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I beseech you in the bowels of Christ, please stop

I’ve strained to pardon Richard Dawkins’ many insensitivities — ‘dear muslima’, the missteps on twitter, the petty snits against other people — but his latest is just a disaster.

In an interview in The Times magazine on Saturday (Sept. 7), Dawkins, 72, he said he was unable to condemn what he called “the mild pedophilia” he experienced at an English school when he was a child in the 1950s.

Referring to his early days at a boarding school in Salisbury, he recalled how one of the (unnamed) masters “pulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts.”

He said other children in his school peer group had been molested by the same teacher but concluded: “I don’t think he did any of us lasting harm.”

“I am very conscious that you can’t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours. Just as we don’t look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today,” he said.

He said the most notorious cases of pedophilia involve rape and even murder and should not be bracketed with what he called “just mild touching up.”

I can think of some lasting harm: he seems to have developed a callous indifference to the sexual abuse of children. He was a victim of an inexcusable violation; that he can shrug it off does not mean it was OK, or ‘zero bad’, or something trivial.

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.

And that all Richard Dawkins experienced was a brief groping does not mean that greater harm was not being done. That man was a serial child molester; do we know that he didn’t abuse other children to a greater degree? That there aren’t former pupils living now who bear greater emotional scars?

As for that excuse about not judging behavior of an earlier era by our modern standards…I’ve heard that before. From William Lane Craig, to justify biblical murders. Richard Dawkins had this to say about it then.

But Craig is not just a figure of fun. He has a dark side, and that is putting it kindly. Most churchmen these days wisely disown the horrific genocides ordered by the God of the Old Testament. Anyone who criticises the divine bloodlust is loudly accused of unfairly ignoring the historical context, and of naive literalism towards what was never more than metaphor or myth. You would search far to find a modern preacher willing to defend God’s commandment, in Deuteronomy 20: 13-15, to kill all the men in a conquered city and to seize the women, children and livestock as plunder.

We do not excuse harm to others because some prior barbaric age was indifferent to that harm. Furthermore, the excuse doesn’t even work: are we supposed to believe that a child-fondling teacher would have been permissible in the 1950s? Seriously? Was that ever socially acceptable? And even if it was, in some weird version of British history, it does not excuse it. It means British schools were vile nests of child abuse, just like Catholic churches.

Thanks for swapping the moral high ground for a swampy mire of ambiguity, Richard. I’m not going to argue that compelling kids to memorize Bible verses and fear hell, as stupid an excuse for education as that is, was child abuse, while getting manhandled by lascivious priests was a trivial offense, to be waved away as harmless. I’m sure many Catholics are quite gleeful that Richard Dawkins has now embraced the same moral relativism that they use to rationalize crimes against children.

Comments

  1. I've got the WTF blues says

    #477 quixotictendencies

    Do me a massive favor and reread the thread again.

    #477 quixotictendencies

    I apologize that I hardly have the patience or time to read several hundred comments

    In.The.Same.Fucking.Post. Heh heh……

    But wait, there’s more! Today only for the very very low price of a headache from your forehead hitting your desk he gives us:

    #495

    I won’t waste your time or mine berating you for your abysmal sentence building

    Thankfully, this obviously unappreciated wag is

    willing to hear you out on the minute chance that you can come up with something of substance

    Because, obviously, the 490+ posts that he didn’t bother to read were completely devoid of merit thus he didn’t read them therefore there have been no statements of substance. Because. So there. Winning!

  2. ck says

    quixotictendencies (#477) wrote:

    I apologize that I hardly have the patience or time to read several hundred comments consisting of little but vitriol directed at one of Atheism+’s sworn enemies, but if you don’t want to reiterate your argument to me, you are under no obligation to.

    Well, aren’t you a special and unique snowflake. You’re quite right that I’m under no obligation to repeat myself to someone who can’t even show the minimal courtesy to bother reading even the first few dozen comments.

    Richard Dawkins isn’t one of my sworn enemies (that is reserved for the real enemies of human decency like Pat Robertson). In fact, I have a fair bit of respect for him and his writings. Likewise, I have a fair bit of respect for the late Christopher Hitchens because of his ability to write. However, when one of them causes harm, I can’t just turn a blind eye and pretend nothing is wrong. Dawkins has every right to speak about the harm (or lack thereof) done to himself, but speaking for the harm caused to others by saying, “I don’t think he did any of us lasting harm”, is going too far.

    But I don’t expect this will move you. So, why don’t you explain to us your position instead? Why is Dawkins right to claim that “mild touching up” in the past isn’t a problem we should be concerned about? How can Dawkins be so certain that no lasting harm was done to his peers at the school? Or would you rather just continue snipe and tut-tut at us?

  3. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I am led to wonder why you bothered at all.

    You’re trolling. And got fed.

  4. says

    Monitor Note:

    II. You may be banned from a comment thread if:

    1. You cannot control your posting habits, and are dominating the discussion.

    2. Your comments are repetitive, especially if you repeat arguments that have already been addressed.

    3. You demonstrate that you are unwilling to have read previous comments or the opening post.

    quixotictendencies, I suggest you manage to read numbers 2 and 3. Do it until comprehension sinks in, please.

  5. says

    davehooke @ 506, given that we are on the second page of this thread, quoting and clarification would be helpful. This is what Ing said in #176:

    There’s nothing good about the sexual molestation of children, but I doubt that the current moral panic about it is much help to anybody. We’re eventually going to have to get beyond our irrationality on this issue. It wasn’t very prudent of Dawkins to violate the taboos of the tribe just as it was once not very wise to suggest that witchcraft might not be the cause of storms. And it’s not very prudent of me even to raise the possibility that Dawkins might have a point. Mobs don’t like to be contradicted.

