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

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Morality, with limits

My piece for Comment is Free (The Guardian) appears here.

Go and help me out, coz this one is going to be controversial. Btw, the word around the traps is that you should NEVER get trapped in debate in the comments section if you write one of these pieces. It can take over your life and drive you to despair. So ... I'll keep away as much as possible. :)

13 comments:

NewEnglandBob said...

Sometimes it is not very simple. There can be issues where both sides have a moral stance. One example is pro-life vs pro-choice. One side takes a moral right stance for the child and the other side takes a moral rights stance of the mother. The answer can take a middle position (abortion until x weeks) which may change as science and medicine progress. Neither side might be satisfied.

Jerry Coyne said...

Russell,

DO NOT—repeat, DO NOT engage the commenters! Ignore this advice at your peril!

DEEN said...

I dunno, didn't sound controversial at all to me.

Russell Blackford said...

I'm sure it's good advice Jerry - I'm not even looking at the comments. Let the snake pit go on without me.

Lisa said...

I've looked at the comments so far and they're actually quite thoughtful (mostly), and some compliment you on the piece. There aren't any commenters defending FGM, the Iranian and/or Saudi regimes, describing concern about halal/kosher butchery on animal welfare grounds as "racist" or "anti-Semitic," and no paens to Islamic law or Christian theology. (Why I continue to read the comments there on any article having to do with Islam, Israel or any other such contentious topic is beyond me, except that I must enjoy punishing myself!)

In any case, very good article!

Russell Blackford said...

I don't know whether DM is playing some sort of joke, but this is not a place where you can turn up and call the blogger a little liar and one of his friends a little shit. See you, pal.

Ophelia Benson said...

Oh I don't think it's necessary to avoid the comments altogether - just be selective, that's all.

Mind you if one is going to engage it's probably best to do it early or not at all, because once some time passes the commentary tends to settle into two-way wrangles between people like 'sonoftherock' and the opposite, and they go nowhere.

J. J. Ramsey said...

DEEN: "I dunno, didn't sound controversial at all to me."

Same here. It looks like something that struck me as common sense. Not that's a bad thing, though, considering how common so-called "common sense" is.

Lisa said...

Sadly Ophelia, I know exactly who "sonoftherock" (a very annoying Christian apologist on Cif) is, and my life is poorer for it. The same with any number of diehard Islamic commenters...

NewEnglandBob said...

Blasphemy is a victimless crime, therefore is not a crime.

You are nothing but a joke, DM.

Go stew in your own ignorant hate.

NewEnglandBob said...

A loser is one like you DM. I am happy with my life.

You live in fear of your fictitious boogey-god. You are so deluded to think he hears your every thought and prayer and wants you to shun or murder unbelievers.

You have been taught immorality by your religion. Slavery, murder, genocide, misogyny, homophobia are its rules for your life.

You stand in judgment of others and try to control their lives with your religion's meaningless rules.

We are more tolerant and accepting of others and would not care what you do or believe except that attempt to force your crap onto others.

latsot said...

Hey, you've been MABUS'D!

DM will become very tedious indeed if you don't do something about him. If form is anything to go by, he'll continue to spam your blog with increasingly meaningless frothings.

On the upside, the comments on the guardian piece are fine. Mostly just a few people squabbling amongst themselves.

Russell Blackford said...

Don't feed the troll people. The comments from David Mabus stayed there longer than they would normally, because I've been driving all day.