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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

An Open Letter to Richard Dawkins

Dr. Dawkins,

So this happened, and as of this writing, you haven't offered any apology. I don't know what will happen, but Rebecca Watson has been nothing but perfectly reasonable throughout this.

You are, at times, an effective speaker, an eloquent writer, and this is why many people are, I think, so surprised by your reaction to Watson's original issue.

So I hope you'll apologize and mean it, and not do this again, and perhaps think about what you write a little more before writing it. But if you're thinking you're not actually deeply in the wrong here, and do not intend to apologize, or actually intend to entrench into the posture you've assumed for yourself, you should know something.

You've often defended feminism against religion's more odious transgressions, but you are now well on your way to not only diminishing what you've done, but undoing it completely.  People don't like being told their problems are tiny compared to the problems of the world. Relatively speaking, every problem, big and small, is tiny when compared to something larger.

When you deflect the concerns of someone who has had their tea poisoned by ironically suggesting that this is as large or larger an issue than a thousand people dying of drought, it raises legitimate doubts about your previous work.

And you need to understand this, in order to be effective and trustworthy on this matter in the future.

I'm actually going to close with a piece of Biblical advice, one which I often endorse to creationists who dismiss the knowledge and expertise of scientists, because it now applies to you:

Luke 16:10-12, KJV:  "10He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

11If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
12And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?"

(And here's the New Living Translation: 
10 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?")

Yours in all sincerity, S.E.

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