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Thursday, 24 January 2013

Glasgow Skeptics - Admiral Bar - 21/01/13 (Glasgow)

I've been keen to attend one of the nights arranged by Glasgow Skeptics for a while now, and this week everything sort of fell into place and I managed to trundle along with Cal Murray to listen in on the talks given by Dr Libby Wilson on voluntary euthanasia, Patrick Harvie on equal marriage rights for the LBGT community and Prof Wendy Savage on abortion rights.

These talks were all to be loosely based around the undue influence that religion has on the political process when it comes to how countries legislate on the matters at hand.

Unfortunately while I did enjoy myself, the twenty minute time frames that were allocated to the speakers fell far short of allowing them to really get their teeth into the areas of their expertise, and I got the distinct impression that all three had prepared specific talks and then had to do a last minute rewrite to bolt on the religious angle.

Maybe that wasn't the case, but for me it did come across as if there had been some confusion about what the umbrella subject was.

However it was far from disappointing, and I don't really want to give that impression at all.

Dr Libby Wilson has literally decades of experience, and in 2009 was actually arrested for her involvement in an assisted suicide was the first to speak.
So what we were getting was a lady who walked the walk and didn't just turn up to talk the talk.
Of interest to me was her comments about the BMA and how they had went from being against euthanasia. to then voting to be impartial on the subject. and then swayed back to their original stance, and I couldn't help but agree that, as mentioned, the stance should have always been an impartial one.
I was particularly impressed that the she dared to speak out and express her concerns about how increasingly more common within the medical establishment are Muslim doctors, and other professionals, and how their influence by sheer dint of numbers is starting to be felt in how policy is being reached.
Only the most irrational would have considered her comments to be Islamaphobic - and I suppose that needs to be said as very often the current trend is to jump forth with a call of having a racist agenda as soon as a perceived negative comment is made - as prior to this she had made no bones about how Christian representatives had often been in her opinion misusing their influence.
As expected the real root of the issue is about the separation of church and state, and that is not about the separation of one belief system from another, but all of them.
This was very clearly put across and I wouldn't want anyone thinking for one second that Dr Libby Wilson was conducting her own Nuremberg rally.
It is a matter that we should all consider.
Regardless of what faith it is we should be vigilant that policies are not introduced to appease one section of society over another.
No matter what that section is.

Next was Patrick Harvie who impressed me no end.
His understanding of the issue at hand was eloquently and charismatically expressed.
Most refreshing was his message that while there has always been opposition by religious groups to calls for equal marriage rights, and more, from the LBGT community, that they have always fell short of swaying the legislators from basing any decisions on common sense.
It would seem that while some of these issues are hot button ones for the press, the reality is that not many people are really that concerned about introducing equality laws (as that is what they are) and those at the coal face politics are aware of this.
Religious groups can shout as loud as they may wish, but to an extent we can all hear that it is bluster and little more.
Maybe a rage at the oncoming light rather than the dying of it.

Last, but obviously by no means least, was Prof Wendy Savage, whose passionate savaging of hypocritically attitudes towards abortion were well received.
When it is stated in plain English the reasons why some countries criminalize abortion it is ludicrously cringe worthy.
Pretty much most of us are aware of some of the nonsensical reasons that are rooted in religious dogma, but to hear the stories of women being allowed to bleed to death as health professionals look on impotently as they fear that they will be incarcerated, or worse, just screams the question what year are we living in.

Due to relying on public transport and that trains were being cancelled frequently due to the weather we headed of prior to the question and answer session so I'm sorry, but I can't comment on that.

As an introduction it was admirable enough so I fully expect that I will be back.

A nice change from rock and roll.

1 comment:

  1. Make your mind up.