Dear Muslima 2: Electric Boogaloo

I think I’ve reached the point where I’m just done with Richard Dawkins. Despite his brilliance as an evolutionary biologist and his huge influence on me as a young non-believer, I’m just done. Now he’s doubling down on his previously inane arguments about feminism with this bit of absurdity:

Bottom line: He stands by everything he has said — including comments that one form of rape or pedophilia is “worse” than another, and that a drunken woman who is raped might be responsible for her fate.

“I don’t take back anything that I’ve said,” Dawkins said from a shady spot in the leafy backyard of one of his Bay Area supporters. “I would not say it again, however, because I am now accustomed to being misunderstood and so I will … ”

Yes, of course, it’s always a misunderstanding. Even when he goes on to confirm that he meant exactly what he was interpreted to say:

The greatest threats to women, in his view, are Islamism and jihadism — and his concern over that sometimes leads him to speak off-the-cuff.

“I concentrate my attention on that menace and I confess I occasionally get a little impatient with American women who complain of being inappropriately touched by the water cooler or invited for coffee or something which I think is, by comparison, relatively trivial,” he said.

Imagine what he must think of American atheists for complaining about equal access to the public square, stigmatization and discrimination when there are atheists getting whipped, imprisoned and killed overseas. Funny that he’s never mentioned that we’re just as bad as all those American women who dare to complain about being inappropriately touched when there are women in Muslim countries who have it so much worse. Obviously, only the single most oppressed and mistreated in the world get to complain about their oppression and mistreatment. Now, how shall we decide who gets to complain?

And then there’s this:

“I feel muzzled, and a lot of other people do as well,” he continued. “There is a climate of bullying, a climate of intransigent thought police which is highly influential in the sense that it suppresses people like me.”

Gee Richard, you mean you’re complaining about being muzzled when there are people who are thrown in prison, beaten and put to death for the things they say? I confess I occasionally get impatient with such blatant hypocrisy. Apparently he’s only bothered when women speak out against their mistreatment — American women, at that — without being the Most Mistreated In The World. He’s perfectly fine with powerful and influential men like him complaining about their own perceived mistreatment — it’s called being criticized — when they’re not the Most Mistreated In The World.

Help, help, I’m being repressed when people criticize me for saying dumb things! Come and see the violence inherent in those uppity women who dare to question me!

Yeah, I’m just done with Dawkins.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • dingojack

    Ed – So let me get this right – Dawkins is an idiot for saying ‘inviting someone for coffee’ is less offensive (and physically dangerous) than say stripping a woman naked and humiliating her for the heinous ‘crime’ of wearing a miniskirt, or shooting a schoolgirl in the head for daring to get an education?

    That’s kind of like saying: ‘ooh we shouldn’t do anything about mass murder in country X ’cause someone is illegally downloading a Lady Gags song here’.

    Both might be illegal, but worse crimes are worse.

    Dingo

  • johnw

    dingojack, if Dawkins’ critics were saying “we shouldn’t do anything about the oppression of women by Islamists because of sexist language in the workplace” you might have a point. But they’re not, so you don’t.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    That’s kind of like saying: ‘ooh we shouldn’t do anything about mass murder in country X ’cause someone is illegally downloading a Lady Gags song here’.

    I think that’s getting it backwards. Dawkins is essentially saying that no one should complain about illegally downloading Lady Gaga* because there’s a mass murderer in country X.

  • lowkey

    You’ve got it flipped around, Dingo. No one is saying that at all. Just because it’s less egregious doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be considered (Ed’s point), but just because we’re concerned about the lesser instance does not mean we’re completely unconcerned about the greater.

  • karmacat

    Dingojack – You forgot the part about women being groped at the water cooler. That is legally sexual assault. His talking about “inviting someone for coffee” is a jab at Rebecca Watson. In any case, why can’t he fight for all women. Why do we have to pick just one? Also, an ex-Muslim woman (I forget her name) is angry that Dawkins is appropriating Muslim culture to put down other women.

  • themadtapper

    Yes, of course, it’s always a misunderstanding. Even when he goes on to confirm that he meant exactly what he was interpreted to say:

    Yep, always a misunderstanding. He just cannot accept that maybe, just maybe, people understand him perfectly and simply think he’s wrong. No, they must be misunderstanding him. If only he could just make his point a little louder, a little snider, they would finally get it. Because he’s RICHARD DAWKINS, DEEP THINKER EXTRAORDINAIRE, and if only those unenlightened feminists could just think calmly, rationally, and unemotionally like him, they would understand his brilliance.

    We get it just fine, Mr. Dawkins. You think Islamic oppression of women is super bad. You think Western oppression of women isn’t as bad, trivial by comparison in fact. You get impatient with complaints about Western oppression of women because it doesn’t measure as high on your opressometer. You’ve made that abundantly clear. We get it, we just think you’re WRONG. You’re WRONG to get impatient with perfectly valid complaints just because they don’t measure as high on your opressometer. You’re WRONG to be using certain kinds of oppression as an excuse to dismiss other kinds. You’re WRONG to make snide remarks about Western women’s experiences.

    We’re not misunderstanding you, we just think you’re WRONG.

  • http://www.thomaswebb.net pinkboi

    I think there’s no great crime in ignorance, only in spreading it. Dawkins is a biologist, not a social theorist. Of course, he’s famous for things he’s said having stepped outside of his area of expertise, by talking about religion in society. But the fact is, when it comes to feminism, he doesn’t know what he’s even talking about. I’m not one for saying that people should shut up, but he’s using capital he bought with biology and atheism to sell anti-feminism. And that’s inexcusable. It’s exactly the kind of spreading of ignorance he otherwise has spoken against. I’m done with him too.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Close, Dingo:

    Dawkins is an idiot for saying ‘inviting someone for coffee’ is less offensive (and physically dangerous) than say stripping a woman naked and humiliating her for the heinous ‘crime’ of wearing a miniskirt, or shooting a schoolgirl in the head for daring to get an education so quit complaining?

    FTFY.

  • doublereed

    @1 dingojack

    No, he’s just saying American women should STFU. That’s pretty much his whole point.

  • Phillip Hallam-Baker

    I have been arguing its time to stick a fork in Dawkins and declare him done for a year now.

    Perhaps they could have a separate group blog for writing about Dawkins. Call it Dawkblog or something.

  • John Pieret

    Dear Professor Dawkins,

    When you are in a hole, stop digging.

    It just goes to show that even brilliant people can be stupid about some things.

  • eric

    Dingojack – You forgot the part about women being groped at the water cooler. That is legally sexual assault.

    Yeah I found that bit quite an eye-opener. There are certainly horrible sexist crimes being committed around the word, and we should certainly pay attention to them. But workplace sexual misconduct is something I can directly fight, today, in my office when I see it. There is absolutely a good message to be sent to western citizens (who may never ever see a woman stoned to death or have acid hurled on her) that they should pay attention to what happens at the water cooler. Because to be perfectly blunt, that is about the only harassment most of us are going to be capable of stopping in an impactful manner. It’s the general principle of “help out where you are able.” Look, I know that dropping $5 into the fire department boot pales in comparison to feeding starving kids in India. But I don’t drive by the boot and think to myself “well it’s not a kid starving to death, so I feel no obligation to help,” either.

    ***

    Also, there’s that entire last excerpt, where Richard frakking Dawkins complains about being silenced by social forces. Really dude? Really? What’s next, Stephen Spielberg complaining how hollywood won’t let him direct movies?

  • dingojack

    And what part of: “The greatest threats to women, in his [Dawkin’s*] view, are Islamism and jihadism ….. are you having difficulty with?

    Ignore a great big problem, white middle class women are being offended around the sacred watercooler…. (and everyone knows ‘not being offended’ is a right enshrined in the US Constitution, amiright?)

    Dingo

    ———

    * Why he feels he has to refer to himself in the third person is a completely different issue. Perhaps it’s because he is basically a dick.

  • dingojack

    The problem is similar to the one faced by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton: should we fight for the rights of white women or all women? It split the Women’s Rights Movement and delayed women’s rights in the US by well over twenty years.

    Dingo

  • caseloweraz

    I’d like to hear what the actress Lalla Ward has to say about this sort of statement by Dawkins. (He married her in 1992.) So far as I know, she hasn’t spoken about it.

    BTW: She has an asteroid named after her: Asteroid 8347. I don’t think Dawkins can say the same.

