Lest We Forget: Dawkins Wanted to Silence People On Shermer

Ophelia mentioned this before in one of her comments. Now she has a post up on the wall of silence that’s gone up round Shermer, and has included this jaw-dropping bit of fuckery:

Another datum on that: before all this, before the Oppenheimer article, even before the “let’s rank kinds of rape and if you don’t like it go away and learn how to think” tweets – at the end of our email conversation that resulted in the joint statement, Dawkins asked me to dissuade people from spreading the “libellous allegation that Michael Shermer is a rapist or a sexual predator.”

I must say, I stared at the screen in shocked disbelief for quite awhile when that came in. What was I supposed to do, tell people who reported their own experiences to stop doing that? On what authority? On the basis of what knowledge? I don’t know that they are not telling the truth, do I.

I so badly wanted to reply with something along the lines of “How would that be different from what the bishops have been doing for decades?” But that would have been a bad beginning to the post-joint-statement situation, so I didn’t…quite. I pointed out that these were first-person accounts and that I didn’t know they weren’t true, so I couldn’t dismiss them. I did conclude with “It’s too reminiscent of the Catholic church and the rapey priests.” I haven’t heard from him since.

Keep in mind, this was about a year after various unconnected sources came forward and said that Shermer had harassed and/or assaulted them. And he’s still busy covering Shermer’s ass. Even after so many women have come forward under their own names, he still won’t admit there may be something to this. And the little hyperskeptic lickspittles he’s got crowded round his feet are happy to help out, demanding evidence well beyond what they’d require to denounce a homeopath.

I used to get rather upset with smarmy religious assholes calling Dawkins our pope, but that’s exactly what he’s acting like – right down to covering for sexual abusers.

no-game-no-life-anime

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Lest We Forget: Dawkins Wanted to Silence People On Shermer
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17 thoughts on “Lest We Forget: Dawkins Wanted to Silence People On Shermer

  1. rq
    1

    That stuff about calling people out individually? Yeah, this is where it is needed. There’s no blanket generalization that can adequately get across the point the Dawkins is a rape-apologizing asshole.

  2. 3

    A lot of people are going to view this dispute as an ideological schism. It isn’t. This is not the equivalent of a bunch of medieval theologians arguing over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. It is not on a par with the Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) having nothing whatsoever to do with the heretics of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) It is not a bunch of Trotskyists tearing one anothers’ hair out over whether the Soviet Union was a ‘deformed’ or ‘degenerated’ workers’ state. While there are genuine debates to be had over the future direction of religious criticism, this dispute is basically a plea for Richard Dawkins to stop being (if you’ll excuse the pun) a dick.

    And while we are on the subject of Marxist schisms, take a look at this story: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/feb/03/far-left-no-place-feminists-rape

    Notice any similarities? But here’s the difference, most SWP members walked out in disgust over the scandal surrounding ‘comrade delta’, most of Dawkins’ and Shermer’s fans are staying put. It speaks volumes that the average member of the Socialist Workers Party (a group widely considered to be a political cult) has more moral integrity than the average Dawkinsian.

  3. 4

    Now now, Dana Hunter, where is the proof that Dawkins actually ever said Ophelia should discourage people from spreading the “libellous allegation that Michael Shermer is a rapist or a sexual predator.” You only have Ophelia’s word for it and for all we know it could have just been her making it up (for all the extra clicks), or PZ Myers sending false emails or anyone random person pretending to be Dawkins. And that’s all probably out of context!. Until you have a signed, witnessed, handwritten statement all this is just gross speculation!

    /sorry, just wanted to get this out of the way. When I found out Dawkins was defending Shermer through the back channels I stopped giving him the benefit of the doubt. He’s not arguing in good faith, he’s just protecting his mate as well as the old boys club.

  4. 5

    If I recall there was a debate for more than a year about whether to “name names”. If either Dawkins or Shermer had been paying attention they could have predicted that eventually, names would be named. But it still seems to have taken them by surprise so they came back with idiot defensiveness.

  5. 6

    or PZ Myers sending false emails or anyone random person pretending to be Dawkins.

