Category Archives: Coming soon

Up Coming Events – March 2013

Discussion Dinner: Meet and Greet

Tuesday 12 March, 5:30pm
School of Biology Building Tea Room
Paid members Free OR on the day $5.

A Talk on Charter Schools by Peter O’Connor

Tuesday 19th March, 6pm
Arts 1 Room 315
Speaker Profile:  Associate Professor O’Connor is an internationally recognised expert in applied theatre. His research has focused primarily on using applied theatre as a public education medium to address major social issues including public health, gender equity in schools and the development of inclusive, empathetic and critical school cultures. Recent applied theatre research includes national programmes on preventing family violence and child abuse and parenting programmes in Youth Justice Facilities. His work in Christchurch following the February earthquake has lead to UNESCO funded research and programme development. In 2011 he was named a New Zealander of the Year by North and South Magazine for this work. He is currently engaged in the ongoing debates about charter schools and the nature of quality public education. Peter was previously the National Education Manager for the Race Relations Office and the National Project manager for the Like Minds campaign with the Mental Health Foundation. His 2003 PhD on his work in forensic psychiatric units won the 2006 AATE Distinguished Dissertation Award in Washington DC.

Same Sex Marriage and Religious Exemptions: 

How New Zealand Law and International Human Rights Law Interact. 

Tuesday 26th March, 6pm 
Arts 1 Room 315
Abstract: This talk will give an overview of how international human rights law has developed since its origins in the aftermath of World War II, and how that body of law now interacts with New Zealand’s own law. Against that background, the current debate about same sex marriage, and the case for religion-based exemptions from solemnising same-sex marriages, will be explored.
Speaker Profile: Paul Rishworth joined The University of Auckland Faculty of Law in 1987. His research interests are in the field of human rights and comparative constitutional law, and South Pacific legal studies. His work on the New Zealand Bill of Rights has been widely cited by peers, practitioners and judges. He has worked over the years as a consultant and advisor for government agencies and groups, including the Human Rights Commission, in New Zealand and overseas, on issues ranging from restrictions on hate speech to the autonomy of religious organisations to hire and ordain leaders. Paul was the Faculty Dean and the Head of the Department of Law 2005-2010. He remains involved in the litigation of civil rights issues in the higher courts and in community organisations. Most recently he submitted in person the NZ Law Societies submission to the same same-sex Marriage Bill. Details of this submission and the NZ Law Societies position can be found here:

A Talk on His Book: “Seeking God In Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design”

Friday 29th March (Good Friday), 5:30pm
Biology Building BLT100
About the book: The doctrine of intelligent design is often the subject of acrimonious debate. Seeking God in Science cuts through the rhetoric that distorts the debates between religious and secular camps. Bradley Monton, a philosopher of science and an atheist, carefully considers the arguments for intelligent design and argues that intelligent design deserves serious consideration as a scientific theory. Monton also gives a lucid account of the debate surrounding the inclusion of intelligent design in public schools and presents reason why students’ science education could benefit from a careful consideration of the arguments for and against it.
A podcast of an earlier discussion with Bradley Monton is available here:

Meetings in 2012

We had our first meeting for 2012 last week, where Natasha talked about pornography in the meeting called “Make love not porn?”. This week we’re going to be discussing the Kony 2012 issue, and next week local skeptic and magic man Nathan Grange is joining us to talk about magic, skepticism and psychology. For more news and discussion (and event invites), please join our Facebook group!

We’re meeting this semester on Fridays at 5pm (usually finishing at 6-7) and the room is Case Room 1, Owen G. Glenn building. For now the priority is to get some more meetings organized and get the meeting organizers more organized. If we get all that done, we might look at adding a second weekly meeting time, especially for those who can’t come on Friday evenings, but probably not until the second half of semester if at all. We have no current plans for meetings during the mid-semester or exams break.

Posted by Richard

Coming up during the next couple of months

(Posted by Richard)

After taking a week off this week we’re having Monday meetings for the next three weeks. (These will all be at our usual time and place of Case Room 4, Owen G. Glenn building at 5-7 pm. Also note we’re no longer having Thursday meetings.)

Next Monday we’re discussing science funding with Professor Louise Nicholson from the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences (our first guest from this faculty). She recommends you read an article that I’ll send out by email soon (are you signed up to get emails?) to get your thinking on this issue started.

On Monday 20th we’re discussing mating systems, including human mating systems. Natasha, an RSS member and postgrad biological anthropology student, is going to give a talk on the topic to start us off. Finally, on Mon 27th June we’re discussing the origins of religious thought, with another RSS member, Andrew Latham (a postgrad psychology student). Andrew has a keen interest in this area and hopes to study it as part of his PhD in the future. Both of these last two topics were chosen by popular vote on our new look Facebook group (other popular ideas include whether drug prohibition should continue and liberty and reproduction).

We’ll also be having two more posts in the diet dialogue between Kevin and Blair who are going to post two more responses/rebuttals. We’re hoping to have more dialogues like these in future (perhaps I’ll take on one of our Christian members on some of our deepest differences?) If you’d like to take part in such a dialogue, or if you’d just like to create some content for the site, please let us know.

I’m also hoping to start an RSS podcast soon. This will consist of interviews with academics, mainly from the UoA, for about half an hour to an hour in length. Topics I’d like to discuss include sea level rise, metaphysics and the behaviour and ecology of bats. With fewer meetings and such to organize over the exam/intersemester breaks I should have time to get the podcast idea rolling at last.

As the semester ends we’re saying goodbye to enthusiastic member Tim Raybould, who came to many of our events this semester and gave a talk on mass extinctions as well as taking part in the student forum; he’s going back to the UK after a semester in NZ. We’ll also be without core members Megan and our current treasurer Kevin who are both also going overseas for a few months. This presents a good chance for you to get involved with RSS to help us keep making progress!