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Nonsense:

Also from the resolution "Combating defamation of religions" passed by the U.N. General Assembly (see the post below):

Affirms that the Human Rights Council shall promote universal respect for all religious and cultural values and address instances of intolerance, discrimination and incitement of hatred against any community or adherents of any religion ...

"[U]niversal respect for all religious and cultural values"? Surely this is patently impossible, and in fact contradicted within the same resolution by a provision that says, "Urges States to ensure equal access to education for all, in law and in practice, including access to free primary education for all children, both girls and boys, and access for adults to lifelong learning and education based on respect for human rights, diversity and tolerance, without discrimination of any kind, and to refrain from any legal or other measures leading to racial segregation in access to schooling." Holy war against nonbelievers is a religious value. Racial segregation is to some a religious value and to some a cultural value. Lesser education for girls than boys is to some a cultural value that is at least imbued with religious tradition.

True, they are bad religious and cultural values — but unless one redefines "religious and cultural values" to mean "good religious and cultural values," they surely are religious and cultural values. So either the statement is patently impossible, or (if one does redefine the phrase the way I alluded to) tautological and thus lacking in meaning. But I suppose meaning is too much to expect in this context.

Oren:
I think you are confusing respect with deference; one can respect religious and cultural values without necessarily accepting them as either normative, binding or even a good idea. Taking your example, it is not contradictory to declare that, while we have respect for the religious or cultural reasons that many cite as reason to educate girls less than boys, society has chosen otherwise. I don't see why this is any different from other matters that we disagree on - the (all too optimistic) hope is that we can disagree politely and that, if we respect the minority view they will respect the final political result even if it is contrary to their belief.
1.4.2008 12:47am
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
There's a difference between treating the people who hold a set of beliefs/values respectfully and treating the beliefs/values themselves respectfully. I don't see any reason to treat the beliefs of, say, Islamists any more respectfully than the political beliefs of fascists or communists, or the scientific views of fundamentalist Christians any more respectfully than those of non-religious believers in the paranormal. By default one should treat PEOPLE respectfully, but ideas deserve no such privilege, irrational ideas least of all.

The irony of the UN resolution is that it is entirely motivated by defense of Islam, the least tolerant of any major religion.
1.4.2008 12:56am
Grigor:
Sorry, Oren, no. To take just one example currently in the news in a few places, so-called honor killing is to some a cultural value, perhaps even a religious value. I do not respect that value. It should not be respected. Indeed, it is only years of socialization that holds me back from feeling that practitioners of that value ought not only not be respected, they ought to be lynched.
1.4.2008 12:56am
Elliot123 (mail):
Why on earth should we use a lower standard for respecting religious values than we use for everything else? Is there some inherent value to a belief which is labeled as religious? Would the same belief demand respect in a context where it is not labeled religious?
1.4.2008 1:11am
Elliot Reed (mail):
I agree, except that saying that values like racial discrimination, holy war, and sexist opposition to educating girls as much as boys are cultural and/religious values held by "some" is a tremendous understatement.
1.4.2008 1:13am
Nick Good - South Africa (mail):
I can respect your right to religious choice whilst completely disdaining and holding in the utmost contempt the religion you subscribe to. This nuance seems lost on many, including the UN.

Sadly this is the sort of bilge we've besomed accustomed to from the UN.
1.4.2008 1:39am
Oren:
Why on earth should we use a lower standard for respecting religious values than we use for everything else? Is there some inherent value to a belief which is labeled as religious? Would the same belief demand respect in a context where it is not labeled religious?
I don't know who is advocating that but I'm certainly not.

Grigory, honor killing should not be respected. The religious tradition that may demand it, on the other hand, does. Consider it the other way around, you alluded to a belief that 'honor-killer' should be violently murdered while I respect that belief, I would still be quite disinclined to respect the act of actually murdering someone.
1.4.2008 1:49am
Richa Agarwal (mail):
I agree with Grigor.

Respect should mean something -- and if we respect a value or a person who holds that value, that ought to mean we are at least willing to tolerate the value or the kind of behavior one would expect from someone holding that value (so I'm not sure I agree with Bill Poser's distinction).

It does seem possible, however, to have a universally tolerant society, if the religious or cultural groups that comprise it could have a very weak sense of tolerance for one another. (They don't like it, but they'll tolerate it). Will Kymlicka seems to hold this belief, and while I think it starts to fall apart with the issue of the right to exit a given community, there's much more to be said.
1.4.2008 1:52am
Grigor:
Oren wrote:
Grigory, honor killing should not be respected. The religious tradition that may demand it, on the other hand, does.


Then "respect" has no meaning. A religious tradition that demands a vile thing is a vile religious tradition, and we should not respect the vile.
1.4.2008 1:58am
pmorem (mail):
You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.

Sometimes there are inherent conflicts between cultures such that "tolerance" really isn't an option.
1.4.2008 2:05am
Cornellian (mail):
I think you are confusing respect with deference; one can respect religious and cultural values without necessarily accepting them as either normative, binding or even a good idea.

Why should one even respect the values of another religion? There's something to be said for politeness when speaking to the adherents of that religion but ideas should earn respect on their merits, not be entitled to automatic respect just because you can label them religious.
1.4.2008 2:17am
Oren:
Then "respect" has no meaning. A religious tradition that demands a vile thing is a vile religious tradition, and we should not respect the vile.


A religious tradition that demands acts that are to me vile is indeed vile, as far as I'm concerned. However, since I have not (to my knowledge) been appointed the master-adjudicator of vileness, I am willing to accept that someone else could find it otherwise. Nobody believes things or commits acts that they find vile, wrong or evil -- it is inherently the nature of evil that it presents itself as good.

So what are the choices when confronted with a man who honestly believes that some act that you consider vile is actually the only righteous thing to do? Starting from the position that his beliefs are vile and that he is, himself, therefore evil completely eliminates the possibility of interacting with him as a human being. One can, however, opt to respect his belief even though one considers it vile and proceed to possibly find some common ground. No guarantees, of course, it could still come to blows.
1.4.2008 3:09am
LM (mail):
Cornellian said,

There's something to be said for politeness when speaking to the adherents of that religion[. . . ].

This is an under-appreciated point, and a potential vaccine for lots of needless resentment. Many otherwise courteous people seem to confuse the right to criticize religious ideas with the rudeness of doing so to people who regard their religion intimately.

