I’ve still got mine


Way back in 2009, the American Humanist Association thought I was worthy of their Humanist of the Year award. I was honored to receive it, and still don’t know if I really deserved it, but I do keep it in my office. I had no idea it could be taken away.

Apparently, you have to maintain your status as a good humanist, which I think is entirely appropriate. If I start promoting bigoted ideas, it should be retracted.

As has happened to Richard Dawkins, who was a recipient in 1996.

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. 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. His subsequent attempts at clarification are inadequate and convey neither sensitivity nor sincerity.

Consequently, the AHA Board has concluded that Richard Dawkins is no longer deserving of being honored by the AHA, and has voted to withdraw, effective immediately, the 1996 Humanist of the Year award.

I’m sure that Richard Dawkins has many more awards and honors than I do, so he’ll hardly miss one little trophy, but it still has to sting to be told you no longer deserve this one.

It also sends a message that humanists should regard trans rights as a great good, one not to be denied.

P.S. I also have one of these (Dawkins received a similar award from the IHEU/BHA in 2009). I think that makes me a certifiable humanist.

And this humanist has been saying “Trans Rights!” all along.

Comments

  1. says

    Oh noes, Dawkins has been cancellated! We’ll never get to hear from him or hear about him again.

    Which is why I’ll be seeing a whole bunch of stuff about Dawkins in the next few days. And Dawkins will be talking about this on some TV or radio show within the next couple of weeks.

  2. says

    Oh, yeah — I guess I better keep my phone lines clear for when the news media stamped over to get the hot takes from me on not being cancelled. Gotta get both sides, you know!

  3. says

    Sad to ponder that I once thought Dawkins worthy of respect. Still have a book or two of his from decades past. And now he’s this octogenarian Twitter troll. The difference between a certifiable humanist and being merely certifiable, I suppose.

  4. fergl says

    You definitely deserve your awards. Educated me from being a big Dawkins fan, where atheism was purely not believing in God, to a proper athiest with all the beliefs that follow on from that. Plenty more like me Im sure.

  5. PaulBC says

    I was honored to receive it, and still don’t know if I really deserved it, but I do keep it in my office. I had no idea it could be taken away.

    Do they send a special forces team to recapture the trophies, or is there some remote way to deactivate them like in C. M. Bluth’s story “The Little Black Bag”?

  6. raven says

    I stopped paying much attention to Dawkins’s pronouncements on anything but evolutionary biology years ago. “Cranky old man complains” isn’t very interesting.
    I just checked to see what Cranky Old Man has to say lately.

    Dawkins on Twitter:
    The right way to disagree : “I think you’re wrong because . . . the evidence shows . . . there’s a flaw in your logic. . .”

    The Twitter way: “F*** you, you degenerate piece of garbage, please die”

    Peter Singer & colleagues are doing something good here.

    Peter Singer is a serious fucked up piece of garbage. He advocates for the killing of disabled babies and senile old people.

    Peter Singer, who holds a chaired professorship in bioethics at Princeton University justifies the right to kill handicapped newborns.] “Is Age Discrimination Acceptable?” Since 1980, Singer has promoted public policy that would legalize the killing of disabled infants in the first month of life.

    Peter Singer | Patients Rights Council

  7. raven says

    Dawkins is quoting and defending something Peter Singer said.
    This is a wannabe killer who advocates for killing the disabled and cognitively impaired old people.
    Dawkins isn’t thinking too clearly these days but he should be careful what he wishes for.

    He might not yet fit Singer’s definition of someone no long worthy of life and eligible for killing, but he is heading in that direction.

  8. says

    They should switch to virtual objects in the cloud – they are revocable.

    Still waiting for the Nobel committee to revoke Obama’s peace prize; will wait a long time.

  9. says

    “I think you’re wrong because . . . the evidence shows . . . there’s a flaw in your logic. . .”

    That’s wrong. The logic would be the same – at issue is whether the evidence supports the conclusions that are reached. Had Dawkins forgotten how to science?

  10. alan1 says

    It was a great pleasure seeing you get your award in Phoenix, and meeting you and your daughter then. But, you are correct, as I do not recall when Susan presented you with the award that it came with a written guarantee you could unconditionally keep the honor forever. Stay true!

  11. anthrosciguy says

    Had Dawkins forgotten how to science?

    Maybe he should start following the Steak-Umm twitter account. And take notes.

  12. blf says

    Still waiting for the Nobel committee to revoke Obama’s peace prize; will wait a long time.

