forum Politics and Society ›› In other news, Richard Dawkins is still a douche ›› new reply Post Reply

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September 10 2013 4:26 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
Richard Dawkins thinks that child abuse scandals are overblown

Richard Dawkins, one of the world's best-known and outspoken atheists, has provoked outrage among child protection agencies and experts after suggesting that recent child abuse scandals have been overblown.

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."

Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist and the interview was released on the eve of the publication of his autobiography, An Appetite for Wonder, on Thursday.

Peter Watt, director of child protection at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, called Dawkins' remarks "a terrible slight" on those who have been abused and suffered the effects for decades.

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

Peter Saunders, founder of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood and himself a victim of abuse, told The Times that Dawkins' comments were worrying and unhelpful, adding: "Abuse in all its forms has always been wrong. Evil is evil and we have to challenge it whenever and wherever it occurs."

Dawkins sounds like he posts on reddit a lot.

Jason Voorheees
dogfood meatballs
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September 10 2013 6:23 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
well, i have to cut him some slack since he is apparently a victim himself - this may be the WAY it fucked him up - i.e. thinking it's normal and no big deal - but yeah, what a dumb thing to say for someone as smart as him.

for one thing, as a scientist, shouldn't he know more than anyone that an experience will be infinitely different for every individual? or that many levels of social constructs will affect exactly how this is experienced? so the whole idea that his judgement could be accurate regarding anything being "overblown" concerning such a personal, individual, and relative experience is pretty unscientific. also, just shitty to victims that are in fact damaged by it. you'd think the whole "walk it off" attitude would be extinct by now.

also, british schools are pretty notorious for all sorts of molestation; very repressed society. so this may have seemed like no big deal compared to other stuff. still, coining the term "mild pedophilia" is probably not what he had hoped he would be known for.
Time Husk
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September 10 2013 8:13 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
one of the most hardest hitting safeties in the league
MMM..Johnny Cakes
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September 10 2013 9:18 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
forum Politics and Society ›› In other news, Richard Dawkins is still a douche ›› new reply Post Reply

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