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Lying About Richard Dawkins

Lee Phillips
September 20th, 2014

If you follow the writings of the inimitable scientist, polemicist, and educator Richard Dawkins you’ve probably noticed that he’s suddenly attracted a growing, vocal crowd of new critics. They vary in tone: some are screeching and strident; others prefer the ultra-concerned handwringing style. But they all have a few things in common: a serious deficiency in the reading-comprehension area, a deep-seated itch to police the things other people are allowed to say and think, and fundamental problems with the basic rules of logic.

The latest entry in this newly fashionable genre that I happened to encounter takes the form of someone named Adam Lee writing in the Guardian that Dawkins “argued that rape victims should’t be considered trustworthy if they were drinking.”

This alarming claim seems to be based on some tweets. I looked up the tweets, read them all in context, and, what do you know: Dawkins said nothing of the kind. What did he actually say, that has ignited a firestorm of screeching and/or handwringing? Simply that if someone says that she can not remember anything about an event that her testimony about that event should not carry much weight with courts and juries.

If you disagree, and feel your outrage and/or ultraconcern becoming stimulated, please just ask yourself a question before you join the chorus and add to the growing literature claiming, ridiculously, that Dawkins is some kind of sexist: would you want your father, husband, or self sent off to prison due to the testimony by an alleged victim about what she remembers concerning things that she says she can’t remember? As far as I can see it is just this scenario that Dawkins is arguing against. What he is saying is self evident. Why he bothered is something only he can answer.

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