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

Monday, August 01, 2011

I'm proud of you guys

As I read the ongoing discussion here and on other threads where the conversation still continues, I'm quietly proud.

I've tried to make this a thoughtful, reasonable place where we could get some good discussion without anyone having to toe a particular line. I do have views, of course, and I've often pushed them. I've also handed out a certain amount of snark from time to time. I don't claim to be, as Jeremy Stangroom sarcastically calls me, the Polite Professor (I'm not even a professor) who never shows the slightest incivility. Some things do annoy me, make me impatient, even make me angry. I've been quite willing, on occasion, to tell people to piss off if I've found them sufficiently irritating.

Still, I've aimed at a certain standard overall - I've wanted this to be a blog where we could maintain a friendly and tolerant atmosphere, welcoming thoughtful and reasoned dissent, and developing some useful discussions that might at least clarify a few things. I've also hoped to introduce some elements of humour and fun - all work and no play makes for a boring blog.

Okay, so I haven't been entirely successful with all that ... but to the extent that I've had (I think), a leeetle bit of success it's largely been because my regular commenters have picked up the spirit of the thing. It hasn't gone unnoticed at my end.

So - just this once - I want to say to you guys (which is meant to be a gender-inclusive word) that I'm proud of you, and that you have my thanks.

6 comments:

Jeremy Stangroom said...

Not that you'll care, but I've decided not to call you "the polite professor" anymore, because, frankly, compared to the lunatics that infest the skeptic/atheist blogging world, you're a bleedin' paragon of virtue. (I mean that, actually. But, as I say, I do realise you're not going to give two hoots, etc).

Russell Blackford said...

Actually, Jeremy, I do care. I'm not as thick-skinned as you might think. I have no idea what I've done in the past to deserve the hostility I've had from you.

However, we can call it a truce and start again. Let's start with a clean slate, okay? Is that all right with you?

Jeremy Stangroom said...

I don't feel any hostility towards you, Russell (for what it's worth) - though, of course, I accept I have been hostile.

The reason you got it from me originally is just that you happened to be the guy who wrote a "New Atheists are civil" post, etc.

Nothing else.

And, for what it's worth, during all this time I've always been clear - offline (i.e., I've consistently said it to other people) - that as far as I'm concerned you're the most substantively interesting of the the new atheist bloggers (and, in philosophical terms, by some margin the most sophisticated).

But I think you have a blind spot about the nature of the community you're part of (and, yes, I get you're going to see it differently).

Anyway, certainly I'll not be going after you again. The way you've been treated by PZ - and others - has been very unfair, so I don't want to add to it by piling on more unfairness.

And I'm sorry if anything I've said has actually caused you upset. That was never the intention.

Russell Blackford said...

You'll understand, given what's happened, that I'm not suddenly going to think you're my great pal, but it would be churlish of me not to accept your apology, so it's accepted.

As for how I've been treated by others just lately ... yes, quite.

But that gets us close to Elevatorgatish territory, which is not somewhere I want to go on this blog. For everyone's information, any comments that seem to me to get into that territory will not be published.

Jeremy Stangroom said...

I'm not anybody's great pal, Russell! :)

Russell Blackford said...

Okay, that's fair enough.

And with that, I'll close comments on this post. I've done my bit of slapping my commenters on their collective back, which is all that I wanted to do here.