Lawrence Krauss threatens to walk at islamist debate

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Lawrence Krauss threatens to walk at islamist debate

#1  Postby HomerJay » Mar 10, 2013 6:59 pm

Professor Lawrence Krauss, one of the world's leading atheists, was lined up to debate against Islamic lecturer Hamza Andreas Tzortzis at University College London on Saturday.

Lawrence Krauss @LKrauss1
Lawrence Krauss
Almost walked out of debate as it ended up segregated + saw 3 kids being ejected for sitting in wrong place. I packed up and they caved in.
March 10, 2013 2:16 am via web Reply Retweet Favorite

Women were reportedly told by organisers to sit separately from men and couples.

Krauss refused to participate in the debate, entitled 'Islam or Atheism: Which Makes More Sense?' until they changed their minds.

He tweeted: "Almost walked out of debate as it ended up segregated + saw 3 kids being ejected for sitting in wrong place. I packed up and they caved in."

Krauss posted a link to a video and account of the row from a woman who said she had been told "women were to sit in the back of the auditorium, while men and couples could file into the front."


I'm surprised Dawk or someone didn't warn him off the nutters, although Dawk did a similar debate so maybe hetold Krauss it would be an easy gig?
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Re: Lawrence Krauss threatens to walk at islamist debate

#2  Postby Onyx8 » Mar 10, 2013 7:13 pm

Professor Lawrence Krauss, one of the world's leading atheists...


Christ, but that gets on my nerves. I have a great deal of respect for Krauss as a scientist and educator, I could give a shit about his atheism, and he certainly isn't leading me anywhere in that vein.

Kudos to him on his stand here though. :thumbup:
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Re: Lawrence Krauss threatens to walk at islamist debate

#3  Postby james1v » Mar 10, 2013 7:42 pm

Good for him. :cheers:
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Re: Lawrence Krauss threatens to walk at islamist debate

#4  Postby Oeditor » Mar 10, 2013 8:05 pm

As Dawkins says, though, it's a pity he didn't stay walked out.
After Lawrence walked out, the organizers, perhaps worried about adverse publicity, ran after him and persuaded him to come back, agreeing to let the three young men return to their seats in the “women’s section”. Unfortunately in my opinion, Lawrence agreed to return. It was a decent gesture on his part, but I can’t help wishing he had refused and generated maximum publicity for this disgraceful episode. I suspect that he too now regrets his bending over backwards to be polite, and to return. I also regret that more people didn’t move along with the three men, and it’s a bit of a shame that no women, in the spirit of Rosa Parks, moved to the men’s section.
Still, I'm sure the UCL authorities will be hauling the pineapples culprits over the coals on Monday. Not.
However, there's a more disturbing conclusion to be drawn: either there were no non-Muslims there, or that those who were present complied with the segregation.
I was going to link to the Dawkins article but on checking I saw this:
New information via Chris Moos of the LSE Atheist Secularist and Humanist Society. What he describes is shocking. There were segregated queues; there were five security guards provided by the organizers, who tried to physically remove audience members who refused to comply with gender segregation.

[Link to personal blog removed by moderator for 4th time. Please do not repost]
Looks as though Ophelia Benson might be a better source of further detail. Anyway, it suggests that the organisers, whoever they were, were allowed to import their own heavies to enforce segregation. Definitely pineapples.
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Re: Lawrence Krauss threatens to walk at islamist debate

#5  Postby Oeditor » Mar 10, 2013 9:09 pm

More from Ophelia Benson here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/03/more-on-yesterday-at-ucl/#more-7030The more you read, the worse it gets. That seems to go for the RDF site, as well.
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Re: Lawrence Krauss threatens to walk at islamist debate

#6  Postby campermon » Mar 10, 2013 10:21 pm

He should have walked.

Lawrence always comes across as a nice guy, i guess he didn't want to disappoint his audience.

I can't believe that the UCL would let this sort of thing happen.
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Re: Lawrence Krauss threatens to walk at islamist debate

#7  Postby Horwood Beer-Master » Mar 10, 2013 11:34 pm

campermon wrote:...I can't believe that the UCL would let this sort of thing happen.

You can't?
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Re: Lawrence Krauss threatens to walk at islamist debate

#8  Postby devogue » Mar 11, 2013 3:30 am

Onyx8 wrote:
Professor Lawrence Krauss, one of the world's leading atheists...


Christ, but that gets on my nerves. I have a great deal of respect for Krauss as a scientist and educator, I could give a shit about his atheism, and he certainly isn't leading me anywhere in that vein.

Kudos to him on his stand here though. :thumbup:


That does my head in as well - "leading atheist" as in one of the most expert non-believers, as in super-duper brilliant at not believing in god. :lol:
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Re: Lawrence Krauss threatens to walk at islamist debate

#9  Postby natselrox » Mar 11, 2013 3:36 am

devogue wrote:
Onyx8 wrote:
Professor Lawrence Krauss, one of the world's leading atheists...


