Shouting down what you don’t like (college campuses)

First, I should make it clear what I am talking about. I am not talking about someone walking around and shouting..and subsequently being heckled.

And I am NOT talking about a college course; I am absolutely ok with a faculty member being fired for incompetence for teaching nonsense in their courses (e. g. a biologist teaching intelligent design or creationism as a “valid theory”). Competence in one’s subject is essential for a college professor!

What I am talking about are things like this. Hat tip to Jerry Coyne for calling attention to things like these.

Now let me make this clear: I understand that the First Amendment applies to government actions; this doesn’t guarantee someone a platform or a friendly audience. I understand that. And I also understand that those on the campus community that object can always stand outside with signs, etc.

But here is the deal: a student organization (or committee, whatever) set up a speaker that they wanted to listen to. These people (students or otherwise) effectively kept others on campus from listening.

I don’t care how self righteous you think that you are: you are not qualified to determine what I can listen to and what I shouldn’t be able to listen to. What gives you that right?

This is dangerous for other reasons as well: the neutral party might wonder “hmmm, are the ideas so dangerous that these people think that they shouldn’t be given a hearing?”

Hey, if they are really bad ideas and YOU can figure that out, well, with p less than .01, I am probably capable of coming to the same determination on my own.

Now you might think “hey, weren’t those ideas discredited many years ago?” And that might well be true; if it is, that is probably why you aren’t getting this from one of your classes or course textbooks.

But if a campus group goes through the official channels to book a speaker, then they should get to speak, whether you like it or not. And yes, that would include, say, some Bible group sponsoring a creationist speaker.

Now if that said speaker has a question and answer period, by all means, cross examine the speaker. Write rebuttals to the student paper or on social media.

But this shouting down is ridiculous.


March 6, 2017 - Posted by | social/political | , ,

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