Skip to content

Category: Blog

Blog posts

Looking more closely at the world

It’s been a while since The Young Atheist’s Handbook was published but I’ve continued writing about Atheism and Humanism in New Humanist magazine and elsewhere and I have become a trustee of the British Humanist Association. However, I’ve been focussing on my work in science education and am proud to announce that Demo: The Movie, a film about how and why we should use demonstrations in science teaching, is now available to view. It’s very much a film for science teachers and it looks at how we can get our… Read more Looking more closely at the world

Too many songs about love, not enough about friendship?

“Love songs have been a majority of all songs ever written” and “Love in music has been expressed in all cultures and among all gender, race, and age groups” are claims made by social scientists who study this sort of thing. I suspect no-one reading this will be surprised by these statements or find them difficult to believe, but I think it’s a pity that we have elevated romantic love to such a privileged position in popular culture that we neglect other forms of love, particularly friendship. There are lots… Read more Too many songs about love, not enough about friendship?

GCSE Science Consultation

The Government is currently carrying out a consultation on the draft criteria for GCSE Science. Physics textbook writer David Sang, who I’ve worked with in making a number of physics demonstration films, has some concerns which he’s allowed me to share here: I have specifically commented on the Physics sections as I feel unqualified to comment on Biology and Chemistry – although these are clearer and briefer. I have restricted myself to two or three examples of each type of problem, although I could have come up with many more… Read more GCSE Science Consultation

Credit where credit’s due

I remember the first time I saw my name in the credits of a TV programme – it was for the BBC’s Blood of the Vikings. It felt awesome. A few years later, I was lucky enough to see the words “A film by Alom Shaha” on the big screen at the Ritzy Picturehouse, where my short film Do Make Friends was being screened. That felt awesome too. This morning, I saw a tweet from @guardianscience about a film which I am incredibly proud to have written, directed and produced:… Read more Credit where credit’s due

Knowing, and loving, fictional characters

A little reading around the subject reveals that some of the Biblical stories featuring the Abrahamic God are almost certainly loose adaptations of earlier myths. Noah was not the first character in a story who had to deal with a massive flood, and Jesus was not the first to be born when a woman was impregnated by a god. The figure of the Abrahamic God has evolved from earlier gods, and continues to evolve as new interpretations of the Abrahamic religions or, indeed, entirely new religions, spring up. In one… Read more Knowing, and loving, fictional characters

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