Rebecca Watson meant it as a funny story, almost an aside. In a video blog, the popular skeptic blogger recalled a man following her into an empty elevator and inviting her up to his room
after she spoke about feminism at a European atheist conference last June.
“Guys,” she said with a bit of a laugh, “don’t do that.”
Hers and other atheist/skeptic blogs were soon flooded with comments. Many women told of receiving unwanted sexual advances at freethinker gatherings. Some men, meanwhile, ridiculed Watson as overly sensitive or worse — or threatened her with rape, mutilation and murder. Before she knew it, Watson, 30, was subsumed by what everyone now calls “Elevatorgate.” And when best-selling atheist author Richard Dawkins chimed in, the incident went nuclear.
“Stop whining, will you,” Dawkins wrote in one of three comments on Pharyngula, a popular freethinker blog, comparing her experience to that of a fictional Muslim woman who had been beaten by her husband and genitally mutilated. “For goodness’ sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.”
Dawkins telling people to stop whining is like Al Gore telling people to buy Hummers. But the fact that atheists are sexist isn’t surprising. Given the fact that they think they are descended from apes, they owe it to themselves to behave like animals. But that they act like dogs – well that’s just unfortunate.