South African Skeptics

Censorship in the defense of free speech.

Offline brianvds

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I have been known to refer to myself as a Boer. I wonder if that would get me in trouble with the DA...


Offline Rigil Kent

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I have been known to refer to myself as a Boer. I wonder if that would get me in trouble with the DA...


Ag I'm sure a boer can call another boer a boer.
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Offline Mefiante

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Old thread, I know, but this is too good to pass up, and it fits in here perfectly.

The art of judicious fine-graining: Free Speech vs. Just Access.  IMO, this article should be required reading for all classes where free speech issues are taught and discussed.

'Luthon64
"Sensitive" people are now carefully examining the entire universe, trying to find something to be "offended" at. It won't stop until such time as the "offenders" learn to stop apologizing, and saying "freck off" instead. — brianvds, The ShoutBox Classics, 02/07/2018.


Offline BoogieMonster

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Yes. I have a problem with that article. It is horribly biased. Argue that it is biased in the "correct" (left) direction.... but it's still biased. It's telling us that it's up to some elite public institutions to decide on our behalf what we should be exposed to because most of us aren't the objective paragons of pure logic that they are. Poppycock.

The article holds up Murray's claims about IQ as an example of opinions the public should be sheltered from. But in the "debunking" article they link, we find this:

Quote from: Vox
We believe there is a fairly wide consensus among behavioral scientists in favor of our views, but there is undeniably a range of opinions in the scientific community. Some well-informed scientists hold views closer to Murray’s than to ours. And there are others who challenge views that we accept about the utility of the general concepts of intelligence and heritability.

So. To get this straight. This is free speech about a controversial scientific concept about which there is no consensus, with many facts that they concede in the article about which he is 100% correct, but maybe not quite exactly describing it the same way they would and making some undue inferences ... and those inferences themselves are in dispute... not resolved. YET, "we" know that what this guy is saying is wrong (according to us) and he should be fired and never allowed to talk at a university again? My fucking head hurts.

Note: I don't care if he's right or wrong at this point. Just the flimsy example being shown here as clear-cut settled and clearly justifying censure which is ... anything but, and revolves around a real scientific debate which we supposedly need to silence. Hurting again....

I'm sorry, I remain a free speech absolutist. The point is that not everyone in the public eye is a rational actor being 100% objective. The point is that in the long run it allows rational, critical, unpopular voices to speak to truth in spite of popular opinion or "settled fact". It should exist exactly because intellectual elites are often completely and utterly WRONG. Has history taught us absolutely nothing?

"Yeah but, Boogie, crazies end up on TV!" Yes, they do, because nothing is perfect. I probably prefer distributed self-correcting imperfection to imposed tyrannical imperfection.
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Offline Mefiante

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[The article is] telling us that it's up to some elite public institutions to decide on our behalf what we should be exposed to because most of us aren't the objective paragons of pure logic that they are.
I don’t read it that way at all.  What van Norden is saying is that (1) loopy viewpoints will never want for a soapbox (these days, the biggest being the Internet and its retarded descendants, social media), and (2) information dissemination agents (chiefly assorted media and universities) are in any case already deciding which information to publicise, but that their selection criteria are ethically delinquent when they treat all viewpoints as basically equal in merit.  Wherever possible, they should be guided by what’s verifiably true (in the sense of being in accord with available evidence, fact, and/or observation), or where relevant expert consensus is strong, or where customary rationality leans significantly towards a different take on a given issue.  To do otherwise, as when featuring the most salacious/titillating/provocative stories, just to keep controversy on the boil, is to violate their obligation as reliable sources of information; is irresponsible; and is a serious disservice to their audience.

In short, he’s advocating that such agencies must, each on its own terms, be guided by more stringent fact-based, rather than popularity-based, discretion when compiling content.  By no stretch of the imagination can this be said to be censorship, covert or overt.  The sheer variety and number of such agencies guarantees that every clamouring twit gets their 15 minutes, but the overall bias needs to snuggle up closer to what’s true.

'Luthon64
"Sensitive" people are now carefully examining the entire universe, trying to find something to be "offended" at. It won't stop until such time as the "offenders" learn to stop apologizing, and saying "freck off" instead. — brianvds, The ShoutBox Classics, 02/07/2018.


Offline brianvds

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What van Norden is saying is that (1) loopy viewpoints will never want for a soapbox (these days, the biggest being the Internet and its retarded descendants, social media),

Which is why, to significant extent, the debates about both free speech and copyright have become moot. People do now have freedom of expression, and copyright is a thing of the past, whether these are good things or not. We'd do well to learn to live with it.


Offline Mefiante

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"Sensitive" people are now carefully examining the entire universe, trying to find something to be "offended" at. It won't stop until such time as the "offenders" learn to stop apologizing, and saying "freck off" instead. — brianvds, The ShoutBox Classics, 02/07/2018.


Offline brianvds

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Well, perhaps it’s not quite that easy in practice…

'Luthon64

Want to see that offensive video? Here you go:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJBWCLeOEaM&bpctr=1530168328

And that's sort of my point. It is true enough that one cannot say literally anything under one's own name, on a street corner. But upload the stuff to the web, and if it's popular it will spread like wildfire, and there is preciously little anyone can do about it. My guess is that even in China, a great deal of the stuff they try to prevent from coming in by having shut down half the web nevertheless gets in anyway. And of course, they will know all about the end of copyright... :-)

The web is like the printing pres in overdrive. It wasn't long after Gutenberg that governments frantically tried to control it, but such attempts were never entirely successful. Underground presses ran even in Nazi-occupied territories, despite draconian punishments. Good luck trying to control anything of which copies can easily be made and distributed.