New South Wales Inc.
Past Topics From HuVAT
- 14.08.16 Humanist Prigrimage by Speaker: Murray Love
Murray gave a quick outline of pilgrimage around the world, then took a serious and entertaining look at places he's visited in a lifetime of travel - and some he hasn't got to yet - which have special resonance for Humanists. Then he allow the audience to contribute their ideas and experiences on notions and places of 'pilgrimage'.
- Activism meeting 10.07.16
Discussion led by John August
- There was no HuVAT in May and no HuVAT as such in June in lieu World Humanist Day on 19th
- 10.04.16 DID JESUS EXIST?
Speaker: David Killingly
David will explore this question. He will guide us through the different ways the Christian gospel stories can be understood. Having studied the gospels for years from a secular perspective, even learning biblical Greek, David has debated apologetics with Christian scholars. David has digested the works of notable 'jesus mythicists' and their opponents. David is well fitted to take us through why it is legitimate to doubt Jesus' existence and why the birth of Christianity and the new testament documents are explicable without a charismatic founder to kick it off.
- Activism meeting 13.03.16
Discussion led by John August
- Darwin Day 14.02.16
Speakers: Ian Bryce, John August and Victor Bien
Ian Bryce discussed The Evolution of Sentience - The capacity for pleasure and pain is essential to any theory of ethics. Its origins shed light on our consideration of humans, apes and all animals. Transcript
John August spoke about Evolutionary Psychology theories about human behaviour, responsibility and ethics. He will consider how evolution operates, and how the ideas bear on ethics. The old 'nature vs nurture' has developed into 'epigenetics' where nature triggers and adjusts biological possibilities. What can we learn from animals? Can we compare animal and human behaviour? Ethics looks at what ought we do, and how we assess it, but Evolutionary Psychology looks at what do we do, and why. The 'underlying reasons' for altruism, cooperation and selfishness may not map to philosophical frameworks. This talk, suitably shortened for this occasion, is based on an interview of John by the ABC Radio National Big Ideas program in June 2015 which you can access here.
Victor Bien discussed The Evolution of Resistance. Any pressure, natural or artificial, on the survival of organisms leads to selection of individuals in populations of species. e.g. weedicides apply selective pressure on agricultural pests - but even home gardeners now need to use stronger concentrations. The last line of antibiotic defence against infection may become useless, and epidemics again become common. Transcript The CDC document refer to at the talk
- Activism meeting 08.11.15
Discussion led by John August
For our next activism meeting, I'll be inviting some people from student groups, the Rationalists, Black Rose and also the Cult Information and Family Support group. However, I'm not planning to invite that many or that high profile guest speakers, in order to allow more time for discussion and have less full meetings than we have had in the past.
This means we'll have additional time for members' contributions, but I'll also have some ideas to put forward for discussion. These include:
The ethics education in schools and the Australian Human Rights Commission roundtable on Religious Freedom;
How we might criticise believers' claims that either Australia "is a Christian Nation", or how believers claim prevailing good moral ideas originate with Jesus ( with in our own alternatives along the way);
Critquing the historicity of Jesus;
Engaging with international religious based human rights abuses;
How we might engage with the prevailing flow of ideas in society, giving more credence to Secular ideas and changing the world to be the fairer and open world we envisage.
Discussion led by John August 11.10.15
Videos of the talk are here:
- AGM (no HuVAT) 13.09.05
- Activism meeting 09.08.15
- what actions or activities might Humanists engage in? - led by John August.
This will include, as usual, the opportunity to members to outline what they've been up to, or their concerns. I'd also plan to allow some discussion of issues and opportunities, along with Q&A.
The format will be in terms of "5 minute" segments on different topics, with an occasional stop for Q&A - but we have to be mindful of the time, and not get caught up in too much back and forth discussion. We can give people two 5 minute slots for time permitting, and in I'll be encouraging guests to do that.
