PZ Myers just moved up quite a few more notches in my book. Richard Dawkins? While I can respect his body of work, I’ll never look at him the same again. How very, very disappointing.
I’m taking one last stab at explaining this. Imagine that Richard Dawkins meets a particularly persistent fan who insists on standing uncomfortably close to him, and Richard asks him to stand back a little bit; when he continues, he says to the rest of the crowd that that is rather rude behavior, and could everyone give him a little breathing space? Which then leads to many members of the crowd loudly defending the rudeness by declaring that since the guy wasn’t assaulting him, he should be allowed to keep doing that, and hey, how dare Richard Dawkins accuse everyone present of trying to mug him!
That’s exactly analogous to Rebecca Watson’s situation. She did not make these hysterical accusations everyone is claiming, she did not compare herself to the oppressed women of the third world, she did not demonize the clumsy sap in the elevator — she asked for some simple common courtesy, and for that she gets pilloried.
Sorry, people, but that sends a very clear signal to women that calm requests for respect will be met with jeers by a significant subset of the atheist community, and that’s not right.