How Has Michael Wilson Spent $12,000? Time To Consider Legal Options. @GodlessAtheist

Michael Wilson (@GodlessAtheist).  Image uploaded to his Facebook account in Jan 2015

Michael Wilson (@GodlessAtheist). Image uploaded to his Facebook account in Jan 2015

Back in February I blogged a piece about Michael Wilson (AKA @GodlessAtheist) and the $12,000 of crowd sourced funds he received in 2012 to make a documentary. Shortly after Michael received the funds, he made some sporadic updates, took a holiday to Japan, then appeared to drop of the face of the earth completely – going unheard from for over a year. I’ll summarise the timeline of events below then suggest some action for moving forward: Read more

Ep#58 – Jerry Coyne – Faith Vs. Fact

 

I’m delighted to be joined by Jerry Coyne on The #GSPodcast. We’ll be delving into the debate regarding whether it’s possible to reconcile faith claims with our scientific understanding, which is the topic of Jerry’s new book Faith vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible’. We also take the time to discuss ‘Trigger Warnings’, Creationism, Evolution, troubling polling data and how exactly one can become an atheist by listening to The Beatles.

Also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Support the podcast at www.patreon.com/gspellchecker

#GSPodcast Theme by Dorian Silk & The MCH


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#BBCTBQ Debrief – 31 May – Is God The Problem?

Another special edition debrief of BBC’s ‘The Big Questions’A Scotsman Abroad will be joining me & callers to discuss Episode 18 of Season 8. We tackle the question ‘Is God The Problem?’ and deal with Peter Hitchens’s unsophisticated views on atheists.

Also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Support the podcast at www.patreon.com/gspellchecker


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Ep#57 – Do We Have Free Will? Jonathan Pearce

 

Author and Philosopher Jonathan Pearce (@ATipplingPhilo) will be dropping by The #GSPodcast to let you know that free will is an illusion. We touch on de-converting theists and the justice system. Also, what can biology and genetics tell us about the likelihood of criminality? Where is god in all this? We also talk about the importance of Neuroscience in the free will debate and discuss the disagreement between Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett. Listen to it – you have no choice.

Also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Support the podcast at www.patreon.com/gspellchecker

#GSPodcast Theme by Dorian Silk & The MCH


Direct Mp3 Download

‘Taking The Myth’ – New Discussion Show For The #GSPodcast

gs-podcast-1Over the last few months or so, in addition to my regular interview based podcasts – I’ve also been releasing ‘phone-in’ ethical/topical discussion content in the form of my BBC The Big Questions debriefs (thanks to the excellent co-host work of A Scotsman Abroad). The downloads, feedback and participation has been incredibly positive. The UK TV show these debriefs are based on is due to take a break soon, and it struck me that this would be a good opportunity to continue and expand on this podcast format whilst making some improvements.

This brings me to a new fortnightly podcast format (maybe even weekly) I’m going to launch, tentatively titled ‘Taking The Myth‘. The idea is to accumulate many topical issues of religion and scepticism throughout the week then discuss them on the podcast, inviting caller participation and debate. I would also invite topic suggestions and questions from social media. This would also give the show a less UK-centric feel, negating the need to have seen a TV show not available globally. I intend to make these at least 40 mins in length too.

The podcast, as always will still prioritise its interview based content, these topical discussions will be in parallel to those. And for those wonderful people kind enough to have become a Patreon supporter for the show, I will only ever put the first 4 podcasts per month as Patreon supported, even though I often release many more.

I want this to be as interactive as possible, giving you, the listener a platform to express your opinions, or share news and stories. Keep an eye on my Twitter feed for further details. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.

Some Thoughts On Douglas Murray’s Advice For Secularists

secularismI’m a keen follower of Douglas Murray’s writing and public speaking, especially his output on the issue of Islamism. I think he’s a rare voice of clarity and honesty on this topic, which to my mind, also makes him an important one. In short, I quite like the man. You can listen to a discussion between us here.

I’m also a member of The National Secular Society. I’ve attended several of their events, met their management and I’m grateful for the work they do. You can listen to my discussion with the President, Terry Sanderson here.

This brings me to Douglas’s latest piece in The Spectator:  ‘Secularists need to prioritise their targets. I agree with the basic sentiment of the title. It’s true that far too many individuals and organisations are more than happy to take a swing at the ‘lesser’ evils of a Christian flavour – yet develop a mysterious case of chronic arm fatigue where the religion of peace is concerned. However, I just feel it’s a tad unfair to make this point in the context of The National Secular Society and secularists in general.

Here Douglas takes issue with a point regarding Bishops in the House Of Lords, made by representative of the NSS, Evan Harris:

I’ve been hearing this Bishops in the House of Lords line for years and it strikes me as an increasingly eccentric obsession for anybody to have in 2015.  There are all sorts of reasons to advocate House of Lords reform, but the presence of Anglican bishops – hardly the most terrifying religious figures of our age – strikes me as approaching the barmy.  It is also a fine example of a dated and outmoded form of secularism.

 

I disagree. The remit of the NSS is to promote and achieve a secular state whilst challenging religious privilege. I’m not sure how they can hope to achieve this goal of separation of Church and state while 26 unelected members of clergy are able to influence decisions in state politics. It matters not how lovely and cuddly they may be, their mere presence is the antithesis of secularism. No other religion (or indeed non-religious ideology) enjoys such privilege.

This is the point I find most puzzling:

It is difficult for secularists who appear on moral discussion shows because to some extent they are involving themselves in a category error.  On the one hand a religious figure talks about the saving of souls and explains their view of the meaning of life.  The secular representative then responds by talking about tax arrangements.

Unless I’m entirely misreading here1 it appears the implication is that moral discussion is exclusively the domain of the religious – which would be especially odd given Douglas is an atheist. Of course a secular or humanist worldview should be included in any objective discussion on morality – so I cannot understand the ‘category error’ point. Religion doesn’t own this domain of discourse, rather it has simply held it hostage for the most part.

If I were a representative of the National Secular Society I suppose I might mention this point [Bishops in House Of Lords] at the very end of any long list of concerns, but I could not put it anywhere near the top.  And that is the thing about much of the outmoded secular voices we hear at the moment.

Well, if we look at the many voices existing within the National Secular Society, rather than just one – it’s clear that many of their and Douglas’s priorities align, such as The Trojan Horse Plot, Freedom of Expression, British Jihadists, Extremism and so on – which are all staples of NSS Campaigns & focus.

I was particularly pleased to be in attendance at the Secularist Of The Year Awards, where the main prize was handed to Charlie Hebdo magazine. Secularists from around the world gathered to stand with the NSS to champion freedom of expression and oppose Islamic fascism by honouring the brave at a time when too many opted for apologetics and cowardice.

It’s true that the problem of priorities, as identified by Douglas, is a genuine and pervasive one. I just feel making this point with Secularists in your sights may constitute an act of friendly fire.

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.

 

  1. 22/05/2015 – Douglas Murray was gracious enough to clarify this point to me via email, reproduced here with permission: ‘..the category error point is that if a religious person is talking about the meaning of life (as they see it) it seems a mistake to me to reply by talking about tax arrangements. That was the category error I was referring to. I think it makes us secularists sound like joyless tax accountants (as opposed to the joyful type)…,’
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