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Comment Thinking critically is HARD WORK (Score 1) 368

We don't do hard work anymore - so it's not a surprise that the number of critical thinkers is falling rapidly.

An undergraduate history degree did wonders for my ability to spot BS, but it's always hard work. The best historical evidence is the stuff that is circumstantial to the main thrust of the story being told - because it's least likely to be deliberately manipulated. John Wesley's letters to the editor of a Bristol newspaper about brewing beer torpedo 19th century Methodism adoption of teetotalism, for example. The next best is when a chronicler is recording something he's upset to admit to happening: Emperor Julian the Apostate's complaints about the welfare efforts of the church that show up paganism's failure in the area are a great example of this.

Unfortunately it's rare to see examples of these in modern journalism - though it pops up occasionally.

Comment Subtle points; thank you (Score 1) 646

The ideal of free speech in society is to enable the free exchange of opinion / arguments in order to find the truth. The expression of an opinion that is a contribution to ongoing debate in a society should therefore not be subject to sanctions by any part of that society - thus the concept of whistleblower as well as the freedom to endorse publicly views that are unfashionable.

The examples you offer are illuminating in that they are largely beyond the purpose of free speech as I've suggested it ought to work. However in the case of an employee, it should be the case that they are not SACKED for an opinion unrelated to work, because that is to use employment as a constraint on public discussion. Which is the issue here: is this guys private behaviours and views substantially detrimental to his employability. To my mind no.

Comment Re: While its not my cup of tea (Score 2) 646

Both are basing their beliefs on an outside standard. The only issue is whether the liberal or conservative reason is correct.

You are also conflating 'conservative' with 'religious'. To do so is to ignore the conservative tradition articulated by Roger Scruton, who, to hopelessly oversimplify, argues that what has been done in the past is a pattern which is likely to be good in itself, whose rejection is inherently bad to some extent. I.e Cultural practices emerge and define a community, and to destroy them is wrong.

Comment Inherent superiority (Score 1, Troll) 646

If there's a case for it, it comes from the statement

"participate in, elaborate sexual subjugation fantasies, in which men are inherently superior to women."

The claim presumably being that the person believes this to be the case. What we then have is a free speech issue; is it still acceptable to believe that statement, or is it no longer covered by freedom of speech principles. Either position is problematic.

Comment Great answer, thanks (Score 2) 281

Ok - so I'm anal about this... but for those of us who are, it does do terrible things to our ability to hear what is being said. So be kind to those of us who have this disability.

This is a great discussion of the need for provision

based on the old joke

“A panda walks into a cafe. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.

"Why?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife annual and tosses it over his shoulder.

"I'm a panda," he says, at the door. "Look it up."

The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.

Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.”

Comment The BBC has a mixed record (Score 1) 542

Its reboot of Survivors was unimpressive. Their reboot of Dr Who is superb.

It is the virtue of their funding model - a poll tax on TV viewers - is that it enables them to be adventurous. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel was excellent although the first episode dragged. Let's hope 'Good Omens' is as good.

Comment Note the soft glove approach to Exxon (Score 4, Insightful) 171

If a small company was being investigated and their emails were significant to the crime, then there would be no problem with grabbing everything despite the damage that it would do to the small firm. Yet when a big firm is being investigated, they are free to hand over what they feel like. A similar problem was visible when News International was done in the UK over its phone hacking behaviour. A little less subtly from prosecutors would be welcome!

Comment Socialism is NOT necessary (Score 0) 171

What is necessary is for polluters to pay the full price of the damage that they are doing to the environment. This can be achieved by carbon pricing in the case of the flap over climate change, which can occur without 'socialism' as such. If however you fail to implement that, it's as immoral as dumping sewage on someone's front garden or graffiting priceless painting...

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