Time permitting, one topic for discussion will be "dealing with international problems", where we may move more rapidly to Q&A / general discussion. I expect this to follow on from Nicky's presentation, if we have her along.
In terms of planned guests, we have:
John Kaye, NSW Greens, on ethics and education;
Jacob Vardy & other Black Rose activists on the Christian influence on the emerging Islamophobic/racist movements, and the closure / Christian takeover of women's refuges;
Aletha Blayse ( skype ), white shield initiative, abuse in the Salvation Army;
Nathan Zamprogno, cult activity, human rights and other issues;
Nicky Danesh, international Islamic based abuse of women.
Having said this, while these people have responded to invites around the date, they have not confirmed as yet. Still, I expect we'll have a vigorous meeting regardless,
I plan to speak on "engagement with prevailing narratives, and the activism payload" - and maybe a little on Grayling's "The Good Book". We may also have others on the Committee have a say as well.
- Secular History by John August, 12.07.15
- State Aid (to private schools) is reasonable?? by Brian Edwards who acted as devil's advocate to refresh our thinking about this issue, 14.06.15
- Activism meeting, 10.05.15
- Liberating Naturalism - the concerns raised by Ludwig Wittgenstein at the end of his famous Tractatus: "even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of life remain completely untouched". Can science's reach be overstated? by David MacArthur Assoc Prof Dept of Philosophy U of Syd
Discussion , 12.04.15
- Meeting on 8 March was an SGM to discussion motions to cAHs.
- Darwin Day: Human evolution and political order - the transition from biological to cultural evolution. This talk will convey an account of the rise of human political order from pre-historical times about 10 thousands years ago and before to about 3 thousand years ago when human history started with ancient historical identities such as Aristotle, Plato, Socrates et al., 08.02.15
- Rudiments of a history of Humanism by Murray Love, 11.01.15
- At 4:00 pm Israel and Palestine Videos of the talks and discussion: Valerie Weekes (UNAANSW); Vivienne Porzsolt; Discussion Part 1; Emeritus Prof Clive Kessler (UNSW)
Discussion Part 2
Panel: Emeritus Prof Clive Kessler (UNSW), Vivienne Porzsolt, Valerie Weekes (UNAANSW)
At 7:00 pm Special evening event - Humanism, Human Rights and the United Nations by Roy Brown. Roy Brown has been President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), of which the Humanist Societies in Australia collectively is a member via cAHs. He is currently a representative for IHEU on the United Nations Human Rights Council. His work includes population growth impacts, and the threat to human rights posed by Islam. His wife Danni has also been very active in humanism, 09.11.14
- Fundamental Physics and the Big Questions How science has answered or recast many of the famous questions of philosophy by Ian Bryce. Video of the talk and discussion. Transcript, 12.10.14
- Women of the Enlightenment talk give by Gillian Ellis Transcript, 10.08.14
- Who decides when you die? by Affie Adagio, 13.07.14
- Are miracles real? Affie Adagio and Brian Edwards, 08.06.14
- Existentialism What's it about? Where did it come from? Who were/are the existentialists? How it relates or doesn't with the critical philosophy. Relationship with Humanism. Victor Bien, 13.04.14
- Darwin Day celebration by John August and Victor Bien, 09.03.14
- Zoe's Law 2 video of talks by the panel. Panel: Margaret Kirkby, Faye Love, Ian Bryce, John August, 12.01.14
- Immanuel Kant YouTube video of talk.
Speaker's notes (beefed up) by Victor Bien, 10.11.13
- David Hume YouTube video of the talk.
YouTube video of some questions and answers.
