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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019) and AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021).

Friday, September 14, 2007

Rosenhouse on Blackford on Dawkins

There's some interesting discussion over here at Jason Rosenhouse's EvolutionBlog - after I had a rush of blood and wrote a very long comment in response to a post on a related blog.

Actually, Jason's immediately subsequent post has more or less superseded the one entitled "Blackford on Dawkins", and is now picking up more traffic.

My thesis is that much of the current debate about Richard Dawkins and the so-called "New Atheism" is distorted by the fact that Dawkins' detractors read his work in a way that is deaf to issues of tone and nuance. In fairness, Dawkins' supporters (some of them) sometimes show the same tendency when dealing with people whom they see as opponents. It's an all-too-human response to views that we find frightening.


Anonymous said...

Hi Russell, just read the comments on Jason's site. I think J.J. Ramsey just wants to disagree so that he isn't seen to be "in" with Dawkins. Some cats don't want to be herded at all, I guess.
I thought your comment was well put and nuanced.

J. J. Ramsey said...

I realize that this reply is several days late, but you write as if I agree with Dawkins in substance and just don't want to be associated with him because of his reputation. However, Dawkins just flat out presents a mediocre and sometimes shoddy case for atheism, and then has the temerity to couple such mediocrity with cocksure cutesy insults. That is a lousy combination.

Russell Blackford said...

JJ, is your comment directed at me or Brian?

J. J. Ramsey said...

Brian, of course. He's the one who said, "I think J.J. Ramsey just wants to disagree so that he isn't seen to be 'in' with Dawkins," no?

Russell Blackford said...

That's what I thought, which is why I didn't reply to it. Nice to have confirmation, though.