Brian Edwards Media

On Death, Dead Parrots and the Divine

_19-6-06-parrot12 Had an email from my old friend Ivan Strahan in Belfast.  Ivan’s a bit worried about his mortality. People of his own age, and younger, are dropping like flies. ‘We are,’ he wrote, including me in this dire prognosis, ‘in the death zone.’

Death is a no-win situation for the atheist. If you’re right, you don’t get to tell anyone; if you’re wrong, everyone, including God, gets to tell you. That’s the scary bit.

There is of course an upside to being right – you don’t have to worry about being tormented for eternity by some divine psychopath. The downside is that you are inevitably going to find yourself, like Monty Python’s Norwegian Blue: ‘stone dead, demised, passed on, no more, ceased to be, a stiff, bereft of life, snuffed it, up the creek and kicked the bucket, extinct in its entirety, an ex-parrot’. Well, an ex-atheist really.

Death is first and foremost an affront to the ego. It’s not the fear of eternal damnation that bothers me about dying, not even the terror of the unknown; it’s the ‘no more, ceased to be, extinct in its entirety’ bit that gets up my nose. How dare things go on as usual with me not there! How dare the earth presume to turn, the sun to rise, the moon to shine, flowers to grow, birds to sing, Judge Judy to smite the wicked! How dare people continue to conduct conversations without seeking my opinion! How dare there be newspapers and magazines and books and radio and television and the Internet and yet-to-be-invented  forms of mass communication without my being in or on them! How dare I not exist!

‘Vanity of vanities,’ saith the Preacher, ‘all is vanity.’ And mark that fellow down for the sin of pride.

There is a view among my religious friends that I will undergo a last-minute Road to Damascus-style conversion. I doubt it. If there is a god, I’m sure she’s not going to be fooled by a piece of self-interested, panic-induced hypocrisy like that.

And anyway, I just couldn’t do it. No need for any sophisticated dialectics here. Belief in god or an afterlife just doesn’t make sense. Homo sapiens has been around for maybe 200,000 years. Billions of us have been born, lived and died, and there isn’t a single verifiable example of survival after death, not a shred, not a scintilla, not a scrap, not an iota, jot or tittle of evidence of the existence of a divine being. Thank god for that! The versions we’ve made so far in our own image haven’t been too attractive.

Still, there could be an argument for hedging your bets, just in case. Trouble is, it’s not a two-horse race, not just a simple choice between believing and not-believing, between theism and atheism. It’s the Everlasting Cup and there are a stack of runners. Put your money on the wrong nag – Mohammedanism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity – and you’re a gonner. ‘You know the odds,’ says the celestial TAB, ‘now beat them!’

I prefer to put my money on the nose. Win/lose. No great dividend either way. But whichever horse romps home, I’ll still have kept my dignity and self-respect.

Imagine for a moment that I’m right, that there is no god. Imagine that every time you get down on your knees to pray, you’re actually talking to yourself. Imagine that each time you call on god for help in time of trouble, only the wind hears your entreaties. Imagine that for years you’ve prostrated yourself before, glorified, worshipped… no-one. Imagine that the guilt, the self-denial, the adherence to a set of arbitrary, illogical and often punitive tenets, has been totally without point or profit.

Imagine that the centuries of  ecclesiastical ritual, the pomp and circumstance were all mere dressing-up and play-acting. Imagine that the churches, cathedrals, synagogues, temples, mosques are nothing more than monuments to man’s despair and delusion. Imagine that all the martyrs to religious belief, all the victims of religious persecution, died in their hundreds of millions for… nothing.

Imagine that everything you were taught, believed, clung to for meaning and comfort is wrong.  Imagine that it’s all been the most terrible joke, the most cruel hoax conceivable, and you the butt of it.

Doesn’t bear thinking about, does it? Which is why so many people don’t.

On the other hand, I could be wrong. God may not be non-existent, he may merely be painfully shy. And if he does exist, there’s just the possibility that he may be assisted by a devil with all the wit and style of Rowen Atkinson’s ‘Toby’, as he welcomes the latest  batch of newcomers to Hell –  murderers, looters, pillagers, thieves, bank-managers, adulterers, Americans, sodomites, Christians (‘I’m afraid the Jews were right’), everyone who saw The Life of Brian (“He can’t take a joke after all.”) and atheists (‘You must be feeling a right lot of charlies!’).

