Does Richard Dawkins Defend Pedophilia?

Now that more people are beginning to realize that Richard Dawkins has some strange views about pedophilia, you are likely to hear his starry-eyed fans defend their idol by arguing, “There is nothing new here people, so move along.” They would be correct in noting there is nothing new here, as Dawkins has long been trying to downplay the harmful nature of pedophilia in order to support his malicious “religion as child abuse” attacks. But we surely do not need to move along, as Dawkins’ argument gives us insight into his atheistic morality.

Pay close attention to what he wrote about 10 years ago:

Happily I was spared the misfortune of a Roman Catholic upbringing (Anglicanism is a significantly less noxious strain of the virus). Being fondled by the Latin master in the Squash Court was a disagreeable sensation for a nine-year-old, a mixture of embarrassment and skin-crawling revulsion, but it was certainly not in the same league as being led to believe that I, or someone I knew, might go to everlasting fire. As soon as I could wriggle off his knee, I ran to tell my friends and we had a good laugh, our fellowship enhanced by the shared experience of the same sad pedophile. I do not believe that I, or they, suffered lasting, or even temporary damage from this disagreeable physical abuse of power. Given the Latin Master’s eventual suicide, maybe the damage was all on his side.

Did you catch that last part? Dawkins atheistic sense of morality is trying to cast the child molester as the victim. I think we are supposed to believe that the Latin Master could not resist the temptation of fondling the Young Dawk and this, and this alone, led to so much guilt that he killed himself. Hmmm. So Dawkins is trying to imply the real evil is not the pedophilia, but the fact the pedophile lives in a society where he feels the need to kill himself for such actions. Doubt me? Consider what comes next:

Of course I accept that his misdemeanors, although by today’s standards enough to earn imprisonment followed by a life sentence of persecution by vigilantes, were mild compared to those committed by some priests now in the news.

A life sentence of persecution of vigilantes. Crystal clear here folks – Dawkins is casting pedophiles as victims of society. And he’ll make the same point one more time:

I am in no position to make light of the horrific experiences of their altar-boy victims. But reports of child abuse cover a multitude of sins, from mild fondling to violent buggery, and I am sure many of those cases now embarrassing the church fall at the mild end of the spectrum . Doubtless, too, some fall at the violent end, which is terrible but I would make two points about it. First, just because some pedophile assaults are violent and painful, it doesn’t mean that all are. A child too young to notice what is happening at the hands of a gentle pedophile will have no difficulty at all in noticing the pain inflicted by a violent one. Phrases like ‘predatory monster’ are not discriminating enough, and are framed in the light of adult hang-ups.

Adult hang-ups?? Let’s get this straight. Some old man exploits some situation where he decides to touch, grab, and handle the genitals of a young child. If you think that is not just wrong, but very wrong, it’s because you have an “adult-hang-up.” And it is your “adult hang-up” that keeps you from understanding that since the child was not violently raped, nothing truly bad actually happened. In fact, what’s truly bad is that you have over-reacted because of your “adult hang-up.”

Dawkins is clearly try to cast pedophiles as the victims. Am I wrong?

PZ Myers is spot on when he observes that Dawkins position on pedophilia “sounds like something out of NAMBLA.” In fact, I think Dawkins has much to explain. Does he actually have any substantial disagreements with the positions of NAMBLA? Is there a Dawkins fan out there who can tell us what these substantial disagreements are?

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24 Responses to Does Richard Dawkins Defend Pedophilia?

  1. Ilíon says:

    PZ Myers is spot on when he observes that Dawkins position on pedophilia “sounds like something out of NAMBLA.”

    Where was ol’ PZ ten years ago? Somehow, I can’t quite seem to squech the suspicion that there’s a reason he’s admitting this *now* rather than then.

