Now, obviously there is a taboo on the removing of fundamental human rights from anyone, but as freethinkers I think we should be able to ask this question without heated emotions but with cool logic.
Now let us assume that Richard Dawkins is growing senile in age, and what is more, through this causing a great deal of harm with his public outbursts. In particular, say, let us assume these outbursts are hurting the public image of atheism and thus strengthening fundamentalist religion. Well, there can be no doubt that the net harm done to Dawkins by locking him away and censoring his freedom of speech-in this one instance – would have a net positive if it caused more people to leave fundamentalist religion. What’s more, we could provide Dawkins with a Spartan existence out of his own wealth and donate the rest to much better causes, like the rights of oppressed Muslim women(let us call her Muslima for simplicity.)
Now it must be recognized that this is a restriction of Dawkins’s freedoms, but they are not nearly so bad as those conditions in North Korea. This is not a defense of course of incarcerating Dawkins, but rather a thought experiment that I think raises interesting questions about the rights of individuals versus that of the greater good.
Now I know many are afraid of a Stalin like crackdown on those asking this sort of question, legitimately, but I think as freethinkers we must have the courage to apply logic to these sorts of questions.
And if you disagree on my hypothetical involving Dawkins, please feel free to use Harris or Hitchens or whoever you like! It is only a philosophical thought experiment.
One thought on “Ought Richard Dawkins be locked in jail? (Thought Experiment)”
The simplest answer would be no.
In the regards of personal ethics the answer would be ”hell no” because the only reason a person could be incarcerated would be for publicly requesting harm to a person or a group, commonly known as fascism.
In the regard of the promotion of atheism putting Dawkins in jail would only give an argument to the fundamentalists who would be able to say that atheists are a homogeneous group that has it’s hierarchy and dogma and, therefore, really is a ”church”.
If we exclude the previous questions with only Dawkins net worth being donated to help ”Muslim Women” (I guess this example was used ad hoc as in reality it means nothing), and exclude the fact that this would be against most pillars of the western society (I am from the ”eastern society” so I don’t really care), the answer would be ”meh”.
No change, no influence and very little you could do globally. Only thing that a 100 mill could do is to ”raise awareness” and if you think that is helping congratulations on your ancestors having colonies.
The only ”true”(using this term very loosely) way an atheist community could negate anything Dawkins says is the same way it fights all other kinds of stupidity, by ridicule. If you are offended your only right is to gtfo, if you are engaged in discussion you have the right to disprove anything a person, any person, says.
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