Freethought Tribalism
Adam Joseph

Notes by Nigel Sinnott on Atheist Society lecture given on 10 April 2007
A transcript from Adam Joseph presently unavailable. Other comments welcome.

This talk was advertised as a debate, which did not evetuate. Even so, Adam Joseph's performance at this A.S. meeting was not good. I wonder if the audience, were in fact too polite about it.

Adam Joseph was, it seems, very knowledgeable about the N.S.W. branch of the Australian Skeptics in the 1990s, was clearly concerned about what he regarded as financial irregularities in that organisation, and was dismayed and angered about the way complaints were handled. For all I know, he may well have legitimate grounds for grievance in that area.

However, he seemed to be saying that whatever was wrong with the Australian Skeptics in the 1990s could be extrapolated to the freethought movement in general, yet his knowledge of the rest of the freethought movement appeared (from what I could make out) to be minuscule.

This is a bit like someone who has met a "whisky priest" saying that all ministers of all religions are drunkards. "Tribalism seemed to be just Adam Joseph's cuss-word. Tribal groups do not necessarily blindly defend dysfunctional or perfidious members of their groups, but cliques usually do. Defending someone (irrespective of the justice of the matter) solely because "he is one of us" is not tribalism as I understand it.

Adam Joseph's comments about certain individuals, even if some criticism could be justified, made me wonder if he had ever met the persons concerned

I was left yesterday with the impression that Mr Joseph is very fond indeed of the regular sound of his own voice, irrespective of whether he is saying anything accurate, well-informed or useful.

Nigel Sinnott

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