    So is there nothing good about kiddy molestation or is that an irrational taboo of the tribe?

    Dawkins and his rape cheerleaders can fuck a power socket

    Ing was responding to jimharrison @ 169, who had indulged in some vile rape apologetics. So, how about a clarification? Thanks.

  6. aluchko says

    notsont

    Giving a handjob to a 7 year old is a form of statutory rape? I think I am starting to see the problem here. It was the little boys faults for wearing those cute uniforms eh?

    Yeah I know this isn’t really what you intended but seriously “statutory rape” and “a lot milder”? How the fuck did you type that without throwing up on your keyboard?

    Just to be clear about where the “a lot milder” belongs, and the actual descriptor I used before “statutory rape” I wrote “a more extreme statutory rape” and the “age factor is more extreme and the degree of violation is a lot milder” (funny how “extreme” got lost).

    I suspect Dawkins is talking about incidents where force wasn’t used, but the child consented because the abuser was an authority figure, that’s a form of statutory rape, and if the victim is 7 it’s a very extreme form of it.

    As statutory rapes go, a lot of them involve a full sexual relationship, a major violation. Something that involves only fondling of the victim is a lot milder violation.

    So you’re asking how I didn’t throw up while writing that giving handjobs to 7 year olds was a mild form of statutory rape?

    Well it’s because I didn’t write anything like that.

    I will grant that statutory rape was probably the wrong thing to compare it to since I believe statutory rape implies the victim did consent, but wasn’t legally allowed to. (though with a 7 year old they could probably extract that consent if they really wanted it)

  7. Ingdigo Jump says

    Correct me if I’m off base, but even if we’re looking at a culture a bit detached and objectively, shouldn’t we make a distinction between a belief or value a culture holds and a hypocrisy a culture may hold?

    For example would we say that Western Culture holds that rape is ok because of the rape statistics and argue that Westerner’s raping is because of their culture and don’t know better? Or is it more accurate to say that the culture has a harsh hypocrisy? Would we say that 1950s or so America didn’t know murder was a bad thing because of the lynchings? And in Dawkins example wouldn’t the fact that something being done behind closed doors and requiring abuses of powers sort of show that it’s not actually something the culture thinks is ok? Isn’t there a difference between a difference of values and a failure to live up to held values?

  8. Ingdigo Jump says

    Don’t do that. Thank you.

    I currently see no offense worth correcting at this time thank you for your concern

  9. Ingdigo Jump says

    For a seven year old there’s no chance of fucking consent because you know the adult can basically break you with their bare hands if they wanted to. Fuck off Aluchko, you’re harping is creepy

  10. says

    I despise the term “statutory rape.”
    It itself is rape apologia.

    You know what a statute is?
    A law.
    What is statutory rape? Rape. Why is it statutory? Because there’s a law against it.
    Children cannot consent. Having sex with someone without their consent is rape.

    “Statutory rape” is a way of saying “well, it’s not REAL rape – she wanted it, honest! It’s only illegal because of that dumb LAW thing.”

    All rapes are violations of not just people but of statutes against it.

    It’s not about “did consent but wasn’t legally allowed to.”
    (what a sick thing to say, really.)

    As if “statutory” rape laws are laws restricting the behavior of children, who otherwise would really LIKE to do it. Blech.

    Raping children is illegal because not because the law doesn’t ALLOW kids to have sex with the adults they so crave… it’s illegal because the law RECOGNIZES that children CANNOT consent. That they are not in a position to be able to consent, free from coercion and with full understanding of what’s what.

    Rape is rape.
    And it ALL is a violation of “statute” as well as the victim.

  11. says

    aluchko:

    As statutory rapes go, a lot of them involve a full sexual relationship, a major violation. Something that involves only fondling of the victim is a lot milder violation.

    NO. I warned you about continued apologia. Knock it the fuck off, now. You don’t have slightest fucking idea of what you’re talking about. Not a clue. Rape is not sex and it is not a sexual relationship. You do not get to arbitrarily decide what constitutes “legitimate” rape. You don’t get to classify violations, period.

    Now, I am seriously tired of you and ready to send an alert to PZ. Stop.

  12. Ichthyic says

    for those morons still thinking that what Dawkins said is being misinterpreted, why don’t you fucking go take it up with this guy:

    Peter Watt, director of child protection at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, called Dawkins’ defense of sexual assault “a terrible slight” to victims of such abuse.

    “Mr. Dawkins seems to think that because a crime was committed a long time ago we should judge it in a different way,” Watt continued. “But we know that the victims of sexual abuse suffer the same effects whether it was 50 years ago or yesterday.”

    see how fucking far you get, morons.

  13. says

    Peter Watt, director of child protection at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, called Dawkins’ defense of sexual assault “a terrible slight” to victims of such abuse.

    I think it’s a hell of a lot more than a “terrible slight”. FFS, sometimes I intensely dislike the British love of understatement.

  14. says

    On consent:

    CCC (Crystal Clear Consent)

    * First of all: Understand that if you go forward with initiating sexual activity not knowing if consent exists, you may or may not be raping someone, but you have proved beyond a shadow of doubt that you are willing to rape someone. Black areas make you a rapist, grey areas make you willing to rape.

    * Making absolutely sure that consent is obtained and mutually agreed on. This does not include trying for consent when a person is not in condition to grant consent.

    * No doubts as to whether consent was obtained.