Well, that would be embarrassing, I admit. But I’m betting it’s never going to happen. I’m betting that god doesn’t exist.

And have you never had a moment of doubt, Brian?

Oh yes – as a  20-year-old student of Germanic languages, standing under a tree during a thunderstorm in Göttingen with lightning strafing the rain-sodden pavement less than a metre from my feet. I did have a moment of doubt then. We atheists hate lightning.

But still…

uk_bus_11

 

[Originally published in the New Zealand Listener. Last of the lazy posts.!]

, ,

36 Comments:

  1. I agree with Richard Dawkins, he makes the compelling argument that this life is it and so it should be enjoyed. Why wait for an imaginary ‘paradise’. As a scientist Dawkins has made his professional reputation by noticing things that are real and worthy of awe for what they are. He talks about beauty and wonder in the mundus, the everyday (which has been contorted into perverse version – mundane as a pejorative). I remind myself of this daily – it corresponds with the Buddhist concept of consciousness and being present in the moment.

    It’s hard not to view organised religion as a means of exerting power and control over populations by an elite; a shell game of fear and guilt. Seems odd to me that fundamentalism is on the rise but I guess that should simply be a source of curiosity and wonder if I am to hold firm the lines of my own Godless catechism.

    • I agree with Richard Dawkins, he makes the compelling argument that this life is it and so it should be enjoyed.

      I agree with Dawkins too. Indeed it’s the only possibility. But the reality of death must cloud that enjoyment to some extent, in so far as it makes nonsense of personal ambition. As the Preacher says: ‘Vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?’ I sometimes think of this when I’m sitting in the Koru Club, overhearing stressed, overweight, red-in-the-face businessmen talking about their profit and loss sheets.

  2. Death is inevitable.

    Leaving a legacy of thought, creation and inspiration for one’s children, friends, and the community at large is how we can live on.

    As I age (I had a quadruple bypass this year, so – at 47 – I am familiar with my pending passage into some unread history)it don’t care one iota if I live into some testy old age if it means I stop enjoying myself – which I tend to do by making things and joining existing ideas together in new ways…for the heck of it and for money.

    Sitting around worrying about one’s toes curling up seems unproductive. Better to get on with it.

    • Sitting around worrying about one’s toes curling up seems unproductive. Better to get on with it.

      Agreed. But those really aren’t the options. I’m hoping to keep my mind alert and my spirits reasonably high until I’m in my nineties. But that doesn’t mean I can’t bemoan the fact that I’m going to die and would rather not. We might have been better off if Eve hadn’t tempted Adam with that apple. Dying really isn’t the problem, knowing that we’re going to die is. In that sense the animals are rather better of than us. Death seems a bit of a waste to me. If I could be immortal, would I? You bet!

  3. 3

    Drexyl Blinkingbird

    Hell, you’ve lived — and are still living — a good life. Distinguished yourself as an interviewer, when TV journalism was in its nascent stage (even solved an industrial dispute on-air). Rather than wax, whimsically, about
    mortality and the unfairness of it all — why not reflect upon the “good times”? Can’t expect to live forever, can you? The more hand-wringing you do, the more irascible and cantankerous you become. Take heart, that you still enjoy good health, have good friends, can go to movies, post your blogs, dine out and enjoy a good bottle of plonk. Because there are plenty out there on “countdown”, afflicted with life- ending illnesses and disease.

    This well help you outta your mental funk: each morning, when you arise from your bed, fling open your bedroom window and shout out, loud: “Jesus, thank you, another day for me to savour”. And you can say that without any hint of religious fervour. Praise Be!

    • Hell, you’ve lived — and are still living — a good life. Distinguished yourself as an interviewer, when TV journalism was in its nascent stage (even solved an industrial dispute on-air). Rather than wax, whimsically, about
      mortality and the unfairness of it all — why not reflect upon the “good times”?

      Well, all these kind remarks – you, Bill – have done a lot for my ego. But all this ‘remember the good times’ really doesn’t address the issue. Why can’t the good times go on forever? As you get older, you realise that this cycle ‘be born, live, die’ is bloody short. And if the cycle were invented by God – Himself immortal – what a selfish old skinflint He turns out to be. (Not sure why I’m bothering with the capitals!)

      Anyway, perhaps you’re misunderstanding me. I’m not gloomy about this, I’m pissed off. Having to die stinks.

      And yes, I know I’m better off than millions of others, but that really isn’t the issue.

