Friends & Fellow Freethinkers
Here are some links, blogs, websites, pages and friends of the society, that contain everything you need to know about the science, reason, logic & explanation that brings us to the conclusion that there is no need for religion in modern society.
Professor Christopher Hitchens
Born: April 13, 1949, Portsmouth, Hampshire, United Kingdom
Died: December 15, 2011, Houston, Texas, United States
The SHSG would firstly like to pay tribute to possibly the greatest Humanist that ever lived - the late Professor Christopher Hitchens. A humble, ever courteous gentleman, he stood fast through his personal tragedies, taking on injustice and capricious religious bigotry til the bitter end.
He has inspired many with his forthright courage, his tempestuous intolerance of stupidity, ignorance & bias against the weak and vulnerable. His sheer determination and profound knowledge of all things humanist, were only matched by his dogged fearlessness in the face of adversity.
Respected amongst his peers, feared by his opponents, revered by non-believers across the globe, loved by all who met him, respected by every theist who sat opposite him during a debate and most of all missed by millions - the world was touched by genius when he was in it and we should all think ourselves very lucky to have lived in the same time as this true giant of a man.
Professor Richard Dawkins
richard dawkinsClinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL (born 26 March 1941) is an English ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author. He is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, and was the University of Oxford's Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995 until 2008.
Dawkins came to prominence with his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, which popularised the gene-centred view of evolution and introduced the term meme. In 1982, he introduced into evolutionary biology the influential concept that the phenotypic effects of a gene are not necessarily limited to an organism's body, but can stretch far into the environment, including the bodies of other organisms; this concept is presented in his book The Extended Phenotype.
Dawkins is an atheist, a vice president of the British Humanist Association, and a supporter of the Brights movement. He is well known for his criticism of creationism and intelligent design. In his 1986 book The Blind Watchmaker, he argues against the watchmaker analogy, an argument for the existence of a supernatural creator based upon the complexity of living organisms. Instead, he describes evolutionary processes as analogous to a blind watchmaker.
He has since written several popular science books, and makes regular television and radio appearances, predominantly discussing these topics. In his 2006 book The God Delusion, Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that religious faith is a delusion—"a fixed false belief". As of January 2010, the English-language version had sold more than two million copies and had been translated into 31 languages
Richard Dawkins' page: http://www.richarddawkins.net/
Professor Sam Harris
sam harrisSam Harris, neuroscientist is the author of the New York Times best sellers, The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, and Free Will. The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction.
Mr. Harris's writing has been published in more than 15 languages. He and his work have been discussed in The New York Times, Time, Scientific American, Nature, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and many other journals. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Economist, Newsweek, The Times (London), The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Annals of Neurology, and elsewhere.
Prof. Harris is a cofounder and the CEO of Project Reason, a nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society. He received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.
His website: http://www.samharris.org/
John Hunt is an ordained minister in the First Church of Atheism and believes the Christian version of Christmas is nonsense. John doesn’t decorate the house or celebrate the festival. He harks back to a time when Christmas had its place and knew its place.
Rev Hunt is a regular contributor to the SHSG Facebook page and has his finger on the weak and progressively less-influential pulse of the various religions of the world. He actively monitors all spheres of religious activity focusing on the inhumanity, unfairness &heinous acts perpetrated by the heirarchy of said organisations around the globe.
John runs a page on the Atheist Nexus site where he blogs and comments on events & issues relating to the world of reason versus fantasy.
John Hunt's page on the Atheist Nexus site: http://www.atheistnexus.org/profile/JohnHunt
A TV interview with John hunt on the joys of Xmas for atheists: http://www.4thought.tv/themes/can-atheists-enjoy-christmas/john-hunt
Professor Paul Braterman
Professor Paul Braterman was first attracted to chemistry by the pretty colours, then by the revelation that everything is made of chemicals, and went on to do research on subjects ranging from the origins of life to flame retardant plastics. His main interest now is in informing people about science and how scientists think.
He spent most of his career at Glasgow University and the University of North Texas, and now lives in Glasgow. He holds one undergraduate and two graduate degrees from Oxford, and has published over 120 scientific papers and book chapters. He is on the committee of the British Centre for Science Education ( http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/), and his past collaborations include NASA's Astrobiology Institute, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the Sandia/UNM Materials Research Laboratory.
Advance praise for from Stars to Stalgmites:
"Getting to know of atoms and molecules and their motions was not easy - Braterman pulls us into the story of the people who got us that hard-won knowledge. A superb combination of history and scientific explanation!" - Roald Hoffmann, Nobel Laureate chemist and writer
"This highly readable book does an excellent job of explaining scientific concepts in plain language, and brilliantly connects social history with scientific history and concepts. Strongly recommended for readers of all backgrounds." - Oscar Liu, Senior Principal Scientist, Merck
"It's a terrific read and the idea of intertwining the facts of chemistry with the history and personalities of the scientists who discovered it works brilliantly." - John Wiltshire, systems engineer, Nelson Gold Medallist for creativity.
