Home » Culture, Evolutionary psychology, Humor » Richard Dawkins defends the idea of having a mistress and lying about it

Richard Dawkins defends the idea of having a mistress and lying about it

Many felt disgust with former vice presidential candidate John Edwards for cheating on his terminally ill wife Elizabeth Edwards. In the process of his affair, Edwards fathered a child with his mistress, Rielle Hunter. Rielle is now one of the most hated women in America.

But according to evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, men having mistresses is not what is immoral, but the rather the notion of monogamy (rooted in our evolved desire for faithfulness) is what is immoral.

From Banishing the Green Eyed Monster by Richard Dawkins

I want to raise another question that interests me. Why are we so obsessed with monogamous fidelity in the first place?
….
The underlying presumption — that a human being has some kind of property rights over another human being’s body — is unspoken because it is assumed to be obvious. But with what justification?

In one of the most disgusting stories to hit the British newspapers last year, the wife of a well-known television personality, Chris Tarrant, hired a private detective to spy on him. The detective reported evidence of adultery and Tarrant’s wife divorced him, in unusually vicious style. But what shocked me was the way public opinion sided with Tarrant’s horrible wife. Far from despising, as I do, anybody who would stoop so low as to hire a detective for such a purpose, large numbers of people, including even Mr. Tarrant himself, seemed to think she was fully justified. Far from concluding, as I would, that he was well rid of her, he was covered with contrition and his unfortunate mistress was ejected, covered with odium. The explanation of all these anomalous behavior patterns is the ingrained assumption of the deep rightness and appropriateness of sexual jealousy. It is manifest all the way from Othello to the French “crime passionnel” law, down to the “love rat” language of tabloid newspapers.

From a Darwinian perspective, sexual jealousy is easily understood…. Sexual jealousy may in some Darwinian sense accord with nature, but “Nature, Mr. Allnutt, is what we are put in this world to rise above.”

Dawkins to all wives: rise above your evolved nature to feel betrayed when hubby has a mistress. You being jealous is immoral and selfish. Instead, rise above your jealousy and selfishness and be more altruistic by letting him have his fun.

Why should you deny your loved one the pleasure of sexual encounters with others, if he or she is that way inclined?

I, for one, feel drawn to the idea that there is something noble and virtuous in rising above nature in this way.

In the Bible, a virtuous woman is wise and does her husband good all his days. Dawkins now redefines what it means for a wife to do good for her husband. A good wife should let her man have a mistress if he so chooses.

And why don’t we all admire — as I increasingly do — those rare free spirits confident enough to rise above jealousy, stop fretting about who is “cheating on” whom,

And finally it might be OK if hubby publicly lies about the affair:

Bill Clinton was impeached not for sexual misconduct but for lying about it. But he was entitled to lie about his private life: one could even make a case that he had a positive duty to do so.
…..


HT:
heatherdalgleish at Greta Christina’s Freethought Blog
who inspired me to post this article

HT: unnamed friends doing superior intelligence gathering

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

24 Responses to Richard Dawkins defends the idea of having a mistress and lying about it

  1. HT:
    heatherdalgleish at Greta Christina’s Freethought Blog
    who inspired me to post this article

    You wouldn’t be referring to this now, would you?
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/gr.....ment-70312

    Surely just vicious rumor! Dawkins has never given us any reason to suppose that he would cheat on his wi- oh, wait…

  2. Sexual jealousy may in some Darwinian sense accord with nature, but “Nature, Mr. Allnutt, is what we are put in this world to rise above.”

    …but not when it comes to rising above the desire to cheat in the first place, apparently.

  3. You raise an interesting point, Deuce. Have the supine Brit pop media ever asked Dawkins whether his judgments apply to his own behaviour? Does anyone know?

    He’s really good for us at this point anyway, because he illustrates beautifully just where Michael Ruse’s “ethics is an illusion” leads.

  4. It was John Edwards (or Johnny Reid Edwards, per Wikipedia), not Jonathan Edwards (who played a very different role in American history).

  5. Surely just vicious rumor! Dawkins has never given us any reason to suppose that he would cheat on his wi- oh, wait…

    But Lauren Sandler explains why she hopes Dawkins would cheat on his wife with her:

    The Sexiest Man Alive

    Yes, those cheekbones, those piercing eyes, that pursed bow of a mouth — but that brain, oh that brain, oh, god, that brain — is what makes Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist and the most famous atheist in the world, the sexiest man around.

    Dawkins is the professor I never had an affair with, whose very sentence structure threatens to weaken my concentration on the content of his words. Call me deluded: I ache for his atheism; I reel from his reasoning. He is my James Bond, a well-attired, fearless seeker of truth in the face of nihilism.

    Take me with you, Richard: You put the “sex” in sexagenarian. Let us clinch in a godless embrace, crying out to what we know does not exist, searching, searching evermore.

