Since it's after midnight, I'll be going back to Newcastle today ... technically speaking. But first some sleep.
The trip to Melbourne ended tonight with a very, um, lively gig. I gave a talk to the local Atheist Society about living in a world without objective values/morality, putting a similar line to that which I've given in a number of talks in the past to other forums, though with a different emphasis that involved some new arguments. I obviously pushed a few buttons this time, though, as some of the audience members (well, one in particular) used question time in ways that I found objectionable. Somebody later accused me of having a short fuse, but question time is a time for asking questions, not for making speeches that would be better as infuriated blog posts, berating the speaker for dishonesty or other personal failings, refusing to listen to answers, asking questions on totally different topics, and the like. Beyond a certain point, I don't have to put up with this ... and I didn't.
My only regret is that some listeners thought I was angry: actually, I wasn't particularly. I was annoyed at the behaviour of the last questioner in particular, but I felt quite calm. But people who come along to a talk don't get to be obnoxious to the speaker in question time without receiving a firm response. Once again, it's a time for asking questions. Objections can be made, but they should be expressed thoughtfully and politely. If I'm asked a question, or an objection is put to me in the proper spirit, I'll always give the best and most honest answer I can - not a merely rhetorical one - and I'll frankly admit it if I don't understand what is being asked or if I don't see a clear answer. I'm there to consider and discuss, as well as to put my own viewpoint. But if I'm berated, cut off when I try to give answers, or personally attacked, I'll give the questioner short shrift. Some people need to learn a few manners.