Playing with the fire of the mind.

As you may have heard, Scott Adams, the guy who writes the comic strip “Dilbert”, asked for people to submit a topic for him to blog about and what ultimately got picked was “Men’s rights”. So he wrote a post about it which provoked such an outrage that Adams deleted it from his site and it’s still causing quite a stir among bloggers.

What’s more interesting to me than the post itself, though, is this passage from Adams’ subsequent clarification of it:

“I don’t believe humans can be influenced by exposure to better arguments, even if I had some… But I do think people benefit by exposure to ideas that are different from whatever they are hearing, even when the ideas are worse. That’s my niche: something different. That approach springs from my observation that brains are like investment portfolios, where diversification is generally a good strategy. I’m not trying to move you to my point of view; I’m trying to add diversity to your portfolio of thoughts.”

An interesting plan, though one which has its risks, as Adams discovered. Putting different-but-worse ideas out for people to read is dangerous. On the other hand, if you argue that exposure to different-but-worse ideas needs to be limited, it seems to me that you’re essentially advocating censorship.

What's your stake in this, cowboy?