Poll

Are you a humanist, in the sense of what the international humanist movement promotes?

Yes
21 (61.8%)
No
9 (26.5%)
Other
4 (11.8%)

Total Members Voted: 34

Author Topic: Are you a humanist (read the OP before you vote)?  (Read 3906 times)

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Offline Redamare

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Re: Are you a humanist (read the OP before you vote)?
« Reply #120 on: March 23, 2016, 09:01:37 AM »


Joss Whedon holding a humanist speech. The end is:

Quote
The enemy of humanism is not faith. The enemy of humanism is hate, is fear, is ignorance, is the darker part of man that is in every humanist, every person in the world. That is what we have to fight. Faith is something we have to embrace. Faith in god means believing absolutely in something with no proof whatsoever. Faith in humanity means believing absolutely in something with a huge amount of proof to the contrary. We are the true believers.

Perhaps it's just me, but I find that kind of rhetoric incredibly off-turning.

I can see that. Humanism as I understand it is not so much about having faith in humanity so much as compassion and respect for humanity.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Are you a humanist (read the OP before you vote)?
« Reply #121 on: March 23, 2016, 07:27:00 PM »


Joss Whedon holding a humanist speech. The end is:

Quote
The enemy of humanism is not faith. The enemy of humanism is hate, is fear, is ignorance, is the darker part of man that is in every humanist, every person in the world. That is what we have to fight. Faith is something we have to embrace. Faith in god means believing absolutely in something with no proof whatsoever. Faith in humanity means believing absolutely in something with a huge amount of proof to the contrary. We are the true believers.

Perhaps it's just me, but I find that kind of rhetoric incredibly off-turning.

I can see that. Humanism as I understand it is not so much about having faith in humanity so much as compassion and respect for humanity.

I see compassion and respect more as a consequence of humanism. The driving force behind humanism, I feel, is recognising that morality comes from a human source - that we as humans, by virtue of us being a social species, produce morality without requiring an external source. Everything else derives from that.

But we're getting pretty deep and philosophical now, and we might want to come up for air.
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Offline Enkidu

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Re: Are you a humanist (read the OP before you vote)?
« Reply #122 on: March 23, 2016, 11:21:29 PM »
This is almost a whole different thread but it kind of ties in with what SQ is asking. Say a person who self identifies themselves as a Catholic does not believe in the mandate against birth control, or going the other way, believes that evolution is a lie. Does that make them not a Catholic? How much do you have to disagree with the official group position, if there is one, before you can no lonegr be considered part of that group?

Hell, I'm an atheist and I still consider myself Roman Catholic (after a fashion).

Catholicism is like gang life; you don't choose it, it chooses you.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Are you a humanist (read the OP before you vote)?
« Reply #123 on: March 27, 2016, 05:45:41 PM »
A majority voted "yes", but a significant minority voted "no". It would be interesting to know why people voted the way they did.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Are you a humanist (read the OP before you vote)?
« Reply #124 on: March 28, 2016, 05:43:43 AM »
I still haven't voted.
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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Are you a humanist (read the OP before you vote)?
« Reply #125 on: April 01, 2016, 03:36:06 PM »
I still haven't voted.

Curious, what do you think about this old episode (transcript) in which the Rogues dismiss secular humanism? It's right there in the beginning, in the memoriam part. (Note how Steve seems to have the impression that "humanist" is just another word for non-believer.)

I have a feeling that their current editorial stance would not permit this kind of discussion. So this old episode offers a glimpse into their viewpoint on the subject (at least their viewpoint in the past).
"More freedoms & rights for more citizens = a superior culture to fewer freedom & rights. N. Korea/Saudi vs. any Western country for example." - Michael Shermer

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Are you a humanist (read the OP before you vote)?
« Reply #126 on: April 01, 2016, 07:34:15 PM »
I still haven't voted.

Curious, what do you think about this old episode (transcript) in which the Rogues dismiss secular humanism? It's right there in the beginning, in the memoriam part. (Note how Steve seems to have the impression that "humanist" is just another word for non-believer.)

I have a feeling that their current editorial stance would not permit this kind of discussion. So this old episode offers a glimpse into their viewpoint on the subject (at least their viewpoint in the past).

I assume you're referring to this section:

Quote
S: ...I think we tend to have a more of a scientific background and we care mainly about defending science. Just like—for myself personally I really couldn't care less what other people have as their personal faith. It's an internal, personal choice.

P: Right.

S: Who cares? It really does not bother me. I'm interested in defending science and reason and logic. Whenever—when any—if anyone makes a factual claim, a claim about the factual state of nature then they step into the ring of science, then they're fair game. But if they're talking about personal faith in the unknowable, they're outside the realm of science and I really couldn't care less. That's—which is why I'm involved in organized skepticism but not organized...

P: Secularism or atheism.

S: Secularism. Even though I consider myself an agnostic, it's just not something I care to put my time and effort into. Which is fine. I think—again I—I wish these secular humanists well and I certainly am... I certainly support their philosophy and their beliefs and what they're doing. I just don't think that I need to take it on as a skeptic. And that's what it really comes down to is the secular humanists, to some degree, feel like skeptics need to be fighting for their banner, too. That they're one and the same and they kind of resent it when we won't do that. "Why won't you take on religion. It's just as bad as UFOs and Bigfoot." It's like, "Yeah, but it's different. Because..."

First thought: that was over ten years ago (August 2005) and I think that it just might be possible for someone's views to evolve and change over that length of time.

Second thought: I don't think Steve was "dismissing" secular humanism, he was saying that secular humanists have a different mission. The two movements - skepticism and secular humanism - are not the same, though they do overlap in some areas. He was saying that he feels that issues of belief (where they do not cross over into evidence) aren't a part of what he feels strongly about as a skeptic. He doesn't see a need, or a requirement, or an interest for skepticism to address those subjects. To a certain extent it is impossible for scientific skepticism to address those subjects. And I agree with him (and Perry). That's why there are two different and separate movements.