    – Lauren Sandler

    PS
    I had the privilege of having dinner with Ms. Sandler when she interviewed me for her book Righteous. See:
    The New Face of Evangelical Christianity

    She’s a hottie. See: Lauren Sandler

    Richard, why didn’t you go for it?

  6. fmarotta

    It was John Edwards (or Johnny Reid Edwards, per Wikipedia), not Jonathan Edwards (who played a very different role in American history).

    Thanks! I fixed it.

  7. Richard, why didn’t you go for it?

    Presumably because she’s marr- oh wait…

  8. Dawkins is out to lunch on this matter but so is the Christian community. And I write this as a Christian. In the old Testament, most men were polygamists and God speaks of having two wives, the house of Judah and the house of Israel. Throughout most of history men were polygamists. Even today, many nations and cultures practice polygamy. In Christian cultures that do profess monogamy, most men have extra-marital affairs.

    There is no point in denying it. Western societies are confused about matrimony.

  9. Sardonic Post Alert: …like heterosexual monogamy, concubinage is ancient. So why not? Dawkins is simply being consistent with his atheism/evolutionary worldview. Can Christians make a sound argument that God set forth heterosexual monogamy as a pattern for all future sexual relationships? They should. Christians must stop trying to beat something with nothing.

    Mapou: Your assertion regarding polygamy in the OT is factually wrong. Yes, the OT contains accounts of polygamy (and many other sins), but one shouldn’t infer that God looks upon the arrangement with favor. I do agree with your statement about Western societies being confused regarding marriage. This has largely come about due to the rise of atheism and secularism in Western culture.

    Christians need to read Dr. Richard Davidson’s magnum opus – FLAME OF YAHWEH: Sexuality in the Old Testament. It’s the finest thesis on biblical marriage and sexuality available to Christians.

  10. In Christian cultures that do profess monogamy, most men have extra-marital affairs.

    Dang! 38 years with the same meat robot. I must be the wrong kind of Christian.

  11. Some thoughts to ponder while reading this.

    Mr. Dawkins equates monogamous fidelity to “property rights” – but, within the context of marriage, monogamous fidelity is a freely given oath to another human being. It is a matter of taking a man, or a woman, at his word. I promise, therefore I am obliged to honor my commitment. It is not a “property right.”

    Mr Dawkins writes, “…nature is what we are put in this world to rise above.” Mr. Dawkins is a devotee of philosophical naturalism, which is the belief that “nature” is the sum total of reality. So, if nature is the sum total of reality, to what are we rising when we “rise above” nature?

    Mr. Dawkins is making a “moral” argument. He deplores “…the vice of sexual jealousy.” But what place have “morality,” “virtue,” and “vice” in a naturalistic worldview. Virtue, vice, and morality are “transcendant” attributes.

    ———————–

    As an aside, following a red herring laid by Mapou, human beings are confused about matrimony, and our failure to realize an ideal does not falsify the ideal. God made them male and female

    4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

    5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

    6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

    7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

    8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

  12. Well if we are just an accumulation of genetic mistakes, then it makes sense that we will make mistakes. Or perhaps Richard just believes in some uber form of pro-choice…

  13. 13
    CentralScrutinizer

    My uncle exercised his “right” to cheat on my aunt and lie about it. And he probably would have gotten away with it except that “other woman” that he banged had gonorrhea, which my uncle then proceeded to transmit to my aunt.

    My uncle should not have cheated. But he should have come clean about it after the fact and saved my aunt the trouble (and humiliation) of getting treated for gonorrhea.

    What if had been Herpes? Or AIDS? Apparently the good Professor Dawkins is against such full disclosure.

  14. @Mapou

    “Dawkins is out to lunch on this matter but so is the Christian community. And I write this as a Christian.”

    OK sir, how does a Christian then deal with the command “Thou shalt not commit adultery”?

    Polygamy did exist in the Bible, but was it what God intended? I don’t think so. He created one man and one woman in the beginning. Rather than use what happened in history and the actions of sinful mankind as your standard for morality, why not try using the revealed Word of God as your standard? That might solve your problem.

    “In Christian cultures that do profess monogamy, most men have extra-marital affairs.”

    First of all you are judging. You do not KNOW this to be true. You simply suspect it to be true. What does “most” mean? I’ve never committed adultery and I know many others too who have been faithful.

    But even if you are right, your point is what? That since some Christians engage in extra-marital affairs, it is not immoral?

    If we follow that type of reasoning, since everyone parks illegally in the city from time to time, including policemen off duty, are you saying they have no right to take a stand against illegal parking? Should we make the police get rid of all parking laws since even they break them at times and arresting others is hypocritical? Should we just let people park anywhere they want to? That’s silly.

    Is that how you decide what is right and wrong? I think you need to rethink what it means to be a Christian, because this is about as anti-biblical a view as they come.

    So please tell us why you are so critical of the Christian community for taking a stand against adultery.

    How would you propose dealing with the situation – taking an anything goes approach? Just curious.