  4. Last night I was reading about one of the more mind blowing theories in contemporary physics. It’s called the “Many Worlds” model and was conceived as an elegant solution to some really puzzling phenomena. The fact is that the universe doesn’t really work the way we perceive it at our scale and with our sense of time and space. It’s much weirder than that. The “Many Worlds” model solves all the problems with quantum mechanical weirdness at the cost of bringing large, real world objects into this quantum mechanical domain.

    It probably sounds as if I am ranting – but here’s the relevant bit. If the “Many Worlds” model is good, then everything that can happen, does happen (apparently at a small enough scale that is the nature of observed reality). This requires every instant of time to spawn a multiplicity of new universe instances containing every possible version of every possible event. Consider the unfortunate incident of Brian Edwards being fatally hit by a bus. Other universe instances occur in which Brian sees the bus and avoids it. In those universes Brian carries on. Only in the universes where Brian misses the bus does he continue to perceive. In any conceivable situation where Brian’s demise occurs, there are alternative situations where Brian persists. There’s no need to for Brian to worry about the universes he ceases in, as long as there are remotely conceivable circumstances where Brian persists, because those are all that he continues to experience. Plus the basic physics insists everything remotely conceivable (including hopefully the eventual discovery of immortality treatments to keep some versions of Brian going forever) does occur.

    Bottom line: We are all actually effectively immortal already! Believe it or not some very serious physists acually believe this to be true, or at least extremely plausible. Their equations tell them it’s true, and as they say; “there’s no obligation on the universe to be less weird just so that a simple human brain can understand it better” (rough quote).

    Incidentally, I totally agree with you on the subject of religion. It seems strange to me that people believe weird things for which there isn’t a shred of evidence. (I suppose given the rest of my post some will see irony in this statement). Sorry for the long post.

    • Last night I was reading about one of the more mind blowing theories in contemporary physics. It’s called the “Many Worlds” model and was conceived as an elegant solution to some really puzzling phenomena.

      Fascinating, Bill, and offering much more cause for optimism than the religious promise of an afterlife. Thanks. But why is it that so many people expect themselves and others to end their lives by being knocked down by a bus?

  5. Perhaps your egoism had been more finely honed with age than mine? There is still time for me.

    If I die tomorrow it will be no more or less significant than if I cark at 90.

    You have had an inspirational career. I remember watching you on TV when I was a kid.

    You taught us about rigor and the courage to confront with a different perapective.

    You taught me to hate Muldoonism and vote in the 84 Labor govt – though I confess to voting for Bob Jones.

    You have performed remarkable feats (helping Sir Helen Clark to victory for one).

    You may not be fashionable in media now, but I don’t think that is the sort of matter of fact that should weigh you down. Fashions pass (I don’t regret losing the Mohican).

    I acknowledge the sadness in your initial post but Dr E. there’s no need for that. Get past it and acknowledge the work you have done, the change you made and and your addition to the common good.

    P.S. Acknowledging Adam and Eve as a storytelling driver for your psyche brings into doubt the truth of your atheism.

    P.P.S. Louis, the Sun King’s last words were (though this may be apocryphal) “Why do you cry?… Did you think I was immortal?…”

    Death is part of life.

    Dig it.

    • Perhaps your egoism had been more finely honed with age than mine? There is still time for me.

      I really wasn’t referring to egoism in that sense. Despite the humorous tone of parts of the post, I really intended the ‘ego’ to be a syonmym for ‘the person’. It is the annihilation of ‘the person’ that is offensive about death, of ‘David McGregor’ in your case, ‘Brian Edwards’ in mine. I really don’t buy this ‘living on in your children and grandchildren’ or ‘living on through your good deeds’ argument. Marc Antony came close when he observed ‘”The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones.” Any anyway, you’re still dead.

      And, in the long run, what I find regrettable is that I won’t be able to go on enjoying life.

  6. As an atheist, and as do many others, you concede that tthere is uncertainty; there may be a God; ‘probably’ does not exist. On the other hand I and many like me are 100% certain that there is a God and nothing that Dawkins, Edwards or any other atheist can say will shake that belief. It is something that appears to frustrate atheists intensely that someone cannot follow their finely tuned logic.

    I do not believe in God because the alternative is too awful or embarrassing to contemplate. There are many times when it would be much easier to have no belief or faith. The ecclesiastical pomp and ritual is largely irrelevant although I am reminded of the quotation;

    “Without music,
    there is no mystery;
    Without mystery
    there is no God;
    and without God,
    there is no faith.”

