Just days after Berkeley public radio station KPFA abruptly cancelled a talk by Professor Richard Dawkins, citing his ‘Islamophobia’ as the reason, a bookshop in Corte Madera, Marin County, has stepped in to give the evolutionary biologist a platform.
According to this report, Karen West, above, Events Director for Corte Madera’s Books Passage, said in a statement:
We would never censor one of the greatest thinkers of our time! As an independent bookseller, we are in strong support of independent thinking.
Book Passage will hold a book signing and discussion of Dawkins’ latest work, Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist. The event is scheduled for 7 pm on August 9 – the same date the original Berkeley event had been planned.
Dawkins, 76, was scheduled to speak that night at a ticketed fundraiser for Berkeley’s KPFA listener-supported, progressive radio station. Then on July 20, organisers sent out an email to ticket holders, citing “Dawkins’ abusive speech against Muslims”.
Receiving swift criticism for the cancellation that seemed to fly in the face of free speech – especially in Berkeley – KPFA followed up with a tweet the next day, posting:
KPFA exercises its free speech right not to participate with anyone who uses hateful language against a community already under attack.
Dawkins told the New York Times last weekend that he only learned about the cancellation after a ticket holder forwarded the KPFA email to him. He then launched his own online offensive, demanding an apology from KPFA. And when Book Passage eagerly agreed to host Dawkins, he tweeted about the event, saying:
Were you a victim of @KPFA’s sanctimonious hypocrisy? Ticket returned? SORRY. Short notice substitute event here.
The Book Passage statement reads:
For decades, Richard Dawkins has been a brilliant scientific communicator, consistently illuminating the wonders of nature and attacking faulty logic. Science in the Soul brings together 42 essays, polemics, and paeans — all written with Dawkins’s characteristic erudition, remorseless wit, and unjaded awe of the natural world.
Bill Petrocelli, co-owner of Book Passage, says the feedback they’ve had about the Dawkins event has so far been positive and he expects a crowd of several hundred in attendance.
We had no idea he’d been scheduled in Berkeley. It wasn’t until that event was canceled and the publisher contacted us to find a new venue that we heard about it, and we were happy to do it.
Petrocelli said Dawkins has spoken at Book Passage previously.
He’s a very articulate and personable speaker. He’s provocative, no question. He has a point of view about things, but he’s a learned, well-respected scientist.