Dawkins: any atheist who uses “threats or harassment is in no way my ally”

Last night a joint statement went up at Dawkins.net and Butterflies and Wheels. If you still hadn’t seen it, here it is in its entirety.

It’s not news that allies can’t always agree on everything. People who rely on reason rather than dogma to think about the world are bound to disagree about some things.

Disagreement is inevitable, but bullying and harassment are not. If we want secularism and atheism to gain respect, we have to be able to disagree with each other without trying to destroy each other.

In other words we have to be able to manage disagreement ethically, like reasonable adults, as opposed to brawling like enraged children who need a nap. It should go without saying, but this means no death threats, rape threats, attacks on people’s appearance, age, race, sex, size, haircut; no photoshopping people into demeaning images, no vulgar epithets.

Richard adds: I’m told that some people think I tacitly endorse such things even if I don’t indulge in them. Needless to say, I’m horrified by that suggestion. Any person who tries to intimidate members of our community with threats or harassment is in no way my ally and is only weakening the atheist movement by silencing its voices and driving away support.





  1. Maureen Brian says

    If not already stressed do pop over to Skepticink where young Damion still believes that all the evil in the world began with a word spoken at FtB.

    It’s like an origins myth with him.

  2. says

    Maureen: Yeah, I saw on Facebook where Dan Finke posted it too there’s someone in the comments going on about how awful it was that Ophelia’s commenters have called Richard a sexist. So, not any magical fix.
    But, hopefully it will help a bit.

  3. says

    Dawkins hasn’t gotten off my naughty list yet, but he’s at least stopped moving up for a bit. This is certainly a great start.

    If followed up by appropriate actions and other words going forward, this has some potential to start healing some of the community rifts that we don’t need to have, and deepen the ones we do need to have. I really hope this is the start of some improvements.


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