    * No guesses as to whether consent was obtained.

    * No assumptions as to whether consent was obtained.

    * No doubt as to whether any partner was capable of giving consent at the time.

    Crystal Clear Consent includes Fully Informed Consent. Consent granted under deception is not CCC, it is manufactured consent.

    * If you use deception to gain sex–impersonating another person, lying about contraceptive use, failing to disclose STDs–you are denying your partner the right to fully informed consent.

    * If you are not sure whether or not you have an STD, disclose this uncertainty. If consent is granted, take responsibility and use protection. Just because you didn’t know for sure is not a defense.

    * If you whine and wheedle about using protection a/o contraception, you are not in CCC territory. You are willing to rape.

    * Lying about or withholding information that, if known, would’ve resulted in dissent is rape.

    * If you consent to X activity under Y conditions and the other party changes those conditions to Z, then you have not consented to what is happening.

    Crystal Clear Consent Practices:

    * Understanding that consent may be withdrawn, by any involved party, at any time. Initial consent does not mean you get to carry on if consent has been withdrawn. In other words, people are allowed to change their mind at any point.

    * If you have not had sex with a given person before, mutually understood language with confirmation is the best way to attain Crystal Clear Consent. Relying on body language or assuming consent without clarification is nearly always insufficient with a new partner. As you get to know your partner(s) better, you will get better at reading nonverbal / nonlingual cues, but clear communication is still absolutely necessary. It is important to remember that rape can still be committed within the confines of a relationship, at any stage. Consent that is not communicated is not CCC.

    * If your partner is communicating something, do not assume that it has nothing to do with consent.

    * If you initiate or offer and are declined in the context of a specifically romantic, sexual, or flirtations setting, do not initiate or offer again until one of the following four occur:

    1. the other party has taken a turn initiating/offering and been declined by you.

    2. the other party has taken a turn initiating/offering, was accepted by you, but after the activity lapsed you wish to restart.

    3. it is an entirely new romantic, sexual, or flirtatious setting.

    4. An amount of time has passed that is inverse to the number of times they have accepted your offer before. While it may be acceptable when dating to offer again in a week or in a closer relationship to initiate again after, say, one day [or whatever is the negotiated norm in said relationship] it’s not acceptable to ask someone again if you’ve just met them.

    * If you initiate or offer and are declined in a context that is not specifically romantic, sexual, or flirtatious, do not initiate or offer again. Seriously.

    * If you’re beginning a new relationship or going for a casual hookup, enthusiasm is key! Your new partner should be enthusiastically and happily involved with you. If no enthusiasm is present, it’s best to go for more communication and put off sex for a while.

    * A person who wants consensual sex doesn’t want to commit or experience rape, and a person who rapes does. Whether a given rapist wants their victim(s) drugged, unconscious, frightened, intimidated, trapped, manipulated or tricked, or just pestered until they give in, the rapist wants the end result to be that a rape happens. That includes being forced to penetrate someone else.

    * Contrary to what is often thought, consent is not difficult. If you still aren’t clear at this point, read this: http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2011/09/20/consent-is-hard/ and this: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/02/06/if-consent-was-really-that-hard-whiny-dudes-would-fail-at-every-aspect-of-life/

    * Don’t want to listen to us? How about MIT:

    Effective Consent is:

    – informed;

    – freely and actively given;

    – mutually understandable words or actions;

    – which indicate a willingness to participate in
    – mutually agreed upon sexual activity.

  15. says

    davehooke:

    Yeah, can we not express desires of sexual violence and invitations to self-harm please. Thanks.

    I don’t see where Ing’s “they can fuck a power socket” qualifies for desires of sexual violence or an invitation to self harm. In essence, it’s saying they can go fuck themselves. If you are upset about this, you need to make an actual argument, not depend on fuzzy one-liners.

  16. Ichthyic says

    your “argument” only resembles such as digested waste resembles fresh food.

    just waiting for you to get the flick.

  17. davehooke says

    @Caine, #524,

    What is fuzzy about what I said? Ing’s line is clearly sexually violent and an invitation to self-harm. Please don’t tell me we are going to go back to rusty knives and porcupines again. It is the reason I stopped even reading the comments for a good many months, and I am sure I am not the only one. I thought “threats of violence” in the rules covered this.

  18. says

    quixotictendencies:

    Hey look. Aluchko just went and put a dent into my argument by actually being a rape apologist. Fancy that.

    Hey look. Quixotictendencies is still a douchebiscuit. I’m sure we’re all ever so surprised.

  19. says

    davehook:

    What is fuzzy about what I said? Ing’s line is clearly sexually violent and an invitation to self-harm. Please don’t tell me we are going to go back to rusty knives and porcupines again. It is the reason I stopped even reading the comments for a good many months, and I am sure I am not the only one. I thought “threats of violence” in the rules covered this.

    How long have you been away? Rusty knives and porcupines were *years* ago. There was a consensus that those were wrong to use. That said, telling someone or a group to fuck off, either plainly or creatively is not the same, at least to me. If you don’t want to see anyone use the phrase “fuck off” or variants thereof, such as “fuck you” or “go fuck yourself”, you’re going to be upset reading here.

    Now this is reaching a derail point, and I’m happy to discuss if further, however, not in this thread. If you want to talk about it more, please take it to Thunderdome.

  20. A. Noyd says

    @quixotictendencies
    Lookit ‘em goalposts go!

    It doesn’t matter if the criticism is too nice for your tastes. Those are genuine examples of criticism. Of PZ. In this very thread. Exactly as throwaway promised. And you’re just too shitty and dishonest of a person to accept that you’re wrong and PZ is not some sort of “sacred a cow” whom none will challenge.

