A recent blog post by Sarah Moglia alleges that American Atheists President Dave Silverman acquiesced to a demand by Richard Dawkins in September 2011 that he choose between Rebecca Watson and Dr. Dawkins as speakers at the Reason Rally in March 2012.
American Atheists and Mr. Silverman do not condone, support, or participate in the practice of allowing potential convention speakers, or convention supporters, sponsors, or attendees, to blacklist or attempt to blacklist other potential speakers and attendees.
While Mr. Silverman does not dispute that an exchange with Dr. Dawkins took place in Miami in September of 2011, there was no acquiescence on Mr. Silverman’s part. At the time the exchange took place, Ms. Watson had not in fact been invited to speak at the Reason Rally, and that decision had already been made. The Reason Rally had many more requests from prominent atheists to speak than speaking slots to offer.
There’s more, but that’s the essence of it.
Fair enough. That’s consistent with what Sarah wrote, and it makes sense. Anyway, frankly – I probably would have done the same thing if I’d been in that position. I don’t feel like getting all judgey about it (and neither did Sarah, in the post). The point is that Dawkins shouldn’t have put him in that position, just as he shouldn’t have said “zero harm” and he shouldn’t have said “Dear Muslima.” It’s also that it’s a mistake to have idols. Fortunately the idols themselves are doing a bang-up job of convincing us of that.