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SH Group September meeting

Richard Stock, University Records Manager of the University of Essex, will talk about his work, with particular reference to Freedom of Information.

The meeting will be held in Room 1, Castle Hill Community Centre, Ipswich. 

SH Group June meeting

Radio Times quiz by Marie Haworth, who says, "How’s your memory for the olden days? Bring yours along for all to share. If your memory’s not that good, or you’re not that old, bring a new favourite tape or CD."

The meeting will be held in the hall, Castle Hill Community Centre, Ipswich.

SH Group May meeting

Why religion? An exploration of the religious instinct, led by Michael Imison, with reference to ‘Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast – the evolutionary origins of belief’ by Lewis Wolpert, and ‘Breaking the Spell – Religion as a Natural Phenomenon’ by Daniel Dennett.

Venue is Hexagonal Room, Friends’ Meeting House, Colchester.

Why Creationism is Wrong and Evolution is Right

A free lecture at the Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG.

Led by Professor Steve Jones, University College London, a debate on the case for evolution and creationism, and why creationism does more harm than good.

Update 14/04/2006 – The lecture is now available on the Royal Society website (Realplayer needed).

Related article on SH

Sustainable Development – Hope or Hoax?

Jules PrettySuffolk Humanists at the Friends’ Meeting House, Colchester, on 16th February 2006. Report of a talk by Jules Pretty, FRSA, FIBiol, Professor of Environment & Society at the University of Essex, by Peter Davidson

Professor Pretty’s talk was on sustainable development. He began by focusing on the general theme of human development, then assessing what the world looks like now, and trying to get a balance about how things might change, not only over a long period of time, but over the next forty years or so. In his view, there are some crises, such as oil shortages and rising sea levels, that are current or imminent, and that must be addressed as a matter of urgency, regardless of arguments over whether the cause is human behaviour.

We’re all monkeys

ChimpanzeeThe battle for hearts and minds between creationism and Darwinian evolution theory goes on and on. And on.

Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution offers an explanation for the development of modern man, and all life on Earth, over millions of years, by a process of natural selection and mutation. Creationism suggests that, essentially, the world and everything therein was created in between six days and ten thousand years, by God.

Scientists, academics and clerics are all getting involved in the argument as to which is the definitive explanation for the development of life on Earth. The argument is raging on as it has been for years, and it looks like it shows no sign of slowing.

What are the basics of Darwinian evolution theory? What are the creationists’ main arguments, and why is creationism dangerous?

Churchill and manic depression

Churchill statueThe charity Rethink is the largest voluntary provider of mental health support in the UK and conducts many high profile campaigns in a continuing effort to achieve a greater understanding of mental illness.

In March 2006 such a campaign was targeted at the city of Norwich, as explained on the Rethink website:

During March, Rethink is taking the fight against prejudice, ignorance and fear to the streets of Norwich. The campaign will involve ads on buses, bus stops, billboards and on the radio together with a major statue unveiling in the Forum on March 10th. Make sure you put this date in your diary as we need your support on the big day!

Little did they realise just what sort of impact the campaign would have.
The statue mentioned on the website was, as pictured here, one of Winston Churchill in a straitjacket, and on the basis that no publicity is bad publicity, the profile of Rethink was certainly raised several notches.

What do the faiths teach about the environment?

The East of England Faiths Agency arranged and hosted a half-day conference on ‘What do the Faiths teach about the Environment?’ on Sunday March 5th at the University of Essex. The theme was chosen after a consultation on the Faiths and the Environment with staff from the Environmental Agency, who attended the conference. There were contributions from some of the faiths and philosophies in the region, including Baha’is, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Jews, Muslims, Pagans, and Sikhs. Margaret Nelson, supported by Michael Imison and Nathan Nelson, offered a Humanist Perspective.

Happy New Year

In a few days, it will be New Year’s Eve, when Scots like my mother’s family celebrate Hogmanay. The Scots seem to attach more importance to Hogmanay than they do to Christmas, but at one time both were celebrated at the same time – on the shortest day, the 21st December. This was when ancient societies in the northern hemisphere performed rituals to ensure the rebirth of the sun because they depended on it for their survival.

Growing old with attitude

With all the fuss they’ve been making about pensions, you’d think it was news that we’ve got an ageing population. It isn’t. There’s been plenty of evidence for a long time that people like me, born during or soon after the war, are living longer, and that younger people are either not having children, or not having many. It doesn’t take much imagination or arithmetic to work out that there are fewer people to pay tax and National Insurance contributions to keep us in reasonable comfort in our declining years.