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Australian philosopher, literary critic, and professional writer. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Defending free speech

Here I am speaking in the Unitarian Church Hall last night, addressing the Atheist Society (now there's an interesting combination!).

My topic was Freedom of Speech and Religious Vilification. The message was one of dissent from the policy of enacting religious vilification laws in places like the State of Victoria. Although the recent experience, notably the Catch the Fire Ministries case, does not give us reason to panic, it does give us reason for concern and vigilance. There's a danger that such laws will chill socially-valuable speech criticising religious ideas.

I had a good audience, with 50+ interested people, and have since received good feedback. Hopefully, this has raised awareness about laws that create problems for freedom of speech.

(A copy of my speaking notes can be found here, for anyone who is interested.)

4 comments:

Blake Stacey said...

That sounds like an interesting topic, and probably one with which people (like me) in the "US and A" don't know much about. Ah, the problems of staying informed in a global world. . . .

You might be interested in Richard Dawkins' take on Wikipedia in the closing minutes of The Enemies of Reason.

Anonymous said...

If only I had known about this interesting talk. Have you considered introducing a system of reader updates?

Russell Blackford said...

Hmmm, well I'll think about what I can do to keep readers up to date. I don't have much else booked up after the couple of gigs this week - although I do have an appearance to talk at a forum called the Ethics Cafe on the eveing of the 27th. My topic is Designer Babies.

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