ANGLO-FRENCH FREETHOUGHT CONFERENCE Catherine Le Fur
In the context of the current attempts to re-build the international free-thought movement, the writer presents a richly informative history of free thought in the West, from the 17th century onwards. The focus is on the struggle by free-thinkers to secure the separation of church and state, especially in Britain, America and France. Charles Bradlaugh is frequently referred to. Abstract by Tom Rubens.
VIEWPOINTS: David Simmonds, David Ibry, Chris Purnell, Asad Abbas, John Dowdle
BOOK REVIEW ‘WHY IS THERE SOMETHING, RATHER THAN NOTHING?’ by Bede Rundle, review by Christopher Bratcher
The above question is not necessarily to be regarded as of the causalist type i.e. ‘what caused there to be something?’. A number of other ways of seeing this question are explored, esp. ‘why is it that the universe need not have existed–why, then, is its existence contingent?’
THE GOD HYPOTHESIS AND RICHARD SWINBURNE Barbara SmokerIn this reply to the theology of Richard Swinburne, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Oxford, it is argued that:-1) there is a statistical likelihood that a cosmos whose physical laws are variable would eventually produce, as an exception to the rule, at least one solar system with at least one planet containing the conditions necessary for life 2) an uncaused first cause of the cosmos is more likely to be energy/matter than a supernatural personage 3) an explanation of the existence of the cosmos is in fact no such thing if it rests on something (God) which is unexplained. 4) it is unlikely that a God described as simple could produce a cosmos as complex as we know it to be 5) it is equally unlikely that the cosmos, in all its vastness, has been purposefully structured so as to produce human beings.
NEW ACQUISITIONS TO THE HUMANIST LIBRARY Cathy Broad
ETHICAL SOCIETY EVENTS