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An Interview with Dr. Christopher DiCarlo (Part Four)

October 8, 2018

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 18.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Fourteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: October 8, 2018

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,866

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Dr. Christopher DiCarlo is an Author, Educator, and Philosopher of Science and Ethics. He discusses: helping others in hardship; his difficult story; religious beliefs and evolution.

Keywords: author, Christopher DiCarlo, educator, philosopher.

An Interview with Dr. Christopher DiCarlo: Author, Educator, Philosopher of Science and Ethics (Part Four)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Also, not only what it would take but, what is the recourse to do it? What organizations, associations, and support exists? For instance, we see this with people leaving Islam in many cases.

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, I know Maryam Namazie does work through there. I can imagine. It is a difficult job not only in terms of likely ridiculous and threatening emails and letters but the amount of time and resources out of one’s life to do this.

I can imagine if you are dealing with a shaman if you are dealing with a major figure in a society or group, it would be a difficult thing. In fact, Steven Weinberg, senior physicist, noble prize winner, as you know, he was talking about a man.

He worked with Abdus Salam, who was a noble prize co-winner in physics. Abdus Salam was saying when he was trying to bring science to the Islamic world, MENA region; he had a hell of a time because they were open to technology but not to science because the clerics and imams found that science was a corrosive force for religion.

Steven Weinberg stated in the Atheism Tapes, “Damn it, I think they were right.” It is a consistent theme. You see this in Saudi Arabia. Atheism was made illegal or a terrorist offence, recently. It was claimed as terrorism against the state.

Something to that effect. Although there was a good move where women got the right to vote. However, what, 16 or 14 women showed up? Because you need a male companion to drive to the voting booth.

Dr. Christopher DiCarlo: Being an avid atheist has significantly hurt my career, I do not know if you are familiar with that?

2. Jacobsen: I am not familiar enough with it. What is the story there?

DiCarlo: I am not a tenured professor right, so I am a regular schmo. When I was teaching at a university in 2005, towards the end of a critical thinking course, I wrote on the board. I said, “Okay, so, we have all learned these skills. We have all learned various types of information.”

“If we take evolutionary theory seriously, and we should, what does that say about human origins?” Some students put up their hands. We talked about it. I said, “Okay, let’s look at the entailments. What logically would follow if evolutionary theory is right? “

We look at the evidence for it, about our own origins.” Then I wrote the words. It would have to follow; we are all African. So, a student challenged this. She joined up with others. She was Aboriginal. I said, “I know your people might think you have always been here.” She said well, “Who is right, us or science?”

I said, “Not your people.” I was teaching in an area, which is 6 nations. However, then I said, “Look, can you bring in some leaders? I will bring in some scientists and we will show the class how to conduct a dialogue between cultures when there is a clash of science and mythologies?

So, we can have intelligent conversations. Maybe, we can continue to disagree and get along. The class erupted with applause. I thought this is great. This is what university should be about here. No, she hooked up with two fundamentalist Christians, went to the dean. I lost a tenure-track position.

Jacobsen: I do recall an article stating that science was “Eurocentric.” I believe this was one of the quotes.

DiCarlo: That is right.

Jacobsen: That is like saying there is Christian science or Muslim science. It is science. It does not matter who is doing it. The Aboriginal chiefs could be doing it. It works. It is the nature of it.

DiCarlo: I got headhunted to another brand new university in Southern Ontario. The deans were on board with me. The chairs were on board with me. The staff was on board with me. Everything was going well. However, I was such an outed atheist. I am on the radio. I am on television. I could not get tenure.

I was wondering why the provost was not rubber stamping the approval to make it happen and certain things would occur; and they would go, “We did not like that particular aspect. So, we are not going to give you tenure. Maybe, next year at this time.”

After 2 three-year contracts in which I was supposed to be tenured, I was out the door. So, I sued in the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario for discrimination of creed. This was the first recorded lawsuit where somebody is suing for discrimination of creed where creed is atheism.

Jacobsen: In Canada?

