Farewell, Richard Dawkins

“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.

via Richard Dawkins defends “mild pedophilia,” says it does not cause “lasting harm” – Salon.com.

What the bloody ‘ell?

 

Post By Joel Watts (10,059 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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11 thoughts on Farewell, Richard Dawkins

  1. I know others won’t agree and can point to countless atrocities by “people of faith” but when one answers only to self… then add ginormous amounts of pride, call yourself an atheist all you like but you are your own god and anything and everything is justifiable and acceptable.

    • “…you are your own god and anything and everything is justifiable and acceptable.”

      I think it’s a fallacy that Atheist have less of a moral code than religious people. As an Atheist, everything is certainly not justifiable and acceptable. In fact, it’s the opposite as I would argue that some of Christian ‘morality’ is unjustifiable and unacceptable. Lacking belief in a deity doesn’t give anybody moral carte blanche.

  2. He is speaking of a phenomenon known as presentism. It simply means that the current generation has the power of hindsight. For what it’s worth, future generations are likely to think some of our ideas to be rather looney!

    • surely, looney is not what we are talking about. Giving children pop to help them sleep is looney. Condoning child molestation is evil. Slaverly is not looney. It is evil.

      • Despite having been been both beaten and sodomized as a child, I found these experiences paled in comparison to other distresses visited upon my childhood. So, please, until you have walked in my shoes, do not presume to lecture me on things about which I strongly suspect you have no firsthand knowledge. If I err in the foregoing assumption, please feel free to enlighten me.

        • I have my own experiences – none of which I would say are looney. We have every right to judge as evil or deplorable acts, even decades or times periods removed.

  3. Your apparently limited experiences may not be looney to you any more than mine are to me. That said, neither you nor I shall become the final arbitrators of whether future generations slaughter or worship our respective sacred cows.
    .
    If you doubt the above observation, may I suggest that you consider the respect presently being accorded head-lopping Henry VIII’s once sacrosanct theological persuasion by the current generation of British subjects. According to the latest public opinion polling, the Church of England appeals to only about 3 out of every 20 Brits! At the same time, its Roman predecessor is even less popular.
    .
    Meanwhile, history may well record that Dawkins’ primary sin was little more than being ahead of his time in questioning the validity of a child-centered society with a decidedly myopic working definition of child abuse. In fact, the whole scheme is so preposterous that Barack Obama could proclaim with a straight face on national television that bombing Syria would protect the children! Future generations are quite likely to look back on that snippet of presidential wisdom with the same jaundiced perspective that they are likely to view the necessity of destroying a certain Vietnamese village in order to save it. Then, opinions vary.

    • “destroying a certain Vietnamese village in order to save it”. Ouch, that hurt. But too true. “Win the hearts and minds of the people”, “bomb them back to the Stone Age”. Didn’t work out so well.

  4. Americans like short, bloodless victories. Unfortunately, the country tends to find enemies with more realistic expectations and more experience on their own turf. The reality of war is that it is IMPOSSIBLE to hold territory without boots on the ground.
    .
    A more accurate assessment of warfare is that, in order to win the hearts and minds of the enemy, it is necessary to grab them by the [gonads]. Even that is not a foolproof strategy.

  5. The man lacks a great deal of empathy.

    And it turns out he’s rather the arsehole.

    Doesn’t stop him from being a rather good populariser of science and, of course, atheism.

    But I certainly won’t look to him for ethics.

    • Science has absolutely no morality. This is not the same as saying that all scientists lack morals. Some have them. Others don’t.
      .
      Meanwhile, religion is all morals and, quite often, little else. Of course, this is not to say that all clergy are moral. Many aren’t.
      .
      Yet, within the normative difference between science and religion are sown the seeds of a deep and often bitter conflict. Thus, science can claim knowledge, religion can claim morality. Never mind that science has often been wrong and religion has frequently endorsed ethically questionable causes.

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