Another Week, Another Epstein-Atheism Connection

From here:

While MIT engages in damage control following revelations the university’s Media Lab accepted millions of dollars in funding from Jeffrey Epstein, a renowned computer scientist at the university has fanned the flames by apparently going out of his way to defend the accused sex trafficker—and child pornography in general.

Richard Stallman has been hailed as one of the most influential computer scientists around today and honored with a slew of awards and honorary doctorates, but his eminence in the academic computer science community came into question Friday afternoon when purportedly leaked email excerpts showed him suggesting one of Epstein’s alleged victims was “entirely willing.”

What’s interesting is how this Epstein apologist was so obsessed with the topic of sex and pedophilia:

A deep dive into his writings shows this isn’t the first time Stallman has expressed such questionable views, however. He has written dozens of posts on his personal website in favor of legalizing pedophilia and child pornography for more than 15 years.

Stallman commented on the news of Epstein at length on his personal site. In April of this year, the programmer wrote of one story, “I disagree with some of what the article says about Epstein. Epstein is not, apparently, a pedophile, since the people he raped seem to have all been postpuberal.”

At some point, his arguments then begin to remind me of Richard Dawkins trying to defend “mild pedophilia” a few years back:

Stallman was apparently also quite open about his ideas not only on age of consent laws, but also pedophilia. In 2006, he wrote, “I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren’t voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing.”

In 2006, he said it wouldn’t so bad for an adult man who worked for the Department of Homeland Security to have sex with a 14-year-old, as one government employee had allegedly propositioned: “Supposing she had voluntarily had sex with him, presuming that they used a condom and suitable contraception, it would have done no harm to either of them.”

He reiterated his point in 2013: “There is little evidence to justify the widespread assumption that willing participation in pedophilia hurts children.”

To his credit, he is up front about the slippery slope aspect that is inherent in these demands for yet more sexual permissiveness:

Stallman’s permissive streak extended to all varieties of illegal sexual behavior. In 2003, he wrote a post about a judge who argued that repealing an Alabama anti-sodomy law would lead to the legalization of “prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia.” The computer scientist responded, “All of these acts should be legal as long as no one is coerced. They are illegal only because of prejudice and narrowmindedness.”

Okay, so at this point, I said to myself – “I bet this guy is an atheist.” And thanks to google, I would have won that bet. Here is Stallman in his own words:

I am an Atheist, for scientific reasons. The religious theory of the natural world (“It’s this way because a god decided to make it this way”) does not explain anything, it only replaces one question with another. That means it is so bad that “valid” and “invalid” don’t even apply.

I also reject the idea that a god’s opinions would provide us with a moral compass. A god that would allow so much suffering to occur — most of it not the result of anyone’s free will — is clearly no guide to what anyone should do. It would be entitled to its opinion just like you or I, but its opinion would not be entitled to any special respect.

My, oh my. Those are common New Atheist talking points.

And then…….

Religion offers no moral short-cut. It is up to us to figure out what is right and what is wrong.

Of course. And from there, Stallman the Atheist figures out that voluntarily pedophilia is good and that the only reason why necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, incest and pedophilia are illegal is because “of prejudice and narrowmindedness.”

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5 Responses to Another Week, Another Epstein-Atheism Connection

  1. nsr says:

    Wikipedia’s page on Stallman includes the following:

    “Stallman refers to mobile phones as “portable surveillance and tracking devices”, refusing to own a cell phone due to the lack of phones running entirely on free software. He also avoids using a key card to enter his office building since key card systems track each location and time that someone enters the building using a card. According to Stallman, with the exception of a few sites, such as his own website or sites related to his work with GNU and the FSF, he usually does not browse the web directly from his personal computer in order to prevent being connected with his browsing history. Instead, he uses GNU Womb’s grab-url-from-mail utility, which can run on a separate system, and act as an email-based proxy to web sites: the user sends an e-mail which the script receives, the remote system downloads the web page content, and then the script emails the user the web page content. More recently he stated that he accesses all web sites via Tor, except for Wikipedia (which generally disallows editing from Tor).”

    I wonder what kind of things he doesn’t want people to know he’s looking at online…

  2. Ilíon says:

    I’m a bit surprised than a gaslighting atheist troll hasn’t shown up yet to assert that you/we are really the sexual and/or moral perverts, else you/we would not be making a deal about this.

  3. nuke1189 says:

    I’m not familiar with the relevant laws respecting getting a warrant for search and seizure of hard drives for suspected child pornographers/users, but this sicko has to be at the top of the list of people who are under suspicion. I cannot imagine anyone so vocally in favor of legalizing pedophilia and child pornography would be so without dabbling in it himself.

  4. TFBW says:

    Stallman is an eccentric. He’s not a particularly influential computer scientist, since that would imply he’s known for his academic research. What he’s known for is being the original Free Software activist; the author of the GNU manifesto and the GPL software license; founder of the Free Software Foundation and the GNU project. The software contributions made by those organisations are significant, but they’ve been somewhat eclipsed by subsequent organisations which have been rather more pragmatic about the value of Free Software (re-branded as Open Source so that Stallman could continue to be god-emperor of Free Software). Linux, for example, uses the GPL software license, but is not a part of the Free Software Foundation, and Stallman got kind of pissy at one point because people were talking about “Linux” when they meant the OS itself plus a swag of software, much of which was produced by his Free Software Foundation.

    It’s possible that he has something to hide, but it’s more likely that he does what he does as a simple (if highly eccentric) matter of principle. He’s willing to put up with almost any amount of inconvenience for ideological reasons. He can afford to.

    I find it ironic that he rejects “the idea that a god’s opinions would provide us with a moral compass,” since he seems quite certain about the validity of his own moral compass. I say this from brief experience exchanging email with the guy about twenty years ago, when I was writing an essay on “Philosophies of Free Software and Intellectual Property” (one of my earliest essays). His explanation for why the GPL software license was constructed the way it was relied a great deal on moral assertions which he stated as given. He seemed to think that they were facts rather than opinions, and “corrected” anyone who differed from his exact pronouncements on the subject.

    Anyhoo, just another case of an atheist appointing himself god in the absence of a real one, I suppose.

  5. Ilíon says:

    … relied a great deal on moral assertions which he stated as given. He seemed to think that they were facts rather than opinions, …

    On the one hand, actual moral responsibilities *are* facts. On the other hand, God-deniers frequently deny that there are any *real* moral facts.

    And, on yet the other hand, God-deniers, even the ones who openly deny that there are any moral facts, frequently resort to making moral assertions, and frequently confuse their desires or opinions for moral facts.

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