Richard Dawkins has once again been embroiled in a Twitter storm, the latest upset caused by the prominent atheist’s comments about aborting fetuses with Down syndrome.
Of course this is not the first time the esteemed Oxford academic has found himself the focus of a collective scolding from the social network – a pooled rebuke occurs roughly once every three months.
To prepare you for the inevitable repeat here are the 12 stages of any Richard Dawkins Twitter scandal:
- The eminent biologist will employ the rigid rationalism of his discipline to a highly emotive issue – the lack of Nobel prizes for Muslims or how some types of rape are worse than others. Dawkins will then share this insight with his one million followers on Twitter.
- A cluster of Dawkins’ devotees will debate the professor’s contention in a reasoned and scientific fashion.
- Someone negatively affected by Dawkins’ clinical assertion will spot the tweet and take issue with his post, replying “really?? #twat”.
- A Twitter user with Jesus/crescent moon as their profile picture will call Dawkins a “c*nt”, likening the biologist to Josef Mengele and/or Harold Shipman. Soon thereafter Herr Hitler will be invoked.
- A journalist will spot the reaction, read Dawkins’ original tweet and pen a quick article highlighting the “prominent atheist’s latest Twitter storm”.
- A member of the blue tick Twitter elite – a newsreader or “social commenter” – will pick up on the rumpus, tweeting how the professor’s original post was “indefensible” and how these comments are “the worst yet”.
- Twitter users with #reason, #doubt and #MissTheHitch in their profile will distance themselves from Dawkins, telling their 73 followers that The God Delusion author no longer speaks for “atheists/anti-theists”.
- Dawkins will continue to defend his position, while other media outlets pen similar hit-focused articles on the brouhaha, many highlighting his past Twitter indiscretions. Right-wing media in the US will pick up on the tempest, decrying Dawkins as the emblem of a world “abandoned by God”.
- People personally affected by the issue of Dawkins’ original post will pen angry responses to Independent Voices and the Huffington Post, many concluding with the line: “How can such a clever man can be so stupid?”
- Dawkins will issue an apology via his website for the “misunderstanding” and though he will concede his “phraseology” was wrong he will maintain his “logic” was sound.
- Attempting to squeeze a few last hits out of the now-subsiding “outrage”, a journalist will write a meta-piece attempting to explain the anatomy of a Dawkins Twitter scandal.
- Wait 90 days and repeat.