Sunday, April 19, 2015

CFI UK EVENT: Event Title: Searching for Satan: Miscarriages of memory, fractured families and Satanic panics





(Photo: Wikipedia/Creative Commons; design: Lauren Wade)

Centre for Inquiry UK and Anomalistic Psychology research Unit, Goldsmiths present:


Searching for Satan: Miscarriages of memory, fractured families and Satanic panics


Discover how the unreliability of memory has led to grave miscarriages of justice, including panics about Satanic abuse. Can memories really be ‘recovered’ by therapists? To what extent can we rely on the memories of witnesses in historic abuse cases? Some deeply disturbing cases will be investigated.

6th June 2015

Venue: Room LG02 in the Professor Stuart Hall Building (formerly the New Academic Building),
Goldsmiths College, University of London
New Cross, London SE14 6NW
Find us: https://www.gold.ac.uk/find-us/
PLEASE NOTE VENUE IS NOT CONWAY HALL
Talk 1:

Time: 11:00-12:00

Title: What people believe about memory that ain’t necessarily so.

Speakers: Prof Chris French & Dr James Ost

Biographies:

Professor Chris French is Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London. He frequently appears on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal and related claims. He writes for the Guardian and The Skeptic magazine. His most recent book is Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring Paranormal Belief and Experience.

Dr James Ost is a Reader in Applied Cognitive Psychology at the Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth, UK.  His research focuses on the inherently context-dependent nature of memory and remembering, focusing mainly on false memories for real life events (childhood memories, sexual abuse, terrorist attacks).  He has advised police forces on interview strategy, written expert reports on memory evidence, and has served as an expert witness at court. 

Summary:

Surveys show that a large proportion of the general public hold many beliefs about memory that are just plain wrong. Even more worrying, so do psychotherapists, psychologists, and professionals involved in legal services, a situation that can lead to miscarriages of justice. Chris French and James Ost summarise our current understanding of the nature of memory. (NB: This presentation includes a quiz for you to assess your own level of understanding - so bring pen and paper!)"

RELIGIOUS EPISTEMOLOGY: A CONFERENCE FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC AT HEYTHROP COLLEGE



The Royal Institute of Philosophy presents

RELIGIOUS EPISTEMOLOGY:
A CONFERENCE FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC AT HEYTHROP COLLEGE

19th and 20th June 2015

Heythrop College, University of London, Kensington Square, London W8 5HN (very close to Kensington High St. tube)

Funds for video-recording talks have been provided by The Templeton Foundation.

This is a free, two-day conference aimed at the general public. It makes accessible some of the exciting, cutting edge work recently done in religious epistemology. All speakers are leading figures in the field (two are flying in specially from the States).

Talks will be jargon-light and non-technical, presenting new ideas and insights to help inform and illuminate on-going public debate.

This event will appeal to anyone with an interest in continuing public debates about the rationality of religious belief (particularly post The God Delusion). A-Level students are very welcome to attend. The talks will be of particular interest to teachers, journalists, and other writers with an interest in religion.

This conference is free to attend, but it is likely to be very popular. We recommend you book your place in advance. To book a place on either one or both days contact: email: campus-services@heythrop.ac.uk tel: 020 7795 4194/4163. Some single B&B accommodation is available £60 plus VAT.

Timetable

Friday 19th June

10.30-11.00  Registration etc.
11.00-11.10 Welcome
11.10-12.10 John Cottingham: Detachment, Rationality, and Evidence
12.15-1.10 Lunch break
1.10-2.10 Trent Dougherty: Divine Hiddenness and The Problem of Evil
2.30-3.30 Duncan Pritchard: Wittgenstein on Faith and Reason
3.50-4.50 Stephen Law: How Might Religious Belief be 'Defeated'?

Saturday 20th June

10.15-10.30 Registration
10.30-11.30 Justin Baylor: The Problem of Evil and Skeptical Theism
11.40-12.40 Charity Anderson: Divine Hiddenness: Are Glimpses Enough?
12.40-1.30 Lunch break
1.30-2.30 John Hawthorne: TBA
2.30-2.40 Farewell

(meals are not provided)

The conference will be of particular interest to those interested in the following questions:

·      Should a religious belief be rejected if there is little evidence in its support?
·      Can we just know God exists, or that a particular religion is true, by direct revelation?
·      If God exists, why doesn't he reveal himself more clearly?
·      Is religious language used in such a way that questions about truths, evidence, and so on, are inappropriate?
·      Does the problem of evil pose a significant threat to theism?
·      Might science refute theism?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Today's powerpoint at Manwood school - religious language

n  Religious Language
n  Stephen Law
n  Verification, Falsification, Wittgenstein
n  In this session we will:
n  Outline Ayers Verification Principle and his attack on the meaningfulness of religious language (plus criticisms)
n  Outline Flews use of falsification (plus criticisms).
n  Outline some Wittgensteinian moves to defend religion (plus criticisms).

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

'Has Science Buried God?' Opening statement from my debate in Trondheim Norway

 
(Photo - hall starting to fill before the debate)
 
Here's my opening statement from today's debate with Christian evangelist and debater Peter Payne in Trondheim, Norway today.
 
HAS SCIENCE BURIED GOD?
 
Thank you to the organisers for inviting me to participate in this excellent event. I'm delighted to be here.
 
In one of his online resources Peter Payne says, and I quote:
 
"The net of scientific method, namely the net of hypothesis and experimental/observational test, is unable to demonstrate either the truth or falsity of the Christian faith, for it is simply the wrong kind of net to capture what is relevant."
 
Peter is not alone in thinking Christianity is off limits to science, of course. Many Christians would agree with him. However it seems to me Peter's claim is pretty clearly wrong. Science can be a threat to religious beliefs, and indeed to Christian belief. I'm going to explain how. Continues here.