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Charlie Brooker on The Genius of Charles Darwin

Darwin’s theory of evolution was simple, beautiful, majestic and awe-inspiring. But because it contradicts the allegorical babblings of a bunch of made-up old books, it’s been under attack since day one. That’s just tough luck for Darwin. If the Bible had contained a passage that claimed gravity is caused by God pulling objects toward the ground with magic invisible threads, we’d still be debating Newton with idiots too.

The Genius of Charles Darwin on Channel 4

A546511058_636249_9985TV to look out for; Richard Dawkins on Charles Darwin, Monday 4 August, 8pm, Channel 4.

As we approach the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s masterpiece, On The Origin Of Species, ethologist and writer Richard Dawkins presents the ultimate guide to Darwin and his revolutionary theory of evolution by natural selection. Dawkins considers this to be the most important idea to have ever occured to a human mind.

In this powerful three-part polemical series, Dawkins explains who Charles Darwin (pictured) was, how he developed his theory, what it is, and why it matters. He reveals how Darwin changed forever the way we see ourselves, the world and our place in it, and hopes to convince us that “evolution is a fact, backed by undeniable evidence”.

BBC NEWS | Council ban on atheist websites

A city council has blocked its staff from looking at websites about atheism. Lawyers at the National Secular Society said the move by Birmingham City Council was “discriminatory” and they would consider legal action. The rules also ban sites that promote witchcraft, the paranormal, sexual deviancy and criminal activity.

Message from the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain was one year old on June 21.

For many, this will come as a surprise given the organisation’s importance and the scope of its activities so far. In the short time since the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain was launched in June 2007, it has achieved much with volunteers alone.

Ten Non-Commandments – John Palmer

John PalmerIn 1963 the magazine New Society ran an article by Ronald Fletcher, then a lecturer in sociology at Bedford College, London, entitled “A Humanist’s Decalogue”. The author was suggesting an updated version of the Biblical list of dos and don’ts as a set of non-commandments – “principles on which the individual must work out his/her own conduct when faced by particular problems”. The article was one of a series dealing especially with young people’s values.  Fletcher’s four page article expanded on each non-commandment. Ronald Fletcher finished his academic career as Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Reading.

Fletcher’s list made an impression on me, at that time a lad of twenty-something years of age, and I kept the article. I have it still, and although it’s brown with age and getting increasingly tatty, its content still seems relevant to me.

More couples tie the knot with Humanism (in Scotland)

From Humanist Philosopher Julian Baggini’s Herald column; he doesn’t seem overly impressed by the increase in Humanist weddings in Scotland.

Humanist weddings, and other ceremonies, are unusual in that they provide a like-for-like replacement for what religions offer. Since people will always want to mark significant events in life in a shared, public way, once humanist weddings were made legal in Scotland it was inevitable that those who held broadly humanist views would take them up. But I do not expect humanism as a mass movement to gain much from this.