"Your writings are a wonderful compilation of chemistry, history, and human endeavors. The chapter on Haber was superb! ... This text is something that every chemist should read!" - Prof Diana Mason, University of North Texas, Regional Director, Associated Chemistry Teachers of Texas.
His Website: http://paulbraterman.wordpress.com/
Professor Jerry A Coyne
Jerry A. Coyne, Ph.D is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago and a member of both the Committee on Genetics and the Committee on Evolutionary Biology. Coyne received a B.S. in Biology from the College of William and Mary. He then earned a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology at Harvard University in 1998, working in the laboratory of Richard Lewontin. After a postdoctoral fellowship in Timothy Prout's laboratory at The University of California at Davis, he took his first academic position as assistant professor in the Department of Zoology at The University of Maryland. In 1996 he joined the faculty of The University of Chicago.
Coyne's work is focused on understanding the origin of species: the evolutionary process that produces discrete groups in nature. To do this, he uses a variety of genetic analyses to locate and identify the genes that produce reproductive barriers between distinct species of the fruit fly Drosophila: barriers like hybrid sterility, ecological differentiation, and mate discrimination. Through finding patterns in the location and action of such genes, he hopes to work out the evolutionary processes that originally produced genetic change, and to determine whether different pairs of species may show similar genetic patterns, implying similar routes to speciation.
Coyne has written over 110 refereed scientific papers and 80 other articles, book reviews, and columns, as well as a scholarly book about his field (Speciation, co-authored with H. Allen Orr). He is a frequent contributor to The New Republic, The Times Literary Supplement, and other popular periodicals.
His Website: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/
Friend of the SHSG, Pyers Symon graduated in biochemistry from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth but now works in IT as a Unix systems specialist with IBM, having recently updated the Boots 'Advantage Card' system. So, when you swipe that card and get your points at Boots, spare a thought for the poor chap who has sweated blood to bring them to you.
He has had close links with Gibrlatar throughout his life and visits the Rock regularly.
James Randi has an international reputation as a magician and escape artist, but today he is best known as the world’s most tireless investigator and demystifier of paranormal and pseudoscientific claims. Randi has pursued “psychic” spoonbenders, exposed the dirty tricks of faith healers, investigated homeopathic water “with a memory,” and generally been a thorn in the sides of those who try to pull the wool over the public’s eyes in the name of the supernatural.
He has received numerous awards and recognitions, including a Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 1986 for his work in investigating claims of the supernatural, occult, and paranormal powers—in particular his exposures of TV evangelist/healers and of "psychics" such as Uri Geller. He received a grant of $272,000 to assist him in these continuing endeavors. He hosted The Randi Show on WOR-Radio, New York City, and has appeared on numerous TV series and specials throughout the world. He has taught at New York University and at Brookdale Community College in New Jersey, was 1984 Regents Lecturer at the University of California at Los Angeles, and has conducted several seminars at other colleges.
The James Randi Educational Foundation: http://web.randi.org/
Seth Andrews "A former Christian of 30 years (and former religious broadcaster) I finally started "thinking" for myself, ultimately rejecting the world view and lifestyle I’d once assumed as truth.
This site (thethinkingatheist.com) is a response to my own childhood indoctrination, the overwhelming wave of religious messages in our society, and the countless throngs who make ridiculous claims and dismiss skeptical voices with warnings of eternal torture.
Whether you’re religious or non-religious, I invite you to examine these pages, challenge superstition with an objective eye, take courage from the stories of others and embrace the charge to determine what is real, what is right, and what is rational.
Assume nothing. Question everything. Challenge the opposition - And start thinking"
I was raised in a loving, Southern Baptist home and was a fundamentalist Christian for over 20 years. After 8 years in the Navy and several years in the hi-tech game, I set out to re-affirm my faith with designs on attending seminary and continuing with a life in the ministry. What began as an attempt to bolster my faith became a continuing investigation into more topics than I ever suspected I'd enjoy.
After the first couple of years, reason forced me to acknowledge that my faith had not only been weakened by my studies - it had been utterly destroyed. The thoughts, writings and wisdom of people like; Robert Ingersoll, Voltaire, Dan Barker, Richard Dawkins, Farrell Till and many others, helped free my mind from the shackles of religion without a single moment of despair. I continue to study philosophy, religion, science, history and the many other topics which have helped me to understand reality and enjoy my life.
Having spent the majority of my life compartmentalizing my religious beliefs to keep them safe from skepticism, it's thrilling to leave the critical, investigative, hungry portion of my brain turned "on". While my own pursuit of knowledge is a powerful driving force in my life, I'd also like to prevent others from wasting another day on irrational beliefs. Education is the key ...and if my work manages to educate even one person, I'm satisfied.
Anyone interested in reading further is encouraged to visit the counter-apologetics encyclopedia, Iron Chariots (wiki.ironchariots.org). Russell Glasser and I started the wiki and we encourage others to help us build it into a great resource for anyone interested in apologetics and theological debate.