Speaker's notes (includes answers to some questions) by Victor Bien, 13.10.13
- Perspectives on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment YouTube video by Pamela Kechter WHO, 11.08.13
- Bertrand Russell Presentation slides | YouTube video of meeting by Victor Bien, 17.07.13
- WFUNA (World Federation of United National Associations) by Geoffrey Little, 09.06.13
- Report on the cAHs Convention by Affie Adagio, committee members and others 12.05.13
- Ethics classes in NSW schools by Ian Bryce, 14.04.13
- March no HuVAT - members meeting
- Darwin day talks See Darwin Day page A puzzle of biological evolution solved Evolutionary origin of the price equation Victor Bien and John August, 10.02.13
- Why is racism part of human nature? Brian Edwards, 13.01.13
- End of Year Celebration featured George Eynon Musician/Singer (from NZ) Country & western and love songs, 09.12.12
- "We are all doomed" Gillian Ellis, 11.11.12
- "Biological Origins of Life" John August, 14.10.12
- AGM, 09.09.12
- "De-alerting & Abolition of Nuclear Weapons" by Col. Valery Yaryanich (ret) formerly of Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces, 12.08.12
- Debrief: Take-over attempt by John August, 08.07.12
- Can civilisation survive the next 30 years of climate change? by Ian Bryce 10.06.12
Ian's assessment was that there are serious doubts!
- SGM to hear appeals against expulsions of certain members... 06.05.12
- Language of love YouTube videos of the talk with intro and talk itself is here by Affie Adagio, 08.04.12
- Dying with dignity Podcasts of speech and discussion by Richard Mills from Dying with dignity 11.3.12
- Darwin day The Darwin Economy by Victor Bien and Evolutionary psychiatry John August 12.2.12
- Is there a God? by Brian Edwards 8.1.12
- Xmyth party 11.12.11
- SGM to adopt new constitution 13.11.11
- Codependence" formly known as neurosis by Affie Adagio 09.10.00
- A secular system of ethics Ian Bryce 14.08.11
- Christian Apologetics (defence or justification of their beliefs) by Murray Love 10.07.11
- Personal Knowledge Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy
A brief exposition followed by discussion of Michael Polanyi`s book with that title first published in 1958. It is primarily an enquiry into the nature and justification of scientific knowledge. Polanyi writes, "But my reconsideration of scientific knowledge leads on to a wide range of questions outside science. I start by rejecting the ideal of scientific detachment. In the exact sciences, this false ideal is perhaps harmless, for it is in fact disregarded there by scientists. But we shall see that it exercises a destructive influence in biology, psychology and sociology, and falsifies our whole outlook far beyond the domain of science. I want to establish an alternative ideal of knowledge, quite generally. I have used the findings of Gestalt psychology as my first clues to this conceptual reform. Scientists have run away from the philosophic implications of gestalt; I want to countenance them uncompromisingly. I regard knowing as an active comprehension of the things known, an action that requires skill. Such is the personal participation of the knower in all acts of understanding. But this does not make our understanding subjective..."
It addresses issues like scepticism, agnosticism, objective and subjective, science and technology outrunning morality, Marxism, liberty and totalitarianism... It connects deeply with "emergence" and evolution. by Victor Bien, 12.06.11
Recording of the talk
Associated powerpoint slides
Condensed notes used by speaker
- Star Wars and Sci Fi by John August, 08.05.11
- Crime and Punishment in the Enlightenment by Gillian Ellis, 10.04.11
- Charles Darwin Day by John August, Casey Manning and Victor Bien, 13.03.11
- Storyelling his life with Angela Drury`s support by Sturt Duncan, 09.01.11
- 50th Anniversary of HumSocNSW with Ru-Bella performing, 12.12.10
- Implications of the Federal Elections by Dorothy Buckland-Fuller, 14.11.10
- Introduction to our small book Words and Ideas by author David Tribe, 10.10.10
- Short talks about who we are and what is and what is not Humanism by Affie Adagio, John August, Brian Edwards and Victor Bien, 08.08.10
- A lateral idea to deal with illegal immigrants
