Culture Wars/Current Controversies

By Canceling Richard Dawkins, the American Humanist Association Has Betrayed Its Values

By Robby Soave, Reason

Last week, the American Humanist Association (AHA) stripped British author Richard Dawkins of his 1996 Humanist of the Year award after he made a comment on Twitter that offended some in the transgender community.

“Regrettably, Richard Dawkins has over the past several years accumulated a history of making statements that use the guise of scientific discourse to demean marginalized groups, an approach antithetical to humanist values,” said the AHA. “His latest statement implies that the identities of transgender individuals are fraudulent, while also simultaneously attacking Black identity as one that can be assumed when convenient.”

This is nonsense: Dawkins had raised a point that it is perfectly worthy of discussion, in accordance with the rationalist philosophy of the humanist movement. But it would also have been ridiculous for the organization to punish Dawkins even if the remark had been offensive, given that many of its past awardees have espoused controversial views, and even said insensitive things on Twitter.

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