Jejudo, South Korea
I don't get the page you posted. It's not funny (but, c'mon you don't think the science fair is even a little funny?).
It's probably true that that wouldn't pass muster here and that's fine. No doubt A Modest Proposal wouldn't either and that's fine. I've never thought and nor do I think Ron thinks that PIP is a microcosm for a liberal society. We get rid of some things so other things can be done, and other sites allow things we don't, but don't have what we have.
In the philosophy forum, we have indeed have substantive discussions that simply haven't taken place in a differently oriented philosophy site. The discussion on naturalism/supernaturalism in other forums rarely seems to get much passed the, "You're an idiot for thinking like that". On the other hand, there are things that we haven't been able to do (a sustained discussion on Kripke's 'rigid designator' for example.)
But aren't all these 'sites' and not one 'site' the better model?
If Galileo had chosen a path other than to make the Pope (his friend) look like a fool history may have been different for him. Perhaps he wanted to be a martyr. Although -- he fared better than Socrates -- who also decided to take the path of making the Patriarchs look like fools.
Admittedly, I haven't read any of these recent revisionist histories, only read about them, but the idea has always struck me as a bit odd. Don't get me wrong, for all I know Galileo and Socrates (or Bruno) were jerks, but is that a good reason for what happened to them?
I don't see how poking at each other with sticks makes the world any better.
And yet one of the most famous scenes in 20th century philosophy is Wittgenstein supposedly threatening Karl Popper with a poker. I can't help but feel that the 'story' of philosophy would somehow be lessened without it. Wittgenstein is, more or less, the declared winner today, but I suspect to see a Popper resurgence in the near future.
In a different vein, isn't Patton more interesting for the man he was and perhaps integral to his exploits on the battlefield than for what he should have been?
There is a difference between laughing with and laughing at. Of course it's a classic Machiavellian device to employ so if the minister just needed to rally the troops it's much easier to line them up against something than for something.
Yes, it is. Yet, the line between 'laughing with' and 'laughing at' is a difficult one to draw. I want to make the same distinction here as I made with sites. There is more than one type of conversation and none of them should be a standard model. Problems do occur when people confuse one conversation for another, that's the risk, but I see no reason that we shouldn't take the risk unless you want to paper over diversity or difference in a Adam Sandler view of harmony (Think Big Daddy.)
I stuck in Bruno with Galileo because I wanted to end with a quote that he reportedly said before he was executed. I think it applies to anyone who fears judgement in general(from yourself or in hearing it from others to other people):
Perchance your fear in passing judgment on me is greater than mine in receiving it.