Once again, we find ourselves faced with a chorus of voices hoping to silence Dr. Richard Dawkins, to shuffle him off a platform, to keep him well away from a medium or a podium.
Would someone please please please delete Richard Dawkins's account for the love of fuck.
— january jess (@JYoolz) December 20, 2015
*Richard Dawkins opens his front door* Person standing outside: ''Delete your account''
— Jon (ﾟ⊿ﾟ) (@ArcaneToaster) December 23, 2015
My New Years resolution is for Richard Dawkins to delete his Twitter account
— Omar (@1Lcampesino) December 28, 2015
@SsRP5 Dawkins needs to delete his account for the good of humanity.
— Mike Yocom (@pfhreak5000) January 28, 2016
— Salon.com (@Salon) January 27, 2016
People are bound to say silly and regrettable (or at least easily misconstrued) things on Twitter, that is basically the nature of the beast. I’m no longer surprised to see offensive imperatives blurted out, such as “Insert this porcupine,” “Die in a fire,” and even “Delete your account!” No way to know how many of these folks really mean it, and as to Salon.com, well, it is what it is. What has apparently changed this time around is that virtue-signaling no-platforming efforts have gone beyond angry tweeters trying to safe up their digital space. Real world platforms are now in play.
New post! Center for Inquiry Merges with Richard Dawkins & His Twitter Account https://t.co/xvDg0UL2Sp
— skepchicks (@skepchicks) January 22, 2016
— DiscordianStooge (@DiscordianStooj) January 22, 2016
— Boola Boo Ball (@heliopathic) January 26, 2016
A Statement Concerning Richard Dawkins https://t.co/oMEY6XXfYg
— NECSS (@NECSS) January 28, 2016
— Rebecca Watson (@rebeccawatson) January 28, 2016
At this point it would not be any great exaggeration to say that the skeptic community can be roughly divided in twain with a simple binary classification test: Do you believe NECSS was right to disinvite Dawkins? If so, please regress to the left. Everyone else is right.
Why exactly was Dawkins taken off the NECSS platform? A single tweet, now deleted.
Dr. Dawkins has deleted his tweet. We will not link to the video, but here is a screen grab of the tweet and video. pic.twitter.com/kzr1BqCTIG
— NECSS (@NECSS) January 28, 2016
Personally, I have no compunctions about linking to the video. Here you go:
ICYMI here's the "divisive" video Richard Dawkins tweeted, which makes some good points about Islamists & feminists https://t.co/VEN89CuH6Y
— Sithlord Sabrina (@SabrinaLianne) January 28, 2016
The video is crude in at least two senses of the term, it paints two different ideologies with a very broad brush, drawing a number of comparisons between certain Islamic apologists and certain feminist activists which would be difficult to support. Of course, we have seen the confluence of Islamic repression and feminist activism at least once before, on the heels of recent lamentable events at Goldsmiths University.
— Goldsmiths FemSoc (@goldfemsoc) December 2, 2015
As you may recall, a handful of Muslim thugs tried to bully an ex-Muslim woman around at her own talk and the response of university feminists was to side with the bullies rather than stand in solidarity with an outspoken critic of religion like Maryam Namazie. So perhaps this crudely satirical song isn’t terribly wide of the mark—at least some of the time—when it suggests a strange bedfellow arrangement between the supporters of intersectional feminism and the apologists for Islam.
Even if the video had no clearly redeeming qualities, it would still be a piece of satire directed pointedly against two sets of ideas. I would have thought that sort of thing fair game in any community that claims to value freethought. Perhaps I am quite mistaken, both in my general distaste for no-platforming (in lieu of reasoned debate) and in my estimation of the particular circumstances in play here. If so, I’d be quite happy to hear another perspective. Your thoughts?