Monthly Archives: October 2011

Episode 108 – 28th October 2011

This week we uncover some “Extreme” Humanists, find out some depressing facts about SRE, and find out why Jeremy Bentham was so important.


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Nadine Dorries & “Extreme Humanists” (1:42) by Dave Cross
New Humanist Respond (7:12) by James O’Malley (ft Paul Sims)
Anonymous (13:42) by Drew Rae
Church Tax Dodgers (20:27) by Salim Fadhley (ft Annie Laurie Gaylor)
SRE And Anti-Choice (28:23) by Laura Hurley & Lisa Hallgarten
Pi Digits (37:21) by Peter Rowlett
LHC Update (42:57) by Liz Lutgendorff (ft Jon Butterworth at UCL, as part of the London Science Festival)
Conway Memorial Lecture (49:15) by Liz Lutgendorff (ft Philip Schofield)
Breast Cancer Marketing (57:30) by Paul Day

Follow-Up Links:

The video of the guinea pig to watch to accompany the SRE report is after the break.

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Philip Schofield on “Jeremy Bentham: Prophet of Secularism” (Conway Memorial Lecture 2011)

In this year’s Conway Memorial Lecture, Philip Schofield, Director of the Bentham Project at UCL discussed the recently uncovered, almost prophetic writings of philosopher and reformer Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832) concerning the teachings of St Paul and the nature of sexuality and morality.

The Conway Memorial Lecture is organised by South Place Ethical Society, and this podcast was recorded on the 26th October 2011. They’ll be an interview with Professor Schofield on Pod Delusion episode 108.


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A prophet is usually understood to be a person who, inspired by supernatural agency, speaks on behalf of that agent and predicts the future. But Bentham himself pointed out that the original Greek meaning of the term referred simply to a person who ‘speaks out’, and in a more limited extent to a person who ‘foretells’.

In opposition to the prevailing mores of his day, Bentham proposed that all sexual activity that was consensual—whether with oneself, whether with partners of the same or the opposite sex, whether with partners of different species—should be made free from legislative interference. In the post-Malthusian age, non-prolific modes of sexual activity were rather to be welcomed than condemned. In short, Bentham saw sexual morality as a key battleground in the fight to divorce morality and legislation from the influence of religion. The thousands of manuscripts on homosexuality, Christian teachings and the influence of the church on the state that Bentham was reluctant to publish during his lifetime reveal that his thoughts were certainly well ahead of his time, and seemingly foretell the development of secular attitudes to sexual morality.

This is a remarkable opportunity to hear a world renowned expert discuss one of Britain’s greatest thinkers and will fascinate those interested in secularism, liberalism and the history of ideas.

Philip Schofield is Professor of the History of Legal and Political Thought, Director of the Bentham Project and General Editor of the Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham. Chairing the lecture will be Dr Evan Harris, former Liberal Democrat MP, Honorary Associate of the NSS and Vice-President of the BHA.

Ray Tallis on ‘Aping Mankind’ – The 2011 BHA Holyoake Lecture

This year Ray Tallis gave the British Humanist Association‘s annual Holyoake Lecture in Manchester – in which he critically examined some of the assumptions and claims that may be made by some humanists. Needless to say – it was both fascinating and controversial!

Increasingly, it is assumed that human beings are best understood in biological terms; that, notwithstanding the apparent differences between humans and their nearest animal kin, people are, at bottom, organisms.

Presented by Professor Ray Tallis, author of Michelangelo’s Finger: An Exploration of Everyday Transcendence and Aping Mankind. Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity, this year’s Holyoake Lecture will explore arguments against biologism. Tallis will argue that “the degrading image of man as just another animal is not only inaccurate but contrary to the spirit of humanism.”

Chaired by Professor John Harris, philosopher, bio-ethicist and distinguished supporter of Humanism. Professor Harris is the author or editor of fifteen books and over two hundred papers, and has written extensively on bio- and medical ethics, including The Value of Life, Introduction to Medical Ethics, On Cloning, a forceful defence of human cloning, and Enhancing Evolution: The Ethical Case for Making Better People.


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Episode 107 – 21st October 2011

We speak to a Nobel Laureate and a Cabinet Minister in the same show. What’s all that about? Also: Dale Farm, Transgender in the Media, and the END OF THE WORLD.


