Is it OK to mock ideas and idealogies?

Would you ban this?

  • I'm religous and I would have it banned

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I'm not religious: I would still have it banned

    Votes: 2 4.4%
  • I'm religious but freedom of speech is all important to me so no

    Votes: 6 13.3%
  • I'm not religious: freedom of speech is all important

    Votes: 31 68.9%
  • Other: explain if you could.

    Votes: 5 11.1%
  • What was the question again? Pass.

    Votes: 1 2.2%

  • Total voters
    45
  • #1
Schrodinger's Dog
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Considering the Danish photos and the broad amount of interent culture devoted to mocking religion: do you think freedom of speech can be taken too far, and that it can cause grave offense.

Here's a fictional situation.

An art gallery decides to put up some art by contraversial Danish artist, Daniel Ingmarsen. This depicts Christ in a gay and erotic relationship with one of the disciples, it is graphic and obviously intended to shock, after showing the art for a few days there is so much furore from various relligious groups that the Art gallery decides to remove it?

Are they right to do so, or is freedom of speech beyond the laws of a civil society?
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
vanesch
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As far as I'm personally concerned, I think the freedom of speech should be absolute. That said, we don't live in a society with many enlightened beings. As such we have to take into account that certain expressions which might be considered provocative by a certain lot of narrow-minded or brainwashed individuals, or worse, demagogues who cannot stand that one hurts the levers of their rhetorical techniques (such as religion) to help them gain power over the masses, might induce them to do bad things, and so it is probably a good idea to put up some auto-censure if we want to have our little peaceful existence.
 
  • #3
ZapperZ
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But what exactly is "freedom of speech"? The freedom to say what you like, whenever you like?

So you should be given the freedom to spew lies about me whenever you want, no matter how inaccurate?

What about yelling "fire" in a movie theater, or making jokes about hijacking at airports?

Can I just walk into a public school classroom and say whatever I like?

You could say "oh, there's a few exception", but then that is the whole issue, isn't it? It isn't absolute, and that for safety and well-being, you have to start imposing rules and laws. It is this balance that is at the heart of all this. It is not easy, and people who claim to want this "freedom of speech" have not thought it through to when this "freedom" creates harm and disruption.

As with any human activities, freedom of speech has its boundaries. It is where to put these boundaries that every society struggles with.

Zz.
 
  • #4
Kurdt
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One persons mocking is another persons criticism.
 
  • #5
vanesch
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But what exactly is "freedom of speech"? The freedom to say what you like, whenever you like?

Yes, as long as they are an expression of OPINION. Stating things as facts, when they aren't, and when it is clear that you know they aren't, with the idea of deceiving, is not "freedom of speech".

Your examples fall all into that category.

So you should be given the freedom to spew lies about me whenever you want, no matter how inaccurate?

Saying, for instance, that you are a fraudulent scientist, that you have written 20 bogus articles and so on, is NOT freedom of speech, but a well-known lie on my part, with the only idea to deceive others into disliking you for one or other reason.

What about yelling "fire" in a movie theater, or making jokes about hijacking at airports?

The first, no, the second, yes. I think it should be allowed to make jokes about hijacking at airports, as long as it is clear that you are joking, and not with the purpose of causing troubles with the security.

Can I just walk into a public school classroom and say whatever I like?

Almost. You should be allowed to say about all your opinions (and I know that will shock quite a few). However, you should not be allowed to state things as facts, when they aren't (and you know it).

You could say "oh, there's a few exception", but then that is the whole issue, isn't it? It isn't absolute, and that for safety and well-being, you have to start imposing rules and laws. It is this balance that is at the heart of all this. It is not easy, and people who claim to want this "freedom of speech" have not thought it through to when this "freedom" creates harm and disruption.

The freedom of speech is about the freedom to say what is your opinion. Not about deceiving, lying and purposely misleading people.
 
  • #6
Schrodinger's Dog
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Technically this would be illegal in the UK, there is no constitutional right to free speech, but there are laws against inciting religious intolerance.

I tend to agree that some people are just so deranged and deluded that they should either be locked up for their views or deported. In the same way as marching down the street with signs saying god hates *ags would get you put in prison here; you shouldn't be allowed to incite hatred and or intolerance against gender/colour/sexuality or creed in anyway, and in this country at least you can face jail time for doing so. I have no problem with this, it enables us to deport terrorists too.:smile:

Obviously I voted other.
 
  • #7
vanesch
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I didn't mean to imply that in many (western or other) countries, freedom of speech is legal. I just think it should be (under the conditions I pointed out to ZapperZ: freedom to express one's OPINION, no matter how depraved, shocking, politically uncorrect and unthoughtful).

