Archive for February, 2009

Debate with Islamic Society

Thursday, February 26th, 2009 | Humanism, Religion & Politics

Wednesday we had a long awaited debate with the Islamic Society scheduled. It was a big step forward as traditionally they have been very hostile towards us and generally refused to engage in any kind of interfaith communcation.

It turns out though that the guy organising it had “left ISoc” which apparently (though I’m going on what I’ve been told, but this is by people directly involved) that he was kicked out of the society for trying to encourage interfaith dialog between ISoc and Atheist Society.

We had no idea of this though and ISoc didn’t seem to actually be organising the debate (which would fit with the above being true) so we volunteered to take responsibility for running the event and get it all organised.

This was a bit of a headache but needs must and all that so we took about getting it all sorted.

It turns out however that the day before the debate, ISoc had gone down and cancelled the venue booking (which was in their name because they guy originally organised) to prevent the event from actually going ahead.

We only found this out at about noon yesterday (the day of the debate) and tried out best to get the message out to everyone but unfortunately didn’t get to everyone – some people were doing three hour round trips to attend and were not amused to find out it had been cancelled.

So there you have it, I don’t know why we expected better from ISoc but at least we won the debate by default – does that count as proof there is no god? 😀 .


Thursday, February 26th, 2009 | Life

Having already gotten up at 5am yesterday only to discover I didn’t have to be up quite that early I headed off to get some breakfast as I figured a 20-30 minute powe nap would leave me feeling worse than I already did.

We headed down to Heckmondwike which is somewhere near Birstall, Batley, Cleckheaton, etc to drop my car off for repair and ended up getting back to Leeds with loads of time to spare. At which point Damien suggested we get some breakfast from McDonald’s.

I mean, what was I supposed to say to that? 😀 . Bit of a breakfast overload in the end then, I didn’t need to eat again until late afternoon, maybe it really is the way to start the day.


Thursday, February 26th, 2009 | Humanism

We rescheduled our original talk on Tuesday and replaced it with a selection of cartoon episodes with religious themes. It’s always an ejoyable night when we do this, especially when we have episodes of the quality of Christian Rock Hard – has anyone else been inspired to start a Christian rock band? 😀 .

I ended up leaving the pub fairly early afterwards as I had to be up early Wednesday morning but never the less it was a good night.

Old friends

Thursday, February 26th, 2009 | Friends, Life

I met up with Chris Mitton on Monday night as it’s been ages since we’ve seen each other. We met up at the Chemic Tavern so it was somewhat a novelty of being back in our old haunts, even if I never actually spent a huge amount of time there.

It is weird to think how fast everyone is moving on and changing and I suspect it has affected most other people more than it has affected myself.

It seems like a lifetime ago since I started university. But given the speed life moves these days, it probably was. Still if it wasn’t this way we wouldn’t have old friends to meetup with over a few drinks.

Bella Italia by electric light

Monday, February 23rd, 2009 | Events, Friends, Life

Our plans having been thwarted last week we finally made it to Bella Italia this week. And interestingly enough had the restaurant to ourselves with the only other people in there leaving just as we were arriving. Made for very speedy service which was very nice.

I started with the Calamari which was interesting and then moved on to the Pollo Arrosto which is chicken cooked in some kind of herbs or sause that involves garlic and something else. I can’t actually remember what it was but it made for good eatign none the less.

As usual we finished the night with a good bit of KFC for dessert. It’s a winning combination.

Zoe and Craig Craig and Crabs Felix and Chris

Galileo Day

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009 | Events, News

In the spirit of promoting secular holidays, there is now an official website for Galileo Day. I use the term official loosely because how do you really have an official site for a holiday? Obviously, the answer is you don’t but it’s as close to some kind of official website as you can really get.

There isn’t much on it at the moment other than a bit of information on the holiday and how to enjoy a traditional Galileo Day Feast but this should expand over time.

February Skeptics

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009 | Events, Humanism

Yesterday saw the February meeting of Leeds Skeptics in the Pub. The talk was by Dr. Richard Parker re-working his The Unwoven Rainbow talk into more of a group discussion, introducing several topics and basically seeing where it went from there. It worked suprisingly well.

More importantly this month, Carpe were still serving food by the time I had got things sorted so I could also enjoy a Hunters Chicken (though I couldn’t decide if it should actually be called Hunter’s Chicken). Beer, chicken and good company, what more can a man ask for?

Dr Richard Parker Leeds Skeptics in the Pub Leeds Skeptics February meetup

Questions and Answers

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009 | Humanism

Friday saw the launch of our new course, Answers. The idea to help people who aren’t too confident in how to talk about their beliefs or who maybe haven’t thought that deeply into it and want to understand and express their opinions better. It well very well I thought.

This was followed by Perspective which this week saw an Islamic speaker take the floor. The event was packed as usual, we had 10 of us sat around at the back or on the floor because we had so many people there. So I was quite pleased with how it all went.

The crowd Islamic speaker Chris

AHS press launch

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009 | Events, Humanism, Life

Wednesday saw us head down to London for the launch of the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies, better known as the AHS. We managed to get ten of us down there from Leeds – a number unmatched by any other society with the closest competitors only achieving five (not that I’m bragging of course 😀 ).

The day itself went quite well, we eventually managed to get the technical sorted and all of the speeches were very good. We got some good pictures too which will do very nicely for publicity not to mention the endless angles we got video from.

I met Richard Dawkins, I said “what kind of microphone would you like?” and he said “a lecturn will be fine.” That is my Richard Dawkins story 😀 .

The hotel was alright, we had quite a big room for the amount we paid. I think I managed to spend as much money on taxis getting to and from the train station I did as my train tickets which I found quite amusing but the important thing is, I actually made my train (unlike certain other people who had to go via Manchester at 4am to get down there).

All in all if the AHS can continue like this, we’re going to do very well. Congratulations all on a victory well deserved.

Chris at Giraffe Norm delivers his speech Leeds A-Soc members pose with Richard Dawkins

Tuesday night shenanigans

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009 | Life

A lot of stuff went wrong Tuesday. By 1pm there had been so many things go wrong I was ready to give up for the day but in the end a few things pulled themselves round and didn’t end too badly.

The evening saw us take up a debate on Scientology looking at whether it was a cult or not. Attendance was fairly good though we had been moved into the resource lounge (which was better than the original plan of just not having a room).

After this we headed down to The Old Bar to join the Christian Union’s barn dance. Not that we did that much dancing, we had drinking to do, but it was fun never the less.

Tom and John Nicola Norm and Chris