Where Is Your God Now?

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Evolutionary biologist and outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins

Last night.

Trinity College’s Historical Society (the Hist) cancelled an invitation to Richard Dawkins to address the society next year over his views on Christianity Islam and sexual assault.

Via University Times:

Auditor of the Hist Bríd] O’Donnell said in an Instagram post:

“The invitation to Richard Dawkins to speak at the society was made by my predecessor and I followed up the invitation with limited knowledge of Mr. Dawkins. I had read his Wikipedia page and researched him briefly. Regretfully I didn’t look further into him before moving forward with the invitation.”

I want to thank everyone who pointed out this valuable information to me. I truthfully hope we didn’t cause too much discomfort and if so, I apologise and will rectify it.”

In an email statement to The University Times, O’Donnell said:

The comfort of our membership is paramount, and we will not be proceeding with Professor Dawkins address. I apologise for any distress caused by this announcement, and the Hist will continue to listen and adapt to the needs and comfort of students.”

The Hist Will ‘Not Be Moving Ahead’ With Richard Dawkins Address (Cormac Watson and Mairead Maguire, University Times)


107 thoughts on “Where Is Your God Now?

    1. Rob_G

      He does. But while it’s fine to criticise Christianity, criticising any of the other (very similar) Abrahamic faiths is a bit of a no-no.

        1. Junkface

          What a backwards and regressive move from Trinity College. Open dialogue and open debate is the only way to go.

          Safe spaces are idiotic with regards to college and university culture.

    1. Mr .T

      Mad, that statement coming from a debating society!

      Like something from Monty Pythons Letters from ‘Viewers’:

      “Dear Sir, regretfully we must withdraw our invitation to You to come speak because our members don’t like hearing opposing views.
      Yours, the debating society”

  1. Stephen

    Given they are a debating society would they not think it better to invite him and then debate any points they disagree with.

    1. Micko

      No way!… debate is dangerous stuff. We already know all the answers

      Much better to not let anyone who challenges students ideas in through the front door.

      Ye know, like how it is in America. And look how well they are doing right now.

      1. Nigel

        Trump is trying to ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory in colleges and anything unpatriotic in schools? It’s almost as if the moral panic about snowflakes and liberal universities and cancel culture were all a smokescreen from people intent on taking over educational curriculums for political reasons!

        1. Termagant

          So hang on Nigel, is it a GOOD thing or a BAD thing to suppress discussion in universities? I can’t tell where you stand here

          Or is it another classic “It’s good when we do it but bad when the bad guys do it (we decide who are the bad guys)” Nigel talking point

          1. Nigel

            When a person is disinvited from a debate because the auditor didn’t realise there was a controversy associated with the person around the area of sexual assault allegations and controversial remarks – that is supression of discussion.
            When the head of the government in charge of funding of universities and schools decides to enforce rules about the content of curriculums on the ground of unpatriotic content – that is just the bad guys doing what the good guys just did – or is it the other way around?

          2. Termagant

            Yes, they’re both the same.
            “When a person is disinvited from a debate because the auditor didn’t realise there was a controversy associated with the person”
            I don’t know how anyone could defend this with a straight face.

          3. Nigel

            I don’t know how anyone could say they’re the same thing with a straight face but there you go. One is a single debate in a single society in a single university. the other is the control of an entire national educational curriculum. Totally the same.

          4. Junkface

            Critical Race theory is actually dangerous to society. It’s based on poorly conceived papers, faked data, lack of peer reviews and utter delusion. Most of the intellectual community agree with this, including the black intellectual community (USA).

            Critical race theory contradicts all of the strongest ideas and values that Martin Luther King promoted for a better, inclusive world for all races.

            Critical race theory is highly divisive especially regarding teenagers and students, but more importantly it is based on fraud.

            Look up recently exposed frauds of black professors in woke university courses who turned out to be white women. They were living a lie for up to a decade, all promoting critical race theory and its bizarre contents.

            I normally disagree with Trumps crazy antics, but he is right on this one.

          5. Termagant

            Let’s abstract the situation for a minute, get away from your emotional reaction.

            We have a figure of authority saying “We don’t agree with your ideas, so we’re not giving you opportunity to voice them, you will not be permitted to voice your opinions because we don’t like them”. Is this a good or bad thing?

          6. Nigel

            I’m sure that’s Trump’s view, or would be if he could think and/or articulate any ideas outside himself, but it’s odd that in a thread about one debate being cancelled representing a blow to debate and the exchange of ideas, someone like Trump (who let’s be honest has absolutely no clue what it really is) banning the teaching of ideas and knowledge and points of view in universties entirely by diktat for entirely political reasons is regarded as an equivalent threat or even no kind of threat at all.