  2. Nothing in the quoted passage portrays the rapist as victim.
    Nothing in the quoted passage leads us to believe that he could not resist temptation.
    No, Dawkins is not casting pedophiles as victims of society. He is casting them as victims of prison violence, which in fact, they are.
    This is about as shameless an attack as a post can get. Deliberately quote-mining and deliberately twisting the meaning in order to portray a man as a pervert. Can you go any lower? I think not.

  3. BenYachov says:

    >Deliberately quote-mining and deliberately twisting the meaning in order to portray a man as a pervert. Can you go any lower? I think not.

    Does this charge of “lowness” apply to PZ Myers as well?

  4. The Deuce says:

    Bruce:
    Anyone can read Dawkins’ words and see the implications for themselves. Your attempt obscure the matter at hand with feigned outrage and podium-pounding would be a pathetic disgrace even if Dawkins actually had been talking about prison violence. As it is, you lack the reading comprehension, the vocabulary, or the desire to understand what “followed by” means, and all you’ve accomplished is to become Exhibit A in just how far his acolytes are willing to follow their idol and their atheistic moral sensibilities.

  5. Deuce:
    You see only the implications that you want to see.
    Please show me where, anwhere, in any post, that Richard Dawkins asserts that pedophilia is good and should be supported?

  6. Michael says:

    No, Dawkins is not casting pedophiles as victims of society. He is casting them as victims of prison violence, which in fact, they are.

    Dawkins is not casting pedophiles as victims of prison violence. He complained that “a life sentence of persecution of vigilantes” is something that follows their prison term. In other words, being labeled a sexual offender. Do you think the man who molested Dawkins as a child did something wrong and should have been labeled a sex offender?

    This is about as shameless an attack as a post can get.

    No, Dawkins whole argument is as shameless as it can get.

    Deliberately quote-mining and deliberately twisting the meaning in order to portray a man as a pervert.

    I have not done any of this. Nor do I think or imply Dawkins is a pervert. I am simply pointing out that Dawkins is defending some expressions of pedophilia. Do you agree that it is an “adult hang-up” that is behind the sense of moral outrage when it comes to old men fondling the genitals of children?

    Can you go any lower? I think not.

    Spoken like a Dawkins Fan. I would remind you that according to the recent news article, “Richard Dawkins, one of the world’s best-known and outspoken atheists, has provoked outrage among child protection agencies and experts after suggesting that recent child abuse scandals have been overblown.” I would remind you that even many atheists, like PZ Myers, feel the need to distance themselves from Dawkins on this. Why is it that only Dawkins Fans see nothing wrong?

  7. “He complained that “a life sentence of persecution of vigilantes” is something that follows their prison term.”
    No, he “stated” this. You are the one who is dishonestly inserting the word “complained”.

    There was nothing shameless in Dawkins’ statements. What is shameless is the lies you are telling about his motivations and opinions.

    “I am simply pointing out that Dawkins is defending some expressions of pedophilia.”
    I’ll issue the same challenge to you that I issued to Deuce: Please show me where, anwhere, in any post, that Richard Dawkins asserts that pedophilia is good and should be supported? Or, for that matter, any statement where he claims that pedophiles should not receive any punishment.

    The news article you cite turns up zero hits on google. And I would ask, why is it that only those with an idiological antagonism towards Dawkins see his remarks as supporting pedophilia?

  8. TFBW says:

    And I would ask, why is it that only those with an idiological antagonism towards Dawkins see his remarks as supporting pedophilia?

    PZ Myers characterises Dawkins’ remarks in the following way.

    Should we be giving pedophiles the idea that a “mild touching up” is reasonable behavior? It’s just a little diddling…it does no “lasting harm”. Christ, that sounds like something out of NAMBLA. [source]

    Does Myers have an ideological antagonism towards Dawkins, or am I mistaken in thinking that Myers sees his remarks as supporting paedophilia?

  9. The Deuce says:

    And I would ask, why is it that only those with an idiological antagonism towards Dawkins see his remarks as supporting pedophilia?

