Richard Dawkins suggested that broadcasting loving erotica might help to tackle misogyny generally in theocratic states.
This was in response to what Boris Johnson said regarding blue balls theory that by not getting laid, this led to wanking at porn and then jihadists (I debunk the theory here.)
Clearly that was not what Dawkins was expressing. Rather, it was that women and men should be viewed in loving ways whether sexually or otherwise. Erotica that stressed that would be a contrast to repressive religious cultures that insisted on men and women being segregated, with women being covered up as a temptresses in need of modesty to preserve herself, and protect men from themselves.
Dawkins ended up deleting his tweet, following unloving mounting derision at the idea.
Tim Stanley seemed to find sadistic delight in laying the boot in:
After a few minutes of mockery, the tweet was deleted. Perhaps even he realised how utterly mad it was. Which suggests a degree of self-awareness that I didn’t think possible in Britain’s nuttiest professor.
Time was when it looked like Dawkins was about to go the full “nut-job 180” and declare that, upon reflection, there actually is a God and it’s Richard Dawkins – and have himself blasted into space on the back of a dolphin singing Onward Christian Soldiers. As you can tell, I’ve come to regard Dick with a great deal of affection. He’s just a mad uncle – a genius academic with monomania who probably isn’t a bad person just a rather naïve one. And his capacity for dreaming up new ways to irritate the religious is, at least, not boring.
So how did Tim show that he was far from a nut job or mad uncle himself? By trying to tell us the answer to Stephen Fry’s how could a loving God let children be born with bone cancer was already in the bible.
Not only has theology dedicated itself for thousands of years to unpicking that problem but the answer to it is there in the very Bible itself. Since Adam and Eve ate the apple, we’ve been living in a fallen world full of pain. God granted us free will not only to do bad things but also good things – like finding a cure for cancer or caring for those dying from it.
Terrible things happen because of a) random acts of nature, b) the intervention of the Devil or c) the corruption of man.
“I’m not saying anyone has to believe what I write…” goes on Tim, but I would like him to go further and write more. Does he literally believe there was an Adam and Eve that ate an apple? Was it a just God that then allowed all their offspring to suffer for such a transgression by being cast out of paradise? Did God not set the randomness of nature, or was it beyond his capacity to control? Does the devil intervene by controlling nature, us or influencing directly our thoughts and actions, even using children and loved ones let alone heads of state or Telegraph journalists? Does the corruption of man mean children must expect getting bone cancer, or a worm burrowing out of their eye, and still praise God while in pain thus accepting their corruption?
“…please don’t act like it’s never been said before or that the answer to Fry’s facile question doesn’t exist.” That is the problem – they are not answers. What evidence does Stanley have, significant insight to know this is of God, that he can use without sounding like a nut job mad uncle? He cannot, though he can say this is my belief and that is enough for me. Thing is,he sees this as an answer for everyone, one we should embrace in our wretchedness.
So the choice of spreading around the world loving erotica or the good news that children are responsible for their bone cancer because they are born corrupted. It truly is a mad world where Dawkins feels the need to delete his tweet, but Stanley can let stand dogma that is truly pernicious.
I appreciate some people wondering at the tweets by Dawkins. However, there are far worse things said as religion, which seems to make people authorities while standing on sand by a lapping sea of faith.
Watch for the tides, in case your reason is lost far out to sea.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog