Talks & Lectures

Polar bear on a wide surface of ice in the russian arctic close to Franz Josef Land.The light a

Man-Made Climate Change – Is it Trumped Up?

Posted on: Fri, 10th Feb, 2017
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
“Blind Lady Justice”

Transforming Justice

Posted on: Fri, 10th Feb, 2017
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

A summary of some of the proposed reforms to our Justice system emanating from JUSTICE, the British section of the international commission of jurists and the Ministry of Justice, before dealing with two changes which have serious implications for the poor, disadvantaged, sick and disabled...Read More »

Working men creating global business growth

Worker Cooperatives: The Next System?

Posted on: Fri, 10th Feb, 2017
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

What would happen if we had a system to replace capitalism? Bing-Pappoe discusses what would happen if cooperative enterprise were to do so – if the workers would themselves own and manage the means of production. ..Read More »

Is it Time to Rethink the “University”?

Posted on: Thu, 24th Nov, 2016
Estimated reading time: 1 minute

Jeremiads abound on the ‘end’ or the ‘death’ of modern universities. There are claims that they are been severely compromised by ‘neoliberalism’ and social changes and left behind by technological advances. An increasing number of writers believe the university has been transformed turned into ‘safe spaces’, an extended school environment, that infantilises students. Many people describe this ‘crisis’ in academia but few offer any visions of the future and fewer still try to propose alternatives. In this talk Professor Dennis Hayes, an expert in educational development, will describe what’s gone wrong and discuss some attempts to save the university sector, making it fit-for-purpose for the 21st century...Read More »

Cheering for Trump?

Posted on: Thu, 24th Nov, 2016
Estimated reading time: 1 minute

Donald Trump’s conduct, temperament and outrageous utterances during the presidential campaign should have ensured his rejection by the electorate. He was patently prepared to say anything to achieve office. But our speaker today, Chris Bratcher, considers he was telling it as it is on two huge policy issues: Chris believes Trump is right about NATO; that it is obsolete; a relic of the Cold War, serving only to drag Europe into American adventures in countries we know well were, and are, no threat to either. Chris believes he is also right about the need to limit Free Trade. He feels it fosters the export of employment, and that imports free of tariffs smother any attempt to regenerate manufacture of those goods at home, because the risk to capital to re-enter these fields is too great. The arguments are not new: Joseph Chamberlain proposed tariffs to enhance both infrastructure and social conditions in the UK before the First World War. Perhaps globalisation is on the wane? Chris will explain why he considers Trump could just be a force for good...Read More »

Poetic Naturalism – a New Understanding of Life and the Universe

Posted on: Tue, 29th Nov, 2016
Estimated reading time: 1 minute

“Naturalism” is the idea that there is only one world, the natural world, which follows the laws of nature and which can be investigated by scientific methods. The term “Poetic Naturalism” was introduced by theoretical physicist Sean Carroll in his 2016 book, The Big Picture. Carroll is perhaps the greatest living humanist thinker and in his book he explores humanity's big questions including: the origin of life, meanings in life and the origin of the universe. Poetic Naturalism accepts that traits of our everyday godless world can emerge from, and can fit together with, causes at the fundamental "Core Theory" physics level. Chris Street will hold your hand and take you through an incredible journey of new understandings of our existence on Planet earth...Read More »

My Death, My Decision?

Posted on: Thu, 24th Nov, 2016
Estimated reading time: 1 minute

What is a 'good death'? For some people, it is a medically assisted death, when they feel their life is complete - something denied in the UK. Polls regularly show over 75% of people in favour of a change in the law on assisted suicide, yet many politicians, religious leaders and medical professionals remain opposed. How can we change the minds of the establishment who seem so out of touch with the feelings of the majority? We should work vigorously to move the debate forward, addressing valid concerns. Phil Cheatle explains the approach of the campaign group 'My Death, My Decision' (www.mydeath-mydecision.org.uk), providing much stronger protection for 'vulnerable people', while rejecting the restriction of assisted dying to those with a life-expectancy of 6 months or less a criterion that attracts criticism from both sides of the debate...Read More »

The Abolition of Aging?

