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Ethical Record Articles

The journal began in 1895 and is produced on an monthly basis. Primarily it has provided abstracts and edited essays of the Society’s Sunday Lectures. It has developed into a showcase journal of the Society’s activities and events at Conway Hall.

Wilma’s Story: Growing up in Nazi Germany and Colonial Rhodesi

CHES member Martin Page is known to those interested in secularist history as the author of Britain’s Unknown Genius (1984), an account of the life of SPES Appointed Lecturer J.M.Robertson. As well as providing useful editorial notes to the text, Martin has written the Preface to Wilma’s Story, which is based on the autobiography of […]

Aspiring to the Truth: Two Hundred Years of the South Place Ethical Society

Freethought author and member of the Society, Jim Herrick, was commissioned to write an account of the history of this Society from its inception in 1793 to date. The first history was written by Moncure D. Conway, the Minister of the South Place Ethical Society, entitled a Centenary History of the South Place Society (1894). […]

What Does Europe Want? The Union and Its Discontents

A double Freudian quote inspired by “What does a woman want?” plus the title of one of his most important works, raises the curtain on Slavoj Žižek’s (and Srećko Horvat’s) dissection of contemporary European woes. For Europe read EU. There is growing inequality which predated the financial crash but has been accelerated by it. There […]

Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World

Tim Whitmarsh, Professor of Greek Culture at Cambridge, has compiled a most valuable record of atheist thought in the ancient world of Greece and Rome. Humanists need to know this early history – it will prevent their believing that supernatural explanations of the world and religious morality predated naturalist and atheist outlooks. It may even […]

The Case for Abandoning CO2 Emission Reduction Targets

Global anthropogenic CO2 emissions continue their inexorable rise. The science shows that there is the increasing likelihood that the world is heading towards an environmental and humanitarian catastrophe. Yet despite the multitude of research papers, articles, meetings, and political activity dissipated in the last two decades, we seem to be incapable of implementing mitigation policies […]

Google, Government and the Death of Liberal Democracy

Whenever there is technological change, there is always political disruption. We’re currently living through one of the most profound technological revolutions in human history – so can we really expect our politics to remain unchanged? Technology and politics writer James O’Malley presents a provocative and sometimes shocking prognosis for democracy.  

Sex and Prostitution: Chalk and Cheese

‘Evil begins when YOU begin treating other people as things’. Terry Pratchett What is sex? What does it mean to enter a sexual encounter with another person? I say it is it an intimate, comfortable, reciprocal, safe, pleasurable meeting of bodies with the goal of enjoyment, and not premised on a major differential in any […]

The EU debate – le crunch

Many of us still have to make up our mind on the EU Referendum. Rather than the vital facts we generally have heard exaggerated claims and biased conjecture, making it virtually impossible for the average person to take a well-informed view. Indeed, is it so complex a matter that all you can do is make […]

Islamic Fascism by Hamed Abdel-Samad

During the parliamentary debate on 2nd December 2015 on the bombing of Islamic State targets in Syria, Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn made an impassioned speech in favour of the government’s motion. A key reason he provided was that Islamic State were “fascists and fascists must be defeated”. This was a rare instance of a […]

The Panama Papers, the Global Elite, and the Democratic Deficit

The Panama Papers have revealed the corruption and greed of the global elite. They have also underlined the hollowing out of democracy. We now inhabit a world in which wealth is more concentrated than ever before in human history. The hoovering of wealth to the top has accelerated since the 2008 Crash. This is happening […]

Is Humanism Dead?

Readers of the Ethical Record might remember from 1993 the intemperate rant against humanism by John Carroll. In Humanism: The Wreck of Western Culture, Carroll insisted that humanism is dead while also declaring it to be a major threat to western civilisation. Though hardly a coherent or measured criticism, Carroll’s philippic is a good enough […]

How David Hume became the First Modern Humanist

1. The Paradox of Modern Humanism At the heart of modern humanism is a paradoxical combination of attitudes: scepticism about religion, but optimism about human nature. By optimism about human nature I mean the view that, not only is it possible for us to be nice to each other, but it is possible for us […]

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