Sunday, 9 December 2012

Holy holly


The Druids believed that the sun never deserted the holly tree even at the winter solstice. The start of the Celtic Samhain was marked by the departure of both the Earth goddess and the Oak Lord. This left Herne and the Holly Lord to rule over the winter. People decorated their dwellings with branches of holly and other evergreens during the winter in the belief that woodland spirits could find indoor shelter in the greenery during the coldest part of the year. This vegetation was kept inside until Imbole (early in February) when the Earth Goddess returned and life began to spring anew. 
~ Patrick Harding, The Xmas Files

Sounds reasonable . . . . .

Friday, 7 December 2012

Atheists - be counted

Atheist Alliance International (AAI) is pleased to announce the launch of Atheist Census at www.atheistcensus.com.  With the slogan ‘Numbers Matter. Be Counted.’ Atheist Census is a global project to count and capture a snapshot of the world’s atheists.  The census records people’s preferred title (e.g. atheist, rationalist, humanist, freethinker, etc.), religious background, education level, age, gender identity and country.
Help AAI demonstrate the atheist presence around the world!  Please contribute to Atheist Census and spread the word to your secular friends – “like” Atheist Census on Facebook, tweet about it, distribute it through any social media channel you use!  And be sure to check out the Atheist Census video on YouTube.
Please note that entries in Atheist Census are not personally identifiable. AAI take the issue of data security and privacy seriously, and Atheist Census’ privacy policy can be found here.
AAI is raising funds to help cover the cost of developing and running Atheist Census.  You can make a donation to help launch this project here http://www.atheistcensus.com/donate/- any amount you can donate will be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Degrees of Nonsense

In his article "Is there a God?" Bertrand Russell said:-

"If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time."


This was in answer to those theists who claim the burden is on atheists to prove the non-existence of their deity rather than on theists to prove his existence. This is notwithstanding that theists are fond of claiming their god is ineffable, mysterious, indefinable, beyond the human mind to understand. We would, in fact, be on much safer ground in searching for the elusive teapot. We know what a teapot looks like; its size, its material, its approximate weight. Scientists and engineers could, no doubt, if pushed, design a teapot scanner which, in operation over an indefinite length of time, push the probabililty that there is no orbiting teapot nearer & nearer to certainty.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Rebuttal of the Kalam Cosmological Argument

This comment by Jason Quinn on FB page "Atheism" is the most succinct and convincing despatch of William Lane Craig's pet theory that I have read:-

Before anyone can argue for or against the existence of God the meaning of the terms of the proposition have to be established. If you can't define "existence," or articulate what it means for "God" to "exist," then the proposition is meaningless. Meaningless statements cannot be true or false. There is no way to argue for or against God's existence prior to establishing the meaning of the proposition. If the meaning has not been established then no one even knows what the dispute is.

--- 1. Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence;"

Again, the premise is completely meaningless until you define the term "existence." What does it mean for something exist?

--- 2. 'The universe has a beginning of its existence;"

I'll present a definition of "existence" so as to be able to analyze the above statement.

existence - that which has shape independent of the human mind

So you are claiming that all matter in existence did not exist at some point in the past, ie, it had a beginning. So your theory looks like this: there is nothingness, emptiness, ie, space, and then suddenly there are objects with shape. You go from an empty frame of the movie to one where there are objects. The problem with this "theory" is that you cannot show me the frame of the movie where space converts into objects with shape. The mechanism behind creation is unimaginable and cannot be illustrated. Any "theory" which relies on hidden frames is unscientific and irrational.

--- 3."The universe has a cause of its existence."

Again, we need to define existence. If it is IMPOSSIBLE to illustrate the frame of the movie where space converts into objects with shape, then it is impossible to even imagine what it means for existence to be CAUSED. Causality implies that one object is influencing another. How can an object with shape cause another object to instantly appear from the void? The mechanism behind this magic cannot be illustrated.

When understood this way it's easy to see why your argument is circular: you have to presuppose the existence of an object which is capable of creation. If "universe" means "all matter and space," then the object capable of creation is PART of the universe. That means that the universe is not beginning to exist, but that some objects WITHIN the universe are beginning to exist. So the universe still has no beginning, it's just that some parts of it allegedly have a beginning. If you the theorist are incapable of illustrating the mechanism behind how an object can create other objects from the emptiness of space then your theory fails at explaining anything.

--- "Conceptual analysis of what it means to be the cause of the universe then aims to establish some of the theologically significant properties of this being."

This is a second failure of your theory. You cannot even illustrate the object allegedly responsible for the creation. As I stated initially, the onus is on anyone proclaiming belief or lack of belief in the "existence" of "God" to articulate what it means for "God" to "exist." "God" cannot be illustrated. "God" creating objects from nothing cannot be illustrated. The proposition that God created the universe is neither true nor false, it is IRRATIONAL, ie, meaningless to the point of being open to broad and subjective interpretation.

Conclusion: creation belongs exclusively to religion, especially any "theory" of creation involving objects which themselves cannot be illustrated
~ Jason Quinn

Thursday, 11 October 2012

BBC to review its coverage of religion as part of “impartiality review”

National Secular Society - BBC to review its coverage of religion as part of “impartiality review”

"Mr Sanderson said that the Thought for the Day controversy should be re-assessed as part of this review. He also called for the reporting of Robert Piggott, the BBC's religious affairs correspondent, to be looked at. Mr Piggotts's overly deferential approach to religious controversy brings many complaints to the NSS as well as the BBC.
The BBC's coverage of the papal visit in 2010 was a prime example of how the corporation gets it wrong in its approach to religious issues. The coverage was disgracefully fawning and wholly disproportionate. Opinion polls showed overwhelming apathy for the visit, making the wall-to-wall coverage over TV and radio completely unjustifiable."

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Supernaturalism

"One reason that belief in the supernatural remains widespread, despite its negligibility, is that, as discussed earlier, it cannot be proven wrong, and the epistemological insulation provided by its inaccessibility is accorded the weight of evidence despite the fact that it carries no evidential weight at all. The supernatural remains logically possible, and thus an option for belief, only because it is not susceptible to confirmation or disconfirmation on the basis of evidence. But this status is permanent--the metaphysical status of supernaturalism as at most a logical possibility will never change. To become more than a logical possibility, supernaturalism must be confirmed with unequivocal empirical evidence, and such confirmation would only demonstrate that this newly verified aspect of reality had all along never been supernatural at all, but rather a natural phenomenon which just awaited an appropriate scientific test. Supernaturalists have not succeeded in providing such a test, but the naturalist has all the time in the world, and is prepared to give the supernaturalist all the time in the world, to make the attempt. In the meantime, the philosophical naturalist can point to the constantly expanding success of science in explaining what once were thought intractable mysteries or fixed categories of experience and reality." ~ Barbara Forrest, "Methodological Naturalism and Philosophical Naturalism: Clarifying the Connection" (2000)

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Wall of Superstition

"Brick by brick, century by century, with occasional burps and hiccups, the wall of superstition has been coming down. Science and medicine and political philosophy have been on a relentless march in one direction only -- sometimes slow, sometimes at a gallop, but never reversing course. Never has an empirical scientific discovery been deemed wrong and replaced by a more convincing mystical explanation. ("Holy cow, Dr. Pasteur! I've examined the pancreas of a diabetic dog, and darned if it's NOT an insulin deficiency, but a little evil goblin dwelling inside. And he seems really pissed!") Some magical presumptions have stubbornly persisted way longer than others, but have eventually, inexorably fallen to logic, reason and enlightenment, such as the assumption of the divine right of kings and the entitlement of aristocracy. That one took five millennia, but fall it did."
~W Gene Weingarten

Monday, 17 September 2012

Richard Dawkins accepting the 2012 BHA award



During his acceptance speech for the BHA award of Services to Humanism Richard speaks of his idea for a new degree course with evolution at the centre, branching out into philosophy, economics, engineering, medicine, agriculture, social science, linguistics, physics, cosmology, computer science, and more...

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Finding magic . . .

Ethical atheism - a draft manfesto

1. Promoting reason, critical thinking and science
2. Promoting atheism over supernaturalism
3. Promoting natural compassion and ethics
4. Promoting inclusive, caring atheist groups
5. Promoting fair and just societies
6. Promoting secular government
7. Promoting local, national and global solidarity
 

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Sunday, 1 July 2012

The Sea of Faith

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

from Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold

Christianity in a nutshell

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Message to theists

Recently posted on Facebook:-

"There has been a recent spike in activity from theists here (which often happens when a religious site, host, publication or personality makes TTA a pet project). So, once again, let me clarify why this Facebook page exists.