          7. Nigel

            For the purposes of this abstract thought I’m supposed to accept that the power of a single auditor of a college society is equivalent to the power of the president of the United States? I can see how that equivalence will literally only work in the realm of the abstract. Not to mention the idea that ‘no we don’t actually want to debate you after all’ is equivalent to ‘you will teach what we tell you to teach.’

    2. Nigel

      Or perhaps they could find someone to debate with who isn’t an islamophic creep? It’s their time and money, after all, it’s up to them how to spend both.

      1. Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq

        Way to shut down debate, Niggles.

        Are we to accept only those you don’t deem an “islamophic” creep?

        1. Nigel

          If I’m paying for the guest and spending time and energy organising the event and time and energy debating the person then you are absilutely damn right you’ll have to accept the ones I don’t deem islamophobic creeps.

          1. Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq

            Calm down dear, your spelling is all over the place when you’re worked up.

            I do find it odd that this apostate has sold more books than you ever will, that people want to see him in debate, yet all it takes is one small-minded woke “auditor” to shut down the debate.

            I wonder would you have deemed Mandela or MLK “creeps” and shut down their ability to debate in a similar fashion.

            Deep breath before mashing the keyboard now.

          2. Nigel

            Yeah little woke people should know their place and know their betters. True debate means their opinions don’t matter at all.

          3. Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq

            “True debate means their opinions don’t matter at all.”

            So opinions aren’t up for debate? Do you even think before you reply?

            You mean their “feels” might be hurt, I suspect.

          4. Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq

            I don’t care about “Dawlins” or his feelings. You seem to think he’s going to hurt many soft-brained Arts students though.

            Is this you on twitter?


            “Because debate is an imperialist capitalist white supremacist cis heteropatriarchal technique that transforms a potential exchange of knowledge into a tool of exclusion & oppression.”

          5. Nigel

            Essentially – ‘I expect you to spend your time and energy debating people I approve of or you are supressing free speech and ideas.’ People choose who to debate and what ideas to discuss all the time without input from assorted peanut galleries – free speech and the exchange of ideas abide.

        2. Q Celt

          Islam is a religion not a race? Is that right? Wouldn’t an atheist be against any religion? So why can’t an atheist dislike Islam (not individual Muslims)?

          1. Nigel

            I dislike Islam, actually, for all the normal reasons one should dislike any conservative patriarchal religion. However our world has been fundamentally shaped by these conservative patriarchal religions and their vestiges persist, I won’t be party to discriiminating, persecuting or dehumanising their adherents so long as they live peacefully with the rest of us in a secular liberal society.

        1. Nigel

          He conflates all Muslims with barbaric terrorists ike ISIS? I’m all for criticising religions, but I disike the dehumanisation of ordinary adherents.
          (A quote: ‘For me, the horror of Hitler is matched by bafflement at the ovine stupidity of his followers. Increasingly feel the same about Islamism.’ He’s said lots of stuff like that.)
          But really it’s the sexual assault stuff. He’s apologised for and denied lots of unwanted advances and harassment at secularist events over the years and said… weird stuff about rape and child abuse (though a victim of child abuse himself). I don’t really remember the details, but they’re out there.

          1. Rob_G

            Insofar as i understand it, Dawkins conflates ‘Islamism’ with extremeist political islam, rather than islam in general.

            I genuinely don’t know about the sex stuff – but I can’t help but feel that if he had have said instead:

            “For me, the horror of Hitler is matched by bafflement at the ovine stupidity of his followers. Increasingly feel the same about [creationist Christianity]”

            – that you (and a great many other people) would have thought no more of it.

          2. Nigel

            You kind of hedge your bets with ‘creationist Christianity.’ I’m sure there are sects of Islam that could match or surpass creationist christians in terms of stupidity and extremism, but I would no more conflate all of Christianity with creationists than I would all of Islam with one of those sects.

          3. Rob_G

            Well, he claims he wasn’t conflating all of Islam (hence his use of the term ‘Islamism’).

            And tbh, between ‘death to all apostates’, the social obligation to wear a veil, etc. even fairly mainstream islam is not far off the more fringe elements of Christianity. But apparently it’s not politic to acknowledge this.

          4. Nigel

            The way to distinguish between Islamists and radical islamists is to use the term Islamists when you mean islamists and radical Islamists when you mean radical Islamists. Its really not that hard.

            Muslims manage to live all over the world and interact daily with apostates and unbelievers without going on rampages, i think it’s one of those precepts only the nasteir extremsits take seriously.

          5. Rob_G

            Look up the definition of “islamists” – it relates to islamic fondamentalisme, it is not a synonym for ‘Muslim’.

