Secular Sunday #9 – Debates, Dialogues and Disquisitions

Welcome to this week’s Secular Sunday, the newsletter of Atheist Ireland.

In this issue:

  • News
  • Upcoming Events
  • Blog Round-up


  • On Monday 20 February in University College Cork, Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland debated Brendan O’Neill of Spiked magazine and Adnan Rashid of iERA on the merits of Catholicism, Islam and secularism. The debate was jointly organised by the UCC Philosophical, Atheist and Muslim Societies. It has been recorded for posterity and your enjoyment. Start watching here.
    Also now available to watch is a debate that took place in December in Belfast: “Has Religion Poisoned Irish Politics?” Watch it here.
  • On Thursday in the University of Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre, Professor Richard Dawkins and Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury took part in a dialogue on the subject: “The nature of human beings and the question of their ultimate origin”. This is available to watch here.
  • As reported in last week’s issue, Atheist Ireland sent a letter to all members of the respective Committees on Procedure and Privilege of both houses of the Oireachtas requesting an end to daily prayers. On Thursday, the Seanad adopted a motion to add a 30 second period of “private reflection” before the existing public Christian prayer which remains unchanged. After unanimously passing the motion, the members of the Seanad then debated it. (This is apparently how our government works!) You can read the transcript of the debate here.

Upcoming Events

  • Saturday 3 March, 7:30 pm, The Exchange, Exchange Street Upper, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 (map)
    Skeptics in the Exchange present “Nothing Matters” by Ronald Green. Philosopher, linguist, university lecturer and ESL teacher, with 13 ESL books published, Ronald has lectured and given workshops in Europe, North and South America and the Middle East on linguistics, ESL and the use of the Internet in education. His short stories have been published in Nuvein magazine, Tryst, Aesthetica, the Sink and Unholy Biscuit. He has completed a philosophical novel and co-authored a psychological thriller with strong philosophical underpinnings. For the past five years he has been thinking seriously about nothing, culminating in his recently-published book Nothing Matters – A Book about NothingFacebook event page
  • Sunday 4 March, 4:00 pm, Buswell’s Hotel, Molesworth St., Dublin 2 (map)
    The Humanist Association of Ireland’s  monthly meeting. This month there will be by a presentation by teachers from North Bay Educate Together school on the ethics and ethos of the school. All are welcome to attend. Facebook event page
  • 25-27 May, Cologne, Germany
    There are less than three months to go until the European Atheist Convention, hosted by IBKA and Atheist Alliance International. Speakers include PZ Myers, Annie Laurie Gaylor, Dan Barker, Taslima Nasrin, Michael Nugent and Rebecca Watson. Tickets are still available at early bird prices until 29 February.
    Atheist Alliance International will also be hosting three other regional conventions this year, in Melbourne Australia on 13-25 April, in Manila, Philippines on 21 April; and in Kamloops, Canada on 18-20 May. More details

Blog Round-up

The Irish atheist blogosphere has been particularly busy this week. Here are some of the highlights:

That should leave you with plenty to read and watch till next week. In the meantime, keep up with the news on our website, Facebook and Twitter.

Till next Sunday, take care,

Derek Walsh
Editor, Secular Sunday
Atheist Ireland

Secular Sunday