Richard Dawkins in Cumbria

dawkins

Richard Dawkins is speaking at the Words by the Water festival in Keswick. Saturday 12th March at 6pm. The evening is billed as “Explanations and Explorations” and despite his conversation partner being pompous windbag Alister McGrath I’m sure it will be fun! The £10 tickets are available online here. Afterwards we plan to visit the theatre bar for a drink and a chat. See you there!

Rob

#poppygate

The official No. 10 Facebook page updated their cover photo to this delightful little number complete with realistic poppy for remembrance day. It was quickly removed and replaced by  a photo of Cameron actually wearing a poppy

cameron01

 

If you are going to crack out your PhotoShop skills though, you should really go to town!

Now with added patriotism. Got myself mentioned on the Guardian website 🙂

cameron

 

Theology

THEOLOGY: Noun. The study of the nature of God.

Treating theology as a serious subject is like treating the study of whether a unicorn horn spirals clockwise or anti-clockwise as a serious subject.
#unicorn theology

Really Should Check Before Using Stock Images

imgresThere’s a national referendum going on in Ireland today. The question being posed is should equal marriage rights be allowed for homosexuals.

Here’s one of the posters produced by the ‘No’ side. Unfortunately they used a stock photograph for their poster and the family in the picture don’t share their bigoted views.

They’ve released a statement through Amnesty International saying.

“No one can convince us that life-long unions of so many loving same-sex couples here in the UK and in Ireland, are inferior to heterosexual unions, and it is important to us that our many gay friends know that we feel this way. Discrimination on the grounds of sexuality has no place in the 21st century. If we were residents of Ireland, not the UK, we would vote Yes for marriage equality.”

YES familyYou can read the full statement here. I would have thought that if you are using people in your advert on either side of the debate it would be wise to check their opinions first. Surely the ‘No’ campaign could find one of their own homophobes supporters who were photogenic enough to star in their poster.
This poster produced by Amnesty seems far more appropriate.

Good luck Ireland!

Authoritarian

It was great to see everyone at the meeting last night, thanks for coming! Next meet will be on 20th August, 8pm The Bush Inn, Cockermouth. Drop me an email if you would like to be added to our mailing list and I’ll send you a reminder a few days before the meet.

One of the subjects that came up last night was the US Supreme Court decision allowing Hobby Lobby, an American craft store chain, an exemption to paying for certain types of contraceptives for their employees based on the company owner’s religious beliefs. In celebration of their win Holly Fisher, one of the family that own the chain, tweeted out a picture sharing her American values of God, Bible and Flag. It wasn’t long before the twitterati had reposted it with the picture of Reem Riyashi, a Palestinian  suicide bomber is a strikingly similar pose.

hollyhobby

Reading up on this before the meet I came across the work of Bob Altemeyer, retired Professor of Psychology at the University of Manitoba. He studied what he called Right Wing Authoritarians, a group he says makes up 25% of the US population who are characterised by
(1) Blind loyalty to established religious and political authorities
(2) A willingness to act aggressively in order to defend those authorities
(3) and a deep sense of conventionalism.

I’m about half way though his book, The Authoritarians, it is accessible, easy to read and is free to download in pdf format here. I’m looking forward to reading the chapter of what you do when you get into conversation with an RWA. I’m guessing it will be walk away.

Rob