A letter to my hero, Richard Dawkins

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Dear Richard

We go a way back, don’t we? Do you remember when I first read The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype? They BLEW MY MIND. The gene’s-eye view? Geneius! When I started viewing the world from the point of view of a replicator everything looked different. When those New Zealand farmers released calicivirus to control rabbits and it eventually stopped working, it wasn’t because the rabbit developed resistance to it – it was because the virus evolved to become less virulent because it could produce more copies of itself by being less deadly so its host would spread it better. WOW.

And you coined the term “meme” while you were at it – it was just a casual aside in the book, really, but memes have been perhaps your most successful meme of all!

Did you know I have your lecture series for children on DVD? You were so inspiring and such a sweetheart with them. Your demonstration of how a complex organ like an eye might evolve was inspired. I’ll never forget it.

And let’s not forget the time I read The God Delusion. At the time I was struggling with the clash of my religious upbringing with my education in philosophy and my brain was such a mess of cognitive dissonance – it felt like it was full of taut rubber bands reading to snap. Reading your book was like releasing all those rubber bands at once. Not only was I able to finally admit to myself that I was an atheist, but I was able to “come out” to my parents. It was scary, but you gave me the courage.

So Richard, know that I love you when I say this: FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU RIGHT IN YOUR MAGNIFICENTLY EVOLVED EYE.

I’ve heard some of the things you’ve been saying about rape lately. I’ve been inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt and interpret things as kindly as I could. I know myself I have said lots of stupid things, but luckily I am not famous enough for anyone to notice. But this:

A letter to my hero, Richard DawkinsEXPAND

Richard, I’m not sure we can get past this. I’m not even sure where to start but I’ll try:

If I am so intoxicated that can’t remember what happened and someone had sex with me, then that is the evidence that I was raped.

Let’s try a “thought experiment” that might help you relate. Imagine you wrote a book. A really good book that was really important to you. Now imagine you got really, really drunk just as you were about to email your publisher to approve the final draft of it. And then imagine I came along and next to “by Richard Dawkins” I wrote “and Jessica Hammond” and then I hit send. Maybe you even said “yesh, sokay” before I did it.

Should we just let that one go, Richard? Shall we be coauthors of what happened? I mean you can’t really remember how it all went down – but I assure you, you were into it.

Do you see where I’m going with this Richard?

Hey, look mate, it’s ok. You are a very smart guy, but you can’t be an expert on everything. But, as a friend, let me give you some advice: you don’t know shit about rape and consent and until you do, you need to shut your damned meme hole.

Yours sincerely,




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