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Archive for March, 2011

HowTheLightGetsIn (http://www.howthelightgetsin.org), the world’s first philosophy and music festival, is back at the end of May. Thinkers, performers, artists and musicians will be brought together for ten very special days, tasked with exciting the imagination and renewing the spirit.
With a unique blend of philosophical debate, solo talks, live gigs from household names and upcoming musicians, and top djs late into the night, HowTheLightGetsIn promises to be a sublime and cerebral start to the summer festival season.
The Festival will take place from 26th May to 5th June and the full programme will be announced in April.
Website + tickets: http://www.howthelightgetsin.org/

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In the ten years since Dan Dennett called for the scientific investigation of religion, there has been an explosion of research (such as Edinburgh University’s The Evolution of Religion Group and Oxford University’s Explaining Religion Project). Academics have abandoned their armchairs to conduct large scale surveys, perform experiments, run computer simulations or collect ethnographic data from a variety of cultures. Their results have been published in hundreds of research papers and more than a dozen books. John will survey some of this research, and ask whether a coherent picture of the evolutionary origins of evolution is emerging. If religious beliefs and behaviors promoted survival and reproduction in our ancestral past, then this would mean that religious beliefs and behaviors are (or were) adaptive, and that religion evolved as a product of natural (or cultural) selection. But what were they adaptations for?

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This week we are fortunate to have another presentation by Dr Neil Howard. It seems obvious to most of us that our minds are within our heads, but some contemporary thinkers have other ideas. Can we extend our mind ‘beyond skin and skull’? Is it outside our heads already anyway?
This talk examines some of these ideas, and where Neil thinks they lead to – often back inside our heads to the workings of our brains. Via topics as diverse as telepathy, telephones, trivia, transhumanism and tongue vision, it ultimately leads to the question: what counts as ‘me’?

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A recent survey found that more than 50% of women respondents didn’t feel women were treated equally to men, but only one in five would call themselves a feminist. Why might this be? A panel of mixed ages and experiences from the Swindon Feminist Network will lead a discussion on the relevance of feminism today. What progress has been made in achieving equality between the sexes? What more needs to be done? Come and share your experiences and ideas for how to create a more gender equal society.

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This Friday, the Bishop of Swindon, Lee Rayfield, will be talking about the moral & ethical issues around the concept of assisted suicide.
Do come along for what promises to be an interesting talk and discussion.

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