Intellectual and world famous atheist Richard Dawkins has the internet ablaze after claiming that recent child sex abuse scandals have been "overblown" and that his own molestation at the hands of a former teacher caused him "no lasting damage."
According to an article in the Daily Mail, the God Delusion author and a forthcoming autobiography further insisted that being the victim of what he called "mild pedophilia" at boarding school did him no harm.
"I am very conscious that you can't condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours," he said in an interview with the Times Magazine. "... I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can't find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today."
The 72 year old was quick to distinguish between rape and the "mild touching up" administered to him and other boys at his school by a teacher who used to pull "him on to his knee and put his hand inside his shorts."
Needless to say, child protection groups are up in arms by his inflammatory statements. Sexual abuse is sexual abuse, they maintain, whether it occurred 50 minutes or 50 years ago.
How do you feel about Dawkins comments? Is there such a thing as "mild pedophilia"?
Ok, so the internet is rife with pranksters (hello, Jimmy Kimmel!)—some ingenious, most ineffectual. No doubt about it, Utah Valley students Andrew Hales and Stuart Edge known as "LAHWF" fall into the latter category.
In a social experiment-cum-gag, the pair scanned the halls of the University, preying on, mainly, unsuspecting girls. In one video the guys literally and figuratively creep up behind young women and try to sweep them off their feet. In the other, claiming a bogus cultural link, they attempt to kiss women first on the cheeks, before moving in on the mouth.
According to the article in Slate, both experiments are lame, bordering on "rapey," and disturbing if only because most young women fail to thwart off the creepy advances of the strangers.
In fact, usually awkward giggling ensues, as the girls try (feebly) to ward off the guys' advances. Some actually appear flattered by the attention. I admit I was disturbed at how easily most of the young women laughed off, or even played along with, the unwanted advance.
Interestingly, when the guys approached other dudes in the kiss experiment, they reacted with total nonchalance—and confidence—before walking on.
Judge for yourself. Are the videos a useful social experiment or a promotion of sexual assault on campus, as some commenters have claimed?
So what do you do when a fifth grader pens a note describing how he wants to carry out a Newtown-style attack against his classmates? This is what happened in New Jersey recently.
Even though it's unlikely that the 11-year-old boy could have carried out such an attack, police plan to press unspecified charges against the juvenile. According to an article in Gawker, the note targeted some 40 students, and a search of the boy's home revealed further lists on his computer.
“We believe it was more of a fantasy-type thing he had,’’ said Wall Township Police Lieutenant John Brockriede. “Not something he was capable of actually carrying out.’’