Posted on: Mon, 7th Nov, 2016
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

If we choose to prioritise this project, there’s a high probability that comprehensive, affordable, reliable therapies for human rejuvenation will be available by 2040. People everywhere, on the application of these treatments, will, if they wish, stop becoming biologically older. Indeed they would start to become biologically younger, in both body and mind, as rejuvenation therapies take hold. In short, everyone will have the option to become ageless. That’s a viewpoint which our distinguished speaker, David Wood, has reached following more than ten years of study of the field of rejuvenation biotechnology. It’s a viewpoint which generates a storm of questions. This provocative talk reviews the ethical dilemmas and opportunities arising. Wood will urge society to embrace a project for “The abolition of aging” (the title of his recent book), which could change humanity forever. ..Read More »

Brexit:The Fall of Troy?

Posted on: Mon, 7th Nov, 2016
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Takis Tridimas, Professor of European Law, King’s College London, and Barrister, Matrix Chambers, offers an update on the situation since he gave his Thinking on Sunday talk about the EU referendum..Read More »

Religious Education: Where has it been? What is it doing? Where is it going?

Posted on: Mon, 7th Nov, 2016
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

John Holroyd discusses some of the key moments in the recent history of Religious Education in Britain, and some of the current and projected causes of concern and sources of hope for this vital aspect of a child’s education...Read More »

The Penultimate Curiosity: Science, Religion and the Big Questions?

Posted on: Mon, 5th Dec, 2016
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Eye-Opening Conversations

Posted on: Fri, 23rd Sep, 2016
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Dr Nick Heap – an authority in the art of conversation – discusses its very essence, and also takes it to the next level and explores “Eye-Opening Conversations.”..Read More »

Are Law Courts Biased against Defendents?

Posted on: Mon, 7th Nov, 2016
Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

The vast majority of judges and juries in British law courts intend to be fair. In theory, accused people are presumed innocent until proved guilty, but fairness also requires that the guilty are found guilty. Prosecutors may need to edit the evidence for presentation, and this may mean that innocence has to be proved against a presumption of guilt...Read More »

Corbynomics Can Work

Posted on: Tue, 23rd Aug, 2016
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Neil Faulkner argues that the biggest barrier to Jeremy Corbyn’s rational economic policy is the huge profit the super-rich are making from an irrational one..Read More »

Edinburgh, UK – June 24, 2016: The front pages of a selection of British newspapers on the day following the referendum on membership of the European Union, known as the Brexit referendum.

Discussion on EU Referendum Result

Posted on: Mon, 5th Sep, 2016
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Discussion on EU Referendum Result: Joseph Lacey, Panellist for the THINKING ON SUNDAY event on 24 July 2016, the other panellists being Lucy Anderson, Simon Usherwood and Norman Bacrac..Read More »

climate change

The Case for Abandoning CO2 Emission Reduction Targets

Posted on: Thu, 26th May, 2016
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Much has been said on Climate Change and you may have thought there is not much else to say. Well, think again! It is the major problem facing humanity and unless we relentlessly pursue CO2 emission reduction targets, the global community will face catastrophe. This is the (misguided) mantra emanating from The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – manifest in the recent Paris conference, and is perceived as the current wisdom by the majority of nations. Evan Parker will present, without prejudice, a re-examination of the prospects of Climate Change. He and a colleague have developed a unique view and will set out to convince you that we are pursuing the wrong targets and that this has resulted in activities that are unethical, counter-productive and that will almost certainly fail. He will propose an alternative global strategic response, and advice what should be done at both government and citizen level...Read More »

Utopia Paradise Next Exit

Utopia Now

Posted on: Tue, 23rd Aug, 2016
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

At a time when Britain has never looked so divided after the vote to Brexit, we have to seriously consider the question ‘Is our system of governance fit for purpose in the 21st century?’ How is it that so many people have such a lack of faith in their own nation’s political system that they would rather that authority be handed to bureaucrats in Brussels despite its being democratically further away? How is it that people are so resigned to the fact that, ultimately, Parliament does not deliver what the people want yet is still allowed to function?..Read More »

Congratulations on the Brexit Vote for Democracy!

Posted on: Tue, 23rd Aug, 2016
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Patricia McKenna, former MEP for Dublin, in discussion with Professor Takis Tridimas. Based on an address given to the Ethical Society, 12 June 2016, gleefully updated..Read More »

Google, Government and the Death of Liberal Democracy

Posted on: Thu, 26th May, 2016
Estimated reading time: 0 minutes Less than a minute

Whenever there is technological change, there is always political disruption. We’re currently living through one of the most profound technological revolutions in human history – so can we really expect our politics to remain unchanged? Technology and politics writer James O’Malley presents a provocative and sometimes shocking prognosis for democracy...Read More »

Map of Scandinavian Countries. Detail from the World Atlas (Rand Mc. Nally).

