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    • I do think there needs to be a free exchange of ideas provided the ideas being exchanged are grounded in some truth. If that makes sense.

    • Who arbitrates what is truth?

      Suppose in the 1830s that some government entity had decided to impose a predetermined definition of "truth" on Joseph Smith, Jr.

      A Cancel Culture might have decided that he could not write what he wrote because they decided that it was not "truth."

      The problem with saying that it must be grounded in truth is that leads to suppression of whatever is said with which the majority disagree.

      Suppose someone decided that if science could not prove something then it was not true. If a body or skeleton is discovered in a desert with no identification and no clothing, how can a coroner discover whether the person was "cis-gender" or "trans-gender?"

      Disclaimers: I do not believe that what Smith wrote and said was true. I also believe that God chooses what sex we are and that we have no say in the matter.

    • I think when it comes to religion, like your Joseph Smith example, people should be free to believe what they want so long as they aren’t harming others and forcing their beliefs on others. Religion isn’t what I was really getting at, tho.

      What I’m more getting at is discussions that have effects on our government and society at large. Political debates. If someone is going to weigh in on say climate science, they should have data to back up their claims. If someone has data and in good faith is arguing for a position, that should be tolerated. If there is no data and a malicious agenda, that shouldn’t be tolerated.

    • You apparently completely missed my point.

      The mentioning of Joseph Smith was not a reference to the religion which has developed since he first began publishing. I was referring to whether whatever mechanism which you have in mind for preventing the publishing of that which is deemed not factual would have allowed him to publish his writings in the first place.

      I also used the subject of whether those who believe in "transgender" would be silenced an inability to produce what you call data.

      There was a time in Medical History when many of the pains which are suffered by women were discounted as being imaginary by male scientists. There wasn't any data to demonstrate that it was factual. Whatever you have in mind, if it were run by male scientists would have made it illegal for women to publish written material about the pains which they suffer.

      Exactly how would you go about enforcing this?

      Lawyers are not scientists. Few judges are trained to decide on the factuality of data. Juries are made up of people of a variety of educational backgrounds, philosophical viewpoints, and religious or superstitional beliefs.

      Suppose that this council of factuality (or whatever it is that you have in mind) had its members appointed by Donald Trump. They might have decided that anything that any Democrat wrote was non-factual.

      And what about the trial of Galileo?

      It is easy to suggest that a "magic wand" approach to determing factuality is possible, but as I asked at the beginning of my last post—

      Who arbitrates what is truth?

      You did not answer that question.

    • I don’t mean to make fun in a serious conversation with an important question, but there is some truth to this, no? And it’s pretty funny.

    • On a more serious note, you know my bias towards science. It can be corrupted by money and fame, some scientists have poor judgement or slip into conspiracies, what they believe as truth changes with time, but it generally ends up on the right side of history more often than any other belief system does.

      Generally the nations who are best at supporting and respecting science do the best in the long run in terms of health and prosperity.

      Dr. Fauci was asked by Colbert the other night what does he wish we knew earlier about COVID? His answer: that you could be asymptomatic and transmit.

      Looking back over the last year, the advice from most scientists about the pandemic has aged much better than what we heard from most politicians, journalists and religious leaders.

      And yet the respect for scientists like Fauci is so low even the Supreme Court discarded some of his advice in the context of religious gatherings, even though none of the justices have medical or scientific backgrounds.

    • When it comes to the individual's assessment of what he (or she) accepts or rejects you and I have very similar viewpoints.

      What I have a problem with are those people who desire to prevent the tabloids, and the Thomas Paines, and the Edgar Cayces, and the Conan Doyles from publishing due to the majority deciding that what is written is lacking in Data.

      Whatever happened to an opposition to censorship?

      I have one one occasion wanted a book removed from a public library but the book was written long before you and I were born (and before my parents were born). It was written in 1910. It was racist. It also was written from the perspective of an Englishman who believed that the English had the right to rule in Africa and that those who opposed them were rebels.

      It was my view that such a book should be kept in a research department and should not be out on the general shelves of the fiction section of a public library.

      Yet I do understand why the librarian did not remove the book even though I would not have tolerated it. Let's just put it this way: Little House in the Big Woods is milk and honey in comparison to the content of that book.

      Interestingly enough, the guy who wrote it went on to become the Governor General of Canada about 25 years later.

      But my point is that when people try to say, I support the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press ONLY when what is said or printed is grounded in truth, then that person has to produce a mechanism whereby "truth" can be arbitrated by the governing body which prevents people from saying things that are false or publishing articles which are not supported by data.

      The southern states claimed to support "States Rights" but then opposed the rights of those states which emancipated slaves.

      Those who only support freedom of speech when they agree with what is spoken are thinking like those southern states.

      Incidentally, you might want to check out:

      The Crooked Path to Abolition: Abraham Lincoln and the Antislavery Constitution by James Oakes

    • What I would do is based on my own belief system. I try to persuade people to believe as I do but I am opposed to coercing someone into making decisions in which that person does not believe except when he or she is coercing or victimizing others.

      Book publishing companies might print books that are repugnant to my belief system but I do not advocate forcing those book publishers out of business. There are many kinds of businesses of which I am not a customer due to the fact that the service or product which they provide is one which my belief system causes me to abhor—yet regarding many of them I do not believe that it would be appropriate for me to promote the use of governmental coercion to eliminate those businesses.

      I personally believe that the agnostic philosophy which produces the "cancel culture" mentality is fast becoming an "establishment of religion" by those who desire to prohibit that which is contrary to their agnostic philosophy.