One point about Kimberly Winston’s article about Dawkins and Twitter and peace accords – I was surprised by what Daniel Dennett said.
Of course, Dawkins still has legions of supporters. Among his biggest is Dennett, one of his fellow “Four Horsemen” and a philosopher at Tufts University.
“I thought Richard’s responses were right on target. If some radical feminists (and others) think that all rape is equally bad, do they think it is not quite as bad as murder? If so, are THEY condoning rape? And if they think rape and murder are always equally bad, they really have lost their bearings and do not deserve our attention. Richard has been immensely important.”
Note the “if”. Well yes, if, then whatever. But the proposed “if” isn’t relevant to anything, so it’s frivolous to mention it. It’s likely that Dennett simply had no idea what all this is about, but in that case, he should have just replied that he had no idea what all this is about. He shouldn’t have cast about for a likely reason for Dawkins to tweet “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” and then used his own speculation as an answer to questions about it from a reporter.
How do I know that’s what he did? I don’t know for sure, but if he had known what it was all about, I don’t see why he would have given such a dud reply.
Of course Richard has been immensely important; I said that in my reply to Winston myself. But I don’t think he’s been immensely important on Twitter. In any case it can be true both that he has been immensely important and that he is currently doing a good deal of harm and could stop doing that with little or no cost to himself.