That said, of all the things the rest of the world doesn't understand about us, I think the successful melting pot we get from the balance of religious and ethnic tolerance with the right to say things nobody wants to hear has to be near the top of the list.
1.4.2008 3:25am
David Chesler (mail) (www):
access for adults to lifelong learning and education based on respect for human rights, diversity and tolerance, without discrimination of any kind

That's good. So far I haven't been able to get into law school because of my GPA.

Is Zionism a religious or cultural value?
1.4.2008 7:21am
A.C.:
I reserve the right to despise despicable value systems, and to think less of those who adhere to them. However, value systems are not permanent in my mind, and I believe that anyone can change. There's no permanent discrimination in my position... I just don't want to put up with a bunch of jackasses.

How that plays out in practice is that I will generally refrain from complaining about jackasses who stay away from me and refrain from imposing policies and practices that have an impact on my life. But the ones who reach out and push me around, or demand that I change to suit them...

I say this as a woman who used to live next door to a mosque (in the US). As the mosque got bigger and more popular, I found I could not sit on my own front stoop in shorts. When that happens, the end of my tolerance is reached.
1.4.2008 8:19am
Tracy W (mail):
Taking your example, it is not contradictory to declare that, while we have respect for the religious or cultural reasons that many cite as reason to educate girls less than boys, society has chosen otherwise.

It may not be contradictory to declare that, but why is it a good thing? And should governments be promoting that sort of mindless respect?

Personally I don't respect religious or cultural reasons for educating girls less than boys. I think they're stupid. I would still think they were stupid even if society chose to educate girls less than boys. (I would also, in that case, think that society was stupid too). I can see value in politeness, but I also see value in jokes, parodies, and full-bore-guns-blazing attack essays.

The UN resolution says "promote universal respect for all religious and cultural values". Why? Why should my government spend my money promoting universal respect for any stupid idea it occurs to some nitwit to label religious or cultural?
1.4.2008 9:01am
Tracy W (mail):
As a result of Oren's comments, I've just been looking up definitions of "Respect". From Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Respect
Respect is an assumption of good faith and competence in another person.


Good faith, or in Latin bona fides (the inflected forms bonae fidei and bona fide are also used), is the mental and moral state of honesty, conviction as to the truth or falsehood of a proposition or body of opinion, or as to the rectitude or depravity of a line of conduct, even if the conviction is objectively unfounded.


And from answers.com - http://www.answers.com/respect&r=67

1. A feeling of appreciative, often deferential regard; esteem. See synonyms at regard.
2. The state of being regarded with honor or esteem.
3. Willingness to show consideration or appreciation.
(NB, I've skipped some meaings that didn't seem relevant to the context).

Is anyone willing to defend the propostion that every religious and cultural belief is "competent"? Or made in good faith? Is anyone willing to appreciate, regard with honour or esteem every single religious and cultural belief?

For example, let's take the religious/cultural belief of "the divine right of kings". This is the doctrine that a monarch derives his right to rule from the will of God, and not from any temporal authority, and need only answer before God for his actions. If we are to respect this, according to the definitions of respect I've quoted, we would need to think or assume at least one of the following things:
- the idea of "the divine right of kings" was developed by someone competent and in good faith, and most definitely not because some king wanted to exempt himself from criticism, or some cleric was trying to curry favour with a king. This belief is to be held regardless of any historical evidence that may appear now or in the future. Even if some historian finds a letter from King James VI/I of Scotland/England saying "ha, hah, I made up this guff about the Divine Right of Kings and they fell for it", we must still regard the idea as being developed by someone in good faith.
- We should appreciate this belief, and regard it with honour and esteem, despite any evidence that we have, or we may find in the future, that democratic systems are in some ways superior to monarchial systems.
- We should keep considering the "divine right of kings" for all eternity, rather than at any stage making up our minds that some other system of government is better, and from then on getting on with life.

Oren, are you prepared to respect "the divine right of kings"?
1.4.2008 9:41am
Andy Freeman (mail):
>>>Grigory, honor killing should not be respected. The religious tradition that may demand it, on the other hand, does.

Why? What does this respect entail?

> One can, however, opt to respect his belief even though one considers it vile and proceed to possibly find some common ground.

Or, one might tolerate his existence until such time as that becomes unreasonable, all the while seeking common ground without suggesting that his beliefs are "good enough".

Respect isn't the only alternative to open warfare.

Giving respect to honor-based culture encourages them.
1.4.2008 10:09am
Cold Warrior:
Female Genital Mutilation is a religious/cultural value, and it certainly isn't one I have any interest in honoring.
1.4.2008 11:00am
Duncan Frissell (mail):
Personally I don't respect religious or cultural reasons for educating girls less than boys. I think they're stupid.

This seems inevitable. Our current cultural tradition is to educate girls more than boys (college graduation is approaching 60/40) and primary and secondary ed is being intentionally designed to drive boys away from learning.

Also racism against whites is promoted in tertiary educational institutions and in many other places.
1.4.2008 11:11am
Tracy W (mail):
I'm sorry Duncan, I don't follow you. Are you arguing that we should respect religious or cultural reasons for educating girls less than boys? Or that we should respect cultural reasons for educating boys more than girls?
1.4.2008 11:22am
WHOI Jacket:
This is why the UN fails. It's the same thought process that gives a democratic vote/voice to nations that deny that freedom to their own citizens.

One could argue that slavery was an important cultural value to the Antebellum South, to resurrect an earlier thread. Surely, the abolitionists and the North should have respected that?
1.4.2008 11:50am
Kevin Raley (mail):
We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.

H. L. Mencken
1.4.2008 11:55am
Adam J:
WHOI- It would take alot of cohones to stand up and say, no, I'm afraid I'm against giving different religions respect. Any voice of reason speaking against this proposition would inevitable be attacked as a bigot of some sort.
1.4.2008 12:04pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
What the posters here think about this is meaningless.

The point is what happens when states begin to enforce, to one degree or another, this load of steaming crap.

The biggest complainers get to shut down speech and actions of those who object to some horrid things they are doing.

Muslm groups have managed an amazing feat. With violence, and the threat of violence, they still have a pretty high-value victim card to play, as well.

Don't expect this law to help any Jews against persecution by anybody, or Christians, either.

