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Humanism’s unfounded left-liberal bias: Michael Lind
Posted: 27 August 2011 01:23 AM   [ Ignore ]
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An excellent article, particularly for those atheists who are not excited by the pervasive left-liberal bias in humanist organisations today.

Secular humanists on the real planet of the apes
By Michael Lind

For all the variations, the common theory of human nature underlying contemporary secular humanism seems to be cosmopolitan utilitarianism, the conviction that human beings, if liberated from superstition by science, would behave less like selfish, scheming social apes and more like self-sacrificing social insects, giving their all for the good of the 7 billion members of the global human hive. “Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of human ideals…” says Humanist Manifesto III. “Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness.”

The secular humanist movement avoids the difficult question of the coexistence of in-group altruism and inter-group rivalries by imagining, with John Lennon, that conflicts would vanish if only people stopped being religious and patriotic…

Unfortunately for Humanist Lennonism, evolutionary biology does not provide much hope for the sort of altruistic personal commitment to planetary solidarity that secular humanists want to encourage. Humanist Manifesto III claims that the joy in Stakhanovite that enlightened human beings liberated from religion are expected to feel—an “ought”—can be derived from an “is”—biological fact. “Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships.”

But social animals are not altruists. Nor are they strict individualists. They are nepotists. As a rule social animals, like wolves, deer, humans and chimps, show favoritism to their relatives and friends and allies, with little or no concern for members of their own species with whom they have no close connection. Abrahamic monotheism insists on the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God. Darwinism insists at best on the distant cousinhood of humanity.

Among humans, nepotistic solidarity can be transferred, with difficulty, to political units larger than the extended family. But national patriotism is much harder to promote than city-state patriotism, and global patriotism may be a bridge too far.

The illogical leap from the acceptance of evolutionary science to the call for world government and world taxation is typical of the intellectual legerdemain practiced by secular humanists. They assert scientific naturalism leads to the currently fashionable attitudes of North Atlantic left-liberals, but they never provide any convincing arguments for the thesis that if you believe in Darwin, you must follow Dewey…

[ Edited: 27 August 2011 01:28 AM by xntubes ]
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Posted: 27 August 2011 08:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Strong but realistic points;  as Dead Monky has said before, “this is why we can’t have nice things”!  It seems like many Humanists are aware of this already.

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Posted: 27 August 2011 10:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I agree with a lot of what that article has to say except for the generalizations that are typical of one-sided opinions.

The following just isn’t true for most of the humanists I know. There is no sleight of hand in my humanist thinking and I don’t take the illogical leap mentioned. But if one is on the right in political thought, then the statement probably helps cement some hate. Gotta love the haters.

The illogical leap from the acceptance of evolutionary science to the call for world government and world taxation is typical of the intellectual legerdemain practiced by secular humanists. They assert scientific naturalism leads to the currently fashionable attitudes of North Atlantic left-liberals, but they never provide any convincing arguments for the thesis that if you believe in Darwin, you must follow Dewey…

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Posted: 27 August 2011 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Quoting Xntubes: 

. . .the pervasive left-liberal bias in humanist organisations today.

  Yes, why can’t we emulate all the strong religious organizations such as those led by Pat Robertson and governor Perry, which are unbiased and with no leaning left or right?  LOL

Occam

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Posted: 08 November 2011 05:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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“As fundamentalism gets stronger, post-religious liberalism offers a naive and sentimental creed
By Michael Lind”

Right from the start the author takes pokes and jabs at Humanist ideas, none of them substantive, none of them supported, all of it rhetorical.  I think that Michael Lind is living in a bubble.  He presents an overview of Humanism, but seems to be taking a strange antagonist stance about it, rather than a overview that is educational and honest discovery.

Humanism is very realistic and intelligent.  Humanity is one group, living on one planet, living for the same set of goals, and there are many more unifying ideas, these are the simple and obvious facts of the world.  Xenophobia exists, and it is a sickness, the reaction that the “other” people are bad somehow, its not true.  That prejudice is cured simply with cultural education, exposing people to the facts of foreign cultures and learning about their similarities is very satisfying proof that xenophobia is wrong, all world’s peoples want to raise healthy happy children, want to be free to choose their path through life, want to learn grow and improve their lot, want to bring their culture with them such as music, clothing style, holidays, etc.  Since there is no accounting for tastes, then expect that people will want to keep their own tastes, and those tastes will vary from one culture to the next, and this is not a significant difference.

