Thursday, July 30, 2015

Blasphemy (again)

Should certain ideas be protected? Jesus and Mo point out the difficulties inherent in this question.

Many people (including me) would argue that they shouldn't. This includes religions which are (in my view) just ideas about reality that adherents would like to be true but have no evidence for. Of course the adherents themselves often argue that they do have evidence for their beliefs, but in my experience this often turns out to be a simple regurgitation/interpretation of powerful memes transferred into their brains from long dead ancestors via scripture, tradition and authority and not really evidence at all, more like evolved opinion or desire.

Of course the idea that free speech should be protected is itself an idea and not a universal absolute; circularity abounds with this subject but ultimately we can use evidence to assess the relative well-being of societies that have it against those that don't as a guide. Even concepts like well-being are also just ideas but at some point we have to get real and accept the fact that this is just the way space-time rolls and we need to be content with doing the best we can. I find a utilitarian perspective the most useful in reasoning about this. The most important point for me is that we base our actions on evidence rather than pervasive memes, and accept that all ideas are transient and many so unlikely that we can safely consider them to be wrong.

No comments: