He’s STILL willing to make a lowly street level activist a target of unrelenting mockery

Dan Fincke made excellent points in a public post on Facebook sharing a public post by Julia Galef about the Dawkins-NECSS disruption.

1. Dawkins is not just any speaker, he was to be the keynote and he’s got outsized influence in the movement. With greater power comes greater responsibility. Endorsing him to speak is to effectively continue to endorse him as the de facto face of our movement. It is worse when someone of his stature does something like this.

2. Dawkins is also not just any speaker because he is building off his academic stature in gaining his reputation and outsized influence. Standards are different for a professional activist like, say, David Silverman, and a professional. Professionals are expected to police themselves as part of the responsibility that comes with their authority, prestige, and prominence related to their academic titles and institutional affiliations. The idea of tenure is a trust. We trust you to behave professionally and in return you get unrestricted free speech rights. Soft penalties for abusing that authority like being academically shunned or disinvited from speaking opportunities are a relatively a mild form of recourse still left available to chastise someone abusing their professional privileges.

I think he meant a professional academic, or an academic (since professional academic is tautological), rather than just professional. Professional entertainers for instance work under different rules. At any rate, yes, that. Dawkins should police himself as part of the responsibility that comes with his authority, prestige, and prominence related to his academic titles and institutional affiliations – including CFI. He should police himself in order to avoid making CFI look bad by being a bully on Twitter days after the merger was announced.

6. Even after he “took it down” because it was a real person he acted spiteful and petulant in follow up tweets. He started questioning whether she was really harassed (ignoring evidence presented to him) and calling her vile and recommending that this very low totem pole individual who was already disproportionately signaled out for harassment and death threats and mockery be given plenty of more mockery. He’s STILL willing to make a lowly street level activist a target of unrelenting mockery rather than shift the focus to ideas. That’s irresponsible, especially coming from such an extraordinarily powerful person. I agree with those that found her actions in the original video that made her infamous to be repulsively uncivil. But seriously, street level arguments between ideologues are emotional and intense confrontations. They shouldn’t destroy someone’s life. Dawkins and his defenders are constantly bemoaning powerful people being raked through the social media mud over a single comment. But Dawkins is rallying millions of social media followers to redouble their efforts to mock a street level activist for being obnoxious in the heat of an argument? This doesn’t make him unfit to receive continued treatment as the de facto face and voice of our movement? Then this movement is fucked.

That. I couldn’t agree more.

There are seven, they’re all good, you should read them all.

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