Yes, The Pope Should Be Arrested, and I Don’t Care Who Does It
As usual, the original Skepchic is right!
Yesterday morning the big news was an interesting article with a ridiculous headline: “Richard Dawkins: I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI“.
I thought my Tweet summed up my feeling on the matter:
Richard Dawkins is going to personally arrest the pope. I hope it’s like the video for Sabotage but with old dudes http://is.gd/bo707
I was wrong to assume that people would read that and think, “Yes, that is a completely ridiculous headline.” I’m kicking myself for not being clearer, because when Dawkins posted a clarification to say that no, he did not say he’d be personally arresting the pope, a lot of my Twitter and Facebook followers happily declared that it was all a big hoax. A few others declared that it was all a big publicity stunt on Dawkins’ part, and that it therefore hurt “the skeptical movement.”
Dawkins’ clarification explained that while he was not going to swing into action Beastie Boys-style, he does support the actual effort currently underway to hold the Pope accountable for the systematic protection of child abusers. And that, to me, was the entire point: not that Dawkins is involved (though that is a funny image), but that the Pope may in fact answer for his crimes. So no, it’s not all a big, overblown hoax. It is a real and important story.
On to the second point, that this effort will apparently hurt the “skeptical movement”: it won’t, and it’s completely absurd to suggest otherwise.
I like and admire Massimo Pigliucci, but he is 100% wrong when he posted this (among other things) on my Facebook profile:
naturally, always a good thing to keep one’s baloney detector set to orange alert. though the basic problem remains: two of the “horsemen” are behind a sensationalistic stunt that has no chance in hell (pun intended) of actually succeeding in the real world
Bullshit, Massimo, on several points. Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins lent their support to an effort that was already well underway, and if it weren’t for that support, most people wouldn’t know that this is happening. To describe their support as a “sensationalistic stunt” is pointless cat-fighting. And to describe it as an effort that “has no chance in hell” of succeeding is simply ignorant.