    In fact, if anything, the tenor of the criticism helps to prove that these critics aren’t some of the mindless detractors who go out of their way to disagree with anything and everything PZ says.

  21. aluchko says

    @chigau (カオス)

    In this case physical force bordering on an assault. With a young child making them do anything is essentially forced

    @Jafafa Hots

    Ok, I probably could have phrased it better than saying they “did consent but wasn’t legally allowed to.” But I have no problem with the idea that since you can easily get a kid to consent to something they don’t want to do they are never in a position to consent to have sex with an adult. I’ve never had an issue with the idea that statutory rape is rape.

    @Ingdigo Jump

    For a seven year old there’s no chance of fucking consent because you know the adult can basically break you with their bare hands if they wanted to. Fuck off Aluchko, you’re harping is creepy

    You seriously misinterpreted what I wrote:

    “I will grant that statutory rape was probably the wrong thing to compare it to since I believe statutory rape implies the victim did consent, but wasn’t legally allowed to. (though with a 7 year old they could probably extract that consent if they really wanted it)”

    ie. In my understanding statutory rape means that force wasn’t used because the victim consented. But the victim was young enough that the perpetrator could extract consent through manipulation or authority, so we say there was no consent because the victim wasn’t in position to. In some cases this becomes borderline (infamous cases of teenage couples being prosecuted) but there’s many cases where it’s obviously rape.

    But in the case of a 7 year old it’s trivial for an adult to get them to agree to something, so the consent they got is meaningless even by the statutory rape standard.

    In other words I pretty much agreed with what you said.

    @Caine, Fleur du mal

    NO. I warned you about continued apologia. Knock it the fuck off, now. You don’t have slightest fucking idea of what you’re talking about. Not a clue. Rape is not sex and it is not a sexual relationship. You do not get to arbitrarily decide what constitutes “legitimate” rape. You don’t get to classify violations, period.

    Now, I am seriously tired of you and ready to send an alert to PZ. Stop.

    I DID NOT SAY STATUTORY RAPE WASN’T LEGITIMATE RAPE.

    What I said was that statutory rape often involves a full sexual relationship, in the sense that it’s 2 people having sex on a regular basis. What makes it rape is the fact there’s such an age (and implied power) imbalance that the consent the younger party gave is not really valid. These are legitimate rapes.

    The only point I was making is a) that with a younger child, particularly a prepubescent one, the consent aspect is even more meaningless, and b) occasional fondling is a less severe violation than regular sex.

  22. Lofty says

    quixotictendencies, are you trying to get your “I was banned on PZ’s blog” gold misogynist star? Your “Dear Leader ” comment makes it obvious you’re just a lowly shit stirrer.

  23. says

    aluchko, I have put up an alert about you. You have been warned, more than once, and refuse to stop with the rape apologetics. If you’re smart, you’ll stop well before PZ sees the alerts. Now would be the time to get a clue.

  24. A. Noyd says

    quixotictendencies (#534)

    Do you not understand what’s wrong with the fact that all the examples you have provided have been couched in wishy-washy niceties?

    No, because the substance of the criticism is about victim-blaming. Which, if you knew the first thing about Pharyngula culture beyond what you imagine it to be, you’d realize is not some “semidemihemidisagreement” but an incredibly serious thing to call out here. It’s dishonest to accept only excoriation beyond a certain vitriol threshold when polite but sincere criticism shows people don’t hold everything PZ says as holy and unquestionable.

    But then, you brought up the whole subject of whether PZ is a sacred cow because you needed to divert attention from the fact that you put words in his mouth and then, when challenged, couldn’t back up your claim.

    (#539)

    My “Dear Leader” comment makes nothing clear except that I consider Pharyngula to be utterly hostile to any form of dissent. Prove me wrong.

    You just were proven wrong, you smarmy little turd-gargler. Even if you want to pretend that you’d always considered angry denunciation necessary to what you asked for above, you cannot possibly pretend that the examples given to you are not some form of dissent.

  25. Tony! The Immorally Inferior Queer Shoop! says

    quixotictendencies:
    You have not read the substantial criticisms levelled against Dawkins for what he said. Or perhaps you have and simply have difficulty comprehending RDs dismissal of ‘certain types of pedophilia’ as having no long term trauma.
    Your comments about Nerd and Caine betray an obvious bias you have against regulars here.

    You mention Atheism+ as if somehow applies to anything here.

    You display zero understanding of Rape Apologia. Here is a hint
    rape apologists are not standing on corners speaking in favor of rape.
    Rape apologists excuse rape, dismiss its impact, blame the victim rather than the rapist, try to redefine rape, and more.
    All of this is very easy to find online so you can educate yourself, rather than jump into a thread without making a good faith effort.

    Your presence here has amounted to nothing more than trolling.
    Why you Skeptastic Slymey Douchebags keep commenting here where you know neither you, nor your comments will be welcome is beyond me.

    Unless…
    Do you all

  26. Ichthyic says

    Your exceedingly low opinion of me is noted, I assure you.

    no, I’m sure your comprehension is too poor to understand.

    *flick*

  27. chigau (カオス) says

    quixotictendencies #542

    Edgy Chaos Dude:
    お前もアホだ
    くたばれ

    hahahamwhahajhaha
    google translate は waaay cool
    also “Dude”
    *snort*

  28. says

    I am SO close to telling someone they should go eat an entire box of Pecan Sandies.
    Complete with transfats.

    I hate when I have such violent thoughts.

