Friday, June 17, 2016

People like to confuse ethical "rights" and legal rights

It is amazing how people think that they have "freedom of speech" on some internet site like Quora or youtube.

I won't go on about how this is a false interpretation of the whole right to freedom of speech. That's a separate, albeit important issue.

I think that people often misunderstand the difference between their "rights" in an ethical sense, and "rights" in the sense of written laws.

This misunderstanding goes back to some vagueness in the English (as well as the German) language, at least to some degree. Being / having a "right" denotes logical, ethical and/or legal correctness, depending on grammatical usage and context.

I think we should make an effort to clarify which sense of the word we talk about. Failing to do so just makes a lot of debates, which are already emotionally charged, even less productive.

Coming back to that "freedom of speech" issue, yes it displays a certain relation to other people's opinions when people such as, for example, Robert Barron's team on youtube will block you for having a different opinion. They are perfectly within their legal rights to do so, and youtube as the site owner grants them that right as well as the technical means for its implementation. I still think it's ethically flawed, and it probably suggests a lack of good counter-arguments on their part. I have a certain ethical "right" to speak my mind, and we should voice it as such whenever someone cuts us off for no good reason. But we should not conflate that with a constitutional right.

It simply is a different thing.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Dog brains

Essentially, dogs all have the same intellectual capacities, regardless of size. But their heads vary enormously in size. So I assume that their brains have different sizes, too. So brain size does not matter.

Good for me, huh?