There was a time when "free-thinker" was a common synonym for "atheist". But that´s no longer the case, at least not in the US, where the American Humanist Association stripped Richard Dawkins of 'Top Humanist Award' for daring to bring up for discussion the transgender ideology that is not only accepted in 'progressive' circles, but which seems to be a sort of Sacred Cow, a dogma that must not be discussed. Should someone question this dogma, he will be excommunicated from the Church of Humanism.
In my opinion, the question is not whether Dawkins is right or not, but why the same people who used to be so proud of the fact that with them, unlike with the religious believers, there are no dogmas, that one can talk about everything (!) as long as it is done using rational arguments - so why these people suddenly have their own sacred cows after all ? How did humanism become a kind of quasi-religion ? Maybe the first step on this slippery slope leading from free-thinking to dogmas was when atheists chose to call themselves "humanists" (maybe because this word sounds nice and is more acceptable to the wider public?). The problem is that the two have little or even nothing in common: you can be an atheist without subscribing to Humanism (as I do), and you can be a theist and a humanist at the same time (like all Humanists in the early modern period).
I guess the misunderstanding about Dawkins was: He has never been a humanist in the quasi-religious way, believing in Humanity as something special. He is - and has always been - an atheist, a naturalist, and a free-thinker in the old tradition. In the U.S. where all public intellectuals have to be a card-carrying member of one of the two meta-tribes, this kind of liberal free-thinking is nowadays viewed with suspicion. If you are unable to pronounce "Shibboleth" correctly, you´re out, you must be an ennemy.
A problem that some humanists have with Richard Dawkins goes back some years, and appears to be connected with Dawkins’ association with Maajid Nawaz, Bill Maher and Sam Harris, to name a few strident critics of Islam who have come under fire by humanists and members of the LGBTQ community. Labeling Dawkins and his ilk “Islamophobes,” many reactionary humanists—what Nawaz has referred to as the ‘regressive left’—have rallied in support of “disadvantaged Muslims” on many campuses, deplatforming, attacking and otherwise ‘canceling’ not only Dawkins, but former Muslims Ayan Hirsi Ali and Maryam Namazie. While there is no clear intersection between Islam and the LGBTQ community, one was created when members of the latter chose to publicly criticize atheists who dare attack the Islamic religion.
I dropped my AHA membership because of this asinine episode. I support Trans human rights. However, I do not support Tran's rights over women's rights. Trans supporters even have a pejorative term for women who object to trans over-reach, TERF. That's tribalism for you. Trans billionaire (obscenely wealthy) Jennifer Pritzker or someone similar is suspected of coercing key people with bribes to enact their frustrations. So it becomes an ultra-left litmus test. And a ridiculous distraction from real issues.
Bravo! this is the stuff that toy schisms are made of. so lets have one! put all those progressive presently dominant alphas here in a penalty box. Several of them have commented right here...GET EM ! Then, lets "let a thousand new flowers bloom, let a thousand schools of thought prevail", yet again, till the new glue hardens, stances of the socially powerful are re-adjusted or re- aligned, and lo and behold the same old dominant alpha professionally camouflaged crypto- assholes are on top again,. The same old taboos fall back into their place, pre determined by the immutable and ever more perfected rules of human social power and constraint. These are immutable rules of personality interaction and dominance, NOT rules of thinking, logic, or reason. The same old taboo thoughts are still taboo. These modern rules don't change, sadly not ever again. Revolutions come and go, the fatal flaws of the social uber-governance of human " intelligence "' endure. And now alway will, perpetually gutting unorthodox thought till the day all thought is gone. . That 's why the species is in a death spiral that it can't think its way out of.
Yes, humanism is totally corrupted, but its corruption is not allowed to be spoken of here. So since were here at the "end of days", i'll do it as un obliquely as i dare,, and in so doing formally kick off the new revolution. Here is is: ............ " Humanism, and its wagging tail Agnostic.com, sold it's soul when it's putative old leadership got displaced by Feminist and BLM hacks generated on that death star, the NPR/ PBS progressive media consortium (and of course the dark veiled forces behind it). That was the death of free thought here " .......
OK, old leadership, emerging just in time from your emergency pupae stage, take it from here.
Meanwhile the ice caps take no notice of our endless posed machinations and unconscious chicanery. They continue to melt.
Was not aware of the Dawkins - transgender issue and looked it up. Yes, it seems to be misconstrued and it seems the humanist group is acting like the college students that get upset over certain discussions. To some, political correctness has risen to a new height.
I too was a member of the humanist group for years. However, more and more I became disillusioned with them. One writer in particular, Greta Christina, was a real pain and many wrote to say so (soon thereafter her writings no longer appeared from the magazine). I have written them many letters, some kudos for their articles but more for their overemphasizing humanism over all else. Overpopulation was something they consistently refused to discuss. So I dropped them but I did become a member of a sub-group, "Free Inquiry." I have written several letters and my last one, about overpopulation, appeared in the Oct.com/Nov. issue along with another, similar letter + a comment by the editor (who has just died). This editor, Tom Flynn's final editorial I will attach. Luckily, chapters of the parent group do not have to conform to the main group.
