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BHA e-Bulletin (10 April 2012)

Tuesday  10 April

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Walking  into the future backwards


Looking  back and examing the past is an act that can feel very self-undulgent (who  hasn't been told at some point to 'get over it' or to 'move on'). With a  number of warnings associated with going over the past it seems that  western culture does not value looking back. In mythology, Orpheus failed  in his attempt to rescue his wife Eurydice when he turned  around to steal a glimpse of her walking behind him. In the Old  Testament Book of  Genesis, Lot's  wife Is transformed into a pillar of salt when she glances backat  the burning cities of  Sodom and Gomorrah.

This year the BHA is focussing on the future at our annual conference.  The theme, selected to allow us to have space to define the world we  want to create for ourselves, and outline the shape of things to come,  is also an opportunity to recognise our past and where we have come  from. Carole Jahme, presenting at the conference on 'the  better apes of our future'  will bring our biological past to  the fore as she synthesises  Darwinian theory into a discussion on where we go next. Meanwhile, the conversation  between multiple award-winning science fiction author and biologist Paul  McAuley and historian Gregory Claeys will  chart the progress of the radical, reform and socialist movements in  late 18th and 19th century Britain through to the utopian and dystopian  possibilities of our future.

This week we announced the full  programme for the  three day event in Cardiff and the topics our  brilliant line up of speakers will  be exploring. The weekend promises to be a provoking, entertaining, and  unmissable. We are looking forward to seeing you there!

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News from  the BHA


David  Cameron encourages Evangelical Christians to 'fight back‚€™  against secular Britain


At  a special Easter reception in Downing Street, the Prime  Minister sought to reassure Christian supporters by affirming  his personal admiration for biblical values.

Commenting  that he could benefit from some ‚€˜spiritual help‚€™ after a  turbulent couple of weeks, Mr Cameron jokingly suggested that  his guests might pray for him, before launching into a series  of his most strongly worded statements to date on behalf of  Christian beliefs and values.

Read  our full report here.


Today  programme host: ‚€˜Thought for the Day‚€™ should have  secular voices


Prominent  BBC journalist and host of the Today programme Evan Davis  has questioned the continuing absence of non-religious  voices on the BBC‚€™s preeminent slot considering moral  issues.

Speaking  to the Independent,  Mr Davis said of the Thought for the Day slot:  "I think there's a very serious debate about whether  the spot ‚€“ which I would keep ‚€“ might give space to  what one might call 'serious and spiritually minded  secularists'. I don't think "Thought for the  Day" has to only be people of the cloth." Mr  Davis has previously described the bias in favour of  religious contributors as "discriminating  against the non-religious".

Read  our full report here.


BHA  welcomes plans for new RE subject framework

We've  welcomed plans for a new religious education (RE) subject  framework. Minister of State for Schools Nick Gibb has asked  the Religious Education Council for England and Wales (REC) to  consider excellent practice in RE teaching and present its  findings in a report, as well as to support the REC in shaping  a revised RE teaching framework that matches the design and  style of the future National Curriculum.

Read more here.
 


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The Pod  Delusion this  week speaks to libel martyr Vaughan Jones, discovers the true  Christian meaning of marriage, feeds George Galloway‚€™s ego  by talking about him, as well as figures out a way to keep the  lobbyists in check‚€¶. Listen  to episode  130 here.




This  week on Humanist  Life we  have an article onPope  Benedict and Marxism, as well as links to stories on the 'to  my unborn child' Twitter trending topic,adverts  using religious imagery, and the threat ofsecularists  on Thought for the Day exposing the loneliness of atheism.

  

Other  Events


Day  conference exploring ‚€˜Assisted Suicide‚€™ 
Tues 24 April, Pavilions of Harrogate, at the Great Yorkshire  Showground.

A one day event that aims to raise awareness and understanding of  issues affecting end of life care in the UK.
 
Including speakers from Dignity in Dying and Care not Killing.
 
Places are limited and will be offered on ‚€˜first come, first  served‚€™ basis. To request a booking form please contact Beata  Mulvaney on 01423 856794 or send an email to education@saintmichaelshospice.org

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In This  Issue

Editorial

News  from the BHA

BHA  Events

Affiliated  Group Events

HumanistLife

The  Pod Delusion

Other  Events

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BHA EVENTS

  


BHA  Annual Conference 2012
Fri 8 June - Sun 10 June
National  Museum Cardiff

  

Full  programme announced! See  details here.
 

Book  today:  you never know what the future will bring! ...Or do we?


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Wednesday  25 April

Tuke  Hall, Regent‚€™s  College Conference Centre, London 
7pm for a 7:30pm start - 9:00pm

  

Robin  Ince, comedian,  writer, and 'that sort of thing' will be presenting this year's  Voltaire Lecture. The subject is 'The Importance of Being  Interested' and the audience can be assured of a fair  amount of science, including references to Feynman and Darwin.  Details and tickets here.


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AFFILIATED  GROUP EVENTS

  

Oxford  Humanists
Wed 11 Apr
6 - 9pm. Informal pub 'drop in'. Details here.
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Harrow  Humanists
Wed  11 Apr
8.00  pm at HAVS  lodge 
Faith  Schools and education. Details here.
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Plymouth  Humanists
Thurs 12 Apr
6:30pm - 8pm
Pre Dara O‚€™Briain - Social Drink. Details here.
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Milton  Keynes Humanists
Thurs  12 Apr 
7.00pm  - 9.00pm
Religion  for Atheists. Details here
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Essex Humanists 

Sun  15 Apr 
7:30pm, Chelmsford 
Exemptions:  Religious & Secular. Details here.
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Berkshire  Humanists
Sun 15  Apr
9:30am,  Reading
Berkshire  Humanists will be holding a stall in Reading. Drop  by, or if you want to help visit the website here.  (other events upcoming: 2 May - Faith Schools. 6 Jun - Defend  Dawkins.)
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East  Kent Humanists
Sun  15 Apr
2.30om  University of Kent, Canterbury
Old  Age Rational Suicide ‚€“ a talk by Dr Michael Irwin
Dr  Irwin is a retired GP and former Medical Director of the United  Nations. As a result of his campaigning on the topic of  ‚€˜old age rational suicide‚€™ he was arrested in 2003.  No  charges followed, but he has repeatedly been investigated by the  police, and regularly makes the headlines for his unbowed stance  on this topic. Details here.
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Birmingham  Humanists
Mon 16 Apr 
7:30pm ‚€“ 9:30pm, Moseley Exchange, 149 Alcester Road  B13 8JP
Just suppose - say no to religious indoctrination. Details here.
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Watford  Area Humanists
Tues  17 Apr
7.30  pm, White Lion Pub on St Albans Road.
Details  can be found here.
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Lancashire  Secular Humanists 
Wed  18 Apr
7.30,  Great Eccleston Village Centre, 59 High Street, The Square,  Great Eccleston. PR3 0YB
Question  time. Details here.
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North  East Humanists
Thurs  19 Apr
Equality  legislation and religion - What can we do at the local level?  Details here.
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Shropshire  Humanist Group 
Thurs 19 Apr

‚€œA  right to object? Conscientious objection and religious  conviction‚€�. Helen Taylor will lead a discussion  on this  recent publication from the Humanist Philosophers‚€™ Group.  Details here.
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South  East London Humanist Group
Thu  Apr 19 
Inadequacy  of Current Moral Attitudes. Details here.
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West  London Humanists
Thurs  19 Apr
Truth  in the Media. Details here.
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Central  London Humanists
Wed 25 April
6:30pm, Falkender Room, Commonwealth Hall
Cutting Religion Out of Medicine. Details here.
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Cotswold  Humanists
Fri  27 Apr 
Major  Tarquin Shipley of the United Kingdom Armed Forces Humanist  Association (UKAFHA) talks about "Being a Humanist in the  Armed Forces and how faith and belief impact upon life in the  Forces.". Details here.
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Chiltern  Humanists
Tues 8 May 
Hemel Hempstead
Dr Stephen Law, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Heythrop  College, University of London. Details here.


” No matter what your age there is always more to discover about our miraculous universe and the people in it”, Growing Old Disgracefully