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Dawkins criticized for 'disturbing' rape tweets

Evolutionary biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous atheist, has attempted to categorize degrees of rape and even “mild pedophilia” on Twitter, and many in the media have turned a blind eye to his controversial comments.

On July 28, Dawkins, the leftist evolutionary biologist who authored “The God Delusion,” tweeted: “Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of date rape, go away and learn how to think.”

One day later, Dawkins followed up that tweet with: “Mild pedophilia is bad. Violent pedophilia is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of mild pedophilia, go away and learn how to think.”

Dawkins also followed his original thoughts with the following tweets, which were posted on Jezebel.com:

Former Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin – who made an admittedly awkward description of rape in 2012 when he was defending a baby’s right to life and was subsequently abandoned by his own party during his election campaign – is blasting Dawkin’s “disturbing” tweets and what he believes is deafening silence from the left on the issue.

Reacting to Dawkins’ posts, Akin said: “In a disturbing series of tweets, famed biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins has attempted to dissect and tag ‘rape’ – and ‘pedophilia’ as well – like a species of frog. He does it more artfully than Whoopi Goldberg did when she excused Roman Polanski’s anal rape and drugging of a 13-year-old as something other than ‘rape-rape,’ but he does it nonetheless, and like Goldberg, like progressives everywhere, he does it with impunity.”

Akin added: “As Barack Obama famously said, in responding to my own comments regarding the right to life of the unborn children of rape victims, ‘Rape is rape.’ I agree with that statement 100 percent. Rape is rape. And all rape is evil.”

The most recent series of tweets is not the first time Dawkins has shared his opinion of what he considers varying degrees of rape.

In a Jan. 1, 2013, posting titled “Physical versus mental child abuse” on his Richard Dawkins Foundation blog, Dawkins alleged to have been a victim of sexual abuse as a child. However, he argued that he would have been far more traumatized as a child if he had been taught to believe in the existence of hell. Dawkins once again used his term “mild pedophilia” in his post.

“Incidentally, I was myself sexually abused by a teacher when I was about nine or ten years old,” he wrote. “It was a very unpleasant and embarrassing experience, but the mental trauma was soon exorcised by comparing notes with my contemporaries who had suffered it previously at the hands of the same master. Thank goodness, I have never personally experienced what it is like to believe – really and truly and deeply believe ­– in hell. But I think it can be plausibly argued that such a deeply held belief might cause a child more long-lasting mental trauma than the temporary embarrassment of mild physical abuse. …

“My expectation would be that violent, painful, repeated sexual abuse, especially by a family member such as a father or grandfather, probably has a more damaging effect on a child’s mental well-being than sincerely believing in hell. But ‘sexual abuse’ covers a wide spectrum of sins, and I suspect that research would show belief in hell to be more traumatic than the sort of mild feeling-up that I suffered.”

Again using the term, Dawkins told The Times magazine in September 2013 he couldn’t condemn the “mild pedophilia” he claims to have experienced as a child in the 1950s.

While noting that other children had been molested by the unnamed teacher, he said, “I don’t think he did any of us lasting harm.

“I am very conscious that you can’t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours,” Dawkins said. “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 pedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.”

Dawkins explained his belief that the worst cases of pedophilia involve rape or murder and shouldn’t be categorized along with what he said was “just mild touching up.”

Reacting to the firestorm Dawkins has caused with his recent tweets, he wrote a blog posting Wednesday stating: “The point was a purely logical one: to judge something bad and something else very bad is not an endorsement of the lesser of two evils. Both are bad. I wasn’t making a point about which of the two was worse. I was merely asserting that to express an opinion one way or the other is not tantamount to approving the lesser evil.

“Some people angrily failed to understand that it was a point of logic using a hypothetical quotation about rape. They thought it was an active judgment about which kind of rape was worse than which. Other people got the point of logic but attacked me, equally furiously, for choosing the emotionally loaded example of rape to illustrate it.”

Why did he use rape in his example?

