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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 03/09/2012 :  12:55:23  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have been accused of sacrificing my critical thinking skills at the alter of supporting censorship. I don't support censorship. I support privet companies that have rules about hate speech to apply them evenly and admit that holocaust denial is hate speech (if we can agree that hate speech exists, because some people don't believe it does) hidden behind a nice phrases like "historical revisionism."

I circulated a petition to ban holocaust deniers a place on facebook. Facebook has in their TOS agreement a rule against hate speech. So I'm throwing open this topic for discussion. Am I denying their right to free expression? Am I denying other peoples freedom to determine for themselves if holocaust denial is an abuse aimed at one particular ethnic group or race?

How far does freedom of expression go? Must a privet group grant the right and conversely, must I not call them on it as a freethinker? Should I now turn in my skeptic card?

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26001 Posts

Posted - 03/09/2012 :  14:35:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In the context of free expression, censorship is only an act of government. Neither you nor Facebook are agents of the government, and so neither you nor Facebook can rightly be accused of censorship or even of supporting censorship.

And it's for the very same reason that banning someone from our pages here is not censorship: the Holocaust deniers have other means through which they can make their voices heard. They do not have a right to post anything on Facebook. Nobody does. Facebook could shut its servers off tomorrow and nobody would have a legal leg to stand on in trying to force them back on. No non-governmental person or group can demand access to another private entity's broadcast system, and it isn't censorship to deny them that access, especially if they've broken the clearly written rules.

To say it's censorship is to diminish the import of the real censorship that goes on in the world. When a government jails someone for speaking out against the government, that is censorship. When a corporation threatens to sue a person who is critical of their products or practices, that is censorship. And such cases are of monumental importance to everyone, because if we let them succeed, then someday it'll happen to us.

But denying some Holocaust deniers a Facebook page? It pales in comparison, since they already have a gazillion Web pages, forums, chat rooms, etc., none of which can be legally shut down. (Odds are, if anyone tried to do so, the ACLU would take and win the case, just like they have for actual Nazi groups.) Even suggesting that your petition is censorship spits in the eyes of all the victims of real censorship.

No, Kil, you're not denying anyone their right to free expression, since even if your petition is successful, you can't stop their free expression. And you're not denying anyone's right to determine for themselves anything about Holocaust denial, because there are millions of Web pages and other resources about it which will never go away. (In fact, the only argument I can see for that particular point is that some people are too lazy to leave Facebook, and too bad for them.)

So you're fine, Kil. Your accusers are the ones who aren't engaging their critical thinking very well.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 03/09/2012 :  15:47:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I agree with Dave W., Kil. The legal and ethical issues are the same as here on Skeptic Friends Network. SFN has a right to restrict or deny access to this privately owned Web site. If anyone objects, they can create their own damned blog anytime.

SFN doesn't suddenly become an unconstitutionally-acting agency of the state just because it gives some troll and/or neo-nazi bigot the boot. Neither does Facebook. Campaigning to boot the so-called "historical revisionist" neo-nazis from that place should be applauded, not condemned.

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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chefcrsh
Skeptic Friend

Hong Kong
380 Posts

Posted - 03/09/2012 :  18:43:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send chefcrsh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

In the context of free expression, censorship is only an act of government.


Prove that declaration.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26001 Posts

Posted - 03/09/2012 :  21:56:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by chefcrsh

Originally posted by Dave W.

In the context of free expression, censorship is only an act of government
Prove that declaration.
I thought I did. To which premise do you object:

...that private citizens or groups lack the power to deny anyone the ability to express their ideas, or...

...that free expression does not entail the right to coerce private citizens or groups to help a person express their ideas?

The only objection I can see to the former is when private citizens or groups engage in illegal coercion, like a violently angry mob (not something we're talking about) or a SLAPP suit (which requires the aid of the government).

And if you were to object to the latter premise, consistency would demand that you would have to assert that I have an obligation to pray with my neighbor.

Personal freedoms - all of them - are just that: personal. Nobody is obligated to help you express your ideas or your religion, nobody is obligated to drive you to a protest march, nobody is obligated to print your newsletters, nobody is obligated to sue the government on your behalf, and nobody is obligated to sell you a bazooka. So a failure on the part of a private citizen or group to meet these non-existent obligations is not a denial of any freedom.

And trying to convince a third party to refuse to meet any of these non-existent obligations (which is what Kil is doing) is actually an example of free expression.

By the way, this actually ties in well with this unanswered comment.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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chefcrsh
Skeptic Friend

Hong Kong
380 Posts

Posted - 03/10/2012 :  06:23:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send chefcrsh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
For the record the first one. It is not only a ridiculous assertion history is rife with examples, however one need look no further than the term self-censor to refute it. So much so that every single reference I have found supported the definition that censorship is done by governments, institutions, groups, religions, businesses and even individuals. You and Kil seem to confuse legal wrong with moral worng. There are plenty of things taht are considered legally worng that are not morally wrong (say gay marriage) and vice versa.