    Many years ago I listened to a talk by an avowed atheist. He too had doubts. His doubts arose not from fear of lightning but the beauty that surrounded him. In particular he used the example of a rose where the number of petals in a rose are always in multiples of five. This symmetry in some way maade him wonder whether or not there was some divine being. The argument does not sound that convincing in print but it made a lot more sense on hearing his talk.

    This is another of those arguments that are incapable of resolution. I would however note that there are many more instances of those who had no faith coming to a miraculaous conversion than those losing their faith and becoming atheists.

    Finally if you were to have a Road to Damascus experience before you fall of your perch it will not be a matter of choice; it will not be ‘panic induced'; it may just happen.

    • As an atheist, and as do many others, you concede that tthere is uncertainty; there may be a God; ‘probably’ does not exist.

      Correct. There’s a great deal of silliness about the definitions of ‘atheist’ and ‘agnostic’. I’ve yet to meet an atheist who said they ‘knew’ there was no god. That would be arrogant stupidity. Unlike you, I see no evidence for the existence of god and therefore conclude that no god exists. That is what I ‘believe’. The ‘agnostic’ is probably less firm in his/her belief. They say, ‘I simply don’t know’.

      I have no interest in challenging your belief in god. Why would I? But if you want to debate the matter in evidential terms, I’m happy to do so.

  7. What would you regard as evidence? Unfortunately it does not work like that. It’s up to you whether you believe or not;. The quotation, “you have believed because you have seen; blessed are those who have not seen but believe” says it all. I am not interested in trying to convince you merely in explaining my own thoughts, but to me the complexity and beauty of life is in itself evidence to me of a higher being. I generally find this a fruitless debate but at least I have respect for your views. All too often the opinions of so called atheists are so virulent and extreme that they are not worth responding to. And before you say it, yes, there are many who believe in God whose views and the ways of expressing them are equally obnoxious.

    • What would you regard as evidence? Unfortunately it does not work like that. It’s up to you whether you believe or not;. The quotation, “you have believed because you have seen; blessed are those who have not seen but believe” says it all.

      I couldn’t possibly buy into this. In no other area in life do we accept as true things for which we have no empirical evidence. There are a great many people in whom I place my trust, or in whom, if you like, I have faith. But that is invariably because they have shown themselves to be trustworthy or reliable. Similarly, there are a great many things that I have not personally experienced, but I am reasonably certain, through consistent media reports or the reports of people I regard to be trustworthy or reliable, that these things do exist and can be experienced. It might be argued that millions of people claim to have experienced God, but they cannot provide any evidence of what it is they have experienced.

      I’m afraid the wonderful universe won’t do it. The child’s question is best here. When told that God made the universe, the child asks the entirely reasonable question, “Then who made God?” The answer, I assume, is that no-one made God, God has existed for eternity.” So whether you believe in God or not, you end up with eternity. God is an unnecessary step in that logical progression.

      And you believers want to attribute all the good things to God and all the bad things to man. But if you’ve got ‘all things bright and beautiful’, you’ve also got to have the tsunami and earthquakes and floods and all the rest of the devastation that is responsible for so much human suffering and death.

      So I’m happy for you in your belief and faith. But I’m not into believing without seeing, and neither, I suspect, are you in any other area of your life.

  8. “But why is it that so many people expect themselves and others to end their lives by being knocked down by a bus?”

    Good question, and sadly this cliche was introduced by me and not included in my source material. The source material included instead a thought experiment, based on Russian roulette. The premise is that you can actually play Russian roulette indefinitely, in perfect safety, since there will always be versions of the universe in which the chamber will be empty in each iteration of the experiment. You won’t know or care about the other versions where you are suddenly dead. Believe it or not, this eminent physicist was perfectly serious. Once again a disclaimer for the overly impressionistic; This is highly speculative stuff. No-one is seriously proposing to try this experiment!

    Of course as well as identifying a cliche, I am sure your intent was to question the immortality claim given less drastic demise scenarios. I wondered about that too, and there was an attempt to include cancer etc. in the “we’re all immortal already theory”, but it was less accessible and strikingly coherent to me at least.

    • The premise is that you can actually play Russian roulette indefinitely, in perfect safety, since there will always be versions of the universe in which the chamber will be empty in each iteration of the experiment.

