I've never really liked Richard Dawkins. At first, my dislike was merely philosophical - I think saying there probably isn't a god is wishy-washy. The reasons he says there probably isn't a god amount to a repetition of the epistemological uncertainty into which the god of the gaps lives. Since we can't be certain of anything, we can't be certain god doesn't really exist.
Or anything else! So he should say, y'know, nothing exists, that it all is probably this and probably that - or we can live with the epistemological uncertainty and speak with conviction. God does not exist any more that teapots whirling around the sun exist.
Then, when I heard him on some show or another . . . I was overwhelmed by the sense of class. Here's a dude who is that upper crust British asshole - almost a parody. He's everything that Monty Python has ever made fun of. I just assume he has a stupid walk.
He is also a sexist asshole, to get to the thrust of this post. He tweeted, recently "Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse."
Is it? I'm not sure that getting raped by someone you know is better than being raped by a stranger, myself. And I also know that date rape often includes threats of violence. So, it was really just a stupid fucking thing to say, ignorant and nasty.
But here's the thing - why say it at all? What would prompt a guy to, out of the blue, say something like that?
In short, it's that comic upper class English-ness. He's an important rich white man. He speaks with the confidence of being master of the world. He knows his opinions are the opinions that count. So he can dismiss anyone he wants who isn't an important rich white man. Like, say, women.
(He also added, "If you think that's an endorsement of date rape, go away and learn how to think." Indeed, he is endorsing nothing, but he was definitely speaking out of turn - arrogantly, hurtfully and he was wrong, to boot. But that's something arrogant rich white men do, too - they can throw out any rationalization to make themselves feel good about the shitty thing they just did. No one has the status - and everything about Dawkins screams that he's obsessed with status, that he really, really likes being an important rich white man - to seriously gainsay him. He can dismiss them, as he did, and does. Learn to think! It is you who is clearly the problem!)
A couple years back, he told a woman who dared talk about sexism in the atheist conventions that because she wasn't being beaten up by her husband that she should shut up. He tells other people that they should think, but he often fails to do it, himself - two wrongs don't make a right. Beating women - beating anyone - is wrong. But so is sexual harassment that occurs at atheist conferences. A person who bothered to think would recognize that . . . but this is Richard Dawkins. He's an important rich white man! He's got TITLES! So women who aren't beating beaten by their husbands need to shut up.
He is also a racist. He said that Cambridge has produced more Nobel laureates than the whole of the Middle East. Should we be stunned that a prize created by a northerwestern European is mostly given out to other northwestern Europeans? But he has the bigotry of a Englishman, including the arrogant belief that they are really the best at everything.
So, he's a pig. There, I said it. Fuck that racist, sexist asshole.