Turns out Dawkins is not simply a deeply unpleasant man who defends his intolerances with a dedication to logic, but a man trying to teach us about syllogism. Why did he pick those subjects? Meh, to be edgy. For the retweets maybe? Even if the tweets aren't endorsements of types of rape and paedophilia, they are a form of dismissal of types of rape and paedophila (unless I have not learned how to think yet).
The tweets naturally were met with both agreement and fury. Many were sceptical about the apparent ranking of crime but Dawkins responded with a tweet that 'parodied' the responses he disagreed with: "'Stealing Â£1 is bad. Stealing an old lady's life savings is worse.' How DARE you rank them? Stealing is stealing. You're vile, appalling."
As a society we don't seem to think violence against women and girls is either A) all that serious or B) so bad.
But let's be scientific here and crack out a little evidence as to why it matters that Dawkins chose these as examples. As a society we don't seem to think violence against women and girls is either A) all that serious or B) so bad.
There is the case of David Ruffley MP to be considered when we wonder if we take VAWG seriously. Earlier this year, in March, Ruffley received a caution from the police for common assault on his former partner. The press didn't seem to particularly go wild (not even the tabloids, in spite of his surname being a Godsend for any 'ruffed up' headlines) for the story and a Conservative party spokesperson said: "This matter was investigated by police and dealt with by them at the time." Lalala, business as usual, everybody get on with your work.
Since the incident a petition in Ruffley's constituency has gathered over 40,000 calling for him to stand down. The Dean of St Edmundsbury cathedral, the Very Revd Dr Frances Ward also asked that the MP reconsider his position and even felt he had to remind him of "seriousness of the assault". Perhaps the Conservative party need reminding too.
Four or so months later Ruffley has now announced he will be standing down in 2015, announcing in a letter that he had hoped to move on from the "very regrettable incident", which he apologised for.
To say the reaction of the Tories was laid back here is an understatement. That they clearly did not think this might be an embarrassing matter goes to show how pointless the Cameron's cuties heavy reshuffle was, and why so many think Dawkins seemingly ranking rape crimes is an acceptable practise. Because if we don't rank trauma, how can we rank sympathy?