That's not the point, any more than hate crimes laws were designed to protect whites against hate crimes.

What if the honor killing in Dallas, or in Chicago, were reported to be an "honor killing" specific to Islam or Hinduism? Would that be actionable under this rule?

How about referring to some Christians as "god-bothering fundies"?

The answers are, yes, and no.
1.4.2008 12:09pm
ejo:
I say if the World community and World opinion tells us that we can't say negative things about a religion, we should modify our First Amendment accordingly and not do so. After all, why do we want to be seen as doing things in contradiction to world opinion. Doesn't that make us hated?
1.4.2008 12:28pm
k parker (mail):
A.C.,
As the mosque got bigger and more popular, I found I could not sit on my own front stoop in shorts.
Say more. In particular, I'd be quite interested in an elaboration of "could not": were you assaulted, jeered at, or? And what was your response?

(Apologies in advance if this raises an issue you'd rather not be reminded of, but you did bring it up...)
1.4.2008 12:40pm
c.j. ammenheuser:
Can the resolution have any effect on the civil rights lawsuit filed by the Muslim Imams against US Air?
1.4.2008 12:58pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
c.j.

I expect the lawyers will bring it up.
"Why can't Minneapolis catch up with the rest of the world?"

Effect? Depends on the judge and jury. The judge, presuming the judge has the power to allow the jury to hear it, or not.
1.4.2008 1:10pm
markm (mail):
Kevin Raley nailed it with his quotation from Mencken - the kind of "respect" honor killings, female genital mutilation, etc., deserve doesn't mean much.

However, what really deserves no respect at all is any attempt by the UN's corrupt bureaucracy or the general assembly of thuggocrats to issue statements on moral issues. The UN is somewhat useful as a place for nations to meet and work out issues between them, but any implication that the resulting agreements have anything to do with right and wrong should just be laughed at...
1.4.2008 1:21pm
ejo:
but, the UN is the closest thing we have that approximates a global consensus on issues. The fact that it is a corrupt, jew hating cess pool of thugs is beside the point-don't we have to pay credence to the opinions of mankind?
1.4.2008 1:36pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Oren: " honor killing should not be respected. The religious tradition that may demand it, on the other hand, does."

Why should the religious tradition be respected? Should all traditions and customs be respected? Does every idea demand respect? Why?

If religious traditions should be universally treated with respect, what makes them different from other traditions, and why give them special consideration?
1.4.2008 1:52pm
Visitor Again:
The comments above prompt me to ask why the U.N. hasn't passed a resolution commanding respect for the U.N. Only then will U.N. resolutions commanding respect get respect.
1.4.2008 1:57pm
c.j. ammenheuser:
If in the US Airline case, Frederick Goetz does introduce the UN resolution, and assuming the judge allows it, to what extent can the UN be referred to, where does one draw the line in the sand, before the case is automatically pushed to review?
1.4.2008 2:06pm
Oren:
Oren, are you prepared to respect "the divine right of kings"?
I am not willing to respect it personally but I am certainly willing to respect it as someone else's bona-fide view about politics. If someone actually takes the time and honestly thinks about the matter and concludes that DRK is the best political system then that view merits respect.

If you can't make the distinction between respecting someone else's views and adopting them as your own then this discussion is going nowhere.

Female Genital Mutilation is a religious/cultural value, and it certainly isn't one I have any interest in honoring.
Of course not, me neither. FGM is an horrific practice that ought to be wiped off the planet 100 years ago. That said, let us for a moment imagine what goes on in the mind of one of these older women that perform FGM. In her mind, not only is there nothing wrong with what she is doing, it is a positive good for some reasons that are irrelevant here. Likewise for, say, the 9/11 hijackers - they honestly and truly thought there were doing god's will. No matter how much I violently disagree, I cannot discount the fact that these views are held by real life human beings with a mind that is capable of rational discourse. The alternative is to assume they are something less than human, a proposition that I am not willing to entertain.

If religious traditions should be universally treated with respect, what makes them different from other traditions, and why give them special consideration?
They shouldn't. All beliefs that are held in good faith are entitled to respect.

I say if the World community and World opinion tells us that we can't say negative things about a religion, we should modify our First Amendment accordingly and not do so.
To meet snark with snark, the respect I'm talking about is aspirational, not enforceable. I'm quite comfortable leaving the 1A in place even (especially!) if it allows disrespectful speech. That is entirely unrelated to the goals I'm trying to push forward here.
1.4.2008 2:52pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Let's say I agree with your view that FGM may be thought of as a good by some bitter old crone who is jealous at what the young woman on the kitchen floor in front of her might enjoy.
Am I, due to my respect that she thinks it's a good, required to let her go forward?

If not, if I am allowed to intervene, what is the use of "respect"? What's left? "Yeah, I know you think it's a good idea. But you're nucking futz and if you move, I'll kill you. But I respect your right to your view."
1.4.2008 2:56pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):


You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.



Sometimes there are inherent conflicts between cultures such that "tolerance" really isn't an option.
William Bradford's Of Plymouth Plantation discusses the newcomers that arrived in 1621:

On the day called Christmas Day, the Governor called them out to work as was used. But the most of this new company excused themselves and said it went against their consciences to work on that day. So the Governor told them that if they made it matter of conscience, he would spare them till they were better informed; so he led away the rest and left them. But when they came home at noon from their work, he found them in the street at play, openly; some pitching the bar, and some at stool-ball and such like sports. So he went to them and took away their implements and told them it was against his conscience, that they should play and others work. If they made the keeping of it matter of devotion, let them keep their houses; but there should be no gaming or reveling in the streets. Since which time nothing hath been attempted that way, at least openly.
There are circumstances where liberalism's multicultural tolerance falls down. Islam's punishment of apostasy with death; its prohibition on proselytizing or even open worship by other religions (even Judaism and Christianity, which Islam grants a much higher status than other religions)--these are all contrary to our traditions. There is way to respect Islam as it demands respecting without disrespecting the Western tradition of tolerance (which is only a few centuries old).

Similarly, the increasing legal efforts to suppress disapproval of homosexuality in Canada are a reminder that sometimes you don't have the option of making everyone happy. You have to choose one: freedom of speech; homosexual activists.
1.4.2008 3:05pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Oren writes:

They shouldn't. All beliefs that are held in good faith are entitled to respect.
How about Rev. Fred Phelps' belief that homosexuals should be executed? There's no question in my mind that he actually believes it.