  29. Ichthyic says

    I would say two words to you by way of reminder:

    I have two words for you.

    can you guess which ones?

  30. A. Noyd says

    @quixotictendencies
    ここにいるアホはお前(とaluchko)だけだよ。Chigauは女性だ。勝手に人の性別を決めるんじゃねーよ。それもここの決まりだって知らない?なんて能なしだな、お前は。威張っているのに。可☆愛☆想。wwww

  31. aluchko says

    @Caine, Fleur du mal

    Meh, I’m just going to unsubscribe instead.

    You have a rape apologist opponent in your head, so for anything I write your first assumption is it’s from a rape apologist. Not only is it disgusting to have to defend yourself from accusations like that, but to have explicit denials completely ignored in favour of selective interpretation is maddening.

    PZ’s blog has a common theme, find a controversial statement someone makes, then write a hyperbolic and righteous indictment of that statement.

    My instinct when I see that is to defend the attacked party and have a big argument about that, I find it enlightening and kinda fun.

    But the comments are basically an echo chamber in which to pile on the attacked party. And any defense of the attacked subject is dealt with using hyperbole and threats of bans, there’s frankly an element of bullying. I’m sorry but I can’t stand that atmosphere, if I were to be brutally honest it feels to me like a liberal and reality based equivalent to Fox News. Righteous, hyperbolic, hyper-partisan, and any straying from the party line ruthlessly suppressed. It’s on the right side and makes strong reality based arguments, but the atmosphere can be toxic.

    It’s a shame since I admire the work PZ does, not just battling creationists, but exposing sexism, rape culture, and lack of diversity in the skeptic community. But I can’t read without occasionally chipping in, and when I do I can’t stand a community without dissenting voices.

    If PZ wants that community and you enjoy it that’s fine. But it drives some people away and I hope you realize the mental image you’ve developed about posters like me might be astoundingly inaccurate.

    p.s. I might lurk on the thread and respond if people want me to, but I am unsubscribed and am completely happy with not saying anything more. I just thought I should explain why I was unsubscribing, it’s not some stupid attempt to cast myself as a martyr or something.

    [Dude, you’re monologuing. Do you think you’re some kind of supervillain or something? And no, I don’t think you’re getting mischaracterized: you’re making excuses for certain kinds of sexual abuse. So don’t come back, y’all hear? –pzm]

  32. Ichthyic says

    If I’m a troll, I’m a very high effort one, don’t you think? I’ve been here for hours!

    Floyd over at Panda’s Thumb has trolled that site for YEARS. You’re nothing special; in any and every sense.

    hoping to see a cleaner thread when your posts are removed.

  33. says

    quixotictendencies:

    If I’m a troll, I’m a very high effort one, don’t you think?

    No. You’re nothing special in that regard. You are not a special snowflake, regardless of how highly you think of yourself. Again, this constitutes a derail. Same choices: stop or take it to thunderdome.

    This goes for subsequent responses as well, including my own after this. All this has nothing to do with the OP, it goes to Thunderdome or stops.

  34. Ichthyic says

    I remember Floyd.

    FL is still there. every day. saying the EXACT same things he said over 6 years ago, as if nobody had ever heard or responded to any of it. Must be thousands of comments by now.

    cognitive dissonance FTW!

  35. says

    aluchko

    Corporal punishment is designed to inflict pain, it’s going to be significant regardless of the cultural expectations. But with mild pedophilia there isn’t pain or even significant sexual feelings (depending on the age), the main injury is being involved in a huge cultural taboo.

    That’s just wrong, worng, wrong.
    Touching a child sexually (or actually, at all without a very good reason) is not wrong because of cultural taboos but because it overrides bodily autonomy. To stay with your example: I was spanked as a kid. But not beaten*. What hurt wasn’t the spanking. I hurt myself climbing trees or riding a bike or doing judo much more painfully and much more often. But those didn’t stick to my mind like the spankings. Because the spankings was somebody I loved and trusted, somebody with authority using their authority and strength to override my bodily autonomy, to remder me powerless and to demonstrate that I was at their mercy. No road I ever hit could inflict that pain on me.

    *with the noticable exception of two times

    Hey, Jenna Healy
    You didn’t actually read what Dawkins wrote, especially when he generalized his opinion to all the other kids?

    instead there’s a massive outcry against him like he’s some kind of monster whose entire character is blackened and people who previously respected him for whatever reasons should now totally reverse their entire opinion of him based on this, burn his books, tear down his posters, etc;

    Well, actually people here are very much against calling people monsters. But it’s telling that you use that term. Dawkins’ character is what it is, and it’s not a nice one. It’s not the first time he’s behaving like a total ass and it’s telling that you cut him all the slack.

    In fairness, my comments (circle-jerk, etc) aren’t really very different from the imaginative language PZ uses (bowels-of-christ anyone), and they also weren’t aimed at any one person, so I don’t feel so bad about being hyperbolic.

    That’s nice. So, it’s totally different when you do it, especially when you’re feeling righteous about it.

    Dawkins is a twat, let’s all get together and agree about what a twat he is

    Since I’m very sure nobody on Pharyngula uses twat without getting a massive amout of reprimand I know that you’re not an hones interlocutor. Gendered insults are not OK.
    If you had a point you’d actually quote the people you disagree with.

    I assumed when RD said “it didn’t do any of us lasting harm” he was referring to his schoolmates that he actually knew, and maybe at school, none of them had behaved as if it bothered them.

    Hey, so you can read his mind?
    And I’ve actually answered this before: How would he know? Such intimate and very personal things are not talked about openly. They are also not always recognized by the person affected.

