"Facebook protest groups against A-level exams taken this week have spread – with complaints about a biology paper from another exam board." http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8482880.stm And, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/7080109/Thousands-join-Facebook-protest-over-unfair-A-level-biology-exam.html ‘The little Widgets don’t know what the big Widgets are talking about’ Education UK – ‘Religion in Schools. REBT and Disconnection’. ‘What Shall We Tell The Children?’ http://www.mindmeister.com/13207398 ‘I’m All Right Jack’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I’m_All_Right_Jack
"Continuing global economic growth "is not possible" if nations are to tackle climate change, a report by an environmental think-tank has warned." http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8478770.stm The Fraudulent Promise http://luckyme0.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!A18BF3FCC5E126A2!2531.entry
The chance of discovering life on other worlds is greater than ever, according to Britain’s leading astronomer. Lord Rees http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8478033.stm Going – Inwards (into a black hole) to get Outwards (other universes)! NewScientist 28th November 2009, ‘Superships’ Marcus Chown "We could reach the stars if we built a dark matter rocket or a black hole starship, and we’ve got the physics to do it." Darwinian selection on the largest scale, ‘The only reason for an intelligent civilisation to make a black hole, http://public.web.cern.ch/public/ he sees, is so it can travel the universe.’ www.NewScientist.com "Astronomers have spied a star-sized black hole much further away than any such object previously known." http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8483983.stm "These ripples in the fabric of space-time are an inevitable consequence of the theory of general relativity, and their first detection is being sought by intricate laser experiments set up in science labs across the world."
luckyme0: The Infantile Situation GB, UK, growing up. AfghanTaliPak – exit strategy, one day? http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LDE60O0WF.htm
BBC 2, This World – Tsunami five years on. The Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 was just the beginning, for those who survived. A massive earthquake caused a tidal wave that killed a quarter of a million people, but many millions more found their lives changed forever. This documentary tells the powerful story of how the survivors have tried to rebuild their lives. In Thailand, a mother fights property developers to protect the memory of her drowned daughter. While in Indonesia, villagers now live under strict religious law (the appalling-ness of Sharia Law and its horrible barbaric atrocities http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjO4duhMRZk&feature=player_embedded ‘street thugs’) in the belief that the catastrophe was a judgement (bad behaviour) from God. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00qhlpc We let the religionists’ educate our children in UK – GB, which is reasoning well beyond a ‘just form’ of normal (British-ness) comprehension http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8483186.stm or natural (educated) discernment. Makes you feel a ‘little bit sick’ if you gave any money and ‘did more’ for the tsunami relief fund (who is paying those thugs)! At the time of the Tsunami, ‘Fergus Stokes, a former priest turned humanist, said that Christians and other believers were trying to have it both ways, "Either God has a hand in the fishbowl, in which case you can pray to him, or he doesn’t.’" And, "There is some kind of inbuilt desire to hang on to supernatural forces. More and more, religion is not working for people and supernatural explanations rarely help." http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/jan/03/tsunami2004.world
Why? It s so very simple: "Children, I’ll argue, have a human right not to have their minds crippled by exposure to other people’s bad ideas – no matter who these other people are. Parents, correspondingly, have no god-given licence to enculturate their children in whatever ways they personally choose: no right to limit the horizons of their children’s knowledge, to bring them up in an atmosphere of dogma and superstition, or to insist they follow the straight and narrow paths of their own faith. In short, children have a right not to have their minds addled by nonsense. And we as a society have a duty to protect them from it. So we should no more allow parents to teach their children to believe, for example, in the literal truth of the Bible, or that the planets rule their lives, than we should allow parents to knock their children’s teeth out or lock them in a dungeon." ‘What Shall We Tell The Children?’ ‘Amnesty Lecture’ Oxford – Nicholas Humphrey. Reasons (2) 1) ‘Becoming human is a process (Primate to Human / Human to Human Rights & Western Civilisation?) and not some event’ Anon. 2) ‘The Long Childhood’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34MtbXuL0Qs&feature=related Jacob Bronowski ‘The Ascent of Man’. "With its wood-clad buildings, large expanses of light and grass-covered roofs, the Krishna-Avanti Primary School in Edgware, north London, proclaims its respect for the environment." What else? http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8486375.stm See, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinduism
luckyme0: Money & time for giving: feeling sick: tsunami Sharia Law & ‘global gullibility’ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8483186.stm
And, Colin Renfrew ‘Prehistory’ – My note: a ‘matrix in global understanding’ and the individual for ‘responsible’ global consciousness, abridged, see, ‘books’. "’Realities’ of the modern world are institutional facts – products of concepts and social relationships worked out a millennia ago in prehistoric times. Cities of Sumer or of Mesoamerica and the (compelling) belief systems of Karnac or of Teotihuacan. We should recall them, at a time when globalisation is complete, and there is uniformity in the contemporary world" (‘psychic unity’ of humankind). Culture Change ‘The Triumph of Triviality’ http://www.culturechange.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=177&Itemid=1 "Culture change strategists all agree about the urgent need to promote “global consciousness,” or “cosmic consciousness.” What we have (without science – ignorance, the ‘aura of factuality’) "A system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating concepts of a general order of existence and clothing these concepts with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic" Clifford Geertz. Our very own, ‘home-grown’ Barmy Army http://www.socialcohesion.co.uk/
Dr Glenzer, "It’s going to happen this year." http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8485669.stm Laser fusion tests results!
