September 11, 2013

"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."

Said the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, drawing fire and drawing attention as he comes out with a new book, a memoir (in which he reveals himself to have been the victim of child abuse).

The book is "An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist."

17 comments:

madAsHell said...

like mild paedophilia

It's called projection.

edutcher said...

Well, the way things are going, we shouldn't be too surprised, but have we reached the point yet where the science is settled?

EDH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
YoungHegelian said...

The Times Peter Saunders, the head of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood: "Abuse in all its forms has always been wrong. ...Evil is evil and we have to challenge it whenever and wherever it occurs."

Strange how for over 50 years now, so much cultural energy was put into declaring that traditional morality really was just an accumulation of historical accidents. "It's all relative, man". But cross the wrong moral boundary du jour, and one discovers iron-clad moral absolutes that a Thomist can only envy.

Paddy O said...

Goes to show that atheism is evil.

Moose said...

Is it child abuse if he doesn't think it was child abuse?

EDH said...

"... 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."

Said the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins...


""The details of my life are quite inconsequential."


(Bad link before.)

AJ Lynch said...

I don't know how anyone can put up with these so-called intelligentia academics. I'd be in jail and charged with mass colleague-icide.

Ann Althouse said...

"Is it child abuse if he doesn't think it was child abuse?"

Obviously, yes. Think what a pedophile would do with that concept!

Stephen A. Meigs said...

Getting groped can mess you up because it makes you feel violated. Getting violated (forcibly sodomized) is bad because it actually violates you. Both crimes should be illegal, but to treat victims of groping as though they were violated in a way that should make them doubt whether their sexual feelings will continue to be natural only exacerbates the damage that can be done by the groper. Victims of groping should be made to know that, look, fortunately you weren't violated (in a corrupting way), and the only danger is that you excessively doubt your still present innocence because you don't believe you weren't violated. Victims of sodomy, on the other hand, should be strongly encouraged to banish any feelings from the incident lest those (possibly addicting) feelings corrupt sexuality. A wise approach for those forcibly sodomized would be to approach legal authorities and then forget about it, or failing that, don't allow any feelings possessed during the incident to inform one's sense of self, or failing that, doubt one's continued innocence.

Marshal said...

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

Who is Dawkins talking about? Not only do we look back on racists and judge them harshly we also condemn their descendents for their ancestors' actions. Google revealed hits of these attacks from Salon, Alternet, Kos, NBC News, NewPublic, and the Star Tribue just from the first page.

damikesc said...

So, he kept silent about molestation.

So, he is just like the Catholic Church.

That must feel lovely.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@damikesc:So, he kept silent about molestation.

So, he is just like the Catholic Church.

That must feel lovely.


An institution covering up for the guilty over a period of decades is identical to a victim being afraid to say anything! Yes, Dawkins is JUST LIKE the Catholic Church!

I understand that Dawkins gets no love from the Althouse commentariat, with its high proportion of creationists, but that really is low.

Gabriel Hanna said...

He's not saying it wasn't wrong. He's saying he doesn't think the social norms were strong enough then for people to know how wrong it was, and so they're not to be condemned as strongly as someone who were to do it in today's climate.

Like when your great-aunt talks about the adorable n-word child she saw today. You don't make her apologize to Jesse Jackson, you pass over it in awkward silence.

The name "Dawkins" turns off our reading comprehension, I guess.

Revenant said...

Well said, Gabriel.

Darrell said...

Here's what the Left was doing with children in Europe in the 1970s. Read and enjoy.
http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/the-sexual-revolution-and-children-how-the-left-took-things-too-far-a-702679.html

YoungHegelian said...

@Darrell,

You've must remember that for a percentage of the post-war Left (especially in Germany under the influence of Wilhelm Reich & Eric Fromm) one of the primary societal causes for the rise of National Socialism was sexual repression. From a Freudian point of view, of course whatever changes to the personality that the New Truly Free Man needed had to be done in childhood. Otherwise, it would be too late.

How could that not have included an early introduction to sexual liberation?

PS: Daniel 'Danny the Red' Cohn-Bendit has also admitted to such escapades in his early years.