That update comes from this recording of Dawkins describing what happened. In it he sounds very frail, but not a bit less lucid-- quite to the contrary, he takes the opportunity quote both Steven Pinker and his own previous writings on the evolutionary marvel of the human hand. Dawkins' own left hand's functioning had been diminished by the stroke to the point that manipulating buttons became difficult. He goes on to reflect that he'd been thought slow as a child for being a late learner of button manipulation as well as shoe-tying, having started life in Africa and not requiring such fastenings on his clothing at the time because of the ambient weather.
And this part of the recording I will simply transcribe, because listeners have reached radically different conclusions about its meaning:
It's to be assumed that the conference Dawkins is talking about here is NECSS, from which he was dis-invited last month for having approvingly tweeted a video claiming that feminists and Islamists share a commonly ideology.
I did some searching for verification that Dawkins had been re-invited to NECSS, but didn't find anything. There isn't any notice of such on their web site-- the most recent announcement regarding Dawkins is their declaration to dis-invite him on January 27th called Concerning Richard Dawkins. I don't see anything on their Twitter feed, either. So....who knows?
If I were PolitiFact, I would probably give the claim that Dawkins blamed feminists for his stroke a rating of "half true." He said that he could've been expected to have a stroke, "if ever," from the "hate" directed toward him by his "own people," which includes the left, liberals, and feminists. But in this speculation, he notes that the stroke was more immediately preceded by receiving notification of being re-invited to NECSS.
Matthew Facciani at Patheos wrote a blog post that was originally titled "Dawkins blames feminists for his stroke," and then changed it after getting some heat from readers. His post concludes:
I hope Dawkins continues to make a full recovery and I also hope that some of his words from this interview can impact people. 1) It’s another reminder how precious life is and how we should cherish every moment. and 2) It’s also a reminder that we should try to be decent to one another even when we disagree. Perhaps the many Dawkins fans who scoffed at the harassment women face online can take note how serious such behavior can be.It wasn't just Dawkins' fans, but he himself who scoffed at the harassment women face online-- and even endorsed such harassment, in the case of Chanty Binx. I suppose that's just because he decided that she was "nasty" and therefore "deserves abundant mockery, the more the merrier."
But here's the thing-- given Dawkins' comments above, it seems like he needs to make a decision. Either "abundant mockery" can potentially cause a person to have a stroke, or people can "deserve abundant mockery, the more the merrier." I suppose a third option could exist-- that both are true, and therefore some people deserve to have a stroke caused by abundant mockery-- but I don't want to believe that anyone genuinely thinks that.
It's common knowledge that there are many feminists, including Chanty Binx, who have become the targets of sustained harassment both on the internet and off because they are well-known feminists. Each of these women has suffered from it. Each has had to make a choice, perhaps repeated choices, about whether to continue speaking out, and to what extent they can handle doing so. Most of these women do not have anything like the platform and hordes of admirers that Dawkins has, factors that-- along with other privileges-- have enabled him to have considerable insulation from such ridicule. It's a really good thing none of them have had strokes (that we know of) as a result......so far.....isn't it?