Future Meetings

Our meeting on 19th November 2018 was our last regular meeting to be held at the Tiger Inn as in the light of growing numbers of people attending the meetings and occasionally having to be moved to the smaller room, the executive committee have decided to change venue. The new venue for our 2019 meetings is :

Willerby & Kirkella Parish Institute, 58 Main St, Willerby, Hull HU10 6BZ

The Willerby & Kirkella Parish Institute is within the library building shown above and we will be meeting in the front room on the ground floor on the left as you enter the building.

We will be continuing to have our book club events at the Tiger Inn. 

December 2018: The executive committee have decided that there has been insufficient interest in having a Christmas/Yuletide meal in December and so the group will be taking a break until the January meeting.

The Atheism of Schopenhauer

Date:        Monday 21st January 2019, 7.30pm
Venue:    Willerby & Kirkella Parish Institute, 58 Main St, Willerby, Hull HU10 6BZ

The first meeting of 2019 will be a talk by HERHG committee member John Pittock who will be talking about Arthur Schopenhauer. John says of his talk:

“Metaphysical systems, by their very nature, should be anathema to most committed Humanists, however, it is generally agreed that the great metaphysical system builder Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 to 1860) had a profound influence on the minds of some of western cultures greatest thinkers: musicians, writers and artists (Einstein, Wittgenstein, Tolstoy, Kafka, Mahler, Wagner, Camus et al).
Widely acknowledged as being the first major western philosopher to publicly declare his atheism at a time when it was dangerous to do so, he also propounded a form of pessimistic philosophy that was bleak in the extreme which laid the groundwork for the realism and authenticity of the later existential philosophers.
Paradoxically, in spite of his renowned pessimism, he crafted a system of salvation utilising, aesthetic, moral and ascetic forms of self-awareness as instruments for sublimating what he saw to be integral to the human condition, namely; anxiousness, fear, selfishness and the imperatives/urges of what he described as the ‘Will’.
Whilst not commanding universal recognition or acceptance, Schopenhauer’s philosophy is usually seen as an important milestone in the history of ideas, furthermore, his theories on aesthetics and music still hold influence.
What was it then that caused the mature Wagner to write that his introduction to Schopenhauer’s philosophy was the most significant event of his life and that ‘the impact was extraordinary and decisive’? Why would Brian Magee write in his own autobiography that on reading Schopenhauer’s ‘World as Will and Representation’ the extraordinary commendation – ‘which I regard as the most mind stretching, capacious, illuminating and penetrating system of philosophical ideas that has yet been forged by a human mind’ . I will give an account of the primary concepts that constructed Schopenhauer’s philosophy and its impact on the minds of the major influencers of the 19th and 20th Century, which were both beneficial and cataclysmic.”
All Welcome.”

Religious Reactions to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

Date:        Monday 18th February 2019, 7.30pm
Venue:    Willerby & Kirkella Parish Institute, 58 Main St, Willerby, Hull HU10 6BZ

February 2019 will be the 210th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and John Hawkins, Chair of the group will be talking about the religious reactions to Darwin’s theory of evolution. Some might say that the Victorian public that first read or read about the Origin of Species were, for the most part, not biblical literalists believing in the literal truth of Genesis. For decades the most enlightened writers in the fields of science and religion had accepted that much of the Old Testament, and Genesis in particular, had to be read in a metaphorical sense. Nevertheless, since it was published Darwin’s theory has had a profound impact on the religious idea that human beings exist because of the deliberate act of creation of a wise and benevolent designer, what the clergyman William Paley compared to a watch maker. A famous debate took place in 1860 in Oxford between the Humanist Thomas Henry Huxley (great grandfather of the former president of Humanists Uk, Sir Julian Huxley) and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce (son of the Hull MP William Wilberforce). The debate is best remembered today for a heated exchange in which Wilberforce supposedly asked Huxley whether it was through his grandfather or his grandmother that he claimed his descent from a monkey. Huxley is said to have replied that he “would not be ashamed to have a monkey for his ancestor, but he would be ashamed to be connected with a man who used his great gifts to obscure the truth”.

All welcome.

United Nations Peacekeeping


Date:        Monday 18th March 2019, 7.30pm
Venue:    Willerby & Kirkella Parish Institute, 58 Main St, Willerby, Hull HU10 6BZ

UN Peacekeeping helps countries navigate the difficult path from conflict to peace by sharing the burden and ability to deploy troops and police from around the world, integrating them with civilian peacekeepers to address a range of mandates set by the UN Security Council and General Assembly. Nigel de Lee was originally going to give his talk in November 2018 but it was cancelled because of a hospital appointment and so he will be talking to us at our March 2019 meeting where he will be giving a brief introduction to the United Nations and Peacekeeping, with a focus on the basic principles and matters arising from them. All welcome.

Meeting topic to be confirmed

Date:        Monday 15th April 2019, 7.30pm
Venue:    Willerby & Kirkella Parish Institute, 58 Main St, Willerby, Hull HU10 6BZ

Dr Christopher Fear will now be giving his talk which was originally advertised for April in June (see below for further details).

AGM followed by “Humanism and the Intellectual Dark Web”


Date:        Monday 20th May 2019, 7.30pm
Venue:    Willerby & Kirkella Parish Institute, 58 Main St, Willerby, Hull HU10 6BZ

We will begin our May meeting with a brief Annual General Meeting to confirm the executive committee. If anyone is interested in joining the committee, please let group Secretary Tim Stephenson know as soon as possible. The AGM will be followed by a talk by Tim Stephenson on the rise of what has been jokingly referred to as “The Intellectual Dark Web” which is a network of public intellectuals including well known Humanists who have come to prominence because of the shift from mainstream media to increasingly popular online podcasts and YouTube conversations that has taken place in recent years. These conversations on politics, philosophy, science and religion are now watched my millions of people with a growing number of live events such as the discussion between new atheist Sam Harris, Professor Jordan Peterson and Douglas Murray at the O2 arena in London in July 2018 which was attended by 8000 people. Tim is a keen supporter of the IDW and associated online magazines such as Quillette and will be making the case for a close fit between Humanism, the classical liberal tradition, freethought and the Intellectual Dark Web. See here for a recent article about the IDW: Looking for Enlightenment on the Intellectual Dark Web

The Relevance of History to Us

Date:    Monday 17th June 2019, 7.30pm
Venue: Willerby & Kirkella Parish Institute, 58 Main St, Willerby, Hull HU10 6BZ

Our June 2019 meeting will be a talk by Dr Christopher Fear on the subject “The Relevance of History to Us”. Dr Fear says of his talk,
“Each autumn, in universities from Cardiff to Sydney, students find themselves in seminar rooms invited to discuss the writings of long-dead European men concerning events and situations that are no longer happening—usually beginning in ancient Athens. But these people are not history students. They are not literature students either, necessarily. They are very often politics undergraduates, who are primarily interested in the political problems of today and perhaps tomorrow. So what relevance does history have to them, and to us, given that history does not really repeat itself, and that no historian has successfully demonstrated that his discipline can provide “laws” which we might use for predicting the future? In this presentation I discuss the way in which this and related questions were tackled in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s by the Oxford philosopher, archaeologist, and historian of Roman Britain, R. G. Collingwood. Collingwood’s answers do not help us to see into the future; they help us to do something much more important: to understand better the problems of the present.”
Dr Fear lectures in Politics at the University of Hull.
All welcome

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