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Richard Dawkins Event in Berkeley Canceled Due To His “Abusive,” “Hurtful” Words
Patheos ^

Posted on 07/21/2017 7:30:37 PM PDT by TigerClaws

While that website doesn’t offer any reason for the cancellation, Jerry Coyne notes that people who had bought tickets received a more detailed email with this explanation:

We regret to inform you that KPFA has canceled our event with Richard Dawkins. 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 views much earlier. We also apologize to all those inconvenienced by this cancellation. Your ticket purchases will automatically be refunded by Brown Paper Tickets.

The world’s most famous atheist criticized Islam and upset people… so he can’t give a talk about science? It’s a ridiculous reason that gets even more absurd when you consider the source.

Dawkins has no doubt put his foot in his mouth on Twitter many times before. There’s a whole generation of people who know him less for his science writing and more for his misguided tweets. We’ve criticized him many times on this site over those tweets, and he’s been “de-platformed” by atheists, too. This isn’t anything new.

I would also say there’s a difference between attempting to make a logical argument, off the cuff, on Twitter (where nuance dies) — and doing it completely ineffectively — and targeting individuals a la trolls who go out of their way to be controversial.

Dawkins isn’t someone who goes around targeting people with hateful or abusive speech. Dumb speech? Absolutely. Offensive speech? Yes, though that’s impossible to avoid when your topic of choice is religion. But hate is in the eye of the beholder, and most of his critics take single tweets more literally than he ever intended.

That’s not to excuse his words. He’s still responsible for what he says. But his entire career has been about persuading people to see things his way, whether or not he’s always succeeded, and he’s well aware that bigotry wouldn’t advance that goal. He’s a strong supporter of progressive Muslims who are trying to modernize the faith “from the inside.” (It’s also worth mentioning that all the “controversial” tweets we’re talking about were made years ago and he’s really mellowed out on Twitter ever since having a minor stroke in early 2016.)

Which tweets about Islam were the people at KPFA so offended by? We never find out. They don’t say. But remember that people at Berkeley (the school) once rescinded an invitation from Bill Maher to deliver a commencement address for the same reason — before eventually reversing course. Ayaan Hirsi Ali was going to get an honorary degree from Brandeis University… until she, too, was accused of anti-Muslim bigotry. (Yep, a victim of female genital mutilation and an advocate for the reformation of Islam was considered an anti-Muslim bigot. Makes you wonder which version of Islam is acceptable to these critics.)

So much for free speech in Berkeley. If Dawkins is too bigoted for their tastes, the list of people who are allowed to discuss controversial topics must be incredibly thin.

And remember: All this is over a book talk about the beauty of science. That means speakers are being invited and canceled over issues they’re not even talking about.

It would’ve been far better for KPFA to let Dawkins speak — and hear what he has to say — before condemning him in advance for vague reasons and not allowing ticket buyers the opportunity to make up their own minds about it.

Since Dawkins’ travel schedule has likely already been planned out, I’ve reached out to his team to find out if he’ll plan another event in Berkeley on that same date.

On a side note, a couple of days after the Dawkins event was supposed to take place, KPFA is sponsoring a speaker who will talk about how to “access the mind through the body, and the body through the mind for creativity, resilience and self-healing.” Pseudoscience is acceptable to them. But criticism of irrational religious ideas is apparently too mean.

They’re also sponsoring a talk by the legendary black comedian Dick Gregory, who is known for challenging accepted beliefs, pushing boundaries, and making people uncomfortable. I hope someone asks him for his thoughts on de-platforming controversial speakers.

***Update***: The Center for Inquiry has issued a statement calling the de-platforming “baseless” and “unconscionable”:

“Richard Dawkins is one of the greatest intellects of our time, with a wealth of wisdom and insight that he looked forward to sharing with his Berkeley audience,” said Robyn Blumner, President and CEO of the Center for Inquiry. “For KPFA to suddenly break its commitment to Richard and the hundreds of people who were so looking forward to seeing and hearing him is unconscionable, and the baseless accusation that Richard has engaged in ‘abusive speech’ is a betrayal of the values KPFA has, until now, been known for.”

