Not pornographic cartoons of him being shot in the head

I like Richard Carrier’s post on Dawkins v Feminists v Tim Hunt.

Dawkins cries watery tears whines hyperbolically almost every time he is criticized. (Just google around. The number of examples documented on the Internet is so bewildering it’s become a well known trope.) It’s always the same thing: someone exercising their free speech rights to express their negative opinion of him or things he said, becomes a “witch hunt” and an “inquisition” by a wild “angry mob.”

In fact it is never any of those things, but basically a lot of serious, thoughtful, often well-argued criticism. Mere free speech. And often well done and spot on at that. Not email bombs sent to his in-box to harass him. Not sea lioning. Not pornographic cartoons of him being shot in the head posted in public. No actual torches and pitchforks, prison time, or setting him on fire. No actual mob. Just a citizenry peaceably assembling and expressing their grievances to those with power.

No one even asked any organization to fire Hunt. He was only fired from a few honorarypositions whose role was to promote the values of those organizations, entirely on those organizations’ own initiative. Because epically failing at your job, and embarrassing your employer on precisely a mission point of what they are actively fighting against, means you suck at your job. People who suck at their job can get fired. That’s how life works. Stop crying whining about it.

Just what I say. He wasn’t given those positions as if they were shiny baubles for him to play with forever. He was given them as a way to add extra fame and glory to the donating institutions. Once the fame and glory started smelling like the rotting oysters one of the #DistractinglySexy scientists tweeted she always smells of, they had no reason to continue to clutch him to their bosoms. He acted like a sexist jackass in public, so he was bounced.

I’m sorry, but this behavior makes Dawkins look like a child. He can’t handle criticism.

Either A:

He shivers in terror, hiding in his closet (or as he calls it, the “muzzle” his critics have apparently sent thugs to attach to his face and hands), deathly afraid of being criticized, and blames thecriticism for chasing him into that closet (muzzle). It’s all their fault, for criticizing him. Not his childish fear of criticism. Or his inability to deal with it. Or just stand up for his criticized views and laugh the critics off (like he would creationists and theologians). Or recognize his mistakes and value them as learning experiences. And then try harder to help us combat sexism, for example, instead of acting like a clueless twit hyperbolically attacking us for being against sexism.

Or B:

He wildly overreacts to criticism with a massive display of a shocking sense of entitlement. And learns nothing. And doesn’t even notice he has this flaw. He certainly doesn’t notice how sexist and insulting it is for him to use the witch hunt trope when defending his or others’ sexism or their right to be immune to the consequences from it. A lot of Big Atheism dudebros do the same (like Peter Boghossian). They also constantly cry watery tears whine hyperbolically when criticized, lashing out in an irrational state of intemperate anger and indignance, using the same inapplicable and inappropriate tropes.

They do, they do.

Happy World Humanist Day.


  1. Al Dente says

    We’ve all known for some time that Dawkins can’t handle criticism. But thank you, Richard Carrier, for pointing out why Richard Dawkins is such a whiner. Note that reasons A and B are not mutually exclusive.

  2. latsot says

    Dawkins of Christmas Past sometimes handled scientific criticism of his science as a scientist should and he sometimes didn’t. But almost all the examples I know about are from after he (rightly) achieved fame with The Selfish Gene and his many other great (if sometimes repetitive) books. The most well-publicised of his arguments from the old days were with Stephen Jay Gould. Those arguments got a little personal on both sides and rarely read to me like academics criticising one another’s academic work. They were pop-sci authors arguing more about the pop than the sci.

    To me, it seems as though Dawkins never noticed the difference and continues to not notice the difference to this day. It’s required that scientific criticism such as peer review, PhD examinations etc. be blunt, factual and unaffected by reputation. Other kinds of criticism don’t and shouldn’t follow the same rules and the trouble is that Dawkins demands that his critics honour the scientific tradition while he himself pisses that same scientific tradition up a fucking rope.

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