I am seriously disappointed by western democracies who seem to have adopted, for political correctness reasons, a whole bunch of laws repressing the statement of opinion. I think one should be allowed to state one's opinion, even if it is politically incorrect, such as racist, religious/anti-religious, fascist, revisionist, maoist or whatever. That said, one should not be allowed (or at least, one should bear the consequences of) INSULTING people on the road or anything. Freedom of speech doens't mean that one can put up anyone with one's conversation ! But one should be entitled to express one's opinion, no matter how "shocking", as long as it is clear that it is an expression of opinion.

In other words, I would be tended to defend the right to march into the street with a note saying that "god hates *ags", or even far worse statements, which I cannot even give examples of, given that it is illegal to write it ! This doesn't mean that I AGREE with such statements of course. But one should be allowed to make them. Because it is the only guarantee that one day, against all opinion, we might not make illegal a GOOD IDEA. As in the times of the inquisition.
 
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  • #8
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I personally think that you should be able to say and do what ever you want providing it does not physically affect another person.

e.g. If I want to wear a T-Shirt saying people with green skin who have sex with fruit are subnormal and stupid then I should be allowed to, as I am not physically affecting either people with green skin or people who love fruit.

If however I stood up and said people with green skin who have sex with fruit must die and rallied those listening to act on my words, that would be physically affecting either people with green skin or people who love fruit.

I personally think that the more you are offended by an attack on you beliefs wether it be life belief or belief in your scientific work, the less strong that belief must be. If your belief is strong surely it can weather a few storms!

p.s. Any body reading this forum who has green skin or may sleep with fruit, I was using you as an example, I don't really hate you and please don't come round and campaign outside my house...
 
  • #9
Schrodinger's Dog
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p.s. Any body reading this forum who has green skin or may sleep with fruit, I was using you as an example, I don't really hate you and please don't come round and campaign outside my house...


You were that close then buddy:wink: :biggrin:

I know Vanesch I just wanted to express my opinion and point out technical illegality in most of Europe. Barring Russia and some non EU countries.

Anyone know what Daniel means in Hebrew :smile:
 
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  • #10
humanino
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Although I consider myself religious, I think freedom of speech prevails. The situation described above is not close to the most shocking situations one can actually encounter in modern art museums (I can provide a list upon request). I actually find it funny (and I was raised in a christian family) ! :biggrin:

We have a quote from a famous french humorist : "one can laugh about anything, but not with anyone". That could support the principle that we must be careful not to recklessly exhibit provocative ideas, in order to protect sensitive characters. Yet, once we give up on self-derision and take ourselves too seriously, we risk fanaticism which is one of the most dangerous current tendency in our societies. Religious fanaticism is especially not tolerable. So overall, I understand the opinion that we must restrain provocative behaviors, but feel it does not apply to the precise case at hand.

As for Zz's intervention
what exactly is "freedom of speech"?
I feel this is exactly provocation here :biggrin: I agree with Vanesch's post #5.

You may think that, as a french citizen, I do not like political correctness anyway :rolleyes:
 
  • #11
ZapperZ
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Yes, as long as they are an expression of OPINION. Stating things as facts, when they aren't, and when it is clear that you know they aren't, with the idea of deceiving, is not "freedom of speech".

The freedom of speech is about the freedom to say what is your opinion. Not about deceiving, lying and purposely misleading people.

But I don't believe it is THIS clear-cut. Many people confuse "opinion" with "facts". I'm sure I don't have to bring out any examples to illustrate this "fact". You may think that saying "god hates *ags" is an "opinion", but for those who have no shame to shout it out in public, that is a FACT to them, not an opinion. And there are many who are influenced into thinking that it is a fact because such-and-such is "in the bible".

Furthermore, the categorization of things being not being deceiving, lying, or misleading are also highly subjective and not that clear all the time either. This again comes back to the point that I made that we struggle with the boundaries of "freedom of speech" all the time.

I personally think that you should be able to say and do what ever you want providing it does not physically affect another person.

e.g. If I want to wear a T-Shirt saying people with green skin who have sex with fruit are subnormal and stupid then I should be allowed to, as I am not physically affecting either people with green skin or people who love fruit.

If however I stood up and said people with green skin who have sex with fruit must die and rallied those listening to act on my words, that would be physically affecting either people with green skin or people who love fruit.

I personally think that the more you are offended by an attack on you beliefs wether it be life belief or belief in your scientific work, the less strong that belief must be. If your belief is strong surely it can weather a few storms!

p.s. Any body reading this forum who has green skin or may sleep with fruit, I was using you as an example, I don't really hate you and please don't come round and campaign outside my house...

