1. ITV Report

Richard Dawkins defends rape comments after Twitter backlash

Scientist Richard Dawkins has defended his comments that sparked a "tsunami of hate" on Twitter last night, after he attempted to make a logical point by describing some rapes as "worse" than others.

The God Delusion author received backlash after he used a series of tweets to demonstrate his point that while one type of offence was worse than another, it didn't mean he condoned either.

Professor Dakwins has defended his comments which sparked a Credit: PA

After taking one follower's advice to "bail out" of the discussion last night, Dawkins composed a blog post on his website defending his remarks.

I was only talking logic, with no desire to make light of the seriousness of any kind of rape or any kind of pedophilia.

Yes, I could have used the broken nose example. I accept that I must explain why I chose to use the particular example of rape. I was emphatically not trying to hurt rape victims or trivialise their awful experience.

I didn’t know quite how deeply those two sensitive issues had infiltrated the taboo zone. I know now, with a vengeance. I really do care passionately about reason and logic.

– Richard Dawkins

The atheist author added: "The very idea of classifying some rapes as worse than others, whether it’s date rape or stranger rape, is unconscionable, unbearable, intolerable, beyond the pale, taboo.

"There is no allowable distinction between one kind of rape and another."

Professor Dawkins initially said:

But he instantly attracted criticism when he substituted the unknowns for rape and paedophilia to support his point.

Dawkins retweeted supportive comments from his near-one million followers.

But others criticised the best-selling author for appearing to demonstrate insensitivity to rape victims.

One wrote: "What the hell is mild rape?!?! Ugh just...stop. Rape is rape. One is not 'worse' than the other."

While other wrote: "You are a monumental idiot sometimes. Stick to science."

Professor Dawkins insisted his comments were merely "logic" and did not mean he "approved of either" offence.