Richard Dawkins, hysterical dumbass.

[UPDATE: cross-posted at Secular Woman.]

[CONTENT NOTE: misogyny; harassment; rape; rape apologia.]

Richard Dawkins has been keeping himself very busy indeed during his stay as an involuntary organ donor in the Palace Abattoir. In response to a widely-read piece by Mark Oppenheimer about misogyny in the atheoskeptisphere, he has bravely taken to Twitter to defend his BFF Michael Shermer, the notorious subject of multiple accusations of predatory sexual behavior toward women. Shermer’s MO, as described in the Oppenheimer piece by TAM staffer Alison Smith, shares most of the typical hallmarks of an overwhelming number of rapists-at-large: boundary testing; planning assaults using sophisticated strategies to isolate victims; deploying psychological manipulation, e.g., power, control; and last but certainly not least, using alcohol deliberately in order to render targets more vulnerable if not outright unconscious. They calculate, quite correctly it turns out, that this particular modus operandi puts them at miniscule risk of ever being accused—let alone reported, investigated, arrested, prosecuted, convicted and jailed. Regardless of whether you believe Smith’s or other women’s accounts regarding Shermer, these are just facts, and this is how rape culture works in the real world.

But not in Dawkinsland, it doesn’t. Nope! Yesterday, in defense of Michael Shermer the Infallible King of Reason tweeted:

RDtweetdrunkdriving“Officer, it’s not my fault I was drunk driving. You see, somebody got me drunk.” -Richard Dawkins

Astute readers will note that this is Richard Dawkins taking Smith’s allegations as true, knowing that by all accounts (including his own) Shermer was sober during the alleged incident, and then oh-so-very-cleverly sneering that she is responsible—by likening an alleged rape victim to a drunk driver.

Here’s Stephanie Zvan with a nice fisk:

He doesn’t appear to believe Shermer’s story, which is that Shermer had sex with Smith after she sobered up. Dawkins took Smith’s story as read, although he isolated it from Ashley’s story and Pamela’s.

Then he ignored the parts of that story that make Smith’s lack of consent and Shermer’s knowledge of it clear. He ignored that Shermer followed Smith away from the party. He ignored the promise to help Smith back to her room, only to end up in Shermer’s. Instead, he grasped the fact that Smith was drunk to the point of not remembering parts of the evening and used that to assign responsibility to her. He claimed Smith was responsible for the encounter despite the one fact that both parties agree on being that Shermer was sober.

He believed her story, not Shermer’s.

He believed she was intoxicated.

He knew Shermer was not, from all sources of information.

He believed Shermer deceived her in the process of getting her past the point of being able to consent.

Then he tweeted that she was responsible for the encounter.

Then he compared Shermer following Smith away from the party to Smith driving drunk.

Then he compared Shermer taking Smith to a different room than promised to Smith driving drunk.

Then he compared Shermer sexually assaulting Smith to Smith driving drunk.

I’ma say this once more for the cheap seats:


Fortunately, the vast majority of men do not rape. But those who do can always rely on victim-blaming shitweasels like Richard Dawkins to provide comfort and cover, so they can continue to operate unimpeded.

Then the Lord of All Logic tweeted this:

RDtweetREALrapecultureThe REAL Rape Culture: “All occurrences of sexual intercourse are rape unless there is certified evidence to the contrary.” -Richard Dawkins

No, my precious little cupcake: All occurrences of sexual intercourse are rape unless there is consent. This is really not difficult for most people to grok. And I find it… telling interesting when people are so highly motivated not to grok it. Before he deleted this tweet (“claiming it was sarcastic. There’s no word on what part of it he didn’t mean, however…”), he responded to a follower concerned that he “might fall in trouble again with Feminists”:


RDtweetcertainkindoffeministWith a certain kind of feminist, of course. Not with feminists who truly respect women instead of patronising them as victims -Richard Dawkins

This one sent PZ off on a righteous rant (which I highly recommend reading in its entirety):

Who are these mysterious patronizing feminists? They don’t actually exist. You are echoing a strategy of denial: you approve of feminists, but not the ones who actually point out sexist problems in our culture, or fight against discrimination, or point out that they’ve been raped, or abused, or cheated in the workplace, or any of the other realities of a sexist culture. This is what anti-feminists say: be quiet about the problems. If you mention the problems, you are perpetuating the sisterhood of oppression, you are playing the martyr, you are being a pathetic victim who must be treated with contempt.

But if no woman speaks out about the problems, how will we ever know to correct them? If we shame every victim for being a victim and daring to reveal her victimhood, it becomes very easy to pretend that there is no oppression.

Oh, silly PZ! You see, in Dawkinsville there are no “victims,” only irresponsible drunk drivers crashing themselves willy-nilly right into rapists’ penises!

But this morning’s tweet absolutely takes the cake:

RDtweetjailingRaping a drunk woman is appalling. So is jailing a man when the sole prosecution evidence is “I was too drunk to remember what happened.” -Richard Dawkins




Now, Twitter is a unique medium with pros and cons like every other; suffice it to say it does not particularly lend itself to schooling pompous assholes on the many wonders of reality. But I did my best:


@RichardDawkins false reports: est. 2-8%. Rape hugely underreported. 3% of rapist[s] do jail time. Now go away and learn how to think. -Iris Vander Pluym

(Incidentally, citations for these statistics can be found all over the fucking internet here and here.)

iristweetevidencetoodrunk@RichardDawkins As if men are prosecuted when “the sole prosecution evidence is ‘I was too drunk to remember what happened.'” #dumbass -Iris Vander Pluym

Jeezus. “I was too drunk to remember what happened” is exculpatory evidence: it creates reasonable doubt and nearly always benefits the accused. That is why prosecutors almost universally do not take such cases to trial: when they do, they lose, and this is true even when they present heaps of additional incriminating evidence to a jury. Seriously, this has got to be the stupidest thing His Intellectual Excellency has ever said—and that is saying something, my friends.

PZ’s plea to Dawkins closes:

And could you please stop supporting reactionary anti-feminists? Thanks.

No, he cannot. Because the World’s Greatest Rationalist is a reactionary anti-feminist, and thus there is no reasoning with him.

[for Tony.]

11 thoughts on “Richard Dawkins, hysterical dumbass.

  1. Indeed. Also, no one is prosecuting Michael Fucking Shermer.

    Nor is he being lynched, hunted as a witch, McCarthied, victom of a pogrom, bashed, or any other appropriation of marginalised people’s violent oppressions. I’m so sick of them doing this, when they’re almost always part of the group that would have been the instigators of conservative violence.

    Fuck ’em. Pitchfork time.

  2. “No, he cannot. Because the World’s Greatest Rationalist is a reactionary anti-feminist, and thus there is no reasoning with him.”

    I just realized something…sexism is often accompanied by other -isms or -phobias. ::Shudder::

    • Hi Tony! I can actually see your gravatar here, how cool! I finally get to see Tony! W00t!

      Also, how is such a hottie not besieged with men? If I were a gay man, I’d be all over you like…like…like a person who was doing what you wanted, when you wanted, how you wanted. Yes. Just like that. :)

      To your point, yes, absolutely, -ism schisms tend to run along pretty clear fault lines: bad on one is often bad on another, because the same faulty thought patterns apply: an inability to distinguish between “specific-to-general” and “general-to-specific” arguments, an inability and/or refusal to have any empathy or compassion, and a complete failure to recognize their own privilege.

      • Awww, thanks CaitieCat.
        (Can you see my image on my blog?)

        Given what you say about -ism schims (nice turn of phrase there, too), I wonder if Dawkins has some other problems that we’ve not seen yet.

      • I can’t claim credit for -ism schisms; Bob Marley used it in Get Up, Stand Up:

        We sick an’ tired of-a your ism-skism game –
        Dyin’ ‘n’ goin’ to heaven in-a Jesus’ name, Lord.
        We know an we understand:
        Almighty God is a living man.
        You can fool some people sometimes,
        But you can’t fool all the people all the time.
        So now we see the light (What you gonna do?),
        We gonna stand up for our rights! (Yeah, yeah, yeah!)

        And having been a reggae fan for 33 years, it just comes naturally to me to quote from it, especially the Tuff Gong himself.

  3. Pingback: Dawkins just won’t shut up | The Shoops Roost

    • That happy day has already arrived: July 30, 2014(I believe this is what CaitieCat was referring to above):

      It is utterly deplorable that there are people, including in our atheist community, who suffer rape threats because of things they have said. And it is also deplorable that there are many people in the same atheist community who are literally afraid to think and speak freely, afraid to raise even hypothetical questions such as those I have mentioned in this article. They are afraid – and I promise you I am not exaggerating – of witch-hunts: hunts for latter day blasphemers by latter day Inquisitions and latter day incarnations of Orwell’s Thought Police.

      As I said here:

      These poor atheists live in paralyzing fear of NO EXAGGERATION witch hunts! ACTUAL Inquisitions! LITERAL Orwellian Thought Police! Yes friends, that is exactly what it’s like to be rebuked for spewing pig-ignorant, long-debunked bullshit on Twitter. And yet! In a noble and selfless endeavor to ‘splain Teh Logickz™ to the rest of us overly emotional and hopelessly irrational inferiors, they and they alone are courageous enough to regurgitate harmful rape culture myths that have plagued sexual assault victims for millennia.

      Edited to add: I just want to remind everyone that critics of Richard Dawkins’ clueless misogyny are too emotional to be rational. This has been a public service announcement. Carry on.

    • As Iris noted, it’s already happened. As with most bigots when caught out, they reach for the experiences of the marginalized – usually at the hands of people who look like the bigots – and appropriate them to exaggerate the awfulness of what’s happening to them.

      It’s vile, and worth calling out every time they do it.

      • Some people don’t think it’s worth pointing out. I had someone on my blog take me (and the Pharyngula commentariat) to task over the fact that we condemn Dawkins’ sexism. They specifically said that it seemed like we ignored all the good that Dawkins ever did and went digging for all the shit we’ve criticized him for. Then they requested I dig up the appropriate threads to show that we didn’t do that.

      • Fair point. I don’t see any particular good he’s done me. I’ve never read his work, and have no interest in doing so now. I’ll spend my time, money, and energy on reading the words of people who want me in the community, and of people who understand what it’s like not to be playing on the easy setting. So no, I don’t praise him for the ‘good’ he’s done, and he’s more than undone any I might have recognized with his continually providing cover for the vilest human beings I know of: rapists. Fuck him. Pitchfork time.

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