Secular Sunday #15 – No More Fooling

It’s time for Secular Sunday!

In this issue:

  • News
  • Upcoming Events
  • Census Graphics
  • April is the cruellest month

News

Along with other civil society groups, Atheist Ireland is concerned that the format and agenda for the Government’s proposed Constitutional Convention are too restrictive to bring about comprehensive change. As the Government seems likely to make a decision in the very near future, we have written a letter to the Taoiseach and Tánaiste. Read it here

Upcoming Events

  • Tuesday 10 April 2012, Phil Grimes Bar (upstairs), Johnstown, Waterford (map)
    Waterford Astronomy Society Public Lecture: “Death from Space”. The speaker is Emmet Mordaunt, Chairman of Waterford Astronomy Society. A humorous look at the various ways that life on Earth can be wiped out, or made intolerable by cosmic phenomena. Admission €3. Full details
  • Friday 13 April, 4:00 pm, The Gallery, The Helix, Dublin
    How they ‘split the atom’ and brought the news to the world. Part of the year-long Dublin City of Science celebrations, this event marks the 80th anniversary of the splitting of the atom. Registration is required. Details here
  • Thursday 19 April, 6.30 pm, Friends House, 173-77 Euston Road, London, England.
    Michael Nugent will be debating with Sami Zaatari of the Muslim Debate Initiative on the topic: “Is religion less relevant to modern society?”. Admission free.

Census Graphics

After last week’s numbers-heavy census report, we promised you some graphs and charts. The first comes straight from the CSO and is based on data that have not yet been released to the public. It shows the age distribution of those with no religion compared to the general population. As you can see, people in their 20s and 30s were more likely than other age groups to select “No Religion”, while the elderly and young children are disproportionately pious. (Original here)

The second is one we have compiled ourselves from the available data, showing the relative proportions of the non-religious in each county. The darker the shade the higher the percentage of people selecting “No Religion”. Click on the image to see it full size. (Based on a blank map found here.)

At the moment there is a frustrating shortage of data, but the CSO will be releasing a report on ethnicity and religion in October, and the Small Area Statistics will be made available at some point in the future. When these data are released, we’ll be able to have a more detailed look. In the meantime, we’ll continue to look at what we can learn from the data that have already been released.

April is the cruellest month

Most of our readers quickly twigged that our “guest article by John Waters” was an April fool prank. It was not written by Waters, and he has not – to our knowledge, at least – become an atheist.

April Fool’s Day has been smugly described by some Christians as the atheist holiday. (Because we’re fools for not believing in God – get it?) A weak joke, I’m sure you’ll agree. But there is a case to be made for claiming the day for ourselves. It’s a day that tests and rewards our skepticism. Anybody who believes everything they read or hear is likely to get burned. And if you can be fooled on the first of April, you can be fooled any day of the year.

We certainly weren’t the only atheists feeling mischievous last week. PZ Myers learned that octopus are atheists (side note: for advice on pluralising octopus, see here), the ladies at Skepchick decided to focus more on men, while Geoff’s Shorts asked the Moonies some uncomfortable questions.

Anyway, silly season is over for another year, and as 1 April doesn’t fall on a Sunday again until 2018, you should be able to trust everything you read in this missive for the next six years. But don’t get complacent. You should question everything!

Till next time, take care,

Derek Walsh
Editor, Secular Sunday
Atheist Ireland
secularsunday@atheist.ie

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