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Showing posts from April, 2010

New Book - Intellectual Black Holes

Apologies for the infrequent posts - having work meltdown situation re new book. I will post bits here for your comments shortly... The book is on Intellectual Black Holes (an analogy I came up with back in Feb 2008, if anyone remembers?). I will be giving a talk on intellectual black holes at the Oxford Humanists: Fri. 21st May, 7.45 for 8.00pm, Restore Centre off Manzil Way, East Oxford OX4 1YH. Details from John White jdwhite (AT) (nb this address has been spamproofed - you need to fix it) post script it may now be 8.30 as the room cannot be dimmed for my powerpoint,

OXFORD UNIVERSITY course based on my Philosophy Gym

Go here for details - Philosophy Gym: starting to think philosophically (Online) Sept 2010. I wrote this online course (but don't actually run it myself). Sept - Dec 2010.

"Test of Faith: Do we need God, now we have science?"

I just recorded an hour long show for Premier Christian Radio to be broadcast this Saturday at 2.30pm (1st May). It will also be available as permanent podcast then. Go to: . Denis Alexander was my "opponent" (from the Faraday Institute in Cambridge - nice guy).

Almighty row over ethics in schools

Interesting row developing in Australia about alternatives to religiously-based ethics teaching. Go here . Almighty row over ethics in schools: Democracy and the welfare of children By Dr Simon Longstaff The Sydney Morning Herald (Saturday 26 September 2009) is to be congratulated for having helped to initiate public debate about discrimination against children whose parents make a conscientious decision that they not attend classes in special religious education (scripture). It is unfortunate that, rather than engage with the serious arguments advanced on behalf of many parents and their children, Mark Hillis of the InterChurch Commission on Special Religious Education in Schools (ICCOREIS) is reported as having said “I don’t see how having a small interest group coming into a school and ramping up things helps”. But who is this small interest group to which he refers? The NSW Federation of P & C Associations has been promoting a review of NSW Education Department policy sinc

Mountain biking in Afan yesterday

Went to Afan Argoed in South Wales to do some biking yesterday. First time mountain biking since the Spanish incident. The guy going past is an Italian chap I met up with on the way round. Did the Wall, then up the Wall and down Whyte's level.

Trigg's THEOS report - a silent downgrading of religious rights in Britain

Prof Roger Trigg and I had a debate about whether Britain is too secular now last Easter at the Ox Lit Festival (a CFI event). Trigg has since produced a report for the think tank THEOS that takes much the same line as he took in the debate and his earlier book. He says there has been a silent downgrading of religious rights in Britain. His conclusion is religious beliefs are special and do deserve special privileges and protections - which are currently being eroded with potentially dangerous consequences. Go here . Several of Trigg's arguments are explicitly discussed in an early draft of the secularism chapter of my forthcoming Very Short Introduction to Humanism (OUP 2010) available here .

The mystery move - examples please

I am looking for examples of how people attempt to protect their belief system - immunize it against rational criticism - by appealing to mystery . Religious examples are good (do provide them), but I also want non-religious examples, e.g. people dealing with apparent scientific refutations of the claims of crystal healers, etc. by suggesting that science is limited in its scope and we must acknowledge "there are more things in heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio", etc. If the examples can be accessed on the internet, that helps. It's for forthcoming book. I imagine there are skeptical websites that have many examples but I am struggling a bit to find them...

Labour's election strategy: bring on no-nonsense hard man Gordon Brown

I have already bought my "Step Outside Posh Boy" t-shirt. Go here for the new strategy . I seem to be one of the few people in the UK that are actually rather fond of Gordon Brown.