How about the belief that white people deserve to be raped, robbed, murdered, etc. because some white people 150 years ago did the same to some black people? There are people that in good faith believe this.

All beliefs are not equally valid, and are not deserving of equal respect.

I am prepared to treat a person who believes in Islam, Mormonism, or atheism with respect, if they genuinely believe what they say. That doesn't mean that I will treat their ideas or beliefs with respect. I will be polite in how I criticize those ideas, partly because I see no reason to cause someone else unnecessary grief, and partly because I am more likely to persuade them of the error of their ways by being polite.

There are some ideas that are so obviously dangerous or lunatic that neither the belief system nor the person deserves respect.
1.4.2008 3:13pm
Oren:
RA, your example would not be a belief held in good faith. My hypothetical involved a woman who had a bona-fide belief that FGM was in the everyone's best interest. Of course such a belief is fucking nuts but, again, she is a real human being and is only doing what she thinks is best.

If I had to speak to her, I would tell her that, despite what she was told when she grew up, in the 21st century women have the same opportunity as men to be part of the economic system and that the sexual empowerment of women is a critical ingredient in that opportunity. More importantly, perhaps, I would show her evidence that women's lib does not lead to the breakdown of society or whatever it is (the specifics here depend on her rationale for why FGM is a good thing). At the very minimum, a substantive discussion on the merits would force her to consider her rationale for supporting FGM.

Of course, she likely wouldn't be convinced and I would have to intervene if she attempted to perform FGM in my presence but, at the very minimum, I would feel as thought I treated her as a fully functional thinking human being and not some sort of evil robot.
1.4.2008 3:15pm
Oren:
All beliefs are not equally valid, and are not deserving of equal respect.
You are confusing respecting the belief and considering it to be valid -- the former requires only that you acknowledge that a sentient human being holds that belief in good faith, nothing more.

I will be polite in how I criticize those ideas, partly because I see no reason to cause someone else unnecessary grief, and partly because I am more likely to persuade them of the error of their ways by being polite.
Perhaps we are just arguing semantics then because this is, in sum total, what seems to be required by respect - being able to disagree while still affirming that rational people can hold the opposing view (and doing the whole thing politely, of course). To quote from Tracy earlier in the thread:


Respect is an assumption of good faith and competence in another person.

Good faith is the mental and moral state of honesty, conviction as to the truth or falsehood of a proposition or body of opinion, or as to the rectitude or depravity of a line of conduct, even if the conviction is objectively unfounded.


There are some ideas that are so obviously dangerous or lunatic that neither the belief system nor the person deserves respect.
Oh dear, I hope some wise person on the Internet will be around to help me determine when a belief crosses this line! I might make the mistake of believing in someone's good faith even if it is objectively unfounded!
1.4.2008 3:26pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Oren: "They shouldn't. All beliefs that are held in good faith are entitled to respect."

Can we extend that to say all actions done out of a good faith belief are entitled to respect?
1.4.2008 3:27pm
Oren:

I believe unconditionally in the ability of people to respond when they are told the truth. We need to be taught to study rather than to believe, to inquire rather than to affirm.
Septima Clark, educator/civil rights activist
1.4.2008 3:27pm
Oren:
Can we extend that to say all actions done out of a good faith belief are entitled to respect?
No. This is the primary reason why we have a system of law - because people's good faith beliefs are often at odds with each other. Quoting Reynolds v. US
[To] permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself. Government could exist only in name under such circumstances...
1.4.2008 3:33pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Oren. Of course she would think FGM is for everybody's good. She couldn't think of a life (hers) so deprived, not to mention the pain of the operation as an injustice done to her. And so many other women she knows or knew. Or she'd have freaked out decades ago and been killed.
She would, by now, be absolutely convinced that this was for everybody's good.

So, after you fail to convince her --she cannot afford to allow herself to be convinced-- the respect does not extend to allowing her to go forward.

So what's the big deal?


What if she decides not to let you finish your explanation? She didn't actually have a chance to be convinced, so ...?
1.4.2008 3:54pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Oren: "No. This is the primary reason why we have a system of law - because people's good faith beliefs are often at odds with each other. Quoting Reynolds v. US"

Interesting. We are to respect the good faith belief, but we are not to respect the good faith action based on the belief.

Can you tell us what you mean by "respect?" I acknowledge some folks think Blacks should be lynched for looking at a white woman, and I acknowledge they may hold this belief in good faith. By good faith, I mean they firmly believe it to be correct and have no doubts about that conviction.

Under your scheme, does that mean I respect the belief that Blacks should be lynched for looking at a white woman? By "respect," do you mean simple acknowledgement of the existence of conviction? If so, I acknowledge all kinds of things. We all do. But, I suspect most of us use the word to mean we attach some positive value to the belief that is separate from the mindset of the holder.
1.4.2008 4:21pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
How about this? We'll respect your religion or beliefs so long as they conform to the tenets of enlightened rationality? As far as Islam is concerned, Irshad Manji is a lesbian feminist Muslim. That's the kind of Islam that I endorse.
1.4.2008 4:28pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

As far as Islam is concerned, Irshad Manji is a lesbian feminist Muslim. That's the kind of Islam that I endorse.
"Lesbian feminist Muslim" fits together almost as well as calling oneself a "Jewish Buddhist Muslim." Why doesn't she add pork eating to the list of things that will upset Muslims?
1.4.2008 5:17pm
Oren:
Interesting. We are to respect the good faith belief, but we are not to respect the good faith action based on the belief.
Yes.

Can you tell us what you mean by "respect?" [LARGE OMMISION] By "respect," do you mean simple acknowledgement of the existence of conviction? If so, I acknowledge all kinds of things. We all do. But, I suspect most of us use the word to mean we attach some positive value to the belief that is separate from the mindset of the holder.
Yes and no. To me, anyway, the respect is more than an acknowledgment of the conviction without going so far as to assign a positive normative judgment to the belief itself. Essentially, it means acknowledging not only the conviction but the fact that the person holding the conviction is, in almost all respects, just like you - a thinking human being that wants the same things as you.

