One of the most despicable attacks on Richard Dawkins in recent years (and that’s saying a lot!) has been posted at the Guardian; it’s by Adam Lee, atheist blogger who writes at “Daylight Atheism”. I won’t bother to dissect it in detail because reading it makes me ill. Dissing Richard is a regular thing at the Guardian these days, and there’s no shortage of unbelievers willing to answer the call. Lee’s piece is called “Richard Dawkins has lost it: ignorant sexism gives atheists a bad name.” Read it and weep. If you cheer, you shouldn’t be reading this website.
It’s one-sided, quoting only the anti-Dawkins Usual Suspects, and accuses not only Dawkins but Sam Harris of “ignorant sexism.” To do so, Lee relies on quotes that have been cherry-picked by people determined to bring down Richard and Sam. Rather than distress my lower mesentery by going through the piece, I’ll post the remarks of one commenter:
It’s time to end this relentless and obsessive hounding of Dawkins and Harris. People actually comb through Richard and Sam’s Twi**er feeds, looking for blog fodder: things they can use to smear these guys. Don’t they have anything better to do?
And let me say this: I am friends with both Richard and Sam, have interacted with them a great deal, and have never heard a sexist word pass their lips. (You may discount that if you wish since I have a Y chromosome, but I speak the truth.) Both have seemed to me seriously concerned with women’s rights, particularly as they’re abrogated by religion, and both have written about that. But does that count? No, it’s all effaced by a few remarks that can be twisted into accusations of sexism and, yes, misogyny, which is “hatred of women.”
These men do not hate women, and their opponents are ideologues. Michael Nugent, head of Atheist Ireland and one of the most conciliatory atheists I know, has tried reaching out to those who denigrate Richard and Sam, asking for dialogue and requesting that the hounders behave like civilized human beings—as Nugent himself always has. No dice. For trying to be conciliatory, Nugent has been, and is being, vilified. It’s disgusting. I feel sorry for the man, who is learning the hard way that good intentions are not enough to stay a pack of baying hounds.
I’m not particularly concerned about the Death of the Atheist Movement, because I think religion is dying on its own, with or without these petty squabbles. But if there is anyone who is damaging whatever unity exists among nonbelievers, it is not Richard or Sam, but those who try to rip to pieces anyone with whom they disagree.
I have refrained from entering these squabbles, as I don’t want to run a drama site, but enough is enough. We will now return to our usual schedule.
UPDATE: If you want to see the many inaccuracies and prejudicial writing in Lees’s piece (note that neither I nor Richard [in the comments] accused Lee of “lying”), they are totted up by Michael Nugent in his piece, “Adam Lee’s misleading Guardian article about Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the atheist movement.”