Disown Dawkins? Sounds good to me!

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.

Disown Dawkins? Sounds good to me!

Dawkins continues to descend

Richard Dawkins continues his descent into the Pit:

I have elaborated elsewhere on my problems with Sam Harris’ comments. Suffice to say, he has some horrible gender essentialist ideas he needs to confront, and hopefully, reject (you can read my comments on Harris’ sexism here and here). I do want to discuss the thought police comment.

The critics of Harris, Dawkins, Shermer, Thunderf00t, the anti-feminists, the pro-harassment crowd, etc are not engaged in uncovering and punishing thoughtcrime or thought-criminals.

The Thought Police (thinkpol in Newspeak) are the secret police of Oceania in George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

It is the job of the Thought Police to uncover and punish thoughtcrime and thought-criminals. They use psychology and omnipresent surveillance (such as telescreens) to search, find, monitor and arrest members of society who could potentially challenge authority and status quo, even only by thought, hence the name Thought Police.  They use terror and torture to achieve their ends.

What those critics are doing…what we are doing, is calling out bad behavior and criticizing it.  If we see instances of sexism or misogyny, we’re criticizing it. If we see people being homophobic, we criticize it. If we see people being transphobic, we criticize it.  That’s it.  None of us is in any position of power over them.  We are not monitoring their every move.  When we criticize them, it’s bc they’ve spoken out in public and it’s been brought to our attention.  With the exception of rapists like Michael Shermer, we are not advocating for these people to be thrown in jail for their opinions.  We don’t have the power to see that happen even if that’s what we wanted.

Moreover, the label of ‘thought police’ is deeply ironic.  Which group is engaged in harassment and bullying?  Which group wants to maintain the status quo, and see no changes made?  Which group whined about harassment policies-policies intended to act as guidelines for proper behavior and help provide a safe environment at conventions? Which group whines and complains when their heroes-Shermer, Dawkins, or Harris-are criticized for their sexist beliefs? The people doing all that crap are on the other side of the Great Rifts.  Some of them are Pitters.  Some are followers of Dawkins, Shermer, and Harris (note, not all people in either camp are engage in such bad behavior).  They are the ones engaged in the type of behavior that thought police engage in.  These fuckers are projecting.

Among their many problems is that they don’t like being criticized. They don’t like having their beliefs and opinions challenged.  They think they should be able to say what they want, when they want, and not be called out for it.  They don’t want to be held responsible for their words.  They think free speech is absolute, and that there should be no repercussions-such as criticism-for what they say.  I hate to tell them (not really), but that’s not how free speech works.  You can call someone a ‘cunt’, and we can, in turn call you a nincomfuck, or a raging shitstain (note that on this side of the Great Rifts, the use of gendered, homophobic, racist, or ableist slurs is condemned).  Our actions are not those of any “thought police”.  We don’t seek to criminalize the use of gendered insults.  What we’d like is for these people to see the harm done in using gendered slurs and choose not to use them.  I don’t call someone a ‘cunt’ for the same reason I wouldn’t want someone to call me a ‘faggot’ or a ‘nigger’.  I wouldn’t advocate criminalizing people who use that language, but I fully support publicly criticizing people who use such words, and harshly.  If people want to shame the hell out of bigots, that’s great. But that’s as far as it goes.  None of us is acting anything like the thought police and once again Dawkins shows off what an asshole he is.

Dawkins continues to descend