To my friends at the Richard Dawkins Foundation

Sadly, I am no longer allowed to play with you as the moderators have decided they could construe an if-statement as potentially libelous. I'll try to recall it and repost it here when I have more time as they don't seem to believe in returning a copy of the removed message to the poster for reference.

I'll address your comments here when I have the time, as you seem to have a taken an interest in my work and I certainly welcome dissenting opinion. Meanwhile, I'm flattered by your interest in myself and my blog - though somewhat confused by:

  • My link to my personal blog being removed due to it being a link to a personal blog, but your link to my blog not being removed.
  • That discussion of me isn't considered off-topic.
Be careful though, all this attention might feed into my NPD. :)

Regarding such, I say:
Be yourself, even if you're a sociopath.
Best wishes,
Grizwald Grim

Potentially Libelous
Turns out the if-statement wasn't the "potentially libelous" one. Though if I recall correctly it was hypothetical and phrased as a rhetorical question. It was a reply to Steve Zara's post:
Your position is wrong. For goodness sake, this is a few students advertising for a pub evening using a cartoon that probably amused them.
and went something like:
Then why when I imagine a group of these college lads leaving said pub with a healthy buzz and stumbling across a lone Muslim girl am I concerned for her safety?

phil rimmer then quoted it (he's since deleted the post) and made an accusation that I must think atheists are terribly immoral (or similar).

Of course I don't. I think they're humans. Humans do a lot of really screwed up stuff, and to assume the morality of these individuals on the basis of their faith or lack-thereof would be terribly ignorant. Point being, you shouldn't assume a positive about their moral character on the basis of their atheism or group affiliation any more than I should assume a negative. Just as every Muslim isn't prone to death threats, every Atheist isn't prone to acceptable behavior.

Even Paula Kirby (the articles author) nods in the possible direction this intolerance can lead: 
The day I see atheists threatening violence or inciting hatred or indulging in any other kind of threatening behaviour, I will not hesitate to condemn them for it.
Certainly not every atheist who thinks the cartoon is appropriate would think violence against believers appropriate would be okay. However, I suspect that those who think violence against believers is okay would never consider the cartoon to be promoting intolerance.

In fact, notice comment 53

Continued Discussion: Episode 1

There was a great deal directed at me that I hadn't addressed prior to losing my commenting privileges for the above. As those who wrote it and I didn't get the opportunity to get the point of agreeing to disagree (in fact it seems most have yet to wrap their heads around the points I tried to make with my latest post), I am taking this opportunity to address those comments.

As I mentioned, there was a great deal and it is likely to take some time. Here is the first installment, the rest will come as time allows.

Tonight's special guest star: 
(offsite quotes of me in green)

You are struggling with this I can tell. Bullies ridicule as part of the bullying tactics, but not all ridicule is bullying. It's a concept you really need to grasp.
"We want to win arguments by cogency. I think ridicule is a weapon, but it must be witty ridicule and not just abuse,” he says."  Richard Dawkins, The Sunday Times, 22 Jan., 2012
I would very much like to say: "No abuse is just abuse, abuse is unjust." because I like the play on words, but it's intellectually dishonest. I think child molesters should be executed, and that might be considered abusive.

HOWEVER, witty or not - abuse is unjust when the weapon is not carefully aimed. There are an great deal of Muslims (wikipedia claims 1.5 billion if I recall correctly), and without evidence to the contrary my stance is that a great many of them are not deserving of abuse - that many of them are good people who fell into believing what is most likely nonsense.

When these good people are ridiculed right along side the less desirable Muslim extremists, it is reasonable that there is a bond created by the ridicule. Indiscriminate ridicule creates a common ground between the good people and the extremists, and is therefore highly counterproductive to eliminating the extremists. The extremists are then able to find sympathy among the good people on those common grounds.
I see, so if they had posted the group logo instead of the cartoon all this still would have happened. Weird.
That is not the correct question, the correct question is "Would anyone have been offended if any other group had posted the cartoon?" If yes, then it was not because the poster was Atheist, if no, then you have to start asking other questions.
BTW, the very existence of Atheist groups offend some people, do ya reckon that has any bearing?
I'm sure it has bearing on something, but as the points I am trying to make are:
  • that public ridicule of others on the basis of their beliefs is wrong 
  • portraying the tolerant as enemies of free expression for denouncing an act of intolerance is ill considered
It doesn't appear to have any bearing on the discussion at hand - nor does your "correct question." However, I think I would greatly enjoy discussing various aspects of discrimination faced by atheists at another time/place.
She gets accountability for her decisions, not responsibility for the decisions of others. As there’s nothing wrong with dressing provocatively, that accountability is nil. However, publicly ridiculing the beliefs of other people on behalf of an organization is wrong, unless that organization’s purpose to promote discord within its community.
Why? Why is it wrong to ridicule the beliefs of others, publicly or otherwise?
For the same reason it's wrong to burn someone at the stake for their beliefs.
What difference does it make whether it's an organization or an individual ridiculing an organisation or individuals belief's?
See the bit about common ground with extremists I mentioned above. If faced with a hostile group rather than a hostile individual, one is more likely to seek allies for protection.
Why are religious belief's held in such high regard, yet other belief's are not? Undeserved respect, that's why. We are back to undeserved respect.
Because the world is the way it is and not the way it should be.

I know my friends at RDF have a hard time with this, but try to grasp the core concept of the following:

The religious establishment is a castle. You, I, and a few others are standing outside the castle wishing it was a pile of rubble. You try to throw a rock at the castle and I say, "Dude, don't throw rocks at the castle, are you daft?"

You reply: "But the castle deserves to have rocks thrown at it. Everyone throws rocks at other things, even the people in the castle? Not throwing rocks at it is showing the castle undeserved respect."

"But Amos," I explain, "it's a castle, and that's a rock. If we want to bring it down we'll need an army, and there are more people in there than out here. Let's play nice, go inside, and convince as many people in there as we can to come out here with us."

What about the offensiveness caused to Islam by the wee girl going to school for an education? Do you think those who use their belief's as an excuse for doing bad are above being ridiculed for those belief's?
No, I think that ridiculing those beliefs rather than those people is counterproductive because it establishes common ground between those that share those beliefs but are ignorant of the wee girl (most Muslims) and those that would harm the wee girl (the extremists). Better to inform the ignorant of the wee girl without establishing that common ground with the extremists. That way to establish common ground between most Muslims and everyone else.

Belief's we are talking about now, not the obesity of someone's mother. They are not the same thing and those that think they are need a double dose of the ridicule.
Of course they aren't the same thing. However, they are similar enough to illustrate a point to those with an open mind, imagination, and the capability of reason.
Your position, correct me if I'm wrong, is that the Atheist group advertising their function with a satirical depiction of 'Jesus & Mo' should have considered the feelings of anyone that is liable to be offended by the depiction before going ahead and using that depiction. By going ahead and using the cartoon and causing offence, they behaved like ridiculing bullies who went out of there way to persecute religious believers and brought whatever repercussions that resulted on themselves. Right?
This is me correcting you because you are wrong:  My position is that the group should have considered whether or not posting the cartoon in the advertisement of their function was in alignment with the goals of their organization:
  • If the goals of their organization are to ridicule people that believe differently then they do, posting the cartoon met that goal.
  • If the goal was to amuse members without ridiculing people who believe differently, there's no reason the announcement needed to be public as they could have limited it to the 421 members (last i checked) group. 
  • If their goal is to expose people who believe differently to other options as to beliefs, the ridicule in the cartoon is counterproductive. 
Since the post was representative of an atheist group, it is speaking for the group, and that should be considered when deciding what to post (less hub-bub for an individual posting what he pleases. When it's representative of a group you're moving from freedom of expression into something more convoluted). Paula Kirby should not accuse those promoting tolerance of infringing upon the right to freedom of expression when they oppose an intolerant message, they're just promoting tolerance.
Why can’t what I’m saying be what I’m saying? Why do you insist on reading what I write, then accusing me of saying things I haven’t?
Because it's a problem when you use emotive language like, bullying, persecution, harassment, provocation, bat-shit crazy.
Well, I tried calling it "calling someone's mother fat," but you and my other friends at RDF would have none of that. 
Is it perpetuating harassment and provocation if the people don't go bat-shit crazy or issue death threats?
Yes, just of significantly less magnitude than people normally associate with those terms.
What is the purpose of the bat-shit craziness and death threats if not to intimidate into kowtowing?
Honestly, the purpose is to defend the castle from a rock. Clearly it's an unacceptable response. It's obvious it's an unacceptable response. That I don't rage against the obvious is apparently oft misconstrued for acceptance of the response. I feel I'm demonstrating the appropriate response. Stopping by the comment section defending the rock throwing and saying "Hey, don't throw rocks."

As the unacceptable response is so obviously unacceptable, it seems to me that a great deal of people are already voicing that opinion. If questioned directly, I'll gladly add my voice as well. In the shadow of such an overreaction though, the initial intolerance is getting a free pass. As such, I felt my demonstration of an appropriate response was warranted to draw attention to it - as it's clearly not obvious that it was an act of intolerance.

Is it wrong to ridicule a gay teen for being gay?
Is it wrong to deny gay adults visitation of their lovers dying in a hospital because they aren't married?
Is it wrong to execute people for being gay?