As the description box states, "This is a community for atheists, agnostics, skeptics and free-thinkers to exchange ideas, discuss issues, explore challenges, make friends and have some laughs." 

It's not designed as a debate arena (although debate happens here every day and is often a welcome vetting of faith vs. fact). This page isn't required to abide, endure, give audience to or allow equal time for religious nonsense spouted by drive-by seminar posters convinced that mashing "GOD LOVES YOU, BUT HELL IS REAL" onto a keyboard is a credible tactic in their Great Commission to convert the world.

If you're a religious person seeking honest, respectful, serious and productive discussion, this isn't a hostile environment to you.

If you're an uninformed, indoctrinated, blissfully ignorant Eloi content to spread thread-bare, bumper sticker reasoning in an arena that knows more about your deity, your holy books, your history and your science than you do, this page owes you nothing. It simply isn't designed for you. It doesn't have the time or patience for you. And as soon as any posts devolve from respectful inquiry and discussion into church marquee catchphrases, you'll be warned and then banned in short order.

There are plenty of debate forums out there. Hell, the internet itself is a boiling cauldron of heated discussion on every topic, and no doubt your sermons, your scriptures, your prayers, your pleadings and your obsession with the CAPS LOCK button will have little trouble finding an accommodating and appropriate venue in which to land. There might even be a few blank slates out there who actually haven't heard and refuted gems like, "You took it out of context," "No transitional fossils" and "Adolf Hitler was an atheist." So go knock yourself out.

But this page? It's a place designed for those seeking a place away from you. Disrupt that tempo, and you're out. And if that brings you feelings of religious persecution, I suggest you call down your deity's omnipotence to put us infidels in our place. Until then, we'll keep ourselves busy with drinking games and unflatteringly Photoshopped photos of the Pope.

That is all. -Seth (The Thinking Atheist)

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

President Obama lays it on the line . . .

"In a secular society the religiously motivated must translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific values. Their proposals must be subject to argument and reason, and should not be accorded any undue automatic respect".

~ President Barack Obama

Monday, 21 May 2012

41% of UK don't think God made the Universe

From New Humanist Magazine:-

A press release reaches us from Premier Christian Radio with the headline "UK's belief that God created the Universe at an all-time low". It reports the findings of a study conducted by ComRes for PCR (2054 were polled online across the UK in April), ahead of the conference , called "Unbelievable 2012" PCR are holding in London on May 26 at which "academics and scientists" from the US and UK will be arguing that contemporary cosmology indicates that God created the world.

The headline findings of the survey are that only 26% believe that God created the world, 41% said they didn't believe this and 23% didn't know or didn't want to say. In what the press release describes as a "strange twist" fully 25% of those who identified as "Christian" did not believe that God was the cause of the Universe.

So, why would a Christian outfit be trumpeting numbers which show that the idea of a God-created universe is in decline, even amongst their own gang? Read on . . . 

41% of UK don't think God made the Universe - highest ever

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Women

"Here and now, everywhere, those with eyes to see can see for themselves that religion has for thousands of years perpetuated the oppression of half our species. Half of the great minds our peoples have produced have lived and died unknown and forgotten, their educations neglected, their lives spent doing laundry and other menial tasks for men — their merits unrecognized and buried under lies promulgated by religion, in cultures soaked in the destructive myths of faith which codify misogyny and give it a godly blessing.

Isn’t that reason enough to tear down the cathedrals — that with this one far-reaching, difficult change to our cultures, we double human potential?"~ P Z Myers

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Religion & Power

It is not necessary to destroy religion, but it is necessary to destroy any vestige of power that religion wields. We cannot have religious practitioners claiming authority or privilege on the basis of a funny hat and having a special relationship with an Invisible Magic Sky Daddy. ~ quedula.



Saturday, 12 May 2012

Bible bullshit.

"We can learn to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about gay people. The same way we have learned to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation. We ignore bullshit in the Bible about all sorts of things." ~ Dan Savage

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Scouting for God?

