The blogosphere has been alive this last week with the outraged Richard Dawkins hitting back at outraged people who had hit back at the outraged administrator of his website. There is outrage everywhere.

Now Richard Dawkins has apologised and explained himself. The subsequent thread is forgiving (‘we are all only human, after all’), but makes some rather odd claims that the apology demonstrates the best of reason and rationalism. Er…

Well, I want to put on record that I’m glad they have sorted themselves out and found a way forward for Dawkins’ site. I think it is excellent that he has apologised to his offended former friends and that the relationship seems to be back on track for some of them. I also would be pleased if the new Dawkins site achieves what he wants (and what any reasonable website hopes for), which is to screen out all the unreasonable, irrational crazies who think internet access gives them permission to spew abuse wherever they like.

Good on Dawkins for re-setting his site to moderate/approve comments – we will all benefit from threads that encourage proper discussion, reasoned debate and keep out the bilious nutcases (both religious and atheistic ones).

Just one plea to Richard Dawkins, however. Now you know what it feels like to be on the end of the bile, can you try to empathise with those whom you ridicule irrationally? We need to cultivate a reasonable debate between all people of faith (both theists and atheists) and we would get more light than heat if we were able to know we will not be misrepresented by the other.

So, three cheers for an end to outraged expression, genuine apology and the possibility of reconciliation.