Alun Salt correctly pins the difficulty of dealing with stupidly planned debates, those that give credence to the uncredible merely by allowing them to appear — in this case, in regard to the Oxford Union’s ill-thought notion to invite neo-fascists and Holocaust deniers in to discuss “freedom of speech.”
This is exactly the same issue that arises when the tinfoil hats group asks a distinguished scientist to “debate” a creationist, or when someone demands a forum for David Barton to discuss the Christian nature of the design of U.S. government.
Freedom of speech and freedom of the press include the freedom to be stupid, and the freedom to believe stupid and false things. Our First Amendment does not create a privilege to waste the time of other people who do not share such beliefs.
I wish Mr. Salt had the answer we need in Texas: What do you do when the tinfoil hats people take over the Texas State Board of Education and demand that religious superstition replace science in the science classes?