Re: Down to (flat) Earth

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2007 12:04:24 -0800

John Mikes wrote:
> Stathis P wrote:1-14-07:
> John,
> So if a child comes to you and asks what shape the Earth is, will you
> reply that some think it's flat, and some think it's spherical, and for the
> sake of not being thought ignorant by the majority maybe he should
> say it's spherical, but in fact there is no reason to prefer one theory
> in this regard over another?
> Stathis
> Cute, I certainly would consider the mental level of the "child" and
> give an appropriately formulated information not contradictory to my
> (your) present 2007AD cognitive (science?) inventory.
> I think your question arose from the controversy upon my (poorly
> expressed) liberal stance about considering everybody's belief system
> as his own/entire mental world, maybe different from mine (or yours) and
> in most cases impenetrable from another belief system because the values
> and even the concepts (e.g. evidence?) are differently formulated,
> accepted and understood. Our today's scientific mindset IS a belief
> system - more than just one, this list is a good example for that.
> I did not reflect to questions like "which one is good, better, worse,
> because value systems are identified within the belief system and I
> would not 'judge' the values of another system based upon the values in
> my system. A missionary may do so, or a fascist dictator..

But you make a value decision not to reflect on the question and consequently you cannot judge the actions of the missionary or the fascist dictator. Albert Schweitzer or Idi Amin, they just have different belief systems and can't be you.

But to have a value system that cannot be used to judge others is the same as having no ethics at all. To refuse of criticize or sanction others in society is the position referred to as a 'free-rider' (c.f. Matt Ridley "The Origins of Virtue").

Brent Meeker

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Received on Sun Jan 14 2007 - 15:38:41 PST

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