Saturday, 27 February 2010

Outraged atheists lose faith in Dawkins as he censors website

Talking of surprising outcomes on internet forums, Friday's Times reports regarding, "the official Richard Dawkins website", that "a schism seems to have opened up within the atheist community who make up his fan-base." The story explains that,

The split occurred after he announced that a discussion section on his website, considered one of the busiest online atheist forums, would in future be tightly moderated and “irrelevant postings and frivolous gossip” would no longer be allowed.

The change was scheduled for next month but such was the torrent of abuse after the announcement that the forum had to be locked down, deepening the rift between Professor Dawkins and his 85,000 online fans.

As Ruth Gledhill reports, this criticism was largely directed at one of those responsible for the website, calling him an “utter twat” a “suppurating rectum. A suppurating rat’s rectum. A suppurating rat’s rectum inside a dead skunk that’s been shoved up a week-old dead rhino’s twat.”

However, Dawkins himself was apparently not immune, with someone remarking that he possesses, “a slack jawed turd in the mouth mug if ever I saw one.”

Interestingly, the story was picked up by Andrew Brown, who helps run the Guardian's Comment is Free section, where writers' opinions are opened up to, often vituperative, public comment. As it happens, as an occasional contributer I had recently written to Andrew bewailing the fact that most of the comments are hardly worth reading, since there is so little engagement with debate.

Some of those commenting on the Dawkins website, however, display an apparent difficulty in seeing the problem. One of those referred to by Dawkins objected elsewhere that he had not been fairly quoted in full:
Here is what he [Dawkins] quoted "Or suppose that somebody on the same website expressed a “sudden urge to ram a fistful of nails” down your throat"

My post in full "When someone tells me that change can be frightening in order to at both times shut me up and patronise me, I get a sudden urge to ram a fistful of nails down their throat"
So that clears that up! Hell, it seems, hath no fury like atheist bloggers scorned.

John Richardson
27 February 2010

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Fulcrum forum captured by Conservative Evangelicals

If this is to be believed.(Pluralist did actually do a cartoon of me once, based on an old photo I absolutely hate, and which the Guardian uses every time they publish a 'Comment is Free' article by me. I assure you the reality is not as grim!)

John Richardson

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Friday, 26 February 2010

Danish newspaper provokes uproar with apology over Muhammad cartoon

A leading Danish newspaper was today accused of betraying the freedom of the press after breaking ranks with its rivals to offer an apology to Muslims for publishing a cartoon depicting the prophet Muhammad with a bomb-shaped turban.

Politiken issued the apology after settling with a Saudi lawyer representing eight Muslim groups that complained after the cartoon was reprinted by 11 Danish papers in solidarity with the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who received death threats last year.

Outrage at the move was led by Denmark’s Prime Minister and by Mr Westergaard, 74, who survived an alleged assassination attempt by an Islamic axeman at his home last month.

Politiken responded that it was apologising for the offence caused, not the decision to publish, in an attempt to reduce tensions with the Muslim world.

Lars Loekke Rasmussen, the Prime Minister, expressed surprise at Politiken's move, saying he was worried that the Danish media were no longer “standing shoulder to shoulder” on the issue. Read more
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Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Former Bp of Chelmsford urges civil partnership rights for synagogues, etc

See this Letter to the Times.
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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Jews leave Swedish city after sharp rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes

When she first arrived in Sweden after her rescue from a Nazi concentration camp, Judith Popinski was treated with great kindness.

She raised a family in the city of Malmo, and for the next six decades lived happily in her adopted homeland - until last year.

In 2009, a chapel serving the city's 700-strong Jewish community was set ablaze. Jewish cemeteries were repeatedly desecrated, worshippers were abused on their way home from prayer, and "Hitler" was mockingly chanted in the streets by masked men.

"I never thought I would see this hatred again in my lifetime, not in Sweden anyway," Mrs Popinski told The Sunday Telegraph.

"This new hatred comes from Muslim immigrants. The Jewish people are afraid now."

Malmo's Jews, however, do not just point the finger at bigoted Muslims and their fellow racists in the country's Neo-Nazi fringe. They also accuse Ilmar Reepalu, the Left-wing mayor who has been in power for 15 years, of failing to protect them. Read more
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Monday, 22 February 2010

Friends of the Anglican Ordinariate

Friends of the Ordinariate

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