Professors should know better

Professor Clive Hamilton is the latest voice in The Australian's ongoing blog series about CleanFeed.

Read this, then read this. I think you'll see my first objection to the professor's article. His hatchet-job employment of the slippery slope argument is a collossal fallacy that fails to address the anti-cleanfeed lobby's actual objections to the proposed filter. He then goes on to employ strawmen as low-rent caricatures of the opposition, and repeats several already-addressed objections on GetUp's use of test data, then throws out some more strawmen.

There is a simple, currently available, low-impact solution to Clive's extreme, fallacious example: Kids should not have unfettered access to the internet. NetAlert is available, and a responsible parent should not give their kids complete leeway, with privacy, to access the internet. Problem solved. Cases where parents allow unfettered access can be dealt with on an individual basis, as they are now, with no need for draconian filtering controlled by a shadowy organisation with no public accountability.

To dumb a responsible adult's net access down to the level of a Disney movie in order to protect a child is a bad solution. It's like banning all pet dogs because children might get mauled*. End of story.

Lastly, Professor Hamilton. What do you think you're playing at? You're an intelligent man, surely? You can do better than logical fallacies to defend this filter. Give us something solid or expect to be mocked. 

I don't have time for a more substantive post but I'm sure you'll see more reaction on this around the blogosphere (which I will of course link)

Updates on other blogs: Stilgherrian Somebody Think Of The Children Danupoyner


* cue shouts of false equivalence in 3... 2...1...

posted @ Tuesday, February 17, 2009 3:41 PM


Comments on this entry:

# re: Professors should know better

Left by Sean the Blogonaut at 2/18/2009 6:08 PM
I think Clive knows exactly what he is doing. He is attempting to manipulate the public and to change focus of the debate to be about the effects of mainstream legal pornography on children.

He needs to show that exposure to pornogrphy is significantly detrimental to children. That children's especially boys attitudes to sex and women are negitiely shaped by exposure to pornography.

If he wants to talk about attitudes towards women then we need to tackle areas of much greater influence like mainstream media, advertising etc.

Whats I can't understand is his blindness to the distinct possibility of the Governments policy being taken advantage of to limit free speech.

I think the man should be fired from his post.
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