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Humanism’s unfounded left-liberal bias: Michael Lind
Posted: 09 November 2011 04:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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mid atlantic - 08 November 2011 09:14 PM

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

True, most left-liberals have a reactionary identity. So it doesn’t matter what we say, they will react emotionally and then spout something than passes for “reason” as an afterthought. Much of the comments here… you just have to roll your eyes and think than humanism is going to live as long as other pollyannic utopian delusions. Not that I’m giving up though…

Professor Jonathan Haidt:

... the central problem of the Enlightenment. When you push the rationalist view to its extreme, pretty much all you have left to go on is pleasure and pain, or happiness, or some variant of utilitarianism. I think conservatives are right, there are certain things that are better off veiled. There are certain things better off not being exposed to the light. Now, to the scientist, that’s a terrible thing to say and I’m not saying that science should necessarily stop. But I think if we respect and even revere our founders, if we have things that bind us together and make us proud of who we are and what our nation is, we’re much better off than if we do all the careful historical research and then advertise the fact that our Founding Fathers all have warts and moral lapses.

In a sense, my view is that to be the ultimate utilitarian, in order to design a society that is ultimately best for people, you have to take a very broad view of the tremendous needs that people have for community, for reverence, for respect and for moral orientation. A narrow-minded utilitarianism strips down the universe, reduces people to mere consumers and makes this broader sense of satisfaction impossible.

“the tremendous needs that people have for community”: this is what Lind is saying is threatend by pro-diversity humanism.

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Posted: 09 November 2011 04:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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xntubes - 09 November 2011 04:06 PM

True, most left-liberals have a reactionary identity.

Ad hominem.  (And apparent projection.)

So it doesn’t matter what we say, they will react emotionally and then spout something than passes for “reason” as an afterthought.

Justification in advance for why your arguments are not likely to convince anyone who doesn’t already share your ideology.

Much of the comments here… you just have to roll your eyes and think than humanism is going to live as long as other pollyannic utopian delusions.

On-going straw man.

If you truly want to refute humanism, you need to engage it in its strongest form.  That requires taking the ideological blinders off (inherent in your labeling things you don’t like as “left-leaning”).  So far you have only constructed straw men or quoted people who have created straw men of humanism.

For example, I am a humanist and I am not a utilitarian.  Nor do I believe in a one-world government.  Nor do I believe that capitalism is bad, per se.  Basically humanism boils down to this: place value in the here-and-now, not the hereafter.  How can that possibly have a political bias to it?

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Posted: 09 November 2011 09:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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xntubes - 09 November 2011 04:06 PM
mid atlantic - 08 November 2011 09:14 PM

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

True, most left-liberals have a reactionary identity. So it doesn’t matter what we say, they will react emotionally and then spout something than passes for “reason” as an afterthought. Much of the comments here… you just have to roll your eyes and think than humanism is going to live as long as other pollyannic utopian delusions. Not that I’m giving up though…

Professor Jonathan Haidt:

... the central problem of the Enlightenment. When you push the rationalist view to its extreme, pretty much all you have left to go on is pleasure and pain, or happiness, or some variant of utilitarianism. I think conservatives are right, there are certain things that are better off veiled. There are certain things better off not being exposed to the light. Now, to the scientist, that’s a terrible thing to say and I’m not saying that science should necessarily stop. But I think if we respect and even revere our founders, if we have things that bind us together and make us proud of who we are and what our nation is, we’re much better off than if we do all the careful historical research and then advertise the fact that our Founding Fathers all have warts and moral lapses.

In a sense, my view is that to be the ultimate utilitarian, in order to design a society that is ultimately best for people, you have to take a very broad view of the tremendous needs that people have for community, for reverence, for respect and for moral orientation. A narrow-minded utilitarianism strips down the universe, reduces people to mere consumers and makes this broader sense of satisfaction impossible.

“the tremendous needs that people have for community”: this is what Lind is saying is threatend by pro-diversity humanism.

  It seems like most people have a reactionary identity,not only left liberals.

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Posted: 10 November 2011 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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...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.

