From Reason Magazine, a look at some unpopular thought crimes: Pinker suggests that many readers will be appalled by some of these questions. I find most of them interesting. He continues:
By "dangerous ideas" I don't have in mind harmful technologies, like those behind weapons of mass destruction, or evil ideologies, like those of racist, fascist or other fanatical cults. I have in mind statements of fact or policy that are defended with evidence and argument by serious scientists and thinkers but which are felt to challenge the collective decency of an age. The ideas listed above, and the moral panic that each one of them has incited during the past quarter century, are examples. Writers who have raised ideas like these have been vilified, censored, fired, threatened and in some cases physically assaulted.
While people of good will can disagree, I believe that there are no dangerous truths. It is always better to know than to remain ignorant. For the sake of argument, Pinker enterains the notion that some ideas may, indeed, be too dangerous to air publicly. Why? Perhaps because malevolent people may seize on the ideas to justify harming other people or groups. He also properly urges us to be "suspicious when the danger in a dangerous idea is to someone rather than its advocate."
But in the end, Pinker concludes:
Though I am more sympathetic to the argument that important ideas be aired rather than to the argument that they should sometimes be suppressed, I think it is a debate we need to have. Whether we like it or not, science has a habit of turning up discomfiting thoughts, and the Internet has a habit of blowing their cover. Go read the aforementioned list. Some of the ideas will no doubt be offensive. But the truth can often hurt, and the whole idea of living in a free society is the right to express unpopular or morally challenging opinions. One man's thought crime is another man's scientific truth. Which is more important-dealing with that truth, or trying to pretend that it doesn't exist?