This requires acknowledging that the differences between us are not a matter of "good vs evil" but rather different judgments on the nature of goodness and it's application to the real world. This is a straightforward result of the logical requirement that we cannot use a normative system to make comparison between normative systems (mathematically speaking, the results of a set of axioms cannot be used to evaluate the truth of any other set of axioms; formally speaking, we have attempted to use predicates outside their scope). Once we have stripped out the results of our normative judgment of their normative judgments (to phrase it inelegantly) we can attempt to form a meta-normative system by which we can start to find common ground. This is, in fact, merely an obtuse way of saying what we all know the goal of society is: to find a normative system that best reflects the values of its members.
1.4.2008 5:30pm
Grigor:
Well, if that don't beat all.
1.4.2008 5:40pm
mojo (mail):
"How long, O Cataline..."
-- Cicero
1.4.2008 5:43pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
If Islam has any hope of reforming it's going to come from folks like Irshad Manji. Even if she, because of her outspoken lesbian feminism, is not a "real Muslim," Islam is going to have to reform to learn to tolerate folks like her.

Consider if one denies the Nicene and Apostle's Creed (i.e. orthodox Trinitarianism), one arguably isn't a "real Christian," yet, Christianity has reformed so that the solution to this theological dispute is to argue not kill heretics. It wasn't too long ago when Christians burned folks at the stake like the unitarian Michael Servetus for saying real Christianity is unitarian, not trinitarian in its nature.

Today Mormons have to live with the fact that evangelicals and Catholics don't think of them as "real Christians." Four hundred years ago, those same evangelicals and Catholics would have executed Mormons for openly proclaiming as they do.

Servetus got his revenge when Christianity recognized the unalienable rights of conscience. By 1805 or so Harvard University officially adopted Unitarianism as its official creed. They couldn't do that if heresy remained a capital offense and is was before Christianity "enlightened."

"Enlightened" and "rational" were, during the years of America's Founding, code words for religion of tolerance that didn't believe in spreading itself by the sword.

Whatever it is that defines authentic Islam, they can retain whatever they want as long as they enlighten and rationalize in this sense.
1.4.2008 6:03pm
Oren:
Thanks for telling us the conditions under which we can retain our beliefs! I was worried there for a bit.
1.4.2008 6:05pm
pmorem (mail):
I'm a religious nut.

To the best of my analytical abilities, my religion serves my interests, and is in the long-term interest of others as well.

One of the implications of my faith is that blasphemy, including against my own faith, is a good thing. On a more basic level, disrespecting faith (again, including both my own and in the laws of Physics) is a good thing. See reference Robert Anton Wilson.

It appears that this resolution seeks to bar the practice of my religion.
1.4.2008 6:18pm
Oren:
pmorem, the resolution is aspirational, not criminal. Furthermore, you are confused disrespect with skepticism.
1.4.2008 6:25pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Jon Rowe writes:

Whatever it is that defines authentic Islam, they can retain whatever they want as long as they enlighten and rationalize in this sense.
You are confusing two separate issues:

1. How does a religion respond to heretics and schismatics? Does it try to outargue them, or burn them at the stake?

2. What constitutes the core of a belief system X? Christianity isn't much interested in locking up homosexuals, although many Christians are uncomfortable with repealing laws that weren't very often enforced. (The importance of symbolism, mostly.) Those laws are originally Henry VIII's doing--relatively recent. But that doesn't mean that Christianity has accepted homosexuality.

A core value of Islam, as it is of Christianity, regards sexual relations except between a man and a woman in marriage as contrary to God's morality. Lesbian Islamism would require abandoning a core value of Islam. One might as well start making the case for a form of Islam that accepted Jesus as Son of God, or a polytheistic Islam.

At a certain point, it becomes like insisting that you drive a Mercedes. You still have the three pointed star hood emblem on your car, even though the engine is a Chevy V8, the frame came out of a Ford truck, the transmission is a Chrysler Torqueflite, and the seats are Recaros. It isn't fooling anyone; you are driving a custom vehicle. If that makes you happy, okay, but calling it a Mercedes is bizarre.
1.4.2008 6:26pm
Oren:
CeC, Catholicism aside, there are no fundamental arbiters of what constitutes of the 'core' of any belief system and so your entire analysis fails before it gets off the ground. Same with the car analysis.

Consider that, for a Jew circa Roman times, the 'core' of Judaism was obedience to the priests and ritual sacrifice. It wasn't until the Pharisees that Judaism moved from being centered around the Temple to being centered around prayer.
1.4.2008 6:31pm
Oren:
A core value of Islam, as it is of Christianity, regards sexual relations except between a man and a woman in marriage as contrary to God's morality.
I know a lot of UU's that would disagree with that. Are you empowered to declare them less Christian than you?
1.4.2008 6:32pm
WHOI Jacket:
The last time someone said "Jesus Christ" in a Unitarian Church was when the janitor fell down the back staircase.
1.4.2008 6:36pm
Oren:
WHOI, so what?
1.4.2008 6:38pm
pmorem (mail):
pmorem, the resolution is aspirational, not criminal. Furthermore, you are confused disrespect with skepticism.

No, I'm not confused. I meant active disrespect. I carry it a bit further than Wilson did. I think I mentioned that I'm a fanatic.
1.4.2008 6:38pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
I don't think something ceases being "Christian" or "Islam" when it adopts a modern sexual stance.

Something does cease being "Christian" when it disbelieves in certain core theological tenets (of which sexual matters really aren't ones). For instance, Mormons because they deny Christianity's historic orthodoxy arguably aren't "Christians" even if they retain a conservative sexual ethic. However, Andrew Sullivan, who is married to another man, IS a Christian because he still retains belief in the core theological tenets of Christianity (i.e. the Trinity, Incarnation, Atonement, Virgin Birth, Resurrection). Early Unitarians though they were more "biblical" than the modern ones because they denied the Triune nature of God arguably weren't Christians.
1.4.2008 6:49pm
WHOI Jacket:
Oren, it's an older joke.

What, you've never heard of the Presbyterian who falls off his porch and lies on the ground thinking "Whew, glad I got that out of the way"?



I'd hate to be arrested for those.
1.4.2008 7:07pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I don't think something ceases being "Christian" or "Islam" when it adopts a modern sexual stance.
It raises rather serious questions about how seriously someone can claim to be either when a core value is discarded. Homosexuality isn't a modern sexual stance; it's a direct contradiction of positions that both the Bible (Old and New Testaments) and the Koran stake out pretty clearly.

