By Martin Smith (Former AHS Secretary)
1st Sep, 2015
“There can be no progress without head – on confrontation.”
The AHS this year is delighted to be working in collaboration with the International Humanist Ethical Youth Organisation (IHEYO) to bring Non–Prophet Week onto the world stage. The 9th to 15th of November is this year’s Non–Prophet Week. IHEYO are calling it ‘Charity Week’. Why the name change you ask? Well, consider the effect of an international humanist group raising awareness and money for charity under the name of “Non–Prophet Week”. As many of you will be aware, blasphemy is punishable by death in many of the countries that immediately benefit from the AHS’ efforts during Non–Prophet Week. Indeed just a few weeks ago Niloy Neel was brutally murdered for “blasphemy” in Bangladesh.
Non–Prophet Week this year is even more essential because it is in a front line fight. You and I may take a (relatively) secular state for granted but we are the lucky ones.
The AHS’ chosen charity this year is GiveDirectly. You guessed it, GiveDirectly take money from donors and give it to the poor. They can do this because modern payments technology has drastically cut the costs of sending money directly to the extreme poor, at the same time as new research has shown the powerful effects this has on their lives. (more »)
By Richard Acton
13th Jul, 2015
On the interaction of Skepticism, feminism and other causes
Richard Acton, outgoing President of Nottingham ASH, has written a little on his considerations of scientific, sceptic and feminist cultures and the obstacles these groups may face in their interactions
In my admittedly limited experience of these two groups interacting, the skeptical community seems to have a slightly tense relationship with feminist groups. This is a little odd as humanists are natural allies of feminists as both want to see equality of opportunity irrespective of gender. It then occurred to me that this is not an issue limited to the interaction of skeptics with feminists but of skeptics with many different organisations, I have a hypothesis about what may be at least partly to blame for such slightly uncomfortable relationships.
The Skeptical community is dominated by people who ask tricky questions, challenge assumptions and demand substantiation of the answers. The skeptical community takes on board and seeks to live by the values of scientific culture; always asking, what do you think you know and how do you think you know it? This means that people in this community are desensitised to people, sometimes aggressively challenging their ideas. This is a very counterintuitive thing for people to get used to, to always be dissecting you own ideas, pushing at any weakness and resisting the urge to rationalise by for example rehearsing old arguments or double counting evidence. (more »)
By Martin Smith
8th Jul, 2015
You should come to the AGM. There! I said it.
No really, you should. Here’s why:
The AGM is about both business and pleasure. That has always been, and remains, the case. Yet the AGM this year is like no other in the AHS’ history.
As for business we will be voting on at least two motions. The first of these is a basic yet crucial change to the AHS Calendar that would see a new Executive elected on the Sunday of the annual AHS Convention. They would then have four months to handover until they officially begin their roles on the Executive on July 1st. This has obvious reasons why it is being proposed. It means a leaner, more prepared, more professional Executive. The second motion is a change to the AHS name. This I fear will be contentious and it may be worth coming along just to see this debate. The proposed change would see the National Federation of Atheist Humanist and Secular Student Societies (The AHS) become Humanist Students. Be there to have your say in how the future of AHS societies are represented on a national level. After this we will then elect a new President, Secretary and Treasurer. (more »)
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