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Hull and East Riding Humanist Group

A social group for humanists, atheists, secularists, sceptics and agnostics

“Freedom of Speech”

Posted by Tim on 05/03/2016
Posted in Past Meetings  | Tagged With: | No Comments yet, please leave one


Date:       Monday 15th February 2016, 7.30pm
Venue:    the back room of the Tiger Inn, Lairgate, Beverley, East Yorkshire, HU17 8JG

Humanists work for an open and inclusive society with freedom of belief and speech. We believe that free speech is an essential liberty without which societies can easily slide into a culture of oppression, suspicion and fear. Freedom of speech has occupied an important part in humanist thinking for centuries and humanist organisations have always been active in campaigns for it. Chair of HERHG John Hawkins lead a discussion on Free Speech for our February 2016 meeting.


In his 1859 book “On Liberty” the English philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote

The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it.  If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth:  if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

2015 has already seen the violent suppression of the freedom to mock and insult religious ideologies. To what extent should people be free to publish ideas in the public domain that some will find offensive?

Susan Harr will be talking about freedom of speech at 7.30pm on Monday 16th February in the back room of the Tiger Inn, Lairgate, Beverley. All welcome.