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).

Sunday, March 14, 2010

ABC Religion reports on moi

Go here for Margaret Coffey's, um ... interesting report on my presentation at the Global Atheist Convention. Note my comment in response on the (so far) short thread. You might want to make comments of your own, one way or other, especially if you're at the convention. By no means let me bias you. See what you think.

While you're there, you might then like to nose around on the site and see what is said about some of the other talks.

When you've had a look at the ABC Religion site, you might like to think about what I've previously said here about social pluralism:

If you mean that ["militant" atheists or "New Atheists"] will go on arguing for the truth of what they believe, using logic and evidence and … well … words, that is exactly what people do in a tolerant, pluralist society. In such a society, people also try to persuade others to live in certain ways and not to do certain things. This involves using the techniques of argument and exhortation, personal practice and example, and so on.

What you don’t do in a tolerant, pluralist society, at least if you are committed to tolerance and pluralism, is try to enforce your beliefs and your preferred way of life by the use of force, whether it be by acts of terrorist violence or by trying to get laws enacted to suppress the views you reject or the practices and ways of life you dislike. But the so-called "New Atheists" are not trying to do any such thing (and I for one would speak up loudly in opposition if they did).

Richard Dawkins, for example, has made it clear that he is trying to raise people’s consciousness, not control their lives.

It is religious believers who are always far more likely to attempt to impose their particular views of right and wrong, e.g. by trying to ban abortion and certain kinds of medical research.


Ophelia Benson said...

So sweet that they sent all believers to report on the convention. I suppose they sent all athetists to report on the parliament of religions in December. No?

Ophelia Benson said...

Cough. I forgot to switch 'identity' - Secular Outpost doesn't offer the simple name/url option.

BK said...

The ABC didn't send all believers: Gary's bio said he was a secular humanist. Other atheists did guest blogs too.