For years, the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins enjoyed the acclaim and approval heaped upon him by universities and institutes across the western world. Festooned with awards and lavished with honours, he rode the intellectual tidal wave of new atheism at its peak.
But now the tide is out and with it Dawkins' brand of free-spirited thinking too; the author of The Selfish Gene has been accused of Islamophobia, transphobia and a variety of supposedly offensive comments.
Dawkins of course is famously thick skinned but the latest ignominy heaped on the Oxford academic will have stung more than most. The American Humanist Association Board today announced it was stripping Dawkins of his 1996 'Humanist of the Year' award claiming sniffily that he:
“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.
Mr S congratulates the AHA on showing that heresy, excommunication and the crime of 'non-believing' are not merely confined to the Christian faith.