Guest post by Jessica Redding.
A survey which was conducted by the Humanist Society in Scotland has seemingly found that there are many Humanists who have admitted their sons have joined the Scouts and made the “God Pledge” despite not having any real belief. One member who was surveyed claimed that her son had taken the pledge, sworn his allegiance and later revealed his “God” was Slash from Guns N Roses. Depending on your viewpoint on matters of humour and atheism, this is either hugely funny or not (especially if you prefer Bon Jovi).

Thursday, 26 April 2012

National Secular Society - Catholic Education Service is abusing its authority in state schools

National Secular Society - Catholic Education Service is abusing its authority in state schools

"The CES must withdraw this letter and undertake never again to use schools for ideological campaigning. Children go to school to be educated, not to be taught how to be bigots. According to recent research, most Catholics do not support the Church's stance on equal marriage - were they consulted before this was foisted on their children?"

What if atheists are wrong? - a response

A superb response to the hoary old question:-

Thursday, 19 April 2012

How religion survives . . .

Religion is a highly evolved idea that mimics the "Virus." It cannot survive on its own; it needs a host. It cannot replicate or perpetuate itself without this host and without taking control of the host. It infects the mind specifically and is so effective that it causes the host to defend it rather than reject it. 

It then gives psychological appeasement as it gestates and buries itself deep in the prefrontal cortex where it eventually builds a wall around itself with logical fallacies. It continues to barricade itself from any logic the host may try to use to uproot it until it is the core of its every thought; no thought will enter or leave the mind without the approval or refusal of the "viral idea." 

The prefrontal cortex is the seat of logic... so it destroys the very part of the brain that would be able to act as a "mental immune system." It is so effective at this that often times the host will make the declaration that it would rather sacrifice its life before sacrificing the ideology when confronted with evidence. It literally causes the host to defend it as its own invention; its own idea. 

Save your children from this psychological, predatory, self-defeating mental virus. Think of a prion; we do not know how to classify them on the scale of the living but the basic operation is understood - so is religion: perpetual by preying on weak minds. ~ Brandon Wiseman

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Friday, 13 April 2012

Faith

"Faith is the gap left in the justifiable belief jar which is left by evidence."

                                                                                                                  ~ Jonathan Pearse

Monday, 9 April 2012

The World of Religion


Time for a little light relief after the weekend's arduous church-going. . . .

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Richard Dawkins' "Thought for the Day"

"When a terrible disaster happens - an air crash, a flood, or an earthquake - people thank God that it wasn’t worse. (But then why did he let the earthquake happen at all?) 

Or, even more childish and self-indulgent: “Thank you God for the traffic jam that made me miss that plane.” (But what about all the unfortunate people who didn’t miss the plane?) 

The same kind of infantile regression tempts us when we try to understand the natural world. 

“Poems are made by fools like me . . . But only God can make a tree.” 

A pretty song, but an infantile explanation. It’s too easy. Lazy. The moment we put a little effort into thinking about it, we realise that God the creator is no explanation at all. He constitutes a bigger question than he answers. 

Once, we couldn’t do any better. Humanity was still an infant. But now we understand what makes earthquakes; we understand what made trees. Not just trees like oaks and redwoods, with their underground root system like a huge, upside-down tree. 

The arteries that leave the heart branch and branch again like a tree. There are about 50 miles of blood vessels in a human body. 

Nerve cells, too, branch like trees. They are so numerous in the teeming forest of your brain that, if you stretched them end to end they would reach right round the world 25 times. 

In the face of such wonders, do you fall back, like a child, on God? “It’s so wonderful, so complicated, only God could have done it.” 

It’s tempting, isn’t it. But it’s not a real explanation. Not the kind of explanation that actually explains anything. And it’s nowhere near as poetic as the true explanation. 

Because the beauty is that humanity has grown up. We now know the true explanation. It’s gloriously simple once you get it, and more wonderful than our forefathers could ever have imagined. It makes use of yet another tree. The family tree of life. It began with something smaller than a bacterium, and it branched and branched to give all the species that have ever lived, whether extinct like the dinosaurs, or still hanging on like our own. Evolution really explains all of life, and it needs no supernatural intervention of any kind. 

The adult response is to rejoice in the amazing privilege we enjoy. We have been born, and we are going to die. But before we die we have time to understand why we were ever born in the first place. Time to understand the universe into which we have been born. And with that understanding, we finally grow up and realise that there is no help for us outside our own efforts. 

