GMH Humanist Discussion Group

The Humanist Discussion Group has been meeting since January 2015, generally each month except July, August and December. We currently meet on second Tuesdays. Sometimes the date is changed, or a month missed, and sometimes we have met in July, August or December.

We are currently meeting by Zoom.

We aim to circulate discussion notes a few days in advance of the meeting. They vary in length from a few paragraphs to several A4 pages, and often include links to relevant websites.

The group is currently administered by John Coss. To join the mailing list for regular updates, email him at gmh@cossjc.plus.com

Link to discussion notes for the latest topic:
May – Luxury beliefs

The topics we have discussed at these meetings are listed below. Entries in bold type provide a link to the discussion notes for that topic, which can be accessed by clicking on the topic.

2015
January – A Convenient Truth – Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson
February – Free Will
March – Free Will (2)
April – Basic Income
May – World Population Issues
June – Resumé and eulogy virtues
September – Effective Altruism
October – Migration
November – Islam and the Future of Tolerance – the new book by Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz

2016
January – Moral and Cultural Relativism
February – Moral Relativism
March – How to be an Optimal Human

April – The Differences between Happiness and Meaning in Life
May – What is the Nature of ‘Self?
June – Is Humanism a Religion?
July – Free Speech
September – Personal Responsibility
October – Privatising and/or Policing of Public Spaces
November – the Flynn effect and its implications for morality

2017
January – Individualism
February – The Surveillance State

March – Artificial Intelligence and Morality
April – Epicurus
May – Stoicism
June – How well does the Richard Dawkins approach serve the Humanist cause?
September – Criticising Religion
October – Moral Luck
November – Douglas Murray – the strange death of Europe

2018
January – Kant’s categorical imperative
April – Should drugs be legalised?
May – Animal rights and welfare
June – The meaning and legacy of humanism
September – Nietzsche the Humanist
October – Michel Foucault: Re-examining power and history
November – The role of morality in a capitalist economy

2019
February – 21 Lessons for the 21st Century – Harari
March – Systems Thinking
May – Populism
June – What is a Successful Life?
September – Humanism and Spirituality
October – Woke and woke comedy

2020
January – The Banality of Evil
June – Citizens’ Assemblies
July – Is Panic in a Pandemic Preventable?
August – Science is the only source of true knowledge
September – Abraham Maslow

October – ‘Nudge’ Theory and Practice
November – The Great Barrington Declaration – re Covid-19
December – Mill’s Harm Principle in modern conditions

2021
January – Enhancing Homo sapiens
February – Cults: the Dangers of Undue Influence
March – Doughnut-Economics
April – The-Coddling-of-the-American-Mind
June – What can we learn from Arthur Schopenhauer?
July – From Atheism to Humanism booklet
September – How can we know ourselves?
October – Consciousness Explained
November – The Common Morality of Bernard Gert

2022
January – Are Values the New Religion?
February – The Origins of the COVID Pandemic and its Implications for International Regulation and Cooperation
March – Moral Foundations Theory
April – 1984
June – Is there life elsewhere in the Universe?

July – Some Things We All Should Agree On
September – Collective Narcissism
October – identifying as an Atheist, a Humanist, an Aweist
November – Ethical Decision Making Under Uncertainty

2023
January – The Future of Humanism
February – US Government Whistle Blowers – Saints or Sinners?
March – Beauty-and-Evil
May – Use and Abuse of ChatGPT
June – Are Gods Inevitable? The Psychology of Belief

September – The Hive Mind
October – Morality as Cooperation
November – Is it right to assess people and practices of the past against modern day morals?

2024
January – The Conversion of Ayaan Hirsi Ali

February – John Shelby Spong – a humanistic bishop?
April – Neurotheology
May – Luxury beliefs