Sunday Column: The cancellation of Richard Dawkins shows that the woke have infiltrated the sciences


Richard Dawkins (Getty)

By Derek W Gardiner

This week the American Humanist association removed a "Humanist of the year" award that they had bestowed upon Professor Richard Dawkins some 25 years ago. They did this because he posed a question for discussion on his Twitter feed about whether trans people were, in reality, the gender they chose to identify as. As one of the world's leading biologists, I'm sure Professor Dawkins knows the biological processes which determine a person's gender and yet he is being cancelled by an association that is supposed to be dedicated to the advancement of reason and knowledge by trying to impart his own knowledge.


I disagree with Professor Dawkins on many issues such as Brexit, abortion and the value of religion in society but I respect him because he has been a champion of free and open debate in the spirit of the scientific method, which requires a hypotheses to be tested and scrutinised as much as possible before it can be considered anything more than a theory. Many people have said that the woke problem is confined to the social sciences departments, this is evidently not true, the hard sciences especially biology have also been infiltrated by woke dogma. Not so long ago, the sciences had a reputation for being forums for open debate and all topics however, in recent years this too has changed. Scientists that do not follow the apocalyptic narratives on climate change and COVID 19 are called "deniers" and now it seems that if you believe in two genders predetermined by your chromosomes or even raise that as a possibility then you can also be labelled as a "denier".


I scrolled through Twitter and found the following comments posted under an article, published by Pink News, concerning him losing this award. One commentator wrote "Good. Strip him of all his other honours too. Punish every transphobe until the social cost of their bigotry makes them afraid to express it in public." Making people afraid to express their views, scientific or otherwise, is entirely antithetical to a democratic society. This is the same mentality employed by religious extremists towards people who highlight facts that may be inconvenient to their dogma. If this was the mentality of the scientific community then we would still believe that the sun orbited around a flat Earth.


Professor Dawkins is not overly concerned about losing this award however it illustrates that action must be taken in order to allow facts and reason to prevail over dogma unless we want to go back 500 years.


We are being released into an even more complex set of restrictions.


After exactly four months of a three-week level 4 lockdown starting on boxing day, we are finally returning to the "new normal" tomorrow, when all of Scotland moves into level 3, with the aim of moving down the levels over the next two months. I read through the new levels system and while they are a bit less strict than the last, they are equally as confusing. For example, if you want to eat or drink outdoors then you can do so in a group of up to six people from up to six households but if you want to eat indoors then it must be a group of up to six people from up to two households, what I have termed the classic rule of six and the diet rule of six.


Additionally, the level 0 table still contains restrictions which include face masks on public transport and in shops and the closure of nightclubs. This is not normal. The SNP manifesto has said that they intend to continue with track and trace and the FACTS guidance but for how long. As usual, people will vote for this due to the relentless onslaught of SNP propaganda and if you do then don't be surprised if you are wearing a mask for the next five years.