    David

    Oh, of course it’s not a perfect solution. But at least it shows that the people in charge of such things have considered that the problem may at all exist.

    Yes, and they’ve come up with all the wrong answers. Because men can sexually abuse boys, women can sexually abuse girls, especially since abuse is about power, not sex.

    Jafafa Hots
    Fuck, I’m speechless. I’m so sorry you had to go through this.

    quixotictendencies

    child molestation is always or almost always catastrophically harmful to the child. P.Z. himself did it,
    I guess you’ll provide the evidence for that claim any minute now…

  36. Doug Hudson says

    The feminine form of “dude” is “dudette”, I believe.

    Those pecan sandies sound delicious.

    Richard Dawkins needs to cultivate empathy and compassion, particularly for people who aren’t well-off white men.

    And the Pharyngula monitors are awesome and deserve props.

  37. daniellavine says

    @aluchko:

    He was a victim of an inexcusable violation; that he can shrug it off does not mean it was OK, or ‘zero bad’, or something trivial.

    I read that as saying Dawkins characterization of his own experience is invalid.

    That’s not a reasonable reading. PZ is talking about the act performed by the teacher, not Dawkins’ reaction to that act. This is entirely clear from the quoted statement.

    Even if that wasn’t the case it’s not a hyperbolic criticism of RD which is what you’re trying to demonstrate.

    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?

    Dawkins didn’t say it was OK, or that the children’s pant were public properly, he said it wasn’t as serious a violation as it’s portrayed now.

    And the statement you quote from the OP is PZ arguing that actually it is a serious violation.

    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.

    So Dawkins is not only supporting pedophiles, he sounds like a member of NAMBLA meaning he sounds like a pedophile.

    1. “mild touching up” supports pedophiles.
    2. “mild touching up” does sound like something out of NAMBLA.

    Seriously, it’s the exact sort of language NAMBLA uses to trivialize pedophilia. Get your act together.

    I think calling Dawkins an enabler of pedophiles, saying he wants childrens’ genitales to be public property, and half suggesting he’s a pedophile himself is a pretty harsh attack.

    Relative to what he said it’s a completely proportionate criticism because what Dawkins said does indeed enable pedophiles.

    But I wasn’t trying to minimize the harm, I was trying to locate the source of the harm, and why Dawkins and some of his classmates might not have experienced it. Dawkins pretty much states he got away unscathed in part because of the culture that didn’t take it as seriously.

    Yeah, he says that…but what’s his evidential basis? Pretty piss-fucking-poor. When you flat-out say “the act doesn’t cause the harm, the public discourse about it does” what you are saying — or, at any rate, how you will be interpreted by pedophiles — is “pedophilia is OK but criticizing or drawing attention to pedophilia is not OK.” That’s rape apologetics.

    He says he’d judge modern people giving a touching up much more harshly than people from that era, and the implication I take is that he wasn’t traumatized in part because it wasn’t taken as seriously.

    You stated your lame-ass unsupported hypothesis as a fact.

    If relating Dawkins own interpretation of his experience is considered rape apologetics then how can we discuss this?

    You should probably not discuss this. You should probably shut the fuck up and let smarter, better-informed people discuss this.

  38. twincats says

    You should probably not discuss this. You should probably shut the fuck up and let smarter, better-informed people discuss this.

    And pay attention when they do! I know I’ve learned a metric fucktonne doing just that.

  39. procrastinatorordinaire says

    I think that most people in this thread seem to be focus on Richard Dawkin’s statement “I don’t think he did any of us lasting harm.” when he is clearly referring to the other children that he confided in at the time.

    What I found really wrong about the statement is this bit:

    “I am very conscious that you can’t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours. Just as we don’t look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild paedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today,” he said.

    Firstly, he dismisses ‘mild’ paedophilia as harmless based on a single incident. Had the master been persistent and insistent, finding excuses to be alone with Dawkins every day, even if he had not escalated the physical level of contact, I think Dawkins would have a different opinion on the effects of ‘mild’ paedophilia.

    Secondly, though within the public school system the boys were powerless to react and the master could act with relative impunity, what he was doing was still wrong even by the standards of the time. Any sexual activity between men was a criminal offence under law whatever their ages. We only have to remember Alan Turing being sentenced to chemical castration in 1952 for acts of gross indecency.

    We can and should condemn the actions of men who were in a position of absolute power and trust over young boys, and who used that position to sexually abuse them. That their authority and prestige at the time provided them with impunity is no excuse for their behaviour.

  40. says

    procrastinatorordinaire @ 587, considering that Dawkins would condemn all instances of sexual abuse by clergy of any religion, he has even less reason to indulge in such rape apologetics.

  41. Eristae says

    I’m cranky and tired, so I’ll try to keep this short, but this is the first I’ve had access to both the internet and an actual keyboard (as opposed to my phone) for a few days now, and I need to get this out:

    Molesting a child is a lot like tossing a child out of a window. When a kid is tossed out a window, the child is unquestionably in danger. The degree of harm that the child may suffer cannot be known beforehand (bumps and bruises, broken bones, severed spinal cords . . . .). In fact,upon some rare occasions a child manages to fall, even from a considerable height, while escaping unscathed.

    This does not mean we should be shrugging when we hear that some ninny made a routine practice of tossing kids out of windows and one of the kids insists (perhaps truthfully) that no lasting harm was done that he is aware of. Tossing children out of windows is dangerous and I am completely uninterested in wringing my hands over how much worse it is to toss a kid out of a third story window than it is to toss a kid out of a second story window.

