Re: virus: Expressway to their skulls

Eric Boyd (
Sat, 30 Jan 1999 14:57:15 -0500


Tim Rhodes <>
<snip censorship quotation>
Isn't this an instance of exactly the kind of blind faith you oppose?

I'm not sure I follow. Do you think this is blind faith that the truth will will out against falsehood? Blind faith that *all* censorship is bad?

I do not think the quotation advocates either of those; I think rather that it points out that as truth seekers, we have nothing to fear from free and open communication on all subjects -- that, in fact, we profit from such exchanges, and thus we should oppose attempts to censor.

I fail to see how either of the two possibilities above are faith, let alone "blind" faith. Falsehoods *may* win out against the truth (via memetic pathways, etc.), but that is NOT a good reason to censor people -- becuase we cannot be sure that they do not speak the truth before we hear them out! (failability) What the quotation addresses is the attitude that we *must* censor certain things (pornography is a common example in religious circles) becuase one is *convinced* the "falsehoods" about them will win out against the truth.[1] It is THAT position that we can never conceed -- that a falsehood will *inevidebly* win out against the truth, becuase down that road lies dispair and defeat, as David Deutsch said.

I would say that not accepting censorship of *any* opinions is simply a rational stance designed to ensure that faith of all kinds is open to criticism! If you can convice me that some forms of censorship might be good, by all means do so. I doubt it, but it's not impossible a priori.


[1] Ironically, it is the truth about them that wins out, it's just that the religious circles see that truth as falsehood...