Third thought: I don't think Steve was using "secular humanist" as a synonym for non-believer. Notice how frequently he refers to "atheists and secular humanists". He is separating them. If he thought they were the same, he'd just use a single term to refer to them. Later, Steve says "Seventy percent of self-identified skeptics are also non-believers, also either atheists or agnostics or secularists." once again separating atheists from agnostics from secularists.

Final thought: I want to quote this bit of the transcript in its entirety, because I think it's very relevant:

Quote
S: Yeah. So, it—again, there's certainly a tremendous overlap. I think that the majority of both groups are in—are members of both groups, are both skeptics and non-believers, but as skeptics we need to be tolerant of what people profess as their personal faith. Again, I think we have to respect the freedom of religion. The freedom to believe whatever you want to believe. And if it's outside the realm of science, then it's not amenable to the rules of evidence. And then the only other thing you can really demand of the belief system is that it's internally logical. It does not, sort of, contradict itself.
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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Are you a humanist (read the OP before you vote)?
« Reply #127 on: April 01, 2016, 08:12:32 PM »
Judging by this, he clearly views atheism and secular humanism to be part of the same movement.

As for "dismissing", I was thinking about the part where Perry refers to secular humanists as "very emotional" and Steve and Bob talk about how "a lot of them" endorse Eastern mysticism and alternative medicine.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Are you a humanist (read the OP before you vote)?
« Reply #128 on: April 02, 2016, 01:22:36 AM »
In the linked article, he gathers atheism, agnosticism and humanism under one heading - secularism.

Note that there is a clearly defined difference between humanism and secular humanism. And a clearly defined difference between secular humanism and secularism. Before discussing the subject, it is important to understand these distinctions.
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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Are you a humanist (read the OP before you vote)?
« Reply #129 on: April 02, 2016, 07:44:24 AM »
In the linked article, he gathers atheism, agnosticism and humanism under one heading - secularism.

Exactly. And humanists do it too. Humanists also regularly assume that (pretty much) all non-religious are humanists.

Note that there is a clearly defined difference between humanism and secular humanism. And a clearly defined difference between secular humanism and secularism. Before discussing the subject, it is important to understand these distinctions.

According to the humanist movement, humanism and secular humanism are the same. The IHEU encourages its members to not use the term secular humanism, just humanism.

But I agree that secularism as a political concept is distinct from humanism. But I think Steve intended secularism just not as a political concept in that post. He was referring to what in the USA is called the secular movement.
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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Are you a humanist (read the OP before you vote)?
« Reply #130 on: April 13, 2016, 03:51:35 PM »
It seems like at least some humanists believe in objective morality, and in some definitions of humanism (like the one by Stephen Law linked to in the OP), humanism entails belief in moral realism.

Do the humanists at this forum believe in moral realism? Do you think humanism requires that?
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Are you a humanist (read the OP before you vote)?
« Reply #131 on: April 13, 2016, 08:37:32 PM »
It seems like at least some humanists believe in objective morality, and in some definitions of humanism (like the one by Stephen Law linked to in the OP), humanism entails belief in moral realism.

Do the humanists at this forum believe in moral realism? Do you think humanism requires that?

You're talking about two different things here.

Obviously I can't speak for all humanists at this forum, only for myself. I believe in moral realism but I do not think that humanism requires a belief in moral realism. I think that moral realism is true. I think that morality is a real thing that exists for a good evolutionary reason. But that's not the same thing as objective morality. Objective morality states that there is an intrinsic moral standard, separate from and external to what is based in human societal evolution. I do not believe that objective morality is true.

Humanists - or rather I, as a humanist believe that morals are a product of human society and the fact that in order to live in social groups, humans have had to come up with and follow certain standards of behaviour. These standards are broadly similar in different cultures because all of those cultures are made up of humans and what works with one group of humans usually works with other unrelated groups of humans (inasmuch as any two groups of humans can be said to be unrelated). This does not mean that there is an objective, non-human generated standard of morals. Each separate culture has its own differing moral standards, and what is moral in one culture may not be considered moral in another culture. All, however, have a basis in the fact that all humans are social animals and this results in some commonalities. I think that these commonalities are sometimes misinterpreted as being an objective basis for morality.

While the above view is probably unique to me, I do not believe that it contradicts the view of organised humanist groups to any great degree.
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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Are you a humanist (read the OP before you vote)?
« Reply #132 on: April 28, 2016, 05:28:56 PM »
I think we have similar views about morality, in that we both consider it a human construct. What you call moral realism I would not call so. ;)

I have heard several humanists say that humanists are (at least implicitly) per definition skeptics (but not necessarily vice versa). Do you consider that to be the case?
"More freedoms & rights for more citizens = a superior culture to fewer freedom & rights. N. Korea/Saudi vs. any Western country for example." - Michael Shermer

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Are you a humanist (read the OP before you vote)?
« Reply #133 on: April 28, 2016, 10:45:27 PM »
I think we have similar views about morality, in that we both consider it a human construct. What you call moral realism I would not call so. ;)

I have heard several humanists say that humanists are (at least implicitly) per definition skeptics (but not necessarily vice versa). Do you consider that to be the case?

Woah. Do you take three weeks to think up these questions?

No. I do not consider that to be the case. I consider humanism and skepticism to be compatible ways of thinking, but I do not consider one to be definitionally dependent on the other.

I can define humanism without referring to skepticism, and I can define skepticism without referring to humanism. They are separate, but compatible in that they do not contradict one another.
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