    Henry Kissinger has been in the revocation queue for much much longer, and for much much greater crimes, many of which he had committed before the awarding.

  13. jimjamjim0 says

    @fergl #4 I’m curious, in addition to not believing in god what other beliefs are required to be a proper atheist?!

    Regarding Dawkins, he’s been off the rails for a while now, it seems a little extreme to take an award back after 20 odd years because he asked a badly phrased silly question that he then walked back immediately, but it’s just another day on twitter….

  14. birgerjohansson says

    It makes me think of wossname, the one in Myanmar who turned out to be OK with genocide of the Rohingyas.
    And I am old enough to remember when Robert Mugabe took over Zimbabwe.
    (Ponders the shortage of people with integrity….)
    BTW if you have not received a vaccine yet, please stay extra cautious. Don’t let the assholes be the only survivors.
    And if you get symptoms, try using budesonide right away. The Lancet published an article about it recently, it is effective.

  15. kurt1 says

    Saw the twitter thread today. It’s full of TERFs and people defending Dawkins right to JAQ off as much as he wants. Also “AHA is religion now” for subscribing to the “woke agenda”. All very critical thinkers, mind you.

  16. says

    blf@#13:
    Yeah “what about Kissinger?”

    FWIW he’s also a horrible human being. Satisfied? Or did I have to list all the Nobel laureates I think don’t deserve it and why?

    The “Nobel” should be cancelled anyway.

  17. darksyn says

    “because he asked a badly phrased silly question that he then walked back immediately”

    He actually didn’t walk it back as far as I can see. He just said he wasn’t disparaging trans people with the question. That doesn’t mean he isn’t still putting forward the question as a good one to ask.

    What’s even the logic here from the AHA? “You’re attacking a marginalised group; we don’t think that’s nice of you, so therefore you’re wrong”? I suspect it’s little more than that, because they certainly don’t argue for their position in that statement.

    Why would it be wrong to question the identity claims made by some trans-people? Do we always have to validate people’s identities regardless of whether it’s really true or not?

    As for “trans-rights”, that can arguably go too far, when e.g. biological males want to identify their way into female sports, or biological males want to identify their way into a female prison. People can quite reasonably object to such things.

    Dawkins made the mildest of mild statements. Yes, sure, he made it on an ultra controversial issue; but it was a very mild statement to make. It’s predictable that it’s still going to upset some people, but I don’t really care unless they want to bring a real argument.

  18. blf says

    @17, For feck’s sake.
    Kissinger’s war crimes, and crimes against humanity, were committed and known at the time, and had been ongoing for years. He also did not hold an elected position (ever?).
    Obama, at time, mostly got his award for not being a Bush, less than one year after being elected President. At the time, whilst having not satisfactorily halted / revoked both Bushes & other thugs, etc., war crimes and crimes against humanity, nothing like what Kissinger had done was conclusively known to have been initiated.
    “What aboutry” indeed.
    Kissinger is so bad he must be very very careful when he leaves the States, as he’s wanted for questioning in a number of countries. The most serious attempt was in c.2002 when Juan Guzmán (the Spanish investigating magistrate who managed to get the British to arrest Pinochet) tried to get Kissinger arrested (on charges related to Pinochet’s coup). Nothing like that has happened to Obama (which is neither a claim Obama should or should not be arrested).
    “What aboutry” indeed.

  19. says

    @18 darksyn (a totally not edgy name)

    It’s only mild because you are conveniently unaffected by it. Dawkins is saying the same things that Rowling said, which you are saying, all of which are CURRENTLY BEING USED outright and explicitly as justifications to LEGISLATE TRANS PEOPLE OUT OF SOCIETY in both the USA and the UK.

    If you don’t know why ‘attacking a marginalized group’ is something a Humanist organization will frown on, you don’t know what the word means. This is a hypothesis generally supported by the bigot apologia you just spouted off.

  20. says

    “What aboutry” indeed.

    It was a perfect textbook case of “what aboutism” and I called you on it.

    Your double-down/follow-up lecture about Kissinger seems to presuppose I’m not aware of his crimes, which I am. (And you probably know that) so basically, your “what about Kissinger?” was a distraction. There are always lots of “what about..?” that can be deployed; why did you choose this instance? What’s your fucking point, anyway?

  21. darksyn says

    “That’s wrong. The logic would be the same – at issue is whether the evidence supports the conclusions that are reached. Had Dawkins forgotten how to science?”

    I don’t see that Dawkins made any mistake. If you’re arguing that someone is wrong, you can point to either evidence that goes against them, OR point to some logical error in their argument.

