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Biologist Richard Dawkins, the famed author of “The God Delusion,” had his 1996 Humanist of the Year revoked by the American Humanist Association (AHA) this week when he dared to criticize aspects of transgender ideology.
In his tweet, Dawkins mentioned Rachel Dolezal — the white woman who famously claimed to be black — and invited people to talk about vilifying those who disagree with transgender identities.
“In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black. Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as. Discuss,” Dawkins wrote on April 10.
The backlash came swift for Dawkins, who then caved to the mob and denounced “Republican bigots.”
“I do not intend to disparage trans people. I see that my academic ‘Discuss’ question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue,” he wrote.
I do not intend to disparage trans people. I see that my academic “Discuss” question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue .
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) April 12, 2021
For that, the AHA revoked his award, accusing him of using scientific discourse to demean “marginalized groups.”
“Richard Dawkins was honored in 1996 by the AHA as Humanist of the Year for his significant contributions in this area,” the American Humanist Association wrote in a statement. “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,” the statement said.
The statement concluded by saying that 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.”
Trans woman Alison Gill, who is vice president of legal and policy at American Atheists, called upon Dawkins to “put time in to learn” more about the science behind transgenderism.
“The progress of science has helped us better understand who we are as trans people. As the American Psychological Association notes, ‘Many experts believe that biological factors such as genetic influences and prenatal hormone levels, early experiences, and experiences later in adolescence or adulthood may all contribute to the development of transgender identities,'” said Gill, as reported by Newsweek. “We need science communicators like Richard Dawkins to put in the time to learn this information and then communicate it clearly and accurately to the public, not reinforce dangerous and harmful narratives put forward by the opponents of equality.”
Shortly after the Capitol Hill riot earlier this year, Dawkins supported Twitter’s decision to ban Trump from the platform.
“Is Twitter’s ban of Trump a worrying Free Speech issue? On reflection I think not because (a) Trump went far beyond expression of opinion (which should be protected) to outright lies, demonstrable falsehoods. Falsehoods, moreover which were calculated to (b) incite violence,” he tweeted.