It’s time for Richard Dawkins to step away from Twitter. The noted evolutionary biologist ignited a storm on the 140-character social media site after he said “mild date rape” isn’t as bad as being raped violently by a stranger. But he didn’t stop there. He then tried to prove his logic and said “mild pedophilia” isn’t as bad as “violent pedophilia.”
The writer could not understand how people would be offended, and tried to defend himself by saying he did not endorse any type of rape but was just speaking from a logical standpoint. Why he would use rape and pedophilia to make a point about logic was unclear, unless he was looking for attention from the Twitterverse.
It all started with Dawkins tweeting to his 988,000 followers “X is bad. Y is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of X, go away and don’t come back until you’ve learned how to think logically.” That’s when his rape and pedophilia analogies came into play.
“Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of date rape, go away and learn how to think.
“If you prefer to think date rape is worse than knifepoint, simply reverse my syllogism. To say Y is worse than X is not an endorsement of Y.
“Whether X or Y is worse is a matter of opinion. But it is a matter of LOGIC that to express that opinion doesn’t mean you approve of either.”
Holly Dustin, co-director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, told the Telegraph his comments were an insult to survivors of rape.
"Richard Dawkins' comments about 'mild pedophilia' and 'mild date rape' are not merely ignorant but extremely offensive and damaging,” she said.
“Minimizing abuse -- what is 'mild rape' after all? -- is not a clever, philosophical discussion but has a real impact on the many, many survivors of rape, sexual violence and child sexual abuse who are coping and living with the legacy of their abuse.”
After the Twitter storm he started, Dawkins wrote an extended blogpost where he said he suffered sexual abuse when he was fondled as a child. It seems this experience made him feel he could describe the experience others have had.
“I was only talking logic, with no desire to make light of the seriousness of any kind of rape or any kind of pedophilia,” he said in his extended post. “And the hypothetical comparisons that illustrated my logical point could, in all cases, be reversed without in any way changing the validity of the logic.”
Follow me on Twitter @mariamzzarella