  22. darksyn says

    “which you are saying, all of which are CURRENTLY BEING USED outright and explicitly as justifications to LEGISLATE TRANS PEOPLE OUT OF SOCIETY in both the USA and the UK.”

    That’s a wild exaggeration. E.g. legislation to ban trans-women from female sport, doesn’t “legislate trans people out of society”. It just prevents them from doing something that they were always banned from doing (for sensible reason) until quite recently.

    And they can still participate in sports. No one is saying they can’t play sports. They just can’t identify their way into any class of competitive sports.

    “If you don’t know why ‘attacking a marginalized group’ is something a Humanist organization will frown on, you don’t know what the word means.

    Oh well sorry, I’m more interested in logical argument here. And it’s an obvious fallacy to reject things just because they attack a marginalised group.

  23. unclefrogy says

    @21
    why are you complaining about what abouty? you are the one who started down that tangent of what about Obama on a dawkins thread.

    @23

    I’m more interested in logical argument here

    so you do not care much about the humanist ethics in this case Ok why should I care what you have to say then on a thread about humanist ethics?

  24. darksyn says

    “so you do not care much about the humanist ethics in this case Ok why should I care what you have to say then on a thread about humanist ethics?”

    The question of what things are true or not, is very relevant to ethics, or what ethical positions should be taken seriously.

  25. darksyn says

    “just say you hate trans people and save us all some time”

    Just admit you have nothing better than this ad hom nonsense and save us all some time…

  26. JustaTech says

    @darksyn
    The AHA took away the award 1) because it’s theirs and they can and 2) because Dawkins is de-humanizing a group of people, which is pretty not in line with the stated principles of being a humanist.

    The whole “sports” thing is the biggest, most absurd red herring I’ve ever seen. And like last month’s herring it stinks.
    There is very, very little money in women’s professional sports, worldwide.
    For example, when one compare the World Cup level men’s and women’s teams from the US, the men’s team earns substantially more than the women’s team, even though they are objectively much worse players. It is incredibly rare for any woman athlete to out-earn any man athlete in her sport. There are whole sports that women don’t/can’t play. There is no professional Field Hockey league.
    So I find the whole “men are transitioning to win at sports” to just be absurd. There’s little money and barely more fame in women’s sports. Pull my other leg, it’s got bells on.

  27. says

    darksyn: Trans issues always bring in strange new people who act familiarly but have never ever posted here before. It’s also suspicious when they use a disposable hotmail account. They also tend to belittle the concerns of trans people.

    Ta daa! That’s you!

    Before you continue the disinformation, I recommend you actually look into the severity of anti-trans legislation. This is a human rights crisis, and conflicts obviously with the humanist agenda.

    Now FUCK OFF, TROLL.

  28. says

    Darksyn @ 26 – You said you were interested in logical argument, not finding out what was true. Those are different things.

    It especially looks like different things when you’ve been spouting some blatantly false things which, if you were using logical argumentation to attempt to arrive at truth/reality you would not have been saying. Logical argumentation is useless if you’re starting from a bunch of false premises and false information.

  29. davidc1 says

    Very sad about Dawkins ,I think he is showing sighs of dementia .I take no pleasure in his downfall ,i really enjoyed The God Delusion
    @5 Do you think they cross the old name out and award it to someone else ?
    @15 ,Yeah she has a chapter in a book called Freedom Fighters .@17 Agreed ,the peace prize is like the bronze swimming certificate .They say satire died when Henry k got one ,but Adolf h was nominated for one in the 30s .

  30. says

    Way back in the Aughts, when his “God Delusion” came out, Dawkins came here to McGill U. on his book tour. I went, curious about what he’d say. He gave a fairly boilerplate speech which was light on explication of his position on theisms and heavy on the subject he actually knows something about (evolutionary biology.) Lots of people brought the book to sign, but I had already decided, based on reviews I’d already seen, that it wasn’t worth reading, let alone buying, as the excerpts betrayed a simplistic, literalist reading of why people embrace religion. Instead, I brought the only book of his I owned (and still own), “The Ancestor’s Tale”, for him to sign. It was my non-verbal way of signalling to him “Stick to what you know.”

