Simon Nightingale on radio: Wisdom and tolerance

Simon_NightingaleSimon Nightingale talks about wisdom and tolerance, and how it can be learned from adversity, from 1h:21 to 1h:27 on the timeline. Available until the following Sunday.

Simon Nightingale interview on BBC Radio Shropshire, 4 March

Simon_NightingaleSimon says he didn’t have a chance to say all that he would
have liked to say.
To hear it go to:-
and listen on the time line between 2.13.00 and 2.23.00.

Online now: Simon Nightingale on moral decisions and trolleyology

exphilSimon Nightingale, our chairman, spoke on BBC Radio Shropshire’s “Pause for Thought” today.

Simon’s talk discusses how our instinctive moral decisions are often very good, but sometimes can lead us astray. He illustrates this with examples of thought experiments known as trolleyology. If you would like to read more about how intuition can lead us astray – try Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. For an entertaining account of trolley-ology and a simple review of normative ethics, try Would you Kill the Fat Man by David Edmonds.

Listen between 1:19:15 and 1:25:30 on the time-line. It is available to listen to for the next 29 days.

Simon Nightingale on radio: freethinking in Bangladesh, and human rights

Simon_NightingaleSimon gave another  Pause for Thought on Radio Shropshire on Sunday morning. You can listen to it by going to between 1:20:00 to 1:25:00 on the timeline. The programme is available for 7 days.

The present UK government is planning to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, mainly because they don’t want to give human rights to those they don’t like. For example, David Cameron is reported as saying that the thought of giving prisoners the vote (as required by ECHR) made him feel physically sick.

Simon Nightingale on BBC Shropshire on how we know what’s true

Simon spoke on BBC Radio Shropshire again on 19 April. The talk is online for 7 days. If you would like to listen, it is on the timeline just after 1:21:00:



Simon Nightingale on the thought crime of not having a religion

Available until Saturday. Listen from 1:19:00 to 1:25:00 on the time line.

Simon Nightingale: Radio Shropshire talk on innate morality

Simon_NightingaleSimon Nightingale writes: My humanist “Pause for Thought” homily on Radio Shropshire this morning was on innate morality, which leads into a discussion on liberal and conservative (philosophical, not political) differences. This is described better and at length by John Haidt in his TED lecture:

In the USA the liberal/conservative divide is greater than in Europe and, of course, both Democrats and Republicans are well to the right of mainstream European parties.

My final implicit message today was to discourage listeners from voting for extreme parties, but instead to concentrate on the shared moral basis of society. Then later this morning, I walked with others around parts of Shrewsbury, delivering a newsletter from the “HOPE NOT HATE” organisation. More about that at

If you wish to hear my “Pause for Thought”, go to and listen on the time line between 1:18.00 and 1.23.00. It is only available for the next week.


Simon on the radio (listen now) and Sam in London

s_nightingaleSHG member Simon Nightingale was talking on Radio Shropshire again on Sunday 12 January, this time about Sunday Assemblies.
If you would like to listen you will find him on the timeline between 1.19.35 and 1.25.10. The link is available for a week.

Next week’s Sunday Assembly in London is being taken by Simon’s son Sam, also a neurologist, and is on the topic ‘The  Brain’.

Simon Nightingale’s radio talk

On Sunday Simon Nightingale did his regular slot on Shropshire Radio’s religious affairs programme.
If anyone would like to hear it, go to the link for the Ryan Kennedy programme,
Then move the cursor on the time line to 1.18; it last about 6 minutes.
It is on line only until Saturday.

Simon Nightingale on faith

s_nightingaleSimon Nightingale recently gave this talk on Radio Shropshire on the Sunday morning ‘Pause for Thought’ slot. The podcast link has now expired.

I had some difficult drafting this talk about belief, because the ethos of Shropshire Radio’s Pause for Thought is that one should provide some insight from ones own religion (or world stance/philosophy in the case of humanism and maybe Buddhists) and that this should be for all listeners. We are specifically forbidden to preach or to criticise other religions.

Humanism is almost alone in rejecting “faith” (belief with very little evidence) and especially “blind faith” (belief with no evidence or even evidence to the contrary). However faith is rather precious to those that have it and they don’t like it criticised. So I talk about belief in a flat world rather than faith in the truth of Genesis, parting of the Red Sea, virgin birth , miracles, resurrection, Mohamed’s miraculous flight from Mecca to Jerusalem, gods with the head of an elephant, alien invasion by Thetans, Jesus’ visit to North America, and … the list seems endless. All are examples of faith, if not blind faith.

I also wanted to say that just because an idea seems incredible, evidence may show it to be true, for example, relativity and quantum mechanics. Occasionally science has had to make a fundamental paradigm shift and accept what previously it rejected – in fact this is really very rare.

When I say that Derren Brown admits it’s all a trick, I imply that, if instead he’d claimed to be a prophet, he might con an awful lot of people. That’s why claims that seem magical need the most careful scientific scrutiny to check we’re not being hoodwinked. James Randi, the famous magician, has offered one million dollars for anyone who can prove under proper experimental conditions, such supernatural phenomena as dowsing, homeopathy, mind reading, prayer or spiritualism. As a humanist and a scientist, I (sort of) keep an open mind on these as I know of no convincing evidence either way. Their fantastic claims would be easy enough to prove with properly conducted research – but most believers don’t seem interested in scientific proof (or in James Randi’s million dollars!), because they have a faith that does not require evidence.

I end by suggesting that we should not reject the incredible, but that we look at the evidence – of course most religions are not interested in providing evidence; they just ask you to have faith too.

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