Something does cease being "Christian" when it disbelieves in certain core theological tenets (of which sexual matters really aren't ones).
There are people who make the same claim: it's a Mercedes, because it has that star on the hood.

Andrew Sullivan isn't a particularly good example to cite. This is the guy whose concern about the Global War on Terror evaporated over same-sex marriage.
1.4.2008 7:14pm
WHOI Jacket:

Now if once we allow people to start spiritualising and refining, or as they might say "deepening," the sense of the word Christian, it too will speedily become a useless word [as gentlemen did]. In the first place, Christians themselves will never be able to apply it to anyone. It is not for us to say who, in the deepest sense, is or is not close to the spirit of Christ. We do not see into men's hearts. We cannot judge, and indeed are forbidden to judge. It would be wicked arrogance for us to say any man is, or is not, a Christian in this refined sense. And obviously a word that we can never apply is not going to be a very useful word. As for the unbelievers, they will no doubt cheerfully use the word in the refined sense. It will become in their mouth's simply a term of praise. In calling anyone a Christian they will mean that they think him a good man. But that way of using the word will be no enrichment of the language, for we already have the word good. Meanwhile, the word Christian will have been spoiled for any really useful purpose it might have served.

We must therefore stick to the original, obvious meaning. The name Christian was first given at Antioch (Acts 11:26) to "the disciples," to those who accepted the teaching of the apostles. There is no question of its being restricted to those who profited by that teaching as much as they should have. There is no question of its being extended to those who in some refined, spiritual, inward fashion were "far closer to the spirit of Christ" than the less satisfactory of the disciples. The point is not a theological, or moral one. It is only a questions of words so that we can all understand what is being said. When a man who accepts the Christian doctrine lives unworthily of it, it is much clearer to say he is a bad Christian than to say he is not a Christian.



C.S Lewis
1.4.2008 7:16pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Oren writes:

A
core value of Islam, as it is of Christianity, regards sexual relations except between a man and a woman in marriage as contrary to God's morality.
I know a lot of UU's that would disagree with that. Are you empowered to declare them less Christian than you?
Unfortunately, Unitarian-Universalists are pretty well the proof of the Mercedes star on the hood does not make it a Mercedes. U-U has moved so far from Christianity that it does not conform to even that lowest common denominator of the Nicene Creed. It's unfortunate, really, because Unitarianism argued for a position that doesn't seem particularly bizarre--the non-triune nature of God. Aside from that, it wasn't all that far out there in say, 1780. Over time, and especially after the merger with Universalism, it pretty well replaced all the Mercedes made parts with those made by someone else.
1.4.2008 7:17pm
Oren:
And by what power does the Council of Nicea dare assert authority over all of Christendom?
1.4.2008 7:35pm
pmorem (mail):
And by what power does the Council of Nicea dare assert authority over all of Christendom?

It is an expression of their faith, which you apparently reject.
1.4.2008 7:38pm
Oren:
It is an expression of their faith, which you apparently reject. (my emph)
What does their faith have to do with me? Even more importantly, what does their faith have to do with whether or not I consider myself a Christian?
1.4.2008 7:53pm
WHOI Jacket:
Look, at some point the line must be made, or else the word becomes meaningless.

I could say that I sacrifice Hostess Cupcakes to the Great God Bogee while wearing a bucket on my head and that I'm "Christian" and it would be laughable.
1.4.2008 7:58pm
pmorem (mail):
What does their faith have to do with me? Even more importantly, what does their faith have to do with whether or not I consider myself a Christian?

My point is that it appears to me that you are questioning whether or not their beliefs are held in good faith.

Some people (like Clayton) believe the Nicene Creed has relevance and a place within authority. I don't respect that. It appears to me that you don't, either.

I don't regard "getting along" as a good thing in and of itself. Empirical evidence says it can lead to greatly increased body counts.
1.4.2008 8:18pm
SenatorX (mail):
I don't respect hypocrites.
1.4.2008 8:36pm
Oren:
pmorem - I have no doubt that the bearers of the Nicene Creed believed it in good faith. I merely refute their right to determine what the bounds of Christianity are.

I could say that I sacrifice Hostess Cupcakes to the Great God Bogee while wearing a bucket on my head and that I'm "Christian" and it would be laughable.
If you did so in good faith that this is what the Lord Jesus Christ wanted then you are just as Christian as the Pope, as far as I'm concerned.
1.4.2008 9:05pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Once we have stripped out the results of our normative judgment of their normative judgments (to phrase it inelegantly) we can attempt to form a meta-normative system by which we can start to find common ground."

I think those normative judgements are what most folks call respect or lack or respect. You have an interesting concept, and I really don't dispute it, but I think it is poorly communicated by labeling it "respect."
1.4.2008 9:48pm
Elliot123 (mail):
What is a Christian?
1.4.2008 9:52pm
pmorem (mail):
pmorem - I have no doubt that the bearers of the Nicene Creed believed it in good faith. I merely refute their right to determine what the bounds of Christianity are.

What gives you the right to describe yourself in terms that are offensive to them?

I believe you have that right, and they have the right to call you a non-Christian, and if you're both offended by it, so much the better.
1.4.2008 10:15pm
Oren:
Elliot, that's fine - don't call it respect if you don't want to. Call it

What gives you the right to describe yourself in terms that are offensive to them?
Why wouldn't I have that right? Last I checked, they didn't trademark the term . . .
1.4.2008 11:26pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Oren writes:

What does their faith have to do with me? Even more importantly, what does their faith have to do with whether or not I consider myself a Christian?
Words either agreed upon meanings, or they are useless as tools for communication. I believe that free market capitalism is the most system for organizing an economy most respectful of human rights--and not surprisingly, also the best for creating widely distributed wealth. There are a lot of things that I can call myself to describe that--but if I call myself a socialist, when the word "socialist" has an existing meaning, it's not an effective method of communicating, is it?

Similarly, when a word has an existing meaning, even a range of existing meanings, which are widely understood, using that word to mean something else is confusing, at best, and misleading, at worst.

What would call it if someone who only has sex with people of the opposite sex started to call themselves "gay"? How about if someone who attends a mosque, believes that there is one God, never begotten, and that Mohammed is his prophet, calls himself a Christian? Would that be misleading? Inaccurate? Confusing?

Unless you are planning to be Humpty Dumpty, words have meanings. Sometimes words have multiple meanings, and get fuzzy around the edges. But at a certain point, you can paint a three pointed star in a circle on the front of your Chevy, call it a Mercedes--and it will still be a Chevy.
1.4.2008 11:50pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):

How about if someone who attends a mosque, believes that there is one God, never begotten, and that Mohammed is his prophet, calls himself a Christian? Would that be misleading? Inaccurate? Confusing?


I had a similar argument with a conservative Christian fellow that smacked of some irony. I was arguing America's key Founders (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, and some others) because they rejected certain core theological tenets of Christianity (i.e., Trinitarian orthodoxy, the Nicene Creed, etc.) weren't "Christian," and America's Founding principles consequently were not authentically Christian. He argued that the term "Christian" should be read more liberally, that non-Trinitarians like Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc., were "Christians," and so probably were those Founders I mentioned. He noted that Luther considered Islam a "Christian" heresy. Well, if Islam can qualify as "Christian" then America's Founders were "Christian" and America was founded on "Christian principles." It all depends on how one defines "Christian." This is the offending passage in question (we were discussing GWB's assertion that Muslims' "Allah" is the same God Jews and Christians worship):


Odds and ends at the end: to the extent that anyone was outraged when my man GWB acknowledged that Muslims worship the same God as we do, they weren't confused about "America's civic religion", they were confused about Islam and its relation to Christianity (Luther went so far as to consider Mohammed a Christian heretic). GWB was right even in the strictly Christian sense; his critics were wrong in any sense.


Though I will note that Mormonism, JWism, and the religion of the first 4 American Presidents and Ben Franklin could qualify as "Christian" as long as we qualify that label with the term "heresy."

This led one of my readers to ponder "was America founded on a Christian heresy?" Arguably yes.
1.5.2008 12:40am
Elliot123 (mail):
"Similarly, when a word has an existing meaning, even a range of existing meanings, which are widely understood, using that word to mean something else is confusing, at best, and misleading, at worst."

I suspect in many cases, if the particular label were dropped, and the concept itself substituted, nobody would pay attention. The label is the attention grabber.
1.5.2008 2:56am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I was arguing America's key Founders (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, and some others) because they rejected certain core theological tenets of Christianity (i.e., Trinitarian orthodoxy, the Nicene Creed, etc.) weren't "Christian," and America's Founding principles consequently were not authentically Christian.
Both Washington and Jefferson were remarkably reticent about expressing their religious beliefs in detail. They may well have been Deists or Unitarians--but I can't find clear statements from either that establish what they believed, other than a strikingly vague belief in God and providential view of history.

Franklin did not so much reject "Jesus as the Son of God" as claim that he didn't know, and didn't consider it important. Adams later in life went down the Unitarian path, without question.

Yet if these were heretics, it is odd that so many of the state constitutions of the period limit office holding to Christians, and sometimes just to Protestants. Perhaps it was just a subtle way for America's second tier of politicians to express their disapproval of the "key" Founders.
1.5.2008 9:18am
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
"Both Washington and Jefferson...."

I think you meant Madison. Jefferson expressed his unitarianism in detail over and over again. Adams also claimed to have been a unitarian as of 1750.
1.5.2008 11:15am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I think you meant Madison. Jefferson expressed his unitarianism in detail over and over again. Adams also claimed to have been a unitarian as of 1750.
I can't recall seeing where Jefferson expressed his support for unitarianism. He did frequently express his disapproval of what he regarded as superstition, and I do recall seeing passages which could be interpreted as regarding trinitarian ideas in that category.

I wasn't aware that Adams claimed to be a unitarian that early. It would certainly have made him stand out (and not in a good way) in 1750 Massachusetts.
1.5.2008 5:35pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
You need to get Hutson's book of quotations. Here is Adams claiming to have been a Unitarian since 1750. And it wasn't just him, it was his Church that preached unitarianism from the pulpit.

Jefferson was so pro-Unitarian that he predicted (wrongly) that every man living in 1822 would die a Unitarian.
1.5.2008 6:30pm
mischief (mail):

Personally I don't respect religious or cultural reasons for educating girls less than boys. I think they're stupid. I would still think they were stupid even if society chose to educate girls less than boys.


Of course, they could say that they educate them both, but differently. And that you are merely prejudiced because you think what men and boys do is really valuable, and what women and girls do is not really valuable. Therefore, you insist that all children must be educated as boys only were, because that's the only valuable thing to be educated.
1.5.2008 9:44pm
mischief (mail):

If I had to speak to her, I would tell her that, despite what she was told when she grew up, in the 21st century women have the same opportunity as men to be part of the economic system


To which she answers that women have always been part of the economic system, and you merely are prejudiced against admitting it because you think that women's work isn't really work because it's not men who are doing it.

Men work for wages and therefore when women don't work for wages what they are doing is not work?

(Gee, this is fun!)
1.5.2008 9:51pm
mischief (mail):
For a more extreme case of what I am describing: Simone de Beauvoir told Betty Friedan that society should be structured in such a way that women could not be housewives, precisely because too many women would chose that.

What are you prepared to do to enforce equality on women?

If you don't agree with de Beauvoir, what sort of bright line would you draw between when women and men may permissably act differently, and when not?
1.5.2008 10:13pm
Tracy W (mail):
Oren, are you prepared to respect "the divine right of kings"?
I am not willing to respect it personally but I am certainly willing to respect it as someone else's bona-fide view about politics. If someone actually takes the time and honestly thinks about the matter and concludes that DRK is the best political system then that view merits respect.


Why does that view then merit respect?

In what sense are you using the word respect here? You apparently seem to be advocating respecting views independently of whether you think they are a good idea or not. What do you mean when you say "that view merits respect"? What do you think I should think or say differently about the Divine Right of Kings?

Of course, they could say that they educate them both, but differently. And that you are merely prejudiced because you think what men and boys do is really valuable, and what women and girls do is not really valuable. Therefore, you insist that all children must be educated as boys only were, because that's the only valuable thing to be educated.


