The evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has caused a massive storm on Twitter for the following tweets:
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.
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) July 29, 2014
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. — Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) July 29, 2014
The whole point of these tweets wasn’t to promote misogyny or to undermine the seriousness of rape. Likewise for children and paedophilia. In fact, comprehending the tweets implies that the exact opposite. Dawkins point is that to rank some rapes as being worse than others in no way shape or form demeans how much of an abomination rape is. It’s not how we evaluate the intrinsic moral significance of rape that he is concerned with, though he may be concerned with the extrinsic significance of how differing rapes can end up being worse or more harmful to particular women. Note: Dawkins is open to the suggestion that it may not be the case that some rapes are worse than others.
He is concerned with those who imply that if X is worse than Y, then Y is “acceptable” (substitute which ever term you find suitable). Which if anything is the type of logic that bigots use to undermine the significance of non-consensual sex as a definition for rape. For some of these bigots, rape has to be serious enough to be considered legitimate. There exists rapes that aren’t serious enough to take seriously. You know … those rapes that are the Y proposition not the X. It is these people who need to learn how to think properly.