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Showing posts from February, 2011

Does Science Support Belief In God? Philipse vs Swinburne May 10th

CFI UK and South Place Ethical Society present: Public Debate Does Science Support Belief In God? Prof. Herman Philipse vs Prof. Richard Swinburne Chair: Stephen Law Tuesday May 10th, 7-9pm. Main Hall, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square. Holborn London WC1R 4RL £3 on the door. £2 students. Free entry to CFI UK friends (i.e. season ticket holders). An evening with two of the world’s most powerful and respected thinkers from either side of the theism/atheism divide. Topics likely to be addressed include: Does the orderliness of the universe point to a designer? Do discoveries in neuroscience, cosmology and other branches of empirical science reveal evidence of the hand of God? Richard Swinburne is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy of Religion at the University of Oxford. Over the last 50 years, Prof. Swinburne has established himself as one of world’s foremost philosophers of religion. He is an influential proponent of natural theology, that is, philosophical argume

Me vs Peter Atkins on The Limits of Science

Go here for details all the THINK week events in Oxford this week. I am on Thursday night (24th) with Peter Atkins, scientist and atheist, to discuss whether science can answer all our questions. Expect religion to come up! Peter Atkins and Stephen Law - 'Can science alone answer our questions?' Feb 24th 2011: 8pm - Friends Meeting House, 43 St Giles Philosopher Dr. Stephen Law and Professor of Chemistry Peter Atkins will be discussing whether science alone can answer our questions. Entrance is free, and all are welcome. Here's Atkins in action:

One Leg Shorter Than The Other Miracle

A long standing friend of mine who was "born again" and now a fervent Young Earth Creationist once told me that a turning point for him was a miracle he witnessed performed on him by a pastor. My friend had one leg shorter than the other, but the pastor, through the power of God, caused the short leg to grow. But then 2 days ago a teenage girl told me that what convinced her of the reality of Jesus where she witnessed a person with one leg shorter than the other receive the same miracle cure. She also added that she herself has healed, by prayer, the dislocated collar bone of her friend (which I know something about as I have one too - this can only ever be rectified by surgery). Well, I have only ever been told of a couple of such miracles by friends and acquaintances, and I was struck by the one leg short than the other miracle cropping up twice. Bit of a coincidence I thought. So I surfed the internet and found this very interesting resource . Turns out this is a stand

My plan for destroying the NHS

Suppose I am very very rich, and very very selfish. The NHS annoys me intensely. It costs lots in tax revenue to run, and being very rich, I pay proportionately more of my income on it, and of course far more in terms of hard cash, than almost anyone else. I also resent the fact that my business empire is unable to cash in on providing the services that people would buy from my private businesses if the NHS was not there. BUT, the public loves the NHS, even many Tories are fond of it, and to propose scrapping it would provoke howls of outrage. Plus there's no evidence I can marshal that the public would get a better service if it were provided by the private sector - rather the opposite in fact. What would I do? Here's what I would do. First, I'd ensure a team of expert PR people run the Tory party - people adept at twisting facts, spinning, and indeed telling bare faced lies and getting away with it. And I'd have my private health companies etc. fund them generou

"We're not advocating reforms for the sake of ideology". Health Minister Paul Burstow

Ben Goldacre has been looking at the claims of Government ministers that the evidence supports the case for their radical reforms of the NHS. John Burstow responded to Goldacres first article by writing a letter to the Guardain to which Goldacre just responded. Here's what Goldacre says: DON'T CHERRY-PICK NHS FINDINGS MINISTER Last week we saw that the government had overstated the failings of the NHS by using dodgy figures (to be precise, they used misleading static figures instead of time trends). We saw that the health secretary Andrew Lansley's repeated claim that his reforms are justified by evidence was untrue: the evidence doesn't show that his price-based competition improves outcomes (if anything it makes things worse); and the evidence also doesn't show that GP consortiums improve outcomes (unless you cherry-pick only the positive findings). It's OK if your reforms aren't supported by existing evidence: you just shouldn't claim that they a

Ken Ham educates some kids about dinosaurs etc.

Ken Ham, perhaps the world's leading creationist nutcase, educates some school children about dinosaurs, fossils, and so on. Not sure I'd call it "brain washing", but it is, er, a little worrying! Ken's pop quizz starts: Ken: "Next time someone says 'millions of years ago', what do you say?" Chorus: "Were you there?" It's worth playing a few times just to hear properly what they've been so well-trained by Ken to say. An evangelical church, which intends to teach creationism as part of its science curriculum, has submitted a proposal to open a free school in Nottinghamshire. The Everyday Champions Church in Newark handed its plans to open a 625-pupil secondary school in the area to the Department for Education last week. The application came just a day before the DfE held its first free school conference, where education secretary Michael Gove said applications from creationist groups would be considered, with each judged o

Gig in Haddenham

I will be playing with the Heavy Dexters at the Rose and Thistle, Haddenham (between Oxford and Aylesbury), Saturday night (12th Feb), at their Valentine's night dinner and dance. Bookings from 7. Band 9-11. £24.50 including 3 course dinner, wine, etc. To book call Roger on 07762-947577. 6 Station Road Haddenham, Bucks HP17 8AJ.

The strange case of Dave

Dave believes dogs are spies from the planet Venus. He views any canine with great suspicion, for he believes they are here from Venus to do reconnaissance work. Dogs, Dave supposes, secretly send their reports back to Venus, where the rest of their fiendishly cunning alien species are meticulously planning their invasion of the earth. Their spaceships will shortly arrive from Venus to enslave the human race and take over the world. Unsurprisingly, Dave’s friends think he has a screw loose and try to convince him that dogs are comparatively benign pets, not cunning alien spies. Here’s a typical example of how their conversations with Dave go: DAVE: It’s only a matter of weeks now! The spaceships willarrive and then you’ll wish you’d listened to me. We mustact now—let the government know! MARY: Look, Dave, dogs are pretty obviously not space invaders, they’re just dumb pets. Dogs can’t even speak, for goodness sake, let alone communicate with Venus! DAVE: They can speak—they just choos

Free schools to teach creationism

Everyday Champions Church set to be latest in line of faith-based founders [Source TES here .] An evangelical church, which intends to teach creationism as part of its science curriculum, has submitted a proposal to open a free school in Nottinghamshire. The Everyday Champions Church in Newark handed its plans to open a 625-pupil secondary school in the area to the Department for Education last week. The application came just a day before the DfE held its first free school conference, where education secretary Michael Gove said applications from creationist groups would be considered, with each judged on its individual merits. According to the church, the Everyday Champions Academy will possess a "Christian ethos that permeates everything that happens throughout the school". The church states that it believes the Bible is an "accurate" depiction of God's word, and that God is the "creator of all things". Continues at TES . Here's my view

For Good Reason

For Good Reason, produced by D.J. Grothe, President of the James Randi Educational Foundation, is a podcast download worth listening to. Some good stuff.... Go to www.forgoodreason.com Joe Nickel is a hero of mine, and always entertaining. Possibly I'll be on shortly (!)

Myself and Alister McGrath on radio

I am on Premier Christian Radio this coming Saturday 2.30pm talking with Prof. Alister McGrath about his new book on the "New Atheism". His book is called "Why God Won't Go Away: Engaging With The New Atheism". Justin Brierley presents. Very interesting discussion. It will also be available as a podcast. I'll make links available. It's the " Unbelievable " programme. PS Direct link to the podcast is now here . Also on itunes as a download - search "brierley unbelievable" for the page. The entry is "Unbelievable? 5th Feb - Alister McGrath and Stephen Law".