Friday, 12 October 2012

Reading Atheist Humanist Society do not understand free speech, nor do Reading University Student Union

The RAHS believes it is important to explain our reasons for displaying a pineapple labelled “Mohammed” on our stall, and for resisting demands from RUSU to censor our display, which culminated in our expulsion from the Fayre.

In making the decision to display a pineapple, we anticipated thought, discussion, and debate on the subject, but did not anticipate ejection from the event, or the publicity which that ejection has caused.

We continue to believe that it is absurd that our freedom to choose a name for a pineapple was restricted in this way.

Rabbi Zvi Solomons  They sign the rules, form a society, break the rules and complain the rules are enforced. It would've far more constructive to campaign for a rule change in advance, and if that change is passed there's no problem. This is topsy turvey and really I'll-conceived. Are these philosophy students? Cardboard box: this way out.
Yesterday at 08:16 via mobile · Like

Rabbi Zvi Solomons Ill conceived
Yesterday at 08:16 via mobile · Like

Claire Khaw You could have renamed the pineapple "Hitler". Heh heh.
Yesterday at 08:54 · Like · 1

Claire Khaw Mind you, if you are going to go around offending people ON PURPOSE, you have a higher risk of having your head kicked in and career and business opportunities destroyed. That isn't rocket science either.
Yesterday at 08:55 · Unlike · 2

Claire Khaw If free speech is something sacred to liberals, then it should not be abused nor used against others as an exercise of malice.
Yesterday at 08:57 · Edited · Unlike · 2

Rabbi Zvi Solomons Or even as a tool for making a cheap debating point: sacred means to be used with respect and in good repute
Yesterday at 08:58 via mobile · Like · 1

Cormac MacGowan Everyone lives "by cheek and jowl" in society, so the Union is but a microcosm of society. The point being (badly) made by Zvi is nonsensical. All this special pleading for religious beliefs is merely anti-democracy wrapped up in a nice disguise of pseudo-tolerance. It is a lie.

We either have freedom of speech in this world or we don't. The absurd notion that people have a right not to be offended is in any case, completely unworkable.

From the standpoint of atheism, the thousands of gods that are currently worshipped, and the thousands of others who are but a historical memory are all absurd. They are comical, but the adherence of theism to such nonsense is tragic. It is clear that the most effective way to help society step beyond such nonsense is satire and comedy. What else can you do with silliness? There is certainly no point in engaging in proper debate - you know, with logic and evidence - because theism starts and ends with "faith".

This is partly why apologists for violence and democratic suppression like Zvi get so upset. We refuse to grant their sky fairy any adult recognition. So, the usual tantrums proceed.

Zvi and the other apologists need to take a trip through the Enlightenment, and catch up to what democracy actually means.
Yesterday at 09:53 · Edited · Like · 5

Dale Cunningham Thank you Cormac for summing up my thoughts on the subject nicely.
Yesterday at 09:58 · Like · 1

Claire Khaw There are people who regard free speech as a licence to offend. Of course, it is up to you if you want to go around gratuitously offending people just because you can, like some brat of a powerful family knowing he can always run to mummy or daddy for protection.
Yesterday at 11:44 · Unlike · 2

Dale Cunningham In a free society you do not have the right to not be offended. "Im offended" is not an argument but an appeal to emotion.
Yesterday at 11:51 · Edited · Like

Cormac MacGowan Claire why do you think that there is a right not to be offended?

And as for running to Mummy or Daddy - don't you think that an all powerful god is more than capable of looking after himself?

The real "running to Mummy or Daddy" here is being done by theists who are suffering butt-hurt because not everyone will play along with their Emperor parading his new outfit down the highstreet.
Yesterday at 11:59 · Like · 1

Claire Khaw I certainly don't think there is a right not to be offended.
Yesterday at 12:07 · Like

Claire Khaw You people misunderstand me.
Yesterday at 12:07 · Like

Claire Khaw But there is a difference between inadvertently causing offence and going out of your way to maliciously mock people.
Yesterday at 12:11 · Like

Cormac MacGowan "Malicious" mocking? If I think it is outrageous that a religious group demands that I treat their object of veneration with the same deference as do they, and they demand that the law forces me to do this, what is my best option to oppose this?