Still, verbal communications cannot prevent emotional distress and, more importantly, can incite physical violence! What if the lies you are telling people about me causes me to lose my job? We have seen many instances of people being wrongly accused of sexual harassment or worse, child molestation, only to be found innocent. The stigma of that accusation continues for a long time. Such lies did not physically harm the person, but it damn well caused a lot of hardship of varying degree. We can't just say "oh, you or your belief were too weak in the first place to weather that storm". That's unacceptable! A person simply cannot go around irresponsibly affecting the lives of others with no consequences simply by using the excuse of "freedom of speech" that does no physical harm.

Zz.
 
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  • #12
marlon
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You may think that, as a french citizen, I do not like political correctness anyway :rolleyes:
Don't say that. Americans are just as bad :wink:. Anyhow, i do NOT think that freedom of speach is an absolute value in our societies. For example, opinions that can harm our democracy (eg denying holocaust, neo nazism etc etc) should be banned. Also, mocking the church should be banned because too many people care about religion (too much, but we NEED to respect that).

marlon
 
  • #13
Astronuc
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ZapperZ expresses my thoughts well.

It is a goal of an organized society to protect or provide security to its members - that is why people collect in groups.

When speech threatens that security, limits on speech are necessary.

What about hate speech that is designed to motivate hatred or threaten the safety of others? Can someone stand next to another and scream insults and threats because it is one's opinion that the person should or must be treated that way?

I certainly think that one should be able to express disagreement or dissent. While I might disagree with various political leaders and I might express the opinion that they should resign or be 'legally' removed from office, I do not advocate that they should be violently removed.

Concommitant with freedoms, isn't there some responsibility on the part of an individual to agree to certain norms or conventions while living within a society or community?
 
  • #14
humanino
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What is unacceptable to me it to claim that people are too stupid to deserve fundamental rights. It is an opinion, which somehow I share, but we cannot apply it. Remember John Cleese's message to the citizens of the United States of America. That was a joke. That was incorrect and very funny.

I could agree with you Marlon that denial of holocaust should be banned. I fear however this is not the correct way to deal with this problem, because then you turn dangerous individual into martyrdom.
 
  • #15
Kurdt
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Also, mocking the church should be banned because too many people care about religion (too much, but we NEED to respect that).

marlon

You can't ban mocking the church because people care about it too much. Whatever religion may be its inherently irrational and its pronouncements on things that affect our lives should therefore be scrutinised.
 
  • #16
humanino
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Please ignore this message. Sorry ! :redface:
 
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  • #17
Panda
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Still, verbal communications cannot prevent emotional distress and, more importantly, can incite physical violence!
That is why I both specifically stated physical harm, and used in my example the case that inciting physical harm which is then acted out is causing actual harm

What if the lies you are telling people about me causes me to lose my job?
Then I would have inflicted physical harm. If the people you work with feel that your arguments against the lies are stronger then no physical harm is caused.
I frequently say that the student sitting next to me is obviously inferior because he is Ginger. As far as I know this has not so far inhibited his career. As the argument that his work says different is stronger.

As soon as you bring in the subjective area of feelings then you are open to the ridiculous litigation exercises that are spreading from the US into UK and Europe. You hurt my feelings so give me £10,000. The death of this person who earns £15k/year was unjust so give me £1m in cash.

Why is it OK to hurt the feelings of Catholics in order not to hurt the feelings of Gays?
Surely it is easier to say the Catholics can do as they please providing they cause no physical harm to the Gays and vica versa.
 
  • #18
vanesch
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opinions that can harm our democracy (eg denying holocaust, neo nazism etc etc) should be banned. Also, mocking the church should be banned because too many people care about religion (too much, but we NEED to respect that).

I think that the fact that denying the holocaust is illegal is one of the worst things that happened to a "free society". I think far more damage is done to our society by denying that species evolved, than by denying the holocaust, for instance. What's the point in forbidding its denial ? This is one of those "politically correct" attitudes which do more harm than anything. The holocaust is a historical fact, as accepted by most mainstream historians. What could we care that a few freaks want to say that it didn't happen ? Imagine that they are admirerers of Hitler's politics. Then it would be quite silly to deny the result of his main "life achievement", wouldn't it ? Imagine they want to be apologists for Hitler, and tell us that he wasn't such a bad guy after all. What could we eventually care ? If their purpose is to do it all over again, holocaust included, then there's no point in denying the first one. If they want to do it all over again, except for the holocaust, then they are going to be different in any case and there's no point denying what happened. So what good could be suppressing any such denial ?

Should we also include laws concerning the denial that Julius Caesar invaded Britain or something ?

Imagine me, as an MWI-proponent, denying that in some branches of the wavefunction, the holocaust did happen, going to jail for that ! :biggrin: :rofl:

I find this kind of law more dangerous than anything else, because last year it made quite some upheaval when the same kind of argument was used in France to try to forbid the denial of the good Western colonization brought to African countries ! In fact this law was even voted, and only after some hesitation, president Chirac intervened to stop it.

It is a slippery slope when the law tells you what are allowed opinions!
 