Briefly unlike the current policy which is punitive and breaches Australia's treaty obligations, it is to accept them here but not willy nilly. (And none of that Julia Gillard nonsense of trying to push them to developing countries like East Timor or PNG either). The idea is to impose a "cost" for "queue jumping" (which I acknowledge they may feel driven to do). That cost is not monetary since these people would largely not have any. The "cost" is to serve in a labour camp on Australian soil. Not any old labour camp. The labour camp would be for the purpose of building real needed infra-structure such as "seeding" the development of some regional centres. The idea is to compel illegal immigrants to contribute to building Australia in some way to "earn their right" to settle here. They would still be held in detention, perhaps for a similar period to the current policies, but instead of their time being wasted like at present and which has caused psychological damage, their implicit labour power is put to productive use. By Victor Bien 11.07.10
- Ecocentric Cosmopolitanism - the position Humanist ethics should move to. This will be a precis of an article in the December/January issue of Free Inquiry entitled Environmental Philosophy's challenge to Humanism - Revaluing cosmopolitan ethics by Hugh McDonald. It connects with and extends a criticism of Humanism expressed by Peter Singer that it is "anthropocentric". Secular anthropocentrism has been a development from religious anthropocentrism which is conveyed for example by the biblical injunction for humankind to have "dominion" over the natural world... Human chauvinism is parallel in form to the reasoning used by the racist who argues one is race is unique and therefore entitled to subdue or perhaps even exterminate other races... by Victor Bien, 06.06.10
- Anatomy of a Take-over Attempt, How the NSW Humanist Society has been Infiltrated by Racist Groups by Fred Flatow, 09.05.10
- Domestic violence by Emma Hannah, 11.04.10
- Darwin Day celebration - a variety talk! by Victor Bien, 14.03.10
- How low is the glass ceiling for women? by Affie Adagio, 10.01.10
- Human Rights Bill by Waratah Rosemary Gillepsie 04.11.09
- Drug and Alcohol debate by Affie Adagio 11.10.09
- An Economic Synthesis by John August 13.09.09
- Women and the Land in a Melanesian Culture by Clive Porabou, 11.07.09
- The Hebrew bible, Drawing from the TV series "The Bible Unearthed", lectures by Yale Professor Christine Hayes and other references, John will reviewed the stories within the Hebrew bible and how they represent adaptations from other nearby religions in other to fit into a monotheistic faith. He will also reviewed other implications of the stories, and looked at their historicity and archaelogical support by John August, 14.06.09
- Aboriginal Intervention Update by Waratah Rosemarie Gillespie, 10.5.09
- The Strangest Dream: Joseph Rotbiat together with Bertrand Russell founded the modern peace movement by Adam Breasley, 12.4.09
- Darwin Day 200 & 150 a discussion starting talk and video to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin in 1809 and the publication of his Origin of the Species in 1859 by Victor Bien, 8.3.09
- The abuses of the Church of Scientology by masked anonymous speakers, 11.1.09
- Women and Their Land by Waratah Gillespie who stood in for Clive Porabou denied a travel visa by the Australian Government, 09.12.08
- Aboriginal art exhibition by Gordon Syron, 12.10.08
- World 13 Moon Mayan calendar? by Yao Ruiz, 14.09.08
- Feminism, humanism and science by Victor Bien, 13.7.08
- What's Truly Behind Climate Change? by David Tribe, 8.06.08
- Roy Dootch Kennedy & Maria Bernal: who's afraid of Human Rights? by Waratah Gillespie, 13.04.08
- A Darwinian explanation for religion - Richard Dawkins (a private Darwin Day event) talk by Victor Bien, 9.03.08
- no HuVAT Special General Meetings, 10.02.08 (Motions to AH Convention 2008.
- Women's Issues, Afirmative Action vs Tokenism by Affie Adagio, 13.01.08
- Australia's compassionate role in Cambodia by Paget Sayer, 11.11.07
- Grameen Bank by Shan Ali, 14.10.07
- Alternative economic theories by John August, 9.09.07
- Practical Humanist Ethics by Meg Wallace 8.07.07
- Developments in France Libre Pensée, the National Federation of Freethinkers and Atheists in France have undertaken a survey of government grants to religion in breach of Article 2 of the 1905 law separating church and state prohibiting the French state from funding religion. This talk described the survey results in the context of current French politics, by Max Wallace, 10.6.07.
- Assisted death - advance directives and living wills by Meg Wallace 13.05.07
- Views about what is consciousness by John August, 15.04.07
- Some Darwin Day topics by Victor Bien, March 2007
- Understanding la laicite by Max Wallace, November 2006
- Quality use of medication by Sue Hurst, September 2006
- Buddhism by Paget Sayer August 2006
- Nuclear power for Australia by John Hallam July 2006
- Taking care of our planet by John August, June 2006
- At what price an Australian Republic by Brian Edwards May 2006
- The History or written expression by Harry Giann April 2006
- Global processes and how they impact at the National level by Himali Wetasinghe from the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Himali is Sri Lankan by background, and she holds a Master's Degree in International Development and is preparing her PhD in Domestic Violence. (Himali stood in for Suzanka Kutena at short notice).
- Darwin's dangerous idea - evolution by natural selection INCLUDING humans by Victor Bien Feb 2006.
- British Distributionist Movement by Richard Howard November 2005
- The threat to the tolerant secular state posed by radical Islam by Dr Joseph Aziz Law faculty UTS and student of the history of Islam, October 2005
- Start a keep religion out of politics political party - (to promote secularism) by John Goldbaum and Andrew Kiely September 2005
- Keep religion out of politics by John Goldbaum July 2005
- Did Jesus ever exist? by Ian Ellis-Jones June 2005
- Concepts for the Humanist Society flowing from Darwin Day and evolution by Victor Bien, May 2005
- Abolishing the States by John August, April 2005
- When Ages Don't Meet by Fay Giallussi, February 2005.
- Humanist issues still outsranding by Lee Rhiannon MLC Dec 2004.
- Talibanisation of Bangladesh (unfortunately speaker could not
attend) Nov 2004.
- We are the future by Waratah Gillespie Oct 2004
- Forthcoming federal elections and debriefing on the Olympics by
Dorothy Buckland Fuller Sep 2004
- Commercialisation of the OLYMPIC GAMES by Dorothy Buckland Fuller
- Reclaiming the Baby of faith that We Threw Out with the Bathwater
of Reason part 2 by Bruce Barry June 2004
- Gay marriages discussion initiated by Brian Edwards May 2004
- The terrorists' philosopher Sayyid Qutb (the Karl Marx of Islam).
Discussion of article in SMH's Good Weekend 11 Oct 2003 based on Terror
and Liberalism by Paul Berman Victor Bien Nov 2003.
- Human Iconography & IHEU Paper by Ann Young Oct 2003
- Human aspects of the social dimension by Lindsay Mell Sep 2003
- Reclaiming the Baby of faith that We Threw Out with the Bathwater
of Reason by Bruce Barry July 2003
- Back to Basics by Erni Glauser June 2003
- Aims of Humanist Society by David Duffy May 2003
- Aspects of Evolution by Victor Bien April 2003
- Grannys at Pine Gap by Dorothy Buckland Fuller February 2003
- Aftercare by Brendan Kavanagh Dec 2002
- Biases illusions and intellectual self defence by Dr Peter Slezak
- Profiting from drugs (Australis 2000 video) by Ann Young Oct 2002
- Islam and women by Wafa Zaim Sep 2002
- Violence in society Jul 2002
- Violence in jails especially to transsexuals Jun 2002
- Defining democracy May 2002
- Combatting child abuse Apr 2002
- Humanist Hospice dead or alive? Mar 2002
- Should the Humanist Society be political? Dec 2001
- Defining terrorism Nov 2001
- Dying in Australia - taking control Oct 2001
- Humanist India Sep
- Multiculturalism Jul
- Imprisonment, women's prison May
- Is religion incompatible with Humanism? Apr
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