A priest and a rabbi go into an elevator and…

Where were we. Rebecca Watson said about elevator guy, a student said about Watson about elevator guy, Watson said about the student at her CFI talk, lots of people said about Watson saying about the student at her talk, while, meanwhile, Dawkins said about Watson about elevator guy. Dawkins said something sarcastic the point of which was that women living under Islamic laws have things worse than Watson. This did not go down well. Lots of people pointed out, with some heat, that the fact that X is bad is not a reason to be quiet about less-bad Y, and that Dawkins was being clueless about Y, and that he shouldn’t do that because he was never going to be subject to Y.

Still with me?

There was some doubt that it was actually Dawkins who had said that, but then PZ got home from wherever all the atheists were this weekend and confirmed that it was Dawkins, and then Dawkins said.

Many people seem to think it obvious that my post was wrong and I should apologise. Very few people have bothered to explain exactly why. The nearest approach I have heard goes something like this.

I sarcastically compared Rebecca’s plight with that of women in Muslim countries or families dominated by Muslim men. Somebody made the worthwhile point (reiterated here by PZ) that it is no defence of something slightly bad to point to something worse. We should fight all bad things, the slightly bad as well as the very bad. Fair enough. But my point is that the ‘slightly bad thing’ suffered by Rebecca was not even slightly bad, it was zero bad. A man asked her back to his room for coffee. She said no. End of story.

End of story, yes. End of discussion, no. Should be end of discussion, no. Zero bad, no, which is why should be end of discussion, no.

It’s too boring and wearying to go into, why not, and 7 million people have already done so anyway. I’ll just give the tiniest flick at why not, and move on. Because it wasn’t really “for coffee,” for a start – why the fuck would she want some coffee at 4 a.m. when she had said she was tired and she was on her way to crash and there was coffee at the bar they had both just left anyway? “For coffee” was just a euphemism for sex. He asked her back to his room for sex. That’s not zero bad. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s not zero bad, either. It sounds like more of a treat to at least some men than it does to most women, but surely Richard is not completely unaware of that. Would he think it ok to go up to a stranger in Waitrose and say “want to come back to my house and have sex?” I doubt it. If I’m wrong, then this part of my case falls apart, but if I’m right…he should be able to see that it’s not zero bad, especially not at 4 a.m. in an elevator.

And because of all that, it’s a way of treating women as if they’re fundamentally there to be sexual prey. That’s not zero bad.

There was one last bit that as many people have pointed out is quite funny and quite ironic for multiple reasons:

No, I obviously don’t get it. I will gladly apologise if somebody will calmly and politely, without using the word fuck in every sentence, explain to me what it is that I am not getting.

Tone troll! Hahahahahahahahaha.

So anyway, they’ll all be at TAM in a few days so they’ll either work it out or make it worse. The Atheist Movement sways back and forth in the wind – will it totter, will it crumble, will it fall?

I dunno. I have all I can do not to get into fistfights with the neighbors.

257 Responses to “A priest and a rabbi go into an elevator and…”