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Hull and East Riding Humanist Group

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

Awakening of Planet Earth

Posted by Tim on 19/08/2019
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Humanists reject theistic accounts of the origin of life on our planet in favour of scientific explanations. Is the development of life on earth unique or common throughout the universe and what role does planetary atmosphere play in whether or not life develops? Our speaker for our August meeting will be Alan Hunton. Alan says of his talk,

“The Sun, the Earth and the other planets of the Solar System were formed 4.5 billion years ago. In this talk we will examine how conditions on planet Earth have evolved but we will do so by looking closely at our atmosphere. It will be clear that the atmosphere has played a key role in enabling life to develop from single celled organisms to the advanced lifeforms that exist today. The appearance of atmospheric oxygen after about 2 billion years was a real awakening. We will see that the atmosphere has not gradually changed over the history of the Earth but has undergone many quite rapid alterations in response to changes in temperature or the behaviour of the Sun. The listener may wish to consider if the sequence of events is an expected consequence of our planet being in a favourable location: if so, a similar pattern should have occurred elsewhere in the galaxy. Alternatively, is the sequence so unpredictable that it is pure chance that intelligent life has evolved here?”

All Welcome.

Awakening of Planet Earth

Posted by Tim on 19/08/2019
Posted in Past Meetings  | Tagged With: | No Comments yet, please leave one

Humanists reject theistic accounts of the origin of life on our planet in favour of scientific explanations. Is the development of life on earth unique or common throughout the universe and what role does planetary atmosphere play in whether or not life develops? Our speaker for our August meeting was Alan Hunton. Alan says of his talk,

“The Sun, the Earth and the other planets of the Solar System were formed 4.5 billion years ago. In this talk we will examine how conditions on planet Earth have evolved but we will do so by looking closely at our atmosphere. It will be clear that the atmosphere has played a key role in enabling life to develop from single celled organisms to the advanced lifeforms that exist today. The appearance of atmospheric oxygen after about 2 billion years was a real awakening. We will see that the atmosphere has not gradually changed over the history of the Earth but has undergone many quite rapid alterations in response to changes in temperature or the behaviour of the Sun. The listener may wish to consider if the sequence of events is an expected consequence of our planet being in a favourable location: if so, a similar pattern should have occurred elsewhere in the galaxy. Alternatively, is the sequence so unpredictable that it is pure chance that intelligent life has evolved here?”

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Are the claims of religion true? Is religious belief rational? The so-called ‘New Atheists’ like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens would answer ‘No’; but this assumes there is a ‘neutral ground’ from which such claims can be objectively assessed. Some Christian apologetics argue that there is no such neutral ground and that notions such as ‘truth’ and ‘evidence’, and even reason itself, are Christian concepts. As such, there is no opposition between religion and science, because science is dependent on religion. But, we might want to ask, is this claim itself true?

The speaker for the May meeting of HERHG is Dr Steve Burwood. Steve’s research interests are primarily in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of human embodiment, though he has also written in the fields of environmental philosophy and the philosophy of education. Stephen is a member of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain, the Society for Applied Philosophy and the Humanist Philosophers Group. His other interests include the later Wittgenstein, especially On Certainty. Recent publications include An Introduction to Metaphilosophy (with Søren Overgaard and Paul Gilbert) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

The meeting will begin at 7.30pm. All welcome.

Venue: Back room of  The Tiger Inn, Lairgate, Beverley, East Yorkshire, HU17 8JG.