  • Kengi

    Dear Atheist Political Prisoner

    Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you were expelled from your homeland, and . . . yawn . . . don’t tell me yet again, I know you aren’t allowed to write a blog post without the police arresting you, and you can’t leave the house without being killed by angry theist mobs, and your family is allowed to beat you, and you’ll be stoned to death if you set up a website. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor British brothers have to put up with.

    Only this week I heard of one, he calls himself a “Horsemen of the Non-Apocalypse”, and do you know what happened to him? Some people openly criticized something he said. I am not exaggerating. They really did. They were critical of his comments. Of course he was able to get his rebuttal published in major news sources, and of course he didn’t lose his job or speaking engagements or anything, but even so . . . He feels “muzzled!”

    And you, Political Prisoner, think you have speech freedoms to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.

  • kosk11348

    Ignore a great big problem, white middle class women are being offended around the sacred watercooler…. (and everyone knows ‘not being offended’ is a right enshrined in the US Constitution, amiright?)Dingojack, where did you get “offended” from? Dawkins said women who were inappropriately touched by the water cooler, as in actual sexual assault. Are you so far up Dawkin’s rectum that you’ve lost the ability to read what he actually said?

  • scienceavenger

    I think I’ve reached the point where I’m just done with Richard Dawkins.

    Hallefuckinlujah. Now if only the rest of the bloggers would follow suit.

  • Sam N

    Wow DingoJack, I perused this blog for years and you always seemed a bit flippant, but I never realized you were a complete moron. Which one do you think is fighting for only white women? Caring both about fundamentalist islamic repression AND about hostile work environments where men around a water cooler call women who wouldn’t fuck them a ‘bitch’ or how sometimes you just gotta ‘smack her up a bit, but I’m just kidding, amiright’?

    Now get back there on your high horse and tell us all to do nothing about the shitty pieces of mysoginistic culture alive and well in the US and focus all 100% of our attention at every moment on the admittedly awful stoning to death of a muslim woman that was raped and dared admit it. Because trying to spend some time on the feminist issues we more frequently encounter is just whining or something…

  • scienceavenger

    He stands by everything he has said — including comments that one form of rape or pedophilia is “worse” than another, and that a drunken woman who is raped might be responsible for her fate.

    But those rather banal comments (“might” is mighty broad. I might be a lizard alien) are not what got him in hot water. It was the “therefore”s that followed: that one who has been violated shouldn’t complain if someone else has it worse, and that its OK for society to assume a drunken woman is responsible for her fate and essentially victim-blame by putting the onus on her to prove she wasn’t, instead of treating her like any other victim of a crime. No one assumes the victims of robbery or assault are responsible for their fate, so why rape victims?

    That last part was rhetorical, I’ve already heard enough mansplainin for one day MRAs, thanks.

  • http://composer99.blogspot.ca composer99

    dingojack @13:

    Islamism & jihadism are not the greatest threats to women at a global level (just as they are not the greatest threat to peace, prosperity, etc., at the global level). So if that’s the basis of Dawkins’ complaint against criticisms of his sexist rhetoric, then he is simply and unequivocally wrong.

  • kagekiri

    @13 dingojack:

    I don’t see anyone saying that Dawkins should NOT claim women in Islamic countries have it bad. No one is in disagreement there, so quit beating strawmen.

    It’s his minimizing of sexual assault (which you seem to be doing, too: stop it) and generally saying Western women have nothing worthwhile to complain about: that’s just pure bullshit, and using the plight of Islamic women to justify shutting up Western women is fucked up. Unwanted touching at work is not fucking “being offended”.

    Getting mugged isn’t suddenly not a crime because in Iran, the secret police executed someone. Beating a child for fun isn’t suddenly not child abuse because other parents have beheaded their children.

    That is an absurd level of concern-trolling, which is already a shitty way to dismiss the needs of others, and it’s fucking mind-numbingly selfish to boot considering he’s a rich man who has publicly complained about small inconveniences like losing a jar of honey.

    Sure, TSA rules are bullshit and useless security theater. But you know atheists are being executed in Islamic countries, right?

  • Donnie

    I guess that we now know where Mr. Mike ‘Timothy Dolan without the kiddie rape’ Nugent gets his “It’s mostly an American thing” talking point from, eh? Essentially, its mostly “an European male thing” to react negatively to criticism.