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  • #19
Schrodinger's Dog
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I think that the fact that denying the holocaust is illegal is one of the worst things that happened to a "free society". I think far more damage is done to our society by denying that species evolved, than by denying the holocaust, for instance. What's the point in forbidding its denial ? This is one of those "politically correct" attitudes which do more harm than anything. The holocaust is a historical fact, as accepted by most mainstream historians. What could we care that a few freaks want to say that it didn't happen ? Imagine that they are admirerers of Hitler's politics. Then it would be quite silly to deny the result of his main "life achievement", wouldn't it ? Imagine they want to be apologists for Hitler, and tell us that he wasn't such a bad guy after all. What could we eventually care ? If their purpose is to do it all over again, holocaust included, then there's no point in denying the first one. If they want to do it all over again, except for the holocaust, then they are going to be different in any case and there's no point denying what happened. So what good could be suppressing any such denial ?

Imagine me, as an MWI-proponent, denying that in some branches of the wavefunction, the holocaust did happen, going to jail for that ! :biggrin: :rofl:

I find this kind of law more dangerous than anything else, because last year it made quite some upheaval when the same kind of argument was used in France to try to forbid the denial of the good Western colonization brought to African countries ! In fact this law was even voted, and only after some hesitation, president Chirac intervened to stop it.

It is a slippery slope when the law tells you what are allowed opinions!


It is an understandable reaction though I'm sure most Germans do not want to assosciate with neo-nazism and so the law in context is perhaps not right in terms of freedom of speech but it is understandable.

Imagine me, as an MWI-proponent, denying that in some branches of the wavefunction, the holocaust did happen, going to jail for that ! :biggrin: :rofl:

In one of those realities Hitler was probablly a hero or won the war anyway, does that mean it would have been both legal and illegal to do it according to which MWI you happened to be in at the time? Or that my head hurts? Or that my ears have just leaked blood?:biggrin: Tell me what is happening with the wave function again :smile:
 
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  • #20
Astronuc
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One could also consider the 'freedom to live in peace or security'. Is there such a freedom, even if it is not written in some legal document?

Let's assume such a freedom exists. What happens when one freedom conflicts with another - which one supercedes?

Coincidentally, I hear a discussion about the Four Freedoms yesterday.

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/fdrthefourfreedoms.htm
 
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  • #21
vanesch
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I certainly think that one should be able to express disagreement or dissent. While I might disagree with various political leaders and I might express the opinion that they should resign or be 'legally' removed from office, I do not advocate that they should be violently removed.

Except if you are the president of the US ? :rolleyes: You may not say so, but you may do it ?

You see, for each "limitation of free speech" there is always an example where exactly this kind of limitation is fundamentally unjust. And we have more examples in history where it was the suppression of the expression of opinion that was the "bad thing" than the expression of opinion itself. Oppression STARTS with suppressing the freedom of expression of opinion. The only absolute guarantee we have to limit oppression, is to make the expression of opinion absolutely free. Now, as it goes, many opinions are worthless, stupid, of extremely bad taste and everything you want. But it is up to the listener to make up his mind about the quality of the spoken word, and not up to the law.

In the eyes of the Inquisition, they were also doing politically correct things. They also wanted to avoid the "spoliation of the masses" with "bad ideas". Their purposes were sincere, and for the "good" of society. Denying the word of the Pope was the worst thing that could happen, because it would bring doom and misery.
 
  • #22
Kurdt
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One could also consider the 'freedom to live in peace or security'. Is there such a freedom, even if it is not written in some legal document?

Let's assume such a freedom exists. What happens when one freedom conflicts with another - which one supercedes?

I don't think any society could support the right to 'peace and security' to all members because that is not how a society works.

Coincidentally there was a documentary on channel Five in the UK recently that covered this subject by my hero Stewart Lee which is in the defence of free speech and kind of links with this thread.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jn2NMzb0OXU&mode=related&search=

for anyone interested. I couldn't find any programs against or leaning toward censorship to balance it out so if somebody knows of one they can post it :biggrin:
 
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  • #23
Panda
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I think that the fact that denying the holocaust is illegal is one of the worst things that happened to a "free society".

What makes this law worse is that it is not targeting people who deny it ever happened, I'm pretty sure even the deniers admit that something happened. It is also covering people who say that the published figures may not be true.

Therefore if you are doing legitimate historical research into the holocaust and discover evidence that shows that a source quoting victim numbers was politically influenced it is illegal to publish that information. But conversely if you discover a source that under estimated the numbers you are allowed to publish.

Technically if I declare that the actual figures were 10% higher than previously believed, anybody who argues that I made the figures up is breaking the law in Germany and possibly soon the whole of Europe if the new law gets through.

This is a most unscientific law and should be ammended.
 
