Monday, 20 February 2012

Our March Meeting

The Biological Basis of Morality

This is the subject for the Hastings Humanists next meeting,
at The White Rock Hotel 7 to 9 pm, Thursday 8 March,
presented by Stephen Milton.

If our sense of morality was not handed down to us in tablets of stone from
an omnipotent God, then where did it come from?

Stephen will argue that we have developed principles for co-operation
over millennia because they gave us a survival advantage. Through a process
of Darwinian natural selection they have become embedded as an intrinsic
part of our human and social makeup and this forms our moral code. We
‘instinctively’ value fair play, have a strong sense of right and wrong, and
a host of other rules for living in a community.

Some of the recent science that explains these processes:-
· Games Theory suggests that collaboration works better than outright
· Oxytocin which NeuroEconomist Paul Zak calls the ‘moral molecule’
· Mirror Neurones and their role in enabling us to feel empathy

But what might it all imply for ideas of criminal responsibility, social
organisation and or even economic fairness in society???
The normal lively debate will follow.

There should also be a report of the East Sussex SACRE meeting due to be held on 29 February at which a Hastings Humanist observer will be present.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Newsnight Debate

Here is a youtube version of last night's Newsnight discussion between Richard Dawkins, ex-Bishop Nazir-Ali and Ruth Gledhill:


The Bishop's claims are just the sort of rewriting of history that was the subject of my talk at our February meeting. His claims that christians were behind the reforms such as the abolition of slavery and improved work conditions in industry ignores the plain fact that many christians, including many churchmen also argued for the opposite causes. The fact that the spokespeople for these causes in parliament were anglicans was due to the fact that until 1828 only anglicans were allowed to stand as MPs. Often the reforms would have happened much earlier if the recommendations of reformers like Tom Paine and Robert Owen had been followed.

Our @HastingsHumanists twitter account responded to quite well last night shortly after the broadcast (there are three of us posting at present).

I have now put a version of my talk onto my webpages:
Rewriting of History by Christian Apologists

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Free Speech Rally

The PodDelusion has a recording of all the speeches given at the Free Speech Rally on Saturday in London: poddelusion Essential listening for anyone who couldn't get there.