    Me too. I am done with Dawkins. I loved his book ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ because it laid out the Theory of Evolution simply and beautifully. I have recommended it to others especially young adults. Now, I will still recommend the book but only through the local public libraries with a strong caveat that Richard Dawkins is an asshole and entitled buffoon on equality issues.

    No more monies go to Dawkins based upon my recommendations. I will not pay to hear him speak, and if another ‘Reason Rally’ occurs, I will walk out when he talks and return when he is finished speaking – assuming that the rest of the lineup includes awesome speakers (those who I feel are awesome speakers). Else, I will just bypass the next ‘Reason Rally’. I would rather go to Skepticon or other local / regional conference than spend money to attend a conference where Dawkins is the key note speaker.

  • Sastra

    I am not ‘done’ with Dawkins, but I am very disappointed. He certainly ought to know better. He’s making horrible arguments.

  • =8)-DX

    Wow, never thought I’d see dingojack so totally mis/represent the point. Actually, for the dull of thought: no one is wanting to not get offended. But feminists also want women to be treated like human beings in ALL THE THINGS. And that means when you say factually incorrect sexist bullshit like Dawkins, or when you harass, assault, or abuse women, they’ve a right to complain loud and clear and they’re even helpful enough to explain exactly why the shitty thing you did or said is shitty.

  • themadtapper

    And what part of: “The greatest threats to women, in his [Dawkin’s*] view, are Islamism and jihadism ….. are you having difficulty with?

    No one is taking issue with him thinking those are the greatest threat. They’re taking issue with him using that as an excuse to hand-wave other issues.

    Ignore a great big problem, white middle class women are being offended around the sacred watercooler…. (and everyone knows ‘not being offended’ is a right enshrined in the US Constitution, amiright?)

    No one is saying the “great big problem” should be ignored. That’s a strawman Dawkins has constructed. And he repeats it no matter how many times he gets called on it. Also, nice attempt to rewrite what Dawkins actually said. He didn’t use “offended” as an example, he used “inappropriately touched” as an example. I know you’d like to avoid the fact that Dawkins made light of workplace molestation, but facts don’t disappear just because you want them to.

  • garnetstar

    Ed, you had Dawkins number a while back: I remember you saying you’d always been pretty put off by his arrogance, back when he was near-universally admired.

    I’m wondering why Dawkins is feeling muzzled now? He’s been criticized and worse for decades, by creationists and religionists, called the antichrist. So why does this criticism muzzle him?

    Is it that…..he respects (some of) the people who are criticizing him, while creationists are clearly ignorant or foolish? Or that he’s not so sure of his positions on these issues as he is about religion and evolution, so he needs constant praise? I don’t see why he cares what a bunch of feminists think?

  • eric

    I’m just done with Dawkins.

    One might almost say: “I concentrate my attention on that menace and I confess I occasionally get a little impatient with British men who complain of being criticized in the press which I think is, by comparison, relatively trivial,”

  • A Hermit

    From time to time I used to tell myself “You should really read one of this Dawkins person’s books someday.”

    Used to.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    should we fight for the rights of white women or all women?

    That’s not an “or” question. Yes and yes. Prioritize based on urgency and opportunity.

    Glad I could help clear that up for you.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    A Hermit,

    From time to time I used to tell myself “You should really read one of this Dawkins person’s books someday.”

    Used to

    I don’t get the logic. It is text book ad hominem. What do his views on feminism have to do with the value (or lack thereof) of his science writing?

  • johnw

    I don’t get the logic. It is text book ad hominem. What do his views on feminism have to do with the value (or lack thereof) of his science writing?

    On the face of it, nothing. But in the real world:

    – the fact that he’s an asshole is going to affect my enjoyment of the book, even though the subject matter is unrelated;

    – there are plenty of good books on the subject, written by other people;

    – time and money are finite, and I’d prefer mine to be spent supporting non-assholes.

    It’s the same reason I won’t watch Mel Gibson films.

  • Jackie the social justice WIZZARD!!!

    Well said from beginning to end, Ed. Thank you.

  • Jackie the social justice WIZZARD!!!

    Dingojack,

    You are aware that not all women in the US are white, correct?

    Did you forget that women of color exist?

    I bet that sort of thing happens to you alot.

  • Jackie the social justice WIZZARD!!!