  • #24
ZapperZ
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That is why I both specifically stated physical harm, and used in my example the case that inciting physical harm which is then acted out is causing actual harm

Then I would have inflicted physical harm. If the people you work with feel that your arguments against the lies are stronger then no physical harm is caused.
I frequently say that the student sitting next to me is obviously inferior because he is Ginger. As far as I know this has not so far inhibited his career. As the argument that his work says different is stronger.

As soon as you bring in the subjective area of feelings then you are open to the ridiculous litigation exercises that are spreading from the US into UK and Europe. You hurt my feelings so give me £10,000. The death of this person who earns £15k/year was unjust so give me £1m in cash.

Why is it OK to hurt the feelings of Catholics in order not to hurt the feelings of Gays?
Surely it is easier to say the Catholics can do as they please providing they cause no physical harm to the Gays and vica versa.

But "feelings", whether we ignore them or not, can be the root cause of MANY atrocities between human beings. I'm not saying it is right or not. I'm stating what HAS transpired. In fact, you invoke such a thing yourself by telling me that if I've been lied to, I have to defend myself. This means I have to argue my case in front of people. Let's face it, in MANY situation, one argues not only based on facts, but also on "feelings". I have way too many examples here simply based on science decision policy alone that it isn't funny.

My point in all of this is that it is wrong to think we can set clear and definite boundaries of what "free speech" is. This is especially true when we set a set of 'rights' to people. When one right infringes on the other, then it becomes very difficult to sort things out. It is certainly not clear cut on when so-and-so can be applied. It just isn't that simple if you think a bit more.

Zz.
 
  • #25
vanesch
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Technically if I declare that the actual figures were 10% higher than previously believed, anybody who argues that I made the figures up is breaking the law in Germany and possibly soon the whole of Europe if the new law gets through.

Hahaha, that's funny, I didn't know that. I'm going to hurry and quickly publish that Hitler killed of 60 BILLION Jews, by his own hand, with a single razor blade, more than 10 times the current world population! And anybody (including the referees of the journal) who argues with it will then go to jail :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
 
  • #26
marlon
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I think that the fact that denying the holocaust is illegal is one of the worst things that happened to a "free society". I think far more damage is done to our society by denying that species evolved, than by denying the holocaust, for instance.
So denying holocaust is not one of the worst...

What's the point in forbidding its denial ?
To forbid thoughts that harm our free and peaceful society. We have the luxury that the nay-sayers are a minority, but what are you going to do when their group makes up 30 % of the people ? Your freedom of speach thing is a luxury problem.

This is one of those "politically correct" attitudes which do more harm than anything.
Like what ?

The holocaust is a historical fact, as accepted by most mainstream historians. What could we care that a few freaks want to say that it didn't happen ?

Because of my first answer.

Imagine that they are admirerers of Hitler's politics. Then it would be quite silly to deny the result of his main "life achievement", wouldn't it ? Imagine they want to be apologists for Hitler, and tell us that he wasn't such a bad guy after all. What could we eventually care ? If their purpose is to do it all over again, holocaust included, then there's no point in denying the first one. If they want to do it all over again, except for the holocaust, then they are going to be different in any case and there's no point denying what happened. So what good could be suppressing any such denial ?

:rofl:

What the ...

Look, if people grow up in a society that denies historical facts and that does not present a clear overview of what happened in history, we are in real danger. Banning holocaust denial is one of the measures to protect our way of living, our luxury of living in peace. If you allow every opinion that violates our fundaments, we risk that a certain group of people really starts thinking like that. History illustrates very well and several times what happened then.

Should we also include laws concerning the denial that Julius Caesar invaded Britain or something ?
This is rubbish because of a very simple reason : the second world war is just behind us. It's influences on our way of thinking are still very present. What Caeser thought when he invaded Britain has absolutely no influence on our society. THAT is the big difference.

Imagine me, as an MWI-proponent, denying that in some branches of the wavefunction, the holocaust did happen, going to jail for that ! :biggrin: :rofl:
MWI is crap and useless to the true nature of the QM formalism, but that is another discussion.

I find this kind of law more dangerous than anything else, because last year it made quite some upheaval when the same kind of argument was used in France to try to forbid the denial of the good Western colonization brought to African countries ! In fact this law was even voted, and only after some hesitation, president Chirac intervened to stop it.
I don't see how that is related to our discussion. This is an entirely different situation.

It is a slippery slope when the law tells you what are allowed opinions!
So ?

marlon
 
  • #27
vanesch
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When one right infringes on the other, then it becomes very difficult to sort things out. It is certainly not clear cut on when so-and-so can be applied. It just isn't that simple if you think a bit more.

