Musings on Greta Christina’s List of Insulting Questions…

In a blog post titled ‘9 questions atheists find insulting? Bollocks!’ Paul Braterman criticises Greta Christina for writing an article on Everyday Sexism suggesting people should stop asking atheists certain questions as they’re insulting. Continue reading Musings on Greta Christina’s List of Insulting Questions…

The Demonic Humanists and the Insecure Christians

In December the British Government blocked the legal recognition of humanist marriages because it was seen as a ‘fringe’ issue.  Andrew Copson of the British Humanist Association called this decision an insult, pointing out that ‘under this government, Scientologists have been added to the list of religions that can perform legal marriages, joining Spiritualists, the Aetherius Society (which believes in aliens and that the Earth is a goddess), and dozens of other religions. To describe the legal recognition of humanist marriages as a “fringe” issue insults the many couples – much larger in number than these many small religious groups – whose planned marriages next year will not be able to go ahead if Number 10 blocks this change.’ Continue reading The Demonic Humanists and the Insecure Christians

Can prayer cure illness?

 

In the studio pre-broadcast
In the studio pre-broadcast

If you happen to watch BBC1’s The Big Questions on a Sunday morning then you might have spotted me among the guests this morning. I was invited onto the show to debate the question ‘Can prayer cure illness?’ because of my involvement in the ASA complaint against Healing on the Streets in Bath. I was joined in the ‘no’ camp by Kevin Friery of Hampshire Skeptics, and I owe him huge thanks for helping calm my nerves about my first live TV experience. I also think he deserves credit for the comment he made about praying for traffic lights to stay green! Continue reading Can prayer cure illness?

Unenlightened spirit communication – ‘yes or no’ devices

As part of the talk I deliver to Skeptics in the Pub groups I often touch upon how modern ghost hunters are often just upgraded seance participants of the past whose main aim is to talk to ghosts. The only thing that has changed is the medium they use to communicate with them through. In times gone by that medium would be a table (for table tipping perhaps), a seance circle, a Ouija board, a person who claimed to have the ability to communicate with spirit, or perhaps a glass that the spirit would push around a surface (this was sometimes replaced with a top hat or similar).

Although people still use such Spiritualist methods today, ghost hunting has become much more hi-tech in the last few decades with devices being used to both rule out naturally occurring causes for phenomena witnessed, and for pseudo-scientific reasons such as detecting fluctuations in Electro-Magnetic Fields alleged to be caused by a ghost manifesting. Yet, there’s another purpose these devices are used for that doesn’t set modern ghost researchers apart from the antique ghost hunters of the Victorian Seance Parlour. Continue reading Unenlightened spirit communication – ‘yes or no’ devices