Author Topic: Do you think this is a good case against humanism or not?  (Read 739 times)

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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Do you think this is a good case against humanism or not?
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2017, 06:13:41 PM »
Didn't we have a months-long argument about whether any particular group's definition of the word "humanism" had any universal meaning?  I swear it kept popping up to the top for ages.

But this thread is not about that. It's whether that blogpost had a good argument or not.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Do you think this is a good case against humanism or not?
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2017, 02:14:28 AM »
Didn't we have a months-long argument about whether any particular group's definition of the word "humanism" had any universal meaning?  I swear it kept popping up to the top for ages.

Yeah, largely my fault, I'm afraid.

Didn't we have a months-long argument about whether any particular group's definition of the word "humanism" had any universal meaning?  I swear it kept popping up to the top for ages.

But this thread is not about that. It's whether that blogpost had a good argument or not.

Indeed, and I am wondering why you care whether it's a good argument or not.

One person finds one definition incohate and nebulous. Note, however, that the definition that he is finding incohate and nebulous is his own, to wit:

Quote
To identify as humanist is to identify as either atheist or agnostic along with some or all of a rather vague set of ethical and pro-science statements.

That's not a definition that I, for one, particularly agree with. I do, on the other hand, broadly agree with the aforelinked Humanist Manifesto, which is quite detailed and precise, and not at all incohate or nebulous.

Furthermore, why the hell should I give a rat's bucket what someone I've never heard of thinks of humanism? That person's opinion affects me not at all.

Offline stands2reason

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Re: Do you think this is a good case against humanism or not?
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2017, 11:17:37 AM »
Quote
Why I Am Not A Humanist

The talk at Skeptics in the Pub last night was Objections to Humanism. Here are some of mine:

Andrew Copson of the BHA spoke at length about evolution, science, morality without religion and the value of optimism. While there was nothing much to disagree with, nor was there anything specific or unique to humanism. I asked in the Q&A what is added by claiming as humanist the acceptance of evolution, the value of scientific enquiry and so on. The reply (eventually) was that 'It's just a word thing' and that humanism is a useful label. But labels are useful only if they make it clear what something is.

There are plenty of people who accept evolution and subscribe to a non-religious moral code but who do not call themselves humanist. It is however a useful bit of soft soap if you're a politician who can't bring themselves to admit publicly that you're an atheist.

...

To identify as humanist is to identify as either atheist or agnostic along with some or all of a rather vague set of ethical and pro-science statements. But for me, it's such an inchoate, nebulous concept that I can't engage with it at all.

This is a blogpost based in the UK made by an atheist and skeptic. From waht I understand, Andrew Copson, the head of the British Humanist Association, held a talk about humanism at a Skeptics in the Pub in the UK (which he seems to do from time to time). The author then criticizes humanism based on how Copson presented it.

Do you think it made a good case against humanism, or not?
"But for me, it's such an inchoate, nebulous concept that I can't engage with it at all."

Yeah, I pretty much agree with that, it sums up pretty well why I don't bother with self-labeling as a humanist.
The rest of the critique was pretty unmoving. I mean, it's a social movement label, not an academic classification. I don't see why the onus should really be their's to carve out a unique space to justify their position, or to clearly articulate the boundaries they have with neighboring ideological communities.

Let that stuff sort itself out.
Of course critiques like his is part of that process, so it's not like I think he's out of bounds for making that critique either.

I dunno.. if your ideas roughly align with people who call themselves humanist, and that's who you want to roll with; then presto! You're a humanist.
It's not like you're sworn to uphold a doctrine; you can contribute to and help define the values of the movement as you will-- or at least that's how it should be, which is why I tend to be quite wary of credos and manifestos.


(4 edits in, I'm moderately confident I've stamped out all the stupid grammatical errors)

If someone invents a label, even if it is just for identity politics, they need to clearly explain it. In fact, that was my takeaway from the blog post. The humanist movement is basically just identity politics to make naturalism sound nicer. The label is incoherent insofar as it describes a specific set of beliefs beyond some kind of naturalism and naturalist ethics, and it uses pro-social language without political context (about authority or protesting, for example). They don't want to define themselves by what they don't believe, so they invent a label that implies a naturalistic worldview (and which is mostly used by such people) but doesn't require it.

"We don't believe in the supernatural but we still believe that the human experience is magic and we promise we're nice people—not like that jackass atheist everyone has met at some point."

Offline HanEyeAm

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Re: Do you think this is a good case against humanism or not?
« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2017, 07:59:02 AM »
Being a "melting pot," and valuing individualism, Americans have less a sense of collective, cultural moral and ethical principals than say, the Japanese.

Religion provides a set of principles to live by: it tell people how you will likely behave in various situations, and tells them how you will will likely treat them and what your expectations are.

Given the limited cultural standards for principles in the US, folks are often interested in hearing a quick and dirty label that encaplulate the principles held by politicians, teachers, dating partners, roommates, etc. It provides a quick read about compatability and expectations in a wide range of situations.

So, in a principle-ambiguous society, labels like "Christian" and "humanist" can be particularly useful in social and professional contexts.

« Last Edit: March 09, 2017, 08:02:37 AM by HanEyeAm »

 

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