Via Vice, an article by Allegra Ringo which offers some advice to the Atheist Movement:
A woman was alleging that a man raped her when she was too drunk to give consent, and Dawkins’s immediate response was the mainstay of all conservatives: What if she’s lying? Plenty of Dawkins’s Twitter followers agreed with him. It’s her word against his, they cried. Rape accusations are serious business, they cried.
Yes, rape accusations are serious business. Actually, accusing anyone of a crime, especially a violent crime, is serious business. That’s why we have court systems in place that determine, to the best of their abilities, whether a given accusation is most likely true or false. We have this for virtually every crime. So why are Dawkins and his ilk so preoccupied about false accusations of rape in a world full of false accusations?
The “accuser-might-be-lying” theory inevitably pops up around every rape case. But false accusations of rape occur in only about 2 to 3 percent of cases. That’s roughly the same rate as false accusations of other violent crimes, according to the US Justice Department. Studies in the UK have yielded similar results, but the myth of the always-lying rape accuser persists.
Keir Starmer, England’s Director of Public Prosecutions, stated that rape investigations are “undermined by [the] belief that false accusations are rife.” Dawkins obviously fancies himself the king of reason, yet he buys wholesale into this frat-boy mentality. It’s reasonable to assume an accused person is innocent until proven guilty, but Dawkins is cherry-picking rape cases as the only focus of his doubt.
In a world where women are raped in huge numbers, all the fucking time, and where the rate of false rape accusations are comparatively low, it makes far more sense to believe the victims of rape. If and when a would-be rapist makes it to trial (and we know that doesn’t happen very often), if they are judged not guilty based on the evidence presented, then people can readjust their opinions. But far too many people inflate the rate of false rape accusations. Dawkins is among those people (he, and other Rape Culture deniers ought to read this article).
Dawkins appears to have adopted the sexism and other forms of narrow-mindeness he purports to hate in religion (plus bonus defenses of pedophilia), proving his own mantras wrong with every new opinion he posts. Read Dawkins’s Twitter at any time for tweets about “objective reality” interspersed with paranoid tweets about Islam, and of course his regularly scheduled uninformed opinions on rape culture. Although he is gradually losing sympathizers, the so-called “new atheist” movement still holds him in too heroic a light. In his time, Dawkins didgroundbreaking work in the field of biology, but his relevance—especially in social matters—is fading quickly. If the new atheist movement wants to move beyond outdated idols preaching old-fashioned discrimination, they need to disown Dawkins—or, at the very least, subtract themselves from his more than 1 million Twitter followers.
Disowning Dawkins is not a problem for me. He had no role in my decision to become an atheist (nor did any of the Four Horsemen; I came into atheism because I took college courses on philosophy and logic in the 90s). Hell, the only book I’ve read by any of the big name atheists was Dawkins’ The God Delusion and I just finished reading that last month. I know that many people appreciate Dawkins’ candid words on religion. I think it is nice to see a public figure speak bluntly, without respect for religion. We need more people like that. Religion is not the force for good in the world that many think it is, and far too many people accord religion and religious beliefs undeserved respect.
That said, Dawkins’ comments about Muslims, his ongoing sexist comments, his dismissal of the severity of child abuse compared to religious indoctrination, and his spreading of Rape Culture myths have resulted in my losing any respect I had for him. This is compounded by the fact that he’s listening only to his supporters, many of whom are anti-feminists, so-called skeptics (more accurately hyper- or pseudo- skeptics, who demand absurd levels of evidence for ubiquitous crimes like rape; as if rape accusations require the same level of evidence they demand of godbotters), or Islamophobic bigots (like his buddy Sam Harris). He’s paying little attention to the criticisms of others. He’s locked himself in his ivory tower and refused to listen to the “little people”. He refuses to acknowledge his privilege and address his biases and prejudices in an honest way. Hell, with regard to the bigotry he’s displayed, he doesn’t seem to even accept that he has biases and prejudices.
I’m not on Twitter. I don’t read his blog. Nor will I. I want nothing to do with Dawkins because of his horrible behavior (which I will still call out as I find out about it, bc it is harmful). For this atheist, Dawkins has been disowned. Would that more people would do so.