Welcome to Dorset Humanists

Welcome to Dorset Humanists. We are a local charity which exists to meet the diverse needs of people who identify as having 'no religion'. According to surveys, that's more than 50% of the UK population.

Music: a Humanist Perspective by Teddy Prout

When? Wednesday 23rd October 7.30pm
Where? Green House Hotel, Grove Road, BH1 3AX

Our speaker Teddy Prout is a classically trained musician and he was the director of performing arts at a large academy in West London for many years. He is now the Director of Community Services at Humanists UK, but continues to write and perform music. Teddy will be exploring the concepts of music, how it works, and how humans use it to create meaning in our lives. The talk will explore the common themes that music from a variety of cultures covers, and if there is such a thing as 'humanist music'. Using well known, and not so well known, examples of music, it is hoped the talk will be as entertaining as it will be informative.

Teddy Prout
Going? https://www.meetup.com/Dorset-Humanists/events/264425933/

Surveillance Capitalism – who owns our privacy? A talk by Henri Ruff.

When? Saturday 12th October 2.00pm
Where? Moordown Community Centre, Coronation Avenue, BH9 1TB

'Surveillance capitalism' may be the latest mutation in the evolution of capitalism in the digital age. It's a form of market capitalism that transforms human behaviour and experience into digital data which is then used as a free source of raw material for commercial exploitation. It raises a number of concerns:-

  • The 'top-down' (rather than horizontal) nature of the surveillance, with the prospect of a high degree of centralisation and concentration of the digital data leading to monopolistic behaviour and the concentration of wealth in this form of capitalism
  • Increasingly, surveillance is surreptitious, unknown to those being monitored
  • Even where consent is obtained, it's coercive or based on the illusion of consent

Digital data is not merely a marketable product but arguably a manipulative tool to influence and even determine customers' behaviour. So who are the main players? What's new about surveillance capitalism and what's not? What's the problem and what are the possible solutions?


Henri Ruff is an economist and a member of Dorset Humanists. He has worked as a tutor for the Open University Business School and since moving to Dorset he has been leading a weekly U3A discussion group on 'Everyday Economics'. This is his second very interesting talk for Dorset Humanists.

Going? https://www.meetup.com/Dorset-Humanists/events/264425787/

Evolutionary Psychology and the Blank Slate. A talk by Johan Nayer

When? Wed Sept 25th 2019
Where: Green House Hotel

Continuing our series on the brain, evolutionary psychologists see the brain as an evolved entity that has been shaped over millennia but they have come into direct conflict with social scientists who believe that we are born as 'blank slates' and that all information about our minds is placed on us by our society. Cultural Marxists take this even further by stating that we are defined by our race, class, and gender, and that we must add up our 'oppressor points' and our 'victim points' to give us our place in society. Johan will explore how these ideas conflict, including the work of thinkers such as Steven Pinker and Jordan Peterson.
Johan Nayer
Johan Nayar has a Masters in Evolutionary Psychology and he is the author of The Creativity Manual: The book for right-brained thinking in a left-brained world. Johan had a 'life-changing' backpacking trip to India at the age of nineteen. Since then, he has travelled extensively through South America and Asia and developed his skills as a writer and musician. This is his first talk for Dorset Humanists.

Details? https://www.meetup.com/Dorset-Humanists/events/264425471

The Human Brain: Probably the most complex object in the universe Norman Maclean

When? Saturday 14th September 2.00pm
Where? Moordown

What? The Human Brain: Probably the most complex object in the universe
by Norman Maclean


With over 100 billion nerve cells, each with between 1,000 and
10,000 interconnections, the Human brain is the most complex
structure in the universe. In this talk, Norman Maclean will discuss its
structure, the different functions of its distinct parts, the roles of the
left and right hemispheres, and how it performs in sleep. He will also
talk about brain operations by neurological surgeons, and what goes
wrong in diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, and
brain tumours.

Norman Maclean is Emeritus Professor in Genetics at Southampton
University and a Patron of Humanists UK. He has written or edited a number of books including Silent Summer: The State of Wildlife in Britain and Ireland (2010) Cambridge University Press. Norman has given us fascinating talks in the past including evolution and animal rights.

Details? https://www.meetup.com/Dorset-Humanists/events/264425116/

Photo By BruceBlaus. Blausen.com staff (2014). "Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014". WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436. - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60100749