Software, hardware, wetware

Rt. Rev. Professor Tom Frame's Response

The Right Reverend Professor Tom Frame responded to my email - and quite a nice response it was. He’s given me permission to publish it here. A big thank-you to him for engaging!

Dear Andy (if I might be informal)

Thanks for taking the trouble to write to me after a busy day.

It might help you to know that I didn’t produce the “extract” that appeared in today’s SMH. It was put together by the publishers (UNSW Press) and the editor of the Op Ed page. In fact, I wasn’t aware that it was appearing this week until I began to receive email this morning. As most of the email has been abusive and combative, your carefully considered email was a pleasant change.

The sentences to which you refer do not appear in that order in the book, they are from two separate chapters and were merged to give an impression you won’t find in the book. I am pleased that you intend to acquire a copy (which is some 110,000 words in length) and examine the arguments that I present in the depth and in the order that I present them. It is neither anti-Darwin nor anti-evolutionary theory.

There is one matter I want to touch on here. In a forthcoming book on unbelief in Australia (it will appear in Nov 09) I have identified and differentiated the two common strains of atheism in Australia: positive atheism and negative atheism. Positive atheism contends that God does not exist whereas a negative atheist is someone without a belief in God. You are plainly a negative atheism whereas many of the people who have emailed me today are positive atheists. It is difficult to have a conversation with a positive atheist and, these days, I don’t even try.

I hope you find the book useful. It is, in essence, an account of the influence of evolutionary theory on Australian thinking and popular culture. What appeared in today’s newspaper was not an accurate reflection of its objective. I would be interested in your thoughts after reading the narrative.