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Mid West Humanists’ Submission to Minister for Education and Skills on admission rules to National Schools

On 16 January 2017 the Department of Education sought submissions from interested persons and groups on the role of denominational religion in the school admissions process and possible approaches for making changes.

The Mid-West Humanists today 11 March 2017 have sent the following submission to the Department.


Mid West Humanists                                                           March 2017


To Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Education and Skills


  1. The Mid-West Humanists make this submission
  2. Who the Mid-West Humanists are
  3. Mid-West Humanists’ reasons to meet includes the problems with education for those with no religion
  4. The plan we submit will benefit also people in religions with less numerous adherents, and will make governing the State and keeping peace easier
  5. Subjects that the Consultation Paper and the Minister mention, which this Submission uses
    5.1. Lower admission priority and the pressure to baptise are not fair to families and parents
    5.2. Ethos is a part of Approach 4(2) – so this Submission addresses ethos
    5.3. Understanding the different religions in the community and including all children with respect
    5.4. The Constitution of Ireland, parts relevant to education and State schools
  6. Principles of the Mid-West Humanists on which their view how to run National Schools is built
    6.1. A society fair to all people, and no rights for institutions
    6.2. Children’s rights,
    1) to develop intellectually, that adults and the State not blur their differentiation of ideas based on evidence and reason from ideas that people believe without evidence
    2) to know all the variety of people among whom they live/ will live, to feel at home in society
  7. The Mid-West Humanists’ view on the Paper’s 4 or 6 suggested approaches to admissions to schools
    7.1. General – all 4 or 6 approaches are unreasonable
    7.2. Approaches 1, 2, 3, 4(3)
    7.3. Approach 4(2) – pressure to agree to ethos is the same as pressure to baptise, unfair
    7.4. Approach 4(1) – children’s rights will be infringed after admission unless ethos is secular
  8. The Mid-West Humanists’ own view on the best admission rules, and the correct ethos
    8.1. Repeal the Equal Status Act 2000 Section 7.3(c) entirely
    8.2. Teachers must teach all the religions together to all children together, fairly and neutrally
    8.3. To not blur distinctions of basing on evidence, teachers not to state religious ideas as true
    8.4. The Constitution gives the teaching of religious doctrines to parents and not to the State
    8.5. The State makes children attend school, so it must be fair and make schools secular
  9. Replies to the 4 questions that the Consultation Paper asks about all approaches
    9.1. It is unfair that any religious group have State-funded schools
    9.2. The Constitution mandates the State removing religious influence in schools which it funds
    9.3. The legal support for National Schools and the Minister’s power to change how they run
    9.4. Unintended impacts of our approach are not a problem
  10. Additional ideas
    10.1. The value to society of all schools being secular, with no discrimination on admission
    10.2. Constitution and international conventions support secular ethos and no discrimination
    10.3. Misconceptions about National Schools’ legal status, and the real status
  11. Conclusion
    11.1. Changes needed and the power to make changes: the changes are constitutional
    11.2. Reasons for changes: children’s rights to development and to be at home in society

Continue reading


For anyone who hasn’t seen this yet…

Craig Venter and team make a historic announcement: they’ve created the first fully functioning, reproducing cell controlled by synthetic DNA. He explains how they did it and why the achievement marks the beginning of a new era for science.

You can read some opinions on this announcement here and here.

Scams, Sasquatch, and the Supernatural

I recently heard Brian Brushwood interviewed on the Skeptics Guide. This is the full video of the lecture he discusses in the interview, enjoy.

You can also see more of his videos here.

A Sign Of The (Old) Times

Hi all,

Apologies to my fellow bloggers and meeting goers for being so absent as of late! Anywho, I was wandering around Limerick with a German friend a week or two ago, and I came across this:

As you can see from the photo above, the plaque/memorial etc… I found speaks about the loss of a loved one. Now, to be fair, this is from the middle of the 19th Century (hence the title of this post) and it was found on the grounds of St. Mary’s Cathedral (you know the big noisy protestant one?) so this kind of religious rubbish is to be expected.

What I find interesting are two things. First of all, the phrasing of this memorial is ridiculously fawning. All of the attributes of the woman being mourned, virtue and amiability etc…, are viewed from the point of view of how well she fits into (their) God’s idea of good, upstanding traits. Her “departed worth” clearly wouldn’t be worth much if she had been one of Limerick’s poor at the time of her death, regardless of how good a parent she was, or how beloved and affectionate she was.
The other thing I find highly interesting, is that, despite the fact that this memorial plaque is clearly over 150 years old, it could quite easily have been written this year by any single devout religious believer who has a talent with flowery words. Am I the only one who is bothered by that…?

Interesting to think that most religious people in Limerick are still living in the world that existed at least 7 years before our beloved, amiable Charles Darwin published his ground-breaking work and turned the international scientific community away from the hokum of the ages. Also very pathetic…

Peace, my friends, and remember, don’t fall asleep in Jesus! You might never wake up again! 😉

Can This Be True?

dscf003311This just appeared on the Dublin Road in Limerick.  Can it be telling the truth?  I’m not well up on this but I’ve started to do a little research.  It looks like there are two elements of disinformation here. The message about adult stem cell cures is seriously overstated and they must be using a very low threshold for a definition of a treatment.  The message about embryonic stem cell research is technically true but the reason for this is that there hasn’t been enough time for treatments to be developed because of the delays imposed by the opposition of the anti-science crowd.   Of course here they are setting the bar high for a definition of a treatment.

Come on science geeks – time for you to get researching and blogging a response.

Happy Birthday Chuck!

There will be many eloquent and insightful posts written today but I think the below quote shows the beauty and elegance of Darwin’s theory better than I ever could. Best wishes to all marking this day.

darwin-colourIt is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.