And then we could have a sensible argument about education, such as Mary Wollenstonecroft did back in the 18th century. Just because people hold different views doesn't mean that there's no possibility of changing them, or that their views are respectable.
1.6.2008 4:59am
mischief (mail):

And then we could have a sensible argument about education,


No sensible definition about education is possible with those who define "equality" in advance as "no possible distinction by sex."
1.6.2008 1:46pm
Oren:
In what sense are you using the word respect here? You apparently seem to be advocating respecting views independently of whether you think they are a good idea or not. What do you mean when you say "that view merits respect"? What do you think I should think or say differently about the Divine Right of Kings?
In the sense of acknowledging that the person holding the view:
(a) is a fully functional thinking human being that is, in essence, just like me
(b) holds this view it in good faith that it is truly the best political system (or whatever the context is)
(c) differs from me in his interpretation of what goodness is, as opposed to being malicious or outright evil

What you should say and do follow obviously from the former

Note, that, (b) is actually both a requirement and a conclusion. If a King came up to me and supporting DRK, I would require him to assert that he would support DRK even if he were a peasant. Of course, in the the end, if I determine that DRK (or any ideology) is really just a fig leaf for his own personal gain then all bets are off.
1.6.2008 3:01pm
Tracy W (mail):
Oren, I can agree with (a) and (c). I can't agree with (b). I am no mind-reader, I don't know if someone is holding a view in good faith or not unless they pay some significant cost that would only be paid if they held that view. Therefore I can't acknowledge your (b) in the case of the Divine Right of Kings, or in the case of many other religious/cultural beliefs.

A king who asserts that he would support the DRK even if he was a peasant does not thereby give me any reason to believe he was acting in good faith. Talk is cheap.

You also miss out another factor I would include in there. Is the view sensible? For example, is there some evidence to support the argument that DRK may be the best political system? I can respect a person's view who interprets facts differently from me, or who has failed to consider some facts that I have considered, and I try to always keep in mind that they probably know things I don't and some of those things may be relevant, because we are all human, but I can't respect any view regardless of how unfounded it is, how much the person holding it must be closing their mind to alternative evidence, or how many disasters the view produces when put into practice.

I can consider a person and respect some of their views, but not others, if that is any help. For example, I rather agree with James I/VI's views about witchcraft since from memory from when I read them years ago, his arguments were sensible, and banning the killing of witches has been correlated over the centuries with a general rise in life expectancy and agricultural productivity.

My apologies, but even if I accepted your point (b), to me it is not obvious what I should then say and do differently.

Incidentally, have you realised that you have changed from arguing "one can respect religious and cultural values" to "respect it as someone else's bona-fide view about politics", and emphasising this is about "the person holding the view"? You seem to have shifted from advocating that we can respect religious and cultural values, to respecting the person holding those values.
1.6.2008 3:42pm
Tracy W (mail):
Hmm, on thinking it over:
- I think we owe every other human being some respect, at least until they have proved themselves *completely* unsuitable of respect. So that means acting with courtesy (in the broad meaning of the word, which allows teasing and whatnot between friends, and the like).
- I can't respect every view a human being happens to hold and leave the word "respect" as having any meaning. Even if said view is a religious/cultural belief.
1.6.2008 3:59pm
Oren:
Tracy, it seems to me that you can't get to (c) without (b) because a bona-fide belief that X is good is required to argue that a person is not advocating X for ulterior motives.

Furthermore, the belief itself, I believe, deserves respect because it is the product of a thinking human being. As soon as you start to impute that a belief held by another human being is not worthy of respect you quickly slip into the good/evil fallacy and all objective reason is out the door.

I don't think this in any way reduces the meaning of the word respect because I don't see respect as having anything to do with normative judgment. I respect Fred Phelp's views on homosexuality even though I consider them vile and atrocious in all respects. There is no contradiction there - my normative judgments are not his normative judgment: that is the essence of political/social/religious/cultural disagreements.
1.6.2008 7:32pm
occidental tourist (mail):
Jon Rowe:

If Islam has any hope of reforming it's going to come from folks like Irshad Manji. Even if she, because of her outspoken lesbian feminism, is not a "real Muslim," Islam is going to have to reform to learn to tolerate folks like her.

Dinesh D'Sousa who took quite a bit of heat in a recent thread on religion has, I think, the rationally formed opposite view although the stalking horse was Ayaan Hirsi Ali. His point was that such outspoken heretical or infidelic figures are the farthest from the reform of Islam.

Eugene:


NONSENSE


You ain't just whispering dixie.

Brian
1.6.2008 10:00pm
Tracy W (mail):
Oren, I can get to (c) without (b). People often lie for what seems to them to be good reasons. Undeed, I am so convinced of us humans ability to deceive ourselves that I am prepared to believe that even in cases where someone is making the most self-serving decisions they are capable of convincing themselves that they are acting as good people.

As soon as you start to impute that a belief held by another human being is not worthy of respect you quickly slip into the good/evil fallacy and all objective reason is out the door.


Well no, you can think that a belief held by another person is neither good nor evil in itself but instead that it is just wrong. For example, take the Monty Hall problem where you are on a game show and have to choose three doors, behind one of which is a prize, and the other two a dud prize (classically called a goat). You choose a door, and then the game show host, who knows what is behind each door, opens another door to show a goat, and then offers you the choice of switching doors. You've watched the show before and the host always does this. Assuming you want to maximise your chance of winning the prize, should you switch?
Now a fair chunk of the population, when first exposed to this problem, says that the odds are 50-50, so you may as well stick with your first option. Now this view is wrong, and not worthy of respect, but it just is wrong. Objective reason tells us that if you want to maximise your chances of winning the prize, you should switch doors (under the assumptions outlined).
I don't respect the view that the odds are 50-50 - I don't think believing it is a sign of competence in the field of probability though the person holding it may be acting in good faith, I don't think it is worthy of esteem, appreciation or honour, I don't even waste my time considering if it might be right anymore. But I don't think that anyone who therefore holds that view is evil. Instead, if I'm inclined to take the time, I use objective reason to try to convince that person otherwise.
Of course a wrong belief may lead to evil. The view that it is not necessary to wash your hands between conducting an autoposy and visiting living patients led to a lot of deaths, which is bad. The Divine Right of Kings idea probably contributed to the English Civil War in the 17th century, Charles I losing his head, and a Puritan dictatorship, which was an evil outcome. That's why I don't respect those views.
To me, respect does have to do with normative judgments. In the definitions I quoted, appreciation, honour, esteem, are normative judgments. You are using the word "respect" in a way very different from the dictionary definition, or what I think the UN intended.
1.7.2008 3:47am