DiCarlo: In Canada. Maybe the world but certainly in Canada. You are not going to know about this. Because I have a bit of a gag order on this. So, my human rights lawyer and I took them to the task; they took us to task and tried to counter sue. For 2 years my wife and I nearly lost this house, we separated; it was unbelievably hard on our family.

We went to trial and they showed up with their five attorneys compared to my one guy, an ex-Muslim. The judge said, “It does not seem that either side was willing to negotiate a settlement, so we are going to proceed.” Their head lawyer stood up and said, “Who said we are not willing to negotiate a settlement? We will do that right now.”

They pushed me. For two years, they would not talk about any settlement until the first minute of the trial because this is what they do. They push you and push you and push you for 2 years of your life and chew you up. Then we settled and then they put a gag order on me so I cannot tell you any of the details.

My lawyer said, “I can tell you about as much as I can tell you. It is what I have said publicly. However, that is it. I am out of a second job. Now, you sue two universities because you are an atheist, word gets around.” So since 2010, every gig I have applied for and I have won major awards.

Jacobsen: I saw the listing.

DiCarlo: Yes. I am well published, I am well connected, but I have been told they are never going to hire you because they are never going to take the risk.

Jacobsen: I know it.

DiCarlo: So, my life and my families life where I should have been a normal tenured professor making a pretty decent income, publishing, not having to worry about so many different things all the time, has been taken from me and I have no recourse because the lawsuits are done.

I won both lawsuits but they were only for damages and legal fees and things like it. So, they by no means made our family better off. So, I am stuck in this netherworld where I am pretty sure I am never going to get a tenured position unless I know somebody so deep like a chair or a dean who looks at my work and says, “Yes, get this guy on staff. This is the type of person we need here.”

Unless you become that big, but even then the unions can keep you out, there are all other ways you can be kept out. So, I am teaching at U of T and Ryerson where I can and trying to be as good an academic writer as I possibly can.

Now going worldwide with this critical thinking stuff, trying to bring it to developed nations where to me that is the greatest tool to combat inequities and injustices is to give the people the skills to the reason for themselves. So, I am a bit of a renegade secular missionary [Laughing].

3. Jacobsen: I have seen the statistics on Canada. So, when I interviewed Eric Adriaans and I interviewed Pat O’Brien, do you know both of them?

DiCarlo: Yes, I know both.

Jacobsen: In the midst of the research, if you look at the global statistics on no religious affiliation, it is not necessarily atheistic; it can be agnostic or others. Then it is about 16% in North America, 17% in Canada, BC is like 35%.

I am not sure the statistics on Ontario, in particular. But if it is the general national statistics, then, in any class you are going to be teaching in with 30 students, most are going to harbour some belief, where, probably, some religious principles won’t necessarily take unguided evolutionary by natural selection, which is the actual one – not theistic evolution and so on.

The idea itself is an affront to a lifetime for students of religious teachings, which teach them wrong things about origins and the development of humans. I could easily see why it would seem offensive to them because it is going against things; not only that belief, but associated with many other things. They are in the wrong.

DiCarlo: The thing is, with all of this, I am a really nice atheist. I do not come in banging the drum, banging the gong saying, “If you do not believe what I do, you are an idiot.” I am attentive to their belief systems because that is what I have studied at Harvard and throughout my life as to why religious beliefs are so important.

I have talked to Richard Dawkins about this. I said, “Richard, you are showing people a prefrontal cortex thing.” The majority of religious thinkers are limbic. It is an emotional attachment they are having. It is far older and far stronger than what our prefrontal cortex is capable of.

I may think all that I want that my wife is not cheating on me but my limbic system, my gut, is saying, “That bitch is screwing around.” It does not matter how many PhDs I have; our emotions are in most cases going to get the better of us.

When I go into my classes and we have talk about God, especially as it relates to morality and ethics and that thing, the first thing I do is I say, “I am not here to judge you, I am not here to tell you what to believe or not to believe. You all know or have done your research on who I am, it I am an atheist. So, I am telling you right up front that does not mean I want you to be one.”