    What do his views on feminism have to do with …

    Really? We’re required to put money in a misogynist asshole’s hand? He calls us idiots and tells us to shut up about anything less than an acid attack and you want to tell us to forget that and go buy this jerk’s books? He tells me that CHS is a real feminist and I’m just a whiny idiot for actually being a feminist and you want to argue that you like his books so we should what exactly? We should read them anyway?

    Sure. I’ll do that. I’ll do that right after I have a Roman Polanski/ Woody Allen /Bill Cosby movie marathon at my house. At which time any man who likes can walk up and squeeze my tits without my consent and I’ll be a good girl and shut up about it like the Great and Powerful Dawkins tells me too. Because we all know that every time a man assaults me and I don’t tell or complain, a woman in Afghanistan gains her full equality.

    It’s the least I can do. Go on guys, have at. I’m not allowed to complain. I’m not worthy of basic human dignity or respect until Dawkins defeats Isis with his biology books. Until then, I’m fair game. Anything less is racist, right Dingojack?

    *spits*

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    johnw,

    – the fact that he’s an asshole is going to affect my enjoyment of the book, even though the subject matter is unrelated;

    I don’t get it and I don’t actually believe you. I suspect that It is not that he is an asshole, but rather that he is an asshole in this particular way. I could give you many names of scientists who are/were famous assholes in terms of, say, arrogance. Soviet physicist and Nobel Laureate Lev Landau, for example, was a famous asshole who took pleasure in humiliating lesser scientists (meaning almost anyone). Would you not read Landau because he was an asshole?

    Me, I’ll read the science of an asshole if it is good science. That’s one of the beauties of science–it is agnostic in regards to the believes, motives, prejudices, religion, morals, and politics of the practitioners. I’m glad that most scientists, at least, don’t take your position.

  • johnw

    I’m not talking about peer-reviewed journal articles, heddle. I’m not saying Dawkins’ views outside his field devalue his scientific work. But there are plenty of interesting books on evolutionary science, aimed at a general audience and written for profit. I’d rather not read one by an asshole.

  • http://atheist-thoughts.tumblr.com/ atheist

    I think I’ve reached the point where I’m just done with Richard Dawkins.

    I’ve been there for some time. Outside of biology, he’s simply not that smart. And while I’m on the subject, Sam Harris is a neoconservative shill — or do atheists have to pretend to take Harris seriously for another year yet?

  • Al Dente

    Remind me, what exactly has Dawkins done to support Muslim women?

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    johnw #37,

    I’m not talking about peer-reviewed journal articles, heddle.

    I still disagree. I think Leonard Susskind is an ass. I was at a talk of his once where he stopped, looked the audience in the face, and said “Let’s face it, I do great physics.” Total asshole. But I read his popularization The Cosmic Landscape and learned from it. I’ll listen to Wagner. l love Chinatown and would watch it again. In fact I thought Dawkins was an ass long before it was popular to think so– but I still bought and read The God Delusion.

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    I really like Harris, but my god has Sam said some really, really stupid and obviously wrong things which he refuses to back down from.

    I think it’s extreme to say he’s a neo-conservative shill. I just listened to his interview on the Young Turks which was done recently, and he does say pretty clearly that interventions to install democracy seem like they failed pretty hard, and he’s highly dubious of doing another.

    There’s plenty of good things to attack him for IMHO.

    The biggest one IMHO which no one seems to talk about is his continued insistence that we are justified to have killed Osama bin Laden purely for his speak and advocacy, while ignoring plenty of good reasons we had, such as money laundering (presumably), accomplice to murder, and various conspiracy charges. He’s violated the most important principle of the Enlightenment, “I might not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll fight to the death for your right to say it.

    Then there’s the torture bit. He makes some pedantically right points, but overall he overplays the plausibility and frequency of incidents where one might morally justify torture, which is also outrageous.

    His airport screening position is equally problematic and ambiguous. It’s also far more idiotic – he really tries to make a moral argument for the meaningful distinction between positive and negative profiling, e.g. “ignore someone who could not be a suicide bomber” vs “focus on people who could be suicide bombers”.

    But again, accusing Sam of being for attacking random countries to attempt to install democracies? I don’t think that’s accurate.

  • leni

    In fact I thought Dawkins was an ass long before it was popular to think so– but I still bought and read The God Delusion.

    Well, good for you. Way to go spending your money in ways other people don’t want to.

