Monday, July 24, 2017

Tasting His Own Medicine

Some might call this a story about karma, but there's something both amusing and disturbing about the recent cancellation of a scheduled speech by Richard Dawkins by a bunch of progressives who had originally agreed to sponsor it.

Dawkins, an atheist and hostile critic of religious belief as well as one of the most prominent promoters of naturalistic Darwinian evolution, has been disinvited from giving a speech at Berkeley, not because he has said some disparaging things about Christians, nor because he has advocated denying a livelihood to university professors who disagree with him about Darwinism.

The sponsors of his speech are apparently not concerned about such trifles as those. What got him disinvited was that he has committed the unpardonable sin of tweeting some criticisms of Islam.

The erstwhile sponsor of the lecture is a progressive radio station in the Berkeley area whose management is apparently cool with screeds against Christianity and creationists, but harsh words for Islam and Muslims is just taking matters too far. Here are a few details from the link:
Richard Dawkins’ biggest critics used to be conservative Christians. Now they’re Berkeley progressives who defend anything and everything Islamic. The militant atheist, evolutionary biologist and former University of Oxford “professor for public understanding of science” was supposed to speak about his new collection of essays at a Berkeley church, sponsored by a local progressive radio station, KPFA.

Then the station learned about his tweets critical of Islam and cancelled the Aug. 9 event.
KPFA said this in their email announcing the cancellation:
We had booked this event based entirely on his excellent new book on science, when we didn’t know he had offended and hurt – in his tweets and other comments on Islam, so many people.

KPFA does not endorse hurtful speech. While KPFA emphatically supports serious free speech, we do not support abusive speech. We apologize for not having had broader knowledge of Dawkins [sic] views much earlier.
It is ironic that a man who would silence others for their ideas on the matter of origins is himself silenced for his ideas on religion, but it's disturbing that the people responsible for the silencing evidently don't care that his book, The God Delusion, was primarily a rant against Christianity or that in it he called Christians child-abusers for raising their children in the faith. If they do care then why did they sponsor his talk in the first place?

The dhimmis at KPFA know there's no price to pay for mocking Christians, but not so, as events of the last several years have shown, for mocking Muslims. Dawkins would've been fine, presumably, had he limited himself to heaping abuse on Christianity, but Islam is above criticism at KPFA.

Dawkins sent an email to the station in which he pointed to this very inconsistency:
I am known as a frequent critic of Christianity and have never been de-platformed for that. Why do you give Islam a free pass? Why is it fine to criticise Christianity but not Islam?
Good questions. Here's another good question posed by Michael Egnor:
Why, one asks, is it fine to criticize Islam, but not Darwin? Dawkins has fought mightily to “de-platform” intelligent design scientists and anyone who harbors even a shimmer of doubt about Darwinian theology. But now he’s shocked — shocked — that defenders of another religion get to silence heretics too.

Freedom of speech is in retreat in America and throughout the West. One suspects that in the years to some, even atheists and Darwinists may come to lament the injunction on dissent that they pioneered and so assiduously maintained.
Dawkins should be free to criticize both Christianity and Islam if he wishes. He should even be free to criticize Jesus and the prophet, and KPFA should be free to cancel his speeches if he does. And the rest of us should be free to point out and laugh at the witless hypocrisy of both of them when they do.