Intellectual freedom in the Western world

I wrote this to an American friend recently, about the importance of intellectual freedom today:

I agree, but respectfully suggest that the main question is whether your country's government agrees.

Against much hostility and opposition, some of us got inserted into the Constitution of another (big and unimportant) country:

“Whereas [don't fall asleep] is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:”

As a result, even the worst justices on that country's supreme bench have been forced to acknowledge that truth is a defense to libel.

By contrast, in Holland, which belongs to an EU system Constitution that pointedly excludes God, Geert Wilders was informed that it made no difference if his angry claims against Islam are true, if they "insult" Muslims.

That is precisely the difference we need to note. Excluding God means that truth does not matter. The trouble with trying to found governments without God is that no one recognizes ideas like truth, let alone the rights and dignities of the human individual.

You might find that your mom is in competition with a baboon for health care – and she might lose, if some sentimental animal rights campaign starts up in favour of the baboon.

 Big whoop. Your taxes are paying for the baboon's health care, but not your mom's. Group huggie! Group huggie!, right?

 Look, there ARE people out there with nothing better to do, and all day to do it in. It is possible that some are funded by your taxes.

As I see the Comer decision (where a Texas education administrator was fired for advocating Darwinism), it set a limit on the extent to which a lobby can just take over government when most people actually think that the policy is reasonable, and represents a cultural consensus [= that reasonable challenges to Darwinism are permissible].

PS: I hold no brief for Wilders – like all free speech journalists, I am concerned about the principle itself. Here, a Muslim is free to argue that Wilders's claims are untrue, in any available forums, most of them free. But the Muslim takes the risk that he had better have an opposing case to offer, other than that he is merely offended. We have been in this battle for a while here and so far, we are winning! – d.

Other stories from The Mindful Hack (Denyse O'Leary's blog on issues of mind and brain):

The New Atheists are God's prophets?

Why we must make sure the Darwinists lose

Single neurons can detect sequences?

Neuroscience journal changes policy on last-minute add-ins

Linguistics and Darwinism: Noam Chomsky

I can't make this stuff up: Magnet impairs morality

One thought on “Intellectual freedom in the Western world

  1. “Excluding God means that truth does not matter.” Exactly.
    I had an interesting exchange with an atheist yesterday. I put forth the suggestion that there is such a thing as objective moral law. He said, No – the concepts of right and wrong are relative. “There is no right and wrong, only desirable and undesirable acts.”
    Then he proceeded to tell me what was wrong with my article, Darwin’s Quantum Leap from an earlier Salvo.
    I asked him which standard of right and wrong he was applying in correcting me: an objective standard of right and wrong that actually exists in reality or the relative standard which says there is no right and wrong, only desirable and undesirable acts?
    He hasn’t answered.

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