The Humanist Hour #53: Bill Nye the Science Guy, Humanist of the Year

It’s official!  We’ve changed our name to The Humanist Hour!

In this month’s episode, Jes Constantine and guest co-host Jennifer Bardi introduce and discuss clips from AHA’s 69th Annual Conference, which took place earlier this summer in San Jose, CA. Listen to Bill Nye the Science Guy accepting our Humanist of the Year award.

The Humanist of the Year (HoTY) award was established in 1953 to recognize a person of national or international reputation who, through the application of humanist values, has made a significant contribution to the improvement of the human condition.

So typically the HoTY isn’t being honored for his or her work in the previous year, as with Time magazine’s Person of the Year. Instead, the HoTY is someone whose career and contributions to society are being lauded at the same time that their humanist credentials are being brought to the fore.

These folks aren’t known as humanists, per se, and they often resist identifying themselves as such even after accepting the award. But the point is they are ambassadors for humanism. They are popular figures in science, politics, business, philosophy, and the arts. Did you know that Ted Turner was Humanist of the Year? Alice Walker? R. Buckminster Fuller? Joyce Carol Oates? Apparently, Turner was one of those who flew in, accepted the award, and promptly left the conference. Others like Asimov, Vonnegut, and the 2009 HoTY PZ Myers hung around all weekend. (Vonnegut’s acceptance speech, by the way, was titled, “Why my dog is not a humanist.”)

So when AHA card-carrying humanists wonder why we don’t bestow the HoTY award upon “real” humanists who’ve been involved with the movement for years we must explain this idea of ambassadorship by the famous. Bill Nye didn’t shy away from it, and as you’ll hear, he embraced the organization, its members, and its values quite demonstrably.

Links from this month’s episode:

Music from this month’s episode: 

“Sound Scientist” by Bill

Editor’s Note: Though we recommend subscribing to our podcast using a program like iTunes, you can start listening right now: 

  • Direct Download: THH_53.mp3
    (right click the link to save the mp3 file or left click to open a new window and listen).

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Posted 17:03PM on August 25 2010 by Jessica Constantine
Categories: 458, Podcast

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