Later this year, the Northeast Conference on Science & ‘Skepticism’ (NECSS) will be having its annual conference. Richard Dawkins had been invited as a keynote speaker but then, NECSS chose to withdrew the invitation — out of the blue:
The Northeast Conference on Science & Skepticism has withdrawn its invitation to Richard Dawkins to participate at NECSS 2016. We have taken this action in response to Dr. Dawkins’ approving re-tweet of a highly offensive video.
We believe strongly in freedom of speech and freedom to express unpopular, and even offensive, views. However, unnecessarily divisive, counterproductive, and even hateful speech runs contrary to our mission and the environment we wish to foster at NECSS. The sentiments expressed in the video do not represent the values of NECSS or its sponsoring organizations.
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure they’re contradicting themselves. You can’t be for free speech and, at the very same time, hold the belief that there’s something called hate speech. (Hate speech doesn’t exist!) And, by the way, that word, “retweeting”, it doesn’t mean what the people at NECSS think it means. Dawkins tweeted the video. But I digress and this is not a Twitter-for-Dummies post…
So, what was the video Dr. Dawkins tweeted approvingly? This:
(Guess I won’t be invited to NECSS any time soon! For all I care.)
Actually, when Dawkins tweeted the video, he also said: “Obviously doesn’t apply to vast majority of feminists, among whom I count myself. But the minority are pernicious“… but who cares about nuance and being fair when it comes to bashing Richard Dawkins? So, obviously, the NECSS people didn’t even bother reading what Dakwins was actually saying.
Anyway, someone informed Dawkins that the ‘feminist’ in the video depicted an actual woman who has being threatened. I still don’t get the train of thought here: what was Dawkins supposed to do with that info? Some people appear to think he should have apologized, which is odd, because he hadn’t threatened anyone and he’s not responsible for the actions of others. At any rate, Dawkins deleted his tweet:
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't EVER threaten anyone with violence. We should be free to use comedy/ridicule without fear it may inspire violence
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) January 27, 2016
To be clear: Richard Dawkins is not responsible for the actions of anyone other than himself. But he did delete his tweet anyway because “it was the safest and most humane course of action“.
1. Richard Dawkins tweeted a video, clearly stating he was referring to the pernicious ‘feminists’ who turn a blind eye to the actual rape culture (Islam).
2. Someone told Dawkins the video depicted an actual person who had received threats.
3. Out of human solidarity, Dawkins deleted his tweet (although, had it been the other way around I doubt the ‘feminist’ in question would have done the same). I’ll say it one more time: he did that because he wanted to, he had no obligation to do so.
4. Dawkins tweeted asking all of his followers not to threaten anyone with violence.
5. NECSS booted him, because the video “runs contrary to their mission and the environment”.
So the Novellas drank the politically correct and post-modernist bullshit Kool Aid. I guess their next move is to burn all the Sokal books they got left… but I will never know because I won’t be following them anymore. (It’s actually a shame, I have translated several posts by Steven Novella, but that’s come to an end now!)
To all the other speakers, be warned — from now on until the conference in May, you could be disinvited for anything you say or think. Thought crimes are coming back and NECSS wants to make sure you know it.
If you can’t disagree with the host, is it even worth speaking at such a venue?