Jacobsen: That is ideal. It would be like a journalist saying look, “I am part of the NDP, let’s go for the lesson now.” That is ideal because you know up front.

DiCarlo: Yes. I try to say, “You know what? I am here to teach you guys how to think. What you think is left up to you. I am going to give you a skill set. I do not care if you are an atheist. I do not care if you are a Muslim. None of this bothers me. All I care about is: are you doing harm through your beliefs? “

“That is what you need to think about. Are your beliefs in any way generating harm?” Then I give my little soapbox talk. I say, “Look, you are in university. It means your beliefs are going to be challenged. Because where else should they be if not here? If you do not like your beliefs to be challenged in any way, do not take this personally from me, because I am on the spectrum, I am Asperger’s.”

“Do not think I am addressing this to you as a person. I might look at your belief set. But it has nothing to do with you as an individual. However, here’s how things are going to go down. Some of you – you know who you are, I am going to call you what you are. You are Muslim. You have a belief system. If you happen to be a lesbian or a homosexual, you know how tough your life is.”

“I am here to tell you right now there is nothing wrong with you. You are as normal as every heterosexual person in this world. There is nothing wrong with you. If your religion thinks that homosexuality is wrong. Maybe, there is something wrong with it.”

So, I created with Eric Adriaans an underground for students of Muslim faith, Christian faith, whatever, who are way deep in the closet, who can never have this come out for fear of rejection, ostracism, and apostasy. You get tossed out.

I tell them, “If you or anyone you know is facing a difficult time in your life because you know you are homosexual and you know this isn’t going to work well with your particular belief system, contact me once, and we have a secure encrypted site, I can tell you about it. We have meetings with others like you. Those who are wondering what the hell to do because through no fault of your own; you happen to be gay.”

“You try to figure out. Can you be a gay Muslim? I hope you can. If you want to maintain your beliefs in that particular God, you being gay or not should have no effect. So, I am here to tell you, ‘You are a normal human being. If you want help, I am here. It is all I am going to say.’”

Invariably, at the end of almost every class, I take longer to pack up. I take a long time packing up. I talk to whichever students are waiting around and let them all leave because there will be one or two guys. They will be online pretending to do something. They are waiting for everybody to leave.

A guy will come down and he will say, “How sure are you that homosexuals are normal? I said, “As close as science will allow,” which is a high rate of probability. I say, “Let me guess, you are gay?” Half of the time they say, “Yes,” and the other half of the time they say, “No,” but I have a friend [Laughing].

I say, “Fine, have your friend contact me.”

“I will do that sir.”

Sometimes, I never hear from them. They cannot take the risk. Their community, their family, is so important to them, not to disappoint them. If they marry, they have kids. I am sure they must have secret societies.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Author; Educator; Philosopher; Fellow, Society of Ontario Freethinkers; Board Advisor, Freethought TV; Advisory Fellow, Center for Inquiry Canada.

[2] Individual Publication Date: October 8, 2018: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/dicarlo-four; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Dr. Christopher DiCarlo (Part Four) [Online].October 2018; 18(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/dicarlo-four.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2018, October 8). An Interview with Dr. Christopher DiCarlo (Part Four)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/dicarlo-four.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Dr. Christopher DiCarlo (Part Four). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A, October. 2018. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/dicarlo-four>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2018. “An Interview with Dr. Christopher DiCarlo (Part Four).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/dicarlo-four.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Dr. Christopher DiCarlo (Part Four).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A (October 2018). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/dicarlo-four.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2018, ‘An Interview with Dr. Christopher DiCarlo (Part Four)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 18.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/dicarlo-four>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2018, ‘An Interview with Dr. Christopher DiCarlo (Part Four)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 18.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/dicarlo-four.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Dr. Christopher DiCarlo (Part Four).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 18.A (2018):October. 2018. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/dicarlo-four>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Dr. Christopher DiCarlo (Part Four) [Internet]. (2018, October; 18(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/dicarlo-four.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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