Richard Dawkins and women

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Survey data and website tracking data of prominent atheist websites indicate that in the Western World, atheism appears to be significantly less appealing to women. According to the website tracking firms Alexa and Quantcast women frequent the website of richarddawkins.net significantly less than men.[1][2]

One cause of many women's lack of interest in the message of the New Atheist/agnostic Richard Dawkins is the abrasiveness of Richard Dawkins. For example, in September of 2010, Richard Dawkins became nasty towards a woman in an audience he spoke before.[3] Richard Dawkins' arrogance and poor social skills sparked his Elevatorgate scandal.

Contents

Elevatorgate

Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins

(photo by Shane Pope, Title: Richard Dawkins, obtained from Flickr, see license agreement)

See also: Elevatorgate and Atheism and women

Elevatorgate is a term commonly used to describe a scandal involving Richard Dawkins' inappropriate comments made to fellow atheist Rebecca Waston. In 2011, Richard Dawkins was widely criticized within the atheist community plus criticized in various press outlets for his insensitive comments made to atheist Rebecca Watson about an incident which occurred in an elevator (see: Richard Dawkins' Elevatorgate comments).[4] Specifically, Watson was propositioned after an atheist event in an elevator by a man who apparently was a fellow atheist during the early hours of the morning and she was upset about the incident. Watson has written about widespread misogny within the atheist community and she has received threats of rape.[5]

Post Elevatorgate controversy, at an atheist convention, Rebecca Watson claimed:

Hundreds of atheists have informed me that either they wanted to rape me, someone should rape me so that I will loosen up or that no one would ever rape me because I am so ugly".[6]

The inappropriate behavior which was has been directed towards Rebecca Watson by atheists is not surprising. In February of 2010, the news organization The Telegraph reported Richard Dawkins was "embroiled in a bitter online battle over plans to rid his popular internet forum for atheists of foul language, insults and 'frivolous gossip'."[7] Given Richard Dawkins's abrasiveness, it is not entirely surprising that a portion of his fans engages in inappropriate behavior.

The New Statesman reporter and fellow skeptic David Allen Green said he believed Dawkins was a sexist.[8] In addition, Green wrote: "Can Richard Dawkins still credibly pose as a champion of rational thinking and an evidence-based approach? In my opinion, he certainly cannot, at least not in the way he did before."[9]

Rebecca Watson and Elevatorgate

As a result of Elevatorgate, atheist Rebecca Watson wrote concerning Richard Dawkins:

This person who I always admired for his intelligence and compassion does not care about my experience as an atheist woman and therefore will no longer be rewarded with my money, my praise, or my attention. I will no longer recommend his books to others, buy them as presents, or buy them for my own library. I will not attend his lectures or recommend that others do the same. There are so many great scientists and thinkers out there that I don't think my reading list will suffer."[10]

Dawkins stands by Elevatorgate remarks. Says Elevatorgate incident was rather trivial

On November 18, 2014, Richard Dawkins indicated that: he stands by his recent remarks about women/men relations, he feels muzzled by "thought police" and that Rebecca Watson's experience in the elevator was "rather trivial" compared to events some Muslim women experience.[11]

Specifically, the Washington Post reported on November 18, 2014:

“I don’t take back anything that I’ve said,” Dawkins said from a shady spot in the leafy backyard of one of his Bay Area supporters. “I would not say it again, however, because I am now accustomed to being misunderstood and so I will . “

He trailed off momentarily, gazing at his hands resting on a patio table.

“I feel muzzled, and a lot of other people do as well,” he continued. “There is a climate of bullying, a climate of intransigent thought police which is highly influential in the sense that it suppresses people like me.”

Recent criticism of Dawkins has come from women, many of them within the atheist movement, which has long drawn more men to its ranks. His online remarks, some women say, contribute to a climate they see as unwelcoming to female atheists...

“I concentrate my attention on that menace and I confess I occasionally get a little impatient with American women who complain of being inappropriately touched by the water cooler or invited for coffee or something which I think is, by comparison, relatively trivial,” he said.[12]

Allegation that Rebecca Watson was behaving hypocritically

Amanda Read wrote in the Washington Times that she believed Watson was behaving hypocritically and declared:

The point is that because the issue is sexism in the atheist movement, perceptions of sexism are not based on absolute principle, but on relative emotion.

Watson speaks out against the sexual objectification of women, but she apparently sees nothing wrong with the pinup calendars that she and her female atheist friends publish. Myers defended her views on his blog, but only last year he linked to an interesting interview with Nina Hartley, a feminist atheist who sees nothing wrong with women performing as sex workers.

