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A question about humanism
Posted: 28 October 2012 01:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 106 ]
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original text: Humanists have a duty of care to all humanity.

Possible interpretations.

1. Humanists as an organized body of individuals have this duty of care.
They meet annually and set up committee that figure out ways to get it going.

Compare with some religious traditions. The Church take care of it.
I support the Church but the Church do the work through their Staff..

2. Each individual organized Humanist accept this duty of care as an individual
and try to the best of his or her knowledge to live up to it.

Compare with religious traditions. some of them do demand that each individual
are the eyes and ears and hands of God and do the care because God being
spirit can only do work through the spirit in the heart and heads of the believers.

Above is my take on what the word humanists refers to.

a duty of care could either mean as a collective or as individual.

to all of humanity could refer to each individual that one meet
or humanity in some abstract way. Voting for laws against discrimination
and still a individual knowing that one fail to not discriminate?

I find it unfortunate they chose an expression that is that ambiguous
and easy to give that many different meanings.

2012 - 2002 = 10 years ? Ten years and no debate over what it really means?

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Posted: 28 October 2012 09:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 107 ]
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TimB - 27 October 2012 10:37 AM
FredW - 27 October 2012 09:55 AM
TimB - 27 October 2012 09:11 AM

Any individual humanist cannot possibly take care of all humanity (and future generations).  If we have that duty, then it makes sense to me that we each start, (within the parameters of our own abilities), with caring for ourselves, our family, our friends, and then care for or advocate for others to the best of our ability and understanding.

Is it then my lack of knowledge about grammar or some logic built in
that makes me misunderstanding that text.

So exactly what does that text say? Does it say this:

Humanists has a duty to care for ourselves, our family, our friends,
and then care for or advocate for others to the best of our ability and understanding.

...

I was just sharing what makes sense to me in trying to interpret:  “Humanists have a duty of care to all humanity.” I suspect that most people who identify themselves as a Humanist would agree that Humanists have duty of care to all humanity, but that many would have different ideas of what constitutes “duty of care”.

 

—Humanists generally agree to create a society of critical thinkers and to show compassion toward all humans. Humanists have formed ia philosophical unit that seeks to create a moral climate without appealing to arbitrary authority. Atheism is solely a position on the existence of god(s).  There is no philosophy in atheism.  Humanism is a philosophy for atheists that assumes the intrinsic worth of all humans.  There is nothing in atheism that assumes anything beyond the rejection of god(s). Some atheists feel the need for a philosophical set of standards, not imposed, but generally agreed upon.  Humanism is a work in progress.


.......

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Posted: 28 October 2012 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 108 ]
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Excellent description, Lois, and as an aside, I believe Ayn Rand was an atheist but certainly not a humanist.

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Posted: 28 October 2012 12:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 109 ]
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Now my English is not that good. But see it like this.
the writers and the signers must have an idea about
what those words really stand for.

So my personal question is not what we interpret
it to mean but what the writers of it meant it to mean.

Sure I should write them and ask but my experience
is that such very seldom works. There are numerous
people who write to them so why would they care about
one total nobody asking something that maybe embarrass
them very much.

More likely if 60 Minutes or BBC Hard Talk asked them
then maybe one would get an answer that will be true
to what they really thought at the time of writing?

Maybe I am too pessimistic but I where member of
Secular Humanist already 1986 so I know how difficult
it can be to get answers.

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Posted: 28 October 2012 03:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 110 ]
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Unfortunately, often there is a negative correlation between succinctness and precision, and even if one is willing to be verbose in an attempt to be precise, any language lends itself to a variety of interpretations.  I’m happy to see such documents as guides for thinking rather than as edicts. 

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Posted: 29 October 2012 12:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 111 ]
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Occam. - 28 October 2012 11:39 AM

Excellent description, Lois, and as an aside, I believe Ayn Rand was an atheist but certainly not a humanist.

Occam

Indeed she was and she was and is not the only one.  I do not wish to denigrate atheists, since I am one myself, but here are no rules regarding being an atheist. It reveals nothing more about the person’s character than that he/she does not believe in any god.  The vast majority of atheists I know are decent, moral people, by any rational standards,  but in the abstract an atheist can be a murderer, a thief, an abuser, etc.  And there is nothing in atheism that would militate against that.  A humanist, however, agrees to Humanist principles.  A person cannot be a murderer, a thief, an abuser and still be a Humanist, though claiming that one is a Humanist can be faked. That said, I accept that human beings are moral or immoral, by rational standards, for reasons that have nothing to do with atheism, theism or Humanism. Humans naturally tend to be compassionate and cooperative (for survival reasons) and are inclined to want to live in a society that is safe and just.  Theists attribute morality to their faith but I don’t accept that. That attribution is an opinion created after the fact to justify their faith, IMO.

Lois

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Posted: 30 October 2012 02:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 112 ]
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Paul Kurtz realized that “Religious Humanism” could be used against us
by the political religious right in that they would point to “Religious Humanism”
and say. See all these naturalistic science minded persons are religious.
It is a faith like any other faith and the constituion would then not allow
evolution to be taught in schools due to being a “Religious Humanism” faith thing?

Not what he said my poor memory try to remember the logic of it.
I agree with him that that is very reasonable to expect from political right
they love to spin such things for to stop education about evolution.

Or to get their intelligent design form of creationism into the school on “equal” terms.

Now I don’t agree with “Religious Humanism” upon how they see humanism as religion.
But somehow I do feel like a “Religious Atheist” but not Humanist due to me not political.

Is not Secular Humanism very much like a NGO in that it fights for Human Rights
and seen from that perspective it is a very political activism kind of association.

I find that the best explanation for that the part of the Amsterdam Declaration
of a duty to care about all of Humanity don’t seem to be about each individual.

While a religion at least on paper do care about each individual and that each member
have that duty. so in that sense I am a religious atheist and not a NGO political activist?

This reminds me of the “motto” for the congress IHEU had a few years ago? I fail to remember
when and the word of the short slogan but something like loving diversity?

Could any of you help me find the right key word to search on google. I have tried several
and don’t find it.

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Posted: 30 October 2012 02:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 113 ]
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FredW - 30 October 2012 02:58 AM

Paul Kurtz realized that “Religious Humanism” could be used against us
by the political religious right ...

While a religion at least on paper do care about each individual and that each member
have that duty. so in that sense I am a religious atheist and not a NGO political activist?

This reminds me of the “motto” for the congress IHEU had a few years ago? I fail to remember
when and the word of the short slogan but something like loving diversity?

BTW, have you checked out?:

http://iheu.org/

Could any of you help me find the right key word to search on google. I have tried several
and don’t find it.

Check out the ideas of the Harvard professor of philosophy, way back, George Santayana. He is often quoted for his wisdom.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Santayana#Education
==================
Me? I have found that by accepting that differences can often be enriching, prevents them from being divisive. I have also found that this is a great way to encourage community building, and a unity of purpose. The same thing happens when I learn to love variety—an easy way to learn how to disagree, agreeably.

[ Edited: 30 October 2012 07:49 PM by RevLGKing ]
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Posted: 01 November 2012 12:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 114 ]
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Martin Gardner seems to love that George Santayana much.
He often refer to him too. I am not on that level. To me that is
academic philosophy. He express himself on a level that I don’t get.

Much appreciated that you wanted to share though.
Do you have some short quote that refer to something particular?

Gardner told us about his Fideism and Carl Sagan got curious
on if Gardner really believed in God. The answer where surprising to me.
He believed because it felt good to have a belief?
Is that something related to George Santayana maybe?

Maybe it derail the thread too much to go into?

My take on humanism where this Amsterdam Declaration
that “Humanists have a duty of care to all of Humanity ... “

How should we interpret that for each individual Humanist?

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Posted: 01 November 2012 04:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 115 ]
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I am not fond of the phrase “duty toward one another”. It opens the door for someone to tell me how to care.

I like the golden rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”  as a general humanistic philosophy.
On a personal level, I like the medical mantra, “First do no harm”.

If we could live within these two tenets, the world would be a better place.

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Posted: 01 November 2012 07:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 116 ]
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Write4U - 01 November 2012 04:09 PM

I am not fond of the phrase “duty toward one another”. It opens the door for someone to tell me how to care.

I like the golden rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”  as a general humanistic philosophy.
On a personal level, I like the medical mantra, “First do no harm”.

If we could live within these two tenets, the world would be a better place.

I like those two tenets, very much, also, but different individuals will interpret them differently, just as different individuals will interpret the phrase “duty toward one another” differently.

So I think that the best that they can be are as guidelines, that we each choose to follow as we see fit.  Unless we decide to flesh them out and to all agree on what they mean in more specific and variious contexts.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 02 November 2012 12:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 117 ]
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TimB - 01 November 2012 07:55 PM
Write4U - 01 November 2012 04:09 PM

I am not fond of the phrase “duty toward one another”. It opens the door for someone to tell me how to care.

I like the golden rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”  as a general humanistic philosophy.
On a personal level, I like the medical mantra, “First do no harm”.

If we could live within these two tenets, the world would be a better place.

I like those two tenets, very much, also, but different individuals will interpret them differently, just as different individuals will interpret the phrase “duty toward one another” differently.

So I think that the best that they can be are as guidelines, that we each choose to follow as we see fit.  Unless we decide to flesh them out and to all agree on what they mean in more specific and various contexts.


I trust them used that phrase Humanists has a duty of care of all of Humanity ...
more like an aspiration? than an order from the Head Center of IHEU smile

But they don’t realize that some of us take words too seriously.
I feel very disappointed that they expressed them that carelessly.

It seems to mean nothing to them. or it is their way of saying them care about
Human Rights Law and sure that is good but then it is a NGO and Special Interest Org
and not individuals that care eye to eye about other individuals coming in the door.

I guess I expected too much.

Ooops forgot to ask. Am I the only one taking these words too literally?
Does every reader of them know through some built in grammar logic
that they mean almost nothing in practice other than some ideal them aspire to?

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Posted: 02 November 2012 02:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 118 ]
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FredW - 02 November 2012 12:26 AM
TimB - 01 November 2012 07:55 PM
Write4U - 01 November 2012 04:09 PM

I am not fond of the phrase “duty toward one another”. It opens the door for someone to tell me how to care.

I like the golden rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”  as a general humanistic philosophy.
On a personal level, I like the medical mantra, “First do no harm”.

If we could live within these two tenets, the world would be a better place.

I like those two tenets, very much, also, but different individuals will interpret them differently, just as different individuals will interpret the phrase “duty toward one another” differently.

So I think that the best that they can be are as guidelines, that we each choose to follow as we see fit.  Unless we decide to flesh them out and to all agree on what they mean in more specific and various contexts.


I trust them used that phrase Humanists has a duty of care of all of Humanity ...
more like an aspiration? than an order from the Head Center of IHEU smile

But they don’t realize that some of us take words too seriously.
I feel very disappointed that they expressed them that carelessly.

It seems to mean nothing to them. or it is their way of saying them care about
Human Rights Law and sure that is good but then it is a NGO and Special Interest Org
and not individuals that care eye to eye about other individuals coming in the door.

I guess I expected too much.

Ooops forgot to ask. Am I the only one taking these words too literally?
Does every reader of them know through some built in grammar logic
that they mean almost nothing in practice other than some ideal them aspire to?

Fred, unfortunately that’s the way it is, in spite of all the religions and types of government attempting to enforce these very basic ethical questions.

Strangely, in time of disasters, such as we just went through, all people, regardless of religion or creed, come together and help each other. So it is obvious that we are capable of being Humane in times of crisis. It is in everyday life that we seem to waste our time on squabbling which religion, which god, which is the true scripture. It is all soo silly.

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Posted: 02 November 2012 05:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 119 ]
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Where I live in Europe there are too few atheist/humanist meeting places.
Religious people have the churches to go to by if one don’t like their claims
then one have no way to go unless one are into smoking and drinking alcohol.

So I had hoped those words stood for something more than aspirations
Sure it is good that it work when storms sets in but I think of loneliness
and such “minor” problems that churches takes care of.

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Posted: 02 November 2012 09:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 120 ]
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Quoting Write4U:

I like the golden rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”  as a general humanistic philosophy.

That version has always bothered me.  The slight change a famous Rabbi made seems much better to me.  First the problem with this.  I love Chinese food but German food is just OK.  You hate Chinese food but love German food.  I decide to take you to dinner.  Since I would be happy if you brought me to a Chinese restaurant, following the golden rule, I bring you to a Chinese restaurant and not a German one.

The better statement is:  Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.

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