Sunday, 29 August 2010

Alan Turing: Our September Meeting

After the August break our programme resumes with a presentation by Dean Morrison on the life and ideas of Alan Turing (1912 - 1954). He was an outstanding mathematician, philosopher and computer pioneer, and played an important part in breaking the German Enigma codes during the second world war. The circumstances of his death are still controversial. The previous prime minister Gordon Brown issued an apology for the way he was persecuted by the authorities. A PDF poster advertising the talk is now available to download.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Richard Dawkins on the Faith School Menace

Channel 4 on "More 4" is starting a new Richard Dawkins season on Wednesday this week
18 August 9pm, with a documentary on the Faith School Menace. The following text is from the More 4 website:

Professor Richard Dawkins calls on us to reconsider the consequences of faith education, which, he believes, indoctrinates and divides children, and bamboozles parents

The number of faith schools in Britain is rising. Around 7,000 publicly-funded schools - one in three - now has a religious affiliation.

As the coalition government paves the way for more faith-based education by promoting 'free schools', the renowned atheist and evolutionary biologist Professor Richard Dawkins says enough is enough.

In this passionately argued film, Dawkins calls on us to reconsider the consequences of faith education, which, he argues, bamboozles parents and indoctrinates and divides children.

The film features robust exchanges with former Secretary of State for Education Charles Clarke, Head of the Church of England Education Service Reverend Janina Ainsworth, and the Chair of the Association of Muslim Schools, Dr Mohammed Mukadam.

It also features insights from child psychologists and key players in faith education as well as insights from both parents and pupils.

Dawkins also draws on his own personal history as a father, arguing that the government must stop funding new faith schools, and urges society to respect a child's right to freedom of belief.

I think his previous "Root of Evil?" series is being repeated, though under "The God Delusion" title, as are some others.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Humanist Heritage in London

Today I went to London to attend a meeting of the group, of which I am a member, which is developing the Humanist Heritage website. The meeting was at 5 pm at the BHA headquarters, 1 Gower Street. During the afternoon I went to the Bayswater area of London to investigate whether the old "Ethical Church" building still exists. The photo I took is of the building at 46 Queensway, which is now a Roman Catholic church. The address of the West London Ethical Church is recorded in this 1927 list of services as 46 Queen's Road, Bayswater, and this pre-war AtoZ of London indicates that Queensway was previously known, at least in parts, as Queens Road. So this would seem to be the right place.

The others in attendance at the meeting were Hamish MacPherson, Jim Herrick, Andrew Copson, Elizabeth Lutgendorff, Stephan Dickers and Bob Churchill.