luckyme0: Tony Blair: monster dictatorship + global gullibility (ignorance) + violence, Islamic (suicidal) + tribalism and sectarianism http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8488356.stm ? http://luckyme0.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!A18BF3FCC5E126A2!1249.entry
We have the graph, of the amount of, religiosity vs homicide rate, but no graph of, gullibility vs poverty/privation – deprivation – poverty / sexism / homophobia / lack of education – family planning, so on…, and arms acquisitions, so on… A Global Gullibility Index. Ref, The West has (generally) the ordeal of desire, and the East (generally) the ordeal of privation http://luckyme0.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!A18BF3FCC5E126A2!2531.entry "The US has defended a proposed weapons sale to Taiwan following a furious response from China." http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8489301.stm religiosity / ideological conformity vs stratified society (more layers of differential thought, above the level of the greatest mass of population, i.e., of the ‘lowest common denominator’ (LCD). Arms Procurement from technologically advanced – relatively secular; ideologically, democratically liberal Western manufacturers / purveyors. Creationism vs Intelligent Design vs Evolutionary Theory. Climate Change vs No Climate Change (Belief) "The number of British people who are sceptical about climate change is rising, a poll for BBC News suggests." http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8500443.stm
Pakistan, "The town may be controversial, but Darra’s weapons turnover is minuscule…, multi-billion-dollar turnover of developed countries like America, Britain, France, Sweden, Italy, Germany, Australia and Russia…, after all, it’s our own weapons that are used in large-scale wars, the weapons responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths annually…, in comparison, the hand crafted pistols available on Darra back-streets look like toys…, people who care for their eventual use should perhaps begin with the big bomb factories in the modern, allegedly peace-loving countries of the West…" From, & sort of, the book:
Author: Benjamin Gilmour
British Humanist Association e-bulletin
February is the BHA’s “membership drive”
Read more on our membership drive pages
‘The value of membership’ by Andrew Copson, new Chief Executive of the BHA
In the last five years the membership of the BHA has doubled. We want to double it again – in half the time.
If this sounds optimistic, it’s not impossible. Many fresh faces found the BHA last year and the phenomenal publicity around last year’s Bus Campaign clearly demonstrates a new zeitgeist.
They saw that ministers and parliamentarians listen to the BHA because we have built a reputation for cogent, evidence-based arguments. They saw that our briefings are heard and acted upon in both houses. Our submissions are taken seriously and result in measurable changes to legislation and policy.
But decision makers also need to know that we have large and growing number of people behind us backing our policies. This is the triple value of membership. It not only finances work that cannot finance itself. It also gives us all a stronger voice, and because our policies are drawn not just from our shared Humanism but from our member’s experiences, opinions and needs, it makes our messages all the more forceful.
This month we are running a “membership drive” to help us toward this target.
Along with the January-February BHA News we have sent all members a new membership form. (It should arrive on member’s doormats this week.) We know that many of our members don’t want to do anything that looks remotely like “evangelising” – but we also know that there are probably several people you know who are already humanists in their outlook. They might well like to know more about the BHA and support us in the future. If every member was able to sign up just one more member this year then we’d immediately be doubling the influence and value of our work.
As an existing member you can put your own name and postcode on this membership form, and encourage a friend to return it to us with their details to join. Then we can enter both you and the new member(s) into a special prize draw. Alternatively, if they join online, you can email email@example.com with their name to let us know that it was you that prompted them to join. One lucky winner will be invited to the pre-event drinks with Prof Richard Dawkins and Prof Chris Stringer backstage at the Darwin Day lecture on the 11th February.
