Richard Dawkins claims to have “clarified” his bizarre views on pedophilia. His “clarification” boils down to these two paragraphs:
Now, given the terrible, persistent and recurrent traumas suffered by other people when abused as children, week after week, year after year, what should I have said about my own thirty seconds of nastiness back in the 1950s? Should I have lied and said it was the worst thing that ever happened to me? Should I have mendaciously sought the sympathy due to a victim who had truly been damaged for the rest of his life? Should I have named the offending teacher and called down posthumous disgrace upon his head?
No, no and no. To have done so would have been to belittle and insult those many people whose lives really were blighted and cursed, perhaps by year-upon-year of abuse by a father or other person who was deeply important in their life. To have done so would have invited the justifiably indignant response: “How dare you make a fuss about the mere half minute of gagging unpleasantness that happened to you only once, and where the perpetrator was not your own father but a teacher who meant nothing special to you in your life. Stop playing the victim. Stop trying to upstage those who really were tragic victims in their own situations. Don’t cry wolf about your own bad experience, because it undermines those whose experience was – and remains – so much worse.”
That is why I made light of my own bad experience.
So what’s the truth? He now is trying to tell us he “made light” of his own bad experience. In other words, he was not telling the truth when he implied the act was harmless, but decided to spin it as harmless because he was afraid someone would accuse him of crying wolf? Does this make any sense at all? Just who in the world was supposed to have accused him of crying wolf?
What Dawkins is trying to do here is make it look like he was forced to trivialize child abuse because he is so deeply concerned about the victims of child abuse. Only a gullible Gnu would lap up that twisted thinking.
Instead of inventing wildly convoluted, ad hoc excuses to help control the damage to his reputation, there is an easy answer to his question – “what should I have said about my own thirty seconds of nastiness back in the 1950s?”
Wanna know what the answer is? He should not have tried to “make light” of his experience by inventing the concept of “mild pedophilia” and instead have recognized that act was deeply wrong and immoral and reemphasized that we as a society should practice a zero tolerance for this form of child abuse. And instead of implying that his teacher was some victim of society who merely caused others to be embarassed, he should acknowledge the teacher was a sexual predator. And instead of treating victims and the parents of victims of such experiences as “vigilantes” with “adult hang-ups,” he should acknowledge their moral outrage and desire for justice is entirely justified.
But he could not do this in his book or his clarification, could he? Why is that? Because it would undercut his subtle defense of “mild pedophilia.”
Instead of tap dancing around the issue, Dawkins needs to write an article clarifying what he means by “mild pedophilia.” What is it? And how should society respond to it?