You’re an Individual Who Has Identities

But the ‘Free Inquiry’ is still defending Richard Dawkins

Tucker Lieberman
10 min readJun 2, 2022


Silhouettes of lots of people standing in a field against the glowing horizon.
People by Joseph Redfield Nino from Pixabay

There’s a new editorial, “Identitarianism Is Incompatible with Humanism,” in the June/July 2022 issue of Free Inquiry. The title is a mouthful. Using article’s two epigraphs to unpack its title, Robyn E. Blumner means to convey that a person ought to be primarily defined by their individual merit or, perhaps, by how they work cooperatively for some universally shared wellbeing, but, in any case, we should avoid defining them by their race, gender, or other groups to which they may happen to belong.

Blumner is executive director of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, a division of the Center for Inquiry, of which she is president and CEO. In this essay, she is relitigating a controversy over a tweet that Dawkins made last year.

Last Year’s Tweet

If you want the background, you can read this long article I wrote in April 2021 when he made the tweet. Thousands of people have clicked, and it was mentioned on a TikTok, which leads me to believe the article remains helpful in explaining the issue.

Today’s Contention

The American Humanist Association (AHA), which had given Dawkins an award in 1996, rebuked Dawkins in 2021 by retracting its award.

Blumner complains that Dawkins, a notable atheist and science communicator, had been rebuked “because of one tweet on transgender issues that the AHA didn’t like. Apparently decades of past good works are erased by 280 characters. Just poof.”

What’s Going Wrong Here

At least eight things.

Trolling isn’t a real discussion

First of all, the tweet wasn’t “on transgender issues.” It wasn’t about psychology or medicine, it wasn’t sociological, nor was it otherwise academic. It wasn’t even about a real political concern that anyone takes…



Tucker Lieberman