Category Archives: Religion

JSPR January 2011: Religious Experience, Mysticism & the Psychical Researchers

Furthermore, two of the papers come from the annual Exploring the Extraordinary conference at York which I have long wished to attend; this is run by the Anomalous Experiences Research Unit (AERU) and I actually met many of the lovely folks from there at the conference where I developed a misguided sense of lack of knowledge of the field of religious experience amongst psychical researchers! So I owe them an apology, a big thumbs up, and have revised my opinions — it seems there is a strong research in this field after all: something I knew formed part of the MSc at Coventry University (Hume & Lawrence) but which I felt was generally neglected. As so often I was wrong, and I withdraw my critical remarks! I have not so far read completed reading the papers, but they look very interesting indeed. I just felt an apology to those whose research I had accidently overlooked was clearly in order first! Continue reading

Posted in Paranormal, Religion, Reviews and Past Events | 1 Comment

The Triumph of Skepticism?

So what has all this got to do with Skepticism (yes I know that is the American spelling, but it’s what most sceptical groups here use) in the UK? I actually think British Skeptics may end up like American Christians, complaining of a persecution that does not exist, and with messianic and apocalyptic motifs in their thinking and writing, unless they realise a very simple fact. They won many years ago — the battle for the public’s mind is over, done and dusted. Continue reading

Posted in atheism, Debunking myths, Paranormal, Religion, Science | 4 Comments

On Thin Ice? The Blessed Bishop of Lincoln!

Well snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow. The roads were impassable, or so the media said, in large parts of the country. Panic buying has set in in some places, as the tabloids helpfully said, reassuring the public with useful headlines about food running out in the shops. In short much like last winter!

So it comes as a relief to hear that the Church has at last decided to lend a hand, and the following rather fun story from the BBC last week made me smile.

The Bishop of Lincoln will bless Lincolnshire’s gritters in the hope of cutting the number of winter crashes. Continue reading

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From Televangelists to Dawkins; the Selfish Genes will prevail?

Well, yesterday I wrote a short piece on a character who long time readers of this blog may recall, Josh Timonen, and the case filed against him in Californian courts by Richard Dawkins. You can read the 18 page complaint here if you are fascinated by such things — PZ Myers first posted it on Pharyngula, and seems sensible enough. Last time Josh came up as a topic of controversy, over the (totally unrelated) closing of the Richard Dawkins forum (see many previous posts) PZ defended his friend, as did Dawkins, which is fair enough.I posted Timonen’s blog “The Ultimate Betrayal” yesterday – here it is again if you missed it. Where the truth lies I still have no idea. Continue reading

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Introducing the Anglican Hell House! A must for Halloween!

There are few topics on which Dave D, whose blog “Ramblings of a Godless Heathen” (highly amusing — and profane – the Tim Minchin Pope song, not for the easily offended, almost made me choke with laughter) probably agree wholeheartedly. (Oh I see I get a mention on Dave’s blog!) One of the few things i think we might agree on is the Hell House movement, perhaps one of the weirdest forms of religious child abuse out there, and hey, it’s pretty topical right now, as we move towards Halloween – so let’s talk Hell Houses! Continue reading

Posted in atheism, Paranormal, Religion, Social commentary desecrated | 3 Comments

Psychic News closes down after 78 years — but why?

I am aware of the byzantine politics of the Spiritualist movement, and the complex theological, administrative and personality clashes which sometimes (always?) arise. In this the Spiritualist National Union is much like any other church, or much like any other organisation, be it poetry club or gardening society.

In those two factors, economic issues and doubtless some political manoeuvring we see the immediate reasons for the decline of Psychic News (a newspaper that as long term reader of this blog may recall once featured me on the front page!). It is a shame, but possibly to be expected. And yet… Continue reading

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The Myth of Compartmentalised Minds

No, not an attack on modular theories of mind. (If  you don’t know what they are, don’t worry, it’s not relevant today)… Instead I’m talking about a claim I often see levelled against Christians who believe in Evolution — that … Continue reading

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