    What do his views on feminism have to do with the value (or lack thereof) of his science writing?

    Good question. Maybe you should ask him why he keeps bringing it up as if it does.

  • leni

    @ dingojack:

    Really? So being offended is the same thing as being groped at the water cooler?

    Wow. Ok.

  • Onamission5

    Wait just a fucking second, did dingojack seriously imply that sexual harassment of women in the workplace is solely a white, middle class issue?

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    I asked “What do [Dawkins’s] views on feminism have to do with the value (or lack thereof) of his science writing?” to which leni #43 responded:

    Good question. Maybe you should ask him why he keeps bringing it up as if it does.

    Does he? I don’t know. In any event it should be painfully obvious that it is easier to ask people here who are connecting the two.

    Well, good for you. Way to go spending your money in ways other people don’t want to.

    Way to miss the boat,. My comments had nothing to do with how people should spend their money–but on how I don’t get why they would choose to devalue good (if that’s what it is) scientific writing of a person because they discovered they don’t like his views on something else.

  • colnago80

    Re Heddle @ #36

    Many great physicists were/are obnoxious dicks. Murray GellMann is an example of someone who is notoriously intolerant of lesser intellects. Julian Schwinger was another example.

    Personnel story about the latter. When I was a graduate student, I attended what was supposed to be a debate of sorts between Schwinger and my thesis adviser on the subject of magnetic charge (e.g. the magnetic monopole). It turned into a filibuster by Schwinger and my adviser never got a chance to present his take on the issue.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    colnago80 #46,

    By contrast, I met Hans Bethe when he visited CMU and he was gracious and humble. I was a lowly grad student, and he took time to ask me about my research and give me advice (I am now an experimentalist but I was a theorist as a PhD student, calculating the lifetimes of hypernuclei–he knew my research better than I did–which goes w/o saying).

  • iangould

    Several thousand American women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every year.

    But, of course, violence against women is only a problem in the countries full of those dirty, savage Muslim darkies.

  • Callinectes

    If he really is just being constantly misunderstood, I must ask: how often does someone have to be misunderstood before they come to question their own communication skills? You can’t just blame your audience, the point of a fault analysis is to identify problems you have the power to fix and find workarounds for the problems you don’t. Dawkin’s current method just guarantees more of the same.

  • Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    Why do people not want to buy Dawkins’ books and reward his bad behaviour when he throws them under the bus and sneers at them at every opportunity? God, it’s such a mystery Why, it’s not like there are other, even better (non-white, non-sexist) people who cover the same ground. It’s Dawkins or bust! (Sarcasm off)

    If I was doing a scientific study on the evo-bio he has also done scientific work on and I need to read/reference his paper, I would do that no questions asked. But spending my leisure time and money on someone who thinks so little of me and people like me?

    Fuck that noise. He is not entitled to shit from me.

  • Scott Simmons

    The problem is similar to the one faced by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton: should we fight for the rights of white women or all women?

    Great, glad to see you’re finally getting it, dingojack! Obviously, we don’t just want to fight oppression of woman who are subject to Sharia in Islamic nations, but all kinds of oppression everywhere. The walls will crumble when enough bricks are shattered, no matter which bricks we choose to smash.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    #50,

    Why do people not want to buy Dawkins’ books

    Because (theoretically) they contain interesting science.

    and reward his bad behaviour

    It is not rewarding his bad behavior any more than listening to Wagner or watching Chinatown rewards bad behavior. It is finding value in a product. Do you actually buy books to reward the author? If so, I find that patently absurd.

    He is not entitled to shit from me.

    Nobody claimed he was.

  • karmacat

    Heddle, you are being annoying. No one is telling you not to buy certain books and no one is calling for a ban of books by Dawkins. They are saying why they don’t want to buy or read his books. They have told you multiple reasons why they feel this way and you don’t get dismiss their reasons by saying they are “absurd.” By saying the reasons are absurd, you are saying their thoughts and feelings don’t matter.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    karmacat,

    By saying the reasons are absurd, you are saying their thoughts and feelings don’t matter.

    Oh give me a break. Are we really that delicate all of a sudden?

    And the only thing I called absurd was (#52) the implication that one buys books to reward the author. At least be honest if you are going to whine.

    And yes, their “feelings” don’t matter, nor do mine. This is a blog not a therapy session. Are you concerned about commenters hurting DJ’s feelings?

  • tfkreference

    Reading Dawkins doesn’t always mean buying his books. I’m not going to buy any more of his books, but I might check them out of the library or borrow from a friend.

  • noe1951

    #44 – or is he saying that the only women who would have jobs with water coolers must be white women?

    I don’t see why the argument is either one or the other – it’s possible to fight against sexual harassment here and there.

  • joe_k

    #44: What he implied was that sexual assault in the US wasn’t an issue. Which is just lovely.

    #53: If I say heddle is absurd, can his existence magically become invalid too? Please?

    @heddle passim: I, personally, am not going to buy anything of Dawkins’ because I make a point not to monetarily support people who support rapists. If that means I have to miss out on some of Dawkins’ brilliant and oh so worth reading opinions, that’s a loss I’m willing to endure.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    joe_k ,

    I, personally, am not going to buy anything of Dawkins’ because I make a point not to monetarily support people who support rapists. If that means I have to miss out on some of Dawkins’ brilliant and oh so worth reading opinions, that’s a loss I’m willing to endure.

    Bully for you. How consistent are you? Who are the morally pure saints whose work you support? What are their names?

  • Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    Of course buying his books rewards the damn author! Wagner is dead and Chinatown doesn’t bring in money anymore. Book royalties, however, keep streaming into the Dawks’s pocketses and his huge book sales gives him this delusion that he’s some kind of atheist pope. How is that NOT rewarding supporting rapists? Give me an argument, not an “c’est absurde! Merde”

    Bully for you. How consistent are you? Who are the morally pure saints whose work you support? What are their names?

    God, you’re being so emotional about this! Can’t we talk about this like rational beings?

    Seriously, tho, no one said that they had to be “morally pure saints”, so leave that poor straw man alone, he’s done nothing to you. Everyone’s threshold of where they feel comfortable supporting someone will be different, too. Personally, right now off the top of my head without Googling, I’d say for me personally regarding atheism, I’d go for Sagan, Neil DeGrassi Tyson, the women writing at FtB, PZ’s book. Bertrand Russel for sure.

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  • Michael Heath

    Callinectes writes:

    If [Richard Dawkins] really is just being constantly misunderstood, I must ask: how often does someone have to be misunderstood before they come to question their own communication skills? You can’t just blame your audience, the point of a fault analysis is to identify problems you have the power to fix and find workarounds for the problems you don’t.

    In a perfect world you are of course correct. However we constantly see the statements of many public figures misrepresented; where their critics then boldly take on the strawmen they conjured up.

    One left-wing target whose arguments are frequently misrepresented is Sam Harris. In fact I see no other public figure whose actual arguments are more avoided by the left while still criticizing him. Again, this is a personal observation so perhaps it’s not representative.

    I don’t follow Richard Dawkins with the exception of reading one of his books on evolution and his book on atheism; so I can’t opine on whether the pattern of criticism directed at him is representative of his views or not. His books do reveal Dr. Dawkins’ repeatedly and sloppily conveying some credible ideas; so I tend to give him more latitude than a precise communicator like Barack Obama or Sam Harris. Though that increased latitude does result in my not respecting him as much as someone who is very concise.

    As a relatively strident advocate of free speech beyond mere government protection, that we should encourage speech as advantageous in most quarters, I do think it’s bad form to disingenuously frame your target’s criticisms in a way convenient to one’s motivations. That does lead to more people who have something of utility to convey being less eager to make their case, and I think that’s a generally bad result.

    At least some integrity is revealed when we directly confront arguments rather than deflect, avoid, ignore the inconvenient framing of our targets when we respond to their arguments. The lack of integrity is always revealed when we observe someone misconstruing the meaning of another’s argument.

  • Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    Micheal Heath, dude, I feel like you’ve just come in at the end of Inception and started saying “maybe this is all a dream”. Do you have any idea how many years this has been going on? Arguments have been made. Battle lines have been drawn. Twitter messages have been quoted verbatim.

    At some stage you have to accept the reality that you’re not going to change the mind you’re arguing with.

  • colnago80

    Re Michael Heath @ #60

    One needn’t go far to see left wing attacks on Sam Harris. Freethought blog’s PZ Myers comes to mind.