    Not all children who are sexually abused are harmed. I’ve spoken to a few who were abused in truly egregious ways and who nevertheless say they are fine and appear to be telling the truth, leaving me with no reason to doubt their word. But the simple fact is that these individuals are the ones who lucked out, just like the kids who are dropped off of balconies and manage to fall into a passing cart of hay which cushioned their fall and left them without a scratch. The fact that a person escaped harm in a truly dangerous situation is cause for jubilation, not for insisting we should ignore the danger.

    Dawkins is advocating for giving people a pass after they spent years tossing kids out of windows because he went out the window and was fine. But his survival won’t heal their broken bones or breath life back into their corpses.

    I’m enraged by this, and that’s all I have to say for now.

  42. says

    Well said, Eristae.

    Also, I urge people to check out Haifisch’s essay. It draws horrifying but fascinating connections between the institutionalized abuse at schools for children of privilege, such as the one Dawkins went to, and “schools” where indigenous children in North America and Australia were systemically abused as well as forcibly alienated from their cultures.

  43. kittehserf says

    TW: Dawkins quoted dismissing child abuse, again.

    Reading Stephanie Zvan’s post from 2011 that was linked upthread (sorry, I’ve forgotten whose comment it was), this is the paragraph from TGD that strikes me:

    Forty years on, it is harder to get redress for floggings than for sexual fondlings, and there is no shortage of lawyers actively soliciting custom from victims who might not otherwise have raked over the distant past. There’s gold in them thar long-gone fumbles in the vestry–some of them, indeed, so long gone that the alleged offender is likely to be dead and unable to present his side of the story. The Catholic Church worldwide has paid out more than a billion dollars in compensation. You might almost sympathize with them, until you remember where their money came from in the first place. (p. 356)

    Dawkins really doesn’t seem to give a shit about what was done to those children, or any children. He’s totally dismissing it, and seems only mildly upset because he disapproves of the Church and its sources of money. I get the feeling he’d shrug it off completely if it wasn’t something done by clerics. “Fumbles in the vestry”, putting it all down to money-chasing lawyers or victims (his wording wasn’t clear), and the use of “alleged” outside a legal context. Yeah, RD, children so often lie about being abused. FFS – the man’s attitude is grotesque.

  44. Thumper; Immorally Inferior Sergeant Major in the Grand Gynarchy Mangina Corps (GGMC) says

    @Eristae

    *applause*

    Great analogy. That post needs to be put on a billboard right outside Dawkins’ office window.

  45. Tony! The Immorally Inferior Queer Shoop! says

    Eristae:
    Your analogy was perfect. All the Dawkins supporters should read it carefully (though given how so many of them cannot manage to understand PZs OP, nor how Dawkins diminishes the problem of pedophilia, I am scared to imagine how they would twist your analogy).

  46. says

    I wonder if Dawkins has always been this out of touch, and the immediacy of the Internet just makes it more obvious- or if he’s just been going off the rails recently?

    Even under the most generous interpretation I can give, it’s like he expects every “mild” incident to be the same as what he experienced, and for every victim to have the same relevant prior experiences, and the same resources for coping after the fact as he did. And for every victim to use these resources in the same way. I’m happy for him that it didn’t hurt him much, but to assume everyone with a roughly analagous case to come out similarly unharmed is asinine. Occasionally someone will get shot and barely even need stitches, and then only to keep the scarring from being too ugly. This doesn’t mean shooting people is fine based on such a lucky victim.

    I’m partially with him on the judging people as a product of their times. That being said, he does seem to go too far. I can accept people like George Washington as basically decent men despite holding slaves, but the slaveholding was still *wrong*. Widely accepted enough at the time that I can let his better qualities shine through, but he was still horribly wrong on that point. Dawkins seems to be going for “it was the way things were so it’s ok” here, though. It’s not ok. Maybe you’d give more credit for the persons good qualities than you would someone doing it today, but this is still a bad thing and a mark against the person.

  47. Eristae says

    Thanks to everyone for their kind words regarding my anaology! I smiled as I read them. Also

    @Tony! The Immorally Inferior Queer Shoop!
    I do admit to a certain level of fear that I’ll pop in here and find someone saying, “Well, it’s okay to toss a kid out of a window if the building is on fire or something!” in which case I will feel the need to crawl under my desk and weep.

  48. says

    Eristae:

    I do admit to a certain level of fear that I’ll pop in here and find someone saying, “Well, it’s okay to toss a kid out of a window if the building is on fire or something!”

    That didn’t even cross my mind. If someone was considering saying that, I’d strongly suggest they choose not to do so.

  49. says

    gworroll:

    I’m partially with him on the judging people as a product of their times.

    Well, 50 to 65 years ago wasn’t all that long, though. When it comes to sexually abusing children, it wasn’t accepted behaviour in the sense of “well, it’s okay, everyone does it!”, the main difference is that it wasn’t much talked about, by anyone. Incidents were covered up, and if a child did have associated trauma, family would make up stories, and if they had privilege, send the kid off somewhere, what have you.

    I think we have to be very careful about letting things and people slide under the ‘product of their times’ rubric. We are all a product of our time, and it should be expected that as times move on, so do we. I’m 55, and things are a whole hell of a lot different now than they were in the ’60s or ’70s. That I grew up during that time doesn’t mean I get to inhabit that time permanently, and handwave bad things. It means that I should be making every effort to inhabit 2013, and make the appropriate changes in my own attitudes.

  50. Ingdigo Jump says

    I do admit to a certain level of fear that I’ll pop in here and find someone saying, “Well, it’s okay to toss a kid out of a window if the building is on fire or something!”

