got you drunk”. That is the only thing Dawkins was saying. He is famous for holding hypocrisy in infinite contempt.
Part of that is true; part of it is not. There are two steps to it. There is the getting drunk, and there is the being raped.
Yes, adults are adults, and adults have to take responsibility for doing silly or reckless things. (Adults have to take much more responsibility for doing things that are reckless with respect to other people – getting drunk before driving a car or performing surgery, for instance.) Yes, it can be silly or reckless to get drunk. Yes, it’s very hard to force someone else to drink alcohol, at least in a public place. Yes, adults are better able to cope with manipulation or pressure than children are. All that is true.
But what is not true is that therefore adult women who get drunk are responsible for being raped.
No, it’s not a reasonable expectation that if you’re a woman and you drink too much alcohol at a bar or a party, then one of the men present will walk you to his room and rape you.
What is a reasonable expectation for what will happen if you’re a woman and you drink too much alcohol at a bar or a party? Lots of things – embarrassing behavior, quarrels, throwing up, loud singing, getting thrown out of the bar. But being raped? No, women should not have to factor that into their thinking about how absent-minded to be when counting the drinks.
If a woman drinks too much at a bar or a party and then gets in her car and drives away, she is doing a very bad thing, and that’s her responsibility (although in the nature of things other people present may share some responsibility if they don’t try to stop her).
But if a woman drinks too much at a bar or a party and then the guy next to her leads her off to his hotel room and rapes her – he is the one who has done a bad thing.
I know that’s a very complicated subtle nuanced difficult thought to have. I’m sorry about that. It’s just how life is.