The downfall of Richard Dawkins’ credibility

The atheist community, of which Richard Dawkins has been seen as a leader for many years, has been rocked by this latest controversy which has shown, once and for all, that just because you are atheist doesn’t mean you leave behind all your outdated attitudes and become consistently rational. If anything, Dawkins’ blatant sexism has only made him and his atheism look worse.

He wrote this in response to a complaint by Rebecca Watson about her and other women being mistreated and disrepected at atheist and freethought conferences.

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.


Talk about missing the point!

Others have denounced Dawkins and defended Rebecca on this, including Rebecca herself:

Dawkins is dead wrong about this! Indeed, he couldn’t be more wrong if he were to suddenly endorse Young Earth Creationism. And since his position is so repulsive, the only honorable thing for him to do at this point is for him to state, in a public forum or even on his own website: “I’m sorry, I was being sexist and hypocritical and I will never make such foolish statements again.” And then shut the hell up afterwards for a long time.

Until he does that, I will never listen to him again.

12 thoughts on “The downfall of Richard Dawkins’ credibility

  1. Oh my God!

    I had to re-read that letter just to make sure that I did not misunderstand. How could he act as if the suffering of a woman who could be stoned to death and who has actually been raped even compare to the experience of someone else who HAS NOT been raped?

    And then to tell her to stop “whining?”

    What the hell is wrong with that man?

    • It was sarcasm and badly worded at that.

      What happened was that, while attending a conference, Rebecca made clear at about 4 AM that she was going to finally retire for the night and she left the bar she had been drinking at with some of her friends. She was immediately followed to an elevator by a man she didn’t know who had the gall to ask her if she wanted to come with him to his hotel room and drink coffee with him and talk some more. At FOUR IN THE MORNING???

      No excuse for that, ever! Rebecca has as much right to denounce such a thing as Dawkins and others do to condemn female genital mutilation. Rudeness should never be excused.

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  4. Hey, umm I hate to be a spoil sport, but you DO realize that he didn’t ACTUALLY say that right? you guys really shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. I just thought I should let you know…

    (Dale Husband: I approved this comment only to show the denial of some of Dawkins’ fans. P Z Myers DID confirm this comment came from Richard Dawkins.

    Here is the location of the comment:

    P Z Myers then said:

    I can confirm that those comments were actually from Richard Dawkins.

    So are you saying P Z lied?)

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  6. Why should Dawkins care about women? Dawkins believes there is no morality (even though he is often inconsistent). Furthermore, Darwin taught male superiority: “.. a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can women—whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands. If two lists were made of the most eminent men and women in poetry, painting, sculpture, music (inclusive of both composition and performance), history, science, and philosophy, with half-a-dozen names under each subject, the two lists would not bear comparison. We may also infer, from the law of the deviation from averages, so well illustrated by Mr. Galton, in his work on “Hereditary Genius” that … the average of mental power in man must be above that of women,” (Darwin, Charles. 1896. The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex. New York: D. Appleton and Company page 564).
    So Darwin’s male superiority and evolution basically teach that abusing and killing women is helpful for society. Why bash Dawkins for staying true to his belief system?

    • “Dawkins believes there is no morality (even though he is often inconsistent).”

      Actually, most atheists do have a morality, it is just not based on religious dogmas. Your statement is false.

      That Darwin assumed in his time that women were inferior to men is ironic. You know what also teaches that? Most religions, including yours!

      “So Darwin’s male superiority and evolution basically teach that abusing and killing women is helpful for society.”
      WRONG! What an outrageous strawman!

      • “Actually most atheists do have a morality…”
        We are not talking about ‘most atheists’ we are talking about Dawkins who says there is no good or evil: “The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: [A Darwinian View of Life (New York: HarperCollins/BasicBooks, 1995), 133.]
        So my statement is not false, yours is because you seem to be assuming I said something about atheism that I did not.

        My religion does not teach that women are inferior to men. Please demonstrate this unsubstantiated claim. Speaking of outrageous strawmen, you seem to like to make them…

        1) If women are inferior, and 2) killing the inferior strengthens society, then 3) killing women will strengthen society. That is a valid syllogism straight from a Darwinian philosophy. I know you don’t agree, neither do I, but if you are going to say I’ve committed a straw man then you need to demonstrate both the basis for women’s equality and a reason to keep alive the inferior of a species from a purely Darwinian philosophical viewpoint.

        (Dale Husband: First, Dawkins was talking about the material universe in general, not denying the concepts of good and evil among human beings. Until you can show where he actually did that, you are the one who misrepresented him indeed.

        Second, you do not have to kill off inferior people to make a society stronger in the eyes of the ruling class, you can also do that by keeping the inferior people in a state of slavery, making them do more work while you reap most of the benefits. Your argument is profoundly stupid because if we killed off all the “inferior” women, humanity would then become extinct within a century. From a purely Darwinian perspective, we should never allow that.

        Third, I assumed your religion was Christian. Paul, one of the Apostles of the early Church was certainly a sexist.

        1 Timothy 2:12 – “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.”

        Did you really think you could come here and challenge me with such nonsense? That site you seem to rely on is a laughingstock!)

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