And I will not deign to comment to Kil's gross strawman except to say no one ever argued that facebook didnt have rights as a company or Kil didnt have rights as a person.

http://gilc.org/speech/osistudy/censorship/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship
http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/what-censorship
http://censorshipinamerica.com/what-is-censorship/
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/cultureshock/whodecides/definitions.html
http://courses.cs.vt.edu/cs3604/lib/Censorship/Hawthorne.notes.html
http://library.thinkquest.org/06aug/00446/Censorship_whatis.html
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/censored

Finally, what Kil is actually arguing against.

http://youtu.be/jyoOfRog1EM

Edited by - chefcrsh on 03/10/2012 06:25:13
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26001 Posts

Posted - 03/10/2012 :  08:29:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by chefcrsh

For the record the first one. It is not only a ridiculous assertion history is rife with examples, however one need look no further than the term self-censor to refute it.
Self-censoring isn't coercive. We're talking about a denial of free expression. The coercive nature of the act is so important that the only example your first reference could come up with that does not "arise from government or external force" is self-censorship. Private individuals and groups lack the power to silence anyone except either by engaging in an illegal act or with the aid of government.
You and Kil seem to confuse legal wrong with moral worng.
I don't know how you could even begin to think that. My argument applies in both realms equally.
And I will not deign to comment to Kil's gross strawman except to say no one ever argued that facebook didnt have rights as a company or Kil didnt have rights as a person.
I don't see where Kil has claimed that anyone has said he or Facebook don't have rights.
Finally, what Kil is actually arguing against.

http://youtu.be/jyoOfRog1EM
Perhaps you could summarize what you think Hitchens is saying, there, because I don't disagree with any of it, and I don't think Kil would, either. Hitchens is arguing against hate speech laws (government-coerced stifling of free expression), and he's right to do so. Kil is arguing that Facebook should enforce its own rules.

Or do you think that Facebook's rule against hate speech is what is wrong? Do you think Facebook, with its various forms of content restriction, is acting immorally?

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 03/10/2012 :  10:41:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Chef:
Kil's gross strawman...

What strawman?

And yeah. Hitchens was commenting on government censorship aimed at a law in Canada, but really all such LAWS, which is why he talked about his friend being imprisoned in Austria, a government action, American interpretation of law, in the case of the Russian immigrants and the self censorship that took place after the Danish cartoon incident (which he didn't mention specifically) in reaction to very serious threats of violence and death, from the "fundamentalist Islamist" community. He also makes the point about the greatest source of hatred that I also agree with.

I happen to agree with every word of his talk. I have said in various places in our debate that I would defend holocaust deniers right to be wrong. And I mean it. I thought I made it pretty clear that it's privately held sites like SFN or facebook that are under no obligation, moral or otherwise, to provide a forum for any asshole who wants to push hateful nonsense. We happen to allow it here at SFN and even welcome it because we can rebut it directly, point by point, in the hope that the debate will show up in peoples search's for holocaust denial. We welcome unpopular speech of all kinds. We don't have to, but it serves at least one of our goals. I have mentioned several times, the TOS rule in the user agreement at facebook. I also said that the petition I signed is really a protest statement. I don't have the power to limit what facebook does but I can express my dismay, by way of petition, over their willingness to host pages that I think fall under the category of what I consider to be hate speech, which runs counter to their stated rules.

Another misnomer is that I'm trying to limit the right of anyone to learn and decide for themselves about holocaust denial. Because it's not subject to lawful regulation, or censorship, the information is easily available to anyone who is interested, with just a click of their mouse. So why do I care about facebook in particular? I just don't see why a privet company would set themselves up as being the largest recruitment center for that kind of hate, and especially not when they say they don't allow hate speech in their TOS agreement.

Again, my protest.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 03/10/2012 :  12:35:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Recognizing another individual's right to free speech does not entail having to provide a platform for that person's views. I wish more ID creationists understood this.

"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26001 Posts

Posted - 03/10/2012 :  16:19:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by H. Humbert

Recognizing another individual's right to free speech does not entail having to provide a platform for that person's views. I wish more ID creationists understood this.
Yeah, so long as street corners remain public, people will have a place from which to give voice to their ideas. Nobody has any legal or moral obligation, based on the ideal of free expression alone, to help anyone else attain a taller soapbox or a bigger megaphone.

But chef isn't objecting to that. What he seems to be objecting to is (by analogy) telling the host of a private party that another guest is saying things that the host abhors. chef seems to either think that tattling is a moral failure, or that throwing someone out of the house is a moral failure. Or both.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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chefcrsh
Skeptic Friend

Hong Kong
380 Posts

Posted - 03/10/2012 :  20:14:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send chefcrsh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

Chef:
Kil's gross strawman...

What strawman?

The entire OP.
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chefcrsh
Skeptic Friend

Hong Kong
380 Posts

Posted - 03/10/2012 :  20:15:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send chefcrsh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
HItchen's was NOT arguing exclusively about government censorship. If you had listened to the entire speech you would have known that. I guess you probably censored it.

