[ExI] intolerant minds, a different flavor

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Thu May 7 23:40:42 UTC 2009

At 04:11 PM 5/7/2009 -0700, Lee wrote:

>Again, behavior is one thing. The mere voicing of
>ideas another.

The core problem in this dispute seems to be your (and some others') 
adherence to this claim. Despite the recommendations of Enlightenment 
philosophes to defend to the death the liberty of everyone to say 
whatever they please, this proposed dichotomy is just plain wrong. 
Voicing an idea *is* a behavior, and in some circumstances can be an 
incendiary and even fatal behavior.

Whether one privileges free speech over those risks and consequences 
is another matter, but we have to start with the recognition of human 
reality. People are not dispassionate brains in bottles, even when 
they're doing science. To quote the blessed Lewis Thomas:

                 "Scientists at work are rather like young animals 
engaged in savage play. When they are near an answer their hair 
stands on end, they sweat, they are awash in their own adrenalin." 
(Lewis Thomas, The Lives of a Cell. Notes of a Biology Watcher, 1974)

Dr. Thomas was an experimentalist as well as an administrator, not a theorist.

How much more savage and awash in adrenalin, then, when humans 
overhear others "merely voicing ideas" concerning their genocide, for example?

(Jesus Christ, was it really necessary for me to spend several 
minutes writing that?)

Damien Broderick

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