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.

The Philosophy of Education

Presentation to the Melbourne Philosophy Forum, Sunday September 1st, 2013

1.0 Definitions
1.1 The Philosophy of Education is an applied philosophy that examines the aims, forms, methods, and results of education as both a process and a field of study. It concerns itself primarily with epistemological questions (e.g., learning methodologies), and ontological questions (e.g., cognitive facts of being), and the logical relationships in education. It also connects with moral reasoning and institutional requirements, as the sociology and economics of education, and issues in learning and motivation, the psychology of education.

The Inspirational Malala Yousafzai

A presentation held on August 4th, 2013 at the Melbourne Unitarian Peace Memorial Church

Apparently those with patriarchal religious beliefs do not like educated women. Such beliefs find their expression in numerous sources, such as the demonic temptress Lilith in Judaism, the recommended treatment of women in Paulian Christianity, the the Quran's verse 34 of Surah an-Nisa, which establishes hierarchy and allows domestic violence. In some cases those people with such misogynist attitudes, derived from such texts, are prepared to engage in the worst sort of violence to further their hateful ideas. Such misogyny has a particular place in history due to its prominence in religious thought often used in the union of thinking that both hates women and fears the concept that they are deserving of equal rights.

Muscular Christianity and the English Boarding School System

I am a member or supporter of a number of organisations in Australia and Britain. One of them, in the United Kingdom, is Boarding Concern, founded in 2002. It arose out of Nick Duffell’s work with Boarding School Survivors, which he started in 1990.2 Boarding Concern publicises the adverse effects boarding schools can have on children.

Knowledge vs Belief - Justification and Truth

What scientific knowledge is and how it works. A Presentation to the Melbourne Philosophy Forum on July 7th, 2013

Fred Hollows Foundation Concert Speech

These concerts are always such an expression of musical talent, and a reminder to myself that, as appreciative as I might be, I have no practical skills in the field. But apparently I can come up here like a stormcrow and bring the mood down.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Dialectical Reasoning

Presentation to The Philosophy Forum, June 2nd, 2013

1.0 Pre-Modern Dialectics
1.1 Logic can be differentiated into formal or discrete logic and informal or rhetorical logic. The former can include studies in purely formal content, propositional and predicate logic, set theory and so forth. The latter is a study in argumentation and fallacies. (See "Logic in Philosophy", April 18, 2007 http://lightbringers.net/node/33)
1.2 The story of dialectics begins as a type of informal logic used by the Hellenes, especially by Plato's Socratic dialogues, but also Heraclitus argument of the transitory nature of all things and, as a result, the union of contradictions: "We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not.""We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not."

Core values in Aboriginal religions

I hope you will forgive the formality of my reading a prepared talk – anybody who has heard me speak would know how unusual this is – but the subject I’m speaking about today is complex and I could not hope to do it without detailed notes.

I would like to begin by making two quite general points on the subject of Aboriginal religions:

Secular Religion: Is it really a contradiction in terms?

Spirituality without the Supernatural

Spirituality
In non-supernaturalist terms, ‘Spirituality’ is merely another name for human nature. Or, in other words, Spirituality refers to the Human Spirit. The higher or positive aspects of human nature are, for many people, symbolized by metaphorical personifications known as gods. ('God' in the monotheistic Abrahamic religions). Another way of putting it is that the gods are fictional representations of these aspects.

Success and Failures of Contemporary Unitarian-Universalism

This is an address about our the current situation of our shared and chosen faith, the way it is organised, how it conducts itself, and its future prospects. It is neither optimistic nor pessimistic in its approach, nor does it seek to besmirch or to eulogise. The address will look at some contemporary examples of successes and failures within Unitarian-Universalism, and tie these into motivational and especially organisational reasons for these effects. The scope of applications include the Unitarian-Universalist churches of the North America and Australia-New Zealand, the Unitarian and Free Christian churches of the United Kingdom and Australia-New Zealand, and indeed all those organisations that come under the umbrella group of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists. In this sense, it is a very broad picture - but one which will also look at some local examples.

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