We was specifically invited by the University of Toronto's Hart House Debating
Club to voice his opinion on the subject of the evening's debate: Be It
Resolved: Freedom of Speech Includes the Freedom to Hate.
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chefcrsh
Skeptic Friend

Hong Kong
380 Posts

Posted - 03/10/2012 :  20:29:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send chefcrsh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.
We're talking about a denial of free expression.


Agreed and you said it (censorship)was only possible by Governments. Which is what I argued against with you and provided ample reference that you are incorrect.

I did not argue something about coercion or force...Kil and his cohort are using bullying tactic (argument ad populum) to get a third party to side with them exclusively over the equal rights of others (they also did not pay and are guests in the community that is Facebook). Worse than that they are doing so without the very important need of providing evidence against specific action, but rather saying that the mere act of proposing an alternative view of the holocaust is an act of hate-crime...which shows both the overzealous nature of censors and the absurdity of the term hate-crime.

By the way self censorship is often also brought about by the threat of force. For simple example if you are in a bar watching your team in the big game, But the bar is populated by unruly and brawny people for the other team, you may try to stifle your cheers for your own team...this is self censorship due to (imagined) threat of force. If a company supervisor threatens to suspend anyone talking about organizing the workers, that is a threat of force used as censorship by one individual (they may not have company wide-approval). When a union strike threatenes violence against discussion of going back to work as "scab" labor (actually even calling people by the term scab is censorious hate speech) that is a form of censorship by force.

The links I provided discuss specifically censorship in great length and give many real examples of censorship through means other than official government. Including but not limited to religion, private groups, individuals and the self.
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chefcrsh
Skeptic Friend

Hong Kong
380 Posts

Posted - 03/10/2012 :  20:37:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send chefcrsh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Originally posted by H. Humbert

Recognizing another individual's right to free speech does not entail having to provide a platform for that person's views. I wish more ID creationists understood this.
Yeah, so long as street corners remain public, people will have a place from which to give voice to their ideas. Nobody has any legal or moral obligation, based on the ideal of free expression alone, to help anyone else attain a taller soapbox or a bigger megaphone.

But chef isn't objecting to that. What he seems to be objecting to is (by analogy) telling the host of a private party that another guest is saying things that the host abhors. chef seems to either think that tattling is a moral failure, or that throwing someone out of the house is a moral failure. Or both.


No not quite. I am objecting first to the very notion that hate-speech can be defined without arbitrary and capricious subjectivity. I am objecting to prejudicial labeling of all groups because some may use hateful or even violent rhetoric. Those are the specific failings of free thinking going on.

To use the host analogy, I object to a person going to the host of a party and saying, you know there are certain people here who do not agree with the consensus view of X. Some unknown number of them have even said people who believe in the consensus should be killed. I think we should kick out everyone who does not readily accept the consensus view just to be sure none of those who hate people the consensus view are left in by accident.

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chefcrsh
Skeptic Friend

Hong Kong
380 Posts

Posted - 03/10/2012 :  21:24:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send chefcrsh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One final thought that I urge you to never let go of.

On September 30, 2005. A private Danish newspaper published some cartoons - that is right works of fiction. The following cascade of censorship spread throughout the world.

Much like with the Satanic Verses is 1998, many (not just islamists or religious) called the cartoons a form of hate speech, and even argued that the violence was the cause of the artists.

Newspapers throughout the world self-censored because of the threat of potential violence, some arguing that indeed to publish would be hate speech, others arguing that to publish may offend the public. And some arguing that to publish may endanger their employees. They had the legal right to censor.

In their self censorship they imposed censorship on the artists (as many publishers and book stores did with The Satanic Verses).

One publication that I am aware of, aptly named Free Inquiry, had the free and critical thinking credibility to actually go an publish the cartoons. They were censored by the private distribution outlets.

There was an outcry from the skeptical community at the clear and obvious unethical stance of those insisting on silence for fear or for sensitivity. That outcry was just and was the result of critical thinking.

There in one (well two she you consider Rushdie, who's imposed censorship continues though in much of the world not by laws), example is the refutation of every argument above. Shame on those of you who have forgotten it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jyllands-Posten_Muhammad_cartoons_controversy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Satanic_Verses_controversy
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 03/10/2012 :  22:03:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by chefcrsh

Originally posted by Kil

Chef:
Kil's gross strawman...

What strawman?

The entire OP.
Baloney.

But just for the sake of understanding you, lets pretend that I don't know what a strawman is, and you take apart my OP and give me a lesson in strawman arguments.

And just for the fun of it, explain to me how this is not a strawman argument.

Chef:
That you are an advocate of free thinking and free inquiry but believe there are subjects too taboo for you to think on or inquire about that you would prefer to employ and uber-scarf at least for some subjects demonstrates you are grossly logically inconsistent. That you also want to mandate the uber-scarf for all, and advocate that these subjects be erased from the community because you have decided they are too distasteful for anyone to know about demonstrates a form of egomania that can not fit with the first rule of critical thinking: doubt yourself.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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