“I hope I have said enough above to justify my belief that rationalists like us should be free to follow moral philosophic questions without emotion swooping in to cut off all discussion, however hypothetical,” he wrote. “I’ve listed cannibalism, trapped miners, transplant donors, aborted poets, circumcision, Israel and Palestine, all examples of no-go zones, taboo areas where reason may fear to tread because emotion is king. Broken noses are not in that taboo zone. Rape is. So is pedophilia. They should not be, in my opinion. Nor should anything else.”

The rest of Dawkins’ explanation – posted just hours before this report – can be found here.

Akin’s 2012 ordeal began when he was asked in a local television interview whether he would support abortion in the case of rape. His reply led to a firestorm of criticism, denunciation and ridicule by many, even in his own party, including presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” he said. “But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

See Akin’s full answer:

At the time, Akin was ahead in the polls, and he never before had lost an election.

See Akin’s interview, Part 1:

Part 2:

As an example of the Democrats’ double standard, he pointed in a WND commentary to the minimal reaction to gaffes by Barack Obama and Joe Biden when they campaigned for the White House. Obama claimed that he had visited 57 states in his campaign and had one left. Biden was videoed saying: “You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent.”

And that wasn’t the worst, said Akin, whose opinions about pregnancy and rape expressed in the controversial interview now have been supported by a number of research studies.

He noted the sexual assault allegations against Bill Clinton, who was the star of the Democratic Party convention that year.

“What’s worse, a few words or a long history of abusive behavior?” Akin asked.

Then there was Hillary Clinton’s legal advocacy of a man who raped a 12-year-old.

“Later, in an interview, she laughs about it,” Akin said.

Akin clarified for Kelly that there are stress factors that can affect whether a victim gets pregnant, and he said that by “legitimate rape” he meant a “legitimate rape claim.”

Regarding his party, he said: “The party bosses have got their own agenda. They have made me an example [that] a conservative can’t get elected.”

He said party political bosses, consequently, are selecting candidates for office, not allowing the voters to decide.

That, he said, is arrogance.

WND reported recently two new fertility studies reveal that stress in males and females both inhibits pregnancy, but the media still have not linked the noted results to Akin’s comments.

He’s written about his experience in “Firing Back: Taking on the Party Bosses and Media Elite to Protect Our Faith and Freedom.” In his commentary he explained: “When asked to comment about my instantly infamous ‘legitimate rape’ comment in my new book ‘Firing Back,’ I describe what Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney should have said: ‘A credibly accused rapist is giving the keynote speech at the Democratic convention in two weeks, and you want me to denounce a decent, God-fearing man for his inelegant comments about rape? No, not happening, and if the truth hurts, put some ice on it.'”

Akin said that even though Politico reporters Anna Palmer and Tarini Parti had a copy of his book to work from for their July 10 article, “Todd Akin returns to national stage,” they edited the text to read, “[Bill Clinton] is giving the keynote speech at the Democratic convention in two weeks.”

He explained, “In removing the phrase ‘a credibly accused rapist,’ they not only stripped the logic from the quote … but they also denied legitimacy to at least one solid rape accusation against Clinton.”

He said the issue isn’t complicated.

“Known in government documents as ‘Jane Doe No. 5,’ Juanita Broaddrick made a highly credible claim under oath that Bill Clinton raped her when he was attorney general of the state of Arkansas.”

“It was a real panicky, panicky situation,” Broaddrick told Lisa Myers on NBC’s “Dateline” in February 1999. “I was even to the point where I was getting very noisy, you know, yelling to ‘Please stop.’ And that’s when he pressed down on my right shoulder and he would bite my lip.”

Wrote Akin: “On the way out of the room, when Clinton saw her swollen lip, he famously said, ‘Put some ice on that.’ It was Broaddrick’s testimony under oath in the Paula Jones investigation that persuaded a few key congressmen to proceed with impeachment proceedings against Clinton.”

Media wishing to interview Todd Akin, please contact [email protected].

Todd Akin, author of “Firing Back: Taking on the Party Bosses and Media Elite to Protect Our Faith and Freedom,” is the former six-term U.S. representative for Missouri’s second congressional district. A graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute and member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Akin earned a M.Div. degree from Covenant Theological Seminary and worked in the private sector before entering Congress. He lives in St. Louis County.