I have a suspicion that Richard Dawkins suffers from more problems than he thinks he does. For one he is afflicted with an extremely heightened ego. Take this for example.
I don’t know what his point was, but it sure succeeded in revealing some character flaws. I’m sure he feels smug and justified in making these kinds of comments. He does it enough.
Anyway, I read this quote today and it stopped me in my tracks. The point of the whole statement was the last line where he excuses sexual assaulting a child as being minor and relatively harmless. Although a bold and despicable statement, I can’t say I’m altogether surprised by it. (Hopefully his statement isn’t some precursor to the announcement of an upcoming scandal. But let’s not go there.)
“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 paedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.” (Taken from here…)
No, what really caught my attention was the first sentence and first half of the second, where he talks about not condemning people of a different era by today’s standards. Wow, I have never heard this approach spoken by an atheist. When talking with atheists, my experience has been pretty much the exact opposite.
I believe the standard espoused in this statement is rarely put into practice when atheists engage in public discourse. For example: I’m constantly getting blamed for slavery in early America, the crusades, and suppressing women’s right to vote, etc. If what he’s saying is held true, atheists everywhere need to stop projecting the wrongs (or perceived wrongs) of the past onto current era people. It’s that simple. The morals and values of the past (right or wrong) are virtually non-existent in today’s society.
Rest assured, I am pulling this quote out, saving it, and I plan on re-quoting it to every atheist I talk to who tries to judge me based on the actions of people in the past.
Thank you Richard Dawkins for conceding this little bit of philosophical ammunition to me.
Source: Richard Dawkins defends ‘mild pedophilia’: Teacher putting hands down my shorts didn’t do ‘lasting harm’ | The Raw Story.