    Not long after that came Elevatorgate, with Dawkins telling Rebecca Watson to shut up because women elsewhere suffer genital mutilation, how dare she kvetch, and further cringeworthiness from him. At the same time I was becoming rapidly disenchanted with the local atheist pub meet-ups, and had met the head of the Toronto CFI chapter (he was trying to get a Montreal chapter going), who turned out not only to be kind of rude to various people but also an MRA(!). It was the crystallization of my awareness that what I believed in (human rights of all kinds, inclusiveness) was far more important than what I didn’t (deities, the supernatural), and that most of these folks really didn’t have much else in common with me besides those disbeliefs.

  31. Craig says

    @raven (7,8): Princeton’s appointment of Peter Singer to a professorship is one of many reasons I don’t give to the school as an alumnus and likely never will.

  32. ellipsoptera says

    @32 CFI president/CEO (Robyn Bummer) has a history of saying and doing things that align with MRA ideas. She is also anti-affirmative action. I’d encourage any progressive, academically-minded skeptics to check out her public journalism record and support other organizations.

  33. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    You know what would really get Dawkie’s goat? If they retroactively gave the award they just took from him to Rebecca Watson. I would bathe in the skepbro tears.

  34. nomdeplume says

    Ah PZ, congratulations and very well deserved on both prestigious awards. A bit greedy though, I would be happy with just one…

  35. Matt G says

    I’ve had the Magic of Reality audiobook for a while and decided to give it a listen. Gave up after 15 minutes and switched to Sagan’s Demon-Haunted World. Muuuuuch better!

  36. raven says

    Darksyn the lying troll:
    That’s a wild exaggeration. (Referring to the below statement.)

    “which you are saying, all of which are CURRENTLY BEING USED outright and explicitly as justifications to LEGISLATE TRANS PEOPLE OUT OF SOCIETY in both the USA and the UK.”

    I see the anti-trans troll started lying right at the start.
    I also noticed PZ banned it. Good.

    As Arkansas bans treatments for transgender youth, 15 other states consider similar bills
    Chelsey Cox USA TODAY April 08, 2021

    The number of anti-Trans bills submitted to US state legislatures is in the hundreds at the least. Some of them have even passed even though they are dubiously even legal.
    The fundie xians/GOP are definitely trying to make Trans people disappear any way they can.
    Arkansas is trying to make it impossible for them to even get needed medical care.

    troll
    I’m more interested in logical argument here.

    Naw, you are here to spread hate and lies about a small, marginalized group. You are a boring bully picking on another group just because you can.

  37. raven says

    Anti-transgender legislation in 2021: A record-breaking year …https://www.cnn.com › 2021/04/15 › politics › anti-transg…

    5 days ago — Thirty-three states have introduced more than 100 bills that aim to curb the rights of transgender people across the country, with advocacy …

    Fundie xians and the GOP just have to hate someone. Or rather just about everyone.
    They never let go of an old hate, just keep adding more as they can.

    Already they are trying to add a new group to their hate list. People vaccinating other people against the Covid-19 virus and..people vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus.

  38. PaulBC says

    Matt G@39 Who needs an audiobook? I’m surrounded by reality. Most of the time anyway.

  39. Silentbob says

    Wow. That’s so sniny.

    (In-joke for the old-timers. (Check out commenter #30 on that post. We get a better class of commenter around here these days ;-) ))

  40. DanDare says

    An award for doing something significant can be permanent.
    An award for being notable for a behaviour should always be transient. People change. If the award is given for a year we should consider it only to be valid in the context of that year. Then there is no need to take it back.

  41. erik333 says

    @28 JustaTech
    or example, when one compare the World Cup level men’s and women’s teams from the US, the men’s team earns substantially more than the women’s team, even though they are objectively much worse players.

    What is your objective measure? You could argue their ratings were such that they should be payed more, and most likely they have a much improved bargaining position next time around. So far they’ve been willing to risk their health and careers for less money mostly because of pay gaps at the club/sponsor level, to raise those levels you need clubs and sponsors to earn more money by the association with the athletes to make them willing to pay more. Obviously, having a strong union is good as well – to make sure the team owners don’t keep all the money. I’m not sure how you’d go about demonstrating they are better players.

  42. naturalistguy says

    When weighing what Richard Dawkins has done to further humanism and other secular causes (not to mention his work supporting the theory of evolution) against a single inoffensive tweet, it’s the AHA that’s embarrassed itself and trivialized the award that it revoked.

  43. Rowan vet-tech says

    @erik333 Well, let’s see, they win disproportionately more games because if they don’t win they don’t get paid whereas the mens team still gets paid even if they lose, and the mens team has never won a world’s cup whereas the women have won 4.

    Objectively better players.

