How not to do pro-choice

What is it with Student Unions? Even when they do something right, they manage to get something badly wrong at the same time. Following a referendum in which 3300 students cast their votes – out of total student body of a little over 23,000, the University College London Students Union had officially become pro-choice and will, amongst other things, affiliate to the Abortion Rights Campaign. Good for them… but on a closer examination of the actual motion adopted by UCLU, there are a couple of points with which I cannot, in all conscience, agree with, specifically:

This Union resolves: … 5. To ensure that any anti-choice run on campus are obliged to inform the Union in advance so that pro-choice campaigns have the opportunity… Read more »

Holocaust Memorial Day – Bronowski at Auschwitz

Every year I give some thought to the question of how best to mark Holocaust Memorial Day…

…and every year I come back to same thing, this video of Jacob Bronowski at Auschwitz, from the landmark BBC series ‘The Ascent of Man’.

No more need be said.


Pwned again – LSESU wrong on own rules (updated)

I wouldn’t normally pull a comment out into an individual post but on this occasion the issue, though simple, is important enough to warrant giving it a high degree of prominence. In reponse to my observations on the LSE Student Union’s failure to operate within the terms of its Articles of Association by seeking to call an Emergency General Meeting on just two days notice, the General Secretary of LSESU has posted this comment.

The general meeting rule applies to Annual General Meetings- not EGMS or UGMS 🙂

Wrong. Article 17 of LSESU’s Articles of Association reads as follows:

17. Length of notice All general meetings shall be called by either: 17.1 at least 14 clear days’ notice; or 17.2 shorter notice if it is so… Read more »

More Scumbaggery at the LSE Student Union.

If further evidence that LSE’s Student Union is currently a hive of scumbaggery were needed, their latest wizard wheeze is a doozy…

In light of recent events there will be two anti-discrimination motions being discussed and debated at an EGM this week, these are: No to racism – no to Islamophobia! and Stop Anti-Semitism Now. Along with this there will also be a third motion entitled Save Our UGM being discussed and debated.

Let’s be clear what’s going on here. Having read the Student Union government documents, including their rules and byelaws, its perfectly clear to me that they cannot screw over the LSE Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society under their existing rules – and with twelve years experience in the… Read more »

Student Union deems Jesus & Mo “Racist”

The recent outbreak of asshattery at a London-based University has proved to be contagious with a second university atheist society at the London School of Economics being ‘instructed’ to remove a Jesus and Mo cartoon from its Facebook page or face disciplinary sanctions from its main Student Union. I picked this story up late last week via Alex Gabriel who reported that LSE’s atheist society (LCESU ASH)had been accused of ‘Islamophobia’. Although this first report indicated that complaints against the society might relate to an article on the ‘ethics of offence’ by a society member published, in a personal capacity, on Tumblr, after it was rejected by LSE’s student newspaper. However, a follow-up article posted on Friday indicates that… Read more »

No One Expects The Islamic Inquisition

I’ve been occupied with other matters which have, to date, meant that I’ve not got around to passing comment on the absurd row over UCL’s Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society posting a Jesus and Mo cartoon on its Facebook page… …until now. If you’ve not caught up with  this story at all then most of the relevant ground is covered by these two articles at New Humanist: Student atheist society in censorship row with student union over Muhammad cartoon Progress in UCL atheist society’s cartoon censorship dispute with student union So the short version is that the ASH Society used the cover artwork from a collection of Jesus and Mo cartoons to promote an event, an Islamic Society complained that… Read more »

Democracy, LGBT Rights and Religion

Thaddeus J Wilson poses an interesting problem:

But having said that, I was, quite frankly, astounded by the things I read here: “Homosexuals can forget about human rights” – James Nsaba Buturo, former Minister of Ethics and Integrity (!)

“I will never initiate or support any attempts to legalise homosexuality” – John Atta Mills, President of Ghana Both of these countries have a form of democracy, although I suspect Uganda’s is more window-dressing than actual. But Ghana’s democracy is highly rated. Being gay is still illegal in 80 of 196 countries across the world, being a lesbian is specifically outlawed in 45 – in 6 countries the penalty for both is death. I don’t know how many democracies outlaw homosexuality, but I bet… Read more »

Singer, Infanticide and the importance of doubt

Ordinarily I respond to comments at the Ministry in the usual way, i.e. by way a direct response in the same comments thread. But, every once in a while I get a comment which deserves a somewhat and more considered response, i.e. a separate post and this is just such an occasion. Following on from my last post which deals primarily with Nadine Dorries’ crude mischaracterisation of Peter Singer’s views on abortion and infanticide, Conor Carroll has responded with the following comments, which raise some interesting points which deserve further clarification.

I accept your point that Singer only allows infanticide in very regulated situations, and perhaps even a situation that may never occur, but nonetheless you are defending his position… Read more »

Dorries, Humanism and Infanticide

Nadine Dorries’ response to her nomination for this year’s New Humanist Bad Faith Award is – well – classic Dorries:

The Humanist magazine are running an online ‘bad faith’ poll and I am apparently in the lead. I am not sure why anyone would admit to being a humanist and part of an organisation which has such extreme views. A humanist recently commented that, not only did he believe that abortion was acceptable right up to the moment of birth, but that termination of a child’s life was acceptable up until the point where the child had the ability to reason, understand and justify life. The worrying thing is that almost 400 people have voted in this poll, presumably mostly drummed… Read more »

Intergalactic Bullshit

There are some religious and quasi-religious claims that one can always dismiss as bullshit without even bothering to go to the trouble of investigating the evidence that believers wish to put forward to support them. For example, any claim based on the use of a piece of astronomy software to map the night sky a couple of thousand years ago is automatically going to be a complete load of bollocks – they always are. The same is also true of any claim based on a numerological or crypotographic code that has allegedly been found in the Bible, Koran or any other book of scripture. Leaving aside the fact that the sheer size of the Bible, in terms of words and… Read more »