Now they don’t have a Richard Dawkins platform
Famous atheist Richard Dawkins was due to address the College Historical Society (nicknamed the Hist) at Trinity College, Dublin next year. But the company’s auditor has now announced that the invitation will be canceled, citing Dawkins’ take on “Islam and sexual assault.”
Hist listener Bríd O’Donnell said tonight that the company “will not be moving forward with his speech because we prioritize the comfort of our members.” https://t.co/JaP2RZlJFf
– The University Times (@universitytimes) September 27, 2020
In keeping with his militant atheism, Dawkins was very critical of Islam – alongside all other religions. He owns described faith as “the greatest evil force in the world today”, and referred to the “pernicious influence” of Islamic denominational schools.
Many Dawkins critics have also accused him of sexism. And it also caused controversy over comments he spoke of an incident in his childhood in which he was inappropriately touched by a teacher. He was accused of downplaying the importance of sexual assault when he said he would find it difficult to judge such cases as “light pedophilia” by today’s moral standards.
In announcing that Dawkins was going to be uninvited, the Hist listener said in a statement that “the comfort of our members is paramount.” But a debate society, of all places, should provide an open forum for discussion and critical thinking – instead of trying to keep members comfortable by censoring “offensive” speakers.
No Putting a speaker on platform simply means that the “correct” position has been decided in advance. Any institution genuinely engaged in public debate must fight against this illiberal tendency.
Photo by: Getty.
To inquire about the reissue sharpcontent, a right of reply or request for correction, please contact the Managing Editor, Viv Regan.