I agree with that, in that one is still responsible for what one claims. But there shouldn't be any law forbidding you a priori to say your opinion. Again, not claiming facts which aren't true! That's not an expression of an opinion. But saying your opinion, no matter how distasteful, should be your a priori right. If, by saying so, you hurt someone else objectively - which is difficult to imagine ! - then that person's right might be fought over in court. But how could expressing your opinion hurt somebody, while having that opinion but not expressing it, not? Because it might bring others to the idea that you are right in fact ? Because others might also express their opinion, which might be influenced by yours ? But you can't stop EVERYTHING which might influence others to make up their minds ! So my expression is just part of the whole which influences others. By expressing publicly my opinion, I take a risk. I take the risk of others finding my opinion quite silly and hence lower their esteem of any further expression of opinion on my side. I take the chance that others might actually agree upon what I think. If the balance swings out in my advantage, and in the disadvantage of somebody else, then so be it. Maybe there's a good reason !
 
  • #28
ZapperZ
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I agree with that, in that one is still responsible for what one claims. But there shouldn't be any law forbidding you a priori to say your opinion. Again, not claiming facts which aren't true! That's not an expression of an opinion. But saying your opinion, no matter how distasteful, should be your a priori right. If, by saying so, you hurt someone else objectively - which is difficult to imagine ! - then that person's right might be fought over in court.

But that in itself is an admission that there is a limitation to one's opinion, if your words have hurt me somehow, then you are liable to be sued because you just don't have that freedom to say such things.

But how could expressing your opinion hurt somebody, while having that opinion but not expressing it, not? Because it might bring others to the idea that you are right in fact ? Because others might also express their opinion, which might be influenced by yours ? But you can't stop EVERYTHING which might influence others to make up their minds ! So my expression is just part of the whole which influences others. By expressing publicly my opinion, I take a risk. I take the risk of others finding my opinion quite silly and hence lower their esteem of any further expression of opinion on my side. I take the chance that others might actually agree upon what I think. If the balance swings out in my advantage, and in the disadvantage of somebody else, then so be it. Maybe there's a good reason !

Note that when I came in this thread, it was based on your assertion that such freedom of speech has to be absolute. You then clarified that you are only covering freedom of speech as based on "opinions" only. But I think you haven't address the issue that one person's opinion is another person's fact! Many people accept religion as a fact, but many also consider them to be nothing more than "opinions". After all, if religion is a fact, then how come there are so many of them offering widely different versions? But you go to someone who thoroughly believe in one, and I'll challenge you to convince that person that what he/she believes in is nothing more than an "opinion".

My point in all of this is that even when we apply your boundaries, it is STILL not clear cut. And that has been the issue that I have been trying to point out from the very beginning. "Freedom of Speech" isn't the whole story. We can't just end it there and think that the rest is easy and should fall into place spontaneously. I'm not preventing anything, or arguing for any form of restrictions. I'm arguing that those who have some simple-minded scenario for this need to think it through a little bit more and see how the boundaries that you set is really nothing as clear as you have made it. If you dig deeper, then it is as similar as the struggles we have right now in deciding who has the right to do what and when.

Zz.
 
  • #29
Schrodinger's Dog
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.

MWI is crap and useless to the true nature of the QM formalism, but that is another discussion.

We already had it, should of joined in :smile:

You can't forbid someone from expressing an opinion you can sue them if they go public; but you can and should IMO: stop someone who is trying to incite hatred and descrimination from having a voice, that is what the law seeks to do here, to silence the BNP, radical muslims, homophobes, religious bigots, irreligious bigots,anti gingerists(I tend to agree with them gingers are freaks but I won't say it in public :wink::smile:) Etc,etc,etc; essentially it means that anything which is considered purely for the use of inciting violence and or hatred is illegal.
 
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  • #30
vanesch
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So denying holocaust is not one of the worst...

Of course not. Its significance is rather relative. What could one really care whether, long ago, a warrior lord organized an industrial process with the purpose of destroying a particular ethnic group of people or not, and what were the particularities and scale of the process ? Whether he used gas or a meat grinder ? And how long it took, and other gory details. What is the particular importance of this, so that it must be written in law ? I'm not saying that it is not a historically important fact, but there are many others, and it doesn't have much influence on what goes on today. So what could be the importance of it to turn it into a law ? Our history is full of attempts to eliminate other ethnic/cultural groups - that's no news ; the only difference with the Holocaust is the industrialization of the process. And that in the end it didn't work, because said ethnic group still exists ? I mean, what specific importance does this holocaust thing have over other important historical facts ? Why are there laws concerning the holocaust, but not about the historical atrocities committed by Stalin, or Mao, or Pol Pot, or the French revolution or the Inquisition, the invasion of the Vikings or whatever ? What's so specific about this single historical fact, that it must be turned into a law, and a law that DESTROYS our most fundamental protection against oppression, which is that one should be able to express one's opinion without risking punishment ? Why not a law concerning the almost genocide of the native indians by the Spanish invaders in south America ? And about the hypothetical genocide of the Neandertals by Homo Sapiens ?

