Is it good for society to debate "dangerous" ideas?
- Freedom of speech
We should be careful when giving oxygen to falsehoods, as humans are very capable of believing disinformation *more* after it is debunked.
Organisers of public debates should have a sense of responsibility, show no bias in presentation or moderation, and be able to judge fairly. We should not simply assume that they will achieve these goals.
The speakers and audience of a public debate are often not representative of society.
Freedom of speech is a civil liberty in the Western world. It is important to defend all of our civil liberties.
Being able to win a debate is not the same as being right.
Long-form conversations or debates are a good way to clearly communicate your viewpoint. When people's opinions are reported second-hand and out of context, it is easy to be unfairly mischaracterised.
A real-time public debate is not a good environment for people (speakers or audience) to check facts or assertions, to do extra research and reading, or to change their mind / admit they were wrong. There may be some merit to the exchange of ideas, but it is also largely theatre.
People need to be able to exercise critical thinking. An echo chamber is unhealthy and makes people more easily manipulable.
Ideas which may be considered "dangerous" by some might be considered necessary by others.
While it is our democratic right to hold debates, it is also our democratic right to protest those debates. A healthy society exercises both rights.