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October/November newsletter

Our latest newsletter is ready. Only 2 pages (sorry), but there’s a book review as well as details of meetings.

On nothing, and on what Darwin did, apart from go on a sea voyage

If you didn’t come to our meeting on 9th July, you didn’t miss much. We were going to watch a video of a lecture by physicist Lawrence Krauss, about how everything comes from nothing, but unfortunately Denis’s laptop ate it. Instead, he found a video about Charles Darwin’s life story. Later, I was surprised to hear someone say that he hadn’t realised what Darwin had done, apart from his trip...

Gove’s latest crazy idea; hand community schools over to the church

Michael Gove is the worst education secretary we’ve had for some time – perhaps all time. I’m not being party political, as I don’t think much of Labour’s record either – specialist schools and academies were their bright ideas, leading to the gradual, now accelerating, destruction of the state system under local authority control. Since Gove took over at the Department for Education, he’s introduced one crazy idea after another,...

PM sucks up to religious big-wigs

The NSS reports that David Cameron had a reception for religious leaders at 10 Downing Street this week. He told the religious big-wigs: “This government does care about faith. It does care about the institutions of faith, and it does want you to stand up and oppose aggressive secularisation.” Aggressive secularisation? The PM betrays his ignorance. There’s no such thing, and secularism benefits the religious, though they don’t appreciate it.

Red noses or red faces

The BBC’s bi-annual Red Nose Day broadcast, when “doing something funny for money” videos were interspersed with videos about people who need help, in the UK and Africa, included comedian Rowan Atkinson in a dog collar as a faux Archbishop of Canterbury. It’s no longer possible to see Rowan’s video on the Comic Relief website or on You Tube, thanks to 2,000 complaints from people who found it “offensive”. One...

Douglas Adams – “We don’t have to save the world”

“We don’t have to save the world. The world is big enough to look after itself. What we have to be concerned about is whether or not the world we live in will be capable of sustaining us in it.” — Douglas Adams, Speech at The University of California. If Douglas had lived, he’d have been 61 today. This is a speech he made in 2001, only days before his...

Become a founder member of the Rationalist Association community – free!

The Rationalist Association is aiming to set up a new online community. Caspar Melville of the RA writes: We do not think that irrationalism, intolerance, special interests and dogma should go unquestioned or unanswered. We are building a community that can offer questions and better answers. We want to invite you to our own “raising bee”. You’ll need to register, that is give us your email (and choose a password)....

Wallace Day – you missed it

Yesterday was Darwin Day. It’s not officially recognised, yet, though some people here and in America would like it to be. There’s even talk of making it a public holiday, in recognition of Darwin and his work. But if 12th February is Darwin Day, the 8th January should be Wallace Day, in recognition of the equally important work done by Alfred Russel Wallace, who worked out the theory of Natural...