  • John Horstman

    “I concentrate my attention on that menace and I confess I occasionally get a little impatient with American women who complain of being inappropriately touched by the water cooler or invited for coffee or something which I think is, by comparison, relatively trivial,” he said.

    O.o

    Yes, how dare women complain about such mild sexual assault. It’s not like it’s illegal or a direct threat to one’s personal safety, after all. What’s with all of these women focusing on their own lives instead of people halfway around the globe whose lives they can’t much impact? It’s all so irritatingly impatience-inducing.

  • John Horstman

    @Michael Heath #60:

    One left-wing target whose arguments are frequently misrepresented is Sam Harris.

    Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    @Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    I have more hope for Harris than Dawkins. Not much more, but a little more.

  • http://www.themindisaterriblething.com shripathikamath

    Cool. Maybe now we won’t have to read about Dawkins here at all.

  • Michael Heath

    Me @ 60, quote-mined by John Hortsman @ 64:

    One left-wing target whose arguments are frequently misrepresented is Sam Harris. In fact I see no other public figure whose actual arguments are more avoided by the left while still criticizing him.

    [Emphasis is on the portion John Hortsman excludes in his quote of my post.]

    John Hortsman’s full response:

    Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    Sweet; thank-you for illustrating my assertion.

  • colnago80

    Re #50

    Would you buy books written by Richard Feynman or Lawrence Krauss whose attitude toward women are reputed to be a lot less respectful then the attitude of Dawkins or Harris?

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    Would you buy books written by Richard Feynman or Lawrence Krauss whose attitude toward women are reputed to be a lot less respectful then the attitude of Dawkins or Harris?

    I am concerned about how buying a book of Dawkins might translate into the support of MRA asshats. I have no such concern when I buy a book from Feynman because Feynman is not alive and not at the center of a controversy over misogyny promoting misogyny.

  • Jackie the social justice WIZZARD!!!

    I have no such concern when I buy a book from Feynman because Feynman is not alive and not at the center of a controversy over misogyny promoting misogyny.

    But, EnlightenmentLiberal, context is misandry. :/

  • http://www.facebook.com/shockna shockna

    Would you buy books written by Richard Feynman or Lawrence Krauss whose attitude toward women are reputed to be a lot less respectful then the attitude of Dawkins or Harris?

    I can’t speak for others, but I’d say yes and no, respectively.

    While Feynman was alive, fuck no. Brilliant physicist that he was, Feynman would have been far too problematic for me to be willing to put a dime in his pocket for non-research purposes (lest anyone accuse me of trying to stymie science funding because of non-science issues). His good parts are worth celebrating, but his bad parts are bad enough that everyone really ought to know about them.

    Similar for Krauss, though Krauss as a physicist is certainly no Richard Feynman.

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    But, EnlightenmentLiberal, context is misandry. :/

    Can’t tell if snark or sarcasm. Could you please explain?

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says, #51,

    Of course buying his books rewards the damn author!

    Are you just dishonest? At any rate, that is my most charitable explanation. I never said buying a book doesn’t reward the author. I asked, in #52,

    Do you actually buy books to reward the author?

    Can you grasp the concept? My very question included the premise that you now state with an “of course”, as if I was denying the obvious. If your “oh so clever” sarcasm name tag didn’t reveal you as a Pharyngulyte, an inability to pose a rational argument would.

  • Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    Do you actually buy books to reward the author?

    Can you grasp the concept? My very question included the premise that you now state with an “of course”, as if I was denying the obvious. If your “oh so clever” sarcasm name tag didn’t reveal you as a Pharyngulyte, an inability to pose a rational argument would.

    What does me being a “Pharyngulyte” have to do with anything? You haven’t put forth any argument at all, never mind a rational one. I was saying that regardless of your INTENT, the action of buying a damn book rewards the author regardless. I do not buy books to reward the author, but buying a book inherently is rewarding to the author who wrote the book. God, this isn’t rocket science.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    God, this isn’t rocket science.

    On that we can agree. You are not arguing rocket science. Or any science. Or anything rational. No, you made a “duh” comment in #59″

    Of course buying his books rewards the damn author!

    that was apropos nothing. Nobody was claiming that buying books did not reward the author. You also surrounded your painfully trivial statement with “of course” and “!” bookends, as if you were refuting a point or stating something profound. But you were doing neither.