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Unitarians and Astrology Debate

Yesterday evening, while attending a meeting at the Melbourne Unitarian Church, I picked up the latest (Autumn) issue of the ANZUUA Quest. It includes a transcript of the address given by the Rev. Bill Darlison at the 2013 ANZUUA Conference in Auckland. (I believe it has also been posted on the Internet.)

[Article is available on Bill Darlison's 'blog.]

Radical Self-responsibility as an Existential Ethical-end

What is intended by the title : "Radical Self-responsibility as an existential ethical-end "

A Militant Atheit's Viewpoint On Agnosticism

Thank you all for coming to hear me this afternoon. I must also thank David Miller, not only for inviting me to speak today, but for suggesting the title of the talk.

I think it makes sense to begin by defining the terms used in my title.

First, atheism and atheist. In a restricted and rather obsolete sense an atheist is someone who does not believe in a particular god or goddess; but in the modern and normal sense an atheist does not believe in the god of Abrahamic monotheism, Yahweh, Jehovah, El, Allah or God with a capital G, and almost always does not believe in gods and goddesses in general.

In my case I do not believe in the religious sense. I do not have religious faith or a faith. I do not believe in an entity or non-entity called "no God" or accept straw-man definitions by people seeking to discredit atheism. In short, my answer to the question "Do you believe in God?" is no.

'Star Wars' and The Universe as an Energy Force: An Ontological Claim

Yoda
1.0 'Star Wars' and The Force

1.1 In the sci-fi movie series "Star Wars", a metaphysical power called "The Force" is introduced. The Force is described by the Jedi knight Obi-Wan Kenobi in the following terms: "It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together". As a product of living things, when there is large scale destruction of life sensitive individuals refer to "a disturbance in the Force". In later releases of the series (earlier in the sequence) it is established that the Force is biological, the result of midi-chlorians, described by George Lucas as being "a loose depiction of mitochondria, which are necessary components for cells to divide".
1.2 Some of the exotic powers that those who have control over the Force include unnatural strength, levitation, telekinesis, telepathy, suggestive hypnosis ("Jedi mind control"), enhanced reflexes and speed, long-distance empathy, precognition, directional lightning, and ghostly projection. Force sensitivity represents a potential from birth and is trainable to that potential. It is expressed entirely through ego projection (Yoda: "Do. Or do not. There is no try.")
1.3 The physicalist of midi-chlorians explanation has been largely rejected by the Star Wars fan-base, and especially by followers of Jediism, a nontheistic religious or religious parody movement which claims adherence to the ideas behind the force and the associated ethic which recognises the existence of a "dark side" to The Force. Yoda says "Anger, fear, aggression! The dark side of The Force are they. ... A Jedi uses The Force for knowledge and defense. Never for attack." One of the activities of the adherents of Jediism is to proclaim and advocate such recognition in census forms. This has been particularly notable in Australia (65,000 in 2011), New Zealand (20,000 in 2011), England and Wales (176,632 in 2011).

Magical Thinking : An Anthropological Excursus

1. The relationship between philosophy and anthropology
1.1 If philosophy, narrowly defined, is the study of ontology, epistemology, and logic, then these have a relationship with anthropology, broadly defined, as the study of humankind. For particular aspects of human behaviour must have a relationship with the higher level philosophical issues - thus this represents a tangential excursus from our usually studies in philosophy.

Rational Thinking and Emotional Attachments: How can we admit error?

Gods rest ye, Unitarians, let nothing you dismay;
Remember there's no evidence there was a Christmas Day;
When Christ was born is just not known, no matter what they say,
O, Tidings of reason and fact, reason and fact,
Glad tidings of reason and fact.

Our current Christmas customs come from Persia and from Greece,
From solstice celebrations of the ancient Middle East.
This whole darn Christmas spiel is just another pagan feast,
O, Tidings of reason and fact, reason and fact,
Glad tidings of reason and fact.

The Pragmatic Limits of Scientism in New Atheism

I would like to begin this presentation by giving my thanks to David Miller for inviting me to speak here tonight and for the range of philosophical organisations that he convenes; such as the Melbourne Atheist Society, the Existentialist Society, and the Agnostic Society. David, a little like myself, is a person of many hats.

Why Atheism and Atheophobia Matter

Talk given to the Atheist Society, Melbourne, on 8 October 2013.

Thank you for coming to hear me this evening.

In recent years we have heard or read complaints in the media about Christianophobia and Islamophobia, so I think it is time to give some consideration to atheism and atheophobia.

The Epistemology of Living Organizations

Presentation by Bill Hall to The Philosophy Forum, Sunday October 5, 2013

This presentation is based largely on material drawn from a hypertext book I am writing: Application Holy Wars or a New Reformation - A Fugue on the Theory of Knowledge.

Presentation continues as PDF attachment.

Sunday Assembly : Some Serious Reservations

I note with interest the recent review of The Sunday Assembly and its establishment in Melbourne, Australia (Freethinker, July). As a person who was going to be involved on the committee of said establishment, I am obviously supportive on the desire to create a non-theistic church which retains 'church-like' community. However I have some serious reservations about The Sunday Assembly which lead to my resignation from the organising committee.

Because the issue is a public one, rather than a personal one, I have a duty to bring the reasons for my resignation to public attention.

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