To forbid thoughts that harm our free and peaceful society. We have the luxury that the nay-sayers are a minority, but what are you going to do when their group makes up 30 % of the people ?

If 30% of the people are convinced that the holocaust didn't happen, well so what ? And if 60% is convinced that it didn't happen ? And they vote a law that it is now forbidden to suggest that anything like the holocaust happened ? Because they have a precedent, and you can't argue anymore that one should be able to express one's opinion, even if it is contrary to what the majority thinks ? In the US, even more are convinced that evolution is not a fact. So what ? Should a law be voted in the US - to the model of the holocaust law - that evolution proponents should go in jail ?
Are you going to make a law for all "facts" believed by a majority, to freeze them once and for all, so that even expressing one's doubts over it becomes punishable ?

Like what ?

The harm with writing into LAW what are, and what aren't, politically correct ideas is what has been the basis for oppression in all of history. The precedent is dangerous. The small gain isn't worth the big loss.

Look, if people grow up in a society that denies historical facts and that does not present a clear overview of what happened in history, we are in real danger. Banning holocaust denial is one of the measures to protect our way of living, our luxury of living in peace. If you allow every opinion that violates our fundaments, we risk that a certain group of people really starts thinking like that. History illustrates very well and several times what happened then.

Then ANY denial of a historical fact should be punished! And every form "moral truth" (our fundamentals) should then be frozen in law, and any expression of a different opinion should be punished. In that case, we don't allow "every opinion that violates our fundaments". If you had done that 50 years ago, then it would now be a crime to say publicly that "it is not a bad thing to have sex outside of marriage" or "that one should consider abortion" or something. Because back then, that was part of morality, and hence one shouldn't allow for the expression of a dissident opinion. We should send those people who try to say so to re-education camps, right ?

Your arguments are EXACTLY the same arguments the Inquisition used, if you change some words. "If people grow up in denial of the truth of the Holy Church ... etc..."

This is rubbish because of a very simple reason : the second world war is just behind us. It's influences on our way of thinking are still very present. What Caeser thought when he invaded Britain has absolutely no influence on our society. THAT is the big difference.

I don't think that the holocaust has any influence on our way of thinking. I know that the politically correct idea is that it isn't nice to think about ethnicity based elimination. It was a just a recent example of it. But that didn't stop other similar events to happen ! It is a recurrent historical process, to try to eliminate other ethnicities. Has been, and always will be. No angelical law about a single historical fact will change that. And whether or not the holocaust happened, it is STILL not a nice thing to eliminate other ethnicities. So I really don't see the fundamental importance of this single historical fact, which ought to be so important that we DESTROY for that our freedom of expression, and go back a few hundred years, back to the time of the Inquisition.

I don't see how that is related to our discussion. This is an entirely different situation.

It is exactly the same thing: by law, one wanted to impose a single way of thinking, and the expression of the opposite made punishable.
 
  • #31
vanesch
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But that in itself is an admission that there is a limitation to one's opinion, if your words have hurt me somehow, then you are liable to be sued because you just don't have that freedom to say such things.

Well, it is to the charge of the plaintiff to demonstrate that he objectively suffered damage from the fact that you were having an unjustified opinion, which is IMO almost impossible to do.
It would be only in some kind of case where I state that, based upon all the material I've seen, and after mature reflection, I came to the conclusion that ZapperZ is a fraudulent scientist (which is strictly speaking an opinion, but unjustified, because I couldn't possibly have seen relevant material etc...), and you got professional troubles because of that, that you could attack me.

But if I say something like "I think that god doesn't like *ags", and the next day a gay person is stabbed, and the author says that he was influenced by my words, then that should still only be HIS problem, and not mine. I have the right to think that god doesn't like *ags, and if that stimulates an idiot to go into action, that's his problem.

However, if I call for violence, by itself, I should be allowed to say so, but THEN I do bear some part of responsibility in the consequences.

You then clarified that you are only covering freedom of speech as based on "opinions" only. But I think you haven't address the issue that one person's opinion is another person's fact! Many people accept religion as a fact, but many also consider them to be nothing more than "opinions". After all, if religion is a fact, then how come there are so many of them offering widely different versions? But you go to someone who thoroughly believe in one, and I'll challenge you to convince that person that what he/she believes in is nothing more than an "opinion".

I should be allowed to express MY OPINION concerning certain opinions/facts. I should be allowed to say whether or not I believe any fact/opinion. So I should be allowed to say that I THINK that Jesus was, I don't know, a terrible warlord who killed millions of innocent citizens. I should be entitled to my opinion, and the right to say so. Nobody can suffer direct objective loss by my saying so.

