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Hull and East Riding Humanist Group

A social group for humanists, atheists, secularists, sceptics and agnostics


In his 1859 book “On Liberty” the English philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote

The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it.  If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth:  if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

2015 has already seen the violent suppression of the freedom to mock and insult religious ideologies. To what extent should people be free to publish ideas in the public domain that some will find offensive?

Susan Harr will be talking about freedom of speech at 7.30pm on Monday 16th February in the back room of the Tiger Inn, Lairgate, Beverley. All welcome.


The first meeting of the Hull and East Riding Humanist Group for 2015 will be in the back room of the Tiger Inn, Lairgate, Beverley at 7.30pm on Monday 19th January 2015.

Are there distinctively Humanist views in the current debates about the ethics of fracking?

Val and Jon Mager are local environmental campaigners who say

“You can’t drink oil. For most of the last century the quest to secure oil supplies lay behind many local and global conflicts. The latest technology to secure oil and gas – fracking – uses millions of gallons of water which is then useless because of the chemicals used. Clean water supply is already a privilege and will soon replace oil as a source of conflict. Fracking would mean a significant threat to the local environment and can and must be stopped – here and everywhere.”

Val and Jon Mager will be talking about the reasons for their opposition to fracking. Their introduction will explain what fracking is, and developments in the East Riding and elsewhere in the world. They will also touch on alternative sources of energy.

Val Mager is retired teacher who is now a fine art printmaker. Jon Mager left East Riding Council in 2006 and then worked as a National Director for the Department for Education.

All welcome

24th November 2014: “War and Peace”

Posted by Tim on 18/11/2014
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2014 is the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of war in Europe.

The British Humanist Association is proud to support Defence Humanists, a growing body of service men and women, their families, veterans and civilian members of the Ministry of Defence who seek to represent the interests of all those who subscribe to non-religious beliefs.

The patron of the group is Professor Anthony Grayling who says “Humanism is an ethics of fellowship. Among those who work and serve together it is about loyalty, service, self-sacrifice and commitment. It is about the mutual trust that forges the strong and enduring bonds of comradeship that underlie our duty to one another and our community”.

Is war a necessary evil or is the loss of life through war never justified? Is pacifism compatible with Humanism? Should Humanist organisations take part in the annual remembrance ceremonies? Do Humanists wear red poppies or white poppies, or doesn’t it matter?

The next meeting of Hull and East Riding Humanist Group will be on Monday 24th November 2014 at 7.30pm in the back room of the Tiger Inn, Lairgate, Beverley.

We will be discussing humanist views on war and the means to a more peaceful world. All welcome.


The next meeting of Hull and East Riding Humanist Group will be on Monday 27th October 2014 at 7.30pm in the back room of the Tiger Inn, Lairgate, Beverley.

Born in 1856, Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist who became known as the founding father of psychoanalysis. He  was a Humanist who did not believe in gods or an afterlife and in his book The Future of an Illusion he wrote “If after this survey of the nature of illusions and delusions, we turn again to religious doctrines, we may reiterate that they are all illusions, they do not admit of proof, and no one can be compelled to consider them true or to believe in them. They are improbable, incompatible with everything we have laboriously discovered about the reality of the world…In the long run, nothing can withstand reason and experience, and the contradiction religion offers to both is only too palpable”. He became an Honorary Associate of the Rationalist Press Association which is still a leading publisher of Humanist books and died in 1939.

John Hawkins is the chairman of Hull and East Riding Humanist Group and will be giving a talk about Freud. All welcome



The next meeting of Hull and East Riding Humanist Group will be on Monday 22nd September 2014 at 7.30pm in the back room of the Tiger Inn, Lairgate, Beverley.

If gods are “the invention of an animal that knows it’s going to die”, how do atheists cope with the inevitable? In a surprisingly light-hearted look at mortality, Matthew Simpson explores the wisdom (and wit) of atheists about death and suggests ways Humanists can help others get more out of Life-Before-Death.

Matthew is a member of Sheffield Humanists and conducts Humanist weddings and funerals as well as working voluntarily for Cruse Bereavement Service. He is also a sex therapist.