      This will be wonderful news for compulsive gamblers. However, most of them play the pokies, so I expect they will be losing their dough in every version of the universe!

  9. I know what you mean about the bus metaphor, Brian.

    Perhaps the best response to it came from the former British Labour prime minister, Harold Wilson.

    When one of his underlings declared: “Oh, Harold, whatever should the Labour Party do if you were hit by a bus?” Wilson replied: “Find out who was driving it!”

  10. What is that quote ‘Give me a child … and I’ll show you the man” ?
    Early indoctrination of our species (untainted by emotional fraud) coupled with a universalised predisposition to fill ignorance with superstitious belief, combined with residual need for exclusive ‘parental direction’ and accepting social connection … appears to drive most ‘believers’. It’s a foolproof formula! Parallel realities seem a wishful form of this, even within a seemingly infinite range of mathematical probability.
    The unpalatable banality of Life-Death-The End, the justifiable fear of an agonizing dying, the fear of being ‘alone’ … all strike at the vulnerable social nature of our being.
    If both Brian and Judy were extinguished by the school bus, together, to wander hand in hand through paradise under the protection of a supreme being (‘male’ apparently) for all eternity … that would solve the problem?
    While you may not feel immortalised by ‘begatting’ (?), at least your viewpoints have stimulated thought and moved opinion – mostly for the betterment of our society. How many of us can honestly say that?
    No doubt someone will consider their god will not only become petulant at my viewpoint but will smack my bottom for impertinence.
    Perhaps it is best to be stuck down by a celestial event than have some hard faced nurse shushing you to be quiet as you take your last frightened gasp at 3 a.m. – as I (as a patient) witnessed in our local hospital.

    • What is that quote ‘Give me a child … and I’ll show you the man” ?

      More of less my view, Little Toot. Faced with the senselessness of death, we have, as has been so often observed, invented God in our own image. (Which actually lets God off the hook, when you think about it.) And religion became ‘the opiate of the masses’. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Religion seems to be increasingly replaced by the real opiates with devastating results.

  11. Happy New Year Brian,

    Since you have quoted from Ecclesiastes I thought to carry on in the same spirt.

    To everything there is a season,
    a time for every purpose under the sun.
    A time to be born and a time to die;
    a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
    a time to kill and a time to heal …
    a time to weep and a time to laugh;
    a time to mourn and a time to dance …
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
    a time to lose and a time to seek;
    a time to rend and a time to sew;
    a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
    a time to love and a time to hate;
    a time for war and a time for peace.

    Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

    And then there is the end of time.

    End of story.

  12. I won’t annoy you and others by pushing this much further. Just make me a promise, Brian; when you drop off your perch and find yourself feeling rather surprised in front of the Pearly Gates confronted by a sign saying ‘no junk mail and no atheists’, find a celestial cyber cafe and post a blog admitting you were wrong.

    For my part I will have a chat with the boss, ask for dispensation on the basis that you are Irish and of unsound mind, and tell him that you are worth your place in heaven for your stimulating conversation. At least then if I end up in the same place I won’t have to listen to a bunch of pontificating vicars!

    • I won’t annoy you and others by pushing this much further. Just make me a promise, Brian; when you drop off your perch and find yourself feeling rather surprised in front of the Pearly Gates confronted by a sign saying ‘no junk mail and no atheists’, find a celestial cyber cafe and post a blog admitting you were wrong.

      That seems eminently reasonable, Ben. And, in the same spirit, just to avoid you getting any black marks, the Boss likes to be spelt with a capital B.

  13. “And, in the same spirit, just to avoid you getting any black marks, the Boss likes to be spelt with a capital B.”

    And you get a “black mark”, yourself, for dodgy grammar; it’s ‘your’, not “you”.

    • Always risky correcting a pedantic grammarian like me on grammar, Rosie. This is what the grammarian’s bible (Fowler’s Modern English Usage) has to say on the topic:

      “Because a verbal noun is a part of a verb as well as being a noun, it can retain some of the characteristics of verbs in its grammatical behaviour. For example, the forms She does not like me smoking in bed (non possessive) and She does not like my (possessive) smoking in bed are both established in ordinary usage.”

