Enlightenment Defended
Politics • Spirituality/Belief • Culture
Enlightenment Defended will repel the dark nihilism of “post-truth”, woke culture, identity politics, and political correctness. It will catalyse the bright flame of the enlightenment —liberty, reason and progress.

Enlightenment Defended will create an open realm of vigorous philosophical debate through animation, documentaries, poetry, humour, music and myth. People are many-sided in both apprehension and enjoyment.
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PC-Speak's Arrogant Certainty versus Humble Trial and Error

The arrogant certainty evinced by political correctness and woke ideology suggests that its purveyors have a crude authoritarian theory of knowledge. Certain groups, especially oppressed groups, have special access to the truth, a royal road to knowledge. They feel that they inhabit islands of safe, justified belief.

Through this lens, the origin of an idea constitutes either its unchallengeable justification or its unquestionably damned refutation.

Karl Marx held that the working class had a special direct connection with the truth. Only the workers could understand the future interests of society. Woke and Critical Race Theory ideology is a re-purposed version of Marx's idea that the working class has a privileged consciousness. The peak of this epistemic idiocy is that you must be right if you are black and wrong if you are white. From a PC-speak angle, you're wrong if someone imagines that your ideas emanate from "incorrect" feelings, they offend someone, or even if someone merely imagines that they might offend someone else!

Life is a process of learning from one's mistakes, through which one may, step by step, mature and flourish. However, in the Woke philosophy, you aren't allowed any leeway to make mistakes, because a mistake defined by the Woke or PC-Speak crowd brands you, as its source, as inherently erroneous. Any venom they feel for the idea is then directed at the person, who must be cancelled, rubbed out. A young person makes a silly remark on a social media platform but is persecuted for it many years later in a radically different stage of his life. Such persecution makes nonsense of Shakespeare:

"All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages."

In the absurd PC world, all stages of life are but one: the whining schoolboy, the emotional lover, the devoted soldier, the wise judge, the old man...all compressed into a unity in the small mind of the PC fanatic.

I think that the blinkered certainty of these ideologies explains their relentless persecution of those imagined to have fallen short of their correct and certain "criteria".

Most people who have been infected by these ideologies are unaware of their philosophical presuppositions. How apt is Plato's oft-cited aphorism: The unexamined life is not worth living. Basing your life on imagined absolute certainty can only engender conflict with others who disagree with you for, since you hold the truth to be manifestly obvious, they must be lying to you and cannot be reasoned with, but only opposed.

But, as Karl Popper has taught us, if we look at the scientific method, what counts is not the origin of ideas or their emotional pedigree, but how ideas are treated once we have produced them. And in science, we separate them from the person and treat them with unstinting criticism.

Both I and David Deutsch talk separately about the parallels between the trials and errors involved in Darwinian evolution and the trial-and-error method of science. This, I think, helps to show the ubiquitous necessity of a conjecture and refutation approach to our problems.

Once this is admitted it is easier to see that, like other positions, PC and Woke ideologies are conjectures and, if we are interested in the growth of knowledge, should be treated as ruthlessly in criticism as we treat scientific hypotheses. There are no safe, justified islands of privileged knowledge.

(Note. Here, David Deutsch is speaking specifically about scientific problems. However, I'm generalising David's points here, and I think the same approach should apply whether we are talking about scientific problems or those outside science proper: government or business proposals, plans, technological projects, world-views and ideologies. The lesson of Darwinian evolution can be used outside of science. In science we use controlled observational experiments to test the metal of our ideas; outside it, our ideas must still face demanding standards of coherence, etc. Nothing is out of court.)

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