Jerry Coyne is upset again:
This is reprehensible, unconscionable, and ridiculous. Yesterday’s New York Times reports that Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, which was planning to award an honorary degree to author and anti-Muslim activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali—one of the bravest women on the planet—has cancelled those plans.
The best part is when he concludes, “I am ashamed that my fellow liberals, who prize freedom of speech and the right to dissent, nevertheless suppress that freedom by bowing to Muslim pressure.”
For now, let’s ignore how Coyne is treating his “fellow liberals” is if they have free will and whether something called “free speech” can exist among entities with no free will. Instead, notice how Coyne abandons scientific thinking. He has a belief – “my fellow liberals prize freedom of speech.” They do? Seriously? If they do, how does Coyne explain his “fellow liberals” cancelling those plans? People who truly do PRIZE freedom of speech don’t behave that way.
What’s more, Coyne even has to admit the following: “And the only organization willing to employ her is the conservative American Enterprise Institute, which is a great shame, for to many people that conflates her message with darker currents of American conservativism.”
Oh, the shame. But professor, pause for a moment and ask – Why is it that the only organization willing to employ her is the conservative American Enterprise Institute?
So here we have a scientist confronted with data that conflict with his cherished, precious belief about liberals prizing freedom of speech. Will he modify that belief in light of the evidence? Of course not. Belief stands as is; evidence swept down the memory hole.
Besides, there is nothing shocking or surprising about this event. After all, not too long ago the same liberal Jerry Coyne didn’t seem to PRIZE freedom of speech when it came to another speaker. Here is what Coyne wrote:
Carson’s also opposed to gay marriage, which why some students and faculty walked out of his presentation. Fine: he has the right to express his views, and academics have the right to walk out silently. But what is wrong here is that a respectable university chose as its commencement speaker someone committed to a profoundly misguided view of biology. He is antiscientific, except, perhaps, in the operating room.
Yes, Carson worked his way up from a horrible background (raised in Detroit by a single mom) to a position of prestige and accomplishment, and yes, he’s been a role model to black students. But none of that, to my mind, outweighs his profoundly creationist views. He certainly shouldn’t be barred from speaking because of his faith, but the officials who pick commencement speakers should have excluded him because his view of science, based on lies, is hardly exemplary of an institution devoted to learning. Truth outweighs inspiration.
Y’see how it works. Coyne had his rationalization for opposing free speech, just as Brandeis University has its rationalization. As we all know, these folks champion free speech…..as long as they agree with it.