Category: Internet

The Pink Humanist

Pink Humanist

The UK gay humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT) re-launched its online magazine in December last year with a new title, The Pink Humanist.

The PTT, which was founded in 1992, started publishing a printed magazine entitled Gay and Lesbian Humanist back in 1993 and continued this until it went online in 2008. Though described as an LGBT publication, the new magazine is aimed at all atheists, humanists, sceptics and freethinkers and is the only one of its kind worldwide.

Tell Chevron to clear up the mess they made in Ecuador

Last November, SH&S group members watched a film called The Age of Stupid, which included footage of the environmental damage caused by oil companies in Nigeria.

You may not be aware that similar damage has been caused to the environment in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador by Chevron, formerly Texaco, poisoning the indiginous people who live there. Please click here to view a video about the damage and sign an online petition telling Chevron to clean up its mess, which they’ve so far denied.

Hitchens: Good with words, but fallible

The Internet has been flooded with obituaries to Christopher Hitchens today, since the news of his death. One of the so-called ‘New Atheists’, his book, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, upset lots of religious people and delighted many fellow atheists. True, he was exceptioanally gifted with the written and spoken word (there are some examples in the Guardian), and wrote lots of thought-provoking copy for Vanity Fair, among other publications, but I wasn’t a fan, especially because he thought that invading Iraq was a good idea, regardless of the consequences – who were mostly civilian.

If an easy target like Christianity could be destroyed solely with words, Christopher could have done it. However, the main effect of his witty attacks on religion was to delight other atheists, not to persuade believers of the error of their ways. It’s untrue that “religion poisons everything”. That’s far too simplistic and ignores the many examples of good things that religious people have done. Philanthropists like Elizabeth Fry, a Quaker, achieved social reform long before the introduction of the Welfare State, for example, and religious people still do good without evangelising or proselytising.

Mary Warnock, interviewed by Laurie Taylor in New Humanist, said,

I find Dawkins’ simple-minded view of religion very difficult to take. It pays no proper attention to the history and tradition of religion. It says that religions have done nothing but harm but that is manifestly not true. He omits all the good things, the education, the cathedrals, the music. All that’s disregarded.

Maybe Hitchens wasn’t simple-minded, but he was guilty of the same error. Babies and bathwater?

Brain food

If you haven’t seem these sites, they’re worth exploring:

The Secular Web has pages and pages of food for thought. Thay say:

The Secular Web is owned and operated by Internet Infidels, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to defending and promoting a naturalistic worldview on the Internet. Naturalism is the “hypothesis that the natural world is a closed system” in the sense that “nothing that is not a part of the natural world affects it.” As such, “naturalism implies that there are no supernatural entities,” such as gods, angels, demons, ghosts, or other spirits, “or at least none that actually exercises its power to affect the natural world.” And without miraculous interventions into nature from a spiritual realm, neither prayer nor magick are more effective than a placebo.

Butterflies and Wheels is edited by Ophelia Benson.

Butterflies and Wheels was established in 2002 and has (not surprisingly) evolved since then. At the beginning it focused mainly on various kinds of pseudoscience and epistemic relativism, aka postmodernism. The latter prompted an increasing focus on moral or cultural relativism and a defense of universalism and human rights. This in turn led to concern with the chief opponent of universalism and human rights, which is religion. This then led to interest in the backlash against overt atheism.

Keep thinking. If nothing else, it’ll help to keep Alzheimer’s at bay.

Dinosaurs in Noah’s Ark?

We’ve been visited by a creationist. Feel free to join the debate on whether there were dinosaurs in Noah’s Ark, and if scientists made up the theory of evolution.

See the comments on Jesus and a baby dinosaur.

Weekend web stuff

Some of the stuff you could have found for yourselves, if you’d wanted to (that’s what Google is for), but I saved you the bother, OK?

Sam Scott Perry was on Channel 4’s, where he opined that men and dinosaurs were alive at the same time, and that Creationism should be taught in schools. Whoever taught Sam didn’t do a very good job. His science isn’t up to much.

Distrust is the central motivating factor behind why religious people dislike atheists, according to a new study led by University of British Columbia psychologists. They must imagine that all atheists are up to no good. There are untrustworthy atheists and there are religious people I’d trust no further than I could throw them (if it wasn’t for my bad back), but there’s no more reason to mistrust one than the other.

Warning: young children given books containing graphic violence

This is a letter in this week’s National Secular Society e-news:

We have a 4 year old son who has just started attending our local non-denominational community School. Last week, along with the rest of his year-group he was presented with an illustrated children’s Bible.

We were given the option to opt-out of this but did not exercise this because we didn’t want our son to feel excluded and trusted the school that the book would be age-appropriate. It was not and our son ended up in tears over the violent illustrations of the crucifixion.

Many other parents were unhappy and we personally are complaining to the school. We have subsequently found out that he Bible’s distribution and funding was carried out by a Charity – Bibles for Children. According to their website they are active in hundreds of primary schools across the country (there is a list in their annual report). We would like to warn other members with children who may be targeted by these people and who might want to take action against these people either on principle or in order to prevent their kids being exposed to images of graphic violence.

New Humanist Newsletter

Did you know that New Humanist magazine has an online newsletter? Click here to sign up. The latest edition features articles about ‘Atheist’ still being a dirty word in US politics, an atheist soldier’s thoughts on attending religious memorials to the fallen, the myth of Christian Europe, and a podcast. You can follow them on Twitter at @NewHumanist.

A Humanist Celebrant’s blog

Dead Interesting

From comments that have been made recently in online discussions and at meetings, it seems that some members and supporters don’t fully understand how the ceremonies that we provide relate to humanism in general. Someone wrote, “They’re just about making money”. This is my blog about death and funerals. It might help anyone who doesn’t understand why we do what we do, and it isn’t about making money; our fees have to cover all our expenses, as we’re not salaried like clergy.

Click here to read Dead Interesting.