Sex and Prostitution: Chalk and Cheese

Posted on: Thu, 26th May, 2016
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

What is the Nordic Model for dealing with prostitution? Why have Sweden, Norway, South Korea, Northern Ireland and France gone down this route? Should it be implemented in the UK? Why do we describe what happens in prostitution as sex? Survivors describe it as paid abuse. Who benefits from the multi-billion dollar sex trade and who is harmed? Who picks up the cost of that harm? Is prostitution compatible with human rights when 70% of those selling sexual access to their bodies started suffering sexual abuse as children, 75% have been homeless and 89% want to leave?’ Campaigner and activist Janice Williams will take us through this highly controversial topic...Read More »

The EU debate – le crunch

Posted on: Thu, 26th May, 2016
Estimated reading time: 1 minute

Many of us still have to make up our mind on the EU Referendum. Rather than the vital facts we generally have heard exaggerated claims and biased conjecture, making it virtually impossible for the average person to take a well-informed view. Indeed, is it so complex a matter that all you can do is make a gut-decision based on your particular prejudice? Or can you do better than that? Today could be your only and last chance to get properly informed. We have been very fortunate to secure distinguished speakers who will succinctly debate the critical information you need. Professor Takis Tridimas of King’s College London and Patricia Mary McKenna, well known activist and former MEP for Dublin will give you the hard facts you need to consider – on costs, immigration, trade, security and democratic and social issues and the range of possible ways these are affected by our ultimate decision. This will be followed by a vibrant discussion where you can express your opinion. You should then be well-positioned to put your cross in the right box..Read More »

The Panama Papers, the Global Elite, and the Democratic Deficit

Posted on: Thu, 21st Apr, 2016
Estimated reading time: 1 minute

The Panama Papers have revealed the corruption and greed of the global elite. They have also underlined the hollowing out of democracy. We now inhabit a world in which wealth is more concentrated than ever before in human history. The hoovering of wealth to the top has accelerated since the 2008 Crash. This is happening as benefits are cut, wages stagnate, and public services are sold off to profiteers; and as war tears apart one society after another, and climate change threatens environmental catastrophe. We face a compound crisis of the global capitalist system: an existential crisis for humanity and the planet. Yet democracy has been comprehensively hollowed out by identikit corporate politics. Worldwide democratic revolution – to end the rule of finance-capital, to dismantle the debt economy, and to dispossess the 1% – has become an historical imperative. Neil Faulkner, an authoritative and high profile thinker will provide a unique assessment of these issues, which so profoundly threaten harmony and stability in the 21st century...Read More »

Is Humanism Dead?

Posted on: Wed, 20th Apr, 2016
Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

What can humanism say about the problems we face today? It's been claimed often enough that humanism is so locked into 19th century patterns of thinking it's now hopelessly irrelevant. All this talk of progress, believing in 'man', and confidence in science and reason? Please! We can at this point either just deny claims of this sort, or look closely at what humanists have said. Bill Cooke, an authority on Humanism, delves into humanist thinkers from around the world and makes a strong case for the ongoing relevance for humanism in the twenty-first century. But not without finding a lot of dross along the way...Read More »

How David Hume became the First Modern Humanist

Posted on: Wed, 20th Apr, 2016
Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

David Hume was one of our greatest philosophers. When he was growing up, the dominant ethical debate in Britain was between the “pessimists”, who believed we are all fundamentally selfish, and the “optimists”, who vehemently denied this. The latter were all devout Christians, and so for those sceptical of orthodox religion (like the young Hume), the only credible view was the pessimistic one. After publishing his first book, however, Hume had an epiphany—prompted by, of all things, the sermons of an English clergyman—and was persuaded of the optimistic alternative. He then had the profoundly important realisation that this view is consistent with scepticism about religion. This talk will tell the story of this hugely significant moment in the history of ideas...Read More »

Prisons in Crisis

Posted on: Wed, 20th Apr, 2016
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

The prison population in England and Wales has doubled since the mid-1990s. Prisons are experiencing huge problems, with rises in violence and self-harm. Suicides behind bars are at their highest levels in a decade. There were more homicides in prison in 2015 than any other year on record. This is an urgent question for today and it’s no wonder the Prime Minister has recently announced prison reform as a government priority. ..Read More »

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