Humanity can leave the crybaby phase, and finally come of age. 

Now there’s a thought for more than just a day!"

Broadcast on 14 August 2002 but not in the TftD, 7.45am, slot. The BBC obviously feared creating an irresistible precedent.


"Thought for the Day" poll.

Friday, 6 April 2012

"Thought for the Day" poll.



In an article in 'Radio Times' BBC presenter and atheist Evan Davis argues that it is time to open up the 'Thought for the Day' to non-believers.

At the end of the article there is a poll to allow readers to express their own opinions.


I think that seems to send the BBC a fairly clear message . . . . 

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Rowan Williams says . . .









". . . there are an awful lot of people now of a certain generation who don't really know how religion works, let alone Christianity in particular".

Oh really? and I wonder what generation he is referring to, taking into account that Christianity is the UK's official religion, established by law, his church has been around in this country since Henry VIII, and it has privileged access to our children from age 5. Could it be that his church is doing something wrong, or just that increasing numbers are looking at religion, thinking for themselves and rejecting it for the superstitious, backward nonsense that it is: devoid of modern significance, and still chasing to catch up, as it has down the centuries, with enlightened ethical and moral values.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Evidence & logic

And another problem arises in theological arguments when someone's notion of what constitutes evidence fall far short of your own . . . . 

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

"Census Christians" explained . . .


Richard Dawkins explains the results of the IPSOS Mori census research very slowly and very, very carefully. Reason personified.

How the Universe appeared from nothing . . .

. . . explained in just 3 minutes!
'The Universe is just a strange version of nothing"

Monday, 20 February 2012

'Life'


'Life', an oil painting, 1913, by Charles Napier Hemy RA, RWS shows 3 of his 6 sons sailing his boat "Barbara", named after one of his 4 daughters. CH was one of the finest marine artists of the late victorian/edwardian period and 'Life' was one of his most famous paintings. It is certainly very evocative to anyone who has experienced small boat sailing, especially in the days of timber hulls, hemp rigging, and canvas sails.   

CH spent many years of his early life in a Dominican Priory and remained very religious throughout his life. He also had a very unreconstructed attitude to women, even for the time, and wrote: "Women are useless as painters, writers, musicians, doctors as they would be as engineers, sailors or soldiers. A woman is only a success, can only be a success doing her proper work in her proper place". 

But I forgive him . . . 

His grandaughter, the successful writer Margaret Powell, has written a well illustrated and illuminating biography:- "Master of the Sea: Charles Napier Hemy RA, RWS"

The Order of the Planets for Sceptics

Mary's 
"Virgin" 
Explanation 
Made 
Joseph 
Suspect 
Upstairs 
Neighbour

The Age of Reason is Upon Us


"Get in the fucking game and help make history"

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Saturday, 11 February 2012

The Endless Naught

Dawkins & Hitchens say goodbye . . . . . .  
Well said 'ArionVII' whoever  you are . . . . 

Friday, 10 February 2012

Challenge to William Lane Craig

Is William Lane Craig, the leading US Christian apologist, dishonest with the facts? John W Loftus, Craig's one-time pupil challenges him to answer three questions. Read complete article here:- http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2012/02/is-william-lane-craig-dishonest-with.html


Secularism

We could equally subscribe to exactly the same ideals in the UK especially with regard to the growing numbers of faith schools.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Help Protect Freedom of Speech

The National Secular Society has recently submitted a response to the Police Powers Consultation, calling on the Government to remove 'insulting' from Section 5 of the Public Order Act. A change in the law would protect freedom of expression for both the religious and non-religious. It would also lay down clearer guidelines for the police and direct them to focus on more serious cases.
The submission calls on the Government to recognise that the word 'insulting' sets the bar for criminal offence far too low. The risk of being arrested can in itself have a chilling effect, preventing people from expressing legitimate views. Section 5 would retain threatening and abusive conduct to cover serious offences and there are other existing laws to protect the individual. . . Read complete article here.

