About Me

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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); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Listen to Triple J at 5.30 pm

I just did an interview with Triple J on unreasonable/absurd religious practices. This was conducted in a light-hearted way that involved my being presented with a list of odd practices to rank in order of unreasonableness.

If you have a moment (and see this in time), tune in to Triple J at 5.30 this afternoon and let me know what you thought. And how would you rank the traditional Jewish kaparot ceremony (in which an individual's sins are transferred to a chicken), pentacostals' speaking in tongues, Jehovah's Witnesses' refusal of blood transfusions, Mormon temple garments, and the E-meter beloved of Scientologists? What's the best criterion to use to determine relative unreasonableness? E.g., is it what just seems weirdest or least familiar to you or to someone of your background? What involves the most unlikely understanding of reality? Or what does the most harm (or maybe some weighing up of bizarreness and harmfulness?)?

Tune in for a (hopefully) quick-witted discussion of these issues and more.


Brian said...

You're back!

OK, order:
Really, I'd rank them all about the same. The practices themselves, whilst bizzare aren't that harmful. It's the underlying idea that there is some justification for religious beliefs when there isn't that is probably more harmful.

If you're bored. Check my attempt at parody on my blog under the heading 'Science Fiction'

Anonymous said...

Jehovah's Witnesses' refusal of blood transfusions isn't that harmful? Just kills mormons I guess.

Anyway I work until 6 so I am gonna miss it, but I will download it at a later date.

Good on your for appearing on Hack - one of the very few real current affair shows in Australia.

Alex said...

The ranking sounded about right to me.

I was unimpressed by the program however, it seemed weighted towards the religious viewpoint. It was probably just because the interviewers had limited time and understanding. Still I think they could have asked harder questions of the religious people, and found better people to interview for the atheist side.
It is a pity, I've always thought Hack was quite good.

Russell Blackford said...

My concern with these things is always about whether I'll come across sounding like an idiot. But I thought it was okay, even though it was actually cut back quite a lot from what they had of me on tape.

Terry Talks Movies said...

You sounded fine Russell, giving it a light touch that worked. It's a pity that circumcision didn't come up as a dumb religious practice. Ring-barking babies has always struck me as a meaningless and barbaric religious practice.

Blake Stacey said...

OK, major synchronicity weirdness! Being a provincial American, I hadn't heard of Triple J (that I remember) until today. . . while reading Greg Egan's "Dark Integers", about ten minutes ago. Then I click over here, and bam!

Russell Blackford said...

It seems I'm famous this week. I had my first tutes for the semester yesterday - I'm teaching Political Philosophy this semester - and one of my students in the first class recognised my name from Dreaming Down-Under, while a student in the other class had heard the Triple J interview the night before.