I agree with everybody so far on Dawkins’s cri de coeur in defense of being able to high-mindedly diddle the maid while still being a good husband. Two quick points I’d add:
1. Why do rabidly anti-religious atheists always have to indulge their desire to rehash the usual clichés before getting to the point? Dawkins spends nearly 800 words rambling on about Bill Clinton being right to lie to Congress (though that was never the charge) and how Mormons are crazy and Bush is evil. Blah, blah, blah. Did anyone not know this was where Dawkins came down? Is he such an undisciplined writer — or such an angry one — that he couldn’t resist this pointless and predictable diversion?
2. Isn’t he trying, at least a little bit to have it both ways? Here’s he is, arguably the world’s most famous defender of Darwinism and attacker of religion prattling on about the “religious mind” as if it stands opposed to all truths and decency. But then he must concede that jealously is not a product of the religious mind (in fact, religion is one of those things that, rightly employed, tempers such emotions). Rather, “sexual jealousy” is easily understood from a Darwinian perspective. Of course it is. But where does that leave Dawkins? It leaves him trying to create a morality ex nihilo – without benefit of nature’s nor religion’s guidance — that says it’s not only okay to diddle the maid while professing to love someone else — i.e. your wife — but that there’s something “noble and virtuous” — his words — in not feeling guilty about it. Translation: your wife should feel ignoble and unvirtuous (i.e. guilty) when she gets jealous of your extracurricular diddling.