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, January 12, 2010

Coming soon ... some observations on Sunday Night Safran

It was an interesting experience listening to Sunday Night Safran, after my interview with (primarily) John Safran the other night. For anyone listening to the podcast version, available on the show's website, my interview starts at about 36 minutes in and goes (I think ... I didn't take much notice) for about 10 minutes. Most of what comes before is an interview with the author of a book about exorcism, then discussion between the hosts after that interview is over.

As for my own interview ... well, the interview itself was generally fine, even though I didn't feel as relaxed as I sometimes do with radio interviews. I do have some observations to make about it (and the pros and cons of how I handled it ... IMO, some things were good, some not so good). More frustrating was the discussion later on between the hosts (around the 50 minute mark), where some of the things said by Father Bob Maguire in particular had pretty obvious responses that I could easily have given if I'd still been on the air. Still, that's the format of the show and all interviewees have to live with it.

There are then some final comments by the hosts right at the end of the program - in fact I think it's really just John Safran summing up by saying that he liked 50 Voices of Disbelief:Why We Are Atheists but Bob Maguire didn't. That's fair enough, of course - they are entitled to their respective opinions of the book.

Anyway, here's a chance for anyone else who listened to the show to make comments. I've been away from my computer for most of today ... technically yesterday ... so I'll have to hold my fire for now on anything more detailed than this post. But I'll get back to the topic soon.


Anonymous said...

The more interesting part of the podcast was Father Bob talking about atheism after your interview. He was completely silent during the interview but after the ad break he came out as quite negative about atheism, finding it boring and not identifying with the correct version of his god.

Anyway I'm off to my happy family.

Russell Blackford said...

Yes, it was a bit annoying that he didn't put his criticism of atheism/the book to me in the interview but chose to make it afterwards. Obviously I'd have had some points to make in reply. John raised some new points that could have done with a response as well, but I suppose he couldn't cover everything that was on his mind in the interview ... and he did plug the book right at the end of the show.

Janet's Dad said...

Is is worse than that Russell. I think you have to do what what Hitchens does, you have to make them own the dogma, you have to call it "immoral" you have to link what they believe to the pernicious effects of those beliefs in a way that they have to defend, otherwise they shrug and say, "what is he on about" ... "he's boring", "hes after straw men" ... you are going to get this done to you every time unless you change the terms of engagement here.

The same thing got done to you ar the Melbourne "Problem of Evil" ... Father Bob just writes you off as an egg head. Says his god is bigger, mocks you with levers, and failure to get it. They quote Mencken at you, snigger, snigger ... when are you going to get a bit of Howard Beale in you bud?

Father Bob,says nothing he knows resembles anything about what you are saying.

Unless you point your critique at the immorality of what they say, and make them own it ... this happens. Go for the core, salvation, immoral, substitutionary sacrifice, immoral ... you have to go there ... not gay marriage, not the problem of evil (which they laugh at) you have to go where they can't just say, meep meep.

How many times you gonna let that happen before you put a stop to it?

Paine, did the reverse, he made his god bigger and theirs into pygmies.

I'm in your corner Russell, it pains (pun intended) me to see you sandbagged this way.

Janet's Dad said...

but we really have a bigger problem, that has nothing to do with "belief" and everything to do with our ecology as humans ... there are events in our lives which are important. Those events require us to "plug in" and solemnize those events with people who we grant status ... be the civil, familial or clerical ... they provide a service.

Paine had a solution, make god bigger, make him into a Deist God, and attack not "god" but revealed religion ... this was good strategy. It was a reform, not an ouster ... I miss those days ... it was a stronger hand to play than the one you are holding.

We hand the trumps to Bob. He has both the deist hand and the theist hand ... we got, what??

it is no small problem for a social species that lives in multi generational family and extended family groups ... such as ourselves.

It is a real problem.