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Posts Tagged ‘humanism’

“No God” slogan to run on UK buses

Posted by Andy Welfle on October 23, 2008

London buses will soon be running an ad on the side that says “There’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

This is probably the best advice anyone can get, ever. See the article, here.

The British Humanist Association (BHA) is sponsoring the campaign, which was only intending to raised £5,500, with another £5,500 to be donated by Richard Dawkins. But through their own efforts, they’ve raised over £36,000 by themselves!

Sez Professor Dawkins:

“Religion is accustomed to getting a free ride — Automatic tax breaks, unearned respect and the right not to be offended, the right to brainwash children. Even on the buses, nobody thinks twice when they see a religious slogan plastered across the side. This campaign to put alternative slogans on London buses will make people think — and thinking is anathema to religion.”

Do you ever think we could get away with this here across the pond?  I bet there isn’t a bus company out there that would accept this sort of contract.

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Posted in FreeThought, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Humanist Symposium #25

Posted by Skeptigator on September 14, 2008

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Welcome to the Humanist Symposium News Channel brought to you by FreeThought Fort Wayne, I’m your host Skeptigator and I want to know, “How are you today?”.

Our top story tonight is the recent announcement that Matter is better than spiritualism coming out of Chromium Oxide Green. Maria Silva asks why the “supposed spiritual world is deeper, and extraordinarily more profound than this mundane world around us, that is composed of matter?”

But first in Technology news Michael Wheeler explores Utopian Neuroscience. He asks, “How happy do you want to be?”

In Education news, we have the recent editorial, Should Social-Emotional Learning Be Part of Academic Curriculum?, from Alvaro Fernandez of Brain Fitness an institute dedicated to creating sharp brains.

On the political front, Canadian talking head, Ian Bushfield of Terahertz, presents Toward Secular Humanistic Politics.

In legal news, the lobbying firm of This humanist is working to expand upon Humanism and Polyamory. Clare, the spokesperson for the group is quoted as saying, “Under law in the UK, polygamy is illegal, but so was homosexual marriage! If we can accept that marriage law concerning homosexuality is outdated and inappropriate, maybe it’s worth taking a second look at the issue of monogamy.”

After the break, we’ll find out what’s happening in Sports and Entertainment news.

Today’s broadcast is brought to you by the word Compassion a service offered by Elliptica, please call Lynet for more information.

Over at the Sports desk, Brian Jay Stanley reports on the latest Olympic news, We Were Gold Medalists in the Sperm Olympics.

Thanks Brian, I feel like a winner already. And now for Entertainment news, PhillyChief brings us the heartwarming story on the positive impact of the movie industry, “Buzz Lightyear got us through”.

Our resident DIY guy, Glowing Face Man, is doing some remodeling, let’s check in and see how he’s doing with A Modernized Version of the Lord’s Prayer.

In Charity news, our broadcast partner, Zach Alexander of the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard tells us about, Humanist Relief Work: Children of the Border. And vjack of Atheist Revolution talks about A Different Kind of Atheist Outreach.

Sorry folks, we have to take another break to pay some bills around here. When we return, how to cut back on the Carbs and another edition of our continuing series called Biography.

For one night only, Dereck of I Will Not Die fame and Aaron Ross Powell are joining together for their blockbuster seminar entitled “Purpose and Growth”. Make sure to get your tickets early, Dereck will be giving his award-winning An Essay on Human Growth and Aaron Powell has been packing theaters from coast-to-coast with his What Atheism Offers: A Sense of Purpose Series. One Night Only, this Sat-Sat-Saturday!!! Two speakers, One low price.

The co-host of our on-going series “Biography”, Greta Christina, brings us the little known story of Del Martin, and What Makes a Life Meaningful. Greta’s co-host, Andy Welfle, explores his tell-all auto-biography in From Altar Boy to Atheist: A coming out story.

And now, “Have you been wanting to shed a few pounds lately?”, well LSG has a new diet strategy called, No Bread for Me, Thanks.

In tonight’s editorial piece, I wonder if Jyunri Kankei might have A Better Answer than Originally Given. Also, I stumbled across this piece from Andrew Bernardin from Evolving Mind, Religion as a Replaceable Raison D’être (Reason for Being): Part II. I have a question, “What happened to Part I”, is this like Leonard Part 6, because that movie is just begging for a series of prequels.

I see our producer, Phil for Humanity is giving me the Time is Our Most Valuable Asset signal. So we’ll leave you tonight with a piece submitted by a viewer, Dale, called Awe Sans God.

Please join us on October 5th where our Canadian sister station (with an amazing broadcast strength), Terahertz, will be bringing the 26th edition of the Humanist Symposium.

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Free membership to the American Humanist Association

Posted by Skeptigator on August 5, 2008

FriendlyAtheist.com just posted information for joining the American Humanist Association for free (the online version at least).

Check out his post and then join if you want, make sure you give Friendly Atheist credit for sending you there.

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The Affirmations of Secular Humanism – A Series

Posted by mikebftw on June 27, 2008

During the question and answer period following John Loftus’ presentation last month, an astute believer in attendance noted that it’s much easier to critique or tear down than to create or build up. His particular point was that if you eliminate the Bible, what are you offering in its place as a literary work or a moral guide?

Regardless of this gentleman’s ulterior motive to catch John in a “gotcha” moment on grounds that he never sought to occupy, he does make a valid point that we freethinkers should consider, if only as a matter of public image. That is, we’re generally pretty skilled at finding fault in the various religious systems, but shouldn’t we at least try to articulate what we do believe? What guides our objective morality? This is not to say that we need to write a “new” bible. We don’t need a rulebook. However, I believe that the better we’re able to communicate our shared positive beliefs, the more effectively we can engage believers in meaningful discussions on morality.