The Atheist Experience: http://www.atheist-experience.com/
Daniel C Dennett
Daniel C. Dennett, Co-Director, Center for Cognitive Studies, Tufts University.
Daniel C. Dennett, the author of Breaking the Spell (Viking, 2006),Freedom Evolves (Viking Penguin, 2003) and Darwin's Dangerous Idea (Simon & Schuster, 1995), is University Professor and Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. He lives with his wife in North Andover, Massachusetts, and has a daughter, a son, and four grandchildren. He was born in Boston in 1942, the son of a historian by the same name, and received his B.A. in philosophy from Harvard in 1963. He then went to Oxford to work with Gilbert Ryle, under whose supervision he completed the D.Phil. in philosophy in 1965. He taught at U.C. Irvine from 1965 to 1971, when he moved to Tufts, where he has taught ever since, aside from periods visiting at Harvard, Pittsburgh, Oxford, the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, the London School of Economics and the American University of Beirut.
He gave the John Locke Lectures at Oxford in 1983, the Gavin David Young Lectures at Adelaide, Australia, in 1985, and the Tanner Lecture at Michigan in 1986, among many others. He has received two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Science. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1987.
Stephen John Fry
Author, Comedian, Scholar, Actor, Writer & All-Round General Genius!
After a troubled childhood and adolescence, during which he was expelled from two schools and spent three months in prison for credit card fraud, he secured a place at Queens' College, Cambridge, where he studiedEnglish literature. While at university, Fry became involved with the Cambridge Footlights, where he met his long-time collaborator Hugh Laurie. As half of the comic double act Fry and Laurie, he co-wrote and co-starred in A Bit of Fry & Laurie, and took the role of Jeeves (with Laurie playing Wooster) in Jeeves and Wooster.
Fry's acting roles include a Golden Globe Award–nominated lead performance in the film Wilde, Melchett in the BBC television series Blackadder, the title character in the television series Kingdom, a recurring guest role as Dr. Gordon Wyatt on the crime series Bones, and as Gordon Deitrich in the dystopian thriller V for Vendetta. He has also written and presented several documentary series, including the Emmy Award–winning Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, which saw him explore his mental illness. He is also the long-time host of the BBC television quiz show QI.
Besides working in television, Fry has contributed columns and articles for newspapers and magazines and written four novels and three volumes of autobiography, Moab Is My Washpot, The Fry Chronicles and More Fool Me. He also appears frequently on BBC Radio 4, starring in the comedy series Absolute Power, being a frequent guest on panel games such as Just a Minute, and acting as chairman for I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, where he was one of a trio of hosts who succeeded the late Humphrey Lyttelton. Fry is also known for his voice-overs, reading all seven of the Harry Potter novels for the UK audiobook recordings, narrating theLittleBigPlanet and Birds of Steel series of video games, as well as an animated series of explanations of the laws of cricket, and a series of animations about Humanism for the British Humanist Association.
Stephen's Official Website: http://www.stephenfry.com/
Hugh Laurie OBE
James Hugh Calum Laurie, (born 11 June 1959), known professionally as Hugh Laurie (/ˌhjuː ˈlɒri/), is an English actor, writer, director, musician, singer, comedian, and author. He first became known as one-half of the Fry and Laurie double act with his friend and comedy partner Stephen Fry, whom he joined in the cast of A Bit of Fry & Laurie, Blackadder, and Jeeves and Wooster in the 1980s and 1990s.From 2004 to 2012, he played Dr. Gregory House, the protagonist of House, for which he received two Golden Globe awards, two Screen Actors Guild awards, and six Emmy nominations. He was listed in the 2011 Guinness World Records as the most watched leading man on television and was one of the highest-paid actors in a television drama, earning £250,000 ($409,000) per episode in House
Laurie's mother, Patricia (née Laidlaw), died from motor neurone disease in Oxfordshire at the age of 73 in 1989, when Laurie was 30. According to Laurie, it took her two years to die, and she suffered "painful, plodding paralysis" while being cared for by Laurie's father, whom he called "the sweetest man in the whole world".
Laurie married theatre administrator Jo Green in June 1989 in Camden, London. They live in Belsize Park, north London with sons Charlie (b. 1988) and Bill (b. 1990) and daughter Rebecca (b. 1992). They had planned to move the whole family to Los Angeles in 2008 due to the strain of being mostly separated for nine months each year, but ultimately decided against it. Charlie had a cameo in A Bit of Fry & Laurie in the last sketch of the episode entitled "Special Squad", as baby William. Stephen and Hugh begin to "interrogate" him about "what he's done with the stuff", calling him a scumbag and telling him that he's been a very naughty boy. Rebecca had a role in the film Wit as five-year-old Vivian Bearing. Laurie's best friend is long-time comedy partner Stephen Fry, who wasbest man at his wedding and is godfather to his children.
On 23 May 2007, Laurie received his award as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), to which he was appointed in the 2007 New Year Honours for his services to drama.While appearing on Inside the Actors Studio in 2006, Laurie discussed his struggle with severe clinical depression. He continues to receive regular treatment from a psychotherapist.