  44. PaulBC says

    naturalistguy@48 I don’t doubt his scientific accomplishments–though I’m amazed that he’d defined sex as XX or XY karyotype, which is not only biologically wrong but ahistorical. Women have always been recognized by phenotype, long before anyone knew what karyotype was, and there have always been women who began as an XY zygote. Is he just lying by way of oversimplification or is he going senile?

    Has he really done a lot to further humanism? It’s fine that he challenges religious faith, but I define humanism as actually caring about human beings. I do not get the impression that he is a kind or compassion person. He is just annoyed at what he perceives as irrationality. That’s a useful role to play, but not what I’d call humanistic.

    Kurt Vonnegut, for instance, was a much better example of an actual humanist and (I just found this in a search) even has a nice quote about it

    I am a humanist, which means, in part, that I have tried to behave decently without expectations of rewards or punishments after I am dead.

    Maybe they need a jumped-the-shark award for people who have done some good but are way past their prime. I can think of a number of recipients: John Cleese and J.K. Rowling would make a good start. I doubt it’s limited to the UK, but that is a funny coincidence.

  45. naturalistguy says

    PaulBC @ 50,

    It’s how Dawkins has tirelessly fought against the religious claim that we somehow need God to be good, and has consistently defended a human-centered morality. That’s what humanism in a nutshell is all about. That Kurt Vonnegut was a decent man is all well and good, but what made Vonnegut a humanist was a similar rooting of morality in a human, not a godly, context.

  46. JustaTech says

    erik333 @47
    The US Women’s soccer team is the most successful women’s national team in the history of the Women’s World Cup, having won four titles, earning second-place once and third-place finishes three times.
    By the objective measure of winning games, they are very good.

    The US men’s soccer team has never won a world cup. The last time they even made it to the semi-finals was in 1930. By the objective measure of winning games, they are not very good.

    I, personally, am not a fan of organized sports. But even I understand that when you play a sport professionally, then your job is to win (and to put on a good show). Now, obviously everyone can’t win every game, but even nearly-eternally losing teams like the Boston Red Sox won some of their games, even if it took them 100 years to win the World Series. But at team that regularly can’t even qualify is just objectively not good, and probably not entertaining. Why would anyone pay for tickets to watch their team lose, again? Why would you tune in on the radio or TV to watch your team suck?

    And yet, the US men’s soccer team gets paid more than the women’s team. Which brings me back to my point: since a men’s team can be bad and still get paid more than a women’s team, why would any man try to play on the women’s team, as is claimed by the anti-trans crowd? It is a stupid red herring because anyone can see that women’s sports, even at the very pinnacle, provide neither the fame nor fortune of mid-level men’s sports.

  47. naturalistguy says

    JustaTech @52,

    One wonders why no one on the U.S. Women’s soccer team has decided to play on the U.S. Men’s team, where they can be paid more.

  48. PaulBC says

    naturalistguy@51 First off, not everyone who believes in a human-centered morality is deserving of an award. I think AHA has the right to define their own award whichever way they like, and do not need to be embarrassed if they decide in retrospect that one should not have been granted (except possibly embarrassed by making the mistake to begin with).

    In all honesty, I would need to see what Dawkins has to say about ethics before judging what he considers central to morality. He’s better known as a scientist who does not suffer fools gladly than an ethicist. He would be a great person to have on your side (at least back when he was mentally competent) if you were refuting creationist claims. But it’s not obvious at all that this translates into human-centered morality, e.g. as outlined in the most basic terms in John Lennon’s song Imagine.

    Dawkins’s seems to be a value system based on “getting stuff right” as opposed to what actually matters to most human beings (e.g. suffering on the one hand and happiness on the other). While there are applications of science to human progress, I have trouble drawing the dotted line between having the correct answer about the origin of species and doing anything that matters to most people. Yes, sometimes, e.g. in medicine and agriculture, but even there it’s no more important for everyone to get it than for everyone to know how a steam engine works.

    Simply having an accurate understanding of natural phenomena may add to your atheist credentials, but says little about human-centered morality. That could be centered on any element of the natural world and indeed if we encounter extraterrestrials or construct artificial intelligence in the future, I hope we can extend “humanism” into something more general. (For the time being, though, it is probably the most pragmatic basis of ethics.)

    Can we just give out something like “non-asshole” awards? Would Dawkins have ever received one?

  49. naturalistguy says

    PaulBC @54,

    You haven’t understood my previous point, which is how Dawkins has worked tirelessly to dethrone God (see his The God Delusion for more on that) and emphasized how humans are responsible for ethics and morality. If that isn’t central to humanism then nothing is. It isn’t about merely doing good, as someone who is devout can certainly do good.

