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Quotha

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Apr. 13th, 2010 | 14:08

It is not bigotry to be certain we are right; but it is bigotry to be unable to imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong.
—G. K. Chesterton

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izhilzha

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from: izhilzha
date: Apr. 13th, 2010 21:14 (UTC)
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One of my favorite GKC quotes.

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from: xander25
date: Apr. 13th, 2010 23:56 (UTC)
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I am a simple man, so I do not really understand.

Back before I converted to Christianity, I will admit to being very bigoted. I hated Christianity with every fiber of my being. In my view their philosophy produced disastrous results, etc... I could not imagine how I could be wrong. However, I did give others the opportunity to prove me wrong. Over the course of a few years...it was reasoned argument (and not being called a bigot), which ultimately convinced me. A narrow viewpoint may be expanded...a lack of knowledge corrected...as long as people are willing to search. My point is...bigotry may be a result of a narrow viewpoint...not the other around. A person may not be able to imagine he is wrong, precisely because he does not know anything else.

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Fabio Paolo Barbieri

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from: fpb
date: Apr. 14th, 2010 10:18 (UTC)
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I wouldn't say so. Otherwise we might all be bigots at the start of our convinctions - because there always is a moment when we become convinced of something and just don't imagine that there might be anything wrong with it. No: I would say that bigotry is that spirit whereby you feel that the person who disagrees with you not only is wrong - anyone could live with that - but that, by being wrong, does you personally a fathomless wrong that cries out for some sort of vengeance. The true bigot not only hates those who contradict him, but cannot leave them alone; he feels a personal injury in just being disagreed with. He is also often a hypocrite, like that dreadful man Dawkins, whining about people being rude to him on his website after he has said God only knows what about the rest of us.

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Tom Simon

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from: superversive
date: Apr. 15th, 2010 6:15 (UTC)
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To put it technically, you are inferring a conditional where only the absence of a contrary conditional is stated.

Chesterton says: ‘It is not bigotry to be certain we are right.’ In other words, being certain you are right does not imply that you are a bigot. What you have said does not contradict that. You are saying, in effect, that if you are a bigot you will be certain you are right. But this does not address Chesterton’s claim, because you may, alternatively, be certain you are right without being a bigot.

In symbolic terms, Chesterton is saying: ¬(p → q), and you are countering with (q → p). This is not logically valid. It would be valid to convert (¬p → ¬q) into (q → p), but you cannot distribute a negation in that way: ¬(p → q) does not imply (¬p → ¬q).

I hope these symbols are appearing correctly in your browser. In case they are not, ¬ is the logical NOT symbol, and → is the right-arrow or conditional symbol.

Your definition of bigotry is good and useful, but not relevant to Chesterton’s point.

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