15 August 2006

Saudi Censorship, Saudi Wisdom

Larry Sanger has a useful round-up of stories that are mostly related to Wikipedia. Among them is one that I'd not seen. It's an in-depth investigation into the inconsistent way the Saudi authorities have been blocking Wikipedia. Obviously they find themselves in something of a quandary: there's lot of good content here that they would like to let users access, but there's also material that they are not so happy with.

It turns out that the article provides a solution to this problem:

"The young generation is not fully aware or conscious of the smart tactics some Westerners use to convince people of their views about Islam," said Al-Gain. "It’s the KACST’s or the CITC’s responsibility to make these links accessible to scholars and Islamic educators so that they study, analyze and respond to them. In fact, the KACST or the CITC must alert Muslim scholars to the existence of such links for further research and examination to attack the devious misconceptions that offend Islam."

Admittedly, this is not the most positive way of putting things, but I think the underlying argument is right. In other words, the best defence against things that challenge your views is not to bury your head in the sand and hope that they will go away, but to confront the problem directly, and come up with a good defence.

Call it the innoculation strategy: you don't try to avoid catching something - which is probably impossible - but you do take the precaution of protecting yourself against its effects by training the immune system to deal with it.

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