Category: Internet

Evolution comic strip

Evolution comicBritish artist Darryl Cunningham is working on a book of Science Stories, due out next spring. It’ll include a comic strip explanation of evolution. Meanwhile, you can see the strip on his blog. Darryl says, “I’m sure there’ll be mistakes here, so do feel free to point them out, so that I can make the necessary changes. Thank you.”

On the subject of evolution, have you read our page about Creationism and Intelligent Design? Click here if you haven’t.

Bill to curb sharia courts

Baroness CoxThe Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill, has been introduced into the House of Lords by Baroness Caroline Cox (independent), with the support of the One Law for All campaign. The bill doesn’t aim to interfere with religious freedom, but does aim to stop the discrimination against women under the sharia law system. Read the National Secular Society’s report on their website. Currently, many British Muslim women suffer unequal access to divorce, domestic violence and general injustice, while their rights aren’t recognised by sharia courts. The bill makes it clear that British people, regardless of their religion, must accept British law, which always takes precedence over sharia law.

6 months in Ghana


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Our webmaster, Nathan Nelson, is flying out to Kumasi in Ghana for 6 months on the 8th June, where his other half, Harriet, is being sponsored to work with an organisation called Millennium Villages, while Nathan finds some other ways to make himself useful. You can follow their adventures on their blog, Ghana 180.

Professor Edzard Ernst retiring as Director of the Complementary Medicine Research Group

Professor Edzard Ernst, who was a guest speaker at a recent Ipswich Science in the Pub meeting, has announced his retirement as Director of the Complementary Medicine Research Group. We’re hoping that he’ll come and talk to us soon.

Zeno, aka Alan Henness, has published an interview with Prof. Ernst on his blog. He ended by asking what Edzard would do when he fully retires, and the professor replied:

Become really outspoken about quackery and charlatans. I look forward to that. Hopefully, UK libel law has changed by then.

Are you ready?

Rapture billboard

I hope you haven’t made any plans for the end of October onwards, because we’re all going to fry, apparently, on the 21st October. The world will be destroyed by fire, say those who hope to be “God’s elect people”, but they’re not expecting to be here after the 21st of this month, when The Rapture happens and they’re all swept up into heaven to leave us unbelievers behind.

Topics for debate…

Two stories that have been in the news have attracted lots of attention; the French burqa ban and the Big Society.

Eric Pickles and Sayeeda Warsi seem to imagine that religious organisations are the best ones to provide public services in the Big Society. In yesterday’s Guardian, Rahila Gupta wrote,

“Faith” has increasingly become the new way of constructing racial minorities, a trend that started under Tony Blair and continues under the Tory-led government. Secularism is seen as so intrinsically western that it is unimaginable for policymakers to conceive that it might be welcome within minority communities, especially the powerless among them.

The burqa ban continues to attract a lot of debate. Many think that we should have a similar ban here. I blogged against the idea and was answered by blogger Kausik Datta in the US, who disagreed with me.

What do you think?

International aid funds used to pay for the Pope’s visit

The British Humanist Association reports that £2 million towards the cost of the Pope’s visit to the UK last year came from the Department for International Development (DfID), justified as a recognition of “the Catholic Church’s role as a major provider of health and education services in developing countries”. The BHA has dismissed this as “irrational and wrong”.

Funerals: almost anything goes

The first time I conducted a funeral for a biker whose hearse was a motorcycle and side-car, a long procession of his fellow bikers roared through the town behind it. The conductor (the person in charge from the Co-op) rode pillion, wearing his top hat. The chapel filled with men and women in motorcycle gear and the sound of leather creaking as they moved about. Such events are no longer unusual, and the people who provide the motorcycle hearses are kept very busy.

Today, The Co-operative Funeralcare has released a report into changing funeral customs, The Ways We Say Goodbye, which shows that, among other things, “Half of today’s funerals (49%) are a celebration of life and one in ten includes no religion at all.” In a relatively short period of time, maybe twenty years, attitudes towards funerals have changed as most people have realised that a traditional Christian funeral isn’t compulsory, and has little relevance to the lives of a majority of people.

Click here to find out more about Humanist funerals

Click here for my Dead Interesting blog