Banned in Pakistan? Don’t Complain!

Having spotted something about prayer which I wanted to comment on at the Richard Dawkins Foundation, I registered and made a post, which in due course received a caustic reply from an RDF member.

Coincidentally this author raised the issue of cancer, which I replied at length about.  I was later surprised to find my post deleted and my account locked up – “marked as a spammer”.

Since the only thing I know about making spam I learned from Monty Python, I queried this and was given a new account, posted a reply to Mr Caustic – which a day later was deleted and me again locked out as a spammer.

Pattharamon Chanbua

Recently in the news: surrogate mother Pattharamon Chanbua’s son Gammy, now seven months old, was at the centre of an international outcry after his adoptive parents, David and Wendy Farnell, left him in Thailand after finding out he had Down’s syndrome, taking Gammy’s twin sister Pipah home with them.They apparently asked her to abort both children when she was seven months pregnant; the agents and doctors caring for were aware that Gammy had Down Syndrome early into her pregnancy.

‘It was the agent… she said that the Farnells wanted to abort both of the children’, adding she broke down in tears when she received this news. ‘She said that the parents had been very shocked and frightened… they were insisting on the abortion.  I said I couldn’t..  I was seven months into the pregnancy already.’

Ms Pattharamon said she was then given the option to abort just one of the children – the one with a disability – though she refused as she was too far into the pregnancy. ‘They told me the child would be injected with some poison to take his life and then be taken out by surgical process. Then the girl would go into the incubator right away ..these words have stayed in my head’.


I persisted and began a third account, re-posting my cancer reply, also happening to see what I thought to be a factual inaccuracy in Richard Dawkins’ statement defending his recent highly controversial Tweet regarding Down syndrome babies, which I present here:

Image2His explanation didn’t actually change the sense of what he’d tweeted – it just put many more words before and after, which made me wonder – why bother?  But as part of his essay he said there was little point any nutter on social media tying his stance to eugenics and Hitler, because:

“Down Syndrome has almost zero heritability. That means that, although it is a congenital condition – a chromosomal abnormality that babies are born with – there is very little tendency for susceptibility to trisomy to be inherited genetically.

If you were eugenically inclined, you’d be wasting your time screening for Down syndrome. You’d screen for genuinely heritable conditions where your screening would make a difference to future generations.”

This struck me as odd so I double checked, and posted the following reply:

my deleted post number 2Logging in later to see if there was any response, I found I was again labelled as a spammer, denied entry, and that my post had also disappeared.

After a query, the RDF systems people sent me the following reply:

Are you having trouble logging in still?

I haven’t been alerted to you violating our Terms of Use.  We had a server error recently so it is likely to be a technology problem.

Please let me know.

Operations Director

In three decades of experience with technical faults, I’ve never known precise segments of text to neatly vanish from a disk when all around them remains intact: somebody has to hit the delete key.  So I wasn’t surprised to see another email a short time later:
Just talked with our moderator and she has informed me that she marked your account as spam. I am sorry but I cannot overturn that decision.
It’s fascinating when, in a classic example of psychological projection, censorship is applied by the very same people who consider it an unbearable injustice when imposed on them!
banned in pakistan

Although RDF readers in Pakistan had no trouble accessing the site – since they posted comments to that effect – the RDF had the impression they were being censored, and thought a cash injection might help them overcome it

About iain carstairs

I have a great interest in both scientific advances and the beauty of religion, and created about 15 years ago with the aim of finding common ground between the scientist and the believer, and to encourage debate between the two sides.
This entry was posted in Atheism, Richard Dawkins and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Banned in Pakistan? Don’t Complain!

  1. Allallt says:

    That is shameful behaviour on part of the RDF chatroom. That would have been a good opportunity to espouse the humanist side of Richard Dawkins; one of wanting a society that can and will support its less fortunate and of rights for all people. Instead the foundation chose censorship.

    • True, and I could understand if I’d been pushing my site, or insulting anyone; that would be understandable. I thought if I stayed on, I should also make a donation, just so I wasn’t freeriding on a site supported by others. I was careful to never once mention my own blog, and stuck to things that had scientific relevance, even regarding prayer – telomerase, cortical thickness, oxytocin, vagal tone – etc. I was sure it would be of interest to find there is a biological basis behind religious and spiritual practices.

      And anyone with cancer would have been at least intrigued to hear that toxins from the chemical industry should never be used against the human body. Just because they put the word “therapy” after the word “chemical”, people assume it’s medicine, when it should actually be labelled a crime.

      Censorship and aggression are by and large expressions of fear, but it’s still a shame. By the way, there is an excellent series of discussions about science and spirituality, which you might enjoy, with Rupert Sheldrake and others – well worth a listen:

  2. Pingback: Atheism and Autism |

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