The Appalling Hypocrisy Of Lawrence Krauss

A ninety minute lecture has recently been given by Lawrence Krauss, which he has titled “Restoring the Sciences: Science Under Attack”. In the lecture, a long list of examples are provided of what Lawrence Krauss describes as “woke science” policies. He is absolutely scathing about woke language policing within domains where such proscriptions are inappropriate. Here is just one example:

Lawrence Krauss Castigates Woke Blasphemy Policies

Lawrence Krauss is entirely correct to castigate policies that proscribe language based only on offence caused to the listener. Where it is “the perception of the recipient” that must be considered “regardless of the author’s intention”, then as Lawrence Krauss says, “it is hard to find anything to talk about that wouldn’t possibly offend someone”. However, his argument might carry more weight if Lawrence Krauss wasn’t himself guilty of imposing precisely this kind of woke blasphemy policy.

Michael Sherlock was the Executive Director at Atheist Alliance International (AAI) during 2020, when he tweeted that “religion is a retarded relic”. It was clear that Michael was not demeaning any individual person, and in fact he wrote a detailed blog explaining that he had used the word “retarded” as a synonym for “delayed, slowed down or held back”. Nevertheless, a few woke fanatics insisted that he must withdraw the word and apologise, which prompted a Twitter thread that included an exchange of personal insults.

A Disciplinary Committee at AAI looked into this issue and they considered two separate questions. The first question was whether or not it was acceptable to use the word “retarded” in the manner that Michael had done. The second question was whether or not it was acceptable for Michael to respond in kind, after receiving some gratuitous personal insults. The AAI Disciplinary Committee found against Michael on both questions, and in relation to the use of the word “retarded” they stated as follows:

“In the Tweet that triggered this incident, Michael referred to religion as “a retarded relic”. Kaitlyn followed up by politely asking him to reconsider the use of the word “retarded”. This exchange escalated into an argument. The committee found that Michael used the word without intending any disrespect or offense to anyone. However, this word has a history of being used to make fun of people with learning disabilities and that has made it a word that upsets many people, consequently using the word is insensitive. The most appropriate action would have been for Michael to have apologized for any offense caused. Instead, he launched into an argument to justify using the word.”

Current AAI Disciplinary Committee Policy Position

This remains the policy position of AAI today and it can still be found on their website. The AAI Disciplinary Committee agreed that Michael had not used the word “retarded” to attack or demean any person, but rather that he had intended the word to be interpreted as a synonym for “delayed, slowed down or held back”. However, AAI decided that this usage is still unacceptable based on “the perception of the reader”, which must be considered “regardless of the author’s intention”. As a result, Michael Sherlock was suspended without pay for 30 days. In other words, AAI is currently imposing exactly the kind of woke blasphemy provision that Lawrence Krauss so rightly excoriates others for.

The response of Lawrence Krauss to this appalling hypocrisy is illustrated below:

Lawrence Krauss on what constitutes language policing
Lawrence Krauss on what constitutes language policing

Lawrence Krauss remains on the Advisory Council of AAI today. He retains an active and senior role in the organisation, chairing general meetings of all the members. In this context, there are three very obvious points to make about this response from Lawrence Krauss:

  1. In his tweet illustrated above, Lawrence Krauss has quoted the current written policy of AAI and stated that this is “not about language policing”. This comment is utterly absurd. AAI is demanding that if the word “retarded” is used as a synonym for “slowed down”, then an apology is required or else financial penalties will be applied. Of course this constitutes language policing. Of course Lawrence Krauss would be entirely unimpressed if The Royal Society Of Chemistry retained the policy that he excoriates in the clip above, while merely stating without explanation that they are not engaging in language policing.
  2. If it were the case, as Lawrence Krauss has stated, that AAI has no desire to engage in language policing, then it should be the easiest thing in the world to change their current written policy. Arguing that AAI does not want to impose woke blasphemy policies is an argument that AAI no longer wishes to impose the current policy as written. It should therefore be the least onerous task imaginable for Lawrence Krauss to seek a change to this written policy. However, he has sought no changes whatsoever to the written AAI policy, even as he demands that the Royal Society Of Chemistry and all the others named in his ninety minute lecture must change their policies.
  3. The AAI Advisory Council that Lawrence Krauss sits on, “exists to give support and advice to AAI’s Board”. However, when that Board publishes the kind of policies that Lawrence Krauss excoriates in other organisations, he insists that he “cannot respond for the Board”. Lawrence Krauss insists that those with influential positions at other organisations must take responsibility for removing their woke blasphemy policies, but at AAI he is happy to support the Board that continues to implement such policies while he washes his hands of all responsibility. This is pathetic cowardice.

Lawrence Krauss is an appalling hypocrite. He attacks others who he insists are responsible for correcting the woke blasphemy policies in their organisations, while he also insists that has no responsibility whatsoever to deal with entirely equivalent policies that his own organisation implements. Michael Sherlock was the first ever employee of an atheist organisation to be sanctioned for criticising religion in entirely appropriate terms. Lawrence Krauss has been a willing part of the woke mob that has supported a policy designed to exact retribution upon those cause offence to any random woke fanatic. Who could have any confidence in any organisation run by Lawrence Krauss and his colleagues on the AAI Board?

Christopher Hitchens Quote
Christopher Hitchens Quote

One response to “The Appalling Hypocrisy Of Lawrence Krauss”

  1. The illegitimate “board” of Atheist Alliance International have also just published – totally unironically – an article in which they claim to support freedom of expression:

    Here’s what they say:

    “Article 19 of the UDHR … acknowledges the role of free expression as a cornerstone of democracy, enabling individuals to participate in the political, social, and cultural life of their society.
    Atheist Alliance International stands for human rights focusing on the Rights to Freedom of Thought and Freedom of Expression outlined above.”

    The illegitimate”board” of AAI aren’t simply incompetent, they’re utter hypocrites. No Wonder they’re so cosy with Lawrence Krauss.

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