Religion has always been most afraid of mockery. This is for the same reason that is very well outlined in "The Emperor's New Clothes".

Without someone openly stating that such veneration is nonsensical, and openly breaching the religious taboo, then there is no freedom of thought or expression for those who don't subscribe to that religion.

I prefer a society where everyone is free to practice whatever faith they subscribe to, or not (if they have like me, no faith). The limit if this is where they seek to impose those rules on me. Once that starts to happen, then they can expect to have their silliness exposed routinely.

After a while, they'll develop a thicker skin, and a modicum of sense, and stop demanding special treatment. Then they'll find that the mockery will fade away to a slight background noise. (It will never go away, because religion is simply stupid).
Yesterday at 12:18 · Like · 2

Cormac MacGowan ... and either way, it is irrelevant whether the offence was inadvertent or deliberate. There is no right not to be offended.
Yesterday at 12:19 · Like · 1

Rabbi Zvi Solomons So that's why Claire was removed from the group - because nobody has the right not to be offended by the content or frequency of her posts, and she has an absolute right to free speech in this forum...
6 hours ago via mobile · Like

Rabbi Zvi Solomons You have most elegantly proven that you use the same criteria as RUSU: hypocrisy is live and well in RAHS
6 hours ago via mobile · Like

Tom Robbins I think you need to stop obsessing about this now Zvi. Perpetual repetition does not prove your point.
2 hours ago via mobile · Like

Rabbi Zvi Solomons In her posting on this page, Claire anticipated thought, discussion and debate on the subject of free speech and the right not to be offended. I believe that it's absurd that you restrict her freedom to suggest other names for a pineapple, merely because you found them offensive.


Tim Rouse
The RAHS would like to remind users that, while we support and advocate free speech, all users are bound both by law and by Facebook terms and conditions. As a student society, this page is also subject to RUSU policy. While the RAHS has obvious issues with RUSU's attempt to completely ban offence, we fully support their ban on harassment, intimidation, and bullying.

The RAHS does not wish to curtail free speech. However, we will remove posts and/or ban users in extreme cases, including displays of fascism, racism, and bullying.

Rabbi Zvi Solomons Tim this is a little late - did you put this in the conditions when Claire joined?
37 minutes ago · Like

Rabbi Zvi Solomons Perhaps you should invite her back and ask her not to display such behaviour seeing that you're now trying to moderate the rules of your club - after all she did not sign up to anything she just walked into an open group.
36 minutes ago · Like

Rabbi Zvi Solomons Which reminds me - why are you mediating goup membership now? Isn't anyone allowed to join? Are you going to kick out those who disagree with Atheist Humanist Secularism?
35 minutes ago · Like

Rabbi Zvi Solomons And point in fact - despite her noxious views on some matters Claire is an Atheist and a Secularist - she probably has more right to be here than I do....
35 minutes ago · Like

Adam Goodkin the only specific warnings we've had from RUSU about behaviour are to moderate our group in this manner. We can't afford not to at this time.
33 minutes ago · Like

Adam Goodkin Zvi, you're free to leave at any time.
32 minutes ago · Like

Rabbi Zvi Solomons He he - sow the wind. I laugh in your general satirical direction.

So RUSU told you to kick out Khaw? Interesting.
29 minutes a

Wow!  I am known to Reading University Student Union who told these Fighters for Free Speech to remove me from their group, which of course they did, unquestioningly and abjectedly.

Reading University Student Union does not believe in free speech either, it would appear.  I hope RAHS will have the courage and patience to explain it to them.

If they do not, as I predict these confused and rather unprincipled young men might not, then I would be very happy to explain it to them in person at their university.

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