You see, sexism and the exploitation of women are not immoral to godless women as long as such things are on their terms.[13]

For more information please see: Elevatorgate

Atheist PZ Myers comment about Dawlns' attitude towards women

In 2014, the prominent atheist PZ Myers said of Richard Dawkins' attitude towards women: "At a time when our movement needs to expand its reach, it’s a tragedy that our most eminent spokesman has so enthusiastically expressed such a regressive attitude.”[14]

Richard Dawkins' two divorces

In 1984, Dawkins divorced his wife of 17 years, Marian Stamp; later that same year, he married Eve Barham. Dawkins also divorced Barham, though the precise circumstances of this divorce are unclear.[15] He married science fiction actress Lalla Ward in 1992; at present, the two are still married.

Richard Dawkins commentary on Mary the Mother of Jesus

In 2010, the Christian apologetics website True Free Thinker wrote:

The atheist and evolutionist Richard Dawkins just referred to Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a “‘submissive cosmic doormat'...

If Richard Dawkins had a better grasp of womanhood and a greater grasp of manhood, he would still be married to his first wife and not his third.[16]

Women with traditional values and Richard Dawkins

The evolutionist and agnostic Richard Dawkins said in an interview: “What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question."[17]

Another plausible explanation for many women having a lack of enthusiasm for Richard Dawkins's message is that many women who attend religious services and hold traditional beliefs and values find Richard Dawkins' atheism and atheistic values repugnant.

In terms of traditional values, when asked in an interview, "If we do not acknowledge some sort of external [standard], what is to prevent us from saying that the Muslim [extremists] aren’t right?", Dawkins replied, "What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question, but whatever [defines morality], it’s not the Bible. If it was, we’d be stoning people for breaking the Sabbath."[17]

The interviewer wrote, regarding the Hitler comment, "I was stupefied. He had readily conceded that his own philosophical position did not offer a rational basis for moral judgments. His intellectual honesty was refreshing, if somewhat disturbing on this point."[17]

(See also: Richard Dawkins' commentary on Adolf Hitler and Essay: Richard Dawkins' comment concerning Adolf Hitler )

Women's views of New Atheist Sam Harris

The four most prominent writers of the New Atheist movement are Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett. Like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris has his own website. According to the website tracking firms Alexa and Quantcast women frequent the website of Samharris.org and richarddawkins.net significantly less than men.[18][19][20][21] This data suggest that the New Atheism movement may be significantly less appealing to women.

See also

External links

References

  1. http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/richarddawkins.net
  2. http://www.quantcast.com/richarddawkins.net#demographics
  3. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/richard-dawkins-i-never-meet-people-who-disagree-with-me-2080451.html
  4. The Privilege Delusion by Rebecca Watson - Skepchick
  5. PZ Myers and the Art of Shameless Dishonesty
  6. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/7322177/Richard-Dawkins-in-bitter-web-censorship-row-with-fellow-atheists.html
  7. Sharing a lift with Richard Dawkins by David Allen Green - New Stateman - 06 July 2011
  8. Sharing a lift with Richard Dawkins by David Allen Green - New Stateman - 06 July 2011
  9. Richard Dawkins Gets into a Comments War with Feminists by Caitlin Dickson - The Atlantic Wire, Jul 06, 2011
  10. Richard Dawkins stands by remarks on sexism, pedophilia, Down syndrome, by Kimberly Winston | Religion News Service November 18, 2014
  11. Richard Dawkins stands by remarks on sexism, pedophilia, Down syndrome, by Kimberly Winston | Religion News Service November 18, 2014 and syndicated to the Washington Post
  12. Of sexism and atheism: Richard Dawkins gets in trouble with feminists, Washington Times, July 16, 2011
  13. Richard Dawkins has lost it: ignorant sexism gives atheists a bad name by Adam Lee, The Guardian, September 18, 2014
  14. http://www.richarddawkins.com/
  15. http://www.truefreethinker.com/articles/richard-dawkins-immaculate-and-mary-cosmic-doormat
  16. 17.0 17.1 17.2 http://byfaithonline.com/page/in-the-world/richard-dawkins-the-atheist-evangelist
  17. http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/samharris.org
  18. http://www.quantcast.com/samharris.org
  19. http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/richarddawkins.net
  20. http://www.quantcast.com/richarddawkins.net#demographics
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