Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Draw Mohammed Day - Other Contrarians

In a previous post I defended the rationale behind my contrarian stance as to why I would not be supporting the Draw Mohammed Day. The UWA Atheist and Agnostic Society wisely decided not to officially sanction this event although members were free to partake on their own behalf. Despite the "official" stance the vast majority participated during the "Atheists In The Tav" weekly event. Efforts to reason with my friends and colleagues fell flat - but that's okay, we are all free to disagree. (That's not to say I wasn't disappointed with my ability to defend my position!)

Since this time there have been some reasoned responses put out by some prominent YouTube atheists and agnostics. In particular Richard "the dick" Coughlan (coughlan666 on YouTube) and LiberalViewer (on YouTube - not sure what his real name is).

These are the main points I took from their reservations behind supporting this event.

coughlan666 (3.35 ratio up to down votes) - The protest was a failure as there was less freedom after the event (referring to the Facebook ban by Pakistan).

LiberalViewer (11.8 ratio up to down votes) - There is a risk of alienating those we should be working with - the moderate Muslims who renounce terrorism. It also gave Fox News a way to spin the event.

I'm glad I wasn't the only person pissing in the wind. We as rationalists must not succumb to group-think. I can accept there are times when many members of a group can synchronise on their conclusions based on sound reasoning, but when the argumentation takes on an emotional characteristic, it's important to stop and think. The first sign of a movement which could turn toxic is when no one questions the "leaders" or prominent members (in this case the likes of Thunderf00t and PZ Myers, etc.) I didn't renounce a "cult" to join another!!

One great resource I've heard about which does exactly this is "You're Not Helping"

To give one example of a wonderful contrarian response to the recent brouhaha concerning the New Atheists not given a seat at a Vatican sponsored faith conference - read this post.

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