            I notice you deftly side-stepped the issue of women’s necessary subservience to men in even the most mainstream versions of Islam; fair enough.

          6. Nigel

            See my other comment about disliking Islam. Conservative patrirarchal religions have my hearty disapproval.

      2. Mr .T

        So it’s ok to criticise the various branches of Christianity – but the same treatment against Islam and you’re an “islamophobic creep”?

        Nigel over here with the sick double standards

      3. Junkface

        If Richard Dawkins is Islamophobic, then that would also make Majid Nawaz and Aayan Hirsi Ali the same. They were both born into the religion and have both said far stronger things on Islam and sexual abuse than Richard Dawkins.

        It is simply not true to call Richard Dawkins Islamophobic.

        1. Nigel

          Fair enough. I really don’t feel like going further down that rabbit hole right now. The auditor is of the opinion that he’s Islamophobic and problematic due to issues around sexual assault, and at the end of the day it’s her call, and she has every right to make it, and to pick and choose who is invited and who isn’t invited. The only thing she did wrong was fail to look into Dawkins properly before inviting him, as a cancellation like this always causes a kerfuffle and, yes, is unfair to the invitee.

  2. Rob_G

    Did I miss something and he’s been ‘cancelled’, or did they just not invite him because he lays into Islam as well as Christianity?

    1. Nigel

      I suppose he has been cancelled from years ago when his remarks started coming out – and I guess this proves how disproportionate outrage at supposed cancellations are. He continues to be a bestselling author and celebrated intellectual – but one disinvitaion from one college debating society and free debate is dead, dead DEAD!

          1. Vanessanelle

            of course there is

            but distress caused
            were students seriously crying and losing sleep over this lad
            were their studies impacted

            doubt it tbh

            And from what I know about the anxieties of being a 3rd Student in Dublin today
            fretting about some speaker coming in to a College Society is the least of their worries

          2. Nigel

            Why would it have to be major distress? I like it when even the minor distress caused by creeps in this world is regarded as more significant than the creeps themselves. it pleases me.

          3. Vanessanelle

            I’m just getting too ould

            in my day every effort would be made into skinning the speaker alive with scaldy questions and savage rabble rousing, and send them home shaking

            that’s how we did cancel culture

          4. Junkface

            You’re not getting too old Vanessanelle

            This type of fragile thinking is a result of helicopter parenting a generation while normal play time outside with your peers that all other generations experienced, was replaced by safety indoors and an iPad / Playstation / XBox.

            College kids now are completely lacking in social skills, readability of body language, and conflict resolution in comparison to previous generations.

          5. Junkface

            Ha ha!

            It would be a lot healthier for the world if kids were back on people’s lawns arguing about who owns the football, dealing with a bully, or whatever.

            Like mentioned in the Social Dilemma documentary. Kids born between 2000 and 2008 are experiencing things related to mental health never before experienced by a generation. Social media is a disaster for them.

          6. Nigel

            Social media, and global economic crashes, and high debt, low wages, unaffordable housing, rising rents, insecure employment, lack of pensions, dodgy health care systems, lack of opportunities, surveillance capitalism, increasing inequality, climate change, a pandemic, the rise of Trump, Brexit, and here at home an utterly moribund political class. But also social media!

  3. Captain Pants

    Depressing that such small minded illiberalism has been allowed to take root in the Hist. Its a ‘debating’ society. If Dawkins has any views you dont like, you can ‘debate’ them with him, he’s hardly a knuckle duster branding skinhead.

  4. Bob Slocum

    Deplatforming Dawkins is an outrage – yes, he’s gotten a little annoying in his dotage but ffs “The comfort of our membership is paramount” – what sort of nonsense is this? I want to send my kids to a place where their ideas will be kicked from pillar to post not protected

  5. Tarfton Clax

    This is just ridiculous. So he was fine while pointing out the logical flaws of Christianity (I seem to recall him calling belief in the Christian God as “Intellectual Excrement” many years ago) but now that he has extended the same to another imaginary being with a different name, someone who has overdosed on “safe space stupidity” deems it a travesty, and refuses to allow students hear/debate an intellectual who has a different opinion to this week’s flavour.
    He’s a fairly mainstream figure and one who has sold a huge number of books, though the law of diminishing returns has begun to hit them of late. He isn’t a fringe lunatic. He’s become somewhat repetitive of late but so what. This is a bad look for a supposed institute of learning.


      1. Nigel

        If you listen to women in academia, then you would know that academia is full of creeps that make people unfomfortable. Having said that, I note that being disinvited from a debate has not affected his status as emeritus fellow in new College, Oxford, even though by all accounts this act has rocked the world to its foundations and destroyed debating forever.