    That’s a darned good question. Why aren’t Dawkins fans attacking the guy they’re fans of? It is a mystery. And come to think of it, have you noticed how it’s only non-pedophiles who seem to attack pedophilia?

    But, alas, as much as I would welcome your insinuation that all atheists share Dawkins’ views on pedophilia as useful ammunition for exposing atheist “morality,” I have to point out as TFBW has that PZ Myers is every bit the rabid gnu that Dawkins is.

  10. Michael says:

    No, he “stated” this. You are the one who is dishonestly inserting the word “complained”.

    No, given that he comes across as complaining to me (given his choice of words and the entire context), I did not dishonestly insert any words.

    There was nothing shameless in Dawkins’ statements.

    I said his whole argument was shameless.

    What is shameless is the lies you are telling about his motivations and opinions.

    Quit lying about what I am saying. I told no lies about his motivations and opinions.

    I’ll issue the same challenge to you that I issued to Deuce: Please show me where, anwhere, in any post, that Richard Dawkins asserts that pedophilia is good and should be supported? Or, for that matter, any statement where he claims that pedophiles should not receive any punishment.

    As usual, the Gnu atheist retreats into strawmen. No one said Dawkins is claiming pedophilia is good and should be supported. Since your challenge is rooted in straw, it fails. Dawkins is defending certain expression of pedophilia by arguing that they are not anywhere near as bad as people think they are. Look, I asked you two questions and you chose to ignore them. Let’s try again:

    Do you think the man who molested Dawkins as a child did something wrong and should have been labeled a sex offender?

    Do you agree that it is an “adult hang-up” that is behind the sense of moral outrage when it comes to old men fondling the genitals of children?

    The news article you cite turns up zero hits on google. And I would ask, why is it that only those with an idiological antagonism towards Dawkins see his remarks as supporting pedophilia?

    Didn’t bother to read, eh? Let’s try again. According to that article: “Richard Dawkins….has provoked outrage among child protection agencies and experts after suggesting that recent child abuse scandals have been overblown.”

    Are you trying to make the case that child protection agencies and experts have some ideological antagonism toward Dawkins? I see no evidence of that. Please, can you cite someone who a) is not a Gnu atheist and who b) supports Dawkins on this?

  11. TFBW:
    Yes, PZ Myers has immense ideological antagonism towards Dawkins, to the point where it has overwhelmed his ability to remain rational and skeptical. And not just Dawkins. Witness PZ Myers recent accusation of rape against Michael Shermer to see just how far off the rails Myers has veered.

    The Deuce:
    Dawkins “fans”? I understand this may be difficult for you to grasp, but unlike theists we do not worship individual entities. Most skeptics, and most atheists, evaluate ideas on their own merit, not on the basis of who said them. We live the idolatry to you folks.

    To both TFBW and Deuce:
    I asked you in my previous posts for a specific instance where Dawkins asserts that pedophilia is good and should be supported, and such a reference is glaringly missing from your response. I’ll issue the challenge once more, and if you fail to reply then I’ll accept that as a concession that Dawkins does not defend pedophilia.

  12. “As usual, the Gnu atheist retreats into strawmen. No one said Dawkins is claiming pedophilia is good and should be supported.”
    As usual, the creatard starts back-peddling. The title of the post accuses Dawkins of defending pedophilia. How do you “defend” something without supporting it, or in some way condoning it?

    Dawkins is not arguing that pedophilia is not bad. He clearly states that there are different degrees of pedophilia. Were the author of this blog honest, the title of this post would have been “Richard Dawkins thinks some acts of pedophilia are worse than others”. But that wouldn’t have had much kick, would it? Libel has so much more spice.

    Now, if you insist that he was “complaining” and that he was “defending” solely on the basis of your feelings, then the problem is with you rather than with Mr. Dawkins.

