Secular Sunday #75 – Remote Control

If all goes well, this newsletter should appear as normal on Sunday afternoon. It has, however, been written in advance and scheduled to automatically appear, so if it doesn’t you won’t know why. It’s also shorter than usual due to time constraints. Normal service will be resumed next week.

– Derek Walsh, Editor

News Digest

compiled by Barbara Monea







  • Today, Sunday 2 June, 4:00 pm, Buswell’s Hotel, Molesworth St., Dublin 2 (map)
    Monthly meeting of the Humanist Association of Ireland. All are welcome. Facebook event page
  • Monday 3 June, 8:30 pm, McSwiggans Bar and Restaurant, Woodquay, Galway (map)
    Galway Skeptics in the Pub #58 – “How To Get To Skeptical Street”. Facebook event page
  • Sunday 9 June, multiple locations
    Second Sunday brunch/lunch events. Keep an eye on ourFacebook page for details
  • Thursday 13 June, Porterhouse, Sheares St., Cork (map)
    “Think & Drink”. This month, Cork Humanists will be talking about sex. Facebook event page
  • Tuesday 18 June, 7:30 pm, Costigan’s, Washington St. West, Cork (map)
    Cork Humanists’ Film Night. This month’s film is Persepolis, a 2007 animated film  set against the background of the Iranian Revolution. More
  • Wednesday 19 June, 8:00 pm, Absolute Hotel, Sir Harry’s Mall, Limerick (map)
    The Mid West Humanists are meeting. All are welcome.
  • Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 June, O’Callaghan Alexander Hotel, Dublin 2 (map)
    “Empowering Women Through Secularism” An international two-day conference featuring some of the biggest names in atheism, skepticism, secularism and feminism. Buy tickets now


You would think that a person who claims to value skepticism and questioning of one’s own biases, and who faces a daily barrage of ignorant dismissal of his own field, would know better than to engage in knee-jerk insults and poo-poohing of fields he knows nothing about. – Aoife O’Riordan  takes Richard Dawkins to task for his tweets about sociology and racism

I have addressed the question of whether Buddhism is a philosophy or a religion elsewhere. I argue that it is both philosophy and religion, and the whole “philosophy versus religion” argument amounts to shoving Buddhism into ill-fitting conceptual packaging. But what about the “naïve, petitionary, and superstitious” trappings? Are these corruptions of the Buddha’s teachings? Sometimes, perhaps, they are, but sometimes they aren’t. Understanding the difference requires looking deeply beneath the surface of Buddhist teaching and practice. – HJ Foley on Buddhism as an atheistic religion

I’ve been working on the holy water conundrum for several years now, ever since a priest visiting our school explained to me about the holy water tank outside a local church.  I suppose if there’s one man who could claim credit for making an atheist of me, the gentle Dominican friar would have to claim the ceremonial biscuit, by mixing — quite literally — religion and physics. – Bock the Robber on holy water

Secular Sunday

1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Joe Barry June 14, 2013

    I agree with much of what you have to say about organised religion and its negative impact, but when you say there’s no afterlife you are adopting the same dogmatic approach that religious fanatics rely on. There is considerable evidence to support the widely-held belief in an afterlife…no evidence whatsoever to support the BELIEF that there’s no afterlife. When I say evidence I don’t mean anything to do with religion, scriptures, faiths etc. The evidence from direct voice mediumship alone proves an afterlife exists. I suggest you study that evidence before simply stating blandly and arrogantly that death is the end of a person. A retired Australian lawyer, Victor Zammit, has assembled all the best evidence for life after death…objective scientific evidence…staying well clear of churches and dogmas etc. He has identified more than twenty areas of evidence and has challenged anyone to refute any one of these. Of course there are frauds who pretend to be mediums, and chancers of all sorts, but there are also mediums who prove time after time that can communicate with the “dead”. Look up the Scole experiments, the cross-correspondence experiment…the evidence of an afterlife is absolutely overwhelming. I tried to be athiest for a while after I saw through the absurdities of so many organised religious teachings and beliefs. The scientific evidence is what persuaded me that, while, religions may be batty, other levels of existence are really out there. Best of luck with your campaigns but it’s not as simple as saying “there’s no evidence for an afterlife”. There most definitely is. I suggest you sit in on a seance given by a really good medium…preferrably a direct voice medium, because it would be impossible for anyone to replicate a full two-way conversation between a living person and his/her “dead” loved one…especially when the medium doesn’t know you from Adam, has had no prior notification that you were calling. In direct voice seances, you hear the actual voice of the “dead” person- the medium doesn’t speak- and you can record whatever is said. Australian David Thompson is one…look him up. Victor Zammit’s website might interest you. It’s

    Study the evidence objectively, not with a closed mind. If it’s all nonsense, as you suggest, then you would have your belief confirmed. What have you to lose?