Scientists win a Place for Evolution in Primary Schools

From the GuardianUK

Scientists win a Place for Evolution in Primary Schools

The government is ready to put evolution in the primary curriculum for the first time after years of lobbying by senior scientists.

The schools minister, Diana Johnson, has confirmed the plans will be included in a blueprint for a new curriculum to be published in the next few weeks.

It follows a letter signed by scientists and science educators calling on the government to make the change after draft versions of the new curriculum failed to mention evolution explicitly.

Full story can be found here.

Intelligence Squared – Is The RC Church a Force For Good?

Is the Catholic Church a force for good in the world?

A new debate, presented from London by Zeinab Badawi

It stands up for the oppressed and offers spiritual succour to billions say the Church’s supporters. But what about the Church’s teachings on condoms, gay sex and women priests, ask the detractors.

Speaking for the motion, Archbishop John Onaiyekan and Anne Widdecombe MP. Speaking against the motion, Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry.

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lt_zippy2’s opinion: This wasn’t a debate it was a massacre! Despite the heavy editing it was very clear from the beginning who had the upper hand. The list of atrocities committed by the RC Church in the past and even today were well expounded by Messers Hitchens and Fry, and the response from Anne Widdecombe was to complain “Why do they keep bringing up the arguments about condoms, homosexuality and child abuse?” The answer to this is simple (and was made by Fry before she repeated the point) It is because it is the main reason that they were debating, whay did she expect, “Oh yest it does proide charity and comfort, I suppose we conceed this debate and leave with our tail between out legs?”…and this point was not lost on the audience…I won’t spoil the result but it is a classic!

Plus it was great to see Stephen Fry, a newcomer to this sort of debate, really pressing the point home with personal vigour. We at Atheism, I’m sure, look forward to seeing even more from him!

The Evolution Of Confusion – Dan Dennett

Philosopher of science, Daniel C Dennett, author of such works as “Consciousness Explained”, “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea” and “Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon” delivered this lecture at the AAI Convention in Burbank California.

He talks about purposely-confusing theology and how it’s used. He also describes his new project interviewing clergyman who secretly don’t believe anymore, and introduces a new term: “Deepity.”

Click here: “Theologians are the spin-meisters of philosophy”

Transsexual Jesus – Queen of Heaven

About 300 protesters held a candlelit protest outside a Glasgow theatre over the staging of a play which portrays Jesus as a transsexual.

The protest was held outside the Tron Theatre, where Jesus, Queen of Heaven – in which Christ is a transsexual woman – is being staged.

It is part of the Glasgay! arts festival, a celebration of Scotland’s gay, bi-sexual and transsexual culture.

To read more click here to access the BBC News site

A New Twist on the Omni God

I was talking to a Muslim friend of mine a while back and he informed me that his god, Allah, was infinitely merciful, infinitley just and yet still sends sinners to an eternity of hellfire.

This is a new twist on the Omni god (omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipresent etc) which is logically impossible, cannot and therefore doesn’t exist.

This was before I was able to debate effectively, so let’s now examine this claim.

1. Infinitley merciful: To be be merciful is to withold punishment that is deserved, in effect to forgive. To be infinitley merciful this god must forgive ALL transgression, and withold ALL punishments, for ALL people for ALL time. So far so good.

2. Infinitely just: To be just is to impose the appropriate level of punishment to every transgression. To be infinitley just mean to impose the appropriate level of punishment to ALL people for ALL transgressions for ALL time.

3. To send sinners to hellfire for ALL eternity, despite the fact humans are finite beings and any transgression that a human can commit is by definition finite.

So, infinitely merciful, just or punishing, which one is it because it can only be one or the other, all three are mutually incompatible. This god is impossible, it cannot exists therefore it doesn’t QED

Atheists examine Christmas from angel-free angle

From The Guardian 27th September 2009

It is a book about Christmas but there’s not a manger, virgin birth or angel in sight.

Buoyed by the success of their campaign which proclaimed There’s Probably No God, Now Stop Worrying on the side of London buses, some of Britain’s most prominent atheists have come together to publish a book for the festive season.

The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas features contributions on the theme of Christmas and God by scientists Richard Dawkins, Simon Singh and Adam Rutherford, agony aunt Claire Rayner, pop star Simon Le Bon, illusionist Derren Brown and Guardian columnist Charlie Brooker.

Due for publication this Friday, the book is already ranked at number 40 in the chart compiled by online retailer Amazon and could be a surprise bestseller.

Brooker asks whether a notional God would have a sense of humour, while there also chapters on the Hadron Collider and A Guide to Turning Your Home Into A Festive Something That Is So Bright It Can Be Seen From Space.

Writer Ariane Sherine, who masterminded and launched the atheist bus campaign on a Guardian Comment is Free post, said she was daunted by the idea of writing a book by herself, so enlisted the help of friends and supporters. “Virtually all the comedians I know are atheists and Richard Dawkins was very involved with the bus campaign,” she said.

Half of the profit will be donated to the Terrence Higgins Trust, the charity that deals with HIV issues. “Given some of the comments the Pope made earlier this year about condoms and Aids, we thought it was appropriate,” Sherine said.

She denies the book is anti-Christmas: “I wanted to make it clear that it’s a friendly, quite a happy book. I’ve sent it to some of my religious friends. The book is not just about being atheist – there’s a chapter on how to get on with relatives and ideas for party games.”