You can visit our website at www.humanism.org.uk/membership to learn more about the membership drive. There are tips and resources including web banners and an email facility, so that you can help promote the BHA and find new members this very month.
Note: Andrew Copson is also on HumanistLife today. Read his article on being the new CEO of the British Humanist Association, what we’re achieving and the challenges to come.
As part of our Membership Drive series, next week we’ll hear from Bob Churchill about our work in the promotion of Humanism. In the third week of this month we’ll hear from Naomi Phillips about what’s on the public affairs and campaigns agenda for this year. And we’ll close the month with a detailed look at one specific area, with Paul Pettinger discussing our work against ‘faith’ schools.
Two cheers for new Religious Education Guidance
The BHA has given a partial welcome to new government guidance on ‘Religious Education’ in schools in England and Wales, including a new primary curriculum. The new guidance has been produced after a long public consultation and has made several significant changes in official advice.
BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson said, ‘We welcome the fact that the government, along with all those RE professionals involved in producing the new primary curriculum, has once again affirmed that RE is about non-religious worldviews like Humanism as well as about religions.’
BHA asks MEPs to act on humanist concerns
The BHA joined a lobby at the European Parliament in Brussels last week, the first one of its kind organised by the European Humanist Federation (EHF). Naomi Phillips, BHA Head of Public Affairs, joined representatives of humanist organisations from a number of other European countries, to meet with MEPs to discuss shared humanist concerns.
The EHF was particularly concerned to draw MEPs’ attention to the continuing and often disproportionate influence of religion to politics and society throughout Europe.
Naomi Phillips said, ‘Many of the issues that the BHA works for, such as the teaching of science and the promotion of scientific research unencumbered by religious dogma, equal rights for people regardless of sexuality or belief, and the separation of church and state, are issues shared by humanist organisations across Europe.’
BHA briefs MPs on Personal, Social, Health and Economic education
The BHA has briefed MPs on the House of Commons Public Committee stage of the Children, Schools and Families Bill as they begin to examine the Bill clause by clause for the first time.
The Bill seeks to make Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education, which includes age-appropriate Sex and Relationship Education (SRE), compulsory for the first time in both
primary and secondary education.
BHA education campaigner Paul Pettinger said, ‘Humanist organisations have championed good sex and relationships education for decades and we welcome that the Bill seeks to ensure PSHE is taught in all state schools. By making PSHE compulsory the Bill will raise standards in many schools up to a level that a large proportion of our schools already provide.
‘We are very concerned however about how the Bill will let schools, and particularly state-funded religious schools, teach about certain issues, such as contraception and different sexualities. We are also very disappointed that the Bill proposes to allow parents to deny their children education about relationships until they are 15.’
Watering-down of protection for gay people ‘shames’ parliament
The BHA has condemned votes on the House of Lords which removed the requirement for discrimination against gay people by religious organisations to be “proportionate”. The government’s definition of the roles that would be affected was also voted down, after strong lobbying by religious organisations including Church of England bishops within the House of Lords.
BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented, ‘Everyone else is required to treat gay people without discrimination. What the Christian churches fought for and won were special exemptions from that law so that they can treat lesbian and gay people unkindly, unfairly, and discriminate against them. The House of Lords has shamed itself by conspiring in this sort of immorality. We regret it and we hope that those fair-minded parliamentarians and those Christians who have campaigned against this exemption are given a fairer hearing in the future stages of the Bill and that this disgraceful injustice is reversed.’
BHA supports renewed debate on Bishops in the Lords
The BHA has called for the removal of the automatic right of Church of England bishops to sit in Parliament. The call came in advance of an event held by Labour Humanists which asked, “Should the bishops be evicted from the House of Lords?” The event , chaired by David Aaronovitch and including speakers Polly Toynbee and The Rt Revd Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester, attracted a capacity audience, indicating a renewed public interest in this issue.
Andrew Copson, BHA Chief Executive, made the point that the BHA’s call also comes in light of new experience that has once again highlighted the negative effects of the Bishops’ privileges on British society.
He said, ‘We have only this week seen the damage that can be done by having this undemocratic and discriminatory privilege in our Parliamentary system. It was the votes of the Bishops that swung yesterday’s vote on employment rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual people when working for religious employers. Not only have they painted such equality legislation as an attack on religious freedom, which it is not, but they have created a position where British law may now be in conflict with European legislation, and demonstrated enormous self-interest rather than any attachment to the common good or the public interest.’
