Is it Hard Out Here for a Humanist?

humanist

My alma mater is turning up in religious news stories this week.  It turns out that the Yale Humanists have asked to join the consortium at Yale Religious Ministries, and have been turned down [further discussion at Friendly Atheist].The organization in the ministry are "dedicated to the spiritual, ethical, intellectual, social, and physical welfare of students, faculty, and staff," which, for the most part, sounds like a decent match for the Humanists.  I can come up with a couple reasons th … [Read more...]

Sam Harris Throws Down His Gauntlet

buffy gauntlet

Ok, probably not this gauntlet Sam Harris, one of the 'Four Horsemen' of New Atheism, has issued a challenge to critics of his moral philosophy. It has been nearly three years since The Moral Landscape was first published in English, and in that time it has been attacked by readers and nonreaders alike. Many seem to have judged from the resulting cacophony that the book’s central thesis was easily refuted. However, I have yet to encounter a substantial criticism that I feel was not adequately a … [Read more...]

Can We Play Not-Nicely Better, Please?

And speaking of sparing feelings without pulling punches, there's been a donnybrook going between Tom McDonald (Catholic) and Hemant Mehta (atheist) and JT Eberhard waded in yesterday.  I'm not planning to tag in exactly, but I would like to suggest that they have a slightly different fight.Both Tom's original post mocking atheism and Hemant and JT's rejoinder seemed pitched particularly to their own sides, so, even though the posts got pretty heated, it has kind of the effect of a flurry of … [Read more...]

“A Week?” Tell me you’re a _____

a week

If you cross-read the atheism portal here at Patheos or have atheist friends who are heavily engaged with the movement, you may be seeing images like this pop up across Facebook this week.It's 'A' Week, which, as Hemant Mehta explains at his blog, is a challenge to atheists to come out and give their friends a chance to know they know atheists.  This year's celebration seems particularly well-timed, falling right after Rob Portman's rapid about-face on gay marriage demonstrates that people m … [Read more...]

Darren the Humanist Explains it All to You

dancing humanist

This is a guest post, prompted my plea to hear more about how Humanists ground their philophies and people's interest in Darren's thought in the comments.  Thanks Darren for talking about what you defend!There was discussion on Leah’s blog of last week that the tenets of Humanism (or Secular Humanism, as I prefer) appear to lack a certain satisfying specificity. Having read through a few of the official manifestos, I am sympathetic to this view. It is all well and good to espouse Eq … [Read more...]

Straight from the Humanist’s Mouth

philosophy_discussion

James Croft and Vlad Chituc have both continued to contribute to the discussion of what exactly unites humanists.  Vlad's put up a new post, and James has posted a clarifying comment that I've quoted from below. You seem to think "Humanism" denotes a single, coherent moral system (particularly a metaethical system). He seems to think that it is some sort of equivalent to "virtue ethics" or "utilitarianism" or something.But this is a category error. Humanism, in my understanding, can mean … [Read more...]

Can You Pick a Humanist Out of a Lineup?

human lineup

Vlad Chituc, an atheist who blogs at NonProphet Status, thinks I was right on in my critique of humanist groups yesterday.    He says, as an atheist activist, he's run into similar problems. I’ve tried to pin down specific moral principles of Humanism from various people, and all I ever seem to get is some vague gesturing towards Reason or Compassion, or some philosophical terms like Naturalism and Consequentialism. But that gives me nothing specific.If I have a conversation with someone who … [Read more...]


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