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).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Radio show on "Life Matters"

This morning, I was part of a one-hour program, "The Disbelievers", on ABC Radio National's "Life Matters" program. It was great to get a full hour devoted to this topic. Other speakers on the program included Philip Kitcher, Emma Tom, Jack Dann, and Sean Williams - all contributors to 50 Voices of Disbelief. You can download or listen to the program here ... and you can comment about it on the ABC site here (or go here to see what others have been saying; as I write this, there's a thoughtful discussion going on, with some very detailed comments).

I thoroughly enjoyed doing this show. There were some things said by other speakers that I didn't entirely agree with or expect, but that's not really the point. I think they all came across as likeable and interesting, thoughtful and compassionate people. As Udo Schuklenk and I said in the introduction to the book, there's no party line that we expect our contributors to toe ... except that it's important for those of us who reject gods and religious doctrines to stand up and say so, and to explain why.

It's also important that we show we're real people who are engaged with life and with others around us. We're not merely negative - God, humbug! - and we're not leading dessicated and abstracted, or bleak and empty, lives. You can lead a good life - full to the brim with purpose, enthusiasm, and meaning - without buying into religious organisations and thought structures. Everyone on the show demonstrated that amply.

Many thinks to Anne Delaney, the show's producer, and Richard Aedy, the presenter ... as well as to the folks mentioned above and to all the others who took part.

An hour is a long time for a show like this, and (as above) I'm grateful that we were given so much airtime. Then again, with the talent that we had available, plus the high level of audience interest, we could have easily and enjoyably filled a two-hour slot. There was still much more to say, and some interaction among the speakers might have been extremely interesting. I hope they'll follow up with us some time; I'd certainly be pleased to be back.


J.J. Emerson said...

That was a great hour of radio! congrats. I imagine you'll have a lot more people picking up 50 VoD after that.

Russell Blackford said...

I hope so - though quite a few people have been giving Emma Tom flack. I thought Emma was fine, and am thankful to her for going on the show, but it seems that some people don't "get" her self-deprecating sense of humour.

Ken said...

Nice supplement to the book, Russell. Hearing from the "people in the street" who phoned in.