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.What kind of award is it, if it can be retracted later?
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.
They gave him a trophy in 1996, supposedly for what he did that year. They want it back for his opinions in 2021. So was he a good humanist in 1996 or not?
I have come to the conclusion that terms like Atheism, Humanism, Rationalism, etc. don't mean what they say at all. These have become terms that represent a range of left-wing political beliefs.
More and more, the news is filled with cancelations. In today's NY Times, the new Philip Roth biography is being halted because of allegations of inappropriate behavior in the 1990s. A police lieutenant in Virginia lost his job after he contributed $25 to a legal-defense fund. A make-up artist lost his 25M-subscriber Youtube channel. These stories go on and on.
Update: Former award winner Steve Pinker explains the AHA error. Also, a philosopher describes the position of many public intellectuals today:
If you can pose as a champion of the underdog and a speaker of truth to power whilst ingratiating yourself with the neoliberal regime, that kind of hits the jackpot, by combining the ego gratifications of being a tribune of the people with the career benefits of being a lackey of the establishment. Consequently this is what a lot of people do.Update: It appears that the atheists are split on this issue. One prominent blogger defends retracting the award, but if you google him, you will find a history of him making reckless accusations against other atheists, and of others making accusations against him. Maybe they will all cancel each other.