Archive for June, 2008

George Carlin

Many of you may have already heard the sad news that the American comedian George Carlin passed away on Sunday 22nd June with heart failure. For those of you who aren’t familiar with his work, Carlin was a very outspoken, sharp stand up comic with a no holds barred approach to comedy who unleashed scathing critiques of politics and modern society. He was a regular of the American comedy scene for decades and was the first person to host the popular Saturday Night Live comedy show. His early work included the controversial ‘Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television‘ routine which led to a court appearance and challenged obscenity laws in the USA. However, younger people might recognise him as Rufus from the BIll and Ted films. Excellent!

Examples of his work can be found on his official website. You might like to check out what he has to say about religion, as well as the classic seven words routine and the later extended and revised version.

World Humanist Day 2008

Yesterday was World Humanist Day 2008! Sadly, I was unable to access a functioning internet connection, and so I am sending you all my best wishes and hoping that you had a fabulous day yesterday whatever you were doing. As for me, I was attending the first day of the UK’s first secular student conference. There are groups here from various universities and we’ve had speakers from some of the UK’s main humanist and secular organisations. We’ve been hearing about the different groups’ experiences and sharing our ideas and suggestions. Today, there’s going to be talk about what we can do together and how we can interact. It’s pretty exciting! I will be writing some more about this in the coming week.

42 days?!

What can I say? When MPs voted in favour of 42 days detention as part of the Counter-Terrorism Bill last Wednesday, I was appalled, disgusted and angry.

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Expelled: No intelligence allowed?

This month, Canada will see the release of the controversial film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. The film is a documentary presenting the case that Intelligent Design has been unfairly excluded from consideration by the scientific community and is hosted by the actor Ben Stein. Its opening weekend in the USA made it their third biggest opening documentary, and at this point it is the twelfth largest grossing documentary film. However, the film has been surrounded by controversy and lawsuits from its production to its claims, and was very poorly received by film critics.

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Blasphemy in the UK

On May 6th this year, the UK House of Commons voted to abolish Blasphemy and Blasphemous Libel from the statute books as an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill. The final Act received royal assent on 8th May and will come into effect as of 8th July 2008. Blasphemy laws in the UK apply to blasphemy against Christianity exclusively.

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