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).

Thursday, December 27, 2012

My most popular posts of the year

My most popular post of 2012 by a long way was this rather brief review of The Avengers - written before the movie had been released in the US, at a time of great excitement about the movie (which went on to make over $1.5 billion dollars worldwide on its first release).

Second most popular was my post on why this has never been "an atheist blog" - it is a blog by a person who happens to be an atheist, and it is even a blog that defends and advocates atheism. However, there have always been other dimensions to our discussions. I'm quite proud of this post, if only because it acts as something of a portal to other posts that I've written over the years that I'm quite proud of.

Even though my next book (co-authored with Udo Schuklenk) is 50 GREAT MYTHS ABOUT ATHEISM, this blog will always have those other dimensions for as long as it survives. Furthermore, the following extract from the post remains true:
I am happy to rally under the banner of atheism for the purposes of networking and organisation. However, I am most strongly a secularist and a liberal - a liberal in the sense in which John Stuart Mill was a liberal, the classic sense that is primarily about individual liberty, freedom of speech, and diversity of ideas. My outspoken public advocacy of atheism should really be seen as outspoken advocacy of the idea that the claims of religion ought to be subjected to sceptical scrutiny, and that religion should not be accorded any kind of authority. And that advocacy is, as it were, in addition to what I was doing anyway - such as advocating what I see as a Millian liberal approach to issues in bioethics.
I should say that none of this would necessarily change even if I decided tomorrow that the balance of philosophical arguments favours the existence of God. Actual religions would still be fair game for sceptical scrutiny, especially insofar as they claim the authority to tell us how to live our lives, and what we should and should not be permitted to do by the authority of the state.

A close third was this post about the "shrill atheist" meme - it seems that this just won't go away. Quote: "Meanwhile, forthright Christians who want to argue publicly for the truth of their views manage to be at least as 'shrill' as Dawkins. For example, I'm currently reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, which I don't think I've previously read in its entirety and have not opened for decades. As usual with Lewis, his style varies between blunt, emotive, self-righteous, and downright snide (I'll bracket off how naive the actual arguments are). His approach gets a free pass in our culture, but if an atheist wrote in exactly the same way he or she would be roundly condemned."


Anonymous said...

I always liked it when you talked about sex.

Russell Blackford said...

I don't think that actually happened very often ... but I promise it will happen in the next post.

Justin Griffith said...

You certainly kept your promise. Kind of monogamous, in a way.