• http://evidenceandreason.wordpress.com/ Jason Bosch

    I still follow PZ Myers’ blog but I have found it less relatable as time has gone by. He seems to take a position and then go all the way to the extreme without worrying about any of the grey areas that may pop up along the way.

    I’m not sure this was that much of a public relations issue, though maybe I just haven’t heard all the fallout. Looking at it, I understand what he meant and he does clarify what he was saying. If he’d posted something like that on Twitter, I’m sure it would’ve come out a lot worse.

    • Tjaart Blignaut

      I never liked PZs style. He is extremely childish and now he has a horde of people who block and ban dissenting opinions and push a dangerous them-or-us point of view together with calling everyone who disagrees with them rapists or rape apologists. Their belligerence is only second to their moral certitude. I make a point not to visit there any more because rationality has left that place.

  • Jerry

    Thanks very much for your summing up of the issues arising from Dawkins’ piece in the Times. I wonder if the interviewer selected quoted to make the most of the paedophilia angle? It beggars belief that Dawkins would have intended to devote such a large proportion of the interview to that subject.

  • Jed Richards

    I’m all for stating the arguable truth. Our society is far too easily offended and outraged, often with little or zero rationality to backup their stance. Dawkins’ output is consistently compassionate, rational and uncompromising, and the more exposure we have to this type of viewpoint the better IMO. If you erode everything down to a PR-friendly soundbite you end up saying nothing and ultimately social progress is retarded. I don’t understand your motives for calling him out on this.

    • http://www.synapses.co.za/ Jacques Rousseau

      And I don’t understand how you can possibly think I’m calling him out. This piece defends Dawkins against a misrepresentation, while arguing that he could express himself in a way that makes his point more obvious to some.

      • Jed Richards

        You seem to be calling him out for a certain degree of naivety in his tone and word choices to the extent that it invites unreasonable/unhelpful criticism. Is that not the case?

        • http://www.synapses.co.za/ Jacques Rousseau

          “Calling him out” means something more significant than simply criticising an element of his speech, in my view. The real issue here is that Dawkins is presenting a nuance, where people want something binary. If you support that basic idea, then you might understand that I’m doing the same, in another context? I support the argument, but think it could be expressed better.

          • Jed Richards

            “Calling out” is functionally equivalent to “criticising” in my view, I don’t perceive any particular differences in severity, but that’s just semantics I guess. My basic position is that nobody, including Dawkins, should dumb down their views in order to pander towards an audience demanding simplistic or binary representations of complex issues. Progress is achieved by raising up the quality of discourse not by stooping to the lowest common denominator. This is the original point I was making, and as far as I can see we disagree on it, no? I understand that you’re both supporting Dawkins’ views and criticising his method of delivery simultaneously – of course I support your supporting, its the criticising bit I’m trying to criticise :)

            • http://www.synapses.co.za/ Jacques Rousseau

              Yep, we disagree. I don’t call taking the political/rhetorical effects of language into account “stooping to the lowest common denominator” – I call it sensible strategy.

            • Jed Richards

              Yes, it is a question of strategy. And I’d our say our objectives were similar. Thank you for your time.

  • Luther10

    Could an argument be made that the stigma that society puts on the victim and the perp are factors in the long term affects of the abuse?

    Now that these sort crimes are more in the public mind the victims are treated diffrently. They are considered damage by default and treated that way.

  • http://www.google.com/ jazz142857

    Myers has no concern for accuracy. He’s all about his preconceived procrustean bed.

  • v_3

    I was lucky enough to read “The God Delusion” before it became famous so could judge it free from the hype. (I vary between atheism, agnosticism and insouciance)

    Once I got over my initial disappointment (Dawkins began it in the style of his friend Douglas Adams but did not keep this up), I felt that much of his antagonism to the Church was not simple atheism, intellectually derived, but bittterness towards the bullying he had received as a child at the hands of the nuns or brothers.

    I am sure that this is at an unconscious level, so for Dawkins to say that he was not harmed lastingly is perhaps lacking insight.

    Nevertheless, I am a fan of his scientific works.