Christ, but that gets on my nerves. I have a great deal of respect for Krauss as a scientist and educator, I could give a shit about his atheism, and he certainly isn't leading me anywhere in that vein.

Kudos to him on his stand here though. :thumbup:


That does my head in as well - "leading atheist" as in one of the most expert non-believers, as in super-duper brilliant at not believing in god. :lol:


:lol:

It's annoying to see how far we can go to appease the religious nutjobs. :nono:
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Re: Lawrence Krauss threatens to walk at islamist debate

#10  Postby Animavore » Mar 11, 2013 10:32 am

I go one tiny fraction of a percent of a god further than them. I guess that puts me in the lead :snooty:
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Re: Lawrence Krauss threatens to walk at islamist debate

#11  Postby Animavore » Mar 11, 2013 10:37 am

'Islam or Atheism: Which Makes More Sense?'

Well I can't really talk about the sense of atheism. But the incident above is indicative of which worldview makes no sense and why some people would choose to not believe it.
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Re: Lawrence Krauss threatens to walk at islamist debate

#12  Postby CarlPierce » Mar 11, 2013 11:11 am

Seems he won the debate before it started.
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Re: Lawrence Krauss threatens to walk at islamist debate

#13  Postby HomerJay » Mar 11, 2013 5:57 pm

UCL responds:

An organisation known as the Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA) booked a room at UCL for a debate on Saturday evening (9 March). UCL was notified during Friday by some individuals planning to attend the event that the organisers intended to segregate the audience by gender.

This was directly contrary to UCL policy. We do not allow enforced segregation on any grounds at meetings held on campus. We immediately made clear to the organisers that the event would be cancelled if there were any attempt to enforce such segregation. We also required the organisers to make it explicit to attendees that seating arrangements were optional, and guests were welcome to sit wherever they felt comfortable. We also arranged for additional security staff to be present to ensure that people were not seated against their wishes.

It now appears that, despite our clear instructions, attempts were made to enforce segregation at the meeting. We are still investigating what actually happened at the meeting but, given IERA’s original intentions for a segregated audience we have concluded that their interests are contrary to UCL’s ethos and that we should not allow any further events involving them to take place on UCL premises.


http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles ... 13-meeting

They respond in kind:

UCL banned iERA for allowing gender segregation at their debate this weekend. Where has the justice gone? We are truly living in the last days, we have reached a tipping point in the West, the time for practicing your faith here with ease has past -Allah knows best.

We urge UCL to see sense and rescind this extremist Islamophobic action immediately. Britain was once a place of freedom. Normalised Islamic practices are now deemed as being against British cultural values, the message is clear, either lose Islam and join us in full or get out. Action Alert to follow...

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialYusufC ... 1506662619

Abdur Raheem Green of iERA on how the Quran forbids wife beating:

The husband is allowed, to prevent her from evil, to apply some type of physical force … It is not allowed to break the skin, does not allow to break a bone or even leave a mark on the skin. A beating that is that severe is forbidden and this is a type of assault, and is haram, and a crime in Islam to treat your wife like that. But a type of physical reprimand in order to bring her to goodness is allowed.


Checkout harry's place for the details (hat tip).
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Re: Lawrence Krauss threatens to walk at islamist debate

#14  Postby Emmeline » Mar 11, 2013 6:34 pm

Thanks for chasing up the info Homer.

UCL wrote:
It now appears that, despite our clear instructions, attempts were made to enforce segregation at the meeting. We are still investigating what actually happened at the meeting but, given IERA’s original intentions for a segregated audience we have concluded that their interests are contrary to UCL’s ethos and that we should not allow any further events involving them to take place on UCL premises.


Good! Let them get the clear message that the UK isn't putting up with this archaic crap.
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Re: Lawrence Krauss threatens to walk at islamist debate

#15  Postby Blackadder » Mar 11, 2013 6:40 pm

devogue wrote:
Onyx8 wrote:
Professor Lawrence Krauss, one of the world's leading atheists...


Christ, but that gets on my nerves. I have a great deal of respect for Krauss as a scientist and educator, I could give a shit about his atheism, and he certainly isn't leading me anywhere in that vein.

Kudos to him on his stand here though. :thumbup:


That does my head in as well - "leading atheist" as in one of the most expert non-believers, as in super-duper brilliant at not believing in god. :lol:


Perhaps we should refine Dawkins's Atheist Scale and introduce a grading system, a bit like martial arts belts or music grades? So Krauss would be a 3rd dan black belt virtuoso in not believing in gods. He could not believe in 60 gods just as a warm-up. As for Big Beardy Christian God, he could not believe in him with such force that Roman Catholics who carelessly walked into Krauss's vicinity would explode. Leading atheist. Fuck yeah.
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Re: Lawrence Krauss threatens to walk at islamist debate

#16  Postby Shrunk » Mar 11, 2013 11:25 pm

According to this account, the seating arrangement was not the only shenanigans the Muslim organizers were up to:

The London heathen audience’s preparations for the debate, focused largely on devising rude puns of Mr. Tzortzis’s name, were thrown into disarray when it emerged that the organiser, Big Debates, was a front for the missionary Islamic Education and Research Academy , which counts among its ‘Permanent Staff’ one Hamza Tzortzis.