“The idea that I have engaged in abusive speech against Islam is preposterous, which even the most rudimentary fact-checking by KPFA would have made clear,” said Prof. Dawkins. “I have indeed strongly condemned the misogyny, homophobia, and violence of Islamism, of which Muslims — particularly Muslim women — are the prime victims. I make no apologies for denouncing those oppressive cruelties, and I will continue to do so.”

Last year, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science merged with the Center for Inquiry, and Prof. Dawkins joined the CFI board of directors.

“In its forty-one-year history, the Center for Inquiry has fought proudly for human and civil rights, and Richard Dawkins is an invaluable ally for our cause.” said Blumner. “We (including Richard Dawkins himself) strongly opposed President Trump’s misguided and discriminatory Muslim ban. We have been at the forefront of the major civil justice causes of our time, and we have devoted ourselves to countering the outmoded, dogmatic prejudices and misinformation aimed at marginalized groups. It is one of the many reasons why we were proud to be the sole secularist organization invited to join the Know Your Neighbor interfaith coalition, launched in 2015 at the White House.”

“We understand the difference between a people and the beliefs they may hold,” said Blumner, “All of us must be free to debate and criticize Ideas, and harmful ideas must be exposed. It is incredibly disappointing that KPFA does not understand this.”


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: dawkins; nevermind; snowflakes
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Okay to bash Christians all you want - and why Dawkins was invited.

Bash Muslims?

Nope. Canceled.

1 posted on 07/21/2017 7:30:37 PM PDT by TigerClaws
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To: All
Click the Pics & Text


2 posted on 07/21/2017 7:32:21 PM PDT by ButThreeLeftsDo (MAGA!!!)
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To: TigerClaws

It’s time to stop pretending this is about “offensive speech” and “hateful words.” This is about censorship, pure and simple. The Left can’t defend their insane positions, so their only recourse is to silence their opposition. They can only succeed if we let them.


3 posted on 07/21/2017 7:35:54 PM PDT by IronJack
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To: TigerClaws

Modern snowflake lefties don’t give a damn about accuracy or truth (that’s the point they should be debating); they just want to make sure nobody’s feelings are hurt among the left’s favored, superior groups. And if that takes trying to shut down free speech and thought, then they have no problem with that. It’s a very disturbing trend.


4 posted on 07/21/2017 7:36:18 PM PDT by FenwickBabbitt
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To: TigerClaws

Exactly. You can bash Christianity all day long, and they will make that your sacred right, but banish you from the Land of the Extremely Sensitive Folk for saying anything critical of the religion that would, and will, throw the homosexuals, abortionists, and feminists off the roof of a 10-story building. Along with the atheists.


5 posted on 07/21/2017 7:40:02 PM PDT by _longranger81 (In a Yadda-Yadda Da-Vita, Baby)
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To: KC_Lion

Ping.


6 posted on 07/21/2017 7:41:19 PM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four Fried Chickens and a Coke)
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To: TigerClaws

Dawkins’ schtick is similar to Al Gore’s - become a circus clown with a cause and call it science.


7 posted on 07/21/2017 7:42:17 PM PDT by relictele
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To: TigerClaws

KPFA: hate radio that has been spewing vileness for decades. I suspect it got its start as a satellite of Radio Moscow.

The left is becoming more open about rejecting science. I guess that the left has distanced itself so far from reality that it cannot tolerate any exposure to a discipline that exists to observe and document reality.