  50. JustaTech says

    naturalistguy @53:
    Because they like winning?
    Because there’s nothing wrong, lesser or shameful about being a woman?
    Because women don’t play on the men’s team?

    Because the solution to inequality in sports isn’t to make women men, it’s to treat men and women equally, as humans.

    I don’t understand why this is hard to understand.

  51. naturalistguy says

    JustaTech @56,

    Professional athletes play for pay and are happy to switch teams, leagues, even countries to make more money. Given how short a professional athlete’s career is, that’s logical. So why hasn’t there been a player on a U.S. Women’s soccer team that’s switched to play on the U.S. Men’s team, since as you say that’s where the money is, and the U.S. Women have been championship caliber while the U.S. Men haven’t?

  52. John Morales says

    naturalistguy:

    You haven’t understood my previous point, which is how Dawkins has worked tirelessly to dethrone God (see his The God Delusion for more on that) and emphasized how humans are responsible for ethics and morality.

    Heh. Nietzsche did that before him, and did it better.

    (Also, Ayn Rand — but she did it worse. Still, by your standards, a noted humanist, she)

  53. naturalistguy says

    @58:

    I’m not a philosopher, but I believe Nietzsche was more of a nihilist, not a humanist, because he didn’t believe our values were based on anything objective. Humanists believe that humans are capable of reasoning about morality and that this can serve basis for our values. It’s rather like free will – you can believe that in a deterministic universe that it doesn’t exist in an absolute sense, or you can believe in what Dan Dennett calls a variety of free will worth having that gives you a degree of freedom to choose what action to take. Basically, we muddle on working towards enlightenment. Usually.

    As for Rand, by my standards she wasn’t humanist at all, she was an objectivist. Biig difference when it comes to ethics. Objectivism declares its just cold hard facts that the universe gives us and we humans are subservient to them. (Rather godly that.) Humanism on the other hand gives us mere human beings a part to play in deciding what our morals are.

  54. JustaTech says

    naturalistguy @57:
    Because the women who play on the women’s team are women, not men. Therefore they can not play on the men’s team.

    This is not a hard concept.

  55. AKron says

    I was thinking about this and is there a chance what people are saying about Richard Dawkins is caused by some organic reason? I know he had a stroke a few years back and he is in advanced age. I’d hate to see him vilified if it’s something he has no control over. I rather like him!

  56. Silentbob says

    Oh well.

    Of those “Horsemen” everyone used to go on about, Hitchens turned out to be a sexist warmonger, Harris a right-wing islamophobe, Dawkins a cranky, geriatric edgelord, but at least we’ve still got Daniel Denn…

    D’OH!!

  57. Tethys says

    I know there have been multiple incidences of Dawkins making horribly offensive comments besides the infamous ‘Dear Muslima’ incident.

    A quick search yielded multiple news articles over the last six years with titles like “15 times Richard Dawkins has made horrible comments on social media” and “13 times Richard has done dumb thing despite being a smart person.”

    I had forgotten about his extended blundering attempts to classify some rape as less bad, and resistance to listening to any actual experts on the subject.

  58. says

    I had forgotten about his extended blundering attempts to classify some rape as less bad, and resistance to listening to any actual experts on the subject.

    It’s ridiculously common. I’m constantly being cissplained and mansplained to about rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, and even providing trans-inclusive survivor services in a gender segregated environment. Why they think their uninformed bullshit has more value than the opinion of someone who has actual expertise in the field I will never know…but they do. They constantly do.

    It’s like engineers trying to tell PZ that you can’t evolve the keystone for an arch without the arch already extent, therefore Jesus or whatever. All you can do is roll your eyes and try your very, very bestest to ignore them. (In my case, those efforts are often barely to not-at-all successful.)

  59. John Morales says

    CD:

    Why they think their uninformed bullshit has more value than the opinion of someone who has actual expertise in the field I will never know…but they do. They constantly do.

    Probably because they think what constitutes rape and how it’s graded is a matter of opinion. You have yours, they have theirs.

  60. says

    I see the local crypto-TERF has arrived to deem himself unaware of sexism.

