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Evolution, Sexism and Racism – why definitions matter

Scientists often get annoyed, or even angry, when creationists claim “evolution is just a theory”. It’s often unclear whether creationists are deliberately using a widespread confusion about the use of the word “theory” in science to their advantage or whether they genuinely believe that the theory of evolution is simply a guess, an idea, that should be viewed as no more important or valid than any other idea about how life on Earth developed. As a science teacher, I often emphasise to my students the precise meaning of the word… Read more Evolution, Sexism and Racism – why definitions matter

Should atheism be included in Religious Education?

I’ve been delighted to find that The Young Atheist’s Handbook is being used in schools by teachers like Laura Cooper who wrote to tell me: “I recently read your book, The Young Atheists Handbook, and would just like to say as a teacher of Religious Studies how useful I have found it. It is exactly the kind of book I have been looking for to use with my students, in order to help them to develop a more nuanced understand of Atheism. I myself am currently completing a masters degree… Read more Should atheism be included in Religious Education?

Buying books you won’t read

積ん読 This is the Japanese word “tsundoku”, meaning “the act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piled up together with such other unread books” (amazing that such a short word can mean such a thing, but I’ll trust that the internet isn’t lying to me on this occasion). I have such a pile in my living room, containing well over 50 books. The pile emits a special radiation that induces guilt when I am in its vicinity… But buying books you won’t read can be a good… Read more Buying books you won’t read

Letter from a Turkish Reader

I received the following email from a Turkish reader of The Young Atheist’s Handbook. She has kindly let me share it here: Dear Mr. Shaha I read your book in Turkish some time ago. When I read your statement that you don’t know if your book can translate into your mother tongue or not, I feel sorry for you and feel myself lucky at the same time. I’m a Turkish Republic citizen and this kind of books can translate into my language. Unfortunately Islamist movements are getting stronger in Turkey… Read more Letter from a Turkish Reader

Introduction to Turkish Edition

The Turkish edition of The Young Atheist’s Handbook was published a few weeks ago. Over there, the publishers have gone with a different title, Tanrının Öldüğü Gün (“The Day God Died”), taken from chapter one of the English edition. Here’s the introduction I wrote for it: There is a Turkish grocery store in my neighbourhood which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is a remarkable sight on Christmas day, when most of London is eerily still and quiet because almost all other shops and businesses… Read more Introduction to Turkish Edition

What’s the point of Atheism?

What’s the point of Atheism? That’s the title of a panel discussion I’ll be taking part in at this weekend’s “Battle of Ideas” at the Barbican, organised by the Institute of Ideas. The blurb on the event’s webpage asks “how relevant is [atheism] in a society where fewer and fewer people are being raised with a belief in gods which they can reject? Is it precisely the lack of an experience of this personal emancipation, or journey towards humanism and reason, that leads atheists instead to direct their hostility at… Read more What’s the point of Atheism?

YAH on Tour

Lots of lovely people have asked me to give talks about the book so I will be travelling round the UK hoping to meet readers over the next few months. The list below provides details of the events I’ll be speaking at: 31st July Cheltenham Skeptics in the Pub (SitP) 9th August Book Barge, Barton Marina, Staffordshire 16th August Reading SitP 18th August London, Housman’s Bookshop 21st August Edinburgh SitP 25th August Talk for the “Ancestors’ Trail” in Somerset 27th August Greenbelt Festival 28th August Cambridge SitP 30th August Hampshire… Read more YAH on Tour

Bringing Home the Bacon

If you’ve read my book, you’ll know that I give over quite a few pages to the significance of bacon in my life. Here’s a short film made by my friend Barry Gibb which explains why eating bacon for the first time was, for me, a liberating rite of passage:

Lessons from the Young Atheist’s Handbook

As you’ve probably gathered if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, I’ve been relentlessly trying to build up interest in my book over the last few months in the hope that people might buy it when it’s finally released in the UK on July 19th. Not sure how successful my efforts have been (I suspect they’ve been pretty futile) but I’ve particularly enjoyed making this series of short videos which summarise what I think are the key “lessons” from the book. The films were animated by Jack Kenny and… Read more Lessons from the Young Atheist’s Handbook