  15. Everyone of you who replied to my comment above ignored the inconvenient fact that God himself said that he was married to two wives, the house of Israel and the house of Judah. He divorced the house of Israel but retained the house of Judah even though he accused both of being cheap whores who lusted after other gods. I hate quoting chapter and verse but I can if I have to.

    Yes, I’m a Christian and I, too, read the Bible. And I make up my own mind about what it all means just as you do. I still think you Christians are out to lunch.

  16. Mapou at 15: You weren’t paying attention when your Grade Seven teacher took up the concept of “metaphor,” were you?

    The prophet is clearly not making an argument for polygamy, he is using a common situation of the day to interpret political events: After the division of the ancient Hebrew kingdom into Israel and Judah, Israel was even less devout than Judah. He attributes Israel’s earlier fall into captivity to that fact.

    Ethnically, they were all the same people, the Hebrews (Jews).

    You should make use of a good, orthodox Bible commentary. Making up our own minds about what it all means is not all it is cracked up to be – especially if the circumstances of our lives haven’t provided us with the opportunity to delve deeply into the matter.

    Quoting chapter and verse is always helpful.

  17. Bye.

  18. We’ve been mostly critical of Dawkins in this thread, I do offer some words in his defense to be fair in this comment on David Anderson’s thread:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-430826

  19. It turns out the “A” prominently displayed on Atheists blogs and marketed by Dawkins as a uniform for his followers is linked to the Scarlet Letter “A” that stands for Adulterer in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book The Scarlet Letter

    http://explodingpipeline.blogs.....etter.html

    PZ Myers was seen wearing one of these Scarlet Letter shirts with A big “A” on his chest. Ed Brayton suggested the A has another meaning :-)

    http://www.teleological.org/bl.....-pz-myers/

  20. Hey, we got mentioned on the Pearcey report. Whohoo!

    http://www.pearceyreport.com/b.....stress.php

  21. I wish Dawkins would simply state that his desire to choose his own moral standards is the real reason behind his atheism. Julian Huxley made a similar point. It’s not about the evidence at all; it’s about choosing what is right and wrong for yourself instead of following other (divinely inspired) guidance.

  22. 22

    The article “Banishing the Green-Eyed Monster” has apparently been removed from Dawkins’s website (!) but it’s still available elsewhere, e.g. http://newsweek.washingtonpost.....onste.html

    On that Washington Post site, very interestingly, Dawkins has added a long, apologetic, back-pedaling semi-retraction to his original article!

  23. Hey thanks Richard P. for the update!

    Sal

  24. Mapou seems to have moved on, but I’m going to respond to his post at #8:

    Dawkins is out to lunch on this matter but so is the Christian community. And I write this as a Christian.

    Do tell.

    In the old Testament, most men were polygamists and God speaks of having two wives, the house of Judah and the house of Israel.

    The question that’s raised here is: why did God allow polygamy in Israel?

    Did not such men as Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon of pre-Christian times have more than one wife? Yes, but how does the Bible portray that arrangement? It reveals the friction and strife that arose in the families of Abraham and Jacob as a result of the practice. (Genesis 16:1-4; 29:18–30:24) Later, God’s Law included this directive to each king: “He should . . . not multiply wives for himself, that his heart may not turn aside.” (Deuteronomy 17:15, 17)

    Solomon disregarded that statute by marrying over 700 wives! Tragically, Solomon’s heart did indeed turn aside from Jehovah because of the bad influence of his many wives. (1 Kings 11:1-4) Clearly, the Bible paints a negative picture of polygamy.

    Still, some might wonder why God chose to tolerate polygamy among his people. Consider: Have you ever temporarily tolerated a piece of furniture though it needed to be replaced, perhaps reasoning that it would prove impractical or disruptive to remove it for now? Of course, God’s ways and thoughts are higher than our own. (Isaiah 55:8, 9) Yet, we may discern some practical reasons why he tolerated polygamy for a time.

    Note, please, that God did not originate the practice of polygamy. He provided only one wife for Adam. God authorized Jesus Christ to reinstitute His original standard of monogamy. (John 8:28) When asked about marriage, Jesus said: “He who created them from the beginning made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh.’”—Matthew 19:4, 5.

    Throughout most of history men were polygamists. Even today, many nations and cultures practice polygamy.

    So what? Polygamy is not tolerated by Christians today. See the scriptural references above.

    In Christian cultures that do profess monogamy, most men have extra-marital affairs.

    And this negates the Bible’s view of marriage…how, exactly?

    Not everyone claiming to be Christian actually practices what Jesus taught. Are you just now figuring this out?

    There is no point in denying it. Western societies are confused about matrimony.

    This I agree with; marriage is seriously downgraded in today’s society. Living together is the new standard, and nobody needs “a piece of paper” to prove that they love each other. Oddly enough, though, sociologists have found that living together is not a sure sign of a happy marriage or monogamous relationship.

Leave a Reply