A false dichotomy. And what of interdependence and win-win partnerships?

[ Edited: 10 November 2011 12:46 PM by Humanist_B4_Atheist ]
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Posted: 10 July 2014 12:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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jump_in_the_pit - 08 November 2011 05:48 PM

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.

Maybe I’m misreading you, but that sounds an awful lot like cultural relativism.

“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,”

I would argue that some cultures are just bad.  Particularly theocratic cultures, currently Islamic cultures (historically, Christian cultures were perhaps the worst).  The thinking in most Muslim majority countries is hardly that everybody should “be free to choose their path through life”—particularly not women, or anyone who wants to leave the religion of Islam.

I don’t think judging certain cultures to be inferior at the goal of promoting human flourishing is xenophobia.  Rather, such judgments represent a desire to improve the human condition and promote human rights—particularly the rights of women.

I consider myself an extremely liberal, consequentialist, secular humanist.  But I don’t believe for one second that all cultures are equal but just different.

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Posted: 10 July 2014 01:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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xntubes - 27 August 2011 01:23 AM

An excellent article, particularly for those atheists who are not excited by the pervasive left-liberal bias in humanist organisations today.

The problem with Lind’s article is that it’s totally pessimistic and defeatist.  Yeah, humans carry a lot of baggage from our territorial ape ancestors.  So what?  Humanism isn’t about what is, but about how things can and should be.  To argue that we’ll all have a nervous breakdown if we go against our instincts and embrace humanity as a whole rather than just our little genetic tribes is completely baseless.

Kin altruism is a natural human trait that, through upbringing and education, can be extended to the whole human family.  Most humans in developed countries already think this way even if they don’t consistently act on it.  And despite being constantly bombarded by the media with news about our “wars of choice”, we are actually much less warlike and more egalitarian than we ever have been throughout history.  Provided we avoid a nuclear apocalypse that puts us all back in the stone age (and that is, admittedly, a big if), humanity is headed in the right direction.

My biggest concern is that us reasonable people are being hugely out-bred by religious fanatics.  Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world, not because of conversion but because of birthrate.  I have no idea what the solution to this problem is, but that’s no reason to give up our humanist goals.

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Posted: 11 July 2014 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Quoting B.R.:

My biggest concern is that us reasonable people are being hugely out-bred by religious fanatics.  Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world, not because of conversion but because of birthrate.  I have no idea what the solution to this problem is, but that’s no reason to give up our humanist goals.

Have no fears, B.R., the mass starvation caused by global climate change will take care of the increasing birthrate.

===
I hope everyone noted that this thread was started in 2011 and only reactivated at post #20 by BugRib.  Which is OK, but sort of surprising because one has to back and read ancient history.
===

Occam

[ Edited: 11 July 2014 04:25 PM by Occam. ]
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Posted: 11 July 2014 01:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Jump-in-the-pit wrote:

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I saw a happy rainbow recently.

How did you know it was happy?

[ Edited: 11 July 2014 01:40 PM by LoisL ]
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Posted: 12 July 2014 09:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Occam. - 11 July 2014 08:46 AM

===
I hope everyone noted that this thread was started in 2011 and only reactivated at post #20 by BugRib.  Which is OK, but sort of surprising because one has to back and read ancient history.
===

Occam

I have a tendency to do that.  I read a thread, find it interesting, and then forget to look at the dates.  I am The Resurrector Of “Ancient” Threads!

(I know “resurrector” is not actually a word.  Just wanted to clear that up.)

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Posted: 12 July 2014 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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BugRib - 10 July 2014 01:02 PM

The problem with Lind’s article is that it’s totally pessimistic and defeatist.  Yeah, humans carry a lot of baggage from our territorial ape ancestors.

 

My biggest concern is that us reasonable people are being hugely out-bred by religious fanatics.  Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world, not because of conversion but because of birthrate.  I have no idea what the solution to this problem is, but that’s no reason to give up our humanist goals.

Do you see a contradiction here on a couple of levels?
One being a Scientific-Naturalist level.
The other being a contradiction on a simple level.

