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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE (2012), HUMANITY ENHANCED (2014), and THE MYSTERY OF MORAL AUTHORITY (2016).

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A couple of early reviews for 50 Voices of Disbelief

"In their excellent collection of essays exploring and defending the philosophical stance of atheism, Russell Blackford (Kong Reborn, 2005, etc.) and Udo Schüklenk (Philosophy/Queen’s University, Canada) had an inclusive vision. 'The selection criteria aimed at creating a diverse group of contributors from very different spheres of public life, including academia, novelists, artists, philosophers and so on,' says Schüklenk. 'We thought that this diversity should make the volume attractive to people from quite different walks of life.' Contributors to the book range from those with science-fiction backgrounds to modern-day philosophy. 'We ...thought that this diversity of backgrounds should translate into a rich mosaic of personal and professional views,' says Schüklenk. While atheism has of late acquired some high-profile advocates, such as scientist Richard Dawkins and philosopher Daniel Dennett, it is, of course, not a topic without controversy. There has been backlash against those who have courted it. 'Dawkins has been demonized with some success, i.e. a myth has been created that his tone is simply angry or strident and that he has only a crude understanding of religion,' says Blackford. 'Neither of these is true. The myth provides an excuse to avoid his actual arguments, which are quite nuanced and carefully qualified…[It’s] doubtless [that] Udo and I will encounter some critics who’ll distort our arguments and misrepresent our motivations. It comes with the territory.'" (Kirkus Reviews, October 2009)

"In more than 50 brief statements organized by Blackford and philosopher Sch√ľklenk ... contributors share views—their routes toward nonbelief and their feelings about the place of religion in the world ... including James (the Amazing) Randi, a well-known magician and debunker of spurious psychic phenomena. Considering the popularity of Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion, Christopher Hitchens's God Is Not Great, and Sam Harris's The End of Faith, [these] memoirs and observations will be of interest to disbelievers." (Library Journal, October 2009)


Brian said...

Russell, in the second review, it points out that Udo is a philosopher and but you. You given back your degree and doctorate?

I'll have it if you don't want it.

J.J.E. said...

How does one figure out how wide the distribution will be? I have a sneaking suspicion that the book won't be in Taipei. I'd be thrilled to be wrong, however.