Give Fox News a great big hug
Ajita Kamal of Nirmukta is thinking about many of the same issues we’ve been thinking about around here.
A common misconception is that freethought implies treating all ideas equally. This could not be farther from the truth. Freethinkers are extremely discriminatory of bad ideas, and adopt a refined reasoning process in judging factual claims.
Exactly, and this is why the idea that the Center for Inquiry (for example) is and should be in the business of promoting “diversity” is so silly. Free inquiry isn’t some default state that flourishes is left alone; it has to be protected and encouraged, because there are always lots of people who want to shut it down the better to promote their own conclusions.
Organized promotion of freethought is a political ideology, even if freethought itself is not. The process of building a culture of freethought involves first creating communities of freethinkers- people who can find and communicate with each other, while living amongst the masses of people who are not freethinkers. Once these communities begin to come together online (and off), much good can be accomplished through activism.
Yes; then again there is always the risk of groupthink and other-hatred; then again if you let that thought trump all efforts to do anything, well then you can’t do anything.
Most freethinkers are wary of all ideologies. These are not usually the ones that are politically motivated towards promoting freethought, although they do benefit from the efforts of those who are.
Ah-ha. That’s a very helpful way of putting it – and accurate, too. I’m torn in that way myself. In general I am wary of all ideologies, all groups, all “communities,” all promotion…but somehow the backlash against gnu atheism has made me become more ideological (if you want to call it that) or more “loyal” (if you want to call it that) or more obstinate and refusenik about this one thing. My feminism has always been like that too, I suppose – opponents tended to firm up my allegiance.
That’s one thing backlashes do, as I think I’ve mentioned a few times – they stiffen the resistance. (So does that mean we should smile benignly on the Tea Partiers and Glen Beck and Sarah Palin? Dear oh dear, what a quandary.) Offer a prayer of thanks for The Enemy.