Luckily, we don’t have to start from scratch when it comes to putting our beliefs into words. While they’re not perfect, and they’re subject to the same scrutiny and skepticism we apply to any and all ideas, the 21 affirmations put forth by Paul Kurtz and the Council for Secular Humanism are a great place to start when considering the values we freethinkers tend to share. These affirmations can be found on the inside cover of every issue of Free Inquiry magazine, or on the Council for Secular Humanism website here.

Today I’m starting a series of posts, one each Friday, considering each of the 21 affirmations of secular humanism. As you read, please bear in mind the following:

  1. The affirmations are not meant as rules, imposed from the top down. Rather, they are articulations of the beliefs upon which most freethinkers tend to agree.
  2. The affirmations are meant to withstand the same skepticism and scrutiny we apply to all ideas.
  3. Ultimately, I speak only for myself in my analysis of the affirmations. The conversation only stands to gain from new perspectives, personal experiences, and other input that may differ from what I have to offer.

Posted in FreeThought, Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Choice vs. Nature (and something about homo-dolphins)

Posted by Skeptigator on June 23, 2008

I’ve had this post half-start/half-finished for some time but a recent post over on, FriendlyChristian.com, prompted me to finish this thought all the way through. My problem lies specifically in an argument used, implicitly or explicitly, by many pro-gay activists and bloggers. That argument is the following:

Homosexuality should be accepted because no one chooses to be gay. We shouldn’t victimize gays for the same reason we shouldn’t victimize someone because of the color of their skin.

On it’s face this seems like a perfectly correct statement, one I’ve used many times. Unfortunately, I’ve come the realization that this argument is fundamentally flawed. Yes, it’s an easy shortcut when arguing with someone who states that homosexuality is a choice and then you say, “Nuh uhh, they can’t help that they were born that way” and then they say “Yea huh, it’s a choice” and then you say, “Yer stupid”. Ok maybe my debating skills have something to be desired.

I’ve seen a subtle shift, particularly within Christian circles, in the arguments against homosexuality away from whether or not it’s a choice or not and many are beginning to concede that homosexual desires may actually be natural. The argument I see more and more often is that, “Regardless if homosexuality is natural or not. It is not a sin to be gay, but practicing homosexuality is a sin.” (The reasons we shouldn’t practice homosexuality are to my knowledge only religious. I think the only time that I’ve seen any secular arguments against homosexuality comes from the “It ain’t natural” argument. )

There are 2 points regarding the Natural vs. Unnatural/Choice argument that I’d like to make. The first is that there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that within (at least) mammalians species homosexuality is practiced and almost always warrants some kind of off-hand-by-the-way, dolphins might be gay.  I think this body of evidence has helped to shift the objection against homosexuality away from the more secular “It ain’t natural” arguments. Unfortunately this very shift has highlighted the very weakness of the argument from a natural cause and thus to my second point.

If we root the argument for the “rightness” of homosexuality in natural origins of the behavior (whether that’s neurological, evolutionarily-selected-for, whatever argument you want to pick) then we also open up much deeper issues that erode the entire foundation for rational thought. Is pedophilia good because it comes naturally to some. What about sociopaths and psychopaths? They are born with the “wrong” wiring but it is natural. We can circumvent these arguments and say that psychopathic and pedophiliac behaviors are not right because they deviate from social/cultural norms. But unless you have information I don’t have homosexual behavior is not a societal norm and is only at best practiced by 10% of the population. You can see the big mess this whole “natural” thing gets into. I won’t even mention all of the good and unnatural things we as humans do, like build shelters, reengineer our environment, practice medicine and care for the elderly and weak. We simply cannot point at homo-dolphins, wash our hands and expect fundamentalist Christians to revise their theology.

Let’s come at it from a different perspective by using a thought experiment. Let’s say that by some scientific method we can prove with near absolute certainty that homosexual behavior is a choice. Not just a subconscious choice influenced by whatever environmental factor but an actual conscious choice. Never mind that this makes most homosexuals liars or at best self-deluded. We realize that homosexual behavior in bonobos, dolphins and other mammals is shown to be mankind trying to imprint a sexual explanation for non-sexual behaviors, for example, what looks like homosexual behavior in dolphins are really attempts by male dolphins attempting to assert dominance over the other members of the pod. You get the idea. Would that change your opinion of the rightness or wrongness of homosexual behavior?

You’ll have to answer that question for yourself but answer is No. I don’t care if homosexuality is found to be a choice. I don’t personally believe that it is a choice but it really doesn’t matter. Consenting adults who are able to make this choice of their own free will have every right to express their love for one another in a loving, unharmful (well, you know, unless you are in to that) way. 

I’ll leave you with an appropriate excerpt from the Humanist Manifesto II published in 1973, they can sum it up more eloquently than I,

In the area of sexuality, we believe that intolerant attitudes, often cultivated by orthodox religions and puritanical cultures, unduly repress sexual conduct. The right to birth control, abortion, and divorce should be recognized. While we do not approve of exploitive, denigrating forms of sexual expression, neither do we wish to prohibit, by law or social sanction, sexual behavior between consenting adults. The many varieties of sexual exploration should not in themselves be considered “evil.” Without countenancing mindless permissiveness or unbridled promiscuity, a civilized society should be a tolerant one. Short of harming others or compelling them to do likewise, individuals should be permitted to express their sexual proclivities and pursue their lifestyles as they desire. We wish to cultivate the development of a responsible attitude toward sexuality, in which humans are not exploited as sexual objects and in which intimacy, sensitivity, respect and honesty in interpersonal relations are encouraged. Moral education for children and adults is an important way of developing awareness and sexual maturity (1973, section 6).

Posted in FreeThought, Philosophy, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »