Trav’s Travesty of BS in TheHumanist.com, On Dawkins

TheHumanist.com is the daily online news site of the American Humanist Association.

On 28 September 2015 it ran with this post: Atheists Have an Anti-Muslim Bigotry Problem by Trav Mamone

Now I’m sure there are atheists that are bigoted towards Muslims. But the target of the post was Dawkins and Maher, who are not anti-Muslim bigots, though they are anti-Islam.

That distinction seems to be beyond the pseudo-liberals.

On a particular point:

When it comes to being an ally for any marginalized group, the best thing to do is listen to other people’s stories.

He then quotes this, from the About page of the ex-Muslims of North America:

There are those who propagate racist, bigoted and xenophobic ideas against Muslims, against anyone who comes from a Muslim background, and even against people who are not Muslim at all (e.g. Sikhs). These types of people (the bigots) tend to treat all Muslims (or all those perceived to be Muslim) as a monolith, a horde without internal differences or dissent. On the other hand, there are those who react to the bigoted, xenophobic types by trying to justify the violent parts of Islam and the harsh actions of some Muslims. This second type (the apologists) often shields Islam and Muslims from any and all critique and scrutiny, even the kinds of critique and scrutiny they themselves apply to other ideologies like Christianity, Capitalism, Communism, and others.

This is BS. Of course one should listen, and Dawkins does, and gets lots of feedback from ex-Muslims that appreciate his support. Being vocal in the west in support of ex-Muslims in the west and in predominantly Islamic nations is just as important as listening. It’s called offering support.

The implication here that ex-Muslims find Dawkins to be a bigoted anti-Muslim is grossly misleading.

Incidentally, take a look at this post, with the only reference to Dawkins I found using their search feature: Campaign against #TwitterTheocracy on June 10th 2014 Look at the list at the bottom:

Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science – http://www.richarddawkins.net

How about some other ex-Muslims. Search Council of ex-Muslims of Britain

Currently the latest result is this link. Which points to this article: Richard Dawkins attacks Muslim bigots, not just Christian ones. If only his enemies were as brave

Dawkins is the sluggish pundit’s dream. It does not matter which paper you work for. Editors of all political persuasions and none will take an attack on Darwin’s representative on earth.

Sharp operators could sell the same piece a dozen times without changing a word. Read the papers, and you will suspect that is exactly what sharp operators have done.

Well done, Trav Mamone. With your article you’ve fit that bill.

Trav did add an update:

[Correction: Bill Maher did say Ahmed Mohamed deserves an apology]

Both Dawkins and Maher defended Ahmed against his treatment. That was clear up-front, in the Maher show and in the Dawkins twitter stream.

I did comment on that article. My comment is still in moderation. I’ve put it below. Maybe it was too long. Maybe Trav is too busy looking for the next hit job. I’ll post a shorter one with a link here, and see how that goes.

[UPDATE: I stand by my perspective on the post, but Trav has been good enough to rethink his position. I still think it was a bad article, way off base. But at least Trav is someone that takes criticism:  see tweets around this one]


So, my comment on Trav’s travesty:

1. Bill Maher supported Ahmed, he didn’t attack him. He said repeatedly the arrest was wrong. What is being conflated with attacking Ahmed is that Maher said … hold on, no he didn’t even SAY it, he asked, was it wrong for the teacher to question the device. And he put it in the context (which many on the left are in denial about) that followers of Islam (some followers; NOT ALL MUSLIMS, got that) have become well known for blowing stuff up.

https://storify.com/ronmurp/re…

2. Richard Dawkins supported Ahmed, he didn’t attack him. Many of his tweets were retest or links to other stuff questioning the clock, and in those he was asking for opinion or evidence and wasn’t endorsing them. Dawkins did become preoccupied with the clock design, but explain why, apologised, and agreed the more important point was the arrest.

https://storify.com/ronmurp/da…

3. On Dawkins this is about as bad as it gets, where even Lauren’s usual supporters were pointing out her errors:

https://ronmurp.net/2015/07/29/…
(I say as bad as it gets, but then there’s always PZ Myers)

4. There’s plenty of stuff around on how Harris has been misrepresented. Try a catch-up here:

http://www.ora.tv/rubinreport/…

5. Cenk Uyghur loses the plot on New Atheists

https://ronmurp.net/2015/05/31/…

6. For the generally screwed thinking going on here try this:

https://ronmurp.net/2015/02/18/…

And, though not an atheist, look at all the crap Maajid Nawaz is getting from Muslims and pseudo liberals, simply for engaging with Harris. That’s right, engagement, discussion, the exchange of ideas – do that with someone the pseudo liberals have targeted and you’re doomed. Hardly an advert for open minded thinking.

But, “When it comes to being an ally for any marginalized group, the best thing to do is listen to other people’s stories.” doesn’t apply when you already know you disagree.

“However, in order to provide a safe space for ex-Muslims, humanists must listen to and understand the complexities of their stories.”

You mean the way in which Ayaan Hirsi Ali is listened to by the pseudo liberals?

“This is to ensure that your message, i.e. your critique of particular aspects of Islam, is not used by bigots to promote hatred against all Muslims.”

Well, that would be good. Another point Harris makes is that the failure to be critical enough of Islam by pseudo liberals is that sadly the bigoted racist right is not only doing their bigoted racist thing, but they are also making legitimate criticisms of Islam that the left should be doing. The bad result is that the failure of the left is leaving a vacuum which is being filled by the right, attracting otherwise reasonable people to the right. But crazily, for making that point, lamenting that situation, Harris is treated as if he endorses the right not only in their fair criticism of Islam but also of their bigotry and racism.

The left is so busy buying into the persuasive narrative of victimhood (some of it genuine) is causing them to miss what Nawaz calls the minorities within minorities. If you can get it try this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/e…
A familiar story of the dangers of apostasy, in the UK never mind in majority Islamic nations.

There are racist bigots that target Muslims for where they come from and who they are, rather than for the ideas they hold. And some of those may well be atheists. But it totally dishonest to keep dumping this crap on Maher, Harris and Dawkins.

2 thoughts on “Trav’s Travesty of BS in TheHumanist.com, On Dawkins

  1. Hi Trav, welcome, and thanks for commenting. I saw the correction on Maher on the post. Of course my post here went further than to criticise yours. I’d be interested to know if your view has changed on these issues, where I and many others think Harris, Dawkins and Maher are misrepresented.

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