“But reason itself is a neutral instrument, which can aid sociopathic murderers and genocidal tyrants as well as saints and heroes. “

The man is cautioning us against reason that is inspired by facts, rather than being inspired by emotions here.  This is really over-the-top, facts are real and a good thing, of course.

“[Kurtz] “Using reason and cognition will better enable us to appraise our values in the light of evidence and by their consequences.” In other words, we will ask the car’s GPS computer to tell us not only how to get there but also where we should go.”

This is a deliberate mis-characterization, here Michael Lind reduces human reasoning abilities down to the limits of a mere GPS system.  LOL  I hope he isn’t projecting here.

“But social animals are not altruists. Nor are they strict individualists. They are nepotists. As a rule social animals, like wolves, deer, humans and chimps, show favoritism to their relatives and friends and allies, with little or no concern for members of their own species with whom they have no close connection.”

Now he is projecting.  Altruism exists widely, not to imply that its all that exists.  Just because he isn’t altruistic, and obvious good and necessary quality, doesn’t mean that the world isn’t.

“They assert scientific naturalism leads to the currently fashionable attitudes of North Atlantic left-liberals, but they never provide any convincing arguments for the thesis that if you believe in Darwin, you must follow Dewey.”

I don’t know what conflict he sees between Darwin and Dewey because he doesn’t say what it is, so I’m left to guess.  He seems to be using the old mis-characterization of Darwin’s survivial of the fittest for their environment mechanism of Evolution.

I think that Michael Lind is more interested in playing politics, than in philosophy, Humanism is not a the philosophy of any political party.
This article obviously had a political agenda.

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Posted: 08 November 2011 07:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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jump_in_the_pit - 08 November 2011 05:48 PM

I think that Michael Lind is more interested in playing politics, than in philosophy, Humanism is not a the philosophy of any political party. This article obviously had a political agenda.

The humanist movement does generally have an implied politics. It is pro diversity, pro open-borders, pro one-world government. Not always, of course, but mostly so.

Lind’s main point is that humans are nepotist by nature, they want to live in “extended family” environments. This is at odds with diversity and open borders.

It’s a scientific fact that humans prefer to interact with their kin e.g. see Dr Philippe Rushton:

“Similarity, whether actual or perceived, is one of the most important factors in human relationships. It is more surprising to find just how fine-tuned the recognition process can be. The studies reviewed above show that the preference for similarity occurs within ethnic groups and within families…

Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies are beginning to demonstrate the neural correlates associated with viewing kin and facial self-resemblance… The results suggest that the detection of resemblance is occurring below the level of conscious awareness…”

Hence the liberal humanist idea that promotes diversity goes against human nature. Going against human nature makes for unhappy people, unhappy people are less productive, less civil, less charitable, more prone to depression and violence, etc.

Recognising these limits of altruism is not the same as xenophobia born out of ignorance or fear. We still prefer mainly to interact with our kin even if we are well travelled and cosmopolitan. Ethnocentrism is not the same as xenophobia.

“The man is cautioning us against reason that is inspired by facts”. Nonsense. He’s merely saying that reason and science can be used for good or evil. Science has no inherent values, it is just cold neutral facts.

“Michael Lind reduces human reasoning abilities down to the limits of a mere GPS system”. Wrong. He simply says the GPS system is lifeless until you tell it where you want to go. Reason and science have no inherent values.

[ Edited: 09 November 2011 04:06 PM by xntubes ]
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Posted: 08 November 2011 09:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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xntubes - 08 November 2011 07:36 PM
jump_in_the_pit - 08 November 2011 05:48 PM

I think that Michael Lind is more interested in playing politics, than in philosophy, Humanism is not a the philosophy of any political party. This article obviously had a political agenda.

Humanism does generally have an implied politics. It is pro diversity, pro open-borders, pro one-world government. Not always, of course, but mostly so.

Lind’s main point is that humans are nepotist by nature, they want to live in “extended family” environments. This is at odds with diversity and open borders.