    Well, it would seem we’re assuming in these two cases that Ophilia is not lying, so I’ll note that she also said, “at the end of our email conversation that resulted in the joint statement,” Meaning, the joint statement would also have come from PZ or the imposter. Dawkins didn’t deny making the joint statement, as far as I am aware, and I was thinking he admitted to making it (but my memory may be pretty questionable on that). So I think we can rule these two as being highly unlikely. :)

  6. 7

    Dawkins asked me to dissuade people from spreading the “libellous allegation that Michael Shermer is a rapist or a sexual predator.”

    Now that’s a pretty strong allegation you’re making yourself Richard; I mean libel is a serious legal no-no. If Shermer is really being libeled why didn’t he immediately go to the authorities, huh? I mean if he can prove he’s being libeled he should be suing everyone who’s libeling him or it’s not really libel amirite?

    I bet he’s just playing the libel victim to get publicity for his new book or something…

  7. 8

    Keep in mind…” that this was also before the story resurfaced from the Oppenheimer article. So, this was during a period where not much was being said about the topic.

    Though, I suppose Dawkins could have had insider knowledge that people were being interviewed for some big piece regarding Shermer. So perhaps my point isn’t actually valid. But, in that case, neither is yours about this being a year later. If Dawkins knew the story was about to resurface even when we didn’t, I could see it reasonably being on his mind. That, of course, does not excuse his attitude toward the topic.

  8. 9

    It almost seems as if trying to protect Shermer is the main reason Dawkins issued the joint statement with Ophelia. Almost immediately after the statement was issued, Dawkins tweeted to imply that date rape wasn’t as bad as being raped by a stranger, and if you disagreed, “go away and learn how to think.” Those aren’t the words of someone trying to heal rifts that were directly exacerbated by his own words. But they are an emotional, poorly-reasoned argument that Michael Shermer isn’t a “real” rapist.

    And I’m still confused as to what Dawkins was asking Ophelia to do. PZ posted the rape allegation about a year ago, so that couldn’t be undone. There were several women making accusations of predatory behavior against Shermer. Was Dawkins proposing that Ophelia contact each one to try to gain her silence? Was he hoping for a blog post that attacked their claims? I don’t understand what he was asking.

  9. 10

    Leo @ Reply to 2 – Oh yes Dawkins has definitely confirmed (I wouldn’t call it “admitted” because I don’t see it as a disgrace) that he too signed the statement, by posting it at RDF.

    Leo @ 5 – Yes again: Dawkins has to have known the Oppenheimer article was in the works, because Oppenheimer talked to a LOT of people, I think including Dawkins. A lot of us knew it was in the works, because he talked to a lot of us, including me.

    And yes, kellym @ 6, it has occurred to me that that may be why he issued the joint statement.

    Good question about exactly what he expected me to do. I don’t know. Maybe just tell all my friends to pipe down? But if so…can he really have expected me to say “Sure, you bet” and do just that?

    I don’t know. I don’t get the thinking. I really would have loved it if he had responded to my response, to explain exactly why he was so confident that the allegations about Shermer were false. I’m deeply curious about how he manages to think that.

  10. 13

    I would have loved it if he had responded to my response, to explain exactly why he was so confident that the allegations about Shermer were false. I’m deeply curious about how he manages to think that.

    Seconded. I’ve run the numbers, and I don’t see how anyone can doubt the allegations at this point.

  11. 14

    I’m baffled as to why the statement was issued at all. It’s blatanly obvious Dawkins doesn’t give a shit about women’s safety or choices or anything else, and is only interested in covering for rapists by pretending they’re not “real” rapists.

  12. 15

    Good question about exactly what he expected me to do. I don’t know. Maybe just tell all my friends to pipe down? But if so…can he really have expected me to say “Sure, you bet” and do just that?
    I don’t know. I don’t get the thinking.

    The only thing that makes sense to me is that he genuinely thinks you really are just doing this for clicks and once he showed some form of capitulation you would be satisfied enough that you’d ease up. After all, that’s how the Ol’ Boy Network works. Not that it has to make sense, necessarily.

    Also, if Dawkins is the Atheist Pope, are we the sea otters?

  13. 16

    Ophelia:

    Good question about exactly what he expected me to do. I don’t know. Maybe just tell all my friends to pipe down? But if so…can he really have expected me to say “Sure, you bet” and do just that?

    Perhaps he viewed the situation as ‘quid pro quo’. He signs the statement with you and expects you to tell your friends and allies to back down. Given his astronomical ego and arrogance, I can see Dawkins expecting you to be all “Sure thing your Kingship”.

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