November 15, 2018

This will come as little surprise but Sunday service attendance at Church of England churches has fallen again. There is a slight mix to the numbers because Christmas services attendance rose, as well as a 2017 rise in the numbers in its “worshipping community” (is this spin or a reaction to changing times?). As The Guardian reports: The number of people attending the Church of England’s Sunday services fell again last year, to 722,000 – 18,000 fewer than in 2016… Read more

November 14, 2018

This is something I have thought for a long time, but have not got around to writing about or even checking whether the stats back it up, but it seems pretty reasonable. First of all, in the name of full disclosure, I am a non-smoker who is ostensibly anti-smoking. My parents and my sisters used to smoke for a very long time and I was surrounded by it as a youngster. I guess this worked in an opposite way that it… Read more

November 12, 2018

Considering how close I live to the Isle of Wight, and that we are only separated by a thin stretch of water, I am surprised I have not spoken there before, though this may be because the humanist group is nascent there (not sure). So I am really happy to get the ferry over tomorrow for my talk “God on Trial”. It is a bit of a test for me professionally and personally as I will be seeing how I do in the… Read more

November 12, 2018

I ignited a pretty good firestorm here with my article on “The Bell Curve,” a book that tries to prove that differences in the IQ of racial groups (Asians, Whites, Blacks) are primarily due to genetic difference in the races. The amount that has been written on this issue is probably a major cause of global warming, since it is responsible for denuding hundreds of square miles of forest to produce the paper to print all those arguments. On one… Read more

November 11, 2018

This is a great appointment by Humanists UK, who have a habit of appointing great communicators to their posts. Alice Roberts (anatomist, osteoarchaeologist, physical anthropologist, palaeopathologist, television presenter and author!) has made some fab documentaries for the BBC, though American readers might not know who she is. Here are a few, the journey out of Africa ones are really good: I haven’t seen this one, but it looks really interesting! A talk on evolution: From Humanists UK: Acclaimed science writer, broadcaster,… Read more

November 11, 2018

I know, there is a general obsession with Trump and politics at the moment. I guess it’s that kind of time in the four-year cycle. I just want to point out that Trump’s response to, in what is appearing to be more of a blue wave than was initially thought, is to double down. In investment terms, this is chasing bad money with good. To intellectualise this a little bit more, we can look at Nobel prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman: It… Read more

November 10, 2018

Yesterday, I went to a funeral for my elderly neighbour. It is a lovely service at the local crematorium. It was the standard service that was nominally religious, led by a lay minister who personally knew my neighbour and his family. Within the order of service was the Lord’s Prayer, which was a communal affair that the congregation was to read out together. As is always the case at these moments, I am never quite sure how to react. I… Read more

November 8, 2018

From the Freethought Equality Fund: (Washington, D.C., Nov. 8, 2018)—Tuesday’s election will make 2019 the Year of the Freethinker. Once sworn into office, there will be 47 openly nontheist or humanist elected officials at the federal and state levels. “Prior to the 2016 elections we knew of five elected officials serving in state legislatures who identified with our community, and after the 2016 elections that list grew to 17,” said Ron Millar, political and PAC coordinator for the Center for Freethought… Read more

November 7, 2018

Well, what a mixed bag of nuts that was. It wasn’t quite the Democratic blue wave that we were warned in the media hype that could happen. However, there were some notable movements within the American political system. No doubts, all of you will know by now facts the Democrats made sizeable gains in the house and a few significant losses in the Senate’s, meaning a political split between the lower and upper houses. In the gubernatorial races, Democrats made some gains… Read more

November 6, 2018

Generally, the study of morality is split into three components: descriptive morality, meta-ethics and normative morality. Normally philosophers replace the term ‘morality’ with ‘ethics’. Descriptive ethics is concerned with what people empirically believe, morally speaking. Normative ethics (which can be called prescriptive ethics) investigates questions of what people should believe. Meta-ethics is more philosophical still in attempting to define what moral theories and ethical terms actually refer to. Or, What do different cultures actually think is right? (descriptive) How should… Read more

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