It’s a scientific fact that humans prefer to interact with their kin e.g. see Dr Philippe Rushton:

“Similarity, whether actual or perceived, is one of the most important factors in human relationships. It is more surprising to find just how fine-tuned the recognition process can be. The studies reviewed above show that the preference for similarity occurs within ethnic groups and within families…

Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies are beginning to demonstrate the neural correlates associated with viewing kin and facial self-resemblance… The results suggest that the detection of resemblance is occurring below the level of conscious awareness…”

Hence the liberal humanist idea that promotes diversity goes against human nature. Going against human nature makes for unhappy people, unhappy people are less productive, less civil, less charitable, more prone to depression and violence, etc.

Recognising these limits of altruism is not the same as xenophobia born out of ignorance or fear. We still prefer mainly to interact with our kin even if we are well travelled and cosmopolitan. Ethnocentrism is not the same as xenophobia.

“The man is cautioning us against reason that is inspired by facts”. Nonsense. He’s merely saying that reason and science can be used for good or evil. Science has no inherent values, it is just cold neutral facts.

“Michael Lind reduces human reasoning abilities down to the limits of a mere GPS system”. Wrong. He simply says the GPS system is lifeless until you tell it where you want to go. Reason and science have no inherent values.

  I agree for the most part, but mentioning Phillipe Rushton is not going to convince many liberal humanists.

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Posted: 09 November 2011 07:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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what’s with the “pro one world government” bull sheit?

sounds like one of them “right wing”... dare I say reactionary, straw beasties again

mad

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Posted: 09 November 2011 07:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Oh, and how about:  lefities (and humanists) believe our earth and environment are real entities upon who’s good health everything else depends.

While righties (non-humanists) think earth and our environment is a commodity to consume fast as possible, regardless of consequences.
Oh and righties love nothing more than to make idiotic future destroying wars-of-choice. . .     
     
angry

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Posted: 09 November 2011 09:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Hence the liberal humanist idea that promotes diversity goes against human nature. Going against human nature makes for unhappy people, unhappy people are less productive, less civil, less charitable, more prone to depression and violence, etc.

Making war is a part of human nature.

Know anybody who’s been made happier by it?

Rape as a mating practice may also be a part of human nature.

Got any satisfied customers for that?

Mudering a competitor is a part of human nature.

Whose lives have been improved by that?

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Posted: 09 November 2011 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Many traits in our species are universal, many are not. They also keep evolving all the time. But back to philosophy…

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Posted: 09 November 2011 11:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Xenophobia is a sickness, cured by education.  War is a sickness, well King Gaddafi just got his medicine after he started a war with his people, I’m happy to say, Gaddafi is cured.  grin  War is cured by moderation, and criminalizing the extremists, moderates are the ones who want to unite and to make peace and so stop ignoring all the great good that the moderates have achieved like democracy, law and order, education, and much more!  Humanity is one, sharing one planet, one environment, these are the simplest and most obvious facts that Lind seems blind to!  The moderates really do have the answer to Lind.

Lind is a sick man, promoting xenophobia, and has had no impact on Humanism what-so-ever.

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Posted: 09 November 2011 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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jump_in_the_pit - 09 November 2011 11:15 AM

War is a sickness, well King Gaddafi just got his medicine after he started a war with his people, I’m happy to say, Gaddafi is cured.

Kind of like treating a snake bite with venom from a snake? Sounds more like an eye for an eye to me than humanism.

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Posted: 09 November 2011 01:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I honestly wanted to see a just ending for Ghaddafi, I wanted to see Libya start a new democracy with a trial.  But the way that the rebels treated him… I won’t shed a tear because Libya can have their democracy if they really want it anyway, but it is a wrong way to get started.  Democracy is moderate, and is the lasting cure that I had in mind for Libya, and yes you have to break some eggs to get started on the omelet.  Humpty dumpty sat on a wall, humpty dumpty had a great fall.  All the kings horses and all the kings men, couldn’t put humpty together again.  smile  Gaddafi started the war, he is the sick one, the response and democracy will hopfully be the long term cure.

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Posted: 09 November 2011 01:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I think the world is a little more complicated than you may think, Jump.

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Posted: 09 November 2011 03:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 09 November 2011 07:41 AM

straw beasties again
mad

Yup.  Total straw man of humanism.  Typical.  downer

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