Over at Salon.com there’s an article up about Richard Dawkins claiming that what he calls “mild pedophilia” (in his case, when a teacher put his hands down his shorts and fondled him) does no lasting harm to children. Is that your professional opinion there, Professor?
Dawkins went on to say that one of his former school masters “pulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts,” and that to condemn this “mild touching up” as sexual abuse today would somehow be unfair.
Oh, molesting children has a continuum that begins with “mild touching up.” He didn’t offer up the gradations beyond that, or at which point his extensive research into the area has shown that it does cause harm. I suppose it’s when the pedophile enjoys it too much. Oh, but wait, what’s that, Professor?
“I am very conscious that you can’t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours. Just as we don’t look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today,” he said.
So for the record, Dawkins and the rest of us are in no position to “condemn” people of earlier eras by the standard of ours. I suppose he has changed the position he took in The God Delusion:
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
I suppose he would have been okay had there been more “mild touching up” in the Old Testament. His position however is consistent with his worldview. With no objective grounding of morality we can justify whatever suits us at present. The only advice I offer him is: stay away from my son.
I’m always interested in the stories of adult converts to Christianity. Especially those who held to a materialist, Darwinist worldview. The video below is the story of Richard Morgan who became a Christian in his 60’s and his experience in the Richard Dawkins message boards.
Morgan has been a Christian for 3 years (at the time of this video at least) and recounts here how he found Christ and how a forum full of atheists turned on him as a result.
An interesting part of the story (at least to me) is how the author of “The Dawkins Letters”, David Robertson, visited the forum to defend his critique of Richard Dawkins work and kept doing so in spite of the verbal abuse. One of the indirect consequences of this was Morgan’s conversion.