    Why do women not compete on the men’s teams? Because the men wouldn’t accept them and would make their lives miserable. In point of fact, this is one of the two major reasons that any not-directly-medical activity might be traditionally segregated by gender: men choose to make women miserable. The other reason (as for bathrooms) is the whole michigas evolved from the Victorian doctrine of ‘separate spheres’ wherein as much as possible women weren’t allowed to inhabit any of the same spaces the real people, I mean men, were in, or have essentially any activities in common; the existence of women’s spaces in this case comes from needing their own space because they were already explicitly not permitted in the existing spaces.

    So, why do women stick to women’s spaces? Because implicitly or explicitly, men exclude them. It’s men performing patriarchy. It’s a privileged group excluding an oppressed group. You know, the thing crypto-TERF guy is arguing in favor of.

  61. Alt-X says

    Haha awesome PZ. And well deserved too. I’m glad they took it from Richard. His position isn’t based on science, but on fuddy-duddy frighted of changeisum.

  62. KG says

    It’s how Dawkins has tirelessly fought against the religious claim that we somehow need God to be good – naturalistguy@51

    To do that effectively, you have to exemplify the possibility. If we took Dawkins as our exemplar, we would conclude that atheism makes one a smug and entitled arsehole.

  63. erik333 says

    @67 abbeycadabra

    Those things certainly do happen, but in the end it is not the reason many sports will require a separate sport for women. The reason is puberty. The only way for women to play football professionally is against other women. Once elite boys teams hit the 14-15yo range, they start defeating the womens national team. We know this because its a cheap way to get practice matches.

  64. John Morales says

    erik333, re this digression:

    Once elite boys teams hit the 14-15yo range, they start defeating the womens national team.

    So, I looked it up.
    You mean that one event? The team was almost certainly fartassing around, getting a bit of a run.

    Look, any national team of adult women will beat any boy’s team at any sport, elite or not. That’s how the world actually works.

    More to the point, if that were even an issue, the easy fix would be to have mixed teams. You know, like tennis has mixed doubles. Problem solved.

  65. Rob Grigjanis says

    KG @69: ‘Obnoxbridgeous’ describes him quite well, I think. Since long before elevatorgate.

  66. erik333 says

    @71 John Morales

    Actually it’s been tried in several different countries. Probably because its way cheaper than getting another team to fly across the world for a practice game. Personally i think it’s a bad idea on principle because the tactics you need to use against a faster team is different so it’s debatable what you even learn from such games.

  67. Rob Grigjanis says

    John @71:

    Look, any national team of adult women will beat any boy’s team at any sport, elite or not. That’s how the world actually works.

    That’s nonsense which you’ve apparently just made up. It’s also irrelevant. Pro sports is about entertainment. If you’ve watched the Women’s World Cup, and pretty much any men’s tournament (from U16 to senior), you’d know that the women’s game (at least in the top flight) is far more entertaining.

  68. erik333 says

    @71 John Morales

    There are sports where men and women are competetive, football just isn’t one of them.

  69. erik333 says

    @74 Rob Grigjanis

    It’s also irrelevant. Pro sports is about entertainment.

    Exactly this, it’s the audience that ultimately pays the athletes.

  70. Rob Grigjanis says

    erik333 @76: Yes, but the women’s game is fairly new, and still has to overcome a lot of ingrained long-term prejudice. I think that will happen, over time. Until then, girls should have the same opportunities (including funding) to participate and be trained, and to make a decent living if they choose to turn pro.

  71. says

    @erik333

    I am inclined to think you are being disingenuous here, but lay that aside for the moment. Stipulate, for the sake of argument, that what you just said is true: elite boy’s teams can go toe-to-toe with elite women’s teams.

    How does this make any argument about any individual member of any team sport that isn’t elite? Why does this garbage keep being trotted out as a reason to make sure trans girls (never trans boys, literally not even mentioned in most legislation) in school should not play on the very not elite teams in phys ed? This shit is being used to exclude children in junior high school, are we now supposed to entertain a real argument about 10- to 12-year-old elite professional athletes now? Never even mind the fact that the nature of every sport is different and relies on different skills, even if you could use this to make an argument against a trans girl on the football team in high school (you know, the popular and well-known high school girls’ football teams…) it doesn’t hold up in most sports.

  72. erik333 says

    @78 abbeycadabra

    I don’t think most sports should have gendered divisions at all for young children, especially if the school runs it. Once the kids hit puberty you start to have to, depending on the sport, and if the school runs it then everyone should get to choose which team to play on. The results from e.g. track and field etc. can later inform decisions about what to do about professional womens sports, I don’t think theres enough data yet as to what medical treatments have what effects long term.

    Nobody complains about trans boys because nobody can with a straight face pretend to think they might have advantage over other boys.

