John Mikes wrote:
Stathis P wrote:1-14-07:


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?


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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