Debate: Does the universe have a purpose?

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Hear what Michael Shermer has to say.

Christopher Hitchens: 'You have to choose your future regrets'

I wasn't sure what, or perhaps whom, to expect as the door opened at Christopher Hitchens's top-floor apartment in downtown Washington. The last time I had interviewed the renowned polemicist, author, literary critic and new resident in the medical state he's called "Tumortown" was in 2005. On that occasion, after a 5am finish to our extravagantly lubricated conversation, it was I who had felt the pressing need of hospital attention.

Since then there have been two dramatic changes in his circumstances. The first was the international bestselling success of his 2007 anti-theist tome God is Not Great. After decades of acclaimed but essentially confined labour, Hitchens suddenly broke out to a mass audience, becoming arguably the global figurehead of the so-called New Atheists. Almost overnight he was upgraded from intellectual notoriety, as an outspoken supporter of the invasion of Iraq, to the business end of mainstream fame. In America, in particular, he has reached that rare position for a journalist of becoming a news story himself.
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First JREF in the Classroom Module Now Available Free

 Do You Have E.S.P.? exposes students to concepts identified in the national science content standards and AAAS science literacy benchmarks related to the scientific process, Science as Inquiry, and Science in Personal and Social Perspectives and does so while presenting a topic of great interest to students as a result of E.S.P.'s wide-spread acceptance and its prominent place in popular culture.

Do You Have ESP? can be downloaded here.
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The Skeptic’s Skeptic

SCIENCE VALUES DATA and statistics and champions the virtues of evidence and experimentation. Those of us “viewing the world with a rational eye” (as the new descriptor for this column reads) also have another, underutilized tool at our disposal: rapier logic like that of Christopher Hitchens, a practiced logician trained in rhetoric. Hitchens—who is “leaving the party a bit earlier than I’d like” because of esophageal cancer, as he lamented to Charlie Rose in a recent PBS interview—has something deeply important to o!er on how to think about unscientific article

Paganism could join the six world religions taught in county schools

PAGANISM could be taught in Lincolnshire's schools after the issue was raised with the county's religious education advisor.
The question of whether Paganism should join the six world religions on the curriculum was raised with Lincolnshire County Council's body for religious education.
The board, due to meet again today, left the topic open for discussion after the RE advisor said she would look into the issue.
Minutes from a meeting of the Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (Sacre) in March said: "The RE advisor reported she had looked into the query about Paganism forming part of the school curriculum.
"It was determined this covered a broad range of beliefs and practices.
"However, there was no direct guidance about whether it should be included, and it was left to the individual schools to make the decision about whether to include it.
"The RE adviser told the committee she would keep her eye on the situation and report back should there be any developments."
The Pagan religion venerates nature and worships many deities, both goddesses and gods.
The cycle of the natural year is seen by most Pagans as a model of spiritual growth and renewal, and as a sequence marked by festivals which offer access to different divinities according to their affinity with different times of year.
In October, Druidry was recognised as a religion in Britain for the first time. The Charity Commission accepted it as a faith and gave it the charitable status afforded to other religious groups.

Reported in Lincolnshire Echo

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