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Monday, November 24, 2008

Science fiction and philosophy

Jason Rennie at the Sci Phi Journal - science fiction and philosophy - offers podcast archives.

Also cartoons, like the one here.

All we need now is philosophy fiction and science - or is that, like, the 11th season of Good Morning, Hell already?

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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Intellectual freedom in Canada: Prof hired to examine (whitewash?) the "human rights" commissions turns on them!

The Canadian blogosphere is alive with this story, so I will only post a few items:

Professor Richard Moon's report recommended dropping the infamous Section 13 from the Canadian Human Rights Act - the one that "human rights" mandarins use for social engineering.

Popular commentator Mark Steyn, historic Maclean's Magazine, and lawyer-publisher Ezra Levant all faced charges under that section. They beat the charges, but less well-spoken and well-connected people never do.

One wit has predicted a rise in bogus hate crimes as the "anti-hate" industry attempts to salvage its position. So if you live in Canada, don't freak out if some sort of abuse is spray painted on a nearby wall. Business is business, right?

People - including Ezra Levant - thought that University of Windsor constitutional law prof Richard Moon would merely whitewash government wrongdoing. After all, why pay him $50,000 to tell us what injustices people have been screaming about from coast to coast?

(Non-Canadians, bear with me. The current conduct of the "human rights" commissions of Canada is the greatest danger to civil liberties since the governments that provoked the Rebellions of 1837. Or if they are not, one heck of a book could be written about the ones in between ... )

Here's Janice Tibbett's take on it from The National Post:
The investigative power over hate speech was first created more than 30 years ago to apply to telephone communications but the law was expanded in 2001 to include the Internet.

Critics contend that the human rights power, which was intended to shut down egregious dissemination of hate propaganda, is being abused with nuisance complaints that would not survive a court challenge.

Liberal MP Keith Martin has introduced a private members' motion to eliminate the commission's investigative power to police the Internet and he says he will lobby the all-party Commons justice committee to hold public hearings and submit a report that he hopes will become the basis for government legislation.

Critics, including Martin, also contend there are hate-crime laws in the Criminal Code to punish true offenders, rather than those who have merely offended rather than promoted hate.

"We have a right to be protected from hate speech but we do not have a right not to be offended," he said.
Here's a summary of prof Moon's report: It will be tabled in Parliament mid 2009.
The first recommendation is that section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) be repealed so that the CHRC and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) would no longer deal with hate speech, in particular hate speech on the Internet.

Hate speech should continue to be prohibited under the Criminal Code but confined to expression that advocates, justifies or threatens violence. In the fight against hate on the Internet, police and prosecutors should make greater use of section 320.1 of the Criminal Code, which gives a judge power to order an Internet service provider (ISP) to remove "hate propaganda" from its system.

Each province should establish a provincial "Hate Crime Team," composed of both police and Crown law officers with experience in the area to deal with the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes including hate speech under the Criminal Code.
One big question, of course, is this - given that hate speech IS a crime in our Criminal Code, why was this "human rights" Gestapo permitted to grow up in the first place? We would need to keep a very close eye on the "Hate Crime Teams" proposed. Will the current unaccountable nabobs turn up again on the Hate Crime Teams?

Bigger problem: Some people think "hate" means that someone has said something about them that they don't want to paste into their "precious moments" scrapbook. How will we get them to understand that that is not a crime?

Here's Moon's report.

From Deborah Gyapong: Harper government urged to back down on thought crimes. (Western Catholic Reporter, Week of November 24, 2008)

Ezra Levant talks about the strange way in which some Jewish organizations have fronted a "human rights" agenda that endangers Jews in Canada, like himself. And here is his National Post column.

From Calgary commentator Rob Breakenridge: Tories should take free speech support beyond convention (Calgary Herald, November 18, 2008) Breakenridge is referring to the fact that dropping infamous Section 13 drew nearly 100 percent of the currently governing Conservative Party's convention's support. But what happens next? The bureaucracy bogdown? The civil service shunt? Also from Breakenridge: The hopeless inconsistency of the rulings (11/20/2008). Basically, if you are politically correct, they can't touch you, but if you are not, you are toast.

Also, as Franklin Carter of the Freedom of Expression Committee of the Book and Periodical Council of Canada notes,
In Vancouver, two MPs want to stop U.S. fundamentalist minister Fred Phelps and his supporters from entering Canada. Phelps wants to protest the staging of The Laramie Project -- a play with a gay theme -- later this month. Both the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and Little Sister's Book and Art Emporium say Phelps should be allowed to enter the country and speak his mind.

Jeremy Hainsworth of Xtra reports.
Phelps is a genuine bigot, not the straw doll so often stuffed up here to advance various causes, interests, and incomes.
Fred Phelps has already caused untold suffering and pain to the families of dead American soldiers by protesting their funerals with signs proclaiming that “God Hates America” because “Gad Hates Fags” and America tolerates them. He even proclaims on his website that Americans should celebrate Improvised Explosive Devices as a gift from a God who is punishing the soldiers by blowing them up – again, for America’s crime of tolerating homosexuality.
So, good for the BC gay rights groups who say, let him come and speak his mind!

But, that said, memo to BCCLA, Little Sisters, et al: A legitimate foreign policy case can be made for excluding Phelps. If Canadians were killed or injured as a result of uproars created by Phelps's visit, well ...

But these are precisely the kinds of discussions we need to have, not discussions about hurt feelings, imaginations, supposed stereotyping, perceived negative historical portrayals, "I feel dissed," "they done me historical wrong," et cetera.

Hello? Hello? Do we have a connection? There are real threats out there ... Some people truly do hate us, and they are really dangerous.

We've got to get our noses out of our belly buttons and start looking at the real world.

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Today at Colliding Universes

Extraterrestrial life: Here's a story you could only read in New Scientist ...

The universe has the hallmarks of design and what can anyone do about it?

Free stuff: Ivy League University lectures of interest to Colliding Universes readers

Colliding Universes is my blog about competing theories of our universe.

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