    I did a similar story on twitter but my example was pulling a kid into a closed room and putting an empty revolver up to their head and pulling the trigger.

  51. says

    @598: I wonder if Dawkins has always been this out of touch, and the immediacy of the Internet just makes it more obvious- or if he’s just been going off the rails recently?

    In my observation, Dawkins has always had a tendency to say really cringe-worthy things occasionally, mixed in with the good stuff, even back when the topic was strictly about atheism (but I’m too lazy to type in the particular example I’m thinking of). This is especially true when he’s speaking extemporaneously, as in an interview (or Twitter), though I could probably also find bits of TGD I don’t care for.

  52. David Marjanović says

    someone who can’t even show the minimal courtesy to bother reading even the first few dozen comments

    This isn’t even about fucking courtesy. It’s about stupidity. It’s unfathomably stupid to believe nobody could possibly have addressed one’s concerns or said anything else worthwhile in 490 comments! It’s about arrogance, about intellectual dishonesty to oneself, about the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    ☆愛☆

    ^_^

    I wonder if Dawkins has always been this out of touch, and the immediacy of the Internet just makes it more obvious- or if he’s just been going off the rails recently?

    I can’t tell. However, there’s something vaguely similar Dawkins has been doing for years and years: Every once in a while, he takes a scientific insight, draws a conclusion from it, suggests that therefore something should be done that would upset lots of people, and… it looks like he’s just trying to start a discussion, but he never participates in the discussion that he kicks off.

  53. domjenk84 says

    Is it really impossible for anyone to have a conflicting opinion of either their experiences or what they have read on here? In a world where somebody taking an opposing view is heralded as a “mistake” (170) the entire exercise of this blog becomes pointless. It’s odd how the repetition rules (Go back and read the fucking post in its entirety you asshole moron, learn to read) are only enforced on dissenters. As a result, you get 500+ posts of ‘freethoughters’ agreeing with one another to 2-3 poor chaps and chapettes stoically trying to get a point across. Obviously anyone who might back them has been banned.

    Dawkins isn’t evil. He is an old man recounting an experience and speculating upon that experience. It’s what people do. Freud is all speculation from experience (either his or his patients). The word ‘think’ is pretty important when he says “I don’t think it did us any lasting damage”. He’s not saying “never did any harm in my day”, he’s talking about one situation and he’s not extrapolating his experience to every victim of molestation.

    It’s really unhealthy for you all to be feeding off each other like you do. You’re just polarizing further. People know if they dissent (make a ‘mistake’) they will be ostracised, so don’t dissent and agree. PZ is becoming a demagogue and you’ve all fallen for it.

  54. says

    Monitor Note

    domjenk84, as of right now, there are 606 comments in this thread, 2 pages of them. The first page is here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/09/09/i-beseech-you-in-the-bowels-of-christ-please-stop/comment-page-1/#comments

    Failing to read the prior comments and insisting on a re-hash of already covered ground may engender banning:

    II. You may be banned from a comment thread if:

    1. You cannot control your posting habits, and are dominating the discussion.

    2. Your comments are repetitive, especially if you repeat arguments that have already been addressed.

    3. You demonstrate that you are unwilling to have read previous comments or the opening post.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/rules/

    No one has said Prof. Dawkins is evil. This alone demonstrates you have not read the comments. Do so before commenting again. Thank you.

  55. Ingdigo Jump says

    It’s really unhealthy for you all to be feeding off each other like you do. You’re just polarizing further. People know if they dissent (make a ‘mistake’) they will be ostracised, so don’t dissent and agree. PZ is becoming a demagogue and you’ve all fallen for it.

    Oh go cuddle a fuzzy wuzzy bunny

  56. says

    Monitor Note.

    domjenk84, two other things. This is not the complaints department. If you wish to complain about Pharyngula in general, please do so in one of the two open threads:

    The Lounge

    Thunderdome

    Thank you.

    Also, the rules apply to everyone. It is pointless to re-hash things which have already been hashed beyond measure.

  57. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    eople know if they dissent (make a ‘mistake’) they will be ostracised, so don’t dissent and agree. PZ is becoming a demagogue and you’ve all fallen for it.

    No, you and your buddies keep making your bigotry and misogyny as “dissent”. It is nothing like that, as you never, ever present evidence to back up your “dissent”. Why don’t your link to real evidence to back up your unevidened OPINION? Oh, right, you only worry about evidence when it backs you up….

  58. says

    @domjenk84

    It’s odd how the repetition rules (Go back and read the fucking post in its entirety you asshole moron, learn to read) are only enforced on dissenters.

    Actually, if you think that we’ve missed a post, you’ve quite welcome to point that out.

    However, it would probably be a good idea if you make sure that you’re not pointing to a post that says something that has been refuted a hundred comments earlier. Just a helpful tip.

    Dawkins isn’t evil.

    Nobody has said he was. Literally, nobody has said he was. Feel free to check.

    he’s talking about one situation and he’s not extrapolating his experience to every victim of molestation.

    He’s certainly extrapolating to the other boys at his school and there are some strong implication for other cases of abuse. If he had said “I don’t think it did me any harm, he wouldn’t have gotten nearly this backlash.

    Can you honestly tell me that you’d still be this understanding if a Catholic priest had dismissed child abuse as “just mild touching up”?
    Seriously, imagine for a moment a Vatican spokesperson coming forward and saying “Well, a lot of us were felt up, but I don’t think it did any of us any harm.” Would you still think that was just fine?