From the 2011 BHA Conference in Manchester, author Phillip Pullman chats to BHA Chief Exec Andrew Copson about his work and the meaning of life. He later received an award for services to humanism – look out for our special edition of The Pod Delusion where you can hear him accepting the award soon!
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Marcus Brigstocke Interview (1:28) by Liz Lutgendorff Smartphone Censorship (12:19) by Sean Ellis Humanist Bus Campaign (18:21) by Salim Fadhley (ft Bill Burgess) Government Attacking Disabled People (27:01) by Steven Sumpter Bone Marrow (35:02) by Keir Liddle (ft Rebecca Sedgewick from the Anthony Nolan Trust) I’m a scientist… get me out of here! (41:34) by Drew Rae (ft Dr Tom Crick) The sketch at the end is by David Lovesy.
The Pod Delusion are proud to bring you recordings from the British Humanist Association 2011 annual conference, which was this year in Manchester. This first recording features Andrew Copson and Peter Atkins. Blurb below…
On being: The limitless power of science : Peter Atkins
Humanity should be proud of the fact that, through its collective endeavour, it has stumbled on to a way of discovering reliable knowledge about the nature, composition, and functioning of the universe. The question remains, however, whether its contribution to human understanding is boundless. I shall identify the great questions of existence that have been the focus of myth-making since mankind first sought to make sense of nature, and argue that the scientific method is capable of answering them all. Of course, it is necessary to distinguish the empty questions from the real, and it is important not to be distracted by questions that have simply been invented by philosophers and theologians. The essential point is that science is driven by optimism, and its current success encourages us to believe that it will resolve the question of the origin of the universe and the emergence of that most extraordinary property of matter, consciousness, just as it has revealed the process by which the biosphere has emerged and as it has illuminated the processes of birth and death. I shall argue that its power is limitless and that, through displacing poetic and vivid myths, it succeeds in deepening our wonder.
Oldest Example of Biomineralisation (1:38) by Liz Lutgendorff (ft Phoebe Cohen) Slutwalk (11:28) by Christine Ottery Pro-NCH (19:01) by James Firth Anti-NCH (25:26) by Misty Tim Harford Interview (30:26) by Dr*T The Daily Express is Misleading (39:13) by Tom Hodden FFRF vs The Rapture (45:51) by Salim Fadhley Smellytweet Update (56:46) by James Thomas The song at the end is by David Lovesy
Full-length interview with Phoebe Cohen about the fossils:
News just in from the British Humanist Association. AC Grayling will not be taking up the Presidency of the BHA as he was expected to this weekend, because of the controversy surrounding his role in the new ‘New College of the Humanities’. Instead, current president Polly Toynbee will be staying on for a bit until they find someone new. We have previous covered Richard Dawkins’ comments on his role in the NCH on the Pod Delusion and will have further coverage on this week’s programme.
Here’s the BHA’s statement they’ve just released to their subscribers:
Anthony Grayling, the President-elect of the BHA, has decided to step down from that position and not to take office as President on 1 July.
In doing so Professor Grayling said, ‘It was an honour to be named President of the British Humanist Association and I very much looked forward to working alongside the staff and trustees over the next two years to promote Humanism – a vitally important task in today’s world. Unfortunately, I believe that controversy generated by activities in another area of my public life will make it difficult in the next two years for me to be the sort of President that I would like to be for the BHA and all its members and supporters. In deciding to stand down and let the Trustees of the BHA appoint an alternative President, I wish them all the best in their important task.’
Robert Ashby, Chair of the Trustees of the BHA, has responded, ‘We thank Anthony Grayling for the concern he has shown for the BHA and its work and regret the circumstances that have led him to step down as our President-elect. His decades of work in the causes that humanists espouse – secularism in our public life, freedom and human rights at home and globally, science and reason in our struggle to know the universe and humanity in our treatment of ourselves and other people – remain of great value.’
Polly Toynbee, currently President of the BHA, will continue as President until a new President is appointed by the Trustees later this year.
Many thanks to all of you for your ongoing support of the work of the BHA.
Science in the Pub is a new science themed pub night hosted by Paolo Viscardi and Jenny Rohn at the Ritzy in Brixton. In this recording, the second meeting, a range of issues facing scientists are discussed – including the New College of the Humanities and the sharing of research equipment. Go on, have a listen!