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 »)
By Benjamin David
6th Jul, 2015
As I stood and surveyed the lecture hall, pride and amazement abound, surrounded by a crowd of 150 attendees and humoured by the charming Professor AC Grayling, I finally realised the extent of our success. Being president of Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists (WASH) had been a rather difficult but deeply rewarding endeavour that had changed my life in unprecedented ways. Attaining success at WASH had certainly been difficult given the rather wayward couple of years since its establishment in 2007. Although in 2008 WASH was awarded ‘Best New Society Award’ by the Warwick Students Union, in 2013 they found themselves with average gatherings – typically convening discussions on atheism – amassing maybe 10 people at best. After recognising and, dare I say, idolising all the potential that I believed the society had when I first started attending their sessions during my year as a fresher at the University of Warwick, I decided to stand for president, a position that I was fortunate enough to be elected into. I wanted to take the society into a different direction; to reweigh its principles, to erect a clear vision in which to sail. I knew that it would not be easy. I had witnessed the same fate that has corralled so many other university atheist/humanist/secular societies be conferred upon WASH: the society had forgone emphasising its other principles. (more »)
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