BHA joins the Libel Reform campaign
The BHA is now a member of the Libel Reform Campaign. It has become increasingly clear that English libel law and the use of ‘super-injunctions’ are having a profoundly negative impact on freedom of expression, both in the UK and abroad. Writers such as Simon Singh, and respected current affairs programme Newsnight, have found themselves facing defamation suits, whilst human rights campaigners are often forced to edit and retract articles in the face of potential libel action.
We need to persuade politicians from all the political parties to commit to reform of our unjust libel laws.
Your fundraising for the BHA!
Stuart Anderson is the latest person to undertake a sponsored run in support of the BHA. You can find his sponsorship page at http://www.justgiving.co.uk/Stuart-Anderson.
If you’re planning to do any fundraising for the BHA let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Power2010 – vote now!
“POWER2010 is a unique campaign to give everyone the chance to have a say in how our democracy works for us.
What is different about POWER2010 is that you’re in the driving seat. We’re not asking you to back our goals. We’re asking you to help create them.
At the next election we will work to ensure every candidate commits to the reforms you most want to see as part of a nation-wide campaign to reinvigorate our democracy from the bottom up. “
For more details, visit http://www.power2010.org.uk/home
Darwin Day Lecture 2010: Prof Chris Stringer on Darwin and Human Evolution
Chaired by Prof Richard Dawkins, run in conjunction with South Place Ethical Society.
11th February 2010, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL, Doors open 6pm
Tickets are £12 or £7 for members of the BHA or South Place Ethical Society.
When On the Origin of Species was published in 1859 the only recognised human fossils were from Europe, and this was still the case when Darwin completed The Descent of Man in 1871. Nevertheless, he argued by inference that humans had probably originated in Africa. However, it was not until 50 years later that Africa started to produce a fossil record which showed that Darwin’s educated guess was correct.
Professor Stringer is Research Leader in Human Origins at the Natural History Museum where he has also been Head of Human Origins Programme and Head of Anthropology. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and Visiting Professor at Royal Holloway, University of London. His Homo Britannicus: the incredible story of human life in Britain (2007) won the Best Archaeology Book and Kistler Book Award in 2008 and he is a leading proponent of the ‘Out of Africa’ theory of modern human origins.
Find a local humanist group near you
Humanists in Havering
4 February, Friends Meeting House, Balgores Cresc., Gidea Park 8pm
Illustrated talk on Ethical Leadership by Justine Luterodt. Justine gave this talk to GRAM and the Havering representatives just had to get her to come and do it again for the Havering group.
16 February, CB2 Cafe, 5-7 Norfolk Street, Cambridge, CB1 2LD, 7.45pm
Discussion Group Meeting: ‘Ethics and Human Nature’
Charles Darwin, an inspiration for Wales in the 21st century
by Professor Anthony Campbell
11 February, Room 24, Ty Hywel, The National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay
6pm for 6.15
Hosted by Lorraine Barrett AM, member of BHA and humanist celebrant in association with Cardiff Humanists
Anthony Campbell is a Professor in Medical Biochemistry at Cardiff University, an internationally acclaimed biochemist and he also founded the Darwin Centre in Pembrokeshire.
If you would like to attend, please contact Lorraine on 029 2089 8376 or email – email@example.com
Free entry. Light refreshments provided.
Humanist Association of Northern Ireland
Darwin Dinner and Lecture
12 February, Malone Lodge Hotel, Eglantine Avenue, Belfast. 7 30 for 8 pm
The Speaker is Dr Neil Reid, Queen’s University, Belfast, on ‘The Importance of Biodiversity and Conservation Science.’
Cost: £22.50. Cheques etc payable to Humanist Association of Northern Ireland and posted to Brian McClinton at 25 Riverside Drive, Lisburn, BT27 4HE.
For dinner details, phone 02892677264
"NO VAT" London for a Secular Europe demonstration 2010
14 February, Assemble 13.00 at Westminster Cathedral. F rom 14.00 – 15.00 March to the Italian Embassy (Grosvenor Square) From 15.00 – 17.00 Rally outside EmbassyStarting at Westminster Cathedral. March to the Italian Embassy (Grosvenor Square)
For the second year, the "NO VAT" campaign comes to London, in support of a secular Europe to coincide with a similar event in Rome: "NO VAT: No Vatican!".
Speakers (At the Italian Embassy from 3pm)
· Bob Churchill (British Humanist Association)
· Derek Lennard (Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association)
· David Pollock (European Humanist Federation)
· Terry Sanderson (National Secular Society)
· Peter Tatchell (OutRage!)
· Josh Kutchinsky (Central London Humanist Group)
· Maryam Namazie (One Law For All)
Not already a BHA member? Join now and support our vital work!
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