I say all three of those are wrong, but it seems to me many people are quite comfortable with letting the first one slide, fewer but still many are comfortable with the second, and fewer still but enough are comfortable with allowing the third.
However, the fact that unjustifiable wrongs are committed does not change the fact that X falls into the category of persecution.
It is not persecution, even by the definition you have chosen.
It might not be if viewed as an isolated incident, but it's not an isolated incident it's a systematic campaign reinforced by (usually) silent consent.
Let me use an analogy. Manchester United supporters believe they support the best team in the world. Everyone else hates them for their arrogance. Everyone else ridicules and mocks Manchester United supporters. Manchester United supporters get upset at everyone taking the piss out of their football team. Taking the piss out of a football team is not bullying or persecution, but some Manchester United supporters love their team so much that they are prepared to inflict violence on anyone taking the piss out of their team...on that basis, should everyone stop mocking Manchester United?
On the basis of threatened violence? No. On the basis that people are starving to death, being murdered for trying to go to school, being imprisoned for posting 'there is no god' on facebook? Hell yes everyone should stop mocking Manchester United.
"The systematic; socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group or category of people by anyone". Not on your nelly Grizwald.
What if the only difference is which group is in the majority?
Whether it should have caused a reaction is irrelevant.
No it's not...it was posted to raise a reaction, a reaction from the group members seeing it...the reaction being a laugh at the satire. The university Atheist group didn't draw these cartoons, you are aware of that are you not?
A laugh at the satire or a laugh at Muslims? If that was the goal there was no reason for it to be a public announcement. Yes, I am aware.
We don’t live in the world as it should be, we live in the world we live in. Are you suggesting that despite all of the articles on this very website that suggest otherwise, the possibility of an outlandish reaction wasn’t considered?
So what? Are you saying that at the risk of offending some ignorant fuckwit by attending school and the possibility of an outlandish reaction wasn't considered, namely, an attack with acid? Better keep every wee girl at home and let terrorism win.
No, I'm saying people should watch less football and deal with problems like this - and that university groups shouldn't be fueling that fire.
"The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people." Martin Luther King, Jr.
Precisely. Yet you'd have me remain silent about the intolerance of the ASH.
That is the whole point. 
All I did was copy and paste your self description from your very own blog Grizwald. These are your words about you.
Which you posted here and emphasized for the purpose of ridicule, correct?
This goes to the heart of the matter. It is all about perspective. I was pointing out your failings in your self description and the way you have approached this subject...how is that ridicule?
Were you really? Who were you pointing them out to? Were you candidly expressing concern to me? It certainly doesn't seem so, as you didn't detail what exactly those failings were. Were you pointing them out to my friends at the RDF because they'd know what your emphasis meant and get a chuckle at my expense?

See, the squiggles with the dots underneath are question marks. When I say "correct?" I'm asking you if the assertion prior was correct. This is your opportunity to clarify if it is incorrect. Instead, you chose to accuse me of paranoia. What is the assertion you were supporting?
The errancy of the parable was outlined. The point of ridiculing religion is to show how ridiculous it all really is, that is the issue here. I'm not obliged to show undeserved respect. Invisible entity with zero evidence, pervert's on flying horses claiming to have garnered instructions for the worlds population from god via an angel deserve no respect and will receive none.
I'd never ask you to respect a religion - just people, the current social climate, and the consequences of rock throwing.
Publicly ridiculing others on the basis of belief is wrong regardless of reasoning or consequences.
No it's not. It really isn't. Manchester United, Skoda drivers, Republican voters, people who support a religion that supports paedophiles, people that support a religion that throws acid in the face of school children....they are all fair game for satire and ridicule....live with it Grizwald.
Bullshit. It's lazy and marginally effective at best. Try a new tactic - hold people personally accountable for their actions and their beliefs. Allow me to redirect you to the portion of comment 208 the whole gang seemed to readily ignore:
Another telling moment in this whole debacle was the decision by whomever in the ASH to respond to the demand of removal with public appeal regarding infringement of the right to free expression.
Justifications I've heard for use of the cartoon have included that mockery is an effective method of criticizing or questioning religious beliefs. If that truly was the purpose of the cartoon, why did the response to the demand of removal not continue the goal?
Would it not have been more in line with goal of criticizing beliefs to respond with something like:
Dear UCLU:
We will not be taking the cartoon down. If religious students are offended by it, they should perhaps focus less on facebook and more on their religious texts.
Specifically, if Christian students are offended by the comedic depiction of Jesus, they should direct themselves to the portion of the bible that speaks of 'turning the other cheek.'
If Muslim students are offended by the comedic depiction of Muhammad, please direct them here: http://answering-islam.org/Muhammad/pictures.html
Additionally, we will be reviewing UCLU policies on censorship and will likely call for your resignation on those or similar grounds shortly. Have a great day!
Aside from being way off base about removing the cartoon do to offense, I agree with a few points S M Tahir Nasser made in the same statement found here: http://freethinker.co.uk/2012/01/12/atheists-have-no-right-to-decide-what-is-or-what-is-not-offensive-to-believers/
"It may be argued that such cartoons are in the manner of satire and that satire is a key element in freedom of expression. When examined however, it is clear that these cartoons are not satirical in the least. Satire is characterised by the bringing to light of vices for the purpose of initiating reform within the individual or group of individuals who are satirised.
Was this the purpose of cartoons with Jesus and Mohammed (peace be upon them both) lying in bed together, or comparing the number of Twitter followers they have? It is clear that the purpose of the cartoon panels is not to initiate serious discussion regarding the holy founders of either religion. The cartoons only have one purpose – to mock and deride and poke fun."