[ExI] Basis of Belief

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Wed Feb 27 04:55:40 UTC 2008

Gary replied to Henrique

> Henrique said:
> > There's a saying I like very much to use (and which I
> > don't know who's the author): If you don't want to be
> > ridiculed then don't be ridiculous.

But ridiculousness lies in the eye of the beholder!  Worse,
your formula would invite people to hang out only with
those who agree with them.  After all, if you're in a group
where you are an extreme minority, you must expect that
your views will be ridiculed.

The question is: "What are the moral and ethical responsibilities
of the majority? Under what conditions should they be sparing
in their ridiculing of persons and of views with which they

This question has only very complex answers. I would suggest
a few principles, however.

1. So long as there is humor involved and you are just having fun
    please don't worry so long as the targets are out of earshot.
    This way they do not feel obligated to respond (which you
    don't want anyway---that wasn't the point of your joking around)

2. If you are lurking on forums where serious discussion is
    possible, then don't hesitate to "spoil their fun" if you really
    would like to challenge their common mindset.  Serious discussion
    forums---no matter how much fun they sometimes have---
    rightly represent themselves (above all else!) as open to critical
    examination of points of view.

3. If you are engaging in some fun (e.g. ridiculing the French
    when no French people are present (or read "Asian", "black",
    "atheist", what have you)), that's fine---but out of common courtesy
    and basic respect for others, it ought to stop or be greatly toned
    down when a "victim" approaches the group and begins to
    participate in the discussion.


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