Monday 18 May 2009

Darwin, Humanism and Science

On June 6th the British Humanist Association is hosting a one-day conference at Conway Hall in London on evolution - its teaching in schools, and the conflict between evolution and creationism. Until recently I would have been surprised to see a whole day devoted to this topic, as I wasn't aware that in Britain we had much of a problem with creationism. Then I discovered a creation museum within ten miles of where I live.

When I realised I could attend this event without taking time off work I decided that in view of my recent visit to said creation museum I really ought to go. It's now sold out, but fortunately I was in time to get a ticket. I hope to be reporting on the event here.

The programme, in brief, is as follows.
Welcome from Polly Toynbee, president of the BHA

‘Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution’
Professor Richard Dawkins

Teaching of evolution in European schools
Professor Charles Susanne, Free University of Brussels, Belgium

Insidious Creationism: the intellectual abuse of children through creationist books, comics and literature
James Williams, University of Sussex, England

Lost in education: on the cognitive biases that impede our acceptance of evolutionary theory
Johan De Smedt, University of Ghent, Belgium

“Evolutionary Humanism”: How to cope with the ‘moral’ arguments against evolution
Dr Michael Schmidt-Salomon, Giordano-Bruno Foundation, Germany

Hinduism and the Myth of Evolution
Babu Gogineni, International Humanist and Ethical Union, India

‘Humanism and Science’
Professor A C Grayling, Birkbeck College, London, England
This should be a comprehensive overview. The detailed schedule on the BHA website indicates there will be opportunities for questions.