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2011 Nobel Winner Brian Schmidt Interview (1:36) by Kash Farooq
David Willetts Roberts Lecture (13:26) by James O’Malley
Roberts Lecture Reactions (15:57) by Liz Lutgendorff
Dale Farm (25:30) by Adam Jacobs
Evangelical HIV Cures (35:29) by Naomi Phillips
Transgender and the Media (41:00) by Liz Lutgendorff (ft Nathalie McDermott)
Translating Solaris (48:19) by Salim Fadhley (ft Bill Johnson)
End Of The World (Again) (57:28) by Tom Hodden
The sketch at the end is by David Lovesy & Brian Two

Follow-Up Links:

Pod Delusion EXTRA:
Pod Delusion ExtraLOADS of stuff on the Pod Delusion Extra this week:

(Image: Belinda Pratten)

David Willetts on Science Policy – The Roberts Lecture 2011

Science and Universities Minister David Willetts delivered the 2011 Roberts lecture last night at the Royal Society of Medicine, at an event organised by The Science Council, as part of London Science Festival.


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If you can’t get enough David Willetts, we’ll have a (very) brief interview with him on Pod Delusion episode 107, along with some of the people who attended the lecture. We had another brief interview with him on episode 86. You can also hear him participate in a panel debate on science careers organised by Science is Vital here.

CineSci6 – Forbidden Planet (1956)

CineSci6 is a series of events at Clapham Picture House exploring the science behind some classic films by first screening the film, and then having the science writer Simon Frantz discuss the film with an expert. You can find out more about how to attend the events on the Science in the Pub website (the next film on November 13th is Moon!).

In this second podcast, Simon Frantz discussed the 1956 film Forbidden Planet with science writer Oliver Morton. You can hear it below or subscribe to the special CineSci6 podcast.


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CineSci6 is organised by James Robson and Paolo Viscardi, and facilitated by Kate Coventry. The discussion is led by Simon Frantz.

Episode 106 – 14th October 2011

We speak to comedian Helen Keen, find out what it’s like being a skeptic in Uganda, discover if violent video games make you violent, and much more.


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Freethought in Uganda (2:06) by James O’Malley (ft James Onen)
New Ice Age? (10:40) by Andy Russell
Bletchley Park (17:21) by James O’Malley & Liz Lutgendorff (ft Sue Black)
Teen Tech (22:36) by James O’Malley & Liz Lutgendorff (ft Maggie Philbin)
40 Days of Treats (27:15) by Liz Lutgendorff & Carmen D’Cruz
Video Games & Violent Crime (33:06) by Salim Fadhley (ft Mike Ward)
Cameron & Gay Marriage (41:41) by Nick Boorer
Helen Keen Interview (49:50) by Kash Farooq
Ricky Gervais & Twitter (59:08) by Tom Williamson
The sketch at the end is by David Lovesy, Brian Two and Steve Clark

Pod Delusion EXTRA:
Pod Delusion ExtraOn the Extra Feed this week, we have lots of exciting things:

James Onen Follow-Up Links:

Andy Russell’s Follow-Up Links:

40 Days of Treats:

Helen Keen Links:

The Rise of Skepticism in Uganda – a talk by James Onen

Last night James Onen, a founding member of Freethought Kampala, delivered a talk organised by the British Humanist Association on his work advancing reason in his native Uganda. We’ll have an interview with James on episode 106 of the Pod Delusion which will be out tomorrow!

The event was organised by the British Humanist Association and recorded on the 12th October 2011.


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The Pod Delusion’s LIVE Second Birthday Show!

The Pod Delusion second birthday with a live recording featuring the amazing Helen Arney and many others. Recorded on September 13th in London.


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Featuring…
Is Science More Important Than Arts? by Jon Treadway
Cameron Therapy by Sean Ellis
Science Wooseum Update by Marianne Baker
Faulty Memories by Sophie Scott
Incest! by Jess Vautier
Riot Olympics by Salim Fadhley
Arab Spring by DLandonCole
Perception by Dr*T
Cognitive Economics by Leigh Caldwell
Amazing Music by Helen Arney

Follow-Up Links: