Articles and papers

Gray on Pinker on the Enlightenment

John Gray has (amongst others) reviewed Steven Pinker‘s latest book on the enlightenment in the New Statesman. The main problem that he highlights is Pinker’s unrelenting scientism, i.e. the belief that all human problems can ultimately be addressed by science. This is far from a conclusion supported by the enlightenment philosophers that he cites.  Go …


A.C.Grayling on Humanism



Simon Nightingale’s Talk on Humanism

This lecture was given to the Shrewsbury U3A Following Simon’s lecture to the Ludlow and Marches Humanists which covers much the same ground as in this video, I sent an open letter in response. Here it is; Open letter to Dr Simon Nightingale;   Dear Simon,   Many thanks for your excellent talk to the …


Guardian article

  For a good analysis of the importance of religious education in secular education and the place of humanism in that context go to;  


Bertrand Russell and the Good Life

‘The happy life is to an extraordinary extent the same as the good life’ Bertrand Russell This quote appears on the front page of the latest Humanists UK News December 2017. I will argue that it is wrong, that the happy life is not the same as the good life.   The American Constitution of 1776 …


Rowan Williams on Beauty

At the end of a discussion on the nature of human beings and their ultimate origin, (  Richard Dawkins and Rowan Williams found themselves in agreement about the beauty of the finely tuned and ordered reality that science reveals.  There is no doubt between them that scientific descriptions show something wonderful, regardless of what presuppositions …


First Causes and God

God as the First Cause To understand this concept of a first cause we need to think outside the box. What is it that boxes in our thought?  Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) argued that human beings have an innate pre disposition to see the world in terms of causes and effects. Causation is not something we …


‘What’s God got to do with it?’ Review by Tony Akkermans

‘Burt Flannery’s book “What’s God got to do with it” is a highly valuable addition to the growing number of publications critical of religion. In its wide-ranging 370 pages the author combines a comprehensive history of the major religions with an in-depth look at the obvious fallacies inherent in all of them. All of it …


The Origins of Sin

The internet offers a definition of sin as ‘an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law’.  The implication is that moral and immoral authority has a divine origin, that God tells us how to behave,  but this does not make sense. To behave in a moral or immoral way is a product …


Defining Humanism

The other day my wife said that she understood what Humanism was against, namely the moral and social impact of religion on society, but asked what it was for?  Earlier this year we had a discussion of what might be core humanist values. Perhaps a first response is to say that Humanism is a celebration …