Tuesday, May 02, 2006

This Country Has Freedom of Speech, So Shut Up!

That little annoying thing was brought up recently by PZ Myers and some commenters over on Pharyngula. It's one of the most annoying phrases that shows up between the lines of a lot of various trolls, be they Creationists, alties, psychics, UFOlogists, right-wing, left-wing, dorsal-wing, ventral-wing or whatever. Apparently, they seem to think that freedom of speech prohibits criticism. Ann Coulter, for example, is an idiot, and, thanks to courtnix, a proposed measure of brain cell death. Some trolls on there, however, seemed to suggest that it was evil and malicious of us atheists/agnostics/"liberals"/evilutionists to criticize her, Dembski, and the prospective content of her new book. Oh, and we're ALL depraved pie-throwers because she got hit with pies. Literally.

Sometime I should make a note to watch that video.

Freedom of speech is supposed to protect all forms of speech (barring, of course, stuff like shouting, "Fire!" in a crowded theater, but that is another topic altogether), including criticism. If someone is an idiot, I am fully entitled to call that someone an idiot, as well as dissect in detail that person's idiotry. If that person is about to publish something, I'm fully entitled to infer what sort of idiotry will be in there, and preemptively criticize that anticipated idiotry. There's nothing wrong with that whatsoever. One of the many prices of free speech is eternal vigilance against stupid speech.


Anonymous said...

Well said. Too many seem to think it means freedom to say what they believe and, when it pertains to religon in particular, no one is allowed to critize it because it is about religon. If only those people could see that their failure to engage in honest debate means that they can and should be ignored by those that really want to understand and improve the human condition.

Anonymous said...

It's part of the wholesale rejection of reason.

People keep telling me that since I can't prove them wrong, since no one can ever prove them wrong, they can believe whatever they want. I keep explaining that if no one can know, then we aren't all equally right; we are all equally wrong.

They might as well say, "Don't be a buzzkill! Stop harshing on my buzz, man!"

Political, religious, and philosophical discourse have been turned into merely another escapist entertainment.