Why was Richard Dawkins battering away at his keyboard before breakfast on Tuesday morning (16 Sept. 08), before his toast, marmalade and English tea were cold? The statement later published on the New Scientist website, apparently received just before the formal announcement from the Royal Society, contradicts the official reason Reiss was removed.
The official reason was that Reiss had been misrepresented by others, thus apparently leading to damage to the Royal Society’s reputation. But from Dawkins statement:
+ Dawkins didn’t think Reiss’s comments were inappropriate, and Dawkins has debated creationism in schools himself for his own documentary.
+ Dawkins thinks that the call from some RS Fellows to remove Reiss because he was an Anglican priest was ‘close to a witch hunt’ and ‘a bit squeamish.’
+ But Dawkins did not think that Reiss, or any other minister of religion, should be allowed to hold such a post, and Reiss should resign for that reason, or resign his holy orders.
In other words, the reason Reiss was forced out was because of calls to remove him from Kroto, Roberts and Dawkins, and possibly others; this based on Reiss’s ordination, not on what he had said, or the fact he had been misrepresented. And Yes Richard it was a witch hunt.