What are Humanist Goals?  First, the main goal should be understanding humans.
With that being said, how can you say you are reasonable, and the billions of people outnumbering you are not reasonable.

Although I just skimmed this thread and found the author’s words a little clunky, there is serious truth to his points.
The most rational course certainly lies somewhere between both of your opposing views-in my opinion.

His message about local versus global harmony, or “Lennonism”(from Imagine) is very relevant.

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Posted: 12 July 2014 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Quoting BugRib:

I read a thread, find it interesting, and then forget to look at the dates.  I am The Resurrector Of “Ancient” Threads!

  There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just that posters have to recognize that some of the earlier posts may be by people who are long gone so they shouldn’t expect responses from them.

(I know “resurrector” is not actually a word.  Just wanted to clear that up.)

Hey, that’s how our language grows, and it’s a far more reasonable word than most of the new ones the Oxford is including in their latest edition.  LOL

Occam

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Posted: 17 July 2014 06:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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xntubes - 09 November 2011 04:06 PM

Much of the comments here… you just have to roll your eyes and think than humanism is going to live as long as other pollyannic utopian delusions. Not that I’m giving up though…

Don’t suppose you’d care to define “Humanism” as you see it?

xntubes - 09 November 2011 04:06 PM

Professor Jonathan Haidt:

... In a sense, my view is that to be the ultimate utilitarian, in order to design a society that is ultimately best for people, you have to take a very broad view of the tremendous needs that people have for community, for reverence, for respect and for moral orientation. A narrow-minded utilitarianism strips down the universe, reduces people to mere consumers and makes this broader sense of satisfaction impossible.

“the tremendous needs that people have for community”: this is what Lind is saying is threatend by pro-diversity humanism.

Is community dependent on religion?

As for this business about “ultimately best for people”  What’s that mean?  People in general…

Or “people” in the neo-Republican/Libertarian sense as in me and my group, verses all the unbelievers out there?

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Posted: 17 July 2014 06:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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LoisL - 11 July 2014 01:38 PM

Jump-in-the-pit wrote:

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I saw a happy rainbow recently.

How did you know it was happy?

my heart told me so   kiss

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Posted: 26 July 2014 07:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Thanks for reviving this thread, so I got a chance to read the article. The debate is a good one to have, but it should not be mixed with the left/right debate. It is the unfinished work of the philosophers. We (they) went off on the Da-Da-ist tangent 100 years ago and philosophy is still recovering. The more recent philosophy of the scientific method and some sociological philosophy is not really seen as philosophy, although that’s what I call it. Anyway, those of us with the left-liberal bias smile need to get over the idea that tribalism is bad. We know that if you show a starving child with a name and a face, people will want to help that child. Show them just 2 or 3 more and the percentage who will donate just a few dollars plummets. Show them a thousand people lined up to get a bowl of rice, and they turn away.

The article takes facts like this and turns it into “government is just a bunch of monkeys”. The problem with his view is he doesn’t get that “reason” does not mean “computerized logic”. Look up “The Straw Vulcan” to see how reason and logic are portrayed as non-feeling. If you aren’t including people’s feelings in your reasoning, you’re doing it wrong. To find the middle ground, between only caring about people you know and using computers to run society, we need to change that perception of what it means to think about the health of the society.

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Posted: 27 July 2014 08:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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If Humanism has a left-liberal bias, it’s because most intellectual people have a left-liberal bias—actually it’s not a bias, but a left-liberal tendency.  They are no more biased than anyone. It can’t be avoided. It’s a fact of life.  Rednecks have a right conservative tendency and conservative organizations or organizations that draw conservative types will automatically lean that way. What can you do about it? It’s simply how organizations work. It would be like saying the Republican Party has a right-wing bias.  The only way anyone could prevent the left-liberal tendency in Humanist organizations would be to pack Humanist organizations with rednecks and other right-wingers.  It shouldn’t be hard to do—there are plenty of them. Liberals could try packing the Republican Party with Humanists, but I’m not sure you could find enough humanists who could control the gag reflex.

Lois

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