  14. Hmmm…opiate addictions were far more widespread and ‘socially acceptable’ during the Victorian era, commonly prescribed by doctors it was the “Victorian Asprin”. Babies were commonly ‘kept quiet’ with laudanum, often permanently and often thought “better dead than face the misery that awaits it” (Parssinen T.,1983). Alcoholism was also rife, mainly due to unsafe drinking water, but was also prescribed by doctors and freely given to babies (Zedner, L. 1991).
    As Nick Davies wryly observes in his headline: “Demonising Druggies Wins Votes” (2008), one might consider that in the criminalization of an ‘under-class’ attempting to self-medicate against the intolerable reality of their lives, what’s changed?

    In 1862 the British Ladies Society determined that women prisoners would benefit from middle-class lady visitors of good moral standing because they: “appreciate refinement of manners and high motives, while conscious of the sad contrast in themselves” (Zedner 122).
    G, the gods sure seem to recognise their worshippers as washed, wealthy and willing.
    The results of a judgemental, punitive, criminalising society are indeed devastating.

    In a parallel universe who knows – you may be best mates with Garth McVicar … manufacture chemicals in a shed to raise your standard of living … or be labelled a ‘cockroach’ by the NZ Police for living rough, or even all three at once! Anything is possible in a parallel universe, infinity to the power of 6 billion people +/- every angle of every fall of every blade of grass.
    Last gasp.

    [Davies, Nick. “Demonising druggies wins votes – that’s all that counts.” Society Guardian, 15 June 2001. 29 August 2008. ]

    • Hmmm…opiate addictions were far more widespread and ’socially acceptable’ during the Victorian era, commonly prescribed by doctors it was the “Victorian Asprin”.

      Strangely enough, I did know this. One of my favourite books is Steven Eldred Grigg’s Pleasures of the Flesh: Sex and Drugs in Colonial New Zealand 1840–1915 (1984). A great read. But I’m still convinced that as traditional values wane, drugs (and the temporary forgetfulness they offer) become more attractive to people who have difficulty finding meaning in their lives.

  15. good grief Brian,
    this is nonsense again,
    who cares about the non entity God,
    these columns are not good Brian,
    too liberal wishy washy old,
    my suggestion take drugs,

    • who cares about the non entity God,
      these columns are not good Brian,
      too liberal wishy washy old,
      my suggestion take drugs,

      My suggestion (again) peterquixote. Find a blog suited to your intellect – one requiring no thought. Stop upsetting yourself by reading this one. And stop taking drugs.

  16. Like Rosie I too noticed you rather than your. However I was not brave enough to put myself in the firing line; always happy to hide behind a woman’s skirt.

    I believe the correct term is a gerund and it has always been my understanding that in such a phrase the possessive form is correct. I also happen to think it sounds more elegant. As a ‘man of letters’, you are possibly familiar with Usage and Abusage by Eric Partridge which contains a long article on the topic, although I am not sure from the tone whether Mr Partridge is less flexible on the matter than his colleague Mr Fowler.

    Incidentally your comment regarding the Boss made me laugh and brightened my morning. It is another reason why you will go to heaven; I am quite sure God has a sense of humour even if at times it is a little hard to fathom.

    Incidentally, Rosie, are you the same lady who on another blog stated “Running is BAD for you”?

    If so I worship at your feet, my hero!

  17. Second to last gasp:
    Or as the NZ Customs officer said on TV – “Madam, if it makes you feel good then it’s against the law”.

  18. “Madam, if it makes you feel good then it’s against the law”.

    Or, it requires batteries.

  19. Yes I have been a slob troll on this site.
    Its dumb to get annoyed by a blog, and just attack it. So I apologise to Brian, and I will only write here in future if I think can introduce some further value .

  20. “Its dumb to get annoyed by a blog, and just attack it. So I apologise to Brian, and I will only write here in future if I think can introduce some further value.”

    We’re not holding our breath, Dude: if you can’t back your original post, and are so easily cowed by a sharp rebuke, causing you to backpedal at 100mph — replete with an ingratiating-type apology — then it’s best you find another pursuit, other than blogging. Public self-flagellation, perhaps?

  21. 21

    Thoroughly enjoyed the discourse of your post and the discussion that followed. Went out for a walk looking for an Alternative Universe , but could only find a dead pigeon. (I am arrogant enough to call myself agnostic.)
    My question is did the response read here equal that of the original post in the Listener, or does blogging bring greater immediacy?
    Incidentally, my discussions about religion usually founder because the Believers seem to gain so much comfort from their belief so we talk about the weather instead.