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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...

Which pope are you?

If you’ve been asleep or off-planet for the last day or so, you might have missed the news that the Pope’s resigned and Catholics everywhere are “shocked”. If you weren’t asleep, you’ll be sick to death of the news coverage and the ruddy awful jokes on Twitter. Anyhow, since it’s topical, why not do Christina Martin’s Pope quiz to pass the time ’til the next news bulletin?

Click here to start.

Victories for common sense

The recent European Court of Human Rights ruling on religious “discrimination” cases was just one of several significant victories. The Daily Mail, among others, reported that BA staff member Nadia Eweida had won her right to wear a crucifix to work, despite the fact that BA had already changed its uniform policy, but made less of the fact that the three other litigants, Chaplin, Ladele and McFarlane, were unsuccessful in claiming that UK courts had discriminated against them on religious grounds.

NSS welcomes European Court of Human Rights ruling on ‘religious discrimination’ cases

The Home Secretary Theresa May has agreed to accept a House of Lords amendment removing the word “insulting ” from Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986. Section 5 has a low prosecution threshold and there have been prosecutions for ridiculously trivial remarks made in public, such as when a student was arrested for telling a mounted policeman that his horse was gay.

Victory for free speech

Latest news on the proposed Steiner and Maharishi free schools in Suffolk

Plans to open a Steiner free school in Suffolk are still being made by the people behind the Fullfledge Ecology School. The East Anglian Daily Times reports:

The Fullfledge Ecology School curriculum would incorporate aspects of the Steiner approach, which is already practised at state-funded schools in other countries like America, Canada and Australia, but bidders say it would not be designated a “Steiner School”.

The same news story mentions that plans for another free school from the Maharishi Free School Trust are also being re-submitted to the DfE.

Last year, the BHA was a signatory to a letter in the Guardian on Steiner schools, Anthroposophy, and Maharishi schools. BHA Education campaigner Richy Thompson explained,

Anthroposophists believe that they have an objective, scientific way in to the so called “spiritual” world. Children with their innocent sense of wonder are particularly well connected to the “spiritual” world, and the motivation for Steiner schools is to nurture this connection. The reason that SWSF schools do not teach children to read and write before the age of 6/7, or use computers before 13, is because anthroposophists believe that to do so damages this connection by quashing this naivety and playfulness. In reality, all it does is damage children’s education.

For more information about Steiner schools, type “Steiner” in our search box.