    Quit lying about what you are saying? I’m giving you ample chance to support your assertions, but you keep side-stepping the opportunity. I will happily go through the quoted sections line by line with you, if you would like. Is THIS the line where he defends pedophilia?:
    “Happily I was spared the misfortune of a Roman Catholic upbringing (Anglicanism is a significantly less noxious strain of the virus).”

    Yes or no, and we can then move on to the next line and eventually determine whether you were being honest.

    “Didn’t bother to read, eh?”
    Uhm…didn’t bother to read my post, eh? I pointed out that the article, titled as you put it, does not seem to exist. I cannot read or comment on stories that exist totally in your head. Post a link if you want a serious response.

  13. BenYachov says:

    >Yes, PZ Myers has immense ideological antagonism towards Dawkins,

    So it’s “Dawkins good” but “PZ bad?

    Or in other words it’s the “People’s Judea Front” vs the “People’s Front of Judea”?

    Good to know.

  14. Michael says:

    As usual, the creatard starts back-peddling.

    Er….okay. You need to calm down.

    The title of the post accuses Dawkins of defending pedophilia.
    Actually, the title asks a question. I think you are confusing my blog entry with the titles from other larger, more mainstream websites (as seen here).

    How do you “defend” something without supporting it, or in some way condoning it?

    Dawkins does not argue all pedophilia is good and must be supported. No one said he did – that’s your strawman. He argues that some forms of pedophilia are not all that bad and clearly implies society is wrong in treating “mild pedophilia” as something that is terribly wrong. Dawkins defends “mild pedophilia” and “mild pedophilia” is an example of pedophilia.

    Dawkins is not arguing that pedophilia is not bad. He clearly states that there are different degrees of pedophilia.

    So why is he making that point?

    Were the author of this blog honest, the title of this post would have been “Richard Dawkins thinks some acts of pedophilia are worse than others”.

    You never answered my questions:

    Do you think the man who molested Dawkins as a child did something wrong and should have been labeled a sex offender?

    Do you agree that it is an “adult hang-up” that is behind the sense of moral outrage when it comes to old men fondling the genitals of children?

    Let’s add some more:

    Do you agree that something called “mild pedophlia exists?”

    Do you agree with Dawkins when he refuses to pass judgment on the man who molested him?

    Now, if you insist that he was “complaining” and that he was “defending” solely on the basis of your feelings, then the problem is with you rather than with Mr. Dawkins.

    No, as I said, the context and his choice of words indicate he is complaining.

    I’m giving you ample chance to support your assertions, but you keep side-stepping the opportunity.

    I’ve successfully supported my position. You cannot acknowledge this because of your great fondness for Dawkins.

    I will happily go through the quoted sections line by line with you, if you would like.

    No need. You can start by either reading my blog entry or answering my questions.

    Uhm…didn’t bother to read my post, eh? I pointed out that the article, titled as you put it, does not seem to exist. I cannot read or comment on stories that exist totally in your head. Post a link if you want a serious response.

    Er, the link is in the previous post. Don’t expect me to spoon feed you or hold your hand.

    Bruce, given all your name-calling, chest-thumping, and accusations, coupled with your need to post as many comments as you can as rapidly as you can, I think you need to take a breath and calm down. When someone tries to monopolize the comments section of any blog like this, they ruin it for everyone else. To help, I will put your comments in moderation and approve them at a more reasonable pace (assuming you tone it down).

  15. I explained above that skeptics do not think in terms of “teams”. What is important to us is whether ideas are rational and supported, not who holds those ideas. Where Dawkins or Myers present sound ideas, I support them. Where they do not, I will disagree with them.
    We leave dogma to the “People’s Judea Front” and the “People’s Front of Judea”, as well as the Baptists, the Calvinists, the Episcopals, the Catholics, the Hindus, the Shiite, the Sufis, the Presbyterians, the Evangelicals, the Pentecostals, the Lutherans, the Mormons, the Orthodox Jews, the Conservative Jews, the Hasidic Jews, the Kabbalah Jews, the Sunnis, the Anglicans, the Methodists, the Congregationalists, the Amish, the Mennonites,…

    …and of course, the Westboro Baptists.

