Richard Dawkins has come under fire recently for some rude, sexist comments he made. Although I like him as an atheist advocate, I am severely disappointed with his behaviour and think his reputation will take a big hit for this. Even if it doesn’t call into question his scholarship and his ability to make sound arguments, it reflects poorly on his character, judgment, and leadership ability.
The atheist movement suffers from a few shortcomings, among them a lack of clear direction and agreement about objectives, as well as a great shortage of women among its activists. If nothing else, Dawkins has managed to alienate many women with his remarks, and that alone is unpardonable.
Whether or not you think his remarks were sexist and patriarchal, his condescending and flippant tone is enough to call into question his judgment and character. I won’t say that I will no longer read any of his books or that I have lost all respect for him. I will say, however, that I have lost a lot of respect for him, and that his image as an individual and certainly as one of the leaders of the atheist movement will rightly take a tumble.
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