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Tag Archive: Education

Mar 03 2014

Hunger games: food, money and how I grew up feeling fat

Twice in my life, I’ve been a bit rotund. Both times, it was a common enough experience. At eleven I gorged on pizza, chocolate bars and caramel ice creams, more available at secondary school than in our previously welfare-dependent house, and stayed a slightly tubby teenager till added height changed my proportions, though it may …

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Mar 02 2014

Dawkins, Grayling and the New College of the Humanities: secularists should know the dangers of private education

‘It’s high time that the atheist left asserted itself against the atheist right – an Occupy Skepticism, if you will.’ (Jeff Sparrow) Three years ago, A.C. Grayling – till shortly thereafter, the British Humanist Association’s president elect – announced plans for a private university. New College of the Humanities, whose doors have opened since, was thought …

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Feb 22 2014

Chutney, pineapples and flying spaghetti: why atheism can never be inoffensive enough

This month, posters were snatched from an atheist group at South Bank University. ‘Looking for logic?’ they read, Flying Spaghetti Monster in God’s place on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. ‘Pastafarianism is a real religion.’ Not quite The Satanic Verses, but student union officials took them down in the society’s absence, afraid they’d trigger ‘religious offence’. (The …

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Jan 02 2014

The right propelled last year’s ‘segregated seats’ debate – and yes, it matters

‘I am very well aware that journalists, politicians and policymakers alike may have great interest in stories like mine, and may even attempt to use them solely to progress their own agendas, some of which have a distinctly Islamophobic taint to them. That does not mean those stories are not important.’ So writes Shaheen Hashmat (alias @TartanTantrum), one …

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Dec 28 2013

Gender segregation on campus: a timeline of opposition in UK media

There’s been a lot of friction lately over who the main opponents were of segregated seats for men and women at Islamic campus talks, endorsed till recently by higher education group Universities UK. Priyamvada Gopal, in a December 16 post at the Rationalist Association originally entitled ‘The Right may have hijacked the issue of gender …

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Dec 24 2013

Class dismissed: how I went from homelessness to Oxford, and what Richard Dawkins has nightmares about

Say this city has ten million souls Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes * * * A letter in a too-large envelope came five years ago this week. The paper had shifted in the excess space so the plastic window meant for the address showed its initial lines of text instead. …

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Dec 17 2013

In support of Priyamvada Gopal

A new coinage of mine is ‘Rorschach text’ – a body of writing read necessarily according to prior sympathies. Scripture is, of course, the best example, but secular texts are just as liable to work this way, and we’re all as guilty of partial interpretation as each other. Yesterday, the Rationalist Association published a piece …

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Dec 17 2013

Do Muslim international students want segregation? Polling on ISocs, religiosity and gender mixing

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You’ve no doubt read by now of the much-maligned support of Universities UK for gender-segregated seating at campus events like those of the so-called Islamic Education and Research Academy, an organisation banned from several universities in Britain whose leaders explicitly oppose feminism and endorse violence against women and whose website doctors out photographs of female speakers offered …

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Dec 09 2013

What England’s creationist schools are teaching

Jonny1

“It’s the crapness!” yelled my mother, who almost never says anything more offensive than ‘oh blow’. “It’s not the doctrine or the terrible science or the politics… it’s the… CRAPNESS!“ In hindsight, leaving three boxes of Packets of Accelerated Christian Education (PACEs) at her house was perhaps not the kindest thing I could have done. “It’s a bubble!” she continued, warming to her rant. “It’s …

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Oct 11 2013

Updates on student union goings-on at LSE

Abishek Phadnis, one of the students castigated at LSE for donning Jesus and Mo t-shirts, gives his version of events in an account at Trending Central. Given the swamp of student union trouble waded through by atheists there in the past, he’s had no end of practice drafting succulently barbed rebukes; this latest doesn’t disappoint. The …

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