Atheist = Without god(s)
That is IT, finito, end of story, goodnight!
Whatever else you believe or do not believe, accept or do not accept, has fuck all relevance to your or anyone else's atheism.
I am Soooooo certain a man as successful and admirable as Professor Dawkins is heart broken and has had his whole career ruined by a hissy fit thrown by a bunch of virtue signaling attention seekers in the AHA who 90% of the world have never even heard of.
I hear ya clearly and I do not understand these things. A similar work over has went through The Atheist Experience in Austin, Texas. I still watch the program weekly but anything transgender has left, it seems. This includes some of the hosts who were open to transgender thought and ideas. Some will say I am wrong here but the powers that be have changed direction and the missing and much liked hosts want nothing to do with it. My take on it all is that you cannot hide your head in the sand and make something go away. Ignoring things does not make for a reality of any kind. The program creators and directors took too harsh of a step.
To the best of my knowledge, this must have happened a long time ago. I went over everything the AHA agenda, and it current accept s trans and lgbqt+ individuals. The local chapter, which I lead definitely supports lgbqt individuals. If the AHA currently supports this unfair agenda, please link resources and I will be happy to inform the AHA of our group's resignation from the society unless corrective action is taken.
Women were not granted the right to vote in this country until 1917. Yet, the mistakes were corrected, and I am still an American citizen.
It seems to me that in all of this the core point is how we use language in a variety of contexts. Belief(s) are not merely confined to religious viewpoints and find expression in a variety of forms.
"In the animal kingdom, the rule is, eaten of be eaten; in the human kingdom, define or be defined. By changing the description or name of an act, object or person, we may make the same more socially acceptable or repulsive." Thomas Szasz
Let's make this specific, you're defending people who believe and speak about transwomen (it's almost always transwomen) should be excluded from cis women's spaces. It's one thing to speak in the abstract about free speech but lets make certain we understand.
Yes, but I'm not sure this is commentary about atheism or atheists but rather the woke cancel political correctness contagion that has infected the progressive movement generally, some of whom are atheists whose adherence to self-righteous wokeness has corrupted their atheist free thinking. On top of which Dawkins is an easy target because he refuses to play by the new woke censorship. Ultimately I think that this is really what a lot of this is about: censorship. I'm not sure about your point on humanism. This word is so bandied about now it means everything and nothing. Religious people call themselves humanists now.
I concur, and have much respect for Dawkins. I'm certainly atheist, but not humanist, more like philanthropist. Humanity isn't special, human beings are simply more evolved life forms compared to others on this planet is all(at least I think so, maybe not). While my own political views do lean slightly more to the right, I also consider myself liberal (socially liberal) as well, just not the progressive brand of politics. Nothing truly liberal about such an approach from those who criticized and attempted to cancel Dawkins.
I think you have a good point. But there is a small qualification which needs to be made, which is that you are making an assumption that modern atheists and free thinkers are the "same people" as you phrase it, as the atheists and free thinkers of the past. But that of course is probably not the case, since as a movement becomes more respectable, popular and even mainstream, more people join it, and the new people will not need or always have the same intellectual rigour, strength or bravery that the early members had or needed, when the movement was new and in need of strong thinking and rigourous defense.
Indeed many of the latter joiners may well join it, not because they are interested in the arguments, but because they see it as a safer place than other institutions. They will therefore be more interested in defending and maintaining existing, or even just perceived, status quo, within the group, which is what they joined for, than in supporting the intellectual advances if any.
I agree with most of what you say, and I think it boils down to an extreme polarisation in our society of all things political and religious. It appears we are now living in a new age of illiberalism where there seems to be no middle ground, you’re either all in or all out. I believe we are in danger of falling into the trap of wanting to put labels on everyone in order to identify them as being in one camp or another. The age of the individual freethinker seems to be dying out, when we could hold views on a diverse range of subjects without being either seen as a reactionary right-winger or a loony leftist. This applies equally to religious belief, and social and human-rights, as it does to politics. Atheists are not necessarily Humanists with a capital H, and actually atheists are not necessarily Atheists with a capital A either. I’m not a joiner and don’t belong to any official organisations which claim to represent those with humanist or atheist views, and do not wish to do so precisely because I want to remain an individual and not to ape and conform to the stereotype or dogma of a quasi-religious or political organisation.
I find it the ultimate irony that Dawkins, the very person who, for many who decided to eschew religion on the strength of reading “The God Delusion” and who was the veritable poster boy of the movement against religion, should be excommunicated from American Humanists!