2013-09-10

FTB: Dawkins Bad, Blah Blah Blah.

So FreeThoughtBlogs has launched another attack at Richard Dawkins.  There is also a bullshit petition up as well.  This time it is for failing to conflate different types of molestation.  Unfortunately the whole interview is behind a paywall but the offending statement seems to be this:

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.

Is this so horrible?  All he is doing is recognizing that social moral development is something that happens over generations.  Each generation figures sees one to a few things wrong and corrects them.  Is it fair to disdain those earlier beliefs?  Yes.  Is it fair to condemn those who held and lived their lives according to those beliefs, rarely or never hearing any different.  No.  It is no more fair to blame some 15th century guy for thinking that semen contained little people, or a 19th century guy for believing that time was constant.

PZ Meyers then tries to compare Dawkins to William Lane Craig, "As for that excuse about not judging behavior of an earlier era by our modern standards…I've heard that before. From William Lane Craig, to justify biblical murders." Apparently, Meyers doesn't seem to recognize justifying the actions of a putative omnipotent, omniscient being with fallible real people, another example of their usual conflation.

In and excerpt form later in the interview (I don't know how close it is to the above quote.), Dawkins says:

I think we should acknowledge it ... But the other point is that because the most notorious cases of paedophilia involve rape and even murder, and because we attach the label 'paedophilia' to the same things when they’re just mild touching up, we must beware of lumping all paedophiles into the same bracket.

It's clear that Dawkins is saying that it is also important recognize degrees of molestation.  We don't treat the guy who pockets a bag of Skittles in the 7-Eleven the same way we treat someone who holds it up with a gun.  Of course these are the people who equate an invitation to coffee to an attempted rape.

Greta Christina and Alex Gabrien have echoed Meyers' position.

They're just going after another target on their enemies list.  If one of their allies made the same statements they would be making the same arguments I just did.

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