According to an article in the Times, in his recent autobiography, Richard Dawkins has once again stirred up a hornet’s nest. At least, that’s what some people would have us believe. In fact, the “controversy” centres around something he wrote in “The God Delusion” some years ago, and concerns child abuse.
Dawkins suffered (if that isn’t slightly too strong a word) what he describes as “mild abuse”, and cautions against hysteria. The rape and/or murder of a child is several orders of magnitude more serious.
Of course, what happened to Dawkins was wrong then, just as it would be for any child now, and if he was advocating the mild sexual abuse of children, his detractors might have a point.
Neither, in saying that such activities were considered less serious back then, that he thinks they were a good thing to happen. Dawkins says “I don’t think he [the teacher] did any of us any lasting damage” but, if asked, I would not be at all surprised if he acknowledged his good fortune. He certainly isn’t saying that it’s OK to touch up children, but that he was fortunate that he didn’t suffer worse treatment.
But nobody seems to have asked that question.