  73. erik333 says

    77 Rob Grigjanis
    If the state/school sponsors it, sure. As to what fair compensation entails, that’s why you need a strong union.

  74. says

    Nobody complains about trans boys because nobody can with a straight face pretend to think they might have advantage over other boys.

    So it all just comes down to sexism, the assumption that the people you desiced are boys are all superior to the people you decided are girls.

    It’s time for you to either come clean about your motives or stop pretending to be using science for it, because your goalposts keep moving. It was elite athletes a minute ago, and now it’s all high-schoolers. Citation needed, me bucko. Especially for team sports, because now that becomes the argument that the presence of a single trans girl on a team confers not just an advantage but such a massive advantage that the entire other team is lessened by it.

    I call bullshit on this.

  75. says

    I also pre-emptively call bullshit on slippery slope arguments. Do not step to me with ‘what if the whole team is trans’, that’s not how this works and you know it, and do not try ‘how many is too many’ either because then you’re just extending the ‘one drop’ rule to team sports, clamining the presence of any trans child – remember that, we are talking about children here, not to mention that if their healthcare was not interfered with by other bad actors there would not be even any hypothetical ‘advantage’ to argue about – immediately makes the whole team infected by trans-ness and therefore unfair and suspect.

  76. Rowan vet-tech says

    Hmmn, myself a cis girl was, post puberty faster than all the boys at short sprints. Even with my severe asthma i could run a half mile in 3:33 without any serious training. I was, as a young adult, again without training, able to pick up and walk off with people weighing up to 300lbs.
    Imagine if I didn’t have asthma? Imagine if I worked out and trained? Tell me fucking again that cis girls have no chance to beat the boys you raging dipshit.

  77. erik333 says

    81 abbeycadabra
    What are you even talking about? Someone made the strange claim upthread about the US mens team being “objectively much worse players” than the US womens team. I asked what their objective measure was, since they are clearly not worse players. Then someone else hypothesized women sports only exist because of sexism and harrassment, this simply is not true. Women sports also exist so women can compete, professionally or otherwise. I can only assume people making such claims have deliberately made sure to never look at any data that could overturn their delusions, like a track and field result list.

  78. JustaTech says

    erik333 @84: As I very clearly explained in post 47:
    “The US Women’s soccer team is the most successful women’s national team in the history of the Women’s World Cup, having won four titles, earning second-place once and third-place finishes three times.
    By the objective measure of winning games, they are very good.

    The US men’s soccer team has never won a world cup. The last time they even made it to the semi-finals was in 1930. By the objective measure of winning games, they are not very good.”

    Within the peer group by which they are judged, the US Women’s Soccer Team is better at winning games than the US Men’s Soccer Team is at winning games. And yet, the men’s team is paid more than the women’s team.

    That was my point. That was the whole of my point.
    That you deliberately misunderstand my point says far more about you than it does about me.

  79. says

    @84 erik333

    I am talking about your constant goalpost moving in service to trying to ‘prove’ that trans girls will destroy all sports for cis women.

  80. erik333 says

    @85 JustaTech

    Leaving aside the fact that your “objective measure” would have water polo players also deserving the same pay, i’m honestly surprised to find out the original complaint is false. The US womens soccer team was not, in fact, paid less (by the US soccer assiciation) than the mens team because they were women. Their win bonuses were less because they rejected having the same deal as the men, in favour of player salaries and other benefits instead. They then went back after the world cup demanding to have both deals at once.

  81. erik333 says

    86 abbeycadabra

    I don’t think I’m to blaim for whatever goalposts you see moving in the privacy of your own mind. I do not in fact think trans people who were on puberty blockers early enough should be banned from competetive sports in their preferred class, about people transitioning later id argue caution first in contact sports where injury risk can’t be kept to a minimum by refereeing, but not in e.g. track and field for the simple reason nobody atm can make an informed opinion about what the ramifications are because of lack of data.

  82. John Morales says

    erik, it’s very important to you that trans women can’t participate in sports, isn’t it?

    In this post about Dawkins, it’s all you care to discuss.

    (You want to imagine I think it’s because you care so much about the ramifications of injury risk, go ahead. But no, I think otherwise)

  83. snarkrates says

    The whole “But what about women’s sports?” argument is the last desperate attempt by bigots to deny the humanity of Trans women, aka women. Whenever someone starts making slippery slope arguments looking for a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, you know they are working overtime to find a seemingly rational rationalization for their bigotry. Give it up, already.

Leave a Reply