In July, Dawkins and Ophelia Benson, who blogs at Butterflies and Wheels and is not just smart but wise, signed a joint statement calling for civility and reasonable discourse instead of threats and harassment. Three days later, Dawkins was giving Twitter a lesson in logic: “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.” Dawkins’s Twitter feed is a hilarious, ongoing train wreck. Recently he’s tweeted that it’s “immoral” not to abort a fetus with Down syndrome and told women, “If you want to be in a position to testify and jail a man, don’t get drunk.”
Alas, the ability to take such instruction is in good part something Sam Harris thinks women sadly lack. “There’s something about that critical posture that is to some degree intrinsically male and more attractive to guys than to women,” said the bestselling author of The End of Faith. “The atheist variable just has this—it doesn’t obviously have this nurturing, coherence-building extra estrogen vibe that you would want by default if you wanted to attract as many women as men.” It seems to me, judging from recent events, that atheist men are the fragile flowers here—they, not women, are the ones wilting under criticism. Perhaps they can’t stand it that women are withholding that “extra estrogen vibe” that used to make conferences so much fun. (Amanda Marcotte, of the steel-trap mind, has a fine time slapping Harris around at Pandagon. Remind me never to get into a fight with her.)
Why would women join a movement led by sexists and populated by trolls? If this is atheism, I’m becoming a Catholic.