Independently of this an epetition has been filed on HM Government website:-

Protect Freedom of Speech by removing the word "insulting" from Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986

Responsible department: Home Office

Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 forbids the use of "insulting words or behaviour" in a public place, if this is "likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress". This provision has been responsible for a number of arrests in recent years. For instance, Leicestershire trader Tony Wright found himself arrested in 2005 for selling T-shirts emblazoned with the words "Bollocks to Blair". In 2008, a 16 year old boy was arrested for calling Scientology a "dangerous cult". In addition, members of a Worcester based animal rights group found themselves arrested in 2006 for using toy seals painted with red food dye as part of a protest against seal culling. Moreover, Oxford University student Sam Brown was arrested in 2005 for saying to a police officer “Mate, your horse is gay, I hope you don’t have a problem with that.” Feeling “insulted” should never constitute a crime by itself. Therefore, we the undersigned petition the government to remove the word "insulting" from Section 5.

A good response to this petition will provide added pressure on the government to revise this ill -conceived section of the Public Order Act. 

Please go to:- http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/222 to sign the petition. 

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Why there is something rather than nothing 2

The finite, infinite and eternal  
by Peter Lynds

Abstract

Many believe that the deep question of “why is there something rather than nothing?” is
unanswerable. The universe just is and no further explanation for its existence is
possible. In this paper I explain why this question must have an answer, and why that
answer must establish that physical existence is inescapable and necessary. Based on the
conclusion that if the universe is eternal rather than having a beginning some finite time
in the past, the universe has to exist rather than not because its possible non-existence is
never an option, such an explanation is put forward. As a logical extension of only an
eternal universe being capable of providing an answer to the question of why there is
something rather than nothing, the argument necessitates that the universe must be
eternal. The consequences of this conclusion for cosmology are then briefly discussed.

A link to the full 9 page paper and discussion can be found here.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Solicitors say Catholic Church is incapable of stopping abuse and must be called to account

Letter to the Times, 17th January 2012:-

"As lawyers working on behalf of children and vulnerable adults who have suffered sexual and physical abuse in institutional care, we write to call for a public inquiry into abuse within church organisations in England and Wales.
Officials of church organisations hold influential and highly respected roles within the community; historically they have enjoyed both the trust of the public and unquestioned access to children. This has undoubtedly created extensive opportunities for abuse. From cases we are handling currently, we are aware of some 41 Catholic priests who have been convicted of serious sexual offences in the recent past. Yet these very same organisations, particularly in the Catholic Church, have persistently ignored and in many cases covered up complaints of abuse.
We have seen clear evidence of cover-ups on some of our cases and we believe these are the tip of the iceberg. The culture of cover-up has been embedded in the Catholic Church for decades if not centuries. It will never be effectively challenged without full public scrutiny, something which only a public inquiry, with powers of access to documents, including each Catholic diocese's secret archive, can achieve.
The Church of England has similarly been criticised for a lack of transparency. The available evidence shows that the practical implementation of new safeguarding policies in both the Catholic Church and the Church of England (and indeed in other denominations) has been tentative, patchy and has met significant institutional resistance at senior levels in the church hierarchy.
There is now overwhelming evidence that religious organisations are too compromised by their own failings to police themselves effectively. The only way to address the scandal of sexual and physical abuse in these organisations is through a comprehensive public inquiry, and we urge ministers to order this without delay."
Richard Scorer, Pannone Solicitors; David Greenwood, Jordans Solicitors; Tracey Storey, Irwin Mitchell Solicitors; Jonathan Wheeler, Bolt Burdon Kemp Solicitors; Malcolm Johnson, Malcolm Johnson & Co Solicitors; Alan Collins, Verisona Solicitors; Tracey Emmott, Emmott Snell Solicitors; Peter Garsden, Abney Garsden McDonald Solicitors

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Banned ice cream adverts

"Immaculately conceived"

"We believe in Salivation"
These mildly-amusing adverts have been banned in the UK by the Advertising Standards Authority on the grounds they might offend catholics. Yet very few complaints were received. 

In a letter to Communications Minister, Ed Vaizey, the National Secular Society says:-
“Although these advertisements were only meant to be mildly humorous or satirical, their banning represents something much more sinister. We have now reached the stage where any reference to religion that is not completely reverential is immediately branded as “offensive” and therefore unacceptable. This is an intolerable threat to freedom of expression that must be challenged.
“We ask that you instigate an enquiry into the ASA’s oversensitive approach to advertising with a religious theme. It is getting completely out of hand when something as mild and humorous as these ice cream advertisements is banned from public view on such spurious grounds.”