My point in all of this is that even when we apply your boundaries, it is STILL not clear cut. And that has been the issue that I have been trying to point out from the very beginning. "Freedom of Speech" isn't the whole story. We can't just end it there and think that the rest is easy and should fall into place spontaneously. I'm not preventing anything, or arguing for any form of restrictions. I'm arguing that those who have some simple-minded scenario for this need to think it through a little bit more and see how the boundaries that you set is really nothing as clear as you have made it. If you dig deeper, then it is as similar as the struggles we have right now in deciding who has the right to do what and when.

Well, I still do think that expressing my opinion should be A PRIORI my absolute right, no matter how distasteful it may be. But given the scope of the subject, there may always be expressions of opinions which have consequences, and in that case, it's up to justice to make up whether or not I have any responsibility in it - as is the case with EVERY act.
 
  • #32
Moonbear
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You can't forbid someone from expressing an opinion you can sue them if they go public...

Say what you want, but you're going to have to accept responsibility for the consequences of it. Freedom comes with responsibility. If you don't want to deal with the consequences of what you say, then you should choose not to say it. Having the freedom to say anything you want doesn't mean you should say anything you want.
 
  • #33
Schrodinger's Dog
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In essence what people are asking here is, is there any responsibility inherent in the right to free speech or should it be absolutely and arbitrarily a right all should be able to express with no reservations;or should our right to speak be governed by civility and morallity? And if it should, should those who we consider morally bankrupt be allowed to have the right of free speech?

Should we have the power to make a decision on whether or not such a person is allowed to express such views, ie take it before the courts? Personally, this places the right of free speech in the remit of the court or ultimately the European courts in our case.

Some would say this is a bad thing, I personally think it is the best way to approach the situation, some people just shouldn't be allowed to open their mouths, as their vile hatred is an affront to all moral sensibilities, those who ultimately make an ethical decision on whether the person in questions views breech moral codes of conduct, should be the governing bodies. I have no problem with this. As long as it's clear that only v,x,y,z fall into this category. For example I could say I hate turnips and seek that all righteous people everywhere should discriminate against them and they should be wiped off the face of the Earth like the ginger haired people. But to be honest I'd expect only to be jailed for the latter :smile:

Say what you want, but you're going to have to accept responsibility for the consequences of it. Freedom comes with responsibility. If you don't want to deal with the consequences of what you say, then you should choose not to say it. Having the freedom to say anything you want doesn't mean you should say anything you want.
Precisely.:smile:
 
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  • #34
vanesch
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Say what you want, but you're going to have to accept responsibility for the consequences of it. Freedom comes with responsibility. If you don't want to deal with the consequences of what you say, then you should choose not to say it. Having the freedom to say anything you want doesn't mean you should say anything you want.

Indeed, that's the point. One needs to bear the responsibility of one's acts, and expressing one's opinion is an act as any other. If somebody thinks that he has suffered unjust disadvantage because of that, then he can go to court. However, A PRIORI, one shouldn't deny you the right to express your opinion. And, as I stated, simply expressing your opinion should rarely cause objective harm to anyone.

But of course, you might not make friends that way, and - especially when it comes to irrational beliefs such as religion - you might get yourself in trouble. Not legally, but in the fact. But I think it is not the LAW's purpose to stop you from choosing to express your opinion. Sometimes it is not a SMART THING TO DO. But it should be allowed for.
 
  • #35
ZapperZ
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I should be allowed to express MY OPINION concerning certain opinions/facts. I should be allowed to say whether or not I believe any fact/opinion. So I should be allowed to say that I THINK that Jesus was, I don't know, a terrible warlord who killed millions of innocent citizens. I should be entitled to my opinion, and the right to say so. Nobody can suffer direct objective loss by my saying so.

But I think you're missing my point. You made a distinction that one has no freedom to lie, or deceive, etc.. but one has the absolute freedom to state one's opinion. My point here has nothing to do with "objective loss", but rather the issue that what one considers to be an opinion, another would consider it to be a fact. So someone who believes in "A" is stating a fact when he based it on what "A" has stated. Thus, it is then subjected to be scrutinized and see if it is unverified and thus, a deception, which is not covered by your umbrella on what is considered to be a "freedom of speech". In fact, the words of "A" themselves is subjected to such scrutiny to see if it is an "opinion" or stated as facts that can be construed to be deceiving or outright lies.

But then, someone could easily come in and throw in a wrench and say to the effect that, according to him, "A" is an opinion. Using your rule, it should be covered.

So now you have issues that require that some formal way to decide. We go to the courts then? But hey, this was exactly my point in the very beginning! We draw up boundaries to this so called "freedom of speech", at that boundary includes deciding what is in and what is out, what is libel and what isn't, etc.. etc. It isn't as simple as one makes it out to be, not if people with different background, priorities, believes, etc. want to live with each other.

Zz.
 

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