Intrigued by this subterfuge, they dug further and discovered that an iERA functionary was to moderate the event, that questions had to be submitted in advance and had to include a mention of the questioner’s religious belief, that the organisers’ insistence on knowing the religious inclination of each ticket-holder at the time of registration was ostensibly to guide the allocation of tickets and that, in the heart of Bloomsbury, a supposedly serious debate was to be conducted before a gender-segregated audience. Meanwhile, a number of closeted ex-Muslims were distraught to discover that they had been hoodwinked into handing over their personal details to an Islamic organisation.

A spirited volley of e-mails ensued, as the agitated atheists petitioned UCL to reassert first principles of equality. Britain’s original mixed-gender university issued a swift, firm and decisive statement the same afternoon affirming that no gender-segregated seating arrangement would be permitted.

By then, the LSE atheists had discovered the typical iERA debate to be a raucously self-congratulatory affair with an audience ten parts Muslim to one part unbeliever, where every mention of He-Who-Must-not-be-Named is prefaced with a chorus of superstitious Arabic gobbledygook, every mention of homosexuality is greeted by sneering catcalls and crowing videos spring up not long afterwards, with titles like like LOL Brother Muslim speaker CRUSHES/DESTROYS/OWNS atheist opponent.

It became amply clear that iERA had pulled a textbook bait-and-switch on Professor Krauss and his supporters, who, resigned to an evening with Mr. Tzortzis, would now be subjected to the further indignity of doing so amidst an audience so unashamedly stacked against Professor Krauss, he might as well have saved himself the airfare and delivered his address to a cactus in his native Arizona.


The main question to my mind: Why is Krauss even bothering to debate a non-entity like Tzortzis? If he is really the best Islam has to offer, they might as well pack their bags and enjoy the trip to irrelevancy.
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Re: Lawrence Krauss threatens to walk at islamist debate

#17  Postby Shrunk » Mar 11, 2013 11:56 pm

TBH, reading the various sources on this incident, I'm still not completely clear on what happened. It does appear there was a "women only" section for those who wanted to segregate themselves. But it appears that women were not required to sit there, and could sit in the "mixed" section if they wished, although some reports suggest the "mixed" section was only for "couples."

I'm still not comfortable with making accomodations in a secular university for women who want to (or have been pressured to) segregate themselves. But, even so, that's quite different than having segregation imposed on everyone at the event. At the very least, this should be clarified so we can form a fully informed opinion.
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Re: Lawrence Krauss threatens to walk at islamist debate

#18  Postby I'm With Stupid » Mar 12, 2013 10:35 am

HomerJay wrote:Abdur Raheem Green of iERA on how the Quran forbids wife beating:

The husband is allowed, to prevent her from evil, to apply some type of physical force … It is not allowed to break the skin, does not allow to break a bone or even leave a mark on the skin. A beating that is that severe is forbidden and this is a type of assault, and is haram, and a crime in Islam to treat your wife like that. But a type of physical reprimand in order to bring her to goodness is allowed.

Similar to horses then? :nono:
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Re: Lawrence Krauss threatens to walk at islamist debate

#19  Postby Blackadder » Mar 12, 2013 10:45 am

I'm With Stupid wrote:
HomerJay wrote:Abdur Raheem Green of iERA on how the Quran forbids wife beating:

The husband is allowed, to prevent her from evil, to apply some type of physical force … It is not allowed to break the skin, does not allow to break a bone or even leave a mark on the skin. A beating that is that severe is forbidden and this is a type of assault, and is haram, and a crime in Islam to treat your wife like that. But a type of physical reprimand in order to bring her to goodness is allowed.

Similar to horses then? :nono:


Yes, as a Muslim, you are allowed to beat your wife lovingly. As long as you leave no bruises or welts. For Islam is the religion of peace and has perfected Allah's message for all mankind. Funny though, that my Muslim fundamentalist ex-wife didn't agree with this part of the creed. Not that I would have dreamed of lifting a finger to my wife. It did amuse me that every utterance of Allah and his child-rapist on Earth was infallible. Except for that one. :scratch:
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Re: Lawrence Krauss threatens to walk at islamist debate

#20  Postby mrjonno » Mar 12, 2013 11:22 am

Shrunk wrote:TBH, reading the various sources on this incident, I'm still not completely clear on what happened. It does appear there was a "women only" section for those who wanted to segregate themselves. But it appears that women were not required to sit there, and could sit in the "mixed" section if they wished, although some reports suggest the "mixed" section was only for "couples."

I'm still not comfortable with making accomodations in a secular university for women who want to (or have been pressured to) segregate themselves. But, even so, that's quite different than having segregation imposed on everyone at the event. At the very least, this should be clarified so we can form a fully informed opinion.



Being a git whenever I see a woman in the full burqa dalek costume on the bus I deliberately sit next to her as a sort of silent protest ( or is it just sexual harrasment)
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