With your coffee … At “TGIF: Dawkins disinvited to science conference”:
Professor Richard Dawkins has had an invitation to speak at a science event withdrawn by organisers for sharing a “highly offensive” video mocking feminists on Twitter.
If WordPress gets into the act, there’ll probably be some fragile consciousness out there wittering to the new media censors about Uncommon Descent. After all,
If someone who has political cachet makes a big to-do about feeling attacked or threatened, their target has committed an offence.
So, even if we are nothing more than your daily two-minute hate, stand with us in this . 😉
Anyway, from Seversky at 5,
The NECSS is entitled to “de-platform” whoever it chooses but it sends entirely the wrong message. The proper response to offensive speech is more speech expressing offense and exposing the offender to criticism.
Unfortunately, there are many in the UK, including members of Parliament, who ought to know better. They seem to have forgotten – or perhaps they have never read – the principles of a free society set out by the nineteenth century English philosopher John Stuart Mill in On Liberty. In none of the great bills or charters or declarations of human rights is there a right not to be offended. There is, however, a right to say things that some might find objectionable.
If I were asked, I would tell the NECSS that, while the video linking Islamists and feminists might well be offensive to some, so is the “de-platforming” of Richard Dawkins to others. So whose sense of offense trumps whose?
It’s not just Britain. As a free speech journalist in Canada, I can tell you it’s everywhere in the Western world.
And the point of the vid Dawkins retweeted is spot on: Progressives (including feminists) and Islamists do get along fine with each other (though distantly). I suspect that’s because neither group believes in intellectual freedom or thinks facts matter.
A Canadian journalist found it hard to cover an honour killing in 2010, for example, not so much because of Islamists but because of feminists.
Yes! some feminists are such priorities-challenged people that they equate certain types of guys whose pants aren’t long enough to keep their trotters from showing with homicide!
It’s easy to see how such trends play into authoritarianism: Authoritarians honestly believe that the whole world needs protection from stuff that offends us, whereas they are pretty much the only adult people who do.
During recent free speech battles in Canada, I remember explaining to a young journalist: As an Irish Catholic granny, I see and hear stuff that offends me all the time. So?
Good grief. Where are the real feminists when we need them? The ones who got women like me the vote and the right to own property? And made assault and battery a crime, even if the victim is one’s spouse?
When the Islamists and the feminists fall out, we pretty much know who’ll win. And like I always say, in a row between a king cobra and a Great Western Diamondback, …
All that said, Dawkins does get himself into some pretty silly situations, due mainly to his private war on religion. See, for example, Dawkins vs. the Flying Horse.
My best guess is, he’ll soon have to choose between that and making any further contributions to science. Meanwhile, let’s hope other NECSS speakers suddenly discover a subsequent engagement (Oscar Wilde’s phrase) for the same day.
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