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Embracing the Humanist label
Posted: 16 February 2012 08:41 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I am getting closer to fully embracing the “Humanist” label. As such, I am trying to learn all I can about it. A name I keep running into is Jen Hancock. What you y’all think of her? I see that CFI is now going to be offering an online course (“Practical Humanism”) by Jen along with John Shook starting March 1. Anyone thinking of taking it? (For some reason it is still not showing up in the online listing but I got a link in an email: http://action.centerforinquiry.net/site/Calendar?id=102361&view=Detail)

I’m very curious what others think.

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Posted: 16 February 2012 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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That looks interesting. I’m not sure how much time I’ll have (although it does end before triathlons start.) Let us know if you register.

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Posted: 16 February 2012 09:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I would definitely do it if you did…  smile

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“I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.”—Edith Sitwell

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Posted: 16 February 2012 11:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Hey Free, have you read John Shook’s book “The God Debates” yet? Deep and somewhat confusing to me but I’m going to tackle it again. It it he outlines the major debate tactics used by atheists and theists. I noticed that ole Egor used some of the theist tactics listed there. Check it out if you haven’t already.


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 16 February 2012 12:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thanks, Cap’t. That’s actually already on my Amazon wish list—along with about 100 other books. So much to read… so little time… and money!

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Posted: 24 February 2012 02:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Start with AC Grayling’s definition of humanism:

“Humanism in the modern sense of the term is the view that whatever your ethical system, it derives from your best understanding of human nature and the human condition in the real world.”

That broad definition is not loaded with any ethical system, it simply means ethics derived from our best understanding of ourselves. It means human-centered, or derived from humans.

If you want to go further with Jen Hancock (assuming she is like most humanist advocates) then technically that’s the ideologies of liberalism, one-worldism, which is not necessarily what all humanists follow (there are more conservative humanists who take a less idealistic, more pragmatic and restrained view of human nature).

So, we all should start with Grayling’s definition, and then qualify what type of humanist we are: a liberal humanist, a conservative humanist, etc. Accuracy of language breaks through the otherwise-muddled use of the word ‘humanism’.

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Posted: 24 February 2012 06:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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mralstoner - 24 February 2012 02:43 AM

Start with AC Grayling’s definition of humanism:

“Humanism in the modern sense of the term is the view that whatever your ethical system, it derives from your best understanding of human nature and the human condition in the real world.”

That broad definition is not loaded with any ethical system, it simply means ethics derived from our best understanding of ourselves. It means human-centered, or derived from humans.

If you want to go further with Jen Hancock (assuming she is like most humanist advocates) then technically that’s the ideologies of liberalism, one-worldism, which is not necessarily what all humanists follow (there are more conservative humanists who take a less idealistic, more pragmatic and restrained view of human nature).

So, we all should start with Grayling’s definition, and then qualify what type of humanist we are: a liberal humanist, a conservative humanist, etc. Accuracy of language breaks through the otherwise-muddled use of the word ‘humanism’.

I like that. Too many words just cause disagreement. That def is concise; a good thing.

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Posted: 24 February 2012 07:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Humanism in the modern sense of the term is the view that whatever your ethical system, it derives from your best understanding of human nature and the human condition in the real world.”


Put me down as a humanist for sure. Emphasis on “The real World”!!!!!

 

Cap’t Jaack

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Posted: 24 February 2012 12:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Personally, I think that definition is pretty weak and doesn’t really make a positive statement about wht it means to be a humanist. I like the one from the third Humanist Manifesto better, though I still think it could be improved upon:

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

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Posted: 24 February 2012 02:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I don’t know, those two definitions are very similar.

progressive philosophy -> modern sense (progressive might be somewhat better than modern)
without supernaturalism -> in the real world (I prefer the inclusive over the exclusive)

Take the better of both and you get something like:
Humanism is a progressive philosophy that affirms our ability, as derived from human evolution, to act ethically in the real world with an aspiration toward the greater good. (I left out “of humanity” because it excludes the rest of nature.)

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Posted: 25 February 2012 08:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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traveler - 24 February 2012 02:06 PM

I don’t know, those two definitions are very similar.

progressive philosophy -> modern sense (progressive might be somewhat better than modern)
without supernaturalism -> in the real world (I prefer the inclusive over the exclusive)

Take the better of both and you get something like:
Humanism is a progressive philosophy that affirms our ability, as derived from human evolution, to act ethically in the real world with an aspiration toward the greater good. (I left out “of humanity” because it excludes the rest of nature.)

I like your definition too, Traveler. I don’t worry too much one way or the other about humanism excluding the rest of nature (in definition). I have no problem with humanism focusing primarily on the human species. Although we have done a lot of damage to the ecosystem in the past in the pursuit of our own self-interest, I think it has become apparent to thinking people in recent decades that our own self-interest actually meshes pretty well with the interest of all other living things on this big old rock.

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Posted: 05 March 2012 05:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Just for information here is a Jen Hancock defintition of Humanism - Live life, love other people and leave the world a better place.

It is a fuzzy definition but I like it and if I end up talking with other people it is a good starting point.

I am in the current class that Jennifer is teaching for the CFI. I like her approach because it is straight forward and a good starting point for me.

Before taking her class I had already read her two books and thought she did a good job.

[ Edited: 05 March 2012 05:29 AM by RD Cook ]
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Posted: 05 March 2012 06:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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RD Cook - 05 March 2012 05:26 AM

Just for information here is a Jen Hancock defintition of Humanism - Live life, love other people and leave the world a better place.

It is a fuzzy definition but I like it and if I end up talking with other people it is a good starting point.

I am in the current class that Jennifer is teaching for the CFI. I like her approach because it is straight forward and a good starting point for me.

Before taking her class I had already read her two books and thought she did a good job.

Sounds good, RD. Only thing that causes a bit of consternation is the use of subjective (“better”) and nebulous (“love”) terms in a definition.

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Posted: 05 March 2012 10:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Just ran across this and really like it. I think it is more a definition of a Humanist than it is an atheist.

“An atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An atheist believes that a deed should be done instead of a prayer said. An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death.” ~ Madalyn Murray O’hair defining an atheist for the US Supreme Court

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Posted: 05 March 2012 11:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I like that one, Traveler.

By the way, I did enroll in the class. Unfortunately, my internet access form home went kaput this weekend after a tornado wiped out my ISP. I’m hoping to be back on the grid in the next day or two. For now I only have access from work. Speaking of which, I’d better get back to that…

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Posted: 09 March 2012 06:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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“An atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An atheist believes that a deed should be done instead of a prayer said. An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death.” ~ Madalyn Murray O’hair defining an atheist for the US Supreme Court

How do you respond to a message Traveler and have the prior message or parts of the prior message greyed out?

Yes I can see why you like this quote because it values deeds over unclear and arbitrary emotions. I also like this quote! I agree that it is good to state concrete goods but I refuse to not use emotion words or words that describe the human condition like soul or spirit or love or better. The definitions of these words are different for me than for a supernaturalist. I don’t want to give up any linguistic ground or descriptive capability. If I talk to someone for the firs time I would probably use a mushy definition over a more exact statement because it is more inviting. Thanks for the quote!!!

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