Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Poor, poor Richard - well there goes his credibility

http://www.salon.com/2013/09/10/richard_dawkins_defends_mild_pedophilia_says_it_does_not_cause_lasting_harm/

So Dawkins is not the great analytical thinker that he wants us and everyone around him to believe.

Has he never ever questioned by he is so evangelical about the horrors of "the God Delusion" as he calls it?

Obviously not. Do do so would take him back to "what didn;t really hurt him at all".

The fact that he is now focusing on it is amazing - he obviously can't let it go - a little mild form of PSTD, Richard?

Here is my post from another blog & and an earlier blog post on Dawkins - the first time he "admitted" that he had been abused sexually as a child at school.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 20, 2009

What Dawkins Doesn't Understand

Today I am going to write about the one thing that bothers me about Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion. I loved the book but if he needs to truly argue that religion is child abuse, then he cannot so blithely dismiss the impact of sexual abuse on children raised in Christian environments.

The absolute power of the Christian god is embedded in Christian children from their birth. Whatever that particular god structure is, it is consistently reinforced by their parents, their church communities and sometimes their school systems.

Dawkins wouldn't disagree with this, but when he uses an example of a one time experience of sexual assault by a priest (described as "yukky" by the woman recounting it) to point out that psychological damage is far more damaging, he is does a massive disservice not only to those abused in a Christian context but, of all things, to his own argument that religion is child abuse. Dawkins just doesn't really get it when it comes to the impact of sexual abuse of children in a religious context. Perhaps he needs to see Deliver Us From Evil (http://www.deliverusfromevilthemovie.com/index_flash.php). Or perhaps he needs to read Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal by David France. He migh then get some idea, albeit secondhand of just what kind of damage the combination of religion and sexual abuse can cause.

There are two possible reasons for his dismissal. The first is that that it never really happened to him and he is therefore making a false generalization from his own experience and people who have had "minimal" experience of sexual abuse (these do exist - and it is a far cry from what I and millions of other children were subjected to). He quite clearly does not know anyone who has been devastated by the sexual abuse which includes all of the other forms of abuse that can knowingly be inflicted on children. The second possibility is that perhaps it did happen to him and he has never had to look at it. In other words, he has successfully managed to live a life without running into a situation that will cause him to have flashback or emotional crisis.

2 comments:

bdouville said...

Dawkins may be a good biologist, but he's a lousy philosopher and historian. And as time goes by, I expect he'll become the atheist equivalent of Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, prone to make outrageous statements to the media, causing his own fellow antitheists to distance themselves from him (and perhaps shake their heads and go, "Oh, Richard, there you go again...").

This was my assessment of The God Delusion after I read it six years ago (and in retrospect, I probably might judge the book even more harshly):

"Finally, I finished it. In summary, The God Delusion was a delightful read, but quite annoying. I was impressed that he anticipated almost all of my questions or objections, but I was disappointed with many of his answers. Dawkins has a formidable intellect, but at times, his grasp of some topics is either intellectually shallow or wilfully blind. He is incredibly amusing but intolerably arrogant. His trenchant criticism of fundamentalist religion is bang-on, but his angry, polemical approach is clearly the atheistic flipside of fundamentalism."

Sheila Redmond said...

Good points Bruce.

And certainly he has a personal stake in the issue, although he is loathe to admit it. For those of us who live primarily in our heads, emotional impacts are often hard to discern. Years and years of therapy were needed on my part to just feel rather than analyse!

I may take a look at The God Delusion again - my 2nd ex has my copy right now and I am looking forward to his take on the book - he's the existentialist philosopher and always and interesting take on things.

Given the recent brain studies on religious emotion, Richard is just a little out of step. However, I don't think that he wants to know, and I reiterate, one doesn't get this angry about something without there being a personal story behind the anger - and he has just given us his story!