Fake News and Post-Truth

Date:       Monday 17th April 2017, 7.30pm 
Venue:    the back room of the Tiger Inn, Lairgate, Beverley, East Yorkshire, HU17 8JG

In the final war of the Roman Republic Octavian used a campaign of disinformation to aid his victory over Marc Anthony, later changing his name to Augustus and dispatching a flattering and youthful image of himself throughout the Empire, continuing to use the image in to his old age. Political propaganda and spreading untruths is nothing new but the internet has greatly increased the ability of unscrupulous media sources to spread lies and untruths. On the 28th anniversary of the creation of the world web web its inventor, Humanist Tim Berners-Lee has written an open letter suggesting that there should be a “crack down” on fake news sites on the internet which he says damages democracy and a political campaign for regulation of the internet. Others will be concerned that increasing media regulation will itself stifle democracy and free speech and end the openness of the web. Who decides what is and is not “fake news”?

Our April 2017 meeting was a discussion of Fake News and Post-Truth led by our chair, John Hawkins.

Religious Education in Schools

Date:       Monday 20th March 2017, 7.30pm 
Venue:    the back room of the Tiger Inn, Lairgate, Beverley, East Yorkshire, HU17 8JG

What place does Religious Education have in UK schools in the 21st century? Should children be taught about non-religious world views such as Humanism as part of Religious Education? Our speaker for our March meeting was David Horsley who was for many years a history master at Trinity House School in Hull and is a former Mayor of Beverley. He is a theology graduate of Lampeter University and continues to be actively involved in local politics. David addressed these and related questions in relation to Religious Education and schools.

Can life have meaning without God? – Public Debate

Date:       Wednesday 1st March 2017, 7pm-9.30pm
Venue:   Middleton Hall, University of Hull, Cottingham Rd, Hull, HU6 7RX

This is not an event being hosted by the Hull and East Riding Humanist Group, it is a public debate being hosted by the University of Hull.

The debate is free but you must have a ticket in advance to attend. It should be of particular interest to members of our group because it is a debate between the CEO of the British Humanist Association, Andrew Copson and Andy Bannister (Director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity).

Update 10.03.17: Click here to see the video of this debate

Books I would Recommend…

Date:       Monday 20th February 2017, 7.30pm
Venue:    the back room of the Tiger Inn, Lairgate, Beverley, East Yorkshire, HU17 8JG

Our February 2017 meeting was an open discussion of books related to Humanism. This is a list of the books discussed:

The Human Touch by Michael Frayn

What is Humanism? How do you live without a god? And Other Big Questions for Kids by Michael Rosen and Annmarie Young

The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman

The Myths We Live By by Mary Midgely

10% Happier by Dan Harris

This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World by Jerry Brotton





Deliberation, Democracy and Experts 

Dr Connelly

Date:       Monday 16th January 2017, 7.30pm
Venue:    the back room of the Tiger Inn, Lairgate, Beverley, East Yorkshire, HU17 8JG

Our speaker for the January meeting was Professor James Connelly from the School of Law and Politics at the University of Hull. This talk considered the issue, in a representative democracy, of the relationship between deliberation, experts and expertise. Professor Connelly discussed the role of experts and the nature of political judgement and inquired into claims to expertise in a world where information is easy to obtain, and the appearance of knowledge is easy to maintain, but where it is increasingly difficult to persuade the public that experts and politicians might have knowledge and judgement that they do not possess. This was related to the nature of political responsibility and its requirement for accurate and coherent knowledge as opposed to the relative freedom of citizens without official responsibility who do not need to cultivate such knowledge