    Capiche, BenYachov?

  16. Michael, my “creatard” jibe was in direct response to the frequent (and un-chastised) use of the derogatory term “gnus”.
    I will happily reply to anyone with the same civility they use towards me.
    If, however, you choose to use this as an excuse to censor me, then so be it. I’ve made a copy of this exchange as a record.
    I look forward to substantiating my faith in your fairness and interest in intelligent debate by anticipating the publication of my comments, and even-handed treatment of all responders.

  17. Michael says:

    Michael, my “creatard” jibe was in direct response to the frequent (and un-chastised) use of the derogatory term “gnus”.

    Huh? The New Atheists came up with the term “Gnus” and referred to themselves as Gnus. I am not aware of anyone referring to themselves as a “creatard.” Anyway, if you are offended by the term, I apologize and will not use it to refer to you. Would you rather be called a “Bright?”

    I will happily reply to anyone with the same civility they use towards me.

    If you are interested in civility, then perhaps you should stop recklessly accusing me of lying and dishonestly simply because you do not agree with my interpretation of Dawkins’ words and position.

    If, however, you choose to use this as an excuse to censor me, then so be it.

    No, I did not say I would ban you. I said you need to slow down and am concerned you will monopolize the comments section by spending all day at your computer arguing with everyone about anything. This type of behavior can be toxic to any blog.

    I’ve made a copy of this exchange as a record.

    LOL!! A “record.” For All Time, I suppose?

    Don’t forget, that for the record, I have asked you some simple and relevant questions and you have now three times refused to answer.

    I look forward to substantiating my faith in your fairness and interest in intelligent debate by anticipating the publication of my comments, and even-handed treatment of all responders.

    I will try my best to be just as even-handed with responders as Jerry Coyne is with his.

  18. Michael says:

    And I would ask, why is it that only those with an idiological antagonism towards Dawkins see his remarks as supporting pedophilia?

    For the record, atheists have begun a petition condemning Dawkins about all this.
    https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/hundreds-of-atheists-sign-petition-against-dawkins/

    So I would again ask why it is that only Gnu atheists agree with Dawkins on this? Those who disagree come from all sorts of metaphysical and ideological backgrounds.

  19. Crude says:

    I think it’s pretty great that Gnus come up with names they cheerfully apply to themselves, and other people – even Gnus themselves – who haven’t heard of it before end up immediately writing it off as namecalling and sarcasm.

    Effin’ brights. 😉

  20. The Deuce says:

    Indeed, Crude, I was thrilled when PZ and friends started coining that term and applying it to themselves, because it was obvious from the start (to everyone but them) that it would have exactly that effect.

  21. BenYachov says:

    >I explained above that skeptics do not think in terms of “teams”.

    So Skeptics are not on “teams” but all are monolithic and universally hold too a dogma that forbids them from being on teams or associating teams with skepticism?

    Is there some sort of chief skeptic authority who enforces this dogma? A sort of Skeptical version of the Pope & what if someone professes to be a skeptic and disagrees with this anti-team doctrine? Is that person the skeptical equivalent of a heretic & not a true skeptic?

    >What is important to us is whether ideas are rational and supported, not who holds those ideas.

    Then shouldn’t you just make the case as to why Dawkins isn’t a fruitbat loon here?

    Because it seems a lot of people on all sides of the religious or non-belief spectrum think Dawkins is a nutter.

    Best deal with that otherwise you look like a mindless fanboy.

    Just saying………….

  22. Justin says:

    Believe it or not, Bruce, there are Christian skeptics as well, and atheists have plenty of dogmas. Wo knew?

  23. I will Pray that soon, Richard Dawkins will be able to heal his childhood wounds and be able to experience authentic Love.

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