From Emma C. Williams at at Quillette:
An increasing number of high-profile academics are finding themselves barred from various establishments that are supposedly in the business of thought. Jamie Palmer has addressed the issue in this very magazine, and my first article here was about the attempted no-platforming of Professor Germaine Greer by students at Cardiff.
The latest to join the list of fine academics declared unfit to speak at a supposedly learned venue is Professor Richard Dawkins. The Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism, a forum that prides itself on being “a celebration of science and critical thinking” and with a declared goal of “fostering a more rational world” has decided that Dawkins’ sharing of a satirical video in a tweet that he later deleted warrants him being disinvited from the NECSS 2016.
Apparently, what they think science needs most is a vast and growing horde of mediocrities whose main contribution to their cause is free thought police services.
There are those who would argue that disinviting a speaker from one particular event has absolutely nothing to do with free speech – that all groups and societies have the right to select speakers and discussion topics based upon their own philosophies, what is of the most potential interest to their members and what kind of tone they wish to set for their event. This is true. It is nobody’s duty to provide a speaker with a platform and it is nobody’s right to speak upon somebody else’s. Yet the ever-increasing frequency with which a variety of fine academics have been declared as unfit speakers at venues that purport to be in favour of free thought should surely give us pause. As the inimitable Maryam Namazie said this week, “if you no platform everyone you disagree with, there will be no one left to speak”.
No one left to speak? Oh yes, there will be. The volunteer thought police will always be happy to hear from their favourite mediocrities, with the usual results for intellectual calibre.
Dawkins has made fiery, sometimes outrageous tweets for years, and I simply cannot understand why this particular tweet has upset some members of the committee so much. My suspicion is that its content (which poked fun at both Islamism and radical feminism and drew parallels between the two) was simply too much for the cosy intellectual groupthink that so many people are now prone to. More.
To think that anyone would see a similarity between two groups, neither of whom has any use for intellectual freedom…
From our perspective, this show deserves a second cup of caramel latte. The too-sudden, too-soon arrival of the storm troopers, a type discussed here by an ex-new atheist leftist, is making new atheism hard for an observer to distinguishable from Stalinism.
Somebody fetch the crocodile; the occasion calls for tears.
See also: TGIF: Dawkins disinvited to science conference
Dawkins disinvited but defended at UD
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