Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Done with Dawkins

Richard Dawkins is an amazing writer and has contributed a great deal towards the atheist and skeptical movements.  I enjoyed several of his books and think of him as an intellectual giant, with wit and wisdom by the dozen.  What I find myself not enjoying, however, is his views outside of the narrow realm of biology and atheism.

First came last year, when he gave a speech at TAM speaking harshly about those who enjoy fantasy literature, which was mildly irritating yet overall no major issue; after all, everyone has a right to their opinion, and as weird as it seemed to me at the time I'm generally not the type of person to worry about that sort of thing.  Now, however, he's having a go against feminism, specifically Rebecca Watson of Skepchic.  It's late and I'm braindead, so I won't go into too much detail about the case, but you can read all about it here.  This include's Dawkin's response to a video she made where, almost in passing, she commented on how creepy it was that a guy invited her into his hotel room while in an elevator.  I copy and paste Dawkins' reply here:

Dear Muslima
Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and . . . yawn . . . don’t tell me yet again, I know you aren’t allowed to drive a car, and you can’t leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you’ll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.
Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep”chick”, and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn’t lay a finger on her, but even so . . .
And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.

One of the worst arguments you can make when dealing with issues is to point out that "someone else has it worse."  It's unfeeling and logically unsound.  I could understand if Rebecca Watson had made a giant issue about it, but having watched the youtube video this all originated with, she wasn't making ludicrous claims or expressing anything other than a side note about a guy who probably should've thought about the situation he was creating and didn't.  Dawkins' response was uncalled for.

I could add more, but I fear this may be rambly enough as it is.  It's currently 3am (and I'm feeling lonely) and my brain isn't really "on" anymore.

1 comment:

  1. Well, to be completely fair to Dawkins, his little snip about fantasy literature was probably really more of a throw away comment in a much longer live "interview" with DJ Grothe. He didn't make some giant speech about it, I just got all ticked off. XD

    And that's as fair as I'm willing to get. I want to punch him in the nads. Possibly while he's on an elevator. :P