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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Richard Dawkins under fire: 'date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'

Published 29/07/2014 | 11:46

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Professor Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins has said "date rape is bad" and "stranger rape at knifepoint is worse" and contrasted "mild" paedophilia with "violent" paedophilia on Twitter.

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The writer, known for his atheism and books including The God Delusion, emphasised he was not approving anything but giving examples of a "syllogism" - logical argument where the comparisons do not infer any endorsement of either.

After starting the discussion using X and Y, he went on to other examples.

He wrote: "Mild paedophilia is bad. Violent paedophilia is worse. If you think that's an endorsement of mild paedophilia, go away and learn how to think."

Dawkins then went on to "date rape" versus "stranger rape".

"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 tweet said.

His 17,900 followers were quick to respond, with some approving the logical argument but others being less impressed.

One person told the evolutionary biologist to "go away and learn compassion" while another sarcastically suggested he could "make a list ranking types of rape from worst to least worst".

Dawkins parodied harsh responses by later tweeting: "'Stealing £1 is bad. Stealing an old lady's life savings is worse.' How DARE you rank them? Stealing is stealing. You're vile, appalling."

He finished yesterday’s discussion by saying he learned that people on Twitter "think in absolutist terms".

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