http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8198556.stm "President Barack Obama has awarded the highest US civilian honour – the Presidential Medal of Freedom – to 16 people praised as "agents of change".
Only Seven Men
Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking – Charles Darwin, Sir Charles Lyell, Joseph Hooker, Thomas Huxley, and Alfred Wallace. We still haven’t got it and don’t really like it, because it all makes us feel so small and so very insignificant; we like things small and personal; to feel that we are of some importance (DNA ‘neither knows or cares’, and our universe is so vast that it is nearly beyond any comprehension). All of us tend to regress, particularly in hard and difficult times, to varying levels of myth and superstition, or a regression to a vast myriad and potentially dangerous – individual or group – Romanticisms. What have they been teaching to our children at their School? Ans: mostly, and not much doubt it, principally: a very narrow form of Romanticism with the ongoing ‘pap of relationships’. How to handle freedom, and not ‘romantic conformity’ should be, somehow, taught to our children. The progress is very slow, a fear of the new = neophobia (government – laziness – incompetent: a small adjustment – especially, to any New Enlightenment) running very deep in our educational processes. Parenting, is for most, a brief and fleeting moment: it carries only some, and very occasionally some little power, politically: in this regard. Ref, ‘Compulsory Worship Law UK’ 1940s. To most people ‘stuff and …’ now for the 2000’s!
Not ‘getting at the big truths’ and ‘stopping exploring’, due to the easy (romantic) and (popular or indoctrinated – ‘lowest commom denominator’) dogmatic answers.
‘The Atheist and the Bishop’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00m6ggf
Series in which an atheist and a bishop come together to apply their own philosophies to the experiences of people they meet, with Jane Little chairing the discussion.
Public debates between those who believe in God and those who resolutely do not appear more polarised than ever, often obscuring central human questions about how we should live and how modern ethics should work.
Here, Professor AC Grayling and Lord Harries of Pentregarth, the former Bishop of Oxford, visit a faith school and then meet the organiser of an atheist summer camp to explore where we get our values from and whether you need God to be Good.
Mind Maps For Children "What Shall We Tell The Children?" http://www.mindmeister.com/13207398
British Humanist Association e-bulletin 24th August 2009
Our Campaigns Officer (Faith Schools and Education) Paul Pettinger, visited the “Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm” near Bristol earlier this summer. The zoo is widely promoted to school children, and Paul came back with disturbing photographic reconnaissance. One display board informs visitors that goats are members of the Bovidae family… and that their cloven hooves mean they’re biblically “clean”.
Another sign lists “30 reasons why apes are not related to man”, such as, “Humans have added fat on the breasts and buttocks for beauty, neither of which are possessed by apes.” The assumption seems to be that in order for two species to be related they must also be completely identical! Another display explains, astoundingly, that Brazilian tapirs “are probably only related to other tapirs. They arrive in the fossil record at the same time as horses, with no evidence of any relatedness. They appear to be a separate Created kind.” (Actually Tapirus terrestris is in the order Perissodactyla and closely related to other odd-toed ungulates such as rhinos and, indeed, horses.)
Suffice it to say, we’re lobbying the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums of which the zoo is a member, and the local authority which licenses them, to ensure that the zoo meets governmental educational guidelines…
Meanwhile the 2008-9 Hemming Prize essay competition, sponsored by the BHA, the South Place Ethical Society and New Humanist magazine, came to a close last week as we awarded three deserving winners at a ceremony in London. We had set the open title, “In life the meaning comes in living” (a quote from the works of James Hemming) and received over 70 entries from A level students across the UK. The winner, Alex Mace, argued that “A meaningful life is one that has significance: one that has point, substance, purpose, quality, value, and direction.”
When bodies with some responsibility to maintain educational standards are licensing and supporting organisations like the Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, these humanistic essays by young people on life and values were a breath of fresh air!
The British Humanist Association seeks action on Noah’s Ark Farm Zoo
The BHA has called on the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums, North Somerset Council, Visit Britain and South West England to take action on Noah’s Ark Farm Zoo in North Somerset. The zoo, which promotes itself to schools, advances creationism and seeks to discredit a wide variety of established scientific facts that challenge their religious views, such as radio carbon dating, the fossil record and the speed of light! Read full story
BHA in creationist zoo media storm
Several media outlets have run the story about the BHA questioning the value that a creationist zoo near Bristol can bring to education. The BHA is concerned that the zoo, which markets itself to local schools as fitting in with the science curriculum, is misinforming those who visit by having statements influenced by religion rather than natural science on the information boards at the animal enclosures and elsewhere.
The BBC, local new programme Points West, the Telegraph, the Guardian, the Independent and several online newspapers and blogs picked up on the story and the BHA has already spoken to several people who have visited the zoo and want to support our campaign.
We will let you have more news on this story as it develops. In the meantime, you can take action on the teaching of evolution in schools here.
BHA urges Government not to permit religions to opt-out from race equality law
We have written to Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP, Minister for Equality, and Rt Hon Ed Balls MP, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, seeking a commitment from the Government that it will not permit Jewish organisations and schools to discriminate on grounds of ethnicity. In June the Court of Appeal found the admissions criteria of the Jewish Free School (JFS) in breach of the Race Relations Act 1976 (RRA), as it was clear that the entry criteria was based not on religious practice or faith but on ethnicity. Following that judgment, it has been reported that some Jewish representatives are seeking to have the Equality Bill amended in order to permit ethnic discrimination by Jewish organisations.
BNP Membership http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8218397.stm
Romanticism: Meddling in ‘other countries affairs’ – GB / UK the expensive and bilious hang-over from having an Empire.
The birth of the Enlightenment vs. Romanticism. A reaction to the stark facts of the Enlightenment was Romanticism A.C.Grayling. The dangerous forms of romanticism in times of war, social and economic upheaval. When only a very few, today – with the New Enlightenment, really believe, or have some faith in, any particular religion or religious dogma. Have we only got some religion, or a personal faith, in or outside, our schools and institutions, because of Romanticism, and in the being somewhat personally having a romantic tendency. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._C._Grayling Ref, Infantile Romantic Situation UK. The Infantile and Romantic Situation GB.