Apparently Vice is so mad at Richard Dawkins they want him
excommunicated from… Sorry… ‘disowned’ by the atheist movement. Silly me, I’ve been critical of Dawkins for years, but never realized we owned him.
What has he done now??
Did he threaten someone? No.
Did he stalk someone? No.
Did he insult someone? Nope.
Did he violently assault… No.
He defended the legal concept of the presumption of innocence.
How do they defend attacking such a fundamental human right… Well… with crime statistics. Now setting aside the inherent fallibility of estimating crimes based on unproven or even ‘unreported’ claims, the PoI is not some archaic legal meme, if 3 out of every hundred people accused of any serious crime are innocent and end up in jail, that equates to hundreds or even thousands of real peoples lives ruined.
Without the PoI, we end up with vigilante and mob style justice. Our system is far from perfect, but this fundamental right protects us all from persecution.
Taking accusations of criminal behaviour seriously means we suspend judging someone until the facts can speak. This of course includes accusing someone of lying, but there is a difference between asking a skeptical question and making an accusation.
Sometimes the rage of emotions can make that distinction hard to see, but it is an important one, we ignore at our peril.
And now, such better drama from the Bard:
“Ha, banishment! be merciful, say ‘death;’
For exile hath more terror in his look,
Much more than death: do not say ‘banishment.'”