    1. SOQ

      I just don’t understand why the now Left are so supportive of Islam- above all else. By any yardstick it is an extreme socially conservative right wing ideology and yet- the Left are permanently jumping to its defence.

        1. Nigel

          In favour of religious freedom and against religious persecution so long as the tenets of that or any religion are not enshrined in any part of the state?

          1. Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq

            How many democracies are there in Islamic nations, Nigel? Any idea what “Sharia” entails?

          2. Nigel

            A lot fewer after western colonialism undermined the existing secular societies while funding and encouraging the spread of Islamic extremism as part of an effort to control the region and destabilise the parts they thought Russia and China controlled.

          3. Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq

            And these Islamic paradises, you’re allowed live your life in any way you want? Gay, trans, female, etc, Islamic countries are welcoming and encouraging of such types?

            How many Muslims were executed in Ireland for apostasy this year? Just the number will do, Nigel. Take your time.

          4. Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq

            Surprisingly, no answer forthcoming from Nice Nigel No Nasties.

            You’re defending insulating our best & brightest Trinners BESS students from the ugly truth of Islamism (radical or standard), just so they aren’t made “uncomfortable”.

            Your double standards and lack of debating nous both point to a PLC course academic record at best.

          5. Nigel

            So you think that without Richard Dawkins the students of Trinity College will never learn anything about the natures of repressive Islamic states? That seems entirely unlikely. You may be hyperventilating somewhat.

          6. Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq

            Nigel, again, missing the woods for the trees, too many spicy cigarettes on the Pav, I reckon.

            Is this a once off from the Hist Auditor? Or is this standard practice now, if someone makes the student body “unfomfortable” (a Nigelism), will they not be invited to debate?

            If anyone is “hyperventilating” it is you, blindly defending Islamists (radical, standard or whatever), protecting their hideous abuses from ever coming to light with this pre-crime style censorship. Not to mention the countless misspellings which litter your comments like falafel crumbs on your keffiyeh.

            I hope your feelings box has not been traumatised by today’s “debating” experience. Can you resist not having the last word? I give it 3 mins before you reply with “le mot juste”…

          7. Nigel

            Is the Hist Auditor in charge of inviting guests? It seems so!

            I guess freedom of religion is not a value held by those who think one cancellation is the end of all debate.

            Gasp! Now it is you who are trying to silence me! The supression!

            Don’t let l’esprit d’escalier hit you on the way out.

          8. Termagant

            These are my favourite kind of Nigelposts, the ones where he thinks he’s made some savage mic-dropping riposte but he’s actually just made a point so inane that his opposition isn’t bothered continuing

          9. Johnny Green

            why did you use a very famous British Islamic scholar’s name to make your ‘point’-just another FU to the UK and Irish muslim community ?

          10. Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq

            ROFL… just remembered the logical pasting Nigel received in this thread.

            I have a life, so wasn’t available to best Nigel with facts & logic in real time.

            It seems he couldn’t resist the last word tempatation, he was back in SIX minutes as opposed to the THREE I gave him. How sad.

            @Johnny I picked this username so concern trolls like yourself could find something else to get worked up about.

            khuda hafiz, snowflakes

          11. Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq

            3 for 3 on the last word stakes Nigel? I must start paying rent in your tiny mind, DM me your Paypal there.

            You’re just too easy.

      1. Enn

        All Abrahamic religions are patriarchal, homophobic, and misogynist in their basic assumptions. The way people live and express their faith is a spectrum that doesn’t always reflect this on a personal level, but the founding ideologies are medieval. Choosing to believe in a certain template understanding of God, in the modern world, is a private decision based on the personal experience of faith and symbolism etc, but all Abrahamic religions also have law codes. For this reason there is always an ongoing need to be vigilant about keeping state and faith separate. Naming this is not phobic of anything other than totalitarianism. The Left should really be on board with it.

  6. Joe Small

    Way back when I was in college, the society I was secretary of would invite lots of people to speak and just ambush them with the most awkward questions we could think of afterwards. Then we tried get them drunk down the pub afterwards. Has college changed so much?

    1. Cian

      Two different “they’s
      – TCD wouldn’t let women in.
      – The Catholic church wouldn’t allow Catholics go to TCD. No social distancing. You might catch the protestism….

      1. Pip

        The no-RC thing was, I believe, only a Dublin diocese ruling.
        Didn’t apply beyond, though there was of course plenty of ‘oh, no’ about.
        My aunt went to TCD in the later 50s. Females were not welcome on campus after a certain hour.
        Teatime, dark, curfew, whatever.


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