8 posted on 07/21/2017 7:42:17 PM PDT by exDemMom (Current visual of the hole the US continues to dig itself into: http://www.usdebtclock.org/)
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To: ButThreeLeftsDo
If it is all subjective, anything can be made to be "hurtful," however that is defined. We have a Bill of Rights---sorry, never mind.We are here: Francis A. Schaeffer has argued, “If there are no absolutes by which to judge society, then society is absolute.” Francis Schaeffer, How Shall We Then Live? (Old Tappan NJ: Fleming H Revell Company, 1976), p. 224.
9 posted on 07/21/2017 7:45:03 PM PDT by Fungi (Mucor roxii is not a rock band.)
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To: TigerClaws
Richard Dawkins?

People don't want to hear that guy from Hogan's Heroes?

What? That's Richard Dawson?

Never mind....

10 posted on 07/21/2017 7:45:36 PM PDT by llevrok (A group of baboons is called a "congress." Just sayin' .....)
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To: relictele

In Ben Stein’s documentary on evolution he got Dawkins to admit that the advances on planet earth my have been due to aliens.

If you’re willing to say it might have been aliens, but no way was it God it reveals it’s not about logic or reason.


11 posted on 07/21/2017 7:50:46 PM PDT by TigerClaws
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To: TigerClaws

Give everyone soma. No worries


12 posted on 07/21/2017 7:50:57 PM PDT by Getready (Wisdom is more valuable than gold and diamonds, and harder to find.)
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To: TigerClaws

Just thought I’d share:

Not far from a certain college town, I saw a couple of young college-age females sitting outside a business on a bench. One was Middle-Eastern looking, dressed in full Muslim garb, (hijab plus long dress), the other an Asian dressed in jeans and a light short-sleeved top. The Muslim appeared to be trying to engage the Asian in a conversation of understanding. Didn’t stop to overhear much, but it struck me as sort of odd. The Asian girl was saying “Yeah, it depresses me...” I wonder if they were discussing yesterday’s event. I got the impression the Muslim girl was trying to garner sympathy. Just an impression.


13 posted on 07/21/2017 7:51:44 PM PDT by thecodont
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To: TigerClaws

....I have indeed strongly condemned the misogyny, homophobia, and violence of Islamism, of which Muslims — particularly Muslim women — are the prime victims...

As Jack Nicholson famously said, “You can’t handle the truth.”

How can liberals remain so oblivious to the world around them.


14 posted on 07/21/2017 7:58:21 PM PDT by Sasparilla ( I'm Not Tired of Winning.)
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To: thecodont

Islam is the victim of racism you know. Duh! /s


15 posted on 07/21/2017 8:01:12 PM PDT by Steve Van Doorn (*in my best Eric Cartman voice* 'I love you, guys')
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: exDemMom
KPFA: hate radio that has been spewing vileness for decades.

Good old Pacifica. I was driving one night, scanning channels on the car radio, when I found myself listening to KPFA playing a long speech by Malcolm X. I had read a few Malcolm X quotes, but had not been exposed to the full, substantial force of his anti-white racism. I stopped in a supermarket parking log and listened to the sickening end. Clearly, Malcolm X wanted me dead.

Hate radio on steroids.

17 posted on 07/21/2017 8:17:46 PM PDT by TChad
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To: TigerClaws

All must submit to Islam.

None may criticize Islam.


18 posted on 07/21/2017 8:22:42 PM PDT by Lurkinanloomin (Natural Born Citizen Means Born Here Of Citizen Parents - Know Islam, No Peace -No Islam, Know Peace)
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To: TigerClaws

Dawkins is a tool.

He and Sam Harris finally came around to reject Islam in their complete rejection of ALL Religions thanks to Christopher Hitchens.

This, in my mind, is a small victory since it may allow others the freedom to actually “Compare” religions.


19 posted on 07/21/2017 8:24:01 PM PDT by Zeneta
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To: Zeneta
He and Sam Harris finally came around to reject Islam in their complete rejection of ALL Religions thanks to Christopher Hitchens.

Then, much later, Bill Maher.

20 posted on 07/21/2017 8:25:45 PM PDT by dfwgator
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