Author: Margaret

Re:Design – Charles Darwin & Asa Gray on stage

Terry Molloy as Darwin150 years after Charles Darwin first presented his theory to fellow scientists and amidst year-long Darwin celebrations in 2009, Re:Design is a fascinating and timely dramatisation of 30 years correspondence between Charles Darwin, Kent, England and Asa Gray in Boston, USA.

Mercury Theatre, Colchester

Getting here is really easy, we are only 1 hour from the centre of London. There are trains every hour to and from London.

Our address is: Mercury Theatre, Balkerne Gate, Colchester, CO1 1PT.

Pay to stop them praying?

Today I received through my letterbox a card from a church in Woodbridge offering to pray for me. That might seem a reasonable offer but as an atheist, I find the whole concept of prayer and worship distasteful and, frankly, ludicrous.

I am very happy for others to believe in what they want to believe in but I am not at all happy for them to force their views or irrational practices and rituals on others without invitation. I consider their card an unwarranted and certainly unwanted intrusion.

However, the extreme irritation it caused pales when compared with the announcement on the card that church members were going to visit my house and interrupt either my working day or our private time at home in the evening on some unspecified date next week.

The card added insult to irritation by asking that if I did not wish anybody to call, I should telephone the church to stop the visit.

In the words of the Catherine Tate character Derek Fay, “How very dare you?” They ask me to telephone them to stop them doing something that they will otherwise do, without my invitation or permission.

Philosophy, fish, and other matters

A quick trawl through the Internet for the weekend, to keep the little grey cells going. Firstly, Dr Stephen Law, a member of the BHA’s Humanist Philosophers, has a blog that’s worth reading. Among other things, he asks, “Does the concept of an intelligent designer make sense?’ We know the answer, but for anyone who doesn’t, here’s something to consider:

… when we suppose that the spatio-temporal universe was created by some sort of agent, we are presumably supposing it was designed by a non-temporal agent – an agent that does not (or at least did not then) exist in time. For there was not yet any time for the agent to exist in. But if desires are psychological states with temporal duration, how, then, could this agent possess the desire to create the universe? And how did it perform the act of creation if there was not yet any time in which actions might be performed? It is hard to see how talk of a non-temporal agent makes any more sense than talk of a non-spatial mountain.

The NSS’s Keith Porteous Wood comments about the Church of England’s determination to keep their bishops in the House of Lords on the NSS website:

Their presence in the House of Lords is unsupportable in a country where less than half of the people do not belong to Christianity, far less, the Church of England. The UK is the only Western democracy that has clerics in its parliament as of right. These clerics are all men, they are unrepresentative and, despite their claims, they have no special insight or universally accepted morality to bring to the debate.

Reflections on War – Martin Bell OBE

Martin Bell will be at the Unitarian Meeting House in Churchgate Street, Bury St Edmunds. This event is being sponsored by the Unitarian Trustees in association with Amnesty International, United Nations Association and Suffolk Inter-Faith Resource. Admission by ticket only. Contact Martin Gienke, [email protected], 01223 882426 or 0845 456 0091.

That atheist bus gets everywhere

SIFRE programmeI was amused to get the latest Suffolk Inter-Faith Resource (SIFRE) programme in today’s post, with a picture of the atheist bus to illustrate Humanism.

We’re affiliated to SIFRE – it means that we’re included in all sorts of consultations and educational programmes that we’d otherwise miss.

Today is World Humanitarian Day

Humanitarian Day posterToday is World Humanitarian Day. This explanation is from the World Humanitarian Day website:

The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted in its Plenary Session on 11th December 2008, the Swedish sponsored Omnibus Resolution on “Strengthening of the Coordination of Emergency Humanitarian Assistance of the United Nations”, that carried the historic decision by the world body, to designate the 19th August as World Humanitarian Day to honor all humanitarian and the United Nations and associated personnel who have lost their lives in the cause of duty and those who have worked in the promotion of the humanitarian cause.

Visit the website to find out more.