After telling us a little about Sense about Science, speaker Prateek Buch will focus on how asking for evidence can increase public pressure on politicians to use evidence effectively and transparently. This is particularly apt now that the general election is over. Prateek will draw on topical examples, celebrating where it’s done well (MPs changing their minds, policy trials in areas like education); exposing where evidence is abused (drugs policy, welfare and crime); and sharing insights into the complexity and uncertainty at the heart of how evidence should inform policymaking in the public interest. He will also explore how the public asking for evidence fits with other evidence-related initiatives from Sense About Science’s partner organisations at election time and otherwise – fact checking, improving the supply of evidence and so on.
After 18 months the Alternatives to Religion cataloguing project reaches its conclusion this week. The project has unearthed the histories of three influential non-theistic organisations, making their archives freely accessible for the first time.
In 1966 the National Secular Society celebrated 100 years of campaigning for the separation of religion and state. In the run-up to the anniversary they received numerous warm, funny and thought-provoking letters of support from the most influential figures of the day.
Next month will see the 181st birthday of Charles Bradlaugh, a committed atheist and political activist. Bradlaugh was the founder of the National Secular Society, bringing together localised secular societies to campaign for the separation of Church and State.
Thomas Paine, the political activist, philosopher, author, political theorist and revolutionary, is one figure who appears in all three archives of the Alternatives to Religion Project – National Secular Society, British Humanist Association and Conway Hall Ethical Society.