Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins is once again under fire, this time for his recent tweets about “date rape,” “stranger rape,” “mild pedophilia” and “violent pedophilia.”

Dawkins, 73, a prominent atheist who is no stranger to controversy, was attempting to make a point about logical thinking when he relied on some contentious examples to illustrate his point, according to the Daily Mail.

After a series of tweets about the Israel-Hamas conflict — during which he wrote, “It is reasonable to deplore both the original founding of the Jewish State of Israel & aspirations now to destroy it” — Dawkins began diving into his take on logic and reason.

 Headliner Richard Dawkins, founder of The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, speaks during the National Atheist Organization's 'Reason Rally' on March 24, 2012 on the National Mall in Washington, DC. (Getty Images North America)

Headliner Richard Dawkins, founder of The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, speaks during the National Atheist Organization’s ‘Reason Rally’ on March 24, 2012 on the National Mall in Washington, DC. (Getty Images North America)

“X is bad. Y is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of X, go away and don’t come back until you’ve learned how to think logically,” he wrote.

But it’s what came next that sparked intense controversy.

Dawkins added: “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.”

And if that weren’t controversial enough, he added: “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.”


The atheist leader followed these messages up by defending himself, adding that just because one admits that one crime is worse than another doesn’t mean that he or she is endorses either offense.

In an effort to further explain his illustrations Tuesday, Dawkins wrote, “Mild date rape is bad. Violent date rape is worse.” Is it really so hard to understand that that doesn’t constitute endorsement of either?” and penned a blog post about the angry responses he received.

Despite his best efforts to explain what he meant, Dawkins drew the ire of advocates who felt he was being incredibly insensitive. Take, for instance, Peter Saunders, chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, who skewered the famed atheist in an interview with the Daily Mail.

“What staggers me is that for such a self-proclaimed intelligent man to even talk in these terms is to completely miss the point,” Saunders said. “There is no such thing as mild or serious pedophilia. There is child abuse, and the consequence for the victim is that they can be scarred for life.”

And Saunders wasn’t alone. Here are just some of the social media responses Dawkins received to his tweets:

It should be noted that some people came to Dawkins’ defense, noting that they understood what he was saying.

“These people are missing the point. Bail out now and let them let off steam,” wrote Twitter user MrMRP.

This is hardly the first time the famed scientist has come under fire for uttering contentious messages, as we’ve reported in the past.

In fact, past statements about “mild pedophilia” landed him in hot water back in 2013.

What do you think? Let us know below.

(H/T: Daily Mail)