A HUMANIST society has been given the green light by UCD’s Societies Officer, Richard Butler, and will begin recruiting members in September.
Third year Chemistry student, David Osborne is the founder and auditor of the society and says that he chose to form the society to promote diversity and contrast the religious societies on campus.
“It is documented that non-religious people out number all non-Catholics put together, but in UCD there are two Christian societies, an Islamic Society, a Pagan Society, a Pro-Life Society, which is essentially a religious society, but no society for non-religious people. I think it is important that we have a place to exchange our views also a platform where we can air or views,” explains Mr Osborne.
Although Mr Osborne says the society’s events are not “set in stone”, he hopes the Humanist Society will be able to attract high-profile speakers and host screenings.
“It would comprise mostly of talks and screenings. I’ve sent emails to the Irish Humanist Society and I hope they will come in and speak, probably for the initial lecture. Hopefully the founder of the Irish Sceptic Society, Paul O’Donohue will do it, because on our mandate is science, scepticism and reason.”
However, Mr Osborne expressed concerns about the possibility of the society entering into public debates. “I have heard a lot about debates and I wouldn’t be opposed to it, but I think it would fail if you didn’t get enough people or the speakers weren’t very good.”
The Humanist Society committee is yet to be fully formed, but Mr Osborne says he is currently in the process of appointing committee members. “At the moment there are four concerned committee members with five posts open. I appoint the committee in the first year, because there is no one there to elect them. I would just encourage students if they feel they want to get involved to come along.”
According to Mr Osborne, student reaction to the society has been muted, however he said this was largely due to the fact that posters advertising the foundation of the society were put up on the last week of term.
The Auditor of the Humanist Society is confident that it will become one of the larger small societies in UCD when they start recruiting members from September 2009.
According to the Humanist Association of Ireland, Humanism is “an ethical philosophy of life, based on a concern for humanity, which combines reason with compassion” and does not rely on a supernatural, superstitious belief.