The rifts in recent years between some mostly American atheist and skeptic bloggers, that have recently been misrepresented as affecting the atheist movement globally, can be dated to events arising from the 2011 World Atheist Convention in Dublin, organised by Atheist Ireland.

Some mythologies have since evolved about some of those events, and I am going to write a series of posts about what actually happened and how some events have come to be misremembered and misrepresented.

In this first post, I am going to describe the panel contributions at the session on women in atheism at the 2011 World Atheist Convention.

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The 2014 Atheist Ireland AGM and public meeting will take place next Saturday, 25 October, in Wynnes Hotel in Abbey Street, Dublin. We have had a very busy political year since our last AGM, with some major breakthroughs at the UN Human Rights Committee and the Government finally announcing a referendum next year to remove the blasphemy clause from the Constitution.

  • The morning session, from 11am to 12.30pm, is for members only. It will include a review of our last year’s activities, arrangements for our programme of work for this year, election of officers and an amendment to our constitution.
  • The afternoon session, from 2pm to 4pm, is open to the public. We will discuss and get feedback on our plans for next year, including our campaign for the blasphemy referendum, our secular education campaign and our international human rights work.

This post lists and links to some highlights in the following categories:

1. International Political Lobbying on Human Rights
2. National Political Lobbying on Constitutional Change
3. National Political Lobbying on Secular Education
4. National Political Lobbying on other Secular Issues
5. Primary School Lessons about Atheism
6. Sample Media Events
7. Sample Debates and Talks

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Update: Latsot has now repeated on his blog his allegation that I defend rapists, writing “This is what I mean when I say that Michael Nugent defends rapists. It’s what I always meant. I stand by it. I didn’t apologise for that and I don’t apologise for it now.” He has written of his previous Twitter apology: “It was a not-pology: sorry you thought that’s what I what I said. Sorry if I came across that way. But what I said stands.” Here is Latsot’s up-to-date allegation.

My original post:

Latsot, a pseudonymous occasional guest blogger at FreeThought Blogs, has withdrawn and apologised for their repeated allegation that I defend rapists, saying that they had intended to convey something else.

Latsot allegation 1
Latsot allegation #2
Latsot apology #1
Latsot apology #2

I welcome and accept Latsot’s withdrawal and apology. It is not an easy thing to do, particularly on emotionally intense issues, particularly after repeating the allegation when first challenged, and particularly having published rather than just said the allegation.

This might be a positive first step in trying to reverse the demonisation of some atheists by PZ Myers and others, which has resulted in increasingly serious allegations being casually made as if they were an acceptable part of normal discourse.

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Atheist Ireland’s recommendations to the OSCE human rights meeting in Warsaw last month are now available here on the OSCE website, along with the following documents:

  • Our formal statements to the meeting
  • Dublin Declaration on Secularism and Religion in Public Life
  • 5 steps to secularism securing civil rights in Ireland
  • Dublin Declaration on Secularism Empowering Women
  • 5 steps to secularism empowering women in Ireland
  • Our formal statements to the 2012 and 2103 meetings

Here are our recommendations for the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe), the ODIHR (Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights), the Irish State, and other OSCE States and Non-Governmental Organisations.

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How my eldest cat Duck died today, and the ethics of euthanising pets

October 15, 2014

My eldest cat Duck died today, at about eighteen years old. He was a rescue cat, and Anne and I called him Duck when we got him because he had been rescued from the Royal Canal, where some children were trying to drown him. Duck was blissfully unaware of how much Ireland has changed in […]

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Is Islam a religion of peace? The full debate from NUI Galway

October 13, 2014

This is the full debate hosted by the NUI Galway Literary and Debating Society debate last week on the topic ‘Is Islam a religion of peace?’ The speakers are: For the motion Dr Oliver Scharbrodt, Prof of Islamic Studies at the University of Chester Shaykh Dr Umar al-Qadri of the Al-Mustafa Islamic Cultural Centre Abdullah […]

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PZ Myers has failed five times to justify his smear that I am defending and providing a haven for rapists on my blog

October 13, 2014

PZ Myers has not yet withdrawn or apologised for his serious allegation that I am defending and providing a haven for rapists, and that the evidence for this is that some people who comment on my blog also post on a different internet discussion forum. This is another example of the ratcheting up online of serious […]

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Is Islam a religion of peace? It is an integrated religious, political and judicial ideology of social governance imposed by force

October 12, 2014

This is my contribution to the NUI Galway Literary and Debating Society debate last week on the topic ‘Is Islam a religion of peace?’ We’ll have the full debate online tomorrow. Other speakers were Dr Oliver Scharbrodt, Prof of Islamic Studies at the University of Chester; Shaykh Dr Umar al-Qadri of the Al-Mustafa Islamic Cultural […]

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I will be debating in Galway at 7pm today on the topic ‘Is Islam a religion of Peace?’

October 9, 2014

I will be debating in Galway at 7pm today on the topic ‘Is Islam a religion of Peace?’ The debate is organised by the Literary and Debating Society at the National University of Ireland, Galway and is in the Kirwan theatre. The speakers are: Shaykh Dr Umar al-Qadri of the Al-Mustafa Islamic Cultural Centre Dr Oliver Scharbrodt, Prof […]

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Pope Francis is a Pope of the global South, with good PR in the global North

October 8, 2014

The Irish Times today published some short opinions by non-Catholics about Pope Francis. There are views from Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, Methodist, Jewish, Muslim and atheist backgrounds, as well as the former chief executive of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church. This is my contribution, slightly edited in the published version. […]

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