Wednesday, 11 September 2013

That Hard, Sick Darwin

(Trigger warning)

Well look who's back.

To be clear, it's none of my business how someone sexually abused as a child chooses to process, frame and refer to that experienced. Furthermore, it doesn't seem unreasonable to postulate that there are degrees of severity as regards sexual abuse, though in practise that argument only ever seems to get made by people trying to downplay the severity of events I'm not crazy about downplaying (though again, see my first point).

One could also point out that the context here is fuzzy - flat-out telling people that it's no big deal if you were touched by a child is a different kettle of fish to being specifically asked about one's own experiences and choosing not to be judgemental about them - and whatever else may be true, Dawkins is clearly a man who could do with being less judgemental. 

Even if we grant all that, though, it beggars belief that Dawkins is comfortable announcing that not only did it not do him harm, he doesn't think all the other boys at his school exposed to such treatment were harmed either.  There's simply no way Dawkins has either the qualifications or the understanding of his schoolmates' later lives as a group to make that call.  (Update: the full interview which Slate summarises seems to suggest Dawkins is only specifically referring to his own friends here, so it's entirely possible he still keeps in contact with them and feels he can speak for them.  That doesn't overcome the qualification issue, though.)

But then of course, lazy unsupportable generalisation is pretty much what the man does best.  That and horrendous hyperbole.  For those keeping score, then:

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