Coda on the Oxford Union debate fiasco


 

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?

2 Responses to Coda on the Oxford Union debate fiasco

  1. […] Ed Darrell has set a tough prob­lem. How do you solve the Texan edu­ca­tion crisis? If you haven’t been fol­low­ing this, the Texas Education Authority has forced an employee to resign because she sent round details of a talk debunk­ing Intelligent Design. The TEA has stated it’s neut­ral on whether or not chil­dren should have good edu­ca­tion. It’s the latest round of what, in the­ory, is the argu­ment between Science and Intelligent Design. It isn’t really. Everyone knows that Intelligent Design is second-rate Creationism. However I don’t think the argu­ment is between Science and Creationism either. If it was then the debate would be as dead as phlogiston. […]

    Like

  2. […] Ed Darrell has set a tough problem. How do you solve the Texan education crisis? If you haven’t been following this, the Texas Education Authority has forced an employee to resign because she sent round details of a talk debunking Intelligent Design. The TEA has stated it’s neutral on whether or not children should have good education. It’s the latest round of what, in theory, is the argument between Science and Intelligent Design. It isn’t really. Everyone knows that Intelligent Design is second-rate Creationism. However I don’t think the argument is between Science and Creationism either. If it was then the debate would be as dead as phlogiston. […]

    Like

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